We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Any sexual problems or difficulties not listed in a specific section.
JSJoplin
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We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby JSJoplin » Mon May 02, 2016 10:44 pm

This is my first time posting ~ and I'm looking for advice...as I'm a bit lost. If anything I've written is too graphic, or I didn't use the right terminology...I apologize...just let me know and I'll fix it.

The history here is that my wife and I have been together since the summer of 1994. We met at work, and I was captivated by her beauty from the first moment I saw her. She was poised, mature, drop dead gorgeous (still is,) and as Seinfeld once put it, "possesses many of the qualities prized by the Superficial Man." (And still does.) Within a month of working together I had worked up the courage to ask her out on a date. She promptly declined (I'm not exactly what most women find attractive...or so I've been told. I resemble what might have happened if Bigfoot were to have mated with a human woman. :wink: ) I was disappointed, but took her answer in stride (more or less expecting it anyway) and resigned myself to simply being friendly and having a good working relationship, which we already had started to develope. Which was fine, except that the next day she came back and said she'd felt a prompting from the Holy Spirit to not turn me down and to instead see where this would go. I was surprised, and happily agreed to go out with her...and for the next couple weeks we went on simple dates: walks in parks, getting ice cream, all that sort of thing. There was no touching of any kind either. All very chaste. Early on in the course of us getting to know each other, we revealed to each other that she had a rough childhood with a cheater dad and a SUPER liberal/feminist mom and had been sexually abused by her stepdad as a teen, and I shared I had grown up in a SUPER weird/uptight Christian family, and wasn't a virgin. Neither issue was a deal breaker for either of us...and we moved forward dating and getting to know each other. And it remained that way...simple...innocent...good...for almost a year and a half. At this point, the most we'd ever done together physically was kiss a bit and hold hands. Around this time, I was called away to work in Europe for almost 3 weeks, and when I came back it was as if a switch had been flipped for both of us. My first night back, we went from simple hand holding and kissing to everything but actual intercourse.

And then of course we felt terrible, convicted, etc. And stopped for the most part. Which is always difficult once you let that particular genie out of the bottle. But we pressed on. And we wanted to get married, but our family issues played heavily into the decisions we were making at the time, and instead continued to struggle sexually and date. Roughly 6 months later we gave in, and had a very awkward "first time" with traditional sex in a bad hotel...and then continued to have sex whenever we could. This continued off and on for 4 years. I wanted to get married, but she felt the timing wasn't right and was scared due to a lot of nonsense her mom had been telling her about "not needing a man" and to focus on her career instead. We both left the job we worked together, and moved to a different state and into separate residences with roommates, and different jobs. Right around this time, the internet was becoming a thing that everyone was getting. And I had been told that porn was all over the internet...and sure enough....there it was. So I was now juggling the guilt and shame of sleeping with my girlfriend that I wanted to marry, and also working on a growing porn habit.

Around 2000, we finally got married, and like many completely naive newlyweds, figured that getting married would solve all our problems. And just like clockwork, it magnified them. We started fighting as soon as the honeymoon was over. And the sex virtually stopped. We went from doing everything a couple can do with and to each other (BDSM excluded)...to maybe having straight missionary sex...(which started causing her pain no matter how gentle I was) once a week, and all within a matter of a month out from the honeymoon. And this went on for several months. And it got to a point where sex would end in her breaking down and crying in both physical and emotional pain, no matter how brief or gentle I was. Meanwhile, I'm still watching porn, and feeling guilty all the time. Everything was falling apart. After one particularly rough evening, I halfheartedly confessed I was looking at porn, and my wife opened up more about the abuse she had suffered, and agreed to go to counseling. And she went. And I stopped temporarily looking at porn. But overall, nothing really changed between us. She was in therapy, in counseling groups with other women...etc for the next 3 years. And internally, I was going down the tubes. I was again watching porn, married to a woman I loved that was hardly able to be with me sexually for reasons that she didn't cause, and I felt terrible for her and also terribly alone. There really wasn't anyone in my circle of Christian friends I could talk to about any of this without either embarrassing my wife, or mortifying one or more of my friends about what was going on in my private life...so I did what any idiot would do, and started chatting online with equally lonely women in sex chat rooms. Well...I assume they were women. I know at least one was, because she ended up being local, and we met up one night with the intent to have all the sex neither of us was having at home. It didn't happen...cooler heads prevailed (hers), and I was spared an even greater sin by a woman who's biggest fear was that she'd have to tell her priest if she went through with having an affair with me. I felt lower than dirt for countless reasons. And I carried the shame of the porn addiction and botched affair attempt with me for almost 4 years, until one night I couldn't take it any longer and confessed what I'd been hiding.

