Clearing the Air

It all started this morning.  My wife and I had both been up for a while.  She left the room, and came back saying that my youngest daughter was still snoozing hard.  I was on the couch and didn’t say much at first.  A couple minutes later, I came over to her and whispered “Sleeping hard, huh?”, and gave her a kiss.  It was just the cheek, but I was really feeling some energy, so I grabbed her face and kissed her hard on the lips.  She said “No”.  I said “That’s ok.  I’ll keep it in my pants and make it all about you.” (don’t worry people, you won’t need to pull the shades)

She said she didn’t feel like it, and then started to say something, but tears stopped her short.  That’s when I realized “This is it.”  Now was the time to have that conversation.  So many questions.  I had written them all down, and typed them into the computer, but in the moment, I raced through my mind trying to find something to start with.

I led with “I am getting the sense that there seem to have been a number of things that have built up resentment over the years, and I get the feeling that you resent my presence more than you like having me around.  Is this true?”

She said that she was upset with herself for “allowing some things”, and that made her mad.  Over time, it affected her self-esteem, and she would get even madder at me thinking about it, and “fly off the handle”.  She thought that I had cheated on her.  I opened up and told her I would answer for anything.  Watched porn..yep.  Called an 800# one time after a dry spell..I did, and I told her.  There were anonymous app chats as well, but cheat, I did not.  NO PHYSICAL CONTACT with another woman during our entire relationship of 20 years.  That was one of the pacts that we made early on.  We had both been fucked around on, realized it hurt, and was not something we wanted to do to each other.  I stuck by my word.  She looked shocked then a little disbelieving.  So this would be where the mutual tears start.  “So you must think I’m a liar, and hope must be a distant friend.” I said.  She said that she hopes everyday that something would change.  WOW!  THAT’S AWESOME!  I was so happy to hear she had not given up hope.  Without that, I’m not sure we would have a chance.  I’m thinking “GOD why did we have to wait so long to talk?”, but it was literally like we were both paralyzed in a world that we both helped to create.

I told her that as a guy, it is hard for me to get my head around going so long without sex, and asked if she had been with anyone else.  I started to look away and listen to what she was going to say, but had to turn my eyes right back and look at her as she said “No” .  I asked about this guy that had seemed to have been smiling at her when we were leaving the neighborhood.  She didn’t seem to remember.  She looked and sounded sincere, so I am moving past this.

Sex is different for different people, and means something different.  For me, I really need it to keep me in check, and balance stress and feel close to my partner.  When I go for long periods, like I have been, I get all crotchety and snarky, and sometimes just mean.  Even though I’m generally an even keel personality, sex balances the ship.  But the reason for this conversation goes way beyond just sex.  It’s about compatibility, and seeing if we are able to move forward as a couple.

So my next question was “What are the biggest needs you have that are missing right now in our relationship?”  Kindness, support and feeling like she was liked for who she is was the answer.  I told her that a lot of time has passed since we paid close attention to each other.  There was time with the kids, house, family and everything else and we got lost.  I suggested we start dating..like we never met each other before, and get to know who we are TODAY.  She didn’t seem to think that would work for her, since it’s impossible to erase everything.  Fair enough.  We still need some time together.  This will be a work in process.

My next question was “Do you like and respect me as a person?”   She says “What day of the week?”  We get a laugh between the tears, and I answer “Most days.”  I hate being answered with a question, but her answer was “Can you answer that about ME?” Well, considering what we just talked about, maybe that’s not a fair question right now.  I told her that there were some things I missed about who she was in earlier years.  How I missed her smile, and some of the things we would do together outside.  That is one of the things that is really missing now.  Sometimes, it seems like I come home to an island, and I miss doing things together..like a team.  I told her that a couple weeks back, I was just watching her and the kids and thought to myself how she was funnier and more attractive than I had noticed in a while.

Next question “Do you want to spend the next 20 years together?, and added that I do not want to spend the next 20 years like this.  She looked like she really didn’t focus on the question, so I jumped in and told her about my parents staying together (begrudgingly at times).  I said that 2 people being together is not necessarily what is best for the kids all the time.  My younger sibling and I WISHED MY PARENTS WOULD DIVORCE, at times.  I told my wife about the day my dad almost left on Christmas, and that I did not want to repeat this cycle.

