Where Do We Go From Here

We have all explored our need for intimacy to varying degrees. We need to feel connected to our partner in many ways through touch and skin contact, meaningful conversation, loving gestures, expressions of thoughtfulness and a very intimate sharing of our bodies and our selves through sex and physical contact. It seems that many of our partners react badly to this need for intimacy for reasons that we can never really comprehend. Thinking back to the beginning of my present relationship there were subtle warning signs and some not so subtle that should have told me that I was engaging with someone who did not feel the same way that I did about many of these things. The first was an unwillingness to explore touch, by which I mean she didn’t want me to touch her in certain areas or in certain ways, she never liked oral sex either giving or getting. She dislikes being naked even in the privacy of our bedroom.

I put this down to shyness and figured that she would grow out of this after we had been married for a while but that never happened. So expecting sex to improve after you get married seems to be a dream that many of us have been disappointed by. Apparently the first sex you have with a person is about as good as it gets in most cases. That’s because their hormones and endorphins are engaged and they are about as enthusiastic as they will ever be. The limerence stage is the most exciting and sexual time of a relationship so if it’s crappy then you are in for disappointment. There are always exceptions but this is the usual pattern of development of sex in a relationship. When you first fall in love the emotions and the need to be with your new love are at their peak. Unfortunately at this time it seems that a goodly number of us switch off our brains entirely and do most of our thinking with our sex organs.

If we can somehow keep a few brain cells online and functioning though we really need to be paying attention to our new partners reactions to us and to their attitudes about various things. But the hardest thing of all is to make the decision that someone isn’t right for you and to break it off. Because once those hormones are engaged your brain is swamped with chemistry that in effect turns you into a breeding machine. So we often wake up after a while and start looking at our situation and thinking What Have I Done? This is the beginning of falling out of love for many people and I think it happens very quickly for many refusers. When they revert to their normal non sexual non emotional selves then we are suddenly looking at what we thought was a mate but turned into something entirely different.

At this point due to social pressures many of them decide that they need to stay married for various reasons including kids or other things but they shut us out because they don’t see that as necessary anymore. They think that we will become like them but we never do and the mismatch made in hell begins. It could take weeks or perhaps years but once it happens it’s downhill from there. There is no fixing this because this is their basic personality and there’s nothing to fix. We cannot expect them to change to be like us anymore than they should expect us to change to be like them. But due to our society and their odd customs of marriage we end up in a power struggle that often ends in divorce. It’s rare that people can part as two adults and remain cordial.

So the question is how you can avoid this and the answer is that you probably can’t unless you are hellishly good at analyzing all bits of information and maintaining a logical perspective when your body is betraying you with hormones that trigger lust which is a sort of dementia.  So it appears that the only realistic changes are either to make breaking up these mismatches easier and less stressful or to separate the ideas of marriage and sex. Making it no longer true that marrying someone means they own you sexually. Perhaps we will have exclusivity contracts for periods of time for child bearing. But after that the marriage would be a renewable term contract with requirements of both parties agreeing to renew. It may be that we will find ourselves buying contracts to care for children regardless of our marital status so that kids are taken care of. This could be required before a child is born and would guarantee that they would be taken care of regardless of their parent’s marital status.

In the future things will be different, we are already seeing changes among young people the idea of long term relationships doesn’t seem to be very popular and the idea of a commitment is something that they seem to avoid. With a divorce rate at 53% for new marriages it’s unlikely that our present system will survive into the future. It will change without a doubt, what it will look like we can only guess. But the goal should still be the same regardless that people should be happy with their relationships no matter what form they take.
deleted deleted
5 Responses May 15, 2012

I agree the traditional marriage contract has ironically made many marriages dysfunctional. Your statistics of 53% divorce rate actually underreports how serious the problem is because beyond those 53% who actually left, I'd venture to guess that the proportion of dysfunctional marriages is substantially higher since many have decided to stay and cope for one reason or another. <br />
<br />
Like WP, I am growing fonder and fonder of the idea that the marriage contract should be more like a lease with expiration and options to renew. The finality of an expiration keeps both parties honest in their roles in the marriage. It also helps to curb (note, i didn't say eliminate) bad behaviors like spousal abuse or SM or affairs...etc. It gives the victim a voice and a recourse. It won't solve all the problems, but I am optimistic that it could at least help mitigate. Just think, how many of us have gone to our spouse to float the idea of a divorce or separation and see almost instant behavioral change in our spouse? Finality means something to human beings. <br />
<br />
Heck, let's have an "Occupy Bedroom" movement to change the marriage contract. :)

It is a choice to stay in any relationship. I think the real desperation comes not because of some outside system, but because staying when you know it won't change is resignation to a indefinite future without sex and intimacy. It is hell to leave, but I did it and the limbo hopelessness is worse. At some point, we have to face the reality of the situation and move forward through leaving. Change is only possible if the refuser really wants to change, and that isn't the reality for most of us. Hope often becomes a rationalization for denial

I hate to dis agree with you, but this is absolutely not true, I am proof "Apparently the first sex you have with a person is about as good as it gets in most cases. That’s because their hormones and endorphins are engaged and they are about as enthusiastic as they will ever be".<br />
I didn't enjoy oral or ever gave it a change, the more I got comfortable with him, the more we explored each other, the more intense and passionate it got, and even 8 years later i can say it just kept getting better, but that was us.<br />
This is why I have been banging my head so hard trying to figure out WTF happened, but it happened and I need to accept it and move forward.<br />
Thank for your wonderful posts D

... yes but it takes time to built thata trust and confidence, and good ****** is nothing compared to losing your self, that only comes with time.

I agree with your premise, but for lack more sophisticated terms, I feel my way around life rather than think. Honestly, every time I have let my reason override my gut instinct, I have lived to regret it. But my body has never been wrong. My 2 cents mean that contracts etc. may work for some, but for others, taking time to think and enjoy what their own instincts are telling them are all that's needed. A friend said this to me recently- getting married in your 20's you have the wedding your parents want and the marriage that is disillusioning. But, if you are lucky enough to get another chance, you should have built the courage to say sc*** the world, I am not following someone else's rules. This person and I can have patience and just be, and if it's meant to be, and we are compatible then we can go in for try number 2. But no rushing into white weddings and having children, lets focus on actually getting marriage, or better yet, love right.

Great questions and thoughts WP. I hold tightly to my current belief that I picked wrong and if I pick someone more compatible with me in the future I am actually not too shabby at building and maintaining relationships. I managed to keep mine from completely getting flushed down the toilet until I just stopped trying so hard. If I end up with someone who tries equally as hard as I do to keep a relationship connected - hell, if he tries HALF as hard - then I think I could have a pretty amazing experience during a second go round.<br />
<br />
I've followed Chai's posts about the commitment conversation and the types of pre-cohabitation agreements they made. I think that combined with to a certain degree what you've said about child-rearing contracts make a lot of sense to me, especially since I still want kids of my own and hopefully soon. I still believe in love. I also believe that sometimes love doesn't mean absolutely forever but it might mean for now and the foreseeable future. I would rather be loved in a healthy relationship for now and the foreseeable future than be too afraid to say I'm too afraid that forever isn't possible to make a relationship work for. <br />
<br />
The reality is I will always love my ex, but not in a way that would have made a marriage with children sustainable with him until forever. But when I find myself loving someone new deeply with body, mind and soul I will love him fully and completely for then and the foreseeable future. I will hope he will do the same for me, since we do not know what the future might hold.