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SSM: Putting it Back Together Part 2 #2211331
01/09/12 02:13 PM
01/09/12 02:13 PM
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Accuray Offline OP
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Accuray  Offline OP
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For those of you following my sitch (thank you!) you know that I have decided on "no sex" until Valentine's day. Why would I do such a crazy thing? Many reasons:

1) W's ability to feel valuable in the relationship: My W has commented a few times that she questions if I would love her in a non-sexual relationship. This is obviously a reflection of the fact that I've said that sex in marriage is very important to me. I would imagine she feels that if she's a sex provider, and the sex stops, that I won't keep coming around. Part of my reason to suspend sex is to address this -- to show that we can be happy together and have a good relationship without sex.

2) Reduced Expectations: My W has said (and my IC has reinforced) that my W does not feel "safe" in the relationship, in that she feels inadequate. She feels like whatever she gives will never be enough, and that there will always be another ask behind the ones she satisfies. She has used this as a reason not to try to satisfy any needs in the past. By not having sex, I take away the expectation that we'll have it, or that it will be of a certain quality. I figure I can just take it off the table and make everything else easier as a result *for now*.

My selfish reasons:

3) Relief From Expectations: I had asked as part of our piecing that we shoot for a once per week schedule, twice would be great! I was feeling that W was increasingly spacing things out. It was driving me crazy when we'd go 8 days, go to be early, kids asleep, stars aligned, and she would roll over and go to bed without a word. I'd be staring at the ceiling and the next day would wrestle with "act as if". Not expecting sex at all has kept this dynamic out of our piecing.

4) Control: The LD partner always controls the sex. Therefore, my sex life has been out of my control for years. SSM folks can understand the dynamic this creates, never knowing if or when you'll have sex again does a job on you. Since I was the one to declare "no sex", I finally feel like I'm in the drivers seat for a few weeks and that feels good!

5) Not Being a "Taker": My W has made it clear that on her own, she would not think about sex at all, and would have it very infrequently. She makes it clear that when we have sex, it's "for me" and she doesn't really get anything out of it. This makes me feel like I'm taking, that I'm taking withdrawls from the "love bank". I don't want to be given sex, I want to engage in sex with a willing partner who gets some mutual satisfaction from the experience.

I read in "After the Affair" that it is normal for the LBS to want to feel that the WAS is staying in the marriage because they are choosing the person versus the package. i.e. I would love if my W is staying because she loves *me* versus wants the intact family, better financial situation, etc. I don't want to be the path of least resistance.

The book says that it's impossible to separate the person from the package, and that works in both directions.

That said, having sex with a woman who professes not to get anything from it does not make me feel needed or wanted.

Furthermore, she's willing to "do whatever I want" sexually, but then will come back around and tell me how bad or hard it was for her. This makes me feel even worse, like even more of a taker.

For now, I'm happy escaping this dynamic.

Advice Needed

My W indicated last night that the "no sex" is bothering her. Not because she wants to have sex, but because she's waiting for the other shoe to drop. She's waiting for me to get miserable from lack of sex and she doesn't want to deal with that. She wants to discuss tonight.

For the DB'ers on the board, how much of what I've written above should I share? Should I share all 5 of my motivations, or just a subset?

Any advice to help me with tonight would be appreciated.

Accuray


Married 18, Together 20, Now Divorced
M: 48, W: 50, D: 18, S: 16, D: 12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014 (Divorced)
In a New Relationship: 3/2015
Re: SSM: Putting it Back Together Part 2 [Re: Accuray] #2211590
01/10/12 09:07 AM
01/10/12 09:07 AM
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greenblue90 Offline
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Sorry if I missed it!

The first thing you need to avoid is the perception that there is a plan. This makes you look manipulative. Not very attractive.

Secondly you need to scratch #1. It's never good for either of you to think a marriage without ML is ok.

IMHO the moratorium is about rejecting bad sex (or scraps), not rejecting ML. Big difference. Tell her the sex is not fulfilling to her and not to you, so you two need to stop and think about what a fulfilling sex life could include.

If she takes it the wrong way, tell her it's not about aggression but about giving space, let her know the moratorium is not forever. Just time to think about what ML means to you two.

