Hi all, I’ve been reading the forum and threads related to my sitch, and realized that people here are very knowledgeable, experienced and very friendly and ready to help. I really appreciate the fact that in these crazy times there are still good people in this world that do good deeds without gaining anything material in return. You are fantastic!
I am going through a pretty hard period, which is probably expected since I am posting here. This might end up being a pretty long message for which I apologize up front, but I think some details are needed to give proper insight in what is happening - and give you some material to be able to answer my questions and provide some suggestions on the best next steps.
I am 33 years old, my W is 35. We’ve been together for more than 10 years, lived together for 6 years, 4 years married. We have a 2 year old D.
Our relationship started in a tough period for both of us - we both were “fresh” out of longer relationships, in our early 20s, with those relationships being our single “serious” experiences, especially in terms of sex. I could see that from the beginning, as she was pretty reserved and “stiff” when we started getting intimate. I was also still recovering from my previous relationship, so our sexual life was pretty rocky from the first day - after a few unsuccessful attempts due to my inability to relax and get things going, we finally were able to make a breakthrough, and start our sexual connection besides the emotional “brakes” that existed at the beginning. And honestly, the sex in the beginning was nothing special - at least compared to my previous experience. She did not seem to enjoy it at all - wanted it to start fast and end fast. So I raised it at some point with her - and she opened up saying that her previous BF of 3 years never cared about if she was enjoying, was pretty self-centered in bed, and sex was just something she was doing with him to keep things moving forward as she was young and thought that he is a good guy to be with. And she admitted never having an orgasm with this guy. I was shocked. So I started working on it, giving special attention of doing things a bit slower, relaxing her, pleasing her in different ways until our sex became great - both of us enjoying, having orgasms often and being happy most of the times. But even then, I would somehow say that it was never about sex when it comes to two of us. Everything else was more important than it - as we turned out to be extremely compatible in every other aspect of life. We are both educated, hedonists, like traveling, eating great food, enjoying music and art, developing our careers etc, so we had a blast. Nobody seemed to mind the “lack” of the sexual moment, even though it wasn’t actually lacking, just not being the focus of our relations.
Our friends would always label us as a perfect couple - and somehow I always thought we are exactly that. We were always exchanging smiles, touches, kisses, and expressing love to each other. Of course, we had our ups and downs, as each two adults will if they spend so much time together, but nothing too serious. The only sitch when I actually questioned our future happened some 5-6 years ago when I was going through a rough period at work - so I started visiting a therapist to fight my later diagnosed “light general anxiety disorder”. I was never on any medication, managed to cope through all of that just by reading, exercising and talking to the therapist and my wife. She was supportive, but at one point started questioning if I am the person she fell in love with in the beginning or someone else who became depressed and ready to give up. This really gave me a strong moral boost - I prioritized getting better, and really did. I worked out, lost weight, started exponentially excelling at work. Everything got back to normal - or not just normal, even better than before.
She had a rough phase as well a year after me, when she wanted a career switch. I supported that completely so we overcame that fairly quickly. She started a new job after less than a year of learning her new skills and being unemployed, and has been excelling since. I am so proud of her. She is still making significantly less money than I am, but that was never important as she never lacked anything with me.
And while all of this was happening, our SL was getting a bit sidelined, in terms of not really trying anything new. It became pretty straightforward - usually over the weekends, when we aren’t working, we have sex in our bedroom. We start with oral foreplay, and end up with a few regular positions. So pretty much never being spontaneous like doing it in the kitchen, toilet, car or trying anything new. No quickies during work week. Just weekends. But pretty regular weekend sex. I raised it first, roughly 4 years ago. The feedback I got was - “This is not a problem for me, we were never spontaneous anyway. I am not that much of a sexual person, I am pretty ok with not being too creative, and the sex we have is enough for me. Both in terms of quantity and quality”. And I felt the same to be honest. I didn’t need more. So we concluded that we don’t really have a problem.
As a side note - for some reason, I am usually pretty attractive to women. I am not an extremely beautiful or handsome guy - but I have decent looks. Tall, used to be athletic, still muscular even though I gained some weight. Pretty successful at what I do, dress well, eloquent and extrovert. So I’ve had my chances of “doing something naughty on the side”... Multiple times. From colleagues at work openly flirting, to actually even getting open offers for “one-night-stand” at business conferences or parties. Never even for a moment considered any of those. Because honestly, my MR was so perfect to me, I did not want to jeopardize it in any possible way. I did not need that. Were those women sexually attractive to me? Yes. But not worth it.
