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SlowUptake posted 8/29/2013 22:13 PM

Hi all.

Long time lurker, first time poster here.

Background first.
In 2009 for a six month period I had a ONS with two prostitutes, dated an OW, carried on like a single man(went to bars, got drunk, flirted with women etc.) while working overseas. I also viewed porn during most of our marriage despite my BS's strong objection to doing so.

I have an issue that I would appreciate the wise people here at SI giving me their perspective on.

Currently the journey towards starting reconciliation has stalled(We have been in limbo since Dday).
My BS wants me to make her feel special by taking her on dates & generally being romantic. My problem is that aside from being way outside my comfort zone,(I have never been romantic) I also want something. My BS maintains that I should be willing to do anything she wants without expectation of receiving anything in return.

Here's the thing, I want out of the 'friend zone'i.e. I want a complete marriage not a 'room mate agreement'. It has been three and half years since we have been physically intimate(HB ended a couple of months after Dday, December 2009).

We have discussed the situation on numerous occasions, always ending with an expectation that I have to do more to make her want me. Recently during a discussion on the subject my BS gave me the gift of honesty in that she admitted she would "rather masturbate than have sex with me", which is apparently what she does when she has the urge.

Here is my problem, the honest revelation from my BS kinda hurt, a lot. It's something I am struggling mightily to get past.
When I express my feelings to my BS I get "your feelings don't matter, I am the one in pain, I am the one who has been devastated by your actions", I can't fault the logic of that, even though that in itself hurts.

I suppose I'm getting a taste of the total rejection I served up to my BS four years ago (this Karma stuff sucks).

Unfortunately it has taken me back to a mindset I thought I was completely over, you know the one, "I'll never be able to do enough", "it's no use, she'll never get over it", "I should just give up and pull the plug" etc.


Before the question is asked. "What have you done to make your BS feel safe?"

1. Transparency - access to all devices & passwords
2. Honesty - stopped lying, told her everything, don't keep any secrets
3. Stopped looking at porn
4. Changed jobs so I never travel outside of our city
5. Did a timeline
6. Put GPS tracking on my phone
7. Answered all questions regardless of how many times they were asked
8. Stopped being defensive during discussions
9. Took full responsibility for my choice to cheat
10. Apologise randomly even when my BS is not visibly upset.
11. Read SI daily to get insights and motivation.

There's more, but you get the drift. Has it been enough? Clearly not, since she still has not made a decision to reconcile.

I should also add, the things I have done to change my thought processes and make myself safe and make my BS feel safe have taken time, it has been a slow process (I used to think I was an independent thinker, the reality is I'm just plain stubborn) and my BS has been very patient.

So the question at last. Can anyone give me a clue, an insight, a mechanism, anything to get past this feeling of utter rejection, get back on track and do what my BS wants without getting what I want from her?
Or is it simply 'swallow a cup of cement and harden the hell up, sunshine. Just do it'

Thanks for reading.

LosferWords posted 8/29/2013 22:24 PM

Hello, and welcome to SI, SlowUptake.

Normally I try to point new members to the Healing Library in the upper left hand corner, but it sounds like you have already been here for quite some time, and I'm sure you have found that resource.

I can feel the pain in your post.

To me, it sounds like you are doing all of the right things to be supportive of your wife's healing.

One thing I do notice missing from your list is MC, or marriage counseling. Lack of intimacy would be a perfect issue to bring up in an MC setting, in an environment that is safe to both you and your wife. Is MC an option for you?

Another thing to keep in mind is that you have options as well. You are not obligated to stay in a sexless marriage.

Anyway... just wanted to welcome you, and give you a bit of perspective based upon the story you have provided. I think you'll find a lot of help and knowledge here to help you through!

Take care.

mysticpenguin posted 8/29/2013 22:25 PM

I don't think I am qualified to advise you. I just wanted to say I relate and know how much the rejection hurts. You sound a lot like my WH in terms of type of infidelity, except he's the one who is rejecting me.

There is a thread in the I Can Relate forum for spouses of people who are

SlowUptake posted 8/29/2013 22:56 PM

Thank you for the welcome LosferWords & mysticpenguin.
I must admit I was a more than a little apprehensive about posting as I'm not into 'this sort of thing'.

@LosferWords.
We tried MC a few months after Dday, but my BS felt that the MC was concentrating too much on marital issues & not enough on my cheating. So we only went to one session. I agreed at the time but now I'm not so sure.

At the moment I believe it's a no go as my BS does not acknowledge there's anything wrong.
She maintains "Plenty of good marriages are celibate"

@mysticpenguin.

Thank you for your support. I feel for you. At least my BS has the justification of what I did to her, you however did nothing to deserve this situation.

soconfusednow posted 8/29/2013 23:11 PM

What types of things make her feel loved? My H & I read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. It gave us insight on what made the other on feel loved.

SlowUptake posted 8/29/2013 23:30 PM

What types of things make her feel loved? My H & I read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. It gave us insight on what made the other on feel loved.

