Hashing it out

April 21, 2008

Those of you following along know what happened during date night. Those of you who were not following, might want to do so now before proceeding.

Thursday morning, I got up to do my part but Arwyn got up while I was taking my shower and got into the routine of getting the kids off to school. Thursday night, we did talk about it. She reiterated that she was tired, and I understood that, but I told her she could have given me some prior notice rather than leave me hanging right up until the moment in question. She apologized for it and I tried to get across how it really made me feel and truly eroded the trust that we have been building. Yes, she has been trying to do things differently but if the same stuff keeps happening, it looks kind of like that old business as usual. So she suggested we try it again Friday night. I decided we could as I could be in a better spot than right then and there. Talking and hashing it out did help to keep from repressing stuff and carrying it around forever. When a body carries resentment around, it never gets lighter, it only gets heavier no matter how small of an issue it is.

As for me, I had to work on leaving the resentment behind and moving on. That took some work. There was also some talk about the previous encounter where Arwyn did feel some pain while we were doing it. That would explain the avoidance, and again I told her that letting me know soner rather than later was a better way of dealing with things. However she was still keen to try Friday night.

Friday night she did hold up her end of the bargain. She got the kids to bed at a decent hour and we were able to spend some naked time together. By this time, I was in a better spot emotionally and it was possible to be relatively fun and playful. She’s still defensive about most types of intimate touching but I was able to accommodate and move on past that. More or less. My body needs a lot more practice in this new climate where there is a more extended time of nakedness preceding the Main Event. The Main Event lasted all of about 2 minutes for me, which isn’t exactly the road to get Arwyn where she wants. She was actually feeling pretty good and was trying to grind into me, but things just were not being cooperative and my whole orgasm just snuck up on me and ambushed me out of no where. We didn’t exactly hash that part of it out but she assured me that there was no pain involved this time. She did make an appointment with her gyn doctor on Thursday for sometime in May, as she hasn’t been in a couple of years but I think that pain issue always will be lurking around in the background.

Kind of a discombobulated post, here!

The Saturday morning routine of letting Arwyn sleep in was a lot easier on me as we do have the youngin’s trained to sleep or at least stay in bed until 7:00 and I was able to get breakfast and she was able to sleep in for a few hours. So hopefully that part of the arrangement made our time together time well-spent while we work on other things. So many issues…

So yeah, there is progress here. I think we have come a long way, but we have miles and miles to go. The good news is that we have a lifetime to get there and at least I feel like we’re traveling in the same direction together. Date night is a difficult thing to stick with just because it is that thing in the schedule that will be the first to get shucked if everything isn’t exactly right. I think there’s profitable lessons to be learned in working through whatever obstacles and issues there are instead of avoiding them. Avoidance has not worked for me in the past and working through things (especially the most difficult issues) seems to work better.


The Arrangement

April 17, 2008

I have a podcast in the can and ready to be uploaded to my blogger site.  But here’s a little background and a bit of a teaser to bring you up to speed…

After my last post, we did have a joint counseling session.  While I can’t say what we did talk about, I can tell you what we didn’t talk about, which was the fact that we had finally had sex two weeks before.  I do remember Arwyn asking whether she felt like she was getting anything out of the sessions and she thought she was.  So that’s good enough for me; I’m in.  The next night we had sex again!  WooHoo!  Only this time she did complain that there was some pain involved which she didn’t readily specify and wasn’t sure what it was butdid say that things did improve with a little change of position where she could get her legs wrapped all the way around me.  That was a new and novel position for us, as I was always too big for that to occur before.

Somehow the suggestion was made that maybe part of the problem is that we are so out of practice and need to do this on a more regular basis.  So I suggest that we just set it up on a weekly basis.  She agreed (afterall, she did say that she wanted it at least once per week) and said Wednesday nights would work best for her, because she didn’t have to work on Thursdays.  She asked if it would be okay if I got up with the boys and put them on the bus on Thursday mornings so she could sleep in.  That sounded good to me, so we made it a date.

How did the date go?

You’ll have to watch for and listen to the podcast to find out.


Counseling: The Repulsive Factor

April 3, 2008

I had my 2nd individual counseling session the other day, and were finally able to get into some issues.  I’m not sure there are many solutions in the making, but we’ll see.  We didn’t hit every little thing, but one can only do so much in an hour.

