Taking A Step

May 11, 2013

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.
J.R.R. Tolkien

 

All journeys begin with a first step of one sort or another.  And tonight, we took one, Arwyn and I.  At least this is how the therapist put it; taking a significant step.

We had not met with our therapist for several weeks, not since the session right before the movie.  You DO remember “Date Night” right?

I had honestly been thinking about our little homework assignment since that time, but we have both been so busy, it would have been such a contrived thing.  But I went back and forth on it.  Arwyn is who she is, which means she is not really a sexual creature, at least with me.  I honestly could not see how I could do anything meaningful to change anything.  The 3 weeks passed and in that amount of time, Arwyn and I did have a few battles about money as we are in full-blown house reconstruction mode.  And there are ooodles and oodles of decisions to be made and all of them involve money.  My opinion of Arwyn’s handling of money is not very high at all.  In my mind, giving her a large pile of cash is like giving a teenager a bottle of whiskey and the keys to the car.

These money squabbles were discussed some and it was amazing how she claimed to have discussions that we didn’t have.  Arwyn has demonstrated before that she is willing to engage in deception, if not outright lying, but sometimes my brain CAN get addled.  But not about money.

We moved from the money and got into a discussion about our sleeping arrangements in the new house.  Here in our temp house, I have been in my room/office and she has been upstairs in the master bedroom.  This is similar to what it was before the fire.  So for quite some time, we have kept our own spaces.  Even before that, you might recall that she slept in the inverted sleeping position for years and years.  Here’s an old post from the old blog in order give you a little idea as to what those days were like.  I look at a few of the comments from back then, and see the truth I could not see then.

I stated that I really could not see Arwyn and I sharing space, much less a bed together.

At this point, I think our therapist went back to parsing out what was happening.   This was not something that was just a year or two or three in the making.  She started asking when and how long this business of seperating and the lousy/sparse sex had been going on.  Let’s see…our youngest is 11…so a good long while.  So she asked Arwyn how long she has been sexually disengaged.  Arwyn went back to about 1999.  When the therapist asked her if she could envision sharing a bed or having a real sexual relationwhip with me again, Arwyn stated she could not.

So how did I feel about that?  This happened to be the therapists question and I had to think a bit.  Honestly, I felt slightly relieved.  It was a truth I had been feeling for a very long time.  It was actually some relief to have it right out there.  And that answered the question about sleeping arrangements.  We were each keen to have our own space and this new house would enable that as we had closed off an area to make an office about the size of the master bedroom.  That would be my space.

“You do realize this is the first step to you no longer being a couple, right?”  Our therapist was making sure we understood.

I pointed out this had been a matter of fact and truth for a very long time.  At least now we were being explicit about it.  It was now an honest move, and perhaps one of the first real and genuine ones Arwyn and I have made in years and one that we both agreed on.

Many of you saw it coming a long time ago.  Some did back in 2005, but I felt like I had to give it my best.  And I really think I did.  But Arwyn had already checked out years earlier.  Whatever I did was too little or too late and nothing I did could dent that wall.  This does not mean there is no caring between us.  Or even a love of a sort.  But we are definitely not in IN love.  Not as what I would construe as husband and wife.

Our therapist seemed to resign at this point.  Neither of us were fighting or contending for this marriage.  I suppose as long as one of us was willing to try there was always some hope.  But I’m spent and have not the energy for a campaign or long siege.

I readily admit that the first few years of our marriage I fucked up.  I was pretty horrid and useless and Arwyn suffered for it.  But I did spend time trying to atone for those early sins.  And I did suffering of my own, long and mightily.  At some point, the suffering ceases to be instructive and is simply pointless.  That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to suffer.  But at least it will be in my own space.  And maybe…perhaps…it will lessen slightly.  We can finally be honest without the pretense and the charade.  I just don’t have the energy or time for that.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

 

 

 

 


Date Night

April 21, 2013

You can read my review of the movie itself on my other blog.

