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Originally Posted by holdingontoit
I understand that he should not do anything if he is not enthusiastic. Just pointing out how this may come across to his wife, so he can explore her feelings.

They need to explore the other methods of birth control besides condoms or vasectomy. They need to explore other aspects of sex besides PIV intercourse. He needs to create a safe environment to discuss these things so she can share her truth.

I wrote what I would be thinking if I were his wife. I doubt she would admit to thinking those thoughts if she were thinking them. As he tries to create a safe environment for her, he needs to take into account that she may have fears he cannot imagine.

My wife has pushed off all forms of intimacy, including non-PIV things. The resent is building by the day in me and I feel it little by little overwhelming my thoughts. Something very odd also happened that is unanswered. She had a phone appointment about a month or two ago with her doctor about BC. She never told me what they discussed. I've asked her five times since then and she avoids answering the question. She said, "you don't have to get a V," but then she keeps bringing it up.


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Wife just yelled at me for being dishonest. She asked me multiple times last night and this morning if I was mad at her to which I replied "no". So I sent her an email to approach the subject of birth control, because face to face hasn't worked. I let her know some of the things that bothered me regarding the subject. She just read and and let me have it. She called me the biggest liar in the world. Being honest all the time with my wife causes there to be fights, so I've learned over the years to just gut it out which I know is wrong. So the part that sucks is that something like this will cause conflict for at least a week or two. She doesn't get over things and will resent me a ton. It has already started and no matter what I say or how many times I apologize she'll just keep resenting me indefinitely.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
My wife said we could have sex a few days ago. I asked her yesterday if we could and she said, "not unless you get a V." She then later that evening mocked me in front of some friends that were over saying, "Well he would get a lot more sex if he got a V." Either my wife has a low libido, doesn't want to have sex with me, or is fulfilling that need elsewhere. She has shown to be perfectly fine with no SF in her life, at least with me. The rest of our marriage is pretty good to be honest, but I'm extremely unhappy with my #1 need going unmet. My approaches on even discussing the subject are met with sarcasm and put-offs, and she brings up me not getting a V over and over again. I'm angry and bitter and am avoiding her because I am afraid I'll say something wrong. I wish she'd come here, but she won't do that either.

I would ask her how long she expects you to tolerate this situation? Does she imagine you will be there forever even after you fall out of love because she refuses to meet your needs? Most spouses don't last long under those conditions before they decide to move on.

Somehow I suspect the situation would be the same even if you did get a V. The reason behind that stems frm the fact that there are many other ways to have sex besides the big "I." Is she willing to do other things with you?


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Originally Posted by MelodyLane
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
My wife said we could have sex a few days ago. I asked her yesterday if we could and she said, "not unless you get a V." She then later that evening mocked me in front of some friends that were over saying, "Well he would get a lot more sex if he got a V." Either my wife has a low libido, doesn't want to have sex with me, or is fulfilling that need elsewhere. She has shown to be perfectly fine with no SF in her life, at least with me. The rest of our marriage is pretty good to be honest, but I'm extremely unhappy with my #1 need going unmet. My approaches on even discussing the subject are met with sarcasm and put-offs, and she brings up me not getting a V over and over again. I'm angry and bitter and am avoiding her because I am afraid I'll say something wrong. I wish she'd come here, but she won't do that either.

I would ask her how long she expects you to tolerate this situation? Does she imagine you will be there forever even after you fall out of love because she refuses to meet your needs? Most spouses don't last long under those conditions before they decide to move on.

Somehow I suspect the situation would be the same even if you did get a V. The reason behind that stems frm the fact that there are many other ways to have sex besides the big "I." Is she willing to do other things with you?

She won't do anything with me. Her reason for not doing other things is that it is unfair to her. We had a heated discussion just now and she said she'd go get an appointment but that it is all about accidental pregnancies. She seemed to relay that the fact that "it is all on her" is unfair in her eyes. She is still pissed I won't go get a consult against my will. She repeatedly said she doesn't respect me nor my need for SF. She thinks that the marriage is more important and that I should just wait it out. She said it always comes down to sex with me. I came to MB because she shut me out sexually. By the words she just said there is no way she is gonna come back on these forums and she brought up every single thing I did that hurt her in the past. This woman doesn't forget or move past ANYTHING. This is why it will continue to escalate unless I eliminate LBs entirely. Each time I do, she puts another mark on the chalk board in permanent ink. We've been getting along pretty well over the past couple of months, but to answer your question the "situation" in my mind is indefinite unless I spoke up. Hey at least she is getting an appointment.


