As I come to delete this quiet corner of the interworld

I only visit when I’m certain no one will see me.  I only initiate communication when I’m overwhelmed by feeling.  But this time it was different.  This time I came to end it. I logged on at 6am to delete this blog and erase its content from history.

Ahhhhh, but I could not do it. I thought that I would log on, delete it and be done, rather I logged on and started reading.  I was surprised at some of what I’d written, how I’d written it, but most all of it showed me a man struggling to maintain a meaningful relationship with his wife.  It showed me a man who refused to give up when his gut was screaming to run away.  It showed me a man who deep within held trust for his life long partner and desired to live a fulfilling life with her. And guess what?  He succeeded!  He and her and they have come a long way over these years.

Yep, most of the perceptions I had of Pearl were correct, I just didn’t know it at the time.  There is and was so much of her traumatic past bottled up inside her that for a long time she was unable or unwilling to be completely open with me and it created unbearable misunderstandings between us.  Her emotions were completely dis-regulated.  Even her personality was not always stable, shifting amongst old selves she thought she’d tucked away.  Memories locked in boxes arising and mixing with present moments.  These aspects of her were driving me away.  But we’ve prevailed thus far, we’ve come through and are in a place where I have feelings for my wife I’ve never felt before.  I feel more connection and love, I feel more passion and joy, I feel more enamored and whimsical, I feel freer and happier than I have in years.  And I know that she does as well.  And I know that we are stronger for all the work we’ve done.  She’s done a huge amount of work, years of therapy.  I’ve had no small challenges of my own to work on as well.  We are better for it.  It feels good.

I’m keeping the blog. Yeah I’ll only post occasionally, but I like it. I like the history that is here, the history of deep and tumultuous emotions.  The history of pain and striving, yearning, despair and growth. I’ll keep it a secret from the world except to those few of you who venture to this quiet corner of the interworld.  To this quiet corner of my being.

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Where art comes from

Something I’ve noticed about being miserable, about living in a home where I’m not heard: I make great art. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be miserable. I used to know when I was younger, in college. Oh how my heart would ache at breakups, oh how I would feel torn from society, so that my very being was challenged to the core. Oh how broken I would feel. And I made good, no great, passionate art. Besides the passion, what made the art strong was my sense of not caring what anyone thought of it. I so needed to express my internal state, or express anything that I would just make art without second guessing myself. I needed to make art, I needed to express, I needed passion.

I feel that now. I am so utterly devastated by the realities of my relationship with Pearl that I must express … Something. It doesn’t have to be the particular feelings I’m having about her or us, but it has to be something. It doesn’t have to relate to love or pain but it has to be something. Something that allows me to get the pain out of my head. To make it physical. Then I can hold it and look at it. I can show it to my family. We can talk about it without talking about the reality of our relationship.

The reality of our relationship is that I am currently in a state of alone-ness.  It’s not a deep depressed alone-ness, but I am definitely alone.  My wife has become my only friend, and that friendship is broken.  All my other friends have left our city or drifted away.  I really don’t have anyone to speak to about deep things, except an occasional facebook friend or old friends from years ago who are spread across the world.  It would be nice to meet with someone locally and be able to speak to them eye to eye.  I feel that I really need a human being to connect with.

So, in lieu of a human being I will make art.  And I love that.  I am motivated to make art because I need to express my internal thoughts.  I can focus my emotional energies into the art making and not walk around with intense feelings bottled up inside me.

It’s fascinating what a wrecked relationship will do.  I seem also to have found a new fondness for my job.  I’m a teacher and it has always been something I love to do, a position in which I show natural talent, but recently I have come to appreciate the work I do in a deeper way.  I was in class a couple days ago and in the midst of the tumult of all the students working, kids asking for assistance, dealing with students on their cell phones, motivating students who looked like zombies and other teacher tasks I stopped in the middle of my classroom and smiled.  For a moment I listened to the hubbub of the classroom, kids helping each other, students discussing the current project, some writing, some drawing, some typing on their laptops, and it all felt so right and good.  I felt so full. There I was teaching a subject which I love, a subject to which I have dedicated my life, a subject the students are excited about and enjoy, a subject which makes them happy and enriches their lives.  I felt very fortunate in that moment to be in the position I’m in.

