My disillusioned marriage (UPDATE)


#1

RECAP (You can skip this if you're familiar with My marriage: disillusioned from day one
I was relatively promiscuous in college, then "reformed" after college and started attending Catholic services with an interest in converting. I befriended my coworker "Adam" (name changed) who pursued me romantically, though it took me awhile to return romantic interest. As our romance blossomed, I was sexually attracted to him and tried to convince him to push his sexual boundaries with me. During our early romance, we bent the rules, but never did have sex. Within nine months, we felt that we had fallen in love and talked about marriage. He proposed a few months later. Somewhere between falling in love and becoming engaged, we stopped fooling around. Because of my love for him, I didn’t want to tempt him into sin--and because the wedding date was in sight, whenever I longed for sexual intimacy, I reminded myself that in just a few more months, sex would be acceptable. Eventually, I stopped longing for sex entirely.

We threw a large glamorous wedding and spent the day coordinating the details and the night entertaining our guests. I was prepared for exhausted and unsatisfying wedding night sex. Our honeymoon was fun, but it was not romantic. My period started the day after the wedding, so we only had sex once or twice. When we returned home, we fell into comfortable routine that did not include sex. I had lost all interest in sex over our nine-month engagement and had lost my flirtatious edge. Adam resorted to flat-out asking me, "Do you want to have sex tonight?" The answer was always, "Not tonight." Eventually he felt rejected and stopped asking.

We never fought. (Sometimes I would snap at him, but he never escalated it into a fight--he would just give me space until I calmed down and realized I was being irrational.) We planned our future together and lived much of our daily life side-by-side. We watched movies together, date dinner together, commuted to work together--but we were not sexually intimate together. We became best friends who shared a bed.

I began to feel a sense of loneliness, though I was rarely alone. I expressed my "loss of love" feeling, but because I was afraid of hurting him, I tried to phrase it in a way that said, "It’s not you, it’s me." He was quick to agree that it was my problem. We started seeing a Catholic marriage counselor. I expressed that I did not feel "in love" with Adam, and that I feared I would live a life in an emotional vacuum. The counselor was stern. She told me that I had made a vow and that I needed to suck it up and deal with it. I left every session convulsing in tears, feeling that even a marital counselor who had seen "the worst of the worst" marriages, saw no hope for us. Seeing that the marriage counselor increased my sense of hopelessness, Adam suggested we stop seeing her. We searched for a sex therapist in our area, believing that the root of our problems lay in sex, but we couldn’t find one. Several more months passed, and I told him that I wanted a trial separation. He reluctantly agreed, thinking that perhaps some time apart would somehow cure me. I moved out and began to talk about divorce. After nine months, I filled out the joint dissolution of marriage form. He eventually stopped resisting me and agreed to sign papers. We were finally divorced at the beginning of 2009.

I dated someone else and felt that I was in love with him. Our dates were exciting, filled with flirtation and anticipation. The sex was incredible. He was the kind of man who could have any woman he wanted, so his attentions made me feel important. We got along famously when he was sober, but alcohol led to horrific fights and him picking up other women out of spite. I realized that he was an alcoholic--and that if I had trouble sustaining a relationship with a man as perfect as Adam, I could not manage an alcoholic. I broke off the relationship.

It was around this time that I sought out the Catholic Answer Forums and posted My marriage: disillusioned from day one. While many people suggested I stop "torturing" Adam (which contributed to my sense of hopelessness), the majority gave encouragement and advice. I followed up on some of this advice, which leads me to...


#2

THE UPDATE
I started treating Adam lovingly, even though I am not feeling love. I was reluctant to follow this advice because it seems fraudulent, but the CAF community wholeheartedly endorsed it, so I thought I’d give it a try. We’ve been attending mass together. I’ve been scheduling dates in advance, instead of not committing until the last minute (which made him feel as though I were waiting for a better offer). When he calls me, instead of listening absentmindedly, I drop what I’m doing and focus on him (or I suggest that I call him back later, when I can focus on him.) I make a point of being physically affectionate toward him and kiss him I like a mean it every time I see him (we went over a year without a single kiss).