But this is a review of the date itself.  I’m suddenly having flashbacks of Chuck Woolery.

Basically the date was sort of set up by Arwyn with help from her church which was offering childcare for couple from 6-10 p.m. which is prime time for a date night.  And it was set up for this particular movie so as many as possible could go as wanted.  The church was a good distance from the theater so after dropping the kids off, we went straight there.  We had already gotten our tickets through Fandango as she had heard that some shows were selling out.  This would not be one of those sold out showings though.

I had bought some candy for us ahead of time, which I thought was a good move.  And got some caramel/chocolate candies which is a combination she generally likes.  We waited a bit in the lobby before finding and entering our theater.  Once seated, I went and bought us each drinks.

We had good seats where we could actually stretch or put our feet up.  The theater never completely filled up but there were a lot of people there.  Almost all of them from Arwyn’s church.  This made the entire movie experience different as a parade of people came up and introduced themselves or just walked up to say ‘hi’ or just to talk.  In other words, there was a lot more chatter and talking than one would typically experience at the movies as everyone seemed to know one another.  I was a bit put off by this, as it felt like being in church rather than a movie.  Except without the need for earplugs, which is a requirement for me in her church.

Keep in mind, there was some homework that was supposed to be done.  But Arwyn sat in such a way that her hands were neatly folded in her lap.  I would have to be bold indeed to go for a hand hold.  And I was simply not feeling that bold.  I diid at various times lean against her, hoping she might lean back, but she never did.  I had MY hands readily accessible on the arm rests, but she never made any advances.  So there was no hand holding or leg rubbing during this movie.   And I wish there would have been, because the movie felt a but overly long to me.  However I can’t help but also think that the religious nature of the movie as well as being surrounded by her fellow congregants  might have worked to suppress things.  In my mind, while I was not going to rebuff or work against Arwyn, neither was I going to throw myself in front of the proverbial bus.

After the movie, on the way out, Arwyn did finally grab my hand, which was nice.  But whereas I might have wanted to dawdle and linger a bit to en joy it, she was walking very briskly.  I made the mistake of asking what time it was, thinking that maby she was worried about being late for something.  But she had no idea and the hand hold was broke as she went to fish for her phone.  And that was the end of that.  There was no more hand holding or anything at all.  It was done.  We did talk a bit about the movie on the way to get the boys but that was kind of the extent of the conversation.

The date ended when we got to the church and she picked up the boys and we drove home.  I went to my room, and the boys went to theirs and she went to hers.  No kiss good night, no sparks.

This would be the part where we see who the audience picked and I decide if I want who they pick or stick with this one.  Hmm…I wonder who the audience WOULD pick?  I might be tempted to go with their choice, simply because I am a cheapskate and the idea of letting them pick up the tab would have some appeal.

Why couldn’t I ever have any connections like this one?


Counseling: Round 2

April 16, 2013

As I said in the last post where my house burned down and I was rushed to the burn unit, things like that have a way of turning a life upside-down.

Fire is the sort of force where it can be deadly and destructive when it is cut loose.  It destroys things and it can really hurt!  But in the wildest of places it also gets rid of old trash and clears things out for new life.  In our house, there was a LOT of trash.  In fact if one goes back far enough, you might even see pictures of the trash heap our house had become as Arwyn hoarded and neglected things.  It was getting hard to even walk through the place.  It’s a miracle we all got out without broken bones from tripping on the clutter.

That clutter is now gone and the builders are busy rebuilding to create a better and even slightly bigger house.  There is a chance to start over.  One way or another.  Within a few days of the fire, Arwyn got what I think might be a shock that was just as big in her life as the fire that destroyed everything.

