I know I say this regularly and it never seems to be correct. But I still don't fully get why this is a problem. I'd venture to say that maybe 90% of the time I cum before Carol... on round 1.
Frequently, there'll be a short intermission while I reconnect with reality and catch my breath. Then we move on to me playing with her... now undistracted by my own needs. Depending on how the timing all works out and relative energy and desire levels, one or both of us will want rounds 2, 3, and 4.
The short story about why I don't think abundance is all around is that my experience has taught me that too many of the people and institutions I deal with on a regular basis are not up to participating in or supporting mature and balanced interactions; e.g., not involving double-standards, not coming at things from a selfish perspective, interested in accepting situations for what they are and realistically dealing with the attendant limitations and consequences. Unrealistic expectations, insecurity, envy, laziness, and a sense of entitlement are far too prevalent. That doesn't mean that I can't still get a lot out of life, that I think everyone is morally terrible, or that every interaction with others is subpar. However, it does suggest to me that to the extent that the things I want to achieve are dependent on the cooperation of others (and pretty much everything in life is like that in some way), "abundance" doesn't really describe the situation. That said, what should matter most to me is how I'm doing things and the efforts I make to align my actions with my values and priorities. Am I working to be the best I can in the imperfect situations that are just part of living in the real world? So, the fact that I don't believe I'm surrounded by abundance doesn't really place any interesting limits on me.
I feel like I made decent progress with detaching the emotional hose. Not a perfect performance, but much better than what I would have done in the past. The wife and kids get back from their trip last night and she's just bushed. She's also cranky. A lot of that has to do with being tired, as my wife is one of those people who is badly affected by fatigue. Plus she's stressed from taking care of the kids for almost three days while I was at home. So, she's quiet and largely withdrawn last night. No problem, I have things to do and the evening passes without incident. I felt a little bit of the old anxiety of "does this mood have anything to do with me?", but I recognized it for that and just set it aside. It'd be nice to not even have that feeling, but getting to that point is off in the future.
However, I knew she was going to wake up still cranky. And she did. And our youngest was a bit sick, meaning that she was going to stay home from school, which blew up my wife's plans for the day. That sort of change and interruption is another thing that really throws her off. So, now she's tired and cranky, still working through the stress of her trip and now stressed yet further from the motherly instincts that kick in when a little one is ill, and agitated from the disappointment of having her plans for the day suddenly messed up. And then my oldest asks her why she's being so crabby. Which is yet another trigger, as I know my wife feels like she's been made the emotional center of the family and that everyone is always on the lookout for how she feels (I know my past behaviors definitely played a significant role in things turning out like this), and this is a major weight for her. So, it's an emotional tsunami at this point and she's totally walling herself off from everyone and everything, except for with the sick little one, as she's in full-on nurturing mode with her.
Now, I could have just totally not engaged with her, went about my morning business, and just left for work after quietly taking on a more active role in getting the older kids out the door for school. But, since I knew a lot of stuff was piling up for her, I thought it would be the decent thing to do to see if there was anything I could do to help her. And that triggered the following response: "Why am I getting attacked this morning for being how I am? The oldest was after me about it as soon as she got up and now it's you. Why does everything that goes on here always come down to how I'm feeling?" I didn't get emotional in reply or let the growing anxiety drive my response, although that clearly would have been the old standard course of action. Instead, I simply said, "Hey, I just wanted to make sure you're okay and see if you needed anything. No big deal. I wasn't looking for anything from you." Then I walked away. About fifteen minutes later she had calmed down a bit and came out to hug me (fortunately, no mention by either of us of what just happened), and shortly thereafter we said our usual good-byes for the day with no lingering bad feelings.
Now, part of me thinks that I shouldn't even have checked whether she was okay and needed me to do anything to help her out. After all, she's responsible for her happiness (etc) and if there was something she wanted/needed me to do, she should have said something. On the other hand, knowing how she shuts down when any one of the factors in play is present, and knowing how overwhelmed she's probably feeling, I also figured that she maybe could use some help, but couldn't articulate that and that I'd just suck it up and try to be at least outwardly supportive and concerned. I can't get paralyzed by trying to scrutinize every single decision I make or action I take, though, so I'm not going to worry what was right or wrong about that. In the end, what matters is that I didn't let the anxiety take a hold of me, didn't fixate on her mood in some "we have to fix this now" way, and didn't get into some post-game analysis of the situation once it resolved. Plus, I think it was good to clearly tell her that I wasn't looking for anything from her in the situation - wasn't needing her to feel good so that I could feel good, wasn't trying to fix her or change her mood, etc. In fact, I'd love for that to sink in with her, although I have no idea whether it will.
