Moving to Phase Two

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Submitted by Louie on
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The intimate life of my marriage is now moving to phase two in its recovery.

Phase one was the dissolving of negative emotional patterns in the relationship. Over the past few years my wife and I fought a lot about issues of sex and intimacy. This created resentment and hard feelings. My intention with the confrontations was to try and get sex back on track, but it actually had the opposite effect. It created a wall between us. Some time ago I figured out that I was not going to make much progress on sexual healing so long as all this broiling emotional energy remained. Thus, I took a zero pressure stance on sex and focused instead on rebuilding the emotional connections. This mostly involved LOTS of non-sexual bonding activities. There was lots of hugs, cuddling and spending quality time with each other with no pressure for sex. That phase has been going for almost two years. Trust is easy to lose and hard to regain. However, I was successful. The emotional side of our relationship is stronger than it has ever been. We are very comfortable with each other and feel very connected.

When I first started this process I assumed that as the emotional blocks were resolved, the sex would come back naturally. However that has not happened. It appears that there are also some significant mental blocks. I am sensing that my wife is somewhat wary of sex itself. The subject has taken on something of a negative connotation for her. Although she is very much in love with me again, she is reluctant to reopen the sexual part of the relationship. Maybe she is worried that as soon as sex returns all of the problems that surrounded sex will also return. Maybe she is worried that after such a long abstinence sex will be awkward. I am not really sure what the nature of the mental block is, I just know that it is there. There is something that is holding her back.

Thus, I have decided that the sexual healing needs to start off very light, and gradually work its way back up. The other night we had a very nice make out session. Last night there was a shorter one. In both cases she was quite comfortable and obviously enjoyed it. I talked about this in a recent post and Rachel commented that she loves making out like teenagers. This has inspired me to take a new approach to sexual healing.

Thus, phase two is going to be about gradually escalating the level of sexual contact in our relationship. For the time being my wife appears to be quite comfortable with kissing sessions. This is a good place to start. Making out will be the gateway activity that will eventually lead back to sex.

I am actually quite excited about this. We can get to know each other all over again. It will be fun to go back through that whole progression and gradually get comfortable with higher and higher levels of sexuality. It will be very healthy for both of us.



great to hear

I haven't read all your blogs but to hear about your approach and progress to rebuilding your marriage is great to hear! Particularly the note about how long it's taken. Time is a beast and there's nothing we can do about it but use it as best we can.

congratulations on your success thus far and hope things head toward success!


Yeah ... the slow progress of things has often frustrated me, however, it is what it is. Any time that I try and take short cuts to speed things along it always back fires. I guess some things just take time. Slow and steady wins the race.

Prior to this week I was starting to feel stuck. However, these kissing sessions have given me new hope. A door has opened and I am going through it. We will see where it goes.

Great idea~

I think starting at square one is a great idea, Louie! It will slowly bring you back to a comfort level where there won't be awkwardness when things do progress (for her, if she is feeling uncomfortable about sex).

Kissing can become a forgotten art in a long-term's one of the most intimate things you can do and I think sometimes it seems *too* intimate so couples start leaving it off the "menu." Also, I think women assume that men don't like it (that it's a "girl" thing and men only do it in the beginning because women like it), but I think that is far from the truth. Men love being kissed as much as women do~~it lets them know they are loved and wanted.

So romantic! I look forward to hearing how it progresses!


I agree that kissing is highly underrated as an intimate activity. It is not just an appetizer for sex. It can be a meal in itself.

I also agree that it will do wonders to dissolve any tension that we have about being intimate with each other. It is not just my wife. I also have some nervous tension about intimacy that could do with dissolving.

Wishing you well

in your new adventure.

Smart move to let the increasing bonding behaviors do the "talking." When dealing with a block in the defensive part of the brain...oxytocin is your secret weapon (blessing).

my problem with this is...

It's your life but since you are posting here I will give you my two cents. 

Marriage is a deal where you agree to monogamy in exchange for regular sex. There is a lot more to it than that but that's fundamentally the deal. It's what makes a business partnership different from a marriage.

You aren't having regular sex with your wife. To me, in my marriage, that wouldn't work. I wouldn't want to continue in my relationship where my wife doesn't want to have sex with me on a regular frequent basis. Barring some medical problem or something physical, obviously. Especially now that I have realized the joys of Karezza. Tick tick tick goes the clock. In my belief system this life is it, and every day I am getting older. I want love and appreciation and sex. Now. LOL.

There may be other factors such as money and children to stay together legally, but that doesn't mean I'd be happy about it and convince myself it was something that was somehow good. I would be honest with my wife and look outside the marriage for what I want and tell her that's what I'm doing. We might continue our marriage in some fashion but for business reasons.

You had somewhere said you resonated with No More Mr. Nice Guy. I haven't read it but I glanced at the thesis and the forums and I kind of understand. And I think you are still trying to please your woman more like a boy than a man. 

Your brain comes up with all sorts of rationales and justifications for this, of course. But how traumatized could she be at this point about sex if she's got kids, you had a lot of sex with her and presumably she had a life before Louie? 

Bottom line is that you are not attractive to her. That's what I think. And the reason you aren't, perhaps, is that you are acting more like a woman than a man.

