Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dreams

I love dreams. I have always had a very active and vivid dream life. My dreams are often a window to my inner self. That has certainly been the case this week. Last weekend I, again, came to the conclusion that no matter how much I love my wife, the relationship will not work. I have such a hard time letting go. My wife is a part of me. I have been with her most of my life. I do not think about, fantasize about or really desire other women. My head is constantly full of thoughts, desires and images of my wife. So the thought of ending this relationship is traumatic. I realize that I am not the first person to have gone through this, but it seems no less catastrophic because of that.

Naturally this has invaded my dream life. My wife has always been in a large percentage of my dreams and my dreams are usually erotic in nature. Or at least those are the ones that I remember. This week I have not been sleeping well and having several dreams a night. Interestingly I am not very present in these dreams. In most of them I am an unobserved observer. They have been quite erotic and along a wide spectrum on a continuum of my wife being engaged with other men. This has, for a long time, been my most vivid and exciting fantasy. While it is not unusual for the fantasy to invade my dreams it is of a different nature now. While these dreams still seem to be very erotic they also tend to evoke a good deal of sadness.

One of the first dreams I had this week, she was only partially in view. She was being fucked from behind but the person fucking her was obscured by a wall. She had on a necklace and I could just barely see an orange skirt bunched up around her waist. I could see her bra on the floor. The clothing created a strong sense of sadness because they indicated that she had been out for the kind of evening that she likes. It also made me sad that these were cloths that I did not recognize. She was obviously enjoying what was being done to her. Her eyes were shut and she was biting her bottom lip. She was beautiful. I never saw the man.

Last night she appeared in a very sheer green floral print blouse with a rounded yoke. The double material where the yoke hung over the blouse was not sheer but the yoke did not come down far enough to completely cover her breasts, which were erotically exposed. Obviously this was a very enticing sight and I felt hopeful. She did not interact with me but seemed annoyed by my presence. She went into the bathroom and came out with a very different and even sheerer blouse. This one was white linen. It too had a yoke but it was rectangular. This was not at all sexy, only because under the blouse she had put on one of the tee shirts that she runs in. The linen shirt was so sheer that the small writing on the tee shirt could easily be read. It occurred to me that these shirts had been intended for another man, she had put the tee shirt on because I was there.

One of the results of these restless nights has been that I wake up touching her. Normally I sleep well separated on my side of the bed. This is not the first time that I have come this point in our relationship and the same thing has happened in the past. The reason that we keep getting to this point is because I am unwilling to leave my children and I cannot stop craving her intimacy. So, each time I convince myself that there is hope, despite a complete lack of any evidence to the contrary. I know that I should sleep in another room but the fact is that I go to sleep hoping that I will touch her in my sleep. Unfortunately, despite our estrangement, this contact is nothing more than an annoyance to her. It is, after all, this level of detachment that has always been the problem.

This blog would be much more interesting if I could get her to respond here, but again she is way too detached to be able to do that. Sitting at the computer reading about emotions would be her definition of torture. The only thing that could be more grueling than that would be to have to reply. Several days ago I told her about the old story that I had posted that was basically a fantasy about her. She perfunctorily said, “I will read it tomorrow, when I’m not so tiered.” I had not told her about the story because I expected her to read it. But nonetheless this is exactly in the oh so repetitive pattern of things that drives me nuts. She said that she would do something that she knew full well that she would not, just to try to stop the conversation. I left the blog up on the lap top in bed for her the next couple of nights so that she could read it if she wanted to. Of course she did not. In my opinion this completely lacks integrity. Though I am the most frequent recipient of avoidance, I am not the only one. She does it to her mother all the time and even to her children on occasion, though they don’t let her get away with it. Few other people get close enough to warrant this level of avoidance. I may see if I can get some level of response out of her. In my life I have written hundreds, probably thousands, of pages pleading with her to connect emotionally and erotically to our relationship. The response has been very scarce.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am the unemotional wife. The one who is too lethargic to read a blog. I did read his blog. But not at work when he first sent it to me, but at home, later that evening. I am worn out from fighting against the aqusations of coldness. I don't belittle him but constanlty tells me what is worng with me. He doesn't want intimacy unless it involves someone else. When we go out socially, my breasts have to be exposed for him to enjoy himself. It is difficult to understand my own longings when I have to be placed in often embarressing or forced sexual situations. He says that is the only way to get a sexual reaction from me or that he needs someone else present to fill the sexual void. We are at a place where he needs something big to be fulfilled and I need warmth, understanding and compromise. I love him and have no intention of leaving the relationship, but I don't think that I should have to be intimate with a stranger to prove my love to him. But that is what he wants and there is no compromise.

Bubbha said...

Thank you for responding. I know that was not easy for you. We are both worn out. I’m sorry that you feel belittled. While I can understand your feelings, I view the circumstances differently. What you are calling belittling, I see as trying to get you to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Though I agree that in my frustration I do become more critical of you than I should be. This spreads to all areas of our relationship including parenting. But it is true that I am also very supportive and complementary of you. Generally speaking I am letting you know how I feel and sometimes that is not positive. This sort of highlights one of our differences. Where as you see this as an indictment of a fixed position set in stone not to be changed I see it as an identification of what needs to be worked on. I want to establish the point that you are cold, not because I want to be right and you to be wrong. I want to identify it as a problem with the intention of changing it.

