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Kindness

Kindness...my wife is practically killing me with it.

After having "the talk" a week or so ago - and a follow-up talk with our therapist - my wife is finally starting to understand that I'm serious about wanting a life that includes a satisfying sexual relationship. She has admitted that she is the one who has been holding us back - and she has professed interest in doing something about it. No time frame given.

(For those of you just tuning in, we have been in therapy for 10 years).

In the meantime, she is pulling out all the stops. Giving me space - listening to me - lots of smiles, a few hugs. Letting me have my way occasionally, without discussion (she's kind of...umm...a control freak), and not letting every disagreement devolve into an argument.

Sounds good, right?

But what does any of that have to do with sex?

Is my wife trying to make things right? Or just trying to forestall my leaving? Are her efforts a good start? Or would "a good start" be something more like sexy lingerie and scented candles?

What do you think?
AMusicalMind AMusicalMind 46-50, M 17 Responses Feb 18, 2013

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A Woman can not have meaningful sex by flicking a switch maybe a little romance beforehand would be nice, a nice meal, a flower, some good conversation works wonders

Thanks for the comment sunrise...but I'm guessing you haven't spent too much time reading my other stories...or any of the other stories in this group, for that matter.

If you had, you would know that all of the things you suggested have been tried - countless times - by me and by most of the people who post here. We've tried them over and over - for years - clinging helplessly to the fantasy that our partner's sexuality is somehow in our control. We've tried therapy, pleading, begging, indignant anger - we've written heartfelt letters, counter-refused, threatened to leave - for most of us, to no avail.

But...your solution is nice too. Thanks for stopping by.

Sounds like my situation. Real nice women but can hardly say the word SEX let alone even ask for IT!

I'll be the devil's advocate...I think she may genuinely want to patch things up. I was completely in the closet about how narcissistic/Aspergers I was and once my eyes were opened I could admit to playing a critical role in the demise of our intimacy. But it does take two to tango. Mine refuses to see his role/part in the abusive (withholding affection or sex) dance. Can two people recover from that ? Sure, if you are both willing and trusting. If there is doubt then it won't work (as I found out).

Hi earchres - hope you're doing ok.

Yes, you are right - she genuinely does want to patch things up - and not because she is a narcissist, or manipulative, etc - she wants to because she loves me and values our marriage. The problem is, she may not be able to rise to the occasion - she has many demons, etc - and when I talk about what I want sexually, she sort of has no idea what I'm talking about. "What's the big deal?" she thinks, "what's all the fuss about sex? We'll have sex every now and then, you'll be happy and life will go on." What I need her to understand is that wont be enough for me - and that takes time to sink in.

Of course, another part of me hopes I'm wrong and you're right - that we can patch things up, because the world is a fair and reasonable place and miracles sometimes happen. But my eyes are open now - so we'll see...

Then slowly introduce her to the kinky trail of lust...start with some soft **** and try some soft blindfolding stuff...first tantric and later erotic...then go to a ***** club together..encourage her to hang out and do ladies nights/bunko etc... She can be rewired...we all can.

As for me... I'm trying to rewire myself now to a more encompassing perspective on adulterous marriages ...and licking my wounds.

Ha - you've got me pegged - how did you know?!?! Seriously, that would be WAY down the road - she has all kinds of negative opinions about clubs, p*** - and wouldn't consent to a blindfold in a million years. I like your optimism, tho - I'd really love to think we could get there - and I will keep my eyes open for any potential change of heart on her part. Or maybe, I can just put the two of you in touch and you can set her straight...!

You said: "but I do believe she loves me and values me as a husband and partner - and not just because of what I give her and/or do for her.

That said...I think she genuinely had no idea that her sexual limitations would ever be an issue. In fact, I don't think she ever gave it any thought until I started bringing it up a few years back (yes, years)."

Mindful said:
"sometimes two people can be amazingly in love, but just differ in their sexual needs/desires/interests. Yes, it can be frustrating and can destroy a relationship."

And I whole-heartedly endorse both these comments. This is exactly the situation I was in with my dear Ex. Yes, after twenty two years together, it was NOT enough. And that is one of the greatest tragedies of these situations - that the absence of ability to form a truly loving and intimate connection is such a powerful thing that it causes the break down of a relationship that has other good things in it.

If it weren't for those ten years of therapy, I'd be more inclined to give your wife the benefit of the doubt. But if TEN years of therapy has not seen her change, then this change is all about her protecting her territory - NOT about meeting your needs IMO. Sorry :( {{{hugs}}}

I will be brief in my response, but can speak from experience - sometimes two people can be amazingly in love, but just differ in their sexual needs/desires/interests. Yes, it can be frustrating and can destroy a relationship. Ten years of therapy certainly speaks to the different "pages" you two are on. It sounds as though she loves you dearly and fears your loss due to her inability to live in your sexual world. Best wishes.

