Nonaffectionate wife

The.Average.Joe.1968September 13, 2011

I'm a 43 year old married man. My wife is 43, also. We have been together since our junior year in high school and married for 14. We have 3 magnificent children (2 boys and a girl). Like so many others, our marriage looks very solid from the outside. My wife and I have a grand home and we both have good jobs. We have no money problems to speak of. For the most part, we get along well. We seldom argue. The issue is intimacy, or actually the lack of. In the past 5 years, we have been intimate on average, about twice a month.

Throughout the past 5 years, I have always tried to show my wife that I love her. I ask her to do things together as a family or a couple if we can find a sitter. I still try and show her the little things like telling her I love her, compliment her, and dote on her. I do my share of things around the house...maintenance, yard work, Laundry, dishes, and some cooking. I get the up for school and get them dressed. I try and support her in every way I can. I talk to her about her day at work. I try to be the husband that most women would want.

My wife just doesn't show affection the way she did when we first wed. And I don't mean just sex. I would love to have her compliment me on a job well done or ask my opinion of something she's contemplating. I know she loves me. She does things in general that shows me she cares. But, the lack of at least the little affectionate things driving me to loneliness. I need her to fire back her opinion. I want her to try to be, not involved, but supportive in my interests as I am in hers. Most of the time, when I ask her opinion of something, the answer more or less revolves around, "I don't care".

"Honey, what do you think of the improvement I've done on the house?"...."eh, it's alright."

She throws her nose up at any of my personal interests or hobbies. The least she could do is lie and tell be, "how nice" or "how interesting" something is. I compliment hr on her scrap booking and other decorative things she does to the house....and sometimes I couldn't possibly care less. But, I don't ever show disinterest any any of her personal accomplishments

I've tried to talk about it, but she usually just sits there as if to listen. She usually just drifts off to sleep as we lay in bed and I babble on. At least, that's how she makes me feel. It seems we've both accepted this in our marriage. It makes me feel lonely. We have conversations to convey information or something she wants to talk about, but we never seem to discuss our our goals and beliefs anymore. I have gotten to the point where I need to do something. I have never considered leaving my marriage, as our children don't deserve a lifestyle like that. Nor have i considered an affair. However, it seems talking to female friends on facebook and email conversations does provide somewhat of an outlet.

Most women tell me, they wish they had a husband like me.

I'm 43 and I feel that if I don't do something now, it will be too late in my life to enjoy something as simple as discussion of opinionated topics, intimate conversation or flirting and pillow talk. I just want to share myself with her and she with me in the way we haven't in a long time.

I really would like to just talk to someone who would expression themself to me about me, themself, and ourselves.

Are there any men out there in the same situation I am?

Are there any women out there who may have the answer to getting my wife off her tucas and back into the ever moving and inactive stream of life?

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Wow...ok dude listen up, these forums are probably about 80-90% female....and I'm sure they may give you some different opinions....but I'm going to relate to you what I went through (didn't turn out too well, sorry to say), since SOOOO much of what you wrote could have been written by me about 5-6 years ago (I'm 47 now...)

I too was an educated man (I guess I still, a good provider, hard-worker, helped with the kids, the laundry, cooking, you name it. Always faithful, not out boozing or golfing with the boyz all the time...very rarely in fact. I worked about 55-60 hrs a week for years getting a software company off the ground, plus was renovating a house we bought...this is going back to 2001-2004 or so. I thought things were going well...I was fairly happy, my kids were awesome, I thought my wife was sort of happy (as happy as she can be, she was never the 'happy type')...after all she was doing what she wanted to be doing (being a stay-at-home).

