I don't mean to hog this board, so I won't be posting for a while. But I wanted to include this update to my previous thread, since I personally get a lot of value from reading people's updates.
First off, I wanted to say thank you to everyone for all the comments and insight. I post here to get feedback from people that think and see things differently, and that's incredibly helpful. Thanks.
A few days have passed, and the pain has faded a bit, allowing me to think a little more clearly. It's all still there - I keep replaying the conversation in my head, revisiting the pain like a tongue seeking a wobbly tooth - but my rational faculties have at least partially returned.
I wanted to break down a few of the major takeaways I got from this incident, and from everyone's comments.
Yes, my wife is not attracted to me.
I already knew that. The sudden shock came from really internalizing that the problem wasn't her libido, but me all along.
I knew that, too. But the convenient lie of the "mismatched libido" helped to smooth the edges and protect my ego. I honestly thought that if I made some minor changes, things would turn around. How hard could it be?
That was my ego, and Ego does not stand up to harsh reality particularly well.
No, I'm not ready to get divorced.
That was spite, and hurt, talking. The fantasy of presenting divorce papers and making her sorry was powerful...but ultimately, just masturbatory.
Many people pointed out that I had my wife on a pedestal, but it was more than that - I'd bit my entire self-identity around being "the nerd that made good and got the dream girl." I felt like I'd won at life...and having that ripped away was a direct attack on my self-image.
Which is why you shouldn't build your self-image on a foundation of validation from others. Lesson learned.
I haven't actually changed that much.
When it comes down it, what have I really done?
Gone to the gym. Ate less.
That's pretty much it. But my physical body was never my biggest weakness. It was just the easiest thing to work on and see improvement in, which is why I focused on it. Look, mommy! My bodyfat is dropping!
What needs work is my (lack of) frame. But that's maddeningly hard to deliberately practice or track improvement in, which frustrates my A-Type, goal-oriented personality. I can't measure it, so I can't see any improvement, so it feels like there's no improvement at all.
That's no excuse, however. I just need to get over the need for validation - this time, from the "scoreboard."
I desperately needed this to happen.
I'm not going to lie - it still hurts like a fucking bitch. I'm wincing as I type this. From the outside, it was just a small thing. For me, it was a massive trauma.
But I really needed that. Even during the first part of my MAP, everything I was doing was for her. I was (am?) still afraid of her moods, her emotionality, her disapproval. She was always going to the arbiter of whether I was successful or not.
The anger has faded, but it's left some space in my mind between me and her. I'm certainly not saying I'm now "out of her frame" or that I don't still love her - I do.
But I have fully accepted the fact that we will probably not be fixing this marriage. I don't think I am a MRP Success Story - "The Boy Who Fixed Things In Just Four Months!"
I'm just going to do my thing. I'm going to get on with my life. I'm going to raise some fucking awesome kids. I'm going to have fun with my friends and build an incredible business. I'm going to travel and read and explore the world. I'm going to work on my own psychic defenses - be OK with getting angry, with lashing out once in a while, with fighting for what I need and saying what I feel.
It's my life I need to save, not our marriage. If she joins me, great. If not, great. I'm just done being the bitch.
Every big improvement in my life - quitting my first shitty job, rebounding after almost killing myself, dropping weight after getting fat, starting my own business, even getting married to my wife - they all came after traumatic events, things that were so painful and so hurtful that they shook me loose.
This feels like one of those moments, where the status quo finally becomes untenable.
I think I needed 4 months of MRP just to get here. Now, I'm finally at the beginning, again.
Anyway, thanks for the tough talk. I'm sure there are many more weird psychological ticks in this post, but...Cheers.