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#2231341 - 03/16/12 10:24 PM Re: MC says to call it quits [Re: TeaEarlGreyHot]
Accuray Offline
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Registered: 07/20/11
Posts: 2088
Originally Posted By: TeaEarlGreyHot
Accuray:
What strikes me is that you keep running into this in one way or another. It is not only the "health" of your relationship with your wife that is defined by your sex life...it is your definition of who you are that is tied very strongly to your sex life.


Captain, most of your analysis I agree with, this part I don't. I feel like I have a decent handle on this at this point. My core "neediness" if you want to call it that is to feel wanted and needed in this relationship. Sex is a proxy for that, but would decrease in importance (and does) when I'm getting that met in other ways.

At one point after the affair I was fixated on the sex life. That was after reading SSM and more significantly "Passionate Marriage", which insists that a great sex life is essential to a great marriage. At that point, I was hell bent on trying to have the best sex life I could have.

After much therapy and MC, I realize that I'm never going to have that with W, that's not her and she's not willing to work on it, so I have taken my foot off the gas on that front and have been working on accepting what I am getting.

I admit I had a bad reaction to the "no" before I left on this trip, but I hadn't gotten a hard "no" in a long time, and I hadn't been feeling very connected to (or pursued by) W for some time. Therefore I believe I lead you to focus on a symptom rather than what's *really* bothering me.

Originally Posted By: TeaEarlGreyHot

This is a "problem" that is going to keep recurring. What I see is this: if your sex life isn't going somewhat in a direction that you think that it "should" even after all you've been through that somehow you are, and I'm choosing a strong word intentionally, a "failure."


I don't think so, if W doesn't want to have sex with me I don't consider myself to be a failure -- I don't think there is anything wrong with me sexually. I feel sad that things could be better because I'm willing to do whatever work is required but W is not interested in going on that journey with me.

If W stopped having sex with me entirely, I know I would leave versus thinking it was in some way my fault or my deficiency.

Originally Posted By: TeaEarlGreyHot

At age 48, I was 4 years into my current drought and although the initial upset had diminished somewhat, I look at what I wrote in my journals at that time and I was clearly very upset at the lack of sex and what it "meant."


I believe that MC (and you) helped me get beyond this thinking. I am not fixated on it like I was three months ago.

Originally Posted By: TeaEarlGreyHot

That meaning, whatever it is that you apply to yourself on the subject of your sex life is precisely the difficulty you keep running into. You keep running into this definition of your self that is so tied to your sex life and that keeps you "miserable" (in that you feel the need to patch stuff up, you don't sleep well, etc).


Yes, it bothers me that I'm married to a woman who doesn't seem to want to be with me as much as I want to be with her -- but that's not just a sexual thing. The sex life is once again just a manifestation of a larger trend which is the REAL issue. And I do believe that "The Solo Partner" is helping with that. It's a difficult line to walk.

So what am I doing about that? I'm losing weight and getting in shape for me. I'm detaching from W and giving space. With each 5 pounds I lose I feel better and better. I am 100% convinced that if W were to cheat on me again I would have what it takes to walk away.

I also haven't forgotten your advice about setting a timeline. If I'm not feeling better by the end of the year I'm going to go the ultimatum route.


Accuray
_________________________
Married 18, Together 20
M: 45, W: 47, D: 15, S: 13, D: 9
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
ILYBINILWY (again) 7/12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014

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#2231342 - 03/16/12 10:28 PM Re: MC says to call it quits [Re: Accuray]
Accuray Offline
Member

Registered: 07/20/11
Posts: 2088
Boy Walking, you really tweaked me with the "woe is me" comment. This is board for people with issues right?
_________________________
Married 18, Together 20
M: 45, W: 47, D: 15, S: 13, D: 9
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
ILYBINILWY (again) 7/12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014

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#2232145 - 03/20/12 03:58 PM Re: MC says to call it quits [Re: Accuray]
oldtimer Offline
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 4474
Hey, did you see m reply?
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Oldtimer