I read Holy Sex. (The other two recommended books are not in my local library and I am struggling to make rent payments, so I can’t afford to buy them right now.) I believe the "Incest Taboo" (pg 80) really captured what happened between us. "Some couples...encounter...an 'incest taboo' to lovemaking. In essence, the couple's relationship advances to the point where day-to-day life is so good, the marital friendship is so deep, and the couple is so [emotionally] intimate that--counterintuitively--sex no longer seems an appropriate way for them to relate to each other." We are truly best friends, we make day-to-day sacrifices for each other without resentment, we rarely argue, we seem to agree on everything, and we love spending time together no matter what we're doing, etc. All of my previous sexual relationships were peppered with negative feelings (jealousy, distrust, wariness, anger, insecurity), so a sexual relationship without those negative feelings seems "incestuous." The book mentions Dr. Pepper Schwartz's Peer Marriage, so I researched a little further and found this. Not sure how to overcome this (neither book really goes into detail) but it really helps (1) to understand how we got derailed, and (2) to know that someone out there has experienced the same dilemma.

We went to Retrouvaille. In a way, Retrouvaille undid some of the progress I had made. Because the Retrouvaille dialogue process is about expressing one’s true feelings, Adam has noticed, and is confused by, the disconnect between what I am feeling and how I am treating him. He said: "I don't know what is 'real’ or 'most sincere.’" Also, in reading Holy Sex! I began to see a glimmer of hope because I felt like there was a marriage that survived what we are going through, but at Retrouvaille I did not relate to the stories of the presenting couples. They had survived infidelity and obsessions with work. Maybe these conditions are "worse" than the loss of love we are experiencing, but in Holy Sex, I learned that family counselors rank the most difficult problems to overcome as: (1) loss of love, (2) alcoholism, (3) infidelity. Two good things came out of Retrouvaille: (1) Adam (an engineer) now has the tools to express the full range of his emotions. (2) I discovered Adam’s longing for a "personal relationship" with God and his admiration for my effortless close relationship with God. We are doing the follow-up dialoguing and will attend the follow-up sessions. I am following the advice I was given--to just stick with the program and not to analyze its value...but I am having a hard time seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

SUMMARY
I am following your advice. I am open to more advice. But I am feeling disheartened. I have been following your advice for just over a month (a short time, I know). I feel like a fraud, I worry that I’m setting Adam up for another cycle of pain, and I’ve learned that our situation is of the most hopeless variety. I worry that the longer I follow your advice, the more pain I will experience and cause.


#3

Wow.

You have my sympathy and my prayers. I am sure that story sounds similar to many people here. My marriage is at a point of disillusion through no fault of my wife. I can understand and sympathize with you.

Good luck and God Bless.


#4

Augusta, a quick question and then I can answer more later and hopefully help.....have you two been physically intimate at all during this time? If not, what has kept you from it?

Please know you have my continued prayers.....


#5

I feel for you Augusta, I am in a very similar situation, although I think mine may even be worse. I married someone I wasn’t in love with either. Infact, I am not sure if I even liked him that much. We didn’t have much in common, but I knew he was a good man, so I tried to make it work. I was able to convince myself and him that it was good enough long enough for us to get married, then 2 years into it, it began to fall apart. I felt that I had made a huge mistake, and that there wasn’t much to work with in the marraige. The sex was okay, but I never liked kissing him. It felt like kissing my brother. He is an attractive man though, even now, but there just felt like something was missing. I never went through with a separation or divorice though, because I believed that we had made a vow, and that it was a valid marraige. Now I am not so sure it was valid afterall. If I decieved myself into thinking that I loved him, wasn’t that a lie. How could God bless a marraige like that? I consented, and still would like to consent, and I am very interested in following God, but if God says this isn’t a valid marraige, I cant expect HIm to fix anything I do, and How could I know if this is actually Gods will for me to stay in this marraige. I hate to get a divorice, and an annulment. I haven’t even started the process, and honestly I don’t know if I could. I don’t have a job, I dont have family around who understand. Most people would just kick me out. I would be willing to remain unmarried for the rest of my life, but I have no where to even go.


#6

*(((Augusta))) Hugs for you...Marriage can have its tough moments. It can have its most awesome moments, but in the tough times...I know that it's hard to see that flicker of hope. It does seem like some positive progress has been made, praise be to God--He is helping you and your husband through this! Kudos to you and your husband for trying to get your marriage back on track.