Then I come home.  I love coming home because my children are brilliant, happy, creative, engaged, thoughtful, funny, excitable wise beings that fill my life with joy.  But there is Pearl.  I can hardly look at her anymore, and talking to her just feels empty and devoid of honesty.  We talk about things that need to be talked about.  What do I need from the store, when will she be back from therapy, how long will my meeting be tomorrow, etc.  Only rarely do we converse about non-essential topics like politics, climate change, supernovas, or why oranges are orange.  I can literally see us moving apart, unraveling the bonds we’ve developed over time, finding new outlets for our needs, the needs we used to meet for each other.  It is sad, exciting, devastating, terrifying and freeing all at the same time.  I wonder what the future will bring.  I already think about life without her.  It’s not easy.  I see myself being emotionally crushed, guilty, but also free and able to move forward.  The guilt is already strong in me, it’s  natural, or I was raised that way or something, either way I feel guilty for thinking about life without her, for abandoning her even though I haven’t yet, for not staying with her through the thick of it, even though I am staying with her.  It’s just I don’t want to.  I’m tired of it.

I’m married to an epileptic

My wife has epilepsy. She has not been able to control her seizures with any medications. Either the meds don’t work or more often than not the side effects are so severe that they don’t justify the benefits. Some side effects of various meds: hepatitis, loss of appetite (lost 10 pounds in a month from practically starving), diarrhea, severe non-stop headaches, depression, insomnia, and the list goes on.

Twice she has considered surgery for her condition. Once brain surgery, which she did not go through with after months of testing. The thought of losing part of her brain was too much. And the second time a vagus nerve stimulator which she did not go through with because… Actually I’m not sure why she didn’t go through with it. I think she’s fed up with western medicine and she gave up on it.

For each of the two surgery options she has had to spend a week in the hospital for monitoring which basically consists of sleep deprivation and numerous other torture-like techniques meant to induce seizures. She was hooked up to 23 brain monitoring electrodes literally cemented to her head. She couldn’t leave the hospital room for the duration of the monitoring. They also removed her from her meds which caused withdrawal symptoms. The idea is for her to have a seizure so they can monitor her brain and see precisely where the seizures are happening.

Didn’t happen. On no occasion did she have a seizure during monitoring. “She doesn’t like to perform,” is the family joke.

And here I am, eleven years into our relationship. 3 kids, stable life, and I’m at the end. I can’t take this relationship anymore that doesn’t allow me to grow, doesn’t allow me to explore the world with the person I love. I feel like I’m just here to hold her hand while she does what she needs to do, or feels like doing. There is no passion here, there is no playfulness, there is no fun, there is no growing or exploring. Yeah a big part of it is our nonexistent sex life, but it’s more than that. That is just a symptom of a bigger issue. Though honestly I’m not sure what that bigger issue is. Maybe just me not being willing to sacrifice anymore. Maybe I’ve given all I can to her and I’m done. I can’t keep this boat afloat anymore.

Drawing of relationship

Drawing I made while thinking of our relationship. Her head didn’t fit on the page. What does that mean?

 

 

And yet, the thought of leaving her is unbearable. I am still enamored by family life. I enjoy being with my children. My wife is an incredible mother, absolutely the best she can be, she puts her whole self into motherhood, and I love that. I love who she is when she’s not devastated, depressed, sick, etc. unfortunately those times are fewer and farther between. She’s just not much of a wife.

She tries, in spurts of energy or imagination maybe once a year. She tries to add some excitement into our shitty relationship, but her attempts are short lived and lack enthusiasm. The last time she tried it started with, “Hey I just read that having sex three times a week reduces your risk of heart attack!”

Cool.

So one thing leads to another and we are all of a sudden having great sex three times a week.

For a week.

Then she had numerous seizures, got tired, got depressed, got her period. Done. Well it was fun for a week.

It’s wearing me down. There is very little I can rely on in our relationship.

The kids keep me with her. It would break their little hearts if we separated. They are what binds us for now. I suppose that’s what makes us family, the way we bind each other.