In 2004 sometime, shortly after my mother died, I started to feel something was 'off'. Not sure if I just finally noticed things, or if mom gave me sort of a 'kick in the head' on the way out...but I started realizing we had completely disconnected. I was doing my stuff...working and fixing the house, she was consumed with the kids 24-7 (or so I thought...more on that later), and when we did talk, it was about the kids, or the house, stuff like that. I realized this sitting in an airport on a business trip once, waiting for a flight, every other guy was on the phone yapping with their wives for a long time in the terminal I was call lasted two minutes...we had nothing to talk about. This was a defining moment in my life, it turns out. When I got back from my trip, I started to do a lot of the things you spoke of, talk to her, try to reconnect, be more attentive, etc. I got the cold shoulder in a major way. I read on a thread either here, or in the "Stepfamilies" forum which, aside from the home-improvement forums is the other one I go to, "once a women shuts down....she is gone". I think this is what happened to my wife.

To make and incredibly long and painful (for me) story short, I stared having feelings she might have been having an "outside interest" somewhere (I honestly, foolishly, thought she was too good a person to cheat on me...) So, I did what all suspicious spouses do these days...hit the cell phone while she was sleeping. Over the next few weeks, I figured out she was having an affair for 9 months with a contractor that had done work on my house (despite her lies and denials every step of the way, even after she admitted everything)...great, not only was he f%$#ing my wife, but I paid him 15K on top of that. Talk about salt in the wounds...ugh!

The next couple years were a mix of trying to put it behind us (which I said I could do, in order to try to salvage the family), which was for the most part unsuccessful because she resisted communication, resisted therapy, etc. She also went to school during these few years and finished her degree...which should have been a huge red flag for me that it was all part of her "exit strategy". Three years later, she is gainfully employed, and although during this time I never felt like we ever really reconnected, no matter how hard I tried, on the surface we were 'both in it for the long haul', or so she said.

I am sure you can imagine what happens next....within 6 months of working, I start getting those gut feelings again that she is 'distracted'....a little more investigation, and I figured out she was doing it again. Basically she strung me along for 3 god damn years, thinking we were going to salvage the marriage...when deep down she knew the whole time as soon as she got "self-sufficiant", she was out of there. I was never disrespectful to her, I was faithful, a good provider and an awesome dad. I deserved I imagine you do too.

My advice to you...attack the problem full force. Tell her all that you said in your post, and tell her (if it's true) that the most important thing on the planet is your relationship with HER (not keeping the family together, not avoiding divorce...etc.), and that you are prepared to do whatever it takes to make it as good as it can be, starting with marriage counseling.

Don't sit back and hope it changes, which is what I did between the two affiars.....I gave up too easily. Be proactive and do bold things. Arrange for someone to watch the kids and take her away for a weekend...spur of the moment, things like that. I know that I probably had an opportunity to reconnect with my wife, and I was too passive in my attempts, because I am a logical thinker, i.e. I think like most men.

One more piece of advice, stay away from women unless they are an actual "female-friend" that you had BEFORE this started....the fantasy of other women will cloud your have a family that needs your attention right now. Give it your full attention and maybe you have a chance to fix it. If it doesn't work, you will have time afterwards to engage in flirting and chasing women (which I must say, was a pretty fun thing to do after 15 yrs of being with one!)

Now flash forward, I am divorced, have a great girlfriend of 3+ years, have 50% custody of my two kids, 13 and 10, just bought a nice house after renting for a few on the surface, it's all ok, right? Not really, not a day goes by that I don't hate her for two things....first, making my kids grow up like this. It's not a big deal to her, she was raised by a single mom, and she turned out fine (uhmm...really?). I had an awesome, stable childhood and hate the facts that my kids have been forced to deal with this, even though (for the sake of the kids), I am nothing but pleasant and accommodating to her, despite all she but me through, while deep down, if it wasn't for the kids......ok I won't go there, but you can only imagine the hatred I have for her. And second, the feeling of betrayal from someone you were putting all your efforts towards making happy (yes, sometimes my efforts were misguided, but they were still done with the best intentions), is pretty hard to take. I will always be a bit "bitter" about this I imagine.

Good luck! Keep us posted...

