Not sure what phase of the process this is...
Started doing the reading 4-5 months ago. Lifting about a month later.
Wife and I are HS Sweethearts. Married 10 years, together 18. One 3yo son & 1 on the way.
Wife is a reasonable, practical, competent woman who is also a boring, uptight prude. I've had her on the world's highest pedestal for 15+ years, and thought we were going to live the fairy tale. Both pregnancies have turned her into a witch.
I'm the Frankenstein who has created this monster. I've placated, deferred, and avoided conflict for our entire relationship. She has essentially no reason to respect me, other than that I'm professionally successful and the one of the two of us that all our friends like.
The spell has only really broken in the last month or so. I was really holding on to the fairy tale. I'm through most of the anger phase, but I keep getting stuck with frame.
I've stopped avoiding conflict, and her strategy to get me back under her thumb is always emotional manipulation. She knows exactly what to say to get me feeling like I'm wrong, I'm selfish, I'm a narcissist.
The way I see it now, I have essentially two options. We've already started skirting around ending the relationship, which would be financially difficult and challenging for the kids. Still, it's better than the alternative of letting two boys watch their father become an empty husk of a human. So that's option 1. Kill the puppy for her, say, "thanks for your time," and move on to pursue life as I like.
Option 2 is a greater challenge. Can I fix myself enough to turn her into a woman I want to be married to while staying married. Being in the house with her makes me question everything.
I know what the answer is. Lift, read, repeat. I know I need to do more of that. I also have found myself at an acute inflection point where I've essentially stated that in an upcoming move I don't want to share the same house. If I lock in on that as the path forward, it almost certainly ends in divorce. If I back down even a little, she wins, I prove that she can set the rules of whatever game we're playing.
Also, I'd say that I'm probably a little bit terrified of becoming a monster. I've already told her I'm interested in sleeping with other women, and that won't be going away. My inclination is to say, "these are new rules. I appreciate we had a monogamous agreement, but I'm not interested in that for the rest of my life. If that's unworkable for you, feel free to file for divorce." My hesitation is that somehow I still feel like it's my "responsibility" to be honest and end the marriage myself if that's what I want.
The constant voice telling me what is "right" vs what I want is driving me nuts.