Also hope. Hope binds us. I keep thinking that the next month or the next year will be better. She keeps saying when the kids get a bit older it will be better, we’ll be able to focus on us, they’ll all be in school. The more time goes by the less I believe it. With each month and year that passes and nothing improves I lose hope, lose faith in her, lose faith in us.

I’ve started reading the personals on Craig’s list. Not because I’m looking for someone, but to see who else is out there. I read women’s pleas for kind men, I read yearnings for quick sex or no strings attached relationships, I read about desperation and desire, I read about one night stands and meaningful long term relationships, I read women and men pouring their hearts out, describing their bodies, their personalities, measurements, books and movies they love. All in an attempt to be with someone, touch someone, talk to someone, be seen and heard, to break the sense of isolation in their lives. Because here I am. I live with a beautiful sometimes incredible woman and I feel isolated. It’s comforting in a miserable sort of way to know that their are other men and women who share my experience.

Is Something Bothering You?

“Is something bothering you?” asks my wife.

Is something bothering me?!

Is something bothering me?!

I feel like I live with a roommate who happens to be of the opposite sex and sleeps in the same bed with me.

Is something bothering me?!

There is absolutely no passion in our relationship!

Is something bothering me?!

Our marriage is devoid of trust building, we do nothing together, you sit at home and never go out with the family or me.

Is something bothering me?!

We have no idea how to communicate, our communications skills have gotten worse over the years because there has been just about zero growth in our relationship for years, and any time I speak with you it just seems like wasted effort.

Is something bothering me?!

We are stagnant. We have no passion, no lust, no flirting, no heat, nothing exciting between you and me. These things BUILD TRUST.

Is something bothering me?!

I’m done even trying to get through to you. If I so much as kiss you, touch you, even look at you I feel like you are somehow disgusted and judging. Heaven’s forbid I should be sexually attracted to the person I’m in a life-long relationship with!

Is something bothering me?!

On the rare occasions when you ARE sexed up, you never have to experience what I go through with you because I am starved and ready to go.

Is something bothering me?!

How many times do we have to talk about shit before anything changes.

Is something bothering me?!

I’m done! I’m done draining my emotional energy for no reason. I’m done trying to figure you out. I’m done trying to make our relationship better. I’m done living my life as your nurse, chauffeur, stud, mr. fixit and roommate. I want a relationship where passion exists at least in moments.

Is something bothering me?!

“No, I’m fine.”

“Oh, ok.”

Yeah, I think we have some things to work on. Shit.

She’s Sick Again! Sex and Kissing.

Ugh.  Finally after a month of insomnia, low electrolytes, reactions to medication, and not to mention at least two colds my wife is almost feeling “normal” again.  Ugh.  It’s been almost a month since we’ve had sex. That’s a long stretch, even for us – and especially for me.  She really doesn’t seem to mind, except that she might feel bad for me.

So what’s up now that she’s feeling better?  I HAVE A NASTY COLD!  Which means she wants to wait for me to feel better before we have sex.

“I’ve never heard anything about kissing and making babies,” I say to her.

“What?”  says my wife.

“We don’t need to kiss to make a baby, you know?”

“Welllll…”

“Trust me, it’s true, I’ve studied this topic a lot.”

She giggles.  “I know it’s true, but still.  Why don’t we wait until you’re feeling better?”

“I’m feeling great!  I’m frisky!  I just have a cold.”

“I know that’s why we should wait.”

And here is a huge difference between myself and my wife.  She will wait for the perfect moment to have sex.  The kids are sleeping or at school, no one might stop by unexpected, she’s done all her work – house work and otherwise – she’s not talking to anyone on the phone, no one wants to talk to her on the phone, the weather is perfect, she’s in the mood, etc., etc.  There is a long list of priorities and conditions that usually must be met before she will have sex.  Jeesh!

I, on the other hand, will drop everything at any moment and go for a good romp anywhere in the house.  Who cares about everything else, Let’s have sex!  Priority #1.  And why not?  It’s fun!  It’s got to be the easiest way for a couple to have fun that I have ever known.  I really can’t think of anything easier, or better for that matter.

