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  • I Need Relationship Advice

    Hello

    Can I ask this forum for some advice / thoughts on my current situation? I've posted before about being in a sexless marriage. I'm an American, and my wife is Japanese. We've always lived in the US, so I'm not that familiar with Japanese customs. I didn't find this forum until after we got married, and was surprised to see some posts that described my situation exactly.

    Well, my wife said she wanted to work on our relationship, and we both wanted a baby, so we had one a year ago. However, after my wife got pregnant, she literally wanted no type of physical contact with me. I'm not talking about sex, but just any kind of hand holding, hugging, etc. I wrote it off to pregnancy stress, but it has continued to this day (our daughter is now 13 months old). She doesn't even like it when I sit on the couch next to her, and will purposefully choose a seat in a further location if I'm already on the couch.

    I found that if I tried to initiate contact (not sex, but even a hug or a kiss) I get one of the following responses:

    A. Physically pushed away.

    B. A 'I'm totally not into this' return where it's either 'I'm going to turn sideways and hug you' or turn my cheek so we don't kiss on the lips.

    C. A clearly annoyed expression with a 'why are you making me do this' attitude.

    She knows I'm not trying to make a play for sex, these are just regular affectionate type behaviors that I'm assuming most husbands and wives exhibit.

    So a few months ago I realized that these interactions just made me more depressed and frustrated, so I stopped making any attempts. The results are that there has been no physical contact made since then. I brought it up a couple of times and was told 'I'm too tired for this.'. Ironically, when she comes home from work (we both work, and in case it is important I do make more money than her), if I'm already home I'll bring our daughter over to the door to greet her, and she'll hug and kiss our daughter and then walk off.

    We had a major discussion about this last week where I asked her if she just wasn't interested in me anymore that I'm ok with it, and I'll never abandon our daughter, but I can't really live like this. Her response was that this kind of affection isn't normal for Japanese people, she never saw her mom and dad do this (by the way - her mom and dad are divorced largely because her dad was cheating), and that she loves me but doesn't really feel like doing this so if I want it done, I need to do more to make her feel that way.

    Obviously, this is being written by me so it is biased, but I'd like to say that I'm a clear above average husband and father. I do more than 50% of the housework, cover quite a bit of the parenting duties (washing clothes, giving baths, feeding). I don't go out with my friends anymore (I do exercise, and wake up at 4:30 AM to get it done before work). Most importantly, we met in the US, and I know she's not from here, so I take care of a lot of her problems and issues (I often go to her Dr appointments to make sure she understands what is being said, I take care of all insurance headaches, finances, etc).

    So where I'm going is that I'm not just shirking my duties. And I'm feeling pretty unappreciated and taken for granted.

    We got married in 2006, and since then there's always been a reason about why she doesn't feel like having sex. I put up with it thinking 'for better or for worse' and we'll work this out. There's still no sex (our daughter is the last time we had sex, so we're almost at 2 years), and no there's no affection. I used to watch those movies/shows where the tearful housewife was always balling and saying 'he doesn't even touch me'. I always thought they meant sexually. I didn't realize it was an actual physical touch. I also didn't realize the level of rejection and loss of confidence you feel when the person you love goes down this road.

    So my question to the forum is, am I now 100% in the same category as the other posters? I've read that some people can't be moms and wives. Did this happen to me? Has my wife quit on the marriage? Obviously, hard to 100% generalize, but is there any way out of this?

    I do love my daughter (and still my wife), but I feel extremely lonely, and tired of living with just a roommate. I never want my daughter to feel abandoned, so I'm not going anywhere (although my wife has mentioned before if she can't take living in the US, she'll take our daughter and go back to Japan - I don't think she can legally do this thought), but I'm beginning to think about finding a lover outside my marriage.

    Any advice is appreciated (good/bad/humorous/insulting) - and thanks to all who made it this far in my story for listening.

