By - yesitsathrowaway445
Continue counseling on your own.
Yeah this might help me. Or might just make the councillor richer. But so far the advice given ( well actually there wasn't much "advice" ) hasn't helped, but maybe I need to find a better therapist.
Yes find a different therapist
Therapist here. Definitely find another therapist that you feel is a good fit. Everyone is different and 70% of the success you will have i the relationship with the therapist themselves. Interview therapists like you would job applicants. I offer a 15 minute phone consultation free for potential new clients.
For your marriage counselor, look for a Gottman therapist. I think you will appreciate their methodologies and training. If you go on the Gottman Institute website you can find therapists who have trained using their methodologies and also the therapists credentials.
And, i agree - there are good therapists and bad therapists. One of my close friends is a therapist - I love her but I would NEVER recommend her as a therapist.
As for yourself, yes. Look for a therapist for yourself so you can process everything going on. This is not a healthy dynamic for you guys or the kids.
I live in the UK but i'll see if we have something equivalent over here. Thanks.
I'm sorry you are going through this, your marriage is currently broken and extremely unhealthy.
You both need to go back to marriage counseling, but with a strong focus on learning how to communicate with each other.
Was your last marriage counselor a therapist or a psychologist? It doesn't sou d like they taught you guys any skills or gave you tools to make things better.
Step 1 is to have a long serious talk with her after the kids go to bed. Make sure you give her a days warning that you want to discuss things.
Step 2 is to open up about how you are feeling. Explain to her that you love her, and want a future with her, but your marriage and communication is broken. Tell her you are desperate, and willing to do whatever it takes to fix things, again emphasizing that you want a future with her.
Step 3, is for you both to acknowledge that things are seriously broken and neither of you are happy. Then agree that you need to put some rules, and structure in place to learn how communicate with one another, and to love to be a team again.
Step 4, is to go to a different marriage counselor and ask them to dicuss on helping you guys communicate better. It sounds like your old counselor let you guys vent at one another, and possibly even tried to mediate (a horrible idea).
Ah good question. We went to marriage counselling run by a local charity. The lady said she was a marriage counsellor but I didn't ask her qualifications. The lady just basically sat there and said what bothers you, how does it make you feel etc etc... but never ever suggested a course of action.
Step 2 I think both of us agree on it. That's why we went. But how do you deal with a partner that won't accept criticism,
Yes old counsellor was very much you guys work it out , i'll sit and listen. It was kinda pointless.
Thank you for your points. I will take the advice on board
Start with this:
The Rules of fighting
One thing you can is to talk to him about "rules" that you can both agree on to help each other feel heard.
An example on this case would have been that when you brought up the issue, "the rule" is that he must listen, acknowledge, apologize and suggest a solution to avoid the same thing happening again.
The rule would also include that he's not allowed to bring up any other issues, because you initiated the conversation. If he also has things he wants to address then he can bring them up tomorrow or the next day.
One of the biggest things I like about rules line these is they are very like a "fake it until you make it" strategy. The rules I proposed above are more about learning to communicate competently than anything else.
If you both agree to them and stick to them and stick to them, then you will see a positive change in your relationship. You'll both feel confident, safe and secure to go to the other person with a complaint or issue and feel heard.
The other person won't always agree with you, but if the follow "the rules" then after a while they'll start to see that bending or giving a little to make your partner feel loved makes you happier overall.
At the beginning the rules likely will feel a bit restrictive, but again you'll eventually learn that only bringing up one or two things at a time will be better recieved by the other person. In turn when they don't counter with their own complaints you will feel heard.
The end goal is for this communication skill to be automatic vs having to think about it.
Your goal is to eventually get to this
Time to draw on the basic relationship skill of sharing negative feelings without attacking each other. Couples often get in to a trap where one person says "You always do this..." and the other person feels attacked. So, they immediately close up and get defensive and launch an attack of their own "Well, you always do that..." - and so it goes. An ever escalating war that proceeds to mutually assured destruction.
Here is the key to breaking attack/defend. You have to go the total opposite direction: (1) be vulnerable, and (2) rather than blame the other party, take responsibility for the problem yourself.
Do not go into a list of everything she is doing wrong (an attack). Rather than gird your loins for battle, open yourself up as having a problem and needing her help. As humans, when we encounter someone in need, we have a natural tendency to want to help. An attack pushes a person into their fortress. But being vulnerable draws them out. It encourages them to rescue you and be the hero. The facts are the same (cleaning issues, scheduling, the way she treats you), but the context of the story is different. You have been hurt and you are asking for help in solving the problem.
Own the Problem ("It's not you, it's me")
Describe the things that are happening. (Really work hard to keep them in the passive tense, rather than blaming her - for example not "You never pick up your laundry", but "the laundry piles up".) Connect each of the problem things with how they make you feel. Important point: the issue here is your feelings, rather than the laundry and the phone calls themselves. They are only a problem because they make you feel like trash.
The conclusion is that you don't want to feel like that anymore. Now, how can you put your heads together to get some of these issues out.
I'm not going to kid you - this takes work and practice. You will make mistakes, but if you know your goal you can bring the conversation back around.
If this is too hard to tackle on your own, propose a few sessions with a couples counselor to get a neutral third party in as a facilitator.
I just want to say, it’s really kind of you to provide such good advice to OP. I really rarely run across such thoughtful and mature advice with tangible “first steps” like you just did. kind of made my day because I’m so primed to seeing horrible advice in this sub. Please keep posting such high quality things in this sub
This is great. I .. I don't know what to say. Thank you.
The advice above reminds me a lot of [this old Ze Frank video](https://youtu.be/IE-P11KKYFs) from the early days of YouTube, which might also be of use to you.
Sit down with her when the kids are asleep or gone. As her how she feels about the marriage. LISTEN. Ask what she thinks you both need to do to fix it. LISTEN. Ask if she will put the work in to accomplish it. LISTEN. Do not accept "I dont know" . You are asking specific questions. If she is negative, then ask " what do you want to do or see happen". LISTEN. Accept that this wont be easy, it wont fix itself right away. Plan on additional talks to check in with each other. Good luck
Thanks for the advice. We do talk about our relationship admittedly not that recently but the subject of our marriage and how we're feeling does pop up every month or two. I think i do listen. But somehow I need to make that more clear to her that I am listening and i am taking what she says onboard.
The stuff we "fight" (it's never shouting etc) about is that I didn't take out the trash today, because I was stuck in meetings and didn't even get to have lunch today. Or that i'm constantly "playing" on my computer (i'm actually working) or that I said something wrong to my child.
I admit that I consider some of the things she says to be frivolous and not worth arguing about , but I guess that's just how I feel and obviously not how she feels. But if your boss says , hey employee .. join a meeting from 9am to 4pm and then your wife comes back at 3:30 and shouts at you for not taking out the trash ... what do you do?
i do appreciate the advice. I'm not ever gonna tell someone that I'm the good guy, I'm right, I don't need to change because quite obviously .. I do.
> admit that I consider some of the things she says to be frivolous and not worth arguing about , but I guess that's just how I feel and obviously not how she feels. But if your boss says , hey employee .. join a meeting from 9am to 4pm and then your wife comes back at 3:30 and shouts at you for not taking out the trash ... what do you do?
This is just me spitballing here, but do you feel like she has control in areas outside of the home? It sounds like she is grasping for control with both fists right now. The things she is complaining about are the symptom of the deeper issue going on. The frivolous stuff - look deeper. The "you never take the trash out" is likely not about the trash - its likely about feeling like she has to ask you to do every little thing.
I'll say this - during the worst part of our marriage, things like "he poured coffee and didn't pour me any" were coming out of my mouth. It was because that was the only way I felt like he showed me he loved me. Or, let me rephrase that, it was the only way I FELT like he showed me he loved me. The rest of the mental load of the house, the family, the chores and the balancing of everyone else's needs fell on Mom's shoulders all the time.
For your wife - my guess is it is the same. Have a heart to heart with her about what she wants and how you can help her facilitate it. She might really need to go back to work and have something for herself outside the home and feel like she can't because she won't have help with the house and kids (whether that is true or not doesn't matter - its about how she feels).
Sit down with her and start asking probing questions. Not accusatory. Just probing. Then ask how you can help her get where she wants to be.
Do you have set hours or at least hours you know in advance? Communicate them and talk to her about "work hours" vs "non-work hours". Make sure that when you click off you're off, not running back and forth. Make sure you talk to her, acknowledge work has finished for the day.
Does she work? Are you pulling your weight at home? Do you have equal parenting time, chores time, work time, relax time, going out independently time?
What else is going on? My relationship was dismal after kids (a non-sleeper, a chronic screamer, PPD etc) and for a couple years where we were barely scraping by and at risk of losing everything. If you're there, stick it out. We were incredibly lucky to catch a financial break 5 years ago and it was like we both got a new lease on life.
In business, if you want the other person to know you heard them as well as ensure you are interpreting what the said correctly, you summarize and ask them if that is correct. It works very well In personal situations as well. It forces you to listen instead of how you want to respond.
Yes! It also stops the common problem of “listening” so I can know when it’s my turn to talk. If you’re just waiting to be able to respond and give excuses or a rebuttal that’s not really listening. If you have to sit back and really absorb what the other person is saying and then repeat it back to them you have to really listen and you can also figure out if you understood correctly
Exactly. Thanks for supporting the thought. Maybe each of them will too.
You say you need to change, but the excuses you give for dismissing her emotions are pretty telling. It’s like you simultaneously know you want to be a part of the solution here, but you deeply think it’s all her fault actually.
You absolutely need to make her feel as if her problems are real to you, too, because they ARE real to her enough to shut off intimacy for years. That’s as real as it gets for someone in a relationship. If you have meetings from 9-4 and you know this matters to your wife, take the trash out at 8. It takes very little time honestly. That fact makes the insult much worse. It matters so much to her, it’s so simple, yet you’re letting it destroy you to such an extent. Does that make sense? The issue does not have to matter to you but you have to care about her to believe it matters to her and want to act on it FOR HER sake.
Taking 110% ownership will lead her to start responding in kind. Take the lead here. She loved you enough once to marry you.
Umm...so, when OP has a job and she doesn't, she should expect him to do chores like taking out the garbage not just as a favor but as something worth getting seriously upset about? And this is the type of problem that could cause her to "shut off intimacy"? Please explain how failing to do this chore, when he is working and she isn't, is an insult to her.
Because it matters to her. Maybe sex doesn’t matter to her but clearly matters to him. Child rearing is harder than a job. I’m a biochemist and a researcher. Child rearing is much harder.
Yeah, that certainly seems excessive.
I was given a really good method to communicate difficult issues by a great therapist. It seems convoluted but it works.
There's a few steps:
1. Headline the issue ("I want to talk about____") and ask if they have time, or when would be a good time to talk.
2. When you have the talk, one person is the listener, no talking. The other person says everything about how they are feeling, using I language (I felt unappreciated Vs you don't appreciate me(.