I feel pretty certain Conrad didn’t mean to look for abundance amongst humanity, although it’s surely there. And most certainly not to look for it through you ego consciousness in your normal everyday life. Because that ego when we’re are so tied to it as you are in the above prevents us from seeing things.
No. What I think Conrad meant is the abundance that’s right around us at all times in nature. In that rose of many colours and giving off a sweet scent. In those ants building their nest and foraging as they go their way. Up in the summers sky where there’s to be seen fantastic tones of blue and white. In the woods where the birds are singing.
That’s what I think Conrad meant. You’ve obviously got your head right into your ego related world that just maybe you really are missing the abundance that’s all around you.
It happens at times in our life when troubles are many and pressures are great. When we’re so mixed up in it all that we don’t take time out and stop and smell the roses.
If you could develop your observer consciousness by reading Awareness by Anthony de Mello you’ll come to understand what Conrad means and your world will begin changing for the better. You will literally see the world through different and more enlightened eyes. You’ll see things you’ve never seen before yet they’ve always been there. And all it takes is a read, no drugs, no drinking, nothing other than a new and very different perspective on your life.
I thought it would be the decent thing to do to see if there was anything I could do to help her. And that triggered the following response: "Why am I getting attacked this morning for being how I am?
That, plain and simple, is emotional warfare. The only winning strategy is to not play. She absolutely knows that she is doing it. You are not required to be a victim. You were not attacking her. She was attacking you.
Instead, I simply said, "Hey, I just wanted to make sure you're okay and see if you needed anything. No big deal. I wasn't looking for anything from you." Then I walked away.
About fifteen minutes later she had calmed down a bit and came out to hug me (fortunately, no mention by either of us of what just happened)
hrrrrrm... wouldn't have been my play. Some days I think I'm not only "not a nice guy", but a complete bastard because I don't allow anyone... especially Carol... to attack me without either engaging in the conflict or walking away from the entire situation. I'd have been establishing some boundaries there, eg:
"Aww, I love you too honey. Now sit down, we need to talk."
Now, part of me thinks that I shouldn't even have checked whether she was okay and needed me to do anything to help her out.
Sure... because... you know... caring about the woman you love is a bad thing, right? A favorite war author of mine said (probably misquoted):
You cannot engage in a war without becoming more like your enemy.
I'd avoid doing that. I agree that you need to avoid engaging in her warfare. That does not mean you have no boundaries.
I feel pretty certain Conrad didnít mean to look for abundance amongst humanity, although itís surely there. And most certainly not to look for it through you ego consciousness in your normal everyday life. Because that ego when weíre are so tied to it as you are in the above prevents us from seeing things.
No. What I think Conrad meant is the abundance thatís right around us at all times in nature. In that rose of many colours and giving off a sweet scent. In those ants building their nest and foraging as they go their way. Up in the summers sky where thereís to be seen fantastic tones of blue and white. In the woods where the birds are singing.
Thatís what I think Conrad meant. Youíve obviously got your head right into your ego related world that just maybe you really are missing the abundance thatís all around you.
It happens at times in our life when troubles are many and pressures are great. When weíre so mixed up in it all that we donít take time out and stop and smell the roses.
If you could develop your observer consciousness by reading Awareness by Anthony de Mello youíll come to understand what Conrad means and your world will begin changing for the better. You will literally see the world through different and more enlightened eyes. Youíll see things youíve never seen before yet theyíve always been there. And all it takes is a read, no drugs, no drinking, nothing other than a new and very different perspective on your life.
One problem now is a concern about PE. When we had sex two weeks ago, I came much faster than I wanted to. Last night was no better. I've never had this problem before. My wife was totally cool about it and we joked about trying to add another minute when we do it tonight (!). But, I don't want this to go on. I'm sure a lot of this is just being out of practice (drops of water to a man who just came out of the desert) and a lot also has to do with anxiety about wanting it to be good after things had been bad for so long. This will likely sort itself out in a short bit of time, but if anyone has any advice about this, I'd appreciate it.
You are not fully detached (see my bold above). Keeping working it and it will get better.
