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Author Topic: How do I support my wife?  (Read 196 times)
DadofThreeGirls

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 6


« on: May 06, 2021, 12:55:27 PM »

Hi everyone.
     First time posting here, though I have been on the site reading for quite some time now. My wife and I have been together for 13 years, married for nine next month with three beautiful daughters (ages 13, 8, and 2) that are the love of our lives. Our relationship over the years has been a rollercoaster with both extended good and bad periods.
    After a struggling time in our marriage 3 years ago, I started individual therapy as well as couples therapy with my SO. Through my counseling, I discovered and was diagnosed with ADHD. At this time time in working in therapy, I began to realize that my wife had many BPD behaviors which helped make sense of many of the events that had happened in our life.

Fast forward to this year. We are at a point where my wife feels we having nothing in common, she has nothing to show for her life as she sees herself as essentially being along for my life's ride, cannot stand the rental we currently live in, and has decided she is going to move out. A mutual friend of ours has a duplex in a town about 40 minutes away and she has decided that this is the place for her where she can work on herself, though she is currently still in the family home. Things are calm for the most part, as I am redoubling my efforts to work on myself, and we still spend every night together in the same bed relaxing at the end of the night.

Last night I was giving her a massage, as this is something that I know makes her feel good - and through her body language, I determined that she wanted to be more intimate, so I proceeded to become more intimate with her. Knowing that she wanted space, I verbally checked in with her to make sure she was ok and that it felt good, and she said yes. Afterwards, my wife proceeded to let me know that she felt everything was about sex with me, as she had this realization that she had used sex as a tool with men her entire life. She shared that she felt that she didn't respect herself, and just wished that I and/or anyone could show her that they respected her by not making things sexual.
I felt terrible that It appeared that I had misread the cues from her, and apologized, and learning from here, I tried to actively listen and not JADE (something I realized that I did regularly in the past). This isn't the first time she has expressed doubt in herself like this, especially after being intimate. I shared with her that I wasn't going anywhere, and I was here to support her on this journey she is on of finding herself and working on herself. (SIDE NOTE: not to her, but I have not questioned our marriage/relationship the entire time we have been together, despite her accusations of multiple affairs, her letting me know that I don't respect or appreciate her, etc. I love her, and she knows that I want us to work through this and keep our family together). I then asked her if I could hold her as she fell asleep, and she said yes so I did before sleeping myself.

I guess the question I have is how could I have handled things differently, and do others on here have similar experiences. How do I support her when she appears to be pushing away so hard? Thanks for letting me write and try to process last night.  
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formflier
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2021, 03:18:49 PM »



Welcome

I'm so pleased that you went from a "reader" to a "poster".  I think you will find that we can provide you with some insight. 

OK..let's start with the basics and then I'll give you one specific.

What does it take?????


Perhaps you have already read this article.  Please take the time to read it again.  Then share some of your impressions.


Specifics:  Did I read right that you apologized for being intimate with your wife after she specifically...verbally said it was ok? 

If that is accurate..what were you apologizing for?

I'll check back soon for your response....again, welcome and I believe we can help!!

Best,

FF
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DadofThreeGirls

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 6


« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2021, 04:19:45 PM »

FF,
    Thank you for your kind words - I believe it is time for me to post and agree that the insight this board will provide me will be very beneficial.

Thank you for the link to the post. I have read it before, but read it again. I am working on building my emotional support system - my wife gets very upset if I talk with my family about what we are going through, so am working to find others for me to talk with - I’m hoping this board becomes a good place for that. In addition, I have been with my therapist off and on for the last three years, and am currently working with her again. One of the many things that I am working on is doing a better job of setting/maintaining boundaries.

In regards to last night, after reading her body language, I did ask her if she was ok with me touching her and she said yes, though I didn’t ask specifically if she wanted to be intimate - again, that was me reading body language.

