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Originally Posted By: LovingAnyway
I want to challenge your honesty on your statement. Do you think she has learned a lot about love and healthy relationships in the past 20 years? Or were you implying something, roundabout, rather than sharing honestly?


I think she has learned that there are downsides to "nice" and "safe" that she did not see 20 years ago. And that what she thought was "safe" is actually not safe at all, just a different kind of problem.

As we say on another forum discussing mismatched libidos, high libido women often find it captivating when they meet a guy who is not "all about sex". They like the idea that he isn't "just after me for my body". Until the 2nd or 3rd time he turns her down for sex. Then they realize that a guy who never initiates sex when she doesn't want it might well turn her down when she asks. Be careful what you wish for and all that.

On the other hand, as your post implies, she hasn't learned much about sex. Since we hardly ever do it, never discuss it, hardly ever try new things and don't share our views or reactions on what we do try. And she hasn't learned that much about healthy relationships, since we haven't been in one. And don't practice the skills we have been told might help.

So she hasn't learned nearly as much as she might have. Especially given how much time, energy and money we have spent working on it. And she isn't that much more honest with herself. Although that may be changing. As she finally admits to herself that we are not compatible and that she may have to leave me to find happiness.

Then again, there are limits to her self-honesty. She keeps saying "I feel nothing down there. Not with you. Not with anyone else". She makes it seems like this is natural and normal and acceptable. And that there is nothing she can do about it. But she has normal urinary function. She got pregnant and carried to term and delivered 2 healthy children vaginally. I guess it is possible that she has some nerve damage that prevents sensation from her sex organs from reaching her brain. Still, it seems far more likely that this is a psychological issue. But no, we can't go in the direction. That simply cannot be the correct analysis.


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She does not care about anyone but herself. That is something you cannot change. You accidently married a very selfish woman. She feels entitled to NOT having sex, NOT wanting sex in marriage and NOT making up for her lack of wanting sex and at least helping YOU OUT.

She could help you out in 1000 ways even if she never wants sex herself. But she does not care enough for you. She could care less about you it is all about her. That is the root problem.

1. She could say that she does not enjoy sex but ask what you needed each week
2. She could open up to learning about her own sex drive and how to enjoy sex
3. She could pleasure you each week willingly and regularly
4. She could talk with you about sex until the problems were solved
5. She could do a lot of things but she wont because she is a totally self centered and selfish human being and cannot see beyond her own "importaant" needs.

She only gives you (anything) because she has bargained for you to keep bringing in that paycheck for her to spend. Otherwise she would give NOTHING to you. she gives the very least she can to the marriage and still have it intact.

Bubbles4U #2405320 07/15/10 08:48 AM
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Tried to engage Mrs. Hold last night. Very chilly reaction. I told her I felt a cold breeze from her side of the bed. She didn't say anything. I told her I don't enjoy sitting next to her when she is so cold. Silence. I told her I was uncomfortable continuing to sit near her, told her where I was going, and left the room.

A few minutes later I needed to get something from the bedroom. She lit into me. "This is not about what you feel. Not everything is about you. Maybe I am sad. Maybe I am unhappy. Do you even care how I feel?" I said I am not happy to hear she is sad. I asked if there is anything I can do to help her feel less sad. Talk to her? Discuss her hopes and dreams? Rub her shoulder? Scrape the calluses off her heels? She said no, there isn't anything I can do.

I told her I am available to her to discuss what is bothering her and what I can do to help. But if she doesn't want to talk about it, and she is going to be rude to me and give me the silent treatment when we are together, then I will be watching tv in another room.


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Sounds almost like she read my post...

Bubbles4U #2407015 07/19/10 09:25 AM
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Nice weekend. MIL and FIL visited. Pleasant time with S15 and FIL on Saturday while Mrs. Hold, D13 and MIL went to art show. Sunday I picked berries and made jam. Later all 6 of us went to a movie and dinner. Mrs. Hold was pleasant throughout. Amazing how well we get along when we don't spend any time together just the 2 of us.


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Likely a show for her parents.