Now here's the irony of all this. About the time my life caved in on me, (because of my own actions) my wife started to heal from the abuse. She started to want "quickies" from time to time, and on two occasions initiated going away for weekends where the focus would be on having sex. And we did...and I was internally miserable both times. She even wrapped herself in a bow while otherwise naked, and said she wanted to be a gift to me and start over. And it all would've been great, had I not been carrying a boatload of guilt and shame around. So when I confessed the porn and botched affair...it didn't go well. Which...of course it didn't. Her reaction was she bolted from the house and later told me that her intention had been to go to a bar, find a random guy, and have sex with him. Fortunately, for both of us, she didn't. But everything was now a huge mess. We had started going to a local megachurch roughly 6 months before my confession, and found out they had a counseling program for couples in situations like ours. And so we went. And for two years we sat in counseling groups, one on one sessions, and couples sessions. I went to accountability groups for men...had a one on one "brother" that I confided in and had accountability with (still do)...and while it helped on one level, it was exhausting on another. I stopped looking at porn, and it stuck this time. And in some ways our communication improved...but sex was still very difficult to talk about, and the constant self examination left us both a bit worn out from having to examine every thought, emotion, and motive running through our heads all the time. And because it was Christian counseling, healthy sex wasn't actually ever really discussed. We talked plenty about porn being a sin. Affairs being a sin. And lust being a sin...but never once was it discussed about how a healthy sexual relationship between a Christian man and woman was supposed to look like. They'd trot out "Song Of Solomon" as some sort of erotic road-map...which while it's some beautiful prose, had little impact in day to day living. The closest we got to real life sexual counsel was that a woman shouldn't "have to do it if she isn't up for it"....and that men were supposed to be patient and not force sex on their wives. Which...yeah. Duh. But that was as far as it went. And as I privately pressed some of the men who were leaders, I'd find out that their own sex lives were problematic...infrequent...awkward...and none of them really seemed to have any answers beyond what NOT to do.

After two years of this, my job changed and required that I travel. And being that the economy was heading straight into the toilet, we agreed I needed to keep working and provide for us. So for 16 months I was on the road. No porn. No masturbation (she forbade it.) No wandering eye. Just me keeping my head down and working. We'd meet up for a weekend here and there, and in some ways it was like we were 20 again. The time together was great, the sex was always brief, but the past seemed pretty well in the past. By the end of my time on the road, the time apart was starting to cause my wife anxiety. Not anxiety that I was going to do anything I shouldn't (or so she said), but anxiety from living apart for so long and not being settled after so many years of pain and struggle. So after 16 months on the road, I came home and we settled into trying to live like a "normal" couple. And in most ways, we've done that. We're devoted to each other. We love God, and love each other. We're in a Gospel focused church that we love, and we otherwise live normal, overly hectic, American lives....which would be fine, except that our sex life is still strained.

The most recent issue is that when I finally came home from traveling for work, my wife wanted to start trying to have a baby. For many years, given our personal histories with her abuse and my weird childhood, neither of us was up for the idea of having kids. The mere mention of it was mortifying to both of us. But over time that changed, and during the season of counseling we were in, she revealed that God had really softened her heart to wanting to be a mom. And while I was less sure of the idea, I wasn't opposed to it either, which I've been reassured is basically the attitude of most men. So once we were living in the same place, we started trying. Which to a dummy like me, sounded like I'd hit the sex jackpot. Finally. And for two years, we tried. Month in, and month out. And here's the thing that nobody really tells you...baby-making can turn into work and have very little to do with intimacy. And after 3 months or so, it felt like it became less about a loving couple trying to make a baby, and more about extracting precious fluids from me in the quickest way possible. We'd have sex, 10-12 days straight, and by the end of it, I'd be happy to not even think about doing it again for a 3-4 days. Which isn't me. I have an otherwise raging libido and crave my wife. But it was the same thing...almost every night. A little awkward foreplay, followed by me giving my wife a ton of oral, resulting in anywhere from 4-15 orgasms for her (yeah...you read that right), a quick 30 second BJ for me, and then the expectation that I ejaculate as quickly as I could so we could get to sleep, or get on to whatever thing was next on the agenda.

And then after 2 years of this, we finally got pregnant. And we were both shocked and elated. And soon my wife began to grow even more in all places "prized by the Superficial Man." And it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g to watch. And her libido kicked in, and orgasms rained from the rafters for her. Except for me. I was somehow still limited to one per session....and again, that's not me...I have a quick refractory period...always have had...and with minimal stimulation from her, I'm historically good to go again in under 5 minutes. Asking for more would get heavy sighs...groans...complaints of being tired. Which I get, she was pregnant...I'm not an idiot...most of the time anyway...I'm talking about me MB while she was present, which was the rule. But no...that wasn't OK. No meant no. And so that was that. And then, about 6 weeks into the pregnancy, something weird happened and her vagina decided to close up shop. Touching it, kissing it, getting a penis near it...all would cause her pain. So...sex just stopped. Done. We went from 10-12 times a month for 2 years, to a couple times a week...to nothing. Dr's all said it was normal...that many women get very sensitive and can't have sex without pain during pregnancy. Fair enough. But since I'm not allowed to masturbate without her being present...I had to get permission to get any relief. Which is humiliating on a few levels, and I learned pretty quickly that asking wasn't going to be well received. Which also felt unfair after literally months on end of being what felt like a stud horse, to virtually nothing. And then out of the blue...I got sick. Really sick. Wound up in the hospital and was in the ICU for almost a week. My recovery was a month long ordeal. I had a pregnant wife. I can't work. All of which worked wonders for our marriage. Want to cause unneeded stress in a marriage? Get really sick while your wife is pregnant. And then we lost our baby not long before she was to deliver. No medical reason has been found. The child just didn't make it. A stillbirth. And here's the thing, no woman...no man...should ever have to be in a position where the only contact you'll ever have with your offspring is to hold their lifeless body. You can't see unmoving tiny fingers and toes...little eyelashes...little nose and mouth...and not have it break something inside you. It was devastating. And like so many other times in our marriage, we went home to try and put the pieces back together. And we had a lot of great people come around us and support us. And overall, we've done pretty well trying to heal from yet another heartbreak. But the sex is still strained. Our actual intimacy is still a mess.

