Data – What did I Learn?

My therapist said something interesting today. He said you will read a lot of disparaging comments and articles about affairs, but when you are trying to get past one it’s good to look at it from a data perspective. This resonated well with me. I’m a data guy. 

He said to think about this affair, and look at what I learned about my marriage. There was something not working. Something I was getting from my relationship with Meredith. Figure out what those things were. Then look and see if they can be added to the marriage. 

Essentially I need to make a decision at some point about whether this is the marriage I want to have for the next many years. Use the data I learned about myself, and my relationship, to address the problems in my marriage. Eventually I may decide it’s not going to change enough or at all but I should use what I learned. 

He said very few marriages are at an A+, but many are in the high B’s to low A’s and they do really well. Another group are in the B- to C+ range and they can float there for a long time. Usually below that and things breakdown. I feel like we are probably in that B- range and floating. Can we pull this marriage up to a B+ or even an A? Maybe. I need to use what I learned from my experience with Meredith to understand what it would take to get there. 

Truth be told she was amazing for me. Even if you take out sex. We had such a close and wonderful connection. She could navigate my mind with ease. I felt understood and accepted for the first time ever. I crave that connection or at least something similar. 

The sex is also important and my wife and I are trying some things. I’ll give it time. There is a lot to learn. We also need to get a marriage/sex therapist to help us through some of this. He will look for referrals for me. Someone who can keep us moving forward, hold us accountable and allow us to have a real conversation. My wife does not like talking about sex. Even with me. 

We also talked about Meredith a lot. How I’m grieving and last week fell. He said its common to bounce around during the grieving process and it may take awhile. He also asked what I would’ve talked to her about last week. Honestly it wouldn’t been just the stuff going on at work and home. Nothing about sex at all. 

He also asked me what I would say if she called me and said she split from her husband. Oh god. I both dream of and fear such a call. I would be overjoyed that I could be with her, but scared to death that I would not be able to resist being with her if my marriage was working out. 

Lastly he flat out poo poo’d the idea of limerence. Yes I brought it up, Moi. It fell very flat. He brought it back to taking what I learned about myself, and separately dealing with the grief of loss. 

Another Day

The last few days have been really hot, and I’ve been focused on the family. I’ve sort of picked myself up from last week. I still think about Meredith, of course, but I’m able to compartmentalize her a bit better. 

My wife and I have had a lot of sex lately. I told her this would happen. When I lead, fun stuff happens. She noticed. It was better sex than we had been having, but a far cry from where I want to be. I think the problem is that she doesn’t really know how to be a submissive. She isn’t one naturally. She just does whatever I tell her to do. It’s better than the constant resistance, but far different than the desire a true submissive has. 

I appreciate that she is trying. Maybe we will get better. I keep trying to engage her in conversations about sex and sending her material to read, but she avoids it. She’s “too busy right now.” Yeah I know. She’s been too busy for 18 years. I’m going to talk to her about finding a marriage or sex counselor together. Then I will be able to hold her accountable for her follow through. She pays greater attention to 3rd parties than to me. Ringing endorsement for success right?

Falling Down

My emotions have been a little out of sorts the last two days. My best friend of almost 20 years, who has worked in the same company with me for 15, and on the same team for most of those, left the company on Wednesday. Because he went to a competitor he had to leave immediately. There was no two week transition. We were friends before work, and will continue to be friends, but it was a big blow to my day to day life. He was always just there. Now he’s not.

Also, it has impacted my team in a negative way which has led to many uncomfortable conversations at my desk over the last 24 hours. Emotionally draining.

Then my wife jumped on me for something last night which led to an argument. Arguments are fine. They are. We all have them. But the tone, and attitude she brings to an argument does not work for me. She gets very aggressive, and escalates them into yelling matching and tit for tat explanations. It’s very unhealthy. I did not engage, and just left her fuming on the couch. Later she came up and apologized, but the damage was done.

This morning I realized that her aggressiveness during the argument has a huge impact on my desire for her. Before the argument I was already planning our next encounter. Afterward, and even through today, even though I’m not angry with her in the slightest, my desire is gone. As soon as she took that aggressive posture it went away. I think in her mind sex is separate from our daily life, but it is not for me. Everything is intertwined. She sees it mostly as a physical act, but for me it is almost all mental. I did my best to explain that to her this morning – which was also emotionally draining.

Then I was sitting here at work, and a colleague was asking me about a report. Sure enough it was built by Meredith. It was good too, standing the test of time. All her work was good. I started to miss her. Think about her. I’m nearly the only one here today which does not help. Just sitting and thinking. I feel really low, and want to reach out to her. I know she can make me feel better.

I started looking for her on the internet. I know I shouldn’t but I can’t seem to stop myself today. Maybe, due to her job, there would be some news of her from her hometown. Nothing. But after a few image searches there she was. A new picture from last month.

