My Wife has Become my Roommate...
I started posting here in January of last year. I wont get too much into it, but here is the long version for more detail/history of the problem in this post:
Under Relationiship Communication
Title: Wife Purposely Ignores my conversation
To summarize it, my wife early last year felt like I wasnt supporting her emotionally in the relationship - listening or empathizing her enough when
she was struggling at work. She even said this was on a level of severity of cheating (emotionally impactful). So she decided to cut-off and restrict communication, emotional, and physical affection. I feel I was patient and worked pretty hard at times over the year to try to bolster or foster an environment for those things however here I am over a year later, and feel like only the communication aspect has gotten better...while the emotional affection has gotten marginally better. The physical affection is still dead. I feel like I'm living with a friendly roommate. My advances for hugs or kisses are met with pats and pecks and physical affection is NEVER initiated by her. She changes in the closet and always rejects showers together that we used to always do. We've made love twice in a year and a half - I hate to say it, completely "duty sex" for her. I probably put more emphasis on physical expressions of love. And I feel like its grinded out, twisting a thorn in my side for a long time. I'm on travel for work at the moment which is good for the time it lets me reflect by myself. The last time I talked with her about this, she acknowledges the situation, but then plays down the importance, saying that's how it is (). I ask her if she can change, and she's continually said "I dont know". I definitely dont feel like she wants to change. When I confront her about it, she will switch over to blaming me for the whole change when I didnt support her over a year ago. I had apologized several times and tried to tell her I will be more supportive, but her response is, "Too little, too late".
So I fear that she will not be able to pull out of this loop. She is satisfied
by just being friends (going out shopping, travelling, cooking, living, conversiing together as you would your good friend) without the real physical or emotional intimacies that I am beginning to crave....
On travel, I went out with my friend, brother, and some female friends dancing and a night out on the city. All in good fun, however, I realized from the way the women in the group were treating me things I'm missing emotionally, being smiled at and attentatively listened to. Of course this was
1 evening, no expected relationships, and not really a fair comparison I think, but still....
My oldest friend tells me it's only a matter of time until I brake it off. Likewise my brother tells me I need to divorce if all my needs arent being met. I'm 31, she's 33, no kids; we both work. I do not want to divorce because I still love her and care about her, but with work and daily life consuming alot of my energy, I myself find it difficult to initiate change, partly out of the hope that she changes, and partly for the fear of what a major change will cause for myself.
Although an argument will almost certainly ensue, I"m going to bring it up again.
I'm looking for responses especially from women of what might to say or do to relieve or brake someone out of an emotional rut or build up desire? She rejects counseling. I've already tried picking up extra slack and trying to pay particularly closer attention during our conversations. The thing is I dont think she really knows whats wrong herself, only that limiting our contact feels like the right way for herself. So I think what feels right for her leaves me feeling left out - especially lacking for physical expressions of love.
Thanks for your responses.
Last edited by avman; 05-10-2008 at 08:57 AM.
This sounds to me like she has already checked out of the relationship.
I'd try one last time to discuss this with her. Lay it on the line as far as what your needs are and why she isn't willing to meet you half way on some of these things. What is it she wants from you in order for things to improve? If she simply focuses on the past, tell her that you can't change the past. Keep the focus on what can be different going forward.
Then you are going to have to make the changes unilaterally. Right now both of you are saying you don't know if you can change. And that's a recipe for disaster. One of you has to take the initiative. Since you can only control yourself, it may as well be you that gives it a try. After all, what do you have to lose by changing? If it works, then your relationship shows substantial improvement. If it doesn't, things certainly won't get any worse just by you having tried.
You can make the world a better place - one person at a time.
Is there any chance she is cheating on you? One of the main reasons women cheat is the lack of romance. Try to pretend your dating and romance her again, this may cause a spark in her it worked for me and my wife.
Iím not insane ó my mother had me tested.
If this isn't the kind of relationship you want (a room mate), then that's that. I don't think putting the emphasis on getting her to give you what you need is the kind of approach that you should be taking. That's thinking only about what you want. That's not a real conversation.
A real conversation involves getting inside her head and heart, and finding out what she needs. It sounds like she is either poor at communicating this, or is too busy reacting to what you were like and has lost sight of what she really wants/needs. Try to draw it all out of her. Ask her if the way things are are really what she wants in your relationship. I'm sure it's not. If she's perfectly content with things as they are, then you can tell her that the current arrangement is a deal breaker for you. But if she doesn't say it's her ideal, then you've got to ask her what she needs. Ask her how she's feeling about the relationship, and if she thinks there is any hope that she can recover from the experience she had with you when you weren't there for her. Does she feel like you value her? Does she feel like you listen and consider her feelings? stuff like that.
