London

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…

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Can’t get away from Sydney

I’m really frustrated this morning, and need to get some words down to clear my mind. We had a halloween party at work and Sydney was being nice, even a little flirty with me. It was strange. I was not engaging, but she kept showing up. At the after party I saw Alex (my employee) hanging out with her. Uh, what? Maybe she was hanging around me simply because Alex was also near me.

In fact Alex kept dissappearing for periods during our halloween party when we needed him, and I’m fairly certain he left to get high with Sydney and one of her other friends. I can’t prove any of that of course, and Sydney hardly shares anything with me these days.

Then a week later my boss says to me “I just saw Sydney and Alex getting coffee together.” Come again? This is getting pretty serious.

The next day I’m working with her on a project, and I’m asking for requirements because I need to get the priority, and she accuses me of not supporting her anymore, and showing my “true colors”. What the hell?

Now this morning I’m chatting with another employee on the larger team about their weekend, and they tell me that on Friday they were here late “hanging out with Sydney and Alex while waiting to hear news about my dog from my husband.” Apparently their dog was at the vet. Clearly nothing going on with Sydney and Alex right??

My mind is going crazy. She told me straight up not to worry about her and Alex, but now it’s clear there is something going on. I’m really worried. This is not good. On one hand I can tell there is a jealousy component that I SHOULD NOT HAVE ABOUT MY EMPLOYEE!!! On the other hand Sydney knows some shit, and bedroom talk is a real thing.

First I need to clear up our working relationship. She needs to not be stupid when it comes to my need to prioritize work. Of course the real problem is that I have a million other projects, and she doesn’t care. It’s 100% support her or I’m not on her team anymore. I hate that bullshit, but it’s just like how our relationship ended. She had no empathy or understanding for anyone but herself.

This sucks. I’m really not sure what to do here. I need to talk to her, but about what? “I want you to stop seeing my employee.” Yeah, that will work out great. She already lies to me and tells me she doesn’t. In fact she tells me two things: you can’t tell me who I can be friends with; and he’s not my type. To the first that is true but I have a unique working relationship with him and a little discretion on her part isn’t much to ask. To the second it’s easy to lie about.

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Update: I wrote that serbtal weeks ago. I just haven’t had energy to finish it. Much has happened since then and I don’t care what Sydney does it does not do anymore. I’m moving my own life forward.

Sydney Engaged

Sydney reached out to me today. I think we last spoke a couple of Friday’s ago. It’s been awhile. I’ve been working really hard on not thinking about her in any personal capacity. About not caring about her sexual life. I was doing really well.

Then she reaches out. I think maybe it’s a nice note from her to apologize for how she treated me. Nope. It’s about her. Again. She asked how I was. I said I was good, and out of politeness asked how she was. She said “Great! [my boyfriend] proposed to me yesterday.”

Just like that those feelings hit me again. I could feel my stomach turn, and my arms and legs get weak. The physical response still amazes me. My brain is now hardly able to function on my work. I’m hoping writing this all out will help me absorb, and move on.

I replied “Congratulations.” and left it at that. I don’t know why she told me. Maybe she felt an obligation. Maybe she thinks I actually should care. Maybe she is trying to make me feel even worse about things. I mean a narcissist sees the world very differently. I thought I made it obvious I don’t want to be part of her life anymore. Why go out of your way to tell me?

No matter. I’ll role through this, and keep moving on. She’s a bad person. She’s my past. Life lessons. Move on.

Did Meredith Lie?

Recently a strange thought entered my mind. Did Meredith lie about her husband knowing of the affair? At the time I just took it for granted that she was telling me the truth, and to be honest I have no reason not to believe her. But what if that is wrong? What if she made up all those stories in order to end things?

Well I guess it didn’t actually work very well as he found out pretty early, and we continued to fool around for awhile after.

I still question how he found his way into things. There is just no way he should’ve known certain passwords, etc. He is either a sleuth Mastermind, Meredith somehow gave our secrets away, or it was all made up. The last point is new. I used to just deliberate on the first two.

The other day I was daydreaming about Meredith and how someday we could possibly be together again in an open arrangement. This time with all parties involved. For that to happen Claire would need to contact Meredith’s husband. What if he didn’t actually know what I was told he did? Wouldn’t that be horribly awkward?

Frankly I don’t think she was lying to me, but it is making me replay all the events from my past. Like a mystery, trying to replay past scenes again. How did this happen? Did I infer what happened? Was there any actual proof? I mean other then the fact that I no longer see her.

The mind is a funny thing. Always playing tricks on us.

Paranoia

Last Friday was just a weird day. I got in a bit late, and my boss was there. She wanted to run out and grab a birthday card for another coworker, and I went with her. Of course she wanted to go to the little store/coffee shop that Sydney frequents on her way into work. We ran right into her. It was awkward.

