I met Wife in college near the end of my freshman year. She was the cute energetic coed who lived on the floor above me in the dorms. We were so different. I couldn’t possibly see myself with her. She was way out of my league. We got along really well though, almost from day one.
There was another cute, and much quieter girl on her floor. I thought maybe Wife could set me up with her. Somehow that date never happened and I soon found myself embraced in an early morning kiss with Wife. (I realize my blog nickname for her is a little out of place here but bear with me!)
She was only my second real girlfriend. I was not exactly a ladies man (back then, I got better!). We dated for a long time. In fact it was over four years from when we started dating until we were married. From age 19 to 23.
Now here is where my morals and needs started having a conflict. Wife is a good girl. Like a REALLY good girl. If you are a father you want a daughter like her. She plays by all the rules. Doesn’t drink, smoke, do drugs or have sex before marriage. I, on the other hand, took the new freedom of college to drink like a fish, and try to get laid. I never was into smoking or drugs, but I was VERY interested in nailing a college chick.
Most of the first semester at college I spent drinking, partying, and trying to figure out ways to get a woman to sleep with me. I had zero skills at that point, but spent plenty of time studying guys who did have game. Quickly I noted that alcohol really helped. Not just in giving me more courage, but also in making the ladies more open to advances. My GPA went in the shitter. I was 0.01 GPA away from being kicked out at the end of the first year. (Which was odd for me as I had a near perfect GPA in high school.)
That was where I was when I met Wife. But you see I LOVE the idea of a good girl. Someone I can raise a family with who isn’t too wild and crazy. I don’t really understand why, but that part of her was both really attractive and maddening at the same time. I wanted desperately to be a good, honorable man with high morals, and no secret hidden desires. That was Wife. She was pure and honest. But I wasn’t that way. I was NEVER going to be that way. It is an internal battle with who I thought I should be and who I really am.
But good girls don’t want to have sex before marriage, and I was a horny boy. A VERY horny boy with intense desires and imagination. What to do? Back in the day when people would wait for marriage to have sex, they married rather quickly. We were looking at YEARS down the road IF we got married. Wife was fine with that. I was not. The other maddening part is I nearly scored with two chicks the month before I met Wife. My game was improving.
From about the first month in I started pushing Wife toward sex. It was really hard though. She didn’t drink at all so never lowered her inhibitions. She would make me feel really guilty about it, because again I wanted to be honorable, but I was fighting with my own needs. I pushed and pushed and pushed in my own patient way. After a couple of months I was at least getting blowjobs, but never to completion because to her that was gross unless there was a shower and we had no shared access in the dorms. Frustrating.
I never did convince her that we should have sex, but I really really REALLY pushed for it for our one year anniversary. I was 20 now as was she. I setup a VERY long and romantic day full of treasure hunts, a romantic dinner, and eventually I scored a buddy’s apartment all to myself and set it up with candles and what not. This was going to be THE NIGHT. Even up to that day she still resisted, but when I had her in the room I guilted the hell out of her which I still regret to this day, and she capitulated. It was not great sex, but we finally broke the mental barrier. It was the first time for both of us. I waited one full year before having sex. She cried afterward. I felt like a sleazeball. A feeling I was going to feel a lot more over the next decade plus. The moral side of me felt that I deserved to feel that way.
This is where I should have ended it. Our needs didn’t align, but instead I stuck with it, and just kept pushing her. She was really hung up on sex, did not enjoy it, and essentially made me promise to marry her that night. You have to understand we were such good friends otherwise. In my head this had to be just a temporary problem.
We continued to have sex periodically for the next 3.5 years until we were married. It was infrequent, always initiated by me, and not very enjoyable. She could not bring herself to enjoy it. She had her mind set on marriage first. Which made me think it would be great sex once we were married, and at least I was getting some now. In fact she assured me it would be great once we were married.
I graduated from college and moved to the city for work and she had one more year before she could join me. Then we were married, she moved in with me, and we started living married life. Guess what, the sex was not better. In fact on our wedding night she had a headache, and I only ended up getting a blowjob. But the first few years were tough because she still couldn’t get herself to really enjoy sex. That was hard for me to deal with. We even talked about it on several occasions that we were married now and she should be able to enjoy herself. She never had much of a libido, and had been suppressing sexual desires for so long or linking them to negative associations that she wasn’t able to enjoy it even when it was “right”.
It was at this point I started questioning what I had done, but there were so many other bigger problems. For one, I was newly married, and felt I should work at it. There is a lot more to marriage than sex. Second I had some problems in the husband department that I went to work on. Communication and the pains of living with someone needed work on my part. Third we didn’t have a lot of money. Like none at all which can be stressful on a marriage. We ended up arguing a lot.
Wife worked a number of odd jobs then took her MCATS and started applying to Med schools. This was her first real work related stressor, and I decided patience was needed. I chose to support my wife, and put my needs on hold.
I learned early on that being married was hard work. I wasn’t that great at it, but I vowed to be. Those first years I read lots of books and studied how to have better communication in a marriage. I also studied personal finance to get us in a better place and take arguments about money off the table. I did a lot of things for my wife to make sure she knew how much I loved her. Our communication improved. My abilities as a husband improved dramatically those first few years. Our friendship, which had been going downhill, strengthened again because of the work I put in.
Next we moved cross country as Wife got into med school. I left my job and took another job over there. This time I really put my wants and needs on hold. She was studying all the time. I was really proud of her and knew it was not a good time to talk about us. I could wait. I even took over many of the household duties that I had never done so she could study more, and watched tv with headphones so the house would be quiet. She was there but we were apart a lot.