You have many times accused me of wanting to change you and I had, until recently, denied that charge. But, yes, I want to change this about you. I guess that in the past I would have not said that this is not who you are, but what you suffer with. It is something to be overcome and not something to allow yourself to be defined by.

Certainly on the surface you are not cold. You are a warm host when we entertain and you are tremendously warm with your children. The problems comes when someone gets close enough to access your inner self. This evokes a very strong avoidance response. It is this anxiety of intimacy that is the primary issue. I view intimacy as the source of joy in a relationship; you see it as the anxiety. I expect discussions of intimacy to be not only joyful but also transcendent; and transcendence is what you seem to fear most. Many times you have acknowledged that this is a significant problem for you and an impediment in our relationship, yet you seem to want me to sit back and be tolerant of you avoiding what is hugely important to me and to most healthy relationships.

It is true that what I am asking from you is a bit radical and very difficult for you. Let me first address the radical nature of this approach, which starts with the futility of traditional approaches. Traditional approaches are as much born of our sex-negative cultural values as is the need for healing in this area. I believe that working on things like communication skills is very important and worthwhile. But I do not feel that it is the path to addressing the kinds o issues that we are dealing with. That is a little like preparing for a marathon by walking three blocks every day. While it is true that you must first be able to walk three blocks, if you stop there, you will never get to the marathon. Traditional methods fall far short of being able to get past your anxieties. I’m pretty sure that you agree with this but put push for traditional sorts of efforts to avoid anything that would actually have an impact.

The one method that might have worked some for you was sensate focus. Learning to touch and pleasure yourself as a means of self discovery. But that too was destined to fail because, while you were able to create an orgasm by placing a vibrator on yourself, you were also able to compartmentalize the physical response from anything that might access your inner self. Traditional psychology points out that we all have different methods of achieving orgasms. Some people are very visually oriented, some more emotionally oriented and some do it by thinking of gentle breezes on tropical beaches or nothing at all. They say that all are equally valid. This is a typically stupid academic perspective that predictably misses the point. While it may be true that all of these are ways to achieve orgasm, that is not the end game. The point of healthy sexuality is to be able to connect to your feelings and ultimately to the feelings of others. Orgasms that are disconnected from this sort of connection do not achieve this end. You placing a vibrator over your panties and waiting for your body to respond does little to connect you to your inner self and does nothing to allow you to connect to me or others. But traditional psychology said that this was just fine for you and you have hidden behind that to avoid the hard work of getting past your anxieties.

I would have loved it if there were a path like this to opening your doors and allowing you to discover your passions and pleasures and to show you how to allow me into that world. But that was not going to happen.

Maybe it is just the case that this is not possible for you. While I have always held on to the belief that this door can be opened, I know that I am not objective. There is nothing that I want more in life than to be able to pleasure you in a way that would build trust and desire for physical and emotional connection.

In my life I have seen that the biochemical releases that happen through sexuality have a phenomenal impact on how we perceive each other and view the world. There is a wide range in which this happens, including the tolerance that happens in the new relationship emotions. Physical desire and vulnerability also creates that emotional landscape in which deep personal empathy and sharing become pleasurable. I suspect that your isolation from physical desire is a part of what allows you to be so emotionally distant.

By creating situations that put you in a state of heightened sexual arousal we expose you to the bio-drugs that creates the environment in which you can overcome this isolation. There are two important points here. The first is that because you have intimacy anxiety you are fearful of allowing these situations to happen. I have watched this happen and when you become sexually responsive I am in seventh heaven. I am focused on where you get to and keep trying to focus you on that. But you are focused on the discomfort of what happens before you cross the bridge to sexual excitement. Your anxiety is so strong that immediately after being demonstrably sexually excited you will claim that you were not and that you allowed the situation only or my benefit. I’m in a no win situation here because by pointing out your behavior that clearly demonstrated sexual or emotional excitement I look as though I am trying to define your feelings or you, which I could not do. But if left to you nothing would be said and the event would pass into obscurity with no recognition that you had crossed a bridge. One of the interesting things at these times is watching what appears to be an internal struggle going on in you. You have a look of fear, almost begging me with your eyes to save you from allowing your pleasure, while you would like to avoid any demonstration of desire to some degree the bio-drug often wins out. Unfortunately, you offer no information that would allow us to more deliberately set up set up situations that are sure to arouse you. This is a shame because it prolongs your anxiety and because the process of thinking about and planning an event can be such an important bonding process between a husband and wife.

The other important point is that simply getting to a point of heightened sexual energy is not enough in and of itself. This creates a temporary window into your desire. The hard work is for you to shift your attention from the fear of crossing the bridge to paying attention to what is happening once you are there. There is a lot to be learned from these experiences about your desire and what it is like to allow yourself to be vulnerable. The idea is to bring a bit of this understanding back to allow it to luxuriate self-pleasuring and hopefully to share it with me not only to fuel my own fantasies but to be a part of your inner self that you share with me in hopes that this will open the door to further intimacy between us. By this I am not just talking about physical intimacy but also emotional intimacy in which you share your inner feelings sexual and otherwise.

