Monday, September 18, 2017

The Bizarre Trajectory of My Sugar Daddy Journey

I awoke this morning wondering what the hell I did to find myself in the bizarre, albeit highly enviable place I'm in today. My wife of nearly 20 years, who for the last nine years, five months, and 29 days didn't really care if she ever had sex again, and had, in fact, suggested I find a girlfriend to have sex with, was now actively involved in helping me find a girlfriend with whom I could have regular sex.

The last five days have provided no shortage of "WTF?" moments. The first was Jade's disappearance from my life, again, after so enthusiastically telling me that she'd really like to have sex with DW and me. The day after my last post, I was able to reach Jade. "I've changed my mind, sorry, hun" was the text I got. She wasn't going to get away with that being the end of it, of course. "I thought so, typical of you," came my response. She sidestepped that dig, and rather than expand on her first text, she evidently told the truth: "I have to go back [to NY]."

So, it really wasn't that she changed her mind, it was that she couldn't do it after all because she had to return to New York, for whatever reason. Now that I had the truth, I didn't need to be hard on her.  "Too bad, would've been fun," I wrote, and she agreed.

I got stoned that night and texted her at 11 pm that we should have a goodbye fuck before she left, but she didn't answer that at all. We chatted briefly over the weekend, but I didn't bother asking what was up that required her to return to New York just a couple of weeks after she'd left. I left her with this: "I'm very disappointed that you're leaving again. My wife said yes to this [new arrangement] and you were my first choice.  I can't help but feel like this is a stinging loss. You're fucking amazing, but we just can't connect. I wish I could be a good enough reason for you to come back, but I know that I'm not."  She didn't respond.  Her plane left this morning.

Another strange twist came late last week.  I came home early from work and asked DW if I could show her the sugar website where I'd put up a profile. I had sent her the text of the profile (who we are, what we're looking for) earlier in the day, but she hadn't really had time to read it. Once she read it, she had some questions, particularly around her confusion that there would be a financial consideration given to our "girlfriend." "Isn't that like prostitution?" she asked. I responded quietly and carefully: "Well, you know I've been with 'sex workers' in the past, so I have some thought about the differences. I think they're pretty significant, but you might disagree. First, a sex worker usually doesn't mind if she doesn't see her client again. It's a transaction, buying a service. These arrangements are like creating semi-relationships with these women. The whole idea is something ongoing and regular." That seemed to clarify things for her, but she also asked why she was getting money when we were also giving her something she wanted (i.e., sex). "These girls are not in need of sexual services, babe," I said. "They can find anyone they want. We're looking for something very specific, and it's not something you can just find at some store, or in an online personal ad. They want to pay bills, or pay off student loans, and they're fine with trading sexual companionship to do it." "Well," DW pressed, "isn't that actual prostitution?" "Not really. With a prostitute, so long as you have the required cash, and you're not obviously creepy and disgusting, you're going to get sex.  With an arrangement, there needs to be attraction and chemistry. Again, it's like dating, but less complicated and with no hidden agendas." She was then satisfied.  I then pulled up the website on her laptop, and gave her the login information so she could look at things herself, on her own time.  I showed her our profile, our private pics (she didn't like one of them so I removed it and replaced it with one she'd had on her laptop), how to search, and how to access the inbox for messages. As luck would have it, there were five messages for her to read, including one from Rose. There was one other among the five that she liked, but she really liked Rose, both her profile and her pictures. She seemed actually attracted to her, making a comment about her figure ("nice boobs"). She said, "Let's send her a note saying we want to meet," which meant she wanted me to write it and send it. A few exchanges later, and we had her phone number and a date for a first meet.  Later, when in the bathroom washing my hands, I just looked at myself in the mirror and said, "Dude, your life has really fucking changed." I knew I was going to have sex pretty soon with Rose, with DW in the same bed, naked and involved to some extent. Am I dreaming???

DW had actually sent me a Google calendar invite with the heading "Meet Potential Girlfriend." I laughed out loud! We had a moment alone over the weekend while she was scrolling through Facebook, where I shared with her how surreal that invitation seemed to me. She never lifted her eyes off her screen, and just sort of shrugged and said, "How else should I describe it?"

Another incredibly surreal thing was that DW suggested that we could redirect the funds we were spending on counseling into this new girl's allowance. "We could transition," I said. "Makes sense if things are working out with the girl. But we'll be done with [our therapist] in six weeks anyway."  That she's thinking about this is almost too much to deal with.

Finally, it hit me a day or so ago, as I was sitting in the office that DW and I share, looking at the sugar website: she could walk in here right now and I wouldn't get in trouble for having this website open on my browser. For years I've hid all this activity, and I don't have to anymore. This was exactly what I had hoped to achieve. I don't have to hide anymore. In fact, I can show her someone I like and get her opinion!

So, as of today, we've been viewed nearly 100 times, favorite 40 times, and received over 30 messages, either as openers or as replies to messages I've sent.  We have four POTS:

Rose: early 30s, light brown hair, in a committed and open relationship. Very cute, and DW seems attracted to her.  Meet scheduled next week.  Very likely she'll be the one, but one never knows.
Violet: early 30s, light brown hair, big toothy smile, average body, east coaster, lives about an hour away. DW likes her, but no meet scheduled yet.
April: late 20s, dark brown hair, tall-ish, looks like porn star April O'Neil (Google her) but not as busty, nerdy look that I like.  Lives about an hour away. Has some experience with threesomes but isn't "in the lifestyle." No meet scheduled, have to consult with DW first.
Jenna: late 20s, dark brown hair, petite like DW, looks like she could be a Kardashian, very curvy. Lives close by. She may be too upscale for us given her profile, but I'll pass her by DW and get the low-down.

There are two others, both Latina, both dark hair, both late 20s, and both at least an hour away. One is kind of too chunky for me, and one is really hot, but hasn't been responsive with messages even though we've exchanged numbers.  There were others who were about 25 years old or younger, but DW decided that they were too close in age to our kids to make that appealing.  I agree.

