Those who can observe things carefully, recognise that the period when a child learns to differentiate between the self and surroundings, approximately between the 9th and 11th years, is critical. It is the time when the child is actually crossing the rubicon (Steiner, R 1995:46).
'Alea iacta est, The die is now cast'- Julius Caesar 49 BC as he crossed the River Rubicon
The theme for this week is transition. When Caesar ummed and ahhed then finally decided to cross the rubicon, life was never to be same again. He was about to wage war against the entrenched ruling interests of the old rome. It was a pivotal moment in history that was ultimately to lead to the rebirth of the republic into the roman empire.
That's kind of how im feeling this week, battling against my old self. While its not about war or empire, the metaphor holds true for me as a period of realisation, rebirth and journeying forth into uncharted lands. It can not have been easy to cross that river.
This early in the morning, reviewing the weekend, my thoughts of yesterday now seem harsh. Overly eager at best and self absorbed at worst. And i see that contrary to all my nice words, my touch is still hungry. Because why would i persist with it when it is obviously not pleasant to her. In chapter 7 it talks a lot about how touch needs to be generous, and giving.
I awake with a sore gut and the start of a sore throat. I suppose now I'm going to finally catch her cold. This humbles me some, and i tidy and hen-cluck though the morning offering to fetch things for her while she recuperates under a duvet on the couch. Then having already resolved to fast for the day, i take a mat and some water and go find a sunny spot to lie in the sun. There is nothing more soothing. And i read something non-CPA for the first time in a month.
I lay there until dusk, mid afternoon she comes and lays with me for while. She's finally decided to take a day off work. Phew.
I, making the mistake yet again of forgetting that women and men open up differently, have still been trying to get her to open her heart by opening her legs. That approach would certainly work nicely on me, lol. But later she comes to me and says shes sorry for being so distant. But its funny, in the evening I say to myself bugger it, despite the fact that she doesn't seem to want to be close to me, Im going to cuddle her anyway, but this time just hold her. She resists a bit, and while im naked, she leaves on a single layer, and i just cuddle her from behind. Gradually she relaxes and her breathing slows. Previously needing to be upright, she slowly slowly sinks back into my arms, and related or not the coughing stops. And magically i feel just overflowing with love for her, and i tell her so. Im struggling to find words for how i feel. Giddy with love.
So anyway come reading hour, im excited as anything because i want to read chapter 8 with her. We get maybe 2/3 through and she finally slips into sleep. Im briefly annoyed, in fact disgusted is not too strong a word, but its over almost before it begins. I actually slammed the book shut, thinking she just so badly needs to hear this chapter. But, after all, she is not the one with the sex addiction. It is me, I am.
Such a see-saw of emotion at present, its quite bizarre how quick the feelings come and go, both love and fear. So i pick the book back up and read quietly on into chapter 9. Then we go to bed early, and sleep until her coughing wakes us at 2am. I cuddle her some more and ponder the above. And finally rise at 5.
Oh and I have to come clean too about censoring this account. A few days back when I was whining about her falling asleep while i was trying to cuddle with her, I actually wrote, that it was just no fun to cuddle her when she's asleep. Ashamed, i immediately redacted the words, but the thought however remained. Oh the silliness of the human mind. This whole reboot process seems to provide all the personal growth you could ever want and need.
Emotional swings and peaks or not, i am noticing the last two days how the in between times are more...i don't know, more still, less restless. I experience it as a reduced sense of existential lack. Maybe thats what emerson means when he talks about prosperity.
Day 29 PM0:0,7,1, Post O Me/her:27 days/29 days, POST PVI/Other: 8 days/2 days
It's really very peaceful at 4am. The whole world seems still and quiet, and i and it are on the same page. Refreshing in spite of my now growing sore throat. She is at last experiencing some respite from nights spent coughing. I snuggle really close to her for an hour or so before rising and find it soothing, my breathing becomes easier.
