Christmas Day

December 26, 2006

12/25/2006

 

Merry Christmas.

 

The boys are playing with their various Christmas presents and are having a fine time.  Grandma is also here helping to keep them entertained.

 

 

I get along with Arwyn’s mother just fine.  Many men grouse about their in-laws and I suppose I could find fault if I looked.  But I’m not looking and we do just fine despite no longer having that bonding experience we formerly shared of smoking together in the garage.  Yes, smoking was as much a social thing as a physical/behavioral thing.  I may yet crumple under and grab one.  Or simply pluck a part of one from the ash tray.

 

 

Yesterday morning, Arwyn took the boys and her mother to her new church.  I elected to sleep in.  Arwyn and I did later talk a bit more about her favoring this other church and I now get it a bit more.  It’s more to do with children’s Sunday school and its unfriendliness towards autistic kids than anything else.  That makes some sense and I guess I didn’t pick up on it before.  It’s something I might actually have a greater degree of control over, although not gladly.

 

 

In the evening, we went to the candelight service at the Methodist church.  We survived another year wothout burning the place down!  I’m always amazed that there aren’t more fires with that many open flames.  But it happens all over the world every year.

 

 

Then we came back from church, ate dinner and proceded to the gift opening.  Doing this Christmas eve does keep the boys up later but it has really and truly worked out for us.  While the boys know all about Santa Claus and are huge fans of the movie The Polar Express they are unplagued by all the uncertainties and problems a visit from Santa represents.  They know who their presents are from, and still enjoy them immensely.  We aren’t threatening them with a lump of coal if they aren’t good.  The locus of control is squarely within our house, not on the whims of some other fellow who breaks into our house.

They get their pictures taken with various Santas, both white and black but its just like getting a picture made with a giant bunny at Easter or that giant rat at Chuck E Cheese.  There just isn’t a whole lot of myth wrapped up in this one character.

 

 

Arwyn and I both grew up in the more traditionally Santa-centric Christmas holidays.  We both grew up waking up and finding our stuff under the tree.  And there is a lot of magic and wonderment surrounding that tradition.  But within the world of childhood, and particularly with autism, there’s already some notable problems distinguishing reality from fantasy.  It’s cute when little boys and girls get all excited about Santa Claus.  It becomes less so when it’s an adult in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.  And letting go of things is not a strong suit for folks with autism.

 

 

Anyway, it’s become our tradition and it works.  Our kids are just so indifferent towards Santa (he’s cool but not too awfully much looming large) that they aren’t wrecking Christmas for other kids by revealing “the secret” or spilling the beans.  They are fine going along with the other kids or not.  They’ll write letters to him the same as everyone else.They just won’t require an extended post-Santa transition.

 

Sheesh.  I never meant to drone on so long about that!  I guess I feel a bit outside the mainstream in that we’re not going along with everyone  else  Arwyn and I have differring reasons for opening gifts on Christmas eve.

 

 

Arwyn hates waiting and hates surprises.  So she’s fairly impatient and actually had the boys open their first present earlier in the day.  The other things I’ve mentioned are simply secondary benefits she  enjoys.  So she just wants to dive right in, and waiting until Christmas morning is too much.

 

My biggest reason is that I don’t want my boys’ first big crisis of faith to be all about Santa Claus.  They may have other issues, and in fact are guaranteed enough other dysfunctions in their lives.  Why heap on another one?

 

 

Back to the narrative…

 

 

We played with the various toys until well past the boys’ bedtime.  We finally got them in their jammies and put to bed.  Arwyn and her mother stayed up a bit later while watched some TV.  MIL went to bed while Arwyn was fiddling with pictures on the computer.

 

I lay in bed wondering; would the odometer flip tonight?  Or be reset?

 

 

Finally, Arwyn came in the bedroom.  She went into the bathroom and came out without her panties!  She ceremoniously tossed them into the clothes bin, came ’round to her underwear drawer which happens to be on my side of the bed.

 

 

I was frozen like a deer in the headlights.  I could neither move or speak.  I merely wondered.  Her naked bum flashed beneath her sweatshirt whilst she found another pair of bikinis.  My heart was pounding in anticipation.

 

 

Arwyn scurried to the foot of the bed and around to her side.

 

 

Anticipation.

 

 

Peaked.

 

 

And…

 

 

well…

 

 

 

wasted

 

 

 

365.