On a side note, I did some research of my own, and many faith based organizations and legal offices would have you believe that your child’s world will come crashing in if there are not two parents in the house.  Science and psychology have done studies, and seem to agree that children could be affected for several years, but it’s how the parents handle that transition that will make all of the difference in how a child adjusts to the transition.  Personally, I would have been just fine had my parents divorced. Would I have to make adjustments and work some things out?  Yes, but as a kid living in the family, I already knew what was going on.  Now, I’m not going to tell anyone how they should handle that situation.  This was just something that I had to look into on my own, in case my wife and I were not able to work things out.

After we cleared the air a little, I had an attempt at humor.  My “drop the mic moment” was coming from another room and picking up a lottery ticket she had bought.  I showed it to her, and joked “Did you ever think that if you won, you’d come in here, flash the lottery ticket, and say ‘Have a nice life Lover'”?  She made a weird face, and said “Did you?”…This question with a question shit is killing me..Anyway, I leveled with her and said there were definitely times where I felt as long as she and the kids would be taken care of, I would have, but I never played.  Ok, that was an ATTEMPT  at humor, so that explains why I’m not a professional comedian. It wasn’t long after that the kids started stirring, and we had to put the conversation on pause.  It was a relief for both of us to get this out in the open.

We have many more conversations ahead, but what a great way to start the day.

 

 

What the Blank?

Where is the team that we once were?

Why do I take a deep breath every time I get close to home?

Why do we both seem paralyzed by a world we created together?

Is the road ahead a 2-lane road, or is there a fork coming up fast?

Where is that smile in your eyes?

Do you remember the feeling that you can do anything you put your mind to?

Either way, don’t we both deserve better?

What the blank ?

 

 

Dodged a Bullet

Soooooooo before my time off last week, I remember a couple of moments joking around with my personal lightening rod and some others where I could not believe the words coming out of my mouth.  We have an office with the right mix of professional and crazy.  I mean the WHOLE office, which is really cool.  I could literally sit back and watch a show about our office for entertainment.  Even in that setting, I still felt compelled to let my PLR know that I act crazy, but am not totally crazy and wanted to make sure nothing I said bothered her.  She just asked if I was asking in advance so that I don’t say anything in the future, because we were cool.  I just said “yes” because we were in the middle of a bunch of people that were distracted working, but did not want to draw any attention.  I had wanted to take a walk and explain a little more, but neither of us had time to get away before my time off.

In actuality, I am an introverted person who loves being around excitement, and can feed off of that and have my own over the top moments.

I came back to the office after my time off with so much energy.  Even though I did not do anything while I was off, I think the time spent here blogging was therapeutic because it helped to crystallize some thoughts.  Everyone was happy to see me, and was glad I could come back and start making my contributions to the workload.  It was Thursday before I even saw my personal lightening rod for any period of time.

Well guess what?  She had a really nice date with a sweet guy, and were going out again this weekend.  Good for her, and I don’t have to think about these feelings anymore, or I at least get a break.  There was the little pang of jealousy.  Weird.  Do you know the word “Lousy” is in jealousy?  At any rate, now, I have my full attention on the home front.  So, if for no other reason, perhaps this person came into my life in order for me take a look at how I have been living and my current relationship.

The only thing I can think about is all of the unresolved questions from my previous post.  As we head into Memorial Day weekend, this is the time to make plans do something, and be thankful for all those that sacrificed so we could celebrate, right?  Not in our case.  The subject has never been raised by either one of us.  I got off work yesterday and went to a sporting event for my kids.  My wife, her mom and sister were already there lined up in the bleachers.  They were talking away, showing each other things on their phones, and I just felt like an outsider.  I came in and sat a row behind them without saying hello to see if they would notice.  10 minutes went by.  Cue Radiohead “Creep”

I have envisioned little scenarios where I am not in my family’s life.  What does that look like?  How do we tell our kids? How do my kids react?  What would I miss most?  How could I afford to even do that without working another job?  Thinking about upcoming expenses my kids will have…car, college, etc.  I have an upcoming anniversary – 16 years, so WHY?!?!?!?  Why am I thinking about this?  I guess I feel like if this was a dead relationship, it would kind of be like me dead – not involved, so how does life go on? In the end, I just see my situation as broke and lonely at least in the beginning.  How long this lasts I have no idea.  How can this be a better option than staying with my wife?