Re: SSM: Putting it Back Together Part 2 [Re: greenblue90] #2211591
01/10/12 09:53 AM
01/10/12 09:53 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,216
Sweden, mostly
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LuckyLuke Offline
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Hi Accuray,

The planned-ness and rationalness of this strikes me also. I think it is good to have plans for yourself, somewhat less so for both of you, and maybe least for one's sex life. My best sex has often been the least rational...

I'd think about putting "money in the bank" - can you ignite/develop a sexual charge in your relationship somehow, perhaps by touching?

It also seems to me that there is a scale of sex - perhaps something along the lines of looking/touching/doing/orgasm. Maybe moving along this continuum will be more natural than an all or nothing on Valentine's day (there was a classic joke on annual sex...), and when sex happens, as both bodies respond without minds in the way, great.

My two cents - good luck -

LL


M58, xW54
S22, D18
M 1984, D 2016
Living a new life.
Re: SSM: Putting it Back Together Part 2 [Re: LuckyLuke] #2211704
01/10/12 06:26 PM
01/10/12 06:26 PM
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Accuray Offline OP
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Accuray  Offline OP
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Thanks Greenblue and LL,

Unfortunately I did receive these after we had the talk. I think it went OK, although it wasn't the easiest conversation in the world for sure. I did reconfirm that she's not willing to work on her sexual hangups (not the language I used) and needs me to accept her as she is, so the burden is on me to figure out how to accept this, or to make an ultimatum and ultimately be willing to walk away.

We have our MC appointment tomorrow night with a very good therapist, I'm really looking forward to it. W told me last night she's looking at the session as "one and done" and won't be interested in continuing beyond tomorrow night.

I forwarded GreenBlue's passage here to my therapist:

As of now she gives you sex, she doesn't give herself to you. See the difference?

In a way you are accepting scraps, you are taking whatever she decides to throw your way and are expected to be grateful for it. Instead you should focus on getting the sex you want, going no sex sends a powerful message that until she can be the passionate woman you desire you are not interested.

This may force her to reconsider if losing you is worth not tackling her demons.

Here's the catch, you have to be worth fighting for. She in her mind has to be so in love with you that the thought of possibly losing you over this becomes silly.

Right now she values you enough to toss some scraps at you whenever she is not stressed. Does she value you enough to let go of her own sexual hang ups?


If he comments on that via e-mail (he may not) I will pass that along.

Feeling good today, looking forward to getting thrown under the bus in MC tomorrow!

Accuray


Married 18, Together 20, Now Divorced
M: 48, W: 50, D: 18, S: 16, D: 12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014 (Divorced)
In a New Relationship: 3/2015
Re: SSM: Putting it Back Together Part 2 [Re: Accuray] #2211862
01/11/12 04:28 AM
01/11/12 04:28 AM
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greenblue90 Offline
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I'm curious too, seeing I'm in the same boat with a similar strategy!

Re: SSM: Putting it Back Together Part 2 [Re: greenblue90] #2211960
01/11/12 04:25 PM
01/11/12 04:25 PM
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Accuray Offline OP
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Accuray  Offline OP
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You're going abstinence by choice too? How is that working out for you? How does your W feel about it?

If I were to sum up my W's current take on things it would be:

"We weren't connected and I was very unhappy. You wouldn't spend any quality time with me. I went looking for connection elsewhere and ended up having an affair that I slid into, I didn't do it to hurt you. I was on a path to leave you and be alone.

Now, you've changed, you're like a different person and I'm getting my needs met. I still feel inadequate and there is a part of me that will always be unhappy. I'm not willing to work on that and I need you to accept it. Now let's go back to business as usual and stop with the R talks and the therapy. The fact that you're not happy with our sex life plays into my inadequacy problem. I'm sorry you feel that way, I know I have sexual hang ups, but it doesn't bother me so I'm not going to work on it. I know sex is important to you so I will provide it, but don't expect me to enjoy it. I'm doing it for you and I would like you to accept it and appreciate it."


I think that sums it up. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem like an unreasonable position at all.

So why am I so crazy? I like to think I'm rational, I've been able to make good changes. I've read tons of relationship books and understand the dynamics intellectually.

