Sometimes I feel like I’m pissing into the wind. My wife and I have some serious issues in our relationship, but we also have some very good things. When you look at many of the things that lead to divorce we are doing well. But there is a lot boiling just under the surface we are not addressing.
I continue to run across blogs, articles and even books that deliver a similar message: In some form or fashion, if I can just become closer to my wife, and put all my energy into her, then things will change. She will magically become this person I have always desired. How? How is she going to change?
Even more is how insulting many of these comments are to what I have already attempted. Believe me, I’ve tried. Before assuming I’ve not tried, start with the assumption I tried and it didn’t work. Because I’ve been married for 14 years and with my wife for 18. There isn’t much I haven’t tried.
From early in our marriage I knew we had problems, and attributed much of them to me being a bad husband. For the most part, that was true. I had a lot to learn. And I did. I read a ton on relationships and finances and I improved. Big time. The troubles we had early in our marriage disappeared. But just like a hierarchy of needs there were new and different types of problems we encountered after fixing the basic marriage problems. Later I was starting to find that sex wasn’t great, and we had deeper communication issues.
I researched more. Languages of love. Books on love, relationships and communication. I read a lot about sex. Tried a lot of it. But you know what? My wife thought everything was fine. Because for her it was. In her mind I solved our major issues. The only ones left were on my end. Which means no amount of me turning toward her was going to change her.
You know what changed her? When I told her I wasn’t happy. That was the big revelation. I tried to just turn toward her for years. Decades. Look where I am. Further and further from where I wanted to be. I can’t keep denying myself, and focusing only on her needs anymore. Which is all the advice I keep reading. Stop. Just stop. I’m tired of hearing it. If I give of myself more without her giving me what I need emotionally then I’m going to be numb.
Then we get to sex. I keep hearing that all sex is the same and wonderful. It’s an expression of love. You just have to be present with your partner and it will be wonderful. It’s just that simple. There are no problems with sex alone. The problems are elsewhere. Once you solve them then the sex will be great.
Maybe that is true for some, but you’re overlooking a large group of us where sex itself is the problem. Not everyone is great at sex or has a strong desire for sex, and there is a large variety of types of sex. And it’s not just frequency either. I could have regular sex every week with my wife. Frequency isn’t an issue. I don’t like having sex with her. I want more out of sex. I crave more.
For years I thought I must be some kind of sexual predator or something to want the things that I want sexually. Then about a year and a half ago, after talking with Meredith and others, I began to realize I am not. I am a good lover for the right person. But I’m horrible for my wife. Is it sexual compatibility? I don’t know, but we do not satisfy each other sexually.
Outside of sex my wife often treats me like I’m some kind of an asshole when I say things. I would always let it go in the past because I figured it must be true. I mean if I’m a sexual predator then I must be some kind of asshole. Except it’s not true! Any of it! Because of the issues around sex I let a lot of other negative things creep into our marriage. Sex is a big deal.
Now I see what she is doing to me. I see how she treats me without respect. No longer will I submit to the assumption that I’m being an asshole. No longer will I call myself a predator. I’m moving forward. I would like my wife to come with me, but if she can’t then we will need to cross that bridge.
What I do not need any more of is to hear if I become a better husband then she will magically become the woman I need. Or that sex is all the same and it’s the friendship we need, and then sex will be wonderful. Those sentiments do not help me. They are not the problem I’m facing, and they do not acknowledge the work I have and continue to put into fixing my marriage. I cannot continue to be the one to single handedly fix my marriage forever. I need real conversations about the real issues.
Am I crazy for feeling this way? Is there really something that simple that I missed?