*ok, just as a side I need to point a couple things out:

1.  I love sex, but I am not sex-craved.  Ok, maybe I am.  But I do actually enjoy and do many other things in life, both with my wife, with others and on my own.  I believe when there are moments when we can have some privacy we should enjoy each other’s nakedness.  It’s not just about an orgasm, I seriously enjoy seeing my wife full of pleasure and being full of pleasure myself, and both of us being together.  There are so many different kinds of sexual experiences I have with my wife, but in those really special ones I feel absolutely transcendent and in harmony with her.  It’s really fabulous.  Of course then there are the times where it’s more physical, and sometimes, it’s just not that great at all, and then other times it’s just nice to smile at each other and say, “cool, we just had sex on the kitchen counter!”  All these different experiences (and many others) are necessary for making sex a wonderful, fulfilling and evolving activity.  Anything that doesn’t evolve on some level becomes bland to me.

2.  Let’s see, I know there was something else… well maybe I’ll think of it later.  Oh Yeah, i remember now…  Sometimes taking something OUT of the sexual experience can be as exciting as adding something IN to the sexual experience.  In other words, take something you normally do during sex, like lying dow, or undressing, or KISSING, or opening your eyes.  Take one of those away and you have a brand new very exciting experience.  I’ve had amazing sex with my wife where we haven’t kissed at all, maybe I’ll just brush my lips on her subtly, but no outright kissing.  IT’S HOT!

SO.  After a bit of a debate on the value of kissing in conjunction with sex my wife goes to bed.  I stay up and simmer.  As soon as I clear this cold she’ll probably start her period and there’s another 6-8 sexless days.  Ugh.

Redemption in the kitchen.

We were at dinner at our friends’ house about a week ago and I was passing through the kitchen when I catch this part of a conversation my wife is having with her best friend.

“… I mean you know we’re freakin’ crazy, give him a break.”

“Ha HA hA ha Ha.”  They share a laugh over this comment that is apparently very obvious to both of them.  (By the way the “him” is her friend’s husband.  My wife was telling her friend to give her husband a break because she is crazy).

Do you know the significance of this?  I heard my wife tell her best friend that she knows they are nuts, crazy!

I once said something to my wife that very remotely insinuated in a off hand way that she may be slightly leaning towards needing some assistance with her mental capabilities and she totally flipped out.  I mean ran into the basement crying and stayed down there for a good fifteen minutes until I came down and talked her into coming upstairs and at least to try crying in our bedroom.  Which she did, and then she sat quietly staring at the wall, and then after about half an hour more started speaking to me again.  I mean you would think I told her her mom was an android, or I have a twin who’s been taking my place every other week.  No, no it was far less dramatic than that.  You’d think maybe I told her she didn’t look good in the dress I got her for her birthday – come on, I’m not that stupid.  No, no here’s what I said.

“When I asked you to have sex with me you just laughed.”

“I did not!” she says.

“Yeah, you did.”

“I would never do that.”

“You did. You laughed.”

Cry run, cry, basement, cry, convince, bedroom, etc.

“I am not crazy!” was the first complete sentence she said to me after she started crying that night.

“What?  I didn’t say you were crazy.”

“You said…”

“I said, you…” (are crazy!) “you…  Well you know what I said.”  I’m not chasing her into the basement again, “But you’re right you are not crazy.  I would never say that.”  (we are so not having sex tonight.  Jeesh.)

Silence and weird staring at each other, and eventually I go over and put my hand on her shoulder as I sort of sit behind her on the bed.

More silence.  Finally I say, “I just want you to be happy. That’s all.”

It’s true, too.  During all the silence and staring and weird stuff I was thinking in my head what can I say that’s real simple and expresses how I feel?  So first I thought about what do I feel.  Then once I figured that out I thought how can I tell her this real simply, with the least chance of being completely misunderstood.  That’s what I did.

I could feel the tension easing a bit.

“I want us to be happy.”  By the way the whole laughing-at-the-suggestion-of-sex thing?  That never gets mentioned again.  Ever.  And no, there is no sex on this night.

