This is disrespectful, I'm trying to help.
I apologize, I also thought this was disrespectful:
Stop being confused and start asking questions, really listening, and paying attention.
Why would you assume I haven't been asking questions, why would you assume I don't listen, and why would you assume I don't pay attention? It made me laugh because I've been focused on doing those things so intently for so long, I didn't mean to be dismissive. It's like I've been training for a marathon and you suggested maybe I should go out running once in a while -- the irony of that makes you laugh. Sorry it came across the wrong way.
Now that that's behind us...
Okay, then observe her behavior and see what she likes to do. If she enjoys books, get her a book or read one together.
Yes, I have done this -- good suggestion! I like reading historical non-fiction, and she likes reading women-oriented fiction. I have read several books with her so that we can discuss them together. I do enjoy this too and continue to do it, although I would like if she would read some of my picks as well.
If she enjoys shopping, shop with her, buy her a necklace, etc.
She does not like randomly receiving gifts. I was doing that but it seemed to be doing more harm than good. She travels for business, and when she would go I would put a short note in her bag with a gourmet chocolate bar or something similar. Over the winter our coffee maker broke (I don't drink coffee), and I was going out in the morning and getting her coffee from the shop nearby.
She didn't like it because it made her feel badly that she wasn't doing that type of thing for me, although I voiced no expectation and made no complaint in that regard. I do shop with her when she goes -- specifically I've tried to join her to go grocery shopping. I say "tried" because sometimes she goes on the way home from work without telling me.
I have observed what she likes to do -- here's the list:
She likes reading books
She likes watching TV
She likes talking to 1 girlfriend on the phone
She likes talking to her sister on the phone
Occasionally she likes to shop at the mall
Very occasionally she likes to go for a walk
She likes her job
She likes to meet her girlfriends out of a drink about 1x per month
She likes to go to church on Sunday
That's pretty much it.
Here's what I have done:
-- Spend as much UA with her as she will agree to
-- Create an environment of affection
-- Offer to engage in intimate conversation by putting myself out there first
-- Read the same book she's reading so we can discuss
-- Watch the TV shows she likes to watch a couple times a week
-- Make every effort to shop with her
-- Invite her for walks
-- Invite her to meet me out for a drink
-- Offer to make a drink at home once in a while
-- Join her at church (Neither of us used to go, then she started going, and I started joining her because it's become more important to her)
What does she enjoy about work?
She's good at what she does, I believe she enjoys the positive attention when she performs well. She also likes taking processes that are a mess, and making them run efficiently.
Could you experiment with some safe, easy things like buying her flowers, doing more housework than normal, writing her a list of 10 things you love about her, making a pretty photo of her your phone wallpaper, etc?
Yes, "The Five Love Languages" had quite an impact on me. Her primary LL is "Quality Time", but I decided to speak all 5 of them anyway. I believe that the 5LL book is closely related to Dr. Harley's "love bank" concept, although they call it a "love tank". In any case, their 5 LL's are "Physical Touch", "Words of Affirmation", "Acts of Service", "Receiving Gifts", and "Quality Time". Quality Time is like Dr. Harley's "UA" which is what she likes the most. The point of that book, although I'll bet you've read it, is that if you send on a channel that your spouse does not value the most, then you don't have the impact you think you're having.
In any case, I have been sending on all 5 channels anyway, although to Dr. Harley's point, I've been trying to "create an environment of affection" more than "physical touch" so that it does not get confused with admiration, although I do make a point of hugging her frequently.
According to the professionals I've consulted, it's my fault only if that's true, because I'm either crazy demanding, never satisfied, or have unreasonable expectations. The consensus of the IC's and MC's I've visited is that this is not the case, that this is my W's issue, and I can't own it.
Dr. Harley says that your spouses demands will decrease dramatically once you fix just a few things, really start meeting their emotional needs, and they fall back in love. People are often labeled as crazy or controlling when the couple hasn't figure out how to meet ENs and avoid LBs.
That's excellent feedback, and I get that. I know that's true of me as well -- even though I may now want improvement on three EN's, if she were to improve just one, the other two would become less important, I've seen that in action for me. Just to be clear, however, this wasn't about my W making demands, these comments were made about the fact that my W has a habit of turning anything I say into a complaint about her, no matter how innocuous it is. For instance, we were going to a dinner party. She dressed up for it and looked very nice. I told her she looked nice, and her response was "are you saying that all my friends don't dress well?"
That's the stuff that ONE of my MC's called "crazy making" and told me I couldn't own responses like that -- meaning that if I had never done anything to precipitate such a response, I should let it roll off me and not feel badly about it. Markos, the MC that made that remark to me in private, which you consider to be disrespectful, was not the "good" one I eventually landed on, who is the multiple book author. He's the one who said that W doesn't feel safe in the relationship due to my perceived expectations of having my ENs met.
If you believe it's my fault, that's ok with me.
If feels like you are disregarding my comment without trying to understand why I made it. Is that what you do with your wife?
No, I don't know you at all, and I was put off by your insinuating that I don't listen and don't pay attention. For all I know you could be very opinionated and hard-headed, and jump to conclusions with very little information to go on. (I'm not saying you are like that, I don't know you.) If you were like that, I wouldn't want to get into a back-and-forth with you over something that's not really going to help me or my marriage. Once again, I thought you may have been being disrespectful by jumping to conclusions and labeling me as wrong without much information to go on. Would you agree that saying "that's your fault" is pretty loaded language?
To be fair, you're really not that familiar with my situation, and how could you be? I've been posting on the DB forum for a year now, but just started posting here.
Style-wise, even your quoted question above is confrontational and argumentative, in my opinion. It can be read as "are you a jack@ss to your wife too?"
I believe you're trying to help, so I'm willing to engage with you. I'll try to be respectful, and to make sure I understand, and I hope you will too.
WRT my wife, I hold her in high regard, and respect her immensely. Therefore, no, I do not believe I'm dismissive. I'm looking for more intimacy, so I'm going to value opportunities to share information and to develop understanding with her. That's my opinion, and I obviously don't see myself from her perspective, but I've never had a complaint in our 15 years of marriage that I've been disrespectful or dismissive.
My suggestion would be to worry less about your needs at all for a while.
It's been 10 months -- how long is "a while"? I'm not trying to be argumentative or provocative, how long do I not worry about my EN's? 2 years? 3 years? The problem with putting your EN's in the back seat is that being on your own, or with someone else starts to look increasingly attractive because your love bank goes into the negative.
Like other posters have said, this tends to be more tolerable for men. Instead, focus on making her happy knowing that the end result will be that she will be more interested in making you happy.
Yes, I will try to stay the course. This is what I've been doing. I came here because I've been getting increasingly frustrated with the one-way street and was starting to feel like I couldn't take it anymore.
I know my W is hyper-sensitive to criticism
That's a DJ. By the way, as I mentioned before, my husband commented that I criticized him a lot and Steve told me that people who say that often have admiration as their number 1 emotional need, even if they don't say it is - the two are opposites. Perhaps try some admiration to meet her needs.
Good stuff, I will try that. Physical admiration is a big non-starter for her and I know that, but I can do other forms.
Thanks Penni4Thoughts, sorry if I came across as disrespectful or dismissive. I felt you were coming after me a bit with limited information, so I was attempting to distance a bit until I get to know you.