My wife and I took a trip to London together not long ago. No kids. It was good to get away. There was a lot of time for thinking, reading, and talking without kids interrupting. Oh and sleep. Once we got past the jet lag anyway.
I spent a lot of time reflecting. My feelings for Sydney all but died. I can see how little I need her in my life. She’s a cancer and not part of my future. I don’t even feel attracted to her anymore. I do not care what she does with her life. I can’t understand how I became so hooked on her so quickly, but having time away allowed me to put her in perspective. Not just in thought, but also emotionally.
I spent a lot of time reading philosophy books and Esther Perel’s books. She talks a lot about affairs.
Claire and I also spent a decent amount of time just the two of us. It reconfirmed my love for her. Claire is a good woman. A good wife. A good mother. She has so many wonderful qualities, and we have built a really good life together. I want to be with her. I would say that it was during this trip that I really felt that I want to be with her again.
At one point I told her that I’m glad she chose to stay with me. I know I wasn’t happy and had been figuring things out, but she didn’t leave and I appreciated that.
We did have two arguments while traveling. One of them was very typical for us. I said something that was my opinion, and she took offense to it. Normally I would’ve gone down the rabbit hole with her , but I didn’t. I stopped myself, and let her be upset. I told her what I was thinking, and that I didn’t do anything wrong. It was an opinion, and I’m allowed to have them. She thought about it for a bit, and got over it. It was good to break our pattern and, grow apart together. We came out of it stronger.
This doesn’t mean everything is hunky dory. In fact our sex life has become more defined, and not necessarily in a good way. We try new things, but we don’t seem to really progress. Finally we had a night last week where I had finished working out, and wanted nothing more than to come upstairs and be a dominant man and take my wife. On my way up the stairs I started second guessing myself. This nagging thought that Claire would not enjoy it wouldn’t go away.
When I finally got to the top of the stairs she had a list of to do’s, and was nowhere near being desirous of a dominant husband. Instead I told her what I was thinking. At first she said “yes you could’ve absolutely done that!” But that didn’t seem genuine so I pressed her. I described a couple of scenarios where I was in charge. She clarified that as long as certain criteria were met then it would be great. I dug in on the criteria. She repeated the word “fairness” which I reminded her is relative. To me what I was planning was fair, but to her it was not. She said “I would do it but I would prefer it was more fair.” I told her I don’t want her to “do it” because she loves me. I want her to want me. To want it. To be turned on by erotic desire. She admitted that wasn’t happening.
In the end she still needs to be in charge and setting the rules of fairness is her way of doing that. She cannot let go and enjoy letting me leave our sex life. I can lead – as long as I follow all her rules and do everything the way she would do it if she were leading. Of course she denies this is her intent, but the impact is the same. It makes me the leader in name only. An absolute mood killer for me.
That is a pattern we fall into quite often. I’m trying to reach her on an erotic desire level, and she is “allowing” me to continue out of love. She does not have the erotic desire. When we are in this sexual zone I want to see and experience an erotic connection with her. I think it’s core to us succeeding sexually. Perel agrees.
Reading through the books there was a common theme that just makes my heart sink each time. The theme is to think back to when things were steamy in your relationship, and work to rekindle that fire. We never had that steam. That has been a sore point for me forever, and I didn’t even realize how much until I met Meredith. Everytime I read a line like that I want to throw the book across the room. It is so disheartening. As if I threw away most of my life – a part that is so important to me.
We are back from London now. Happier. Closer. I want her in my life. I want my family together. But what to do about sex…