Traversing backwards though the day yesterday, we, or at least i, had an amazing cuddle on the sofa. Both naked, but with a soft pillow between us to pad our boniness, i hold her from behind but with my legs tucked up under her thighs (i don't know if you can picture this, imagine a human bean bag). Later she turns on her side, my right leg between hers. That's another nice newly invented position. I hold her quite tightly, and experience wave after wave of love, and the veritable fountain of flutters incites me to say yet more goofy stuff. We were of course warned about all this by other couples accounts, but there it is. There's no PVI, there's no caressing, no doing, just incredible warmth, and that's something i have never experienced throughout a life time of trying to find intimacy through PVI and Orgasm
I don't know if she feels it as the same groundswell. If not I have some sympathy. My ex wife, a couple of relationships back, was highly expressive of love, and it used to frighten me. I often felt that the intensity of it, what i called the 'gushingness' of that woman's gaze was going to see right though me, overwhelm me. Ironically i also felt she didn't love me. Gosh. I have some remorse over that, and reflect some on it.
But in the bath yesterday evening, our eyes connected in a tentative and inquisitive way. It felt like two unsure children meeting for the first time in the playground. Sizing each up to see if they are a friend or foe. Can i trust this person. I certainly noticed my own hesitance. I wonder if she and i both have been using sex--particularly arousing sex--to punch through this fear layer. It needs to be hot to overwhelm the fear. Take the heat away and intimacy is just plain scary.
Of course from a mindy perspective it now looks like she and I have been rather co-dependent. It will be interesting to see what happens when things change in that mix.
It is another good day 'at the office', and having been awake extra early i had planned to take a siesta, but was in the groove and didn't need it. Tried eating something, but it wasn't at all attractive, so will continue to fast.
Of course today is a day to celebrate, marking as it does, my 28th day without orgasm. The four-week barrier, it feels like if you make it that far then recovery is yours for the taking. All blue ball and related pain now gone, and yesterday throughout the day the return of penis body and color remains. It almost looks normal again, and there was even one spontaneous erection during the day. Maybe it will return to its ever-ready-to-go status quo after all? Actually I hope it doesn't, but even if it does, I doubt it will be the same. Despite its body, the craving that i had previously mis-associated with its restlessness, now clearly appears to have had its source in my brain. That same brain is now rebooting, and coming back on line in a much more functional way. If this sounds gleeful, it is.
Day 30 PM0:0,7,1, Post O Me/her:28 days/30 days, POST PVI/Other: 9 days/3 days
After writing yesterday, i read the rest of chapter nine. And all the way through, I'm going, yes, exactly, yes. That's right, brilliant, right on. After that do the dishes and prepare dinner. She's not been eating well since sick and so i make a hearty bone broth. One of my warning indicators for losing balance is if i leave last nights dishes til later in the day. So, that i have dinner sorted this early, must be a sign that I'm on top of the world. And its true, i am, feeling somewhat herculian all morning.
I take another 2 mile walk, and actually meet some of the locals. Work proceeds smoothly until after lunch when i start to slow up as my energy fades. When she's home there's little of the buzz from the last two days. Her coughing has eased but she's flat, and I'm flat. By cuddle time, i hold her in the same way as the last two days [Ed. Caretaker clue], but experience none of the love-y feelings. None at all, so its not overly surprising to me that when we go to bed, we have our first argument in 31 days.
I started it. In response to her saying something like: 'you have been so nurturing to me', i respond with something to the effect of, 'i hope that you will someday learn to nurture me back'. Its loaded, that's pretty obvious. We argue about it for 5 minutes, the gist of which is: she's a black hole, afraid of physical intimacy, and I'm attacking, sucking, stressing her at bed time. We try to stay physically touching through this, and after 5 minutes silence, a product of her (helpfully) refusing to talk about it any further, i ponder and conclude that maybe 4 days without any sexual contact might just have been too long for me right now.
I tell her so, and this starts a more healthy conversation about our successes of the last month, and she shares some of the other sources of her stress at the moment. I have this vague tentative realisation that maybe just maybe I am the one that is afraid of intimacy. Emotional intimacy as opposed to physical intimacy, could I be a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black?