As soon as my wife was able, she wanted to start trying again. So within 6 weeks, we went right back to the fertility sex schedule, although a bit modified. Less times a month than before. We're down to 7 during what might be fertile times, and then one at the beginning of the month, and one at the end, just for "us"... And it's been that way ever since. 17 months of 9 times a month. And we've not been able to get pregnant again. No medical reason has been given, and we've both been thoroughly poked, prodded, and examined. It's just not happening. And every month is an emotional roller coaster with wether or not her period is going to show up. Outside of her fertile days, sex almost doesn't happen. I don't want to ask, because she's told me asking her puts "pressure" on her when she's not up for it for one reason or another. So I don't ask, or if I do it's like I'm a kid asking for a cookie right before dinner...you know you shouldn't but you ask anyway because the answer might end up being a yes! And no matter the time of the month, I'm limited to one orgasm per session...and then we're done. And for someone reading this who isn't having any sex with their husband or wife, they might think I'm insane for "complaining"....but I don't think I am. If it weren't for us trying to have a child, I don't know that we'd be having much sex at all...because the times that aren't child related are very brief, very scripted, and really aren't all that intimate. My wife calls me a "romantic" about sex. I don't think it's a compliment the way she's saying it.

Here's what I know to be true. Both my wife and I were very broken when we came into the marriage, (and neither of us really realized it)...but both of us loved each other then, and love each other now. My sexually adventurous girlfriend and fiancé turned into my wife, who was in a great deal of inner pain, (which I added to in spades) and once we got through years of that, I was gone for 16 months...followed by years of attempted babymaking, a miscarriage, and now 17 more months of failed babymaking. At no point in our marriage have we ever just had the chance to really stop and learn each other. To be us...whatever that really is. From the start is seems like the timing has been wrong, or one or both of us has been in extreme emotional upheaval, or whatever...something has always been in the way. And while she likes sex now within a certain context, she otherwise seems to view it as a negotiation, dirty, and is seemingly grossed out by a lot of what goes on. Everything but the oral she receives from me is expected to be quick, and then we're done. I on the other hand am a former porn addict, that almost had an affair 14 years ago, and wishes he could fix the messes he made in the marriage and have the kind of intimacy described elsewhere on these message boards. But I realize something as well. At no point in either of our lives were we ever told about sex between a man and wife and what all that could really mean. I learned about sex from from trying things out with my high school girlfriend, and then from porn...and then from trying those things out with the woman who is now my wife. My wife learned about sexuality from hearing that her Dad would sleep with every woman in the area except his own wife, and then from being molested by her step-Dad, which her mom turned a blind eye to....and then just a few short years later, she learned sex from messing around with me. All I've ever heard from the Church at large about sex is "don't do it unless you're married"...and then once you are married, "don't do it with anyone else." Which...both things are good to live by, but don't address at all the seemingly countless ways a married couple can give each other pleasure within the marriage bed. This message board, and Christian Nymphos...both attest to that. But how on earth do I/we UN-DO years of confusion, brokenness, etc? We're 16 years into a marriage, and 22 years into being together. I'm the only man she's ever been with, and her like's, dislike's, and rules for the bedroom seem largely created by a combination of not allowing stuff we liked before we were married, pain and fear from having been abused as a young teen, and then all the broken [edit] I/we dragged into the marriage. If anything, as each year goes by, she allows less and less to happen in our sex life. My guess is the next thing that will go is me getting oral. Talking about this, no matter how gently, has a history of devolving into and argument, or her screaming and cursing at me because she's convinced I'm not happy with her and she's just "doing it all wrong"... This happened just over the weekend...again. And for the record, the stuff I'm wanting isn't some sort of porn memory thing where I'm wishing my wife would peg me while the neighbor watches. I'd really just like more of my wife. More orgasms WITH her. More time enjoying her. I'd like to be touched. I'd like to leave the bed as spent as I try and leave her every single time. Do things with and for her that I know she'd find pleasurable if she'd relax (emotionally and physically). I'd like to be able to talk to her about sex without feeling like a pervert. So...where do I go from here? Or do I go anywhere? Do I just try and pack in my libido and enjoy what's offered and not want more? Is this dying to self? If it is, I can live with it I guess...I can adjust over time...but I need to really know. I've prayed and asked God to make my sex drive and view of sex in His image, and not my own...and all that happens is I want my wife more. And in more ways. What do I do?

