(I edit the video transcript for readability)
Hi there, welcome to the show. My name is Athol and let’s just jump to today’s question.
“How does my wife’s fear of intimacy for me change my approach. Her Dad died when she was fifteen. Mom kicked her out shortly after, and I was very emotionless and neglectful for many years. We’ve been together for eleven years and have two kids.”
Okay so let’s just stop it there. (1) Dad died when she was fifteen, (2) Mom kicked her out shortly afterwards and (3) husband was very emotionless and neglectful. Those are three bad things that would have a real have impact. What I want you to pick up on are all three things are variants on each other. They are the same thing happening three times when you dig down deeper.
So when Dad died, Dad has left her. He’s gone away. She no longer has the relationship with her father. There’ s a sense where he hasn’t done it directly, but indirectly he has rejected her. The relationship has ended because he died.
With her Mom, her Mom kicked her out shortly after. The relationship has ended, she’s no longer with her mother. Her mother has rejected her by kicking her out of the home.
With the husband, he was physically present, but emotionally he’s gone. He was withdrawn. The relationship is very, very minimal and in a sense he has rejected her because that relationship isn’t connective.
So it’s those three things, all three of them are rejections, it’s just variants on rejection. So as we go through the rest of his question, you’re going to see that she’s going to be really sensitive to being rejected.
Okay, so the question continues on. “In the last twelve to twenty-four months I’ve completely changed into the man I need to be and she deserves.” Great. “I’ve read your book and I definitely have a higher sex rank now and she’s acknowledged that.” Okay she’s acknowledged that. That’s important too. “I’m naturally and Alpha who’s learned how to do more Beta, but for too long I didn’t do either.” What he means by naturally Alpha is the attraction stuff, the Beta stuff is the comfort building and connection stuff. “She’s been a stay-at-home mom for a while and she feels somewhat lost. She’s finishing her degree online and wants to get a job soon. My actions have caused a bad fear of intimacy from her, which now I’m present and showing how much I love her, has really made her push back. I can see we’ve improved a lot over the last year but only recently have I really understood her fear of intimacy for me. How do I adjust my approach for this?”
Again, let’s just backtrack a little bit. “I have a higher sex rank now than her and she’s acknowledged that.'” So she’s kind of saying I’m starting to see you as being hotter or more valuable than me and now you have power and control of the relationship. So it’s not so much she has a fear of intimacy, though it’s kind of close to it, not so much a fear of intimacy but again it’s a fear of rejection. She’s worried that you’re going to leave her metaphorically or really like her father. She’s worried you’re going to kick her out like her mother. Or she’s afraid you’re just going to drift off and ignore her in the relationship and that’s how life is going to be.
She probably craves intimacy, she’s just afraid that if she has it it’s going to be snatched away. That’s what she’s worried about. She pushes back, she pushes you away because she’s kind of trying to beat you to the punch a little bit. She’s trying to reject you first, hold you at arms length first before you do it to her and she gets hurt again. So that’s why she’s reactive.
Okay, so you’ve done some good stuff. There’s been some progress. So what I want you to think of, and again this comes to the Chain of Seduction model I’ve talked about in the video series The Married Guy’s Guide to Wife, shameless plug.
The first link in the chain is the physical.
The second link in the chain is the attraction building.
The third link in the chain is the relationship comfort building.
And then after that is the question of does she have enough energy?
Then are you making good initiations?
And finally the consummation link in the chain.
So I’m going to assume the physical is pretty good, you’ve build up the attraction stuff and you’ve built up some of the comfort stuff. But she is hyper sensitive to rejection, which means her comfort link in the Chain of Seduction is very finely wired. She’s going to need a little bit of kid glove treatment in order for her to feel and experience true comfort, so that you can pass that link in the chain and go onto the other ones more successfully than you have.
For a woman who’s grown up and had a basically good childhood, didn’t have massive rejections, you doing an average or even below average amount of attempts to create comfort might be just fine. She might accept them just how they are and she may feel content and feel loved and secure in the relationship and you pass that link in the chain easily. But for your wife, she’s really sensitive to it. So she’s going to be a little bit twitchy on whether or not you’re actually expressing right, whether she feels love, whether she can be essentially not anxious about the relationship.
