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Mature #3017201 03/06/24 01:01 AM
Joined: Nov 2021
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I had a nightmare last night. When I awoke I started writing this letter, I think with the intention of loading it onto the very active DeadBedrooms sub reddit for perhaps some degree of vindication of my feelings, but now I look at it again in the light of day and think it probably makes more sense to just add it to the end of my already wallowing in self pity thread here.

I dreamt I needed an offline mapping app on my phone and searched around eventually finding one suitable to install. When I tried to run the app I found it wasn't a mapping program at all, it was a massive malware that took over my phone with some complex games arcade thing that I couldn't play and I couldn't get out of. I tried to kill the app but I couldn't and the devices wouldn't even restart to let me out of it. I kept on going round and round in circles until I became so frustrated I woke up in a sweat. As my head cleared I thought that it was perhaps an allegory for my life right now. I'm 70 and I've been married going on 44 years.

Its been a dead bedroom here for a long time and it was a dull bedroom for many years before that. In fact shortly after we married it became clear there was only one position and one location that was workable for my wife. There was no variation and any attempt to introduce some novelty was generally unsuccessful and mostly rejected. However in the end I adapted, frequency at least until perimenopause making up for lack of novelty and passion. Some years into the DB (about 6 years ago) I started looking around for ways to break out of the DB. Trying to discuss the problem at home had lead nowhere and I started looking for other external ways to satisfy my need for sexual fulfillment. I began to write erotic fiction. I did this by looking for erotic penpals in various places and had some fun flirting with a small cross section of females looking in the same places. That didn't cause any obvious harm until one day I eventually ended up corresponding with a girl half my age who was also having DB marital problems. That connection quickly developed into some sort of emotional affair, but after a while I think we both recognized that due to the number of degrees and dimensions of separation between us it was just making matters worse for both of us in real life and we somewhat erratically ended the connection.

That was about 3 years ago. I gave up on writing erotic fiction thereafter and started reading things related to marriage counseling instead. I trawled web sites and library books looking for marriage counseling advice and sex manuals trying to understand what had happened and trying to work out how I could reboot my marriage and romance. I had had 'the talk' several times with my wife but never got anywhere. Eventually one day I was met with a response that I was a sorry porn addict and that I needed to go to counseling to be treated for it. That came as a knife to the heart at the time since the marriage had been involuntarily celibate for some years already and I had just invested the prior two years and a lot of effort getting a new home suitable for our old age together designed and built. How else did she think I was supposed to satisfy a normal male need and bodily function? Nonetheless at the time I remember immediately saying yes on the condition that she also attend counseling to assess her part in the problem. This suggestion was rejected out of hand and the discussion proceeded no further.

Over the ensuing years as I thought I found enlightening marriage related posts and books that described our problems and possible solutions I would try to introduce them to her by sharing them and attempting to have 'the talk' again every so often, but all I got in return was obstinance to reading the material and repudiation of the content. I did persuade her to read several of Dr Harley's books and listen to some of the radio shows, all to no avail. I've been accused of caring only about myself, while I see my entire married life as being about only caring for her.

I think I've been 'all in' since the day of my proposal and probably some time before that. I feel like I've been pretty much mostly following the MB principals all that time, even before I knew about the program; but I feel I have been the only one trying to manage our mismatched libidos as well as dealing with episodes of her independent behaviour over time.
Having read the MB material I now see her as having a freeloader approach to a number of things in life. Most of the responses to our talks have shown no empathy for my predicament and have included classic freeloader responses of 'you should just accept me the way I am'. While our lifestyle matches on many levels and we spend a goodly amount of recreational time together (more than the suggested 15hrs) although pretty boring we also share interests and work collaboratively regularly. On her side she appears to have never wanted to be much more than a housekeeper and sees our mutually enjoyable recreational companionship and the provision of domestic care as full and sufficient proof of her undying love. In retrospect now, with knowledge of Dr Harley's writings, I perceive her attitude to some other things in her life as having been of a freeloading nature as well, never establishing and following through on any real career and 'retiring' early to be a stay at home wife and to play cards and tennis with her friends while I continued to work hard to cement our financial situation and living conditions and keep things together.

