What’s wrong with me?

    Sometimes I just don’t understand myself.  I have been frustrated by our frequency and DW’s lack of intentionality for quite some time now,  but I can’t seem to bring the subject up.   Sunday,  I was somewhat hopeful,  and there was some teasing here and there, but nothing came out of it.  At one point,  she announced she was going to take a shower and invited me to join her,  and then a few minutes later,  she decided she didn’t need one.  Then after church,  I thought we might try to find some time,  and after it became obvious that it was the last thing on her mind,  I went about my business and took care of some work I needed to get done before I left town.  I mean,  there was always bedtime,  right?

    I think it is fair to say I have been grumpy and unwilling to engage emotionally very much.  With a two month separation looming over me for work, that had already been postponed once,  it was probably more disappointing than usual.

    Fast forward to this morning.  I’m getting ready for work on a job that starts a little earlier than usual,  and a 90 minute drive from home.  That means that I am setting the clock about an hour earlier than usual so I can make it on time.  I have just enough time,  so I jump in the shower,  and guess who decides that is the right time to join me?  Rather than a pleasant surprise,  I found myself to be more than a little bit irate and annoyed.  Sure,  the timing sucked,  but it was just what I had been wishing for,  and I let my mood sour things instead of just enjoying a pleasant moment.  There was time to enjoy a little bit of closeness, and it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if I was a few minutes late anyways.  Instead,  I quickly washed off and left her standing there as I dressed and rushed out the door.

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      I could see my DH writing something very similar. He’s finally home for a visit since leaving in Aug. Covid has really thrown everything for a loop.  He will be leaving again soon for 2+ months before another visit. I get what you’re saying.  I hope something I say helps. 🙂

      One question, when she headed for the shower & invited you, did you follow? Or did you sit there? I’ve done something similar, not knowing if he was actually interested in something romantic or not.  When he didn’t follow I decided it wasn’t something he wanted at that moment & maybe I should just move on. I don’t remember if I continued with the shower or not, but my point in offering to take one was for the connection with him not because I needed to be clean.

      I can also see her point of joining you in the shower today. She may have known that you didn’t have time for anything, but wanted you to know that the desire was there & she’s hoping you take her up on the subtle offer when you return. She knows that in the near future joining you won’t be an option & she wanted to take advantage of it. It could have been her way to try to get you to think of her all day so you don’t let another day go by.

      Just reading this from my point of view, she’s ‘offered’ twice. Please! Please stop and change the direction this is going right now. She needs that connection and you probably need it too.

      Text her something like “I can’t wait to get home and take you up on your offer from this morning” “I can’t get you out of my mind after seeing you naked this morning”  She might need the time to start getting her mind in the right direction for tonight after possibly reading your reaction as a rejection. She may be going through her day right now thinking that you have no desire for her & she better bottle up her desire because it just isn’t happening.  Your wife sounds passive, but not as if she’s avoiding you.

      This is just a guess, but I’m pretty sure she’s felt you pull away emotionally & probably doesn’t want to rock the boat. Why start a fight right before a separation?

      Is she more introverted?  That could  be why she’s tired after church/people.

      Personally speaking, one thing that I’ve noticed is that about a week (give or take) before DH leaves to travel, we both start to pull back from each other. I’ve decided it must be the way we prepare ourselves for the separation. Is it the best? Probably Not, but in a short period of time he won’t be here for me to depend on.

      I have to build myself up to be strong. I can’t sit down & cry and whine, that will just add more stress to him. I can tell you one thing though, the day he leaves is the hardest. That’s when I allow myself to fall apart. To have that pity party. To cry. Does he know this? No, because I want to make this as easy as I can for him. He does what needs to be done to support our family and I’m very grateful for his sacrifice. He is the one that has to leave.  I would say it is probably depressing for him. I don’t know since he doesn’t share that part with me. We both know that we want something different in the future, asap.

      So what’s wrong with you? I’d say you’re preparing to be separated. You’re putting up walls so it doesn’t hurt as much. You’re pulling back so that you have the ability to walk away.

      I might even go as far as saying you’re normal for this set of circumstances.

      Queen bed Answered on January 6, 2021.

      Good stuff

       

      on January 6, 2021.

      My wife has said she remembers her father doing always seem to find a reason to argue with her before she went back to college after a weekend home. After a few times she realized what was happening. He was suffering from the anxiety of her leaving and was not handling it well, and it came out as anger. So called him on it one day and it stopped.

      on January 6, 2021.

      Those are some good thoughts.  Some I can identify with,  some I can rule out without much difficulty,  and some I am going to have to think about.

       

      on January 6, 2021.

      You had some really good observations, but in truth,  I was initially a bit overwhelmed by your response.  Too much to try to digest without taking it apart.  In light of that,  I am going to try to respond to the main points here,  and invite further discussion.

      “One question, when she headed for the shower & invited you, did you follow? Or did you sit there? I’ve done something similar, not knowing if he was actually interested in something romantic or not.”