Thanks mindful - very kind thoughts :)

I think some people can change. I really want to be positive and for people to get what they truly want. Anyway, there's another poster on here (who I have such a soft spot for- love her to pieces)- ExistingHope, and at one point she had written a story called " He finally heard me" Or something along those lines. And I remember being so relieved for her and hoping that she would see the same sort of efforts I had seen after I had been *heard*.
A day went by... no change. Okay she thought maybe he needed to take time to think about it for the weekend. Nope. Still no change.
I think by the 3rd day, she was realizing that he hadn't heard her, at all (or didn't care if he had).
IMO, you would see something instantly. Whatever that something is.. I think if you really open your eyes to it, you can tell if it's real or not.

Thanks lohla. That's exactly what I'm working on...opening my eyes. :)

AMM, she's playing you-stringing you along. enjoy the kindness while it lasts.

of course i could be wrong (somehow i don't think i am, sadly) in which case follow something2's advice & see what she does with your request.

Thanks smithy. I don't think she's playing me intentionally...she isn't like that. But ultimately, it doesn't really matter, does it - actions are what counts.

correct. it's the actions that affect you. whatever her state of mind/intentions, it's the reality of your life together that she doesn't meet/isn't able to meet your minimum intimacy requirements.

you're on the right track.

Regardless of her intent, I doubt she's capable of maintaining her new attitude for any length of time. What kind of person you view her as doesn't really matter as much as how her behavior affects you. Similarly with me, my husband started trying really hard (for him) recently. It lasted about a week. He had me momentarily wondering if I was doing the right thing, but quickly, he affirmed through his behavior that, yes, I'm doing the right thing. He can't change. At least not with me.

I agree laurel...actions are the only things that count at this point. :(

Oh my you are being so played this is how a refuser keeps the fish on the line. They like the perks of being married and don't want the stigma of it getting out that they are a sexless mannequin so they play the game to try and lull you back into the game. But the sex won't get better because there's no love behind it this is a calculated response to get you back into your place and get you to willingly to put your chains back into place. Once the chains are back on the same old pattern of behavior will resume until once more you start eyeing the door then the same pattern repeats ad nauseum over and over. You might as well get this through your head now this isn't going to get any better because she could care less about your sex interests she cares about her interests only. If you could get her to admit it she would likely tell you she was never all that interested in you physically but married you for security or some other bullshit reasons. That is the kiss of death to a sex life the equivalent of the infamous "I love you but I'm not in love with you". You've been had by a poser that wanted things you had to offer but unfortunately she really didn't want you but she thought she could tolerate you to get what she wanted and now you are seeing the results. Make your exit plan and get out of there because you are in a scorched earth zone where no love or passion will ever grow. Run while you still can and don't be fooled by a temporary pretend change that will quickly revert once your shackles are firmly back in place this is an all too familiar tactic. If she wouldn't do you for 10 years then there's no real love there she's a mercenary and anything she offers has a price tag attached.

Wow warrior...I hear where you're coming from - and all good points. I don't really believe my wife is mercenary tho - I think she definitely made some poor choices (as I said in one of my earlier stories, I don't think she was prepared for what she was taking on when she married me) - but I do believe she loves me and values me as a husband and partner - and not just because of what I give her and/or do for her.

That said...I think she genuinely had no idea that her sexual limitations would ever be an issue. In fact, I don't think she ever gave it any thought until I started bringing it up a few years back (yes, years). I think she likes sex, albeit in a somewhat limited way - at least at the beginning of a relationship, and every now and then during a long-term relationship (our is not her first sexless relationship). But I think she believes sex is something men want from women all the time...and it is a woman's job to keep things under control. She sees sex as something I need...but when we do have sex, her perspective is that it is my job to please HER, but I can derive my pleasure in an incidental way. I can count on my fingers the number of bj's I've had in 10 years.

Anyway...not sure why I got off on that tangent...but maybe some of you will recognize your spouses in my description and will identify. All that to say...this is all really new to her - but I don't know yet whether she has the interest in really changing her perspective.

Oh how I wish we had talked about this stuff before we got married. Live and learn. Never again.

A totally selfish perspective on her part wouldn't you say? But then again I've been doing this longer than you have and I can tell you for sure that it won't get any better. My misfortune was to become too crippled to be able to run. You picked a two time loser so there's definitely bait and switch because she was sexless to start with so if she convinced you otherwise to get you to marry her then you have been had big time and yes that is very mercenary.

