[happy] Anniversary To Me!Not the kind of thing you can say with any certainty, is it? I mean, if I knew that I'd had sex for the last time, I might have put it in my diary, but it wasn't really until I started looking back over the calendar that it dawned on me how long it had been.
I remember our wedding anniversary (May) passing, and my thinking "Hmm, it's been at least a month...", and then there was the holiday away in July/August where I realised, as we drove home, that nothing had "happened". Then there was the once-in-a-lifetime cruise, our "second honeymoon", which came second to the first honeymoon in that less sex occurred - which had to mean none at all, given that the honeymoon had been only one occasion. My birthday came and went, as did Christmas, and it was perhaps when I was looking ahead to the new year that those milestones all began to pile up.
And it was probably a very big mistake to even start trying to reckon it up. I think I knew that even as I was doing it, and maybe that's why I was determined to be as conservative as possible as I worked it out. I knew we'd not made love since the wedding anniversary, because that had been a strong memory. I reckoned it was at least a month before that, so I settled on mid-April. I don't even know why I needed to know, just that somehow to me it felt that a year of involuntary celibacy represented a milestone. Then, by March, the deprivation had become a little too much, and I found myself sitting in the doctor's office telling him that I considered, in my professional opinion, that I was depressed. He didn't ask about my love life, and I didn't tell him. I came out with three months' supply of antidepressants.
Then, as it happened, work commitments meant that I was going to be away for the week within which this dubious "anniversary" was going to occur. I'll confess, there was almost a slight element of challenge - could I *really* find myself a WHOLE YEAR celibate??? - but mostly I hoped to be wrong.
And I thought I might be. This was to be my longest absence from home since we had got together, and it was obvious that my wife was edgy about it, especially as she knew my absence would be to be in an all-female environment. "No problem", I thought, "if that doesn't encourage her to do a bit of 'reminding' what's waiting for me at home, what will?". Sure enough, a conversation ensued a few days before my departure. Mostly a question of reassurance, but - hallelujah! - some frank discussion about the complete lack of any lovemaking in our lives. So I took my courage in my hands, and told her how troubled I was by this, and how undermining it had become for me. Sure, I told her, I don't caress you and make constant advances, but that's because it has become so painful to have those advances rejected so consistently for so long - I've lost courage. It felt better just being able to tell her this, even if she disbelieved me when I pointed out how long it had been since we had had any kind of sexual encounter, and I seriously began to hope that maybe, just maybe we'd reached a point where we might be able to work through this stuff. I thought it might be wonderful to rekindle our physical side before I went off and left her for a week.
As usual, though, I had let my optimism get the better of me. The few days before my departure passed with little sign of anything developing. She carried on not being a "morning person", being far too busy/stressed/occupied during the day, and not coming to bed until I was almost asleep. Even the night before my departure, when I was up later than usual preparing to go, I still managed to beat her to bed by a good 20 minutes.
I realise how I've coped with this for so long - and it is a long time, because this year didn't happen in isolation - as the frequency of our sex life has decreased, so I have distanced and backed away from my own desires. That's why she doesn't get the advances and sexual overtures she blames for our lack of a love life - because it is simply too painful to carry on acting that stuff out when I have zero faith in it coming to anything? Why would I want to keep my libido on the boil if every time it starts to bubble over, I know I'm going to be lying on my side trying not to cry with frustration as she settles off to sleep again?
So spending a week working with a group of a dozen women, in a context which almost inevitably resulted in a considerable amount of flirtatious behaviour (which, for professional reasons, there could be no question of responding to!), was an interesting reawakening of what it felt like to access that side of my nature. I realised how stunted and cold my inner self had become, and how glorious even the faintest hint of implied sexuality could be. And, as I drove home again afterwards, feeling a great sense of loss about something that could never have been anyway, I resolved to channel some of that emotional energy into rekindling the sexual side of our relationship. I'm now back home; it's been 3 days, and already - whether that's my failing or hers - it feels like a futile and pointless gesture. All of the overtures, all of the "risks" I've taken...just empty echoes.
I think back to last week, and the untouchable, unachievable joys of a kind of forbidden hankering which felt more alive than anything in this oh-so-practical, oh-so-emotionally-dead life I find myself leading the rest of the time has felt any time in the last 3 years. I guess I'd leave, except that, frankly, I lack the courage to uproot from a life I feel I have only just built, but which has already become more of an existence than a life, at least personally and privately.
And I expect our marriage will continue, with the continuing but ever-more-remote tantalising promise of something a little more than a brotherly/sisterly hug as we go off to sleep, and a life in which I dare not hanker or lust, for the inevitable bitter unhappiness that the inevitable bitter disappointment promises.