I followed the link to the page. I’m not really sure how to describe it. It’s not a church or a woman’s group or an activist group, but it’s sort of all three at the same time. It’s something new. I remember her saying near the end of our relationship that she found this woman who she really connected with. They had kids the same age, she was passionate about things, and starting a new church with her husband.

It was this woman who was in the picture with her. It was this new “church” that was the website I was viewing. But it was not really a church. At least not the part I was reading. It was more of a woman’s group, plus they were very much involved in several different activist campaigns. It did seem like something Meredith would be interested in. On the page there was a picture of her friend, who is the founder, and a picture of Meredith listed as an artist and co-host. That was it. No other people. Apparently Meredith has signed onto to this woman’s vision wholeheartedly.

I really can’t blame her. She is very idealistic, especially about women’s issues, but many others as well. She is passionate about church, but not in the traditional sense. This “church” seemed very much in Meredith’s form. It made me happy for her. I know when she has something in her life to be passionate about she is much happier, and she can look past all the shitty things in her life.

I was also really sad. Bear with me here. Part of me still wants to have a future with her. I’m not sure that this passion for activism would work for me. It makes me very anxious. In fact it’s the one part of us that we always had a bit of trouble with. In many ways I feel that her marriage with H frees her to be herself in these external roles. I’m not sure she could do all of that with me, but she would be free to be herself internally. I don’t know which is better, perhaps one is a mask for the other.

Of course Meredith is well aware of all of this. She mentioned on several occasions that it would be different with me. She would find a middle ground to these external activities that would work for both of us. She wants me. She is happiest, she said, when she is taken care of first, and then she will take care of her idealistic passions. She knows where I am comfortable, and she is fine with it. She would still find a way to follow her passions, but be cognizant to not make it a problem between us. I believe she would as well. She was always good at showing me through the years where she would set limits to make things work for me. She enjoyed that structure I provided, actually.

Admittedly, today I fell down. I had been really focused on my wife, and with all these other things I fell. I went looking for her. I still feel very low today. Like I did many months ago. I’m sad. I’m frustrated (both sexually and with life). I’m low on energy. I really just want to go be alone with my thoughts, and let it all wash over me. Yet I know I can’t do that. There is life happening all around me.

And oh god do I want to see her. To touch her. To hear her words. To listen to her explain how it will all be OK. To tell me about this new passion of hers, and how she will weave it into our lives. To see her smile that coy smile when I hold her hand. To see in her eyes how much she needs me and loves me. Just one more time.

To Be a Masochist 

I do not know what it is like to be a masochist. I fall squarely on the sadist side of the equation. But I do wonder, if someone is not now a masochist can they become one? How would I even describe for them what that pleasure is like?

For me, I can tell you the pleasure I get from delivering pain to a sexually submissive woman who consents. In fact knowing that they need it is as big a turn on for me as delivering the pain. I love watching the pain inflict pleasure on them. 

For reasons I cannot fully explain, I know the pleasure they feel even though I personally could not be in their position. Watching my belt smack down on their flesh causes my heart to race. In my mind I can picture the pain racing through the woman’s body and lighting up her sexual arousal. Although I do not feel the sting of the belt I can feel the effects of the pain as if it were on my own skin. 

Because of this reaction I intuitively know where to land the blows and which implements to use. I can watch their body language to determine how hard to hit and with what frequency. I enjoy distributing the pain across the body in such a way that it builds on itself. The effect can make a true masochist quite aroused. Often begging or whimpering for more. 

Although I can intuitively feel this pleasurable pain I do not have the words to describe to a non-masochist what they are missing. Perhaps if I could then my wife and I could start moving that direction. The way things are now neither of us are getting much pleasure from it. 

The Second Time

We had another round. This time was all mine. I started it with the signal. She was ready as commanded. She followed my lead. I planned several things just for her. To make her feel cared for and able to relax. 

I also included pain. We didn’t really do pain before. A couple of light spankings last time. This time garnered the belt. More intense pain – still not a lot, but definitely more intense. The pain was coupled with more intense closeness. 

The sex itself was amazing. I mean I cranked things up and we both enjoyed the experience. It was rough but in control. 

My assessment is essentially the same as before. She is letting me do these things to her, but her heart is not in it. We discussed it all today. How did it go? “Well. I liked it.” Not the most detailed answer. We need more and detailed communication.

After a bit more work I got her to tell me the pain was too much for her. Yikes! It was a very light spanking with a belt. She wasn’t even red, and she gets red easily. Ok, clearly no masochist tendencies. 

Another thing that she was hung up on was the dress. I had her wear a dress from her closet. She was concerned the whole time we might ruin it. This sounds like such a small thing but it’s actually huge. She does not like wild and crazy sex. Does not like pushing limits. Previously, she would only really relax for naked sex with a blanket in the bedroom at the end of the day. These little things that take her out of her comfort zone – even wearing a dress – make it hard for her to enjoy the sex. 

