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3xloser posted 9/12/2013 09:06 AM

I'm going to sound like a dick here so feel free to pile on if you wish. I'm having an issue with a lack of sex. After A #2 we went through a period of hysterical bonding and had a lot of sex. After A# 3, this hasn't been the case. I'm sure the answer lies in what I just wrote. After a third A, maybe my BW just isn't up to putting herself out there physically or emotionally. I don't resent the lack of sex. I am the one that created our current situation. I'm just concerned that if this becomes our new normal that we won't make it. We both enjoy sex and I can't imagine either of us living a life where our sex life is less than robust. We have been working on R for about a year after a brief period of separation. In that time, we have had sex maybe 2 or 3 times. Does anyone have a similar experience or any advice?

wifehad5 posted 9/12/2013 09:07 AM

Have you asked her about it?

3xloser posted 9/12/2013 09:53 AM

I've mentioned it but I haven't pressed the issue.

bionicgal posted 9/12/2013 13:29 PM

How is your communication in general?

You are likely right about the #3 putting a damper on things -- sex is very vulnerable for women. We had HB after my H's A, but would I go for a second round? Doubtful.

But, it has been a year, so if you are going to R, the sex thing needs to get sorted out. You certainly need to communicate with her about it, perhaps even with the aid of a counselor.

Good luck.

neverdidithink posted 9/12/2013 15:04 PM

As a BW I'd have a hard time trusting after #3, and for me sex invloves trusting at my most vulnerable.

YMMV, but I think you need to ask her to get the real reason.

Kelany posted 9/12/2013 15:23 PM

What are you doing to make her feel safe? Have you gotten tested for STD's? Have you made yourself vulnerable to her? Saying you don't think you may make it because of lack of sex would not bode well for me, even if you only think it, I'd sense it.

When you mentioned it, what did she say?

Are you in IC? MC?

Do you know why you had the A's?

I could not, for a very long time perform oral sex on my husband, because that is SUCH an intimate act for me, and it also makes me feel VERY vulnerable. VERY. I would not allow myself to let him see me in a vulnerable position. I couldn't. Because I didn't feel safe with him. It took a long time to get to that point where I could.

ccw82 posted 9/12/2013 17:51 PM

I've mentioned it but I haven't pressed the issue.

What was your BW's response when you mentioned it?

I cannot speak for your BW, but for me I think if I had put my all into my M (physically and emotionally), and WH went and had another A, I would probably just give up at that point. She may not feel safe having sex with you anymore. In fact, she may be a little disgusted to have sex with you right now. I know I've gone through those phases!

