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Distance- emotional and general lack of affection

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burntashes posted 7/12/2014 18:48 PM

I feel like my BH is becoming increasingly distant as time goes by. Things in our family have become a lot better this year in many ways - he stopped drinking, exchanges are cordial, peaceful with no drama, but I struggle with feeling depressed and hopeless. The reason is the relationship feels very cold with no emotional connection. We talk about daily life things, but never about us unless I bring it up, then it always goes badly. We have no physical contact except for sleeping on the same bed at night. If I don't reach over to give him a hug or kiss good night, we can go with very little sign of affection ongoing. Very rare hugs 5 times initiated by him in 6 months, kiss or any expression of affection. He gets angry and annoyed when I ask him how he feels, says its none of my business.

My question is am I being unreasonable and entitled to expect any sign of affection, liked an occasional hug or nudge or any physical contact each day? He puts his arm around me at night but it's loosely on top of me, as he no longer even gives me a squeeze. I feel like it's a force of habit because there's no exchange. I am trying to read any signs to make sure I am not ignoring any ways he shows affection, but I am not finding much to go on. When I show him love or do things, I get nothing back in what I feel from him.

I've had multiple DDays, broke his trust with my lies. How can I blame him for not giving a damn anymore? But I don't know how to live with this perpetual 180 either. Both BS and WS comments welcome, so are 2x4s.

badchoice posted 7/12/2014 19:11 PM

no 2x4 here.

I do not know your story, but from your join date you look like you are 4 years past dday?

What have you both done to heal individually, and as a couple?

He gets angry and annoyed when I ask him how he feels, says its none of my business.

My question is am I being unreasonable and entitled to expect any sign of affection

I think it is reasonable to expect communication. It takes to two to have a relationship, and a marriage. Sounds very one sided to me.

Why are you willing to put up with this sort of M?

redsox13 posted 7/12/2014 19:28 PM

I guess some of the facts would help. Did you move back in together in the last 6 months?

It is reasonable to assume some level of intimacy 4 years after the fact. But I will tell you 5 years after the fact I go through periods of withdrawal and my suspicion is that I am depressed when that happens.

Are either of you in IC or MC?

tired girl posted 7/12/2014 22:36 PM


He has told you that this is what you can expect if you stay in this M. So what do you want? What do you want out of your life? If you want more, then D him. If you want to give up your life for your DD, then martyr yourself and live like this. He has made his position clear to you.

FixYou71 posted 7/13/2014 00:39 AM

You're dday is so long ago. There should have bene pretty significant progress by now. If you are trying to get him to communicate and he refuses I dont see what choice you have. He is not allowing any healing to take place.
Your best option is to have a last effort convo with him where you express your desire to have a loving, affectionate relationship with him and that you want to be each others number one supporters but that isnt happening. Ask him pointblank if he has the same desire and is Wilkin to work with you to achieve it. If yes, agree on a game plan (MC, intimacy books etc.) If no, well you have yoir answer. Communication is key.
I'm sorry for your pain. 4 years is a long time to live like that.

burntashes posted 7/13/2014 03:36 AM

Thanks for your replies. SI is the only place where I can find the most reasonable feedback.

TG, I struggle with that. I want to make the best decision and I don't want to be selfish to trade my daughter's happiness for my wish for a love I destroyed. I am afraid to go or stay because it looks crappy either way.

Some history: EA DDay 7 years ago, confessed and H decided to forgive. Marriage struggled during recession and I used my resentment to give myself permission to a 1 year EA leading to PA on our anniversary. DDay1 was 4 years ago when I confessed 5 months after PA (I was a coward), but I only told him the month and said I forgot the date (again, cowardly). Almost 3 years ago he found out the date. We stayed living together except for a 2 week separation over a year ago (he asked me to move back after I talked him down from being suicidal). I was a horrible lying monster, entitled and resentful and crushed the love of the only man that truly loved me, over and over until he ran out of forgiveness.

After DDay 4 years ago he said he would "go to town" getting back at me and he did. 7 ONS (some repeatedly) the first 2 years after DDay. Verbally abusive and from time to time slapped and shoved me while drunk. I was considering leaving after the last round of ONS, he said he was done with that and wanted to try to make it work for daughter. Had a blow out late last year when he was drunk and physically aggressive toward me and yelled at daughter when she screamed at him to stop. He had no memory of it when woke up. I lost it and took some extreme measures to stop his behavior. We almost decided to D, but after some painful talks and tears on both side, he decided to stop drinking and restrain from such out lash. He went to see a doctor and found that meds helped a lot with mood control.

