I have been married for [a few] years. I have [multiple] children with my wife who it is relevant to mention is [Asian]. We live in [the Asian country].This debacle illustrates the central problem with marriage 2.0. The man simply lacks any material leverage, while the woman has the entire power of the state at her back. And unfortunately, while most women prefer to be at least a little circumspect about resorting to the leverage this gives them, the wife openly revels in her dominant position in the marriage. My strong suspicion is that she married him to avoid being married to a dominant man of her own culture and since the novelty and imagined status of the Westerner has worn off, she really doesn't want to be married to him anymore.
As far as my rank on the Game scale goes, I'd say I have a lot of gamma tendencies which were probably at their worst during high school and my early years of university. All the sort of behavior that I later learned women find unattractive was exactly the way I would act. I changed as I grew up and I lost weight, was introduced to Game, got a bit more confident and things improved. I think it is important I mention this past though because I probably display these tendencies more since marriage.
After I'd begun dating my wife one of the first things she mentioned was how I had ignored her the first time we met - something I noted as a sign of improved Game. We were fine when we dating and had a good sex life and both of us would initiate intimacy and we both usually reciprocated. This was healthy but our first year was turbulent for other reasons largely related to money. Since our first child, my wife has generally not initiated intimacy and when she didn't refuse, she became a lot more mechanical and treated it like an inconvenience. It continued on well after the birth and after our child became easier to manage.
She made the same sort of excuses mentioned by the spreadsheet man. She was tired, didn't feel like it, was sick and often stomach pains were the excuse. When I get angry or frustrated she will actually tell me I should just masturbate. She once suggested I'm treating her like a prostitute and she has also broken down with water-works when pushed. This is now just as bad after our second child was born. I should add that even her desire for a second child wasn't matched by much sexual desire towards me.
When she does reluctantly become intimate she avoids kissing me, letting me touch her breasts and sometimes keeps herself partially clothed. She more importantly doesn't seem to enjoy it and I''m not selfish or quick with her or. This has frustrated me because it is sometimes weeks or months between encounters and even when she does reluctantly do it, she is as described. Recently she's also been going to sleep early on days where we planned (around children) to be intimate.
Now since we've been married I have generally maintained a good weight, I don't drunkenly try to mount her or force her in any way. I have been given signals and even hit on by other women when at other social events, whether with friends or work related. I have always refused these advances without a thought or avoided flirting back. I naturally want the marriage to work especially with children and not a chance in hell of keeping them under the [Asian country's] legal system.
I have gone about things a few ways, I have told her explicitly that I can get what I want somewhere else if she won't. She was previously jealous of other female co-workers and friends - especially before marriage. She has responded to such suggestions by telling me I would "lose everything" if I ever did while maintaining a cold shoulder towards me.
The above was a bluff of course. I don't want to cheat on her and I would be wrong if I did but I have recently been very tempted. She still maintains the same cold attitude and I have recently been hit on by someone I am attracted to. Nonetheless I've resisted these advances but I would be lying if I didn't admit to being tempted. And this is what really worries me because I am tempted by female advances where I wasn't before. I could live with my lackluster sex life before by telling myself that the children should come first and adultery is adultery however I try to rationalize it. But as you can imagine, I am at the very least reluctant to stay married to her once my children reach maturity no matter how much it ends up costing me to leave.
The only things I can think to add are that she also belittles me, telling me I'm lazy even though I work full-time and recently got promoted. She constantly holds the children up as threats and associates not obeying her wishes as somehow not caring about the children. She plays my older child against me sometimes telling me I scare him when I am angry to her. She also uses them as excuses for not feeling like sex. A lot of our marital problems can be blamed on the lack of money flow but I don't much feel like getting more liquidity for someone that treats me like she does. Living where we live and her reluctance to move also make this a bigger problem. And despite this, we are actually quite comfortable and not lacking for anything generally speaking.
There are two things to keep in mind here. First, not all marital problems can be solved. Second, all strategies for addressing and attempting to solve marital problems have to be viewed in terms of estimated probabilities. It's not about knowing the magic word or striking the magic pose, but rather giving oneself the best chance of success. And sometimes that best chance is still a long shot, which appears to be the case here.
This man will have to decide what level of personal degradation he is willing to accept for the sake of being near his children. My belief, however, is that children are always secondary to the marriage. They are the fruit of the marriage, but both the husband and the wife who insist on always putting the children ahead of their marital partner are making a fatal mistake that will ultimately harm the children.
After some reflection, I think the emailer should simply return to his homeland by himself for two weeks to get his head clear. Being in foreign land is intrinsically unsettling in multiple ways. He should just go, without asking permission, without making a big deal of it, and without staying in close contact while he is gone. If she asks why he is going, he should tell her, honestly, that he is thinking of returning home and he wants to see what his employment prospects are there. No mention should be made of divorce or ending the marriage, no threats or ultimatums should be given, just a simple statement of intent.
She will probably react with dire theats. These must be met calmly and with civil resignation. "I understand, all the same, this is what I'm going to do." There is no point in explanations. She already knows perfectly well why he is considering a permanent return. And once there, he needs to seriously think upon whether he wants to continue to live his life that way or not, and if he wants his children to witness the ongoing humiliation of their father or not. There is no correct answer here, it is an intrinsically subjective call.
These ugly situations are much harder where children are involved, but to paraphrase the Biblical wisdom, he who seeks to gain his children will lose them. The only way to prevent a woman from using your children against you is to make it clear that doing so will accomplish nothing whatsoever, and since he's already made a very bad mistake of trying to bluff her, and having his bluff called, she's not going to believe any posturing on his part short of actually packing up and leaving for a time. The only way to nullify open threats such as these is to materially demonstrate their impotence.
It must be admitted that there is a chance that the woman will file for divorce during those two weeks. All he may accomplish here is to speed up the inevitable. But even that can be seen as a positive step of sorts. To be honest, this doesn't sound like a marriage so much as a wintry battleground.