Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What a Way to Mark One Year of Blogging

Yes, today marks my first anniversary of blogging in this space.

My wife and I had a scheduled discussion tonight, the third in a series since Wednesday of last week.

To start off, I asked her whether she had anything to say. She said she didn't, so I took my turn.

I started with a more mundane beginning, talking about the leads that my updated resumes had been generating.

Then I transitioned into the heavy stuff. I walked through the points of my Statement of Critical Mass, with some revisions to take into account things that I had learned from subsequent dialogs.

I spoke calmly and slowly. It was done mostly from memory.

You cannot imagine how much my anxiety dissipated when I concluded by saying "I would rather be alone than be in a relationship that violated my integrity." That was my "I can live without you" moment.

My wife had the most stonefaced look after I finished speaking.

She paused and then said she found it hypocritical that I was expecting her to make a turnaround in a few months when she "stood by me" for so many years regarding my addiction.

She vehemently disputed my claim that she avoided communicating the extent of her anger at me and chose to punish me by withholding sex under the claim that "she didn't feel close to me" and didn't bother telling me about why because she "didn't think I cared."

She said that I "selectively forgot" about all the times that she said she wanted me to be close. She said she expressed a desire to be closer during a conversation that we had in June of last year. My recollection was quite different. To her, the path to greater closeness was going to the grocery with her.

I said that I had waited more than just a few months for her to deal with this. We had a big argument over a year ago that launched this current phase of the marriage. As far back as early 2002, I had been trying to communicate with her that I was baffled by her resistance to foreplay and lack of interest in sex.

I countered her claim about the addiction, noting that when she first found out about the phone sex activity in the fall of 2004, I immediately sought out counseling, and within three weeks, I was going to 12-step meetings. She went to one codependency recovery meeting and saw a counselor a few times, but never worked on her own issues on a sustained basis. I said that her refusal to deal with her codependency was one of the reasons that she probably developed intense anxiety at the thought I might actually be pleasuring myself.

She sarcastically responded by saying that I must just be OK and she's the only one who needs fixing. She then added that her problems with the masturbation wasn't just that I was feeling good. She said she viewed the activity as driving us farther apart, that I wasn't focusing on the relationship. She then said she'd try to come up with an analogy. After a few moments, she said she couldn't think of one.

She sat there for a few more minutes, looking like she was ready to cry. She then said she didn't want to say anything at the moment because she was so angry with me and was afraid she would say something she would regret. I asked her if she needed a few minutes to regroup. She sat there a few minutes more and then said that she didn't have anything more to say. She watched a DVRed episode of Big Brother and then went to bed.

We have joint therapy at noon Wednesday. I won't back down. I can't betray myself that way.

It's over. After a year of agonizingly harsh self confrontation. I can feel it's over.
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