I spent the night of the fire in the burn unit at the hospital while Arwyn spent it with the boys at a neighbor’s house.  None of us got any sleep.  The next day, friends and neighbours descended upon our burnt house to help salvage and offer help.  It was kind of amazing and I wish I was less sleepy, hurt and grumpy that day.  They helped move salvageable things into storage which they paid for the first month.  The boys went to stay with friends and then our church put Arwyn and I up in a hotel.   Our first hotel together without the boys since having them and we slept in separate beds.  Of course, 10 percent of my body was burnt and I looked like a zombie.  That was according to my 11 tear-old and he was right.  My right arm was bandaged but half my head was open and bleeding or weeping while my right eye was swelled shut.  Not that there was any possibility of anything happening anyway.  Arwyn and have been done sexually since late 2009.

We got a hotel suite with the boys and the insurance company put us up there for 2 weeks.  She was out when I was finally able to get in touch with my SL elf GF and let her know what had happened.  At first she was very sympathetic but this changed within a week or so.  While my priorities were realigning,  still felt like I loved the girl and began an email with the subject heading “Thirsty Thursday” to her something to the effect of:

Thirsty for YOU!

Man..I am chomping at the bit to just get at you.  I must be feeling better cause you might be getting more than a small twitch…more like a larger twitch!

Arwyn came in the door of the hotel and I didn’t make a huge deal of switching windows, but opened the browser.  However not before she stared at the screen for a few seconds, clearly soaking in what it said.  However she didn’t say anything.  Neither did I.  From my perspective, I am not sure what she should expect.  How could she be jealous?  She has not acted like she wanted me in so long.  At least not that way.

It was later that day, we had an argument about something and she suggested that we needed counselling.  And it so happened that her church was willing to pay for 3 counselling sessions for us.  I had no objections to this.  The morning after we had our first night in the hotel room we had even discussed going our separate ways.  Counselling might help us find our way out.

This new counsellor is a woman who does not mince words and does not hesitate to lay things out very succinctly and directly.  Oddly enough, I feel like if we had her in our forst counselling go-round, things MIGHT have been different.  And so we are talking about how to let go, while at the same time she does leave the possibility open for things to be different.  She pointed out that we do have things in common besides the kids.  And we CAN live like room mates under the same roof with the kids, but she pointed out that this only works until one or the other of us meets someone else.  Then things rapidly fall apart.

We have had 2 sessions and after that last session it looked like we had decided to work to part ways.  And maybe it is time.  I have suffered for a long time.  So has she.  We have a chance to do something different and new.  To start over.

But I’ve been thinking.  Arwyn is an attractive person.  Not just as a woman but as a person.  Even though she treats ME as unattractive.  If there was a way.  If only there was a way.

The other day she was trying on some clothes someone had given her and it was a a skirt/blouse outfit.  She came into my room to show me, and she DID look attractive in that outfit.  I felt awash in sadness.  It felt really odd that she was even showing me this and asking if it looked good on her when we had been talking about living in separate houses just a day or two before.

There is still a lot of caring and love there.  But I’m not sure it is enough.  I just don’t have the energy or patience for the bullshit any more.  We did sign on for more counselling on a sort of week-by-week basis. So we shall see.

I have no idea, really.  It would be nice if this could turn around but I’ve been burned SO many times before by this woman. Can people really change that much?

 

 


Happy Valentines Day 2011

February 15, 2011

It has been a LOOooong time since I updated. Kudos to you for checking on me…whenever it is that you do.

Seriously, I have really not had anything happen that I found terribly blog-worthy. Perhaps my standards have gone too high, but more than likely I have settled into the dull futility that so many other guys (and women too) settle into after fighting and struggling for years and years.

But tonight it IS blogworthy because it is V-day. Everyone wants to talk about love and romance. My coworkers got onto me because I had not made a big deal out of it. I had bought a card already that was funny and entertaining and witty that our kids I knew would enjoy. Not too sentimental, but cute and sweet. But one of my coworkers convinced to also buy a card that WAS more sentimental.

My wife teaches at a preschool where they hold a huge V-day party every year. She goes to a church where the love of men and women is preached resoundingly every year, altho it becomes more of an admonition toward men then a message of love for both. But in anycase, the message is out there and the airwaves are saturated.

