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Kristin
Kristin, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 453
Experience:  Licensed Mental Health Counselor. 11+ years specialist in mental health. Expertise and insight!
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My wife of nine years and I have been having relationship

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My wife of nine years and I have been having "relationship" problems, she's been very distant from me in the bedroom, and I have been equally selfish and cildish in return. We don't have arguments, but rather, we discuss openly and honestly(hurtfully so) whats bothering us. Our last discussion culminated in her professing that she feels we are and always have been sexually incompatable, and she just doesn't love me in that way. I don't doubt that she loves me, and I love her beyond words especially in that way. How can I be the lover she needs? Incidentally, we were high school sweathearts and kept our virginity until marriage ( although we did mess around nearly to that point). She's a wonderful person. she's gotten into great shape and lost alot of weight. she's going to college and still works a lot on top of the things she does on the domestic front. She says she tired of being what everyone wants her to be and is trying to be her own person. Needless to say, I feel I've been left behind and am out of place in her "new" life.
I've also compounded maters by hurting myself. It was the day after she told me her feelings about me, I was hurting more than I'd ever have, so I cut myself. BUt sadly in retrospect, I realize I was just trying to hurt her . To make her feel the pain she caused me. Like I said, I've been childish. So, she said something inside her broke, and now she claims to be numb to any feelings. She's my best friend and I find all I need in her. I don't want to try a life without her. I'm afraid thats exactly what she feels she needs to do. Any thoughts and help are truly appreciated. thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kristin replied 3 years ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

 

Has there always been this distance in your sexual relationship? Or did that start recently? Is she wanting to stay married and just needs some space or is she wanting out of the marriage? Also do you have any kids?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
She says she has always felt "off" about it, but I have never noticed anything much more than a lack of equal drive ( which i thought is normal). Recently though she's been far more distant (not just in the matter of sex either). She says she wants to feel something for me because she loves me and wants to be a good wife, but her body doesn't respond to me. I know from past experiences that she has felt things though or she's a very good liar. She says that she doesnt always feel cold and incompatible, but its that way probably close to half the time. She feels that the initial fire was just teenage hormones, but I have letters she s written me that tell me otherwise. We have no children becuase until recently I didn't want any. I felt happy and content just with her. She used to want them someday however and I wasn't opposed. Now though, she says she doesn't want them and she can't imagine a life with them. She says she loves me and she wants to stay married, but shes afraid of one of us living a life thats unfulfilled and without happiness. She wants to take some time away to be by herself and has been looking at vacation packages. I'm afraid that she'll find that she doesn't want to be with me while shes away. I feel at fault about a few thigs too. Firstly, I'm fairly complacent or lazy or whatever you want to call it. I get in a place I feel comfortable and I don't want to change. She told me she wants to see the world and go to Spain on a study abroad program. She knew how I'd feel about ths and was ready to go alone. I was absolutely set against it. I told her we financially and responsibly couldn't do that. She felt so strongly about it thogh that I made a bad mistake. I asked her if it was worth` choosing me over. She felt threatened and said maybe. I set myself up for misery like that a lot. I cut me to the soul.Thats also when she told me about being tired of being false for everybody. From then on, we've been very different. Like something cut between us. After the last talk I've been changing. I'm no longer opposed to the things i was. I had been very uncomfortable with flying, but I'm noy scared anymore. Nothing scares me more than the thought of being without her. We also used to be a spiritual couple, but my laziness hurt that too. She used to want to do mission work abroad and openly professed her faith. She even used to have a tattoo that she used for that purpose. When she started finding "herself" even that changed. She says she felt she was doing all that for everyone else too.She even got her tat redone on had the words covered up. She says it was because she didn't like the way they were starting to look. We got married very young (she 17 , me 20) and I'm afraid she feels like she needs to live her life over. She came from a very bad and abusive family. Her stepmother was verbally and physically abusive to her and her father(both parents are alcoholic and drug users).She lived in fosterhomes and with several family members. we grew up together and I'm afraid she only loved me because I was the best thing in her life at the time and not for me as a person. She always says I need to find out who I am, but I only me if I'm with her. she is still my best friend and I want her to be happy, I'm just selfish and want her to find what she needs in me.
Expert:  Kristin replied 3 years ago.