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nams #2407203 07/19/10 02:09 PM
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No show. What is there to show? She is normally quite pleasant in public or in front of the kids. Since this weekend was spent apart or with others, no UA time. With no UA time, no reason for her to snap at me.

In fact, the only time she did snap at me was when we were alone for 2 minutes. She went to an exercise class in the morning. When she came home around 10:30 am, I went outside to pick berries. She took a nap since she was wiped out from exercise. I came in 2 hours later and the 6 of us had lunch. She went back to napping. I made jam. Around 3:30 pm I brought a spoon of jam in to the bedroom for her to taste. I thought the jam tasted great, and I was excited about sharing my success with her. Plus we had to leave for the movie in 15 minutes so she had to get up soon anyway. I tapped her gently on the toe. She jumped up and started balling me out for interrupting her nap. I apologized and slunk back to the kitchen to make sure the last jar had finished processing. To her credit, she did apologize later for snapping at me.

I don't think she put on a show for her parents. I think she is perfectly happy to spend time with me at a restaurant with the kids. She doesn't have to pretend she enjoys that. And when we are alone together in the bedroom, she doesn't pretend to enjoy that either.


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I thought the show might be to exhibit kind and sweet behavior toward you so her parents couldn't fault her when they hear the marriage might be in danger. Maybe she's not thinking that far ahead.

I understand your explanation that she doesn't need to put on a show because she enjoys family time just not time alone with you. Does she know she does this?


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nams #2407275 07/19/10 03:47 PM
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She is a very selfish human being. She is in the top few percentage of selfish humans that exist now in the world. Why do you ever expect anything unselfish or good to come from her...ever?

Bubbles4U #2407346 07/19/10 05:38 PM
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She is not selfish. Well, not any more than the rest of us. She is simply trying to deal with her pain and fear the best way she knows. I am just "collateral damage".


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We had an open and honest talk this morning. Profit numbers came out yesterday. Senior partners at our firm made $900,000 and up. I said "if I were making that much, I would feel differently about myself and you would feel differently about me, and you wouldn't reject me as much." She tried to deny it. I said "we have been married 18 years, please be honest. This is not about blame or condemnation. This is about factual truth." She said "OK, all you said is true. But there are things about you I like that I didn't expect to be important to me. You are warm and funny. And you are a great Dad." I said "yes, I am. But that doesn't make you feel about me the way I need my wife to feel about me." She said "I am sorry we can't work this out." I replied "It is to be expected. Money is the only thing I felt I had to offer and I projected myself that way. It is not surprising that I found a girl for whom that is the most important thing. I have not held up my end of the bargain. It isn't surprising that you haven't held up yours either." She said "please know that to me it is still, on balance, worth it." I said "you are a nice person. You have a big heart. You mean well. I appreciate that. But it doesn't solve our problem."

So at least we are being open and honest. Even if there doesn't seem to be any way short of winning Powerball to resolve it. I make little more than 3rd or 4th year lawyers at our firm. Not where either of us expected me to be after 25 years of practice. I shouldn't blame her for my failure.


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Hold, do you honestly believe making more money will make your W find you more sexually attractive? Can that even be? Would you truly want that kind of love, one that is only stimulated by money and the things it can buy?

I picture an old man with a young gold digger who lavishes attention on him and provides sex because he can buy her stuff. All the desire is fake. You're talking about the same situation only the age difference isn't so great. I thought you wanted to loved for who your are and desired for who you are.

What is great is the honesty. Keep that up and if you part it might not be such an emotional upheaval.

Last edited by nams; 07/20/10 10:29 AM.

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nams #2407576 07/20/10 11:01 AM
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Hold,
If your top partners are dividing up that kind of profits, the lower-paid attorneys have to be making decent money. For there to be a huge discrepancy, it would be a very large firm. At a smaller firm, not so much difference. My point is, whatever you are making is not "failure" compared to the rest of the world, only in your eyes, compared to some top mega-lawyers. That's like a family physician comparing themselves to a heart surgeon in a bypass mill, knocking down $1,000,000 a year but maybe working or on the phone 110 hours a week. It's false to compare such unequal careers.

