Children, that is why<a href="https://talkaboutmarriage.com/images/smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a>
Right now she thinks she can maintain your presence if she gives it up once every month or two. Stop letting her think that at all times.
I'm not sure what other hints to really drop that won't result in an argument... I already I know for a fact if it doesn't happen before 430p.m. when the kids are sleeping there's no way it's gonna happen the rest of day because she is too tired at night and any conversation asking about it will result in a fight...[/QUOTE]
There's a lot going on here and I'm late to the game but I'm going to give you some advice as I kind of know were you're at. I'm going to focus on the sex part for now.
First, and most important, what is going on inside your wife's head is very complicated. She is a working mom with 2 very small kids. She feels pressure self inflicted or not to be the perfect mom and still be the perfect career woman and the perfect wife. No person can be all these perfectly and most of the sacrifice is coming out of the perfect wife part. Besides the physical exhaustion there is complete mental exhaustion and to maintain sanity she needs to shut it down completely at some point in the day.
Second, this is very normal, it is. Many couples go through this after having kids. I would venture to say this is the rule more than the exception. You may be a bit of an extreme example but still within the normal situation.
It is great that you do so much to try and take the pressure off her, but there is reasons why it isn't having success. The stress and pressure aren't coming from these household duties themselves, the stress is coming from her. I'm going to guess that many times when she gets home after you've been cleaning and stuff she cleans some more or if you were cooking she will do some stuff to add onto the food prep or set the table or whatever. She is compelled to do this even though it's not needed because it's part of her drive to be the perfect mom/wife in her mind. You doing this stuff might even be causing her more stress as she might see the fact you took care of it as a failure on her part. Like I said this is complicated and you can't look at it logically.
To be honest getting over these self inflicted stresses counseling is often needed. She needs to learn and decide for herself that perfection is a ridiculous standard and finding the appropriate balance is what she needs to do.
So the conversation you should be having should be more like, You telling her you see how exhausted and stressed she is, you're willing to do whatever is needed to help reduce the stress and exhaustion but you can't figure out how to help. The current situation has had a very serious negative impact on your relationship and you have to work together to bring it back to more of a marriage than roommates. Tell her you are going to find a good counselor for her to talk to individually and someone to see as a couple to help you both with this. Ask her describe to you exactly what is going on in her head, ask this knowing the answer will be vague and won't be much because she really doesn't know she just knows she is in a funk. This is why she needs the counseling and you need marriage counseling so you can learn how to support each other.
Really dig in here, let her know you are equally concerned for her and your marriage. She should leave this conversation fully understanding the marriage will not work like this forever and you are willing to do whatever it takes to fix it, but she needs to put in work also.
This is tough and will likely leave her feeling a little stressed. You don't want to come off like you're attacking her and saying it's all her fault, it's normal for couples to go through this but there is a way to fix it. But she needs to be motivated to put in the work.
Couple more things, Date night once a month is not enough, make it weekly. Also settle on together time in the evening, not TV or devices just the two of you sitting and talking, this could be going to bed a little early and talking in bed or just sitting on the sofa, facing each other. Also initiate affection often, walk up and hug her from behind kiss her while you're washing the dishes whatever, just do it, do it often, I'm a big fan of a slap on the butt every now and then to let her know you mean business.
And start working out, lose the 40 lbs. If you're the one doing the cooking start making good healthy foods. Personally I am into fitness and have always maintain a fit body, a few months ago I went vegetarian and now I'm back to a ripped six pack at 41.
I have been were you are, not as bad as once every couple of months, but we went from 5-7 times a week to once and a major drop in general affection. We did counseling and had the talks and implemented a lot of the stuff I have put here.
Last, after you have done a good job with most of this work book a vacation for you and your wife. A second honeymoon type of vacation, somewhere that screams destress and rest. When my daughter hit about 18 months we lined up the grandparents for a week and took off to the Caribbean for a week. There was no agenda except to relax and recharge the batteries. There was no expectation of lots of sex or anything, we were just going to enjoy time together. Well I would estimate that in the 6 full days we were gone we had sex 25 times, and besides the sex were all over each other the entire time I probably got her off using my hand just lying on the bed under our beach umbrella 10-15 times, it was non stop. That trip was the start of our new us centric marriage. Now we are back to an average of probably 4-5 times a week and when we go away just the two of us which is probably 3-4 times a year its multiple times a day.
There is a way back, it takes hard work, patience, understanding, help, and most importantly teamwork. Right now it seems impossible but it is not.
As to the other stuff with your friend and the past, forget it, let it go, it's small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.
The work trip issues, this board has a lot of people who have been cheated on so thats is the go to no matter what, it's understandable. What happened is she stopped being mommy for a bit, this could actually be good news for you because that fun loving and living person is still in there. I'm not telling you to ignore anything if you have real reason to think something was up, but limited contact doesn't immediately mean cheating.
Thats my 2 cents.