3. The listener waits until the talker feels done, and the repeats back what they heard, to check they understood and aren't putting a spin on it. ("so what I heard you say is ____, am I understanding you right?")
4. The talker clarifies if needed, or can add. Repeat until the talker feels satisfied the listener is understanding them properly. The listener asks "is there more you want to say?" Because sometimes you think of more stuff after you hear your words back. And you want to be able to not keep going for days, and fully put the matter out in the open.
5. The roles switch, the listener can now respond, with no interruption, and the process repeats.
Basically, headline, set a time, one person says everything they need to say with I language, the other person checks they understand and has clarity, then the other person talks. You both get to say what you need without fear of interruption or misunderstanding and both feel heard and understood.
This method really takes the conflict and defensiveness out of hard conversations because you're both heard and actively listening. It turns it into a mutual search for cooperation. It's worth a go. You can even give it a trial run about a normal topic that isn't difficult, or a made up scenario first.
I found a post that basically describes it better than I can I think, [maybe have a look](https://www.thepalmeirapractice.org.uk/expertise/2018/4/18/intentional-dialogue-couples-communication).
Hope this can help you guys, cos it seems the counsellor you had didn't give you any tools.
Awesome advice. OP, in addition- Don't talk- write it down or record to listen to later. (With permission of couse)
Listen (and it goes both ways.) Good luck. Please update
From a woman’s perspective and after thousands of chats with countless female friends over the years, they all say the same thing but maybe just word it differently…
We have spent so so many years telling the partner about how we feel, what’s going wrong and what they can do to fix it but it falls on deaf ears. The arguments get more frequent and the resentment starts to build.
What the OH fails to recognise is that this is the time we are trying to fix things, we are not picking on their annoying traits.
What you may see as petty may be pretty damn important to her. Feeding the dog or emptying the dishwasher may appear like a boring ass chore but to a busy mum trying to juggle a household with a full time job, kids, finances, cleaning and laundry, it can be a pretty big deal. I spent years asking my OH for help in this way. He’d just roll his eyes and call me petty. At the time, I was working 90 hours a week to keep a roof over our heads, as well as kids and school runs to worry about. I literally managed EVERYTHING, yet all he could see was my ‘petty requests’ for help!
Over time, you become so worn down that you become indifferent to the relationship and give up wanting it to work. It’s more effort than it’s worth.
It comes as shock to most men when women suddenly announce they want to split/divorce when the writing has been on the wall for years, they’ve just failed to recognise it or have been in denial.
If counselling was her suggestion then I have a feeling that she’s doing the whole ‘well at least if we go to counselling he can’t say I didn’t try’ thing. The very fact that she doesn’t appear to be participating fully in it and admitting to her faults tells me that she lost hope long ago and the relationship is nearing its end. I don’t want to appear negative but this is definitely my experience with this stuff, and with a lot of female friends. I did pretty much the same with my ex husband…I suggested counselling knowing that it was over, I just wanted to give it one last chance. It was like the final nail in the coffin, I knew he’d never change and that gave me to confidence to leave knowing that I’d done all I could to try to salvage it.
I came to say this almost to a T. OP, I don’t think either one of you is to blame anymore than the other, but I highly recommend subscribing to the Gottman Institute if you haven’t. “Small things often”. It focuses on the little things that make the bigger picture whole. Wishing you luck in your marriage.
You described exactly how I feel, except I’m actually a SHAM (kind of, I don’t work 9-5, but I have income). I’m fine with doing 100% of the household chores, but I got fed up with his attitude and double standard. I’ve long checked out, and I’m beyond caring.
And the sad thing is, when you eventually announce that it’s over, he will almost certainly respond with something along the lines of ‘wtf, where has this come from’!
I often think we speak entirely different languages when all we want is some consideration and assistance. It’s supposed to be a partnership and it appears that it somehow gets forgotten along the way. We get used to doing things alone which only teaches us that we don’t need them, or even worse, they are just adding to the burden and we are better off without them.
I remember asking my ex to help with the dishes after tea. His idea of helping was buying paper plates! Yes, I’m serious! I’d spend hours preparing meals, serving then and catering to everyone’s needs, sometimes after working 20 hours in two different jobs whilst he sat on his ass watching TV.
Another time, I went away for a week on a field trip to The Gambia for a week. I walked into a house full of flies and what I can only describe as a squat! He hadn’t washed one dish the whole week. He’d eaten and fed the kids takeaways every night and had sent the kids to school in dirty clothes. Honestly! What a slob! I knew then that it was over!
> We get used to doing things alone which only teaches us that we don’t need them, or even worse, they are just adding to the burden and we are better off without them.
Just recently, my husband actually said, “I feel like it doesn’t make a difference whether I’m in this family or not.” I didn’t respond, because the only thing I could think of was “well, what else do you expect when you have zero participation.” I believe in if I can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all so I just kept my mouth shut.
Our old house didn’t have a dishwasher. I would leave the dishes for a bit and deal with them after I put the kids to bed (then 2 and 3 year olds). I NEVER leave them overnight no matter what. There are so many times when he would do the dishes while I’m going through bedtime routine with the kids. It sounds like I should be appreciative, right? But I can’t help not feeling appreciative when he would do so while nagging about how leaving the dishes like that is not hygienic and act like he’s picking up my slack because I should have done the dishes earlier. On the other hand, he would eat something late at night and leave those dishes in the sink for me to wash in the morning. Double standard much?
Lol. Your ex sounds like my husband when it comes to kids - they keep them alive, which really is the bare minimum. I came home once after just being out for less than 2 hours. There was a huge puddle of water on the living room floor. My son’s pants are soaked (wasn’t pee). My husband was still in the front of the computer and had no idea what happened.
It’s unbelievable isn’t it! Expecting us to be grateful and full of thanks for them just doing their part is the most hilarious thing. In the very rare occasion my ex lifted a finger, he’d expect me to praise him or else he’d go into strop mode whilst I did it all and go no thanks whatsoever. I was just expected to carry the weight of every last thing and not complain about it. After 17 years of it, I couldn’t take any more of it. We are on really good terms now though and he apologises for it profusely, he even sent me flowers a few months ago to thank me for all I did. He’s not a horrible guy, he was just mislead and had been brought up in a household were the women did everything and the men did nothing so I guess he didn’t know any different. We’ve been slit for 9 years now and he married again a couple of years ago. He’s learnt from his experience with me and she is reaping the rewards. I’m genuinely happy for him, I guess if anything good came from those wasted years, it’s that he learnt some valuable lessons! I also learned a lot!
Seriously thank you for the honesty. Part of me feels like I already know this and the relationship might have reached the end of it's course but another part of me wants to do anything and everything to fix and repair it. That's why I agreed to see a marriage therapist. To me, it feels like my wife wanted us to go there so she can tell the therapist look, look at all the things my husband does that upsets me ... and have me fix it. But the reverse would not be accepted. She would not look at the things that upset me and try to fix them.
A really insecure part of me feels like, dude she's a woman and she could find someone besides me in 30 seconds. That part of me, scares me. I don't discuss this with her obviously.
I just hope it's not over. But maybe, it already is. I would love to try to fix it.
/u/anon449-1105 is probably on the money I’m afraid.
Once one party has checked out, it’s not something that can be easily fixed - not like it’s a broken car
That’s the sad thing about lost relationships that end, the OH only wants to fix it after it’s already ended. Covering up her body when you’re in the room is also a sign to me that it’s beyond redemption. When you’ve been with someone for a long time, you really don’t care what they see, they’ve seen it, warts and all. Once you start covering up around them it’s usually at the point where you feel like it’s an invasion of your privacy and a sign that you don’t want any physical connection or even attract or invite any kind of physical touch or affection.
I really hope that you can work it out. It’s takes two though and equal amounts of effort. If either one of you has reached the point where indifference has set in, the motivation won’t be there to resolve it. Don’t become her doormat but listen to what she’s saying, do whatever you need to do in order to make her life easier, even if you think it’s petty. It’s crazy the turnaround you see in people when you make a consistent effort for them. Don’t wait to be asked, you know her, you know what needs to be done. I’m not talking flowers, chocolates and jewellery, I’m talking everyday shite she’s left to deal with. If she cooks every night, make it your mission to lighten the load and cook a couple of times a week. Help her wash up, bath the kids and fold the laundry. Trust me, she will love it. Just don’t do the typical man thing and do it for a few weeks and then slide back into old lazy ways. This is even worse than never starting anything to begin with. She then knows that you know how to fix things but can’t be assed to do it anymore so it’s a fast track to divorce. If you’re serious about turning things around, get serious and be prepared to put in major effort, the kind that you were putting in before you got married and had kids. Take her on date nights once a month, romance her, compliment her and point out her positives.
>led to recognise it or have been in denial.
>If counselling was her suggestion then I have a feeling that she’s doing the whole ‘well at least if we go to counselling he can’t say I didn’t try’ thing. The very fact that she doesn’t appear to be participating fully in it and admitting to her faults tells me that she lost hope long ago and the relationship is nearing its end. I don’t want to appear negative but this is definitely my experience with this stuff, and with a lot of female friends. I did pretty much the same with my ex husband…I suggested counselling knowing that it was over, I just wanted to give it one last chance. It was like the final nail in the coffin, I knew he’d never change and that gave me to confidence to leave knowing that I’d done all I could to try to salvage it.
maybe start by focusing on what you can do to fix it instead of what she's not doing. Maybe after a few months of you taking the lead in doing EVERYTHING you can on YOUR part and not focusing on her failing she will start to soften up and follow your lead. Chores seem to be a point of contention. perhaps the 2 of you can sit down and write a chore list and you can schedule the chore outside of your work hours. Maybe every morning or every lunch break or every evening you can go check the chore list and do your chores then ? also yes date nights are important. seek first to understand then be understood. Have you ever seen the movie fireproof ?
> At the time, I was working 90 hours a week to keep a roof over our heads, as well as kids and school runs to worry about
notice how all these fed up women have a job
and your wife is a stay at home mother
time to dump her while you are still young enough to start over from scratch
I think you are projecting a bit from your own side of the story in your relationship. Your situation is not OPs.
In reality in most cases it is more a two way street. Both people feel unappreciated and misunderstood. Neither person feels listened to. Resentment grows on both sides. Communication breaks down. Intimacy decreases. Resentment grows more. Little annoyances now become big irritations. Both sides have valid points so they feel they are in the right and it eats away at them.
When you bring people into counselling - it does no one any good to make one person out to the good one and one person the bad one. Every one has different stressors - does she validate and appreciate the pressure of being the sole income and having all financial weight on his shoulders? does he validate and appreciate the pressure of being at home with young kids and having all the day to day pressures on her shoulders? etc.
The issue is the dynamic and the feelings that have grown around that dynamic. Sometimes they can be brought back to a positive place and a healthy dynamic and sometimes it is too far gone.