3xloser posted 9/12/2013 18:54 PM

Her response was to initiate sex a few nights later. She's really an amazing person. But since then, nothing. I have been checked for STDs. I see a psychiatrist who uses talk therapy as well as medication. I have depression and PTSD. As far as the reason for my affairs is concerned, I think there are different reasons. My first occurred while we were living with her parents and I was going to school. At that time, I think it had to do with ego issues. I had no power in the relationship and was dependent on her and her folks. There was a lot of drinking with classmates on Fridays after class and on one of these occasions a female classmate propositioned me. At the time, I didn't act on it but I also didn't tell my wife about it. That secret grew powerful over time as I considered the possibility of acting on the invitation until after a Friday of drinking I reminded her of her proposal and from there it started. The fallout resulted in us going to MC which saved our M. Fast forward 9 years. During that time I went to Iraq (I was an Army Reservist but I am now retired) and came home with a different outlook. Along with rage issues, I had alcohol issues and a simmering baseline state of anger. At my W's urging I saw a psychiatrist. He prescribed medication but offered no talk therapy. Eventually, he implied that I was seeing him to avoid my military obligation which made me still angrier. I didn't feel like he understood where I was coming from and stopped seeing him. I went to a different IC at this time but was no longer on medication. During this time I was approached by a woman who said she was interested in an A. I wasn't really interested but I had really poor boundaries. We would hug each other as a greeting and she would proposition me nearly every time we came across one another. I always laughed it off like it was a joke but I didn't do anything to shut it down. I like the attention. My ego loved it. Eventually the Army called me back to duty. Thankfully, this time I was stationed at Fort Benning and served as backfill for someone who was heading to Iraq. Before I left, this woman gave me her phone number and told me to call her while I was away so she could come visit me in Georgia. I threw her number away. While I was at Fort Benning, I was treated as a second class citizen by people who regarded my service as "less than" because I was a reservist despite the fact that I had been in a war zone and many of them hadn't. More anger. I felt betrayed by my Countrymen who weren't paying attention to the War(s). Now I felt even deeper betrayal by the only people who I thought would understand what being in a war means. How it feels. How it makes a person feel. How it changes everything you see and feel. So when my time at Benning ended, I returned home even more screwed up. I felt very alone. When I returned to work, the woman who propositioned me made it clear that she was still available. Somewhere around this time I started to think, screw it. I could die at any time. Will I regret taking a pass on this open opportunity? Eventually I talked myself into it and acted on it. Even as the affair unfolded, I would leave my AP and yell at myself in the car, "What are you doing?" I knew I was going off the rails but somehow the action felt good. The secrets. The adrenaline rush of getting away with something. I knew I should stop but didn't want to. When I was found out I was sure I lost my family so I scrambled to do everything I could to control the situation. Lots of lies of omission, gaslighting and TT. My W and I returned to MC and things seemed to improve. It's a miracle she stayed with me. I vowed never to stray again, not only to my BW but to myself. I changed jobs which is to say I still worked in the same situation and for the same outfit but in a new location and I established NC. About a year and a half into my new situation, I was given a card by a female coworker who said that she knew I was trying to work things out with my wife but if things didn't, she was available. She was also married. When I got the card I got in my car and drove to a convenience store where I threw the card away. At this time I wondered aloud "Why does this keep happening?!" I should have shown the card to my wife but I liked my new place and I didn't want to disrupt what I felt was an improving situation at home. So again, I kept a secret. Again, over time, the sick thoughts of hooking up with a willing partner became more and more appealing. Things at home were okay but now my son was in school and it was discovered that he has a learning disability. My W's focus left me and us and he became her primary focus. I don't think I realized it then but i became jealous and impatient with what I felt was her obsession to make things okay for him. Pretty petty immature stuff really when I look at things objectively. In addition I have FOO issues that have made me very adept at compartmentalizing and conflict avoidance. Dad was an abusive drunk. In short, I am not good at asking for things or expressing or even IDing my feelings. I seem to have calm or anger. Of course, anger is what I feel if I'm scared, or worried, or sad. I'm somewhat stunted emotionally. So while all of this was going on, rather than express that I didn't feel my needs were being met, I just stuffed my feelings down. Then I grew to resent my wife. Then I gave myself permission for A #3. Twisted thinking. There are recurring themes for all of the A's but all are a bit different. I think in a general sense, they all arise from opportunity coupled with keeping a secret until I have a "reason" to proceed. I apologize for the rambling but I kind of got on a roll and wanted to get this all out and lay it bare for all to see. Thanks.

bionicgal posted 9/12/2013 19:02 PM

Wow, I admire your honesty. Does your wife know all this? She needs to feel safe, and honesty and time help that happen. Keep working and don't get discouraged. Hopefully you are in MC?

bionicgal posted 9/12/2013 19:04 PM

P.S. the ego boosting probably belongs in the final analysis somewhere as well.

Runningaway posted 9/12/2013 19:07 PM

No stop sign so I'm answering, I hope that's ok.

I also love sex. Where my relationship with my ex had lots of ups and downs sex was the one thing that had always worked. I stopped having sex with my ex after I finally had full(ish) disclosure about enough of his secret activities that I knew we had gone through the rabbit hole. Nothing was ever going to be the same and we could not continue as we always had before.

And then I waited for some sign that he was worth working things out with.