Thanks for reading if you got this far.

JJ

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SeekingChange
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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby SeekingChange » Mon May 02, 2016 11:30 pm

Welcome. It's late where I am, so my head is not in the place to give advice, but I wanted to let you know that I have started praying for you and will continue to do so.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby Vanna » Tue May 03, 2016 1:57 am

Sorry things are so rough. Sounds like you are both under some major strain. There is certainly a lot of history that makes your situation a minefield for healing and restoration.

Has she shared much about her recovery from the sexual abuse in her youth? Did she share what sort of abuse it was and how often? (Not that you need to blurt it out here- but did she really open up about it or just give an reasonably abbreviated explanation? and during her time in counseling, did she feel she could open up and share the things she was working through?)

After the baby was born- (you never said if you had a son or daughter?) what did grieving look like for your wife? Does she talk much about the baby or her feelings? Does she visit the grave still? 6 weeks is not a long mourning period before beginning the strain of trying to become pregnant again. What about you- what has mourning looked like for you? Do you talk with her about your thoughts or feelings?

It would most likely be better to put the baby making goal on the back burner for a season while you both work through these issues together- not just the loss of your child, but also the broken intimacy.

If she managed to get pregnant again right now, you would be facing more challenges: pregnancy, postpartum, and the exhaustion of a newborn, plus the distraction of a toddler. Things in the bedroom often go reasonably upside down for years during parenting.

The one thing you have going for you is that she is willing to have sex to get pregnant. So, if you let her know you are concerned about the way the intimacy in the marriage is suffering, that you feel strongly that the marriage needs to be healthy and communication needs to be more open concerning intimacy, and you want to put the brakes on baby making until you can both work this out... You will have her full attention. She probably won't be thrilled, but if you are gentle and firm that you won't bring a baby into a marriage that isn't in a healthy place intimately, she will have to face the issue.

If you do this- you can't really back down until things are fixed, otherwise she won't take it seriously.

Taking a break will probably be good for the baby making goal anyway, since stress seems to impede fertility anyway. So, once you get things worked out, you may find pregnancy is easier on the next round.
After 28 years and six kids, through the good and bad, by the grace of God, things keep getting better and better. ::wed

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby SeekingChange » Tue May 03, 2016 3:55 am

Those are great questions Vanna, and I totally understand the advice on putting off trying to get pregnant again, but, my guess is, if they have been together for 22 years (which is how long I have been with my husband) then I am guessing that she is getting close to the age where pregnancy is going to be harder, if not impossible, to come by. If he steals her chance of becoming a mother, by haulting her dream of becoming pregnant, that could do irrevocable damage. That is just going off of how I would be if that happened to me, that would be a hard one to forgive and work through. Great caution and wisdom needs to be used in that area.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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JSJoplin
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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby JSJoplin » Tue May 03, 2016 9:22 am

SeekingChange wrote:Welcome. It's late where I am, so my head is not in the place to give advice, but I wanted to let you know that I have started praying for you and will continue to do so.


Thank you, I really appreciate it.

JJ
Last edited by JSJoplin on Tue May 03, 2016 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

JSJoplin
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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby JSJoplin » Tue May 03, 2016 10:12 am

Vanna wrote:Has she shared much about her recovery from the sexual abuse in her youth? Did she share what sort of abuse it was and how often? (Not that you need to blurt it out here- but did she really open up about it or just give an reasonably abbreviated explanation? and during her time in counseling, did she feel she could open up and share the things she was working through?)

The short answer is yes, to all 3 questions. With her recovery, no matter how screwed up I was, I tried to make myself available to listen to her when she wanted to share...and she shared quite often. (And she did the same for me as I worked through my issues.) And with her abuse, without getting too detailed, it sounded like it was fairly frequent between the ages of 11-14, and happened all above the waist. The guy was a huge manipulator, and one of the big issues she's faced for years is a sort of disconnect from her body sexually. Meaning this ~ he touched her a lot as she was going through puberty, and she said it was just as she was starting to recognize sexual feelings within herself. So on one hand, her being touched by her molester would "turn her on", and at the same time she said she'd feel sick and depressed because she knew it was wrong, so it really warped the whole process of identifying sexual feelings as being OK in the proper context . And it created a weird tension between she and her mom, because her mom resented her daughter's beauty and the attention her daughter was getting from her stepdad...so she did nothing to protect her, and would say things to pick apart her daughter's changing body. So that has created issues that have only really started to get better in the last 5 years or so. And I'm not kidding when I say my wife is gorgeous. She's in her late 30s, and looks like she's in her 20s...men hit on her regularly, and for years she'd get approached by legit modeling agents asking her to model. It's not attention she's ever been comfortable with...(and I'm not wild about the "how on earth did you get her?" questions I get either....or people telling us "we don't look right together"...stuff like that) and it all stems from the abuse and stuff her mom told her about her body. But yeah, she's told me everything.