So she was keenly aware of what day it was and the expectations involves. And she also knew how low mine were, but she did make a pre-emptive move just in case. For when I got home from work, she made sure that I knew that she has had a headache for the past two days. Funny she never mentioned it yesterday, but oh well.

And I gave her the first card, the funny one. “Oh…didn’t get you anything” she said as she took it. Byt she opened it and we all had a good laugh as she opened it and the funny cartoon voices told about o’s and x’s being hugs and kisses and not ox, altho you could hug and kiss an ox if you wanted.

But I knew then that she would never see that second card. It would simply induce more guilt and grief on her. The reason why I waited until late in the evening was that if I gave her the card in the morning she would have run out to get one just to keep up…not because she was feeling any particular sentiments toward me.

This used to be a holiday when I thought I could look forward to some romance and yes…sex. It took about 10 years to absolve that notion from me.

I’ll be drinking some wine and be in-world in my second life tonight, definitely.

Hope you all have abetter vday than me!


August/September Update

September 7, 2009

Where the heck did August go?

I’m glad I set myself up last post, as there were blog-worthy things that happened. I actually did rough one out, but never posted it. Maybe I’ll post it on one of my other blogs, just to hold those places open.

Let’s start with the counseling. I’ve been on the fence about continuing that for quite awhile and was seriously considering ditching it altogether. However, I was willing to go as long as Arwyn was willing, even though we weren’t able to go at the same time very often due to childcare issues. As it turns out, I didn’t have to quit at all. The therapist did! He is actually taking a job somewhere in Alabama, and Lord knows those people need the help over there. So we signed a release that allows him to talk to one of two replacements if we should decide to continue later on. But Arwyn and I agreed on taking a break. Once school started, things got hectic and busy in a hurry and counseling was just one more stressor. I think we did make some good headway, and I think we still might have things to work through but it was time to let this guy go and so it worked out just right.

Arwyn’s birthday was a bit of an event that inspired a blog post . But there was a little drama involved in that she annually chooses to shoot for the moon as far as gifts. She usually asks for something that seems outlandishly expensive. Sometimes I can work on a bit of a compromise, but this time it was just a no go all around. I had already gotten her something that she really needed (but didn’t know she wanted it until she got it) before she put in her request. It just seems a bit tacky to make a birthday into some sort of gambit to get more stuff. Maybe I should employ the same ethic only employ it toward more sexual adventures for my birthday! Otherwise, it went over pretty well, I think. It’s always hard because I feel like I’m not measuring up to expectations. And that’s why I don’t use the pressure tactic because I know what it feels like.

The wedding anniversary was a very low-key thing as it also coincided with the first day of school and there was a ton of business around that. Somewhere during that time, Arwyn also gave a testimony at her church for the 12-step type of recovery service they have there. I went in order to be supportive, even though her church is not my usual gig. And I got quite an earful. Of course a lot of it was stuff we had talked about in counseling but this was all her presenting it from her perspective.

Basically, she said that she did not marry me because she had any deep abiding love for me. Rather she believed that this was something God wanted her to do. So while it’s nice to know that she is willing to follow the Lord and all, I’m the equivalent of being sent to Ninevah, Ethipopia or Calcutta. I have no idea what she expected, but as time went on she became more and more angry and bitter. She also shared that she had lustful feelings toward others. I have no idea who that might be, but that was new and novel knowledge. So it was not surprising that while I was kicking around the idea of divorce or escape, so was she. However, she knew she was in no financial position to leave, so she hunkered down. She credits being part of teh church and the recovery group as being key in her turning herself around.

While she has made some great strides, I wouldn’t call it a regeneration by any stretch. But maybe it’s something that can happen more gradually. We’re all works in progress!

And the sex: well, we did have sex once since I last posted. It had been quite a while and it was late on a Friday night and we began getting amorous. Then she said, “Do you think we could have some time tomorrow night?”

“Sure, if you want to.”

She took some exception to that statement, “Well I would ask if I didn’t!”