I don't know if any of that helps, I'm a bit under slept, but your post sounded a little bit like you were focussing too much about getting your needs met. A bit self centred. I'm sure you're not. But the way you put it sounded like that, so be sure to focus on her and how she is doing when you talk with her. There's no button at the back of her head which you press which is the 'love your man' button. You've got to assist her to recover so that then she might be able to love you again.
Today, 01:35 AM
Thanks for your replies.
AVMan - those are some of the thoughts I've been thinking about - what you wrote. Should I act unilaterally - I dont know yet.
Unsuretexan - no I dont see any way she could be cheating - we are both tenaciously loyal. Romantic attempts are usually swept away immediately. We'll go out together,
it mostly feels platonic though.
Lucy, yes I've asked her what she wants, and her replies are always "I dont know". And "do what you need to do", whatever that means. She rolls her eyes and gets a little defensive when I try to have a frank discussion with her about how things all are like this or how do we change. If I prod she'll just say things are ok, I can live with it, as if she's imprisoned or something....Or perhaps blaming. So I dont really know what she wants, and I'm not sure she does.
To give you an idea,
During the FALL for about a month or so, I really tried to ignore my own
feelings and desires, and try to connect emotionally with her without any taking (me, me, me) expectations - by making daily life easier for her - do the majority of the chores, try to take her out window-shopping, make plans for travel, goto the beach, watch movies - things she seems to like to do, I was trying to give her chance to "come out of her shell". I got some emotional response from that - her spirits raised some and she seemed happier on the whole, but no physical responses/intimacies. I grew tired of it. We had a female roommate, and at one point I was feeling like my other roommate was more attentive often smiling at me than my wife. My wife gets home from her work before me, and immediately plunks down to watch online dramas. She manages a "hi" from her chair whereas she used to greet me at the door with a hug/kiss. Then usually dinner and light conversation, or me sometimes bringing a plate up to her if she says she's not hungry. She sometimes cooks, I sometimes cook. There's little warmth, and then there's a repulsion from my advances - like "stop-it", "not now", "I'm tired", "maybe later", "you're breath stinks" and so on... I've grown to despise being patted on the back during a hug or pecked on the cheek for a kiss...it is so very disappointing and rejectful. After enough rejections, I have tried not to worry about what I want to do during the evening for us and worry about myself - and the evening social dynamics hence have become like roommates. This is pretty much our dynamic now.
Another example, recently, I planned and did all the leg-work for a getaway vacation to several National Parks in Utah including days out in majestic serene settings. Was hoping this might kindle some romantic feelings, but it did not. I did not even try to make an advance as I sensed her platonic attitude immediately. She enjoyed the trip and my company - but here I am the husband friend, not the husband lover. Like the lyric goes "I need a friend and a lover divine". I wish I could feel content with platonic love, but I have a very high libido and need for physical contact.
Listening unfortunately is not my strong suit - I could do a much better job paying attention to her I think. I try to remind myself of that; I need to work on it. But my motivation has been blasted due to not seeing any changes from her.
I've already spent over a year and a half in a (I wont say miserable) but semi-neglectful marriage. I was with her for 7 years before that (2 yr LDR). I know that it goes both ways, and I certainly have deficiencies, and made mistakes, but lord, is it worth stewing on these things for years??
Yes my post is self-centered I agree, because, well I'm in some distress.
It's not fun to be treated like an outsider by the person you love because you made a mistake for a very long time. Your wife not being able to change in front of you is a huge slap in the face. It is a bright red flag that there will be NO INTIMACY this evening, and that I dont feel comfortable with you seeing me naked, or nor do I want to give you the wrong idea at all. You're right this may just be a coping decision on her part, but the lack of intimacy is like a weight on my emotions and natural inclinations. There's no button on the back of her head - but I wish there was some way to impart what I am feeling. I'm having a harder time getting emotional to try to express what I'm feeling - I fear this is sort of like my emotions callousing or something.
I dont want this to be a her needs/my needs, but I feel like I'm the one who's trying to repair the situation on my own. I guess I'm the only one who wants to repair it at the moment. She may be suffering too, but she WONT speak or ACT up to change or improve!
Thanks for your replies
I think you might be getting the "I love you but I'm not in love with you" bomb dropped on you soon. My stbx was as loyal as they come for 20yrs then cheated on me because she wasn't happy. Is your wife depressed? How does she act/interact with other people? If it is just you that brings this out in her and she doesn't want to at least try what else is there for you to do? If she doesn't want to go to counseling then she believes it is all your problem and you should figure it out. Marriage takes work to get through the tought times and she isn't working. I wish you and your wife the best.