As a part of my similar process, I quit porn/masturbation and fantasy and lost some control. I started the moratorium (p/f/m) about 4 months ago and I have noticed of late that I have better control than ever. I don't attribute the improved performance solely to the moratorium, but rather as a part of an overall process.
My wife and I are having a fantastic time in bed.
1. Arousal - Michael Bader
2. The Way of the Superior Man - David Deida.
Well, somehow in the last 36 hours, everything has gone right to hell. I think I see my role in this, but I'm totally blindsided by how badly this has gone. Time to mentally check out for a bit, as I can't really contemplate this right now. Damn. Posted via Mobile Device
Well, somehow in the last 36 hours, everything has gone right to hell. I think I see my role in this, but I'm totally blindsided by how badly this has gone. Time to mentally check out for a bit, as I can't really contemplate this right now. Damn. Posted via Mobile Device
Things have stabilized a bit and aren't nearly as bad as they were Saturday evening. They're also not back to being as good as they were Friday night, either. We've both been very busy this week, which has probably been good, as it's allowed us to focus on things other than the relationship and to just let the hard feelings from the weekend settle down on their own. Still feel like we've made a lot of progress, but it was a lot better feeling Friday night! Oh well, this was a good reminder that there is plenty of work for me still to do on my side of the street. Posted via Mobile Device
As for the night you were out. It is ambiguous. Meaning she really may have been setting the stage for the next night. And as the HD partner you need to create situations where it is clear your boundaries have been blatantly violated before you react. She can't be walking on egg shells whenever she flirts. But neither can she flirt and forget - which can become an LD speciality if you aren't careful.
Originally Posted by Bluemoon1
I made the mistake of actually arguing with her about sex last night, we were out watching a band and out the blue she said to me (without a word of a lie)
"You look absolutely gorgeous tonight, but I have to be up early for work so I don't think I could do it justice tonight"
Me rolls eyes, and say well nothings changed in 20 years has it
Oh, a couple of old ones I have not heard for a while
You have really upset me, I was going to wear sexy underwear tomorrow night and was looking forward to a very passionate session and now you have ruined it you can just **** off now (like at could read her mind
Why don't we just end it all sell the house and move on, she used to say that a lot till I reminded her it did not really show much commitment every time we argued
Mem & Bluemoon,
I'm going to call Bull***t on her behavior being ambiguous. She NEVER had any true intention of having sex with her hubby in those instances. What she was doing was building up a list of "events" to throw back at him at a later date to keep herself from looking bad and to out the blame back on him. It's a combination of deceit, manipulation, and gaslighting. So the next time Bluemoon says "we never have sex" she could come back with "We are going to have it (then) and (this other time) but we didn't because (YOU did this.../You Ruined it)". It gives her "plausible deniability" and lets her shift the blame to him when accused of deliberately shutting her husband off. It's a power play and "management" of her husband to keep him in line and serving her without having hold up her end of things. It's also indicative of a lack of respect - she sees her husband as someone to "manage", not as someone worthy of giving herself to (in this arena of life). Bottom line, she knows what she is doing, and it is deliberate and deceptive.
P.S. Multi-quote appears to be broken - I had to manually copy in the inner quote. Is anyone else having this problem?
Just another update, although this might be my last (connected to something below):
*Things are going well overall. I've gotten a lot better at recognizing when I'm feeling the urge to re-attach the emotional hose. I've been largely successful in resisting the urge, too, and haven't had any major gaffes in that regard. The few squabbles we've had have been about misunderstandings that, at least on the surface, aren't due to neediness on my part or anything like that.
*Unfortunately, an argument from the weekend took us down a peg or two from a high point we had built up to over the last few weeks, but it's not a permanent setback and this kind of up-and-down is probably to be expected at this point. My wife tends to get a bit depressed or withdrawn after these arguments, but I'm faring pretty well when it comes to not plugging into that and making matters worse. Since she's also sick, just emerging from a stressful run with work, and probably about to go on her period, I think her extra sensitivity in this case is understandable. Not to blame-shift, but I take those factors to be largely responsible for why the argument even started, although I should have been the adult in the room and just walked away when it started revving up. Anyway, I think it's safe to say that we'll soon be working our way back up the mountain once those things pass and we get a little more distance from the argument. Nothing terrible, but it's another one of these cases where things felt great a week ago but now are just okay. Of course, "just okay" is a lot better than where we were a few months ago, so I'll take it.