We have done the "The Five Love Languages" online quiz. Her love languages are acts of service & words of affirmation.
The acts of service I perform for her don't seem to have any effect although that's not why I do them & the words of affirmation fall on deaf ears since as she admits she doesn't believe a word I say (consequence of cheating).

I randomly buy her flowers and other small things/treats while I'm out and about as she has told me that small gestures like that let her know I'm thinking of her.

Thanks for the input.

ETA: My love language apparently is physical affection. How ironic.

[This message edited by SlowUptake at 11:35 PM, August 29th (Thursday)]

badchoice posted 8/29/2013 23:50 PM

What has your BW done to heal herself?

stilllovinghim posted 8/30/2013 00:14 AM

^^^^THIS X2^^^^

Also, one session of MC is not enough to say, "okay I quit" unless shit got weird. Maybe she gave up before even trying. Perhaps IC (Individual Counseling) for you each first then MC later.

SlowUptake posted 8/30/2013 00:31 AM

What has your BW done to heal herself?

From my perspective, not much. But then I don't get to set the time frame do I.
From her perspective, I don't know. All I know is I have been told I have to make amends & do the heavy lifting. So far I seem to be failing.

Also, one session of MC is not enough to say, "okay I quit" unless shit got weird. Maybe she gave up before even trying. Perhaps IC (Individual Counseling) for you each first then MC later.

To be fair at the time she was dealing with my cranium still partially ensconced in my rectum, so she wasn't in a receptive place emotionally.

She would agree IC for me, not for her. I am resistant to do IC, not something I'm comfortable with, but if things don't progress shortly I'll have to give it a go just to be sure I tried everything.

[This message edited by SlowUptake at 12:39 AM, August 30th (Friday)]

stilllovinghim posted 8/30/2013 00:37 AM

As the addage goes, "It takes two."

Yes, you need to do some heavy lifting I agree. However, your W doesn't seem healthy. Not by a long-shot and I'm talking not only post-A but pre-A issues as well.

SlowUptake posted 8/30/2013 00:50 AM

As the addage goes, "It takes two."

We have 'discussed' this very addage. Her stance is "I'm not ready yet, you have to do more."

However, your W doesn't seem healthy. Not by a long-shot and I'm talking not only post-A but pre-A issues as well.

I have recently started to think this may be the case. But then again who am I to judge, I'm not exactly the yardstick for what's healthy as evidenced by my bad choices.

stilllovinghim posted 8/30/2013 00:57 AM

Okay then, you work on yourself. You can only fix you anyway. She can only fix herself. You both, together, fix the M.

badchoice posted 8/30/2013 01:02 AM

Is your BW happy with the current situation?

I can hear that you are not.

As someone earlier posted, you have to decide if this is the marriage you want.

Yes, we all made horrible fucked up choices. That doesn't mean you give up our ability to choose what is right for you forever.

When she says you have to do more, have you asked what more means to her?

Right now you are choosing to stay in what (from the outside looking in, at least based on what you have said) a dysfunctional relationship. What are unwilling to do to try and make it work?

silverhopes posted 8/30/2013 01:11 AM

If it's OK, I want to address what you said about her wanting romantic dates and you wanting sex. I think everyone's already asked good questions on MC and other things.

When HB stopped, was there a reason why she didn't want to have sex anymore? Does she have mind movies about the sex you had in your A's? Does she feel insecure sexually and compare herself to your APs? Or insecurities over the porn? When did you stop watching porn? Was this something you two talked about after it stopped?

Could it be that she's lost a feeling of specialness about sex and now is hesitant to be intimate without it? Can you two try to build some of it back? Maybe being romantic can help some of that. You say that it's outside of your comfort zone... What kinds of things did you and she do when you first began dating, when you first met? What did you find special about your wife? It doesn't necessarily have to be a love language thing or whatever - just taking the time to connect with each other, help both of you feel safe and have the opportunity to support each other.

I hate to ask this - what kinds of things did you do with the OW who you dated? Was it the same stuff you did with your wife or different? Are there things that are only shared between you and your wife, that you never shared with the APs? It might help her to know what things are just yours.

You might have already covered all this, but doesn't hurt to ask, right? Welcome to SI. I hope we can help.

SlowUptake posted 8/30/2013 17:22 PM

Does she have mind movies about the sex you had in your A's?

Yes, she does. After much resistance for a long time from me, at her insistance I told her the gory details of the ONS.
I accept she had a right to know. I believe the knowledge traumatised her further.

Does she feel insecure sexually and compare herself to your APs?

Yes, very much so. My actions have destroyed her self esteem. I can't seem to get it back for her.

Or insecurities over the porn? When did you stop watching porn?

She views watching porn alone as another form of cheating. I ignored her requests to stop viewing it for a very long time. I haven't looked at porn since HB ended (we would watch porn together during HB).
While my porn viewing wasn't an addiction as such, in my case I do think it was the first step on the slippery slope of giving myself permission to cheat.

Was this something you two talked about after it stopped?

