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My new piecing thread! #2255414
06/18/12 10:01 PM
06/18/12 10:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,502
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Accuray Offline OP
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Accuray  Offline OP
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My last piecing thread was mysteriously zapped -- thanks to all who contributed, I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to weigh in or at least read. Here's the headlines for those who don't know me:

Married 16, together 18, 3 kids, 13, 11, 7 (need to update the signature!) I had been rolling along in my marriage largely happy and content -- not because the marriage was great, but because I had learned how to cope with it and accepted it for what it was. I sought enjoyment from hobbies, activities, and friends, and got "just enough" from W to keep me from complaining too much. I'm more of a "giver" than a "taker", and I would get very frustrated that my efforts to please W never seemed to make her happy. I would pretty much buy or do whatever she wanted and it would produce temporary happiness, but a couple weeks later it would be back to how it was.

The big issue I had was sex-starved marriage dynamics where W's drive was non-existent and she would agree to sex infrequently, once enough rejections had built up adequate guilt. That lead me to withdraw and to feel very unloved.

I never connected the dots that it was my lack of meeting her needs the way that she needed them met that was causing her unhappiness. Like many people, I was expert in sending in the way I needed to receive, and did not understand, nor could I conceive that it wouldn't have the same value to W that it had to me.

For W's part, she tried to be a dutiful wife and to love me unconditionally despite her unhappiness. She tried to put her needs in the back seat, and never really complained about anything. One of her best friends lives out of state and they talk frequently. This friend is also unhappy in her marriage, and has serial affairs and shares the exciting details with W. I believe that this woman's encouragement, coupled with W's unhappiness lead her to rationalize that seeking outside relationships would be ok, so she did. She started with a couple minor bar-night hookups with strangers, then a several month one-sided EA with a co-worker, then an 8 month full-on EA with a different co-worker.

I was oblivious the whole time, until I got the ILYBINILWY speech for our 15th wedding anniversary. At that point I tried to go into "hyper good husband mode" and offered to do MC, but whatever I did just seemed to make her more distant and colder. Eventually I got suspicious, snooped, and discovered what was going on. At that point OM had already confessed to his W and went "no contact" with W, blocking her on all fronts, which absolutely devastated her.

When I confronted W, I was told we were getting divorced, and that there was no chance of reconciliation. She had everything planned out and had worked through it with an IC. At that point I started to DB -- I gave it everything I had, and some more I didn't know I had!

We started piecing with some ups and downs in August of 2011. I believed I had 180'd all of W's complaints, and that going forward we would have the best, most intimate marriage possible. I read everything I could get my hands on in terms of what it takes to make marriage great, and I set off on that path fully expecting the best.

I got three major surprises on that journey:

1) I read "The 5 Love Languages" and got W to read it too, we discussed it together. I thought "great, we've given each other the owner's manual, the keys to happiness". My Love Language is "Words of Affirmation", but even after discussing that, they didn't come. I asked W about it, and she said that she's not willing to speak that love language, that it's not who she is, and she won't do it. What?

2) I finally got W to agree to go to MC with me, and she told the therapist that she wanted more distance in our marriage than I was trying to create. Since her initial complaint was that she didn't feel connected enough, I was surprised that she would complain about being too connnected, it made me question what I was doing. W's love language is "quality time", so I tried to provide that in spades. W told me that I was providing too much quality time, and asked to dial it back. If that's what makes you feel loved, why would you want less?

3) I asked W for her vision of what her perfect marriage would be. What she described to me sounded like friendly roommates. I asked her how it was different and she said she guessed it wasn't, other than roommates don't have sex.

In short, what I discovered is that W and I were not on the same train in terms of piecing -- our vision of marriage didn't match and therefore we weren't working towards the same goal. With the help of MC, I also learned that W doesn't feel "safe" in the relationship, in that she feels nothing she does will ever be good enough, that I will always have another request for every one she satisfies, so why do anything?

I got very discouraged for a couple months, my needs weren't being met, I was putting in a ton of effort, but once again it was feeling like nothing I did was going to make W happy. It felt like we were heading back to right where we were pre-bomb. We landed there for a reason, it was an equilibrium, and it has a powerful pull. I'm determined not to go back there. I started having thoughts of leaving and giving up, it seemed non-solvable. The advice I got from the best experts I could find was to either (1) accept that my relationship would never get any better, or (2) leave the relationship. They said that if W isn't willing to do the work, I can't fix it on my own.