Yes, she's not taking responsibility for her own happiness. She's playing matyr it sounds. It's a shame she won't get any kind of therapy because it sounds like she could use some assertiveness training. Is she in anyway dependent on you financially? How old are you both? how easy would it be for her to leave you if she wanted something else?
Originally Posted by pc95
do you love her? do you love her selflessly? does her happiness make you happy for it's own sake? Or is your main reason for being with her that you need intimacy? Perhaps your actions, your not listening, your self serving sexual aggressivness (I'm making a wild guess here that that may be present), and the fact that your attemts to connect with her and consider her aren't a constant have demonstrated to her that you don't really love and value her. Maybe she feels that talking about it is useless, because she doesn't want you to love her and treat her well because she's told you to, she wants you to do it out of a genuine caring about how she feels. Just a wild guess. It sounds like a very unpleasant situation.
Originally Posted by pc95
My advice (which I'm highly unqualified to give) is that your intimate moments should be initiated by both of you, and if she rejects you with something as harsh as 'your breath stinks' then that kind of rejecting behaviour should not be the norm. (that is a very depressing idea, and is remeniscent of the marriages which were no doubt common in the older generations where marriage was almost a survival necessity for women.
She should know that it's hurtful and requires emotional repairs on her part, and you should let her know that you're hurt and of course not initiate intimacy again until the cause of the rejection has been dealt with. Otherwise it looks like that cartoon Pepe la peu or whatever it's called where the skunk is always chasing the cat. That's not what a marriage should look like. The affection has to be flowing both ways, and you can't achieve balance by being more aggressive. Not that I'm saying you are, I don't know, but it sounds like you've been going in for the rejection repetedly, massochistically, and without addressing the cause of the last rejection.
If she is content with such a miserable sounding marriage then that's very sad. She needs someone to throw a bucket of water over her and say 'listen, this is your life, you're a free person, you have the right to be happy so stop being a matry and making yourself and your husband miserable and take some responsibility for your happiness!'
I think you misunderstood my post. I sympathise with both of them. But I was elaborating on what his wife might be feeling because that's the bit that needs to have light shed on it, since the lack of understanding about why she doesn't seem to want to be intimate with him is what's behind all of this.
Originally Posted by onecosmos
I don't know what you mean by cuckolding. cuckolding is when the man is turned on by the idea of being cheated on. That's not what I mean by his wife needing to take responsibility for her happiness. What I mean is that she should stop playing matry and decide to love him or leave him. And that this highly compromised excuse for a marriage should not continue if either of them want to be happy.
The idea of him crying out for his needs for intimacy to be met without questioning why they aren't being met and looking at it from her perspective though, is just futile, for the reasons I stated, so at risk of sounding like I'm taking her side, (which I'm not), I think that focussing on her and understanding her is the only practical and constructive advice which is appropriate at this point. Saying she SHOULD give him intimacy is just futile. You can say SHOULD until you're blue in the face, but it won't change anything. Personally I think the marriage is over by the sounds of it. I wouldn't stick around with someone who didn't desire me. But if, as it sounds, he wants to attempt to repair the marriage, then that's what my advice is attempting to help. (Again, I'm highly unqualified, but hey, I like to type).
No, it's not selfish of a man to want intimacy with his wife, but to want it and not care to ask why it's not coming when it doesn't, but simply to want it, on tap, no questions asked, well that doesn't sound like a relationship. Which is why I'm pushing the 'ask questions' bit. You can't make a woman desire you by simply wanting her to (unless she has that button on the back of her neck in which case you just press it), all you can do is make yourself more desirable. And if that doesn't work, you get a divorce and find someone who appreciates what you have to offer.
Last edited by Lucy__lou; 05-11-2008 at 01:02 AM.
Thanks for your replies. Lost you bring up a good point,
in my correspondance with her and in general, she really does not
say "I love you" much at all. I never really put much importance
on saying it myself. I dont know if she's planning to leave, but
I dont think so. I dont think she's depressed although not positive.
Like I said earlier, she gets very antsy and defensive when I bring
it up like "oh gawd, not this discussion about intimacy again, leave it alone".
Lucy some good insights there; I'll try to clarify and answer your questions.