I don’t even need to be thinking these things until we finally get to talk.  If she is full of regret and resentment, I think I would move on no matter how hard it would be on me personally.  If we can have a good conversation, maybe I can find out some things that she is lacking and let her know what is lacking on my end.  Maybe we can figure out if we both have the energy and the patience to work together.  When I get home, I feel my energy level drop.  The dog acknowledges me and is excited.  I don’t even want to drink to mask any of this, but I have to say I am getting pretty tired of feeling this way.

With any luck, I can pry my wife away from whatever she is doing, and go for a walk and get things out in the open.  I feel like such a selfish prick, and maybe that is the truth.

Questions

So, since I have not been able to engage my wife in conversation yet, the wheels will just keep turning.

Men and women are so different. It’s a wonder that we can inhabit the same planet, much less the same household.  We (men and women) frustrate the hell out of each other, but at the same time, cannot live without each other.  We communicate differently, we show appreciation differently and seem to be interested in totally different topics.  I don’t want to focus on the divisions, though.  I’d rather focus on the similarities, since these are areas that we can actually share with each other.

Men seem to respond best to appreciation shown in the form of touch, vision and most importantly feeling connected to our woman.  We appreciate all of the other things that you do for us.  You know what..I’m not all men, so I’m just going to speak for myself.  I can be a good husband, and do all the things that a good husband should do, but after a while, it starts to feel like just going through the motions if there is no desire expressed.  Maybe I do so many things that disgust my wife, that there is no desire.  If we can’t talk about it, why are we married?  How can a woman let her man go for 10 months without sex and expect him to be the man she always hoped he would be?  10 FUCKING MONTHS!!  This brings me to my first question for my wife.

I feel like there is some injury or injuries you have suffered (which I may have caused), which causes you to resent me more than liking to have me around.  Is this true?

A close second question that I have to ask, only because as a guy, I cannot process how a couple can go that long without allowing intimacy is…you guessed it.

Have you ever had a romantic affair or just sex with someone outside our marriage?  I am not judging, in fact, if it made you feel happy for a while okay…but I need to know whether you really want to be with me or you just stay because it’s safe.  So you don’t have to change your lifestyle.  So you kids don’t have to know.

I am a pretty trusting person.  I always tend to give the benefit of the doubt, but there are a couple of things recently that have raised these questions.  The first is about a month ago, we were all leaving the neighborhood together.  We came to a 4-way stop, and the other car at the stop was a guy I did not recognize who gave a big freaking grin.  My wife kept going, and murmured “Who was that?  He looks familiar?”  YEAH NO SHIT!

I know that look all to well.  It is not a look that you give a stranger.  It is a knowing smile.  Maybe it’s not sex, but there’s something more to it.  Bringing me to my next question – “Who was that guy smirking at the 4 way stop?”

The other thing that has me concerned is reading some of the posts, some ladies had to have surgery for an STD.  My wife went in for a procedure this year where they had to “Burn her on the inside”  I think a cyst has to be removed as well…I can’t remember the procedure, but now I’m wondering if there is anything to this, or just paranoia running rampant.

This is where I start to get a little crazy.  I know a woman will always protect her kids.  So if she’s not talking to me, is there some outside force that is threatening her that she doesn’t want to tell me about because she’s worried how it could affect her family?  I do not remember my dreams much lately and when I do, they rarely have people in my family. Within the last couple weeks, I had a dream that my wife was raped by one of the cable guys at our house.  It was the weekend, and I woke up with my heart racing, and my eyes bolted over to her sleeping on the bed.  I got up and made coffee and my mind raced through different scenarios.

