Babies and Bath Water

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Submitted by Aphrodites Chela on
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39 days of not asking. Let's remember this path is not what Marnia recommends.
What has been lost? What has been gained?
I used to feel that I had a large (soccer ball sized) hole in my chest. I was desperate to fill it. I found a few ways to do it but it was an emotional roller coaster. For a few weeks now, it is more like a dent. Same size, same place. Ya know that car you wrecked and pocketed the insurance money instead of having it fixed? I can drive it but with this dull ache it ain't all that pretty.
For the first time I see Izzy's physical flaws. Forty years I've known her and seen her as she was in her 20's...until now. I prized her wrinkles and her scars. It's scary. Is this a baby going down the drain? Reality's good, right?
I turn away from her nakedness. I pass up the opportunities for joyful, appreciative ogling. I see her, smile, and my eyes move on. I pass over the excitement of it.
We don't embrace as much. If I'm not obviously giving love, I choose not to approach her with a hug. I don't feel the love strong enough to know if it is giving or my need. There have been a few slips and the hugs went well enough, but I never lingered. The invitation for more has not come.
I haven't seen a "I just stepped in dog shit face in a long time". That is clearly bath water down the drain!

Comments

As a woman,

I can tell you that it's unnerving to have someone reacting to what is clearly not me, but rather a fantasy in a partner's head. My guess is that it's unnerving for men, too.

Let's hope you two can now build something based on what's real in the relationship. I think you might actually find it relaxing and even enjoyable. Give it time and consistent daily affection - even if it seems wooden at present. I think there's a different, more grounded set of rose-tinted glasses in your future. Give rose

Being put in a box

Thanks for this thought, Marnia:

"I can tell you that it's unnerving to have someone reacting to what is clearly not me, but rather a fantasy in a partner's head. My guess is that it's unnerving for men, too."

As a man, who imagines he is being shoved into the "sex crazed maniac" box in many women's minds on a frequent basis, I find it extraordinarily frustrating. A man who has a strong need for healing in relation to women seems to be outside the realm of possibility to them. When it gets too much, I fall back on websites like this, the very rare local man who seems to be on a similar page, finding ways to ignore and avoid the woman who seemed hostile to me for no apparent reason, and carrying on to whatever other potentially healthy connections I can find.

Sincerely,

"Arnold"

Most Boxes

are of our own making. Con cuidado mi amigo, be careful my friend, of "They" and "Them". Those folks are mostly projections of our inner demons. (We are seeing that played out in current US politics with Trump inviting the fascists to come out of hiding)
I'm sorry she has been hostile to you. If you are close enough, ask her why. If not, fuck it, it's her trip.
Please brother, carry on to whatever other healthy connections you can find.

Yes

Hi Aphrodites,

That's why I used the word "imagines". It's really difficult to get a clear understanding of what's going on when I greet a neighbour or acquaintance with a friendly wave and "Hello" and get a really intense scowl back. These people are very difficult to communicate with at all and also difficult to avoid. I was drawn to these people because one briefly showed an interest in mutual support and healing long ago and the other is my next door neighbour (we share a staircase). So I do my best.

It's a particularly difficult dynamic for me because I've relied on a "sunshine kid" mask since birth to deal with situations that were profoundly unsafe to an infant. It stirs very deep feelings of anger and fear. As you mentioned, when I finally access aspects of myself that I normally don't even know exist, I gain strength and find more creative ways to get out of my part in the dynamic (trying to being friendly to a neighbour and a store clerk so that I can feel safe).

It is their trip. I just wish there were more local people who shared my trip!

Thanks for your comment.

Sincerely,

"Arnold"

Thanks!

Thank-you Aphrodites,

It seems to be clearing these days. I've done much work to transform my fear and happened to run into my neighbour while she was accompanied by her new boyfriend. I greeted him with a warm-hearted hello and he seemed like a really nice guy. Maybe I now have an ally in him. Smile

I've also run into a local First Nations' woman who sells Kombucha. It's great stuff, very valuable to healing my body. This is the first connection I've made that helps me heal physically and is supporting the healing of a woman and our local First Nation's community. It's a big breakthrough for me! I've recognized a significant amount of shame in myself for being 1. male and 2. of European Canadian descent (no known First Nations relatives in my family history!). Buying, using and promoting her product is helping me heal myself and herself and her cultural community at the same time. This is the kind of connection for which I have been longing for a long time now. Relief!

Thanks for your support.

Namaste!