Even when sex became even more seldom, some 3 years ago… Like once/2 weeks, or sometimes once a month. We talked about it (I was the one raising it first again), we both agreed that it would be nice if we could do it more often as before, but that nobody feels too bad about it and we shouldn’t treat this as a “must”. Let’s try and see what happens. Not really a problem. For a short period of time we had sex every weekend again. It was decent, as before. Nothing new, just standard sex that we both seem to enjoy. Then she got pregnant with our D. I had a block for some reason when she started having the “tummy”. She wasn’t any less attractive to me, but some irrational fear of hurting the baby would work its way into me, and I just was not able. So we had a “sex-less” period of around 6 months. After the birth, as soon as the doctor gave us green light, we started having sex again. She was a bit shy initially, claiming that she hates her body after giving birth. For me - something wonderful happened after the birth. She became 10 times more attractive to me, with all those tiny imperfections that pregnancy brought. This led to sex being better than ever for me - lasting longer, both having orgasms pretty regularly. At least that’s what it looked to me. After a few months we got back to our schedule of having sex once per month…
And that continued until this very day. The only change I recently noticed is that she would react if I gave here some “naughty” touches during the day, or insinuating sex. At first I thought it might be due to our D being there sometimes. Everything else was perfect - enjoying life as before, now even as a family of three, I was so happy...
But something was still really bugging me - why do we have sex just once a month when it is actually good? And she is very attractive to me now, more than before - and I’ve even told her this several times, to help here overcome her uncertainties as well as since this was absolutely true. And why does she seem to be avoiding my touches and calls for sex recently? So I asked her… And that is when IT all started…
She opened up to me. Saying that she has been seeing us more as “brother and sister” than “man and woman” for more than 3 years now, even from a bit before the pregnancy. That she does not feel sexual attraction for me any more. That sex itself is not necessarily bad or an act of suffering for her when it happens, but that anything before that is very hard. Getting ready for it, doing it for the sake of being a “good wife”, and all that leads to the sex itsellf is a struggle for her. And when we get there, it always starts with me orally pleasing her - she says that every time this happens the start is very rough for her as she feels guilt and awkwardness due to lack of that sexual attraction. Then when she gets “horny” after a few minutes of keeping her eyes shut, she pushes through it and sometimes even enjoys the rest of it, sometimes even has an orgasm, but still it results in her not really wanting this sincerely, and sometimes just acting that she enjoys. That sometimes she even cries secretly afterwards. That she loves me but is very afraid of all of this, feels lost and like this is something she has no idea how to cope with. That she was planning never to tell me anything about it and just continue living with it, hoping it never becomes so big of an issue to break us apart, as she loves me very much and believes everything else in our MR is just perfect. She even mentioned she was thinking how she might be ready at some point in the future if this continued to give me green light to find some OP on the side to please me sexually, if I am able to do it discreetly and with nobody else knowing.
I was devastated (still pretty much am, but after reading a lot of stuff here I feel a lot better). At the start, I started questioning everything in my mind. Do those gentle kisses and touches that she likes she actually doesn’t like? Is she acting every time she is having an orgasm? Is there someone else? If not now, was there someone else before? I don’t really want any other women, if I wanted I would have done it multiple times...
I took a deep breath, and started asking some of these questions. She seemed very confused, stressed and was always on the brink of crying. She claims she has no idea why and how this started. The only thing she knows that added to it is the fact that I am making some sex-related jokes that are a really a turn-off for her, and that we have started being too close in terms of nobody really having any privacy at home (going to toilet with open doors, seeing our worst sides when someone is ill or going through hard times etc). She didn’t explicitly say if there was anyone else at any point, but indirectly I got the impression that there wasn’t an actual affair, but that she might have sensed sexual attraction to someone else. But in the last couple of months she lacks sexual urge generally, and doesn’t even have a need to please herself.
She also said that she is afraid that this thing might ruin us as she doesn’t know if she is able to revive this attraction, and that this might be a pandora’s box that we don’t want to touch. That it might be the best just to ignore it all and not make a big thing out of it, as everything else is perfect and we love each other so much. I told her that after me now knowing all of this - there is no return. She then agreed and started crying. She immediately said that she wants to do everything possible to strengthen our MR and resolve this. We immediately concluded that we should probably seek professional help. I quickly found a renown Marriage Therapist, and made an appointment which is due to happen in a few weeks from now.
