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SoVeryTired5 posted 2/13/2014 11:52 AM

From early on in our relationship, I have typically been the one who has to initiate sex. I cannot even remember the number of discussions and arguments my WH and I have had about his lack of initiating sex over the years. It has always been a huge thorn in my side though.

I've come to find out that he was the one who initiated sex with the MOW, which just makes me feel even worse. Months after DDay, we are trying to get ourselves back on track. I have again and again had to ask him to initiate intimacy with nothing to come from it.

I am so incredibly hurt that he could do this for her without any prompting, but cannot do the same for me. Any advice that might help? Or should I just resign myself to life being like this if our R is successful?

steadfast1973 posted 2/13/2014 12:02 PM

fWH and I had this discussion last night. He'd never initiated sex or anything. I had to do it... (and often got shot down because he had already tended his needs with porn). But I also had to plan date nights... that is when we had them... he refused to ask anyone to babysit... Yet, he planned a whole elaborate weekend to spend with EAP. And he put a lot of effort into setting up a date with the prostitute. Shit, he'd have no issues planning outings with his male friends. I told him it made me feel unimportant.

IHeartSuffering posted 2/13/2014 12:47 PM

I had some excellent advice from a counsellor once that was basically: "Hope keeps all suffering in place."

What he meant was that 'hoping' someone will change, is guaranteed to keep you miserable. Better to go by his actions.

His pattern, for whatever reason, is that the chase motivates him to action. No chase and he is passive.

You can spend a lot of time trying to figure out why. You can continue to communicate your needs. You can continue to feel lousy and unattractive, but to what end?

Think of it like dealing with a drug addiction - the addict has to want to change and do the soul searching and work. You can't do it for him. If he's not willing to put in the work, you really only have two choices: Accept it, or leave the marriage.

The irony is that if you do remove yourself from the marriage, he may very well start to put in the effort because he'll realize he has something to lose.

Sorry. It's very hard.

SoVeryTired5 posted 2/13/2014 13:29 PM

Steadfast - I completely agree that his lack of actions causes me to feel like I am unimportant. I feel like my needs don't matter to him. He says my needs do matter, but his actions continue to show otherwise.

IHS- I have tried not initiating many times. That has only resulted in not being intimate for months at a time.

I just I could just flip a switch to not care or hope that things will change. It would be so much easier than constantly going through the cycle of feeling frustrated that I'm initiating sex yet again, getting into a discussion/argument about it, him saying he'll try harder, and then me getting disappointed again.

It is very hard. I don't want to leave my marriage over something that seems easy to fix on a surface level. I want to know that I am worth it to him to actually listen and respond to my needs.

notquiteoverit posted 2/13/2014 13:37 PM

Have you tried counseling? Has he given you any reason why he won't initiate? From what you describe, it doesn't seem to be problem with his sex drive.

If you need him to initiate sex, then he should be attentive to that need. Make this a condition for R. If he doesn't make an effort, 180 him hard.

SoVeryTired5 posted 2/13/2014 13:42 PM

Not quite- we have been in MC since November. He hasn't given me a reason as to why he doesn't initiate sex. I know that his sex drive is lower than mine, but I also know that he still enjoys sex.

I can't imagine doing the 180 towards him, but at the same time, I want to make sure that I'm strong enough to put my needs first.

blakesteele posted 2/13/2014 15:30 PM

This is one of the toughest parts for us as well....but it is more than just initiating this post might be too off topic to help you out. I think it ties in, but forgive me if it misses the mark.

We are currently focusing on sexual issues with a licensed sex therapist.

It is going to be tricky for us....some of the standard techniques to improving, "re-invigorating" married couples sex is to treat it as "new".

To do this, the process is like "dating" and like "teenage sex".

One MC suggested we act like we are dating again....keep things light, pleasant, and show interest in the other.

The sex therapist suggested we do things like we did when teenagers.....teasing texts, inuendo's, make out in a car, stopping just short of actual sex on occuasion to heighten the arousal states.

Both good, healthy things for a married couple to engage in....have zero issue with the theory and proven systems these are.

Our hurdle to overcome is that, due to adultery, this FEELS like "affair sex" all over again....for both my wife and I. What they did together was "dating" and "teenage sex" in almost all ways....with hardly anything BUT those interactions. I struggled hard with RA temptations because I wanted to just have a care free, energized, non-deep relationship to go and loose myself in.

So this is where I am at.....

Since I do NOT want to just simply "endure my marriage"....I must find the courage to feel my pain, to heal from it, and to free myself to "enjoy my marriage" once again. PART of this IS to make out in a car, playfully engage, stopping short sometimes....I totally want to have that as PART of my M....all the way through to the end.

My wife is at a similar spot too.

Neither of us want the sex we had pre-A....we want real sexual intimacy. Light and playful sometimes (immature), deep and soul connecting other times (mature). We want sex to be an extension of an overall "intimacy package".

So we are both going to have to commit to our M. Be radically honest, intentional in our actions.