I think I'll handle this differently than I've handled things with my own girls. If Rose and DW don't click, we'll move to the next one. But again, I'll ask DW if she doesn't mind juggling a couple at a time to see who works out.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Open Marriage Watch: Countdown Over, We Have Ignition! Part II

In my last post I started talking about how DW has finally agreed to bring another woman into bed with us.  It's got hints of polyamory, so I'll be calling it "poly-lite." 

As of today, I've set up profiles on the Sugar Daddy website and OpenMinded.com, which is a Brandon Wade-owned site that, at first glance, looked promising. A site dedicated to people seeking partners in the poly lifestyle.  However, once I set up the profile and did a search, I saw less than two dozen profiles within my search criteria that had visited the site since 2014!  Obviously a dud, so I pulled that profile down and focused on the Sugar Daddy site.

And so far, it's been pretty amazing.  The profile had some choice tidbits in there, most notably the fact that my wife knows I'm on the site and will be a full participant in the arrangement. Further, I said we were totally green at this and wanted someone patient and fully open-minded.  This morning, I discussed it with DW before we left for work. While she didn't flinch at the cost of membership on the site, she wasn't sure she wanted to go the sugar route because of the allowance factor. I said, "You have to understand, honey, it's really the way things are now with single women meeting up with married men or couples. They all want money, whether it's on a sugar website, or a swinger's website, or even Tinder. If they don't want money, then there's something else they want."  "What's that?" she asked. "They want to break up the marriage, which in a way is a play for money, isn't it?" She saw my point and understood that it would cost money. To be completely honest, I fully expected DW to balk 100% at the idea of having to invest money in a sexual partner, and that she'd see sugaring as a form of prostitution, but she understood my explanations.  

I added that I'll be paying for the cost of the arrangement, but she said that she didn't think that was fair that I'd have to work a second job to come up with the cash needed. "I don't mind it, babe," I replied, "at least until my income stabilizes. I don't think it will be very long."  Meanwhile, maybe I won't have to contribute the full cost.  Finally, we have a dedicated date night now when the kids are taking some night classes. Gives us time to meet for dinner with our prospective partner and/or have some fun at our home.

So, in my search criteria, I put that I was looking for non-smoking women 28-40, 5'9" or under, within 50 miles of home, with slim to average builds, who were not seeking tons of allowance, and of any race but African American.  I got over 2,000 results, with more than 80 who had visited the site in the past hour! Since my profile was approved, we have been viewed more than 30 times, and we've received five messages. 

Included in those messages was one that I solicited. No, it wasn't Jade.

Right after I'd gotten DW's consent to start looking for partners, I texted Jade to let her know it was on, and to ask to have a short phone conversation the next morning. We set up a time to talk.  I called at the agreed-upon time, but got her voice mail, then a text asking if she could call me in another couple of hours.  That time came and went, and since then I've four more texts in the past 24 hours. I can't believe that her phone was either lost or destroyed in the two hours between my phone call and the time she was supposed to call me, so my only conclusion is that she's decided not to move ahead and now she's fucking ghosting me. Glad I figured that out early, so now I can move on from her. Again.

My idea for the solicited message came when I was scrolling through the website's available talent, and coming across Rose, with whom Mel and I had had a fantastic threesome last year. Rose was in a poly relationship, was fully bisexual, and her profile was written specifically for couples. So with Jade gone, Rose is a perfect choice. 

There were four others who have contacted me, and once I discuss our profile with DW, I'll pay for the membership and we'll review the messages.

 

Open Marriage Watch: Countdown Over, We Have Ignition! -- Part I

Our therapist surprised both of us at our last session, suggesting that we each of us seek individual therapy rather than couples therapy.  She cited DW's high stress level and overall fears around what I was suggesting, and thought I could use some help dealing with the frustration of waiting for DW to come around.  Her reasoning, though somewhat convincing and sound enough, didn't get past either of our desires to continue with couples therapy. For DW, she said that stress was something she lived with every day and this would just be a little more than usual, but if we could resolve the issue at hand, things might ease up somewhat.  To her credit, the therapist was more than willing to continue with us together.

We were a little late to the session, so we got right down to business. I made a strong push for a fully open marriage, saying that this was about trust, not sex, although obviously sex was the way we would test that trust. DW, on the other hand, was just not ready to go down that route.  Her trust level isn't there to consent to having me fuck other women with her not there. She returned to her earlier suggestion that we bring in a partner who could be with both of us.  She said that, as we've been engaging more with each other, she's discovering things about what she likes sexually that she hadn't ever noticed before (such as having her perineum stimulated). But pretty much, for now, she's put her foot down and refused to go along with a fully open marriage.  She said that if that was what I really wanted, there was no point to continue counseling. Jesus, she had stolen my own argument and used it on me! 

I was faced with a dilemma. On one hand, she was trusting me enough to allow a woman to come into our bed and have sex with both of us. I asked her, point blank, "How are you going to feel seeing me having intercourse with someone right in front of you?" The therapist credited me for being present enough with the gravity of what DW was suggesting to ask that question. "I don't really know," DW replied, adding that she just couldn't connect with how she'd feel until it was actually happening. Honest to some degree, but really a stall more than anything. It told me that it was a very touchy area and to tread lightly. "I think it's important to talk this out because we need to be solid with our sexuality together before we allow someone to join us," I said. "Do you feel that we're solid?" "We're getting there," she said. So this, to me, was a really positive step in the right direction.

On the other hand, I was pretty certain that when push came to shove, DW would try to put the brakes on it. So I decided to push a little further: "Let's say we take this step and we find someone we both like, and we give it a try, but you aren't into it as much as you thought, or even as much as I am. If I want to continue with this girl, are you going to say no?"  She said, again, that she's not ready to see me go off and have sex with someone without her. She believes that it's just not something she's comfortable with yet.  She did use the word "yet" so that gave me some hope that she'll continue to remain open as we take this journey.