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So I sent my wife the Four Guidelines for Successful Negotiations. I sent it to her respectfully and only if "she was open to it." I let her know from my perspective her need for honesty and my need for SF are the same. There is no such thing as one being more valuable or important than the other. My wife doesn't respect my need for sex at the present time. I let her know I'd be honest with her at all times even if I am scared at getting yelled at, so we'll see how it goes. Historically when we don't agree on something I just "give in" to what she wants and she tends to "avoid" the problem. This is not good and leads us to the same place we are now every time.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
She won't do anything with me. Her reason for not doing other things is that it is unfair to her.

Then you need to make it fair for her and please her too. SF is supposed to be the fulfilling of BOTH your needs, not just one. If she gets no enjoyment, then it is very unlikely she will want to do that.

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She repeatedly said she doesn't respect me nor my need for SF. She thinks that the marriage is more important and that I should just wait it out.

If the marriage is important to her, then she would be doing to enhance the marriage, rather than doing things that destroy it. She is detroying her marriage so her words don't match her actions. If she feels the marriage really is important, then why isn't she doing the things to maintain it, like meeting her husbands basic emotional needs? Neglecting her husband sure does not demonstrate that she places any importance on her marriage at all.

Rather, it sounds like she wants "unconditional love," which is harmful to marriages. She wants to contribute nothing but expects to receive all the benefits of a married woman. She is destroying your marriage with that approach.

So I would ask her how long she expects to remain married under those conditions? It wont' last forever.

You really need to keep this issue on the front burner until it is resolved. This is too important to your marriage. Have you considered getting marriage coaching from one of Dr Harley's kids?


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Originally Posted by MelodyLane
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
She won't do anything with me. Her reason for not doing other things is that it is unfair to her.

Then you need to make it fair for her and please her too. SF is supposed to be the fulfilling of BOTH your needs, not just one. If she gets no enjoyment, then it is very unlikely she will want to do that.

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She repeatedly said she doesn't respect me nor my need for SF. She thinks that the marriage is more important and that I should just wait it out.

If the marriage is important to her, then she would be doing to enhance the marriage, rather than doing things that destroy it. She is detroying her marriage so her words don't match her actions. If she feels the marriage really is important, then why isn't she doing the things to maintain it, like meeting her husbands basic emotional needs? Neglecting her husband sure does not demonstrate that she places any importance on her marriage at all.

Rather, it sounds like she wants "unconditional love," which is harmful to marriages. She wants to contribute nothing but expects to receive all the benefits of a married woman. She is destroying your marriage with that approach.

So I would ask her how long she expects to remain married under those conditions? It wont' last forever.

You really need to keep this issue on the front burner until it is resolved. This is too important to your marriage. Have you considered getting marriage coaching from one of Dr Harley's kids?

I let her know that I didn't want a marriage where SF is off the table. She must have taken it as me saying I didn't want to be married to her because she said, "I don't even want to be married to you." She followed it up with a text saying that she won't be in a marriage where there is dishonesty. Its not like I am a liar, my issue of dishonesty revolves around me not telling her when something is bothering her. This drives her crazy and I have avoided doing this for months until just now. Her language again suggests that she feels her need for honesty is more important than my need for SF. There is no other way to interpret it.

I don't know why she won't participate in other sexual activity with me. We used to do this all the time, but after the kids came it died out.

I'm not perfect, nor innocent in this marriage. I have done my fair share to cause her pain. I don't know how important the marriage is to her, in fact I've often thought it was more important to me and that she is frequently indifferent about it.

I had scheduled time with Steve, but we improved so much in such a short period of time we never followed through with it.


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1. be honest with her then. And keep the SF on the front burner until it is solved

2. get another appointment with Steve and get back on track

Have you thought about doing the online program so you could have more hands on guidance? You would be assigned a coach who works with you every week and guides your program. You would also have daily access to Dr Harley over on the private forum.

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my issue of dishonesty revolves around me not telling her when something is bothering her. This drives her crazy and I have avoided doing this for months until just now

That would drive me crazy too. crazy


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How do you feel about the subject of resent? My wife freely admits that she is resentful of me. She is resentful of her mom, her dad, my mom, and both of my sisters. How can I work on our marriage if she never gets over anything? In fact she sent me a text stating that she will just have to put up with all the resent she has for me and handle the birth control situation herself.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
How do you feel about the subject of resent? My wife freely admits that she is resentful of me. She is resentful of her mom, her dad, my mom, and both of my sisters. How can I work on our marriage if she never gets over anything? In fact she sent me a text stating that she will just have to put up with all the resent she has for me and handle the birth control situation herself.

