Talk Night

Yesterday, Arwyn had her next individual session. She had done some work on the ENQ and shared it with the therapist, but didn’t quite finish it completely so brought it home to do more work on it. We had designated last night as a sort of “talk night” where we would talk. Much of this was thwarted by the appearance of an HBO special on autism, which we watched. It was interesting, but really dug into our time as it was two hours long!

When it was finally over, she was ready to talk. Her opener was to suggest that she review her ENQ with me. I was a bit ambivalent about that, since I didn’t have my own copy on hand and thought it might be something we did together in therapy. But she was somewhat insistent and got her paper and read her comments that she had written. I listened as she read the entire thing before making any comments.

  1. Affection: she described her need for affection as being moderate and that she liked and need nonsexual affection on a regular basis. I can’t remember how often she said she needed that, but it seemed higher than what she was offering.
  2. Sexual fulfillment: She described her need for this as being moderate and that she would like sexual fulfillment once per week. This was kind of a stunner, because she has not been giving any indications of that at all. When I mentioned that, she emphasized fulfillment and that without that, she more less figured “What’s the use?” I told her that while it was possible to have sex without fulfillment, it was not possible to have sexual fulfillment without actually having sex.
  3. Conversation: she mentioned that she had a high need for conversation. No surprises there, but again she hasn’t been offering as much as she seemed to be wanting. We do have differing conversation styles, which do sort of interfere with god conversation as I have in the past been known to be a bit argumentative. She did mention that I had gotten better about that in the past few months.

  4. Recreational companionship: she said she had a high need for recreational companionship, and wanted us to do more things as a family. No surprise there, as I’m prone to wanting to veg out when I’m not working. However, this is another area that we’ve making some improvement in past months.

  5. Honesty and openness: she said she had a moderate for honesty and openness, but admitted that she hasn’t always been so good about this herself, specifically mentioning her handling of our credit card crisis. Again, we could point to improvements in this area in past months.

  6. Attractive spouse: She described her need for an attractive spouse to be moderate. She described her past partner/dates as being tall, thin, and neat. I later described them as being somewhat metrosexual sounding, which she didn’t appreciate too much. But my weight loss has helped my score in that area. But I’ve still got quite a lot of the farm boy in me, and I work outside and get dirty and do so without making a big deal about it and am not particularly fazed by it as much as she would like. Oh well. She did specifically mention my farm background being a factor against her suburban semi-sterile lifestyle as being a factor in this, so I got the impression that she was willing to make allowances here.

  7. Financial support: she said she was satisfied with this, although she did say that was not always the case, which led to the credit card crisis. But she does feel her needs are being met.

  8. Domestic support: I thought I was going to get it here, but she did not harp on that very much. She mentioned that we did sort of have an agreement about this early in our marriage that she would clean if I cooked and was okay with that arrangement. She talked a bit about the clutter that gets out of control at times on her own end. Her own mother was somewhat compulsive about keeping a clean house, and she tried for awhile to hold that standard but decided she was driving herself crazy trying to do that and I agreed that it was not worth all the stress that standard caused.

  9. Family commitment: she had a high need for family commitment (no surprise) and admitted that things had gotten better here, but she did want more in this area. The fact that I was with the boys while she did her church meetings and step studies did score points here.

  10. Admiration: she had a high need for affirming words, and this was probably a big weakness for me where I need to work harder. I can be overly critical and stingy with affirming words, so this is an area that I definitely have room to grow. While there have been some improvements, I know I need to do better.

After a discussion of the ENQ, we talked a bit more and then got into some hugging and kissing. It was getting late, thanks to the whole HBO special, but she seemed game. We really needed to get over this next hurdle, and so we worked on it. She shut the bedroom door and we both got naked. She kneeled up in bed, waiting for me to lay down so she could get on top of me but I was not having that. I wanted it to be different than the standard script. So I sat up and she got up in my lap, facing me and we just hugged and kissed like that for awhile. Not a lot of genital contact there, but that was not the idea here. T was intimacy and connection, and we seemed to have that. It was just two naked bodies connecting and it was very nice. She did comment after awhile that her knees were getting sore so I laid down and she got on top. There was some grinding around and she mentioned that all the antihistamines were probably making her dry, which has been another chronic problem. But I don’t see her going for any real solutions to that, such as lube of any sort, but we’ll see.

She was grinding around on me and I was getting over heated and holding an erection was challenging. Much of it as just psychological pressure (and a hideous lack of practice) but it was also that this position was a bit too submissive to maintain for the whole time. I told her this, so she let me mount her from the missionary position, and this did work a lot better for me as I was able to get inside of her, with a bit of work.

Love-making/sex has always been a pretty silent/solitary/serious type of thing for us, but we did talk a lot more this time, the two of us. I really did like that, as it did change the dynamic and made the experience a more intimate one for us. I don’t think she had an orgasm, but she did say it felt pretty good because she could better feel me inside of her. She thought it might be because she had tightened up since we hadn’t had sex for so long. I didn’t comment a lot on that, but was thinking that we never did have sex all that much to stretch her out. She tried squeezing and asked if I felt she was tighter and I said that I honestly really had no memory of that, but it did feel good.

No money shot in this scene. Sorry!

Afterwards, we did cuddle and talk a bit more, but it was getting late. She went to the bathroom and took a quick shower and I slept the best I had in months. If we could get more practice, I can see there being a lot less pressure and tension and maybe more fun. As it was, it was a good experience, which is more than I can say for other encounters I’ve had with her and she would likely say the same.

