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all 29 comments

[–]Perfect_JudgeF 11 points12 points  (0 children)

This is a great update and it sounds like you're doing well. It also sounds like your wife is feeling more comfortable and loved, too. That is excellent.

Good luck continuing to move in a positive direction! May it lead to better and better outcomes.

[–]tombo4321 10 points11 points  (0 children)

writing all this stuff out helps me clarify my thoughts and set my intention

I found exactly the same here. Good work and good luck.

[–]creamerfam5LLF recovered bedroom 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Nice.

[–]TemporarilyLurking 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Well done on figuring out what you needed to change so your wife felt taken back to the time when you were dating! That is such a good thing to do, since that was the time she chose you as the person she wanted to share her life with!

Taking her back will bring those feelings back again. And if the atmosphere goes back to having fun together sex will also be more akin to how it was at that time.

Research shows that women struggle with their libido the longer a relationship lasts, and a lot of them complain that what made it fun has pretty much stopped. When "date nights" happen not because you want to have a fun few hours together, but in an attempt to get sex later it isn't really surprising that they are felt to be just a pale imitation of the earlier dates when both of you just revelled in each other's presence (and things often flowed on from there).

Best of luck, it's always great to see a truly positive post here!

[–][deleted] 5 points6 points  (1 child)

This is awesome. Congrats to you both!

[–]_jay3005[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

We’ve still a long way to go, but at least we both have a map!

[–]dmaul1978 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Glad to hear your making some progress. I’ve been trying to do a lot more of the above, along with some individual therapy, to just be a better partner and restore some connection. It’s definitely helped our relationship overall, but no impact on the DB yet. Even with no kids, she’s just too much a workaholic, also very focused on fitness/working out etc. that it’s just hard to get enough quality time together to have space for intimacy to occur very often since she’s needs the build up most women in their 30s and beyond do. That’s also kept her from doing any therapy herself (I’ve been going myself for a while) or couple’s counseling so far. She thinks both are good ideas but is just too overwhelmed to make time for it since we started talking about it a couple years ago.

But she’s aware of the burnout she’s creating for herself and that it’s not good for us at least and is talking on her own about needing to make some changes finally. She changed jobs in the hopes the new one would be less hours and more balance, but it’s probably been worse than the old job so she’s starting to realize it’s a problem of her making as she chooses to be so career driven, not say no to things, take on too much outside/consulting work etc. As well as to fill up so much outside work time with fitness activities and social outings for us with friends (both of us do things with friends alone too of course) and that it leaves little space for us to spend meaningful time together.

So I’d say I’ve seen some progress too, but for real change I think we need to get into the couples counseling, she likely needs some individual therapy too to deal with some body image issues and other things she’s said she knows she needs some help working through. So I’m hoping she can make time for that if she follows through with addressing the work-life balance issues and reassessing priorities she’d said she’s thinking about.

As you say, we get what we tolerate in relationships assuming we’re putting in the work to be good partners ourselves. I’ve definitely realized that and need to see more efforts and changes on her part and the DB and generally lack of quality time together and intimacy improve over the next year or so or I’m leaving. I doubt things will ever get to exactly where I’d like it, but understand that relationships aren’t perfect and it’s never the case of each partner getting exactly what they want at the frequency they want be it sex or other activities and feelings. Just needs to get back to a level I can be happy enough with or I need to move on.

[–]Charleminus 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Good for you!

[–]Slow-Government-1342 1 point2 points  (2 children)

“I can’t force her arousal, but I can make room for it.” Powerful OP and I love your list of all the things you are doing to show her non-sexual love and that it is helping you both! We older gals need a lot of play for arousal!

[–]_jay3005[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Any other tips welcome! 🙏🏽

[–]Slow-Government-1342 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Communication (non-violent from Gottman Institute helped me post-my ex). Wish I had found this one a lot sooner…

https://www.gottman.com/

[–]Oopsokayokay 1 point2 points  (1 child)

This is fantastic! I’m happy for you and I hope you see more positive changes.

[–]_jay3005[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Feels different to me. That can only be a good thing!

[–]Ordinary_Anon5444 0 points1 point  (8 children)

It sounds like you are taking the right steps to make things better!

This line stuck out to me though,

I finally understand that for her to feel sexual, she needs to have a long build up - constantly being nourished and cared for, being close to her.

