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A Message from Michele
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SteveLW #2921873 07/26/21 06:06 PM
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Steve, I could see that as both exciting and scary. Kids definitely provide a reason NOT to divorce and a reason to reconcile. My XW's desire to R was based on giving our kids a "real home and family"--her words, not mine as I believe our kids already have those. I do suspect having a shared vision of the future that works for both of you would help immensely. Not that I ever got as far as you in marriage, so props, you have obviously been doing some things right. (:



SteveLW #2922699 08/25/21 01:59 PM
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Thanks CW. We are heading home now from dropping my D 2300 miles away for school. W is driving while I work from the car. She was pretty strong when we left but really broke down last night in the hotel. She's better today but a emotional. I think when we get home tomorrow she'll have a hard time.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
SteveLW #2922717 08/25/21 08:21 PM
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All my love to you guys!! My commuter student is currently very irritable at her 2nd day of a 6 day orientation as her school doesn't really pay attention to their commuter population since they have such a large on campus population including grad and law students. I'm blessed I don't have to say goodbye this year. But accepting that she's like a real adult and I'm basically on the clock for how much longer I have her is finally starting to hit.

SteveLW #2922962 08/31/21 12:20 PM
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WF, yes you are blessed! I cannot believe how much I am missing my D already! I am so looking forward to Christmas for her to come home for a few weeks.

On the piecing front, what a difference a few years make. Prior to BD in 2017 I was plotting my own escape once my D was 18 and in college. Now I cannot believe how close my W and I are. The last almost 3 years we've been closer and have had a better marriage than at any point in our 24 1/2 years together. I wish I had been more mature and knew about NGS way back then, and then we could have had going on 23 years of wedded bliss. But as Bon Jovi said: I can promise you tomorrow, but I can't buy back yesterday.

So I continue to just learn, grow, and improve as much as I can. I love our playfulness. I love how much more secure I am in our R. I love how much better our dynamic is. To go from the edge of D 3 years ago to being in a place where D isn't even a consideration has been an amazing journey. Admittedly, I had a lot more work to do on myself than she did, but the fact that she has been willing to work on herself and on our marriage as well just endears her to me more and more.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
SteveLW #2923625 09/16/21 08:17 PM
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Hi Steve,

I thought I'd bring this convo over to your thread:

Originally Posted by SteveLW
May, very profound and well said. Though I do tend to disagree a bit here. SSM are rarely all one spouses fault. Maybe yours is in the rare category. But usually SSMs follow a similar path. The LD spouse starts avoiding, turning down, making excuses for not having sex. The HD spouse then gets bitter, angry, resentful and this causes them to behave in ways that further perpetuate the SSM. After all, the LD spouse is already struggling wanting sex, so when the HD becomes mean, short-tempered, stops helping with the kids and around the house, withdrawn, etc, the LD spouse now wants to have sex even less than they did before!

I didn't mean to say that it was 100% my fault-- I actually think we are equally to blame and we followed the exact path you lay out above. (Scary, really.) And PT is his primary LL, and it got to a point where anytime he touched me it felt like code for let's have sex, so I would flinch away. He's said, half- seriously, when we bought two couches for the TV room that was a major negative influence on our R, since we stopped cuddling on one couch to watch TV and instead each had our own.

Anyway, while I do think he bears responsibility (and we haven't really dug into this in therapy yet), I also totally own my part in it too. I didn't realize how important it was to him. I didn't realize what I was communicating to him with my actions. And I feel pretty badly when I put myself in his shoes. (Of course, none of this in any way excuses his behavior, and we also had other issues around communication, etc that need work.)

Originally Posted by SteveLW
As the HD partner, I am always going to want sex more than my W. But what a difference the last 3 years since R have been. I dropped all the passive-aggressive, resentful behaviors over when she doesn't want to have sex. I remain the same upbeat, helpful, partner whether we had sex last night or whether we did not! And what a difference it makes. We now have sex quite regularly, but there are the odd time when she just isn't feeling up to it. But I do not let it change me being the best spouse that I can be! Our dynamic is 100% better because I don't act like a jerk about the occasional rejection.

Steve, this is so great! It's so funny. Before all this happened, my H would roll in after work, not really help with dinner or the kids (he'd do some but mostly in response to my requests, not taking the initiative to handle things himself). He'd lay around and watch TV or go into his office and do work and I felt like I handled the lion's share of all the household work (I worked full time too). Then when we went to bed he'd start rubbing my back for 30 seconds and be surprised when I wasn't leaping into his arms. I had fifty million things on my mind with the kids and work and he was basically behaving like a third child for me to manage-- that is NOT sexy. Now, sometimes I'll come home from work and he's already gotten the kids from school, is making dinner, doesn't let me help, says to put my feet up and brings me a cocktail. Now THAT is sexy. (As I reread this, it sounds like he is a 50s housewife... it isn't like that every day for sure. We're pretty equal partners generally and other days I do most of this same stuff. But he also knows that my job is higher stress than his and is willing to go above and beyond to give me a break when I need it, which is nice.)

Question for you-- did you guys have explicit conversations about the SSM and your desire to have more frequent sex? Or was this more like you just changed your response and she responded positively? Has it been pretty consistent since you've been piecing or have there been harder times?