We agree that in the scheme of things that we have both done really very well this month, and that one slip up in 4 weeks is pretty good going. There's still a little combat fatigue, but we go to sleep holding each other and sleep ok. What's that old adage from the long time married couples, never go to sleep without making up. Its true and chapter 8 explains why.
The cause of my upset seems related to me not asking for what i need. Same old, same old child, expecting others to know what i need. But more than that, it's about not being in touch with my own needs and my own self, always viewing the world outside of me. [Ed. But I don't quite get the significance of this yet and chase my tail a while longer].
Also this time around i was able to much more clearly observe that when upset i stop looking at her. It's a defining part of the upset to stare blankly out into space. It feeds the emotion, and makes it grow. It prevents me from seeing her and it prevents me from disassociating her from the person from the past who actually hurt me.
Other things bubble though my mind. Looking back, for the duration of my reboot, there has been either PVI, genital massage, or self-genital massages every second day, and rhythmically so. There has been only a one exception, a single three-day interval, back on day 16, and that seemed to have been ok. That rhythm apparently kept me balanced.
However, the day before yesterday, I was aware of thinking that my sexual desire was apparently absent, hence i felt ok to skip the every other day thing. Then yesterday, while aware of some sexual tension building up, but feeling bored with self-massage, and tired of asking, decided to let the third day go by as well. Maybe to see whether i really needed it that often, or not. Maybe to test her to see if she will 'neglect' me, or not. To see if she loves me, or not. I was setting myself up to fail.
Furthermore, while the neurochemical value of PVI is uncertain, CPA does provide some evidence that its important. Maybe 10 days is insufficient to maintain harmony. Maybe it has nothing to do with sex, maybe it was just the reduced bonding that made something finally snap. Lastly the recent week coincides with the week following ovulation, historically a sexual dead zone. . [Ed. Yadda yadda. Round and around.]
Now, the alarm goes off, and she stumbles out of bed, i invite her to sit on my lap. We both have sore throats, and both feel like crap together! This brief cuddle feels soothing.
Then while she baths, i sit on the edge of the bath, and we are gently talking things over. In there she spontaneously says 'i am trying to change', and she says it in a melt-y kind of way that really reaches me. I say I'm really glad. We spent 15 mins gazing into each others eyes, both really present, talking about the future, plans, concerns, summarising our last year or two. How both of us have felt like we have been treading water, surviving, not doing the things that light us up. I feel teary and really really close.
In closing i feel a bit bad sharing today, you all probably know more than you really want to know about my retched inner life. But I believe that i now trust this woman, and you have my permission to tell me off if i ever relapse into blame, no matter how craftily disguised.
I feel analysed out. Definitely less analysing required.
Day 31 PM0:0,7,1, Post O Me/her:29 days/31 days, POST PVI/Other: 10 days/4 days
After a day to reflect on the episode, the significance of it grows and grows and grows, until it starts to feel like a major rubicon. Doesn't the fact that if i can now admit that I am afraid of love, then does that not empower me? I don't have to feel like someone else is the cause of my lack.
Emerson and Marnia are coaching me to trust the process, but I'm fighting it a bit. 50 years of practice says it must take some effort on my part, some doing. But they are saying that the fears will gradually fall away with time and bonding. I have to admit it is an appealing thought. Could it be true?
Throughout the day i work like a machine, and considering the minimal sleep and that this is the 4th day of fasting it's amazing. It's not a brutal kind of fast, I'm using masterclense (not what it sounds like), and a bowl of broth in the evening which feels nourishing. I dig out some soup bones which came from the neighbours organic cattle, fossick around the vege patch for things that i instinctively want. Dark leafy greens, celery, a leek, a couple of carrots, a zuchini, sadly no beetroot to be found. Boil for it all up for ages and ages. Then strain, add a little miso. Yummy.