When she got up, I didn’t even let her get coffee.  I looked her straight in the face and said “If something really bad happened to you, would you tell me even if it was embarrassing?”  She said that she would.  I went on to tell her about the dream I had with the cable guy.  “Which one?”, she asks.  We have had several guys out for problems, and I recalled a guy, and she remembered and said “That was a LONG time ago.”  She laughed and told me about a silly dream that she had.  I was relieved for the moment.  Now I really do believe that she would lie to my face to protect her kids, but I still have to ask:

“Is anyone outside our house making you do something that you feel like you cannot tell me because of what may happen to the kids or me? ” (Wife-Please don’t grapple with why I ask these questions.  I cannot come up with answers to my questions, so I am making anything a possibility.)

Ok let’s bring it down a notch.  Next question

Do you respect and like me as a person?  Why or why not?

The next question has to do with compatibility, and if we are capable of meeting each other’s needs without making each other miserable.  My parents stayed together, but there was always tension, and sometimes yelling, which affected my younger sibling and I.  We almost wished they would split, but one Christmas my dad started packing a bag.  He said he should have done it a long time ago.  My younger sibling and I were standing at their bedroom door with tears streaming down our face begging him to stay.  He did end up staying.  Now that he is up in years, he relies on my mom more, and I think appreciates her more.  we still like to visit, but I think that there is still so much conflict.  I don’t want my family life to be anything like that.  2 parents under the same roof with their kids is not always what is best for the kids.  (If this part sounds familiar, it is because I deleted my original post because it was painful to relive and I wasn’t sure I wanted it out there, but damnit I’m here to deal with it ALL)  So the question already…

“Out of 100%, what percent of my qualities do you find attractive, and what percent do you find unattractive?”  Do the percentage of unattactive qualities outweigh the attractive ones, even if the number is less?”  Trying to quantify compatibility may not be the scientific method, but it’s what I’m working with today.

Getting on with it..Next question:

Do you want to spend the next 20 years of your life with me? Why or why not?

What is more important to you-the lifestyle you have currently or being happy?  To put things in perspective, we are not well to do.  In fact, there was a span of years where we were just getting by paycheck to paycheck.  I was at a job for 12 years, and was let go and it took 8 months to get full-time work again.

I wish I would get my wife the latest coolest luxury car, and the house she REALLY wants and all the cool brand names that my kids want.  I have even worked 2 jobs at times to supplement, but only 1 full-time spouse working is not enough to provide all that in most cases.  I can imagine her laughing at the question of lifestyle, but what I am getting at is whether we are together in the same house, or we separate and she goes to work full time somewhere, and I go off broke, but not making anyone else unhappy.

On vacation, last year, we were on the beach drinking and starting a bonfire for the kids to roast marshmallows.  I don’t know even what caused it, but my wife got up and said “I’m done.”  You all can just go back with your father because I am over it.  My daughter is crying following her as she walks down the beach away from me.  I am just standing there like  – WHAT just happened? – as I watch my wife walking down the beach.  I don’t know what to say.  I start walking down the beach, and then running.  When I get closer, my wife screams at me something about my younger daughter being destroyed, and told me to get the fuck away.

To this day, I do not know what that was about.  I fell asleep on the beach in front of the bonfire.  The only words she had for me at the door were “Where you been?”

So, the last question I have for now is:

When you thought of leaving, what made you come back?

If I’m being honest somewhere in the middle of all that, I was being an asshole.  2 people do not act like that to one another unprovoked.  I NEED TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION!!

 

Communication -Take 1

So yesterday was not a great day, as evidenced in my last post.   Today, I am feeling a little more optimistic.   I know that anyone who has been following my journey,  I must sound like a wild card of sorts.   I really am all over the place, but I would like to stay with my wife if that’s what she wants, hence the handle fight4urlover.  That is going to take some changes on both our parts. 

My wife is a good looking woman by any measure.   She smart,  has good judgment and doesn’t have any real vices. 

Well DAMN DUDE, sounds like you have the perfect woman so why are you on here crying the blues? Because my name is NO, my number is NO, my sign is NO.  But I ain’t going to let it go.

Today, I am taking the initiative.  So after sending one of our daughters on a play date,  I asked if she wanted to take a walk.  “Where?” She replied.
Me “Anywhere”
Her – Long pause, clicking on the computer.

So after a couple of minutes I ask again.  She replies back that she doesn’t want to go for a walk. I respond that I need to talk to her. You go ahead she says. So I grab my shoes, sigh and then head out the door alone. 

