Step into the unknown

A week after having vowed to snuggle up on the sofa every evening, and go for a (short) walk once a day, We went for a (long) let’s-check-how-We’re-getting-on week-end walk. If I say the last couple of long walks have each been over 8 miles, that should give you some idea, Dear Reader, of how much ground We have covered conversationally too.

About 3 days into the week, the stress levels in the house had started to rise. It was the evening after the traditional kiss, (though there is no reason to assume a connection) and the first evening We didn’t share a sofa. Nor did We the next, nor the one after that, and as those days passed, I felt my willingness to engage starting to ebb away. It turns out We both realised this, and still did nothing to stem the tide – We really can be our own worst enemies!

On the upside, come this long walk, We were communicating again. Properly. Checking in with each other, and listening. [Ed: If only they could both actually learn to say what they were really thinking as well as listen.]

We started talking about snuggling on the sofa, and how We respectively felt about it.
I have found it a contrivance. Not exactly unwillingly so, but it has felt artificial and, considering how long We have been in a dysfunctional state, it is therefore easy for me to distrust any prospects, even if they makes sense.
My Wife seemed to have taken the exercise more at face-value, and said it had be better a positive experience for Her. It had felt right.

All this was a jumping off point for conversation that wasn’t nearly as detailed as the previous week, but there was no argument … which is a paradigm shift.

The kiss was discussed. She said it felt natural. That it should be something normal – something We should just be able to do. So perhaps We should just bite the bullet, kiss and get used to it again. My logic was that if that was the case (and I wasn’t suggesting it was flawed), We should just bite the bullet and sleep together [Ed: AM was, of course, being euphemistic here, and it is likely that was understood] but We agreed that that was perhaps a step too-far too-soon. I’m still not sure how I could feel comfortable fucking my Wife at the moment … and I’m sure that’s reciprocal.

Of course, there is the issue of what if one of Us wants to kiss and the other isn’t sure? How can we move forward if We don’t challenge Our norm. Whilst I framed this in terms of Her kissing me and me being unsure, part of what I was thinking about was some of the less missionary-with-the-lights-off sex I yearn for, be that as vanilla as cunnilingus or as fetishistic as latex. There was the briefest discussion of being able to say No vs going with the flow for the sake of making progress – inconclusive discussion, so it’s inevitably something We will have to return to.

On the upside, We were still talking about aiming to get back to a functional relationship – both emotionally and physically comfortable. Of course comfortable as a concept wasn’t deconstructed, and that’s going to be complicated.

At about the 6th mile, We seemed to have talked as much about Us as We were likely to. I had found myself struggling to get back to the optimism of a week ago. No one would expect an instant fix, and ups and downs are to be expected. I am more than happy to put work into this relationship – to keep taking one step in front of another – indeed, I actively want to, as long as I have faith that there is an intended destination. To which my Wife correctly suggested that the current goal is to get back to having sex. A wholly desirable goal for me and perhaps I am just fatigued by the whole business.

I should say, Sceptical Reader, that this is by no means just about sex. (My Wife and I discussed this.) Sex is not a panacea, nor is anything else. But no relationship is perfect, and perhaps We can get to a point of enough positives [Ed: and for AM that necessarily includes good, regular sex] to counterbalance the unavoidable negatives.

I threw out a curve ball.
Perhaps my loss of momentum was, in part, attributable to the fact that I was feeling irritatingly horny today. It’s a peculiar horniness that I hate. One which seems to have become more common over the last few years, and I suspect is largely down to the lack of sexual contact with another person. [Ed: These latter details were nor shared by AM this morning. Just mention of the irritating horniness he felt.] My Wife was surprisingly sympathetic, acknowledging that the frustration I feel adds a layer that She does not experience, and that She needs to be aware of that. The paradox for me, I said, is that I can conceive that I might find it easier to fuck than share a sofa with Her – they are not necessarily a linear or even parallel. Yet the idea of being more comfortable having sex with my Wife than sharing a sofa is deeply complex. She even postulated that perhaps it is worth considering whether We should think more actively about getting back into the same bed. And I dare say, Dear Reader, that’s as surprising to you as it was to me.

Something from the conversation that, for me, was quite profound, was that my Wife talked also about trying to be more self aware when She gets stressed, realise when She is letting that impact on the rest of the family, and understanding when it would be of benefit for Her just to have some space. I can’t tell you, Dear Reader, how much of a relief it is to hear Her talk about self reflection. That’s not to suggest She hasn’t been self reflective before, but She has rarely been openly self critical. Maybe that introspection might even extend to consideration of Her own, somewhat constrained sexuality? [Ed: Baby steps, AM. Baby steps!]

Add to that, She currently seems surprisingly prepared to take account of how prohibitive a sexless marriage is for me. And by association, Us. That my sexual needs might be important. It is almost unsettling to have sex as a real part of the conversation, let alone be an influential factor.

Having walked We walked a considerable distance, there was much other discussion, and thankfully a significant portion was just insignificant chat about hedgerows and dog-walkers and breakfast cereal. You can talk too much about the hard stuff. However, the thing to take away from all of it is that We are spending time together, not fighting and, as per the adage that a good marriage needs work and communication, We do finally seem to be communicating and actually starting to work at making this one work.

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