*She and I are both talked out. We've covered all the stuff that needs to be covered, at least for now, and there's definitely fatigue on both sides from the effort. It was pretty intense for a while and we have to get a break from thinking and talking about the relationship, in order to just enjoy it. So, I'm making a concerted effort to not think about what needs to be fixed, but to just go with the flow of things with her. Too much focus on every single thing that isn't just right leads to constantly taking the temperature of the relationship, which is bad for both of us. She's been guilty of this, too, so we've agreed to help each other try to keep the focus off of the relationship itself.
*What I wish I could do is rid myself of the urge to re-attach the emotional hose. This is really a major PITA, as the urge kicks in more frequently than I would care to admit. Much of this is due to some deeply engrained nice-guy tendencies that I'm still purging. I recognize that I can't make this crap stop just by being aware of it, but it sometimes feels as though I'm confronting this urge more now than I ever did before. I think I'd be enjoying things a lot more right now if I wasn't eating this anxiety so much of the time. I have some good outlets for the anxiety, but I honestly believe that the supply of anxiety is greatly outrunning the time, energy, and opportunity I have to take advantage of those outlets. I have to believe this will get better in time.
*One other thing that I've recognized as contributing to the temptation to re-attach the emotional hose and to feel all that anxiety, is fear of PA or EA. On more than one occasion, I have found myself worrying that my wife is playing me for a fool and that she's not really enjoying how much better things are between us, but is instead relieved that I think things are better so that she'll be able to more easily conduct an affair. This is completely nuts. I mean, insane in the membrane. While there is always some chance that my wife is some evil mastermind who can and would juggle a zillion things and an affair, it doesn't make sense at all. She has next-to-no opportunity, has been very sincere in her positive responses to my efforts, seems genuinely happy that things are so much better between us, clearly finds me attractive along all relevant dimensions, and has never before given me any indication that she might stray. Plus, (and this is said half in jest) she's too lazy to have an affair - whatever sex she'd want, it'd be easier for her to just have it with me than to put in all the work needed to start and hide an affair. Trust me, the one thing I know about my wife is that she'd minimize her effort if she could. So, why the worries about an affair? Well, at least part of that has to do with some things I think I've absorbed from reading posts here. For one thing, a lot of the posts here deal with actual cases of wives cheating, far more than I would guess is representative of reality, based on the research I've seen. But, it's more pervasive than that. In pretty much every case where some guy posts about a problem he's having with his wife, in the midst of a reasonable discussion that deals with the known facts of the matter, sooner or later there's a response that says basically, "That definitely sounds like she's having an affair. Classic signs. You'd better install a VAR and a keystroke logger. Sorry to break the bad news, buddy." Yes, some women cheat and I'm sure even my own wife would be tempted in the right circumstances. But it's really unhealthy, at least for someone in my position, to so regularly expose myself to stimuli in which marital problems and infidelity are automatically linked. I've learned a lot from what I've read on this board and I think my marriage and myself as an individual are much better off because of what I've learned here. But the "marital problems = adultery" equation that often crops up in posts is just mind poison for me. I'm trying to read the posts here with a filter on for unwarranted accusations of infidelity (and, to be clear, I don't think all suggestions of potential infidelity are wrong or inappropriate, it's just the seemingly large number of cases where it's totally speculative or just incongruous), but I know it seeps through. The last thing I want to do is screw up the progress that has been made in my relationship because of baseless worries about infidelity. I never had this sort of worry before I started reading things here. Some of this might simply be due to me now being better aware of what's going on inside my head and perhaps some such worry was kicking around in there without being recognized. Maybe. My guess, though, is that I'm going through some sort of "emotional hose" withdraw and it just doesn't mix well with that "infidelity is lurking just around the corner" message. Whatever the reason, if my mental filter for this stuff doesn't improve, I might have to simply unplug myself from this site. While I'd prefer not to do that, because of how much I've already benefited from this site and how much more I think I stand to benefit, it would be stupid of me to continue doing something that I know is harming me (even if the harm is due to a weakness on my part when it comes to how I process stuff that I rationally acknowledge doesn't pertain to my situation).
The last thing I want to do is screw up the progress that has been made in my relationship because of baseless worries about infidelity.
Hear you loud and clear.
Recognize that forums like TAM give you a great opportunity to "trigger" on all sorts of things. Infidelity appears to be a huge trigger for you.
You have a knack for being self-reflective and owning your stuff. This trigger is a gift.
