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So...we've been trying to do MB for 4 years. We've had lots of issues in our 11-year marriage. No infidelity. We spend most of our time together in addition to 15 hours of UA where we get a babysitter for our two kids and leave the house. My husband's top needs are being met except for SF. We have had major problems in that department. We fit Dr. H's imaginary couples to a "T." There were lots of SDs and hurtful words and behavior surrounding SF early in our relationship. Our sex life is very very strained. We suffered greatly from not understanding MB concepts. I love busted like crazy and my H was the IB master and I didn't even know how my unmet needs for IC and Affection were affecting our SF...

We attempted to do the home-study course but we didn't have the discipline to complete it. We paid for online coaching and the year went by without us doing it. With my H's supposed enthusiasm we signed up for another year. We got thru the intro lessons and our first real lesson was affection. We completed the lesson 3 months ago. I don't think my husband has ever completed ALL the items on the short list. He's talked to our coach. He insists he wants to work on our marriage. I've brought it up periodically...we go on our multiple dates a week and talk about his work, our businesses, his feelings, interests etc. there is no affection etc on our dates. I'm actually not getting my intimate needs met on our dates. I love talking to him about his stuff and have a high (met) need for OH.

It came out, finally, that H resents having to give me affection or follow a list. He recommits to doing it and will do most of the stuff fora few days (but not on dates) but it always stops. He got sick two weeks ago and stopped completely.

Yesterday was our anniversary. A hugely stressful day because hurtful SF issues have recurred on anniversaries. Our first anniversary 10 years ago was a really rude awakening. Anyway, he showed me affection his way in the morning. We had a busy family day then went out to a nice dinner. It was pleasant but I was sad about lack of affection etc. I was sad about the state of affairs etc. I had a rough night and woke up sad.

We got a babysitter so we could have our day date today. (We dutifully schedule time when we are at our best/have energy/stuff is open)

Today could have been so nice! H told me I looked cute (on my list!!) and was affectionate. Too bad I was sad and broody. I talked to him about my need for affection Etc and being sad about yesterday. After our date he was super affectionate and we were going to have SF but I got emotional and he shut down and I needed to talk.

H said that he does not like thinking about our marriage problems. He doesn't have the energy to "do the list" it doesn't feel natural (he understands that he needs to make it a habit and it will become natural) he doesn't feel affectionate towards me etc.

I should add here that H is a good husband and father. He is kind and considerate and puts a great amount of energy into our family. He spends virtually all his free time on us and me. He shows me extraordinary care.

I just don't know where to go from here. I feel like I ruined today but there is never a good time to talk about the relationship and intimacy made me emotional about the stuff I was holding in. (We also had a bout of IB this month that made me sad/emotional lately but we've already dealt with it and I did not bring it up today)

What do I do? I can't force him to show me affection. I think I'm over-emotional about all of this. How do I chill out?

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Originally Posted By: coffeegirl
we go on our multiple dates a week and talk about his work, our businesses, his feelings, interests etc. there is no affection etc on our dates.


It doesn't sound like the time is enjoyable to him at all. What does he love doing? What are his favorite recreational activities?


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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What makes you say that? He loves our dates. He loves to talk smile I'm the one that has issues with how we spend UA time...he would also love to go to more movies and concerts.

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Sorry. Never mind. If I were you, I would go post this to Dr Harley. You have access to one of the top clinical psychologists in the US and I would take advantage of that if I were you.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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Welcome to mb.

Have you done the emotional needs questionaire?

If so, what is your #1 and his #1?

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ML, thank you! I took your advice and posted on the private forum. I printed off the recreational activity stuff and filled it out with H a few weeks ago...the stuff we agreed on excited neither of us!! I was generally more open to trying new stuff...he kind of had a negative attitude. Lot's of -3s... Also RC is not a top need for him. We dated for 3 years before we got married and we did the same stuff...plus we saw every.single.movie which is harder when you have kids and it doesn't "count" as UA time. I don't really think chess and woodworking is going to do the trick right now (two things we agreed on) plus we like to leave the house!! But maybe I need an attitude adjustment.