She had a couple of rotations that were not in our city, including a 9 month stint two hours away. We lived apart during that time. Again it was a sacrifice I could make for her. Once she returned we decided to start trying to have kids. It was 2009.
After graduation we headed back to the west coast for residency. I changed jobs again. I was happy because the loneliness and anxiety I thought was plaguing me would go away when we moved back. I was wrong.
Everything intensified. Residency was much harder than med school. Being back home and finding that nothing really changed caused my anxiety to shoot up. Wife was rarely home. She worked 130 hours one week, probably averaged 90. It was intense. I knew that I just needed to put my head down and push through it. It would all be over soon and Wife would become just my wife, and our life would be great.
It was really hard though. During residency is when I first started to feel that there were insurmountable problems. Big problems. It’s also when I first started looking outside our marriage. I never got that serious, but I posted a few ads to CL and hit on a girl at a conference in San Francisco. There was a camping trip incident and a wedding incident with other girls. My mind was just trying to find a way to fulfill my own needs while the rational part of me continued to say “wait”. It was quite a battle, but these thoughts were not this clear at that time. Mostly just a feeling of uneasiness and longing. I’m not sure why the thought of leaving Wife never popped up.
After residency Wife got a full time job as a doc, we hit our 10 year anniversary, we bought a house and we started fertility treatment. It was 2013. Big year and I was hoping this year would change things. Maybe what was missing was the house, kids and a regular job for Wife.
The first year Wife was pregnant and was new at her job. She tackled that by spending a lot of hours at work to finish everything. I was alone again, but it was her first year. Just had to be patient a little longer.
Then we had a baby. A wonderful child. The apple of my eye. Wife took some time off. When she went back she was more experienced but was still spending a lot of time at work. Now it was even more imperative she come home because we had family time and things to get done. She would often get home after our child’s bedtime. It was completely unacceptable to me. This was our life now. No school, no residency, no more excuses. I had been patient for long enough.
She always had an excuse. She meant to come home on time, and thought she would but… yes I’ve heard them all. I stopped caring. I would just move on with our night, and let her know how her actions affected her family. I started asking her seriously if she should just stay until after our child went to bed, and stop trying to come home earlier because waiting for her was the hardest.
I don’t mind being home and taking care of the kids. What I didn’t like is that she wanted to be there and then wasn’t. She made her priorities and they didn’t include us. I know people are going to say “it sounds like you didn’t like your wife working as a doctor” and that really isn’t it. It’s that I know my wife and I know she wants to be a mom more than anything. Yet she continues to put work first as she had always always always done. I have to tell my kids mom isn’t going to be home in time. I put family first and follow through. She only does lip service and then cries about not being able to make it. Put the fucking work down and go home. Stop saying you will and just do it. Or at least start admitting your priorities lie elsewhere.
I will say I was under the fog of new child for a while and everything frustrated me so I won’t count how I felt then.
After our first child turned one we started talking about another. It had always been our plan to have several kids. I was starting to really question things at this point, but I hadn’t put all the pieces together. A few more months and I bet I would’ve delayed a second pregnancy.
You see we had been married 12 years; we had one lovely child; Wife was back at work and not a newbie; we had our dream house. Everything was supposed to be good. But all that did was highlight to me all I was missing. I had nothing to pin it on anymore. I had run out of if onlys. I was upset with her for staying late at work, but really I was upset that this was now my life. There was nothing left on the horizon and her staying late at work was the easiest thing to pin it on.
Why didn’t I confront Wife then? I don’t know. I continually think back to that time and wonder. What didn’t I see yet? Because it wasn’t clear to me. I still thought we should have another child. Almost on autopilot while my brain was figuring things out.
Strangely I was quick to get upset with her when something affected the kids, but slow when it affected only me. All those issues with work and prioritizing everything else first were there from the first year we were dating, but I didn’t see it as the problem it was until we had kids. You see she was and is never going to be able to focus on what I need out of our relationship. I come in 3rd now on the priority list. She will argue the opposite, but her actions speak volumes. Work, kids, husband. It is just who she is and how she is wired. A good girl with good intentions and really focused on external pressures (work).
Strangely I did put things together almost three weeks after she was knocked up. Horrible timing, but I did start to talk to her. What I learned was that she had no idea of what I was going through, and that it was a bad time to talk about it. So I must wait again – how long have I been waiting? What’s one more year right? Fuck life can be tough.
Now she knows for certain that I’m not happy. She’s known for almost a year. When I don’t bring it up then she acts like nothing is wrong. However hardly anything has changed. She gets too upset to really talk about it. She tried a couple minor new things in the bedroom, but otherwise we are the same. She still gets angry at me for being an asshole (which I’m not) everyday then apologizes and tells me she loves me. She still has no desire for even mildly kinky sex. She still doesn’t want to talk about fantasies or really to even just sit and ponder things. She hates doing that, and I crave it so badly. She continues to joke about and promise all kinds of sexual favors and never follow through. As if the promise is enough.
She is such a great woman, mother, and a really great wife for some man. I wish we could go back in time and someone could tell me “Hey, she’s great but it’s ok to keep looking. Those things you keep telling yourself you don’t need – you do. And there are other great women out there who will not only make you happy but you will make them happy too. Don’t settle, and don’t listen to other opinions.” But I cannot.
There are times when I feel as if I have what Wife needs to be happy, but she doesn’t have what I need. We have an asymmetric relationship. Her needs are fully met while mine are left wanting. That cannot be healthy in the long run, and I think we are there. It’s time to face them.
This is the end of my winding story. That is briefly how we got to where we are. I still love her very much. We are great friends, but we have almost no sexual chemistry. She does not understand who I really am, and I’m not sure if she even can.