      The short answer is that yes,  I not only immediately followed,  but went immediately to the bathroom to turn on the shower,  because it takes a few moments for it to warm up.  The longer answer is that I had hoped that something along those lines might happen,  so I had taken sildenafil earlier in the morning.    In general,  frequency is not what I would hope for,  but Sunday mornings generally have a higher probability than the rest of the week.  For a couple of years,  Sunday morning sex was a regular occurrence,  enough so that I had allowed myself to entertain some expectation.  Still,  I had enough doubt that I wasn’t clinging too tightly to those expectations till she offered.

      “I can also see her point of joining you in the shower today. She may have known that you didn’t have time for anything, but wanted you to know that the desire was there & she’s hoping you take her up on the subtle offer when you return. She knows that in the near future joining you won’t be an option & she wanted to take advantage of it. It could have been her way to try to get you to think of her all day so you don’t let another day go by.”

      As a rule,  she is generally pretty spontaneous where sex is concerned,  and planning does not seem to be her forte.  Had what you described been the case,  it all fell apart by the time I got home anyways,  as she was totally focused on the events in DC over the afternoon.    I do believe that there was some desire on her part to finish what she had started,  because when I got out of the shower last night,  she had crawled into bed.  I joined her there even tho it was early for both of us.  In any case,  she wanted to snuggle, and then almost immediately fell asleep in my arms.    I had considered taking Sildenafil before my shower,  but in a peculiar way, that degree of expectation sets me up for a harder disappointment,  so I didn’t bother.  That is a story all it’s own,  but the short version is that I don’t take it that often,  but when I do it usually goes to waste.

      “Just reading this from my point of view, she’s ‘offered’ twice. Please! Please stop and change the direction this is going right now. She needs that connection and you probably need it too.”

      I guess we will have to agree to disagree here.  I interpret her actions to mean that she recognizes that it is important to me or to us,  but not important to her.  Sunday she considered it,  mentioned it,  and then decided not to.  Yesterday morning,  I really don’t know what she was thinking,  because I can’t recall any other time she has joined me in the shower in the middle of the week.  About half the time she isn’t even out of bed when I leave in the morning(that isn’t a criticism.  I regularly leave pretty early and have no expectations that she get out of bed just to see me off).  As I said.  I should have been pleased at the gesture,  whatever the motivation was,  but instead it irritated me.  It felt very much like Sunday’s “offer”.

      “Your wife sounds passive, but not as if she’s avoiding you.”

      I don’t disagree with that.  She doesn’t avoid me unless I have been an ass,  and she really doesn’t think negatively about sex.  Within her boundaries,  she is very sex positive.

      “This is just a guess, but I’m pretty sure she’s felt you pull away emotionally

      I’m sure.  I didn’t leave much doubt.

      “Is she more introverted?  That could  be why she’s tired after church/people.”

      Not even a bit.  It wouldn’t matter anyways,  because Church is still a very isolated event.  Very little real fellowship.  On the other hand,  there is always football on Sunday afternoon,  and she is loathe to miss that.

      “So what’s wrong with you? I’d say you’re preparing to be separated. You’re putting up walls so it doesn’t hurt as much. You’re pulling back so that you have the ability to walk away.”

      Maybe,  but it is still a little bit early for me.  About 1 day out I sort of mentally switch gears.  Until then,  I generally hang onto as much “us” time as I can manage.  If anything,  I might be a bit clingy.  Honestly,  it was something of a rhetorical question.  I do good for about 4 days,  and then I get increasingly grumpy.  After about 7 days,  I tend to switch off any desires and the expectations that come with them.  Something of a defense mechanism I suppose.  At the same time,  I am aware that it is temporary,  that DW will come around on her own schedule,  so it doesn’t feel quite so much like rejection.  On the other hand,  I do not take any sort of a tease well after that.

       

      on January 7, 2021.
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        Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Believe it or not, it’s frustrating for both of you. I know when I do stuff like that with my wife, we both end up hurt and I feel like Paul in Romans 7.

        What would it be like to go home and say at time when you know you both have some time to share, “Can we unpack the last 24 hrs?  I was annoyed and hurt at what happened yesterday and certainly was with your kindness and initiating this morning when there wasn’t time. You took a risk and put yourself out there this morning and I appreciate that and I acknowledge that I was frustrated and probably? rejected it because of the timing and rejection I felt from yesterday. Can we please talk through what happened and what each other was thinking/feeling? I know I would like to so we can understand each other better and serve each other better in the future.”

        Under the stars Answered on January 6, 2021.
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          @Doug wrote:  I have been frustrated by our frequency and DW’s lack of intentionality for quite some time now,  but I can’t seem to bring the subject up. 

          I don’t know much more about your situation than what you shared today.  Have you and DW considered scheduling sex?  It could possibly take care of the 2 problems you mentioned above.

