Progressing....slowly and painfully

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Hi, figured I would check in.

So, things are going well....and not so well.

Overall, we apparently can do karezza pretty well! Wife seems to enjoy it, although I still don't know that she has fully grasped what we are trying to do.

The not-so-well part is more involved.

Last week we had a bit of a run in where I had indicated a desire to get together and left it in her hands for the day, and at end of day she had chickened out (her words) at saying "no"....so she said nothing. I was upset not for the no but for the fact she didn't say anything. I am pretty sure she doesn't believe that entirely (that I was OK with the no but not the ignore-the-problem schtick). I didn't fly off the handle, but I was a little hurt she didn't say anything (later the reason was given that it was unclear that I meant that DAY).

That led to a longer discussion the following day where it came out that she still felt pressured to say yes when I ask for ...just about anything it seemed (see list below). Some of this harks back to my reaction to the no in the past (not loud or violent, but I had a hard time keeping myself up and happy sometimes...not all the time, just sometimes...and that was hard for her to deal with). In fact, it was EXACTLY my emotional reactions that seemed out of character (and out of control) that led ME to karezza.

I have reiterated many times since we started this little journey that I feel much more in control and I have gone into cuddling or kissing or anything remotely intimate with the statement that I really am looking for nothing more than that. I am not heading down the "sex" road, and I can say that in 90% of the cases that is 100% true and in the few that aren't, it was not an unmanageable emotional event for me.

At the end of that talk, I basically offered her the opportunity to initiate sex for the time being. I would NOT initiate sex, but I would feel free to initiate cuddling or other non-sexual contact with the understanding with her that I wasn't looking for anything more. I also said I was hoping we could do something every day.

Last night we had another talk, and I discovered some more new things. First was that she hadn't read everything I gave her, and second that she was feeling pressured to cuddle now and it was disturbing her, especially the every day part.

Here is a summary of what came out of the 2 discussions:

- She has felt pressured to say yes to sex and still does

- She feels like she has kind of been dragged down the karezza road without much discussion (see note on this below)

- She said that even when I put my hand out to hold hers she feels pressured

- She feels pressured to read the stuff I gave her (highly abbreviated summations from the website, etc), so she hasn't gotten through much (I asked once and she won't tell me what she has and has not read, I am not pushing the point for obvious reasons)

- She feels pressured to say yes to cuddling and that that level/frequency of intimacy is too much for her right now. "Daily" seems like WAY to much to her (I thought she had made it through that much of the reading I gave her, which is why I asked for frequent bonding behaviors).

- She feels bad about being the first one to pull away during any contact

So I am backed into a bit of a corner now. It was a little surprising that even the hand holding thing was hard for her and that cuddling was NOT a very nice thing for her right now. I admit that my personal blind spot missed these feelings on her part, so my bad. I am not sure it hurts more that holding hands is a high pressure sport for her or the fact that I missed that fact!

And now my note on the 2nd item above: The corner is made more....cornery...by the fact that she won't read the stuff I gave her and won't talk to me about it. When she says she is being dragged down the karezza road, I really want to point out (I don't tho) that I WANT to talk about it, I WANT her to read the stuff so we can have an intelligent discussion/decision and not have this just be something that happens just enough to get me to back off and let her alone. I have been very careful to state that this is nothing more than an experiment and that I will not force her to a) help me be non-orgasmic or b) be non-orgasmic unless it is something we mutually decide. The problem is, there has been no discussion therefore no decision....and I am left wondering what to do because she IS kind of being dragged down the road.

A while back during an emotional moment, she said that she was really upset that I felt like sex was so bad that I felt there needed to be a change. First I never said it was bad, and I have told her several times since then (and last week when it came up again), that it wasn't that it was bad, I had just reached a point where I was questioning whether there was more to be had, whether there were ways to make it better. Based on everything she has said about feeling so much pressure (and I have yet to explain to her the depths of pressure I have been under with this), I am confused as to why she felt that it was so good that we could use no improvement!

Giving up the initiating was hard for me. There is a deep seated insecurity in me that thinks if I give that up, it will never happen, or that it will happen once a month or less and I will be met with the "Well, I am happy, why aren't you?". I know that this is my insecurities talking, that there is a validation you get from sex that is hard to replace, but I realize now that I don't want sex with someone who doesn't want to be there, so the fear has softened and seems manageable. I had to face that one down, and it has been easier since starting karezza, but I will have to be vigilant to make sure I don't slip back into old habits of ramping up my desire.

Am I perfect in this? Heavens no! I know that I still struggle with desires (dopamine rushes), I know that I have 20+ years of history with being less than well-behaved in this department and I need to establish myself as a truly different person and that takes time. Probably a long list of other things....and it will take time to repair all of that.