Now you've posted on this a lot. So I assume you are posting for one of two reasons. #1, to feel more secure about something that inside doesn't feel right. Or, #2, to simply help others in an altruistic sense. I think the reason is #1, as we all post here to feel better about ourselves somehow (if only because we feel good helping others.) I think you don't feel completely right about what's going on in your marriage, and my proof is you take great pains to tell us how much this is in your plan, somehow.

Come off it though. It can't be a man's plan to stop having sex with his wife for a long time, for no reason related to physical impossibility. Why not use this forum to try to turn it around in a different way? A way that may not be comfortable for the "Mr. Nice Guy" part of the brain. A way that will be good for you and for her. I can't say what that is, but I don't believe acting like Mr. Infinitely Patient Nice Guy is the way to become attractive to her again.

And that is the problem, Louie. She isn't attracted to you or else she'd be having sex with you.


I usually agree with you on most things, but this time I don't. I think Louie's plan is the best (and only) thing he can do to get his wife back to the point where she *will* be attracted to him. It may not work, but short of grabbing her by the hair and dragging her to the bedroom and forcibly taking her, I don't see any other way.

No man wants to have sex with a woman who doesn't want to have it with him. Louie is trying to get his wife back to that point of wanting him. The make-out sessions are a fantastic way to get that "loving feeling" back. There is a massive thaw that has to happen.

I see good things happening between them! What has he got to lose? Seriously?

And what the heck is wrong with a man showing a balance of feminine and masculine? We need more of it in this world, I think. Just my opinion.


There is one thing that I stand to lose ... time. It takes time to do things this way.

However, I have decided that it is a trade worth making. I am willing to trade off a short term period of no sex for a long term possibility of true love and intimacy with my wife. It is a risk that I am taking, but I am pretty certain that it will work out.


You are looking at the circumstances of my life through your own filters. You have your ideas of what is or is not important to you and you are applying those ideas to my life and deciding that what you see is not acceptable to you.

I have no doubt that if you were married to my wife you would have left long ago. I know many other men would agree with you on that. I respect that other men on this planet have diferent ideas than me about what is imporatnt to them, and I will not try to convince them that they are wrong.

However, I am not going to change my life just to suit them either.

In all honesty, sex is not important enough to me to blow up my marriage over it. That is what it comes down to. That is my honest opinion on the matter. I will not threaten the future of the marriage over sex, nor will I look outside of the marriage for it. Its just not that important to me. I don't care if Karezza is the greatest thing that ever happened to mankind. I will not use negative tactics to get it. Period. End of Story.

Having said that, I do enjoy sex and will be happy when it comes back. I am looking forward to Karezza, and I know with absolute certainty that it will happen ... when the time is right.

I appreciate that you wrote this as an attempt to light a fire under me. Your intentions were good. You are not the first person who has encouraged me to fight harder for sex, and you will not be the last. Just be aware that I do my own thing. I do not live according to others people's ideas.

The one aspect of your post that I want to call out is the insinuation that I am lacking masculinity just because sex is not the most imporatant thing in the world to me. The fact that I value love more than sex does not mean that my masculinity is wounded. It just means that my priorities are different.

Also, I am neither a boy, nor a woman and your transparent attempt to shame me with those terms has failed.

Thanks Louie

You took my post as well intended and I appreciate that. I didn't mean you should feel shame. Just another view. I can be blunt doesn't mean I am right lol.


The mind is a logical machine. It creates solutions for problems. Right now sex is not happening in my marriage and there are multiple ways that I could tackle this:

I could guilt her into having sex.
I could threaten to leave her if she dosen't
I could threaten to go outside of the marriage for sex
I could go outside of the marriage without telling her
I could try and wear her down on the subject (nag her until she does it)
I could phsyically force myself on her

At the opposite extreme I could renounce sex and become a celibate.

I have examined all of those options over the years and decided that none of them are right for me. None of them feel right.

The only approach that actually feels right to me is to offer love in a consistent and patient way and allow her some time to warm up to it. I launched on that approach a few months ago and it is has produced steady results since then. Just last night (after another spontaneous make-out session) I was marvelling at just how far we have come in a few short months. There is real warmth and affection here. There is real attraction on both sides. Best of all, it feels right. In fact, it feels amazing to have this kind of connection again. My wife is coming toward me because she wants to. That makes a world of difference. We are genuinely falling in love with each other again.

Isn't that what bonding is really about ... love.

I know that many people see sex and love as being two sides of the same coin. When you look at it that way, it is hard to understand how a woman can claim to love her husband, but not make herself sexually available. I understand that point of view.

However, I think they are two seperate things. You can have love without sex, and you can have sex without love.

Obviously the ideal is to have both. I know it is possible to build love through sex. I know people who have sucessfuly done that. I am not going to discredit that approach.

However, I have chosen to do the opposite. I have chosen to focus on building love first and then allow sex to grow out of that. I think this approach will work also. In my marriage, I think that it will work way better.

Anyways, I have explained myself enough. I am just going to keep right on doing what I am doing. It is working very well!

Falling in love

is a high in any case.

Just suppose one of you physically couldn't have could still enjoy a blissful connection. At least it's obvious you could. Part of my reason for creating the Exchanges was to give people a taste of the bliss that is possible even without intercourse. Then, when it's added back in, intercourse is the "icing on the cake," not the cake. The cake is the sustainable good feelings and juicy connection.