Maybe she is scared of what I am going to say.  I just want some answers. I have a list

Unfixable ?

You know, even though I have not cheated on my wife, she still harbors some resentment towards me. I recall showing her a picture of the two of us early in our marriage, and she said that the girl in the picture was dead before she shut down. I do not want to be with someone if I am making them miserable. There seems to be nothing I can do to change her state of mind. She will do anything for our kids, but she does not seem interested in exercising, helping around the house, or spending time with just me.  In my mind, it is already a dead marriage.

Now I acknowledge that I am partly to blame for this.  Our house used to be very well kept inside.  When people came over, some remarked that it looked like a demo.  When the kids came along, everyone wanted to give them toys.  Don’t get me wrong, we appreciated the gesture, but after a while, your eyes get big when you see large boxes because you are wondering where you are going to put them.  Cleaning them up seemed like shoveling sand against the tides.  And none of them can be donated or thrown away!!  Maybe the younger sibling will want to play with them one day.  Now that day has come and gone.  Some things have sentimental value, I get that, but for most things, if you don’t use it in 6 months or a year, do you really need it?  We both used to work full time, but my wife became a stay at home mom.  Somehow, it became my fault that the house is not as clean as it should be.  She gave up.  Said she learned it from me.  Well the kids are past toys, now and have more of a sense of order.  I know.. first world problems.  Maybe I should have been a better parent and husband.

There have been some tragedies in our life.  We lost a child before birth between our oldest and youngest, which is more than 10 years ago now.  My wife lost her father, who I was very close to both of us about 6 years ago.  He’s probably shaking his head about all of this nonsense now.  I want to take care of his daughter and my wife, but she seems unwilling to accept help in the forms I have to give.  Yes, I can be an ass at times, and frustrating, but show me 2 people that don’t do this, and I’ll show you a great act.

So I guess I have kind of given up.  What can I do?  If she had to have an affair to start acting like herself even for a little while, I would be okay with it.  She would probably be angry with me for suggesting it.  Besides, if I suggested it, she would probably never do it.  I don’t want her to have an affair, I just want her to be some semblance of who she once was, and I’m probably the outlier in that I would want to know about it.  She’s a great mom.  She’s probably a better mom than I am a dad.  It just seems the only thing we have in common now is the kids.  I do not believe staying together for the kids is always the answer, and I speak from experience.

When I was growing up, my younger sibling and I would hear my parents having arguments.  Not physical confrontations, but very loud and vocal.  Who knows what they were yelling about, but mom seemed, well not happy with him.  This affected us kids.  My dad would get upset sometimes because it seemed the kids were “siding with” my mom more than him.  One Christmas, he almost left us.  I can remember my sibling and I standing at the bedroom door and begging him to stay as he was packing a bag.  With tears streaming down our faces, we told him we loved him.  He ended up staying, and never left.  Over most of their years, there was this tension, although now much later in life, my mom is helping him out of necessity, and he appreciates her a lot more.  My sibling and I still like to visit.

We’ve had some great memories, but I do not want to spend the greater part of the rest of our lives in the same state we are now.  This is where the for richer or for poorer, good times and bad speech gets delivered.  If there are personal issues to be dealt with, she does not appear to want my assistance.  Now I know that the nearer that you approach to the truth sometimes, the blinder people will strike back.  If I did something that will never be fully forgiven, why should I stay?

Will my kids really benefit from 2 parents in the same house when there is not visible affection in the house most of the time?  We do talk to the kids frequently, but have very few conversations between ourselves.  If I had the financial wherewithall to give her the house and take care of the kids, I would probably do it.  I think my wife would be happier, and my kids only see me for a few hours after work as it is.  I thought about playing the lottery, but I don’t know what I would be winning.

My wife is out of the house now.  I asked her where she was going, and she said “Out.”  I had to find out from my daughter that she had a hair appointment scheduled.

 

Missing You

So, at the same time regular family life is going on, I am missing the hell out of my personal lightening rod.

I would like to thank amarriageabroad for adding the word limerence to my vocabulary.

lim·er·ence
noun
  1. the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.