And I know that she hasn't disengaged completely. But this morning I woke up feeling like giving up...just saying to heck with it and let her decide when/how/why we do ANYTHING. I am tired of being the pushy one, the one labeled as "needy", the one that induces fear if I am told no. I am horrified that I have put that much pressure on her over the years and disappointed that even cuddling is an emotional workout. I had so hoped (naively) that at least the cuddling might be pleasant for her.

I need to work on the "first one to leave" part (be more in tune with her), but many of these things are things I can do nothing but sit and watch. I refuse to remove all pressure from the situation by caving in and ignoring it, but other than that, I am waiting on her. Without reading or thinking or talking about it, she will have to discover everything on her own and (my fear) only at my pushing the subject.

The realist in me know that things will progress...slower than I want them to but progress nonetheless. It is just a hard row to hoe right now.

Golly

That all sounds not much fun. Still, a year ago thats exactly where we were. I wrote in detail about this.

tldr; Reboot, adopt better daily habits. Learn qigong. Start glowing. In the evening find a warm comfy sofa, cuddle while you read out loud the books a half chapter at a time. After some months get her to agree to a schedule. After that youre away.

*sigh*

Sounds awful. I'm going to ask two of my favorite advice givers to see what they think. Both will probably recommend creating a "vacuum" and waiting for her to take the next step.

I think I understand the vacuum thing...

but look forward to hearing it outlined. I THINK it is kind of what I am trying to do now (back off but not remove the "pressure" to make SOME kind of change/decision).

I do want to say that the original post is a little ranty and is obviously one sided. I am trying to maintain a perspective of "what can I do to/for myself to make this better?". I don't want to get caught up in a process of making this my partner's fault and ignoring my own issues. With each of these encounters, I have tried to come away looking a little deeper at a part of myself and making changes where I can.

She has NOT completely disengaged. I think she does want to move forward but the prospect of doing ANYTHING in this arena is scary for her and she avoids it.

I have often suspected that she does just enough change/action to make me back down on driving for change (but that sounds a little paranoid...). This is yet another fear I have to stare down.

Karezza has put me in a position where I can survive the process. By eliminating the desire cycle, I can better maintain my emotions and not get carried away. I still have desire (!) but I am in control now....otherwise I think I would cave in and make this go away :)

That's the strongest possible position to be in

and sometimes partners turn around as soon as they feel the pressure drop to zero. Weird. Humans get so used to the "approach-avoidance dance" that if one partner changes roles, the other one does too.

Obviously, that's not a good final resting point, but it makes the next steps toward deeper intimacy possible.

A quick note about "pressure"

I wanted to clear up the comment about "not removing the pressure.

When I say that I am not willing to remove all the pressure, what I am saying is that I am not willing to give up my preferences and desires....not entirely.

If you have never read Schnarch's Passionate Marriage, the sections on differentiation and the way relationships operate is extremely revealing and in my experience very very true. It is very easy to give up everything you want or desire in an effort to please someone or to avoid some discomfort, but unless this is done with real love, that "giving" will catch up to you.

The type of change you talk about (when one person changes then the other follows suit) usually results from one person calming themselves down and stops playing the game as it has been played. You are calm in the face of high emotion around a subject without subordinating yourself to the other person's will/emotions. At the same time one is calmed, this usually ups the pressure on the other person to either put up or shut up....they can no longer avoid whatever issue is blocking the relationship.

It isn't about putting pressure on someone. It is about the pressure that results when the partner won't play the game anymore and they are forced to see things as they really are.

That is a poor description....read the book!

hey I wrote what you wrote

I've been down this road to a "T", FamilyGuy.

I wrote what you wrote. It matches pretty much exactly.

It hasn't been easy. In my case, my wife not only felt (and on occasion still feels) pressured, she isn't really into Karezza because she doesn't feel that much and wants her orgasms. I'm fine with that part. But she is a low drive person an I am not. 

I don't try to get her to read anything as she has no interest and that doesn't work. You might find reading aloud together as Treehouse suggests will work. It won't work for my wife. 

So here is what did work.

1. I made some small but important changes in my behavior. Making sure she feels autonomy so she can get up and not cuddle, or not have sex. That is pretty important. Not being all disappointed even trying to hide it if she says no. Being happy if she says no and happy if she says yes.

2. This has given my wife some more room to explore and feel more free. This has worked really well but there are a few bumps in the road even still. The number of times she was saying "yes" was declining in the last few weeks and it started to bother my reptile brain and I mentioned it to her. And she got a little upset. Then she apologized.

