Barry,

I think you can open up to other people again. The difference will be that in the future you will be meeting more of you own needs, and clearer on what you want THEREFORE your love for them will be based on a healthier self-perception. Maybe the WAY you opened up in the past wasn't the healthiest. I'm confident you can love even MORE deeply. If you are relentlessly committed to your own growth and flourishing, the woman you love (be it your current wife, or the next Mrs. Barry), will open up and flourish at your purposeful and ravishing love. You will become a samurai of love. ;-)

The whole kids, wife, me (priorities) hierarchy is what we all should THINK we want in the best of times. It's honorable.

Right now, perhaps, it needs to be Kids, YOU, friends, and your wife somewhere like #6 or #7 on the list. Why? Because in the balance of power, prioritizing her above yourself NOW, while she's made you disposable, makes you less attractive, SUBSTANTIAL, formidable or interesting. No one wants to be fawned over by the person they are kicking. It's makes the abuser more ruthless. It's also a strange spiritual principal, even taught by Jesus, "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces" Yes, Jesus taught going the extra mile and loving one's enemies, but he also taught us to be wise and discerning. If you reconcile there will be a time for putting your wife before you again -- that's good and true. But now is not the time. That's my opinion.

Best of luck, Barry. My prayers are with you.

--Theoden