It sounds like you need try a different counselor. There is a lot you two need to discuss and work through. And talk to the counselor how you feel that sometimes a session feels meaningless and just a pile on.
Maybe alternatively a trip together alone could help. A weekend away from the stress?
Also when she says you never listen. What is it that she feels that you are missing? Is she feeling lonely, distant, fat, not sexy to you? It seems like you need to get to the root of the problem.
Maybe write a love letter or a letter about your feelings. Not accusing anything, but more about how you love her but have been feeling distant and want to build your bond up again. You want to go on a date night with her and dress up for dinner and make it an event for both of you.
Yes I think a different counsellor would be useful. I just wish my wife would actually listen to them. To accept criticism. I mean ok I can be defensive too, but if a 3rd party who doesn't know me looks at the evidence and says ... you fucked up .. i'll accept it. I'm not so sure my wife would.
About not listening. Well we had an argument yesterday. It was about raising our child. I said I didn't want her watching some TV program that was really really really dumb. Like the entire script is "oh, uh-oh . oh. uh-oh". It's called "Wolfoo" if anyone knows it. Anyway, I said I'd prefer them to not watch it. She says oh but all her friends watch it, this particular friend watches it. I said well said particular friend has a language problem and barely speaks, is that good? she responds "you don't listen". I dunno what I didn't listen to.
When our daughter was very young, my wife insisted that she not wear nappies and use the potty/toilet. I said no sorry, she's pissing the bed every night, she needs nappies. Her reply was "She's not fucking wearing nappies and that's the end of it". So I felt like my opinion means absolutely fuck all to her. Again when we discussed it she accused me of not listening because a 3 year old shouldn't be in nappies. I heard the entire conversation and responded to it but that's the reply I got ?!
You know the date thing might actually work. We haven't had one in 18 months now (it had been impossible during lockdown here)
I hate to be jumping all over this post, but I really want you to know you’re not listening to her either. At all.
She says she wants something one way, you say you don’t want it that way, she says she does want it… you give some sort of reason for why yours should be the case, she gives hers, you think yours is more legit than hers for some reason, you tell her she’s wrong… she says you’re not listening. I have to be honest, you’re not.
If you don’t earn her respect by LISTENING to her, all arguments come down to a battle of power. Who will give up the least, wins. Who cares the least, wins. A relationship is not a win-lose game. If you lose, she loses. You telling her that your kid shouldn’t watch a show she clearly thinks is fine, and then one of you forcing your will, does not equate winning or losing.
An analogy, you’re at war and you know the enemy is coming from a different angle than expected and that all of your men will be ambushed and die. You warn the general. He says nope. That’s not what’s going to happen… we stick to the original plan! And you say well fine. I’m right but you do what you want. And then you all die. Does being right mean you win here? No. The whole thing blew up. The only way you’re right and you win, is when you BOTH hear one another and the “right” answer is concluded by both of you. Otherwise, it’s one person choosing to blow everything up.
In your example about the tv program… you said you didn’t want her watching it because it was “really really really dumb”
That is a hurtful statement. You just declared war. Your wife chose to put your daughter in front of something that you’re now calling dumb. And then you follow this by questioning her parenting skills by condescendingly saying that the friend who watches it has a language problem and therefore, your wife is making as dumb of a mistake as someone who barely speaks. You’re being really offensive here.
An alternative way to approach this could be:
“What is this show? What do you like about it? Let’s watch an episode together. I think it’s important to stimulate thoughts when our kid watches tv. Do you agree? What do you think is important in a tv show for our daughter? Tell me more.”
That way, you two discuss what is important to you both. You get to the bottom of what should be done without accusing one another. I’m not trying to be aggressive but all of your comments have this pattern: I want to change, but here’s this problem that is entirely my wife’s fault, I’m at fault too but here’s an example where she gets mad and I can’t possibly change what I’m doing and she’s unreasonable for being mad. I’m not perfect though”
It’s the same pattern. You’re not taking ownership and I think this is a good start for you.
„ I sit quietly while my wife reels off a list of what I consider petty shit“
Im gonna take a wild guess here and say :
here's something to consider, one of the few things that can fuck your kids up more than a divorce is a dysfunctional household. They will pick up on your fights and your dysfunction, and that will be their model for what a normal relationship looks like. Imagine a world where your child goes through what you're going through now. Is that what you want? because that's what you are teaching them to look for.
We try not to have these "arguments" in front of them. But that's really good advice. I don't want to fuck them up as well. Divorce might be the only way out. I just hope it's not. But sometimes I do wonder if i'm just adding another band-aid to the giant hole in the ship that is our marriage
Well take it from me, you're not as good at hiding it as you think you are, my parents had me late as an attempt to keep their marriage together, they both became much better people and better parents once they figured out it wouldn't work and got a divorce.
Just to hammer the point home here's a little taste; I can remember an incident between them, nothing major, quiet but fairly intense, that happened when they thought I wasn't paying attention. I'm in my late 30's. I was three at the time. I can close my eyes right now and **see** it.
Wow. I did kind of wonder at what age kids start to form permanent memories. For me the earliest I can remember is 5 years old. My eldest daughter is now 6 so she should start if not already. But this is really really good advice. I think from now on any discussions about our relationship will be done while the kids are at school.
It's different for different people, I have coherent memories back to around 3 but fragments earlier than that, I'm told I have fairly exceptional long term memory though. I don't remember everything but standouts are really vivid. According to my older brother I was really sharp for a toddler (he was like 16 at the time) but also really a handful because I had absolutely no fear.
It seems from what you describe though, that you and your wife know how to have a loving and enjoyable marriage. Something changed. It is not uncommon to feel anxiety and tension in a marriage when you move to a new place, have kids, or change your work situation so one works for money and the other does not. You have had all of these things in your life. If you can, view the stress of the changes and time in your life as a problem that you two address as a team. For many marriages, having one person home without a job is worse than them having at least a part-time job, because they need adult time, they need to feel like their skills are being used, or they feel like their contributions to the family are less valued in the home or in society. Consider changing something of the structure of your lives to lessen the main issues. She may not want sex because she is upset. I'm sorry she feels she always has to be right. That is very difficult to live with. You asked what you could do though, and it looks to me like there might be a number of things you could still try. EDIT: I just read your comment where she did not do much all day and you worked and did a bunch with the kids. It sounds like she is very unhappy generally. Sorry, OP. I hope communication and some life changes help.
Your main problem sounds like the lack of sex. In fact the first half of the post is just sex sex sex, that’s the marriage to you.
When she tells you why she’s angry, you call it petty right after you just mentioned that you want to work things out.
Well those things aren’t really petty if they can threaten to end your marriage, are they? So why don’t you sincerely listen to the small things that you do or say that makes your wife resent you.
Reddit cannot magic away your problem, which it seems to me is just the lack of sex.
This question can be summed up as: My wife has stopped wanting to sleep with me, help. P.S. I don’t want to change and she’s wrong.
Edit: Also I just noticed how detailed you are about the sexy things, even mentioning a movie but when it came to what your wife said in the counseling (10 minutes worth at that) it turns vague as if you don’t care or you don’t remember or both.
And that’s the thing that will make her divorce you.
You worded things much more bluntly than I, but yes. This is exactly correct in my opinion as well. The dichotomy between what he thinks he is vs what he is telling us he is in his marriage (with his wording and lack of regard for her emotions) is pretty shockingly different.
What this person said ^
Are you two still doing things together? Do you ever watch films together, have a babysitter to go on dates together, even go on walks together? Tell each other jokes, tell her she looks pretty today, buy her flowers on the way home. It sounds like life has got in the way and you’ve forgotten how to just enjoy each other’s company. Therapy and chats would be useful too, just adding another thought of something that could help. Serious talks are obviously needed, but sometimes the little day to day signs of affection, making each other feel valued, are really important too! It was easier to want sex when you had hours to chat and do things, keeping the connection when life gets in the way is when challenges start.
So I live in the UK. We were under lockdown from March 2020 to May 2021 (for those not in the UK, this meant only leaving your house for food, medicine, exercise .. nothing else .. travel outside of your town/city was not permitted). During that time we did not have the ability to send our kids to the child minder they used to go to. They are both school age so they go to school from 08:30-15:30 every day now. We have never had a babysitter. Our parents are incapable of providing childcare too.
We used to watch a lot of TV together, but not so much now. We watched all of GoT together. I like Sci-Fi and my wife hates it. My wife likes stuff like mystics and people telling you what the lines on your palms mean and my personal feeling is that's all BS. But I don't ridicule anyone for watching it.
Walks? no. We go out with the kids regularly. But nothing together as man and wife no.
I think several people tonight have made me realise that my wife and I basically exist for the kids and we no longer spend any time together just the two of us. It always involves the kids, and well the kids know how to push the buttons too so even on a nice trip out with the family it can be stressful.
I think we need to look at ourselves as human beings again, with desires and passions and interests instead of two parents who need to work and survive to look after the kids. Plenty of parents manage to have good relationships with their children and each other, but we've been particularly shy of child care / babysitters etc. Some of this is my fault. We had a cleaner/nanny and she stole from us and that put me off hiring anyone else.
It has become crystal clear that my wife and I are not spending enough (actually ANY) time together, just us. I should fix that.. now.
Also from the U.K.! I have some good friends that have become parents, and it definitely seems to be one of the harder personal adjustments of having kids. I definitely think spending time together would help rebuild that bond. Don’t beat yourself up, learning to live in current world circumstances, adapting to being a busy child household, is really difficult to navigate. It’s really great that posting this has had a few lightbulb moments and you’ve got a few things to do to hopefully help in your marriage
I really hope you and your family all the best, and I hope spending quality time with your wife will reignite the reasons you’re together in the first place
I'm so glad I made this post. It's made me feel a bit better about myself, some of the posts have given me great hope, and some have made me realise that if I can't fix this, then I need to accept that.
The biggest red flag to me is your feeling that your position as the "earner" means that your wife can't have any issues with you and your behavior. I'm not a stay-at-home parent, but my friends that are can't be described as "not working." They're ON, all day every day, taking care of small children and the house and everything else.
She's working just as much as you are, maybe more sometimes. Her job is reasoning with small children all day, so "petty shit" from you, *her adult husband*, is probably a lot more frustrating than you realize. I get it--coming home from work and being met with a frustrated spouse is a lot. But she's had a long day, too. Just try to have some empathy.
Additionally, as for the covering up her body--women's bodies change after having babies. Not everyone loves how they look, even if *you* might love how they look. She might be reacting from that angle.
Overall, it sounds like your heart is in the right place but honestly you're being a little selfish. That's a REALLY easy thing to do and I'm not blaming you for it, but I think you need to make an effort to *not* be selfish. I'd be willing to bet your wife will react to you much differently.
Ah that came off totally wrong. Divorce comes across my mind regularly (I have not mentioned it to my wife) and in my country, well, it's pretty much a given that i'll be the one to loose the house and to continue to pay for it.