My term around sex -- one of the things that defines me as a man -- is that I'm a very sexual man and I deserve a thrilling, rewarding, passionate sex life. There's nothing in that term that says I have to have that sex life with someone other than DW.  My whole argument all along has been my belief that DW doesn't have either the desire or the skills to give me what I want or need. But with DW going along with a threesome (!) is pretty fucking hot.  I have no idea how she'll react at the moment, but if she goes along and drops her guard enough, she could discover something quite revolutionary about herself. In any event, I'll go along with this for now because it would mean I'd get to have intercourse with another woman.  All the same, a little cannabis will be a good thing for all of us to get that started.

We briefly continued the conversation at home. I must have asked her six different ways if she was sure she was OK with what she was suggesting, to the point where she got frustrated with me. I was just giving her any and every chance to re-examine it and consider her actions. I brought up the different ways  we should go looking for someone, and assured her that I would bear the cost of it without taking any money from our family. Of course, most of this would be a ruse. My first choice is Jade, who is more than willing to do this with both of us. I did hold open the possibility, however, that DW would not find Jade suitable for us. She'll have to have input in this decision since she'll be involved. But I feel fairly confident that I can convince DW to give Jade a try.  At the end of our conversation, I said, "I'm gonna get started tonight." DW gave me a stressed smile and said, "OK."

--- to be continued...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Open Marriage Watch: Darkness Creeps In

Today will mark eleven weeks since DW and I began talking about redefining our marriage to include non-monogamy.  During that time, we've discussed the basis of our incompatibility, the introduction of a second woman in our bed, the possibility that an extramarital partner can also become a friend, and the introduction of alternative means to have sex with each other. Jade has returned from traveling and wants to resume an arrangement with me, and I can't see a good reason to say no. And, predictably, I've reached a point where, because Jade is ready and available, I am starting to push hard to resolve this issue.

Having a non-monogamous relationship makes perfect sense to me. For one thing, DW is really not all that interested in sex, while I love it. She's engaging in sexual play with me not because she wants it for herself, but mostly because she knows I want it, and she's worried about my seeking that fulfillment with other women. For another, I know that there is a zero-percent chance that Jade, or any other woman for that matter, could or would ever replace DW. On that point, however, I will say this: if DW continues to resist the idea of an open marriage, her worry will actually come true, as I will eventually find my way to another woman, as a single man.

This is where the darkness is starting to creep in. I don't think I can be any more plain about what I want, but in all this time I've stopped short of saying that if she can't trust me to put her first and keep her safe, and if she can't support me in being the man I want to be, then there's no point in continuing counseling, and we might as well start seeing lawyers instead of therapists. From the beginning, since before we started counseling and I was seeing a therapist myself, I've maintained that if DW can't work around my terms and accept and support me for who I am, then I'll have to leave the marriage. It may not happen right away, but eventually I can't remain in a marriage where my wife continues to think I'm going to betray her.  Some people might argue that ten months is not enough time for her to get over what I did, but in my view, the biggest thing she has to get over is the way she contributed to the problem, not my actions. I did what I did in reaction to her shutting down, both sexually and emotionally. I have never, ever been shy about telling her how displeased I was with our sex life, even before she said she didn't care if she ever had sex again, and suggested that I find a girlfriend, nearly ten years ago. Her response, nearly every time, was along the lines of, "I'm sorry, but I'm so stressed and tired, I have nothing left at the end of the day for you." From that day nearly ten years ago, our sex life went from boring and dispassionate, to boring and almost nonexistent, to painful and actually nonexistent. I certainly took care of myself over those years, and I won't pretend here that it never happened, but I never stopped trying to work things out with DW, and I even pressed her to consider open marriage more than five years ago. But again, she would just shut the discussion down and refused to talk any more about it. Since I knew I was continuing to show up for her and the kids even while I was seeing other women, I eventually just carried on and took care of my needs.

Today we have another session with the therapist. I'll continue to probe for answers to my questions, particularly around her worries about what an extramarital arrangement looks like in her mind. What she has to hear from me is that I envision nothing changing between us. Safety, putting her first, and showing up like the loving husband that I am.  That's my mantra. If she can't see it now, she might not ever see it.

