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6 Years on down the road

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HurtinMan posted 9/2/2013 11:35 AM

Been a long time since I posted on here. Funny how a resource can call you out of your darkened corners.

A little backstory to the 6 year old R and issues we've had:

2003 - Rekindle friendship/date
2004 - Married + adopt D
2006 - First child together S
2007 - A with coworker/boss
2008-2009 - Severe Alcoholism issues
2010-present started own biz
2009 to present Calmer seas but withdrawn
2010-2011 - W worked in biz, then got job in same office which was better setup for us, and working together was not great for us.

I think a lot of the A and drinking was in large part post partum and her underlying anxiety issues which seem to have improved. I do still see some self-medicating with drinking but not to the degree it was and not in a dangerous manner. I see some signs of escapism from her, spending hours reading or playing games on her phone alone, and sitting in the garage smoking and doing the same. I occasionally ask her to watch some shows we used to watch together and she's not interested. I ask to set up a date night and it just comes apart and we don't go. I play a role in it sometimes, but I just feel like we are living side by side, respectfully and even happily, but not really intimately.

We rarely make love, we peck, hug some, and I give her massages constantly. I feel like that's the only contact she really enjoys from me, and I do it because I do enjoy it, even just that connection, and I want to make her feel good in any way I can. The rest of the time I feel so far from her.

Part of me says we live the busy lives of full time jobs, a self owned business, a 7 year old second grader who is a beautiful boy, and a 13 year old eighth grader who is blossoming into a wonderous young lady. I am a blessed father and love every minute I get of it. I understand the need for space, alone time, and recharging and I seek/get that myself. I still see plenty of time and opportunity to work the things my heart calls me in to do and yet it never seems to happen.

Don't take me wrong... My spouse is a wonderful person. She is stunningly beautiful to me (even though she doesn't feel she is) I enjoy spending time with her when we do things together, often centered around the children. We laugh together and work well together in many ways. I trust her with my life, our children's lives, and we have many good times. She seems to have leveled out in many ways from the biggest chunk of issues we had. I'm proud we stuck it out and gutted it out together and I love her more for it and I'm so glad my children have the lives they have right now as compared with if I'd left her when this all came down.

So what's the problem? I'm still scared and I still don't know how to feel about the boundaries I feel I have to set and live with.

I see this cycle coming up in smaller ways sometimes. It is in part a reflection of my own issues.

As you can tell, I don't even know where to begin. First I am putting it all out there and going to see counselor alone before pursuing couples counseling of some kind.

My basic issues:
1. Lack of affection/physical intimacy
2. Lack of activities/stuff together
3. Lack of ability to talk through stuff
4. That a lot of the above has to do with how she feels about herself which I have very little to no influence on
5. Losing attraction... I feel unwanted so much from her that it makes me not want to approach or try.

I've worked on lowering expectations, forgiveness, and really trying to see it from all sides. I don't know whether she and I have the right stuff to make the long haul or whether I'm forcing something that isn't meant to be.

Meant to be is a loaded term I know. I just mean more that if I have to live with some physical distance to respect that is who she is, and some kind of emotional distance in order to protect myself from the mental harm/struggle that comes with being intimate with someone who has hurt and disrupted my life and my children's lives. Anything that endangered us is years removed so that's good.

Part of me wants my partner to be that person I can be physically comfortable with, that I can feel more free sharing with, that I can do more things with, and who I don't see a recurring tendency of struggle in myself to just be happy with.

I've thought about divorce and I'm not there yet, I know I still have work to do and that my children deserve the stability of this household we have built together after a rocky start.

So I wait... and focus on my other roles, but these questions gnaw in the back of my mind... is it possible I'm not supposed to be with her, that I would never undo what we went through and did but that I don't know that I want a lifetime of struggles like this first decade we had together.

Maybe it gets better soon but how long, how long of something being off despite your best efforts is enough to honor yourself and the other person and to let each other go?

You can tell I'm all over the map, I am looking for my compass though and I guess that's why I'm typing here again.

Thanks for listening.

Pippy posted 9/2/2013 11:49 AM

I'm sorry you are hurting, but I am wondering.....

hours reading or playing games on her phone alone, and sitting in the garage smoking and doing the same.