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#2232185 - 03/20/12 05:07 PM Re: MC says to call it quits [Re: oldtimer]
Accuray Offline
Member

Registered: 07/20/11
Posts: 2088
Sorry Oldtimer, I saw this and read it. Responses below:

Originally Posted By: oldtimer

Suppose there is a child who acts out, the parent reacts badly, the child sulks until the parent patches thing up by giving the child a piece of candy. The child gets very good at sulking. The parent tries to hold out, but pays in the end by putting up with the sulking for a very long time and ending it with only double the candy. In this case, "giving in" or "having no backbone" does not improve the relationship, indeed, it reinforces unhealthy patterns.

Better would be to (1) stop reacting badly -- the parent needs to quit playing the same role in the pattern, and (2) do something different than battling wills and giving candy in reaction to sulking, like, for instance, detaching from the sulking, go about business as usual, be normal and positive, etc...


I understand completely what you're saying but I'm not sure how to apply it. I feel like it was me that was sulking after the "no" versus W. I realize I was sulking. It is very hard for me to respond positively when I would really like to have sex and W says "no".

That's not every time I would like sex. Sex drive for me goes in cycles. At some times I don't want it at all. Other times I can take it or leave it, and some times it becomes very important to me. It's the last instance when it's the most difficult to be rejected. In the other cases I can go on my merry way and you'd never see a post about it.

I realize the fact that it's "hard" to respond positively isn't an excuse, and I also realize this is a change I need to make. I am working on it, I'm not there yet. It's a work in process. I have realized that it's easier to let it go if I don't then hug W after the no. That's in "The Solo Partner", if you feel reactive behavior coming on, apply physical distance until it passes. That may appear to W as punishing behavior or sulking when in fact it's coping behavior. At one point I explained that to her.

Originally Posted By: Oldtimer
To me, it seems you and W have a similar dynamic going, you ask for sex, W responds in an unloving manner, you react badly, she sulks, you give her the mea culpa candy of being the bad guy, rinse, repeat.


Not always, since piecing W has usually responded in an "accommodating manner" -- I guess you could construe it as loving as she's doing something she doesn't necessarily want to do for me. Obviously an accommodating manner is different from an enthusiastic or engaged manner, but it's my challenge to either accept that this is how it is with this woman or leave. MC made that very clear -- there is no changing it, only take it or leave it literally.

Originally Posted By: Oldtimer
The first thing to do is to stop reacting badly to quit playing your role in the pattern. Make a list of different things to do: take some space and self sooth, make a flirtatious joke about next time, suggest an alternative like a cuddle. Maybe only the first of these works, who knows? Experiment and find something that does.


Yes, good advice!

Originally Posted By: Oldtimer
The second thing is to detach from the sulking and leave it alone. Go about business as usual, be positive and upbeat. Detach. It is HER sulking, you needn't own it.


Yes, good advice again. Once again, challenging and a work in process. I have realized this and am progressing on this path.

Originally Posted By: Oldtimer
Nope, I haven't read that book.


The book is great, I recommend it. It talks about "The Pursuer / Distancer Dance" which I very much identified with. To your point, it talks about the fact that we get into patterns in our relationship, and the one feeling the most pain from the pattern needs to be the one to do the work to break it.

I believe we were in this pattern. I wanted more emotional (and physical) intimacy than W. She told MC she wanted more distance in our marriage than I want. This imbalance lead to pursuing behavior on my part. When W wouldn't reciprocate, I would get frustrated, upset, and try harder.

The book says that to break this pattern, I have to stop pursuing and distance. If I distance consistently, either W will start pursuing, or she won't, which would mean she's done with the relationship.

It says that once the pursuer starts to distance, the distancer will wage a no-holds-barred campaign to get the pursuer to pursue again, but once they do, they will start distancing again, and that's the dance. As soon as I start to pull away, W will do just enough to pull me back in, and then retreat again. That pretty much summarizes what's been happening.