Monday, September 11, 2017

My Views on Monogamy in One Picture

A picture's worth a thousand words, so let's take this one bullet point at a time.
  • Normalization of Jealousy -- In a therapy session last week, DW told me she was jealous of the time I spend with my male friends, doing fun things that I could be doing with my family. "I want you to do that stuff with your family, and with me."  My response? "I get that you love me and want to spend time together. If you look at the stuff we do together, most of it's fun. But, really, I am not responsible for your feelings of jealousy. You have nothing to be jealous of." See what I did there? I actually fell into this trap.  I conflated jealousy and love, as if the expression of jealousy is a natural by-product of romantic love. It isn't. Jealousy is a by-product of lack of self-esteem and of a lack of gratitude for the blessings in one's life. I need to remember this the next time I encounter jealousy in any fashion.
  • Love Intensely Enough, and Incompatibility Goes Away -- DW and I are living proof that this doesn't work. I am madly in love with her, but it doesn't erase how sexually incompatible we are. My sexual makeup overwhelms DW, and while I love being sexual with her, DW's sexual palette eventually bores me. No amount of love for each other is going to be enough to erase that reality.
  • Meet 100% of Needs, or Be Labeled Inadequate or Needy -- I occasionally battle these feelings, but for the most part, I love the idea of DW satisfying her needs independently from me. I'd go so far as to say that if she had the need to satisfy a sexual need with another man, then I'd be OK with it so long as we discussed it up front and both understood why she felt this way. I might struggle with it initially, but I can't ask the same of her if I'm not willing to do the same.
  • Love Intensely Enough so No One Else is Attractive -- This is utter bullshit. I remember my first wife would rip me a new one if she caught me so much as glancing at another woman. My response was always something like, "Being married doesn't rob me of my eyesight. If I see an attractive woman, I'm going to look."  The truth is, we are going to see people throughout our lives who are attractive to us. Beauty is everywhere, including in people. Indulge beauty, always.
  • Commitment is Synonymous with Exclusivity -- I've proven this isn't true for over nine years. Nothing more to be said about it.
  • Marriage/Children are Natural Outgrowths of Commitment -- Enough people have kids outside of committed relationships to render this untrue. Marriage and children and committed relationships are mutually exclusive, though they can easily and frequently intersect.
  • Insecurity is Your Partner's Responsibility Rather Than Your Own -- Utter rubbish.
  • Your Value to a Partner Rises and Falls with How Much Time and Energy Spent on You, and That Value Must Trump All Else -- If we enter into committed relationships looking to be completed by our partners, then of course we are going to think that if our partners spend less time nurturing us and building us up, we are going to feel less valuable to them. But really, we can't and shouldn't enter into committed relationships unless we're already complete. What better reason to become involved with another person than because together we're greater than we are as individuals? In other words, we enter as complete people, with as few needs of the other as possible, and build something bigger. Further, my direct experience tells me that whenever a couple's attention is dominated by talking about and maintaining couplehood, it's a recipe for boredom and early break-up.
  • Your Self-Value Depends on How Your Partner Values You -- This sort of relates to the previous bullet point. When we are complete people we don't need validation as much as when we're searching for some other person to complete us. I think this comes with time, to be honest. When I was young, fitting in and being included in an in-group was all-consuming. Once I hit a certain age, however, I really did stop caring that much about how people viewed me. There will never be a shortage of people who think I'm an asshole, just and there will never be a shortage of people who think I'm the coolest person ever. It just doesn't matter if I am comfortable in my own skin. Even in a committed relationship, your partner's opinions of you have nothing to do with you, but everything to do with your partner. You're not responsible for their opinions, or their feelings, or the baggage they bring to the relationship. You control what you control: trust and support. With trust and support, love flourishes and attraction thrives. Without them, you've really got nothing, don't you?
Finally I want to address the title; specifically "monogamy." For the past several months, I've struggled with how best to discuss my feelings about monogamy with DW. I'll admit to being afraid that if she knew that I believe monogamy to be something that I don't really value, that will mean the end of the marriage, because I think DW values monogamy almost more than anything else. And that's tied up in some serious issues of insecurity and low self-esteem. I believe DW sees that my commitment to her and the marriage requires monogamy, and I don't see it that way. I've already proven that over the last nine-plus years.  From my first posts nearly five years ago, you can see that I'm madly in love with DW and I have fucked dozens of other women at the same time. Some people think that renders me detached from reality, or defective, or a hypocrite. None of that is true. The truth is, most people never really ask themselves why monogamy is required in a committed relationship. They've just blindly accepted the societal proscription of sexual non-monogamy once two people make a commitment to partner for life. I certainly did! I thought there was something wrong with me for wanting to fuck other women while I was committed to a wife or a girlfriend. I spent years, and lots of money, examining that. But then I found myself nearly ten years into a marriage I knew would be for life, with two young kids, facing the possible end of sexual relations with my wife. When I started the process of being a sugar daddy, I did it solely to ensure that I'd continue to have sex even when I couldn't rely on DW to be sexual. And it wasn't until my three-year journey with C/Hayden when I woke up to the fact that there was absolutely nothing wrong with doing what I was doing, and that my sexuality is not something that a committed relationship can contain.

My reality today is that, even if DW discovered that she liked everything  sexual that I liked and wanted to do it, except for penetrative sex, I'd want to have sex with other women. If she liked it all and  wanted penetration as well, I'd want to have sex with other women, whether in threesomes with DW or on my own, of a combination of both.

This is what needs to come out or else I actually will be a hypocrite.

OK that was over 1,200 words, but still worth it.

Friday, September 8, 2017

RIP H.C.: an Unexpected, Devastating Curveball

In my last post I wrote: 

We don't have the same tastes in food, for example, and when I want to go to a new restaurant and do "foodie" stuff, I have a buddy I go with and we have a great time.

My "foodie" friend died, tragically, yesterday morning, after a brief battle with cancer. He was in the hospital recovering from surgery to remove the cancerous parts that were left after chemo and radiation. He told me just the other day that he was feeling very optimistic about being released soon, and had gotten up out of bed for the first time and walked that same day.

But his wife posted on Facebook three days ago that he'd had a particularly rough weekend, so I was worried, and then came the news yesterday, with DW's phone call to me in the car, around dinnertime. A complication from surgery, she said, not the cancer itself. All I could think of was his wife and their child, who was just in third grade.  He was so young and such a devoted father to that kid; I can't imagine what his family is going through right now.

Life is so precious, and so brief. We think someone who dies at a ripe old age has lived a long time. It's a fucking blip, to be honest, no matter how long we're on this earth. I experience it every time I look at my kids and notice how much they've grown since the last time I looked at them. I remember holding them when they were born, and I could hold them with their feet in the crook of my elbow and their heads in the palm of my hand. Like a little squirming football.  And now my older kid is half a head taller than DW and just a few inches shorter than I am.  The "little" one will be taller than DW next year.

H.C. and I were looking forward to getting back to our semi-regular restaurant crawl, checking out new places, or turning each other onto old places we'd been to before. It wasn't necessarily high-end culinary experiences; one place was just a great burger joint and bar. They were just places with memorable food and drink, where we could sit and shoot the shit about our wives, our kids, politics, books, cooking, and getting older. Unfortunately, H.C. won't be getting older anymore, and that's just wrong.

So I'm just a little stunned, a little numb, and very, very sad today. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Open Marriage Watch: This Is It

The time is here.

DW and I have been in counseling now for about eight months. During that time we have rebuilt our way of communicating with each other. This rebuilding has led to a renewal of our trust for one another. This renewed trust has, in turn, enabled us to share with each other some of the more painful and intimate aspects of our relationship, and to approach topics that have, until now, been swept under the rug because they were either too sensitive or too liable to push our buttons. (Of course, the fact that I engaged in sugar dating for more than eight years with 52 separate partners, including one three-year relationship with someone I actually loved, is something that will never come up in any setting, because I'm not fucking crazy, yo!)

