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Uncharted territory for me but so far I can see the benefits. I did create more distance than she wanted and that's what precipitated her to get upset and ask for the R discussion.
Does that mean I take a step to reduce the distance, or maintain the uncomfortable (for her) distance?
The devil is in the details. For a period of time, we were chatting via Skype daily to check in and always ended with an ILY of some kind. I stopped initiating the Skype entirely unless I need something concerning the kids that is urgent. When she Skype's me, I'm friendly and will engage with her. I've noticed that she will initiate 2-3 times per week (versus every day).
I also stopped ending with any kind of "ILY" and instead go with the "see you later" or similar. She has given me an ILY type sentiment once over the course of three weeks, but I think the fact that I'm not doing it bothers her. She has also said "ILY" a couple times in person which she virtually never used to do when I was pushing for more intimacy, unless in response to something I said first.
One of the R books I read also said it's a great habit to hug for at least 6 seconds before you leave for work in the morning and when you get home at night. That practice of maintaining at least 6 seconds tends to reconnect you, release any accumulated small resentments, and gets your head back in the game. That practice definitely had benefits for me in terms of keeping me connected. As part of the distancing exercise, I stopped initiating that completely, both at the beginning of the day and the end. W has not picked it up -- she might have hugged me once or twice in the morning over the course of two weeks.
Here's what's trickier -- we've made it a point to go to bed at the same time. Overall I think this is great, because I'm a night owl and it forces me to go to bed at a reasonable time. We've been hugging before we fall asleep where she lays with her head on my chest. To make that happen, I have to get my arm under her head, so I have to make the first move. Now if I don't make that move, she assumes something is *really* wrong -- to her it's like I left and am sleeping in the guest room, so she'll stay on her side of the bed and won't be able to fall asleep, and that makes me unable to sleep.
Am I doing myself more harm by continuing to initiate that, or by blowing it up without a good explanation (i.e. I don't feel like doing that anymore). That's one area where I'm stuck because it's a significant act of physical connection that happens every day. What's your guidance? Stop or continue, and if stop, how should that be explained?
Finally ML -- one of my boundaries has been that we will ML at least once per week, and I would prefer twice. She gets to pick when and initiate. Should I drop that to further increase distance, or keep that in place? Obviously I like the frequency.
This may be a distinction w/o a difference. My tske on what you've presented as a difference between withdrawing and giving devloping space may not appear that different from your W's POV.
I get the no pursuit aspect and that is fine. If I follow your thinking, wihdrawing is more akin to intentionally witholding (as in there may be a "request" for affection and you intentionally withhold w/ or w/o malice). Space or distance would look considerably less "needy."
Don't overthink this. Don't overread this. All these various books may be interesting and useful exercises in self evaluation and introspection. But at the end of the day, remember what you what your goals are and what you are willing to settle for (there is even an acronym for that...BATNA...Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement).
But then again, what do I know? I'm only a few weeks away from 15 years w/o sex.
Last sex: 04/06/1997 Last attempt: 11/11/1997 W Issues "No Means No" Declaration: 11/11/1997 W chooses to terminate sex 05/1998 I gained 60, then lost 85 pounds. Start running again (marathons)
Giving up ML when it's something you want is like cutting off your nose to spite your face, don't you think? That might go for the hugging before sleep as well.
I completely get the difficulty of your sitch. I do wonder, is the withdrawal really what you want? I would relate it to a friend that never calls you, and you're always calling them. It's not right, but if you enjoy the friendship, is it still worth it? Would the principle of them not ever calling you be worth dropping the friendship?
I sort of feel like that's where you are with your wife. You did have skypes and ILY's everyday. Now maybe 2-3 times with her initiating. Is that a success? You used to have a 6-second hug am/pm but now you don't. Is that good? Her not initiating it may be a blow to the ego, sure. But it's not rejection, just lack of initiation. If you recognize that that is just "her," then I'm not sure you're doing yourself any favors.
Accuray I regularly post at slj.proboards.com that's where I update my sitch. Generally speaking I'm running the MAP and my wife is way more affectionate for it. I do encounter the occassional hiccup, but things have been going well for me. At this point my W is asking I be patient with her, rather than pushing away so it's a definite improvement. On a personal level I'm really sold on "married man game".
As for the speititng your face by cutting your nose I don't agree. Call me crazy but I believe that at some level there is a pursuit dynamic in all relationships. Some like to pursue some like to be pursued. Many believe that generally women like to pursue, and not to be pursued. I do realize this is a potentially dangerous generalization, but I can say that at least in my case my wife likes to be reassured of my love, but does not actually like to be pursued.
So Ive been working on not pursuing which she sees as needy, desperate, and loser like. Instead I've been letting her come to me on her own terms.
It also works on the concept that people value what they work for, so if your spouse never has to work for your affection or even reciprocate equally then they will value the affection you give less. (since you give it for free or at a greatly discounted rate, like I said before a 5 for you 10.)
Great stuff, thanks to all! CV I wrestle with the points you make every day.
Captain, I hear you -- just today I was thinking "why am I acting this way if its not how I want to act? I'm not being true to myself."
That said, I was heading down a path that was feeling more or less unsustainable before. I also understand about the need to accept that things will be worse before they are better.
I do think I should stick to the distancing course for now -- I am seeing results and the space is letting me see things from a different perspective. W may lose me. I just need some guidance on how to give enough but not too much. Its awkward and different, I've always been a cards on the table guy.
This is painful and difficult, but definitely better in some key ways.