Where Did It Go? Once Upon A TimeThere was a couple. He, thin and always in motion. She less animated but none the less a friend, and then a lover.
As time went by these two people, now married had children, and bills, and work and a thousand other stresses that push others into divorce court at a nearly 50% rate beat the odds.....mostly. She nearly ruined us financially and I, out of frustration and an odd feeling that I was somehow unloved _during another period of less touch and virtually no sex _ found her pushing me into the arms of her friend. Which I did not mind because - hey I was getting touched at least (no sex from the friend either ..). Problem - I found myself sharing intimate moments (not sexual but sensual and loving) with the friend. Thus came the end of the "seven year itch" as she and I, finally noticed a problem with this theory of operation. OK - no more of that and the friend married and moved away. Problem solved - I went away for a few weeks on business and when I returned so did the intimacy and sex with the wife.....THEN
The odd little quirkiness...that little ability she has to simply make problems disappear by absolutely ignoring them....became a (in hindsight) warning.
One of the people in this story was a bit like the king in Rumpelstiltskin...and the other a bit like no one else I know. See the reward for spinning straw into gold - is a larger room with more straw...and the other bit ...she can build a houseboat in the middle of denial and live in it.
We had our third child....now before you start wondering how that really tells this story. Let me add that I sent her to the hospital with the in-,laws - while I stayed home with our other two kids. I assumed that this now completely impossible to ignore pain she had been having all day was an appendix gone bad. I got the call at 1 or so in the morning.......that Mom and new baby were both fine. She had been pregnant 8.4 months without a single notice. The house-boat was anchored on "this cannot be". She was told that she could not have another - and was taking birth control etc. Thus since she judged this impossible....it was thus irrefutable that she was not pregnant. She even told the doctor at the hospital this - as he told her she was correct because in a few minutes the head he was looking at would become a fully born babe.
You see this "fairly tale" is actually quite unfair.....this couple has a problem. He believes and trusts her...or ties to to, and she believes her own lies to herself so completely that they are her reality. And he cannot live in a world where the sky is whatever color she says it is that day.
Fast- forward 10 years. She has been diagnosed with diabetes, she is having "the change", and after a long bout with a necrotizing cellulitus she emerges from the hospital......a very different person. The finer sides of her generally loving personality are at best changed and at worst gone. This is not evident to all, but her closest friends note it.
What they do not know, and what the man in our story now does, is that whatever intimacy and sex there was prior to her exit to the hospital (made worse by her ignoring the signs of the infection until it is almost too late) is likely the last he will ever experience within this marriage.
There will be no loving touches (save an occasional poke, or tickle, that seems to be more mean then loving)
There will be only tiny amounts of intimate conversation - and if he should cross the line into "She needs to give a little / do a little /change something" that will either degrade into proving him wrong...or causing the anger to escalate until he does that "man" thing and backs off - too "think"...and get out of the circular arguments.
There will be pressure - he jobless for a few months will work on the house and she will allow the kids to step on his work and defend them should he correct them in this action. The scolding made to make him look small....
He will gradually loose interest in all but a few of the things he used to enjoy ....finding solace only in making music (where a guitar can cry for him) or making things - where the activity distracts him from his condition.
There will be making fun of him for having slightly elevated cholesterol - a sign of his fallibility. She will make it clear that she resents his ever present health, and that he can never know how awful it is to be sick like she was.
Of course this will be tied into - a complete lack of empathy for the condition that her being hospitalized might have caused me.
a. being told she might not make it on several occasions
b. being told she might not live another 5 years if things don't change
c. working 4 hours - going to catch up on her progress at the hospital- going back to work for 4 more.....training my replacements as we are being outsourced
d. going back to the hospital to check on her again - before heading home to make dinner for everyone and take care of my Mom (alzheimers patient) for whom she (wife) is primary care. (note this is appreciated and I have offered to let her have the day off or something go to the spa -enjoy herself...hoping to relieve the pressure on her that is obviously my fault because I can leave and go to work.
e. The stress of all the above
f. being right next to her alone - and the depression that causes......
Yet I was there in the hospital - feeding her ice chips to try to re-start her kidneys...and taking care of everything and holding the family together. I am a bad person for not falling apart and becoming dependent- especially on her family.
Two years later - finally - after countless exhausting fights in which she insists that there is nothing wrong and he simply gives up arguing. He is giving up on trying - he has tried to offer back-rubs...he has reached across the divide in the bed and given little hints. He has asked for and he has complained. He has been rejected so many times Rodney Dangerfield actually can't find any more jokes to cover it. He has taken her for a vacation and tried so hard to put the magic back that he almost blew a gasket. He has told her he loves her, tried to show that he does, and receives the classic I love you too response, but in trying to carry that further - more rejection.
So as they are riding down to see a presentation about a vacation club - he without emotion (trust me that is like pulling your own toe-nails out) asks why a vacation club is going to be something of interest to the both of them. Then proceeds to caution that unless this stays civil in discussion tone...and that no burden of blame be laid by either party - he will not even discuss the answer. She finally admits that the scaring from the infections...and her weight have her feeling like she is unattractive. She is also going through "the change". Therefore there will be no intimacy and for all likelihood none forever more as she has no interest.
A week before this discussion she asked that we buy separate beds - presumably because she has now noticed after over 20 years of sleeping together that I can snore and kick about at times.
She is now scheduled to have the scars fixed - surgery again. And I support this if it returns the affection and feeling of being loved and cared for to my end of this marriage.....I can tell you for sure that it will surprise me if it is not immediately supplanted by another difficult to argue with excuse.
If this is just a bridge to get me onto the house-boat.. and accept that we are "older" and we "don't need all that physical stuff to know we love each other". I will not be asking what color the sky is in her world. I will not be hinting and trying to find affection, touch and even sex again. I will not be thinking of a vacation retreat...
I will be thinking of a way out.....2 years of being denied affection and touch and that ultimate ex
The person I married is alive in body....but I lost her to illness two years ago....I can only hope she comes back before I am forced to find the door mouse....