The book also says I need to drop my expectations for anything better. It says to assume that W will never be any more loving towards me than she is now. Feel sorry for myself, grieve that fact, get through the pain, and then decide to stay with that reality, or leave. That speaks to acceptance, which is basically the same thing MC told me -- accept things as they are or leave, there is no path to improvement based on where W is now. He said that W has accepted herself and the relationship, and is therefore not motivated to do anything differently. To try to encourage that will only lead to frustration.

So WRT the advice in the Solo Partner, I cannot continue to want more intimacy than W wants to provide. That is a state of imbalance that is not sustainable. That leads to me feeling like I'm always doing more and not having my efforts reciprocated.

Therefore, I've been distancing, I've been taking things down to her level and seeing if I can be comfortable there. I do not initiate hugging, I do not say "I love you" unless she says it first. I don't have R talks or talk about how I'm feeling unless she does.

This has obviously taken a lot out of our relationship, because she would sometimes reciprocate or mirror when I would initiate. When I don't initiate, she initiates much less frequently or not at all.

She's noticed this and it bothers her. She told me that she's noticed that I've withdrawn. She said that my behavior is making her anxious. She said that she knows I'm not happy with her, but I'm not talking about it. She keeps asking me to talk about how I'm feeling. I told her to talk about how she's feeling, and we can discuss our feelings together. She said "no".

I'm not being cold or distant, I'm being happy and friendly, just not intimate unless she initiates. I'm finding happiness through my own activities (GAL, etc.). I've been reaching out to her to connect less, because she is not initiating connection and I don't want to always be the one to get things going.

"The Solo Partner" says that the distancer will believe they can get more out of the relationship than they are willing to put into it. When the pursuer stops pursuing, they feel this loss and want it back, so they'll do just enough to try to restore it. I'm not going to bite.

"The Solo Partner" also says that what I'm doing will make things worse before they get better, and that is definitely accurate, things are worse, but I'm not ready to give up. It would be very easy for me to start making overtures and providing assurances again, I would love to do it, it would feel good to me, but I know where it's going to lead.

W historically complained that she felt she didn't measure up, that I has expectations that she wasn't capable of meeting. I have checked in with her recently if she still feels this way. Based on her response, it's clear that my distancing and taking things down to her level has relieved this problem for her, but it's replaced it with having her not feel pursued. I don't know which one is worse for her.

None of this stuff is sexual, the sex topic was a lightening rod on this board. Sex is the tip of the iceberg, the stuff below the waterline is more important to me.

With that perhaps more complete picture, I'd be interested in your feedback Oldtimer, although it would probably help if you at least browsed through the book.

Accuray
_________________________
Married 18, Together 20
M: 45, W: 47, D: 15, S: 13, D: 9
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
ILYBINILWY (again) 7/12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014

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#2232218 - 03/20/12 07:07 PM Re: MC says to call it quits [Re: Accuray]
oldtimer Offline
Member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 4474
Sounds like a great book and like you are doing well. What does it say about responding to W's pursuit? When you always respond, it seems to me that the result might be to give her exactly as much space as she wants rather than more, while more seems to be what is called for.

Some people live more parallel than
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Oldtimer

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#2232221 - 03/20/12 07:12 PM Re: MC says to call it quits [Re: oldtimer]
oldtimer Offline
Member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 4474
...than partner lives. My sister and her husband do little together, sleep in different rooms, and are very happy and loving in their way. She probably wonders if h and I are glued at the hip. Well cuz we often are. Works for us. I can't imagine living like my sister and vice versa. It is ok when the h and w match,but hard when they don't. Yipes.

Have you thought about what needs you can get met outside the m? Can you form some stronger friendshi
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Oldtimer

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#2232222 - 03/20/12 07:14 PM Re: MC says to call it quits [Re: oldtimer]
oldtimer Offline
Member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 4474
Friendships. Get massages and manicures? Join a hiking club? It isn't only sex and romance you are missing. Find the other things Nd don't depend only on w to meet all your emotional needs. No one can do thAt.
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Oldtimer

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#2232373 - 03/21/12 12:02 PM Re: MC says to call it quits [Re: oldtimer]
Accuray Offline
Member

Registered: 07/20/11
Posts: 2088
Originally Posted By: oldtimer
What does it say about responding to W's pursuit? When you always respond, it seems to me that the result might be to give her exactly as much space as she wants rather than more, while more seems to be what is called for.