Okay thank you for the additional information. You have done a very nice job of explaining her and yourself. What this really sounds like is simply a woman who got married very very young and has evolved and changed throughout the years (as we all do, more or less.) This is not at all uncommon that she is wanting to find herself more and what she wants and needs, who she is. It sounds like it is more about her needing self-discovery and not feeling limited by previous and current roles.

At the same time, it sounds like you have based a lot of your own happiness and life satisfaction linked to her. She might even find this somewhat smothering....meaning, rather than focusing on the thought of losing her, reframe your thoughts to what this transition could mean for you too. You also got married very young and I think that this could be a good time for you to also explore other facets of your self. Rather than asking her to choose between you or exploring herself more, try to understand her and even encourage this evolution. If she can see a shift in you from dependency on her to confidence in yourself that you two can grow TOGETHER, than that is your best option.

Couples who can grow together, stay together. Show her that you are all for her finding herself and that you are interested in developing new interests and traveling etc. That her new enthusiasm has allowed you to also evolve and that you are enthused by this.

 

Tell her you want her to be happy and feel like she is not limited and let her know you support her. You can't be everything to her, just as she cannot be everything to you! That is not healthy and you need to tell her that, as she may feel it's a burden on her to try to be everything to you. See what I mean...it's about shifting from fear of loss, to embracing new adventures and growth.... for each of you as individuals and as a couple. Try reframing it this way and joining her (while still allowing for individual space) in new ways and changing things up a bit. Try to be positive and think of positive outcomes rather than negative. Cutting yourself only showed her that you can't cope without her or when she expresses a need that is just about her. If you need counseling to sort through this more, that would also be a good thing to do... and show her you are open to changing and also being responsible for your own happiness, without making her feel it depends on her. Please click ACCEPT button for this answer, and feel free to continue discussion even after clicking accept. Thank you.