Here's where I am now: I believe that W does want to be married to me. I believe that W is scared of intimacy with me, and that the pain of the past is not quite erased for her. I believe that "The Five Love Languages" is too simple in our case, although her stated love language is "quality time", I don't think that's really what makes her feel most loved. I'm not sure what does, I think it's a combination of admiration and acceptance of everything she is. I'm still working on figuring that out. I believe that W is not working on meeting my needs because she's not motivated to do so. If she were motivated, it wouldn't be "work", it would just happen. The harshest way of looking at it is that she's not "in love" with me. She loves me, but she's not "in love" with me.

What can I do about that? Well, for one thing I can make myself as attractive as possible, I'm doing Weight Watchers and have lost 20 lbs and I'm still going. I've reduced clutter from my home and become a neater person. I've made an effort to limit hobbies and activities that exclude W. I think the real key, however, is in identifying the secret cocktail of behaviors that will meet W's emotional needs, even if she's not aware of them herself, and couple that with adequate passage of time to erase the scars of the past and make the met needs real and credible.

Maybe that won't work and it's a pipe dream, but that's where I am, for now it seems worth pursuing.

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: My new piecing thread! [Re: Accuray] #2255900
06/20/12 04:01 AM
06/20/12 04:01 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 685
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greenblue90 Offline
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Accuray
Despite differing details it always amazes me how both our W's want to stay married in misery, and refuse to do anything to find happiness within it. Trust me when I say know how painful to see the person you leave shut themselves down. Just remember you have done your best, and whatever happens you can hold your head up and know you did all within your control.

Re: My new piecing thread! [Re: greenblue90] #2256004
06/20/12 03:09 PM
06/20/12 03:09 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,502
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Accuray Offline OP
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Accuray  Offline OP
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Thanks Greenblue! I appreciate it


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: My new piecing thread! [Re: Accuray] #2256037
06/20/12 05:00 PM
06/20/12 05:00 PM
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 563
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roughenough Offline
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Hi Accuray,

I had to read your story after the insight you provided me. While we have different sitches, I felt there were a lot of similarities that I could relate to after reading your thread. For me, it’s so difficult to pinpoint what it’s going to take to make my wife happy, loving, value me, etc….It just seems like such a impossible battle at times. Anyway, I tried my best to address your questions on my thread. Take care!

Me(M):37
W:42
T: 14
M: 11
S: 8
D: 4
W wanted separation 5/5
Stopped living together 5/5

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude”.
Thomas Jefferson

Re: My new piecing thread! [Re: Accuray] #2256833
06/23/12 03:56 PM
06/23/12 03:56 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 315
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TeaEarlGreyHot Offline
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Too bad your thread disappeared. I was going to read it (I've been away and started to catchup last weekend while drinking my coffee at Starbucks).

Anyway, my sense is from what I've read (before stuff disappeared) was that you were/are making progress. A couple of points worth remembering in terms of the external appearance stuff:

First, neatness counts and the control of clutter can be helpful as long as you don't trend back towrds your natural tendencies. If this is an issue between the two of you, she'll always be on the lookout for your slipping.

Second, on the weight. It may not make any direct difference to her. I'm now down 70 pounds from my highest weight in late 2007 and that was after 10 years of no sex. I'm now down to 178, only 17 pounds heavier than when my wife and I met and now it has been more than 15 years without sex (and we are coming up on the 20th wedding anniversary).

Do the weight thing for you, not her. While she might appreciate it (do you become a "trophy husband?"), you should have no expectation that it will be THE THING that suddenly turns her "on." The real physical change will assist your mental well-being in addition to your physical well-being. Your self-image will take longer to change. Last year at this time when I was at ~190 lb, I had my first real realization that my body was "coming back." Of course, I saw it in my clothes and the new clothes I had to purchase. But my body image had adjusted to "fat" over the span of time before I finally started losing weight. Physically, I feel much better, my stamina is very much improved, my resting heartrate is about 52-56 beats per minute, my blood pressure, which was never classified as "high," is now down to 96/58.

Onward

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: My new piecing thread! [Re: TeaEarlGreyHot] #2257417
06/26/12 01:45 AM
06/26/12 01:45 AM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 10,805
sgctxok Offline
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Accuray -

I think you would make a GREAT mentor on the Bootcamp threads. When I started giving advice, I improved immensely. But I think you have a lot to offer, I think you've given great advice...and that you 'get' a lot and that you're open.

If you look on newcomers, you will see several Bootcamp TBD threads...why not check them out and offer to help? I think you would be great!


sg wink


sg
Love is PATIENT, love is KIND, LOVE never fails / DB since 2001
Re: My new piecing thread! [Re: sgctxok] #2258034
06/28/12 01:47 AM
06/28/12 01:47 AM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,502
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Accuray Offline OP
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Accuray  Offline OP
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Captain! So nice to hear from you. Someone was thanking me for help on their thread and I called out how helpful you were to me when I needed it most -- thanks again for that!