Vanna wrote:After the baby was born- (you never said if you had a son or daughter?) what did grieving look like for your wife? Does she talk much about the baby or her feelings? Does she visit the grave still? 6 weeks is not a long mourning period before beginning the strain of trying to become pregnant again. What about you- what has mourning looked like for you? Do you talk with her about your thoughts or feelings?

I probably won't say what we had. I've shared enough about our history and ages that if someone we knew happened to browse these boards, they might be able to figure out who we were...and I've shared stuff here that nobody knows. What we had would be a tip-off, and I'd just like to keep it private. Grieving was/is a long process. Her job gave her a month off from work, and then she took a couple weeks of vacation. We spent the majority of that time just talking, crying, and spending time together. And we had our child cremated, and his/her remains are in our home, along with impressions of his/her hands and feet. My wife had created a beautiful room for the baby prior to his/her passing, and none of that has changed. And she'll sit in the room in the rocking chair, and cry, journal, pray. It's helped her quite a bit. I visit the room too for similar reasons...and sometimes we do it together. Mourning for me was a little more complicated. I had to keep working, and also take care of my wife. So my focus wasn't really on me at all. But over time I've been able to journal, cry, and talk to other men I know who've also lost children...which has helped. And I do talk to my wife about the loss. It's hitting me more now as I see other Dad's with kids that would've been the same age as my child. I see what I'm missing out on. Things I wanted to do with my child. It's hard. All of it.

Vanna wrote:It would most likely be better to put the baby making goal on the back burner for a season while you both work through these issues together- not just the loss of your child, but also the broken intimacy.

Given our ages, we can't really back burner anything. Biologically, we're literally on a clock that doesn't care about our ongoing intimacy issues. And asking my wife to "wait" to get this fixed would probably break her heart in ways that I couldn't even begin to know how to repair, and she'd probably really resent me. But part of why this issue is so important to me, isn't just that the sex is strained, it's because I believe one way or another (natural, adoption, fostering to adopt) within the next couple years, we will end up with a child. And that child ISN'T going to make our intimacy suddenly get better...it's going to just make intimacy more difficult, much like getting married didn't magically make our intimacy get better. And that really stresses me out.

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby JSJoplin » Tue May 03, 2016 10:28 am

SeekingChange wrote:Those are great questions Vanna, and I totally understand the advice on putting off trying to get pregnant again, but, my guess is, if they have been together for 22 years (which is how long I have been with my husband) then I am guessing that she is getting close to the age where pregnancy is going to be harder, if not impossible, to come by. If he steals her chance of becoming a mother, by haulting her dream of becoming pregnant, that could do irrevocable damage. That is just going off of how I would be if that happened to me, that would be a hard one to forgive and work through. Great caution and wisdom needs to be used in that area.


Yes to all of this. I can't ask her to wait. As uncomfortable and frustrating as it might be, we have to do this while still trying. The irony being we're going to have to work on intimacy while having a lot of sex. Which on one hand sounds great. In reality, it's actually very difficult. Especially when my wife tells me she thinks everything between us is OK in the bedroom. At the same time, and I do think there is hope here:

Earlier today she could tell I was really frustrated. She knew part of it was sexual, and part of it was I'm dealing with some major stress at work. And she offered to allow me to relieve myself with her being present. (This was a major 180 from 2 days ago.) And she was very seductive with exposing herself to me, and even gave me oral to help get me going. (I was actually really nervous that she'd change her mind, and since I'm always expected to go quickly, it puts a lot of pressure on me to perform fast...so I wasn't exactly quick rising to attention.) She was actually pleased with herself when she saw how quickly I was ready with minimal effort from her...and I was able to quickly finish by masturbating, which resulted in one of the longest orgasms I've had in weeks. It actually helped quite a bit. And she did tell me, she knows I want to talk to her about our intimacy issues. She told me she trusted me and would listen to whatever I had to say. Which honestly shocked me a bit...as two days ago she was screaming and cursing at me for asking for what she gave me this morning. (Which that level of anger isn't normal for her...and she asked me to forgive her. And I do. I love her so much.) I think as messed up as our history is, there's hope here. I just need wisdom in HOW to go forward. Please pray God gives me wisdom. I really don't want to screw this up.

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby Vanna » Tue May 03, 2016 9:53 pm

To be perfectly honest, it sounds like you both have developed a very good history of communication through some intense issues and that you are both working through the grief process very well together and separately also.

That is huge, and I believe that you will both work through this also if you both commit to hearing each other and working together.

Perhaps her angry outburst is just from the strain of the delayed pregnancy. Maybe you could ask her what she was feeling when she made that comment, and share also how it made you feel? Your history of working through feelings and hurt together should help you both work through this stuff and overcome it over time.
After 28 years and six kids, through the good and bad, by the grace of God, things keep getting better and better. ::wed

JSJoplin
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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby JSJoplin » Wed May 04, 2016 1:21 pm

Vanna wrote:To be perfectly honest, it sounds like you both have developed a very good history of communication through some intense issues and that you are both working through the grief process very well together and separately also.

