MGTOW 2 – The Party Line: Replying to Tim’s comment

September 19, 2015

Two posts in less than 2 days — something I haven’t done in about 5 or 6 years!  Thank you so much, Tim who commented on my last post and inspired me to come back to what could be an enlightening discussion.  Or just me looking foolish.

You can read Tim’s unabridged, complete and comprehensive treatment of MGTOW in the comment, but I’m going to put it below with my own responses here.  Others who have an interest can feel free to chime in the comments.  This is why I began blogging in the first place was because I wanted to have conversations about topics like this without being censored.  I’ll admit to being relatively new to MGTOW (or the singular version- MGHOW) but so are a lot of folks reading this.  Let’s get on with it:

Tim says:

Many people deride MGTOW because, in a gynocentric society, women are given priority in all things. Because of our heavily gynocentric system, women walking away from their traditional roles is equated with empowerment – while men walking away from their traditional roles is equated with misogyny, insecurity, immaturity and fear of women. See how that works? Shame men for being strong and independent – but praise women for the same. Likewise, women speaking of their freedom from the slavery of marriage is considered empowerment – while men freeing themselves from women’s destructive power is considered misogyny, insecurity, immaturity and fear of women. Again – men releasing themselves from women’s destructive power is derided – while women doing the same is hailed as liberation.

I think this is one of the best, most cohesive descriptions of why MGTOW (and other groups like it) exist.

Much of media and religion is setup to brainwash men into gynocentric robots that can’t be happy unless they’ve been validated by women. MGTOW is a direct threat to this power over men; hence MGTOW will be frowned upon by most women and a sizable portion of men. MGTOW isn’t a movement. We don’t have leaders to be attacked. MGTOW is a mindset.

I’m going to have some things to say later on in a future post about the role of religion in this, because modern day churches have set themselves up into gynocentric institutions, despite protestations that it’s supposedly a patriarchy.  There could be some debate about whether this is because women took it over or men simply abdicated but it’s safe to say that most houses of worship are hostile places for men.  I also alluded to the establishment of monasteries as perhaps the earliest roots of men going a different way from what society might otherwise want for men as self-sustaining communities that were able to exist and thrive apart from women.

The MGTOW mindset reverses the gynocentric brainwashing of men and introduces men to a lifestyle not dependent on female validation, freeing men from the all too frequent life destruction that accompanies giving women power over their lives – particularly through the most gynocentric of institutions – marriage.

90% of men’s life problems evaporate if they do but one thing – never give a woman psychical, psychological, emotional, legal, financial or spiritual power over your life. Nevertheless – media and religion push men to do just that – put their balls on the chopping block for women to destroy. Funny how that works. What would life be like for men if most didn’t give women this life destroying power over themselves?

Can you be married and be a MGHOW simultaneously? Can you be a smoker and a non-smoker simultaneously?

Hehe…well if there is a way to be a smoker and non-smoker simultaneously, I’m doing exactly that.  I’ve been vaping for a couple of years.  No fire, no smoke.  So maybe the analogy works better than I would have first thought.  Sure, I’m still getting nominal amounts of nicotine and possibly a few other foreign substances (I mix my own juice so I know exactly what is going into my tank) but it is not nearly as destructive as what I was doing before.  I LIKED smoking, even though it was bad for me.  But there was such an enormous overhead with the analog cigs that I was no longer willing to pay.  Burning the house down– that helped too.  But the bottom line is that I’m still engaged in part of the addiction but at the same time not as much and am in a better position to control my own habit.  I decide hoow much nicotine I get and have been decreasing it gradually to the point where it’s less than a third of where I started.  I’m working on it.

