That video I promised?

August 24, 2008

It’s up.

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The Haircut

August 17, 2008

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This morning was, in the words of the former blogger known as Satan a YES sort of morning. Sorry if you don’t get that obscure reference.

Early this afternoon, I went to my regular barber to get my haircut. Bill’s barbershop is just down the road on highway 66 and a mighty convenient $10 haircut. I’d prefer the saucy little German cutie, but Bill is okay. At least when he’s there. He’s a bit lazy-ish and often closes up early to go fish, drink beer or otherwise have fun. The sign says he’s open 9-5 but that is rarely the case. I’ve often pulled up to his shop at 3:30 only to find a sign in the window, “It’s 5:00 somewhere!” I trry to get in early on Saturday morning, but can’t always manage it.

So it’s a little after 2:00 on a Saturday and he is closed…AGAIN. I’m pissed. I’ve gone to other barbers before on account of Bill’s irregularity, but it involves driving way out of my way. I’d like to find a guy close by who is dependable!

So I decide to try something else. I’ll fix Bill’s ass.

I went home and told Arwyn that she could give me a haircut. She cuts the boys’ hair, or trims more like. She has always stated that she wanted to cut my hair and I’ve always declined. This time, I was giving her her big chance. She was pretty excited as she got her scissors, comb and clippers. No little skirt, unfortunately. I guess this would be a Helga cut. I had no idea.

She must have spent nearly an hour clipping, snipping, combing, feathering, trimming and fussing over my hair. She would stop, look it over, cut some more and look again. It’s that whole perfectionist thing at work. She wanted it to be done perfectly.

Yeah, Arwyn pretty much totally and perfectly butchered and botched it. She only drew blood once or twice, but she blamed the whack job on the irregular shape of my head and the fact that my hair grows crooked. These are all true, BTW. Thing is, I wasn’t all that upset by it. In fact, Arwyn was more upset than me. She apologized profusely and swore that she would never touch my hair again.

“Maybe you can get someone to fix it.”

“No, I think this is just about right, Arwyn. I really do like it short and this look works for me.”

I plan on getting lots of stares and comments on it. And people are going to ask me, “Where did you get that haircut?” And I’m going to tell them:

“Oh, I got it cut at Bill’s Barbershop off of highway 66. You like it?”

Thanks Bill!

Thanks Bill!

D.


Therapy Smackdown

August 17, 2008

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Soon after my last entry it was therapy day. I was looking forward to completing the Top 20 list, but we never even got to it. We ended up in much deeper waters.

The therapist almost always starts off the the session the same way. He asks us to tell about something the other person did in order to strengthen the relationship. For instance, Arwyn kept the boys out of my hair while I worked on some projects that had a hard deadline coming up. That made me feel like she was empathetic of my plight and supportive. Stuff like that. Arwyn mentioned me being similarly supporting of her and her preschool work stress.

But Arwyn moved from there directly to the conflict we had the prior weekend where the sex didn’t happen. This was a bit surprising that she would want to go there, but she did. So we began hashing it out, her and I, while the therapist took a very long (figurative) step back and watched. He did jump in a time or two but for the most part watched and took notes. And he got a good view.

It’s been a number of days so I can’t remember every little thing we said. But I do remember getting a bit aggressive with her on this issue of sexual avoidance. I told her that I felt like she hadn’t heard a thing on my list from the week prior. At that point, the therapist prompted her to do some reflective listening, which involves her repeating back what I just said to her. I still think it’s a dumb exercise, as she was able to repeat back everything almost verbatum. Talk is amazingly cheap.

I do remember one specific exchange we had. She complained that no matter what she did, sexually speaking, that it would never be good enough. This is a VERY common statement made by those with lower libidos. In their view, they wonder why we’re so selfish in continually raising the stakes or constantly asking for more or why we can not simply accept our mates for who they are.

I remember when she dished this out at the therapy session, thinking that the therapist was entirely too willing to let this slide. Or he was unable to respond. Or he wanted to hear me respond. And when I did, I think his eyes bugged out as went into Schnarchian mode, reflective listening style.

“So you’re saying that I’m never satisfied with what you do?”

“Umm, yeah, most of the time it seems that way.”

“You feel like whatever you do, it isn’t enough or isn’t good enough?”