I know you must be in your late forties, but have you considered moving to a smaller city that lacks your specialty, or looking for a top-notch smaller firm looking to grow a little by adding your specialty? Again, just wearing my consultant hat, looking for a solution that is right in front of you.

The root question is, how much money would it take to make you feel "not a failure", and how much would it take for your wife to treat you with some respect, too? I'll bet neither one of you can really say.

Retread #2407581 07/20/10 11:16 AM
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Retread reminded me of something. I believe YOU THINK your wife would like you better if you made ___________amount of money.

Even your wife thinks she would be more sexually attracted to you if you made ____________of money.

BUT WHAT IF THIS IS NOT TRUE?

If you were bringing in huge amounts of money and she was spending it like the selfish spender she is....

NOTHING WOULD CHANGE!

You would have to make so much money that she could not easily spend it all!

You each would have to have your lives together enough to WANT SEX!

She hates sex basically, why do you think more money would make her want it suddenly? It would not.

Deep inside I think you know this. That is why you do not try harder at work.

You know this:

1. There is no TOP LIMIT to the money you would have to make to get more sex outta her

2. If you made even one million a year, she would spend close to that.

3. She still would not want sex, because she does not naturally like sex.

4. She still would not like you ANY MORE than she does now.

5. It would change NOTHING, even if you made millions a year.

6. About all that would change is she could impress the rest of the world and seemingly feel better about herself at parties and temporarily.

7. You could literally work yourself to the bone and nothing in your marriage would change.


You know all this deep inside yourself and you are not willing to work that hard only to find your marriage and sex life does not improve.

Bubbles4U #2407588 07/20/10 11:31 AM
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I'll bet every one of us knows some man who didn't make enough money to earn the admiration and respect from his wife that a marriage needs, or a woman who was not pretty enough. They end up divorced, remarried to someone with a different perspective, to a wife who thinks he is so much a better provider than other men she has known, and the woman to a man who finds her beautiful.

Someone here said it before: Expectations are a set up for resentment.

Think how many people lost their farms, businesses, and steady union jobs during the Depression, but they still stayed together and built a new life, just like luroosi2 referenced in Jeremiah 29.

Retread #2407591 07/20/10 11:36 AM
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I maintain that if a woman needs her man to make more money before she can admire him....then she will NEVER TRULY ADMIRE HIM.

If a man needs a woman to be more attractive, then he will NEVER LOVE HER.

But these things are not known until the person divorces the one who does not love them,,,and finds another who truly does love them!

Bubbles4U #2407684 07/20/10 02:14 PM
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Guys, all of this is wonderful in theory. In practice, my wife and I made a deal while we were dating. She would bring her great body and willingness to have sex with me to the table, and I would bring my gigantic earning potential. You can call us both shallow and foolish, but those were our expectations. I didn't think I had anything to offer except my earning capacity. No woman ever paid me any attention until I graduated law school. Few paid me any attention after graduation, and it was very clear to me what attracted the few who showed any interest. Given how I presented myself, it was inevitable that I would attract someone who felt as Mrs. Hold does. Perhaps I was stupid to rely so heavily on my income potential, but at the time it seemed my only choice if I were to avoid being alone.

Bubbles, you know she would have more sex with me if I earned more. Why? Because she would respect me more. She would find me more sexually attractive if I had more self-confidence. And she would know that I could easily find someone else. A big part of our lack of progress in marriage counselling was her refusal to accept that the money mattered to her. She didn't want to think of herself that way. But framed as an issue of respect, I think she is now willing to accept that my inability to create the career and income she expected has dramatically reduced her attraction to me.

No, that doesn't explain why she refused to have sex on our honeymoon or during our first year of marriage. Yes, she would still have some residual PTSD issues to deal with. But she would be much more motivated to work on them if she respected and admired me and feared losing me. At this point, "losing" me would probably feel like relief rathe than loss.