We have about eight weeks left before our therapist completes her internship and moves on. There's been talk of bringing in her senior therapist/advisor to transition to him/her once she leaves, but I think that both DW and I would like to wrap things up before then. The rapport with the current therapist has been good and she's been really adept at breaking the tension with gentleness.  I always leave sessions feeling better than when I arrived.

Since there is so little time left, I've decided to press ahead today with resolving our sexual incompatibility issue. The prospect of resuming an arrangement with Jade is playing a part in this decision, of course, but it's also because I think the pace of our sexual re-engagement has been slow. Too slow for my liking. Not to take anything away from how much I've enjoyed re-discovering our sexual connection. 

Any step DW takes toward my side of the sexual divide is welcome, and we're having some fun with it. Since she can't handle penetration right now, we've tried something else. I'll lube both of us up really well and then I'll rub my cock against her clit and pussy lips. We do this in a modified missionary position, with me on my knees and her legs as spread as possible and resting on my chest or shoulders, so that we can get just the right angle that feels best for us.  The last time we did this, she came very close to a climax, which almost never happens during regular intercourse. She told me that at the angle we had, she felt the rubbing against her anus and that she found herself even more turned on. A new discovery for her, which I loved, and I told her how proud of her I was.

But here's how I see this new thing we're doing: for us, it's a great substitute for actual penetrative sex, but for me, it's not a substitute for penetrative sex. We could have a great time doing this, and I love how it feels, and it makes me come, but I'm still going to want actual penetration to feel satisfied.  To say nothing of oral sex, porn, mutual masturbation, threesomes, light BDSM, toys, and so on. I want all of that, too. DW can join me in all of that, but I'm still going to want to have sex with another woman.

So today's session is going to start with my acknowledging all of this, and then asking her to reveal her concerns and fears about doing this. After all, we've had nearly 20 years of being sexual one way, and it hasn't really worked out, so it's reasonable to experiment with a different way.  Besides, it isn't even really about the sex, but about her trust in me. If she trusts me unconditionally then so long as I don't put her or the kinds in any kind of danger or jeopardy, this new sexual dynamic should be no problem. In any long-term, committed relationship, there has to be unconditional trust or the relationship can't survive. Of course, she'll see these as only words, but the only way for me to demonstrate that my actions back up my words is for me to take action.

A final thought about sexual incompatibility. Sexuality is only one of several areas where I find that we are incompatible. We don't have the same tastes in food, for example, and when I want to go to a new restaurant and do "foodie" stuff, I have a buddy I go with and we have a great time. We also have much different tastes in music. While I gladly go to some of her favorite artists' concerts, she doesn't like the music I really like, so when I want to see an artist I really like, I have buddies to go with me, including my older kid, who loves my music. DW wouldn't ever be concerned about my going to restaurants or concerts with food or music buddies.  I don't see why sex has to be so fraught with peril just because I am having it with a woman. DW has expressed concern that I could find a woman who meets all my needs and give me great sex, but this is rather insulting to me. I mean, I've had momentary thoughts about what life would be like if I were with C/Hayden, or Jade, but they've only been thoughts and nothing more. I've never seriously considered taking action on those thoughts, and I never will.  I'm old, gray, and have a permanent dad bod! Plus, I'm happily married! I'm simply not available for anything except short-term recreational sexual relationships. Any indication that I or my partner wanted something more, and I'd have to end that relationship. It's a matter of my commitment to my wife and family, and that's also something that I've never felt the need to, and never would feel the need to, compromise.

My primary concern is her feeling safe, but I won't compromise on my sexual terms any longer. I've been very patient, and now it's time to act. This is it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

On Playing With Fire

All day yesterday, and into the night, I was having a "What the fuck am I doing?" crisis. Jade was coming back to town today, and I'd offered to pick her up and drive her to a friend's house before heading into the office. It added 40 extra miles to my drive today, and I kind of hate driving. So there was that. Plus, I was seeing Jade after two years of zero contact.  Like I said, What the fuck am I doing?

But at 8:00 a.m. today, as I was heading to my office after dropping my kid off at school, I got Jade's text that she'd just landed, half an hour early, and would meet me outside baggage claim so I could just drive up and get her. I arrived to the airport about 25 minutes later.

As I popped the trunk and got out of the car, we just ran into each other's arms and hugged a deep, satisfying hug. With her bag stowed, I quickly pulled out of the terminal and began the long drive to her temporary place.

The inside of my car provided the perfect place to have a private conversation to get caught up. I listened to her stories of what she'd been doing to make money and all the assorted dramas that were orbiting her at the moment, which were more than a few, including the fact that on the flight back, during a layover, she'd been robbed of her wallet and had been calling all over to cancel credit cards and connect with the DMV to get a new driver's license. (There is always something borderline tragic going on with Jade.)  Not going to go into too many details, but over the past two years she flitted back and forth between the west coast and the east coast and in between, working with friends and former lovers in various businesses.  She gave up her art, which had been a source of stress, but found success and peace in helping others achieve what she lacked the means and strength to do herself.  She spent time rekindling old flames, only to see them become untenable and toxic situations, which now necessitated her returning to the west coast.

With her stories done, I caught her up on everything that had happened since our lunch together in 2015, from my arrangement with Staci, to my soul-crushing attempt to begin something with Red, to my brief but amazing time with Aussie, and then to my intense but interrupted time with Mel. Jade's jaw dropped when I told her how DW had found out about my activities, and was intrigued at the idea of resuming an arrangement with me with DW's full knowledge. She even said she'd be down to have sex with both of us. I wasn't ready to go there, so I shot that shit down right away, which made her laugh. Jade has a great big, happy laugh that makes me smile.