I understand your feelings, but I also understand your husband's...sounds like he might be hesitant to give fully in...at the risk for lack of a better word, of being hurt again. My dh and I nearly divorced about 9 yrs ago, and I remember when we ''merged'' back together after being separated...he was VERY standoffish with me, to the point where I felt...why am I bothering? But, the separation lasted over a year, I knew it would take more than my mere words to convince my husband that I wanted to make things work. I understand your feelings though, also. :console:

That said...if you could pinpoint what it is that is ''disheartening'' to you right now, what might that be? *


#7

[quote="shannyk, post:4, topic:183069"]
Augusta, a quick question and then I can answer more later and hopefully help.....have you two been physically intimate at all during this time? If not, what has kept you from it?

[/quote]

We have kissed, hugged, cuddled, etc. but we have not yet had sex (or any sexual foreplay). What keeps me from it is (1) I have no desire for it. (2) I am afraid that it will be a disaster, since I would be "faking" my desire. (3) We haven't had sex in over two years--imagine that you were best friends with a man for several years, then shared your first kiss about 30 days ago. Would you be ready to dive into sex?

[quote="whatevergirl, post:6, topic:183069"]
*I knew it would take more than my mere words to convince my husband that I wanted to make things work. I understand your feelings though, also. :console:

That said...if you could pinpoint what it is that is ''disheartening'' to you right now, what might that be? *

[/quote]

I think you answered your question for me. I am disheartened because it's hard to convince my husband that I want to make it work, when I haven't fully convinced myself quite yet. My feelings about him have not changed a lick since we first met. On paper, he's perfect. If love were a logical decision in which a person weighs the pros and cons, he would win out every single time. But in 2006 I had a hard time forcing my heart to follow my head, and 2010 is no different.


#8

I love to see people stay together. I know that it isn’t always that best idea for either.

Have you ever had a seemingly insignificant experience that ends up altering your life? I had one:

I was working (engineer) and was told that it was the wedding anniversary of one of the women on the assembly line. I wished her a happy anniversary and asked how many years. She responded, “Twenty-three and eighteen of them were good years!” I immediately thought that the last five years must have been bad. Then she continued, “One and two were great. Three and four were terrible. Five through ten were good and then eleven was a bad one, etc…” Then she told me how great her marriage currently is and how romantically her husband treats her.

I was having marital trouble at the time. I knew that a marriage would have bad days, weeks, and maybe a bad month or two. It never occurred to me that a marriage could have a bad year, and forget about multiple bad years strung together. Her comments renewed my commitment to my marriage. I realized that over the long term, a bad year or two would not mean that it was a bad marriage.

I wish that this story had a happy ending. It doesn’t.


#9

*Okay, I see, Augusta. Yeah, I had thought that could be it.

I'm going to go out on a limb here...feel free to ignore everything I post about this, if it truly doesn't apply. But, I think it might. (just from the snippits I have read about your situation)

You mention above that there seemed to be a lot of negative feelings linked to sex, in your past. (jealousy, etc) I wonder if part of what you associate sex and love with is...chaos and drama. Your husband sounds very calm and ''normal,'' for lack of a betetr word. I relate in the sense that I grew up with loss, and chaos and instability (losing my parents at a young age etc) and so, I looked for that in men. Guys who were ''normal'' without problems, and who seemed to walk the straight and narrow, seemed boring to me back in my dating days. Not until I went to counseling, did I get that I became used to chaos, and had a hard time in my marriage, because there wasn't any. :o As bizarre as that sounds.

I am no longer like that anymore...but just throwing that out there as a potential possibility. Bad boys can be exciting to date, simply put. But, they make horrible husbands.

If none of this applies, I didn't mean to offend...just from reading your posts on this here and there, I thought I'd take a chance and offer that.

My prayers are with you Augusta...keep praying and ask God for where He wants you to go with this. If you never end up feeling this way about your husband, at least you can say now that you tried. That's important. *


#10

Wow! I have been married , going on 29 years. I cannot imagine the feelings that you are going through. I know I made a commitment 29 years ago and in my mind it cannot be broken. I can only pray to God to guide you down the right path.


#11

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:7, topic:183069"]
We have kissed, hugged, cuddled, etc. but we have not yet had sex (or any sexual foreplay). What keeps me from it is (1) I have no desire for it. (2) I am afraid that it will be a disaster, since I would be "faking" my desire. (3) We haven't had sex in over two years--imagine that you were best friends with a man for several years, then shared your first kiss about 30 days ago. Would you be ready to dive into sex?