The progress made up to this point is that we finally stopped setting fires to the marriage I blew up. I am angry with myself for breaking the love we had, and for putting up with the crap in the last few years. I am not intuitive at reading him, which is a problem because I should know him we'll by now after over a decade together. He loved me when we met because he thought I would be faithful, and overlooked my many shortcomings. Now that's gone, I need to be more spectacular in other ways but my confidence is shot, both by my own self negative talk and him saying I am damaged goods not the type of woman he would marry if he met me now.

So I am very hesitant to consider D because it seems all about me. If he's willing to put up with me for our daughter's sake how can I think of myself? Also I am still deeply in love with him and I don't want to leave. I want to find a way to our love. I asked him that I want to love him, can he try? He said yes. That is some hope, I needed that.

SlowUptake posted 7/13/2014 03:46 AM

My question is am I being unreasonable and entitled to expect any sign of affection
No, after four years you're not being unreasonable.
I'm in the same boat, so I get where you're coming from.

Communication is key.
With all due respect, in my experience, you can communicate till you're blue in the face, but if your BS has decided to remain in the limbo of 'not divorcing', is just not 'into you any more' or doesn't want you, just wants you around, then you have a choice to make, either
(1)You pull the plug on the 'mostly dead' marriage or
(2)You suck it up and martyr yourself on the altar of 'for better or worse'.
(And yes, I understand that at one time 'for better or worse' didn't mean that much to us waywards, but with work we get better)

DrJekyll posted 7/13/2014 06:37 AM

He loved me when we met because he thought I would be faithful, and overlooked my many shortcomings. Now that's gone, I need to be more spectacular in other ways but my confidence is shot, both by my own self negative talk and him saying I am damaged goods not the type of woman he would marry if he met me now.

This is discounting all of the times he "stepped out" He is blame-shifting this onto you. And that is a problem.

If he's willing to put up with me for our daughter's sake how can I think of myself?

The biggest thing my BS tells me, is that she is angry with herself for not leaving when I was a huge jerk. The only thing staying for our kids did, was damage our kids. I was on a 7 year long alcoholic bender set of self-destruction. From our experience, staying for the kids only hurts everyone. By the end the whole house would scatter when I came home from work. It would be better for your DD to feel happy and safe only seeing your BS on weekends than be scared seeing him every night.

he decided to stop drinking

What is the reason he decided to stop drinking? I stopped drinking for 4 years. But I stopped do to irresponsibility, and cost. So when I felt more responsible, and made more money. I thought I could "handle it" This time I have stopped drinking for me. I do not like what I become when I drink. I know I cannot control my drinking. I chose to quit for me. I think that this is the only way I will be able to stay sober. So if he quit for you or your DD. There is a high likelihood of this repeating in a few years. All he would need to do is devalue you and back to the old coping.

I wonder if you are taking responsibility for his actions. I wonder if you feel like you should do this as a penance. i wonder if you have told yourself you do not deserve better or do not deserve to be happy. I wonder if your BS hates himself for his actions and is projecting them onto you. I wonder if he is too afraid on intimacy with you, that he would rather stay indifferent than be vulnerable to you. I wonder if you feel you cannot do it without your BS.

Just because you were wayward doesn't mean you cannot be happy. You can let your wayward actions define you, or you can learn from them. You have to set your self-worth. You have to heal yourself. You obviously had poor boundaries. But this situation is not different. Again you have poor boundaries. Boundaries are there to protect you, and your beliefs and morals. You need to establish those boundaries. If you are going to stay in a loveless marriage "for the kids" then that needs to be clear to both of you. If you are only going to be roommates. Than so be it. But it seems like he is in roommate and you are in relationship.

I see that he is hurting, what is he doing to heal himself? IC/MC/AA/Reading? The explosions when drinking show the anger inside him. How is he dealing with it? Just keeping it bottled in?

burntashes posted 7/14/2014 02:41 AM

DrJekyll, my H quit drinking because he didn't like the person he became when he was drunk, not because of me. I don't think I am of much importance to him. Feels like I am not much more than a ticket to be living with DD, a necessary evil, and yeah, that doesn't feel great. But then that's my perception and since he doesn't want to talk about how he feels about us, I am not sure if it's true. It's based on the lack of affection, but that could mean other things. I don't know.

He's taking medication to manage his emotions, and it's been very helpful. We have never been in MC, he doesn't believe in it. I went to IC for 2 sessions then stopped. Beyond meds he's handling any feelings on his own. I want him to share them with me, but he doesn't think any good will come of it. I can't change his mind.

I made a joke and he gave me a hug, a real one. I felt like I was on cloud 9. It made my whole day. Then I thought of how little I expect, the smallest gesture from him makes me happy. That's in contrast to how rare these gestures happen. It makes me wonder if he's really putting some effort into trying.

