Thursday, November 22, 2007

Digging Deeper

"According to a recent national survey, one quarter of all adults experience painful loneliness at least every few weeks..." (source) One quarter! That's a significant chunk of the population.

At last week's session, the therapist focused a lot on me, once more. We talked a lot about loneliness, alienation, estrangement, and other emotions that are believed to be rooted in childhood experiences. I've always known that episodes of feeling blue have always come over me at regular intervals. I've generally accepted it as passing fields of energy, spiritually-cleansing phases, and regular, routine check-ups -- like a systems diagnostic. These moments might last 1-2 days, and would pass with no residual heaviness. But at that previous session, I was challenged by the therapist's (and my H's) probing, feeling as though perhaps that continual sense of disconnected separation was in fact symptomatic of something larger. I'm not convinced that's necessarily the case, and I'm not convinced that psychology has the solutions for me or for any of my "problems". I'm just not convinced. However, I am committed to working on it, for my husband and for our relationship.

Therapy does have a way of forcing you to face extremely fearful things about yourself. And at the same time allowing unresolved issues -- issues that no one wants to change, but everyone needs to change -- the room to develop into something else. For me and my husband, there were quite a few things left under the table that we both allowed to go unmentioned. There still are. I suppose everything that has happened, everything I've allowed to happen, everything I've made happen, has occurred because I actively needed a change, for whatever reasons. Therapy has helped us both to figure out what those circumstances were, why they've been that way, and how to approach even the possibility of changing how things are currently.

For me, there are at least a few things I've wanted/desired/needed in our marriage that I wasn't actually getting. And I didn't own up to them for fear of losing H, for fear of being rejected, and ultimately, for fear of my own choice in possibly leaving him.

We've come up with some actions and agreements that are designed to help us mitigate this unfocused path we're treading -- specific practices and exercises to see what we can do to get where we both want to be. They're baby-steps, but steps nonetheless in the right direction.

I've realized two major needs that I've ignored, and not had the courage to ask for from my H: 1) more personal "free time" -- time that is completely my own, that I don't have to answer to anyone but my self, time that isn't shared with him, time that I choose whatever it is I want to do, with no demand on his part to partake in my endeavors. Sex in my mind does fall within this category, but we've both agreed to temporarily prohibit that. His insecurities are too overwhelming to cope with even the idea of me having sex with other people, let alone face the truth of it. The second need I've ignored: Different faces of sex between us. Over the course of our relationship, our mutual love has grown, and the sex has developed into "love-making" only. I have extremely varied desires in all aspects of sex, and by falling into this rut with H, I've allowed a gaping hole to develop between us. I've made assumptions about what he's "comfortable" with concerning sex, and I've actively avoided pushing those boundaries. Instead, I've chosen to fulfill those needs in other ways, through fantasy, and through other men. Our therapist believes that it is possible for married couples to push those comfort boundaries, with a lot of work and with a lot of trust. It never occurred to me that it's easier to trust a stranger with your desires than it is to trust a loved one, especially one who is so cherished. And yet, that is exactly the case.

I don't know what the future holds, with my H, with YoungMan, or with myself. I know that I need to trust myself more and really believe that my desires are as important as those I choose to love, and be willing to share them. This is a surprisingly difficult task with H, but I am working on it. And with each day that continues, life goes on.


The Erotic Couple said...

You are making good progress!

Rupert said...

"It never occurred to me that it's easier to trust a stranger with your desires than it is to trust a loved one, especially one who is so cherished. And yet, that is exactly the case."

Brilliant observation, and one that is totally true in my case. My wife and I no longer talk about doing new things sexually, mostly because she rejected out of hand anything beyond very vanilla missionary sex for so long that I have just stopped talking, and now, we have pretty much stopped having sex.

I might need to have a talk with her tonight...

bdenied said...

