Monday, July 17, 2006

Asylum for a Self-Imposed Exile

To those who have reached this weblog, I offer my sincerest and warmest greetings!

I am in a marriage that has been on a long steady decline toward frigidity, perhaps even collapse. I won't delve into the details here. It suffices to say that the level of alienation I have felt towards my wife was has been severe. Not only did I contemplate crossing the line of fidelity, I made some minor emotional and physical incursions into the forbidden zone.

This weblog is a continuing chronicle of my efforts to give that marriage one last try.

To get answers to questions on the subject of extramarital relationships, I sought the counsel of a bulletin board devoted to this topic about a month ago. It's largely an inclusive group of warm, nonjudgmental souls.

Some of them are having EMRs. Some are curious about starting EMRs of their own. Others had EMRs at one time and linger for the company, long after the fling has ended. There is at least one person who has both been involved in EMRs and has been married to a spouse who had EMRs.

Whatever you think you know about people who seek intimate relationshlps outside their marriage, just toss it aside because the media stereotypes are horrid caricatures.

The board has a lot of threads devoted to issues with spouses. Eventually I felt motivated enough to vent about the state of my marriage to give others some perspective on why I had come there. That led to an extensive background posting.

Several days later, I posted an anecdote that illustrated the dynamics of the sexual relationship between my wife and me. A couple days later, I had a followup. I started to get lots of comments. I acted on some of those comments and posted what happened as a result. This bred more comments. The full series of posts and followups may be found at the following locations:

The tone of the discussion shifted from my anger towards my wife to possible ways to repair the relationship, which is clearly the antithesis of having an EMR. Several board members offered their comments in support.

This did not go unnoticed by some board purists, and after Part 5 was posted, they started to make their voices heard. One argued that the topic really didn't belong in that forum any more because it was about reparing a marriage. Some doubted my sincerity, saying I was putting too much energy into the posts. They thought I was just seeking female attention. One railed at me for publicly acknowledging the advice of an aversary while ignoring hers. Flame wars ensued. The moderator offered her support for my posts. After the dust had settled, a non-trivial number of comments had been removed by the moderator.

I have an instinctive aversion to exclusive cliques. It goes back to early grade school years. I was taunted and excluded for being an advanced, yet socially awkward , student and for being overweight. I simply won't put up with it. I lashed out and told them I was leaving the board, returning only if I were to have questions on the topic of EMRs. Because that posting was part of a flame thread, it, too, was moderated into oblivion.

Severeal posts expressed disappointment that I was leaving, and I have received several private e-mails encouraging me to return. I might at a later date, but I think for the health of the board, it is best that I continue this saga in a separate space. A blog seemed like the appropriate medium, so this space will be the new home for my story.

In addition for serving as a place for me to crunch on ideas, I hope that this weblog will provide some insights for others who may be struggling with marriages of their own. As they often say in 12-step fellowships, take what you want, and leave the rest.
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