We will keep going for sure, but I’ll need to scale things back even more. I think next up is a more detailed discussion about the sex itself. What would make her happy. I need to know where she has placed hidden guardrails. I don’t mind pushing against them but I think I placed them much further out than she was ready for. 

She also still hasn’t taken the quiz I asked her to do. That was an easy one. A gimme. It’s nice that she says she wants to do this with me, but I also need to see some energy taken toward it. I really want this to be an “us” thing. Not just a “me” thing. I will keep trying. 

Day after the Sex Talk

Well the day after our talk we had sex for the first time in this new world. It was different. We have a long way to go yet. Was she submissive? Yes. In fact she got all dressed up for the occasion. Quite sexy actually. She did everything I asked, but I was careful not to ask for too much. She had at least four orgasms. That was really good for her. 

What I liked: she was submissive. She followed my lead. She did not resist anything. She was clearly trying. She was relaxed enough to orgasms multiple times. 

What I did not like: there was no mental connection. She does not play “the game” but was merely following orders. It was impossible to tell what she was enjoying for her vs for me. We did not push any limits. It felt staged and not a fluid part of our life. I did not feel desired during or after for what we did. 

This all sounds so wishy washy. With Meredith we would walk in a room, and there was a sexual energy. A sense of what was about to happen, and we both wanted it. Craved it. It was intense. I can feel my body tingle now just thinking about it. Watching my breathing change, hers as well. The look in her eyes. The way her body melted at my touch. I’m not feeling that with my wife. Not any of it. She isn’t a naturally submissive woman. Definitely not masochistic.

I’m also having trouble with ideas. Meredith caused my brain to go in a million directions with ideas on what I wanted to do with her. How to push her and challenge her yet move cautiously not to overwhelm her. With my wife I’m sitting here pondering and not sure where to go. Not sure what to do with her or for her. Meredith was always pushing me to do more. My wife struggles to handle the basics. 

Honestly we only had one conversation and it was timid at best around moving forward. There was no excitement from my wife on moving this direction. With Meredith there was excitement in all of it. Meredith is a true to the core submissive who would excite me with her desires and I longed to fulfill them. For my wife she has no desires other than to satisfy me. It is a bit empty. I want to be her dominant. I want to help her adjust to this new submissive role, but it is limited and not who she is. What am I fulfilling for her? BDSM is not about just pleasing the dominant. Most of it is about pleasing the submissive. I now have a willing submissive, but no direction on what would please her. 

I find myself comparing her to Meredith which I know I should not do. Yet I can’t help it. I start to question myself on why it was so easy with her and not with my wife. My wife has given the go ahead to move forward with what I want, but I still find it quite challenging. The energy is not there. The desire. 

I will come up with something. I must stage something to keep us trying. Keep moving forward. I must give this a solid chance to succeed. I will think of things that will gently push her out of her comfort zone. Also I will start talking to her about things a little farther out of her comfort zone. Give her brain time to absorb them. There will be time devoted to education as well. Not just from me but also from other women through YouTube, certain porn, or some blogs I enjoy. I’m thinking that making some of this more normal so she would know what to expect would be helpful. It’s possible she just doesn’t know how to act as a submissive. Her only real venture into this world is with 50 Shades and she told me directly the dominating aspects didn’t interest her as much as the love story. We will need to work on changing that. 

The Sex Talk

We finally did it. Wow. That was a long wait. It was unintentional, but it happened last night. The talk I started in February of 2016 was finally brought back to the front of our relationship. How is that for patience?

Initially I thought we were going to have sex – which we did not. She had more work to do so I grabbed a beer and waited. When she finally finished work, and started heading my way I said “Take off your bra.” Because I wanted to start moving her mind toward sex as well as to relax and follow my lead. She refused, and started arguing with me about it. I said “It’s going to come off during sex, just take it off now.” And she argued even more. The mood was gone. 

But a conversation began. A two hour rambling conversation about our sex life. It was very raw and emotional. What we want, what we don’t want. How it impacts the rest of our relationship. The way in which we are really great friends, but now we must ask, is that all? Early on in the conversation she said “We always have sex the way you want.” To which I said “Whoa! Wait a minute. We always have sex the way YOU like.” We both looked at each other. Apparently meeting in the middle was lousy for both of us. Yet nearly 20 years and we never talked about it. 

That’s the real heart of the conversation. That we were able to have it at all. The things my wife has been working on with her counselor have allowed her to have these conversations, and not close down. Something we’ve never been able to do before. What came out was wonderful, but in many ways decades too late. 

One thing my wife actually acknowledged was that her sex drive is much lower than mine. She’s never admitted that before. Now she knows how much that has been a problem for me. How I feel we are not on the same page. 