But of course whatever is said on Friday with the best of intentions can be very, very easily undone by anything happening on Saturday. For instance when she wakes up and begins complaining about a sore back. Or something else happens and can kill the mood. But to her credit she did come around, albeit after quite a long wait on my part. But I was prepared to have it happen or not happen. Whatever. Anticipation can be wonderful but it can also be awful when expectations are dashed so often. It’s a lot easier to NOT get hopes up and be willing to let it happen or not happen. And once it did happen, it was really great.

But let’s be honest: this is not a sex life. These are nice sexual events. I enjoy them when they happen. I’ve found other things to occupy my time and thoughts. Sex just isn’t such a huge deal anymore. That’s not to say it will never be, but at the moment I’m not begging.

Here’s just one more thought rustling through my mind at the moment:

It has been abundantly clear that Arwyn has not had anywhere near the sexual attraction toward me that I have had for her in the past. I still think she is stunningly attractive. But me? Not so much. Part of my lack of sex drive is the fact that it’s pretty certain no one else is thinking of me in a sexual way. We can all imagine we’re God’s gift to womanhood, but once you get into middle aged that becomes even more of a delusion that can only be sustained with a considerable amount of cash and flash. And so, I’m thinking that I’m pretty lucky that Arwyn wants to have sex with me at all. But I’m not convinced that she really ever wants to, really. I think she can enjoy it once she’s in the moment, but it isn’t something she has ever looked forward to or anticipated. Not with me, anyway. So I look forward to gardening, reading, Farmtown or watching reruns on Hulu. It’s not very exciting blogging material, but that’s where i am right now.


What does “working on it” look like?

June 16, 2009

We are rapidly approaching the end of therapy, at least for the summer.  Last night, Arwyn and I had a rather  intense exchange about where we are at.  We’ve had these before, of course, and sometimes they get somewhere for awhile and then fizzle out.  Sort of like Farmwife’s garden analogy where the weeds keep coming back if the place isn’t tended regularly.  And the garden of our marriage is pretty lush with noxious weeds.

One of the questions that came out of a recent 1:1 therapy session was this: What would it look like if Arwyn made our relationship a priority?  If she was to really commit to working on it, what would it look like?  I had no idea, so last night I asked her.

A bit of background: for the past few years she’s been working part-time at a church preschool as a teacher.  She’s good at it and everyone tells her so.  She’s just gifted in this area.  She works 3 hours/day for 3 days a week, plus whatever time she puts into planning for it and putting stuff together.  She’s quite thorough and a bit of a perfectionist sometimes.  The preschool follows the school calendar, so sh gets all the breaks the kids get and summer off.  It doesn’t pay a lot, though.  This past spring many of our counseling sessions revolved around the idea of Arwyn considering quitting her job in order to concentrate on our family and especially our marriage.  While I was willing to support her in whatever decision, I had a few misgivings about the idea as in she’d get bored being at home alone and would simply find other things to fill her time.  The financial hit, while small, would involve us sacrificing some of the comforts we’ve started to enjoy since getting out of debt.  In the end, she decided she would stay with her job.

So I brought this up last night, and pointed out that she’s been off for nearly a month and I hadn’t seen any real work on  our relationship or marriage.  I brought up a few things I had tried.  So I asked what she had done.  Every time we have a joint couple’s session, the therapists asks us what we think the other has done to help strengthen our relationship.  And more often than not, I find myself grasping for anything.  ANYTHING.  I’ve come up with her doing laundry, taking care of the kids, sometimes cooking for me and having sex a time or two.  And the domestic chores truly look lame to me.  I mean they are important, but these are not reasons to get married and poor reasons to stay married.  She has a much easier time answering that, because I do step in help with domestic things and occasionally buy little things for her or make things for her or whatever.

But without getting real confrontational, I asked her to help me out.  I could be just really obstinate and blind and missing all the things she is doing for our relationship.  So what has she done?  She had to think awhile and she did come up with one thing.  Back when she bought Fire Proof and The Love Dare.  That was one thing and I definitely used that as an example in one of our counseling sessions back in February.  But she had to really dial back a long way.  She admitted that she hasn’t done much since then and hadn’t picked up the love dare book since she bought it.

