Hello, fellow humans. My wife moved into a separate bedroom and we have had no sex for five years. This blog will probably be mostly about my adventures in trying to get us back together.
Some background: married 20+ years ago. For the first couple weeks of our marriage, Zoe was even more enthusiastic about sex than I was. After that, her interest in sex gradually declined. By the end of the first year, we made love perhaps two or three times a week. For many years, we made love (or had sex... our relationship had cooled down to room temperature) about once a week. During the last few years we slept together, it was more like once a month, then once every three months. Then, she moved permanently into a another room, and there has been no sex at all since then.
Zoe has always been somewhat critical and bossy. I noticed it even before we got married, but it didn't seem like a serious problem at the time. She criticizes everyone - me, her siblings, our kids (we have two perfectly normal kids that I am quite proud of), her coworkers, the management at the places she works... She rarely _asks_ me or the kids for anything - it's almost always a demand. Anything less than immediate obediance is likely to provoke an outburst of anger. My reaction to a demand from her is to comply, if it's not too much trouble for me, or to calmly state why I'm not willing to comply, and then just be silent and weather the storm if she gets angry. There's no way to get a word in edgewise, anyways, once she gets started.
Some of the things she criticizes me about are reasonable - for example, being intermittently employed for the last seven years. Other things are just crazy - like making a fuss because I have a couple of empty cups on my desk. Either way, when she is criticizing me (or the kids), she has an attitude like we are practically criminals.
I had visited reuniting.info a couple times in the last several years. Last year "Janitor" pointed it out to me again. (Sometimes persistence pays...) I spent 20 or 30 hours studying the site, and had some long discussions with Janitor and Marnia. At that time, the temperature of my relationship with Zoe was down around freezing. I was avoiding her as much as I could. Janitor said I could do some things to improve our relationship, and he mentioned the Exchanges. My skeptical reply was "Are there any that don't require us to be in the same room together?"
Actually, there were some things I could do, as I discovered when I read Peace Between the Sheets. One of the instructions in the first Exchange is something like "Do something nice for your partner during the day." Well, fine, I could do that. So one of the first things I did was to clean up the kitchen. (See http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/buddhist_morita_marital_therapy for more about doing nice things.)
I decided to take the challenge at http://www.cracked.com/article_15725_great-internet-porn-off.html. Just to make it a little more interesting, or challenging perhaps, I decided to give up masturbating for a while as well. It was surprisingly easy. I went for six weeks without masturbating at all, and a couple more weeks with masturbating without orgasm, until I got too close to the edge one day and had an orgasm. Since then, in the last seven months, I've mostly continued the same pattern of no masturbation, or masturbation without seeking orgasm. I've had far fewer orgasms this year than in any similar period of my life since puberty. I began that experiment partly to see whether I could live comfortably without orgasms, in order to get an idea of whether karezza is practical. Based on my experience, I believe it is, or would be, for me. Every time I have an accidental orgasm, I take a few days to decide if I want to continue to avoid orgasms. I've chosen to continue avoiding orgasms because I like being in control of myself. I don't like to let my primitive brain direct my behavior (toward seeking orgasms, for example).
Since I started studying the material on the Reuniting site, things have gotten better between Zoe and me. Our relationship is approaching room temperature, I'd say. Being in the same room with her and talking with her is tolerable, even pleasant sometimes. There are probably several reasons: the web site and discussions gave me hope that I might be able to repair our relationship, which gave me some motivation to try; I sometimes do things to help out around the house; I'm more careful about my own behavior, and I'm less likely to react to things Zoe says in a way that would provoke her; an understanding of the separation mechanism makes me more understanding and tolerant of Zoe's behavior; also, I got a steady, full-time job.
Unfortunately, we are still not sleeping together. Zoe can be in a good mood all day, and we can have a pleasant evening together, but if I suggest that we sleep together, even without sex, she instantly gets angry, questions my ancestry and upbringing, compares me unfavorably with lower life forms, etc.
That's how things stand now. Following will be a letter I wrote to her a few months ago (since it's so hard to have a calm conversation with her where I can get my points across) and which I gave her again today. Last time she didn't respond. I'm not sure she even read it. This time I asked her to _write_ me a reply.