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To defend my wife, I don't think she realized this about herself. Not fully. I get the impression she was somewhat promiscuous before we met. Not as bad as some of her friends. But I think she consented to sex fairly frequently in order to prove to herself that she was "over" her past. That she was in possession of her sexuality.

I think she sorta kinda knew I wasn't that physically attractive to her, but I was smart and funny (which she finds attractive), and she figured I would make lots of money and she would deal with the sex to get what she wanted. What went wrong?

A couple of things. First, she did not expect to have such trouble with emotional intimacy. Although she would not admit this for years, she recently admitted she "freaked out" during our honeymoon. It suddenly hit her that we were married, and I would be there every morning for the rest of our lives, and that I expected sex on a regular basis. Sex began to terrify her in a way it had not before the wedding.

Second, we moved to a different state. So we were away from our long time friends and "alone" together. More freak out from too much intimacy.

Third, as a result of my move I made less money and worked fewer hours. Less money. More time together. Ack, must flee!!!

And of course, the more I pushed for sex, the more she withdrew.

I don't think she consciously planned to deceive me. I think she knew she would have to manufacture desire to some extent, and she thought she could. I think she was surprised when she couldn't. And then all the internal and external pressure to stay married kicked in.

Back then divorce did not seem like a permitted choice. Both our parents are still married after around 50 years. Even 20 years ago we could not conceive of getting divorced. And we were both in our 30s (well, she was 29 when we got married), so we wanted to get started on having kids. We did. And then we both felt even more stuck.

So while I think she knew she wasn't all that hot for me, I don't think she knew how difficult it would be for her to consent again and again and again. Which, when I phrase it that way, makes it hard to understand why I haven't given up yet.


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Last night I asked if it was OK for me to touch her elbow when we got in bed. We have a joke about how I am sooo turned on by her bony elbow. Since it is such a contrast to all the soft curvy parts.

She said it was OK. I told her I wanted to do more than touch her elbow. Not sex. But something fun and playful. So that being in our bed was not so boring and serious.

It was very late so I rolled over and went to sleep. I wasn't looking to do anything else last night. I fell asleep touching her elbow. She rarely allows me to fall asleep while touching her (she "needs her space"), so that was a nice treat.


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You seem to have a pretty keen insight into your wife's fear of intimacy. Not all men pay that much attention. I know you have said before that your wife couldn't bring herself to honestly work MB. Probably because of that fear. I have to say that that is a lot easier for me to wrap my brain around than the idea of using MB to "legitimately" avoid SF. I have no compassion or understanding when I see that because it is the OPPOSITE of what MB is about.

I do hope that your W's walls come down

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I only have this insight after much reading and pondering. Mrs. Hold first admitted to being raped after 2 years of marriage counselling. To me, this was a huge breakthrough. Finally, a reason why she displays no interest in sex. I read everything I could find about rape and being the partner of a recovering victim. This caused me to be very hopeful, since she seemed to be a textbook case and hence could presumably be helped with "standard" counselling. I foolishly assumed that, having taken the huge step of admitting to what happened in the past, the she would commence to deal with it.

Silly me, why should she do that? Any more than I have dealt with my past hurts. She continues to claim that her past has nothing to do with our sex life. Which caused me to do further reading to confirm that this is also a very typical reaction. Not helpful. But common.


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Mrs. Hold looked particularly chisled this morning. Her upper arms look very muscular. I don't like that look. Never have. We have a friend who is very cut and I asked Mrs. Hold months ago please do not end up looking like her. Funny how I didn't like her so heavy in the past but I prefer too heavy to too muscular.

I was not open and honest this morning. I told her she looked good and it was quite an accomplishment and she should be proud of herself.

Inside, I figure it is good if I don't like how she looks. Makes it easier to keep from making moves on her. The more she goes from soft and curvy to hard and bony, the less I like it. For now, I will keep that to myself.


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This morning Mrs. Hold wished me a good day as she was leaving for her workout. I was coming out of the shower. I told her she is beautiful and sexy. And that makes it painful to be near her in the bedroom. So I flee to the kitchen where I can play video games and ignore her. While we were talking, she noticed the tent growing under the towel. Then she left to go to her workout. I guess I don't mind bony and cut as much as I thought.

See, it is best to just stay depressed. I am going to end up there anyway.


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Again with the sexual expectation...how that must suck for the two of you. You certainly have a loop running through your head don't you, Hold?

I don't often feel sorry for your wife, but to constantly have the idea of sex hanging between you, to know that any move she makes can somehow be related to sex must only intensify her insecurity and unwillingness to deal with her issues.

What an awful treadmill you both ride.


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Yes, it is.