That got me thinking about her for the rest of the day. Lunch came around, and I was going to go with whomever was around still. One group had already left, but my employee (whom I’ll call Alex) was still here. I had to wrap up one thing, then I was going to see if he wanted to go. Right as I was finishing he started walking out. Strangely he was staring at some text messages on his phone as he left, and he did not ask me to go with him. My paranoia shot up. I checked our work messaging app, and Syndey was not online. Crap. He was meeting her.

Then I did what I really shouldn’t have done. I left for lunch, too. It wasn’t odd to go to lunch then, but I knew that I was really doing it to see if they were secretly meeting up. I was about 100 yards behind Alex, and it was loud outside. I would’ve had to run to catch up with him.

We left the building. Still no Sydney. But I knew her usual meet up spots. We made it past spot #1, still no Sydney. Spot #2 still no Sydney. Then as we were crossing a large parking lot I glanced over to look for traffic as I navigated between cars, and out of the corner of my eye I saw her. Sydney was walking BACK from lunch with one of her coworkers.

She would’ve just passed Alex. They maybe said hello, but not much more in that short time frame. She was with a coworker. My suspicions were, as usual, incorrect. I know I’m being paranoid. However, she was walking on the far side of the parking lot. Do you think she was avoiding me or was it just random? I didn’t know.

Later I had a meeting with her about work. Since it was just the two of us it did get personal. Turns out she did see me in the parking lot, and her coworker was apparently waving at me (I didn’t see this). She thought I was ignoring her. I mean I guess kind of. I didn’t ever look at her directly, and was sort of shocked to see her.

All this paranoia about who she IS with, and I can tell you it is not the coworkers on her team. She is the only woman on the team, but except for her boss (who she hates) they all prefer men. It is possible she is seeing her boss. I wouldn’t put it past her. She hated him, but then she did say a few weeks ago that things have started to work out. The timing does line up, but it still seems like a long shot. And their days off don’t seem to match. But why do I care? Why am I being so paranoid? Make these thoughts stop!

During our meeting she asked if I hated her. She asked if I thought she was a good person. I told her I really shouldn’t answer those questions. She said I was avoiding her (so she noticed). I told her I wasn’t avoiding her so much as just not engaging with her. Example: If she were walking down the road I wouldn’t jump to the other side, but I’m also not going to ask her to go for a walk.

It turns out I just don’t trust anything she says anymore. We did bump into each other during the Friday happy hour at work. I needed to meet the new employee on her team, so it wasn’t totally random. Afterwards she text me “Thank you for being you.” and “You’re a good man.” What the hell does that mean? Frankly I told her I don’t trust anything she says, and I can’t tell if she’s texting me because it’s how she feels or because she’s trying to manipulate me. Her actions undercut her words.

It was a long day. It ended there though. I told her I can’t trust anything she says. Have not spoken with her since.

Avoiding Sydney

Sydney has been testing me this week, but I’ve held my ground. Yesterday she messaged to ask if she could meet with me about a project we are working on together. Most of the work I need to do, and have not done yet. I told her that, but said if she really wants to meet she can set something up – my calendar is up to date. She said she would. She never did. If it was important to her for work you can bet she would’ve set it up, but she was just testing me to see if she could soften me. It didn’t work.

Then today she tried again. She received feedback on our project, and shared it with me. I responded that it was great news. She replied that it was nice that the work was finally getting recognition. I switched to messaging, and told her she should be proud of the work, because I know she was getting discouraged. My words were in a co-worker/boss tone. Then I asked if her boss had seen it. She forwarded me his response which was positive. I told Sydney that she did a good job. She said “That means a lot coming from you.” Insert eye roll. Trying to be all nice and suck up. I never responded.

Later in the afternoon she sent me another message about a positive development on a related project. Ironically I had just been discussing this other project with a co-worker at lunch. I told Sydney it was great news, and briefly about my lunch conversation. The addition of the lunch conversation may have also been a dig at Sydney since I previously told her I do not want to get lunch with her anymore. She responded with an enthusiastic thank you, and told me a couple of the complicated details of the project. I never responded. Not getting sucked in.

Many hours later she reached out again. Sydney rarely initiates conversations which made this stand out. She is always “too busy.” This time she was asking if she could walk to the bus with me. Last week I explicitly told her I do not want to walk to the bus anymore with her. Of course she would ask – to test my resolve. I told her it was a busy day, and I needed some downtime. But I would be in the office tomorrow if she wanted to meet. She never responded. Message received.

I’m through with her. She’s so manipulative. I’m sticking to my work. Work work work. Act like a manager and treat her like an aspiring junior employee. Keep it positive between the whistles. Then completely ignore her outside of work. I don’t need to teach her relationship lessons. I don’t need to be careful of her needs. I need to get her out of my head, and out of my life. I’m very proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished the last week.