We then had an exchange about how hard I can be to please, sometimes.  I didn’t really see this, but I’m more than game to hear here out.  She wanted to me to name stuff she could do to make me feel appreciated and valued as she said she had no idea. I should have just given her (another) copy of my top 20 list.  And perhaps I still will.

Throughout the discussion, she did occasionally venture into “I’m sorry but you seem to want me to be someone who I’m not.”  I’ve heard of other guys getting caught with that one, but I really wasn’t accepting it.  I asked her, “Well, are you happy with who you are?  Are you satisfied with the way things are?”  She said no.  So basically, I’d like to see her be whoever she’s going to be and would be happy to help her get there, but staying the same is not a happy option for either of us.

There was lots of other content here, but sex was not a major part of it, as that just pushes her too far.  And she was on the edge of leaving the room crying as it was.  She does feel a lot of guilt from that so I didn’t feel like pushing it at the moment.  What did come out was that my interest has waned over time.  A lot of the hope has drained away for anything resembling a lovely, regular and fulfilling sex life. I’d still like it, but I don’t see Arwyn ever turning into someone who could want or enjoy that.  I’m just looking for something more basic that says she values our relationship beyond the money and lifestyle I provide.  Then perhaps we can build on that.


20 Ways to Marriage Improvement and a Better Sex Life

April 15, 2009

My postings become ever so scarce, mostly because there has been no real movement. Well, not much. And none in the right direction.

Arwyn has effectively learned how to game the whole counseling business and keep the topics in safe territory. As an avoider, sometimes this suits me emotionally but not so much in reality. And the larger question of just how committed Arwyn is to any meaningful degree of intimacy remains to be seen. She does like to talk about selected topics, and sometimes I’m perfectly keen to engage her in these conversations about what to do for a vacation or fixing the house or about the kids. But there has been no real physical affection the last few weeks to speak of. The thing is that she seems perfectly fine with that.

We did go out of town for a few days (with the kids) and that was a trip that had fun moments but was bereft of any affection. And the few times I tried to just reach out to her were met by simple indifference or moving away. Last night, I had finally just had it. We went to bed at 9:30 (way early for me and about right for her) and I did want to just cuddle and snuggle. And yes, I would have liked some sexual intimacy with that, but I was simply starving for some real reciprocal physical touching. She was having none of it. She was in her typical inverted position and I actually inverted so we were both in the same direction although not in the same plane when it comes to covers of blankets. She complained that her back was hurting and mine has been bugging me for the past week as well. Part of my problem is the lack of physical comfort, which I need to find a way to deal or cope with. But she gradually got more irritated with me being so close to her and my breathing. I finally suggested that maybe we needed to get new beds…one for each of us. she asked me what I was talking about and I suggested that that is the way we were practically sleeping anyway. She took some offense and pointed out several times in the last two weeks when I was tired or not feeling well. As if she was keen to have sex on those days or had any intentions or inclination toward any physical affection then.

I relented and got back in my own position in the bed under the proper plane of covers. She said she was just too tired and I said that was fine. “However, you need to understand that just because I’m not pawing you all the time that does NOT mean I am okay with involuntary celibacy.”

“That’s fine.” she responded.

“That’s the problem; you’re too fine with it.”

And that is where it ended.

shit. I feel like I have bloodied myself over and over against the same brick wall. What I said last joint counseling session is more true than ever and is also a reason for my lack of blogging. I feel spent. I’m tired and tapped out. I simply don’t have the energy to keep rolling that big boulder up the hill just to have it roll right back down again.

Sure we had fun with the kids last week. But I could have probably had more fun with the kids without Arwyn’s whining and fussiness and paranoia. I could have been with my sister, a nanny or Arwyn’s mother. Yeah, these are good times just being with someone I care about. But we are essentially strangers to each other and that seems to be the way Arwyn prefers it. THAT is a very bitter pill to swallow.