I think you answered your question for me. I am disheartened because it's hard to convince my husband that I want to make it work, when I haven't fully convinced myself quite yet. My feelings about him have not changed a lick since we first met. On paper, he's perfect. If love were a logical decision in which a person weighs the pros and cons, he would win out every single time. But in 2006 I had a hard time forcing my heart to follow my head, and 2010 is no different.

[/quote]

Dear friend,
I will recommend highly that you begin to pray together everyday before reading Chris West's book Theology of the Body for Beginners. Also, pray for the intercession of the now venerable Pope John Paul II, whose deep insights into human sexuality as it mirrors the love that God has for His people through the gift we receive in Holy Communion. It's a great mystery, but as you and your husband discover the different loves, philios, storge, eros, agape, you will come to a better appreciation of God's intention for our human affections and expressiveness in the marital embrace.
Don't forget that you cannot have as your goal simply the physical satisfaction-it must be coupled with the openness to procreation.Where are you both with regard to children?


#12

Several things here...
(was typing while Whatevergirl was writing the same thing.)

Retrouvaille did NOT set you back. It opened you both up to a new level of honesty and intimacy. You learned new things about each other. So whatever your relationship is, it is built on the truth. The truth about you, and the truth about him.

I'm sorry your husband is confused. Yes, it might seem odd that you express feelings in one way and your behavior is nicer than your deep emotions. Most people in bad marriages get it the other way. The person SAYS the right things (or whatever needs to be said) but their actions are cruel and unloving.

If he's an engineer, just say you're trying to reverse-engineer your emotions and make function follow form. In troubleshooting, first you tinker with the stuff you can control. Actions are easier to control than emotions. First fix what you can and sometimes the rest of the system kicks into gear.

;)

Your earlier promiscuity is a textbook case for why it is so harmful. You learned that sex was something mind-blowing you did with virtual strangers, not the culmination of intimacy with someone you had connected with emotionally and spiritually first.

Another problem you have is that you put way too much credence in the labels other people give your relationship. They say it's hopeless, you believe them.

The fact is, your relationship does NOT suffer from loss of love. If you didn't love him, and if he didn't love you, you wouldn't be trying to fix things. You are confusing love with other emotions. And you need to ask yourself what in your childhood has made you only open up and be physically vulnerable with people who treat you badly. You can't blame your lack of desire for your husband on being chaste while dating. You seem only to have wanted him when he was not available. Once you were married, and he was yours, the challenge, the adventure were over.

Something in your own childhood and growing up... an important relationship, was based only on someone being unavailable and that unavailable person was the one you wanted most. So when you're separated you find a guy that every woman can have, and he chooses you, but you could lose him at any moment, and it's electric and fun and incredible sex. That he chooses you and could walk away at the drop of a hat makes you feel important. You're all of a sudden flirtatious again. In a way you can't be with your husband.

It's because you're flirting with danger. The guy that might reject you makes you want him more. Read that again. And again. Your "successful" sexual relationships have been about you flirting with danger. Not a person. Those men were interchangeable. You DID NOT love THEM. You were attracted to what they represented, like a moth to a candle flame. You were flirting with THAT. You apparently don't know how to flirt with a real man. And accept the love that someone who values you has to give. THAT is what you need to fix.

All of my previous sexual relationships were peppered with negative feelings (jealousy, distrust, wariness, anger, insecurity),

Ah, yes. The spice of negativity. Unavailable men in stressful situations. You conditioned yourself that that was "passion." Without all that other garbage, you think something is missing in the courtship ritual. Jealousy on your part and the guy's part means one or both of you could walk away. Being unsure of someone's love makes you love them more.

So you marry Mr. Decent, and for the first time in your life you can count on someone. And you think that because you are missing all this negative passion, you don't have any passion.

And you don't know how to create positive passion.

That's not in your skill set.

I would suggest the problems in any Retrouvaille presenting couple are not the issue. Whatever "disease" caused a marriage to get sick and die is not the focus of Ret. The focus is the process of re-awakening valid real passion. Positive passion. Not the negative "junk food of love" many people are used to.