  • #2
    Make sure that the wife is not allowed to take the daughter to Japan! If you let her you will never get her back. Many threads here on that!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by FAC103 View Post
      I do love my daughter (and still my wife), but I feel extremely lonely, and tired of living with just a roommate. I never want my daughter to feel abandoned, so I'm not going anywhere (although my wife has mentioned before if she can't take living in the US, she'll take our daughter and go back to Japan - I don't think she can legally do this thought), but I'm beginning to think about finding a lover outside my marriage.
      Hi, firstly i'm sorry to hear about your situation, women can be really unreasonable at times. One thing to bear in mind, some Japanese will literally abduct their own child/children and take them back to Japan, completely cutting off their foreign spouse, and often the courts in Japan do actually protect them, especially if it's a woman. Even though Japan recently agreed to the Hague convention, the details are yet to be worked out, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interna...ction_in_Japan.

      I doubt that's going to happen, but there is a small chance it could, not sure what to suggest, but just be aware this is'nt all that rare.

      I'm not sure what else to suggest really, although I would'nt blame you for finding a lover outside of your marriage, this could be rather inconvenient and difficult to keep secret for the many years you would need to do that untill your daughter is fully grown. My understanding of marriage here in Japan is that it can be a bit of a farce, meaning that couples will marry, but both happily cheat away to their hearts content. I spoke to a guy who has been here for about 10 years, he tells me he used to make good money as a fake chaplain type figure at wedding ceremonies, but he quit it because he realized marriage in Japan is just an appearance.

      Not saying all Japanese marriages are like this, i'm just saying what i've heard and the way I see it.

      I hope you find a way out of your situation

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by FAC103 View Post
        Hello.... Did this happen to me? Has my wife quit on the marriage? Obviously, hard to 100% generalize, but is there any way out of this?

        ....
        yes, it happened to you, but do not feel bad. it is not you. it happens because the two of you have had different cultural programing. She is fulfilling the role she is supposed to. You are trying to do the same... and that is where the rift exists. Even worse, she was raised to NOT have any options, SO for her, ALL alternatives are unimaginable, untested, untried, and risky. I am sure she feels like she has lost at this stage of the game and looks to recoup her winnings when you kick the bucket. Most married females in Japan feel the same. Divorcing for personal happiness is unheard of... ESPECIALLY if there are children involved.

        If you asked her, "Are you happy?" and "Do you wish to live entirely on your own, with partial support, and share in the custody of our daughter?" I would bet money you would get a "NO" to both questions!~ Go figure. In Japan, life planning is what your boss does for you, or your parents, her parents, or your University professor.... never oneself.

        I pray that you at least have a relationship with your daughter. In Japan, any relationship between fathers and children is strained due to lack of time together and all the brainwashing that goes on while father is away. I have been in the presence of mothers, with their children, saying disparaging words about the bread winner. My mother went out of her way to remind us all that my father was doing for all of our family.


        Consider all possible living arrangements for yourself. Do you want the mother of your child living with you and your next wife??? Would the next wife want that?? Do you want the mother of your child back in Japan with the shuttling of your daughter back and forth two or three times a year??

        Comment


        • #5
          Your situation sounds truly horrible.

          If she says she loves you, you know that can't be bad. If you need to do more to make her feel "that" way? Find out what it is you have to do. If your situation has gone from bad to worse after having a kid maybe you can read about what might make a new mother turn off, so to say. There are most likely general things to be learned and perhaps you can find something good to work with. Most people are like most people after all.

          Another option could obviously be to talk to her about a possible divorce, but seeing that you might lose your daughter maybe that is not a risk worth taking. Especially since japanese women abducting their children and cutting of the father is not unheard of. Do not do this if you are not seriously considering it, since she might take it for a threat and that can not be a move towards better things.
          If things seem to go from bad to worse, make sure you get prepared. Read about other cases like this, see a laywer, make him or her understand your fear of being cut off, and get a clear picture of what you expect juridically.

          We went for many months without sex after our first child, but the other stuff was usually alright. We have had to work for it and we had a period when we got closer to start feeling like friends. Together we managed to find our way back by trying to pick up old habits; talk more and not only about the kid, watch more movies, try to squeeze in a visit to a restaurant we used to go to, play more Bomberman and stuff like that. We also started to pay a lot lore attention to touching each other and being close, though not only for sex. It is easy to lose all those things you used to have together when a kid comes along, including the physical stuff. That part is often forgotten when talking about getting a child.