When she returns home in the evening, i have a brief relapse. She's saying about how she's an introvert and sometimes just needs to be left on her own. I say that we have to commit to it, we can't do the bonding when we feel like and not when we don't. We are talking about the book and it feels like I'm using it as a weapon to beat her up with. Exasperated, I ask what does she want to do. She ponders and says come on lets just cuddle. Interestingly, now I'm the reluctant one. But the tv stays off for a change, and she offers to hold me, and so begins an important and memorable evening. It was a heavenly cuddle quite unlike anything else ever anywhere. It took us both being as a sick as a dog, to finally stop doing, and just be. Hardly any caressing, almost none, just stillness. As i lay back in her arms, i don't feel at all needy, and we chit chat away happily for ages about random things from our day, and our progress all in a low voice, like we were in a church.
Rachael, freedom and others are forever telling us to stay in the moment, and i can see why. How can analysing, thinking and worrying ever bring about change?
The day has seen the return of my pet jellyfish. Floppy and disinterested all day, and in spite of all my pondering about it yesterday, oddly i don't feel any sexual need at all. Its looking more and more like my avoidance of true emotional intimacy has lead me to seek a substitute via physical intimacy. As i start to feel more emotionally intimate and connected, bingo, the physical cravings go away.
Part way though the cuddle, i get aroused out of nowhere, and i just hold it gently while we are talking. Little squeezes here and there, more like a cuddle than a massage.
From something she said im inclined to think that the reason she pulled back from the bonding was a residue of the invasive manner that i massaged her in the weekend. The more i get to really know her, the more innocent i see that she is. She's only my nemesis if i make her so.
I think that I will look back on this evening and see that it marks a major transition in my life and in our relationship. The lovely letter that Marnia sent is open, honest and very relevant to what's happening with us. I don't feel quite so alone in the world.
A ball of slime is forming in the back of my throat. Sleeping is a bit challenging, and i almost forgot… before awaking this morning i had a really funny sex dream. Several women are trying to seduce me. I say to them that they cant because i have a partner who loves me. One of the women turns to the man next to me and starts having ordinary sex with him. Then i look down at my crotch and see a bunch of moulds and lichens growing all over my penis, perineum and anus. Ha ha.
I bath, write, and think that ill see what happens if I forget about sex for a while. Also talking last night it brought home to me that her trip away is fast looming, and as a result we wont be able to start the exchanges for quite a while. How will i be without her around just now?
Day 32 PM0:0,7,1, Post O Me/her:30 days/32 days, POST PVI/Other: 11 days/5 days
I have nothing much to say today. The jellyfish returns. Life is good.
Day 33 PM0:0,7,1, Post O Me/her:31 days/33 days, POST PVI/Other: 12 days/6 days
I had a dream in the night. Im a novice journalist and working on a big public event. Im laying out masses of groundwork, planning camera positions, arranging interviews and what not, feeling competent enough but for all the work there's no sign of the actual event.
Sore throat's bad now. Still fasting, most days feeling really high, lots of energy. The occasional crash.
Today marks 7 days without any self-massage or anything sexual at all. That little experiment is going fine, i feel quite content. As i reflect more on the change that's occurring inside me, it feels like a caterpillar emerging from its crystallise, sort of being reborn. I also realise that im a bit of a blank slate, that there are things i just now know nothing about. For instance, i know nothing about how to love a woman, or even what it means to love. All these years ive been busy treating her and other women as id like to be treated myself. Do unto others. Now that just feels silly, and more a result of not being able to see outside myself. It leaves in its place a range of feelings, from remorse about a wasted life, to curiosity and excitement about what the future with less baggage will look like.
The time has come for some history. My mother's parents were the last of the victorian aristocracy. Mother later confessed that much of the parenting advice given by her own mother didn't sit well with her. But that she also felt powerless to resist it. Father was a cold and distant person, worked long hours supporting the family, as was his duty in that era. I never really knew him, he was either out of the house, or later gone entirely. He had (and still has) this judgemental way about him of being black and white, and unhesitatingly callous in telling people what he thinks of them.