          Fell out of ... Answered on January 6, 2021.
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            Probably nothing.  Your DW jumps in the shower with you and you quickly wash off and leave?  And, you’re asking, “What’s wrong with me?!”  Just kidding.  It appears that @LBD, you, I and others are occupying parts of the same boat.  We seem to be struggling with some of the same issues in our marriages.  Something that @SeekingChange wrote recently stuck with me and I hope I am OK to share this:  Are we willing to have in the short term the uncomfortable conversations, to rock the boat, to be able to deal with the emotional distance that will probably occur, the silent treatment and perhaps even anger when we bring these tough subjects up,  in hopes that in the long term we get the difficult issues sorted out and out in the open and begin to deal with them like grown up adults.   (@SC put it a lot better than I just did….I’ll see if I can find her answer. ) I’ve been thinking a lot about what she said and how I can implement that in my marriage in 2021. Am I willing to take the risk?  Is it that important to me?  Is it better to NOT rock the boat?  The alternative is the status quo and no changes.   Each person must make their own decision here.  I will never know unless I take a risk.  But, by nature, I am not a risk taker.

            I found it!  And, @Seeking Change, I am giving you all the credit for a brilliant response that has struck a chord with me.  And, challenged my thinking every day.

            Here it is @Doug:

            “@Golden Goose, are husband’s willing to rock the boat? Are they willing to confront things, make life a little uncomfortable, or even flat out miserable for a time, so that issues can be addressed? Many husbands I have witnessed via TMB aren’t willing to do that. They’d rather keep their perception of peace.

            Honestly, this is when a husband or spouse needs to be seeking the Lord and be Spirit led. I know there will be times where it feels you are doing nothing because He has you “waiting”, but there will be times He will lead you to “go” and “do”. It’s a matter of hearing His voice and then being willing to be obedient. It doesn’t guarantee the results you necessarily want to see, but at least one will know they have done everything they can.”

            Fell out of ... Answered on January 6, 2021.

            Yes, GG. That’s the “pressure” I refer to.

            There have been some times when my wife has brought “pressure” to me to bring about some change. It was uncomfortable. I didn’t like it…BUT in doing so, she helped me realize some things about myself, about us, about my personal history/baggage, etc.  At times, I also “return the favor” and it can make things “uncomfortable” to say the least. Sometimes, I don’t know what her true feelings are because of menopause so I have to prayerfully consider each time: 1) what do I believe is the right thing? 2) why do I believe it is right? and 3) how can I best communicate it to her and why I feel the way I do?

            on January 6, 2021.

            Good thoughts…..There is the unknown I am afraid of….what if it makes things worse??  Again, not a risk taker here.  I know for a fact that it will make things worst short term, it is the fear of the long term that I am afraid of.  I’ve made so much progress in my marriage in the last decade to not see it go backwards.

            on January 6, 2021.

            @GG, it’s nice to know that Christ still uses me and the Spirit can still speak through me.  Thanks for sharing.  🙂

            @NWNL,  I have been upvoting all your posts where you are basically saying the same thing I have “preached”.  We are definitely on the same page in this area, but in many cases I have already stated that very thing in those situations, so I now keep my mouth shut and let you do the talking. 🙂

            @Doug, I bet it stinks to have someone else “preaching” my words to you!   😉  😆   Love you friend!

            on January 6, 2021.
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              You know I feel you.

              Under the stars Answered on January 6, 2021.
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                So much good has already been said! I will only add this:

                I have been frustrated by our frequency and DW’s lack of intentionality for quite some time now,

                Is there any chance that somewhere deep inside you wanted her to feel the same frustration and rejection you have been feeling? I am ashamed to admit it, but I can see myself doing something like this. I could spend a couple days with sex on my mind, watching for signs it’s on his mind, even seeing a few, then being disappointed if there is no follow through. Maybe he wasn’t actually initiating a specific event but just keeping the coals banked until such time that he thought would be good and then he picked a bad time. DH isn’t God, but his timing still isn’t always my timing!! Could your wife have been doing that? Or could she have sensed you were angry about not following through the night before and trying to make it up to you this morning?

                Any of that could be the answer to what was going on in her head; the point is, there is no way to know without asking her. You have already assumed she has a lack of intentionality; just because you haven’t noticed it doesn’t mean she doesn’t think she HAS been intentional. It sounds like (and I say this because it sounds like what I myself have done, to my shame) that you got annoyed at what you perceived to be her slight, saw a chance to turn it around and get back at her (“See how SHE likes it!”) and pouted.

                That sounds so harsh; if that’s not what you did, ignore it, but I’m aiming that harshness at myself because I know I’ve done it. By God’s grace I won’t do it again, but I have before.

                Under the stars Answered on January 7, 2021.
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                  I too have some of this, with the need for sildenafil and t gel. I want to be intimate but don’t want to pressure her. That said, she has had health issues, so I really don’t want the pressure to kill her desire even more. I have difficulty with erection and orgasm and she has a lot of fear, I think, of pain with intercourse, though I am always careful to stop if I think she might be getting sore. It’s just a big wad of worry, over her health, whether she still desires sex, my own capability, etc.

                  Another problem is we have one position that is permitted. I need the variety and more tightness. She isn’t willing to talk about change.. of any little sort. Last night, I proposed raising the bottom of the bed during foreplay. Immediately, “you know I don’t like that.” Well, no, I don’t because I’ve never proposed it… ever.

                   

                   

                  Cot Answered on January 11, 2021.
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