This is my wife exactly: "That said...I think she genuinely had no idea that her sexual limitations would ever be an issue. In fact, I don't think she ever gave it any thought until I started bringing it up a few years back (yes, years). I think she likes sex, albeit in a somewhat limited way - at least at the beginning of a relationship, and every now and then during a long-term relationship (our is not her first sexless relationship). But I think she believes sex is something men want from women all the time...and it is a woman's job to keep things under control."

If you're is similar, she's practically said as much. The most maddening thing is having your normal sex drive portrayed as if you're somehow psychotic.

You guys are right. Of course you're right. That's what I count on you for...

"Don't you have no TV in your house? That magical device that transmits many images of people having sex in a normal, giving way?" Best line ever - and, ummm...not the first time I've heard this exact advice. In fact, a marriage counselor said this exact same thing to my first wife and I. My selective memory surprises even me.

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Yes, a similar pattern is happening in my house too. I am pointed more and more fully toward the door, and although H is not aware of the extent of my planning, his manner toward me is much more respectful and considerate. He's dropped the passive-aggressive behavior and is actually being proactive about planning and childcare. It's a real pity I can't see this as anything but a ploy to keep me in place. You may have more options, but time will tell.

Thanks DM - I'll think good thoughts for you. I read your latest story...we definitely have something in common...namely, our off-the-charts introversion! I'm assuming you've read up on being an introvert (not the same as being shy!) - if not, let me know and I'll recommend some good stuff.

Hee. We just met. Give it time, VB.

In my experience, once you come back into the fold she can go back to doing (or not doing) whatever she was in the past. My H. and I went through this cycle a number of times. In the end, I remain in my shifted state of being. His behavior has shifted accordingly. As a result, the marriage is different, although I'm not sure H. realizes this.

Curious to know what your "shifted state of being" involves. Has your sex life improved...or are you just in a happier state without it? How is the marriage different?

"Or just trying to forestall me leaving". Yep. That's my assessment . Your wife is trying to put a bandaid on a cardiac arrest. You need to judge whether a bandaid after TEN years of therapy is enough.

No...a bandaid won't be enough!

What does a control freak do when they feel the control slipping? Re-engage to regain control. My two cents.

Yep - thanks Lao.

Lao is correct IMO. VB may or may not be correct. He is inclined to attribute the WORST possible motives and explanations to the behaviour of others - possibly as a result of his own experiences.

She's temporarily doing everything within her capacity to attempt to placate you.

Sexual expression isn't there though... Difficult to elicit desire from someone who has none.

As Baz states, reset sex will probably happen soon. How long will she keep up being something she's not? Time will tell.

Ugh - reset sex - must avoid, must avoid, must avoid, must avoid...

Not essential to avoid - but IS essential to recognise that it is only"reset sex". Enough so you cannot say (for at least another six months!!) "We never have sex". . . . .

Back at the famous "I can't believe you'd give all this up just for sex" speech of hers, you changed the dynamic forever with your response "I know you can't".

Now, the scramble to bring things back to the status quo is under way. You might even get a "re-set" root in the not too distant future.

Anyway,
1 - "Is my wife trying to make things right?"
That seems awfully unlikely. She seems to have no clue what "right" is, let alone a plan to get there.

2 - Or just trying to forestall my leaving?
This one makes the most logical sense.

3 - Are her efforts a good start?
Entirely your call this one. May well be a good start to her agenda of reasserting the status quo. Your agenda ? not so much.

4 - Or would "a good start" be something more like sexy lingerie and scented candles?
Again, entirely your call. It would come as no surprise if these tools were brought into play however, as part of 3 above.

Brother M, I would be inclined to adopt a very benign and objective position here, and just watch her scramble. That process, where she has to pro-actively work to engage you, will not have any lasting appeal for her I'd bet.
But be polite. Be respectful. But most importantly, be OBSERVANT. Your answers to the 4 points you raised will be revealed.

Tread your own path.

I like the idea of "benign and objective" - that's a great position. My wife is very sensitive to my moods, and will often initiate conversation when she feels me slipping into something other than "happy and optimistic" - so the attitude you suggested will be great to adopt. Many thanks, as always...

The question is it real or fake? My wife is trying to be nice, but it's not really her as she is also a control freak. So I can see that she is having to bite her tongue to preserve the mirage of our excellent marriage. And, there is still no form of sex whatsoever. But she says "don't give up on me".<br />
For you I would suggest asking for something that requires her to give, but is not sex. For example, ask her to give you a back massage for ten minutes, and just watch her process that.

Interesting idea. I did my own version of that this morning, when she was still partly asleep and off her guard - cuddled her, kissed her neck, and stroked her back and legs - no response at all. So right now, I'm thinking she's all-talk no-action - but this is still a new phase...the jury is still out.