A diet of the real stuff that nourishes a lasting love. Like patience, kindness, calmness, goodness, benignity, sobriety.

I hesitate to ask... but... was daddy distant, alcoholic, unloving, divorce, emotionally unavailable, negative? Is that what you're looking for? A man just like him to prove you really are loveable?

Or was daddy very nice. And this guy is just like daddy. And so you can't picture yourself with him.

In which case, it really IS your issue, and one a therapist can help you see... how to distinguish one from the other, or how to not think that you can 'fix your childhood" by finding a man just like daddy and reliving all the problems in your adult life.

Until you figure out why the people who treat you badly are the ones you're so attracted to, you won't be able to find a way to be attracted to someone who treats you very well.


#13

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:7, topic:183069"]
We have kissed, hugged, cuddled, etc. but we have not yet had sex (or any sexual foreplay). What keeps me from it is (1) I have no desire for it. (2) I am afraid that it will be a disaster, since I would be "faking" my desire. (3) We haven't had sex in over two years--imagine that you were best friends with a man for several years, then shared your first kiss about 30 days ago. Would you be ready to dive into sex?

[/quote]

No. But this isn't really a good characterization of your relationship with your husband. Is this remnants of the past peeking through? Are you feeling.....guilty about diving into sex with others in the past and letting it creep into your marriage? Are you feeling hurt or used by your past relationships?

You are also waiting for a feeling....this 'desire' feeling which may be entirely not the desire you're used to feeling.

I'm guessing (from what you've said) that your idea of desire is that carnal, "I can't get you undressed fast enough", feeling. Or, that knowing that you have fantastic sex with someone so you want more, feeling. Or, the kiss that explodes into instantaneous passion, feeling.

That is desire alright, but desire for what????

What do you desire NOW that is different from what you desired in previous relationships? And on desire, why if you have decide that feelings of LOVE can follow actions of LOVE, then why isn't the same true for this amorous, passionate, desire feeling that you....desire? I am quite sure that there are wives a plenty here (and husbands) who will tell you desire was not even in the next county at times when they have made love to their husbands(or wives), but that even so they can find the desire to be with that person because of who they are and what they mean to each other. It seems like, you are still waiting for a feeling. The passion can flow FROM that experience even if it wasn't there before it. And, the graces that exist in a marriage enable sex to be something that unites and bonds and brings out desire. What you have done is awesome, but you're waiting for something that may not even exist in the way you're expecting.

As far faking....what would you be faking? You love your husband, correct?

Let me ask you this.....you mentioned your husband asking you..."do you want to have sex tonight?" Does he know how to ask you without asking? Has he tried? Have you let him try? I dunno about you, but there is nothing that for me (maybe I'm odd) that will produce a 'not tonight' like that question, flat out. It's so.....banal. It's like asking if you want to do the taxes or something.:yawn::sleep: You're husband is an engineer you said....mine was a computer programmer, I know the personality type.;) Sometimes for those personalities things come across as very linear and unemotional as emotions are hard to put in order, especially other people's emotions. Maybe he needs to just........seduce you? Or you him?? I dunno, it just sounds to me like someone needs to take the reins here and make it happen.(while taking into account what WG and Liberanos said too);)


#14

whatevergirl, I think that what you wrote has merit and DOES apply to my situation.

Gabriella San S, we actually are very excited about having children. We are scared to bring them into a relationship that is so tenuous, but we both feel called to be parents and feel that we'd be great partners in rearing children, even if our marriage is lacking in love and romance.

[quote="Liberanosamalo, post:12, topic:183069"]
Retrouvaille ... opened you both up to a new level of honesty and intimacy... So whatever your relationship is, it is built on the truth. The truth about you, and the truth about him.

[/quote]

I like the way you phrased this. It makes me feel less like a fraud to act with more love than I feel. I just fear that I'm setting him up for pain, but perhaps I need to just continue to be honest and kind and not care about how the discrepancy makes him feel?

[quote="Liberanosamalo, post:12, topic:183069"]
...reverse-engineer your emotions...

[/quote]

I REALLY like this explanation. It is exactly what I am trying to do, based on the advice from many people at CAF!

[quote="Liberanosamalo, post:12, topic:183069"]
Another problem you have is that you put way too much credence in the labels other people give your relationship. They say it's hopeless, you believe them.

