Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Thorns on the Roses

The time my wife and I had together without the kids was good, for the most part. But let me back up. This entry isn't pretty, but it is honest.

There's a reason I asked recently about verbal abuse. Part of what was rough recently was that my wife was saying the kinds of things to me I'd never say to her. It doesn't happen often, but she has given me the finger, threatened to withhold sex (more on that below), and many more things (mind you, I am the one with the anger problem, right?).

I've worked in jobs where I have had to take a lot of insults and yelling, and just shrug it off. But I don't live with those people and trust my finances and very life to those people, or share children with them.

But she apologizes for everything. Some of the stuff she apologizes for is stuff I have not felt I could bring up. And then I'm supposed to accept the apology, but in doing so for some of those things, I’d basically be accusing her of screwing everything up and marrying me under false pretenses, and I don’t want to kill the marriage or hurt her, because despite my gripes there are many things I like about the marriage and I love her.

She's been bitchy and has had little patience lately in dealing with the kids. She's also been having a pity party. I look at her attitude and how she's not keeping herself up and I wonder what happened to the woman I dated. She recognizes that there has been a problem, and is going back on her favorite antidepressant. You should see her collection of medicines. More on that later, too.

We've been to three counseling sessions, but we have no current plans to return. Not sure if we'll go back the same counselor. My wife wasn't all that impressed with him, but I'm not sure what she was expecting considering the sessions aren't quite an hour. It seems she wanted a list of clear suggestions. But I don't think the guy has heard enough to offer that, even if that is his style.

During the second and third sessions of counseling, she gave a different reason we live where we do – the floor plan of the house. In the first session, it was about proximity to her family. When I pointed that out, she said proximity was why we looked in that area. The floor plan is why we got that specific house. She takes my dissatisfaction with anything about the house as a personal attack on her. But she did note and was appreciative that I hadn't had "an explosion" since the vacation.

We couldn't see it when we committed to go, but taking that stupid vacation with her family, combined with some unforeseen stuff that followed, has put us into an uncomfortable financial position unlike any we've been in since we married. My wife has apologized repeatedly, telling me it was the worst decision she's ever made (and not just because of the financial aspect). I've stopped almost all savings and investment contributions. We don't have a liquid buffer of funds. if we're hit with any unusual or unexpected large bills in the near future, we're likely going to have to liquidate some of our retirement savings. We're going to put our property taxes on our credit cards, despite the large fee charges for doing so, in hopes we can pay it down the line (we just got a new credit card that will not accrue interest for a while). So far, we’ve always paid all of our credit card bills monthly before any interest or charges are added, but we might have to break that. We have an amazing credit score, but that's probably going to change. We’re likely going to have to walk away from the condo we moved from when we moved into our house; it is underwater with no end in sight; the rent was only enough to cover the hard costs and the renters have fallen behind, so we’re subsidizing them. So that will hit our credit.

No small part of the problem is in the increase in doctor visits, treatments, and medicines. We have insurance. Good insurance. But she’s ramped up costs lately. Now I know it isn't like she wants to have the problems that she's having treated. But she wasn't honest and upfront about this stuff when she knew what I wanted when we were dating, perhaps because she was in denial to herself, or maybe she was just insecure about being thorougly open. I'm not rich, and if we were going to be a one-income family and take care of our kids, I needed someone who could either do the earning or take care of the kids, and given all appearances at the time and her career at that time, I had reason to believe she could take care of the kids just like any other SAHM, and that she didn't live an expensive life. But now she thinks of herself as limited, and all of the treatments are time consuming, involve a lot of paperwork, and cost money. Oh, and I'm not even talking about her teeth. I can't even relate, because I've never had to even fill a cavity, but it seems like every time she goes to the dentist we're going to be out hundreds of dollars, despite having insurance.

Here's an example. Earlier this year, she sought an additional treatment from a new doctor. This isn't quite covered by our insurance, so it is an additional set of charges we're now incurring. She gets medication from him. I don't see that the new medication is helping. But she says she notices a difference when she forgets a dose. Of course she does. She's prone to psychosomatic issues (as intelligent people can easily be) and so is now dependent on the new medication. But... I can't point that out to her, because when she was a kid and really did get sick, some of the doctors accused her of faking it, and only later was it objectively verified that she was actually ill. So bringing up the likelihood of something just being in her head is taboo, even though it is true. I hate rules like that.

This has impacted lovemaking. She challenged herself to start off the year being better about that (there had been a lack of frequency). But earlier this year, when her sister announced her latest pregnancy, my wife started thinking she may be pregnant, too (which would not be ideal), as they were pregnant at the same time the last time around. My wife even had some symptoms. Turns out she wasn’t pregnant; it was just more psychosomatic drama. But ever since then, her already low-drive sank to nothing and she won't allow herself to have an orgasm.

I consider it my husbandly duty as well as privilege to not only make love to her, but bring her climax. My wife has tried to disabuse me of something I read in a magazine years ago that said it was a myth that it was okay if woman didn't orgasm. She has insisted she doesn't need to every time, and I have accepted that. But every previous lover been with (and there weren't dozens, but enough) has had at least one orgasm every time, with very rare exception (my first two sessions with my first lover... heck, I didn’t orgasm the first session... and maybe once or twice when I was warned ahead of time she was feeling out of sorts).