 

 

She jumped into her panties, put her shorts back on and went back to the living room.  When she finally came to bed a couple hours later, she gave me a kiss, wished me a Merry Christmas and was out with her head at the foot of the bed, wrapped in her own blanket.

 

Thus my longest sexual dry spell since the first time I ever had it.

 

D.

 

 

 

 

 


364

December 24, 2006

Days without intercourse

I am trying to think back. Back, back, back, back, back.

 

When was the last time I went an entire year without sexual intercourse?

 

When Arwyn was preggers with our second, she was on bed-rest from the moment of conception. Close, but no. There was some very awkward fumbling after 10.5 months, but we did have sex again.

 

Before dating Arwyn, the previous girl I had had sex with the day after Christmas. I fucked her in a new nightie I had bought her. But she wasn’t so into it and I could tell we were on a down hill slide. I moved my stuff out of her house that week. I fucked Arwyn the first time during the second week of December the next year (1994?). Very, very close there, but not quite a year. Another couple of weeks and it would have been a year.

 

Before my two year period with the old girlfriend, I had a series of short-term affairs from my first month in Georgia. My last year in Iowa I had a few women…

 

Dead Ringer. The first girl I was ever naked with but never had sex with. 1989. George H.W. Bush. The Berlin Wall was still standing. The Soviet Union was still our most feared adversary. The price of gas was about $1.00. Pee Wee Herman was the #1 children’s television show on Saturday mornings. Arsenio Hall was the coolest late-night talk show host.

 

The last time I had a dry spell this long, I was typing my thoughts on a Laser 128 (an Apple IIc clone), with 128K of RAM, no HD and everything was stored on 5.25″ floppies.

 

My sexual history didn’t even really start until I was 25 years old. I wanted to wait for the right one. I really did. I went all the way through high school and graduated college without having sexual intercourse. I was tempted and came close more than once. Sometimes the girl stopped things and sometimes it was me. But I held off longer than most people who are reading this.

 

And now, I am back to where I was 20 years ago. Living in the same house and often sleeping in the same bed as a woman who is neither my mother or my sister. We’ve seen each other naked on a few occasions in the shower. Kissed each other several times. We made two boys by joining together as one flesh. But we have not done that since Christmas Eve 2005. And that was actually a good time. There were a few attempts after that, but around February I gave up. I had finally been turned away and rejected too many times. Almost our entire 10 year marriage has been characterized by clashing libidos..

 

I want to smoke. I want a smoke SO bad. Smoking was more than a habit. I could blow smoke to express anger. I could flick ash and inhale deeply and feel the nicotine bind within my blood stream, firing off the serotonin in my brain. I could exhale smoke out my nose like an angry, snorting dragon. I was one with the fire.

 

The cigarettes were always there. Always dependable. I never had to wonder, “Am I going to get any pleasure today?” It was always one flick of the Bic away. Never further than the closest convenience store. And all the store clerks around knew who I was and what I came for.

 

I could light up over and over throughout the day. Hit after hit. Stroking my brain with masturbatory excess giving myself mini-pleasures over and over. Cigarettes were dependable. They never got pissy. They never had a period so they never had PMS. They were never too tired, too busy, too uptight, too satiated.

 

I am missing them mightily.

 

D.

 

 


My SECOND counseling experience

December 22, 2006

Over on my other blog, I do go into my first experience with counseling, when I was in my 20’s.  FTN left a comment and in the midst of my reply it hit me that that was not my final go ’round with counseling.  Oh no.  I did have another experience.

In fact, it was with Arwyn.   How’s about THOSE apples?  Merry Christmas to all of you, too.

Many churches have a rule that if you want to get married, you have to go through some sort of premarital counseling.  I just heard on the radio today that the state of Tennessee has made it mandatory for couples wanting to get married in that state to attend 4 hours of premarital counseling.  Or else pay a $60 fine.  As a result, the rate of marriage in Tennessee has gone down as couples cross over the state line into Georgia to avoid the counseling and the $60 fine.  And people derride ME for avoiding counseling?!?  This only goes to sow that most people do avoid counseling like the plague and go through tremendous amounts of trouble to avoid it.  I’ve known several couples who chose their churches on the basis of avoiding premarital counseling.  And now folks in Tennessee are crossing the state line to escape it.  The state doesn’t mandate the type and scope of the counseling, just a minimum of 4 hours.