Expert:  Kristin replied 3 years ago.
Did you have any more questions for me about this situation? Please click accept and feel free to ask any more questions you may have. thanks...
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou for you advice. It's what I know i've needed to do. Actually, I wrote her a letter a few nights ago saying basically that. My lingering concern is how she feels about us as lovers. She admitted questioning whether she was truly in love with me. I want her to be fulfilled sexually too. Since we've never had any other partners neither of us knows any better. If she feels we're not compatible in that way and i physically and emotionally repulse her how can we cope with that? I want her to desire me and want to "be" with me, but if she always wonders what else is out there, what then? I'm not interested in other women, and she wants to be faithful to me( she vehemently opposes infidelity having seen it first hand all through her childhood), but I have a strong sex drive that I can fulfill since I don't want her to feel "off" and i don't want to feel that my own wife rejects me.I know I must be patient. Ironocally, being a typical man, I'm aroused by visual erotica, which I don't pursue because it hurts her. She says it makes her feel that she's not good enough or that shes not what I want when all along she's felt the same way about me in reality! I've beat myself up over the years because in the interest of allowing her the freedom to say no, I've fought and often times lost the fight against the urge to find what I need in a place that hurts her. I can't force her to be with me, but I feel bitter towards her too. I don't want to be a duty or a chore to her, but I make sacrifices to provide for her needs (at least to the best of my knowledge)because I love her, so as guilty as I feel about it, I get resentful to her when she won't do the same for me. It's not like it's always going to feel emotional, some times it's ok to just enjoy the physical aspect right?. Or am I wrong and following a chauvenistic male viewpoint?She's also recently discovered an interest in reading. She reds books about empowered women and tragic love ie. "twilight" and the like. I've often wondered if she's trying to fill a needwith them or at least absorbing an unrealistic view of the way love and romance normally evolve. I don't know and I'm sure it's probably just my insecurity. It'll be very hard for me to find myself apart from her by the way, Because i was very comfortable with the "me" i was with her. Still, I want us to get through this and I can adapt.It just feels like I'm losing myself in the process. ( Well, I guess i kinda am.) Thankyou again for you continuing help.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou for you advice. It's what I know i've needed to do. Actually, I wrote her a letter a few nights ago saying basically that. My lingering concern is how she feels about us as lovers. She admitted questioning whether she was truly in love with me. I want her to be fulfilled sexually too. Since we've never had any other partners neither of us knows any better. If she feels we're not compatible in that way and i physically and emotionally repulse her how can we cope with that? I want her to desire me and want to "be" with me, but if she always wonders what else is out there, what then? I'm not interested in other women, and she wants to be faithful to me( she vehemently opposes infidelity having seen it first hand all through her childhood), but I have a strong sex drive that I can fulfill since I don't want her to feel "off" and i don't want to feel that my own wife rejects me.I know I must be patient, but Is it possible to learn to love someone in that way? Ironocally, being a typical man, I'm aroused by visual erotica, which I don't pursue because it hurts her. She says it makes her feel that she's not good enough or that shes not what I want when all along she's felt the same way about me in reality! I've beat myself up over the years because in the interest of allowing her the freedom to say no, I've fought and often times lost the fight against the urge to find what I need in a place that hurts her. I can't force her to be with me, but I feel bitter towards her too. I don't want to be a duty or a chore to her, but I make sacrifices to provide for her needs (at least to the best of my knowledge)because I love her, so as guilty as I feel about it, I get resentful to her when she won't do the same for me. It's not like it's always going to feel emotional, some times it's ok to just enjoy the physical aspect right?. Or am I wrong and following a chauvenistic male viewpoint?She's also recently discovered an interest in reading. She reds books about empowered women and tragic love ie. "twilight" and the like. I've often wondered if she's trying to fill a needwith them or at least absorbing an unrealistic view of the way love and romance normally evolve. I don't know and I'm sure it's probably just my insecurity. It'll be very hard for me to find myself apart from her by the way, Because i was very comfortable with the "me" i was with her. Still, I want us to get through this and I can adapt.It just feels like I'm losing myself in the process. ( Well, I guess i kinda am.) Thankyou again for you continuing help.

Expert:  Kristin replied 3 years ago.

Well you are both going through a transitional period right now. It doesn't sound like you emotionally repulse her, or even physically either. Perhaps just more that the passion isn't there for her as much, and this is not uncommon at all in a marriage of long duration. And she may have a much lower sex drive than you do as well.

It seems that perhaps again, as she is evolving she needs to see you in a new light. So, it's about rediscovering yourself in this process and shifting your focus to you, and less on her. Rather than wondering if her choice of reading may be affecting her, why not find a book that is interesting to you, and become engrossed in your interests.

I know it's easier said than done right now, but will help to rebuild an attraction in her for you. Also, show her a new version of you, one that is confident and interesting. Maybe after all these years she feels like she knows every last angle of you, so show her something new. Again, though it's more that you find yourself and she sees you then in that new light.

Another thought is that you could always ask her what she finds most romantic or what excites her the most sexually/intimately and have a discussion about that. you could always go see a couples counselor as well, even for a few sessions. There are also couples retreats available for weekends where you can go to rebuild connection and intimacy etc. You can google that couples retreats and see what you find in your area, etc. Again, hang on to YOU in this process and become stronger and grow from this.

Please click ACCEPT button so I'm credited for my time and assistance today.

Thank you much!

Kristin, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 453
Experience: Licensed Mental Health Counselor. 11+ years specialist in mental health. Expertise and insight!
Kristin and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks again. Its been good hearing from a professional. You have been kind and thorough.. If my wife should choose to use this service, can she request you personally? I think she would appreciate your help.
Expert:  Kristin replied 3 years ago.

You're very welcome. Yes, you or your wife can request me personally. What you do is just put To Kristin, in front of your next question on the Just Answer site, and I will be the one to respond to you or to your wife directly.

 

Best wishes to you and your wife...

Thank you.

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