After his 1st affair I just believed everything he said and we kissed and made up. When I found out about the 2nd, and then found out it wasn't even the 2nd more like 3rd or 4th I just felt stupid and completely shut down. I refused to do any work on our marriage or myself b/c why should I fix anything, make anything better for him? We went on like that for a few years, only having sex when I got falling down drunk. And every time I ran to the doctor the next day to get STD testing done. It was a magical time in our lives.

I needed something from him, which was incredibly unfortunate b/c he was the last person I would ever have allowed myself to open up to and discuss "needs".

It really took me a long time to process my life falling apart. I wasn't ready for IC until he had already been gone for close to a year. I don't know how long it would have taken before I trusted him again. It doesn't just take time. It takes patience and time.

3xloser posted 9/12/2013 19:35 PM

YES! Ego boosting most definitely has played a big role.

TrustGone posted 9/13/2013 12:31 PM

I think 99% of the affairs that occur are because of low self-esteem and the fact that the AP boosts the ego of the wayward and in return the wayward boosts the AP's ego. Each situation is different, but the bottom line is still the same. The fact that the A is only going to hurt the waywards self-esteem in the long run and in turn hurt their spouses self-esteem seems to be the ultimate result that is often overlooked. Couple that with the high that the wayward gets from the secret A and you have set yourself and your spouse up for total failure. That is just my opinion of course, but from what I have read, that seems to be the senerio in almost every case.

I think the fact that you and your wife are not having sex is the fact that she is shutting down to protect herself from more hurt. I find myself doing the same thing. After DDay#1 we had HB. After DDay#2, I haven't been as receptive to having sex with my WH. I know that it is in a way trying to protect myself in case it happens again, but I also know that I love him and it has nothing to do with not wanting him, but that is probably the way he perceives it. I just don't feel special the way he used to make me feel and I feel that to him it's just sex and it wouldn't matter who I was. It definately takes a toll on everyone's self-esteem after multiple dday's, lying, rug sweeping, gas lighting, and TT.

I think the key is making your spouse feel safe again and that is a big order to fill after 3 DDay's. I think communication, counceling, dealing with your issues, making her feel special again are all keys to trying to get the special back in your marriage and making her feel special and that you would never do this to her again. I am praying that you do everything possible to heal yourself, her, and your marriage.

3xloser posted 9/13/2013 13:36 PM

Thanks Trust Gone. I intentionally kept the Stop sign off so I could hear the opinions of BSs. Your insights are probably more relevant than those of WSs like myself. You see it from the other side. My W read this thread last night and concluded that I was thinking of getting out which is not the case. I miss the closeness of sex or even just cuddling. I feel lonely and I think she does too. I'm just looking for advice.

Sadwife222 posted 9/13/2013 13:51 PM

BW here. Her opinion that you're looking for a way out tells me she has abandonment issues with you. Keeping herself safe (not getting too close and vulnerable with you again via sex) could be a self-protection mechanism.

Somehow, she needs to feel that you are fully committed to her and won't abandon her again.

How are you doing that? I know I need my WH to comfort me and put my needs first right now. Any sign of impatience make me feel vulnerable and threatened, as if he would bail on the marriage again.
I can only suggest gentleness and comforting kindness, along with loving and admiring statements about her, sort of like how AP's are treated...

[This message edited by Sadwife222 at 1:52 PM, September 13th (Friday)]

Jennifer99 posted 9/13/2013 14:21 PM

I'm a BW. It sounds like you have SO much you are working out.

I'm not a very helpful SI'er since I'm still trying to figure things out myself. But I can tell you a few things about where I am with sex.

1) It would make me VERY happy if WH did more than just "mention it". I don't want my difficulties and our relationship difficulties to be a sort of afterthought or throw away bit of conversation. I want to see that he thinks about them and tries to understand or even really wants to have a real conversation (not saying you don't but I'm not there).

2) If I had to go through this with WH again I could easily see where I didn't want him to touch me at all. BUT, seeing how I am this go-round I can see if he wanted to he could easily change my mind but it would take effort on his behalf. But he seems to intent right now on himself and his own problems. So it is easier to just not go there unless he gets demanding.

