I was confident that my joy and hard work would re-warm her heart, and we would see bright-days again. I was wrong.
THE OFF PARENT: I write anonymously to shield my ex-wife and children from the anger and pain that are all part of this process. You cannot avoid the hurt. But you can avoid hurting others. The goal is not to be bitter or vindictive. If I can provide some ideas that will help others with their pain, or perhaps point them in the direction of self-recovery, that is great, but that is not my goal. Let me be clear about this: This is not a self-help blog. I am not a daddy blogger. I am the *off* parent and I blog the song of myself from both dark and light rooms.
These posts are being republished by The Good Men Project in a sequence to reflect the three-year process of divorce recovery. The story continues…
After the heat wore off. After the kids were born. After the work of keeping up a house and mortgage payment became real. Sex became more and more infrequent.
We went through some interesting therapy sessions and ideas about how to reconnect sexually.
- I wasn’t asking the right way
- I was asking too much
- I always asked at the wrong time
- There was always something that needed to be done, before we could have sex
- I didn’t help around the house enough
- I needed to try seducing rather than asking, touch rather than request
Ultimately, once the sexual shift had happened there was only one period of relief.
I had just gotten a vasectomy. (A good sign, anyway, that we were doing it at all, so we would even want to keep having sex. It was kind of a right of passage from fathering to fucking.
And the weeks following the surgery, after the swelling and pain had gone away, we had a sexual renaissance. You see, when you have a vaz there is a period afterwards where you are required to have 30 ejaculations before you can get tested for viable sperm. And if it’s all clear after that, you can begin nekkid sex without risk.
The ex-y even admitted to having an achievement complex, and we joked about her wanting the 30 gold stars in 45 days. And sure enough, the wind would blow and she was into getting me off. Perhaps it relieved the pressure on her to participate if it was about my orgasm and not making love.
We did it in the shower. She did me orally, manually, and seemingly with ease and enjoyment. Later we would look back on these weeks as “when it was good again.” At least, that’s what I remember saying about it. I certainly see it as the last hurrah of our marriage.
And then the goal was achieved. I was certified sperm free. And the sexual fire fizzled and went out. Almost as if a switch had been thrown. I couldn’t ask right, or provide enough house support (me or a maid) or money in the bank. There was ALWAYS something preventing us from doing it. I wanted to figure out how to have another vasectomy, or something. But nothing I tried worked.
Then, right at the end, when I had my moment of truth, I asked her. Well, it came out kind of sideways. I had bought a book “Your Sex-Starved Marriage” and she found it under the bed. It was as if she had found porn or something. She was angry. Of course I was accusing her of being the problem, that’s why I got the book. But she had plenty of ammo as to why it wasn’t all her.
She blamed it on stress, overwork, chores, things. But in reality she was no longer IN the marriage with me. She was already contemplating her departure, and those thoughts were crowding out the passion and love for me. Rather than demand closeness and touch, I withdrew into my own self-care miasma. But I sublimated my anger and desire. I compromised and let her slip further away from me. She was too far gone. And when I was finally angry it was a bit too late.
How does that phrase go? “You cannot prepare for love and war at the same time.”
The Off Parent
the story continues…
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image: creative commons usage – nude and captured