Folks, it is not that big a deal.  Really.  You’ll spend a lot longer picking out flowers than 4 hours.  In our case, I’m not sure we got a full 4 hours.  We did have to pay $20 or something but again this is miniscule compared to the real wedding expenses.

Thchurch Arwyn and I got married in was not our own church.  In fact it wasn’t even in our own state.  We got married 1,000 miles away from where we were living mainly because our families all lived within driving distance of the twin cities, not Atlanta, Georgia.  And the church in which we were married was not a Methodist church nor was it a Methodist minister.  We were married at her Dad’s church by a minister who eventually was expelled from the ministry due to a gambling addiction.

I wonder; would that void our nuptuals?

Anyway, that church and pastor in Minnesota required that we attend marriage counseling so our pastor at the Methodist church was more than willing to oblige.  I had known this guy for a number of years.  He knew a thing or two about marriage since he was on his second marriage and had been married the second time for at least 10 years.  Like most people living in the Atlanta area he was from Ohio.  So I’ll just call him Ohio.

The first and longest step in the counseling experience consisted of Arwyn and I independently ans simultaneously taking a test.  Yes, we took a written fill-in-the-bubble-with-a-#2-pencil test.  I wish I could remember the name of the test, but it was norm-referenced and was designed to compared and measure compatibility on a number of dimensions.  Financial, child raising, family involvement, spirituality and..um…oh yeah…sex!  Those are the only ones I can think of.

We took the test, paid $20 for the results and waited a couple of weeks for the results.  They had to be sent in and machine scored and then the results were cooked and boiled into a nice little report.  Then we got the phone call that said the results were in and could we please meet with Rev. Ohio to discuss our results.

Like most couples who go through this, we were already well into the engagement and wedding planning process at this stage.  Maybe that’s why so many couples avoid this whole business because what if they tell you that you are totally doomed?  Whose going to call off the wedding at THIS point?!?  And so it was that we were both a bit nervous about the results.  Rev. Ohio sat us down and discussed where we had most of our differences, which were just about on every dimension.  You know it’s bad when the pastor asks you if you’d like a drink before you get started.

Actually, it wasn’t too terribly bad.  Or maybe Ohio minimized those differences.  Who knows?   But Arwyn and I did have differing views on most dimensions and we differed by statistically significant margins.  I’m thinking at least 1 standard deviation on everything except the spirituality part, where we were most compatible.  But let’s get to the nitty gritty…

In the sex department, I had desired it pretty much every day at least once per day.  By this time, that isn’t what was happening, though.  Arwyn said maybe 2-3 times per week.  She said that out loud as well as on the test.  She was somewhat embarrassed talking about sex with this pastor, and mentioned that she was wondering about having sex before we were actually married.

Ohio said that we were well into our 30’s and well into adulthood.  He said go ahead and enjoy.  I’m not sure if that helped her or not.

But other than going over the results of that one test, there wasn’t much more two it.  Those two sessions were pretty much it.  Like I say, I don’t think we did a full 4 hours, but Rev. Ohio in Georgia okayed us with Reverend Minnesota so we were deemed good to go.

I’m okay with the experience, but maybe we should have gone back for more testing.  Maybe we should have had a support team look at our results and write up an Individual Marriage Plan (IMP) that we would review annually to determine how well we were doing and to set annual goals and objectives.  We could then determine what level of support we might need in order to have a better and more nurturing marriage.  Perhaps there should be a “regular” marriage track and then a “special” track for those of us who test in the significantly impaired range.

Just a thought.

Fact is, no one likes others poking and prying into our private lives.  Yeah, you all read about it in my blog(s), but that’s me disclosing in carefully edited and measured amounts over a period of time.  Okay, not so carefully edited.  But I retain pretty much absolute control over what happens in this little space.  It’s relatively safe compared to the wild and wooly worldof real life in front of live people, talking live and disclosing live.  This is why most TV shows are taped instead of broadcast live because the producer wants to control what the audience sees and feels.

Anyway, that was counseling #2 for me.  It was not very intense.  In fact, it should have been more in-depth but most couples will not tolerate even that much.  I’ve never jumped the state line to avoid counseling or paid a fine, but at the same time I’m not going out of my way to get it at the moment.  So to say my experiences have not been overly impressive would be accurate.

D.


Personality Profile

December 15, 2006

If you know your profile, you can check it by clicking on it here.

Just find it in the top of the page.  The following is my personality type according to the Myers-Briggs personality profile.  If you don’t know your type, click here and take the test!