"Arnold"

Marnia Inspired This Blog

Submitted by Marnia on Sun, 2016-04-10 09:40
"If you could take a pill tomorrow that would make you at peace with Izzy's timing and spare you the misery you currently suffer (unfulfilled longings), would you take it?"
A terrifying thought because of the total change it would bring about in my self image. I am a Man if Desire (I prefer that title to Needy Vampire. I love Ann Rice's passionate vampires BTW). My 'desire for you' has been the gift I bring to the relationship. I am also Steadfast and fairly responsible (I prefer that to Unimaginative). So, what I have to offer is Constant Desirability. You know? it's the gift I give because it's what I think I want.

"My guess is that you wouldn't. I'm not judging you for that, BTW. I'm just saying that I think you deeply value your horniness and feelings of unrequited desire. Or perhaps you feel their loss would somehow make you feel dead, or less of a man, or not a sexual being, or...? I get that, by the way, because, at first, letting go of any 'addiction' feels like "death," as if real pleasure will never be found without it."
Yes, dead, dying, not sexual; I like getting amped up on sex. It's the best, most alive thing I do. I understand desire and don't get bliss without orgasm at all. It's been forever (well, since February?) since I've had an orgasm. I'm learning to live without it and see the problems an O can cause. And 'unrequited desire', gawd how I love that feeling! I have crushes all the time. They last for several months to several years. I think the women (sometimes a man) don't know, I don't tell them, but how could they not? And Izzy? what does she know? I certainly don't tell her, yet, how could she not? My current crush on Velen (18 months) is fading.

"But at least for many of us, the view from "the other side" is still "sexy," it's just not intensely uncomfortable. We accommodate our partners without major angst - which is not how things were before karezza - and even not how they sometimes are during the first weeks after climax when those deep feelings of dissatisfaction can rear their heads uninvited in any of us."
I kind of get it. I feel sexy without seeking orgasm but relationship without desire/angst hasn't set in yet. I believe I'm on the cusp. Yeah, there's the adolescent that still loves the roller coaster, and yet I have also met this guy who can say, "This is enough. I am satisfied". Who the hell is that? I'm curious.

"I could be wrong about you, and would be happy to be wrong, so don't hesitate to correct me."
No way are you wrong! Your arrow has hit the bull's eye!

"But my point is that you can't let go of something that you deep down believe is critically important to Who You Are. So have a careful look at your beliefs."
Well, the Buddhists say 'Who You Are' is a an illusion. I'd like to get to know this other guy. Gimme da pill!

Edging Redefined

Well, no sex, I'm pretty sure I read it right, but if I ain't askin', it ain't happenin'. 44 days of not asking, wholly crapoley...and Sender says, "If 90 doesn't work, go another 90", geeesh.
Ya know? I didn't come to this forum or CPA looking to change my own damn self. I thought this new way of looking at sex would mean more sex, ha! I was going to do this little dance and she was going to change, ha! again....fuckin' cosmic joke....
But I gotta say there has been a little shift. I mean, I totally love not seeing that stink face on her and the hugs and kisses might be a little sweeter. It definitely helps to not curse their brevity or infrequency. I like my new mantra, "It is enough", there is peace in that. I'm proud of myself for not getting angry and resentful because we didn't have sex. Our sex life so degenerated that she was having sex with me to avoid my pouting for not having sex.
I used to know what edging was. I was a master, take it to the edge and skate there until she was ready to cum. I could even wait until she came again before I jumped over the edge. That was the line. Yesterday's trip showed me the edge has moved way back. My goal has changed. I thought there would be no harm in a little self pleasure (some old Cosmopolitan idea?). 12 Step calls that stinkin' thinkin'. Yeah a hard dick feels good but it got my thinking all whacked out and moved me away from my goal (which was?). That little bit amped me up for more than 12 hours! Glad it's passed. I want that firmness to be the natural part of our closeness. I'll find other ways to pleasure myself.
As much as I love y'all, I'm gonna stop writing here and write my Izzy a love note about how hearing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" moved me.

Love I get so lost, sometimes
Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
When I want to run away
I drive off in my car
But whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

All my instincts, they return
And the grand facade, so soon will burn
Without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

In your eyes
The light the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
In your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In your eyes
The resolution of all the fruitless searches
In your eyes
I see the light and the heat
In your eyes
Oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
The heat I see in your eyes

Love, I don't like to see so much pain
So much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

YES!!!!

