Monday, December 11, 2006

My Most Differentiated Thoughts Yet

Some thoughts that came to mind over the weekend, as I was working on the post about how my wife and I met and how our relationship evolved...

Regarding my wife, her body, her sexuality, and her eroticism are hers alone. She is under no obligation to have sex that she doesn't want.

It was wrong for me to use our vows of monogamy as a justification that she should engage me on a sexual level.

It was wrong for me to assume that her reluctance toward foreplay meant that she did not know herself sexually.

It was wrong for me to demand an explanation for her lack of sexual interest in me.

It was wrong for me to pressure her into going into therapy to find answers when she said she had none.

It was wrong for me to become resentful over her sexual unavailability over the years.

It was wrong for me to let that resentment grow into hatred toward her.

By all of this, I was expecting her to act in a way that was not in accordance with whom she really is, thereby compromising her personal integrity.

All of these things stemmed from my emotional fusion. I gauged my self worth based on her sexual desire, believing that if she didn't offer me more than just her body during sex or no sex at all, I must not be attractive at all. This viewpoint failed to see her as a separate person.

I now realize that in order for me to grow, I needed to confront myself, not her. If I am making myself miserable because I feel trapped in a non-sexual marriage, that's my problem.

Respecting her right to her integrity does not mean that I should compromise mine by giving up the hope of having enjoyable or meaningful sex.

I came into our relationship at a low level of differentiation. I was looking for someone to validate me, to let me know I was okay as a human being.

When we started dating, I was happy just to know that I belonged to someone. I relied on our relationship to dodge the anxieties of dealing with life as it is.

Even with the validation I got from her, it was not enough for me to deal with my own insecurity. I chose to hide my lingering anxieties and bury them in sexual acting out.

I realize now that the allure of calling the phone sex services was grounded in the notion that I could reveal parts of my personality I was too afraid to divulge to others, including her. It gave me the pretense of validation without the risk of being rejected.

When I gave up the acting out and went into therapy/recovery over ten years ago, I mistakenly assumed that my own eroticism was bad because it was outside her comfort zone.

I also developed the false expectation that by constraining sexual activity to areas where she had minimal anxiety, she would develop greater desire for me. Instead, that comfort zone grew smaller and smaller.

I now believe that my sexuality is valid regardless of whether it causes anxiety in my wife.

I realize that I am compromising my own integrity by the current marital arrangement because it attempts to achieve a false sense of intimacy by avoiding real intimacy.

I don't believe that my wedding vows imply that I need to accept my wife's sexual limitations if she refuses to deal with them.

I realize that I need to be upfront with my wife about the level of unhappiness in my life. This needs to be done in a way that does not attempt to induce guilt in her.

As an act of differentiation, I need to give my wife the chance to decide what she truly wants, let her make her decision known in a timely manner, respect that decision, and then make my own decision.

I need to realize that dissolution of this marriage is not the total failure that I once feared it to be, if I let the best (non-wounded part) in me guide me through the process.

I am also mindful that asserting integrity in my life does not absolve me from my obligations to my children. They still need both material and emotional support from me for them to thrive.
blog comments powered by Disqus