Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Major Barriers to Emotional Intimacy

My therapist asked me if I'd miss my wife if she left.

My honest answer was that:

1) I'd miss her driving the kids to and from school four days per week.

2) I'd miss her friendship.

3) I'd definitely miss our "wealth" and my income, as it would  get consumed by lawyers, the divorce settlement, alimony, and, likely, child support.

If this answer strikes you as sad, well, it is. But it's the truth.

Although I'd miss my wife's friendship, I'd be able to rekindle and strengthen old friendships that have withered under her disapproval, rejection, or time consumption.

Although the wealth & income would be divided and burned, whatever I would have left over would at least be mine to do with as I saw fit, without having to get her approval or explain anything to her.

One of the reasons for the lack of emotional intimacy is the infrequent, unenthusiastic, and limited sexual interaction, as I've explained many times before here.

However, there are other significant barriers.

For one, she's got mental illnesses which make emotional intimacy difficult with her. How can I be intimate with someone who has a tenuous grasp on reality? With someone who can, seemingly out of the blue, become hostile towards me and tell me she hates me?

Then there the medications she takes for her mental illnesses and her physical illnesses. The effects of those also make emotional intimacy difficult. Dr. Laura (and I'm sure many others) will often say that you can't have emotional intimacy with someone who is drunk. Well, my wife isn't drunk, but she's stoned/high or might as well be.

Her history of suicide attempts also makes emotional intimacy difficult. Why get invested in someone who may off themselves while I'm working? That she lied to me about this history also makes emotional intimacy difficult, because lying to me about it circumvented my ability to make an informed decision about marrying her and having children with her, leading me to do something I very much wanted to avoid.

Although she sees specialists for some of her conditions, she rarely sees her gynecologist. Literally years go by between visits. I'm not an expert on the cervix, uterus, or ovaries, but from what I do know, regular checkups can be life saving.

Lately, her heart has been acting strangely. That, combined with other physical issues has me bracing for waking up to find that she died while I slept, or getting a call from her brother (or worse, one of our kids) while I'm working.

Now, I know that last one is something a lot of people deal with for any number of reasons, and I can see that someone can decide they're not going to let the possibility of sudden death rob them of enjoying life together now. As you can see, though, there are the other factors at play here.

Being married has been almost a complete negative for me. Almost, because there are very big exceptions to this disaster - my kids. I'm blessed beyond belief to have them, and it pains me that I haven't provided a better home for them. I look at my father and what kind of a dad he was to me and my siblings, and even though there were more of us, he managed to be several times the father I seem to be, all while earning a lot more than I am and accomplishing a lot, garnering respect from countless people. I hit the jackpot with that man. I've let him know that I realize that.

How unusual is my situation, really? There are probably other men in almost exactly the same circumstances.

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