We agreed to try and not talk too much about this before we start therapy, as she is afraid she might say some things in a “wrong way”, so I can misunderstand them and get my ego hurt even more, taking us a step further from getting this resolved. So now we both hope that actually tackling this with professional assistance will help us in recovering our MR and getting it back on track.
But I am not sure if this is the right way to do it? Or should I try and get to know as much as possible before even going to the Therapy? Because obviously from her fears there is a lot more that she hasn’t yet shared… Should I openly question if there was or is any OM? I really don’t see how this could have happened considering our daily routines, but reading through a lot of threads here and on other websites, somehow these things usually end up being a combination of two people not working on their sexuality in marriage, and W then falling for someone else in the meantime. I think I can live with not knowing more until we actually start talking about this with the Therapist, but wanted to check if you think this is actually the best way to go, or should I continue digging and asking her before starting the Therapy?
And does this seem like a sitch that is possible to resolve, considering that it was happening for so long without me even noticing how much it escalated? I am really ready to do anything that needs to be done - as I don’t really want to think about finding someone else to spend my life with. But I also don’t want us to stay in a MR where one or both of us are suffering and are timed bombs… It hurts extremely even thinking about ending the MR, and I really hope this will not happen.
Thank you all, any thoughts and advice are extremely appreciated!
Me: 33 W: 35 D: 2 Together: June 2010 Married: June 2016
You may be on moderation now, post in small frequent replies and stay on this thread until you reach 100 posts (for your thread, you can also post on other peoples threads to give support). Especially on this Newcomers forum, where the posting activity is very active, and your posts can quickly fall to the bottom of the page or even several pages down. Keep journaling and asking questions - people will come! Most important - POST!
Get out and Get a Life (GAL).
Believe none of what he or she says and half of what he/she does.
Have NO EXPECTATIONS.
Take care of yourself, breathe, eat, sleep, exercise.
Take the parts of this advice that you need and don't worry if I have repeated something that you have already done.
Here are a few links to threads that will help you immensely:
Welcome to the board. Sorry you are hear. The good news is that your sitch is much different than most posters' here. Most of us came hear because our S wanted out of the marriage. I am not seeing that here, though you were headed there if you didn't address this problem. I highly suggest you get and read Michelle's book "The Sex Starved Marriage". The good news is that this is one of her few books available digitally! Get it and read it.
I do have a question. I find it strange that you say you are both hedonists, but that sex wasn't that important in your relationship. That seems odd. Are you sure you are both really hedonists, and not that you just like the thought of hedonism? I have never heard the words "sex isn't that important" come from a hedonists lips.
Second. Michelle's SSM book will deal with a lot of this, but usually a woman uses attraction for her husband for 1 of 2 reasons. 1, she has lost respect for him. Or 2, there is no intimacy outside of sex in the marriage. Please tell us more about your life. Who is the main breadwinner? Who handles the bills? Who makes decisions for the family? What is your non-sexual life like? Are you romancing her? Taking her out on dates? Do you engage in fun, light, sharing type of conversations with her? Do you touch her in a non-sexual manner on a daily basis?
I can tell you, as a guy that was in a SSM for years, and used my resentment and hurt to pull back from being a good husband and keeping a connection of a non-sexual intimate nature alive, that not being connected outside of the bedroom is no way to keep a connection inside of the bedroom alive.
What I can tell you also is that with help (good job on the therapy), and looking to become a better husband (and father if you have kids, you mention pregnancy but you don't mention kids). Do not push on there being an OM, the truth has a way of coming out. Back away from this subject with her until therapy starts.
I would encourage you to look up "talk charges" and "touch charges". I think your sitch is a perfect sitch to start trying to incorporate these on a daily basis to start helping with the connection between the two of you. Hold off on date night for now until you get into therapy.