Then we had sex.

3. What I have found out is that her not having an orgasm isn't Karezza. It's just her not having an orgasm. She doesn't get a huge reward from sex like I do. I'm not sure why really. I think there are some unknowns here. Daedone's clitoral focus might help but my wife was too embarrassed/ashamed to have me work with her on that. KevinJ and his woman have had some success with something similar. I think there has to be some initial focus on the clitoris for the pleasure to start happening for women like my wife and maybe yours.

4. The thing I have found really working is to avoid talking a lot about it. I mean, a little talk is fine, but its physical cuddling and sex that really communicate. There is no point to going back and forth and talking. It just is negative and not helpful.

 

Familyguy

I have some thoughts for you but would like to ask a few questions to get a fuller picture. Are you guys married, how long have you been together, do you have kids, if so, how old? Was there a time in the realtionship where her desire was alive and active like your's? If you completely dropped the ball around sex, what do you think she would do, honestly now?

Answers

Married 20+ year, yes kids, 13+

I have always been the higher desire partner....but she has always been sexual. I have begun to think that her sexuality has been clouded by my "needs" for much too long. I see this process as trying to repair a lot of that damage.

When we are away she usually comes alive. I am usually surprised.

So to answer your question about what would happen if I dropped the ball. I could see a few things happening based on past experience, but most likely I think she would step up and not hide from it (all my stated irrational fears set aside)

Well, here's what strikes me.

Well, here's what strikes me. It can be hard to tell the difference between a woman with simply a lower libido by nature and the legacy that women have inherited from generations of it being their duty to say "yes" to sex. We are all living in the time where women are starting to say "no", and I believe its a needed step to a real "yes" for themselves instead of a "yes" for someone else. I think this transition is going to take a while. Even my wife who has a high libido has expressed the feeling of the forced "yes" roaming around in her consciousness, fortunately for the both of us her inner voices does not significantly interfere with her erotic self and sexual desire.

When it does I call it "feminine lock down". Sounds like your wife, (at least from your version) has this to some extent. My observation is once it gets started there's no easy path to unlocking feminine desire. Loving conscious space seems to be the best medicine with the awareness that it will take time, maybe a good year or more.

So what does loving conscious space look like practically? Finding ways to help here relieve the feeling of pressure.

First, drop the reading offerings and suggestions....completely. If you like, leave them somewhere so if she ever has an inclination to have a peek she can do it for her own curiosity and timing, unlinked from you.

Second, work on your "male neediness". If she's got "feminine lock down", you've got to have "male neediness", the two simply go together. I dont know what your life looks like so you may be doing these things but you'll get the idea. Spend more time with quality male friends. If you arent, develop a regular excersise regime, a hobby you're passionate about. Things that nurture you outside the relationship and will help depressurize you. And of course, no porn...period.

Third, let her come to you for cuddling and sex. Let her initiate, which I understand may mean no cuddling or sex. I dont know you're relationship but if you have good communication you could say something like, "I really want to change the dynamics in our sensual/sexual relationship and I'm going to take some time and not initiate sexual contact at all, some space to be free from pressure to do anything you dont want to do, some space to simply feel what you feel". Could you do this for, say, two months? Make sure you dont pull away during this time. Yep, I assume this is a tall order. Some how she has to feel relief from the pressure she feels inside, which probably has little to do with you.

Forth, during this time dont bring up the subject of sex unless she does. If you go for a month or two and nothing has change then consider another conversation.

These are just my ideas as I have observed a woman in lock down needs space to feel, relax and breath around sexual obligation and performance. Think of how many generations women were obliged to pleasure men sexually. Now we want them to engage as equal participants which is wonderful but many women carry all this baggage that needs to be released and they dont know how, us men can help.

Sorry for the delay....

....I have been processing a few things and didn't want to write a bunch of stuff without thinking about it.

I complete agree with your assessment of the whole "yes/no" issues you describe. Society in general seems to want to force the yes, and that kind of pressure is hard to live with.

I think there is some lockdown happening. I read your earlier posts w.r.t lockdown and it sounded very familiar.

On my side, yes, I think I still have that male neediness, and it is something I am working on. It showed up in a way that I didn't see: I saw my desire to try karezza as a good thing but it veiled that male neediness in ways I missed. Still sorting through that.

> Loving conscious space seems to be the best medicine with the awareness that it will take time, maybe a
> good year or more.

One of the things I have come to terms with is the time frame. Not that I expected overnight success, but at least one version of my male neediness assumed we would work hand in hand and move forward quickly...because that would be easiest for me! :) Sometimes reality is hard to see/accept, but I accept this now. I WANT to fix this....I don't want to be the monster any more, I will do what it takes (even if I don't know what that is yet).