With strangers if they reject your sexual expansions you simply turn, open the door and leave...No fuss no muss. Marriages on the other hand....well who wants to loose a spouse because they think differently than we do.....????I have said it before and I will say it again, you will always seek out other men...its your it is my nature to have other men seek out my wife. it is what it is....physcologists who are rooted in this monogamy thing dont understand it....some spouses dont understand it.....some who seek it dont understand it.....good luck keep posting we all learn a lot from it.

Cyris Vali said...

"For me, there are at least a few things I've wanted/desired/needed in our marriage that I wasn't actually getting. And I didn't own up to them for fear of losing H, for fear of being rejected . . ." I've been experiencing this so often lately that the feeling has become natural. I expect to have it every night after making love.

I feel you sweeti and i'm glad to see things are progressing.

Jim said...

Keep moving and talking about it . . . I think you guys are definitely on the right track. Always good to get stuff out on the table.

Is this a marriage counselor or a sex therapist? Sounds like the former . . . which would make me nervous about getting too far into sex dysfunctions, unless they're trained for that.

Rupert --- We're in the same boat. My thought is, I'd rather bring it up and get shot down than not mention anything more fun at all, so she's deluded into thinking you're fine. Ours is so bad at times that I wouldn't be surprised to look up and see her looking over at the clock, lol. "I'm sorry . . . am I keeping you from something?"

Baby steps . . . build on the missionary, if that's all you get, adding little twists and turns that help her feel better, and show her that there's a lot more out there. Hitting difft. angles . . . a little extra grinding . . . her legs up on your shoulders . . . stimulating her breasts at the same time . . . extra foreplay . . . anything you can think of.

It's worth a try.

anonym said...

wow. so much to say, so much to go over... so many responses to so many questions. who knew it could get so fucking complicated?!?!??

erotic couple -- "good progress" seems so backwards sometimes. it's like the waves keep crashing when you think things are just getting settled. my H and I will feel as though good progress is occurring, and then suddenly we're down the rabbit hole even deeper than ever before. is it good? is it bad? I have absolutely no fucking clue.

rupert & jim -- i'm so pleased that there's discourse and dialogue going on here, hopefully each of us helping each other out in whatever ways we can. i feel so ridiculously close to all of you here who have participated in the reflections of this crazy crazy life of mine. I hope we can all be helpful to one another. my $0.02: i've always relied on doggy-style to "bust my nut" (as YoungMan so affectionately calls in) until YoungMan helped me appreciate missionary in it's SO MANY varying aspects... and damn, missionary can be so fucking incredible!!!! really, it can. I'm so sorry that sex can not be talked about. i seriously think that's the first sign of something to worry about. it's so freeing to be able to talk openly about something so important. I think over the years, i've let the importance of sex fall to the wayside, when really, it should have the limelight. at least, for me and H, i should never have let the fear and complacency get so strong. if you have the opportunity to nip that progression toward silence in the bud, I say do it. make your desires known, because if it goes on too long, you may be facing your very worst fears dead-on.

cyris -- I'm so so so very sorry to hear that this mundane experience of sexual interaction is something you understand too well. especially, for someone as incredibly sensual as yourself. as women, i think it's that much more important to be loud, to be exuberant and to be more forceful than actually understood about our desires. hate to say this, but i really think men are fucking thick in the skull and sometimes need to be beat up on to get the point. (unless of course you find someone as fucking incredibly observant as YoungMan... i'm coming to appreciate more and more each day that I get to know him better) i hope you all the best to never get into my situation. now that i'm here... i never want to get here ever again. good luck, cyris, and all my love to you.

Chris said...

You seem to have such perspective. You seem to be analyzing and seeing so much of the situation. I think this is the best thing for you; it will allow you to make such good decisions for yourself. Good progress and good luck, dear!

hornymaleuk said...

I'm pleased to read about your progress. I continue to visit your blog most days....

Anonymous said...

I suspect you are not over the worst of it yet... I think you should plan to give your H the best goodbye you can if you want him to remember you fondly.