Sounds kinda boring right? Sounds mechanical....lifeless? Maybe, but I don't think so.

I believe if we can find the courage to heal our hurts (I hurt my wife too) we will be able to feel safe around each other. As we do this we will need courage to express and expose ourselves to each other more fully than we ever have before. When we successfully do this, we will be vulnerable and more able to bond with and to each other....but in healthy, interdependent ways.....not unhealthy, co-dependent ways we both have done before.

This is mostly thoughts from my journey...most of which have come from intensive reading and IC sessions and prayer.

Or should I just resign myself to life being like this if our R is successful?

(((SoVeryTired5))) Please don't do this! You have already endured and felt too much pain to "settle". I offer this plead not from a wise foothold, but from a scared man. I have been tempted to do what you suggest as an option. I think it okay to "be there" for a bit....especially as you stumble....but think it a dreadful thought to "stay there".

"Fear is payment on debt you have not yet incurred....may never incurr."

Your energy is too limited to waste it like this. Your M is to precious for you to make this feeling become a fact via resignation.

Post often.....I wish I had more words of comfort...this is the best I can do. I believe this is good though.....I just wish I had more time putting this all to the test before you posted....wish I had matured this thought more fully.

I intend to nurture this. I enjoy our sex therapy session today. I believe what she speaks of to be true and healthy. I believe I can continue to heal from my pain, my wife can heal from hers, and we can enjoy our marriage, enjoy sexual ways we never have before.

I pray for courage multiple times a day.

I will say a specific prayer for you and Mr. SoVeryTired5 right now....this part of healing and R is a joint effort. It is much tougher than the solo journey stuff....but believe it will be more fullfilling then the solo journey has been.

And I have really enjoyed the growth that has come from my solo journey! So I beleive this next "healing and growing" step is well worth the risk.

NOTE: Enjoying does NOT always equal happy. I enjoyed fighting wild fires in the rockies....but I was not always happy doing so. KWIM?

God be with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 3:44 PM, February 13th (Thursday)]

steadfast1973 posted 2/13/2014 17:50 PM

Blake, the sex therapist has given you great advice.

We also sleep skin to skin. No shirts. That contact helps form a bond.

Also, do it with the lights on... And looking into each other's eyes.

[This message edited by steadfast1973 at 5:54 PM, February 13th (Thursday)]

ILINIA posted 2/13/2014 19:07 PM

My guess there is more to his story. It is something that he is going to have to dig deep about.

I was the initiator in our relationship, therefore, I assumed WH was cerebral, conservative, and had a low sex drive. I reduced my drive to match his. In reality, he had a normal sex drive, but had a huge fear of me rejecting him, add intimacy and communication issues along with growing up in a strict religious sect. He avoided any conversations that regarded sex. (ETA: WH is a HUGE conflict avoider as well)

He built up a lot of resentment towards me because he would want to do it, but would not show me any signs, but still expected me to initiate. Since I was not a mind reader, I didn't and mentally he would hold it against me. It was an ugly cycle that I had NO idea was going on in his head. All of this in his mind impacted his performance and he struggled with ED. He had no confidence.

T/J Well, we went the Viagra route, which I will forever curse. Viagra gave him so much confidence that he decided to get a mistress and show off his new found Don Juaness!

So I understand the frustration and hurt about being the person who initiated all through the marriage and wanting to feel desired by your WH, only to find out that he put his energy into someone else.

In short, there is an issue that is underneath. Once you get that uncovered, it will be easier to build intimacy and confidence for him. If you two can do this, it will be a much healthier balance.

[This message edited by ILINIA at 8:32 PM, February 13th (Thursday)]

steadfast1973 posted 2/13/2014 20:20 PM

Ilinia, that is EXACTLY what happened here. Up to the viagra...

itstoomuch posted 2/13/2014 20:41 PM

Our hurdle to overcome is that, due to adultery, this FEELS like "affair sex" all over again....for both my wife and I. What they did together was "dating" and "teenage sex" in almost all ways....with hardly anything BUT those interactions.

This is exactly what I have been dealing with since my husband came back. He was initiating just fine, but I was shrinking back with thoughts of them together. I didn't want to drop to their level! But I do want to reclaim this for our marriage cause that was ours in the first place! I know FWH has been terribly discouraged with me because he wants to woo me and many times I'm frozen. I want to be able to respond to and initiate intimacy with him. I'm hopeful we are working out way there...

SoVeryTired5 posted 2/13/2014 21:21 PM

Blake- Thank you for sharing the advice from your therapist. I like the idea of trying to get back to basics and work from there.

I don't want to resign myself or settle in our marriage, so I hope he take this very seriously.

Steadfast- My WH and I enjoy sleeping skin to skin too, but we can only ever do it when our kids are sleeping elsewhere for the night. I wish we could manage it more frequently.

