I was hoping you were going to respond and am so glad you did.
My wife and I have different needs which in some ways makes it difficult to balance. She is a talker. She likes to talk and listen, it's all about communication for her. (communication - ironic) I am a physical person. I need to feel and hold. She doesn't get the feeling and holding. Ever since kids, touching her in any way other than a massage is absolutely out of the question. She doesn't want to give the kids a bad impression on how to treat a woman. Which I get to some extent, but not to the point of complete shut down. (She loves the attention from the kids, that she needs and wants as any mother would.) She also doesn't like to be touched by anyone but the kids. Ok, but quite a challenge for me as it's my way of connecting. While I'm on the subject of touching, we also don't have make up sex. That makes it very hard for me to reconnect. It wasn't always like this, but it has been for atleast 12 years.
So what does she want when I get angry? She doesn't want me to ever get angry again. Even though I've been to therapy, anger management and read plenty on the subject. For the most part, I just let it go. Like the saying, don't worry about the small stuff. (can't remember exactly how that goes.) When I do get angry, I can't see straight, I say things that are interpreted completely wrong and I spend the next 24 - 48 hours explaining what I really meant. I have said some hurtful things in the past that just came out wrong. Regardless my explaination and identifying root causes of the anger, the damage is done. She has been hurt and I can never fix that. Especially since she remembers everything I've ever done, exactly what I said, what I was wearing, the weather and the time of day, just to mention a few things she never forgets. So I will always pay for those sins. To make matters worse, she is the MOST sensitive person I have ever met. Not something she was 20 years ago, but the damage I have caused will never be forgoten. Me on the other hand can't remember things like that. I remember generalities, subjects, feelings but not every single one and the older I get the fuzzier those memorys become. Another fault that is just what it is.
So now that I have described that, she is also a type A person. She runs everything, does everything and expects that when she needs something, she'll tell you. So when I make assumptions about what I can do to help, they are wrong or not done 'properly'. That goes for things I've been given instructions on as well. If I don't follow those instructions, and do it my way, it's wrong and she will redo it, just about every time. With that said, she does everything and runs herself ragged. Does laundry, puts it away, gets clothes out for the whole family for the week, plans out an entire week of lunch and dinner, is a short order cook and the list goes on. So I have it good, except if I have a suggestion on how to do something differently. Then it's a critisim and goes back to the senstivity and it's a disaster of epic proportions.
I'm getting off topic here...so going back to the roomate verses marriage. For a few years, I looked at our relationship as a roomate situation. It felt like that, we acted like that and it lead me down the road of p&m, etc.. As I said before, I'm a physical person and need to feel that touch from time to time. Not to just living with someone. At some point she noticed the roommate situation and told me she needed more affection from me. We discussed and I changed my ways but saying nice things, telling her when I was thinking about her, commenting on how she looked, buying flowers etc.. (side note, flowers doesn't equate to sex either, ever) Of course there are parameters around this, as one would expect.
Does my wife know about my p&m? She has made comments about it and how I flirt with other women. She has always flirted with guys and I've only come out of my shell in the past 4 or 5 years. She claims that she doesn't flirt every, she would never do that to me. She's called me on the carpet a couple of times about this and I have stopped. However we have not sat down and discussed this to any extent.
Why haven't I discussed? It will truely break her. I can't even fathom the damage I could cause by doing this. If it's a disaster because I haven't followed instructions clearly stated, something of this magnitude could put her in a insitution for ever. I love her very much. I do not want to do that to her. I've never intended to hurt her more than I have already.
This brings us to the problem of communication. She seems to have no problems communicating with everyone else and communication is something I have stuggled with saying the right things. So counciling to give us a framework to improve this will help us significantly. I am not giving up on this and will continue to try and make this happen. It's only bringing sanity to both of us.
Masturbating is something we have discussed. Although her concern for me doing this is that I am thinking of other women. Well, if there are fantasies I have, how else am I going to fantisize? I know it won't happen with us. Porn has not helped this cause.
Eadeca, you cannot say anything that that your shouldn't. I greatly appreciate your honesty and need to hear these things whether I like it or not. Your insight from your perspective and insight is very helpful to me.
I've aired a lot of dirty laundry here. I'm sure if my wife ever finds this, it will be the end of the world because she believes that our issues are our issues and no one elses business. However I need help, I'm getting help and I need to be able to get this out.
I have these needs that I'm trying to turn off. The bad wolf can be so cruel sometimes. I have not intentionally done these things to hurt my wife and if I could fix it in any way, I would. I love her very much and need her. Her greatest fear is that I'm going to leave her some day. I will not do that. She's stuck with me. I cannot live without her and want to address as much as I can from my side, make her happy and live happily ever after.
This complex situation should be so easy to solve. However unravelling this ball of kite string is so painful and humiliating, I can't believe I'm here documenting it for the world to see.