The stories weren't over, and we didn't really want to stop talking, so we pulled up to a Starbucks and got a couple of teas and sat for about half an hour. We talked mostly about sex and sexuality, and how silly it is that people make sex out to be more important than everything in a relationship. It's as important as everything, of course, but not more important than everything, and if someone in a serious relationship thinks it is more important, then that's a fucked-up relationship that needs help. Meanwhile, Jade told me that she hadn't had sex in three months and was carrying around a little pink vibrator in her purse with spare batteries because she was climbing the walls with horniness.

Throughout my whole time with Jade, I pretty much held it together. I tried to kiss her in the car while at a stop light, but she said she hadn't brushed her teeth and felt disgusting. We both really, really wanted to fuck each other's brains out, and we will at some point, but she had her period and I was not going there either. 

The sexual energy has never abated between us, and that feels great, but I have to continue inspecting her to see if she's mentally capable of handling a mature arrangement with me. With her, I always feel like I'm lighting a match and holding it close to a big bundle of other matches, seeing how close I can get without lighting all the other matches in a big burst of flame that singes my hair, my clothes, and everything else. Also, the initial match is inevitably going to burn my fingers, and I know it, but I'm so far willing to endure the pain.

After a brief kiss at the drop off, I sent her a text on the way back to my office:

I'm just going to throw this out there, so please feel free to tell me to fuck off. I don't know what my timeline is for being fully available to resume our arrangement. Since neither of us has had sex in such a long time, do you think that we could just get together next week once or twice and fuck each other's brains out? I would only be to get the release that we both need.
She said she preferred starting our arrangement "asap because I honestly need some financial help."

Well, that just accelerated my efforts to work things through with DW.  I honestly don't know what will come of this. I'm not going to jeopardize my marriage right now when things are still fragile.  I can be patient and wait a little longer, so that may make a reunion with Jade impossible. Eventually, though, we'll need to come up with a solution that honors my terms.

Monday, August 28, 2017

On The Compression of Time

In less than two days, I will be picking Jade up from the airport and driving her to her friend's house, where she will stay for a week or so until her new place is available.  I offered to do this because I want to see Jade again.  There is no need to test the waters with her; she wants to resume an arrangement with me.  I have been intentionally vague with her about that, and have told her it's because I have a story to tell her and want her to be fully informed before she decides for sure.  Plus, I'm buying myself more time so that I can pave the way with DW to begin a non-monogamous period in our marriage. It's essential that it happen, even if just for a short period of time.

As Jade and I have exchanged texts over my work cell phone, I've noticed how time seems to have disappeared in just a few days.  I haven't seen Jade in more than two years.  Since our lunch in the summer of 2015, I've had three short arrangements -- Staci, Aussie, and Mel -- seen a number of others just once or twice -- College, Gemini, Fleur, Rachel, No-name, Natalie, KC, Chic, and MJ -- and had two frustrating false starts with Leah and Red.  Further, I've spent the past seven-plus months in therapy with DW repairing our relationship and healing the wounds that have gone untended for the past nine years.  And yet, even with all of that, seeing Jade will compress all of that into a little folder and make it seem like just yesterday when I gazed at her lovely face.

"I think we should get together for soup and sex," she texted me this morning. "Bullshit," I replied, "I know you're joking because you said 'soup.'"

The slope is slippery, but I will keep my feet under me.  I will not have sex with Jade unless and until DW consents to an open marriage.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

On Rejecting Offers of a Blow Job from One's Wife

Greetings, all. Been a bit busy of late, with school starting here and business picking up for me.  Not much time to write these days.

So about the title of this post: a few weeks ago, while the kids were away at camp, DW and I were in the shower and things got a little steamy.  She knelt down and took my cock in her mouth for about five seconds before I stopped her (albeit in the gentlest way possible).  It made me happy that she said she enjoyed doing it.  Later, over this past weekend, as the sun was coming up, DW rolled over, stroked me till I was hard (took about three seconds), and started to try to give me a blow job before I stopped her again.  This time it was because I didn't feel clean.

These two explanations for why I told DW not to blow me were superficial. The truth was I didn't want to go there with her because she really isn't good at giving head.  It goes beyond my being large and her mouth being small. I've been with small women who were masterful at sucking dick. It's just that she has never really learned how to do this, or ever really expressed a willingness to get better at it, despite my offers to teach her (or have someone else teach her).  I appreciate the steps DW is taking to become more sexual with me.  But I need to tell you the following story to put them into context.

The morning before our shower session, DW and I went to an estate sale and purchased a beautiful rug at a ridiculously low price.  A total score. We got the thing home, vacuumed it clean, and then moved all the furniture to take out the rug we were replacing.  Once we got the rug the furniture in place, we realized that the furniture, which we'd had for years and years and had long ago become eyesores after being destroyed by two crazy kids, needed to be replaced. We'd talked about it for years, but never felt it was time to pull the trigger on new furniture so long as the kids were too likely to spill shit on it.  Now that they were teens, however, we decided to pull the trigger and buy new furniture. We were laughing and excited and that carried into the shower. Her choice to try to give me a blow job was not prompted by anything special that I did or said. She was just being spontaneous.

Later that afternoon, we hit the road to shop not only for a new sofa, one that would survive our kids and the dog, but new clothes for both of us. It was an afternoon of being completely free and unhurried, with no obligations to the kids and no concerns about spending money. You have to understand how major this is, because DW is about the most frugal person ever. As it was, most of the clothes we bought were purchased with gift cards she'd received as birthday and holiday presents over the past several years. Everything I bought was discounted at least 40 percent. Despite the fact that we are again making good money, we are always going to be bargain hunters (see rug purchase above).

After shopping we had a leisurely lunch, then decided to head over to the furniture stores. We were hit with major sticker shock, as the average price for what we were looking at was about $5,000.  Five grand for a sofa that would likely be permanently damaged in less than five years didn't seem like a good choice, so we headed over to another store we'd heard about that makes custom furniture for very reasonable prices. We found what we liked, but didn't buy it because DW wanted to shop some more before making a decision. After all, it would take several weeks to be delivered and that gave us (meaning HER) a lot of time to think it over. No big deal, I thought, but it'll get done.