I haven’t physically seen her since our meeting Thursday morning where we only talked about work. At one point she tried to go deeper saying I looked tense or something, but I dropped my keyboard and used it as an excuse to ignore her comment and move things back to work. She never tried again. When things were done I left abruptly and walked out.

My son was sick on Friday, and I didn’t go into the office. She never asked about it or how I was doing. Shocking. Now she is trying to smooth things over with her little games. I’m not falling for them anymore. She’s a manipulative woman, and I don’t need that in my life. In any capacity.

Married Bedroom Problems

I had some thoughts about my sex life with Claire pop into my head. Clearly I am the more adventurous one in the relationship. Although she has and is willing to do more now that we are going to counseling there is a large gap that I am having trouble explaining.

This gap between expectation and reality is difficult because on the surface it seems that Claire is open to more adventurous sex, but there is something I’m feeling underneath which undermines the progress. Let me give you an example.

We recently tried slapping her pussy. It was her idea. She was into it. She loved it. I mean she begs for it at times. That was a positive experience, and I never fear giving that to her because it works positively for both of us. There are no points deducted from my side. Claire is not sitting there thinking that I now owe her because she is letting me do this to her. She genuinely loves it. If anything, she comes out of it more willing to give to me because I gave her that gift.

However most of the things I want to experience in our sexual relationship do not come out that way. Take for example blowjobs of any kind really. Claire is getting nothing from them, and is deducting points from me. She will not admit to keeping score, but when pressed she will let me know when she feels there have been too many. If they are rough or special to me in any way then she takes more points. Blowjobs are just an example. There are dozens of things like that including spanking or sex outside the bedroom and on and on.

The difference here is how she perceives the action. I would place them in the categories: she loves it (+1 point); she does it for me (-1 point); she hates it (-2 points). It is probably more nuanced than that, but you get the idea. We generally avoid the stuff she hates, as we should. I want her to be authentic to herself. However there is very little outside of traditional sex that makes it into the “love it” section. Most of the new stuff we have been trying falls into the “does it for me” category. Some of it used to be in the “hate it” category that she has now agreed to try.

Overall I do appreciate her willingness to try things lately. I love experimentation in the bedroom, and want to try lots of new things. But our attitudes towards it are very different. There is a strong reluctance to trying the new things, and an internal score she keeps. For everything she does that is new or not in the love category she deducts points from me. It is confusing for me because she is allowing me to do these things. She is showing positive energy, but it is reserved.

Later the score imbalance shows up. In some form of resistance she lets me know the score is lopsided. She did those things for me, but now I have to pay a price. It was not a mutually enjoyable act.

This impacts me on two levels. The first is directly dealing with Claire to even the score. Generally the punishment is a lecture of some kind or a penalty box like in hockey. The second is dealing with my own shame. I forced her to do this. I am a bad person with shameful desires. My own wife has to do things she does not want to do to make me happy. How different am I than a sexual predator?

Those thoughts are always there. Maybe not explicitly, but lurking within my subconscious. The shame I feel instantly even if the reasons are not always clear. When Claire calls me out on an uneven score shame and rejection are paramount.

I can see now how finding someone who put all my desires in her own “love it” category was hard to deny. There was no negative score with Meredith. We both benefitted from all aspects of our sexual relationship. It wasn’t that Meredith didn’t keep score, she probably did, but it was that the things I desired were also in her “love it” category. Therefore when we performed them there was no point withdrawal. Each of us kept getting and giving +1’s which was intoxicating to be around. We could experiment and try things. We had lots of points and trust. Ironically Meredith’s husband kept getting negative points for doing what Claire would want from me.

With Meredith even the little details mattered. Just speaking of blowjobs, she loved giving them. Almost more then sex. It was such a submissive thing for her, and she enjoyed them very much. On top of that she wanted them rough. Her husband rarely wanted blowjobs, and never wanted to be rough with her. Meredith’s eyes would light up when I was rough with her. I gained points from her because of my own love of blowjobs, and for the style with which I wanted to receive them. I did not hold back, and we both gave each other points for the results. Finishing a blowjob gave her such satisfaction. She said it felt similar to an orgasm for her. More points on both sides. The reason I mention this is that the very same act given freely can feel very good in one scenario and very bad in another.

With Claire the energy is fundamentally different. Neither of us has many points with the other. It is not an intoxicating experience. It’s a delicate balance of keeping the score high enough to have fun, and not making her feel uncomfortable. Even now that we are more open with what we want, and can try things it’s still difficult because that score is sitting there holding us back. The score is just a few points away from pulling me back into feeling shame or pulling Claire into feeling used.

Looking forward I either want to change our point system or find a way to satisfy both of us. I will talk to Claire about all this. I think it’s important. I really dislike making her do things she doesn’t want to do. We need another outlet for my sexual desires that doesn’t force her to compromise her body. I want to be there for her, and I can be the lover she wants if I can also find a way to satisfy my other desires.