The resentment on both sides will fade if you restore the love in your marriage. That is where I would focus. Instead of focusing on resentment and fights, etc, focus on fixing your marriage by developing new habits. Stop fighting and refocus. If you can't refocus, then get help getting back on track.

I would point out again, that you can have sex without bc. You can satisfy each other without it, so it's not like you have to wait. Just be honest with her, Hilltopper, without being critical.


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Originally Posted by MelodyLane
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
How do you feel about the subject of resent? My wife freely admits that she is resentful of me. She is resentful of her mom, her dad, my mom, and both of my sisters. How can I work on our marriage if she never gets over anything? In fact she sent me a text stating that she will just have to put up with all the resent she has for me and handle the birth control situation herself.

The resentment on both sides will fade if you restore the love in your marriage. That is where I would focus. Instead of focusing on resentment and fights, etc, focus on fixing your marriage by developing new habits. Stop fighting and refocus. If you can't refocus, then get help getting back on track.

I would point out again, that you can have sex without bc. You can satisfy each other without it, so it's not like you have to wait. Just be honest with her, Hilltopper, without being critical.

Good call on the focus. As far as doing other things which I'm all for, I guess I'll just tell her how I feel and be confident and positive about it. The worst that can happen is she'll say no.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
How do you feel about the subject of resent? My wife freely admits that she is resentful of me. She is resentful of her mom, her dad, my mom, and both of my sisters. How can I work on our marriage if she never gets over anything? In fact she sent me a text stating that she will just have to put up with all the resent she has for me and handle the birth control situation herself.

Be really careful of those resentful relatives. Other people, particularly your own relatives, can cause love bank withdrawals in YOUR account! If your wife feels like the people are in some way associated with you, that is.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
In fact she sent me a text stating that she will just have to put up with all the resent she has for me and handle the birth control situation herself.

Grace is having trouble seeing how the two of you can negotiate a win-win solution on birth control. Most people, probably almost everybody, is locked into the idea that it's got to be either your way or my way. She doesn't see a path forward with the negotiation route, and her instincts are telling her that the only way to get anything done is to revert to the old habit of independent behavior.

Dictatorships appear to be "efficient" but of course they don't build love, which is what you really need. smile

Stay calm. Of course. smile

And stay the course. Stay respectful, stay open and honest about what you need, do not be demanding. Review some of Dr. Harley's Q&A articles regularly to keep yourself focused on on track.

I wish you guys could've gotten a chance to negotiate on smaller issues first before this, but this is the situation you are in.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I let her know that I didn't want a marriage where SF is off the table.

Statements like these are very easily perceived as threats. And threats of course are a horrible love buster.

A lot of advice focuses on trying to "get your message across" and really just shows you how to add drama to what you are saying. Drama is absolutely not what you need. smile It's best to focus on cause, effect, and facts, and keep things simple:

"I would like to keep negotiating about sex and birth control. I would like to find a way that we can start meeting each other's SF need again as soon as possible."


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
This woman doesn't forget or move past ANYTHING.

I just want to remind you that statements like this are a disrespectful judgment.

No poking, okay? You understand what I am talking about? If you continue to poke, you can continue to expect the results you are getting.

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Hey at least she is ...

That's also a disrespectful judgment.

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This is why it will continue to escalate unless I eliminate LBs entirely.

Reality check, here: Dr. Harley maintains that demands, disrespect, and anger should not be tolerated in marriage, and should be eliminated entirely. Do you agree?


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markos, I had viewed that comment as a [legitimate] complaint because it expresses his feelings about the future of the marriage. It wasn't a criticism because it did not include a judgement. But it did convey a very important truth: that he does not want a marriage that does not include SF.

I think it is important that she understands she is not going to be able to keep him in a marriage for long if she refuses to meet his needs. How should he have told her this? I do think it is imperative that she know this, otherwise, she will think she is entitled to unconditional love. [which leads to neglect and abuse] I didn't view the comment as a threat, but as a statement of truth.