So the point is to get to a point where sexual excitement changes your body chemistry and then taking full advantage of the time of that change to try to affect your perspective in times of lower sexual stimulation.

One of the things that traditional approaches would like to suggest is that a husband and wife can get to this place of heightened sexuality on their own. While for many couples that is true, it is not true for us. While some of this has to do with things like habituation, most of it has to do with your intimacy anxiety. Because you have this avoidance response it takes a great deal more sexual energy to get you past it. The wonderful thing is that we have seen that this can happen. Even though you desperately want to focus on the times that it has not.

I suspect that my own fetish for this behavior has arisen from the circumstances of our relationship more so than from anything else. From the earliest parts of our relationship I saw you respond in situations that involved other people. The first was when a group of us wondered into the adult arcade in youthful exploration and general merriment. While the experience in most outward ways was not about sexuality, there is no doubt that that element was also present. I was surprised that you showed arousal that night. While I wanted to explore what had brought this on – was it the film, the guy in the next booth masturbating, being so close to so many people in a sexual setting, being naughty – you would have none of it and said that I was mistaken. Later more experiences happened in the company of others and to the same results. Finally we had another man in our bed and the impact was pronounced. I was learning that sexual energy went up when other men were present. While or most people this level of excitement is not required to open up, there is no doubt that to most people this would increase the level of sexual energy. The only way that I could increase sexual energy was to engage other men, which happened in two ways. Simply your anonymous exhibitionism was at least evoking another person’s sexuality. While this was not between you and me, it was at least human contact. And most especially this fantasy was fueled when your level of excitement would go up. Despite the frustration I really like that you have shaped my fantasy. Despite a lack of erotic connection between us you have, in a strange and disconnected way, connected to me.

I do not wish to settle for such detachment and lack of sensual pleasure in life. We have for years tried traditional means of opening the doors to your erotic desires and inner self. You know that they are not going to do the trick but you want me to keep going along with this. To compromise as you put it. I feel that I have done this or long enough. What I need from you more than anything is for you to do enough soul searching to honestly communicate with me so that we can go forward. The largest part of your unwillingness to talk about these things is an avoidance of allowing access to your inner self. This is the exact behavior that you have always had with your mother. I know that you want to say that I am issuing ultimatums, and in a way I guess that I am. It seems to me that we have two choices. Are we going to go forward in a way that has a real chance of meaningfully changing the erotic and emotional dynamic of our relationship or compromise? Compromising means that we settle into a status quo that guarantees a high level of resentment and separation. Or we can make a meaningful effort to use the power of biochemistry to overcome something that is not you but a symptom that you suffer. In my opinion you have been walking three block to prepare or a marathon. I don’t want to keep trying to live in this deception. The question is are you willing to do the hard work that it takes for the marathon. From your actions I would have to say that you are only willing to walk three blocks. I am asking you to state your intentions.

If you decide that you are unwilling to do this then I would like to work together to figure out how to live together for the next five years in a way that will allow us to be roommates but not invest more of our energy into a relationship that is failed.

Linda said...

We had a conversation this morning. I am writing about the conversation to keep this thread going, as I am hopeful that it helps and I know that she would not add to it at this point. Though I will try to encourage her to continue to contribute when she can bring herself to. I’m not sure that it is not a continuation of the same but it is something. I was going to drive to Lake Travis today for a swim. We were working outside and I’m not sure why but I asked if she wanted to go. Going to Hippie Hollow makes her up tight. She said that she was afraid that we would just go and fight. She laid out this plausible scenario that end up with us driving home frustrated and fighting. I laid out a happier picture of us sharing time together doing some of what she likes and some of what I like but enjoying each because we were enjoying each other’s company. She said that I would not be satisfied if she did not agree to be sexual with someone else. I explained that it was not so much the outcome that would frustrate me as it was her shutting the door with no possibility of opening it.

This led to a discussion about what it would take for her to open the door to intimacy without being pushed. She said that it would take me not pushing and to being willing to compromise. I reminded her that when I don’t push nothing happens and that by compromising she meant settling for something that would not change the dynamics of intimacy in our relationship. She seemed to agree that there was not likely to be change if she did not engage in sexuality that created higher levels of sexual energy and that this would require other people. I asked her how we could make this happen so that she was a more willing participant. She suggested that I stop encouraging her to dress in ways that I think are sexy and let her dress in ways that she thinks is sexy. In the past this has meant her dressing to avoid being sexy. But she has a new fairly high powered job .that seemes to have affected her sense of her power dynamic and she has been dressing in cloths that are sexier than how she used to dress.

We agreed to go to Austin next weekend. We will shop for her, go to Hippie Hollow for me, go out to eat for both of us and go to hear some blues music for her. We will stay at one of the nice locally owned hotels and she will try to engage another man in whatever happens. I agreed to help get much of the weekend chores done before the weekend so that she would not be stressed.