I realise now that sounds like ... I earn the money, she should do what I want. That's totally not what I intended.
I know taking care of children is extremely hard work, and I've taken time off work to help her out as much as I can. I'm also now taking them to school and picking them up every day so that she doesn't have to.
\>Additionally, as for the covering up her body--women's bodies change after having babies
This started 5 years after our child was born, and quite recently.
But thanks for making me look at myself, as I mentioned i've made mistakes and I need to fix things too. I'm absolutely not an innocent little angel here. I will take everything you said on board.
First I suggest you go to individual counseling, no you can’t fix it alone but I think everyone needs counseling, so try it. Secondly, I’m betting she is feeling unappreciated, unloved, and hurt by things that you might see as meaningless, but to her are a big deal. Try being nice, try really seeing it from her viewpoint. Maybe she’s truly difficult and there’s nothing you can do. But maybe your attitude towards her has changed and she’s checked out because of that. Somewhere along the way in our 20 year marriage, my husband just quit being nice to me…he was rude, inconsiderate, flat out told me my feelings didn’t matter…yet he still wanted sex. And for a long time I gave him sex and kept trying. But the more I tried, the less attentive to me he became….until I just gave up. And for us by the time I gave up, it was too late. Maybe for you there’s still time to fix this. Make her feel loved, make her feel appreciated. You mentioned how you make the money….but are you recognizing all her contributions? Is she providing the child care, cooking, cleaning…appreciate her for that. Treat her the way you did back when you first fell in love with her…and not just for a couple weeks…do it forever.
Thank you. You're right because when we did have our last little argument we both said we both felt unloved/unappreciated etc. But I'm not doing the i'm right .. look at me ... but I made an effort. Cooked dinner, bought flowers, massaged her. A week went by , and when I tried to seduce her she was having none of it.
Now I don't want it to sound like it's all about sex. It's not . Fuck at this point i'd be happy with a kiss and to hold hands when we go outside.
I'm sorry to hear about your husband and your problems. It sounds like you were doing all the work in that relationship. I try to help I really do. I take the kids to school, I pick them up later, but yes I work a lot I do about 50hrs a week working for myself. But if I were to do less hours we'd be unable to afford our current lifestyle (including the house). Yes my wife does do childcare, from 3:30 in the evening until 6pm when I finish. I do appreciate her looking after them. About cooking/cleaning, we take that in turns equally. I quite like cooking.
Thank you very much for your advice.
Well good luck, keep trying….and doing it for a week after this long of trouble, is not enough….clearly she has work to do on herself and I’m sure she needs to show appreciation to you too…but you can only change yourself, you can’t change her….however hopefully as she sees your changes, she will change for the better too. if you try for a couple months and she still doesn’t budge, well then you might have your answer. If you do head the route of divorce, it’s no longer automatic custody to the mom. I’m in the USA and 50/50 is the norm now.
You're right of course. I can't continue to try forever. She has to make an effort as well but I will try to double down on my efforts as well. You're so right I can't change her too, but she changed herself. I want the old wifey back, and the old me back, and our old relationship back.
I think a lot of people don't try to repair things and they inevitably end up in divorce court. Maybe it won't be the worst thing that ever happens to me. I just really don't want it to. But I have to be realistic and we can't both keep this up forever.
I just feel like i'm making an effort, and it's either not being noticed, or she doesn't care. And yet i'm making an attempt to fix the very things that she's upset with. Maybe as one other poster said above she isn't attracted to me any more due to a little weight gain but if that's the case, then our relationship was built on superficialities. I know this might sound easy to say, but I would still love and make love to my wife should she happen to weigh as much as I do. I wouldn't be happy about it (and I'm not happy about my own weight) but well I wasn't exactly an sports player when she met me.
I think you have a good point. I will try even harder. If it doesn't work, then I need to be realistic with myself about it even if it's the thing I dread the most. I honestly thought that living a friendship style life instead of an intimate man/wife relationship would still be ok, and i'd still see the kids ... but now I think this idea would be worse than it is now :/
Ok, my first inclination was that if she was that kinky and into sex, maybe a cheating scenario. But by the end, I do wonder if you’ve tried the angle of being sweet and engaged. Not in a fake way, but showing her affection that isn’t only around bedroom time? Telling her she’s beautiful, you think about her (assuming you think she is, and actually do that). Express what she means to you. Be engaged. Cuddle without looking for sex. If you do all that, and it doesn’t work, she’s either cheating or asexual suddenly. Best wishes!
Thank you this is good and you're right. I used to do those things, tell her I love her, tell her that she's wonderful etc. I'm going to try that. She likes being massaged, and that used to normally end with .. well you know , but I will just do it for her.
Seriously, thank you. I don't know why this didn't occur to me.
Yeah dude I was in a rough patch for a while with my wife, and I took a look at myself and realized I wasn’t doing these things. Learn her love languages and make it a priority to do them. When you do this, it’s like the honeymoon stage all over again.
This gives me hope. Thanks. I'm feeling confident again.
Rooting for y’all man
To add to this, I also noticed the stark difference between love languages here it seems.
In my humble and potentially way wrong opinion, OPs wife:
-acts of service because she is clearly hurt by him not doing simple tasks she asks
-quality time because she says he is playing on the computer which in my opinion sounds like she’s hurt with his lack of personal time with her and so she’s throwing digs at the thing she knows is taking his time
-physical touch because this was something he mentioned right away which means it’s important to him
-words of affirmation because he is clearly hurt by her pointing out when he doesn’t do something meaning he takes it personally as a character flaw in him
Conflicting love languages all around, man! Lol
Agreed! Yeah I think couples forget this. Do your partners love languages rather than trying to do your own.
Great! Super important to not only do it around potential sex time. Just do it always. Make it part of your day. Look at her like you are struck with her still. Tell her what she means to you. Embrace and flirt without pushing for sex. Show her attention. When irritated with her, suppress your need to show it emotionally. Speak your feelings, but do so lovingly… you got this man!
Nope. I'm not. I've wondered about it because she once told me (in the heat of an argument) that the longest she'd gone without sex was three weeks. I refuse to spy on her, so I'll have to find out the hard way if she is or not. I'd like to hope and pray that she isn't .. but well .. she's a 10 i mean she's really something and she's not interested in me that's for sure right now.
>she's a 10 i mean she's really something and she's not interested in me that's for sure right now.
Check her phone, no point in putting effort into marriage counselling only to find its worthless.
Being highly sexually active and into kink does not make someone more prone to cheating. That is an absolutely dreadful take.
So if you are capable of following logic, if said person is very high libido and is currently not seeking sex… then… hmmm… where could they be getting it from?! So yeah, my statement stands.
Libido levels change. It's very common for a person who *used* to have a high sex drive to stop being interested in sex for any number of reasons. Low self-esteem. Physical exhaustion. Mental exhaustion. From reading the post, *all* of these are far more plausible explanations than "hurrrr she must be cheating".
Have you asked her about the sex? Or have you asked her to show a bit of affection to you?
About two months ago, she came to me and said that I don't make love to her (it has to always be me initiate anything) and that I don't care about her any more etc. We had a good talk, we ended up hugging and kissing ... a few days later, I put the moves on and she says "not tonight" and goes to sleep. The same thing happens the next day.
She claims she's tired all the time, and that she doesn't have time to do anything because i'm always working and she's always looking after the kids. But well that was the arrangement we came to, she looks after the kids, I work and pay the bills/mortgage.
I'll try asking her again tomorrow I guess. We do need to discuss it. But at this point I fear it's just gone on too long and is not repairable. But I guess i'll see what she says about it tomorrow.
FWIW I told her I felt the same way.
>> that was the arrangement we came to, she looks after the kids, I work and pay the bills/mortgage.
Pause right there. Are you saying that she is 100% responsible for taking care of the kids and maintaining the house?
No. I guess i didn't write that very well. She agreed to pick kids up from school at 3:30 when they finish and provide childcare until 6 or 6:30 when i finish. I do clean, cook, etc and well I fix anything that breaks.
Does she WANT that role?
Find someone to watch over the kids and take her on a date, and not a lazy date but a well thought-out date where you'll both have fun. Something exciting, something new. Tell her a few days in advance that you take her on a surprise date ? So she can plan out making herself pretty ( especially if she didn't have the occasion lately !), maybe buying herself something new.
Treat her as if your plan was to make her fall in love with you all over again. You have to bring that spark back if you want your sex life to go back to where it was. You know how hard it is to resist having sex with someone that turns you on like crazy. Maybe you don't turn her on as much anymore. Make her feel loved, make her feel pretty, show yourself as a man of value yourself. Take care of yourself, maybe hit the gym, get a new haircut, stylish clothes.
A lot of good couples fall apart because the seduction games falls apart. You have to keep acting like you did when you met, showing her that you're the best guy in town for her. And showing her that from all the women out there, she's the one that you want.
That and communication. Communication is harder to fix, especially after years of not listening to each other. But with both parties willing to work on it still ( and going on dates once per week is a great way to show that there is still hope and value in the relationship, if can still enjoy spending time together), miracles can be achieved.
So you do know why, she's told you why. Just because you came to that agreement doesn't mean she isn't exhausted by holding up her end of it.
You seem really dismissive of what she tells you generally. She's allowed to have her feelings and they're valid whether you've approved them or not.
Here's one thing I picked up here that might be what's "wrong" and why she tells you you don't listen (at least in this case), correct me if I'm wrong, it's just an assumption based on what you say.
She tells you that you don't make love with her, not fuck her. She needs attention, slow seduction, flirtation and she wants to feel your love and attraction for her. That doesn't translate as I put the moves on/I'll ask her tonight. Try to remember how you guys use to be before kids. It starts with morning giving her a kiss, looking he Rin the eyes and telling her how much you love her. Make her a coffee and bring it to her in bed before kids get up. After you pick the kids up and bring them home thank her for what she did (cook or whatever). Once done with work while having dinner compliment her in front of your kids (about the meal, about how beautiful she is etc). Make her a bubble bath and let her relax for an hour without your kids or you... just some alone time with some music (maybe something that's meaningful for you as a couple, make a playlist of songs you guys had on your wedding, concerts you attend etc) When kids go to bed/ or while having family time if you're watching TV watch something she likes, hold her hand during it...keep making physical gentle contact but not overwhelming. At bed time kiss and spoon her if she'll allow it...tell her how much she means to you. You have to bring intimacy back into your marriage. Not just be attentive for a few days and if no sex back to old grumpy self. It takes work and dedication to change a pattern you fell into, you have to keep it up every day. Sometimes you will need more attention but if the intimacy is back you will be able to talk about it. Show her that old you is still there, her friend, her lover, her husband not just a breadwinner of the family. Show her your vulnerable side. You both changed in your marriage and somewhere down the line with two kids you guys lost yourself....try to remember how it use to be in the beginning and bring that spark and attention back.
