Thursday, August 2, 2012

Be Careful What you wish for - You might get it. And it might not be what you wanted at all.

Haven’t posted in a quite a while.  Like I’ve said before, this time of the year is ESPECIALLY busy for me.  Normally I’m hard pressed during Summer months to find time to cut the grass. But I digress.

I’ve been running the MAP, but I’ve also changed up some other things just to see how my wife would react.  On the positive side – I’m getting sex a lot more than I was before.  I’m confident I could get it 2-3 times a week without much fuss at all.  Now here comes the detractors telling me NOT getting sex, when I obviously could, is not Alpha.  Yes, you are right.  However there is a rub to all this. The MAP, the self-improvements, the pulling your head out of your ass and actually taking stock of your life and what’s going on around you. 

So for all those wishing for more sex – be careful.  You might just get want you THINK you want now – but this new self-awareness, this new ability to think and analyze before you act or react?  It can come with some rather sobering side-effects.

I’ve been married more than 15 years.  It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing by any means.  But I’ve come to a rather shocking conclusion in the last few months.  A conclusion I think I came to a rather long time ago, but refused to acknowledge it.

First a little history.  I’ve covered some of it before in my blog – but I need to make this clear.

In my wife’s past, she was sexually abused my male members of her extended family.  To EXACTLY what extent, she’s never shared. Bits and pieces have come out, but whenever we get rather deep into this subject, she tried to make the point that she’s not a victim, it doesn’t affect her now – and the subject is changed.

She’s never received counseling for it.  We received marriage counseling at one point in our marriage and the counselor asked to see her alone.  After two visits, she decided she was done with counseling.  I think the counselor had put two and two together and my wife was definitely not comfortable with talking about her past.

I highly doubt this abuse consisted of penetration or sexual intercourse.  Not that it matters, abuse is abuse. However I do think that the abuse has caused her to be pushed away from physically touching and engaging the male sex organ.  Trust me on this one.  Once in a blue moon this has come out in conversation, but she will never expound on it.  It seems to be off limits.

My wife is very closed off to sex outside of HER norms (missionary, occasionally – on request – her being on top) and oral sex (giving) and even receiving can make her uncomfortable at times.  Personally I have come to the conclusion, until she gets counseling or hands-on therapy to deal with her aversions, caused from events in her past, she will never progress on this front.  And to be honest I wasn’t a help in this area.  I simply tried to ignore it and keep on keeping on.  Stupid move on my part.  It just enabled her behavior.

Add to this her being not comfortable with her body. Granted she has gained weight over the years, but I still find her very physically attractive.  Problem is – the reality is – it doesn’t matter what I, or anyone else thinks, it’s HER perception that matters.  She’s admitted this. She talks about losing weight and getting in shape, but she’s never moved much beyond words.  She’ll make half-hearted attempts to exercise and watch her diet, but she is easily derailed from this path by using easy excuses. 

The next part I will talk about came as a shock to me, but it makes sense.

My wife WAS VERY physically affectionate when we dated, after we moved in together and even after we married. It wasn’t until after our child was born that this tapered off. This coincided with her being treated for depression – which she never acknowledged. 

With more sex happening – Good thing right? I’ve realized that affection from her is still sorely lacking.  I’ve realized that is a BIG thing for me.  Always has been. You’d be shocked at what you can suppress and gloss over when you put your mind to it.  Kissing only happens when someone leaves the house, leading up and during sex. 

Touching, even non-sexual touch, is definitely lacking as well.

These are big things to me. I’m only now realizing again how much of a big thing.

The other issues that FINALLY dawned on me – in reality I finally had the balls to admit it to myself “out loud”.  We work different schedules.  I work days, Monday through Friday.  She works evenings on a rotating schedule.  In reality, we don’t spend much time together AT ALL.  It finally dawned on me how little we actually have in common and how little we actually interact directly with each other.

In the harsh light of reality – I truly doubt we’d still be married if we worked the same hours. 

Harsh, but unfortunately true I believe.

I’m not packing it in by any means. But this realization, me being able to finally admit this to myself, it means WE have a lot of work ahead of us. 

At some point – there will be NOTHING ELSE I can do to improve our marriage.  It will come down to HER action.  HER wanting to change / improve HER own life.

I know without a shadow of a doubt, she’d go on like it is now and just figure that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  I know there are doubters out there – that she’s ripe for an affair.  I know this sounds like me being a true asshole – but part of me wishes she would have an affair, but she is oblivious.

If she had an affair, at least there would be something that could spur a confrontation  - something different that could be used to spark some change and real conversation on our relationship. Weird and selfish sounding I’m sure.  But I think something that harsh and jarring would be needed to push her out of her routine she now calls her life.

On the flip side, an ultimatum could serve that purpose, hopefully ending up making our marriage better – and saving it in the process – but I’m a long way from being where I need to be to make an ultimatum.

Until then?  I’ll do my best to keep working the MAP, keeping improving ME (because that’s really ALL I can do) and who knows.