W's takeaways from this crisis bother me.

One of the things I read said that if you invited a guest to dinner and served them on your fine china, and they picked up their dinner plate, spun it on their finger, dropped it and broke it, you wouldn't be likely to invite them back to dinner.

Not because you thought they'd do the same thing again, but because they were the type of person who would do that, because they had the capacity, it becomes hard to relax, to trust, and not to be on edge around them.

If W feels her affair was justified, that our problems were my fault and that we reconciled due to my changes and not her own, then it's hard not to feel that given the chance she will break another plate.

Perhaps what I'm searching for in wanting to see some effort at changing or meeting my desires is really some reassurance that W sees her role in all this and is willing to do the *hard* work to make things better. She's willing to do the easy work. If I see her do some hard work, I will know she's invested and won't break my china.

I'm crazy right?

Accuray


Married 18, Together 20, Now Divorced
M: 48, W: 50, D: 18, S: 16, D: 12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014 (Divorced)
In a New Relationship: 3/2015
Re: SSM: Putting it Back Together Part 2 [Re: Accuray] #2212079
01/11/12 11:51 PM
01/11/12 11:51 PM
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greenblue90 Offline
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To use your own metaphor:

It's like she was wreck less with the china, said your noise distracted her, causing her to drop it. So you promise to be quiet from now on, or she won't come over for dinner anymore, and you better enjoy her plate spinning because that's just who she is and you have to accept her for that.

Ok so that was a stretch, but I think you get my point. Here's what I see:

"I was miserable, so I blamed you, so I left"

"then I realized I was just as miserable, but had no security, family, and other things, so things are worse now"

"I come back to the lesser of two evils, defeated but accepting things will never get better for either one of us. You are miserable with me, and probably could do better but I don't care enough to make either one of us happy, as long as I'm not miserable. "

Once again keep in mind that I'm not saying your W is a bad person, but whatever trauma she is dealing with is so painful that she is trying everything she can to bury it. In her efforts she doesn't realize all the collateral damage she is causing. I don't think she means, and probably feels terrible for it, but whatever she is dealing with is so terrible that burying her pains blinds her to the pain of others.

Re: SSM: Putting it Back Together Part 2 [Re: greenblue90] #2212108
01/12/12 02:22 AM
01/12/12 02:22 AM
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TeaEarlGreyHot Offline
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So, right about now you are being thrown under the bus or maybe not.

You have an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, you wish to share (and it is sharing) sexual intimacy with a person who both cares about her and and your sexual experience (clearly you care about hers and yours) OTOH, she's not willing to care about hers and merely tolerates your experience, just as long as it does not take too long or require too much. And if your representation is accurate she would rather you spend quality time with her just so long as it doesn't involve sex.

She allows sex to occur to avoid a number of consequences, but clearly would choose not to be sexual (with you) if she was to actually tell you the truth (without the fear of consequences).

And the problem is the conflict between your unwillingness to be abusive (you called it taking) as a way that you self identify AND the desire to identify yourself and your relationship with your wife in the context of a fulfilling shared sexual relationship. Unless you are willing to give up one of those two things, it will remain a sticking point. And even if you do give up one or the other for her...there will still be the lost identity that you value.

It will be interesting to hear what you have to share after your wife's one and done experience.

Sorry I haven't been around much. My son and daughter-in-law were back home from Sweden over the holidays and had lots of other things going on.

The Captain


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)
Re: SSM: Putting it Back Together Part 2 [Re: TeaEarlGreyHot] #2212211
01/12/12 03:19 PM
01/12/12 03:19 PM
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Accuray Offline OP
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Greenblue,

I think your analysis lets me off the hook a little too easily. It basically pins all our dysfunction on my W's issues and prior traumas and I don't think that's fair to her. I'm definitely bringing issues to bear as well, although I do appreciate the sentiment. It's comforting when someone understands the worst possible interpretation of things, as it's comfortable to feel that we are righteous and our spouses are the damaged ones, but it's a fantasy -- these dynamics are not so easily explained and I'm sure you know that too.