So I suppose as someone who is looking at being a MGHOW, I’m a recovering blue pill addict and doing it in the same purposeful, deliberate manner.  Weaning myself out where the emotional devastation that usually accompanies a man who gets blind-sided with divorce will be minimized.  The financial fall-out might take a bit more preparation but it’s the same.   The ‘nicotine’ of most married guys (or those seeking relationships with women) is sex.  That is the hook that women can use to catch and reel most guys in, and then they keep him strung out like a junkie, giving just enough to keep him hooked but not enough to keep him satiated.  In this way, I’m already ahead of most MGTOW fellows because I have been without for 5 years.  I quit begging for my fix and have learned to live without.  The overhead of sex just isn’t worth it.

MGTOW aren’t here to shame men that got married – we’re here to enlighten men on the increasingly destructive nature of relationships with women. Many MGTOW are divorced men or men that have otherwise been badly burned.  In the past 50 years, in the US alone, tens upon tens of millions of men’s lives have been destroyed by women through divorce. Every year, in the US alone, tens upon tens of thousands of men commit suicide. A man’s suicide rate skyrockets as a result of divorce – while women’s suicide rate following divorce remains static. 95+% of alimony and child support go from men to women – yet women are strong and independent. This massive, forced transfer of wealth (legalized theft and destruction of the patriarchy) has been going on for decades.

It’s right here where the voice of the presently married guys need to be heard.  MGTOW is dominated by 2 groups; the guys who have never been married and woken up before they got hitched and those who got burned.  In both cases, it’s people who have been disengaged by choice or by circumstance.  Those of us still in the kettle have a seat at this table because while the case is masterfully made about how divorce destroys the lives of men, there is also the effects it has on children.  And about half of these children are going to grow up to be men.  There is something to be said for trying to reverse some of the brainwashing and trying to raise boys who are more independent thinkers.  Guys capable of going their own way.  The guys who have no children can’t do that.  The divorced guys can, although part of the tyranny of family law is that often the role a father plays in the child’s life is marginalized after divorce, and the mother is then able to complete the indoctrination process unhindered.  Think about it: they spend an entire day in public schools where 95% of the teachers are women.  They go to church where women run the show and then go home to mom.  There’s no counter-balance except for those of us who are still in the mix.

Watch the debate on the Safe Campus Act. It will be extremely telling if it fails. If it does fail, with nothing similar to replace it, women will have won carte blanche to have men expelled from college after they have regret-sex or get dumped by their college boyfriends. Soon after that, women will push to have the same removal of men’s rights to presumption of innocence and due process enshrined in the criminal justice system – just as they’ve done with the VAWA. [Links add by me – DJ]

In the case of the Safe Campus Act, women won’t gain anything by the defeat of the bill that they don’t already have.  But both pieces of legislation cited above do point out the hazardous nature of being a man in our country today.  But they came about because of the hazardous nature of being a woman.   One of the unique things about MGTOW, compared to those who have advocated turning the clock back as traditionalists, is that it is moving forward in an assertive and non-violent way.  One would think that feminists who oppose violence against women and the objectification of women would jump on board and get behind this.  MGTOW is an anti-female objectification mindset.  It could be nicknamed the “Stop-thinking-with-your-dick” mindset.  It’s guys thinking with the wrong head that mostly gets them in trouble in the first place when it comes to women and often the violence comes when they aren’t getting what they want from the person they want.

Thanks for commenting and contributing, Tim!


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.

July 20, 2009

Thank you all for the well-wishes, and a special shout out to those who came back from the past for either nostalgia or simply google-stalking me.  It’s all good….I think.  I’d like to address each and every one of you, but it is that time of the month when I need to update you on my train wreck relationship/life.

FTN wrote something about vacation sex, and while I had more sex on my vacation it was with myself since Arwyn did not go with me to visit my folks in Iowa.  She statyed behind with one of the kids while I took thwe other.  and much fun was had by all.

I will say that the post-vacation sex was pretty awesome, even while being unexpected.  Usually when I’ve been gone in the past for any period of time, she isn’t in any hurry to reconnect sexually.  And while I’m not sure she was that anxious this time, I was and it turned out to be good for both of us.  At least it seemed to be as good for her as it was for me.  There was a certain passionate steam that she built up that was pretty awesome that I haven’t seen in a long time.  Maybe I should get a job as a trucker or something, if being away helps this much!

