One of the biggest issues I had in my marriage was openness and communication. It was extremely difficult for me to talk about sex. I was very frustrated, but totally incapable of actually talking about my needs. This may not be exactly parallel to your situation in the details, but it sounds like you had the same underlying lack of communication about sex. You tried to initiate, she failed to respond as you hoped, but it sounds like neither of you actually talked frankly about your needs, how you felt, and what you were going to do about it.
My BW and I started to have those conversations in the days immediately following her confrontation of me about the A, and I was mortified to discover that she had actually spent our marriage repressing her own sexual needs because she thought I just wasn't very sexual. Our sex life in some ways has suffered from the fallout of the A, but in other ways it's far better than it's ever been, now that we understand more about each other in this area.
As for life in the fishbowl, I'd say get used to it and learn to appreciate it as part of what you can do to help your BS heal. The sooner you achieve complete transparency, the better. My A was with a co-worker and so any contact with women at work is a very sensitive topic. I disclose stuff that probably seems absurdly trivial, and I'm sure my BW appreciates it.
Good luck to you!
We started MC and IC for me almost immediately, and it probably was too soon for the MC, in retrospect. Don't hesitate to start IC immediately, though. It's been over six months for me and in some ways I feel like I've just started to get the full value of it.
Looking back why didn't I just talk to her about my needs instead of going elsewhere?
And I did more than talk about it. She would mention the barriers to us having a greater quantity and variety of sex, and I did everything husbandly possible to address those. And yet it never resulted in any substantive change.
I know you are seriously in the doghouse (dogghouse?) now. I suspect that getting all blamey on her now -- "Well, you never were interested enough in sex with me!!" -- will probably not really be very helpful.
But if you do every get to a point where you can have that discussion now... try it. You can even make it hypothetical: "if I had told you -- before my affairs -- that I really wanted more X, and us to consider Y, what would you have said?"
If your needs weren't being met, and she feels totally like "that's not my problem"... well, was she right? She has a problem now.
I do NOT suggest that -- at this moment -- that this is the right time to bring it up. However, if you find yourself in individual therapy in the future, DO bring it up. If you find yourself in couples therapy, DO bring it up -- but with the therapist first when you have a one-on-one meeting.
Sounds to me like any sort of reconciliation would HAVE to include a frank discussion of your needs, and discussion of how you are both going to meet in the middle on such things in the future.
After getting to know my wife in a few sessions, he was able to suggest someone from the same practice group for her IC, and she's been happy with the recommendation.
You can also use the "Find a Local Counselor" link in the yellow section to the left side of the screen. At the very least you can use it as an additional source.
We live in a decent sized city with lots of options; if that isn't the case for you it may be more difficult but in the end you're always taking a chance. Don't give up quickly (unless the advice you're getting runs dramatically counter to everything you see here or read in recommended books), but remember that you can switch to someone else if it's not working.
Just make sure that it's truly not working, and not just your own discomfort at what you're discovering about yourself.
Why did you feel it alright to cheat on your wife, rather than tell her what your needs were? Why did you not tell her that they were not being met and that you wanted to talk to someone about it because her attitude towards it conflicted with yours? You could have told her that the sex issue was your deal breaker, given her a chance to rectify and divorce her if it was still not addressed. Those would have been appropriate responses to your problem.
In order to R, you must be transparent, open, non defensive and show your wife that you can be trustworthy and understand you broke your vows and that hurt your wife. You have put yourself in the position of the one that caused the damage and you will need to accept all that that entails. You don't even get to say "Yeah, but..." at this point. That sucks I know, because I have put myself into that same position countless times in my marriage.
You are not a "bad" person for desiring more sex than your wife shared with you, nor would you be for asking for more. What you also need to do right now is ask yourself why you didn't or couldn't or wouldn't do that. You have to look at our relationship in the cold light of day and look at YOUR contribution to the marriage. Because ultimately you can only change yourself. Now you have complicated that by cheating and putting yourself in this position.
Why did you think your needs were not important enough to talk about and demand changes? How is your emotional health and what have you done to help it if it is lacking.
Why was your relationship at a point where you felt that cheating was okay and decieving your spouse was Okay? What did you contribute or not contribute.
What you did was wrong on all accounts. You are not a bad person. Our actions do not define us as human beings. Unfortunately you must now realize you have a hurt spouse that you must help to heal or at least provide the environment for her to heal if you want to keep the relationship. At the same time you will need to look at your life and actions and decide why your emotional health was not as good as it should be or you wouldn't have done what you have done. You have complicated your life ten fold by your actions.
Your wife will not be helped by trickle truth. Things coming out about your behavior months from now.
