Monday, November 20, 2006

2am Catches Up on Comments

We'll lead off with remarks from the Drunken Housewife...

I wonder if you have ever had good sex, and the thought that you might not have makes me sad (this is not a come-on, but an honest feeling of empathy).

I wonder if your wife is lesbian and has never had the guts to explore it.
I've wondered about that (whether I've ever had good sex) for a few years, and it's been a source of self pity and resentment. I have to let go of that thought in order to grow. My past is something I can't change. If Schnarch is to be believed, most people don't experience really good sex until later in life anyway, so there is still hope. Quoting his writings...

Most people never reach their full sexual potential, and those who do are usually well into their 50s, 60s and 70s. Cellulite and sexual potential are positively correlated.

The lesbian question has crossed my mind, too. During our first marriage counseling session, I said that I thought her sexual orientation was one of five possible reasons for her lack of interest in sex.

If homosexuality has a genetic basis, I said, then that the idea was plausible. One of her sisters is openly bisexual, and there was some circumstantial evidence that her father may have been involved in a gay affair prior to his stroke.

My wife has very strong emotional ties to her best friend, whom she's known for about 15 years. At times, I have felt as if I was competing with that friend for time and attention.

It goes beyond the usual girl talk.

Back in 2000, we moved here specifically so that we could be closer to her best friend, going so far as to target our home shopping to an area that was only a few minutes away from where her best friend lives.

Soon thereafter, their lives became highly integrated. She invited her friend and her husband over for dinner frequently. After a while, I noticed that the only time she really put effort into cooking was when they came over.

Then in 2004, my wife tried to persuade me to sell the house and move to a new subdivision where her best friend was planning on moving to. Moving then would have been an insane proposition for us because we would have most likely taken an bath on the sale of the home.

Perhaps the weirdest moment came in early 1999. Her best friend was about halfway through her pregnancy and was about to have an ultrasound done. Since it was to take place on a Friday on the weekend when my wife's birthday was falling, she asked me to take a day off with her so that we could visit her friend and go to the ultrasound.

We set out on Thursday night. On our way out, one of the tires developed a problem. We doubled back to the city where we were living and had the tires checked. The problematic tire needed replacing, but the shop couldn't get around to fixing it until the next day.

Since the ultrasound appointment would be early Friday morning, my wife would miss the ultrasound. She was distraught and called her best friend, crying over the situation. Her best friend persuaded her husband to drive over (two hours, one way) that night and pick her up. I would stay the night and get the car fixed the next morning.

In retrospect, this kind of behavior should have raised red flags, but because I had no spine to speak of, all that mattered was keeping her happy.

During that counseling session, my wife denied that she was a lesbian and joked about it with her best friend about being lovers several times thereafter. I crossed lesbianism off the list after that experience.

I have several friends from high school and grad school years who wound up coming out of the closet, and she's been comfortable around them, so I don't think she would be that hung up on it. You never know, though.

As for the other four causes I listed during that session:
  • past sexual abuse -- She denies any recollection of this happening
  • hormonal imbalance -- She is supposed to have tests done at her yearly OB/GYN visit, but she's been putting off that appointment. I'm betting she forgets to have the tests done.
  • extramarital affair -- The usual affair red flags aren't there. Nothing turned up when I was looking over the credit card charges. She does seem to enjoy getting out of the house without the kids and me on the weekends, though.
  • she's not that into me -- This is a possibility, especially if normal marital sadism is a factor. It's easier to torment someone for whom you don't have strong feelings for in the first place.
I used to obsess over this a lot, but I've managed to let go of most of it over the last couple of months with the reading, blogging, and therapy. I've stopped wondering why she doesn't want me and learned to accept that she probably doesn't and won't fess up to it.

The questions for me to resolve are:
  1. Do the perceptions that shape my emotional state match up well with reality?
  2. Are there things I can change in my relationship to improve the climate?
  3. If the answer to (2) is "no", is it a violation of my integrity to stay in this marriage?
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