  1. Thanks for sharing, my marriage and wife has some similarities. Before marriage, wife very affectionate, but that changed after a relatively short while. Now, I'm the one needing kissing beyond leaving for work and sex. Read "5 Love Languages" and we talked about our "language", things got marginally better on physical touch/affection for a short while before backsliding. While I haven't issued a hard ultimatum, we've had a number of conversations about what I feel are her weak areas and how that makes me feel and what the long term implications of ignoring those are. She's doing some things to improve herself though and we're really on the same page on life and hopes and commonalities. Hopefully you can find that spark again and she improves herself before it's too late. But you're right, if she's too apathetic to do anything and plays the victim and doesn't take responsibility for herself, yeah, it's maybe time to figure out long-term what you want/need out of life.

  2. This is going to be hard to get through, but yes, you have come to the bare bones of the matter. There's only so much the MAP can do, and it takes two happy people to make a happy marriage. You can keep going like you're going, and get by, or you can delve deeper and take some risks. In the long run, the latter path leads to either happiness or despair, but the former leads only to complacency and gradual decline.

    Your wife needs to face her issues, but how that's best done is going to be very difficult to navigate, kind of like a course full of icebergs. It will take a very strong Captain, upon whom she can utterly depend for safety and security, before she'll be able to let herself even approach the matter in her mind. And your acknowledgement that you and she are emotionally drifting apart even while you connect sexually is profound.

    Don't give up -- you can handle this. Just remember that it's not going to be an easy problem to fix, nor will it be repaired quickly. She needs to know that while you are happier with her sexual response, you still aren't satisfied with her response to sex and her body and you are determined to fix that. Where you go from there is going to be highly dependent upon her, but as long as you are calm, steady, and rock-solid I-ain't-goin'-anywhere, you have the opportunity to encourage her to address this problem.

    Keep the updates coming. No telling what good advice you might get.

  3. Sometimes things have to get better before we can even realize just how bad they are. It sounds like you are there now.

    I went through a lot of these same issues with my first wife. Unfortunately, she preferred to deal with her issues by drinking herself into oblivion.

    The only thing I can add to what Ian said is that you can't fix another person. You can encourage them to take steps to fix themselves, and you can give them support, but you can't fix them. Whatever her problems are, they are her problems and you aren't responsible for them.

    If she's not willing to work on them, then it's up to you to decide how much you are willing to have your life affected by her problems.

  4. Thanks for the update. At least you know you aren't alone -- not the first man to deal with stuff like this.

    A couple of points. I did lots of marriage counseling, in marriage #1 and earlier in the current #2. There is no "marriage counseling", there are a half-dozen to a dozen various schools of thought and philosophies. Each convinced that they are the best path (obviously). Which really is best, really works? Who knows. I don't even know the moral of this story -- it's either, "try a different sort of counseling as long as its different", or -- where I ended up -- "don't put a lot of effort into it, nobody really knows all that much about what might work for your particular situation."

    As far as therapy in general wrt your wife, there are approaches that might get better results -- ones that rely on behavior modification, rather than on "insight". Sometimes taking a series of small steps to develop a habit -- be it learning to give a BJ or starting a modest exercise plan that she can follow and complete -- is superior to delving into the underlying feeling and the childhood experiences that explain the fix she's in. Or that feed tha rationalization hamster, as is too often the case.

    My wife comes from a fairly screwed up family-of-origin, albeit without episodes of sexual abuse. She grew into a strong and independent woman , grrl power, before we met and started dating. Feminine but not submissive. And yet... me starting to game her over the past year or so has had, surprisingly, beneficial effects. While resistant, at some level she craves a strong, steady, benevolent, affectionate, masculine presence -- what she didnt' get from her own parents. I thought she'd reject the Captain/First Officer model out of hand... but she didn't.

    Notwithstanding the above very substantial progress in our relationship, I did decide a few weeks ago that where we'd come to with sex and affection just wasn't enough for me to build a lifetime monogamous intimate relationship on. So I gave her an ultimatum, tailored to our circumstances. It seemed like 50/50 that she would agree... but she did. It's by no means smooth sailing, three steps forward two steps back is about as good as it gets around here.

    The take home message here hopefully reinforces what the above commenters are saying. You can't fix her. You can't make her decide something, or decide it for her. You have to take responsibility for your own actions and your own decisions. But there's the prospect that as you continue your MAP and as you improve your married Game, she'll sense the differences and respond positively. Positively, that is, with respect to your own agenda for your own life.

    Update the blog again, when there's more to report... and good luck.

  5. powerful post. my wife used to test me w/ the "that's all you ever thing/talk about is sex. Is that all I am to you?"

    I finally wised up to this crap and responded by saying things like, yeah, sex is one of my top reasons for being married to you. isn't sex what married people do?

    Intimacy on all its levels, touching/hugging/sex is all a part of what happy married people do and want. The low desire person gets a real surprise when they get called out on this. In my case when I started reframing the argument as one of - I am normal - no sex is not normal, my message became the norm setting one.

    My wife is WAY more sexual now and is starting to like slutting it up w/ me.

    Owning up to what you want is powerful. Your mate can either get on board with it, or decide that they can't. But we never know until we declare exactly what we want. The rest is up to them.

