Am I To Blame?Hello to everyone in SM land...
Had a few responses to my first post - looking forward to more feedback in the days to come.
One response has really stuck with me, though...
This one individual basically pointed a finger squarely at me and said "ba
You see...that's exactly what I'm worried about! This poster played into my worst fears about myself - that I'm a quitter, that I'm a blamer, that I'm bad, wrong, messed up - that I'M the problem.
After all (as this poster pointed out), I'm on my second sexless marriage - the common denominator in both marriages is ME - so it logically follows that I was the problem in both cases. Occum's Razor and all that (i.e. "all things being equal, the simplest explanation is often the one that is correct").
So could that be true? AM I the problem?
As I mentioned in my post (and in my response to this responder), I've done A LOT of personal work. How much is "a lot" you may ask? 10 years of individual therapy, and 10+ years of couple's work. Not a typo - you read that right.
And in ALL of those years of personal work, not once did any of those professionals ever say "you're the problem, not your wife." Including the couple's counselor, by the way. And by the way, I think she is a genius of a therapist (she's a coach actually, which explains the ongoing nature of the work - if you don't know what coaching vs. counseling is, feel free to ask - or maybe I'll post about it sometime).
That said...is it possible that all of those professionals are not to be trusted? Am I'm JUST THAT good at fooling everyone into thinking the problem lies outside of me? Is that why none of them ever pointed that out?
By the way, none of my therapists or coaches or what-have-you have ever assigned "blame" to either party. It has always been about taking personal responsibility, communication, repair, etc. In my case, it seems my contribution to the problem is that I'm too diplomatic - that I don't stand up for myself and ask to be heard. That I'm willing to engage (and even enable) behavior on the part of my partner that is inconsistent with that of an integrated adult (if you don't understand this, feel free to ask). And, having allowed myself to violate my personal boundaries around these dynamics, I become moody and resentful - not because I'm mad at my wife, but because I'm upset with myself. Because allowing a boundary to be violated doesn't feel good. And moody and resentful is just not sexy.
But anyway...the question on the table is: just how much individual therapy is enough? What about couple's work? Is there an ever an end to it? Or are we always in process?
And furthermore, can people really become interested in having sex with each other again by doing this kind of work?
I firmly believe that we play out all of our personal issues within our primary relationships (that goes for relationships with our kids, by the way) - so by definition, it follows that I believe these kinds of challenges are EXACTLY what are supposed to come up within a marriage - and it is our job to deal with them as they arise.
So how much work should a couple do before they throw in the towel? 6 months? A year? 5? 10? Never? Would it ever be ok to admit defeat - to decide we've simply learned all we can from each other and move on? Or would that just make us quitters?
When is enough enough?
I wish I knew the answer. What do you think?
Update...now a SECOND poster to my original post has agreed I need to do more personal work - in this case, the poster thinks if I am serious about fixing myself, I should find another therapist who is interested in more than taking my money. Wow. What do you all think of that?