This is my profile:

Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging
by Marina Margaret Heiss

Profile: INTJ
Revision: 3.0
Date of Revision: 27 Feb 2005


To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of “definiteness”, of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion “Does it work?” to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

INTJs are known as the “Systems Builders” of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play, as INTJs can be unsparing of both themselves and the others on the project. Anyone considered to be “slacking,” including superiors, will lose their respect — and will generally be made aware of this; INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers. On the other hand, they do tend to be scrupulous and even-handed about recognizing the individual contributions that have gone into a project, and have a gift for seizing opportunities which others might not even notice.

In the broadest terms, what INTJs “do” tends to be what they “know”. Typical INTJ career choices are in the sciences and engineering, but they can be found wherever a combination of intellect and incisiveness are required (e.g., law, some areas of academia). INTJs can rise to management positions when they are willing to invest time in marketing their abilities as well as enhancing them, and (whether for the sake of ambition or the desire for privacy) many also find it useful to learn to simulate some degree of surface conformism in order to mask their inherent unconventionality.

Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ’s Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations.

This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense. 🙂 This sometimes results in a peculiar naivete’, paralleling that of many Fs — only instead of expecting inexhaustible affection and empathy from a romantic relationship, the INTJ will expect inexhaustible reasonability and directness.

Probably the strongest INTJ assets in the interpersonal area are their intuitive abilities and their willingness to “work at” a relationship. Although as Ts they do not always have the kind of natural empathy that many Fs do, the Intuitive function can often act as a good substitute by synthesizing the probable meanings behind such things as tone of voice, turn of phrase, and facial expression. This ability can then be honed and directed by consistent, repeated efforts to understand and support those they care about, and those relationships which ultimately do become established with an INTJ tend to be characterized by their robustness, stability, and good communications.

[ed. note -Hey!  You can all stop laughing at that last part — good communications!  HA!  Actually, writing is a form of communication so it might be a stretch.]

Famous INTJs:

Dan Aykroyd (The Blues Brothers)
Susan B. Anthony
Arthur Ashe, tennis champion
Augustus Caesar (Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus)
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
William J. Bennett, “drug czar”
William F. Buckley, Jr.
Raymond Burr (Perry Mason, Ironsides)
Chevy Chase (Cornelius Crane) (Fletch)
Phil Donahue
Michael Dukakis, governor of Mass., 1988 U.S. Dem. pres. candidate
Greg Gumbel, television sportscaster
Hannibal, Carthaginian military leader
Veronica Hamel (Hill Street Blues)
Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote)
Orel Leonard Hershiser, IV
Peter Jennings
Charles Everett Koop
Ivan Lendl
C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Joan Lunden
Edwin Moses, U.S. olympian (hurdles)
Martina Navratilova
Charles Rangel, U. S. Representative, D-N.Y.
Pernell Roberts (Bonanza)
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California
Josephine Tey (Elizabeth Mackintosh), mystery writer (Brat Farrar)
Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor
Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense
General Colin Powell, US Secretary of State
Lance Armstrong
Richard Gere (Pretty Woman)
Katie Couric

U.S. Presidents:
Chester A. Arthur
Calvin Coolidge
Thomas Jefferson
John F. Kennedy
James K. Polk
Woodrow Wilson

Fictional:

Cassius (Julius Caesar)
Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
Gandalf the Grey (J. R. R. Tolkein’s Middle Earth books)
Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)
Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis
Ensign Ro (Star Trek–the Next Generation)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Hamlet)
George Smiley, John le Carre’s master spy
Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs)

Here’s another similar link to my profile that I quite like…maybe it’s because I like being a Mastermind!LOL!

I’ll see if i can get arwyn to take this and see what hers is.  I’m guessing INFJ based on my feeble memory, but we’ll see.  I used to be more of an ENTJ, but the extroversion has almost totally disappeared.  I wonder what’s up with that.

D.


It’s Been Awhile…

December 13, 2006

I’ve gone to bed early the past couple of nights (a bit more on that in a minute) so my online blogging has been limited.  Arwyn has been spending more time on the computer doing various projects, plus I’ve had other things going on.  I know a lot of you blog before/during/after work on your work machine and I would periodically do some after work hours in the past.  But our machines at work are under increasingly tight IT lockdown and anything by Blogger is blocked.  Which means most of you and many of my own blogs.  For whatever reason, WordPress has not been locked out, blocked or whatever.  This was another reason for my switch, because even though most of you are Blogger readers/writers, WordPress is just a more accessible system for me.  The day will come when that will probably blocked by the Fun Police as well, but in the meantime I’ll do what I can.