“Yes, that pretty much sums it up.”

“So what I’M hearing, is that you think I should be satisfied with whatever you decide to do.”

“No, I didn’t say that.”

“But that’s exactly what is sounds like to me. You’re telling me that I should be satisfied with whatever it is you decide to do.”

“But that isn’t what I said.”

“I know that’s not what you said, but that’s how it sounds to me. Whenever you complain that what you do isn’t good enough, you are telling me that my desire for more intimacy is not legitimate and that I should be satisfied with whatever you decide to offer. Would you be happy if I operated that way?”

“No.”

“And here’s the thing; you’re the one who claims to be the perfectionist. I see how committed and dedicated you are towards everything you do. Your work, the church, the boys, your friends, and even the laundry. You put everything you have into being prepared and doing the job exactly right. I see you prepare, anticipate and fully participate in every single area except for one: me and our sex life. Now tell me exactly how am I supposed to feel about that?”

The therapist was totally silent at this point, and Arwyn was in tears. Things were awkwardly silent for a bit, before we moved on. She did acknowledge that I had a point and she could see how I might feel neglected. But part of her problem is being paralyzed by guilt. Some of this is earned, I think, but it also gets carried away in that she thinks she’s all horrible which gets hrer stressed which isn’t exactly and arousing feeling. My goal was not to inflict guilt so much as to be heard.

This therapy session went overtime, but the therapist felt we needed it. I think he needed it as much as us as he’s still learning this business.

We ended the session with a new assignment: explain what it is like to initiate sex. Each of us. That should be interesting, especially since initiating isn’t something Arwyn does often or well. At one point she tried to defend her lack of initiation by saying, ” Well I saw you were doing something on the computer and I know how you get when I interrupt you!”

“And when was the last time you interrupted me because you wanted sex?” I came back.

“Oh, well…um…never I guess. Yeah, you have a point.”

“Well yeah! Maybe if you interrupted me more often for sex, I wouldn’t be so irritated when you interrupt me!” We were both able to laugh about that.

We covered a lot of ground that I’m not covering here, but you can tell that this was an intense session. Perhaps the whole strategy of the therapist was to get us to go at each other more directly or maybe he just wanted to see how we engaged in verbal sparring. Whatever the reason, it was mostly her and I going back and forth on each other. Thing is, is that Arwyn for all of her protestations that I don’t talk enough to her tends to lose her way and becomes quickly over matched in these exchanges. This is why I have been learning to bite the bullet and listen to her without speaking until she feels she has said what she needs to say. My past tendency has been to challenge her on every point, debate style. She appreciates this but has complained that I don’t talk enough and she feels like she does most of the talking. Despite her saying she wants me to talk more, I don’t believe a word of it. As long as I say what she wants to hear, she’s totally fine with it. But that is just not going to happen because even when I try to say what she wants to hear, it sometimes comes out in a way she can take offense to. She’s not as crazy as Aphron’s wife that way (and I thank God for that!) but I’ll just say that it is all part of her marvelous feminine mystique to read an extra thing into a message that simply isn’t there.

See? My female readers are already offended!

D.


I have no idea what Olympic event this would be…

August 12, 2008

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Standing broad jump?

I’m way past due for an update, and some things have been moving along in my story. Mostly good things, but also enough angsty stuff to hold your interest, especially those prone to giving advice.

First off, as soon as I threw the last post up and shut the computer down, I proceeded to a sort of make-out session with my wife. While doing so, we contemplated when it was that we might be able to get together to get it on. After sort of agreeing on a time, kept making out and it escalated into probably the best sex we’ve had in years. At one point, Arwyn made it known that she was satisfied and that it was okay for me to proceed to finishing my steak. That’s one of the difficulties with her, in that she’s not terribly vocal. I can tell when she’s getting into it, but there’s no apparent big finish. And that is okay, seeing as we’re not auditioning for any movie deals except it doesn’t happen enough for me to get a good fix on her reactions. Truly, I’d like to know my wife better in the Biblical and carnal sense. But it really was enjoyable. As for the date that we made…that just came and went. And this illustrates on of the difficulties of a person who seems to devalue sex and sexuality; even if they do have a marvelous time it doesn’t necessarily translate into wanting to do it again. As a behaviorist, I find this quite maddening because the increased likelihood of repeating a behavior is what defines reinforcement. So if there’s not an increased likelihood of a repeat performance, just how reinforcing could it have been in the first place? Arwyn and her sexually minimized peers will often claim how much they like it, but it’s pretty hard for someone like me, who really likes it and responds in behaviorally significant and predictable ways, to understand how they can say that and behave so indifferently. They are either lying or repressing their desires or something else.