> First, drop the reading offerings and suggestions....completely.

I was intrigued that I got defensive when I read this, which I suppose could be expected. I only ever asked if she had read it once, and that was after she said she would read the excerpts I had given her and it came up in discussion (I was going to refer to something and wondered if she had read it). After that I knew asking was counterproductive.

On my side, it pains me a bit to know that I can't talk about it with her....to get her thoughts, to work together on it. Maybe that is my male neediness coming out, but it is a reaction in part to her sense of being dragged along. Unavoidable at this point I suppose.

> Second, work on your "male neediness".

My neediness was much more obvious pre-karezza. I have been working on identifying symptoms and working around them without fostering more neediness. Still trying to figure out what that looks like.

> Third, let her come to you for cuddling and sex. Let her initiate,
> which I understand may mean no cuddling or sex. I dont know you're
> relationship but if you have good communication you could say something like,
> "I really want to change the dynamics in our sensual/sexual relationship and
> I'm going to take some time and not initiate sexual contact at all, some
> space to be free from pressure to do anything you dont want to do, some space
> to simply feel what you feel". Could you do this for, say, two months?

So this is where we are at. I actually had pretty much THAT conversation you describe here. It really does decompress her when she hears I am trying to make this a non-pressure situation. The problem is that talking about it at all is a HUGE step for her. She would rather have the pressure/discomfort build until we work around it or it forces us to go through it. I have watched her pull away and harden her shell when dealing with hard emotions (not necessarily related to this). I would talk about much more and a lot sooner than she will right now. I do hope that changes. I have always worried that she would only do enough to make the current pressure go away and not really work at making sure the pressure never shows up in the first place (or depressurizing is sooner). I realize that improving this is not an appropriate short term goal (as it puts pressure where we don't need).

Right now I am assuming that this is "for the foreseeable future"....that whole "goal" thing comes into my head if there is an end date. As you note, if there is not much movement in 2-3 months, I will feel a little compelled to broach the subject again.

> Make sure you dont pull away during this time.

This is probably the hardest thing for me to recognize. While it is obvious if it is large, there are other times when I am not sure if I am pulling away or just trying to regain emotional stability so I can reengage.

I admit that staying close is easier and harder at the same time. I am still trying to figure out the line between being close and being distant.

> Yep, I assume this is a tall order. Some how she has to feel relief from the
> pressure she feels inside, which probably has little to do with you.

Well, that last bit is the one I struggle with. I think the course of these things is that the pressure starts to build but not because of what I am/am not doing. Whatever the pressure has to do with, being able to make it someone else s fault is the easier way to handle it. When you can't do that anymore, the pressure morphs but it is still there....whether you still try to pawn it off on someone else is another matter.

And I am not saying I don't have things to work on, some of those things will come into stark relief when she moves on. Meanwhile, I do what I can.

Thanks, Darryl, for taking the time to respond.

Neediness

This vacuum idea is great. In theory. Im just not sure how to make it actually work in practice. If i had a magic wand and could make all my insecurity's vanish instantly, then fine i could see how it could work splendidly

To me the beauty of karezza/ bonding behaviors/ the exchanges is that it allows us to heal as we go. The benefits accrue from both participants being willing to engage using a carefully constructed and contained compromise.

The vacuum approach is also practised by louie, who as far as we know is still, after a year of that, in consequence of it, still unable to experience the magic of karezza. (If you are there mate, hows it going?)

But here's another way of looking at neediness, thanks to the ever wonderful rachel.

The thing I have learned which has been life-changing for me (and I so wish all women could realize this) is when a man "needs" sex it's not that he is just wanting to "get off" or use the woman~~he actually needs the yin for balance; he needs her essence. And we women need the masculine yang. When you understand that it's not about the physical act so much as it is about finding a beautiful place to rest (for each partner), it becomes something you know you have to include in your life, just like eating or drinking or exercising. And it can help a woman become more beautiful and feminine and happy. Sex is no longer sex~~it *is* happiness~~for both people. It's amazing how just a small mind shift can change the way you look at something...sex now feels nurturing to me...not a chore and certainly not dirty.
-- Rachel

"Poof', "Sparkle", all my insecurities have suddenly gone. :)

Family Guy

Your welcome. I think you're really looking at all this with awareness, a desire to grow and understand self. I believe that will take you far. This may be a little far out there but I like to ask my guides sometime for a little guidance and assistance when I'm not sure where to go next. Or some may say its asking the inner self to bring forth awareness to the outer self. I think any angle works fine, really.