Hilltopper, my XH did leave me for another woman in 1999 for this very reason. He did not tell me how miserable he was over the lack of SF, either. I feel strongly that he should have been honest about the lack of SF dooming the marriage. That would have been preferable to having an affair and leaving for her.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I had scheduled time with Steve, but we improved so much in such a short period of time we never followed through with it.

Marriages tend to improve in fits and starts. It seems really good, then you hit a downturn that you never would have thought possible when things were good. The discouragement can be overwhelming, which of course can make you give up on good plans and good positive actions that affect the long term health of your marriage. You wind up sacrificing the long term for the short term.

Steve is a great step to take to help the long-term.

Did you schedule with Steve and then cancel? Surely you didn't pay and then not show up, right? smile Just curious.

Go read Dr. Harley's description of the marriage counseling process, really read it:

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi7100_counselor.html

Originally Posted by Dr. Harley
Poorly organized counselors will often see clients for weeks before they get down to deciding how they'll proceed. During that time, the crisis is over and the motivation to solve the problem is postponed until the next crisis. The couple drops out of therapy no wiser or better off than they came.

Originally Posted by Dr. Harley
Men generally want to get out of therapy as soon as possible, even when they were the ones that wanted it the most in the beginning. They don't like the idea of reporting to someone regarding their behavior, and my role as a counselor is to see to it that they follow through on what they promised. They often agree to anything to get their wives back, and then once she's home, they go back to their old habits.


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I'm not perfect, nor innocent in this marriage. I have done my fair share to cause her pain. I don't know how important the marriage is to her, in fact I've often thought it was more important to me and that she is frequently indifferent about it.

Yes, that may be genuinely how she feels.

You affect her feelings.

There is a plan here at Marriage Builders for you to affect her feelings in a positive way.

You don't like the way she appears to feel about your marriage, and you are judging her for it, and you would like to make her feel differently.


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Originally Posted by MelodyLane
markos, I had viewed that comment as a [legitimate] complaint because it expresses his feelings about the future of the marriage. It wasn't a criticism because it did not include a judgement. But it did convey a very important truth: that he does not want a marriage that does not include SF.
I don't usually disagree with you, Melody, but this one hit a nerve. Markos has said similar things to me. It is a demand and a threat -- it comes across as "I don't want this marriage unless you give me what I want. Meet my needs, or I'm leaving you."

He can express his need for SF without making it a demand. "My EN for SF is not being met, and it is hurting me. I would like to continue negotiating until we come to a solution that makes both of us happy."

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I think it is important that she understands she is not going to be able to keep him in a marriage for long if she refuses to meet his needs. How should he have told her this?
I don't think Hilltopper is in any position to tell her this. Ultimatums are a LB, no matter how you word them.

Dr. Harley says that demands usually follow a complaint when a spouse is being neglected, and it is a mistake. He outlines what should be done instead:

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The most common first response to a spouse's neglect is to complain: "I'd like it if you'd be more affectionate." A complaint is an effort to communicate a problem without being demanding, disrespectful, or angry. It's a notification there's an opportunity to make deposits (or avoid withdrawals) from the Love Bank. There's nothing wrong with that initial approach to the problem of neglect since it's simply communicating a need.

But when that doesn't produce results, mistakes usually follow. The first mistake is to criticize: "Why do you ignore me? What's wrong with you?" A criticism adds demands, disrespect, and/or anger to the complaint. The message of an unmet emotional need is buried under layers of abuse. Instead of creating a cooperative partner, it creates an adversary.

...

The first step, as I mentioned earlier, should be to express your need clearly without demands, disrespect, or anger.

...

This first step may solve your problem. Your husband may respond positively to your request, and the issue of unconditional love may not become a factor in his thinking.

...

But if your husband refuses to accept your offer, the next step I recommend is very controversial, but when you compare it to the alternatives, it makes the most sense. It has two parts. I call one part plan A, and the other plan B. These two parts are to be executed sequentially -- plan A is first, followed by plan B.

Plan A is to give your husband "unconditional love" for a brief period of time, usually a month. I know. I've just written two columns that warn against unconditional love. But I've never been opposed to its use if it's intended to prime the pump. One spouse can't save a marriage, but one spouse can often set an example that the other spouse will sometimes follow. Plan A is to avoid all Love Busters, and to meet the other spouse's emotional needs without expecting anything in return immediately. But it also involves communicating the importance of reciprocity. Along with being an angel, you also explain that you expect your needs to eventually be met, too.