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve had much drama at home.  One reason for that is that we’ve been in this mode of parallel lives.  We go to different things with different combinations of the boys at different times, wake up at different times and go to bed at different times with me staying up until the wee hours.  At least until the last couple of nights.  I was so tired Monday night, I kept snoozing off while channel surfing.  When Arwyn came in and said she was going to bed, I had no problems turning the TV off.  Sometimes she’ll ask if I’m going to be up and if I’m watching a movie she’ll go sleep on the couch.  But usually I’ll get up and go to the computer so she can sleep.

 

Last night, she was doing stuff for her little job and I was making stuff in the kitchen towards the Christmas effort.  Arwyn actually caused a little extra work there because she ATE the stuff I had made 2 weeks ago!  Hopefully the stuff can survive the next couple of days. 

 

So last night it just so happened that we went to bed about the same time and I was again, quite tired.  I think it goes without saying that there was no sex on the table.  Sex has not been on the table since last year’s holiday season.  I am approaching that 365 mark without sex pretty rapidly, here.  Considering the length of the dry spell, I don’t think I’ve done so badly.  I haven’t made any sexual demands or put any pressure on or said anything.  Yeah, I know how you all have vociferously asserted and opined that all the avoidance business has been detrimental but at the moment it has been okay.  At least last night I hadn’t the energy for any of it.  I didn’t think she did either as she was coughing and acting like she was coming down with a cold.

 

I was busy dozing when I felt something…it was Arwyn giving me a neck rub.  I was in that haze between waking and sleeping and it felt sort of good.  I didn’t say anything or react in any way except to stop snoring which is probably why she was doing it.  My snoring has been an ongoing source of conflict for quite some time.  I figured not smoking would help lessen it but Arwyn is one of those who doesn’t tolerate any noise while she sleeps.  Even though she snores all the time, I don’t let it bother me.  I just like the sound of her breathing.  So she rubbed my neck for awhile and then must have stopped. 

 

A little note for those of you new to my story:  Arwyn and I sleep in this inverted position head-to-toe, so she must have had to switch position to get to massaging my neck.  But I wasn’t thinking anything at the time except that I was tired.

 

It was not long after when I felt her drape her leg across my back and was moving, moving, moving it all rhythmically on my back.  That was just odd and weird.  Again, I figured she was trying to get me to stop snoring and this was better than kicking and beating the shit out of me like she is otherwise prone to doing.  But she kept doing it.

 

It has been so long.  It has been so very long since I had really had any sort of touch from my wife.  I came out of my haze and my fire was lit up.  Now I was moving rhythmically, grinding into the bed.  I turn toward my bride and put my hand on her (totally clothed) butt.  I was still moving.  She swatted me away but I persisted and then she got up, grabbed her pillow and blanket and stormed off.

 

“What’s wrong?” I asked, knowing the answer all too well.

 

“I just wanted to sleep!”

 

Well, shit!  You know what?  That’s kind of what I was doing!

 

It took me awhile before falling asleep again, since I went from amorous to furious in the space of about 20 seconds. 

 

I woke up late this morning due to the lack of sleep and there was some rushing about trying to get out the door.  Arwyn seemed to be a bit (a bit) more friendly than her usual just ignoring me this morning but there was no time for getting into it.

 

I suppose, according to the fundamentalists, getting bunk beds is violating my marriage vows, too.  

 

D


Crazy About Psychopathology

December 7, 2006

I’m in the process of reading. Feel free to read along and comment as needed.

Meta-analysis of Marital therapy Outcome Research

IBCT

Feet dragging

EFT

This reminds me of all the years I smoked. I got tons and tons of advice on it and how much I needed to quit and the benefits of quitting and the bad things that would happen if I didn’t quit. There are a ton of interventions for kicking the habit, some better than others. As it turned out, I just got sick and tired of being addicted.

It also reminds me of all the horse shit that is shovelled our way regarding autism and autism interventions. Fact is, there are presently NO empircal treatments for autism. None. Many show promise, but none have met the modest criteria for being judged empirically efficacious. And yet there are all sorts of therapies, diets, books, and more books out there selling crap that is supposed to “cure” autism. Each and every vender says, “Why don’t you just TRY this? What’s the harm? Don’t you think you owe it to try every single thing you can to help your children?” Trying to guilt us into pouring money into useless crap. And it works on Arwyn many times. But now, even she has become suspicious of every “miracle cure” because we have gotten burned so many times.