Let’s see if I can list the interventions attempted in order to improve our marriage or deal with the lack of intimacy in no particular order. I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in these if I were you, considering they haven’t done much for me so far.

  1. Dr. Phil’s Relationship Rescue: she bought this one for herself but never did it. But I did and did all the stuff without the benefit of the workbook. She never touched it. When I got to the part where I had to interact with her, she said she wanted to wait until she had a chance to go through it herself. And that’s where that ended.
  2. Praying together: I bought several books on this and Arwyn looked them. But this lasted less than 2 weeks because Arwyn couldn’t decide on a good time to do it.
  3. Date night: tried this several times with several permutations with the latest being a “media free night.” Some okay talking and even some decent sex happened on occasion but it was never a consistent thing. something else always pre-empted our night.
  4. Real dates: A local church used to offer respites once a month that we did at times. But they were for 4 hours and took place at odd times like 10-2 or 2-6 0r 9-1 and sometimes 5-9. The ticking clock really got in the way of feeling relaxed. But our youngest was conceived during one of those respite times. But neither of us were really into the inconsistency of this program.
  5. A raft of self-help and relationship books as well as a ton of research into various peer-reviewed journals. Many of these were good, but I was the only one reading them. It gave me dandy insights that I could share…
  6. iVillage Clashing Libidos/Mismatched Libidos or whatever it might be called now. It can be a really nice support group and it can also be a snake pit. iVillage had some really screwy terms of service as far as what was considered appropriate or not and I was forever testing limits. I probably called some stupid people stupid and got fire for it more than once. Which led to…
  7. Blogging. Here we are! My own space so I can write my own stuff and interact with whoever I want, whenever I want. Or not. All without censorship. I made some nice virtual friends and for awhile this was the place to be for relationship issues. Some of this has helped keep me moving things along through it being a sort of accountability/support group. Maybe my lack of energy is caused by less blogging on it as much as it is a result of it. Reading other folks has been a source of good ideas and inspiration at times.
  8. Chastity play. That was a major theme of this blog and the archives still bring in bus loads of kinksters. At times, it did seem to help in various ways, but when Arwyn’s interest in that venture waned, it was less and less fun to do by myself. In fact, I began to resent her more for her total lack of interest and involvement in this kink. I know it isn’t her fault if she’s not into that sort of thing, but it looks like non-interest in ME. And I’m still looking for refutation of that particular view.
  9. 2-minute intimacy. That was my own pet campaign, where I tried to just get two minutes of hugging/holding each day. It was a bit nightmarish, because I discovered that 30 seconds was the best I could get consistently. I’m sure I came off as being overly needy during this, but it was based in small part on one of Dr. Phil’s exercises (which may have come from Schnarch) which involves hugging until relaxed.
  10. Schnarch. This is not a program, per se, but his material has provided me with a good deal of insight. I would say that I did benefit a great deal from it, and have benefited from occasionally revisiting it. Basically, it is more about altering my own attitude more than Arwyn’s behavior. However, it also allows for some integrity in the midst of conflict, which is why I felt I had to let Arwyn know that I was not okay with the way things are at the moment.
  11. Individual prayer, supplication, Bible study and generally wrestling with God over this issue. Otherwise, I would have flown this coop long ago. This has been a spiritual journey more than anything else.
  12. Counseling. Mustn’t forget this! Afterall, this was a major thing that my blog readers spent years clamoring for. Oddly, most of the folks clamoring for it have never done it themselves. Or not so oddly. And about now is where readers/commenters will tell me I haven’t found the right counselor.
  13. Compromise. Yes, this is what marriage is all about, right? So when Arwyn was too tired, not interested or whatever the reason not into sex, I could ask for a handjob and she would do it more often than not. BUT it was decidedly NOT remotely what I wanted or needed. It became an emotionally sterile procedure designed to medicate me and get me off her back. At least it made me more aware that intimacy was what I wanted and needed.
