Athol: Alpha and Beta are two separate Traits. So you were likely being some combination of being “not enough Alpha with her” AND “not enough Beta with her” over the last few years.
The not enough Beta angle is going to seem very unfair to you, but here it is… If you (1) didn’t make enough money, the lack of money means not a very comfortable existence = not enough Beta. But… if you (2) had to be gone an awful lot working your ass off to make enough money, the lack of you being around and emotionally present means not a very comfortable existence = not enough Beta.
So either way, on the Beta front, you were going to come up as “not enough Beta.” This is called a Double Bind. Over the long term I personally think the making the money is a better strategy, but it can feel emotionally hollow to her. I get that you didn’t want to turn yourself into the family ATM, but if you’re essentially gone a lot and your major contribution to the family is your income… you’re the ATM.
Thus the response to combat that now is to bring your own emotions into play and express them to her. Express to her how much you didn’t want to be apart from her and the kids to go to work. Express to her how you thought you were doing the right thing keeping the family afloat. Express to her you thought that if you could push through the rough few years, that she would appreciate what you had put yourself through just so you could be with her. Tell her you thought she would love you more, not love you less.
Tell her you thought you were working to save your family, not lose your family. It’s okay to lose it a little on this point. I’m not saying turn into the blubbering snot monster, I’m saying let her see that you’re actually invested in the relationship emotionally. Show some force of emotion.
The Alpha stuff I think you have a fairly decent handle on. Just keep doing what you’re doing as obviously you’ve seen the benefit of adding that into the mix. She’s starting to experience that as you distancing yourself from her though, so you do need to keep the Beta stuff together and balance it out.
Though once she got pregnant to you again, the payoff for the Alpha increase diminished greatly, and she’s right back at that feeling of needing far more relationship comfort from you. I’ll talk about how to handle her being pregnant tomorrow.