Thanks MNG. Yes, we've done the questionnaires a few times. My #1 is affection and my H's is SF. Conversation is #2 for both of us. I'm meeting his other top needs. Even tonight in our strained state we talked a bit about a project he's excited about. On average we spend 2-3 hours a day talking about his work and projects. (He has BIG ideas and often makes stuff happen. There is plenty of stress and drama that goes along with that! various business partners and stuff)I enjoy talking with him and make it a point to be involved and engaged in a lot of his business stuff. We own some of those businesses personally and I help him make decisions.

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Originally Posted By: coffeegirl
My husband's top needs are being met except for SF. We have had major problems in that department. We fit Dr. H's imaginary couples to a "T." There were lots of SDs and hurtful words and behavior surrounding SF early in our relationship. Our sex life is very very strained. We suffered greatly from not understanding MB concepts. I love busted like crazy and my H was the IB master and I didn't even know how my unmet needs for IC and Affection were affecting our SF...



To be honest.. This is probably a major source of your level of unhappiness in your marriage. At least from my perspective.

MNG

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If he is not enthusiastic about the affection list, why not revisit and PoJA the list? His taker has to be on board.


What would you do if you were not afraid?

"Fear is the little death. Fear is the mind-killer" Frank Herbert.

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Also, you've gotta stop sending him conflicting signals.

You said,

Quote:

Today could have been so nice! H told me I looked cute (on my list!!) and was affectionate. Too bad I was sad and broody. I talked to him about my need for affection Etc and being sad about yesterday. After our date he was super affectionate and we were going to have SF but I got emotional and he shut down and I needed to talk.


It is difficult to convince him that putting in the work to do affection your way is worth it if you engage in behaviors that lead him to, as you put it, "shut down."

Perhaps this is why he stops. He's told by you you want this, but when he does it as you suggest, he doesn't see the reward.

If the outcome is the same, why would he engage in the more difficult behavior?

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I think you guys are right. Trouble is I'm trying to follow the program and I was told to make a list of affectionate behaviors that should happen every day. That way affection doesn't just happen right before SF.

It does not feel good to only get affection when SF is involved...it is no longer affection.

Dr. Harley seems clear that continuing to have SF when you don't want to or when there isn't an atmosphere of affection sets up aversion. We've definitely dealt with that dynamic in the past. I'm trying to do things differently and develop good habits. I get that I didn't do the best job yesterday.

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As a man with SF as #1 I can tell you that no other need comes even close to the amount of LB deposits as SF does when met enthusiasticly. You could likely say the same I bet about your own #1 need.

One thing that really helped my wife and I was to pay attention to my wifes period. It really helps to anticipate her pms week (the week before her period when her hormones are out of wack and make IC difficult). So during this time I try my best not to let my wifes "dispostition" ramp up my own anxiety and negative self talk and try to roll with the punches a bit more with less expectations. I usually let my wife know that that week has arrived too and my wife will then become aware of it and control herself much better because it usually sneaks up on her. She would ask me "why am I feeling so grouchy about everthing that normally wouldn't?" So then I mention it and she starts appologizing for the week to come. Haha

Also since enthusiastic SF is high on my list .. If my wife is not as interested as I am she offers "quickies" out of love. In the past this used to hurt me as I wanted her ro be as enthusiastic as I was but realized that's not realistic. So its my job to make SF as easy as possible so I had to learn to accept the quickies and not get grouchy about that too. We have learned that by doing the quickies (I'm fixed btw) that when a quick SF is completed that it usually helps balance my wifes mood. Almost as if she's getting something from me that is helping with her unbalanced disposition during that short week. Of course IC and affection must take place a lot inbetween and I need to not let things get under my skin so much or become impatient and be more of an unmoved respectful rock and then the time passes amd she gets much more enthusiastic once her period starts and things resume as normal so as long as we controled our anxietys and didn't let lovebusters run rampant or affect us during the "downtime".

My wifes #1 is IC. Its up to her to make that as pleasant aa possible for me to enjoy meeting that need for her. Much like SF is my job to make it easier for her. Its a dance and takes time to learn.