We’re slated to re-start counseling in a week, and I have no idea where we are going to go with it.  While the latest sex was hot, the overall relationship is not really moving along that much.  I’m not fighting, complaining, whining or struggling so much but that has more to do with a certain amount of acceptance and resignation on my part.  I sometimes feel bad about the sex I wish I was having and am not having, but I’m also thankful for the sex I might not otherwise be having that I am.  Yes, I could have chosen a different woman, but I didn’t and I thank God for the wife he gave me.  I’m too old to be woman-hopping.

I also need to thank God that Arwyn wasn’t as picky in her choice as she probably wishes she had been!  And she did have a number of other suitors pursuing her back in the day.

So I have mellowed out overall which probably explains the dearth of blog posts this past year.  I don’t really see why I would change unless things took a dramatically new direction.

Other issues…

My weight is totally creeping back up again.  I suppose I could go back to blogging my weight again and kill what little readership I have left!

I’m still off the smokes except for the 3 I had back in Iowa.  That was not so good.  For the most part, I don’t think about it, but when I do there is a pretty loud mental chatter that happens to try to entice me back.  Those things are SO seductive and cruel!

Speaking of which, (or not) no new things on the chastity theme.  I still like reading about it and it would be fun to do with my wife if she was game but since she’s not, the cage stays in the bathroom drawer.

Spiritual thoughts:

FTN did mention something about reading NT Wright and I ended up picking up a couple of his books.  Surprised by Hope is pretty good.  I do regularly attend Sunday school at the Methodist church but not so much the worship service.  We’re in the midst of changing pastors at the moment, but since I’ve not been so plugged in I’m not so affected as much as the rest of the congregation.  I also found and began reading True Believer by Eric Hoffer.  It’s all about mass movements and has special relevance to the way things are going today, even though this was written almost 50 years ago.  I don’t subscribe to everything he says, but it is all worth thinking about.

More to the point of the spiritual theme, God is most definitely involved in my life in many ways and on many levels.  I’m not going into great details, but sometimes things get to a point where the constellation of circumstances becomes too complex to be explained by random chance or anything short of some sort of cosmic conspiracy.  Stuff just happens.

So coming up for next month we have more counseling, Arwyn’s birthday and our wedding anniversary!  Any of these might make for more interesting blog fodder.  Stay tuned!


June 5, 2009

In my last entry, a couple of folks insinuated that I might be more into my laptop than my wife.  Hmm.  I have to think on that one.

I mean, my laptop is pretty reliable.  So far, turns on whenever I push the proper button.  In Windows, it takes awhile to warm up, but once it does, it runs pretty well.  In Linux, it turns on faster and responds quicker.

Note to whoever invents a digital robot spouse: needs to make sure that she is able to dual boot between OS platforms.

When Arwyn is so uninterested in me and resists whatever  overtures I make toward her (and not just sexual) then I’m going to find other things to occupy my time. And oddly enough, she spends as much time on the computer as I do.  In fact, I probably spend more time offline than she does because I do have other interests once the kids are in bed.  I had been watching Lost and a couple of other shows on Hulu.  I have also been reading a few books.  I also listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books.  These I do while she’s either sleeping or on the computer.

I love the internet because it is such a rich repository of knowledge.  When the tornado touched down here last year and I needed to fix the roof, I found video on Youtube on how to do it.  When I wanted to make pesto, I found the recipe and a video on Youtube on how to do it.  I’ve been trying to listen to a number of free audio books from Librivox.  Mark Twain stories go over well. Try Extracts from Adam’s Diary; hilarious!  Fannie Hill took a fair amount of time and was interesting in that different readers read different chapters.  But it is such a literary classic, everyone should read it or listen to it.  Pilgrims Progress does not go as easily and neither does Orthodoxy. But I have discovered that this is a good way to access good public domain literature while driving or doing something else where reading isn’t possible.  And I don’t know if I would go for literature any other way.