But before you begin plan A, prepare for plan B, which is to completely separate from your husband. You can't simply move out of the bedroom. You must move from the house, or have him move. If you live in a state that supports legal separation, go to the trouble to see an attorney so that all financial and legal arrangements are made in advance. Be sure that you can support yourself for an extended period of time, such as a year.

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How should you tell your spouse, "We have a problem."

One of the reasons that spouses postpone their complaints is that the way they complain often starts a fight. While the complaint does get the problem out on the table, it often wrecks what could have been a peaceful evening at home. And after the fight is over, the problem usually remains unsolved. So, how should you introduce a problem to your spouse in a way that doesn't lead to a fight, and makes it easy to solve?

First, this is what you should NOT do when presenting a problem to your spouse:

DO NOT make a demand. A demand is an effort to force your spouse to do what you want without consideration for how your spouse will feel doing it. "Do it, or else," is the clear message given in a demand, and it coveys an insensitivity to your spouse's feelings or interests. It's a Love Buster because demands withdraw love units. Instead of helping to solve a problem, it creates a new problem. A thoughtful request, on the other hand, is a good way to ask your spouse for help, because it takes his or her feelings into account. "How would you feel if you were to do this for me," introduces the problem with a willingness to negotiate a win-win solution.

DO NOT make a disrespectful judgment. When you present the problem, avoid expressing it as being the fault of your spouse. "If you were less selfish, we wouldn't have this problem," is an example of a disrespectful judgment that will get you nowhere. Instead of blaming your spouse for the problem, view it as a problem for you that is, apparently, not a problem for your spouse. Respectful persuasion is an effort to try to change your spouse's behavior that, in the end, will not only help you, but will help your spouse as well.

DO NOT have an angry outburst. Anger is your Taker's way of punishing your spouse when he or she does not give you what you want. It's not only an ineffective way to produce long-lasting change in your spouse's behavior, but it also destroys your spouse's love for you.

Granted, if you present your complaint in a thoughtful way, and your spouse responds with thoughtlessness, you will be very tempted to revert to your Taker's instincts by being demanding, disrespectful and angry. But it takes two to fight, and if your spouse does not respond positively to your presentation, simply end the discussion, and re-introduce your problem again later.

It's very important for both you and your spouse to do a good job meeting each other's emotional needs, and avoiding behavior that causes each other's unhappiness. But when either of you have a complaint, I suggest that you use this procedure:

First, state your complaint as clearly as possible, guaranteeing your spouse's safety by avoiding demands, disrespect or anger. Be cheerful as you discuss the problem, and try to make it brief.

Second, ask for your spouse's perspective on your problem. How does your spouse view this same situation and what might make it difficult for him or her to accommodate you?

Third, brainstorm possible solutions to the problems, looking for a plan that would solve your problem, and at the same time take your spouse's feelings into account. Avoid any solution where one of you gains at the other's expense. Don't give or expect sacrifice because that means that one of you will be losing love units so that the other can gain them. If you sacrifice for each other, in the end, you won't have the mutual love for each other that you want. But also recognize the importance of eventually finding a solution that solves the problem.

Finally, from your list of possible solutions, choose the one that has the enthusiastic agreement of both you and your spouse. That way, the solution will deposit love units into both of your Love Banks simultaneously. If you can't find one that meets that standard, keep brainstorming.

To guarantee your love for each other, you and your spouse must address each other's complaints as soon as they arise. Don't let your problems build up before you find solutions, because the longer you wait, the more love units you lose. But, if you're not careful, the way you go about presenting your problem and trying to find solutions can also cause you to lose love units.

You will not only deposit love units by solving the problems themselves, but you will also deposit love units in the very way you go about solving the problem, if you do it the right way.

Most couples lose love units whenever they have a conflict because they present their complaints with demands, disrespect and anger. And then they look for solutions that help one spouse but hurt the other. That's no way to resolve conflicts, and it's certainly no way to stay in love.

The better you become at stating your complaints with your spouse's feelings in mind, and then finding solutions with the same thoughtfulness, the more you will feel like getting to each problem immediately. But until you get to the place where you feel like presenting your problems as soon as they occur, do it anyway. Don't try to lower your expectations, and don't try to meet your own emotional needs. Instead, learn to become experts at meeting each other's emotional needs. That way you will have what you have always wanted -- a fulfilling and passionate marriage.

When should you tell your spouse "We have a problem."


Markos' Wife
FWW - EA
8 kids ...
What to do with an Angry Husband

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