3)While I very much enjoy sex, I gave up "sex" when I got married. I expected it to be more and I struggle - daily - with feeling like I'm back in college just having sex and the "more" is gone. WH could easily fix that by being more invested in me and my feelings outside of the bedroom but it hasn't happened and I'm not comfortable asking for it because he's made me feel like I project insecure and needy so f' that.

4) It would mean very much to me if H would agree to MC not just IC's for us separately. So I felt like we were learning to share and communicate better and not fall into old traps.

5) and finally (phew, just a few things lol) - everyday I have to readjust my mental self-image and feelings of self-worth. I never had that problem before. H did that to me. And it pisses me off like nothing else. Any sex while I haven't had my daily readjustment is going to be angry screwing, not married sex. Could it be timing? I just don't know that I will ever recover feeling like I am desirable enough and satisfying enough sexually for H. Then again, he isn't very convincing. It could be an "us" thing that I am making into a "me" thing.

If WH came to me and said he understood things weren't great right now but he wanted to take some time to truly talk about how I was feeling about sex, etc. I would be very happy to lay this all out for him. But he never would.

uncertainone posted 9/13/2013 14:40 PM

I think the fact that you and your wife are not having sex is the fact that she is shutting down to protect herself from more hurt

Ok. That can be done very successfully by divorcing. You can be certain that person will never be in the position they can do that again.

If two people are in R there needs to be acceptance of risk. Otherwise you're just treading water wondering if every bump is a tire or a great white. Not a very great way to live.

I hear the "you have to make her/him feel safe". Now, just how exactly is the person who blindsided, derailed, ran over gonna accomplish that? They can lead a blameless life from this point forward and there will always be some doubt.

It seems at some point, just as the wayward needs to commit to doing the work and making the changes the BS will need to do the same in different ways...and yes, I actually do believe that's fair. You're working on a present and a future. If you're going to carry over the deficits from the past you're always going to be in the red.

That would have been the ONLY way I would have even considered reconciling from this shit. Is if we both had that mindset. He did. I didn't. Go figure.

I know I am told I don't have reconciling experience. I believe marriage itself is reconciling on a rather continual basis so, yeah, I can relate, I think.

TrustGone posted 9/13/2013 15:51 PM

I do not agree with you at all uncertainone. You are of course welcome to your opinion, but it sounds more like rug sweeping by saying the past is in the past and that the BS either gets over it and forgets and moves forward, or just get a divorce. At least that is the way I took your post. Maybe I was reading it wrong.

I think the majority of BS's love their WS very much and do not want a D. They wish to solve the past problems, figure out what went wrong (the real issue), and then maybe they can proceed with R, but first you have to address the A. Of course that is just my opinion.

uncertainone posted 9/13/2013 16:55 PM

Trust, that is not what I'm saying at all. Not even close and I don't doubt many BS's love their WS's. They'd have to or why would they even think of staying. Doesn't change the fact that if the past can't be just that the future is pretty dim, to me.

That's not saying that the affair is forgotten or never brought up. Not at all. Marriage is a sum total of all experiences both good and bad. If the spouse is afraid to ever open up how is that not also a twisted form of rug sweeping in and of itself. All good is swept away with the affair as the brush used to do it.

Some people will never get past the horror of that betrayal. I can understand that very well. Very well. I've said since day one. Affairs end marriages. They're designed to do just that.

Daddo posted 9/17/2013 03:56 AM

A lot of side discussions. My 2 cents - from your BS's perspective, you represent pain, trauma, loss of innocence, loss of her dreams, loss of some of the pillars that held up her sense of worth. Hysterical bonding to try to regain that loss is natural. But at some point, the trauma outweighs hope.

You will need to regain her trust and her love before a normal relationship returns. This won't be easy or quick. But it can be done. The starting point is remorse - showing your BS that you really greive for all the pain you caused and all the loss you both have suffered. Show that, and she may be able to open up to you again. Maybe.

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