    The whole business of - well I can't fuck you because I am too, tired, fat, busy. or I can't because you are too fat, not nice enoough, not man enough is missing the point. The point is, I need sex and intimacy. I will get it with you or without you. You make the call.

  6. She doesn't think digging through all of her shit from her past and addressing what a bunch of creeps she's related to will make her a better person. She might be right.

    1. Let me address this. I'm not asking her to drag up anything. I want her to realize that things that affect her, also affect ME. And either I'm important enough for her to make a real effort or I'm not. I'm not to that point yet. But I know that point will come eventually. I just realized I can't stop avoiding that point in our marriage, because it will come.

  7. As a therapist I want to say two things about therapy...First, people always think that the point of marriage counseling is to save or improve the marriage. It's not. It's to improve the way the two people communicate with each other. That may improve the marriage or not. Actually being able to communicate with each other may make you realize the marriage is a mistake. A good marriage therapist would tell you that up front. Second, in regards to sexual abuse...the types of therapy that help resolve the negative effects of that are designed to change how the person views the abuse. You can either be a victim or a survivor. It either holds you back or is something you overcame. If she can't look at it and discuss it she's misleading herself about how it effects her. Real survivors can say: this is what happened, it's a part of my history. Yeah it sucked. Yeah I wish it hadn't happened. But I got through it and I accept that it happened. I moved on and know that I can get through really bad things and still be alive. Now let's go get something to eat. There is this misconception that therapists will cure you but we don't and there is no one true path or cure just like there's not one philosophy or lifestyle. You have to want to change and the therapist is just a guide to keep you moving forward. If your wife doesn't want to look at her issues you obviously don't want to push her because that will cause resentment. But sometimes the best cure for someone is when the people closest to them start getting healthier. That can be very motivating and is a big reason why the MAP works. My marriage improved greatly when I started running it. Being a therapist just helped me figure out that I was a major part of the problem.

  8. My God, I thought maybe I had posted this most recent update. VERY similar story, physical affection dropping off, depression being recognized after 1st child, etc. The abuse is different, but I think is still a contributing factor. My wife was not abused by any family members, however when she was younger (and I've experienced this myself while at her house), she would get random calls from some man whom we've never been able to identify and he would try to talk to her on the phone while masturbating. It's the few who seem to ruin it for everyone else. She also has oral aversions from a previous relationship.

    Anyway, I am starting to realize the same thing you have described. Sure the sex is better and more frequent. Sure she's responding to my playful innuendo now. But she's not initiating kisses, or much non-sexual touching, which is something she's complained I don't do. I need more. Her depression is a real problem for us and I often find myself wondering how much more I can stand. At the same time I want to be with her and so I deal.

    I want, no; I need more. The lack of sex was just the most obvious problem. Now other things are starting to bubble to the surface. Problem is I am no where near far enough along in the MAP to issue any ultimatums.

  9. Is your wife taking antidepressants? Some antidepressants have the unpleasant side-effect of decreasing sex drive. Just saying.

  10. WOW!!! Almost exactly my same story. My wife was abused as well by family and close friends of family (quite disturbing physically, sexually, and mentally).

    I knew none of this when we dated. She kept it all hid away very well. I knew none of it for the first 5 years of our marriage. Although, I started to realize that the walls my wife had up were not normal. I realized she was keeping things from me to an extreme about 2 years into the marriage. I just didn't know what.

    The walls made me angry and I responded to them wrongly. I pushed away thinking that her negativity and unhappiness was a reflection on me. About a year ago I began working on alpha type things to fix the marriage. I began to really hit my step about 3 months ago and then I found out about the affairs and trust me they haven't helped. I may have saved my wife's life by forgiving her as she was near suicidal and showing her unconditional love. But finding out you and a handful of other men were nothing but ego band-aids for your wife has really affected my alpha mentality. Even KNOWING it had nothing to do to with me. Now my wife want's me, is going to church with me, talking to counselors, psychiatrists, working on the marriage in ways I never imagined.

    She is now pursing me but my alpha mentality is SO screwed up personally. My advice DON'T wish for the affairs. It's hard to feel alpha knowing your wife was with the Ph'D money making boss or hung black guy or tattooed rock star or whatever. She may realize she is a piece of shit and do something about it but the price that will be paid will be by you and it will hurt.

    I would have still loved my wife knowing about her background but I would have required serious counseling before marriage and after we got married ongoing counseling. Right now that is one of my top conditions - if my wife wants me to stay my ultimatum is she stays in counseling (personal individual one-on-one counseling for her). Be VERY careful as you up your MAP score your wife will feel more and more negative and insecure. And there is NOTHING you can do to help her (not saying don't up your score it still makes you more valuable to her). She needs SERIOUS professional help though. Good luck because getting her to see that is hard. Also, her understanding your value will be hard to even if you are a 7 and she is a 5 her brain might not process it right. She may think you are too good for her and because of her past she just gives up and starts sleeping with whatever hood or loser comes along because that is what she "deserves". She may think she is really a 2 or 3 when she is a 5 and you go to a 7 she may just quit. Don't underestimate where she may think she is on her own value. Good luck post when there is news.