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Didn't See That Coming...

So, after our talk last night, I walked away with a mixed bag of feelings. Of course, last night was a complicated night anyway, given that I had (tried to) cut off my potential affair partner. More on that another time, for now, I'll say that we're still not going to have any affair.

Anyway, shortly after coming here and reading the responses from my last story, in which there was a strong feeling (one I didn't necessarily disagree with) that my wife was probably ok with the direction things were headed.

Now, I'll get past the sex question and say that it didn't come up tonight.

However, she tearfully told me she didn't want to lose me and that she needed me and didn't want me to go and the kids needed me, etc. She suggested counseling, something she turned down a year and change ago. She apparently forgot that, because she wondered why I had never brought it up if I was so upset. When I told her she turned it down already, she apologized.

So, this sorta throws a monkey into my wrench. I'm keeping one eye open, in case this is some sort of diversion while she works another plan. But one thing she's never been good at is sneaking and lying. Of course, I won't underestimate, but if she's being at all untruthful, the indicators are usually pretty plain.

Curious on thoughts here. It could be legit, but I admit that I could be the hard sell at this point. It could be trickery, but I'm not so sure.
iamalsokolya iamalsokolya 31-35, M 16 Responses Nov 28, 2012

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The difference between ultimatums to embrace counseling-assisted regular ***** and holding a gun to someone's head and raping her is that the latter is frowned upon by society, cops and courts. The extents of sexual bliss are about comparable.

Well said. I hope I have the discernment to determine if I've wandered back into these murky waters.

Thank you all so much for your responses. She told me about a therapist/counsellor she found not far from our home, so I will exercise my due diligence and go. I honestly don't know how I feel. I think I have one foot out the door, but I'm not completely gone yet. I just don't know if our marriage will ever reach expectation. I will give it a shot, but if things don't change, I imagine my conviction to leave will be profoundly stronger. After all, my most recent resurgence of discontent has put me much closer to the edge than last year.

Of course, if I do it, I will give it a fair shot, but I'm going to do it with my eyes open. I guess it's weird though, being so mechanical and analytical about it...

I hope she is legit. Its is possible..rare but possible! Offering to go to counseling is a good start, but make sure she finds a therapist quickly and makes the appointment ASAP or it could just be stall tactic. She very well may be sincere. If you truly want to make your marriage work and are not completely willing to give up on it yet, then I feel you need to try and trust her, stop the head game of second guessing her possible motives...I KNOW I KNOW..its HARD..and we who LIASM are programed head gamers always trying to figure out our refusers! But as you said she has always been honest you should TRY IF YOU WANT TO. Also helpful will be you putting your best foot forward to take the emotional walls down. KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN to body language and statements as enna 30 suggested.

AND IF ...that appointment isnt made within a week, 2 tops..EXIT as planned.

Consider asking her to sit with you and ask her to describe what SHE really wants to change in the marriage. Ask her if she is wanting YOU to change in any way.

I think she DEFINITELY wants to keep being married to you - but I suspect her way of doing so would be to have "duty" sex with you about every three weeks . . . .

NOT that she will phrase it like that! I would be looking for statements like "I really want to get back those feelings of desiring sex with you all the time, like I had in the beginning" - or similar statements.

Statements like "I've been selfish and I can see you need sex. I'll work on that" do NOT indicate (IMO) that she has any real understanding of your need for passionate intimacy.

Great advice as always, enna. Thank you.

This is great advice, and I'd observe that it helps to be clear about what you want - is there a compelling shared vision for what would be a growing, worthwhile marriage? Do you feel safe and can you trust her to treat your needs as important? Has she really internalised the issue and will do whatever it takes? It took us some long time & painful work to get to the point where I was prepared to risk it - not her.

I certainly hope she is for real. Only time will tell. Not much you can do for now other than wait and see. Keep you eyes open. Good luck.

__nah these people, they love you when they feel you're about to go just to keep you trapped. don't go for it. don't give them endless chances. don't. because you're the one who loses out and they keep manipulating you right back into a dead relationship. i should know. it took me a long time to see it for what it was. i kept falling back for the promises, empty ones. the lies, the deceptions, the manipulations. all of it. i'm done, he knows i'm not playing his game anymore and now NOW he decided real change was the only way i would stay except it's too late, it's not why i'm still sharing living quarters with him. my heart is empty, i'm not falling for it anymore. he realized it too late but this last gamble of his is too little too late. He really ever just ignored me unless he felt i might leave him... wouldn't wanna lose his victim, you know?they know exactly what they're doing to us and at the same time they don't have a clue about the pain and betrayal we go through over and over. let's face it, the person you married is a fictional character played by a skilled actress, she never really existed because it was all an act, a persona, a game face.I've made my peace with it: i married someone who didn't exist. I don't plan on falling for it again but i can't be sure because they act like sociopaths, they feel no real remorse. it's all about them and them and no one but them. if you worship them then all is well and they can ignore you and then if you're about to leave then they cannot own you thus they need to manipulate you into staying to repeat the cycle. it's twisted and it doesn't change; that's the bottom line. ave yourself, get out of it

I couldn't agree more.

I too suspect that there's more than a hint of sociopathy involved, but I'm wary about saying it, partially because it's overused (I overuse it). But there's definitely some weird empathy gaps with these folks - and not just in the area of sex/intimacy. My ex was often extremely insightful about other people viewpoints (much more so than I), and knew how to make a good impression and be 'liked'. But then would be completely unable to recognise that other people were seeing and experiencing things differently from her, it was quite jarring at times.