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
4/19 BD #1 ILYB
8/19 BD #2 Long-distance EA
12/19 BD #3 Actually 2 year PA
2-5/20 R attempt #1
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
may22 #2923645 09/17/21 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by may22
Hi Steve,

I thought I'd bring this convo over to your thread:

Originally Posted by SteveLW
May, very profound and well said. Though I do tend to disagree a bit here. SSM are rarely all one spouses fault. Maybe yours is in the rare category. But usually SSMs follow a similar path. The LD spouse starts avoiding, turning down, making excuses for not having sex. The HD spouse then gets bitter, angry, resentful and this causes them to behave in ways that further perpetuate the SSM. After all, the LD spouse is already struggling wanting sex, so when the HD becomes mean, short-tempered, stops helping with the kids and around the house, withdrawn, etc, the LD spouse now wants to have sex even less than they did before!

I didn't mean to say that it was 100% my fault-- I actually think we are equally to blame and we followed the exact path you lay out above. (Scary, really.) And PT is his primary LL, and it got to a point where anytime he touched me it felt like code for let's have sex, so I would flinch away. He's said, half- seriously, when we bought two couches for the TV room that was a major negative influence on our R, since we stopped cuddling on one couch to watch TV and instead each had our own.

Anyway, while I do think he bears responsibility (and we haven't really dug into this in therapy yet), I also totally own my part in it too. I didn't realize how important it was to him. I didn't realize what I was communicating to him with my actions. And I feel pretty badly when I put myself in his shoes. (Of course, none of this in any way excuses his behavior, and we also had other issues around communication, etc that need work.)

Originally Posted by SteveLW
As the HD partner, I am always going to want sex more than my W. But what a difference the last 3 years since R have been. I dropped all the passive-aggressive, resentful behaviors over when she doesn't want to have sex. I remain the same upbeat, helpful, partner whether we had sex last night or whether we did not! And what a difference it makes. We now have sex quite regularly, but there are the odd time when she just isn't feeling up to it. But I do not let it change me being the best spouse that I can be! Our dynamic is 100% better because I don't act like a jerk about the occasional rejection.

Steve, this is so great! It's so funny. Before all this happened, my H would roll in after work, not really help with dinner or the kids (he'd do some but mostly in response to my requests, not taking the initiative to handle things himself). He'd lay around and watch TV or go into his office and do work and I felt like I handled the lion's share of all the household work (I worked full time too). Then when we went to bed he'd start rubbing my back for 30 seconds and be surprised when I wasn't leaping into his arms. I had fifty million things on my mind with the kids and work and he was basically behaving like a third child for me to manage-- that is NOT sexy. Now, sometimes I'll come home from work and he's already gotten the kids from school, is making dinner, doesn't let me help, says to put my feet up and brings me a cocktail. Now THAT is sexy. (As I reread this, it sounds like he is a 50s housewife... it isn't like that every day for sure. We're pretty equal partners generally and other days I do most of this same stuff. But he also knows that my job is higher stress than his and is willing to go above and beyond to give me a break when I need it, which is nice.)

First, let me say, WOW. All of that sounds soooooo familiar. Your dynamics were very very similar to our dynamics. Any affection I showed her she would recoil from thinking "oh he wants to have sex!". And admittedly I had become pretty bad at showing any affection outside of the bedroom. Again, due to the resentfulness, anger and bitterness.

Now I show a lot of non-sexual affection, genuinely and sincerely. I also should point out that I have actually turned her down a couple of times, legitimately, from being really tired or not feeling well that night/morning.

Another WOW for me is the couches! We had a similar thing occur after I got my recliner. Amazing the parallels!



Originally Posted by may22
Question for you-- did you guys have explicit conversations about the SSM and your desire to have more frequent sex? Or was this more like you just changed your response and she responded positively? Has it been pretty consistent since you've been piecing or have there been harder times?

We have talked about it. And we both acknowledge that the dynamic is so much better because our overall MR is so much better. IC for me, MC for us also helped a lot. I had gotten to a pretty selfish worldview and IC really opened my eyes up to that. A lot of it was because I felt isolated and alone in the MR. Learning to be more empathetic, and remembering that I love this woman really helped too. It really is amazing how much better of a MR it is when you keep the other person ahead of yourself in priority.

But I do think that my change in response was huge. As the bald TV Texan asks "How was resentfulness, bitterness and anger working for you?" The answer was that it wasn't! That behavior caused our MR to be ticking time-bomb. When it exploded it was going to be a disaster, a mess. Not sure if you remember my sitch or not, but I actually initiated BD, she hadn't gotten to the point where she was ready to BD me. I think that actually helped me in DBing and made our outcome a little more likely to move to R, but I did wake up to how lousy of a H I had become.

It has been pretty consistent since piecing and Ring. When she first opened up to the idea of Ring, if you read my threads, she was initiating almost every night and every morning...for a couple of weeks. Since then we've fallen into a more consistent routine of once a week on average, except for when both of her rotator cuffs were injured. But I've been pleased with our sex life for last 3+ years. It has been way better than any other point in our MR.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
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