Originally Posted By: TeaEarlGreyHot
Anyway, my sense is from what I've read (before stuff disappeared) was that you were/are making progress.


I think I continue to make progress on me. Progress on the marriage has either stalled, or is moving too slowly to be perceptible. I'm hoping it's the latter.

Originally Posted By: TeaEarlGreyHot
A couple of points worth remembering in terms of the external appearance stuff:

First, neatness counts and the control of clutter can be helpful as long as you don't trend back towrds your natural tendencies. If this is an issue between the two of you, she'll always be on the lookout for your slipping.


Yep, I'm doing quite well on this front. In addition, I think this was a "me too" complaint -- she's also messy. In any case, I feel better for doing a better job keeping things neat.

Originally Posted By: TeaEarlGreyHot
Second, on the weight. It may not make any direct difference to her. I'm now down 70 pounds from my highest weight in late 2007 and that was after 10 years of no sex. I'm now down to 178, only 17 pounds heavier than when my wife and I met and now it has been more than 15 years without sex (and we are coming up on the 20th wedding anniversary).

Do the weight thing for you, not her. While she might appreciate it (do you become a "trophy husband?"), you should have no expectation that it will be THE THING that suddenly turns her "on." The real physical change will assist your mental well-being in addition to your physical well-being. Your self-image will take longer to change. Last year at this time when I was at ~190 lb, I had my first real realization that my body was "coming back." Of course, I saw it in my clothes and the new clothes I had to purchase. But my body image had adjusted to "fat" over the span of time before I finally started losing weight. Physically, I feel much better, my stamina is very much improved, my resting heartrate is about 52-56 beats per minute, my blood pressure, which was never classified as "high," is now down to 96/58.


Oh it's not for her, and I don't expect a change of any kind in her as a result. I'm definitely doing it for me. It's to feel better about myself, and so if this doesn't work out I come out of this in the best shape possible. You and others suggested I work from a timeline, and my timeline includes me getting to "fighting weight" as you have.

Here's a brief update for you for the next time you're drinking your coffee:

On our 15th wedding anniversary she gave me a box of chocolate, a generic card, and the ILYBINILWY speech. A couple weeks ago we celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. I made dinner reservations, got her a nice gift and a card. She gave me nothing. The next day she went out and bought me a card, and a week later returned the gift I gave her and said she didn't really want it. That felt good.

I read "His Needs, Her Needs" which I did think was a good book. It made me think about two things: (1) that I don't think I have it figured out yet how to make her feel loved, I don't think she's in touch with it herself, and (2) I probably need more time for her to heal, more time and consistency.

I feel very good about what I'm bringing to the table marriage-wise, I really do. I feel sad that it's not producing more joy and happiness on W's part. I'm going to keep giving it all I've got.

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: My new piecing thread! [Re: Accuray] #2259577
07/03/12 05:35 PM
07/03/12 05:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 81
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Some Day Offline
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Accuray,

I'm sorry it all seems like the efforts are one sided. That's tough! But it sounds like you are on the right track. I was going to recommend His Needs, Her Needs, but it sounds like you already read that. Another book i found helpful was Love Busters by Dr. Harley as well. He says that sometimes we can't make much progress building the "love bank" if there are love busters lurking in the background. Those love busters drain the love bank and don't allow love deposits to accummulate. Hope that makes sense. LOL.


M:12yr
06/11:IDLYA
07/11:Moves out
08/11:PA disc(began in May)
09/11:Moves w OW
10/11:Breaks up w OW;gets apt
11&12/11: Touchngo w me
1/12: Comes home-PA resumes
2/12: PA disc; PA ends
Today: Piecing
Re: My new piecing thread! [Re: Some Day] #2260329
07/06/12 08:30 PM
07/06/12 08:30 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,502
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Accuray Offline OP
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Accuray  Offline OP
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Thanks SomeDay, I haven't gotten to Love Busters yet, but I did read "His Needs, Her Needs". I would be surprised if there are love busters from current causes, but there may be some residual ones there from pre-bomb.

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: My new piecing thread! [Re: Accuray] #2293962
10/28/12 11:15 PM
10/28/12 11:15 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 477
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Hopeful321 Offline
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Accuray,

How are you doing? I noticed in your signature line "Piecing Again 9/12". I also noticed it's been awhile since you posted. I hope all is well.

Take care,


H: 49
W: 47
D: 6
M: 6 1/2 yrs
H: Bomb #1 6-2010
H: Bomb #2 7-2011
H: Separated: 7-11-11
Reconciling 2-2012
Separated: 1-31-15 (I asked him to move out)
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