You obviously love her and work hard. It sounds like you are showing love in a way she isn’t feeling. Clear communication on what makes her FEEL loved would help you spend your energy on the things that she actually wants. So often we assume what our partner needs without asking- and we guess wrong and are just wasting our efforts. Being a mom was such a stressful role- like all the time I was was just serving others and just so far away from feeling sexy. It’s much harder to get into the vixen mindset when you’ve got small kids to take care of. I needed more nurturing and sweetness from my husband than he was used to having to give. Mothering was so depleting for me. Now that our kids are grown I’m back to being fun loving and adventurous again. I’m so grateful for all the patience and kindness my husband showed me when our family life was hard. I don’t know if she is feeling these things too but I thought I’d toss the idea out there in case you thought it might be true for her.
When someone says 'you don't listen' and then you claim she doesn't listen as well...I would say that there is a break down in communication.
What does she want from you, do you know? She said 'you don't listen'...it seems to me she's asking you to do something for her but you don't do it or refuse to do it or don't understand what she wants.
Since you have this yearning and love for your wife, have you told her how you feel about her? That you want her love back and you're willing to work on things. Have you expressed/said to her how you feel about her? That you miss her, etc?
Some parts of me also wonder if she's had one feet out the door, honestly... I would suggest you guys go to marriage therapy/counseling. Good luck.
When’s the last vacation y’all took together?
Go try things that show Imperfection. Go skiing or skydiving (as examples), things that are impossible to be perfect at as a newbie. Show it’s ok to be imperfect and that there’s no judgement.
Im so sorry sir but you can't fix a bridge from one side. It must be fixed from both sides. For whatever reason she is behaving this way . You can do a 180 on her but i highly doubt it works. She feels you owe her something
Thanks. It may all go south and end up the way I don't want it to end up... but I feel I have to try. Because I do care a lot for her, and I want to be with the kids too not get to see them occasionally.
But maybe you're right. It does feel like i'm trying to do all the healing, like all the onus is on me to fix it :(
Im so sorry sir. But sometimes life goes some ways that we can't predict
I respect you in this ! fight for your marriage, lead when she's not . it's worth fighting for ! you got this !!!
Oh wow, half your post felt like it’s describing my marriage. Except I’m the wife, and you actually sound better then my husband.
I know you want to fix it, but have you talked to her about whether or not she wants to fix it? Fixing it takes two people, and from the sound of it, she doesn’t really seem to care to? Just thought I’d asked this since people tend to suggest that my marriage needs counseling to “fix things” because that’s the common assumption with marriages, right? (The assumption that people want to fix their marriage.) However, I honestly don’t care enough to fix anything, and people around me don’t get that.
So oddly enough marriage counselling was her idea. And I agreed because I felt like I was getting nowhere discussing it with her. I had my apprehensions about it because my wife will not accept any form of criticism ever, and I'm not being facetious here, she's really like that. She admitted as much after a few sessions. I said to her "what's the point of going, if you refuse to accept when you made a mistake or that you did something that upset me".
I don't want to paint my wife as evil here, or that she doesn't care. Things have absolutely changed and are not like they were before. The part about her always being right has never changed, i thought that was a cliché but she actually says these things about herself too.
I feel like she thinks I'm in the wrong (and she isn't) and I need to do something to fix it. What I tried to get across in counselling was that this is a two-way street and that she also has things she needs to fix.. but in my opinion it fell on deaf ears.
I really do want to fix it. I'm not sure if she does. She agreed to counselling because she said she did want to fix it and she did not want to get a divorce, but she didn't make any attempt to act on the problems raised during those sessions. I dunno, am I the bad guy and I just don't realise it? Have I lost my sanity?
Walk up to her completely naked and erect see what happens
Tried it. She told me I need to loose weight. She's right , but ... damn.
oh but she literally said a few months back "you don't try to seduce me any more". Can't win.
Seducing someone doesn't mean walking up to them completely naked, ffs. Maybe this is the problem. When was the last time you bought her flowers or took her out to a romantic dinner, just the two of you? When did you last go in a walk and held her hand, massaged her back, whispered sweets nothings into her ear?
Have you been romantic? Chocolates? Candles? Whatever it is she likes. It's easy to stop doing these gestures once kids are in the picture, but it's still important for your relationship with your spouse. Maybe try having a date night once a month. Dress up, put on some cologne, go out and do the things you used to do before the kids took all your time and energy.
>Seducing someone doesn't mean walking up to them completely naked,
I never said it did , did I ? I might have worded the next sentence after that suggestion wrongly. I didn't mean my idea of seduction is just to stand there naked.
>When was the last time you bought her flowers
3 days ago.
\>Have you been romantic? Chocolates? Candles? Whatever it is she likes
Yes. Has she done anything in return ? no. And no, I don't mean sex. I mean return the gestures. Do anything nice for me.
Again I don't pretend to be an angel. I've tried. In my humblest of opinions, she has not. Date night is probably a good idea..
Well fuck, sorry, that sucks. (understatement for you, I'm sure)
A relationship needs work from both sides.. and if you're doing your part...
Could it be motherhood is draining not just you but her as well? I know some parents (usually mothers) hate that their entire life is now basically their children; like every stinkin' minute belongs to the kids and if not the kids, some chore that hasn't been taken care of.
Maybe she's mentally drained. Does she have time to herself?
She says she doesn't have time.
Let me tell you about today. I woke up at 6, got the kids out of bed at 7:30 and made them breakfast, got them dressed for school, walked them to school and came back and went to work. My wife was awake at 7:30 and she brushed their hair and said goodbye to them.
I went to work at 8:45 when I got back from the school run. My wife was on her laptop doing something (not work obviously) until about 11am. Then she went out for a 1 hour walk, then she painted our hallway. At 3:30 pm I picked up the kids from school, brought them home and went back to work.
My wife then tells me that she has no time to herself.
Does it sound ok ?
This comment from u def implies that u did consider surprising her with your naked body as seduction
A commenter suggested that you w up to her completely naked and erect
You replied: “ Tried it. She told me I need to loose weight. She's right , but ... damn.
oh but she literally said a few months back "you don't try to seduce me any more". Can't win.”
Just to set the record straight, someone asked me to try turning up naked and yeah I did. I mean she would do the same to me too. In my reply, it sounds like that's my idea of seduction. It's not. And that's my fault for writing it that way.
My idea of seduction, and what she used to enjoy was .. I'd cook that night, put the kids to bed. I'd put on some candles, give her a massage (I took lessons for her) and maybe we'd cuddle and watch a movie, or maybe it would go a bit further.
I do also have to kinda say , and not bragging, since my marriage is in the toilet ... we would put most porn stars to shame. When she would seduce me it would be her dressed up in lingerie and then i'd spend 30 mins worshipping her before we got down to it. That no longer happens.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that in answering that question, I might have come across as my idea of foreplay/seduction is hey look at me naked. It was much more involved than this.
I have tried to seduce her with flowers, chocolates, giving her as much time not doing childcare as possible, massages, etc etc. Please don' think my idea of seduction is ... here's my cock you want it right ? Because it was much more than this.
No worries in walking up to your spouse naked is an overt way to intimate that Can sometimes definitely be a turn on. Examples u gave could definitely be Considered acts of seduction but it’s a very personal thing have you ever tried asking your wife what she considers seduction? For some the chocolates, flowers, break from household chores and childcare just aren’t seductive when done with the obvious purpose of getting something in return can come off as disingenuous and transactional. when a spouse does those things consistently and happily whether they get sex in return or not can be the ultimate turn on. That’s hard to do when there’s already some resentment in feeling of rejection so I get it. Maybe it’s something deeper I think you really should try and talk to her and you know it’s something she really is upset or resentful about.
I wish you the best of luck and I definitely have simply vera situation I have felt the same in a past relationship.
Well ok! There ya go. Maybe shes not physically attracted to you anymore. Its tough but try getting back into shape etc it might spark things up again.
Yep. I realised it too. During lockdown (oh i'm in the UK, we've had 3 lockdowns) I put on a fair few pounds. I'm working on it, but yeah it takes time I guess.
Once you get right you'll feel more confident and I think things will improve.
More therapy. Find a counselor you both like. Keep looking.
But what if my wife continues to ignore what the therapist says.
I know therapists don't say .. you did this .. this is bad. But if there is even a hint that my wife acted inappropriately or did something that upset me then she won't \*appear\* to care, won't take any advice etc.
The thing is I'm 100% sure she knows when she's wrong. She just won't admit it. I know what that feels like, because I used to be just like that. But then I decided that if I want to keep my marriage, then I need to admit when i'm wrong.
You continue to work on **you** and you ask to keep going.
I had a *difficult* spouse. Therapy didn’t “fix” everything but if definitely helped!
Therapy can include boundaries and fair fighting too. It includes how to deal with difficult intransigent people.
You’ve already received a lot of good advice which I won’t double up on, but I will suggest you check out a licensed therapist on YouTube called Patrick Teahan. He specialises in childhood trauma work but talks extensively about how wounds from our childhood show up in the present in our relationships, workplaces etc. All the content on his channel is free so it won’t cost you anything - he does one video in particular that’s a role play of couples therapy that immediately came to mind when I read your post.
The main thing I think would benefit you in his work is something called the 1-2-3 method for dealing with conflict in a couple. Basically the premise is that whenever we have a fight as a couple and we have outsized or seemingly irrational reactions - yelling, shutting down etc - there’s a good chance we’re triggered back to an earlier traumatic memory perhaps without even realising it. Trauma compromises our ability to respond to the present issue because it automatically connects the current scenario back to an old incident in our memory where we first learned how to survive a conflict like this. So when your wife is basically refusing to admit she did anything wrong, she’s probably triggered to deep shame about not being good enough and lashed out to protect herself from that feeling. I think this is especially clear because she recognizes it in herself later on, when she’s no longer in the hear of the moment.
The 1-2-3 method is about interrupting that heated moment at the time to look at what’s really going on for each of you emotionally, rather than focusing on “details” (like who said what exactly or who isn’t listening to who). It also includes a step about clearly asking for what you need from your partner, and also identifying what you can own yourself and do better on for them. I’ve been in therapy with a great practitioner for 10 years on and off, and I’ve still learned stuff from this guy’s content that has absolutely changed my life.
It sounds like you and your wife both love each other and want to make things work, but there’s a lot of stress and baggage in the way of you both cultivating that fondness and appreciation for each other that I think really makes a marriage stand the test of time. Passion is one thing and it’s not unimportant. But I think that feeling like your spouse really sees you and everything you do, really cares what you think and truly looks forward to seeing you (at least most of the time) is what keeps things healthy. I think you two can get there, it just might involve being prepared to show vulnerability more often and without a fight (which is a skill set you can both learn). Good luck!
Thanks I will check out that channel. It's actually good to hear some suggestion on this because there's a lot of crap out there on youtube when it comes to psychology. I will absolutely be checking this channel out. The thought that problems could be related to past trauma is very eye opening. I hadn't considered that angle. I know i'm a bit broken myself in that regard and it took an extremely long time to reverse that.
