You're a "Nice Guy."
Read "No More Mr Nice Guy" By Robert A. Glover.
Read this book! It is not about becoming a dick to others but learning to stand up for yourself
No More Mr Nice Guy by Dr Robert Glover
"Nice Guy Syndrome" trying too hard to please others while neglecting one's own needs, thus causing unhappiness and resentfulness. It's no wonder that unfulfilled Nice Guys lash out in frustration at their loved ones, claims Dr. Glover. He explains how they can stop seeking approval and start getting what they want in life, by presenting the information and tools to help them ensure their needs are met, to express their emotions, to have a satisfying sex life, to embrace their masculinity and form meaningful relationships with other men, and to live up to their creative potential.
Sounds like the problem I had with porn .... Wife caught me... Your story is literally what happened to the wife and me.
My porn use was a form of meditation, I could zone out to porn and did not have to think about work, marriage, kids, The more you watch the more your brain gets addicted to the Dopamine rush..... You then spend hours and hours looking for the one image that will trigger that rush. Then you throw the shame and guilt on top and WOW it starts all over again.
Two things that helped me out big time was a book called No More Mr Nice Guy by Dr Robert Glover - The book is not about being a jerk guy but in my case it was that I would try and please everyone all of the time, I hated conflict , everything needed to run smoothly... with this a lot of Nice Guys Turn to Porn...... My wife was mad for about 2 years, we did a lot of counseling and worked through it
I hope this helps
I also joined his porn addiction group Sons of Ulysses
> set aside time in the evenings to just be “with” my wife, not just in the same room on our phones.
That's an attraction killer right there. There is a lot of value in these books, they have helped a lot of men.
The above book isn't about being a dick, it's about being assertive and being able to communicate your needs. It's loaded with exercises to do with your spouse.
Then, for the warmth and attraction you are missing form your wife is proablly your fault and you don't even know what you did. All married men should read this book.
If one of thoes books help you make sure to play it forward and help another man. It's why I'm here taking punches in the face in blue pill land.
To add to this reading list:
When I say No I feel Guilty
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Very generally, both books helped me understand that I was looking to others for approval, rather than finding approval from myself. I think it would be worth reading for any man, but especially what OP is describing.
>In short, I kind of feel like we should call it off. I've actually tried to do so a few times, but she becomes so inconsolable and sad- and I feel guilty about moving and, for that one year period, being a super shitty boyfriend- that I quickly cave. It seems clear to me that she will never call off the relatonship/engagement. Perhaps because she feels the pressure of biological clock, is worried what other people think, or something else. But she wont call it off, and she wont change.
>The biggest thing to me is that I am starting to mimic her verbal abuse. I've NEVER been one to argue in a relationship, or really in general (not in a mean spirited way). but i occasionally curse at her. on 3-4 occasions, she has even become physically violent with me. I'm not in physical danger or anything and I'm not pretending its remotely the same as the reverse (gender speaking), but its a level of "crazy" i never wanted to be involved in.
>Plus she is almost 35, and feels she is running out of time.
That's a dangerous place to be for you. This is where unexpected pregnancies tend to pop up. Think about this from her perspective. She's 35, if you leave her, she has to secure another male and get him to commit, that could take over a year. Then she has to spend enough time with him to build a relationship and get a proposal. Then she has to conceive, it takes 9 months to make a baby if she gets pregnant on the first attempt and you should read some facts about how hard it csn be to conceive at 40 because that's where she will be. Her time Is running out and it has to be you. These are the worst possible conditions to set up a healthy marriage.
You don't value YOURSELF. That's your main issue. You lived in the Bay area as a young professional that means you have earning potential. And you sound like a good man.
You need to set better boundaries.
You have already been nice enough putting up with what you have so far. It's time to be a bit unnice.
Your friend might find the book "No More Mr Nice Guy: A Proven Plan for Getting What You Want in Love, Sex, and Life" useful.
The difficulty of trying to improve 'social skills' is that social interactions are not automata, that is, there is no fixed flowchart or script you can learn that will work in every situation. The solution? Develop the correct mindset and inner pillar of confidence and everything will grow from there.
No book will ever replace real-life practice, but your mentality determines pretty much everything when going into these situations. It impacts your growth, direction, perspective on situations, and most importantly, your confidence.
Practicing The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Mindefulness Meditation and inner peace
I am not a spiritual or religious person, this book has some religious flavour but the ideas are powerful. I've been looking for a good book on mindfulness meditation and similar practices and this has been pretty good so far. The mind is a tool, mindfulness meditation gives you the skills to control it. Helps you get 'out of your head' which causes you to blank out, or fall into one of your 'ruts'.
Just As You Are by Nick Sparks
Confidence and Mentality
I haven't read this in a while but I found this to be helpful at the time. The main thing I got out of this was the concept of ruts, and general discussion about what they are and how to deal with them.
Mastery by George Leonard
Mentality and Growth
Social skills are 'skills' just like anything else. Mastery is a fantastic short read discussing the journey to mastery in any skill, the expected pitfalls, and the mentality needed to get there.
The Like Switch
Fairly good read, I liked this better than the ever popular 'How to win friends and influence people'.
No More Mr. Niceguy by Robert Glover
Social ruts and self-reflection
The 'niceguy' syndrome is a very toxic mentality that infects a fair number of people. This will stop you from becoming an r/redpill or r/incels person.
No More Mr. Nice Guy.
You can try Models by Mark Manson. Or possibly No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover.
I've read the former and it's pretty much TRP self-improvement advice without the misogyny. I haven't read the latter but I think it's the same.