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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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Hello, my are both 36 and have been together for ten years.

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Hello, my are both 36 and have been together for ten years. We have two beautiful children, and have married for five years. We are wealthier than all of our friends, owning multiple homes. For the last couple of years, my wife says that my behavior has changed her. I acted very controlling, and followed her chat sessions, where she harmlessly flirts. She is an LA 10 and gets hit on constantly, and I knew that getting into the relationship. For our tenth anniversary of meeting, I wrote her a long love letter and learned from her google search history that she does not love me and is bored of me, probably because of my complaining and neediness, and taking of her personal identity. I have no friends of my own so just borrow hers.

About a year ago, she completely wanted out and told me she wanted a divorce, but I decided it was worth fighting for, and she agreed to stay, saying that I had her body, but not her heart. I also found out recently that she let a guy "finger bang" her in Las Vegas, a year ago, which I am fine with, because she was on a bachelorette party, and I know she's kind of a Bad Girl. I was upset because she did not tell me, and I was not allowed to come on the trip. I actually get turned on by the idea of watching her do bad things with other people, which I'll get to eventually.

Recently, while on maternity leave from work (she's an executive, so this her only break), she signed up for a chat client on her iPhone just to pass the time while breastpumping. Curiousity got the better of me, and I signed up on it too proceeding to talk to her for several weeks, not as a flirter, but as a "worse guy" with worse drama. Eventually she caught on and started confessing her plans to have wild sex with a stranger. She also searched on google and even made it look like she was making plans to cheat, all because she had made me and decided she wanted to draw me out. (During the chats we had really hot sex, and even after being discovered, we had it last night, but at the end when I want to tell her I love her, I am only allowed one 'I love you' and one kiss per day)

During the chats I used 'inside information' to change myself for the better based on all of the things she complained about, and using it as a feedback system. She caught on and continued to do it, as a cruel ruse, but it was working, and I have improved my behavior. I stopped drinking caffeine and started talking in a calm, manly voice (I'm a baritone, not a nasal Jewish woman like my mom), and I still have to ask her every day we'll ever be deeply in love again, but I feel like I have scarred her heart so much by being controlling and possessive.

I want to know how to let go. She told me she thinks in about a year I'll be able to give her that divorce finally and I'll have a new girlfriend. She says she wants out but I don't really know if she does. She has not said she plans on leaving me for anyone, but said that she might like to start a new relationship.

She has also said that she can separate sex from love and we went to a swingers club in Las Vegas recently and had really good sex in front of strangers, and that was kind of cool.

I made a list of 36 things and behaviors that I did that annoyed her and I stopped doing them. I give myself a report card every week and I review it and add things. Yesterday I owned up to my cyber stalking, which is the second, and final time I will do it, and she laughed it off saying she knew I was a stalker, that I sold my home in San Francisco to move down to LA in 2003 to be closer to her. I completely reinvented myself, getting a bachelor's degree and master's degree in a three year period of time.

Now she wants me to get my body in good shape, and I don't know if it's so she will find me irresistible, or just so if I can get the confidence to meet someone new.

She has said that she will stay with me until the kids are grown up, so they can have a mommy and daddy, and we can continue having sex, and all that, and own our four homes together, but after that, she'll probably want to split up. I don't want that.

How can I fix this? Also, she does not want to go to counseling, and has told me everything I need to fix, so maybe I just need to fix it. I'm willing to give up all of my corporeal and material possessions because it is this important to me.

She said I changed her. I don't want to be an agent of change in anyone but myself. Thanks.

Today's song is "I want you to want me" by Cheap Trick.

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating and confusing this situation must be for you. You are clearly very deeply in love with your wife and her standoffishness and lack of emotional reciprocity makes things very difficult for you. You are doing everything to please her you can think of and none of your efforts make her budge emotionally. I can tell you right away: you've done everything you can to fix it. You're in therapy, you've made changes in your behavior, etc.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. The assumption here is that the problems in your marriage are your fault. I do not see this from what you write. I see that you each have problems and therefore, even if you become Mr. Perfect by a half, it still won't resolve all the problems.

You've described her as being very physically beautiful and attractive. In my experience, there is an emotional disconnnect that can occur for women who grew up beautiful and very desired. They can have physical relaitonships and are very comfortable with physical relationships, but "love" is tough for them. In fact emotional intimacy can be much, much harder for some very beautiful women (and extremely handsome men who have been sought after by women throughout their lives) than physical intimacy.

And this sounds like the case for her. She seems very at ease with sexuality and exhibitionistic sex and peole ogling her and wanting her physically. But she is very uncomfortable with a man, it seems, who wants an intimate emotional relationship, where love is a bond of two hearts and caring and giving oneself emotionally to the other.

It's true that your bursting at the seems so much with wanting her would be frustrating for her. However, from what you wrote, your insistance and being over the top really was part of a progression that involved her lack of comfort with being in an emotionally exclusive, intimate relationship. Giving one's heart to another human being can be hard to some people. For you, it is what you want more than anything in the world and you're willing to give in on any sexual ideas she wants to have that closeness. So it's hard for you to imagine that perhaps the problem here is not you. Perhaps she can't be emotionally close and the more you try, the harder it is for her; the more insistent you are, the more it points out to her (subconsciously) how she can't and (consciously) it makes her want to run away from you.

Therefore, I'd like you to discuss the points in my answer (you could print it and take it with you) in therapy. I don't think she'll take kindkly to it. But with your therapist you may be able to use my answer to gain good insight into the situation and why you are so frustrated.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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Hi! I'm very glad that I was able to help you with this and thank you for your positive rating. If I can help you in the future in any way, please don't hesitate to let me know.

All the best,
Dr. Mark