Ususally this is a red flag of ongoing infidelity and her behaviour that you listed also reflects this (like lack of sex).

Have you asked her about this?

You two need to be able to be open and honest. You need to develop more intimacy, including time away from work and that includes holidays. If your business is your life, your M will suffer. BTDT.

I also said I trusted WH with my life - 2 weeks before D-day.

Ashland13 posted 9/2/2013 12:03 PM

Just wanted to chime in and second Pippy's post, for you sound a little bit like I did at the beginning.

It seemed that the more Nearly Exh retreated to cyberspace with his phone and computers, he also drifted into more alone time, the more the A was progressing.

There was also a significant change in his demeanor or character, which at the time, I felt but could not find words to express. Anger, nervousness, lots of defensiveness and so on. He would blow up easily, even if I would express concern at lengthy bathroom visits-he was texting OW-and he would lash out if I asked if he was sick.

The self-medicating with alcohol is a concern, for even if it's "just a little", it's enough for you to have noticed.

I'm sorry for your hard times.

HurtinMan posted 9/2/2013 12:29 PM

I'm fairly convinced there's nothing going on with her. Our lives are very entwined working in the same office building and small town etc. that I can scarcely imagine when she could ever carry out an A.

I could access her phone and email at any time, she is totally transparent and keeps her passwords on a sheet I can check any time even though I don't ask her to. She has always said she couldn't do it again, and until proven otherwise, I have to believe that.

I think she is growing more asexual or has self esteem issues or is depressed more in recent years. Part of me feels like she almost feels like she has to stay with me out of obligation for my sticking with her or something to that effect, she has said many times she thought I would leave her when the A and drinking happened.

Believe me, I learned all the red flags of A's and alcoholism and other things and I appreciate you all putting that out there - I do need reality checks from time to time but I would really be surprised if that were at play here.

I ask her about it and she says she just doesn't think about it like I do, that she doesn't have time to think about it or feel that way. We've had that discussion cyclically for years, probably 3/4 of time we have been together and it just lingers unresolved for me but since she doesn't appear to think of it/feel it missing, she is OK with that, and I go back to working on myself and my expectations but I wonder how far I can go with that.

ETA: Thanks for the replies.

[This message edited by HurtinMan at 12:30 PM, September 2nd (Monday)]

Pippy posted 9/2/2013 13:39 PM

The key to love is how you make the person feel about themselves. If she is down, then it's time for you to step up to the plate.

The attempts you listed sound very half-hearted. Working to keep a marriage alive is hard work. Asking her to watch a TV show with you is hardly "sweep her off her feet" romantic.

Again, I bring up that you need to get away together, even for escape weekends. If your work is too important then maybe you are not marriage material.

I'm sorry if I come across as hard, but what the author said in the old book, "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" or whatever it is, is that men aren't mind readers. They have to be told what you want. So I am telling you what you need to do to woo your wife.

Whenwas the last time you complimented her? Took her for a dinner and movie, went dancing? Bought her sexy lingerie and told her how great it looks? Whatever it takes!

[This message edited by Pippy at 2:30 PM, September 2nd (Monday)]

kernel posted 9/2/2013 20:23 PM

I think you would both benefit from working with a good MC. You're not happy with your marriage, she sure doesn't sound happy either. Why not seek outside help getting things on track? Marriage is a partnership so I think both of you need to work on it, and you both have to want to do the work. You can be Mr Romance and Flowers and shower her with compliments and gifts and thoughtful actions and it won't mean a thing if she isn't willing to do the work as well.

[This message edited by kernel at 8:24 PM, September 2nd (Monday)]

Thefly559 posted 9/2/2013 21:04 PM

I agree with Kernel if she isn't willing to do the work necessary then it will not work . Sorry but I did the same for my stbxw flowers, letters , compliments. All didn't mean crap even marraige counciling all didn't mean anything ! It takes two people to fix a marraige and to maintain it ! She cheated right? She should be working harder than you and it doesn't sound like it even with her issues . Tell her to go to therapy for herself. I admire your loyalty and beliefs I just wish I had that chance as you did but unfortunately I did not ! Or fortunately . Lol. I wish you all the best. Oh and I respectfully do not agree with pippys last post.

