Hi,I'm Jules, a LPC,I am reviewing your question now, and will post back with your thorough reply briefly :)
Good Morning. I hope that I am able to assist you. I want to encourage you prior to you making the decision to get out of the relationship. I am not sure if you are familiar with the five love languages but these are a great resource for emotional connectivity that can also help express your needs and the language of "physical touch" is also addressed.
The Love languages are words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. I will explain a bit of these. Words of affirmation are based on demonstrating appreciation, approval, recognizing efforts made by you or your partner- on the flip side if you recognize that you are sensitive to criticism or perceived criticism this can be a sign that your love language may be words of affirmation. Gifts are about little tokens or offerings that suggest that you are thinking of someone. It can be simple or elaborate, but it's the thought that counts. As far as acts of service, a quote comes to mind, ”Actions speak louder than words.” Acts of service may include mowing the yard, helping with laundry, starting the dishes, making the bed, helping load the car or unload the car of groceries. It could even be something that helps someone else in their career— anything that offers support someone through an action. Quality Time is based on providing undivided attention to your partner. Turning off the TV, making eye contact, turning toward them as they communicate with you— it is about focusing on your partner without allowing distractions to occur. Finally, physical touch, there is power in tenderness. This does not have to include sexual touch, but more or less, gentleness. It can be holding hands, a stroke of their hair, a massage, or a simple hug. There is encouragement in touch.....This can help you meet your partner's needs, but also have yours met. Hope that addresses part of your question. Most men are a combination of physical touch and words of affirmation. I think that also when someone feels that physical touch is lacking that there must no longer be an attraction and it creates distance. I think it also leads to seeking affirmation outside of the relationship, whether it be another woman, pornographic material, or even just hobbies. I guess I have some questions about your relationship as a whole. How long have you been married, what are the issues that you feel like affect your sex life, and what would be the ideal relationship for you to have in your marriage? Also, are there children involved :)
I look forward to assisting you today. Please respond when you can. Thank you, Jules!
Oh my goodness. My heart just sank while reading your response. You are dealing with such complex grief and pain. I believe that she may be self-medicating and even blaming herself and so she is detaching from you emotionally. It is very hard for a couple to process the loss of a child-- losing them as children or adults-- it is still a loss. Do you feel that she would be willing to go to AA or NA meetings. Even grief meetings related to PTSD after a trauma such as this?
She may be withholding sex also because she does not feel that she deserves to have emotional closeness or physical closeness. The grief cycle is so perplexing and I am a trauma specialist. I work primarily with those who are grieving. I just wonder if her placement in the cycle is what is hurting you guys. You BOTH have had to endure this painful and helpless situation and I think that it is possible for the trauma to draw you closer, not split you apart, but you do have to be in tune with one another's emotions in order for that to happen.
Im sorry. I was in a counseling session in the clinic. I am available now. I honestly think that you need to both sign up for couples' counseling and consider your options from there. You have invested 27 years at this point, lost a daughter, and have an adult son that is currently in college. The carpet has been pulled out from everyone recently. She needs to seek treatment for alcoholism and understand what drives her behaviors; you need to consider individual counseling for all of the pain that you have had and also any building resentment. You don't want to walk away without trying everything. After you try these outlets, focus on spiritual growth, focus on personal intimacy and emotional closeness, then you determine what type of future you really want with her. If there is already someone in the picture I would think about what needs that relationship fulfills, determine if you need to establish boundaries around that, but at least give your wife the benefit of the doubt and you guys try a combination of treatment that involves addiction treatment and marital counseling....
I'm curious as to how you feel about what was sent. I would like your feedback in order to fully assist you or at least provide you with a satisfactory answer.
I also want to disclose to you that I do understand the struggle with determining whether or not to end a relationship. I am divorced, but after only 10 years of marriage. It was something that was a hard decision and I continue to grieve aspects of it. Not as much for myself, but for my children. It is a cordial relationship, but I would by lying, or looking through rose-colored glasses, if I said that it was easy. However, prior to making the decision, we did attend couples counseling, church/ spiritual guidance, and we attempted to work on some self-help materials. I felt that we had made real efforts. There was an addiction in place, but not quite the same as your situation, but one that was personal and it did affect the health of the marriage and our intimacy. I do think that it can get better for you, but I also understand the feeling that maybe your purpose when you came together as a couple has been fulfilled.
I once read an article and it talks about bad reasons to stay married..... Im going to send you the link.
This is also an excerpt from the final paragraph. I really thought it was powerful.
Misguided Reason #3 to Stay in a Bad Marriage: You Promised!
Those of you with kids will have heard this (“but you promised…”) said many times. Kids are brilliant and they know that calling you on your word is important and can evoke enough guilt for you to give in to their desires.Exchanging vows of being together forever is a very powerful exercise. It is a wonderful ideal and it is wonderful that most people do take this commitment seriously. But let’s examine reality again. Seasons change. Tides change. Relationships change. People change. Life situations change. Everything changes. That is life. That is what is supposed to happen.I remember looking back at my high school yearbook and my friends saying, “never change!” I had to laugh because, although I knew the sentiment behind this comment (you’re a great person and please stay a great person), not changing isn’t really something to aspire to!
Neale Donald Walsch writes about this in his book, Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue. Walsch is talking to God about the whole concept of marriage as we know it. God tells Walsch that the intention of joining two people together was never about binding them, rather, quite the contrary. It was about letting the other person be true to themselves while being true to yourself. Joining with, not attaching to, another soul. He adds that, “until you can predict your future, you cannot promise anything truthfully.” According to Walsch, God does not endorse promising yourself forever to another person as this may not be in both people’s best interest.
While the contents of this book may be controversial due to the fact that this is simply Walsch’s interpretation of what God said, anyone who is aware of what it is to be a conscious, mature, self-actualized adult would agree that healthy relationships are not about controlling or imprisoning others, rather quite the opposite. The trick in any relationship is to change and grow on your path while allowing your partner to change and grow on his or her path. Clearly, judging by the current divorce rates, this is getting harder to do in our complex world."
So, with that last excerpt, I do have to ask you to consider if you think that you and your wife are helping or hurting one another. Can you guys work together to strengthen the bond, are you willing to break down any barriers, or do you feel that the purpose of your marriage has been completed? That is all very personal, but I do hope that this has been somewhat helpful for you.
I will be in sessions throughout the day, but I will be checking my email periodically. I look forward to hearing back from you :)
Thank you, Jules
I am curious about what occurred in your situation. I would love to hear how things are going. Thank you, Jules