Mrs. Hold called. She offered to take S15 to basketball practice if that allowed me to leave work in time to relax and have a swim at the pool this evening (it is sunny and warm here today). She mentioned her intention to another woman during her workout. The other woman said "you don't have to be so nice to them, you know". Mrs. Hold replied "I like my lifestyle. He works hard. So I try to do something nice for him when I can. Your husband works hard too. He just paid to renovate your kitchen. He pays for your kids to go to summer camp. You have the summer free to do whatever you want. Doesn't he deserve something?" The woman replied "I don't see it that way".

Mrs. Hold said to me "she is not alone in thinking that way. See how lucky you are to have me?" I replied "I never liked her, and I am well aware of what the women in this area are like, and why I choose to stay with you."

Yes, it stinks. I have a loop. And the treadmill is awful. Which doesn't mean that getting off would be better.


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I like how you lie to yourself, right out in the open.

The way you try to manage your emotions through deception...chiseled and bony.

When really, your wife, acting from love, turns you on...and you speaking honestly, too, maybe.

Trying to turn yourself off of her and using her to do it...

And her asking for your appreciation and admiration...and you not giving it to her...cutting her off...

just like you see her cutting you off.

Yes, you are lucky.

Yes, she is lucky.

Yes, you lie. Interesting the way you do it, too.

Maybe she's stopped lying. She's asking for you to meet her EN and you refuse. Because she's not meeting yours (though she has).

What do you think? Close? Interesting?

That whole conversation wasn't about other wives...it was her saying how she sees herself loving you, and the way she doesn't want to act towards you...

So remember that when you lie, again, to yourself and say she doesn't think you earn enough, aren't successful, that you suck at life...

because she loves her lifestyle and attributes to you providing it for her...and she appreciates you, as husband and family man.

Even when you tell yourself she doesn't...and sometimes, she doesn't act from appreciation, admiration and awareness...

and sometimes, she's asking for the same and you deny her in the same way you see her denying you...

I think your wife is going first...and you are refusing to follow.

LA

PS--did you ever get the answer of what you did that was so bad to deserve constant, consistent punishment of yourself? I forget...

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Chilling, LA.

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Originally Posted By: LovingAnyway
and sometimes, she's asking for the same and you deny her in the same way you see her denying you...


Of course. Isn't that the point? To pay her back, in full measure, for my deprivation? What else is there? it is my goal. My God. My life.

Quote:
I think your wife is going first...and you are refusing to follow.


Perhaps. My wife has a need for Admiration. Nothing wrong with that. Many / most of us do. I can admire the way she is with the kids. Her friends. Whatever work or volunteer positions she takes on. She has many admirable characteristics. I praise her for them often.

But if she wants Admiration for being a good wife. She will have to seek it elsewhere. I am not going to give her one iota of Admiration for being a good wife. Unless and until our sex life is far better than it is, or has ever been.

In part, this is of course a reaction to my view of my status as a husband. I see myself as an abysmal failure. And hence refuse to give her any credit for being a good wife. How can I? If I admit that she is a good wife, while I am a poor husband, then how can I maintain the fiction that this is all her fault and I am justified in refusing to change?

Quote:
PS--did you ever get the answer of what you did that was so bad to deserve constant, consistent punishment of yourself? I forget...


Not what I did. What I am doing. Every day. Being lazy. Unambitious. Giving in to my weakness. Accepting less than my best. The punishment never ends. Because the crime in ongoing.


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I think what you are doing every day (and not doing) is how you punish yourself for something. I think your weakness is not your weakness. I think that's another lie to self.

And you did the all...the good wife...instead of just that one thing...not going along with the influence of other wives...saying "no" to that wife's point of view and having her own...

and her bravery in sharing it with you...

and then covering up that bravery by asking for you to give her one atta girl...just for that.

Not the all...or nothing.

You are not lazy...you work hard on punishing yourself and others.

I agree about accepting less than your best...rather, I agree you reject your best self a lot.

Her being good doesn't make you bad. Just as you being bad doesn't make her better. Though that is really worth sharing with her, isn't it? Good information she doesn't have.

You know you can stop justifying your refusal to choose differently...when you choose to stop justifying anything.

You already know this...you won't give yourself permission to be great and experiencing yourself as great. So you won't give her permission, either.

Both are criminal...and punishing yourself hasn't been redeeming. You have another payoff at play.

When you haven't determined what you need most for your wife's redemption of her crimes, how can you determine your own?

And yet you punish anyway...in between the bouts of loving statements, intimate sharing, and acts of love which are as constant, Hold.

And you do them. And so does she. Not all or nothing.

LA

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She just called and asked for another atta boy on being a good wife. She said she enjoys doing the little things to make me happy. I bit my tongue and told her I appreciate her for doing the little things. I swallowed the bile. I resisted the temptation to say "I don't give a flying watusi about the little things. I want more sex!" I resisted the urge to exclaim sarcastically "what alternate universe of denial are you living in that you think giving me the opportunity to go for a swim makes me happy?"