[/quote]

Well, recall in the first few pages of my earlier thread, I got lambasted for giving people too little credit and disbelieving them when they said there was hope. Now you're giving me a hard time for giving people too much credit and believing them when they say it's hopeless. Am I supposed to take everyone's advice with a grain of salt, take everyone's advice seriously, or only listen to the rose-colored advice? :confused:

[quote="Liberanosamalo, post:12, topic:183069"]
The fact is, your relationship does NOT suffer from loss of love. If you didn't love him, and if he didn't love you, you wouldn't be trying to fix things.

[/quote]

Remember, for a long period of time, I was NOT trying to fix things. I was trying to get a divorce, and then I was trying to distance myself from him after the divorce was finalized. By this definition, I definitely was not loving him for a LONG time. Now I am **treating **him with love, as recommended, but it feels shallow.

[quote="Liberanosamalo, post:12, topic:183069"]
...you need to ask yourself what in your childhood has made you only open up and be physically vulnerable with people who treat you badly...
Something in your own childhood and growing up... an important relationship, was based only on someone being unavailable and that unavailable person was the one you wanted most.

I hesitate to ask... but... was daddy distant, alcoholic, unloving, divorce, emotionally unavailable, negative? Is that what you're looking for? A man just like him to prove you really are loveable?

[/quote]

My father is a hardworking and loving man who married my mother before he had sex with her and has remained faithful and committed to her and the family they created for 31 years, and counting. He has no substance addictions/abuse issues. He always worked very hard to provide for us, yet somehow made it home for dinner almost every single night and played with us until bedtime. Weekends were devoted to the family--he would cook breakfast and watch cartoons with us all morning, then take us "exploring" in the afternoons. He remains so "emotionally available" it's a little stifling (he writes me long emails and letters expressing how he feels about everything from work, to being a parent, to the death of the family dog.)

[quote="Liberanosamalo, post:12, topic:183069"]
Or was daddy very nice. And this guy is just like daddy. And so you can't picture yourself with him.

[/quote]

I guess this is more accurate. Except that my dad does have some flaws which my husband does not possess. And I've always pictured myself with someone somewhat like my dad (except maybe a little more punctual and little less emotional.) I have a hard time seeing the negative impact of marrying someone kind, dedicated, hardworking, with a love for children.

[quote="Liberanosamalo, post:12, topic:183069"]
In which case, it really IS your issue, and one a therapist can help you see... how to distinguish one from the other, or how to not think that you can 'fix your childhood" by finding a man just like daddy and reliving all the problems in your adult life.

[/quote]

WAIT you lost me here... If my dad is a jerk, I have serious psychological issues. If my dad is nice, I have serious psychological issues. There is no possible scenario in which you don't proclaim me seriously psychologically damaged. :confused:

[quote="Liberanosamalo, post:12, topic:183069"]
Until you figure out why the people who treat you badly are the ones you're so attracted to, you won't be able to find a way to be attracted to someone who treats you very well.

[/quote]

Fair enough, but where do I go from here? And, assuming I am as psychologically disturbed as you make me out to be, what do I do with my quasi-marriage in the meantime?


#15

I am acting like I love him, but no, I do not feel love for him. I thought I had expressed this thoroughly over the past couple months, but obviously I wasn’t explicit enough.

I think you’ve touched on something here. He doesn’t know how to “seduce” a woman. During the periods of our relationship where we did experience sexual energy, I was the one doing the “seducing.” I stopped trying to seduce him when I fell in love with him (and consequently respected his moral convictions much more fully than I had before.) When we got married, maybe my interest in seducing him dissipated because there was no longer a challenge.

As it is, I’m scared to “seduce him” primarily because I’m scared it really would be the literal definition of seduction: “to lead astray usually by persuasion or false promises.” It feels like having sex with him at this point would literally lead him astray by false promises. Do you follow me?


#16

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:15, topic:183069"]
I am acting like I love him, but no, I do not feel love for him. I thought I had expressed this thoroughly over the past couple months, but obviously I wasn't explicit enough.

I think you've touched on something here. He doesn't know how to "seduce" a woman. During the periods of our relationship where we did experience sexual energy, I was the one doing the "seducing." I stopped trying to seduce him when I fell in love with him (and consequently respected his moral convictions much more fully than I had before.) When we got married, maybe my interest in seducing him dissipated because there was no longer a challenge.