Captain,

Yes, the MC did conclude that we have a potentially unresolvable dilemma the way we have it framed, but he didn't focus on sex. He said that my W does not feel accepted if I express my desires / needs / wants. She interprets that to mean that I'm less happy than I could be, because I have to ask, so that she is inadequate, or is not capable of giving me the happiness I want. If I don't express my desires/needs etc. then I'm not being accepted for who I am and that is the dilemma.

She said that my inclination is to constantly improve, to constantly strive for more. She said that if I have a Ferrari that goes 145 mph I would try to make it go 150. Her inclination is to be content and to appreciate what she has versus look at what she's missing or opportunities she's not taking. I don't feel I'm that driven at all, I certainly accept a lot in my life without trying to optimize it, but perception is reality isn't it? I think that my W has a hair-trigger in this regard so ANY notion of improvement takes on extreme weight.

Coming out of that, he asked her what she felt it would be like if she could be married to someone exactly like herself and she said "it would be boring". He pointed out that the drive in me may be something she needs and is attracted to, in addition to something that drives her nuts.

We had a lot of discussion about that, about how we can re-frame this dilemma to view it as a positive, or something that is an element of the way we work versus viewing at as something that's broken.

He also talked about polarization. He said that polarization happens in any relationship between two people. He said that if when you get married, you decide you're going to do the dishes together every night, you'll quickly determine that one person is "better" at doing the dishes than the other -- they are faster, the dishes are cleaner, they don't chip them, whatever. He said that the difference could be very slight, maybe 5 seconds faster. Over time, the better partner will be more likely to grab the reins, and the other partner will be more likely to defer. This allows the better partner to practice and get even better, while the slower partner does not practice and their skills decline. Eventually, one partner always does the dishes and the other never does them.

He said that all couples have issues like this in their relationship where they have arrived at opposite ends of the spectrum, and it's often where arguments end up. He said it's easily fixable by identifying it and saying "here we go again" when the dynamic starts to develop. He said it's easily derailed.

Sexually, he didn't comment on my abstinence idea at all, he ignored it. He focused on the fact that nothing is wrong with W as an LD partner, that lots of women feel that way. He also said that there's nothing wrong with me wanting to "make love" versus receive sex, that most men feel that way (thus another dilemma). He got us to agree to a contract whereby W agrees to read one women's book about discovering desire of his choosing, and I agree to be accepting of whatever the outcome of that is, including her saying she got nothing from it. I agreed to that, and fully expect W will get nothing from it, but I did appreciate the fact that she's will to make the effort for me and for our marriage in an area where she's not comfortable.

I think his strategy here is to push W to open herself up to the possibility of expanding her borders. If nothing comes of it, I at least come away with the appreciation that she tried and it then becomes my responsibility to accept it for what it is.

Overall a positive session -- we went 3 hours -- but I didn't get the type of closure or concrete suggestions I was looking for, we definitely seemed to stump him in a couple key ways.

After that we went out for a drink before going home. W said she was disappointed that we didn't discuss the fact that we're not having sex. She said I'm denying her of an opportunity to make me happy. She had to work last night so I had a chance to think things over. I thought maybe the abstinence was not in line with 25's suggestion of "be a man only a fool would leave", and may be something that I would regret if W brought it up as a reason for leaving me. Therefore, when we woke up this morning I decided to give it a try. W initially seemed willing, but half way through had a breakdown, started repeating "I don't know what to do" and ran away into the bathroom and started loudly crying. I hadn't done or said anything in the moment, it was very confusing.

Needless to say, it left me with the feelings of rejection, angst, uncertainty and anxiety that I was trying to avoid with my abstinence period. Since we left for work without talking about what happened, it's been a really hard morning for me. Having your wife run away crying in the middle of sex is a hard thing to take, it feels like a bad joke.

Now I don't know what to do.

Accuray


Married 18, Together 20, Now Divorced
M: 48, W: 50, D: 18, S: 16, D: 12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014 (Divorced)
In a New Relationship: 3/2015
Re: SSM: Putting it Back Together Part 2 [Re: Accuray] #2212232
01/12/12 04:45 PM
01/12/12 04:45 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 315
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TeaEarlGreyHot Offline
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To paraphrase something I read a long time ago:

"if your happiness depends upon the actions of another, you've got a real problem."

The Captain


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)
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