Remember, you can't control your wife's behavior and are detaching the hose. You would survive if something like that happened. The anxiety is old stuff about control - follow the thread and see what you can uncover.
Remember, you can't control your wife's behavior and are detaching the hose .... The anxiety is old stuff about control
Bingo! Good observation and a useful reminder. Based on what I've learned about myself as I've gone through all this, I can definitely see control issues playing a major role in lots of things I've done, going way back to my youth. Having this pointed out will be useful going forward. Thanks.
Yet another update. We're in kind of a strange place right now. We haven't had sex in probably a month. Most of that is due to life happening in various ways for three weeks, but about a week of it (and counting) is due to the fallout we had from an argument about sex. The argument about sex was stupid in lots of ways, since it was really the result of both of us being tired and stressed and just looking to take it out on someone. Sex was (and always has been) the easiest topic for us to focus on for the fight we were both spoiling for. Really, the fight could have been about how the dishes get cleaned or the laundry gets folded. The good news is that I learned some important things from the fight and its fallout. First, my wife is desperate to have a long calm period without any conflict or discussion about the relationship, and is feeling overwhelmed by all the change of the last few months. Since the fight, there's been almost no discussion about the relationship (the one little talk we had was initiated by her) and we've had just one flare-up about something not related to sex that was quickly and easily smoothed out (with her taking the lead on that). I also want to just focus on living our lives and enjoying our relationship, rather than making the relationship our life's labor. So, this last week or so has been good for both of us and I'm expecting it to continue.
Plus, as much as I've turned down the temperature, she's still feeling pressured about sex. Some of her statements during that last big fight were almost straight out of the thermostat thread. While this frustrates me, I can understand her perspective. The last decade between us has been consumed with a struggle over sex and she can't help but feel shame and frustration any time I'm even remotely sexual with her and she declines or doesn't respond in kind. And all that does is make sex for her something to deal with, rather than something to enjoy. She needs more of a break from this part of things than I've given her, so that she can find it in herself to re-gain her comfort with sex. Some of this is likely also due to physical and mental things from outside the relationship that are squashing her libido. Maybe as she sorts through those things on her own (with me giving her the space to do that), some of those issues will improve and her libido will bounce back a bit. But unless the pressure she feels about sex from within the relationship subsides, it won't really matter much what goes on with those other factors.
One thing that stood out in my mind was what she said when I said that I wanted to feel like I was being chased by her, at least every once in a while. She told me that if I wanted that, I have to leave her alone. It seems that even when I'm not being overtly sexual, my actions convey to her that I'm in pursuit. And that leaves her feeling like there's no room for her to maneuver.
So, while I occasionally show her some spontaneous affection (there's no reason to treat her like a neglecting spouse), it's very limited and doesn't come with any big build-up or suggestion that it's supposed to lead to anything. I'm letting her come to me. It's definitely working. Since I've taken up this approach, she's been more affectionate and attentive in very genuine ways that are making me feel good about the overall prospects for us. On Monday, she was pretty crabby when she woke up and took it out on me a bit. Nothing serious, though, so I didn't think much of it and went about the rest of my day. Later on, when I checked the messages on my cell, I found she had left a "thinking of you", "sorry for being so crabby, shouldn't have treated you like that" message. It was probably the nicest message she's left me in years. She's gone out of her way the last few nights to spend time laying with me on the couch or in bed, just hanging out. And despite clearly being cranky again this morning, after I gave her some time and space to work it out on her own, she was very communicative and affectionate with me before I left for work. She's also made multiple remarks the last few days about how good-looking and fit she thinks I am.
In some ways, it seems pretty odd to me that she's being affectionate and commenting on my looks, but not really showing any sign that she wants to hit the sheets. But, I think there's so much going on here and so much she needs to unravel and shed on her side when it comes to how things have gone between us for so long with sex, that I can see how there isn't a quick path from where we're at now to getting our sex life back on track. Before, I think both of us (especially me, though) got ahead of ourselves with the progress that had been made and thought we were further along the way than we really were. I'm now firmly committed to not trying to initiate again until either she directly initiates first or we "fall into" having sex by having something naturally escalate on its own between us. I can't wait forever for that to happen, but there's no reason to get frustrated or impatient now considering that she is responding in other ways and that lots of other things between us have improved. I figure, she's not going to respond positively to my advances until she feels better about things, so just let her take the lead on letting me know when that happens.