Your message of hope for us makes me feel good about fixing this. Thank you.
You’re welcome, I hope it helps!
Also I just had a thought regarding the you being on the computer on the weekends thing - I went through almost the exact same thing with my husband last year. He’s a full time medical student, and our son was 2-3 at the time, so on the weekend my husband would often be on the computer studying and even thought I KNEW he had to study to pass his degree, it still drove me nuts because I felt like he was just fucking off to do his own thing whenever he wanted, and I was expected to pick up the childcare slack whenever he did. Again, not a rational response at all, but I strongly suspect that may be how your wife is feeling. My husband, for his part, was frustrated because he felt like he never had proper uninterrupted study time because my son would need something while he was trying to do work.
What helped us was setting clear expectations - I asked him to keep it to a couple of hours each day of study, and to let me know as early as possible in the day when he wanted to do that so I could plan my own day accordingly. I also helped out by taking our son out on Saturday mornings until noon, so my husband had uninterrupted consistent study/rest/gaming time (and he’d do the same for me on Sundays). I’m not sure what the nature of your weekend work is, but if you can arrange a consistent block of time where you’re on the computer on the weekend and the rest of the time you’re available to your family, that might resolve some of that frustration. Approach your wife and let her know you see how hard she works with the kids and how frustrating this has been for her; let her know you want to come up with a solution together that lets you be more present for her and the kids on weekends, but still let’s you get the work done that you need to do without it being so stressful for you both.
Also if I can suggest one other thing? Please, PLEASE learn how to apologise to and in front of your children. Trust me, I grew up with parents like yours (who are still together after 30 years FWIW) and there is no way your kids haven’t noticed when you’ve had tension between you. When kids see their caregivers fight or snap at each other and nobody acknowledges or explains it or apologises, it wrecks their internal compass - they’ve just seen something that probably really distressed them, but the adults are acting like it didn’t happen. Kids get their sense of reality from their caregivers, and part of teaching them to trust their feelings is validating their experiences, even if it feels like it’s just opening a can of worms and it would be easier to “let it go”. You can say things like:
I’m sorry for snapping at Mummy earlier. We should always try to speak kindly to people we love and I am working on getting better at that.
I’m sorry that Mum and I were yelling before - we were both having big feelings and weren’t sharing them in a healthy way. We are both working hard to get better at this, and you will always be safe.
You might have noticed that mum and I are both a bit angry today. We are both (tired, frustrated, whatever) but we still love each other and you very much, and it’s not your job to make us feel better. Mum and I will work on our own feelings and how to make ourselves feel better.
If it was a minor thing and not a big blow up (which I don’t think should be resolved in front of kids, as others have said) also let them see you apologise to your wife. Saying sorry is a learned behaviour; your kids need to see you modelling that apologising is normal, healthy and important part of conflict resolution. My parents absolutely sucked at this and it’s taken me years as an adult to learn how to do it. So if it’s a minor tiff where you said some snarky throwaway comment or did some small thoughtless thing, please apologise to your wife sincerely and let them see it. If she responds snarkily (she probably will at first if she’s not used to this) just let it go. You can work on improving that pattern later - the important thing is for your kids to see you acknowledging that you hurt someone and verbally saying sorry for it, and ideally changing the behaviour as well. Even if you just start with this, I think it will go a long way.
Oh and if you do go back to couples counselling, I highly recommend searching specifically for someone who specialises or has a background in schema or childhood trauma work. Most marriage counselling is just about going “How can we communicate better?” When they really need to be asking “Why are you communicating the way you are and why is that not working?” The first version is just a bandaid that doesn’t address root causes of dysfunction in a relationship, and when time passes or things get stressful, the bandaid comes off and you’re back to your old ways. Find out why you treat each other they way you do in these situations, and you’ll have a much better chance of making real, lasting changes.
So you work at home? Sounds like you're seeing too much of the same scenery. Maybe try going on a Vacation with just her?
I've been working at home since 2020 when the pandemic started and in the UK they told us to work at home if you can. I don't get out much no.
I think that's probably a good idea getting away by ourselves. We have not had any time ever just to ourselves since the children were born. My wife's parents live 3000 miles away in another country and my parents are in a care home and incapable of looking after kids so it makes it rather difficult to be away from the kids for anything longer than a few hours.
Several people tonight have suggested date night. This is something we have not done in 5 years now and I think this has been a big problem. We do both get exhausted from childcare, maybe a break would really help but I think we'd be worried about the kids the entire time as we'd have to find someone not family to help
Hi, I'm in the UK and I work from home and my kid is in afterschool club! She doesn't have to be because I could just pick her up at normal time but, my God, it's exhausting! Trying to work, look after kids and live a family life, it's not easy. Maybe try and see if they have spaces a couple of days a week. Or would a childminder be an option? Also the staff might offer babysitting too, so if they get to know them you wouldn't be leaving them with strangers.
On another note, does your wife have any interests of her own? When the kids are at school what does she do? Does she go out, does she have friends, does she sometimes leave you with the kids and go on a night out? I know we couldn't during lockdown but things have been open for a while. Did she work before the kids? Maybe she could go back to work part time? It sounds like she's built a lot of resentment over the years and focusing on trivial things, like you didn't take out the rubbish, it's not that big a deal so the fact that she's making it into one shows that there are some underlying issues.
Sorry you’re going through this dude, it’s best you both find a straightforward honest couple’s therapist that will be honest and straight with you both and will give you both tools to work on your issues, if that doesn’t work then the painful hardest choice is unavoidable, keep us updated ok
Google Imago relationship counseling.
You need to speak to her. Tell her how you feel
Has she been a SAHM? Maybe she needs to find something she is passionate about ? Learn a new skill so she isn't bored. If she is tied to the house cooking and cleaning and feels like a Neverending maid. Have a housekeeper come in every week. Talk to her and find out what is bothering her. Tell her she is the most beautiful. Spoil her appreciate her buy her some jewelry? What is her love language? Really just need to ask her. If you can't spot it. It could be a hormonal issue maybe pre menopause? With the mood swings and all. Get her hormones checked and blood work done maybe she isn't feeling well.
How is her self esteem? Maybe covering up is related to her not liking how she looks. Be sure to tell her constantly how beautiful and sexy she is.
Honestly the “perfect” aspect of her kind of hits home. I am a much more logical thinker than my husband and so it often seems like he messes up or does things wrong because he doesn’t do it the best/most efficient way, or doesn’t think to do something that seems very obvious to me. What she needs to do is lower her expectations. Over the last 10 years the things she used to let slide, she doesn’t anymore. She needs to stop expecting you to do things that you don’t think to do. It’s on her. And if she’s not willing to notice that and try to make a change then it’s going to be a tough road.
My favorite relationship metaphor is like having a two by four between you two.
When you push she pulls and vice versa.
You have to break the cycle and the FASTEST way to do it is to give up pride or ego. If she’s perfect or thinks she is tell her she is, but tell her what you really want too.
Like this “you’re right, I should have made you a coffee, I’m sorry I didn’t think about you but I love you and will do better”
She’s not right but do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
Marriage is ugly sometimes. It’s about slogging through shit for your partner because you love them more than you love yourself or at least are trying too.
Be wrong. Be WAY wrong. But love her and slowly insert the honest asking her to love you too. Then hope she loves you the same way and realizes it.
Just agree with her about the child decisions if you show compassion on working together instead of against eachother your marriage is already doomed, and let the child make their own choice when they are able too trust me agreeing instead of arguing saves alot of the headache even though you disagree but I'm not saying disagreements need to go away, their are ways you can disagree but show why you disagree and the consequences from the descision
"I don't like those things about her, but I still love her. I know I won't ever change those things, but I want to go back to how we were before."
"I genuinely appreciate any advice that isn't "get divorced" or separated. I want to fix it."
"...my wife is making zero attempt to fix anything..."
There is no amount of *communication* or *work* which can overcome being with someone who does *not* want what you want. It's probably unrealistic to expect to go back to the honeymoon phase.
Ultimately it takes both people to make a marriage last and only one person to blow it up.
You need to accept the fact it's not just up to you and prepare yourself for whatever comes.
Generally speaking once a couple goes though counseling without having success it's over.
Some folks in your situation will try to have an open marriage and others will opt to cheat.
Children would rathe be from a broken home than live in one.
No one is *stuck* with anyone. Suffering is optional.
The goal is to have a "soulmate" not a cellmate.
***"The world may not owe you anything but you owe yourself the world!"*** \- Kevin Darné
***"Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated. If they can't see the real value of you, it's time for a new start."*** \- Unknown
One of the best ways for a man to win over a woman who is slipping away is to go back to the way he won her over in the first place. Act like you're taking her on your first date all over again, pick her up after work with flowers and chocolates. Keep asking her to go on dates with you in advance not just spur of the moment "let's grab pizza at such and such" by planning for it in advance it gives you both something to look forward to and hopefully even feel excited about. If you have no childcare to do a date night then set up something romantic after the kids go to bed to make it feel like you're on a fancy date. Ask her tons of questions about herself so you can get to know each other all over again.
A marriage counselor should be teaching you how to effectively communicate. You say your wife is repeatedly saying "you don't listen". So, she obviously feels unheard. You feel she ignores you, so you arent feeling heard either. In light of that, get a better and more competent therapist that is actually actively working to improve your relationship.
If your wife is done, she's done. You need to figure out if she actually wants to keep working on the marriage or of she sees it as beating a dead horse. 2 years of no sex leads me to think shes pretty miserable and may be long done, but you never know. It's time for a cards on the table discussion to decide how to proceed.
You and your wife have to accept that, unless abuse is involved, it takes 2 people to make a marriage and 2 to break one. More than likely she has very valid points about things you are doing wrong or that hurt her. Just as you do as well.
It is REALLY hard to maintain kids, pet(s), a home, etc and not get overwhelmed at times. Just as it is hard to work and be part of a family where you are contributing without feeling burntout. So, ask her what are 3 things you could do today to help her day go better. Taking out the trash in the kitchen and bathrooms? Give the dog a bath? Bathe the kids and put them in bed so she has an hour to herself? Whatever, what are 3 things you could do that would make her day better. Maybe she reciprocates. Maybe just appreciates the gesture and relaxes the walls shes built between you. There isn't a guarantee, but it's a step forward that is a literal "give me 3 things to make today better" and that's something.
If you want to fix it, your going to have to accept that she has faults. Are these faults enough to make it not worth the relationship? Only you know that. I would say that you should be ready to bend when necessary, as it's almost always a two way street. Best of luck.
So reading this from my perspective, it sounds like the two of you have very different values/priorities. What matters to her does not matter to you. What matters to you does not matter to her. You two tick some of the major boxes for why people get divorced. Intimacy problems, disagreements surrounding chores, and most importantly, contempt. You have contempt for her… big time. You say you provide all of these things for the house, you’re not perfect, but you do what you can yet all she does it claim she’s perfect and make no attempt to change. She has contempt for you based on not listening to you, saying she’s perfect, etc. Contempt is actually the number one trait that predicts divorce so take it VERY seriously that the two of you feel like this.