Ilinia- I don know if there is more to his story. I know he carries a lot of shame from having to put a child up for adoption (with the OW) when he was a teenager, but I don't know if that factors into intimacy with me. He is currently in IC to find his "why." Hopefully, he will be able to make progress in this department, too. (He is also a HUGE conflict avoider)

ILINIA posted 2/13/2014 22:13 PM

Wow, that is huge. It is awesome that he is in IC to work though his past. You may have most of the pieces of the puzzle, but don't be surprised if others start appearing that are interconnected. Also, it can be a long process. I thought it would only take a few months, but I have come to the realization that it may take years to uncover and understand.

SoVeryTired5 posted 2/13/2014 22:28 PM

Thanks for your response, Ilinia. I told my WH that I'm in this for the long haul, but it just gets so difficult on days where I find myself beyond frustrated and hurt by him yet again.

FeelingSoMuch posted 2/13/2014 23:47 PM

This is a hard one to offer insight over the Internet. This might not sound right coming from a guy (I'm one:), but there's a difference between initiating sex and initiating love making.

A guy like me is turned on by:
Your physical appearance, how you make me feel.

That's enough for sex. For a more intimate sexual experience I need to know:

That I'm it. You know the whole world is out there, and you want me. I make YOU feel good. You like my physical appearance. You like what I do when we're having sex. This is our special time.

I don't know if that helps. Off the top of my head, that's what comes to mind. As far as him initiating sex with the OW, I wouldn't dwell on it too much -- it's not important. (I say this as an outsider, of course. And I don't mean to minimize the pain you're feeling. If this was about me and WW, I'd probably dwell on it forever:)

What I mean by the above is that him initiating sex with someone else doesn't take anything away from you. Please feel good about yourself.

Stay strong.

hurtingfool posted 2/14/2014 00:33 AM

I don't know what to say. My WW told me it just happened, nobody really initiated it. Don't believe it, but eh.

Same as you, I always initiated, argued about it, always angered me to an extent. Told me she was gonna work on it and has already fallen into her old ways.

I'm just at the point to seriously start the 180 to get through this. Out of all the advice given me so far, the 180 is one I've been putting off, but am feeling I should have gone with at the beginning right now.

SoVeryTired5 posted 2/14/2014 10:00 AM

FeelingSoMuch- I am going to try to stop dwelling on the fact that he initiated with the OW. It'll feels impossible, but I know in the long run, it isn't healthy for me to focus on that.

HurtingFool- I really can't imagine doing the 180 on my WH. He is going to counseling, he is reading books, he is reading SI. Can I really do the 180 when he is trying in all of these other areas? Is that fair of me? I don't know the answer to that.

hurtingfool posted 2/14/2014 13:55 PM

I really can't imagine doing the 180 on my WH. He is going to counseling, he is reading books, he is reading SI. Can I really do the 180 when he is trying in all of these other areas? Is that fair of me? I don't know the answer to that.

Really, this is my exact feeling. WW is doing all those things as well, but I am just at a point where I think it might be beneficial to me. I know it can be. The 180 is for us to get better. I want to be better again. I'm still not sure if that is the road I am going to take. It wasn't fair of them to do what they did, but I do know it is fair for us to get better any way we can.

HopeImOverIt posted 2/14/2014 15:11 PM

Have you looked into Madonna Whore Complex? It describes guys who find it hard to be intimate in a loving relationship with a partner, even if they can perform with a partner they don't care about.

I seem to recall one of the infidelity books recommending that each partner is assigned to taking turns initiating. And that there is a time limit on doing so, such as within 1 week of the last time you made love. It gives him some control on deciding exactly when, but also gives you the reassurance that it WILL happen sometime in the next week (or whatever time period you agree on).

blakesteele posted 2/14/2014 15:54 PM

I told my WH that I'm in this for the long haul, but it just gets so difficult on days where I find myself beyond frustrated and hurt by him yet again.

Gently.....I am re-reading this post over and is of interest to me. As such, there is something I picked up on in the quote above.

You mention "hurt by him yet again".

I recently triggered while in the sex therapist office...due to the whole teenage sex analogy. I was experiencing pain again....but my wife was not hurting me "again".

When you say "yet again" it implies you think this is a new hurt. From your post here I do not detect anything "new"....just references to the original, old pain. If this is could be helpful to recognize this difference.

It helped me in sex therapy in that I was able to stay with the pain and leave anger on the shelf. No need to use anger because my wife was not "hurting me yet again"...the hurt was "old". As such I didn't have to protect myself from it.


Anger is helpful at energizes you to protect yourself when you are under attack. anger is unhelpful at masks and covers up the pain that needs to be felt to heal.

It sucks....but we must find ways to sit with our pain, recognize we have it, and give up fighting and denying that it is there.

The words "yet again" are worthy of further investigation. In my journey it has helped me stay with the pain, keep anxiety manageable, and be honest with myself about the realities of my situation.

I employ this same technique when I wrestle with my own desctructive choices of my past.....I remind myself that I am no longer making those choices and am finding ways to ensure that I will fix what is broken inside me.....that which allowed me to make some dreadful, destructive choices as well.

God help us all.

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