I apologized for misreading her body language and explained that I didn’t mean for her to think that all I was after was sex. This is when she started talking about how she didn’t feel respected and just wished that someone would respect her more than herself. She replied it wasn’t my fault, but I shared that I did participate in what happened, and owned my part in it. Maybe this is the wrong thinking on my part.....

I also told her that I care so much about her and that I was going to set a boundary for me of not turn a massage/rub into something more intimate/sexual unless she stated that she wanted to be intimate.

I look forward to hearing back from you FF.
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formflier
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2021, 04:51:27 PM »

You can make it fun...but I think it wise to get an affirmative reply before anymore sex.

Lots of landmines here.  I think you should continue to offer massages...sex and all other kinds of stuff.

Offhand I would not get trapped into thinking "either/or".

As in I "either" respect your mind..."or" see you as a sex object.

Much better to do "and also".  

as in..."your intellect is so attractive and I also like to make you holler in bed"

Don't try to go back and fix the past..just keep this in mind for the future.  

Thoughts?

Best,

FF
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DadofThreeGirls

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 6


« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2021, 04:58:33 PM »

FF, when I look at my posts, I see my email as an option for people to contact me, but I don’t see that on your profile. Can you see my email, and if so, how can I hide mine??

I’ll respond to your post later.
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JediGuy

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married w/ children
Posts: 15


« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2021, 05:29:11 PM »

Hi @DadOfThreeGirls.

I just read your post and had to reply.  I have three daughters also, have been married 17 years, and at one time thought I might have had ADHD based on the lack of energy I would have by the end of the day / distractedness (I was diagnosed with OCPD, which gives me some ADHD-like traits as a result of overspinning my mind throughout the day).  Like you, my wife exhibits some BPD traits.

Just wanted to offer my support as someone who has some similarities to your situation.  I don't feel comfortable giving you advice, as I'm working through some difficult times right now too.  That said, what FF said about apologizing makes a lot of sense to me.  I'm trying to work on this as well and am learning that sometimes the reaction I receive has little or nothing to do with me or my actions.

Best of luck to you and best wishes for your family.
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DadofThreeGirls

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 6


« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2021, 06:18:52 PM »

FF,
     I think the reason I went off of body language is that one of my wife’s biggest criticisms of me is that I don’t understand her and she has to tell me what she wants, so over the years I’ve learned to try and do a better job on picking up what she was putting down. Case in point, three weeks ago,  the day she told me she wanted a separation and to move out to get away from me, she put on a new nightie - she looked good but I did t think it would be appropriate to comment/try to be intimate as she appeared to still be upset with me. The next morning she let me know how disappointed she was in “her husband not even noticing her new nightie.” But looking back, I’m seeing that I can’t always pick up what she is putting down, so I agree it’s best to get her clear verbal consent going forward.
I like your thoughts on not engaging in either/or thinking - your example statement is true, and I will work on doing a better job of voicing this.

JediGuy,
     Thanks for your support and encouragement. This place has finally given me someplace to go to make connections with others who may understand what I am going through. I agree if I can keep my head on straight, I realize that many of the reactions towards me most likely have nothing to do with me. Best of luck to you and your family as well.
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formflier
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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2021, 06:38:19 PM »


Hey..have you considered that you are "going to deep".

Do you see how it appears there is a catch 22.

She tells you she is leaving and puts on a nightie. 

Do you have any doubt...any...that if you had noticed the nightie that she would have said you didn't respect her words about leaving?

Yet..

You respect her words about leaving and don't notice the nightie...guess what..wrong answer there.

What is the common theme....YOU DON'T WIN.  No win situation.

That's why explicit communication..even if fun..is important.

Do you "see" the setup?

Best,

FF
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DadofThreeGirls

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 6


« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2021, 07:19:45 PM »

Excerpt
Do you see how it appears there is a catch 22.

FF,

I definitely see this in this specific situation, as well as many others over our 13 year relationship. In reading other's stories, I definitely see this as a common theme across many of posts. I'm definitely still working on navigating these situations. I am glad that I stated a boundary with her about not making things intimate without her clear verbal consent...now to just make sure I stick to it.
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