It's either a problem in her head, or a problem with the new medication, which she takes because of a problem in her head. I had hoped that a recent visit to her OB/GYN would help, but the best thing told to her was that she should gain some weight. She was looking extra thin lately. Frankly, I'd prefer her slightly overweight than so thin. She's the skinniest woman I've ever been with. Her padded bra helped fool me, but it was her personality, values, outlook on life, and goals that had drawn me to her - that she was stunningly beautiful was the icing on the cake.

In all of those past relationships, those other women wanted me. Wanted to have sex with me. Wanted sex. Would beg me to come over to their place instead of going to sleep. They weren't just there "if I needed them". With the kids gone, things were a little better. Otherwise, for the last several months, lovemaking has mostly been limited to her giving me mercy oral (which is certainly batter than nothing!), in the dark, fully clothed. I want to make love to her. I want to see her body, feel her body, and enjoy it.

Lovemaking is a major way I relate and express my love. I have been confident in it. I’m not confident in doing automotive repair, but I am in pleasing a woman. I think of lovemaking as not only a part of love and bonding, but as worship, play, and a hobby. I want to practice!

On an outing, the kids were occupied, my wife was occupied, and rather than sitting around staring into space, I checked e-mail on my phone. This prompted my wife to write me an angry letter, telling me she was going to plan life for her and the kids as though I wasn't around, and I could stay home with my books and computing devices. Mind you they all know that even if I am paying attention to such a device or reading, they can approach me and interrupt and I will give them my full attention. Still, my wife told me she's never going to stop nagging me as she seeks to "improve the family". I warned her that if it was going to be that way, I was going to start nagging her in return and asking her to change.

I have bit my tongue about some of the things I have wanted to point out to her because I fear there will be no repairing the damage if I speak up - what was done is done and there's no changing it, and there's no way to improve upon the things in the future that I have held back about. So it is best not to bring them up to her.

The financial situation has really been tough on her, and she thinks back to the fights her parents had over the years about money. When we found out we were going to be hit with another big, unexpected bill, she just had this look... so I apologized for having put her in this position, as she needed to have married someone who earned more.

This, apparently, broke her and she apologized profusely and said she didn't want anyone else, she wanted me.

To which I replied that it doesn't sound like it, because she's been telling me over and over again that I do so much wrong and that I need to change.

Things got better between us after that, and that is when she told me she was going to go back in the antidepressant.

I have never been on any medication for mood or mental issues, so it is hard for me to understand all of that. I simply think, "Why not just change your attitude?" She thought maybe I should get on something, but therein is the difference between us. I am more prone to err on the side of not getting help and relying on my mind to make things better, and she is more prone to err on the side of letting her mind make things worse and deciding medication is the answer. I realize that sometimes brain chemistry needs a medical fix, but if something can be fixed without medication, I figure that it is best to go that way, at least for me.

If I could go back in time, perhaps to while I was driving home from one of our earliest dates, this is some of what I would tell myself:

1. Yes, she's a strong-willed, Christian woman, but what also factors in to her being a virgin is that her libido is very low. That makes it easier for a woman as beautiful as her to be a virgin at her age. Don't be fooled by all of the passion she'll have while making out.

2. You need to go with her to all of her medical appointments and find out how her condition and medications and mental state about those things are going to impact her roles as wife and mother. Sure, she seems perfectly capable in every way right now, but she's hiding the reality, for whatever reason, from you and perhaps herself.

3. Her mother's alcoholism will cause several serious problems in your home.

4. Yes, she has a big family and they are nearby, but you're not going to be able to rely on her family – not to babysit, not to help out in tough times, not for anything.

5. All that liquid savings you have? It's all going to go away, and not because of any catastrophe.

Would I have stopped seeing her? It is hard to say. I can't think exactly as I did back then, because we have all of this history together now, vows to each other, kids together, and that has probably literally changed my brain. But I would certainly have had some additional important things to discuss with her, and would have made some different decisions over the years.

The fact is despite everything I've written here, things are generally good, I enjoy her, and I love her. She apologizes for so many things – insisting we live close to her family rather than mine, the recent trip, and many other things, so maybe that bodes well for the future. Certainly, it is better than if she saw nothing wrong with the mistakes we (yes, we) have made. Also, she pointed out just last night that she's feeling so much better now that she's back on the antidepressant and we had that time to ourselves.

Stay tuned. If our renters get some money they've been expecting and pay off what they owe us, we'll be out of our hole. But we'll likely still need to walk away from the condo.

1 comment:

  1. I assumed that there was a reason you asked about the verbal abuse. Whether you are a woman or a man, you should try to treat your partner with love and respect even when angry. No one's perfect and we all make mistakes, but if this is a consistant problem for you, I definitely think that you should talk about that. Curious as to why you may continue counseling seperately?
    It seems like you are both unhappy with aspects of your marriage. From what you say, perhaps she doesn't feel like she and your children recieve enough of your attention. Speaking from experience, women want to be number one. Note, I'm not saying she isn't, but I'm saying that if she doesn't feel she is, that is just as bad.
    People's lives do change as we get older. Sadly our bodies don't do all the things we'd like them to and health implications can impact other things in your relationship too. I really hope that you two can work through your problems because despite it all, you seem devoted to one another. Best of luck to you, I'll keep you both in my prayers.


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