There are no magic pills, diets or therapies.

D.


A Few Words About Divorce

December 6, 2006

This seems to be a major theme ripping through parts of my little blogger circle (See Desmond, Christian Husband,  Desperate Husband and Aphron) and since I can’t help but think I’ve sort of inspired some of their thoughts, I’ll speak more directly to it.

 

First off, I’m in agreement with most of what most of the the gentlemen above have written on the subject.  I believe marriage is intended for life.  I believe God hates divorce.  I believe it is harmful to children.  I believe it is rare that an intact marriage is more harmful to children than a broken one.

 

And so it is that divorce has never been option #1, #2 or even #3 for me.  But let’s be honest; it still makes the list only it doesn’t place high enough to put money on it.  There are many things I’ve tried and still many I have yet to try.  At the same time I’ve entertained the thought in my mind and tried to imagine what it might be like and tried to carry the scenario through.  I just have a hard time seeing good come out of it.  I suppose anything can eventually come out for the good just as things that start out good can eventually turn to shit.

 

I see divorce as a nuclear option in the marital relationship.  Liz Taylor and Richard Burton aside, filing usually results in fantastical feelings of feverish fury.  For some reason, at least one person in every couple seems to have the need to be an asshole.  There are feelings of hurt and betrayal and perhaps envy and jealousy.

 

I like to have a blog or two in my blogroll where the folks are going through a divorce just as a reference.  Right now, Artful Dodger is the lone holder in that category, although Desperate Husband, Always Aroused Girl and Freebird are all moving in that general direction.  I have tracked several bloggers over the past couple of years as well as people I know in real life.  It is NEVER as easy as it looks and it always takes longer than you think before it’s over.

 

Arwyn’s father is going through his second divorce.  It’s been over a year and they are just now wrapping things up.  It really was a very nasty affair with the woman trying to dig into his pockets as deep as she could despite the fact that she was able to put her entire paycheck for the last 25 years into savings because he paid all the bills. 

 

Donald and Gina have given a little better look as they were married a week after we were.  Donald, despite making a 6 figure salary plus having all expenses paid, is being a savage heathen when it comes to his ex-wife and son.  He basically tried to empty the house of its contents and leave them with nothing.  As it is, they both sleep on mattresses on the floor in a modest ranch style house, while he just bought another big house and has all the furniture.  Except for the purple couch.  They are still fighting over a purple couch and they are each paying large sums of money to an attorney to get a judge to rule on who gets custody of a purple couch.

 

Divorce robs people of whatever sense they had before and they end up being petty, mean and spiteful.  Children end up getting the short shrift.  There really is no way to spare or shield children from it.  In Donald and Gina’s case, the poor boy is used as a pawn to gain leverage or advantage.  Donald wants joint custody simply to not pay child support.  But it isn’t joint custody at all as Gina has the boy most of the time.

 

As far as Arwyn’s dad, it still affects the kids.  For one thing, his X  put a lien on all the property so she gets it before the kids do.    There goes their inheritance.  He has a lien on property she owns but she doesn’t have any kids.  The sad thing is, they each are hoping the other dies first.  Let’s see, he has a history of heart problems and is 15 years older.  OTOH, she is a full-fledged drunk which is sapping her health.  Bets anyone?

 

Arwyn’s parents divorced when she was a about 15, and her mother never remarried.  Her mother lives in Florida in government housing, and now can get along with her father fairly well.  I think they do talk on the phone on occasion.  Back when they were together, Arwyn’s father was the one who was the alcoholic. 

 

Anyway, the seeds of our problems were likely sown in the wake of her parent’s divorce.  My parents have been married for almost 44 years.  Can you imagine?  My Dad’s parents were married for almost 65 years before Grandpa passed away.  My mother’s parents were married for about 50 years before Grandma died even though Grandpa’s parents were divorced (in an Irish Catholic church, no less!) when he was very young.

 

This is the thing: I know a lot of people who have been divorced.  I’ve dated a few of them.  Divorce does not make people bad and it is not a sign of some special weakness.  Shit happens.   It only takes one person of the two to be determined to make a divorce happen for it to occur.   It’s like involuntary celibacy; one person gets all the power.   It’s actually more of a wonder that there are not more divorces than there are today.  Why aren’t we all more like Britney Spears or other people in Hollywood? 