That is huge, and I believe that you will both work through this also if you both commit to hearing each other and working together.


For the most part, I agree with you. We've learned some major communication skills over the years...which was a byproduct of years of counseling and therapy. The place where it all falls apart is discussing sex. And partly because it IS a minefield. For my wife, discussing sex equals that she's feeling "forced"...which is a total non-starter. And I'm not a forceful guy...with anything. In fact she's told me I'm the most gentle man she's ever met...it's part of why she said she fell in love with me. And when we do talk about sex, it's never about what we're actually doing, because we never get that far. It's usually starts about frequency, and then like clockwork the "feeling forced" response will happen...followed by either anger, tears, or her shutting down. And the conversation is over. Usually 24hrs later, we'll gently revisit the discussion and she'll admit that "you aren't forcing me to do anything" and that she's sorry and that "we'll figure it out"...and yet we never do....because I feel terrible that the mere start of the discussion causes her so much pain...and the cycle just repeats.

Vanna wrote:Perhaps her angry outburst is just from the strain of the delayed pregnancy. Maybe you could ask her what she was feeling when she made that comment, and share also how it made you feel? Your history of working through feelings and hurt together should help you both work through this stuff and overcome it over time.


I think her outburst was the strain of a lot of things (work, fatigue, health, miscarriage), but I think a bigger part of the issue is that she compartmentalizes intimacy and her own sexuality. She doesn't behave a lot of the time as if she's a sexual woman. I often feel like I'm sort of living with a roommate that doesn't want to be seen as sexual, unless she's offering. The control of our physical life is 100% in her control. She's extremely organized, scheduled, and regimented. Some of it is out of necessity as she has a corporate job that requires a lot of focus and managing a lot of people, some of it is a byproduct of the chaos of her childhood..some of it from living with me. (I'm laid back, so I tend to be less structured with things, but have tried to adapt her overall way of living.) Prior to us trying to have a baby, she was less regimented with our sex life. There was a brief window between me coming home from being on the road for so long to when we started the fertility schedule that if we mutually wanted to, or if I needed her, she was up for it. But once the fertility schedule happened, our sex became something in our calendar, along with every other mundane thing we have to schedule to get done. And as we've struggled, lost a child, and continued to struggle, the intimacy has really dried up, and she's less and less and less willing to give when we're doing it. Sex becomes part of the checklist for the day, and she lets that part of herself be sexual for that 20-30 minutes, and then it gets put back in the box until the next time it's on the schedule. And if it's not on the schedule, it creates major tension. She's also finding more and more aspects of our intimacy unappealing ~ she finds my ejaculate "gross" or "ewww" even when the only place it goes is either into her vaginally or on my hands ~ when she used to swallow or finish me in her mouth and discreetly spit. She wants oral as much as she can get, requesting that I give her multiple orgasms every time, but then doesn't want to kiss me after because she says she doesn't like tasting herself ~ when she used to finger and taste herself. She finds her own wet spot on the bed after I've pleasured her disgusting. She used to joyfully ride me to multiple O's...and now she says it's "emotionally hard to do that." She used to masturbate with great vigor for and with me, and now if her hand should wander down there during foreplay or during my entry from behind, she will quickly pull it away like someone told her not to touch herself. These are just a handful of things, in a really long list that have changed in the last few years. And pointing them out, no matter how gently just makes her lose it. And I don't know where it's all coming from and we never get far enough into a discussion for me to even ask. I've sometimes wondered if she's having an affair. But she works largely with women, and the couple men in the office are gay, and she's grossed out by lesbian sex (apart from our religious beliefs) although she tells me that women do approach her. But her schedule is so regimented, and she's always home at the same time, and we're otherwise together with rare exceptions...I just don't see where she'd find the time. And it's also just not like her to do something like this. I don't want to be naive, but I just don't see this being the issue causing the problems even though sometimes it nags at me in the back of my mind.

Here's where I'm at with this ~ and I sincerely appreciate female perspective on this, and really appreciate both Vanna and SeekingChange for responding to my messages. (I know they're long.) History in our marriage is that whatever I bring up with all this, isn't going to go well. I believe her when she says she trusts me and wants to hear, but I also think some sort of "fight or flight" reflex kicks in when it gets brought up, because her reactions to what I'm saying aren't ever on the level of what I'm actually saying to her. (And she always admits this later.) So my thought was to write her a series of love letters that gently and lovingly explain where I think we've come from, where I think we're at, and where I'd like us to go together. And part of why I'm thinking plural letters is because it gives her room to process. It's not just one big information dump. And it gives her the option to read them all at once. Or one at a time as she's able. Or throw them all in the trash. It gives her less of a chance to read into something she thinks I'm saying and blow up, because what I'm writing on the page will be just that...not something she thinks is loaded or nuanced and filled with condemnation. And letters will give me the chance to ask thoughtful questions that my hope is she'll take to heart and process in private, vs me asking her face to face and her automatically feeling "pressured" or "forced" by the questions. My hope is that the letters will actually open up dialogue that won't turn into arguing (or less arguing), and possibly open the door to discussing how we can move forward together. I'm not delusional here...I don't have any sort of expectation that I'll do this and come home from work with her wanting to hop into bed and do all the things she's shunned for so long. I'm cautiously optimistic that this might (at the very least) get us past the discussion/blow-up pattern, and maybe give us a chance to talk.

