As far as separating, I don't want to separate from my wife, nor break up my family. And please understand, my motivation is not just so I can have relations with another woman. I love my wife. I couldn't imagine being sexually intimate with another woman right now, thats not what I am looking for. I am concerned with general intimacy. Hand holding, hugging, cuddling. Kissing hello and good bye. Those are just physical things. How can I truly connect and open myself to her when I know she doesn't feel the same towards me? I don't know if I am explaining myself adiquately. How long can I live without those things?
She is willing to stay in the marriage as long as there is nothing physical means you have a chance to win her heart again. After all, YOU ARE THERE!
For now, I suggest putting all touch on the shelf for when SHE begins to initiate it.
meanwhile, please consider my story:
I loved my friend William. Ours was a friendship of deep intimacy and absolutely no physical contact at all. Until I met my beloved friend, I could not understand what John Paul II had written in his book Love and Responsibility
about true intimacy. I had always assumed intimacy meant touch. But then there was William, in all the years we were friends we hugged ONCE. His handicap sometimes meant he needed to put a hand on my shoulder to get up or down an incline or step, but that was totally non-intimate touch. But we were friends, there for each other, sharing conversation and helping to lift each other's burden. He died a couple of years ago and I still miss him!
Perhaps your wife's heart can be won by developing non-physical intimacy. Doing the things that make her life easier. Do you know HOW she likes the toilet paper hung? Find out and do it that way, ditto dishes and laundry. Check her gas gage and if you drive the car ALWAYS return it with a full tank and the tires and fluid levels checked.
My husband does so many small things that make my life better--like making sure my car is filled, and picking up after himself, and saying nice things about things I do well, or encouraging me by pointing out where I have done something well in an area I often do poorly.
He emails me articles he thinks I might enjoy.
He makes it possible for me to go do things I enjoy but which are difficult to do with the baby by being there and giving her a bottle when I am gone. I come home to a happy child.
What does your wife value? Is she the sort who would feel loved if she got flowers or some small gift? Or is she more practical and would rather someone mopped the floors with scalding hot water and then washed the mop and rags and put them away?
What things has she been bugged by in your marriage? Could you work to fix them? I know that when some habit of mine bothers my husband I work to change it. A marriage near break-up probably has plenty of this sort of thing you could make an act of love for her to change your pattern.
LISTEN to her rant. Resist the urge to defend, define, solve or advise. Just listen. Ask her how it makes her feel, and listen to her talk some more. We women really need to vent and when a man listens and doesn't attempt to solve it, but sympathizes and encourages (simple phrase like, I think you are on the right track--don't add anything else, just let her talk and you listen.) If we are able to vent until we wind down (and if things have been bad for some time there may be a backlog) then we feel better and can begin to problem solve for ourselves. The person who did the listening is going to have a positive balance in the "love bank" if they do it properly. NOT EASY, but an act of self sacrificing love.
THANK her for each and every thing she does. Compliment the food.
Do not attempt to help her improve with criticism--it helps my hubby to have a solid critique of his efforts. Every critique is a painful stab to my soul. I can deal with it at work or school (because there logic outweighs emotion) but NOT from the person with whom I am supposed to be open and vulnerable.
Some women need words. Some women desire silly gifts. Some women cry over little notes. Some women cry over a paid up credit card. Some women swoon over an involved father.... what does it for your gal?
When you learn what her heart needs then you can win her love back. But to get there you may have to let go of the physical side without any expectation that the physical side will ever come back.
If you love her enough to love her without the physical stuff--then you probably love her enough to win her heart back.
But healing takes time and you need to make your loving non-physical actions into habits so that they do not cease if she begins to warm back up to you. A con job won't do it, it has to be real.
But you can do it. Love is to will the good of the other at all times no matter what it costs you. It is action for her good. Seek that good so that she can feel loved. ANYONE can love because God put that capacity into us as "image and likeness of God" and even though marred by sin, we still have that capacity. God's grace is abundant and always available to help us love. God wills that we love, and so when we seek to love as He does we are doing His will and pleasing Him. If the family fails it should not because you did not "love your wife as Christ loves the Church".
Be faithful like God is faithful. He loves even when we don't love back.
That she is willing to stay in the family with you, keeping together for the kids, means you have a chance if you are man enough to imitate God.