She even brought up that she remembers earlier in our marriage I would bring up certain fantasies and want to talk with her about them. She would abruptly end those conversations, and say she doesn’t have any fantasies. Crushing. Looking back she can see how damaging that was. 

At one point she got a little upset with me for knowing that we were not compatible early on and not ending it. I had to explain to her that I had no experience or knowledge to know what all we were going through meant. As far as I knew marriage would solve our sex problems. For one, I didn’t have the concepts or terms around BDSM until more recently. I just had feelings and desires. Second I had the culture telling me sex was great if you just become closer friends with your spouse. Bullshit, btw. We got along splendidly, and she was still not into BDSM. 

I felt like a sexual deviant most of my adult life. Which means I saw myself as a bad person. Nothing equips us with how to handle and navigate these complex feelings and desires. Once I realized about two years ago that it wasn’t true everything changed. I saw myself differently. My confidence in who I am improved. I started pushing back when she made assumptions I was a jerk. I finally told her that I’m not happy and sex is a big part of it. Everything changed. 

This led to us talking about some of the times we had periods of good sex, and how we each thought about those times. To her, they were great. She really enjoyed them. To me, they were painful. It was like we were finally moving in the right direction, climbing the sex ladder, and then it would plateau on the third rung. Over and over. I just kept trying, thinking maybe next time we will make the fourth rung and maybe later the fifth and so on. However my wife was thrilled we were on the third rung with no desire to go any higher. 

At one point she brought up blowjobs. She felt they were unfairly distributed- which is totally true if you look at it through a fairness meter. It angered her. Not that she wanted me to go down on her more, but she just wanted fewer blowjobs. I look at it through submission though. It’s almost the only reliable act of submission I could get from her. I took it every time. I also explained to her that as a submissive I do expect her to get pleasure from pleasing her dominant. That things will be “unfair”, but that if she unlocks the dominant in me I think she will be surprised at what she gets out of it. There will be a lot of focus on her mind and body and I am certain that she will be well rewarded with quite a lot of her own pleasure. 

We discussed at length that what I need for my sexual partner is a sexually submissive woman. She said it would be hard for her because she is not that way at work or anywhere else. I told her those things are not mutually exclusive. Being a strong-minded woman outside the home, and submissive to your husband in a BDSM scenario is a very achievable thing. Each side supports the other. I think there are many strong willed people who become submissive with their partners. It’s an opportunity to let go. 

She also thought back to earlier in our marriage and how she used to ask for a lot more sex, and I would shoot her down. I stopped and asked her “Yes, but how were you asking? Was it aggressively?” She stopped and thought and said “Yeah, I guess it was.” To which I responded “I didn’t have the words for it then, but it was a major turn off for me back then too.” It was a point in the conversation where our entire sexual history was looked at through a new light. Things started to make sense. She also knows over the last two years when she has been aggressive toward me sexually that I have put an end to it. I need her to approach me submissively not aggressively. 

She wants to give this a try. She has agreed to try to be the submissive sexual woman I need. She can see now this has been what I needed the whole time, but it isn’t her default state. Not only that, but due to her unwillingness to let go of control she would often try to take MORE control when she thought I needed sex. The complete opposite. She asked for help though, as she doesn’t do this naturally. We discussed that I will have a signal when I want her to submit, if she accepts then game on. Her goal is to accept as frequently as possible. She thinks this will actually be a really good thing to help her with her control issues. Just turn off her mind and relax. Let me take control. She may find it’s what she’s been looking for. 

We talked about how much her controlling nature had impacted our marriage. From communication to sex. She needs to be more vulnerable in our marriage and it’s something she is working on with her counselor. It impacts her ability to let me help her; to let me do things my way around the house; to let my ideas work themselves out; and to let go during sex. Last night we agreed that it’s acutely important for our sex life. More so because of my dominant desires. 

In the end how important is the sex life to a marriage? She asked, “then are we just really good friends?” Talking about a future apart was very sad but we were able to do it. We’ve never been able to have discussions like that before. Her counseling is working! Neither of us wants to be stuck in a crappy or sexless marriage or to have our partner feel that way either. We also recognize that we are a married couple raising two kids, and it is in our best interests to stay together. We both still love each other. We have a shared history and a shared future. We are great friends and work through day to day things very well. We are also both tremendously scared of being alone, her probably more than I as I’ve contemplated it more frequently. But it still scares me. 

Moving forward we are going to try this, and see what sticks. I’m still concerned that she is going so far outside her comfort zone that this is only temporary. I’m also concerned that due to her not naturally having submissive desires that it’s still going to feel very empty to me. Most of the submissive women I’ve talked to or read their blogs say these feelings have been part of them for a long time. I could feel it when I was with Meredith. I’m not sure it will work with my wife but I’m going to keep an open mind and give it some time. It could be she just needs to experience this and it may change her.