This morning: I wrote the note and went out to do some gardening. It's an every other day treat I plan to give myself before sitting at this computer for too many hours. The sun hasn't cleared the firs yet and I set myself to repairing a wall at the side of the garden bed. I love moving dirt. I am surrounded by the bright emerald green of California spring grass and sounds of robins, turkeys and woodpeckers. Hour's up, wall's fixed, and I come back indoors. Izzy calls me to her bed. WTF?! I can't tell you how long it's been (I probably blogged it here). I strip down but leave my boxers on. Oh Lord Priapus! My gawd He wants this. The old way is to let Him have His way, pressing into her at every opportunity. I chose differently this time. I find my heart and the pleasure of it's beat echoing off her back. We spoon and I think I will burst as her buttocks barely brush my cock. I was actually afraid Izzy might encourage Him and it would be all over. It's a light touch and I do not press. I breathe, I focus on how I might express my love. Pressing my dick between her cheeks is not it. It works, He backs down. I calm down and enjoy the contact and the stillness. Now if she invites me, I can handle it. With every caress and every kiss I want to say, "I love you" and I say it. I couldn't say it when I wanted sex, it felt like a lie. I do not want to excite her nor find a way for me to get more. I share with her my new mantra, "This is enough. This is all I want". 10? 20 minutes? I don't know how long, but I do know;
This is what I want.

What a great post

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing this. Your struggle is an inspiration to me. I found myself hanging on your words.

Bless you for sharing your adventure. I am the richer for it.

It's the Thrill, ya know?

This morning Izzy announces she is ready to shower. I think for a moment and decline to join her. I asked myself "why?". It would be for the thrill of it (I could go on, but you get the picture). Somehow at day 46 of Not Asking now includes not sexual thrill seeking (how the hell did that happen?). I'm not afraid of losing the ability to be thrilled (see Tuesday's post!). I want to place the thrill (should it arise) into the context of our interaction and connection as different than my sole creation (that might be quite related to asking). She comes out of the shower and I ask her (slippery slope, Not Asking includes not questioning/interrogating her), "Ya know? (ya know? I say that a lot) I hope you weren't disappointed that I didn't join you (that's kind of a joke)". The conversation continued and I cannot quote but she made the point that she invites me so I won't get pissy. Well that's the way it's been. My sense of entitlement said, "If we're not going to have the sex I want, you can at least give me this (ogling)". Well, we're putting brakes on that one, aren't we? I say, "That is coercion. There is no way I want coercion to be part of our relationship!" I declared, "It is my work, and my work alone to deal with whatever feelings come up (if you do not invite to bathe with you). What I do (update) if need be, is take a breath bringing myself to calmness, and move on, let it go. It's not all that difficult." Not only must I revision myself but keep her updated so she can let go of her view of me.
When she left the house with a kiss, I stole 4 more (oops). Yesterday when she left, I mauled her pretty good. I apologized when she got back. As edgy as both those were, no stink face either time!
This is enough. I am at peace.

Day 50

Checking in....still not asking for anything. New habits are taking hold. Ogling contains a question, so, though I notice, I do not comment nor stare. Alcohol use is way down. No desire for porn. No desire for sex. I am not amping myself up and it's kind of ok, I guess. I don't run to her at every opportunity. Bonding Behaviors are few. I am not being pulled into connecting with my Isadora from need or lust. I must remind myself to open my heart. That works ok. This is uncharted territory for me. I'm not lost, but not sure either.
There is no magic in snuggling. It was a real treat when she called me to her bed Saturday morning. I held her calmly for maybe 15 minutes. The rest of the day was crapola! Bad oxytocin reaction? Nope. I changed plans from visiting my sister at a restaurant and invited her, her husband, and our kids over for lunch. Izzy agreed but she was angry for the housecleaning and prep she had to do. I understand 'cause her expectation of going to out for lunch changed to working her ass off. I helped.
The second point for relating this particular tale of woe is my reaction. Typically when she withdraws from me (I am able to provide ample reasons for her to do this) I panic and desperately try to re-establish a close connection. This was a rare instance of me staying calm and seeing the reality of the situation. We discussed our options. I made a choice. She got pissy and withdrew. I knew why and let her have her space to do what she needed to do. I didn't feel the need to explain, cajole, or overcompensate in attempt to bring her close. I stayed calm and remained open to her. I did not (as I typically might) withdraw in my own anger for her not being close (that's a real mess right thar, isn't it?)
So I guess it's ok. I have this vision of being in a row boat in the ocean, with no land in sight....

I never said don't offer anything

Ideally, the two of you would be going down this path together, each with a commitment to practice as many bonding behaviors as possible. I don't know if you've tried to enroll your Izzy in that, but I'm guessing it might come off as "asking for something", leading to the "stepped in dog shit" look which I know you love so dearly. I think this path would have been exponentially more difficult for me had my wife not been on it with me from the start. Perhaps others here have ideas how you could enroll her to join you in bonding behaviors?

