This past week I pretty much withdrew all romantic attention from my wife. As I said in my last OYS, it was clear to me that there was no sexual energy between us, and that I was better off focusing on myself. The final trigger for this was a failed attempt at sex a couple of weeks ago; we were cuddling and naked but after a while it was obvious to me it would progress no further, so I rolled over and went to sleep. It's not the first time this has happened.
At that point, it didn't matter to me why it wasn't working.
She wasn't attracted? I was just being autistic? She's a dried up old shrew? She's all repressed over some personal history I don't know about? I'm just a pussy?
Doesn't matter. This isn't working, I'm banging my head against a wall here, this man and this woman aren't making progress, something has to change, I'm going to change.
So I just decided, good intentions aside, results matter, and my results suck. Whatever I'm doing, it's not working. Whatever she's feeling, she's not acting like a wife to me. There's no point in pretending. Right now, she's as good as a housekeeper and babysitter, and my constantly trying to sex her up is counterproductive. I don't need to be cruel, I can still be cordial, but the romance is done here. No more trying to be a "good husband" for me. I'm going to focus on my vision and goals, make my life what I want it to be, and not waste a moment trying to make her feel anything.
So I just stopped a lot of the old routines. There were a few routines that have literally never been skipped, with rare exception, since we married: Kiss good morning; kiss goodnight; movie together on Friday (literally every Friday night since 2001 or something). But too often lately, those kisses were just reminders for me that I could kiss her as a routine, but actual love-making was not happening.
So I stopped. A light hug in the mornings. At bed-time, I go to bed on my own, say goodnight as I walk by, and leave her alone with Facebook. On Friday: Sorry hon, no time for a movie tonight, gotta get up early tomorrow and work. The rest of the time, I'm busy working on my business, working around the house, with the kids, reading something I want, getting good sleep, doing what I want. Still as friendly as I can be, share a story over dinner, laugh at funny stuff, whatever. But none of the old "husband" stuff.
Sure, I worried this would be hard on her. I noticed she seemed sad that I didn't kiss her in the mornings. But fuckin' hell, placating her is not going to help me. Trying to make her feel everything is all right, that's not going to help either of us. I don't need to intentionally torment her, but I'm done with this codependent make-sure-everyones-happy crap.
After a few days of this, it occurred to me that I was free to flirt with her if I wanted, that I could practice game with her as well as with anyone else. I don't have a lot of game to practice at this point, so I haven't really done much with that, but it's not a bad idea.
Last night I came home late from a tech meetup, as planned. We talked a little, then went to bed around the same time. No kiss, no hug, no touch, just climb into opposite edges of that gargantuan king-size bed, and sleep. Years ago I thought a king-size bed would be great for sex, but recently it's just become a way to sleep very far apart from each other.
Some time in the early hours of the morning, I heard her whimpering lightly in her sleep. It's happened a few times over the years: she has a nightmare of some kind, and makes these little whimpering sounds, like a scared puppy, in her sleep. The first few times it happened I would ask her what the dream was, she always said it was a big dog chasing her or something; later I stopped asking because it's probably not worth talking about. What she needs at this point is a lot of comfort and strength in the form of a long and solid embrace.
So I stroked her awake, said "Hey it's me, come here," pulled her over, and held her close. Probably a good ten minutes of just lying there holding her. She shed some tears quietly, I wiped them away, and kidded her with an old joke about her side of the family being teary-eyed softies. She kidded me back.
Somewhere in here I kissed her briefly, and after several minutes lying together, me autistically debating in my head ("Is there sexual tension now? Gee I have a hard-on, but what to do?") I gave her a long hard kiss, noticed that she responded, and proceeded to rip her clothes off and take her.
It was pretty passionate and emotional. Normally at this point I would be tempted to say something mushy like how much I love her or I'll always be your husband or whatever. This time I tried to say nothing, but at some point I asked her, "Whose woman are you?", and she laughed. I asked her again, "Whose woman are you?" and she said quietly, "I thought you no kiss me any more." (My ESL wife.) Again, I was tempted to say something mushy and explain blah blah blah, but instead I said, "You're my woman, that's who you are."
The only other thing I said to her, near the end of it, was, "I want you to sleep closer to me." We slept spooning the rest of the night, on my side of the bed. (This matters to me. I've spent too many nights nearly spooning her off her edge of the bed; I didn't admit it to myself for a long time, but it's clear I was chasing a woman who didn't want that kind of attention from me.)
This morning when I left for the gym she was still asleep. I kissed her and asked if she was watching a movie with me tonight. I don't feel as worried about "keeping her happy" as I did before, but I do want to validate her as a wife by giving her some husbandly attention.
So what are my take-aways here?
- I still have a lot of things to work on in my life, and I always will; it's up to me to work on them and get results.
- Focusing on my vision can have an effect of dread, which can pull her toward me; this is somehow different from "trying to apply dread".
- I want a good woman in my life, even though I don't need this particular woman.
- Actual DGAF is subtly but significantly different from trying to DGAF.
Questions: What could I have done better? What important points am I missing? What potholes should I watch for in the road ahead? Not that it matters much to me, but is this DL4?