Your wife will not trust you, so in order to R, you MUST be transparent. No secrets. No privacy. An open book which she is entitled to check up on at any time. You will never recover full trust. You have destroyed the marriage that existed before.
Any defensiveness or self justifications will not help in any way shape or form. When you are wrong or were wrong, simply admit it and let the chips fall where they may. You can't control her and she may decide this was a deal breaker for her.
You will get plenty more advice from the good folks on this board. Be open to it all.
Realize that this was a choice on your part and not a mistake. That is crucial to your marriage healing from this.
How do I/we find good counseling?
HOWEVER... the therapists have done this before. They will guide you through the process; you just have to commit to go.
Here are some resources:
Check with your health plan. See who is in your network, and at a location that is convenient for you.
Check with your employer's HR department. My company offered what the called an "employee assistance program" which offered five free visits to any talk therapist in their plan. You are going to need more than that, but this give you a way to test drive a therapist or two before you even dip in to your health plan's coverage.
Ask any of your current health care providers for recommendations.
Ask your religious community leader for a recommendation.
Ask some trusted friends for a good therapist.
Consider a general Google search, or see which licensed therapists in your area list in the directory of Psychology Today: http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_search.php
OK. So now you have a few names. Now what? Call them. Introduce yourself, and tell them you are looking for a therapist, and you'd like to know a bit about them and their approach. This is the one medical profession I know where you [usually] get to speak to the actual medical provider.
I was able to cross a few off the list immediately by this short "interview".
Here's the last thing for you to consider:
Is some form of couples therapy the right first step?
Or should you plan on spending some time in individual therapy first?
The latter worked for me. Individual therapy was EXTREMELY helpful.
Couples therapy -- when we started it several months later -- was not particularly helpful. (My situation is different than yours: my affair was not discovered.)
I think others sometimes recommend that you go to IC first for a while, before doing MC. (The idea being that you need to get yourself at least partially organized before you can hope to work on your marriage.)
Married 8 years.
DDay: March 2012
Right there with you. I actually debated with myself for awhile, before I signed up on Ashley Madison. Should I ask for forgiveness or permission? In the end, I took my chances.
Don't go to MC. I mean, if that's what your BW wants, do it. But, individual counseling (IC) is what I strongly recommend for you instead. Too many MC's jump straight to "what was wrong with the marriage, that you decided to cheat?" and that is so detrimental to recovering from infidelity, IMO.
To make a long story short one day she was in the tub. I asked her if I could join her in it. She responded "no and don't think that's ever going to happen"
Ouch. If that really happened, it must've hurt. Instead of sharing your feelings with her, telling her that her words hurt you, letting her know that you interpreted that to mean, "I no longer want to be intimate with you," you took the coward's way out. I know because I did the same exact thing. Exact.
You need to learn to identify your feelings and look internally, instead of externally, for the cause. Stop blaming your wife for your unhappiness, and look inside yourself. That's an advanced concept, but a qualified therapist can help you get there. You need to learn that satisfaction needs to come from within, not from an external source.
I'm not sure what your wife's motivation was or exactly what she was feeling at that point or is feeling now, but it was a HUGE leap of faith for her no matter what. I'm probably preaching to the choir but keep focused on that fact, what it took for her and meant for her to reach out, with humility and appreciation.
Continued good wishes, and I hope MC goes well tomorrow.
I guess if it were me, I'd try to evaluate it with an open mind. Maybe it's true. Part of the process of healing is facing hard truths. That said, focus on sex addiction if that is NOT, in fact, what's going on might be a distraction from the real issues.
I'd make sure that her recommended IC counselor isn't coming in with a pre-diagnosis and comes to his/her own conclusion.
I'm sure there are others on the site who have more informed opinions on sex addiction and might be able to help; might be worth a new thread (with stop sign removed) asking the question.
She said that I'm addicted to the rush of sex. That almost adrenaline high of sex.
It's pretty safe to say that all of us who pursued sex outside of our marriages *really liked* that high. But, just because I *really like* beer, that doesn't make me an alcoholic. I'm not sure what the clinical threshold for addiction is. Labeling you right off the bat like that...doesn't seem super helpful to me. But, you've gotten a referral, so let's see what the IC has to say about it.
My IC says my infidelity was a means of self-medicating. That really made a lot of sense to me. I went into an IC appointment a couple of months ago, feeling very distressed because I was "checking out" the men and women in the coffee shop. She said when I find myself doing that, I should take a moment and try to figure out what hurt I'm looking to medicate at that moment. And, instead of self-medicating with sexual escapism, to work out that hurt in healthy ways.