The counselor was keen to delve into my ENQ a bit, specifically a portion where I said that I feel Arwyn is repulsed by me.  I’m not sure if he was challenging me on that or just looking for more information, but more information he got, which is extensively documented here in this blog.  Whenever I touch her in a sexual way, she visibly stiffens and if she is not batting my hands away outright, she is backing away and avoiding my touch.  The other part to this is that she is not actively seeking my touch.  On example of this that I brought up was last weekend we went to eat out at a restaurant as a family.  This is one of those with the great big huge buffet and a big huge line to match.  As we winded our way through the line, and just wanted to have my hands on her back or shoulder or just generally be affectionate.  Sexual?  It’s not we’re going to drop our pants right there in the line while placing our order! (I’d like the blow job special, please).  No, this was just generally being affectionate.  But each time I reached out to touch her, she was moving off.  Of course, when we talked about this later she was unconscious of it and was moving along with the line, which is what I figured she would say.  But this illustrates how different things turn after dating is over and why affection generally takes a nose dive after marriage.  When we were dating, in an instance like this, she would lean into me and we would move through the line together maintaining close contact.  That notion does not even enter her mind nowadays.

Sexual touch…well we’ve been over that over and over again.  Porcupines and spiny sea urchins have an easier time with physical intimacy.  If there were sharp objects in the bedroom, I’m be lucky to have all my limbs, Lorena Bobbit notwithstanding. 

We (the counselor and I) also talked about this business of Arwyn insisting that sex be narrowly defined by penis-vagina intercourse and that touching is pretty limited and absolutely no oral is allowed.  This causes a sort of cascading effect on my erection.  I’m hesitant going into a sexual encounter, trying not to step on any boundaries, she climbs on top and about all I can do is just lay there.  Then she wonders why I’m not holding an erection which leads to her not having an orgasm or her being less than satisfied which in turn increases my own anxiety and we are in a downward spiral.  Then there are complaints where she feels sore afterwards, which doesn’t exactly help with desire.  This dude is going to be tested in his skills on a lot of fronts.

He ended up giving me some handouts and talking about the active listening communication.   The mechanical, scripted nature of that exercise would seem to be a step backwards for Arwyn and I since we have made some meaningful strides in communicating and talking.  He suggested that if I had trouble verbalizing my thoughts, writing them beforehand might be useful and then I could just read them.  That sounded very do-able.  He also gave me a list of emotion words in order to help me better express how I’m feeling.

Do you all think I need help expressing my emotions and my feelings?  Is my vocabulary limited in this area?  I dunno.  You all have been reading me long enough and have seen enough to be able to kjnow whether I need some vocabulary lessons in expressing myself.  I think the emotional baggage is what has kept me from adequately following through with Arwyn in the past rather than a lack of descriptive vocabulary.  He seems to like pointing out the stereotypes of how men seem less able to express themselves with words and how women generally have an easier time with that.  I agree with that, generally.  But I don’t know if providing a word list is the answer here.  It’s more a matter of being emotionally free enough to indulge in a more graphic emotional discussion.  I didn’t get into it in the session, but previous forays into the descriptive emotional jungle have often been met with adverse reactions and results.

He also suggested that we buy a book and both read it.  The Celebration of Sex by Doug Rosenau.  So perhaps Arwyn will finally read one of these books, since it is the therapist’s idea and not mine.  I don’t think she’s completely finished her ENQ so we’ll see where she’s at on following through.  I order the thing and went for the speedy shipping.  I also ordered C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain.  I figured I might need something else to read after finishing the other book and waiting for Arwyn to either read it or skim over it.  That sounds snarky, but I’m still very cautious about her follow-through. 

Rosenau has some association with my therapist’s training and education so maybe this will help us arrive at some common and productive ground.  The reviews seem generally good so I’m looking forward to it.

Arwyn and I did have a post-counseling discussion which I touched on briefly above.  She wasn’t aware of what I was seeing as her aversive reactions and did ask if I still felt like she wasn’t being very affectionate.  I told her that I thought she was really trying, but wondered how much of it was her just trying and how much of it is her truly desiring.  Funny thing about desire and affection; if it isn’t given freely, it isn’t all it could be.

There was no sex as she had a headache and had a wash clothe on her head as we talked.  So the once-a-week thing that she talked about last week; not so much.  Last night we both went to bed at the same time around 9:30, but she stated it was her intention to go to sleep.  We kissed and cuddled for a couple of minutes before she rolled over and fell to sleep while I watched the public access channel on the TV.  I’m thinking we are going to need to try to schedule a Sex Night, even as disastrous as that was a few years ago. I might get deeper into that discussion later, but you got the main gist here so that if I decide to move on you won’t be left behind or catching up won’t be such an arduous exercise.