The book doesn't give much advice about what to do when the distancer starts pursuing. It's really written for a more extreme case where the pursuer is extremely frustrated and ready to be a WAS, probably another take on the LRT.

I don't think I'm giving her exactly as much space as she wants. The book points out that the distancer wants more from the relationship than they're willing to contribute. If she wants to be at a "6" she probably wants me at a "8" in terms of intimacy. Now that I've dropped to 6 she's dropped to 4 and is feeling like there's not enough, but she doesn't seem to ever want to be more intimate than I am.

Doing *something* feels better than hoping, and I do think I'll be able to figure it out eventually.

Originally Posted By: Oldtimer
My sister and her husband do little together, sleep in different rooms, and are very happy and loving in their way.


Yes, when both people are aligned there is no issue. MC said that your distance preference will fluctuate, and if the fluctuation has enough overlap you won't even notice that there's a difference, so you don't have to match exactly. When you're significantly different (which we are), then it's more of a challenge. I could not live in the scenario you describe above, I would not feel loving with that degree of separation.

Originally Posted By: Oldtimer
Have you thought about what needs you can get met outside the m?...Find the other things and don't depend only on w to meet all your emotional needs. No one can do that.


Yes, when I told you that our marriage wasn't bad before the bomb, I meant it even though you found it hard to believe. I was able to do what you're suggesting here, I found other ways to meet my needs through GAL type activities, other friendships etc. I found happiness there and I was getting "just enough" from W and she wasn't complaining. Turns out she was burning up inside and eventually blew.

After all the pain and turmoil, what I want now is different -- if we're just going to go back to what I was doing before, then why did I go through all this pain just to have that?

That's something I'm wrestling with now, because it feels like we're heading right back to where we were, although with a big slice of self-awareness that was missing before.

Passionate Marriage talks about the fact that you establish an equilibrium in your relationship for a reason, it's a reflection of who the two people are. W said the equilibrium wasn't working for her and set out to find something different with someone else. It seems like our prior dynamic has a strong pull for her.

Maybe she's grown through this experience and what we had before will now be OK, maybe she won't get another affair opportunity and I won't have to worry about it, or maybe she'll eventually want more intimacy -- that is not something I can count on or even hope for.

I definitely feel she got some "be careful what you ask for because you might get it". When I introduced a more intimate, passionate marriage she decided she didn't like it, but I found that I did.

Accuray
_________________________
Married 18, Together 20
M: 45, W: 47, D: 15, S: 13, D: 9
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
ILYBINILWY (again) 7/12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014

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#2232672 - 03/22/12 03:19 PM Re: MC says to call it quits [Re: Accuray]
Crazyville Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/12
Posts: 1046
Quote:
"The Solo Partner" says that the distancer will believe they can get more out of the relationship than they are willing to put into it. When the pursuer stops pursuing, they feel this loss and want it back, so they'll do just enough to try to restore it.
This was the quote that struck me from the chapter as well. It basically means that at whatever level you decide on for your pursuing, their reciprocation input will always be less. And it's not just a lack of understanding, like Men/Mars and Women/Venus issues. It's a lifestyle for them. I know (I've proven) for me, that just doesn't work. I'm worried for you because you clearly want more, AND you're willing to give more, but your W isn't. Period.
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Me:49 WAW H:59
T:19.5 M:19
S:13

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#2232710 - 03/22/12 05:12 PM Re: MC says to call it quits [Re: Crazyville]
Accuray Offline
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Registered: 07/20/11
Posts: 2088
Time for a new thread, I will respond to CV here:

Pursuit and Distance
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Married 18, Together 20
M: 45, W: 47, D: 15, S: 13, D: 9
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
ILYBINILWY (again) 7/12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014

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