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 3:30PM
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Excellent advice from mrkroopy, you really need to have a long talk to her. You say she falls asleep when you are talking to her, perhaps you need to pick a better time to talk. Away from distractions, go on a long walk, get it all out, off your chest.

That's really a lovely thing to say as mrkroopy suggests "that the most important thing on the planet is your relationship with HER". I think I would love to hear that from my DH !!

Sometimes it is an effort to be affectionate, with all the stresses and strains of daily life, particularly the constant bombardment of children. You sound like you have a busy life, that you are living the "American dream". Perhaps there is too much going on, perhaps you could simplify things. I can tell you, my life is much better since we made a conscious effort to get back to basics. I can elaborate on that if you want me too!

I am truly sorry for your situation you sound like a lovely person and you mrkroopy. You sound like men who make the effort to be good husbands and providers and care about the welfare of your children.

I have a girlfriend, who has been the wife you mention. She ended up having an affair, and the family fell apart. I heard her side of it all, and I heard the husband's side of it all. I really think it fell apart because they had too high expectations of how life should be. They had four children, all at private school, such stresses from paying the school fees.

I guess my point is - don't loose focus of what is really important. Talking, communication, laughing, eating well etc.

Good luck with it all.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 12:13AM
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Haven't posted here in a loooong time! But, yes what MKroopy said. All of it.

It's true once your spouse checks out emotionally it's difficult to get it back (the intimacy).

I've pretty much checked out of mine-actually we both have I think though we get along fine, but after so many years of just not being much of a priority and having to learn how to enjoy doing things and going places on my own, well I kind of prefer it that way most of the time now!

You sound like a nice guy, there is still time for you to have all that you want.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 12:15PM
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Excellent advice from Mkroopy --

And Mkroopy - Thanks for sharing your story. One thing I would like to say on your wife's behalf: You seem to regard her going back to school as step one in her "Exit Strategy" -- and I suspect you're right about that. But instead of regarding it as a betrayal, please reconsider your interpretation. Your kids are actually much better off now because she DID plan (and execute) a well-thought out exit strategy that involved updating her skills and seeking gainful employment. (I'm certainly not excusing her infidelity.) And if you're willing to admit it -- YOU are probably also better off because she planned her exit and shaped her new life before ending her old one. I know it FEELS like a betrayal, but please try to view it as evidence that she's a resourceful planner.

Compare that to my husband's ex's exit strategy, which involved a stall-tactic pregnancy, a boob job, hair extensions, and five year's worth of stuff charged to the credit cards the weekend before she changed the locks. So Mkroopy - Who had the better plan?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 3:27PM
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sweeby...oh yes, she is very resourceful....when she wants something, no other person matters, that I've learned.

I've thought of what you wrote about many times, and the only thing I can honestly say I am grateful for (and it is a biggie, I admit that) is that getting her thru school allows her to be pretty much self-sufficiant. She has done very well in her field, and while I still make more than her, she is capable of supporting herself, and since we share 50-50 custody of the kids, I am not forced to support her and the kids in the "marital residence" while I am forced to live in an apartment somewhere, which I did for about 3 years before buying a house last year.

But still it's tough to know that someone you invested so much of your life in for 10+ years could basically lie every day to you for 3+ years. I honestly don't know how she did it. I'm a lousy liar, if I tried this I'd have been busted in no time. But it's hard to explain why this has affected me so much, which it definitely has.

Oh, by the way, while the first guy was sleeping with her, she talked me into a 6000 dollar "tummy tuck" to get rid of the stretchmarks she had from having our kids. Still burns me to know that I ponied up for this, the whole time knowing she was planning her exit strategy.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 4:40PM
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Average Joe, as I read this, it gave me goose bump, because it was like you writing the story about me.
My husband only told me about 4 times in my 25 years marriage that he loved me. But when he said that, he meant it.
He never show affections that I want, but all in his actions, I know for sure that he loves me very much. gave excellent advice. I hope you find happiest in your life from now on.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 4:14PM
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