I also listen to a number of podcasts.  One of my favorite musical ones is Mark Gunn’s Irish and Celtic Music Podcasts.  It’s definitely worth checking out, even if you’re not Irish.

A while back, someone had mentioned that they were reading N.T. Wright.  I had to look him up.  Although I had heard of him, I hadn’t read him so decided I might get a book or two.  While waiting for my books, I was looking for podcasts and stumbled upon one he did with Anne Rice.

Anne Rice?  The woman who wrote about Vampires?

Yep.  That was the one.  I had no idea she had become a Christian and had been writing Christian novels/fiction.  So I got and just finished Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. The non-Kindle version.  This is a curious book, but it is exceedingly well-written.  I recommend reading Rice’s testimony in the back of the book before reading the rest of it as it will help add a lot of the context.  Rice was raised a Catholic and returned to that flavor of faith when she was converted.  So there are more than a few influences of that in the novel.  However, there are enough things contained therein to offend pretty much anyone looking to be offended.  But if you remember that this is a work of fiction that contains a lot of research and scholarship, it should go down better which is why I recommend reading her ex[laination of how she came to write it.  You can also catch her podcast with NT Wright.

Wright writes a lot like CS Lewis, with that same sort of scholarly, English style of writing supported by the dry wit of someone who knows his material but also knows people.  I ordered two books.  I found that I sort of stalled out while reading For All God’s Worth and after 2 chapters picked up Rice’s book and read that one to completion.  But now I find I’m more easily able to handle it.  I’m also looking forward to reading Surprised by Hope.

So you see, I do have some other interests going on , in addition to considering a career change keeping and up with the boys who are each involved in different sports and activities.  And teaching Sunday School.

So I keep pretty busy with other things that function as diversions from the lack of intimacy in my marriage.  We’ve also had a hiatus from counseling for the past few weeks and I haven’t exactly missed it.

Okay, that’s enough content for the moment.  I’ll see if I can pick up the pace just a tad this summer, in between all my other stuff. Yeah, you may have noticed that blogging didn’t even make the above list of things occupying my time.


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.

Too Differentiated?

January 23, 2009

Funnily enough, Emily and my therapist both brought up similar questions about Schnarch or at least my take on his approach. So this is a golden opportunity to explain to y’all how and why I like this approach.

This concept of differentiation is troublesome to a lot of people, because it seems to imply a growing separateness that if taken to an extreme results more in having parallel lives than intimate ones. People take it to mean a sort of growing independence from one another and a loosening of the ties that bind. In a sense, it is true that it does loosen the bonds of fusion. However, to look at it as something that encourages a degree of divisiveness is misreading the approach.

Arwyn and my situation perfectly illustrates this. Basically, the fact that we tend to drift into parallel lives on our own is the major problem. We are avoiders and when the the tough gets going, so do we. We’ll run away with an occasional skirmish or two in between. So on the surface, we look like we are TOO differentiated when in fact the opposite is true. We are fused like welded steel to the point where a move by one of us threatens to break the other. It is how we end up in the icy grip of gridlock.

Many of you last year were recommending some sort of face-off or confrontation. But that would not and could not happen until the anxiety from the existing painful situation got higher than the real or imagined result of a confrontation OR until I felt strong enough to withstand whatever the fall-out would be. The latter occurred because I engaged in a great deal of self-introspection. Schnarch’s approach was and still is, the only approach that rationally explains why Arwyn and I have the difficulties that we do. Once I understood that Arwyn was coming from a fairly logical place given the circumstances, it was much easier to be more understanding. The biological/libido model of sex drive could not do it.