We have discussed it in the context of it being the first step to me allowing my bad choices.

Could it be that she's lost a feeling of specialness about sex and now is hesitant to be intimate without it?

Yes and yes again. What I can do about it, I have no clue.

What kinds of things did you and she do when you first began dating, when you first met? What did you find special about your wife? It doesn't necessarily have to be a love language thing or whatever - just taking the time to connect with each other, help both of you feel safe and have the opportunity to support each other.

We did not date in the traditional sense. We met each other as members of a young persons social/community service club.
All our social time together while courting was as part of a group setting. I never had to put any effort into organising 'dates'.

I hate to ask this - what kinds of things did you do with the OW who you dated? Was it the same stuff you did with your wife or different? Are there things that are only shared between you and your wife, that you never shared with the APs? It might help her to know what things are just yours.

My dates with the OW were basic dinner dates. My BS is triggered badly by going out to dinner with me as a consequence, so dinner dates are not a viable option. I have to learn to be creative.

Thank you for all your respones, it has given me much to think about.

silverhopes posted 8/30/2013 17:37 PM

Yes, very much so. My actions have destroyed her self esteem. I can't seem to get it back for her.

That's a two-parter. While she must rebuild her own self-esteem, you can also do a lot of things that are supportive. If there are sexual things you never did with the APs, if/when you guys resume intimacy, maybe it can help if you focus on doing those things at first. Things that don't have associated mind movies with them. Build slowly. Remind her what's special just between you two sexually. Or, instead of going for physical intimacy right away, maybe talk to her more about her mind movies? Maybe talking through them again can help, especially if you can identify together what the biggest triggers are, acknowledge them, and then think together of how to overcome them.

My dates with the OW were basic dinner dates. My BS is triggered badly by going out to dinner with me as a consequence, so dinner dates are not a viable option. I have to learn to be creative.

Hmm. What about going out for breakfast or lunch? Subtle difference, but it might help. What's dinner usually like at home? Is it relaxing or tense? Takeout or homecooked? Just you two or kids?

Do you two ever go on walks together? Or do you two like to celebrate holidays? Are you two still interested in the community service club that you two met at? Or was there a hobby that lit both of you up?

I'm focusing on those things because they seem doable, and they're specific. Everyone else made good points about the underlying need to go to MC and otherwise work on deeper communications. Her hurt is understandable. At the same time, if she winds up feeling stuck in the pain, then it's hard to heal. Has she indicated whether she feels in limbo or not? I can see you do, and it sounds like a very hard time right now. Has she said that this is something she might never overcome, or has she expressed hope?

What are you doing to work on yourself? Not the marriage, but just yourself? What are your goals right now?

[This message edited by silverhopes at 5:44 PM, August 30th (Friday)]

silverhopes posted 8/30/2013 17:40 PM

Sorry, had another question about physical intimacy: are there other ways you guys are physically intimate - kissing, hugging, cuddling, back or foot rub, just bumping against each other when you're near each other? That's something else that can help build comfort, maybe. Build slowly.

badchoice posted 8/30/2013 18:06 PM

I think SH has given you some good ideas.

This though concerns me,

"My actions have destroyed her self esteem. I can't seem to get it back for her."

You don't really think that you can give her back her self esteem do you? That is something that must come from within.

I think that is why some of us have asked what your BW is doing to heal herself. You can't fix her.

You can do many things to support her, but she has to do work too.

Does that make sense?

mysticpenguin posted 8/30/2013 18:44 PM

Your BW believes "many good marriages are celibate." That may be true, but as in any marriage, the union is only healthy if both partners are in agreement on the main issues, including sex.

3.5 years is a long time, and since your love language is physical, I am sure this must be painful for you. Have you communicated this clearly to her, as well as the fact that a celibate marriage is not what you want?

She may not be fully healed yet. Or infidelity may be a dealbreaker for her. But you can't heal FOR her. It sounds like you are doing what she asks of you. Beyond doing that and healing yourself, there is nothing you can do.

Unless you are willing to live in a celibate marriage, I really think it is time for some last ditch effort. I would advise counseling - either individually for each of you or marriage counseling, maybe even sex counseling, and ultimately drawing up a list of boundaries. What are you willing to accept, and for how long, and what happens if nothing changes in X number of months or years.

Also, do you think you could suggest that your wife join here?

Best wishes for both of you.

Lionne posted 8/31/2013 00:32 AM

May I say that I probably feel EXACTLY as your wife does? You chose other women over her, at a time when she was younger, more attractive than she is now, you chose to sleep with OW who were even YOUNGER. How can she ever compare? How can she ever believe that you really want HER, and that she isn't just the only available body now that you have decided to be faithful?

I'm not saying that any of this is good. She is SCARED TO DEATH. Intimacy is all in the head, and your infidelity has made it very hard for her to let you into her head.

IC might work. Couples books on regaining intimacy might work. Time might work. Your constant, consistent reassurance will surely help.

But this is a tough trauma to overcome when you are cheated on, especially for an older woman.

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