While musing about, I recently stumbled upon something, so I’ll blog it out and see how it turns out…
I huge fan of Dewdrops’ Blog because no one writes about not wanting sex as articulately as she does. No one I’ve come across, anyway. I’ve got another open spot or 3 if there are any others. As oppsed to many of guys who are hoping that our wives come ’round to wanting more sex, she’s holding on to the hope that her husband comes ’round to not wanting as much sex. It’s like an alternative universe or something, like that Star Trek episode where the evil Spock had a goatee. and it’s incredibly instructive to see the other side.
It came to me that her wishes and mine are not altogether different. Incompatible on most levels but not altogether different.
When my wife gives me “mercy sex”, I feel guilty for sort of making her do something that she does not really want to do. Dewdrop feels guilty for not having as much sex with her husband as he wants. As she puts it, it is a compromise where neither is very satisfied and both are left guilty.
But there is more to our desires than simply wanting to be satisfied and happy and wanting our partners to come around to our way of thinking. We want our partners to change in the way we want, not just to suit our desires but we want them to change to release us from our guilt. As long as we are compromising, guilt is elicited from our respective selves as we struggle with our partner’s feelings as well as our own. There’s kind of a vicious cycle going on here.
Guilty feelings breed insecurity, fear, suspicion, anger and a host of other emotions that may or may not be grounded in reality. We are seemingly at the mercy of our own selfishness and subjugating the other person in our lives to a load of ill will. We may feel angry at them for their own selfishness, but I think the core feature that is driving us batty is the feelings of guilt.
I can’t help but wonder if Dewdrop and I exacerbate each other’s guilt by reading each other. I see what my own style of selfishness elicits in her, and feel bad that if my wife were half as articulate, she’d be saying the same sort of thing Dewdrop writes about, mainly that I’m just a selfish, whining, weak bastard. At the same time, she reads about all my pain and angst and wonders why she is such a twat.
So while reading Dewdrop has helped me relate more to my wife’s feelings on the matter of not wanting sex 24/7, it hasn’t really done as much to address my own guilt. My guilt about her (my wife’s) guilt. That’s just the thing; we both feel guilty about what we’re doing to the other. We both want to be free of it. The seeming solution is for one of us to change. But the insane conclusion is that we wish the other person to change. And to do it without compromise.
That’s the real struggle. Compromise isn’t making either of us particularly happy. Even when we’re not having sex and even if I don’t complain (much) my wife knows. It’s the proverbial elephant in the room. She might try to divert herself by visiting and talking with friends (ironically, two of her best friends are HL who are either divorced or getting divorced from LL husbands), doing various activities and getting overly involved in the lives of our children, trying to keep her mind from having to grapple with the elephant. For my part, I wrap myself up in my work, the kids, the bills and try to find other things to be frustrated or happy about.
She doesn’t want to be bothered about it because to be bothered means having to confront the guilt. Being married to a condescending prick is hard enough without adding that on top of it all!
For my part, I have come to a deeper understanding that my own desire for sex is more than just a desire for sexual release. It is a desire for intimacy, where the ultimate expression of it is in the act of being naked with my wife. The heaviest cross that I’m bearing happens to be the apparent truth that my wife does not desire this level of intimacy with me. It seems to scare her, despite the fact that she has stated on more than one occasion that she would like a soulmate. A soulmate to her looks a lot different than a soulmate of mine. We both state the same goal, which is having a soulmate, but I’ve yet to hear her express what that is exactly. Her and I do have similar goals. I even reviewed some of those with her recently:
-We want our kids to be well-adjusted
-We both wanted to be happy
-We both want a debt-free retirement
-We both would like the other to be happy
-Neither of us really want to divorce the other
-We both would like to get along
-We both would like to be better Christians and be closer to God
After reviewing that list with her, I asked the one critical question: what have you done, lately, to accomplish any of those goals?
She couldn’t say, altho thinking about it now, I could have put in a few for her. She is good with the kids and she hasn’t seen a lawyer, yet. So those are something. I probably should have offered something, because that question probably elicited a lot of guilt in her right there.
But sometimes guilt isn’t always bad. It can be good if it motivates us to move and actually do something instead of moping around about it. Since that conversation, Arwyn has been trying. I can see it. I’ve seen her read a relationship book or two that I’ve bought, which is a new one for her. She did actually have sex with me before leaving town, even though she wasn’t particularly comfortable with it. She has become a bit more concientious about her spending . We’ve both been a bit better about sharing our faith with each other and even offering a smidgion of encouragement now and then.
None of these are solving anything, but they are positive steps.
For whatever reason, Arwyn and I were brought together and we are meant to be together until whatever end. When it comes to increasing the quality of my character and stretching my limits, Arwyn has been my best teacher. I am forced to learn things I would not otherwise learn with a partner who was more compliant. Despite a sizable arsenal of psychological knowledge and skills, I have been forced to develop more and grow more than I ever thought possible. Arwyn has been the greatest challenge of my life. I have helped others make incredible turn arounds in their thoughts and behaviors. But Arwyn is more resilient than any of them, and has forced me to become stronger and more resilient in response. I’ve also had to confront my own thoughts in new and novel ways that I would not be apt to do otherwise. Living with her has forced me to grow. A body is either growing or dying. Sometimes I wonder which I’m doing.