Is it too late to save my marriage?

Submitted by eagle2 on
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New user here. Stumbled on this site via YBOP and just received the Cupid's Poisoned Arrow book yesterday. I've only read the first chapter and skimmed some others but I feel like a light bulb has been turned on. I just worry it's too late.

My wife and I have been married 9 years. We've been slowly drifting apart and it's all come to a head in the past month or so. She is convinced that she can never be happy with me. I also found out this past weekend she's been talking to a coworker and they both have feelings for each other. I never truly realized how unhappy she's been and I want to save our marriage and our family. She is only looking out for herself right now and is willing to throw away our marriage, our family, our dream house, etc - all because this other guy makes her feel special. She refuses to believe the infatuation she's feeling with him is only temporary. I'm obviously blindsided and hurt, but I owe it to my son and the commitment I made to do everything I can to save our family.

By my own admission, I've not a touchy person by nature. I'm not sure why. I don't recall any traumatic events in my past. I just get this overwhelming 'on edge' feeling whenever someone invades my personal space. This includes my wife unless it's for sexual reasons. That part of my brain takes control and overwhelms the personal space alarms. I have been getting better since my son came along. He's 3 now and I love nothing more than his big hugs or when I comfort him after a bad dream or helping him fall asleep at night. It's made my bond with him stronger than I ever thought I could bond with someone. Looking back, if I had worked on that with my wife all these years, we probably wouldn't be in this turmoil. We've talked about it, but both chalked it up to my personality. If I'm able to truly bond with my son, there's no reason I can't bond with my wife.

I've been reading a lot of 'self help' marriage guides, but I feel like the CPO book has really struck a different chord. All of the testimonials I've read mirror exactly with what she says is missing and I desire to experience a deeper connection with her. I'm just afraid it's too late to get her to commit to trying. I'm afraid her desire for greener pastures is too much for me to overcome. Are there any members who have been in this situation? Should I try to convince her to give these concepts/ideas a chance, or should I start with the 'stealth mode' idea I saw in another forum post and focus on giving reassuring actions without revealing the intentions?

"...Are there any members who

"...Are there any members who have been in this situation?..." I have not been in this situation. It sounds like a terrible and painful situation to be in. I feel for you, your son, and your wife.

If I was, I would fight for your wife and push hard towards a loving marriage for you two and a healthy environment for your son.

My sense is that I would be totally honest, saying how I was at fault for not meeting her emotional needs, and for putting her happiness and the well-being of her and your son at risk.

My admission to my wife was that I had a porn addiction. Though I did not admit it, I was unhappy with the sex in our marriage -- 'Why couldn't it be like what I saw in the porn flicks online?' -- and considered that we may be bound to grow apart and go separate ways. My wife was angry with my porn addiction. I quit porn cold turkey and initiated CPA's program of daily bonding exercises with my wife. Our marriage quickly improved. 18-20 months later, our marriage is great and I am perfectly satisfied with our sex life.

My gut sense is that you can win your wife back. I think lots of unconditional, non-judgmental listening on your part and taking the actions that you think will address her needs will put you on the right path.

I think that quickly moving towards Karezza will be important, for both her and you. You will feel more strongly bound to her and her to you. You will feel warmth towards her, and will be more responsive to her.

Given that you ought to move to Karezza quickly, I do not know how you do that in 'stealth mode.' You will need her cooperation on the 'rebooting' daily bonding exercise program, and you will need her cooperation once you move to actual Karezza. So, I think you have to specifically propose rebooting and Karezza to her. That is the approach that I took with my wife.

All you can do is try your best, and I bet you will. Best wishes, eagle2, and may you have success.

I mostly agree with John

I'd like to suggest that you don't push your wife to do anything in particular, such as forego her orgasms. You could _invite_ her, but don't push. Let it be her decision whether she has orgasms.

Do explain what you want to do and why. For example, you could say that you want to slow down when having sex and avoid having orgasms yourself, because you've noticed that you feel distant and irritable after conventional sex, and you've heard that avoiding orgasm can make you feel closer and more loving.

Sorry for what you're facing

Maybe you could get her to commit not to see/engage with Mr. X for a few months while you try daily bonding behaviors and see if you can pull your marriage back on track. New romances offer a very intoxicating mix of "honeymoon neurochemistry" that's not easy to compete with, so if he's in the picture, your task will be much more difficult.

Tell her she should know whether there's hope within ___ months and ask her to give it her best.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

 

Such a sad story

Marnia you are spot on, as usual.
You've got a lot invested in this marriage, fight for it. Tell her you love her and want to make it work. Get some counseling for your self. She has a 3 yo and a job...that lady needs a break!

