Thank you for the added information. It does indeed help a lot! I believe I can now be of help with this issue.
First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating and distressing this situation must be for you. I have to say that I am very concerned about this situation for your marriage. Why do I find it of such concern?
Because this is an issue that many couples face but rarely is it taken to this extreme of each person getting more and more entrenched in their own corner. It has now become the defining event in your relationship. That is a worrisome attitude on both your parts.
And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. I am concerned for your relationship that the two of you are going through this destructive phase. You clearly love your wife and you seem to be able to sense in yourself that something about the situation is extreme. And I have a feeling your wife also loves you and is unclear how to get out of this vicious circle the two of you have entered over this hurtful thing you did. You are seeking some other solution than you just giving in and apologizing over and over until she decides it's enough. So, we have to make one good faith effort to see if the ship can be righted. Okay?
Therefore, I want you to print out my answer and take it and her to a quiet pub or other quiet place and discuss it and commit to the program to try to make your relationship a success. You're going to start with a book. You'll get 2 copies, one for each of you. Why?
Because it is clear that this hurtful act, which was a solitary act, is representative of a lot of emotional distancing between the two of you that was simmering under the surface and now has become visible. I think the two of you will need to embark on couples therapy, but first let's try this book and self help work.
It's by an American but it is terrific for what you two need to work on. Each night you're both going to read a few pages or a chapter and do the exercise there if there is one in those pages. Every other night, or at most, every third night sometimes, you will get together, either at home or at the pub and talk about what you read. What you think of it, what it inspired in you. Make notes in the margins. And each one talk about the subject of the pages and what you think. Some sections may not be trouble spots for you, but that's okay. It's good to have some easier discussions where you both agree right away. That's your assignment and dates.
The book: It's by the foremost researcher into relationships in our day, John Gottman. He's famous for being interviewed on TV and being able to tell when a couple will get divorced within 5 minutes and having 90% accuracy. I've studied his therapy and use his therapy in my practice and that's why I'm concerned that you two do this. So the book is the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. You can get it cheaply online.
The therapy: the two of you MUST work on how emotional connections are made and maintained. The two of you together need help in learning how to make your marriage more emotionally intimate and positive. There is no Gottman therapist in the UK I see in my directory, which is okay because there is a second type of therapy I want to recommend strongly for you two to consider.
It is called Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Why? Because it focuses on how there have been created emotional barriers and how to get through those barriers. Please consider it before you take other action. I know that there are therapists practicing this therapy in the UK and I very much hope there is one close enough for the two of you.
Here is the web address for their therapist finder:
On the website you'll also find excellent books by the founders, Sue Johnson and Leslie Greenberg. They're in Toronto.
Okay, so that is a program to try to save your relationship.
I wish you the very best in this and in the future!
Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX