Emotional Blockages and Apologizing

Athol:  The set up to the reader email below is that she complained he didn’t make enough money, so he made some career changes and made lots of money but wasn’t around much anymore. By his own admission he started ignoring her. He caught her affair just before it became physical. After that the cold war starts with her blaming him for driving her to an emotional affair, and him quiting the big job and not finding that helped with reconnecting… five years later he finds MMSL…
Reader:  I’ve waited for a long time to reply because I wanted to see how things were going to shake out. That said…you were fuckin right on the money. I went back to stage 3 and once again concentrated on myself while waiting for things to sink in with her. Finally after a couple more weeks she came to me and asked me if was leaving her. I told her I didn’t want to leave her but she was pushing me away a little more every day.  Well, our little talk turned into a huge fight until finally she yelled out “why don’t you just leave me like everyone else has!” That was the turning point. I sat there for a couple of minutes, pointed at her and told her I was going to leave the room for a few minutes and I wanted her to think about what she just said. When I went back she was still crying and I told her that I never left our marriage but she did. I told her I would never leave my wife but she stopped being my wife a long time ago and I just wanted my wife back. I also suggested that she was projecting her feelings from her parents divorce onto our situation and that it wasn’t fair to me. She said that her mother complained that her father was never there and that was why they divorced. I told her that I made a mistake working too much but I had been there at her side for five years and that she was the one acting like her father not giving any effort toward our marriage. I asked her if she would read something and I pulled up your January 4th post “Captain and Bored Passenger.” I told her I acknowledged my mistakes working way too many hours and not being there for her. I also told her she was doing the same thing by being there in body but not in spirit. Since then she has been making steady progress and things are much much better. In Individual Counseling she has discussed her mother’s LTR with a married man and her aunt (who she was very close to) cheating on her uncle many times while he was in the military. The counselor says that is most likely where she developed bad boundaries due to terrible role models.
I know you like to hear about your reader’s and their success stories. I just wanted to write you and let you know to make another chalk check-mark in the success column for me on your Saved Marriages Board. Thank you for everything you do and make sure to tell Jennifer that her sacrifices allowing you to do such good work helped save my marriage.

Athol:   Note the lack of a need for an ultimatum in this story. He just ran the MAP for several months and she brought it all to a head. Him simply becoming more attractive and starting to slowly withdraw from pursuing her was all it took.

Also as “non-Alpha” as actually apologizing and owning up to a mistake is, it’s absolutely key sometimes to breaking an emotional deadlock. And yes I agree, she shouldn’t have had an emotional affair and should have come to him with a fair warning of how things were slipping away. But that doesn’t excuse his wrongdoing of ignoring her for several years. Apologizing for your errors is fine. Just do it once and don’t repeat the behavior you needed to apologize for. Do not repeat the apology over and over, if they can’t accept it, that’s now on their end of the problem not yours.

Once you break the barrier on your side of the cold war, it’s far easier for her to break it down on her side. If she doesn’t of course, then there’s not much you can do about it apart from sadly wishing her the best of luck as you really do head for the exit. If she wants to hate you, she wants to hate you. It’s pretty hard living with endless hate when you want to love.

Also during the five year cold war, sex did resume and happen with some frequency, but she wasn’t orgasming. This in fact was the issue that drove him to seek me out. So… how is she on the orgasm front now?

Reader:  She says she is orgasming just like old times and I have also noticed a big difference. In fact the other day after a particularly energetic evening she said she could tell she had multiple orgasms the night before because she was still feeling it the next morning in work.
Athol:  Well giggity giggity giggity giggity, alright.


  1. I think apologizing whne you have done something wrong is very alpha and I think people commonly refer to it as "maning up".

    Someone who screws up and then makes excuses for it or denies they were in the wrong are not easy people to respect.

    It requires some personal reflection and some objectivity to realize you have made a mistake or how you have contributed to a problem. Again both very alpha traits to me.

    Glad this worked out well for him and for her.

  2. In Athol's usage, where alpha creates attraction and beta creates comfort, apologizing is beta. I agree that it takes some stones to do it correctly. But it's about creating comfort with your spouse.

  3. Just about anything is alpha when you're in confident control of the situation.

  4. Agree with the apologize once and you're done. If she can't accept, it's her problem, do not make it yours. Wish I had learned that before I married. I went down the apologize-multiple-times rathole, believe me the picture was not pretty. She is long gone, but at least I have this particular lesson down pat.

    Also should not apologize for something not your fault even if she blames you. If she's blaming you and it is really not your fault, not just you pretending that, then need to bump back.

  5. Yes agreed. In Athol's usage you are correct, because apologizing creates comfort therefore, it is beta.

    My usage is, being sure of yourself, self-aware etc… and being able to admit when you are wrong is alpha.

    Maybe it's just me.

  6. It's both Alpha and Beta. Alpha due to the strength displayed by leading and willingness to be unaffected by the outcome. Beta due to the comfort offered.

    Alpha anf Beta aren't opposite things.

  7. Good point.

    Just like dealing with two kids, "you're both right".

  8. LOL no not really like dealing with kids.

    I think people get caught up in the "Must be Alpha" zone a bit much. Beta is vital too.

  9. The OP's wife is nuts. She bitches about him not making enuf money to suit her tastes. So he changes careers, changes careers for goodness sakes, starts making more money just like she wanted. Now she's not happy about that either. How long before she starts bitching about not having enuf money again?

  10. I'm the one who sent Athol the emails. Yes I did change careers for her and yes I did give up the new career for her as well. All that was when I was biting the beta bullet. For 5 years she was emotionally distant from me and kept saying to give her time. Like a good beta boy I did exactly as she asked. We still had sex but I would have found a blow up doll more energetic and engaged. Finally I had enough and went looking for answers. I found Athol's blog and it was like someone hit me over the head with an anvil. I started running the MAP and at least I started feeling better about myself. But she never seemed to budge. I thought I was ready for stage 4 and confronted her but I wasn't really ready to issue an ultimatum. So I went back to stage 3 in earnest and decided to let nature take its course. You read the results.

    I contacted Athol several times during the whole process and he responded each and every time. Without his encouragement and insight I know we would be headed for divorce. Instead I have my sexy loving wife back. Thank you again Athol for everything.

    P.S. I bought your second book and it is awesome.

  11. Apologizing ONCE is.

    Her trying to rag you repeatedly for something in the past should be met with: "I've already apologized for that. Give it a rest."

  12. I have a similar Issue with emotional distancing.I had a rough childhood.Both physical and sexual abuse Occurred. Foster homes and shipping to family memberTo family member until I was 12. Moved in with mom
    brother got to be raised with a well off family member.Fast forward to teen years. Did as I pleased. On my own at15 yrs old.drank partied and ddid drugs.met my husband and quit.He made me want to be a better person. We have an intense love But have nothing in common. We are complete polar opposites.we marry have a daughter. He cheats four months after our daughter was born. I forgave him. Was hard and I know I gave him alot of grief. Over it. Fast forwards five years. My mother passes away with aids. I revert back to drinking. Two duos

    . Two
    duos in two weeks. Jail time. But instead a year of intense in house rehab for me. Luckily I can have mycdaugjter there

  13. ** can have my daughter there. 3 days after I was there my husband had slept with the neighbor. I came home for court 19 days after being in rehab.. he Was in a full fledged relationship with a 20 something with s child… again this from a man who is married and often stated he didn’t ever want kids.thru the entire year I was away he slept with seven other women. Including one who used to be a friend but I had to stop being her friend Bc she wasa whore. But good enough to sleep with I guess.the while time telling me he wasn’t so I would sleep with him. I took my daughter back to rehab with me and worked on me. I came home after a year still bent on making my marriage work. I was allowed back home but cold shoulder.no love just sex.
    He wanted several things from me. To quit drinking. Done haven’t touched a drop. Get a job since I mainly was an at home mom. Done started low on 3rd shift up to cushy office job with many duties. Done. I lost weight Bc when angry he brought up how fat I was my drinking how horrible I was before him. I have teeth problems now offered insurance thru work.this whole

  14. We eventually move and start over. Or so I think. He still says I hate you in anger. Still name calls. I also work taking care of my dad with ms.I’m constantly cheating or doing something wrong. New years we have a blow up. I decide that I’m not going to hear how much he hates me one more time. I decide he says it I will leave. He did. Now all of a sudden he loves me.wants to make things work. Needs me. Then hateful emails. Then he loves me again. And all my “self-improvement ” were geared to leave him. She. It was all for him… I’ve found a place but haven’t left yet. Been all I’ve known for the last 17 years… I’m able to do it on my own. But worry he won’t… I’m scared. My doctor told me to check this forum out… any advice??? On the brink to leave but in fear! I know both my daughter and I could benefit from a move. But a broken home is not always good either… any advice any one??

  15. The entire four years I’ve been back home and worked on all these things he wouldn’t acknowledge what others complimented. To him I was still the messy trash he hooked up with. We slept in same bed.. still do but under different blankets. His excuse is that I steal covers and toss n turn… but I did all this before and we never slept under different blankets… I’m just not sure but think divorce is more inevitable each day…

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