That’s not to say I’m uncritical of Schnarch. There are some areas where his statements clash with my Christian beliefs. For one thing, he starts of acknowledging that gays and lesbians can also benefit from his approach. I have no doubt that this is true, but he attempts to shoe horn those lifestyles into the definition of marriage. Okay, fair enough, I’m not going to make a huge deal about that. However, later on he makes an even bigger deal about evolution. Again, I have no problems with Schnarch’s using this belief to give his approach more scientific credibility. However, when he talked about how women eventually went from being in heat once per year to having a more irregular and unpredictable cycles of desire, he goes on to say how men and women and men and men and women and women began pairing off because of the more variable schedule of reinforcement. Since when is homosexuality compatible with natural selection? I could see men getting it on when the women weren’t “on” so to speak, but that doesn’t fit the science of evolution. Nor does it have a lot to do with his core approach, which is why it’s easy for me to dismiss it in favor of the relevant aspects of it.

My therapist asks me, “What about ‘becoming one flesh’ as described in Genesis? That seems to favor fusion and go against differentiation.”

Funny thing, that term “one flesh.” There are a whole lot more spiritual things that could have been written or translated. One heart, one mind, one soul…those are all things that seem more appropriate to a book like the Bible. But it says “one flesh.” How can two become one flesh? To me, the sexual image is the only one that comes to mind. How else can we be one flesh? There are many ways of relating, but fleshly relations between men and women are almost necessarily sexual. But something that I’ve learned about sexual intimacy is that to be truly satisfying it demands a lot more from your heart, mind and soul than most people realize when they are just starting out. Our sexuality is a lot more complex than any animal. Any of us can lose our desire very quickly from a variety of disruptions that are not necessarily physical or biological. The fusion Schnarch is talking about is not fleshly fusion, but it almost feels like it sometimes. What makes human sexuality greater than the sum of its parts is the fact that we each bring something special and unique to it. The more spiritual and emotional depth we have, the more we can pour into it.

And this is why marriage is a system. In Eden, there was a perfect relationship between God and the creation. There was no sin, no predation, no victimization, no disease, no ill will. But once sin entered into, it all went to Hell. The one flesh relationship was totally whacked. So was the rest of creation. But consider this: before the first disease ever entered, God had already created the medicinal plants to treat them. Where’s the evolutionary advantage in that?!? God had also put a mechanism in place to deal with human sin, and marriage is part of that elegant system. We basically help each other to grow. When Arwyn and I first met, I was a much shallower person than I am today. I would argue that since starting this blog I’ve grown a lot. It’s not because of Schnarch, either. It’s because my marriage to Arwyn has forced me to grow and develop into a better person. The Passionate Marriage approach simply helped me to realize that my marriage needed a lot less fixing than I thought. The marriage gets painful largely because of the sinful attitudes I bring into it. I’m the one who brings the resentment, selfishness and anger into it. Now it is true that Arwyn brings her own unique brand of dysfunctions into the relationship. However, I can not help her remove her dust specs until I first move the lumberyard from my own eyes.

Yeah, it really is that Biblical. I hurt myself when I try to judge Arwyn. When I condemn her, I condemn myself. When I try to change her into something she is not, I am violating her integrity especially if I’m not sure who I am! And marriage necessarily involves discovering who I really am. I can not discover that if I am always retreating and avoiding. I’ll never discover who I am as long as I am busy pointing out someone else’s flaws. I can not become the person I want to be if I treat others unkindly and with disrespect. Marriage challenges all of those things and it is done in the context of two sinful people trying to coexist intimately together. It is an ecology that was purposefully designed to develop the best by sometimes bringing out the worst. Differentiation is simply allowing enough room to grow and develop for the cycle to turn freely. But both people are part of that system and moving apart or bailing out is just breaking it. That isn’t differentiation at all, because differentiation means to be able to be close to someone without being threatened or without falling apart. If you are not close to someone, of course you’re not going to fall apart, but neither are you truly differentiated. You’re simply at a particular stage of development and you aren’t going to grow until you are part of a system that challenges you to be more than who you are today.

