First post here. I need some help...
I'm 43. Together 16 years, married 7. 3 awesome kids. Sex has been bad the entire time. She had childhood abuse and I always chalked it up to that (deep kissing off limits from the start, morning sex a NO, major hesitations on anything submissive). I dealt with it because she is STUPID HOT and figured she would just take a long time to open up.
However I had SHIT for frame, failed ALL HER TESTS (obviously didn't realize they were tests), and gradually became complete world-class bluepill embarrassment every day in almost every way, for years.
I'm successful in most all other areas of my life... 7 figure net worth, 6 pack abs, great career, social status, friends, kickass dad, athlete, etc.
But at home I was a needy, whiny bitch. No emotional maturity. No consistent emotional even-keel. Never took the high road. Little stuff would set me off. Complained about the lack of sex. I blamed her for not logically understanding how important sex is in a marriage. I responded to every test with either nerd-ass logic or feminine over-emotionality. I ignored her when she needed real help (once after a miscarriage). I drank too much. I lived completely within her frame and was a slave to pussy and always petrified of losing my family.
A year and a half ago I hired a coach to work on some work-related stuff. Got into mental discipline. This was transformational. I got sober, built some awareness of emotional intelligence. Began practicing it and applying what I was learning successfully to career and money... then I decided to tackle my relationship.
I come at her hard... "we need to fix this". I offered to go to a workshop, retreat, therapy, guided MDMA, whatever, let's do it all. I said I'm no longer imprisoned by loss aversion (which was true, I let go of my fear of divorce).
She refused workshops or retreats, claimed bad timing (she just finished grad school and was starting new career) and said she doesn't feel safe talking with me. Eventually agreed to do couples therapy. Took 3 months to find one and it was a disaster. Once a week, no real talking between (I'm still acting like a bitch at home). I was hardcore DEER the entire time in the sessions. I basically flat-out blame her for having intimacy issues as a result of abuse she suffered as a child. She shuts down even more, then at a total loss I suggest separation (since nothing else was working - looking back was hoping she'd protest but she didn't).
So we agreed to separate and to start that process by talking with a separation expert who would help us create a co-parenting plan, break it to the kids, etc.
Then I took the red pill.
It started with David Deida's "Way of the Superior Man". POLARITY blew my fucking mind. (Being raised by 4 women, my every-other-weekend dad died at 12, I thought I was supposed to be emotional, vulnerable, heart-on-sleeve, sensitive, reject the "man box", be like women, etc. etc). Kill me. I won't go into my bluepill conditioning because it doesn't matter.
Then I read a bunch of PUA stuff, mainly interested in how people worked with the polarity dynamic.
Then I read The Rational Male... what can I say?
I'm believe I'm through the 5 stages of red pill acceptance. I'm not angry, not depressed, I have accepted it. But I'm a kid with dynamite. I have no skills. Red pill behavior is not automatonic. I've read everything I can get my hands on, but not sure how to practice any of this within the marriage setting, when we are literally hanging by a thread.
I've been relatively cool since I read the book, no over-emotionality. I have pushed back several times on some things that I felt I was getting emasculated on (she didn't know what to make of it, but claimed more lack of safety)
I see her now completely differently now. I see everything completely differently. I understand she operates on context, not content. She lives in how she feels. Her emotional filter is the "truth" to her. I understand I am in control of her attraction. But I have no practice in game.
Our session with the separation therapist is next week. Then this happens...
3 days ago I express some concern about a 3rd party entering the mix and escalating... concern around losing time my kids. We share a hug and tears (reserved on my part), she actually allows me to hold her while she cries. I hold her while she sobs. This was the first moment in a long time where I'm able to legitimately care for her. I'm not trying to solve anything. I don't want anything from her. I can see her as the hurt 7 year old she is deep down. She felt safe and I could tell.
The next day, out of nowhere, she sends me a link to the workshop I asked her to go to over a year ago. It's all about communication and repair. She says "I know this may be frustrating but we have a lot to communicate about and I came across this". She "came across" the exact workshop I asked her to go to over a year ago.
So we have appointments now for a mediator to hammer out a separation agreement (an hour next week), and a workshop to repair our relationship and learn communication (3 day workshop in 3 weeks). I think she's confused and was reacting to my care for her with a step toward repair, under the guise that we'll need this workshop anyway to talk about this kids.
My gut says to decline the mediator meeting until after the workshop. Use the time and the workshop to repair. But I need to learn, I need help. I don't know how to re-estalbish frame. I don't know how to be safe without giving away my power. I don't know how to lead her without being authoritarian.
I don't want to lose my wife, or my family. I am ready for that if that's what's required to be a better man. I am living the worst nightmare I have for my sons, so I'm ready if that's what it takes. But I'd like to save this.
I still do wonder how much of our disaster of a sex life was a result of my blue-pill bitchness, or her past abuse and intimacy issues. I suspect maybe 80/20? Saving us is still a bet that she can relax into her feminine in a way she never has. I don't know what's possible with her sexually even if I never break frame for the rest of my life.
I welcome any feedback, resources, your analysis of what's going on, action plans, etc. You may say I deserve this, that I'm still a bitch. Maybe I do and maybe I am. But whether my marriage ends or not, I'm on the same path you're on... committed to being the best man I can be. We start where we start. I'm thinking about my boys. I want them to see a real man, and a real relationship, and that's going to happen no matter what. I'm Just trying to see if I can make it happen with their mom.