Retread, I have a very unique niche practice. There are very few firms that do what we do. My skillset is more valuable here than just about any other firm I can think of. If I cannot build a practice here, I don't see how I can build a practice at a firm with a lesser reputation in our field. The fault is not primarily that they are shutting me out (although in many ways they are). The fault is primarily that I have lost faith in myself. I don't trust myself not to miss subtle points without the extensive support system I have here. And I find it difficult to even try to make things better. If I leave here, I will likely feel like even more of a failure, and find it that much harder to motivate myself to attempt success. I can easily see my fear of failure becoming paralyzing. As you say, I may not make as much as the mega-lawyers, but I make a decent living, and I am not willing to throw that away for a position that has more upside potential but also much more downside risk and triggers lots more anxiety.

As for how much I would have to earn to not feel like a failure, I would say somewhere between $400,000 and $500,000 per year. That is about double what I make. In the past 10 years my salary has increased about $30,000. I don't think it is reasonable to expect it to increase by $200,000 any time soon.

I am simply too risk averse to do what needs to be done. Divorce Mrs. Hold. Get another job. Build up my self-confidence. And then go find a woman who is attracted to the new healthier me. I am too fearful of change. I would rather stay in the misery I know than leap into the unknown. Even though I am convinced that staying with Mrs. Hold and staying in this job almost assures that I will remain miserable, depressed and filled with self-loathing.

I haven't made any major changes in the 8+ years since I arrived here. Tried many therapists. Both individual and marital. I convinced myself 5 years ago that the marriage was doomed but I won't take any action until the kids graduate. D13 has only 5 more years home, so I have already served half of my "sentence". Then we shall see. Although by then it will probably be too late as regards the career. Perhaps not too late for me to find me.


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Hold,
I know a few very specialized lawyers. My daughter worked for one like your senior partners, in NYC. I know ones in smaller cities who are very specialized in trusts and estates, who moved there from Los Angeles or NYC, where they were the very best. There is so much business in America that no matter how specialized you are in anything, there is more than you can do, and some left over for 10 competitors.

I have known people who forgot where they came from, who divorced their husbands when their incomes fell from $500,000 to $50,000 for a year. A lot of top engineers, managers, Wall Street lawyers, and even doctors, are making half or less than a few year ago, some only 20% or 25%. Some feel like total failures, and some are debt-free, just riding it out, living better than they did when they made that same money on the way up.

Two men, two wives, or two couples, could have the same incomes doing the same jobs, and one be happy, while the other feels like a failure. Success, like sex, is 90% between the ears.

This recession isn't helping. It's like a hurricane. It may take down some of the biggest strongest trees, but it is going to clean out all the dead wood. You've never ridden out a hurricane. When you walk outside the first sunny day, everything is so green, because everything that was weak and brown and not well-rooted is just gone.

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Retread:

I am weak and brown and not well-rooted. That does not inspire me to imagine I can successfully survive being uprooted and planted elsewhere.

As I said, the key factor is not that this job does not present opportunities. The problem is that I do not have the confidence to attempt them. I sit in my office with my head down, hoping no one realizes how stupid I have become. I am shattered.

To succeed I would need to remake myself. Gather my shards and forge a new me. Impossible to imagine I will summon the courage to do that when every night is another relentless battering of my esteem by the person who shares my bed.

She pre-emptively rejected me verbally and through body language both last night and again this morning. I wasn't trying for sex. But if I rolled toward her she grunted negatively or threw her arms up to ward me off. When we got dressed I said I felt rejected. She said "just because I was feeling icky last night and this morning?" I said "no, because you have felt that was the past 6500 days."

It is easier if I play PS3 until 2 am and then collapse into bed exhausted, and wake at the last possible moment before showering, dressing and heading to work. That way we do not spend a single moment in bed together. But it does not help me feel good about myself.


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And more sex with a woman who is motivated to consent (not enjoy, just consent or allow)to more sex simply because you make more is going to improve your happiness and sense of worth how?

Your self esteem is truly in the toilet, Hold. How did you become so dependent on others for your sense of worth? If that doesn't bring the self esteem plunging nothing would.

Just the thought that you would feel better about yourself by having more sex with someone who doesn't really want sex with you, just your buying power, is very disturbing.


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