My wife can be very stingy with affection. Her default setting is to just not think about it, I guess. She focuses all of her energy on what has to get done. At the end of the day, she's exhausted and there's nothing left for me/us. It's hard for her to switch into an "us" space when she's already tired. I find this hard to understand because even when I'm tired, I "make room" to give her affection; backrubs, footrubs, etc. I like doing those things for her; I like giving of myself to her in that way. And I don't expect anything in return, at least not in a quid-pro-quo way. But I realized last night that I do need affection...from her, and when I don't get any for days or weeks, I start to feel sad, angry and resentful. It's particularly hard when I see her be so effusively affectionate with our daughter, which is pretty much all the time, yet she's got nothing for me. I know I need to let her know when I'm feeling like that. She's getting a more-or-less constant stream of affection from me, so she's not feeling what I'm feeling - and may not even be aware of what I need. I hate it when she expects me to read her mind, yet I'm expecting that of her. Oy. Partly, I don't say anything because I feel guilty for expressing a need - like I'm being needy and adding to her burden. I know that having needs isn't the same as being needy, but I don't know how to ask for affection without sounding needy, and she's particularly sensitive to that.
When I feel this way, I'm reminded of the feelings of social isolation and desperation that I felt so intensely as a teenager which is probably why the feelings are so intense now and cause me to overreact. I'm sure that I regress to about that level emotionally when I get triggered in this way. The memory of that part of my life will always lurk somewhere in my psyche waiting to jump out and torture me, so I need to learn better ways of dealing with this.
Last night, after giving her a nice back-rub, I got pouty and snapped at her a bit. I just found it too hard to man up and approach her directly with these feelings. I quickly recovered and apologized, but she said there was no need. It was a "feeling thing" and she understood. As bad as it felt to behave that way, I suddenly understood what she feels like when she has emotional outbursts; the feeling that I know I don't want to come off that way, but not being able to control myself and doing it anyway. I used to stuff these feelings by using porn. As long as porn was an option, I could just fap these feelings away, tapping into the imaginary affection and acceptance of the endless supply of pretty, willing females on the computer screen. Now that I'm not using porn, these feelings have nowhere else to go.
Ironically, none of this happens when we're in the Karezza zone. At those time, she almost always has the energy and interest in connecting with me and being generously affectionate, which is fundamentally what I'm looking for out of sex in the first place. But after an orgasm (especially when she has one), I know I'm in for 2-3 weeks of hell. Since we've been looking at it (for the past year), this pattern has become crystal clear, like an immutable law of the universe. Knowing that, why would I ever go for orgasm (or incite her to do so)? I read that the rational brain actually shuts down during high states of arousal. I am beginning to see that clearly in myself. When we're having sex, and it's feeling so good, going for orgasm starts to seem like a good idea (to us both, not just me). The part of me that knows it's a Bad Idea is like a radio that's getting turned down in volume to the point where I can't hear what it's saying clearly enough to understand. Maybe what makes Karezza challenging is developing the ability to fine tune the volume on that radio so it never gets so low that I'm tempted to ignore it.