I think it's important to balance hope with a healthy degree of skepticism. I try not to get too emotional one way or the other in order to make more rational decisions...easier said than done.

hope is good, but you have to face the fact that some things that are hoped for will not happen in one's lifetime, or in this case lifetime with said person. Better to face that truth than to fool one's self and waste one's youth/efforts uselessly.
skepticism only gets you so far. You can spend your life doubting the wrong person or doubting that the wrong person is bad for you. You have to be sure it's not misplaced.
but i see what you're saying.

This sounds eerily similar to the conversations my H and I had over a year ago. He had no memory of my begging him to go to counselling. He was willing to 'do anything' to save the marriage. I agreed to give it another chance, and we saw a very good counsellor for almost a year.

Ultimately he couldn't sustain real changes, and I couldn't love or trust him any more. I moved out last month. And guess what? He's still promising that he'll change, that he'll do anything, telling me how much he loves me. And there's no hint of deception, because he truly believes it.

It comes down to you - not her. Can you be happy with her 'as is?' If she chose to behave differently, would you be able to trust her to keep it up? Once I took my focus off his actions and started framing my decisions around my own behavior and needs, the path became clear. Not easy, but clear.

Good questions there. I'm afraid I know the answer to those, but for a very small amount of time, I'm open to being wrong.

i haven't read your other stories. however, i'll share: i asked my H to go for counseling. therapy. together. alone. all--flatly refused, some with defensive/borderline angry explanations as to why not. and when i went for a few sessions (by myself) several years back? and he found out? he was angry.

fast forward to my "the talk" with him some weeks ago: he denies any memory of my requests for him to go for therapy. and when i quoted back his response(s) to him (verbatim, because they were engraved in my memory)? he went silent. and changed the subject.

my thought? it's a delaying gambit.

i agree with hl42. put a time limit. place objectives up front. time limit elapses, objectives not met (to *your* satisfaction)? pull the plug.

my two cents, fwiw. ymmv.

Time limit.

Plan. Measurable outcomes. Act.

excellent advice ;-)

BEST POSSIBLE advice!!

Thank you for this. This is how I operate in my professional life. Why not introduce this logic into my...personal life. I can't use the phrase "love life" here.

Well, I'm no fan of introducing management consulting to personal relationships, where emotion, trust, intuition and - hopefully - love guide us. Yet, in the circumstances, some level of logic and accountability keeps us safer from the traps of fear and hope. You'll need it much less when you've resolved the SM.

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Would you, could you, contemplate telling her, candidly, calmly, that you BELIEVE that she is just seeking to buy time, even if she isn't obviously cognisant of the truth? It is just possible that she thinks she wants to sort things but ultimately will not be able to push herself over the finishing line, or rather, to the start line? Self-denial can be a powerful and insidious phenomenon, you must recognise that yourself?

It's hard not to think, like the rest, that she is just desperate. She's running out of pieces on the board to play. Assuming that, regrettably, then you have to set any immediate agenda, terms, rather than her. Sure, it can't be a set of unilateral demands but it has to be something that is clearly going somewhere, or not. Her finishing line may well be realising that it really is finished and being able to accept it.

I think if she's just buying time, it'll be apparent pretty quickly. I'm trying to make this whole thing analogous. Is there a change by such-and-such date? Yes or no? At that point, the games and such become useless. It's about results.

I think you have to take a hard look at yourself. How much resentment and/or distrust has built up in you? If you feel it's a "counselable" level...go for it!

Curious how she sold you on the marriage as a whole needing counselling vs. addressing the core issue of the sexlessness?

She seems to be displaying the emotion I read about with so many refusers - that emotional numbness. No clue you were unhappy, huh? Hmm...

Hey - if nothing else, you'll get to know yourselves better, and begin the road to self-improvement if not for each other, for yourselves.

Good luck :)

A very good question about the distrust and resentment. It's one I don't know how to answer right now.

She finally sees it's serious and wants to try. And why not? Worth a shot.

If your's follows the game plan of my ex, there'll be inaction, then hints towards some dark repressed stuff, which'll make you pull back from being too demanding. Then you'll get back to the same place. Rinse and repeat, and before you know it another few years have gone by...

Perhaps I was a bit too negative there (just projecting from my experience); elkclan's right, it's worth a shot, but it's be wise to be disciplined about progress, timelines, etc...

Whatever she does now is going to be (rightly or wrongly) tainted by suspicion that she is only doing it under duress. And that is probably a reasonable assumption to make given the history.

And, if she is running (or starting to plan) another agenda, this little exchange will have sent her a clear signal to get her plans firmed up as a matter of some urgency.

You'd be well advised to do the same and get your exit strategy into do-able status a.s.a.p.

Tread your own path.

I would say that this is a stalling tactic to buy her time. The penny has finally dropped in her mind that you are out the door and with your departure her cosy little world which includes finances, house, security, babysitter etc will come crashing down on her destroying her perfect little life.

As it stands so far she has never had to make sacrifices to keep her life in order. Now she realises that she has to make many sacrifices and pull out the big guns which will most likely result in desperation sex for her to keep you around.

Be warned though any change has to be ongoing and long term as history will show here most changes made are short term and the refuser returns back to form once he / she feels safe again.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

Buying time. Refusers increase their offers for change as the ante gets driven up. A fight might bring a temporary concession of pity sex. A serious ultimatum will drive them to agree to counseling. Totally with a mutual timeline for change. A therapist can help you set realistic time frames depending on the issue. When I was trying to work it out with my ex, the first time frame was for him to get help with his anxiety and anger issues. It never happened. So, he left. It was the best thing for BOTH of us. At this point, we are close to being actual friends which is ALL we ever should have been.