MNG
(Sorry if that's tmi above)

Edit: just wanted to add that once this turned into a habit around sf my wife is now the one that seeks the "balancing" as she can feel the change in herself afterwards. And since she is more aeare of her own anxiety and negative self talk she has made it much easier to meet her need for IC.

Last edited by MrNiceGuy; 10/21/13 10:33 AM.
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Originally Posted By: coffeegirl


It does not feel good to only get affection when SF is involved...it is no longer affection.



Your absolutely right .. It doesn't. What my wife and I do is take moments to sit and talk in our room with the door closed to talk family matters etc and I would hold her hand when we talked, look into her eyes and resPnd by repeating back what she says in my own shorter version. This helps my wife feel connected more and she responds much kinder. Often when we go to bed if I had seen my wife rubbing her own shoulder that day I initiate rubbing it for her while she passes out in bed at bed time also. By doing affection like this for my wife she is more inclined to initiate SF on her own. We also engage in playful banter and touching when SF is not on the table too. I let my wife know its ok to "tease" in suggestive ways without expecting to engage.

MNG

Edit: spelling. As said its my job to make SF as easy as possible for my wife (pretty much gave up initiation of SF but kept up the playful banter and touching and left initiation to my wife when she felt comfortable with it) and its up to my wife to make IC easy for me to meet so I often initiate the IC now to get her talking.

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Originally Posted By: MrNiceGuy
Originally Posted By: coffeegirl


It does not feel good to only get affection when SF is involved...it is no longer affection.



Your absolutely right .. It doesn't. What my wife and I do is take moments to sit and talk in our room with the door closed to talk family matters etc and I would hold her hand when we talked, look into her eyes and resPnd by repeating back what she says in my own shorter version. This helps my wife feel connected more and she responds much kinder. Often when we go to bed if I had seen my wife rubbing her own shoulder that day I initiate rubbing it for her while she passes out in bed at bed time also. By doing affection like this for my wife she is more inclined to initiate SF on her own. We also engage in playful banter and touching when 46 is not on the table too. I let my wife know its ok to "tease" in suggestive ways without expecring to engage.

MNG


That all sounds really nice. When that stuff happens in our marriage, things work much better. It takes effort and thinking consciously about the marriage/relationship and that is what my husband resists...

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When IC is not going so well I will kindly and respectfully tell her that her tone is giving me anxiety and suggest we talk later and then i go play with the kids or find another activity for a bit and give her some space to gather her thoughts. After a while I go back and ask her how she's feeling... Take inventory .. And go from there. Usually I just rub her shoulders in bed when we spoon til she passes out and she thanks me in the morning! smile

I try not to say much until she initiates convo at that point and then she usually appologizes for her tone and we carry on like nothing happened. For the most part anyhow.

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coffeegirl,

At one time, our marriage was very similar to yours. My H was rarely affectionate, and when he was, it seemed perfunctory to me and nearly always related to imminent SF. I grew to dislike his hugs and kisses because of this.

MB is all about creating an environment of affection, based on creating a relationship of extraordinary care. A husband can acquire the habit of being affectionate and NEEDS to do this so that his wife feels cared for.

If your H will commit to learning the habit of giving you affection in the way you like and in a manner that he can be enthusiastic about, then he will be amazed at the results. He doesn't see that now. Once you feel bonded to your husband, you will find it very easy to enjoy SF with him, because you will feel cared for.

Does your husband believe a good marriage happens naturally, without putting in any effort? Is he willing to learn how to meet your need for affection? What doesn't he like about using the worksheet?

Learning to be affectionate is a lot like learning any other habit. Dr. Harley likens it to learning to type or to play the piano. At first it takes practice, practice, practice, and there's a lot of mistakes. But after lots of practice, typing, playing the piano, affection, becomes effortless.


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It seems that you're trying to have deep conversations with him and relationship talks on date. Date conver sation should be light and fun. No guy wants to hear the troubled state of their relationship and what they need to do better on a date


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I do not talk about our relationship at all on dates. That's one of the challenges. When do should I talk about our relationship? Most of our UA time is used on dates. My H is tired in the evenings and I don't want to bug him. Yesterday it was after our date, when we were home. Our dates are spent talking about the topics that interest/concern him. My need for IC is currently unmet. It is our next lesson and I don't think we are ready for it because we are having enough trouble with affection.