Calm down, relax. This is not the end of the world. Your sitch is no different after this discussion with her than it was before. The only thing that has changed is your understanding of what is going on! That is a good thing. So many of us just continued along in our MR coasting until we got divorce bombed one day. So you are in a much better position than many of us were. So let things go. Do not dwell on it or constantly try to talk about it. Start looking at the small changes you can make. Stop any and all behaviors that do not command respect. Things like video-gaming. So many in your age group spend inordinate amounts of time video-gaming! If that is you stop. If you are a daily drinker, stop that! No one wants to be with someone that is not sober most of their home time. If you are self-isolating (this was my big problem) stop doing that! When you are home be out in the common areas of the home engaging with the rest of the family! If you are wishy-washy on decisions, (another one of my issue) start becoming more decisive. (One of the best examples of this is deciding what and where to eat. Most husbands are "i don't care" in their attitude towards that. Stop that. Say "For dinner tonight let's go to X!" or "tonight for dinner I'd really like Y!")
So two areas of focus for you:
- Start subtely working on your emotional connections with her (see talk and touch charges) - Stop any behaviors that are not commanding respect and learn how to properly command respect and be decisive (IE learn to LEAD)
Then when you get into therapy you can work on the things the therapist suggests.
My last bit of advice. DO NOT SULK AND BE SAD. But upbeat, pleased, fulfilled, and confident. Nothing is less attractive than a man that goes into "poor me...woe is me" mode.
M(52), W(53),D(17) M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017 Ring and Piecing since March 2018
Sorry you are here. Already getting good advice! Find out if you are a “nice guy”. Glover has been on a few podcasts so listen to one or two to get an idea. I believe there is one about sex so start with that. If you are you have to read it!
Originally Posted by BenB
Let's not forget Intimacy & Desire, Dr.David Schnarch. Read it asap!
Are you still in IC?
Me: 34 Stbxw: 30 D:5 D:3 Mini bd: May/June 2019 Married: Aug 2019 BD: 6th Dec 2019 OM Confirmed: Feb 2020 March 2020: I filed for D Waiting for D to be finalized and W to move out end of January 2021
Hi Benji, Steve already said what I was going to, and that is that you are actually in a much better position than most of us were when coming here because your wife has not delivered the "bomb drop" and it sounds like while the attraction may be waning, your W is not to the point of wanting to separate. That's actually good, you caught this much earlier than most of us and she (hopefully) hasn't hardened her heart yet. Definitely check out Michele's SSM book as Steve suggested. I would also suggest you read The Five Love Languages, it's a good companion book to Michele's books. Also read Divorce Remedy, you're not at that stage but I think it would still be helpful to read it.
If your W is open to sex and/ or marriage therapy then definitely pursue that. Give it time to work, don't pressure her. Right now she's probably feeling trapped and the more you can relieve the pressure on her the less trapped she'll feel.
My heart goes out to both of you. A lot of couples experience this situation in their MR. I can relate with the things your W said to you, about trying to push through with it, and not wanting to hurt you. I remember thinking something must be wrong with me, b/c I was not sexually attracted to my H. I carried the guilt for years, and it finally turned into resentment and blame. It can destroy a MR. He felt completely rejected, and I felt pressured and guilted.
Couples have to have time for romance. Women crave romance. He doesn't have to take her to the most expensive place to have dinner, or have flowers delivered. It's how he interacts with her throughout the day. He shouldn't wait until he wants sex to start flirting with her, b/c she'll know it's just his attempt to get sex. He has to make love to her brain, on a regular basis, instead of waiting until bedtime. And, all women may not want to start out with oral, but build the momentum.
If she has told you the jokes turns her off.........take it seriously! My H would do this "thing" that I hated. I would tell him I didn't like it, but he continued doing it. Now, what kind of sense did that make? Did he think if he continued, that I would eventually like it? I had to get pretty harsh about it, before he finally stopped. I knew he was hurt, and that he couldn't understand my problem with it. The longer a couple goes without those nonsexual touches every day, and intentionally setting aside time to nourish their daily relationship........feelings will fade and the MR will die.
Read the book about the five love languages. Figure out which one fits your W. Her self esteem is suffering, and if she doesn't feel good about her body.......she's not going to feel sexy. I've been there! Start showing your love through her love language. It's a great book.
I see marriages in trouble when both the spouses are career driven, and it takes up most of their time. There is just 24 hours in a day, and when you have an intimate relationship.....it requires time. When you have a child, it requires even more time. So, couples have to decide their priorities and make it work. Unfortunately, I see too many couples putting their MR on the bottom. They are so overworked from their busy lifestyles, is there any wonder their sex life goes south?
I encourage you to read about the differences between male & female, in how their brain works. Don't try to make your spouse more like you, but learn to respect the differences.
