Forgive me, Dear Reader, it is two weeks since my last confession[1]. Two long weeks. Very long weeks.

While the world has gone into shut down over fears of COVID-19, the virus almost certainly put my Wife in Her sick bed for a couple of days[2], and the rest of the house into incarceration. Consequentially, school was out for us, a whole week before school was out for the entire country. Unsurprisingly, as predicted by those who understand, my Wife’s suffered no more than a minor illness, She is absolutely fine, and no one else has exhibited any symptoms. There have, however, been significant consequences. Some of those have been logistical – we really are nearly out of toilet roll [Ed: and AM ran out of tissues to wipe up his ejaculate a week ago] – there are very real risks for other members of my wider family – the prospect of home schooling for an indefinite period is terrifying – a fractured family holding itself together, whilst unable to leave the house has lead to animosity on more than one occasion – and my Wife was not able to go to Her individual session with our latest relationship counsellor, Kirsty.

To Her credit, they did go ahead with a Skype session.
Back when We were seeing Dr Ruth, We had two online sessions, and I had a third. I am not a fan of them. There is so much that is lost when filtered through a screen … and as much as I may scoff at the concept of a safe space[3], I don’t feel there is a space and time in this house with which I can be comfortable with a counselling session,. Not least when We are not the only people in the house.
But the world is shape-shifting and shares in video-chat service providers must be some of the few that are currently on the up. So if We are to continue to work with Kirsty, this must be the foreseeable future.

I have as little idea about what my Wife told Kirsty as She knows what I said. What was said in the virtual room has, to date, stayed entirely in the virtual room. There has been no discussion whatsoever. I’m bloody curious, and I had to rationalise that sneaking an aural peak as I walked past my Wife’s closed bedroom door was a temptation that should be resisted.
I resisted.
I dare say We have both had the same homework[4].

The week since has been particularly difficult. For all the aforementioned reasons. We have practised social distancing not because of any pathogen, but rather to avoid emotional inflammation. There has been an air of acute tension, and two (verbal) fights. Other than the fact that We have both long proved ourselves too stubborn to quit, I’m not confident that this family can survive Coronovirus – at least I’m not confident that this household will not explode under the enforced confinement. And I have said so.

Again, I have found myself looking at house prices and employment situations in a town in which I grew up – hundreds of miles away – and doing the mental arithmetic of a post-divorce financial settlement and divided child care. Something I have found surprisingly palliative.

We’ve had a couple of conversations about Us, both of which I curtailed prematurely, out of a need to defuse.
Amongst other topics touched upon …
Originally my Wife liked me, at least in part, because I liked Her. I find that odd. I liked my Wife because I was sexually attracted to Her and because I found Her interesting. The idea that attraction is symbiotic is anathema. Whether or not She liked Me was no more relevant than whether Kim Basinger wanted to get a coffee with me.
When I say I don’t believe I am not afforded respect and equality in our relationship, my Wife dismisses that as my perspective. Which is a very neat way of saying I’m wrong, and it’s not open to analysis.
She asked if I think things can get better, which felt like Her asking if I thought She was going to change. And I felt there was an undertone of defiance in Her question. My response was that She can only change what She thinks is a problem and what She thinks She should have to change … with which She concurred. Unsurprisingly.
For Her, our future is about staying together for the kids, and becuase it’ll be easier than finding someone else[5]. The former, at least, I pointed out was a notoriously bad idea.
We were getting nowhere. [Ed: Or at least AM was getting nowhere.]

And amidst all this, I have found myself, at least in my head, drawing a line in the sand. A line that I am determined must be discussed, if not in our next session with Kirsty, at the very least the one after:
If my Wife cannot say a future together would necessarily include Us having at least some semblance of a healthy sexual relationship, then We have no future together.
I’m sure, if unqualified, my Wife would distil that down to a belief that sex is all that I’m interested in. Typical man! It’s not. For me, sex is as much a part of a relationship as trust and respect and discourse and equality and interest and financial parity and so many other things. If any of these things are not present, then We have no future together. I will not stay in a sexless marriage. And I must say that out loud.

Our next session together is tonight.

[1] OK, I know I only published it yesterday, but I’ve been sitting on that post for all but two weeks.
[2] We have no way of knowing if my Wife actually fell fowl of COVID-19, as She was not tested, but She had been in contact with someone who has subsequently tested positive for the virus.
[3] “… no matter how conceptually safe a space is, you can’t escape the fact that, an hour later, having left that space, things have still been said. You can’t un-invent the atom bomb; pull the pin on too fissile a topic and you become divorce, the destroyer of marriage.”
[4] Try to identify behaviours and thought patterns which may be possible to change. They don’t need to change just yet, but try to be aware and give them some thought.
[5] In the event of a divorce, I genuinely don’t think my Wife would find someone else. And that’s not because I think no one else would be attracted to Her, but rather because I don’t think She would make the effort. Her suggestion that staying together would be easier than finding someone else hints at confirmation. In contrast, I have had a profile on OKCupd, and am confident that I could get laid within a couple of months of separation, and quite be in a steady relationship within a year. And I might even have some fun along the way.

4 Responses to “Turmoil”

  1. It sounds like you already know where this should lead. It also sounds like She isn’t going to change in the way you want, even if divorce is the consequence. But she may tell you she will and give you a few breadcrumbs.

  2. It must be terribly difficult being locked in under these circumstances. I do feel for you 🧡

    • Every cloud has it’s silver lining: as hard as this is, and yes, it is extremely hard, it is a catalyst. We will come out of lockdown in a better shape … or two separated shapes, and at least one of those will be better.

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