Is that bad or good? Meeting her EN? Not being radically Honest? True? False?

Until I know who I am and what I want, there are no answers.


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Hold, it sounds like you're in a really bad place today. That sucks. But it passes, if you don't feed it.

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Originally Posted By: LovingAnyway
I think what you are doing every day (and not doing) is how you punish yourself for something.


No. What I am doing and not doing is creating in reality how I think about myself inside my head. I think I am a pathetic loser. So I behave in ways that make that true.

If I thought I were fabulous and admirable, I would behave that way to make that into reality. My subconscious makes sure that my reality reflects my inner beliefs. I am not punishing myself. I am actualizing myself.

My self-image cannot tolerate the stress created when reality fails to match my inner vision. For similar reasons, I am required to reject Mrs. Hold when she reaches out to me in love. I cannot tolerate her being a "good wife". Since my mental image says she is bad and wrong for denying me sex. So I reject her. She naturally reacts negatively to being rejected. And then I use her negative reaction to justify my mental image of her being a bad wife. Thus making my thoughts into reality, and eliminating the stress of inconsistency.

As you say, my wife is "going first". She is asserting that I have value. That I have achieved success in providing her with the lifestyle she wants. Since I do not believe this, I reject her assertions as being false. Instead of welcoming them and using them as evidence that perhaps I should change my view of myself. After all, if someone as demanding as Mrs. Hold is prepared to admit I have not failed at supporting her, who am I to argue with her? Yet, I do.


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I can't imagine you would be happy no matter how much sex your wife provided, Hold. Forget the analyzing. From what you post here it seems as though you have a negative self image and you cling to it. No amount of good towards you from others seems to mean anything to you.

I'm sure you know that there are many more people in this world and in your small corner who have much less to be happy about in there lives.

Get the shock treatments, maybe it will create new pathways for positive thoughts and actions. I believe you will come back with an analysis of how your path is determined and there is no hope because your reluctance to change. I think you're simply wired for the situation you're in and different circumstances or a fully engaged sex loving partner won't change that.

There are people in this world who love/get off on drama, upset, stirring the pot, pitting one against another, complaining, being put upon, unhappy, blaming others, blaming their parents and upbrining...so many things. You appear to be one of those. The grove is there, the path is set, the donkey with binders, what have you, you're there.


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Originally Posted By: nams
Get the shock treatments, maybe it will create new pathways for positive thoughts and actions.


See, I knew if I posted here long enough, I could eventually convince someone that I really do need ECT. Thanks nam. Everyone else keeps telling me to just suck it up and choose happiness. I can't do that any more than Mrs. Hold can suck it up and enjoy sex with me.

I tore an ad out of the paper for the local hospital's mood clinic. I will call Monday.


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My mom has a saying, and even with all her faults, I believe she was spot on:

Just because it is in your head doesn't mean you HAVE to say it out loud.

So yes, when you bit the bile and appreciated your wife....I think you did exactly the right thing.

I grew up in a "good but" house. "That was good, but..." "You did a good job. Next time why don't you...." "The was almost right." I know there was truth in the but, the next time, and the almost. But it hurt. Wasn't there a time when they could say, That was great. Period. No but. No negative.

I am all for sharing feelings and being "honest." But does my DH really have to know when he is already stressed that while I am glad he did the laundry, that isn't how I usually fold the towels? If I am having a crap day and wondering (just for a nanosecond) if maybe it was dumb to break my engagement to that other guy - which happened BEFORE we started dating - because they other guy seemed more attracted to me? I mean, really. It was a fleeting thought. I am sure that the other day when DH saw me trying valiantly to wear a pair of jeans that no longer fit, he had to have had a thought about my weight gain. I am glad he did not feel compelled by some supposed need for brutal honesty to say something....because I already felt like a fat failure.

So, if there is any objective truth in expressing a positive, I don't think it's always necessary to qualify it with a negative. Psychological studies out the wazoo tell us it takes 10-13 positive comments/expressions to balance out one negative. Yeah, we have to share the painful stuff too....but not every tiny thought that pops into our heads. There's a reason some kinds of honesty are called brutal.

MAN it felt good to type that.

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I still think before you shoot your head with electricity, you should try an in-treatment program.

But that's just me. You obviously don't want to do it, because I've been suggesting this to you for years.


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I know how unkind my words sound, Hold, but I truly believe you thrive in, or at least feel comfortable inhabiting, the environment you're in. The upset, the tension, looking for all the wrongs and how unsuitable or suitable you and your wife are. Maybe life is dull and the mental games are a way to keep yourself entertained.

You're the guy banging his head against the wall and people expect you to stop and discover it doesn't hurt when you stop repeatedly banging your head against the wall. But if you stop I bet you wonder if there is anything that will keep you occupied quite like the head banging does and the analyzing that goes along with it.


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