As it is, I'm scared to "seduce him" primarily because I'm scared it really would be the literal definition of seduction: "to lead astray usually by persuasion or false promises." It feels like having sex with him at this point would literally lead him astray by false promises. Do you follow me?

[/quote]

Seduce was probably the wrong word, not really appropriate. Yes I get what you're saying........but I have gotten the impression that you DO love your husband, very much. At least that is how I have read all of this. Someone who didn't love, wouldn't jump through the hoops you have.

What you say here is very confusing AND telling, maybe read it again for yourself

I stopped trying to seduce him when I fell in love with him

(and consequently respected his moral convictions much more fully than I had before.) When we got married, maybe my interest in seducing him dissipated because there was no longer a challenge.


#17

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:15, topic:183069"]
I am acting like I love him, but no, I do not feel love for him. I thought I had expressed this thoroughly over the past couple months, but obviously I wasn't explicit enough.

I think you've touched on something here. He doesn't know how to "seduce" a woman. During the periods of our relationship where we did experience sexual energy, I was the one doing the "seducing." I stopped trying to seduce him when I fell in love with him (and consequently respected his moral convictions much more fully than I had before.) When we got married, maybe my interest in seducing him dissipated because there was no longer a challenge.

As it is, I'm scared to "seduce him" primarily because I'm scared it really would be the literal definition of seduction: "to lead astray usually by persuasion or false promises." It feels like having sex with him at this point would literally lead him astray by false promises. Do you follow me?

[/quote]

Augusta,

I have followed both of your threads from a safe distance and I do not know that I have much more to offer than many of the other posters that have given you some great advice. My prayer for you is that you take that advice, apply it to your life and ultimately make the decision that will make you happy. It has to be your decision and no one here can make that decision for you. You seem to have grown a lot though this process and for that I applaud you. I applaud you for not throwing in the towel and walking away. The easiest course of action is not always the best.

Now, from a male's perspective here, I have heard/read a lot about what you are doing, but the thing that strikes me is what you posted above and leads me to the question, what is he doing? I am not trying to attack him by any means, but it has to be a two way street for this to work. He cannot sit back questioning your motives at all times, that is not to say that he is, he needs to be a part of this as well. Now, he may be and I may just have missed that part of the thread.

You said that he is not the one that will be doing the "seducing" in the relationship. Is that something that bothers you? Is he new turned off completely from that intimate connection based upon the rejections of the past? I have to wonder if he is holding back for fear of creating unrealistic expectations and for fear of getting hurt again. Maybe it is just me (and it probably is) but these are some of the thoughts that popped into my head as I read some of the updates.

Again, I think that your willingness to open yourself up to him, to open up to God and His will in your life is commendable. You deserve the best that life has to give both of you, a happy marriage with all the children that you can handle.


#18

See.. you're jumping to defending yourself from something I never said.
I never said you were psychologically damaged or disturbed. I said you had issues YOU needed to deal with.

We all do.

Your particular issues keep you from having sexual intercourse with a man who loves you. And one you love. Yes, you do love him. Or you wouldn't be saying all these nice things about him and how perfect he is, and how you can talk about anything. THAT is love. THAT is friendship.

But you keep saying it isn't love. When you were divorcing him, you weren't loving him. But that's in the past. I am talking about what you are trying to do NOW. And apparently he never stopped loving you, or he wouldn't be trying.

Well, recall in the first few pages of my earlier thread, I got lambasted for giving people too little credit and disbelieving them when they said there was hope. Now you're giving me a hard time for giving people too much credit and believing them when they say it's hopeless. Am I supposed to take everyone's advice with a grain of salt, take everyone's advice seriously, or only listen to the rose-colored advice?

Again... you seem drawn to pay attention to negativity. If someone says there is hope, you're disbelieving. If someone says you're hopeless, well, that's your excuse to let go.

I repeat.... someone in your life was unavailable. Dad sounds like a prize and there is NOTHING wrong with marrying someone who loves you like your dad does. So how was mom?

I'm not putting labels on you. I'm trying to figure out why someone who is obviously intelligent and who has a husband who wants to make it work is running from the security of love and acceptance and only gets fired up toward those who offer her neither.

That is not your husband's issue. It is yours. A therapist can help you deal with it. Sometimes couples go into counselling when one of them is fine and the other one has issues.

