The people you do your life with shape the life you live
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.
YMMV, but I think you need to ask her to get the real reason.
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.
Former 80s Icon wishful thinking
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!
Too many freaking TTs that nearly cost us our marriage; currently in reconciliation.
"Love isn't a feeling, it's a decision."
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.
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.
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)]
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.
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.
'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth
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.
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.
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.