We then went out to dinner near the beach and froze our asses off when the clouds decided to roll in.  But we were still laughing and having a great time.  We then went searching for that elusive industrial-strength lube because we were going to try having sex that night.  We went into a sex shop in our neighborhood and quickly found what we wanted, but we still looked around so DW could check out the dildos, vibrators, and lingerie.  To be honest, I tried to steer her away from the lingerie, which I think happened because I don't think I'll ever have as wonderful an experience shopping for lingerie as the one I'd had with C/Hayden nearly seven years ago.

After the saleswoman showed DW a couple of high-tech vibrators, she decided we were done with that shop.  We paid for the lube and went home.

In bed, we played around a lot, and I eventually went down on her.  This was the first time I'd been able to do this in about three years, so I went very slowly.  I wasn't going to rush this at all.  I'd kept in good practice during those years of being with my Sugar Babies (Audrey, Mouse, Staci, College, Rachel, No-name, Natalie, Sam, KC, Aussie, Gemini, Chic, Mel, and Lia), and I put those skills to good use with DW.  When she gets turned on, her hips start to rock. Sometimes, when I'm going down on her, they rock so much I have to hold her still so I can do my thing, but this time I just let her go and kept myself still. Looking up at DW, I could see she was totally into what I was doing.  She whispered, over and over, "Oh my god. Oh my god," and it seemed as though there was not a little hint of surprise in her voice that she was going there.  When she came, her body completely tensed up, and that's when I held her still.  She was soaking wet and we agreed that we'd still need the lube.

I got it out and we tested it on our fingers.  It was indeed quite slippery, not sticky, and I thought it was a great buy.  I rubbed in on her lips and put a finger inside her, then two. She enjoyed that a lot.  We agreed that I should try to enter her, and I got on top of her. We made it as far as the head of my penis before she had me pull out. It was still quite painful. That was the last time we tried to have sex.

We'll try that again, hopefully soon. This morning, DW was on a tear with the kids and had no time to talk to me or anyone because she was just in a foul, foul place.  But she apologized later and agreed that we needed to connect physically again. She misses it.

The ongoing saga.  Meanwhile, Jade and I have been in contact.  Her story is ridiculously complicated, but for now she's back east handling some family stuff and trying to stay safe (her words). I'm questioning her suitability but I'll hold off until I see her next month.  How I'm going to resist fucking her immediately will be very difficult, but I'll succeed.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Reader's Comments

In response to my post two weeks ago, a reader posted a comment:
I do not find it fair that because your needs have changed over time you now expect [your wife] to fulfill them.  She changed too and is willing to go back [to] the way it was but you are not... It might be hard for her to deal with it but just [her] that she isn't enough anymore.  Is it not harder to make her believe that if she has sex with you it will be fine when you know you will always need more? It could drive both [of] you crazy... No sex for months is inhuman already, when you're married it becomes a duty, if she doesn't feel like she can fulfill your needs, but doesn't want a divorce, she should be fine with closing her eyes on your behavior with other women from time to time...
Lots to unpack here.  First, let's establish that my needs have never changed over time. I have always been a highly sexual man with a very healthy sexual appetite. In my earlier years with DW I never shied away from trying to expand her sexual vocabulary and skills to be more in line with what I liked and wanted. This was done while I also worked a 12-step program for sex and love addiction. When my first child was born I left that program, feeling that I was likely not an addict but was in denial that my sexual needs were totally healthy and normal. So what has changed, I guess, is that I have formed a healthier ("sex-positive" if you will) relationship with my sexuality. By then, my relationship to DW had deteriorated over sexuality, culminating in her telling me nearly nine years ago that "I don't care if I ever have sex again" and suggesting that I find a girlfriend for sex outside the marriage. I knew instinctively that she was only testing me to see if I'd actually go through with it, but I also knew that was a very practical solution to staying in a marriage with a woman I deeply loved but who was signaling the end of our sex life together. I kept my mouth shut and started seeing other women, and did so for over eight years until she accidentally caught me. Now that my activities are known to her, there is no going back to secrecy, because I want to stay married.

Second, in our discussions both in and out of counseling of returning to a marriage that involves sex, we never discussed going back to the way it was for us. I won't accept a life that doesn't involve a rewarding and fulfilling expression of my sexuality. I've told her repeatedly, and she's heard me and understood me, that I've accepted her for who she is right now. This means that I'm okay if sex is no longer going to be part of her life, and that it's also no longer going to be part of our life together, but only because sex must be part of my life. If she wants our marriage to be sexual again, that's wonderful, but she has to be on the same page as me. And a totally fulfilling sex life for me must include a willingness to try anything, or at least talk about it. If she doesn't want to participate in certain things, that's fine, but I'm no longer going to restrict myself to being less than satisfied. Part of our marriage surviving has to include her accepting me for this man that I have always been, but have only recently begun to express outwardly. She's not thinking at all that if she has sex with me it will be fine, particularly if her idea of what's acceptable for her is less than what's acceptable for me. She knows very clearly that what she has to offer might not be enough, and in her mind, she's still struggling with whether or not she can live with that in her marriage to me.  If she can, we survive; if she can't, we don't survive.  In a perfect world, we would have had this discussion before getting married or having kids, but the world is messy and we now have to clean up the mess we've both made.

Finally, I disagree with the comment that when two people get married, sex "becomes a duty." That's the last thing it should be. Sex should never be obligatory in any relationship.  In some religious traditions, I can understand that way of thinking. The purpose of marriage is to create families and bring children into the world, so there needs to be sex to make that happen, etc. Also, if sex is only acceptable within a marriage, then sex must be part of that marriage. But times and morals have changed; people have sex before marriage, and outside of marriage, all the time, and no one really has a problem with it. People in committed relationships bring in other partners all the time, and no one really has a problem with it.  To me, sex should always be desired, and never seen as a requirement, in a relationship. As soon as couples have sex because it's an obligation, then I think the emotional connection is damaged. Do that enough times and the emotional connection can become severed, perhaps permanently.