Another observation is that it seems to me like the two of you got together on the basis of sex and not on the basis of matching values and virtues. It seems like you met through the scene and that was your common priorities in life. Sex, as you now know, is not sustainable long-term with someone you don’t genuinely care for as a person. If you love someone and care about who they are, what they feel, what they think, then frequency of sex tends to increase as the marriage goes on. However, it’s exactly the opposite when sex is the primary driver upfront.
For example, you couldn’t care two shits about what your wife “whines” about because she doesn’t care about your words and your feelings and whether or not she hurts them with her own spite. If you come to her with sex and she shuts you down, does that hurt you? Of course. In a healthy relationship, your pain would hurt her, too. In a contemptuous relationship, her thoughts are, screw you you didn’t care when I told you I wanted you to do the dishes or pick up (child) from (certain place). You don’t care about my fears, emotions, passions, why would I care about yours?
You two almost need to start from square one and build a foundation that honestly sounds like it’s never been there for you to begin with. You need to be her friend. She needs to be your friend. You need to care when things hurt her and trust me, anger is always covering up hurt or some other base emotion. For the both of you.
All of the advice is great.
I have read a story about a couple in a similiar situation, the guy saved the marriage with doing little favours for the wife. Doing chores that were not expected every day, leaving little gifts, taking her out, saying how pretty she is and so on WITHOUT expecting getting anything back. He did that for month and month and eventually, the wife started to open up, they learned to communicate better, listen to each other and so on.
Something to think about.
Ok...take this as a redditor who has no understanding of your relationship beyond what you've given here, but personal experience with a married relationship not too dissimilar: I think it is highly unlikely that you can't repair things, no matter what you do. The mere fact that she cut off sexual contact, and even seeing her naked!, for two years is basically dispositive by itself. Maybe she's having an affair, maybe not, but it's definitely in the realm of possibility. Her generally irritated and defensive attitude to your whole relationship seals the deal, regardless of her willingness to go to MC. I've been down this road, and I can only tell you that is very unlikely that you will ever go back to the affectionate relationship that you had, fully appreciating how painful of a thing that is to you. I will say in addition that just because you don't have total custody of your kids does not mean that you cannot be a great and effective father. I wish the best for you, and please don't believe that you are unworthy because of this experience.
If you want to fix it, stop placing more importance on the things you think make you valuable (making money, pointing out things you find harmful to your kids, etc.) and start placing importance on the things she finds important. You say you listen, but I get the sense you're listening in order to rebut her, rather than to truly understand her and come at the issues like a team. Make the extra cup of coffee, take the trash out before your day starts (or when its 90% full, knowing she or your kid may fill it while you're busy), do one of "her" chores here and there. And then, after you've shown you're invested through actions rather than words, tell her how you've been feeling, get a new therapist together, and start rebuilding it together instead of trying to place blame or avoid it.
Hey OP. How long has your wife not been working? It’s not uncommon of SAHM to, once kids don’t need them their every waking moment, start going through somewhat of an identity crisis and that can cause issues for the entire family.
Your wife “being perfect” is a huge concern. Maybe you could suggest that you both go to therapy separately. It might be easier to open up about her flaws in a one on one setting than with you there.
Stay strong and good luck!
Ask her to have sex with you and take her on a very nice date
One thing I keep thinking when I read about your wife is that she seems to struggle a lot with insecurity. I could be wrong, but I'm under the impressions she is very insecure. As a woman and mother myself, I know this can happen after pregnancy, childbirth and transitioning to a parent. Does she still feel attractive, sexy? It sounds like there is something more that she's not telling you. It also sounds like your wife resisted the counselling by not opening up with real vulnerability. Also, another possibility that seems plausible is that she feels her needs are unmet - could be either through you or in general. Does she work? I read your entire post and I could have missed something but I don't think you mentioned her working. I know it's very common for mums to feel consumed by their kid(s) and housework, especially if they mostly stay at home and they feel they don't have enough 'me' time. Of course, if she does work, she could also be really unhappy about her job. The only way you'll find out these two things is by directly asking her, be as gentle as possible because it sounds like she needs that. Then she'll feel most safe to open up. To me everything sounds like she is not telling you what's REALLY going on for her. But she doesn't sound that happy in general...
Also, while you can't change her, be very aware of your own tone and words when things get heated/turn into an argument. This can make such a big difference. Staying calm is really important, as hard as it can be.
I suppose your wife enjoys feeling like she is a queen or a princess ( because you said she thinks she is perfect and wants a coffee made by you in the morning). Probably, you should treat her in this way, be more loving, caring etc., buy her flowers or small things which warm the soul. I understand,that her behaviour is totally wrong, her attitude is wrong. But if you don't want to divorce, maybe it will be helpful to treat her as she wants and eventually you will communicate better, revive previous feelings. Ask her out etc.
Once again, i understand that she is wring about you and doesn't try to make things better, but maybe she wants such gestures from you.
All women change when they feel somebody's love and attention.
Hope, everything will get better.
I don't doubt that your wife has said and done things she shouldn't and currently has a defensive attitude (likely because she feels she is the one doing all the reading and research and you just come on top of it, with no regard for all her work and worry with "that's dumb, we should do X"). BUT this is not about your wife. You can only control and be responsible for how you think, feel and act in the relationship. Marriage is hard, hard work, but it sounds like your marriage is worth saving. You need to focus solely on what you can do. The rest will hopefully come.
At the very least, if you can try and focus on what you can do, and not on your wife's failings. Then if things don't work out you can tell your children that you tried your very best.
I completely agree about finding a Gottman therapist for you both.
Here are three things that you can do TODAY to help your mindset here:
Download three podcasts:
Where Should We Begin
An incredible therapist runs a session with a different couple each episode. Even if the couple's main issues don't seem to have anything to do with your own, listen anyway. I always pick up at least one or two ways of thinking about things that I haven't seen before. It might also help you see what great therapy is.
The One Extraordinary Marriage podcast
A couple were really struggling in their marriage and hadn't had sex for months+. They decided to do a 60 days of sex challenge and it changed everything. However, there is obviously a lot more that went into it than just the sex. I do recommend starting from episode 1. It's a bit of a slog because the audio quality wasn't amazing then, the husband has a bad habit of speaking over his wife (he eventually fixes this and apologies for it but I think that's many episodes in) and they can get a bit preachy/religious. If that's not your style, just ignore those parts because the marriage advice is top notch. You can try listening to the early stuff in order but also pick from titles of the newer stuff you think would be of interest. I suggest starting from episode 1 because at the beginning the advice was more sequential and it helped me.
Small Things Often
These are 5 minute, scientifically based tips to improve your relationship. They will be helpful reminders to you everyday, of what you should be arriving for. Some are more helpful than others, but then you've only wasted 5 minutes.
You can also figure out what your love languages are. That might help you both too.
I also wanted to add that you should know more than anyone that BDSM requires very high levels of communication and trust. Neither of which are really flourishing in your relationship right now, so maybe it's best that that isn't on the table just yet.
She can't even trust that you'll think of her in the morning when you make your coffee, how can she trust you to think of her and prioritise her in the bedroom?
I’m more interested in understanding why you still love her? Can you please explain to me?
I want to first off start by saying I truly feel your pain.. I am actually atm looking for apps for advice anything.. grasping and trying to stay a float while I slowly feel I am drowning a little more by the minute... My husband and I have been together in total 10 years also.. married for 7.. so I was just a baby.. 23 when I met the man of my dreams.. my aoulmate.
Funny story.. we randomly met at the has pumps.. and I had made a smart comment and the funnier part is that I kept looking and thinking umm ok why is this guy now following me lol
Not knowing he was going to his house which was coincidentally enough on the same road as my just than ex, who whose place j was getting to before he was off of work so I could get the rest of my belongings.
So I am now kind of creeped but flattered at the same time and I slowly pull off to the side of the road and pretend to be on my phone ( you never know these days!) Lol
And I see him turn around and start to drive towards me,
Now I'm nervous and on a cell phone not even on haha
He pulled up and asked if everything was ok just wanted to make sure I didn't break down etc..
Oh no just talking to my mom.
"Ring Ring"... Umm as my phone just than now word of a lie I say of shoot I must of lost service LOL
It's hard to even go back to that day ten years ago... I never ever thought I would love ever again.. I am lost.. I'm just I'm here.. I feel time it is just going by and I could care less or even know of its day or night.. what day it is.. I stay in my room my four walls of security where I feel safest.. I don't want to go.. no this can't be.. God.. I ask why??.. I have always had faith I have tried and we even got married trying to substain much as we could from premarital relations.. as I felt bad after.. I never believed in marriage... But I finally did.. god you were behind this why is this happening.. why didnf you make him fight for us,.... For me??.. I am so hurt it is physically hurting.. we said for better or for worse.. we made a promise that no matter what we would be there and we would get through it together.. but my soulmate ..u best friend.. he cheated.. for no reason at all.. none... He was finally able to be himself he didn't have to lie to me he didn't have to hide going to the strippers I thought I was doing everything to my best and again.. I let my wall down.. after I was in a herendous relationship I met my knight in shining armour.. why couldn't he stay mine?.. why ?.. he didn't have to lie he didn't have to sneak and go what did I do.. I want to puke.. my head is spinning my thoughts so fast I can't keep up.. I am beyond devastated. Who is this man I thought I knew?.. this Stanger?... Where did the man who would reassure me.. who would sit me down and tell me over and over he wasn't going anywhere.. where did he go?.. why is he never anywhere around?.. why do I find things pertaining to other women?..
He gave up on us.. the man who fought so hard who pushed and who was so persistent to get married.. we are another statistic.. just another marriage hit rough times and the grass looked greener... He became used to the fact he didn't need me he said he realized he was ok and could live without me.. and now I am left to pick up the pieces of my broken marriage.. my broken heart .. I have fought and I have fought for two years.. while battling my own demons.. addiction... Alone while also chasing and fighting for my husband .. why couldn't he just try just try to understand ?.. he seen the pain everyday . The hurt... He seen me slowly fading away and instead of being there letting me know it was going to be ok .. he turned into someone I didn't know someone who would bully and belittle me.. who would see me suffering
.. the addiction have a hold so tight and yet he would kick me more and more into the ground.. he showed no empathy he would tell me oh wipe your crocodile tears it's always poor you.. throw money at me.. call me the worst things you can think of.. tell me what a piece of shit loser junkie I was.. throw money telling me to pick it up like the dog I was.. laughing at me .. mocking me as I have started to stutter.. I have become his punching bag.. what he looks forward making fun of and putting down.. I'm not longer a mother.. a wife.. I am no longer the woman who walked down to meet the man kg my dreams waiting for me at the archway I wanted.. I'm now an embarrassment I'm not even someone he will talk to for five minutes.. I'm yelled at constantly always sofrry but I don't know what for... I can feel myself slowly falling slipping deeper and deeper into my own place I have created . My escape. No pain no hurt.. my own heaven ..