Realizing that all women are different and unique, if you were in a similar situation as my wife, is this approach something you think you'd respond well to? And if not, do you have any other suggestions? Thanks again for the input...

JJ

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby Vanna » Wed May 04, 2016 6:02 pm

I think that is a great idea. Puts less pressure in her to immediately reply, gives her time to reread and think with feeling quite as defensive. Praying the God give you the words and wisdom, and that He prepares your wife's heart to be soft and open. ::pray
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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby IM_a_Farmwife » Wed May 04, 2016 7:59 pm

I would like to add something here. Farmer and I got married a bit later in life. He was 30 and I was 27. We tried to get PG really hard. We enjoyed daily sex for several years without a positive result of a baby. It became a bit of a drag when I'd get my period...again. I remember more than a few times that we resented having sex while trying to get pregnant. It started out being really intimate sex just thinking about making a baby. When the baby-making efforts weren't turning out as planned, it was frustrating.

It wasn't until our doc told us to not do it everyday, then we got pregnant. I was keenly aware of my fertile time (thank you, Catholic upbringing and NFP). Withholding sex until I was ripe did the trick. Maybe your wife could do some NFP (natural family planning) to find out exactly when she ovulates. My morning temp would spike upward when I ovulated. I was also a 28 day cycle gal.

I am praying for you guys to get pregnant and have a healthy baby. Those are my prayers along with more progress in your relationship.

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby Job29Man » Wed May 04, 2016 9:23 pm

How old is she?
How fit is she?
How old are you?
What is your health?
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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby JSJoplin » Thu May 05, 2016 11:18 am

Vanna wrote:I think that is a great idea. Puts less pressure in her to immediately reply, gives her time to reread and think with feeling quite as defensive. Praying the God give you the words and wisdom, and that He prepares your wife's heart to be soft and open. ::pray


Thanks Vanna ~ I really appreciate the prayers and input.

JJ

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby JSJoplin » Thu May 05, 2016 11:48 am

IM_a_Farmwife wrote:I would like to add something here. Farmer and I got married a bit later in life. He was 30 and I was 27. We tried to get PG really hard. We enjoyed daily sex for several years without a positive result of a baby. It became a bit of a drag when I'd get my period...again. I remember more than a few times that we resented having sex while trying to get pregnant. It started out being really intimate sex just thinking about making a baby. When the baby-making efforts weren't turning out as planned, it was frustrating.


Yes to this. When we fist started there was something so intimate and beautiful about the thought that what we were doing might result in a baby... And for a few months, that feeling hung on. But after 6 months or so, it started to be less exciting, and more "are we doing this wrong?"

IM_a_Farmwife wrote:It wasn't until our doc told us to not do it everyday, then we got pregnant. I was keenly aware of my fertile time (thank you, Catholic upbringing and NFP). Withholding sex until I was ripe did the trick. Maybe your wife could do some NFP (natural family planning) to find out exactly when she ovulates. My morning temp would spike upward when I ovulated. I was also a 28 day cycle gal.


Well...we haven't been doing it every day for a really long time. My wife has always been into NFP. For that matter, she was into natural everything when it was considered "weird"... She's very into health and being fit. Does yoga every day, strength training 3 times a week...and apart from some honestly diagnosed food allergies, is a healthy woman. Doesn't eat sugar or dairy, and doesn't touch meat that isn't grass-fed and free of antibiotics and hormones. She's been tracking her fertility cycle for as long as we've been married. In fact, the sound of her thermometer beeping in the dark every morning has become a sort of comfort in that I know she's right there when I hear that little beep.

The main issues she's faced (for as long as I've known her) is very long periods, with short luteal phases. It's apparently genetic, but all of the women in her family before her were able to carry babies full term, and apart from her grandmother, didn't suffer miscarriages. And even her grandmother ended up having 5 kids. We've seen fertility specialists, and while they site the short luteal phase as being problematic, all of her tests otherwise show she's in normal range for everything else that are indicators that pregnancy would be ideal. They've suggested drugs to help aid the process along, but the drugs have side effects that make her sick...so we're left doing what we've been doing. Further complicating the issue is that her morning temp will spike upward at least 3 different times during each month...which is why we end up having intercourse every other day to make sure we're covering our bases. The irony being that for the months leading up to when we did get pregnant, we had been doing it every other day. It wasn't working, and I read some online forums where woman in similar situations started doing it with their partners as much as they could, and they got pregnant. So I suggested we do it every day, and after 2 months of that, we did get pregnant. After the miscarriage we tried it again for a month or two, and she didn't want to do that anymore. So we've been doing the every other day for 2 weeks of the month ever since. She just started spotting again, which means that by Friday or Saturday, she'll have her period. It's like clockwork. :(

IM_a_Farmwife wrote:I am praying for you guys to get pregnant and have a healthy baby. Those are my prayers along with more progress in your relationship.