 

God does not like it, and I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who got married with the intention of getting a divorce later.  A lot of things happen in the world that God doesn’t like but they happen anyway.  We are weak and frail beings and prone to temptations and mistakes.  It’s such a part of our flesh to not want to commit and sacrifice and struggle and go through pain and suffering.  But we end up putting ourselves through more in an attempt to escape and avoid it.

 

With a 50% divorce rate in the U.S., it is something that has touched all of us through parents, siblings, children and friends.  It cuts through the entire fabric of our society socially and economically.

 

I’ll go ahead and extend the divorce topic a bit more by talking a bit about couples who have children with disabilities.  The divorce rate there is at about 80% for these parents.  Indeed, an intact family with children of disabilities is a much rarer thing.  I do know a few, but even among them I can tell you that there are problems and struggles.  Talk all of the problems associated with raising a normal child and multiply them many fold.  Think about the additional financial stress, the physical drain of the extra time and work involved and just issues of acceptance and denial.  The president of the Autism Society of America, Lee Grossman, is a member of the divorce club.   Look at some of the folks we know; Celibate Husband, Cinnamon, Cat, Summer and Confused.  I think there are a few more, especially among the lurkers.  All of us dealing with similar issues of health and behavior of our children.  Most of us have fairly young children under the age of 10.  Will those of us still married today remain so 10 years from now?  According to statistics, perhaps one couple might still survive intact but even then the odds are even that that couple will suffer a great deal more dysfunction if not marital dissatisfaction.

 

Faith in God is one issue that many have brought up.  However I have come across some sources that cite and even higher divorce rate among those identifying themselves as evangelical Christians than those who do not.    Clearly there is a disconnect between what we say we believe and what we actually do.  And don’t be all that surprised.  I think the more vociferously we assert our opposition to a habit or choice the more vulnerable we are to it.  Just like the head of Evangelical Christians and various clergy people leading double lives as far as sexuality.  Now they are judged by the same measure they judged others, aren’t they?

 

And so it is with divorce.  I do entertain the thought sometimes.  I am not in favor of it for a variety of reasons but I am so not condemning others for finding themselves in that circumstance.  I don’t condone every choice, and but I’m not clubbing a body for it.

 

Desperate Husband is the best example I can think of who seems to have inspired the best and worst in people on several of these levels.  Do I think he’s making the best decisions?  No.  The man is hurt, wounded and suffering and is just not seeing anything straight.  I identify with so much of it and he’s fallen for an Online Friend who is meeting needs his wife can not and will not.  Various commenters (mostly anonymous women) have verbally ripped him to shreds.  I suspect many of them have been on the blunt side of a relationship like this.  But they can not heal their own wounds by making him feel worse.  And calling him a jackass or a whoremonger is hardly going to help him deal with his pain. 

 

The pain of abandonment and rejection is unlike anything else, and this is at the core of what we’re talking about.

 

While I have most recently entertained separation as a very viable alternative, I do not equate this with divorce.  Divorce is an entirely different thing, in my opinion.  I view separation as actually creating distance while still keeping the door open for reconciliation.  Divorce, with the judge, the lawyers, police, custody…all of these merely add to the friction and hostility.  I’m  curious as to why more couples don’t do separation before going for the big ‘D’. 

 

The prevailing belief is that marriage should be for life.  Indeed, the vows most couples exchange pretty much state that the couple will remain together until parted by death.  And I have more or less mused about this alternative, as well.  In many ways, my smoking was maintained by this very negative point of view that the only honorable way to get out of the marriage was to die.  But even then, I can just hear the harpies opining on about how this is also a cowardly way to avoid responsibilities.  Even in death, a man has no escape from such judgment.

 

-If a man seeks comfort from another woman, he is a cheat.

-If a man divorces, he is abandoning his responsibility.

– If he voices his dissatisfaction, he is whining.

– If he dies, he is abandoning his family and avoiding responsibility.

 

The only way seems to be to suffer in silence, which is the way most men choose.  Living what Thoreau referred to as “lives of quiet desperation.”

 

Divorce is not a good thing, but it exists and God knew that it would exist.  It existed within a few generations of the first marriage.  The first divorce between a gay couple took place less than a year after marriage was legalized in Canada.

 

Perhaps the whole concept of marriage needs to be discussed more.  Because without marriage, divorce can not exist.

 

D.