I recognize I have been in deepening withdrawal for the last 12 months. This time last year I had some major dental issues causing a lot of physical pain. My wife would try and make me feel better by saying she wished she could take the pain away from me and have it herself so I wouldn't feel it anymore and was adamant that showed how much she loved me and how I was wrong for thinking we needed romance to show how much we loved each other. This seemed  juvenile to me. Nobody can proxy your pain for you however well intentioned the idea is. You can have empathy and provide welcome moral support but that doesn't take the pain away. I suggested that if she really wanted to take my pain away she could work on becoming a romantic partner again to fix the things that truly hurt me more than the physical pain I was experiencing,

My withdrawal has deepened more recently finding I'm not wanting to even try to initiate anything any more. I have been efficiently trained by repeated rejection not to want her romantically anymore and that has lead to a touch aversion on my behalf. I don't want to hold hands anymore. She recognizes that and misses receiving the gestures of appreciation and admiration that matter to her, but still without wanting to discuss the situation or trying to make the gestures of appreciation and admiration that matter to me in return. Why expect to be treated as a romantic partner if you're not going to be a romantic partner? For me sex was and is a non expungeable part of the fabric of romance even at the age of 70 and with medical/physical issues on both sides to complicate things. There's no chance of reaching a mutually enjoyable agreement in this area if you won't even discuss the topic.

My wife likes photos of the two of us around the house in happy couple poses and won't accept that while I was looking happy like that I was also having deep and serious unhappy feelings at the same time. There haven't been many happy couples photos recently.

When I trawl through our photo albums, I see many more photos of my wife than myself and I can still feel the attraction to that person in the pictures up to a point sometime after the dead bedroom began and the love bank started seriously leaking.

What has all this got to do with a nightmare about a mapping app? Well I feel like Marriage Builders has imprinted a rogue app in my brain that although it seemed to make sense to me at the start I haven't been able to play the games and the outcomes haven't been as promised. It's not working for me in practise and I can't uninstall it and get back to a more benign ignorant state that held a healthier love bank balance when I could at least ignore some of the problems without feeling both guilty and resentful.

Mature #3017203 03/07/24 05:52 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,534
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Originally Posted by Mature
...Well I feel like Marriage Builders has imprinted a rogue app in my brain that although it seemed to make sense to me at the start I haven't been able to play the games and the outcomes haven't been as promised. It's not working for me in practise and I can't uninstall it and get back to a more benign ignorant state that held a healthier love bank balance when I could at least ignore some of the problems without feeling both guilty and resentful.
Without reading all the materials again, which I don't have time to do just now, I can only say that I believe the MB programme promises success only if both parties use it as advised. If they work to meet each other's emotional needs, eliminate love busters, negotiate in good faith, and spend enjoyable recreational time together - out of the house, and not being boring - love bank deposits will be made, and they will fall in love.

As far as I can remember, there is no promise that if only one side works the programme, there will be success. Dr Harley does encourage husbands to work the programme alone, while enticing the wife to come on board, but if the wife does what yours does and learns something about the programme but refuses to participate in it, there is little or no hope of a happy outcome.

I think this is terribly disappointing for you. I have think you genuinely have tried to show your wife how MB could create a romantic marriage. I don't think the failure is yours at all, but only you can decide what to do about it.


BW
Married 1989
His PA 2003-2006
2 kids.
Mature #3017205 03/08/24 03:26 PM
Joined: Nov 2021
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Thank you SugarCane. I guess I began tolerating a "good enough" marriage way too long ago to make a difference, but at some stage one makes a judgment of how life has turned out. Finding Marriage Builders gave me a hope that perhaps it could be turned back into a great marriage, but there seems to be just too much water under the bridge now.

Sad but true.

Last edited by Mature; 03/08/24 03:45 PM.
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