I suggest you stop using the toilet in front of her. I don't find it attractive when a man farts in front of his W, or makes crude remarks/jokes. When in public, be careful how you talk to her, about her, and how you interact with her in front of friends/family. Don't make her the butt of a joke, or expose her personal faults, etc. I've seen men do this, thinking it would get a laugh from his friends, but he is digging his own marital grave when he devalues his W. Don't fall into the "one up" game, either.
There is a time to be tender and a time to be firm. I don't know if you are an Alpha or Beta, but reading No More Mr. Nice Guy should help spotlight it. We can talk about this more later, if needed.
The main danger in your MR at this time, is your W not getting her emotional needs met. It leaves her vulnerable. There may not be another guy in the picture, yet, but eventually, she's going to respond to someone who makes her feel special. All these on line apps that are making millions off spouses who have low self-esteem about their appearances, and needing to know others find them sexually attractive.........well, it speaks for itself. Some women don't get involved with a real-life man, but will turn to romance novels and escape into fantasy. Don't laugh when I tell you that it plays on her, b/c she wants to experience this type of romantic passion. Some women fantasize about celebrities, and it goes beyond what you might consider "normal". The celebrity, or fictional character substitutes the mind space that was given to her H. Now, she does some comparing, and the H loses b/c he can't match her fantasy. It has much the same affect on her as an emotional affair.
I'm glad you made the decision to come here. I hope you'll stick around.
It is not about what you feel should work in your M. It is about doing the work that gets the right results. Do what works!
Again, you are getting VERY good advice already. Follow it! Sit down and take real time to read it, then do your home work. You mentioned digging to understand more. I think you need to dig real deep to understand yourself first and foremost. After reading your post again in more detail it reminds me SO much of my R about three years ago when our first D was 3. She is now 6 and I am divorced.
Looking back and knowing what I now know about myself in relation to NGS, sexual desire, boundaries, validation, etc I could have probably prevented things. So I would give your sitch a good chance. But again, Do your homework! So many here don’t really do it at first. When we say read through the welcome thread, yes we mean read very single post in all the links. In your case, make sure to read about validation and boundaries. Then move on to the books mentioned above here. Read all of them before your first therapy session.
Me: 34 Stbxw: 30 D:5 D:3 Mini bd: May/June 2019 Married: Aug 2019 BD: 6th Dec 2019 OM Confirmed: Feb 2020 March 2020: I filed for D Waiting for D to be finalized and W to move out end of January 2021
I was your wife in my situation. The relationship timeline and sexual history is very familiar. Even down to giving him 'permission' to seek sex elsewhere if things continued down that path. Her story resonates with me in a big way. I'd be really surprised if there was an OM in your case.
I was so emotionally starved after our baby was born. My X gave all of his emotional currency to his friends, coworkers and video games, and eventually left me and our S2 for OW. He reserved for me only what currency was required to pressure me into sex.
I commend you for taking her seriously. It sounds trite, but the only reason your MR will fail is if one person stops caring about fixing it. In my case, I was the only one pushing for MC, going to IC, trying to fix myself because I believed that I was the only problem.
No matter how hard I tried, it was never going to work because the other person didn't value the marriage enough to save it. Honestly, I think your wife is confused and stressed and upset because she's afraid you will leave her after her admission.
Now that you have more information, you can make an informed decision. If this is the most she can offer in terms of sexual intimacy (right now) then you are allowed to decide it's a deal-breaker for you. It won't be fun to divorce, but it will be honourable and respectful of the time you shared together.
Or, you can try to amp up the romance and fantasy to rekindle her sexual attraction. Ask her what she needs to feels wanted and desired. Make deposits into her emotional intimacy bank without expecting any reward. TAKE CARE OF THE BABY WITHOUT BEING ASKED! Try to anticipate her needs.
There is no downside to trying as long as you can untie your actions from an expected outcome. Give to her because you love her, and you want her to be happy, and it benefits your daughter to have a happy mother. She's telling you she can't pour from an empty cup. Don't poke more holes in it with guilt or pressure.
There are ways you can encourage her to get in touch with herself as a sexual being-- IF she is interested. 'Come As You Are' is a great book about female sexuality. She probably feels a lot of guilt about not being 'normal'. Create opportunities for self-pleasure without the expectation it must lead to sex.
One last thing-- take the bodily function complaints seriously!
W32 X30 S3
June 2019 | Runaway husband May 2020 | Legal separation Dec 2020 | Happily divorced