I think maybe he feels like he is trying, but I am not giving it 100% because I still love C.
And I feel like I am trying, but he is not giving it 100% because he doesn't think the ways I need to be loved are valid, or possible for him. (He says he can't flirt, etc.)
Just because two people are willing doesn't mean they can figure out how to tango. I guess we just need to keep practicing.
Yes. Do keep trying to bridge the emotional distance if your goal at this time is to keep the marriage.
"Thinking" or "feeling" is not "knowing"... Like you KNOW the green is so because you talked and verified that YES.
This IS how he feels. Have you talked? and KNOW that is how he currently feels?
Could you ask him why your loving C means he feels like you do not love him? (go into it knowing he may not be able to articulate it well.)
Could you be helping to create the emotional distance by being too "C news broadcasty" in your enthusiasm and alienating him? (Sorry, I cannot think of a better way to express that.)
Sometimes the existing partner is not ready to hear your love for your Other at "full volume." It's natural to want to share it, and it's natural to want to share it with your closest people -- and he's one of them. Disclosing personal things creates emotional intimacy.
But if it comes at "too loud a volume" and pushes his "Ack!" places could it be "feeding" emotional distance between you right now? Like he's not ready to hear it at that level? Could you perhaps could try to "lower the volume" temporarily? See if that improves the emotional distance?
Could share your joys here or with other friends or with C in the meanwhile.
The other part
could be you accepting his personal limitations maybe? I have a friend who is borderline Asperger and he's not always on the money for emotional intelligence and can mess up with people.
If you husband cannot flirt -- could be specific. Like...
"These things are "flirty" to me. Please do them once in a while."
I listen to shared friends sometimes express frustration with Asperger friend. I listen to Aspserger friend sometimes express frustration with shared friends. I don't seem to have a problem with Asperger friend myself because when we interact it's pretty straight up black and white.
I want something, I say "I want this, like THIS." He can do that. I do not interact with friend expecting him to be able to pick up on all the paraverbal or pick up on emotional moods. So I try hard to not "go into gray spaces" that would frustrate both of us.
He sometimes tells me things in the weirdest ways but I try to overlook the awkward "packaging" of the words and look at the feelings
behind the words. Could you try that?
When he talks about boring tech things... I would say your husband is trying, he cares for you. Could kiss him, praise him and tell him thanks for talking to you, you love hearing his voice.
Focus on what you want more of. Talking to you. Worry about WHAT you talk about later. I know it is dull now, but maybe he's a carrot dude and not a stick? My Asperger pal does better with positive reinforcement than negative. Could perhaps try that?
I'm sorry this hard -- but I see you trying. I'm assuming you want to be present in the marriage and I am assuming that the marriage is just in a rough patch, not like "dead man walking." (You are the one actually there to be able to discern that kind of thing.)
So keep going and keep trying to tend to the marriage. Sometimes a harvest takes a while to reap.