I really appreciate it.

JJ
Last edited by JSJoplin on Thu May 05, 2016 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby JSJoplin » Thu May 05, 2016 11:52 am

Job29Man wrote:How old is she?
How fit is she?
How old are you?
What is your health?


She's late 30s, I'm early 40s. She's very fit, and we're both healthy. Don't drink, smoke, rarely eat red meat...etc. All the stuff they tell you to do, we're doing.

JJ

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby Job29Man » Thu May 05, 2016 12:17 pm

I'm sorry for your difficulties. Please take this in the spirit of compassion I intend.

Fertility isn't as easy as it seems. Environmental toxins, stuff in our foods, water issues, all can cause difficulties. Then add to that "late 30s." Not a guarantee of problems but the general principle is that female fertility declines each year after age 16-20 or so.

I forgot if you said she'd ever used HBC but that can have an effect anywhere from zero to very significant on declining fertility.

It doesn't mean anyone has sinned or is being judged, just that we live in a fallen world with the effects of sin on health, death, fertility etc. I know this is emotional but frankly it is not surprising and if there's anyway to get that perspective maybe it'll help blunt the sting?
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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby Job29Man » Thu May 05, 2016 12:22 pm

JSJoplin wrote: All the stuff they tell you to do, we're doing. JJ


With one exception. They tell us that the best chances of fertility are concentrated among younger women, closer to age 20. Is there a chance you'd consider adoption?
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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby JSJoplin » Thu May 05, 2016 12:57 pm

Job29Man wrote:I'm sorry for your difficulties. Please take this in the spirit of compassion I intend.

Fertility isn't as easy as it seems. Environmental toxins, stuff in our foods, water issues, all can cause difficulties. Then add to that "late 30s." Not a guarantee of problems but the general principle is that female fertility declines each year after age 16-20 or so.

I forgot if you said she'd ever used HBC but that can have an effect anywhere from zero to very significant on declining fertility.

It doesn't mean anyone has sinned or is being judged, just that we live in a fallen world with the effects of sin on health, death, fertility etc. I know this is emotional but frankly it is not surprising and if there's anyway to get that perspective maybe it'll help blunt the sting?


She did use HBC for a few years, but hasn't for several years now. Condoms were never our friend. I have a latex allergy, and the natural condoms are fairly gross (at least they were back when we used them.), plus all the chemical lubricants caused her a lot of pain and irritation. She went on the pill when we started having sex when we were dating, and then off and on when we were first married. We tried a diaphragm, but it was problematic due to my size, and uncomfortable for both of us. Overall, we've used NFP.

We struggled with the "sin and being judged" thing early on. That plays heavily into how both of us were raised, and then the stuff we did before we were married...etc...but neither of us think that's what's happening here. We get it that some of this is just life, and how it goes. But it's hard while you're going through it.

JJ

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby JSJoplin » Thu May 05, 2016 1:29 pm

Job29Man wrote:Is there a chance you'd consider adoption?

Yeah, and we're a year into the process on that too. But the process has brought what isn't happening naturally into a much sharper focus due to the endless amounts of paperwork, personal (and in some ways overly intrusive) interviews, background checks, high expense, and wait time. We've been told we can expect to wait 3-5 years for a healthy infant of any available race for a domestic adoption. (And my wife really wants an infant. And I do too for that matter. We know far too many people that have adopted older kids and dealt with a ton of attachment issues, behaviors, etc...and we just aren't up for it. We know our limits.) We can't afford international adoption, and we both have a lot of issues with how many of the international agencies operate anyway...both Christian and secular. We've done a lot of research into this, and we're well informed, etc.

We've also discussed fostering, and fostering to adopt, but we've also been counseled that given everything we've been through in the last couple years, it's probably not wise emotionally for us to enter a scenario where the ultimate goal is that the child would be removed from our care and returned to his or her parents. We have a couple we're close to that's been on this same roller-coaster for a couple years now. And they're bonding with this child, and the child is starting to call them "mommy and daddy", but the court keeps giving the biological parents new chances every 6 months to get off drugs, get jobs, etc etc. Neither my wife or I have the emotional stamina anymore to go through that kind of uncertainty and face still not ending up with a child. Not with everything else we've gone through already.

Honestly, writing about all this is depressing. Anyway, this is where we're at. And it all seems to have no end.

JJ

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Re: We're Broken ~ Need Advice

Postby poetess » Thu May 05, 2016 7:13 pm

By the way, I'm not sure that avoiding red meat is necessarily the healthiest choice for someone attempting pregnancy, from some things I've heard. She doesn't need a diet too low in fat. Also, I know women who make a point of being on prenatal vitamins any time they are potentially going to get pregnant.

But, yeah, late thirties with a history of being on the pill isn't necessarily the highest fertility chances.
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