I heard that the last thing you should do is fight harder for her attention and work more on yourself and maybe she'll be attracted to that.
How many counselling appointments did you have? In couples counselling, the therapist hangs back for a few sessions to get the dynamics of the relationship.
You did have a bad therapist: a good therapist shuts down the complaining and works on communication issues, boundaries, the "myths" of the marriage.
There is something going on with her and her body. A child changes the body. Does she get time to exercise or just even do self care?
Please reread your letter. There's and old saying that in a marriage you can be right or you can be happy. Maybe it is time to push being right and being perfect out of the picture. Focus on doing what is best for the family.
Totally emphasize with loving someone, but struggling to deal with differences or "flaws" that we all have.
Now that you two have children, I admire your drive to keep it together for them. I hope that's the driving force for the both of you. You saw the differences that you two had then and still decided to accept that risk then. A lot of people would walk away from the "inconvenience" of no longer wanting to deal with attitudes gone astray. Continue to find patience. Anger promotes anger. Try to find the spark that made it all worth it before. It's more critical now than it was when it was just the two of you. Your children and their wellbeing is worth it imo. It's hard trying to make something work with someone stubborn, but if you were willing to take on the challenge then when you had the better parts of her, continue not giving up when she's showing more of her worst. Good luck!
OP, have you considered opening the relationship, since getting divorced or separated is not an option.
Because it sounds like whatever you do, you are going to be in the wrong anyway, since she’s always right.
Her personality trait is that "She never does anything wrong" your fighting a lost battle.
I dont understand how people just "get married" without discussing values as simple as how to raise your kids.
If she's checked out, she's checked out. Plus with how she handles conflict (looking at it as a right and wrong, rather than a shared issue you need to tackle together) you can't *make* this work.
You bot have to. She is stonewalling you on it.
Next time you actually plan your life with the person you are giving your future to. She doesn't even seem compatible with you.
Hey buddy, how have things been since this post?
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sounds like uv got some decent advice in this thread so ill say good luck to u!
also want to say to those not married yet, learn from others . . .
>She even says these things herself like "no, i'm perfect" at first it was cute, now it's not.
You can only fix a relationship when both people want to. It doesn't sound like your wife wants to.
People prioritize what is important to them and it seems that you are in a very one sided relationship.
Please find a therapist you gel with and pursue counseling on your own and try to sort this all out.
Yeah I hope she does want to fix it to. She told me she does not want to get divorced but then she hasn't said she wanted to fix it. On our second to last anniversary she started to cry when I gave her gifts (she got none for me) and said well our relationship isn't that good. My reply was ok, let's fix it. She smiled, but she then said what she often says.. ok what are you going to do to fix it.
To me, this feels like ... you're the problem, you fix it. I'm not.
I have already started to look for a new therapist. Thank you for the advice.
Pay attention to her actions, and listen carefully to what she is telling you. Good luck with finding a therapist, I was in a very similar situation and therapy saved me.
Thank you. You having fixed your relationship makes me hopeful I can fix mine too.
I divorced him.
Sorry you’re in this situation, it happens to a lot of marriages. Marriage is tough shit.
A lot of couples never learn how to resolve conflict the right way. A good couples therapist will teach each of you to own your share of the problems because your wife is at least 50% of the problem. It’s a team effort. Her reluctance to own her issues is holding you both back but it’s going to be hard for you to convince her of this.
A therapist can help her get there, OR, you take initiative and own your mistakes and lead by example.. sometimes a few times of showing a person we can change and behave different during conflict will inspire them. (Ie tell her: I know I’ve done this and this and I understand how it’s affected you, from now on when X happens I’m going to do Y … and then follow through)
The latter is not easy because if she doesn’t respond you’ll feel like you’re making an effort for nothing but usually it just takes a bit of time.
Hope it works out for you.
This is really good advice. I used to be just like my wife. I would refuse to admit I was wrong. If someone said I was wrong, then they were conspiring against me or they had an ulterior motive etc. But a few years ago I looked at myself and said come on, if you're going to therapy then there's something wrong with you as well. I really started to listen to what was bothering my wife .. but i'd have trouble accepting it. Something I think was mundane or not even worth bringing up would be being discussed in therapy. So I realised I was wrong, and today I'm trying to fix it. My wife would complain that I don't take the kids to school .. so I did / do. She would say she needs more time to herself, so I made a promise to finish work at exactly 6pm unless it was an emergency (I work in IT, emergencies are somewhat common) and I'd take over kid duties immediately. But It didn't fix anything.
I hope very much that a new therapist might help us both admit our failings. When I go into therapy, my opinion is .. I don't know the therapist, they're not my friend, I have nothing to gain from lying to them. I wish my wife would do the same. But she is very defensive about any perceived misdeed on her part.
I’ve read through some of your other replies and this sounds so much like my marriage from a few years ago when both kids were younger and we got stuck in the parenting only cycle.
The big takeaway was that my husband had untreated mild depression. Like not the “can’t get out of bed kind” but the “functioning in work/responsibilities/hygiene but can’t give anywhere else” kind.
Lots of fighting, zero intimacy (ie reluctant to change in front of each other).
So it took a long time (2 years) but after a few different therapists and him getting a prescription for meds and daily exercise along with me working on my communication issues in therapy, things slowly turned around.
Any chance your wife might have anything related to depression /anxiety? It’s not uncommon lately esp with covid etc.
She had been diagnosed with depression during the pandemic and prescribed some kind of sedative, don't recall what. she said there's nothing wrong with her and she threw the pills in the trash.
About me? I used to think depression was something I was incapable of. I think now that I have been suffering it for a few years without admitting/realising it.
I'm glad your relationship turned around, I hope ours can too.
What’s her reaction when you try to engage with her physically?
you did not say if you saw any red flags as to whether she is cheating.
excessive phone texting. on the PC a lot. etc.; going out to meet 'friends'?
If she is a homebody with not of these traits and you really do love her then look close at yourself. Be honest. Be brutally honest.
Remember this is a women and not another man.
If a women feels smothered they will close up. Don't expect them to give any good answers as to why.
You say you still lover her...
If you truly love and trust her back off a bit and empower her to make some of the important decisions. You need to show you trust her. Encourage here to and show appreciation for her insight and input.
You may feel the need to try and make sure everything is 'right' but this can be toxic if extreme.
Get rid of your anger at the things she does and let her fail a bit if that is the case. Don't judge. show encouragement use positive words. 'That's alright you will figure it out' or 'you got this love'
Be an alpha but show tenderness at all times for everything she does; event if it wrong.
Make her breakfast; do chores to help her from being overloaded. leave love notes.
If you do truly love her DO NOT let her trigger you. Stand there and let her have her say. Listening to her and at the end say 'ok i understand' and 'i love you' will be disarming.
Smile at her often and let her know you love her.
if you still sleep in the same bed still don't be afraid to let her wake up and see you watching here and say things like how she is still as beautiful now as when you met and mean it.
do not force yourself on her but help her feel safe and loved and not cornered.
And no there is no time limit to this. If you truly love her you would have been doing a lot of this the whole marriage.
Yes you do need to back at counseling but don't just argue with her; listen to her. Agree with the points that could be valid. Focus on what you feel you may need to do to be a better husband. While this may run against your grain she needs to know you hear her.
sometimes us men just let our pride and ego get in the way too much.
It's important to consider every possibility in situations like these. I hate to even mention it, but I'm sure it's at least crossed your mind once.
Is it possible she's having an affair? You say you earn the money; what does she do at home? Is she always at home? For sex up just suddenly stop; IDK seems like she'd still need that itch scratched, somehow. I can't help but feel like all the issues you've been having is due to her sleeping with someone else, & justifying it by being unreasonable & finding fault with everything you do.
I hope I'm wrong, & in the event that I am, I don't know what you can do, since she refuses to be honest in marriage counseling. She doesn't want to fix the marriage, it seems. Not sure how to fix that. Marriage is a joint effort; if she's not invested, there's nothing you can do to force her to care.
I don't think the problem is with you, & if it is I can't imagine what it is you're doing wrong. Is it true that she wants you to make coffee for her when your wake up? Maybe she's just wanting all they little things you used to do? IDK.
Think carefully & seek understanding as to what's going on with your wife, u/yesitsathrowaway445.
>For sex up just suddenly stop; IDK seems like she'd still need that itch scratched, somehow.
Why do people always jump to the conclusion of "cheating" when a partner's interest in sex declines? There are a thousand other reasons. Maybe she doesn't feel beautiful enough to get aroused. Maybe sex has become boring for her. Maybe she's constantly exhausted. Maybe she's going through tough times mentally. Reading this post, all of these options are *way* more likely than her cheating.
As for "scratching that itch"? If the itch is still there, vibrators exist. And they're easier to get off with and far less complicated than seeking out another dick.
Is she having an affair?
I'd like to suggest something I've seen others (who know more than I do) say. That is to do separate counseling, possibly with different therapists, before you attempt couples therapy. You each have issues you need to work on, and the couples setting is not the best for everyone. Since you've tried couples counseling already, give one-on-one a try.
Your wife sounds like a very angry person. It's not apparent what has caused your marriage to go from one extreme to the other, but it's also not that uncommon. If you are committed to making it work, then make that clear to her. Try to get her to work with you on setting specific goals for the things that are straining your relationship.
TBH a lot of marriages like yours survive until the kids are grown up and the parents decide they've had enough. I don't mean to be pessimistic, but unless both of you can get on the same page, this seems to be where you're headed. Sometimes love -- especially the passionate, romantic kind -- doesn't last forever.
Marriage is a team sport, and it sounds like your wife isn't making any attempts to stay together. You can want this to work and try as hard as possible, but if she isn't willing to also put in effort, then this is a lost cause. Is she willing to put in the effort needed to fix your relationship?
If she's checked out already, there's really nothing you can do. You can't make someone love you. Any attempt at that or even just pushing for change when they other person emphatically does not want change will only foster resentment. All you can do is damage control, which is figuring out an amicable split.
Have you gone to a kink conversant therapist? Sounds like not. What does your contract state on handling disagreements? I am betting you are the sub and what you have is an out of control submissive who presented as a domme, hon, you gotta gotta gotta get a therapist that deals with BDSM relationships. You write how deep you were into BDSM and then write most of your post like a vanilla. True BDSM has norms and a strong community to fall back on. If she was the sub, you need a mentor and if she was the Domme you need your community and a therapist.
Personally all you can do to fix it is listen to her petty complains. Some small things can add up to something big.
Since her complains are small and easily fixable, do the ones that are small and easy. Make her favourite breakfast drink every morning will be a sweet start.
Just make her feel special.
You need to rekindle the romance.