          I, like your wife, have very few memories of my parents showing each other affection. They too parted, when they thought my brother and I were old enough to be able to cope with it.

          Whatever you decide on doing the most important thing is probably that you are honest to yourself. If you deep down have given up and want to move on, it will very very hard for you to muster the energy to make things better...

          Ps. I asked my wife and her advice on where to start is to make sure you don't have a bad breath thing going. Ds.
          Last edited by theBrokenMonkey; 2013-08-25, 12:38 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            If she still really loves you, there are ways to win her back.

            I doubt she wouldn't try to help if she saw you in a truly depressed state.
            Maybe you are too strong.
            Show your weakness, even if you have to fake it a little bit, and she will make some efforts.
            One thing I've learnt after many years is that the Japanese can feel more empathy than most westerners.
            The trick is to trigger this empathy. Did she ever saw you cry?
            Women are emotional and you have to use it to your advantage.
            Why do you think they love so much watching soap operas?

            One other issue is that she might take everything you do for granted without even realizing it.
            When you do something for her, why nor requesting a kiss or a hug in exchange?
            This can be done humorously so that she doesn't feel threatened.


            Originally posted by FAC103 View Post
            Hello

            Can I ask this forum for some advice / thoughts on my current situation? I've posted before about being in a sexless marriage. I'm an American, and my wife is Japanese. We've always lived in the US, so I'm not that familiar with Japanese customs. I didn't find this forum until after we got married, and was surprised to see some posts that described my situation exactly.

            Well, my wife said she wanted to work on our relationship, and we both wanted a baby, so we had one a year ago. However, after my wife got pregnant, she literally wanted no type of physical contact with me. I'm not talking about sex, but just any kind of hand holding, hugging, etc. I wrote it off to pregnancy stress, but it has continued to this day (our daughter is now 13 months old). She doesn't even like it when I sit on the couch next to her, and will purposefully choose a seat in a further location if I'm already on the couch.

            I found that if I tried to initiate contact (not sex, but even a hug or a kiss) I get one of the following responses:

            A. Physically pushed away.

            B. A 'I'm totally not into this' return where it's either 'I'm going to turn sideways and hug you' or turn my cheek so we don't kiss on the lips.

            C. A clearly annoyed expression with a 'why are you making me do this' attitude.

            She knows I'm not trying to make a play for sex, these are just regular affectionate type behaviors that I'm assuming most husbands and wives exhibit.

            So a few months ago I realized that these interactions just made me more depressed and frustrated, so I stopped making any attempts. The results are that there has been no physical contact made since then. I brought it up a couple of times and was told 'I'm too tired for this.'. Ironically, when she comes home from work (we both work, and in case it is important I do make more money than her), if I'm already home I'll bring our daughter over to the door to greet her, and she'll hug and kiss our daughter and then walk off.

            We had a major discussion about this last week where I asked her if she just wasn't interested in me anymore that I'm ok with it, and I'll never abandon our daughter, but I can't really live like this. Her response was that this kind of affection isn't normal for Japanese people, she never saw her mom and dad do this (by the way - her mom and dad are divorced largely because her dad was cheating), and that she loves me but doesn't really feel like doing this so if I want it done, I need to do more to make her feel that way.

            Obviously, this is being written by me so it is biased, but I'd like to say that I'm a clear above average husband and father. I do more than 50% of the housework, cover quite a bit of the parenting duties (washing clothes, giving baths, feeding). I don't go out with my friends anymore (I do exercise, and wake up at 4:30 AM to get it done before work). Most importantly, we met in the US, and I know she's not from here, so I take care of a lot of her problems and issues (I often go to her Dr appointments to make sure she understands what is being said, I take care of all insurance headaches, finances, etc).

            So where I'm going is that I'm not just shirking my duties. And I'm feeling pretty unappreciated and taken for granted.

            We got married in 2006, and since then there's always been a reason about why she doesn't feel like having sex. I put up with it thinking 'for better or for worse' and we'll work this out. There's still no sex (our daughter is the last time we had sex, so we're almost at 2 years), and no there's no affection. I used to watch those movies/shows where the tearful housewife was always balling and saying 'he doesn't even touch me'. I always thought they meant sexually. I didn't realize it was an actual physical touch. I also didn't realize the level of rejection and loss of confidence you feel when the person you love goes down this road.