So there’s a couple of things you can do. The first one, if you haven’t done it, is actually apologize for what you’ve done in the relationship before now that was essentially not working and not good. Apologizing may be a really big thing because she may be holding on to that generic emotionless rejection that you did. If she’s holding onto it, an apology may be a required event to have any chance at melting that resistance.
The second thing you can do is you can over-communicate. There are going to be times when she’s not quite going to fully hear that you care about her. As an example she might be anxious if you are running ten minutes late to pick her up or meet somewhere. For a normal person who is not terribly anxious, hasn’t had awful rejections, a ten minute delay might not be bad. They might be a little bit annoyed because it took ten minutes, but they’re not feeling hurt, neglected and rejected. But your wife might. So it’s the sort of thing where you know there’s a potential where she can feel rejected and ignored and not wanted, you signaling ahead of time as clearly and as happily, hey I’m running late, I’m caught in traffic, I am coming, I’m not, not thinking of you. That can actually be really helpful and stop her sort of spiraling into that abyss of being anxious about how you feel about her, what you’re thinking, and all that sort of stuff.
So over-communicating, and basically you know… hey here’s me about to do the nice thing for you because I like you. Here’s me actually doing it, and hey remember I did the nice thing. So you probably can’t at this point over-communicate general affection for her and that you like her. So over-communicating can actually be really good.
The third thing is you can actually encourage her to seek help. If she’s never had any kind of counseling or talked to anyone, if she hasn’t dug into books about all of this, there may be some really fertile ground there where she can make some progress. It’s low hanging fruit in terms of psychology to think that well, she’s had three major rejections in her life and she may get something out of talking to someone and generally unburdening some of it.
We’re not looking for her to dredge up the ugly past and live it all again, but for her to understand that while her greatest fear is being alone and unwanted, she may unwittingly be doing things that are trying to propel her in that direction. Her pushing you away or lashing out, isn’t strengthening her own relationship.
The fourth thing, I think you have to be really, really careful of. When you are saying you have a higher Sex Rank and she’s acknowledging that, there’s a sense where she feels totally threatened. She feels totally on edge and thinks about oh my goodness, maybe he has someone else. What does he want? Is the relationship ending? What’s he doing? This just kicks off a tremendous sense of anxiety for her. It’s going to give her an enormous sense of dread, and it’s not that traditional Game sense subtle dread that entices her to pay greater attention. Instead she will experience overwhelming panic.
You’re already doing enough in terms of attracting her and the sore spot is getting her to be less anxious and more relaxed about it all, so that you can actually pass the comfort link in the Chain of Seduction and get on to the ones beyond that. So I would be extremely cautious about any indications of disloyalty or threat that the relationship might end.
Finally, I think that your overall frame with her, especially when it comes to maybe even suggesting counseling or whatever, is not so much that she is this broken person that you’re looking to leave, but “Hey, the relationship has really gotten a lot better, and it’s gone from a not so great place to an okay place. And I’m happy and content in the okay place, but we’ve reached this sort of plateau. The blockage getting from okay to really good, is you seem to be a bit anxious and worry about rejection. Some of it was about me. But a lot of it was about your Mom and your Dad, and if there’s something we can do to make this better I’m totally behind you 100% and we can take as long as it takes to improve things.”
So those are the things that I would do from this point. Apologize if you haven’t and you need to. Over-communicate when you’re expressing love and interest and you sense that she is potentially feeling ignored or rejected. Just a simple reaching out, texting, whatever. Be aware that it’s really not a fear of intimacy it’s a fear of rejection. Encourage her to find help. Be really cautious about any sort of displays of disloyalty. And frame the whole thing as the relationship has gotten a lot better. We’ve kind of plateaued a little bit, and this might be something to make things even better.
And that’s about it, I’m going to leave it there. If you haven’t watched the video series I think you’ll get an awful lot out of it.And until then, if you’re watching don’t forget to like, comment, share, subscribe…all that good internet stuff. My name is Athol, and if you have a question for me you can ask me at AskAtholAnything@gmail.com and I will catch you next time. Alrighty, bye!