This is most of the post I wrote the other night. I changed a little but most if it is still here.
And back to reality…. And the slide down keeps getting longer. We have been spending this week showering each other with attention and now we know it is coming to an end. We talked a little last night about it and she told me she was scared that now we are headed back into “the real world” that I would expect the same level of attention and affection. I told her that I knew what this last week was and I was happy with how it went (up until the last two days) and that I knew it was temporary. But I also told her that we still need to make time for ourselves. Yes, we are going to be busy as my work schedule takes off this week and I will be working 6 or 7 days a week until June. So we have to make the time we have together important. Reading her expressions and the way she reacted has not given me much hope… I just wish…. So many things….
Let me go back a little in my story. A brief recap of specific moments and then maybe you will realize why I really thought she did not want or need me anymore.
I think my second post I mentioned that after being married for 5 years she got pregnant with our first child and at the same point we decided to move 2000 miles away. I made sure she got to get back home at least once a year but we had our second almost 12 months later (surprise!!!). Two babies that close together would normally be difficult for most people but both of our kids were very good, slept through the night, great temperament, just lots of laughs and giggles. I know that was partly our parenting style but mostly good luck.
One Christmas her parents visited us instead of us going to see them. I thought everything was going well. Her dad wanted to make these really cool picket fence shelves for my daughters room, which we did and the two of us made him a really big doll house that could double as a cute book shelf later on. The kids were 2 and 3, or 3 and 4, not quite sure at this moment but they were young. I still had to work while they were around but I had a lot of time in the evenings where we would all hang out or go do fun things. I thought everything was going well.
Up until this point in our marriage we only really ever fought about one topic. Sex. I believe I mentioned it before. I have a higher drive than she does and so it has always caused friction. I would make an advance, sometimes I would handle it poorly and sulk for a short time but often times I just would leave the bedroom to watch TV or something else. Just so I would not bother her. Then she would feel extremely guilty and we would end up doing it in the morning half the time or maybe the next week. Either way neither of us ever felt good about the situation. After a few years of this, I started to believe that even when she accepted my advances she was just doing it to get her “wifely duties” completed. It wasn’t because she wanted me or even sex for that matter. It was very hard for me to deal with but I did what I thought was best. First I assumed I must suck at sex. I must be awful because I love how she makes me feel and if I don’t make her feel this way then I could see why she doesn’t want me. So I studied and practiced. I always was an unselfish lover making sure I took care of her needs, but now I wanted to know all her buttons. I scoured the internet for anything I could find on the topic. I bought books on the topic, you name it I have probably read about it.
So each time we actually had sex I would try something new each time. I would ask her what feels good, I tried to get any possible response out of her other than “it all feels good” but I never did. She would tell me that she liked the new things but she also liked the old things we did. But then why wouldn’t she want me more. Women are supposed to relate sex and emotions much more deeply than men so if she doesn’t want to have sex with me it also means that she doesn’t value me on an emotionally.
While her parents were visiting that Christmas she was particularly upset one night. She had been acting funny all day but after everyone was in bed and the two of us were relaxing she was pretty upset. I kept trying to get her to open up and talk about it and finally she did, but I was not ready for what she was about to tell me. She told me that she wanted to go home with her parents. She was going to leave me here with the kids and she would move back in with them.
She told me that I really did not need her and that I was a much better parent than her and everyone would be better off if she left. I did not know how to respond. I thought we were doing fine. We only fought over sex and at this point in our marriage I did not even think it was that big of a deal. Especially because we would hear about all the other fights couples would have and we never did. We were always on the same page. We were the perfect pair. Everyone we knew was commenting on how great of a couple we were and how beautiful our marriage was. Her parents even told us once that they had reservations about us getting married so young but that we were amazing as a couple and as parents.
I just sat there for a few minutes and then I started to talk with her. We talked for hours and hours and in the end I convinced her not to leave. She wanted to leave and I convinced her to stay. She was not depressed at this point in her life. She was still fun and I thought happy. She did things with the few friends we made since being there and we only really had each other but she really seemed to enjoy our life.
I really believe that this night, which happened to be my birthday, was the beginning of her downward spiral. As I look back this is when she slowly and slowly became more and more depressed. She became more withdrawn and she did not seem to enjoy “us” as much anymore. I need to be clear, it wasn’t as if she just became this glum person suddenly. I took years, each month there were more and more of the bad moments, hours, days. It was a very slow decent which can make it hard to spot.
As our marriage went along I knew she was not happy. I tried and tried. I would ask her what would make her happy. What can I do, what can she do to make herself happy again? Her reply was always the same, “I don’t know.” I should have known back then that she probably wanted out but couldn’t bear to do it after she tried the first time.
I can look back and see how selfish I was in most of my marriage. I can see how I was the root of most of our problems even though I thought I was doing all the right things. We fought about sex, so I learned and studied and became better. I understood that stress was a big factor in women not feeling in the mood so I worked hard to reduce her daily stresses. All of these things I thought were to her us. She wanted to leave and I talked her out of it. I told how much I loved her and how great of a mother she was and I did truly believe these things. I made promises of spending more time with the family and I did.
I tried and tried to do anything I could think of to fix the problems in our marriage so she would be happy again. The only thing I did not realize was her unhappiness was actually a refection of how she thought I felt about her. All those things I tried had a selfish ulterior motive behind them. Why did I want to be better at sex and relieve her stress, so I could get more. It was about me not her, not us. She wanted to leave me. Why did I talk her out of it? I do know that I loved her and did not want her to leave, but I also know that she was the only person who had ever loved me in my entire life. She was my life. I had no family anymore, I had written them out years before. I had a few superficial friends, but really she was my life. So I talked her out of leaving for my benefit. This was only the start of her free fall and my destruction of our marriage.
I look back at all those years and after the first few years I really think I only thought of myself. What could I do for her to get what I want in the end? These were not conscious thoughts. I did not even understand I was doing it. I honestly thought I was doing it for us.
It was still going to get worse and I think I became more and more selfish without realizing it. I do not think she even saw it as that. I really think she just thought of everything as a problem with our marriage and us, not me.
In the end what did I figure out? And I have only figured this out in the last few months. What did she really need from me to be happy? What did she not get from me that would have made her want to stay in our marriage? She wanted to feel needed and wanted. She did not want to feel like the person I came home to to have sex with. She did not want to feel like I helped out because I must feel like she is failing as a housewife. She did not want to feel like I did not think she could handle the finances so I took them over. What was left? I spent years thinking I was doing the right thing. I just wish I could have actually seen the real problem. She needed me to be there for her, not for what I wanted from her. Oh the irony… This is exactly why I have done what I have done. Figuring all this out only makes my shame and guilt even worse. I needed to put her above myself because only then would she want to do the same for me. Instead I was selfish. I see that I have always been selfish and I am so sorry for that.
But just wait, the story only gets better. I still can achieve greater things in selfishness and the destruction of our marriage. We are really only half way though my 20 year marriage and I still have lots of time to do more damage….
Think! You can think any THINK that you wish – Dr. Seuss