            So my question to the forum is, am I now 100% in the same category as the other posters? I've read that some people can't be moms and wives. Did this happen to me? Has my wife quit on the marriage? Obviously, hard to 100% generalize, but is there any way out of this?

            I do love my daughter (and still my wife), but I feel extremely lonely, and tired of living with just a roommate. I never want my daughter to feel abandoned, so I'm not going anywhere (although my wife has mentioned before if she can't take living in the US, she'll take our daughter and go back to Japan - I don't think she can legally do this thought), but I'm beginning to think about finding a lover outside my marriage.

            Any advice is appreciated (good/bad/humorous/insulting) - and thanks to all who made it this far in my story for listening.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by FAC103 View Post
              Any advice is appreciated (good/bad/humorous/insulting) - and thanks to all who made it this far in my story for listening.
              The biggest problem I see in your case is that it sounds like the sex was neither good nor plentiful before the baby came along. It is not uncommon for married couples to go through a rather sexless period while the child(ren) are in the first few years, but then pick back up quite nicely. That could still happen for you, but it seems far less likely.

              I guess there's not much you can do in the near term except keep battling it out. Finding a hot Japanese mistress to take care of your needs won't be easy seeing as you are living in the US; that's probably what most people in your situation would do, if they were living in Japan; not saying that's right or wrong, of course.

              Originally posted by cakeman View Post
              I spoke to a guy who has been here for about 10 years, he tells me he used to make good money as a fake chaplain type figure at wedding ceremonies, but he quit it because he realized marriage in Japan is just an appearance.
              The fake priest quit because things were just about appearances? I love you people!

              Romantically.
              A.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think you should be more open about the problem, talk to her about the problems and if it cant be solved then its all up to you to decide what to do.

                EDIT: Tell her how sh!tty you feel lately

                Comment


                • #9
                  Do you think she's sincere when she says she loves you, or is she saying it for katachi (good form), out of fear that you(r wallet) will leave her, or because your daughter will be hurt?

                  If she is sincere, does her concept of marital love fulfill you?

                  If you think there's potential for a future together, consider marriage counseling. She'll probably refuse, but suggest it anyway.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Married life always has rough patches but cross-cultural marriages are really vulnerable in ways that others are not. It takes pretty strong will to be together and make it work. well_b's post was incredibly well put (except i disagree with the last paragraph). I wonder if you wife really has any will or desire to change to accommodate your needs. As a Japanese wife she would sort of expect to go her own way completely and live for the kid while you are presumed to be off working all the time. In other words what she is doing is well within the bounds of normal in Japan and she probably expects she's well within her rights. Do she have any real will to break out of that stereotype? BTW have you tried or discussed counselling? One problem with that is that your relationship problem is also based on the cross cultural issues and I could see a normal counselor being quite ineffective if they didn't take that into consideration!

                    Her own parents are a very strong model and it almost sounds like she *might* even have unspoken issues like having seen her Dad being friendly in a hugs and kisses way with the GF (which she may or may not even remember). I'm throwing that out at random - my wife was in the middle of lots of big arguments between her mom and dad as a kid and she used to really freak out whenever I raised my voice about anything. After 33 years together she's a little more cool about it, although mostly I learned what is unproductive in how I related and vice-versa. If anything like that is going on, it would probably take some years of therapy for her to ever break out of the effects.

                    I would agree that if things don't work out and the wife decided to return to Japan -- and she will most likely have no qualms about taking the kid and doing this even if a US divorce or court mandated joint custody agreement exists, Japanese courts will never find against her. It will almost certainly be considered way too much effort and 'confusing' for the child for you have visitation rights even if you come to Japan. And unless she runs counter to type and is willing to put up with some kind of joint custody arrangement (which her friends and family will consider quite weird, maybe bad), there is no way she'd let the kid come to the US.