Of course, it will take more practice. I went through this whole script last year, too, where we thought we were starting a whole new beginning. We do have some advantages this time around that we didn’t last time, but it is going to still require a lot of focused effort. Maybe this is where the counseling effort can kick in, as it at least looks like we are getting some where with it. It might be akin to Dumbo’s magic feather.

Thanks to all who commented on the last post. I especially appreciate the women who stepped up, having had similar-type experiences. Yeah, Hazel, I did think a lot of you. That’s why you always made my blogroll, because I figured your views were the closest to my wife’s! To be honest, I nearly disabled comments there, because I knew I was blowing off a lot of steam, which is what I do here. I’m going to talk about all sorts of vile things, like separation and divorce because writing allows me to process my thoughts and experiences. It’s a far cry from actually doing it, tho. How long did I contemplate counseling before actually doing it? There’s no rush to do anything, here, but I’m also not going to skulk around, and hide. I want to square off on the issues, not retreat. Not talking honestly about it in my own online forum would be silly and just an exercise in self-avoidance. And I’m tired of being an avoider.


11 Responses to Talk Night

  1. FTN says:

    First time you’ve had sex in so long, I was really expecting some balloons and perhaps a ticker-tape parade.

    THIS is most definitely progress. And I don’t just mean the sex. I mean that you talked during it, you talked about it, you discussed the ENQ. As I see it, this is all huge stuff for someone who had no deeper communication for a LONG time. The ENQ is interesting and begs a few questions:

    -She has a high need for recreational companionship, but she specifically mentions doing things with the FAMILY. What about just with you? Seems like she skewed the question to mean something that it didn’t.

    -As you noted, it is baffling that she says she has a moderate or high need for stuff that she seems to avoid when you try to give it to her (like affection)! You’ll have to be careful to word things gently when you bring up that topic, of course.

    -All the talk of sexual “fulfillment” seems worrisome, because that may put a lot of pressure on you. I hope you get some practice in, and get to put some of those Schnarchy principles to work!

    All in all, though, this seems to be some fantastic progress. Keep the discussion going with her, both at home and in the next counseling session.

  2. Desmond Jones says:

    What FTN said. . .

    This just seems all good, Digger, and her willingness to actually have some sex with you (toward the goal of it getting better with practice?) just seems like a quantum leap. At least to these untrained eyes. . .

    Communication – it’s a wonderful thing. . .

  3. xi summit says:

    Youch! Talk about whiplash, how’d you get here from last week? Amazing. For both of you, this is almost like change! Keep at it man, stay on the communication track. And keep working it man.

  4. sixdegrees says:

    I think that both you and Arwyn have made remarkable progress. Arwyn, in particular. Several years ago, when my wife and I were in hostile territory, so to speak, and the possibility of divorce had been brought out into the open, her (very feminist-oriented) therapist recommended the Harley approach to us. I read the books and filled out my own ENQ. But she would have none of it, and would not participate in couple’s therapy – stating that we each had our own problems to work on and that solving our own individual problems would solve our relationship problems. So, despite the foot-dragging that Arwyn displayed in doing the ENQ, the fact that she did it and (most impressive) INSISTED that you and her talked about it is quite remarkable. To my mind, this indicates a sincere desire on her part for improving the relationship.

    Your task, now, is to take the information that you have gathered from the ENQ and begin to use it to give her what she needs in a relationship. On another blog that I came across in my evening reads, one blogger described the ending of their marriage by saying each wanted something that the other didn’t have it in them to give. Isn’t this exactly what Harley is saying and why he came up with the ENQ? To at least enable partners to become aware of what the other needs – and then it is up to the individuals in the relationship to begin to meet the needs of the other.

    The more I learn of your situation, the more I see parallels. Our son has an autism spectrum disorder and yes, that has been both a significant burden and joy. I am tempted to point my wife to your blog – if nothing else to get her reaction. Of course, I would probably hide mine when/if I were to do that.

  5. xianhusband says:

    Good stuff. And now you know what to do next. Give her what she says she needs. She’s told you, now do it. Not to get anything back. This isn’t a quid-pro-quo arrangement. Do it because that is what love demands.

    Agape. Giving the one you love what they need. Not because they deserve it, but because they need it. As our Lord loved us. While we were still sinners — while we were all still yelling “Crucify him!” — he DIED for us.

    Love her like that, and things can’t help but change.

  6. Mu Ling says:

    I’m truly happy for you both!

  7. Dave says:

    Wonderful, I’m so pleased for you both!

    That’s real progress, it seems to me; great, and what a super change. Keep it up, sounds like you’re beginning to get closer, and that’s soo important.

  8. Emily says:

    Congratulations, Digger. It sounds like a big step forward.

    Good on you both for stepping out of your semi-miserable, avoider comfort zones and giving it your best shot.

    Personally, I’m seeing some real change in Arwyn. She used to puzzle me, because it was never clear what she wanted or why she acted the way she did. She finally seems to be speaking up and saying what she wants. The fact that among the things she wants is a better relationship with you and satisfying sex once a week is pretty good news, for you and for your family.

  9. Satan says:

    This is so positive, all the talking and then making with the sex! Keep this good momentum going, it is what we’ve all been waiting for.

  10. Square1 says:

    Congratulations, Digger. I sincerely hope you guys are able to continue progressing. I will be refraining from ever offering advice to you ever again. My own marriage has failed, the divorce is in the works. Eventually I may be forthcoming about why, but now is not the time for it. Best of luck to both you and Arwyn, and God bless both of you, Insha’ Allah.

  11. […] – I did this twice. The first time, Arwyn said she would do it, but did not. The second time she did it when the therapist assigned it. Hat tip to Joanna who brought that […]

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