Pippy posted 9/3/2013 12:49 PM

Sorry, I gave the wrong impression in my last post. I agree that his WW has to do the work too and MC is a given. I was just trying to give him advice on how to approach from his end. Somebody has to break the pattern here. I apologise if I made him feel it was his fault. In no way it was ! But since he's decided to stay and they are both still unhappy, I was advising a course of action that "might" help.

If none of it works, then life is too short, right?

hill posted 9/3/2013 14:21 PM

HurtinMan- perhaps she is depressed? Especially if she has a history of post-partum depression.

Pleae don't let her lack of interest in sex make you feel as if you are unattractive. I know I'm speaking in general terms here, but many women need to feel emotionally connected to feel sexual- and if she is depressed, she is emotionally checked out and it likely has nothing to do with you.

Is she open to IC, or to talking to her doctor?

64fleet posted 9/3/2013 16:07 PM

wow, such similarities it is uncanny-my fWW's main A was in 2007, our kids are 8 and 13, boy and a girl, my fWW is on her phone constantly also-facebook, etc. No A stuff, just facebook, shopping, eBay, etc. Almost like she has replaced the A with other stuff. Like an addiction. Mine was an alcoholic for many years also, she's been sober since 2008.

My basic issues:
1. Lack of affection/physical intimacy
2. Lack of activities/stuff together
3. Lack of ability to talk through stuff
4. That a lot of the above has to do with how she feels about herself which I have very little to no influence on
5. Losing attraction... I feel unwanted so much from her that it makes me not want to approach or try.

same issues here, I've been told it might be due to CSAb-the lack of intimacy(not sex)-no talks of the future, no deep feelings, etc. She'd rather watch her soap opera or play on the phone.

we only have sex if she wants it, I never instigate any longer-just not worth it.

I've got no clue how to help, but thought you might feel better knowing you weren't alone.

HurtinMan posted 9/4/2013 15:51 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

I appreciate Pippy's point and was not very forthcoming with details. I do try to do things for her, and to go through the motions even if my feelings are conflicted. I leave her notes, I compliment her often with attention to detail, I do things that help her relax or get a break, or whatever. My business is certainly not my life... I open doors for her, work towards whatever she raises to me, I make sure to be home around dinner hour to either make dinner or for helping with other things, homework, and getting them to bed - so that in evenings, I work either at home or office which is a couple minutes away if need be - usually not more than a night or two a week, rest of week I'm mostly just at home in evenings.

I love her, and think she loves me. We joke around a bit but our interaction just feels shallow. I just don't think we're in love with each other and I'm not sure whether we can get back there or not. I think she lost some respect for me after working with me and some of my issues bothered her (ADD nature, financial stress) and that I don't know how to resolve.

Part of me feels like she knows she is unhappy with me but likes enough else and wants to stay for that or out of sense of obligation to kids, self, or to me. Either way, I feel like we're living more independently which is good in a way to prepare for possible D.

I just wonder if the pattern/cycle of the past decade can be broken and if we have enough in store for us or if we are just pushing what is not best for both of us.

64fleet, I suspected the same about my W, and have asked her about it and she denies anything ever happened. I definitely think she has some FOO issues but I had just chalked it up to a bit of eccentric family without something to go on. You put the words in my mouth when you said "I no longer instigate it, its not worth it." and that part bothers me a lot - that's not how I want to feel about my spouse!

Part of me feels that "zen" feeling I get when I know I'm doing the right thing (like when I asked her to leave for breaking NC/drinking) when I think about D. I hate that but it brings a sense of relief.

I'm going to talk to her about MC to make sure there's nothing else we can do that helps or that there's nothing she can show me that she hasn't already but I don't know - part of me just wants to move on and find something healthier for myself and that sounds so selfish like I am abandoning the person that I swore to and am supposed to stick by in sickness and health.

So many parts of me at battle with each other!

[This message edited by HurtinMan at 3:52 PM, September 4th (Wednesday)]

64fleet posted 9/4/2013 17:11 PM

Part of me feels like she knows she is unhappy with me but likes enough else and wants to stay for that or out of sense of obligation to kids, self, or to me. Either way, I feel like we're living more independently which is good in a way to prepare for possible D.

we also seem to have grown farther apart since the A-I know it is probably me keeping her at arm's length, but it suits her just fine.

I think she doesn't want to be alone is the main thing, IMO.

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