These thoughts are occurring in hindsight, because for a good week I was a happy camper and didn’t think twice about Arwyn’s motives or the truthfulness of her statement in saying she was satisfied. Satisfied…now it comes to me that this is not a particularly strong endorsement. How much of a tip does a satisfied customer give a waitress versus one who is delighted and overjoyed? This would be a good conversation to have with a waitress at my neighborhood Hooters restaurant.

So I was fine with everything. And it was in that sort of mindset that we went to our first joint therapy in over a month. And that is when we went over our 20 things list. Actually we didn’t get all the way through it, and each of us only did ten. We’ll do the next ten the next time. This session went pretty well, I thought. At one point, Arwyn said that she thought our marriage was better than it had ever been, and I’m inclined to agree with her on that. Because let’s face it, those of you who have been reading these past many years know that our marriage has been pretty crappy most of the time. There have been epic episodes of crap and supercrap that we have subjected each other to. So much of that is being cleared away, and we are getting along a lot better. We’ve been on the brink of separation and divorce for years. So we are at a much better place. Yay! Wahoo!

Celebration’s over, it’s time to get back to work! As we went through the stuff on our lists, the therapists assisted us in classifying them according to which love language they belonged to.

  • Quality time

  • Receiving gifts/tasks

  • Nonsexual Physical touch

  • Sexual touch/erotic pleasure

  • Words of affirmation

Guess which one mine were pretty much all in? But the therapist did bring out the fact that many of those erotic/sexual things also were interlaced with deeper things, like quality time, acts of service/tasks and even some positive affirmations. It wasn’t just getting off physically it involved deeper emotional things.

Arwyn struggled a bit more in classifying her list, and she seemed pretty evenly scattered among them all except the sexual/erotic bit has yet to make an appearance. No surprise there. The thing is, is that I am presently doing most of the things that were on her top 10 list. Part of the reason is that early in our marriage I wasn’t doing much of anything, which one could argue that I am paying for dearly today. I am doing tons more now than I ever did before and pouring myself more into our marriage and relationship. I know her “love language” is more diverse and I try to hit multiple spots multiple times. I do need to make more of an effort, tho, in being more consistent. It’s been a lot of work.

I was pretty nervous reading that list out loud, as it really is pretty racy and lopsided. I voiced some concern about that, and the therapist said just go along with it. He was able to expand on it and make it so it wasn’t so purely one-dimensional. The earlier 1:1 session he and I did plus some feedback from you guys helped me find that deeper dimension beyond just feeling good and getting off. It really is about intimacy, and I was able to better describe what intimacy looks like to me. I know it doesn’t look like that for most of you, and definitely not for Arwyn, but that doesn’t make it any less.

It was a bit of an intense therapy but Arwyn and I didn’t really have a chance to debrief and decompress from that and that may be part of the problem. We needed to follow up that session by talking about it but never did. I think that would catch up to us a few days later.

Last weekend, we were busy doing various things and I was hoping we would find time to connect in a way that I might like. We spent family time in several ways that Arwyn likes, and I was feeling a bit left behind as it had been a couple of weeks. So I came on to her late in the evening, and she was not into it at all. She was more keen on watching the Olympics. I like the Olympics, too. Afterall, I was the one who had turned them on in the first place. But I had my own version of the breast stroke in mind that did not involve going to an exotic country or competing for a medal. However, Arwyn was glued to the tube. Later, she blamed me for turning the TV on, for not coming to her earlier in the evening, for not being more explicit in my intentions. We had a bit of a spat about it and I was not happy that she seemed to be okay with staying up so late watching TV more than being with me. It’s as if that last therapy session just never happened or she completely forgot everything I said. I suggested us going over the rest of our lists together later, but she didn’t seem too keen on that.

Oh well. It does give me extra energy to hit the stepmat, which I need to do. I’m working on some video of that, actually so stay tuned for that!

D.