  14. Money and gifts. The getting of gifts happens to be a love language of hers, so sometimes this actually works. I can seemingly buy some genuine affection for about $200, or so it seems. Cash does seem to be an aphrodisiac of a sort, which seems to be true the world over. Money can’t buy love, but it can buy something that looks an awful lot more like it than what a lot lot of people get from those who claim to love them.
  15. Extra chores, extra help around the house, extra appreciation, extra extra, extra! All these extras gave Arwyn a lot more time in order to invest in other interests. I was not one of them. I know, I should be able to do them just because with no expectation of anything in return. But the extras depleted me and added extra stress and another avenue of criticism when they weren’t done right. I’m not talking about washing the car once a week. This is floor, toilet and shower scrubbing, vacuuming type stuff. Plus the cooking and groceries that I always do.
  16. Give myself a make-over. Losing gobs of weight, stopped smoking and did more stuff with the kids. These were all major points of contention for Arwyn as far as how she viewed me. Or so she said. But honestly, these were just more conditions and obstacles. I think the “no deep kissing because you smell/taste like smoke” was the most telling. She just does not go that way, period. The above things were good, in and of themselves and make me a better person/father all ’round. But there was always a part of me that was hoping that these things would help win her over.
  17. Talking, confronting, arguing fighting. Off and on over the years, we get into it over the sex and intimacy issue. for her, intimacy = talking. For me…not so much. I’m willing to do my version and hers at the same time or switch off but sex is just important for me to feel like I’m a man married to a woman and not just a roommate or girlfriend. so we have blow ups and blow outs about it. Things might improve for a week but it slides back again.
  18. Avoiding. This is something that I’ve tried more often than not, and is definitely Arwyn’s tactic/intervention of choice. Basically the idea is to outlast the other person or outlast the problem. Either way, I get screwed and not in a good way.
  19. Solo sex. Hey, if I can’t be intimate with my wife, perhaps I can deepen intimacy with myself. Chastity play extended into this arena as well as the aneros and the fleshlight. Sure, I learned a thing or two about kinkiness and subspace and what trips my trigger, but that’s not exactly the sort of intimacy I was looking for. It certainly is not the sort of relationship that entered into my mind on my wedding day. “Wow, I’m married! Now I can stick stuff up my butt!” Right.
  20. Affair. The closest I ever got was that deal with Cleopatra a few years ago. We spoke on the phone once and it wasn’t even phone sex or cybersex, it was more like exchanging frustrations and flirtations. About the same time I got flirtatious with a co-worker or her flirting with me more like. Heaven knows I enjoyed that attention, but both women had way more issues than I wanted to deal with as if I didn’t have enough of my own! It never even got to much of an emotional level but I won’t lie. I was seriously flirting with the idea of having an affair.
  21. ENQ – 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 up.
  22. Toys. These would be toys to enhance HER pleasure, specifically some cock rings to help me maintain a firmer erection plus some added textures to hit her buttons. Initially she seemed somewhat positive about it, if not a bit reserved. But when it came right down to it, it was a disaster. She refused to even try them.

#20 is not exactly “marriage improvement” so probably shouldn’t be on the list at all, but it was something I thought of at the time as a way to cope with the constant rejection. And that’s really what keeps bringing me down. Intimacy issues and hang-ups would be a lot easier to deal with if they didn’t come bundled with so much rejection. I can not touch my wife, hold my wife, caress my wife or kiss my wife in the manner that I would like to without getting told that I can’t.

Well, there you go. I’m probably missing some things from the above list, but you get the idea. This has been a very long process. Ordeal. Journey. Whatever. It has been long spanning no less than 10 ten years and going back to the beginning. To be sure I made mistakes and have tried to own up to them to Arwyn. I have asked for forgiveness but I’m not sure I ever got it from her, but you can not compel a person to forgive you or to love you. And that’s where I am; not too sure the woman I love loves me.