So how does my wife go from one extreme to the other?  Totally flipping out at a mild remark to admitting that she is cuckoo?

She doesn’t.  She is actually both these people all the time.  She can’t admit to me she’s insane.  And she can’t deny to her friend that she’s insane.  It’s all about who she is sharing her reality with.

That’s my best shot at explaining it.  If you have better please please please enlighten my befuddled mind.

A bit of redemption from “daughter” to “Bubby”

If you read my previous post about a certain embarrassing search term that resulted in my blog post showing up in google, you may be happy to know that I also show up for respectable searches such as the one shown below under “Top Searches.”  I must say I feel almost wholly redeemed from that previously embarrassing incident.

I feel almost wholly redeemed from the previous and very embarrassing "Top Search"

I feel almost wholly redeemed from the previous and very embarrassing "Top Search"

A note on the bleeding thing…

My wife was very emotional today.  She came up to me twice, hugged me and cried.  I don’t blame her.  To have a life inside me – actually inside me, and then it’s gone.  I don’t know how that would feel.  Carrying a baby and giving birth is about the most courageous thing I have seen anyone do.  My wife looked like a gorgeous Valkyrie in those moments of birthing two years ago.  Then to carry life and her body just decides “No, not right now, gotta go.”  Sure it’s probably for good reason, but I look at my daughter and son and think about how they both barely made it, how they both could have not been here, and now I’m the one crying.

Physically she’s recovering just fine.  After being in bed most of the last week, she is now up and about and even suggesting we get a babysitter and go out some night this week.  She had an ultrasound and several blood tests and her Doc said she’s clear to have sex and make babies again (woohoo).

By the way a note on ultrasounds:

You’ve all seen those nice movie shots of ultrasounds with the mom’s belly hanging out like a plump beach ball sized peach and the pretty little baby on the screen.  That all happens, but did you know they do a vaginal ultrasound?  You don’t want to know.  There’s a reason that’s not in the movies, and I’ll leave it at that.

 

The bonus of all this is I’ve had our bed to myself!  When my wife doesn’t feel well she sleeps in the living room for fear that either I will keep her up all night or she will keep me up all night, or both.  Having our bed to myself is a glorious luxury I’ll be sad to lose (probably tomorrow night).

So that’s why all the bleeding

I’ve been pretty wiped out lately.  My wife’s “period” started two Mondays ago with heavy bleeding and lots of pain.  I was bummed because I was sure she was pregnant (there was this one night … it was the night before my grand mom died).  After a bunch of tests and a couple doctor visits we determined she had been pregnant and had a miscarriage.  It was very early, so the effects are minimal, both on her body and emotionally.  I think once her body fully recovers the emotions will really kick in.

I can’t imagine having a life in me, and then not.  You women sure have amazing bodies, and I really mean that – not in the hubba-hubba kind of way.  What your bodies do.  That is amazing.  I am both jealous and completely thrilled that I do not have such things happening in my body.

“My Girlfriend is having an Affair. And she Deserves it!”

Huh?

Did my wife just say that?

She did.

She said, “My girlfriend is having an affair.  And she deserves it!”

“What?”

“Her husband hasn’t even penetrated in years… ”

“Woa!  That, I do not need to know.”

“Ok, but still,” she says, “She met a guy and it’s totally about having great sex.  She’s still with her husband, but when she’s with this other guy she feels like a woman.  Good for her!”

“Hmmm,” these are potentially dangerous things for my wife to say to me, it’s weird.  “I really didn’t need to know about the penetration thing,” I tell her.

“Sorry.”

Why dangerous?  Because she is totally justifying my fantasies.  Meeting another woman – not a single bombshell, but a nice mom who’s in a loving committed relationship like me, but is just not getting all the sex she wants (needs?).  In my fantasy we create a pact around sex.  We agree to honor each other’s committed relationships, and we only help each other be happier in that relationship (is this real – no, it’s a fantasy) by having great and frequent sex!

And here my wife is telling me, ‘well if you don’t get it at home go find it elsewhere, that’s cool with me.’

Jeesh.

What the hell is wrong with her?