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Originally Posted By: coffeegirl
I think you guys are right. Trouble is I'm trying to follow the program and I was told to make a list of affectionate behaviors that should happen every day. That way affection doesn't just happen right before SF.

It does not feel good to only get affection when SF is involved...it is no longer affection.
.


Mmmm and the list was a good jumping off point getting started.
Its given him an idea of what YOU would like (which is helpful) but it still has not been PoJA'd, has it? I completely agree that affection should not be limited to SF, but neither should it be limited to a 'must do' set list.

With PoJA, there are more than two options - there are zillions.

People don't like being told what to do. In MB you must never say 'you must', you should say 'How do you feel about doing x?'

And in order to prevent that from becoming a demand, 'no' or 'not enthusiastic' answers must be taken seriously.

If your H tells you he is not enthusiastic, you must desist or it becomes a demand (Just as it would be with his SF need!!)

Can you go back to the PoJA drawing board and ask your H what he needs to be more enthusiastic?

You should both brainstorm ways he can meet your affection need and ideas should only be approved if they suit you both (SF affection would be vetoed by you and some others may be vetoed by him)

I think he simply does not like the set list, and wants to have more of his own input. He possibly just wants it to be more spontaneous. I'd say he has a point.

I'll give you an example. My boyfriend showed up this morning with a caramel macchiatto, kissed me on my hairline and called me 'ginger squirrel'!!

Three affection deposits I would never have been able to come up with myself. The surprise made me laugh and that met his admiration need because he was pleased with himself.


What would you do if you were not afraid?

"Fear is the little death. Fear is the mind-killer" Frank Herbert.

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Originally Posted By: MrNiceGuy

My wifes #1 is IC. Its up to her to make that as pleasant aa possible for me to enjoy meeting that need for her. Much like SF is my job to make it easier for her. Its a dance and takes time to learn.


Exactly. Your H has to make sex appealing enough to engage your enthusiasm.

If you want affection it's YOUR job to make that task appealing and easy for him.

Originally Posted By: coffeegirl

It takes effort and thinking consciously about the marriage/relationship and that is what my husband resists...


There are some mild DJs here when you speak about your husband not being enthusiastic.

You say he is 'negative' or he 'resists'

He is simply not enthusiastic and you must start listening to him.

I don't like mushrooms. No reason, I just don't and I will never be enthusiastic about them.

I am not 'negative' about them or 'resisting' them. There is a difference.

Last edited by indiegirl; 10/21/13 01:19 PM.

What would you do if you were not afraid?

"Fear is the little death. Fear is the mind-killer" Frank Herbert.

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Sort of a chicken and egg things here. If he has to do A to get B, then it's the same in reverse. I.E. unless he does things exactly as you say, SF isn't going to happen.

If I read what you said, the day started with him headed in the right direction. You said you were moody.

Seems he's in a no-win. If he does the right things, his motives are questioned. If he doesn't, his motives are questioned.

How does he not lose here?

Do you see why he may not be enthusiatic about MB when it appears any behavior results in a loss for him?

I'm not saying he shouldn't do what you want. What I'm suggesting is that he can't come out a loser when he executes the behavior you are seeking.

Originally Posted By: coffeegirl
I think you guys are right. Trouble is I'm trying to follow the program and I was told to make a list of affectionate behaviors that should happen every day. That way affection doesn't just happen right before SF.

It does not feel good to only get affection when SF is involved...it is no longer affection.

Dr. Harley seems clear that continuing to have SF when you don't want to or when there isn't an atmosphere of affection sets up aversion. We've definitely dealt with that dynamic in the past. I'm trying to do things differently and develop good habits. I get that I didn't do the best job yesterday.


I'm not suggesting you engage in SF you don't want. I'm suggesting that if you want him to consistenly engage in the behavior you are seeking, he can't percieve it's pointless. Getting the same outcome regardless of if he's engaged in the new behavior or not will ensure he will not be enthusiatic about maintaining the behavior.

I'm talking about a win-win here. Which I believe is the whole goal of MB. That you end up with a marriage that you both enjoy. Not just you, not just him, but both of you.

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