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.