Life comes at us in bites, gnawing, tearing.
August 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
Adam and I thought about talking to each other last night, made a few mumbled statements here and there about whether we were talking enough, if we should be talking more. He asked me if there was anything I wanted to talk about – no (yes). I asked him if there was anything he wanted to talk about – yes, he wants to start swinging again. I asked him if he was bored and he shifted uncomfortably, said he didn’t like that word. I turned my face away from his and snuggled into his chest, refusing to acknowledge the elephant in the room even though her trunk is wrapped around my fragile throat, choking, choking.
If anyone were to ask me who the happiest couple that I know is, I would answer without hesitation that it is me and my husband. And it’s true – at least for me. We make each other laugh a lot. There is an abundance of love. Sure I am more thoughtful, perhaps more kind than he is but he is a man after all (he mows the lawn a lot and offers me tea in the morning so that counts for something). We have good sex, not a lot, but it’s still good. We have a beautiful home and big dreams for the next one. He has his children and I have my cats. We both work hard and are well remunerated. We travel when we can. We want for almost nothing.
And yet there is a lead weight in my stomach, I feel it rolling around like a fat lady on her back unable to get up. It is always there, if I am truly honest with myself, too big to pass, too big to regurgitate, too big to digest so instead it whales about in my insides, quietly but painfully. I sense that if I reached inside myself and cracked it open like a fortune cookie, a dirty scrap of paper would fall out with the message, “You and your husband will be sexually mismatched forever,” and a picture of the elephant.
When Adam said the word ‘swinging’ to me last night, my heart dove deep down inside my body, like the sensation I get when his daughter first wakes up in the morning and stumbles out through the sliding door. Dread, fear, sadness, anger, resentment, guilt, boredom follow in no particular order. I am silent as I try to sort the thoughts in my head, bite my lip to stop from crying.
I worry at times that Adam feels he has been ripped off, tricked into marrying someone who he thought was a free-wheeling nymphomaniac and who has actually turned out to be a fearful, socially awkward, low-self esteemed prude. Have I actually changed? Or was I never the free-wheeler – only pretending, hiding behind blindfolds and leashes and canes. I think of some of the things we used to do and my stomach flips. Yes, I have changed. I will never go back there, I will never be 22 again.
In thinking about it I had never really tried many of those things before. I’d had lots of sexual partners but it takes a certain longevity, a particular depth of intimacy and trust to go beyond the borders of vanilla sex. I’d only have two long term partners before Adam – one was a high school sweetheart which was strictly vanilla sex and the other was a man I eventually despised having vanilla sex with, let alone adventurous sex. Besides all that I wanted to win Adam, I wanted to show him all the things I could do, all the things I could be for him, all the things that no one else had ever been. I would have done anything for that man.
What makes me sad in all of this now is that I am okay with vanilla sex; in fact I’d probably be OK with no sex for long weeks at a time. I have become a 30 year woman and joined the millions of other married couples around the world who comprise of a woman who doesn’t want enough sex and a man who wants too much. But even knowing that, I feel sad for my husband who will never be satisfied; no matter how much he loves me, no matter how much he battles himself in his own head, I know in my bones that as long as we are together he will always have a thirst that can only be dampened, never quenched. It comes and goes in peaks and valleys, we can go long stretches of time pretending that all is fair but like the lead weight in my stomach it cannot be digested, it cannot be vomited up, it can only lurch around from one hidden corner to another.
I find as I get older my desires are for peace and quiet more than anything else. Adam asked me last night if anyone had caught my eye and I told him no. Certainly there have been opportunities, there always are. But even for me, the serial cheater, the one who lives for the chase, things have changed – even before we had last night’s discussion. I’ve noticed the shift over the last six months, more. Like a cheetah on a hot summer’s day I watch my prey, lick my lips, I might even trot behind them for a while, shadowing their movements from afar, planning my attack. But eventually I come to a slow halt, flick my tail, bored, and leave them for someone else to sink their teeth into. I return to the shade of my tree and lick my paws, resting.
The idea of swinging again makes my stomach lurch. The searching, the awkwardness, the stress, the adrenalin. I spend most of my life trying to avoid adrenalin. Yes some nasty vicious voice in the back of my head spits at me, “Marriage is hard work, no one ever said this would be easy.” Surely not this though? I think to myself. Part of me thinks that it would be easier to give Adam free reign do to whatever he wanted as long as he didn’t have to involve me – swinging, cheating, prostitutes, porn, sex clubs, strip clubs, whatever. But then I know that would eat away at us in other ways.
I tell myself that I don’t demand anything of him, although I demand plenty of myself. I wouldn’t ask him to do things he doesn’t want to do and I don’t think he would consciously do the same of me. We are in the sad position of misalignment though and the exercise of realignment demands movement which really means sacrifice.
Questions but no answers.