But even without her direct participation, you can be generous with her. One thing I changed about myself was to begin asking my wife a simple, open question, "what can I do for you?" At first, she would always say, "nothing". But, over time, she came to understand that I was sincere. Now she will often reply that I could clean bathrooms or do some vacuuming, etc. And I'm happy to do it (without expecting any "return on my investment"). I offer her backrubs (back, front and breasts) which, she now trusts me completely to do without turning it into a sexual mauling. I offer her footrubs nightly. These are a few of the ways I give to her (in lieu of taking). YMMV.

Trust is the belief in a positive future outcome based upon past positive outcomes. It will take her some time to build up enough past positive outcomes from the new habits you are forming before she can really trust that this "new you" is for real and here to stay. My point is, don't expect her to suddenly notice and respond to the new you in the manner and time-frame you want, or at least don't take her slow-changing response as a sign that nothing good is happening.

I chose 90 days because that's how long it takes [me] to practice a new habit enough that it becomes permanent. I hope you aren't doing this because "I said so", but rather because your old habits weren't working for you. In your past writing, you spoke a lot about imposing yourself on Izzy in spite of knowing you shoudln't (could not help yourself). Your recent writings suggest greater self-control over the battle with your inner "energy vampire". You appear to be winning the battle. I think this can only be a Good Thing.

Oh...

we've been trying to enroll Izzy for years. Thank you Marnia, and others, for your efforts on that front. Shamu was particularly good! Yes, at this point, I'm not asking her to join me.
Offering: "What can I do for you?" comes easy to me and that offer averages to about once a day. I am reserving "touch" for when I am clearly giving. I get/take so much from the slightest contact that I am seldom sure of my intent. My touch is suspect so I wait for clarity or Izzy's invitation. I wonder if I might offer such a thing as a back/neck/foot rub even if it is iffy. I am no way close to offering a "clean" breast massage! This will be a good place for me to focus some effort.
Another area that could use some work is Generosity. I have been motivated primarily from my pain and desire for something different. I will start asking myself, "What can I give?" I've put some focus on Izzy's selfishness and lack of generosity....gawd, I should look at myself!
Dear Sender, you words are inspirational and I act because of their resonance within me (and my desperation for change). Be assured, "you're not the boss of me".
Thank you, my friend

Dayam

Things got pretty hot over here reading about POC and twiddling clits.....stinkin' thinkin' "oh I can get hard. It's just me. Yes fantasy started it ,but I'll stay in the moment and just enjoy it". Well all went well, felt good, didn't even get close to the edge. BUT this morning, half awake, thoughts of dissatisfaction with our marriage, what ultimatum I'll present at the end of 90 days, and other such crap.....don't need it
Blessings on y'all

What Fuckiing Day Is it?

day 3 of rumbling waves of, "Boy I'm gonna tell her at the end of 90 days. I'm gonna lay it out there and...." . The salvation I keep coming back to is to focus on my breath and take a look around to see what I might be grateful for.
I was in her bed a couple of nights ago. She asked me to leave when I commented on her smoothness and softness as I caressed her.....breathe..."This Is Enough".....calm down. In the morning, yesterday, she invited me to her bed for a bit. Why isn't this working? should be a good day after a nice little snuggle, sharing pleasure without expectation. Yet she is pissy and I've got this low grade hostility rolling about. I suppose life is more complicated than can be fixed by a little contact. This could be an expectation left over from my addiction. If we spent a good 30 minutes to an hour fucking and I had a mind blowing orgasm, I was high for 2-3 days before the crash hit at day 4. All was right in the world. I was smart and creative. I loved my life and my wife. I suppose there's a part of me expecting that from a little canoodling.
I guess this is my sex life without asking. Showering together isn't so sexy if I'm not jacking myself up. I think I'm getting to where "friendly" is OK, BUT I'm not liking this dullness too much. I miss the excitement of the roller coaster. I've worked with children who crash about, seeking that intense impact just so they know where their body is. In this, I am no different. Some people find balance on the see-saw by standing still at the center. My way has been to run back and forth trying to avoid the crash.
It is day 54, blessings on y'all

Worth watching

I was hesitant to watch it, fearing it might be some gruesome news story or some overly-graphic prank home video, but no, it's not like that at all, it's a scene from a movie The Silent Flute. I haven't seen the whole movie, but this scene was philosophical, and relevant to this discussion.

Edit: Never mind the rest of the movie. The 15-minute excerpt at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msOH0-2P3Zg seemed pretty cheesy to me.