FixYou71, communication hasn't worked for us. Maybe I just don't know how to do it well. When I ask him how he feels toward me, I've usually waited so long I couldn't be silent anymore, and my emotions are overwhelming. He gets annoyed and tense and says I am a downer. I don't feel it's useful to express my feelings to him. He doesn't provide any comfort or support. He used to earlier on, but it became extremely rare. Pouring my heart out then his silence response or "I'm not your shrink". I'd rather find my comfort from within.

Redsox, he has withdrawn from me, except it seems on-going. He's still hurting but he won't open up to me, and I can't change that. I hate my stupid decisions to have an affair. It sucks for all of us.

Why am I staying? For DD, and I love him. I keep hoping something will change, get better. I am afraid to give up. I have become increasing detached from needing any feedback from H to feel satisfied with life. It's a conscious effort and not an easy one. I do other things, work, my DD, that don't involve immoral behavior to feel fulfilled, but H is not one of those sources. I wish he would, but that boat has sailed. Sorry, I am conflicted.i don't want to make waves when everyone seems comfortable with the set up except me. Now if only I could be happy being roommates.

badchoice posted 7/14/2014 06:10 AM

Now if only I could be happy being roommates.

I think one of the things you have to decide is what are you willing to put up, and what do you want to teach your DD about adult relationships.

I agree with TG, your H has been clear what he is willing to do.

Why did you only go to 2 IC sessions? are you willing to go back? This M sounds very unhealthy for all involved, including your DD.

somethingremorse posted 7/14/2014 09:03 AM

Lots of good advice here.

I wanted to add this: no matter how awful we have been, I believe we deserve to have a healthy M. If you are trying to be a better person and a better spouse, you are worthy of having your W/BH trying too.

It sounds like you don't think you deserve better than you are getting because you strayed first. That is only going to stop your own personal journey.

solus sto posted 7/14/2014 09:51 AM

What consequences has your WH/BH faced for his abusive behavior? For his cheating and physical abuse? For his terrifying emotional abuse of your daughter? What accountability is he shouldering?

Or is this still about his entitlement to do what he wants due to your infidelity? (Unless I'm really misrembering your situation, I strongly suspect that your infidelity was predated by his.)

Has anything resembling mutual respect been established? Have you built the emotional intimacy required to elevate sex to real intimacy?

I don't think it's at ALL unreasonable to want a real partner. I think it may be quite unreasonable and unrealistic to believe you will have one with him. I'm really sorry.

[This message edited by solus sto at 9:53 AM, July 14th (Monday)]

steppingup posted 7/14/2014 12:24 PM

Good morning burn ashes,

You should expect affection from your husband, but this is how husbands work. Somewhere in our brains there is this category of things most important. In most men it looks like this: Loyalty, Honor, Respect, Trust, Affection, Service. The affair you had first broke a few of the core concepts, and although you cannot undo the past, you can repair the marriage now, before your daughter is off to college and you look at your life with your husband and decide there is nothing left to stay for. How to do this, RESPECT. Remember the song R E S P E C T? Yes, written by a man, not a woman. Consider buying the book “Love and Respect”

The book helps connect the two main things that drive our behavior. Men (Respect) Woman (Love). My problems with my wife stem from her affair 14 years ago and I resented her for those years and could not connect well with her or show her the affection she needed because I had lost my respect for her because the loyalty was lost that that was key to me. I am in IC and MC now, looking for ways to regain the respect and she wants the feelings. I cannot give her the feelings without the respect first. So there is a vicious cycle. You are in one too I suspect.

When your husband feels respected by you, the affection will start. I believe it with all my heart.

burntashes posted 7/15/2014 01:03 AM

badchoice, I stopped IC because I couldn't afford it. I am better off thinking thru my issues and reading on SI. Yes the M is not healthy for us right now, but DD is indeed happy and we'll loved. I do want to work on the "us" part though.

SR, "I believe we deserve to have a healthy marriage." I struggle with that. My H deserved a healthy marriage with a faithful wife, but I destroyed that. Even if he tries to go with someone new, he still has to work thru the broken trust issues I brought him. Deserve is subjective to each person. I do know that I WANT a healthier marriage, and want to work toward that with him if possible. But the sucky consequences remain and need to be dealt with on-going.

Solus sto, good to hear from you again. My H did suffer consequences for his abusive actions. I took some extreme measures. It was aweful for him, and for me because I hate to see him suffer, but I felt I had no other choice at the time. We went thru huge up and down emotions, but in the end he decided to stay and change because he didn't like the person he became with drinking. There is general sense of courtesy and he does talk to me respectfully in normal convo ways. It's only when I try to ask his deeper feeling about us that he gets angry or annoyed. I don't know for sure if it's hopeless. Sometimes he seems to be trying, like answering my text. I just want some sort of response from him that's personal.

steppingup, I agree that respect and trust are key to feelings needed for a close relationship. I do tell him things I appreciate of him often. I don't know if he can gain respect for me back. His view is binary, either I am the faithful kind who never cheats, or not, and I have become the "not" class. To him even if I am faithful the rest of my life, I am still a cheater wife because I already did. I don't know if his view can change. I do try to work on being a better person myself, because it's all I can do.