This is why the divorce rate is higher among those who have already been divorced. They get married, get into emotional gridlock and bail before they advance any further. They get remarried, and when they reach a similar stage of emotional development they often find themselves in the exact same place as when their prior relationship hit the skids. The solution to emotional gridlock is not to bail out, although I know the temptation as much as anyone. It is to play through it. Suffer through it. Oh my; none of us wanted to hear that!! But if you think about how much of the suffering is self-inflicted, it begins to make a bit more sense.

I struggle, struggle, struggle with all of this. You all have gotten to watch the sordid mess, at least from my perspective. Yeah, Arwyn and I have both progressed. For awhile. Then we go back into the crucible and gridlock some more. And then hopefully come out better…again. Slow, long and painful this journey is.

I did go to the next session of Arwyn’s church’s marriage mini-session and the leader actually pulled it out and passed one out for everyone in the room. Yes, the ENQ made it debut there, but Arwyn and I just looked at each other and chuckled. The leader probably got that and the whole idea from our therapist, since they are loosely associated with one another through the church. And he got it from us, because he had never seen it before. I would describe this last session as Harley Lite, because while she is drawing most of her material from him she seems to also bring in other things from other authors occasionally. It was more tolerable than the last one, but it still amounts to a giant bother because the kids are thrown off schedule and get to bed late causing problems the next day.

An update on anxiety

January 18, 2009

In my last entry, I spoke about some of my disdain for this therapist we’ve been seeing. It has nothing to do with his personal convictions, or his personality but everything to do with his marriage to the family systems approach. He has spent months trying to map out our family of origin and then tries to help us interpret things through that lens. The problem is that family systems is regressive while also being an other-validated approach. It has limited usefulness, especially for a supposed sex therapist.

Arwyn and I had a number of these little sniping sessions last weekend. It resembles a type of guerrilla technique where she says something potentially deep (but snarky) and then withdrawing as quickly as possible. One topic that came up was a mini marriage seminar her church is having on Wednesday evenings. She went without me the week before and brought back some material from it. I didn’t know it at the time, but much of the material is derived from our old friend Harley, who developed the ENQ. I liked much of his material, but it is mostly incompatible with Schnarch’s view of differentiation. The entire “Love Bank” principle is based on validating your partner in the hope that the other will feel positive enough to return the favor. I told Arwyn I would be wiling to attend just to check it out. My response was less than enthusiastic, which violates a major tenet of Harley’s which is that you don’t do things or ask your partner to do things that they can not enthusiastically support. Those of you presently enduring the tyranny of this know the pitfall of this principle. It devolves into not being able to do anything!

At out last therapy session last week, it hit the proverbial fan. On the way to the therapist, I played some of Schnarch’s audio book. I happened to pick the chapter on integrity which is truly the real meat of his approach. She recognized much of it as I confronted the therapist about how his and Harley’s approach lacked a grounding in reality. At the conclusion, I gave him a CD on which I had copied about 5 chapters of the book. The therapist seemed genuinely interested and appreciative and noted that he spends a lot of time on the road so would listen to it. His familiarity with Schnarch is marginal at best. When we discussed it, he was under the impression that the Passionate Marriage approach drove people further apart, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It drives people out of feeling trapped but more into a greater capacity for love.

Arwyn hasn’t made any moves toward sex, and that has been fine by me. I was worried that she might try something right before therapy as that has been sort of a pattern for her but my integrity was not tested this past week. And that’s sort of where we are at. I don’t want Arwyn to feel like she has to have sex with me simply to medicate my bad mood, or to fulfill and obligation or just because she might be asked about it in therapy. I suppose if she could derive some joy out of fulfilling a need of mine, I would be okay with that, but that isn’t the vibe I’m getting. In her mind, I’m obsessed with sex. And if sex was happening, it might only be about 10% of the relationship but because it is such a deficit area, it takes up more mindspace.

I’ll expand a bit more on my thoughts on my other blog. I don’t post often enough for multiple blogs but it is handy when I do decide to do multiple posts.