I agree she's not very assertive, and yes I have
got the feeling that she feels like she's martyr in this relationship,
some great victim of suffering caused by me. To go into a some detail:
She's from Japan, I'm 31 she 33. We met at College, and lived
together throughout college and after. She returned to Japan to pay off her
debt and started working in Japan again. She told me she'd be a year and then
return, well all of the sudden she kept stretching out how long
she wanted to be away to almost 2 year. I was upset because she
broke her earlier plan. I wanted to marry her as we agree on religous and
moral issues and get along well from day to day. Our chemistry/intimacy was never
a strong point, but I felt loved from her. I also thought we could
build a family with children. Our living and loving together worked pretty
well for over 5 years prior. I was sure that it would be great and looked
forward to it. Well when she arrived back in the States in late 2006, she
got very unhappy and stir-crazy as she wasnt working. I encouraged her to
work, and helped her through the process of interviews, buying a car,
following up job applications etc. She was hired at a good Japanese Company
for a decent salary. HOwever she quickly disliked the environment and her
tasking. I tried to comfort her, but I probably didn't persevere and try hard enough
in comforting her is my guess. For about a month and a half, she
would constantly complain of the dislike of her new job. Then she
would get upset that I wasnt listening to her intently enough. I recommended
giving it a little time for work. It was around this time that she decided
to shunt communication, emotions, and intimacy from our marriage. For a couple
of weeks it meant completely ignoring me.
This went on for several months, until we talked several times
how I was becoming very unhappy during maybe mid-summer or so. At this
point she became more friendly and platonic opening up our communcation
and emotions to some degree. So you see it's been some time since
her falling out with me. She is not financially dependent on me.
Of course I love her, it's always been my choice, but it so very trying
to be at a time in my life where I desire and need her physically and
feel pretty much unloved also she says she is not interested in children.
During our arguments, sometimes she gets very mean-spirited - at one point sh
actually told me "I cant imagine having children with you". This was in
the heat of the moment though.
I want her to be happy, but there is this stubborness in how she reacts when
I try to communicate about it. I dont think I'm sexually agressive. How I
put it in the earlier posts is a collection of rejections over a few months.
I might try advances with her once or twice a month. Actually my last business
trip when I came home she accepted which gave me some hope, but the same behavior quickly
started up again despite that hope.
It's hard to give, give, give without anything in return. It's hard to
keep trying to give hugs with little back. You could
be right, in her mind talking about intimacy is useless, but if I dont talk
about it nothing changes, and I'm not massochistically trying to be
rejected. It hurts and is deeply disappointing every time. My brother
thinks it's unlikely she will change unless motivated to. I dont know
what that motivation is - me leaving, I dont know. I dont want this
to be ultimatum time, that's not marriages ought to be about I think.
I REALLY REALLY wish she took some iniative to be intimate. It was a problem
even before now, but at least she was affectionate then and loving to where a
low frequency of intimacy/sex was doable, because I felt loved. I will let her
know again that our current dynamic is not working and hurtful. I am
unfortunately the restless, instant gratification type. I've always had to work on my
patience, and this has been like the mother of all endeavors in that way.
If you were in my position what other questions might you ask??
PC, thanks for not getting offended by my random speculations...
so as for what other questions would you ask?
I'll just quickly shoot some out. may or may not be helpful. but here goes
* we haven't had sex in ( insert time since here). What is is? Is it me? Do you just not want sex period? is this how you want to live for the rest of your life, without sex or intimacy? What's making you not want to be intimate with me now? If it's because of the time that I wasn't here for you, well is there any hope for the future? Will you ever forgive me? What will it take for us to put that in the past and start again?
* this marriage is in a bad place right now. It doesn't feel like a marriage. It's like we're room mates. If you don't want to talk about it, nothing's going to improve. why don't you want to talk about it? do you know that our marriage is in danger if we don't work this out?
* why do you stay with me? is this your ideal situation? do you want to live the rest of your life in a sexless marriage, that's just OK? If you don't say what you want, if you don't even know what you really really want out of this, how are you ever going to get what will make you happy? If you're unhappy, I'm unhappy, but it doesn't have to be this way. But if you aren't interested in trying, in communicating, it's just going to stay the same. I'm trying here, you don't seem like you are. Why?
If she pulls out the martyr talk, saying 'it's fine' in a resigned tone or something like that, ask her "why settle for things being just fine? don't you want to be happy? do you feel obligated to stay with me? why do you stay with me if things are just ok? "
* are you attracted to me? were you ever? what's changed? can it ever be fixed? what do you need? what do you want? what can we do?
Tell her you love her (if that's the case) and that you'll miss her terribly if you split up (if that's the case) but that it's not healthy being in a marriage with no intimacy and with no scope for that changing. If she can't give you anything constructive to work with of how to fix your marriage, and doesn't want to try, well I'm not sure what else you can do...
I've never been in a serious relationship myeslf, so I can't really understand why either of you would stay in such a relationship. Just because you love someone doesn't mean that you should stay in a relationship which isn't working for either of you.
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