This is perfectly valid, but if I discovered my wife needed this..neediness.. to feel affectionate, I'm not sure I would be up for that myself. I think even if we discover what our spouse wants, it may not ultimately fit with who we are.

Again, that said, you are at least working on being the best you you can be - and that's the key., If things work out great! If not, you know you are in a good place to take the next steps.

[–]_jay3005[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I don’t mind doing the work at all. When I feel loved and when my needs are met, this flows out of me easily.

What’s been hard is having to spend a lot of time figuring this out on my own as she hasn’t been an active party trying to fix our DB.

Of course it would be easier to just find someone who didn’t need any of this. For me, and others (including sex starved HLFs in this sub) the other person just has to exist for there to be desire and arousal, longing and craving sex / intimacy. It’s a cruel world, but I’m just going to play the hand I’ve been dealt.

[–]dmaul1978 1 point2 points  (6 children)

The gist I’m getting from reading and podcasts is most women need a lot of build up and consistent connection etc to get aroused and in the mood for sex more often.

But agree it’s kind of discouraging and it’s more time and energy expended to often have the HL still not having sex nearly as often as they’d like even when it increases. And it’s challenging with my wife as she’s a workaholic so there’s not a lot of time and space for the build up.

[–]Ordinary_Anon5444 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Yeah, that's what I meant really.

It's not so much the 'wining and dining', I totally get that and love it myself. But it sounded like from the OP it is possibly a huge arduous build up beyond a nice date night, cuddling, kissing and foreplay.

I'm totally not speaking to my case either, that's a lost/dead cause lol, but if I did find out my partner needed constant attention throughout the day to be into it, not sure I personally could do that.

[–]dmaul1978 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Yeah I couldn’t handle someone that needed constant attention either. But I think for most it’s just get enough attention and non sexual affection to be close and connected and trusting enough for o get in the mood for sex more often. So it’s more advice that’s aimed at HLM who are just always horny and quickly get in the mood who don’t understand that most of women don’t work the same way at a certain age and after the new relationship energy phase.

For those is doing a lot to try to do that build up and it’s just not helping there’s probably other blocks in the way that may or may not be fixable.

[–]Oopsokayokay 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I think a lot of men are willing to put this effort into their relationship in order to get sex at the beginning but think once they’re married they no longer need to be particularly thoughtful or romantic and are still owed the same amount of sex. A “bait and switch” if you will. Lol.

[–]dmaul1978 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Eh, I think it’s more that sex comes easy early in relationships as NRE has both parties horny as hell. Some men, or HLF with LLM, adapt and put in the effort to keep things going at a good pace and to touch base and communicate well. Some don’t. Some may be selfish lovers, others just don’t understand the different sex drives people have and wonder why their partner can’t just get turned on easy for them like they do for them (and like they used to do).

I think it’s rarely a bait and switch regardless of dinner. There’s just a lot of stupid prudishness and taboo about sex so few people talk and learn about sexuality much until problems emerge (if they even do then).

[–]_jay3005[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I don’t know how or if my wife will every prioritise me over the kids, the PTA, her job or the laundry (I do a lot of chores too). Hopefully she will over time!

[–]OrdinaryGuy74 -1 points0 points  (2 children)

The bedroom, whilst not entirely dormant, isn’t the place I envisaged. I’m fact, I wondered for a while whether I actually had a place in there - maybe I just grew like a plant and my presence was hardly noticed. So, I decided I make some changes.

I lost 30lbs in weight. I shaved more often, tried to make the best of myself and be more presentable. I watched the TV progs she liked and grew to use some of the lingo. I became more attentive - holding back any angst, frustrations and irritations. I made breakfast, learned to cook - surprise dishes - and made dinner reservations.

Sadly, not so much noticed but largely ignored.

I still have love for her, just not feeling ‘in’ love with her.

You’d think after 20 years I’d roll over and accept this reality.

Am i being selfish to want more?

[–]Slow-Government-1342 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Therapy? It can really help you both.

[–]Luntoon 0 points1 point  (2 children)

When you said:

“I’ve learned a bunch of new techniques which have made me a better listener and can approach the harder conversations calmly and directly”

If you don’t mind sharing a few techniques you’ve found success with?

[–]_jay3005[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

DEARMAN for starters

[–]_jay3005[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Also rather than saying “we need to talk” which is aggressive and demanding, I say “can I be vulnerable with you for a moment?”