You admit you had lots of lovers. You even tried to break down barriers of morality with your present spouse when you were dating. Obviously he is a good, principled guy and you fixed your dating habits to conform to real love. Real love waits. Fake love has to be done here and now... back seat of the car... anywhere. Now now now. It's about using the other. Mutual using.

You don't want to "use" your husband. You treat him differently than the other men. You need to figure out why in your head you have compartmentalized him. Why his loving acceptance of you doesn't make you want to make love to him.

Where do you go from here? YOU start some counseling to figure out why you are still so attracted to the "dangerous guy" to the point you can't see the safe guy as a sexual partner.

And I think you need to get a bottle of wine and turn on the music and dance with your husband at his place and maybe do a little more than kiss. He obviously isn't an expert at talking women out of their clothes like your other guys. And maybe part of you wants to be seduced. I agree with Shanny. He doesn't know how to seduce you. And you admit you only like a challenge. The unavailable guy.

But you are confusing the feeling of love with the feeling of lust. Lust is a very base feeling. You don't feel that for your husband. It's like comparing bologna with steak. You have the high quality thing. But you are so unused to it, you're like a gal staring at a real 1.2 carat diamond and not liking it as much as the 2 carat cubicz.

Seducing someone you're not married to is wrong. It's leading them into sin. Seducing your own husband is not wrong. It's having marital relations which is an opportunity for God's grace.

Try it. You might surprise yourself that you awaken feelings in yourself you didn't know were there and you might find a way to keep it going. 5 times is not enough. Especially if you are telling yourself while you're doing it that you are doing something wrong.

You have put him in a Catch-22. No sex until you have feelings. No feelings because you don't have sex because you won't lead him astray. You won't lead him astray because you aren't sure of the outcome. So more "no sex" which perpetuates this closed cycle.

How about being honest with him and saying "I can't make any promises, but are you open to trying?" Give him a say in this.

We keep telling you, based on your comments, that you DO love him. But you are arguing because you don't lust after him like the old boyfriends that you don't love him. You need to figure out what real love is then.


#19

He’s very much a “caretaker” in our relationship. He deals with the finances (even after the divorce!) and is always available when I need someone to talk to or spend time with. I do feel very alone in my quest to restore love in our relationship, but I don’t know what to ask from him and I know he’s not going to change his behavior without any suggestions from me. I do think that, if I could give him a CONCRETE CHECKLIST, he would be a more active participant, but it’s my job to do all of the legwork.

Yes and yes. I think you really captured where he’s at.

Thanks. I feel like I’m exactly where I was a few years ago. I know my husband is a good man (I always have) and I know that our marriage is a great partnership (it always has been). I do not feel love, despite acting lovingly (I took a few years off from acting lovingly, but prior to that I did put in a few solid years of earnest effort). I feel like it’s entirely my responsibility to find love in our marriage (he’s loved me from Day 1 and has never faltered.)

That is something I haven’t explored much. He feels love. I do not feel love. So therefore, WE do not feel love. But, because he’s in love, he’s already done his part. It’s my responsibility to figure out my half of the deal, and I feel very hopeless in my efforts.


#20

*I don’t know if loving someone should be this hard:o…I believe in the vows we take, upholding them. I firmly stand by what people say here and elsewhere…that love is an action, not just a feeling. BUT…at the end of the day, knowing what you know now…if you could go back in time, would you marry your husband? That’s the question, really. If the answer is yes, then keep working at it…if it’s no, I think it might be best to let him go. I too don’t like to see people get divorced, and we know God hates divorce. But, if at the end of the day, you have to work this hard to just love someone…(not just a checklist of good vs bad qualities but really really LOVE someone) then…I don’t know if this is the right person for you. I say that with hesitancy…because I only can go by what is posted here…but on face value, it sounds like such a huge struggle for you to love ‘‘adam’’ as he loves you. And he does deserve someone who will truly love him, they way he loves you. And YOU deserve to find happiness…like Mirror Mirror states.

This is tough.

But, I will say this Augusta…you have come A LONG WAY. Really. Don’t sell yourself short on that, please. You say you feel like you’re back to square one …but really, you have grown in leaps and bounds. No matter where you end up with your husband, you have grown in holiness …that always counts for something. *


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