Hence I effectively grew up with a single caregiver, and that this often leads to a life-long expectation that a singular person should meet all your needs is no surprise. My parents marriage (like my own) was doomed from the moment the honeymoon wore off. He demanding of physical intimacy, she wanting just kindness and emotional tenderness. Sound like anyone we know? They pulled further and further apart over the years, remaining together 'for the sake of the family', before finally divorcing dramatically 10 years later.
During those first 10 years of life, we lived in various places as father's work dictated, which meant changing schools often and thus diminishing the bonds that i was able to form with other people. After the divorce this continued, changing schools twice more. By the time i hit high school i was shy and introverted, and busied away concentrating on academic success. I never had a teen-age period really, never did any of the typical teen age things, going out, making out, smoking behind the bushes.
Father disappeared from my life after the divorce, and i felt at the time that it was no great loss, and nothing new. My mother was part of the womens lib era and starting working when i was young. This meant that me and my sisters were left at home together a lot, and being the oldest i was expected to be the responsible one. Which was a tough task because they were an unruly lot. And yes i think she also laid lots of emotional needs on me, as the only man about the house. I often felt like i could never win, never really be free of expectations or conditions, never just accepted. So 'over' her, I drifted away, finding excuses to be out of the house more and more, spending time outdoors with a couple of close friends. That was the extent of my social life.
I was completely naive about sex, when the boys at school joked about masturbation, i didn't get it, had no idea. I don't know when i started but it was late, maybe 15. At 16 i left school and home to get a job and independence. It wasn't til years later when i was 23 that i lost my virginity to a much older women, who basically just leapt on me. Before that a steady trickle of girls had passed my way, showing an interest in me, at least it was clear to others, but i was oblivious, closed off emotionally and sexually. Some people even thought i was sick, or in need of help. But to me i was just doing my thing, in my little cocoon.
Well, that's it, that's the foundation of my life. This reboot has brought much much more than i ever expected, in terms of an insight into how that beginning shaped me to be so needy, self-protective, and ungiving (depsite my caretaking).
These last days i am seeing my beloved as less and less the closed off person i previously saw, but actually one of those lucky people who might just have had a happy childhood. She's really quite plastic, molding herself to what's around her. That she seemed closed off to me was only a product of the way that i was viewing the world, through a lens of closed-off-ness. Which is really just seeing in her, or rather projecting onto her, a mirror reflection of myself. As i change, so she changes, or so it now seems. As I've opened to her emotionally, so she opens, she's right there capable of meeting me.
It also seems I'm becoming celibate! From one extreme to the other. Maybe this will allow me to experience being alive for its own sake for a while. And its likely to be protracted, as she's 1 week away from her trip away. I toyed with the idea of going with her, but it isn't really practical.
Day 34 PM0:0,7,1, Post O Me/her:32 days/34 days, POST PVI/Other: 13 days/7 days
'This time, Im creating a relationship with myself' - alpha777.
I spent most of yesterday either in the bath, or laying flat on my back sleeping or resting. It is remarkable how still i am, considering the nasty throat and breathing difficulties. I did manage a short walk in the sun.
As i lie there the occasional realisation occurs as to the different ways that I've smothered her. For instance when she arrives home from work i have always leapt up, literally snatched whatever she's carrying from her, and give her a big bear hug. She's barely in the door and its probably a bit overwhelming. What if she just wants a few moments to gather herself?
We barely say a word the entire day despite being in the same four walls, and yet its ok. We are both happy with the silence, a chance to be alone and to mend quietly. In the evening, she organises some pillows and props her self in the couch with her legs apart, and silently beckons me to come snuggle and be held. It's a lovely overt unmistakably 100% receptive gesture. I'm thrilled. And while I can barely talk, later i manage to say that i do so love being held this way. Far from feeling needy, i just feel received. Which is all i ever really wanted.
Day 35 PM0:0,7,1, Post O Me/her:33 days/35 days, POST PVI/Other: 14 days/8 days