I was able to read several

I was able to read several more chapters in Cupid's Poisoned Arrow last night and it's a truly awakening experience. It explains why I've always hated myself after sex, felt completely repulsed by my own wife, and felt incredible guilt because I know she's hurt when I don't stay in bed afterwords.

I wonder if those terrible feelings are causing my personal space issues with her? Why would I want to cuddle with my wife when my mammal brain is telling me to dump her and find the next mate? I bet if I turned down my conscience and started seeing other women, I wouldn't have space issues with them. In fact, I remember an ex I had in college. We started out as friends, got closer over a long period of time, then started a romance. We took it super slow and I felt so incredibly full just laying on the couch with her. We would casually fool around a little, but I don't remember ever getting overheated. The flipside of that is the night we finally had sex was like a free fall off a cliff. I remember driving home with this overwhelming feeling of shame and disgust. Things were never the same between us after that one night. We tried to make things work but she ended up going back to her ex a few weeks later.

My wife and I had a different story altogether. It was more of a stereotypical dating scenario. It's always been physical, since the beginning. I don't ever recall having the same fulfilling feeling with her. We've stayed together because we are compatible on almost every other level. We rarely argue. We communicate very effectively. We do a great job of sharing household duties. There aren't any problems with either of our families. I believe that's why we're so reluctant for standard marriage counseling. We both know the problem runs deeper than surface conflicts or who takes out the trash. We both realize something is missing and I think I found the true answer. It explains everything I feel, everything she says she is feeling, and why things went south.

I want to finish reading the CPO book and then get her on board. I really want her to read the book to get the full understanding. She is fascinated by the psychology field so I'm hoping I can tap into that curiosity for help. I also know she needs to read it with an open mind and heart to fully understand things. I'm discovering all these feelings I've been harboring for 10 years. Who knows, maybe this book will touch her and resolve some issues that I don't even know about.

It's truly amazing how much perception can be altered

by those sneaky little post-O neurochemicals in some brains. (I compare it with PMS, which affects some women more than others...even perfectly normal women without other "issues".)

Since I wrote Cupid the list of research that sheds light on these post-O "ripples" has risen steadily - even though most of the public is blissfully unaware. You can find a list of the studies here: Research | Reuniting

Interestingly, this Dutch researcher mentions an interest in studying the refractory period - but mostly with a view to describing its "wonderful effects." I plan to write him to make sure he thinks as expansively as possible, and not just about men. http://www.rug.nl/research/neurosciences/phdprojectsanat/georgiadis

Janniko Georgiadis

The healthy sexual brain

Although there is a growing appreciation of the sheer complexity of the human sexual response, re igning theories about how the brain governs sexual behavior are the product of experimental investigations and observations in animals. We believe that in order to fully comprehend how ourbrains bring about sexual behavior it is necessary to take a different approach. In our institution we use cutting edge neuroimaging techniques like positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to systematically map in men and women the neuroanatomy of the sexual brain. In the first series of experiments we investigated genital stimulation and orgasm. We found strong evidence that blood flow in the prefrontal cortex, and especially the orbitofrontal cortex, relates to the degree of ‘sexual control’. Orbitofrontal function may therefore be crucial for a healthy sexual response, and this hypothesis will be tested over the next years. In a joint effort with the University of Melbourne we are in the process of investigating the post-orgasmic phase in men, with special reference to neural mechanisms that bring about feelings of satiety and a temporary state of sexual quiescence, and to associated consciousness processes. We are currently setting up a new project that aims to approach the sexual brain from a more psychological perspective, addressing complex issues like sexual empathy and the relationship between sexual arousal and moral judgement.

I think you can save your marriage

Given your willingness to work on the marriage, and all these realizations you've been having in recent weeks, and also the fact that your marriage hasn't been in crisis mode for very long, I think you have an excellent chance to turn it around.

My marriage was hell for about 5 years, and not very pleasant for another 5 or 10 years. We didn't sleep together or have sex for 7 years. I stayed in the marriage mainly because I didn't want our kids to get caught up in our divorce. When the kids grew up, and I saw no substantial improvement in our marriage, I started planning how to get divorced. I told my wife, with increasing earnestness, that I wanted to get divorced. I also warned her that I would start looking for other women. My words had no effect. Perhaps she didn't believe I would do anything. I spent Christmas 2009 vacation with another woman, and kept in touch with her for several months afterwards. Eventually, my wife got super possessive and decided she wanted to keep me. She started sleeping with me again, and things got a lot better over the next several months. We started practising karezza, at my request. Now, 5 years later, our marriage is not perfect, but it's reasonably pleasant, and I'm not actively plotting to get divorced. You can see more details of my story in my blog.

Another guy on this forum, Neil, didn't have sex with his wife for four years. Then he persuaded his wife to try karezza, and their marriage made an amazing turn around.