I want to thank everyone for responding. It really helps to read your thoughts on my situation and there are some very good thoughts here for me to think thru. I am sorry I am not decisive right now.

HurtingandLost posted 7/15/2014 18:05 PM

I don't know your back story, but certain elements of your post reflect similarities to my situation here, also four years out from DDay and headed into divorce.

Again, I'm sure I'm probably missing a lot of facts, but perhaps some of my story may pertain. Truly hope not but here goes.

I'm the BH in our marriage, my stbxx and I's situation is much the same as to what you've described. She wants more intimacy, affection,etc., but most days I look around at our life together and cringe.

In my situation (this part probably not same for you guys) I've asked numerous times for her to get herself into counseling, and she refuses. It was one of the few absolutes that I set forth for R. So (regardless of what it is, counseling or drinking or whatever particular)in essence this is an example of my feelings being invalidated. My other conditions were for her to begin to shoulder an equal share of raising three kids and running a household (I'm always been the cook, launderer, bathroom scrubber, cleaner, handyman, gardener, busboy, dish washer, and breadwinner, etc.) She never met any of these needs, especially during R.

On my side of wrong, she was raised by an alcoholic father who until a couple years ago would drink himself stumbling drunk daily. For her, an absolute was that I never drink. In response, as an unhealthy passive aggressive FU (and definite gut buster) for her not meeting my biggest requirement for R, I made a point to drinking between 4-6 light beers most nights. Rarely ever got a buzz, but you may be able to see how this could become a problem. I stopped doing it two weeks ago because I just don't like what the whole passive aggressive crap represents about myself, and with the impending divorce I want a clear head and to set the correct example for my kids of not drinking, especially when spending limited amounts of time with the kids going forward (split time).

Most days I come home excited to see my stbxw and kids until I walk through the door and it hits me every single day how my needs / feelings / requirements for R haven't been met, and whatever good feelings quickly become replaced with negativity. There are days when I get angry, but I avoid any conversations of "us" or feelings as I don't have anything new to add to the subject from what I've said a hundred times already.

Again, each and every couple going through this may have some different perspectives / details / triggers. The bottom line in the demise of my marriage may have begun with her cheating, but in the end for me it was the utter lack of respect for my expressed needs / feelings and completely invalidated existence within the marriage other than to continue to be a doormat.

Back to your situation: have you met all conditions of R? Have any of his expressed needs been overlooked or dismissed? Sorry for the long post. Again, I'm not sure if any of this even applies (without knowing the back story), just throwing it out there.

burntashes posted 7/15/2014 19:49 PM

HurtingandLost, thanks for your reply. I don't know what my H needs for R. In fact he never called this R. He wants to "make the best of what's left", but he's also said he would never want to hold hands and act like lovers with me again because why would he want to be close to me again after I cheated on him. All he ask is that I go about my life and don't bother him with talks about "us". I cook, clean, etc. and he cleans when he has time. He spends time with DD and so do I. I do things for him, write him love notes, tell him what I appreciate about him, but nothing gets any reaction back from him.

Your sentiment about ending the marriage because you are tired of not getting your needs met resonates with me, ironically because I am a WS. I just realized the thought of home makes me dread now. It just feels like he doesn't give a damn anymore about me. Yes I can understand why, but I don't know if I can keep going like this. It sucks the life out of me whenever I think about it. I am dreading having to start this convo with him, but I don't see another way. I don't want to give him an ultimatum, but I need him to at least want to be with me on some level. I need to think of how to best convey my needs without seeming needy.

HurtingandLost posted 7/15/2014 20:45 PM

There's no easy way to begin the conversation; in my case stbxw brought it up and I filled out the paperwork the next day. I was angry for a solid three days, mainly at myself for being delusional enough to think she may actually try and get some help, and the fact that I wasted 4 years of my life since D-Day.

Biggest holdup at the moment is that she has finally realized that she has created a financial catastrophe and chaos everywhere and can't provide for herself let alone the kids on her own, even with support. I'm not a douche and have no desire to "take" the kids from their mother, but I won't lose them to an every other weekend scenario either. I should have a sense of satisfaction at the expression on her face when I showed her a list of divided bills, but it was short-lived knowing we're going to have at least three months of in house separation until she can scrape enough money together to get out and see what the real world is like.

[This message edited by HurtingandLost at 8:48 PM, July 15th (Tuesday)]

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