                    I know a guy who got divorced not long after they had a child and managed to keep on very good terms with his-ex so that at 10 years old he finally was able to take his son to the US without also taking the ex along, for summer vacation visit to grandparents. I'm just saying that 'shuttling 2-3 times a year', even if you consider that not so bad, is just not going to happen. The whole society will want the girl to be Japanese and want the kid to avoid all the perceived (meaning their own) discomfort of having a foreign dad in the picture unless maybe, and it's a bit maybe, you also reside in Japan. Of course if the wife is good with staying in the US and getting child support indefinitely then you'd be OK if you are on good terms, maybe even if not because US courts are serious where Japanese courts do not enforce joint visitation even if they mandate it once a month. Be very clear about that!

                    Best case the wife is willing to change, willing to go to counselling, and you can find a good counselor who knows how to help. OTOH counselling is far from mainstream and she might get upset if you push too hard on that, thinking that you are labeling her with stigmatizing mental problems.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It sounds like you have a few issues:

                      1) She is depressed.
                      2) She doesn't see you as a (sexual) man.

                      Some thoughts on #1 from reading your post:
                      * She may be burnt out from trying to work and raise the child
                      * She may be unimpressed that she has to work while you have a child (Japanese women expect to not work after babies)
                      * She may be depressed over the differences between what she thought child raising would be, and what it's like in another country

                      Some thoughts on #2 from reading your post:
                      * You help out with the housework lots - this is not particularly manly in Japan (men don't really do housework here)
                      * You may have done something else that made her think of you not so manyly
                      * She may just not be into sex, or even into men

                      You need to work with her to figure out if any of these are true, and why. Are you happy with this woman otherwise? Is it just the no sex that is the issue, or are you unhappy in general?

                      Trying to stay with her in a holding patter isn't going to work. You need to break the pattern, but it may be impossible. Do make sure you research how you can prevent her from leaving the country with your child in the case that she decides to do it behind your back. It does happen, and if it does, you will likely never see your child again until she is an adult. If you can keep her in the US, you will be protected by the rights of the law in the US.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TheHotCondom View Post
                        Make sure that the wife is not allowed to take the daughter to Japan! If you let her you will never get her back. Many threads here on that!
                        Given what the OP wrote my guess is the marriage is dead.

                        For whatever reason the wife isn't interested in sex (or at least with him ) and if he continues to push this she'll likely make an exit plan.

                        Once that happens all bets are off if she returns to Japan with the child.
                        Last edited by Ken44; 2013-08-25, 09:38 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'd try talking to her... but TBH I know a lot of Japanese people that are unable to rationally express why they feel a certain way. The worst is when your partner thinks something is wrong in the marriage, but has nothing more than a vague idea of what they think is wrong, doesn't know what they want, and/or doesn't have any ideas on how to fix it. Counseling can sometimes help this, but often Japanese have too much pride to go.

                          I'm hoping she'll come around for you, OP.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            How about changing things? You never know and what have you got to lose. Tell her that you have been thinking about it and that you think that the best thing for your daughter would be that she gave up her job and became a full time mum. Give lots of reasons why you think that is best for your daughter and couch it so that by doing it she would be acceding to your request.

                            If money is a problem then she could look for part time work or look to develop something she can work on at home. Anyway, no-one said having children was cheap and that it didn't involve sacrifices. Economies can be made, savings deployed and bridges crossed later.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I know a lot of couples like yours and it's fairly common here. If you don't work on it,sex will just really stop. The difference here though is there is still some kind of respect and affection,the Japanese way. The wife will still make the husband's bento, polite and nice to each other but infrequent or no sex. Literally living together like house mates or siblings and for the better ones,like friends. They try to persevere because of the kids, society and for convenience. Are they unhappy? It depends. Some have this unspoken rule of you go your way,I'll go my way,we're cool this way. I hate to say it's in the culture but it's so common and nobody's really complaining.

                              From a woman's point of view, I have a feeling she doesn't feel the same way towards you anymore. You can try wooing her back again but unless she reciprocates, it's gonna be exhausting doing all the moves and eventually, you'll lose interest too in the end.

                              Seven years with a small child. I hope things will change for the better for both of you.

                              If not, I see no reason for both of you not to be free and find someone else you can be happy with. A child will not grow up happy anyway growing up in a loveless environment.

                              Comment

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