Let me be very clear: I don't require DW to submit to me sexually. I don't require that she do all that I want to do in bed. What I do require is that she accept who I am: that she supports me in being who I want to be (including sexually), and trusts that I will always honor our marriage and relationship no matter what I do. This isn't even about sex.. It's about two complete people creating and nurturing a relationship that in turn nurtures each of us to be the people we've always wanted to be. I'm hoping that DW's journey to come to terms with her sexuality helps her become a more complete woman. It's a big investment for me, of course, with two young kids being part of the picture, so there's a lot at stake.  I'm determined that I'll never give less than 100 percent to this work.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Open Marriage Watch: Week Six

Wait, what happened to week five? We didn't see the therapist last week, and there were no big developments, so I didn't blog.  Plus, I've gotten one or two reader comments that my posts are getting really long-winded, so I'll try to tone that down.

The past weekend, and tonight, in fact, things have gotten very interesting indeed.

First, DW and I were doing our usual sprucing up around the house over the weekend, ahead of our kids leaving for a week to go to summer camp.  They'll only be gone a week or so, but it's great for us to have that time alone together without having the kids around to distract us from each other.  It's been a good thing. Our intimate time had been getting incrementally more intense, and she's been somewhat more willing to be sexual. So this day we were sharing with each other how much we were looking forward to having a whole week alone without the kids. I said, "Think maybe we could try having sex while they're gone?" "Yes," came her reply. "Really?" I asked, kind of blown away. "We can try, I want to try," she said, "but I can't promise anything." I said that I wasn't expecting anything so we could just go really slowly.  That seemed to make her happy. Meanwhile, now I have to go scouting for some really good lube. It's hilarious that this made me think of one of my earlier encounters with Audrey, which, as I recounted in my blog post about it, makes me sound rather prophetic:
I kept her in that position and started to enter her without a condom, but she got up from the bed to get something from her purse.  I figured we'd be using condoms, but she came back with just a bottle of lube.  I forgot the name of it, but it was so much better than the Astroglide I have always used.  I'm going to have to get this stuff the next time I need it at home (in 2017, probably!).  She said she'd gotten in at a sex shop.  
Well, here we are in 2017 and I'm needing lube at home!

Second, yesterday, after the kids were on their way to camp, DW and I were starting one of our annual projects that we do when the kids leave. This project was to de-clutter our kitchen. It was a monumental undertaking, since DW was a collector of things and was almost pathologically incapable of throwing anything away.  I realize that makes her sound like a hoarder but it's not like that at all.  She just has accumulated stuff over the years and as she and I have moved from place to place, we just haven't thrown a lot of it out or repurposed it.  Now, however, there's an online community in our neighborhood that lets us dispose of things that others might want, whether it's free or for a small price. As both of us were feeling somewhat free without having the kids in the house we were joking with each other and kidding around. I got her to laugh out loud a lot! And, at one point, we just grabbed each other and started making out like teenagers. Didn't lead to anything more for the rest of the day, but that was the most passion she'd shown in a long time. And it dawned on me: what turns DW on is laughter, lots of it.  When she feels free to let go and laugh, she's much more likely to be sexual with me. This holds a lot of promise this week for trying to have sex.

As if that weren't enough, there's more. Not less than two previous SBs have come forward and expressed interest in getting together again. First is Sam, sweet Sam, whom I last saw in early 2016. Since that time, she's been told of what happened.  At that time, she was unsure of what to think about it, but in the past four months or so she's come to realize that it's not that big a deal and she's willing to get together again.  The second former SB who wants to see me again is none other than Jade, with whom I had a tumultuous 10-month arrangement in 2013 until I told her off in spectacular fashion.  I apologized for that about 10 months later, and then had lunch with her about two years ago where she expressed an interest in starting up again. I was reluctant, and over the next week or so we made and she broke two dates.  I never committed to sleeping with her at all, just to get caught up.  Then she took something I told her during a moment of reflection and intimacy and she threw it back in my face.  She wasn't hostile about it, but at the time it struck a nerve with me and I hit her hard again. Reading the blog post I wrote about it, I realize that I've been quite touchy around her, and while it hasn't been totally inappropriate, I think I may have been overly sensitive. She did kind of break my heart, but my heart wasn't really all there to give to her, was it?  And it still isn't, especially now.

Jade told me she has a new place -- "a better place, a more private place, with a jacuzzi lol" -- and she invited me to visit her next week and get caught up over a glass of wine. Sounds awesome, but it feels like a trap -- either from her or of my own design. I'd feel wracked with guilt just going over there after I've so openly told DW that there was no longer a benefit to being unfaithful behind her back. I can only imagine getting sexual with Jade the second I walked in her door.  If she and I decide to meet, I'll definitely suggest we meet in public first.  And then I'll have to figure out a way to introduce the idea to DW.  There will have to be a bit of deception around it, but that's the way it goes.  Since Jade and I haven't fucked in over four years it's going to feel like new again.  Perhaps I can convince her to create a new profile on the sugar website so I can find her that way. If that works, then it should be easier.

More to come...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Open Marriage Watch, Week Four: A Game of Inches

I entered this week's counseling session knowing that, with DW on her period, she might be more emotional than normal, and not necessarily in a good way. Typically, when she gets emotional during her period, she can be explosive in anger, inconsolable in sadness, and overall totally irrational. I felt glad to see that she didn't go there after all.

DW wanted to go straight into talk about sex, which, while it seemed like a good sign, was full of potential pitfalls.  We began by recounting for the therapist that we'd spent some quality naked time in bed, and that she'd jacked me off on one of those occasions. DW seemed pleased with that, and in general, I was too. But, as my headline states, this is a game of inches. We are moving forward at a snail's pace, at least in my mind. And I am still initiating all of it.  Well, almost all of it. This morning, she invited me into the shower, after she'd gotten cleaned up. But by the time I was ready to join her she was turning off the water.  I misjudged her routine and thought that after she cleaned up she'd linger in there, but she didn't see me so she just ended her shower.  I apologized and offered a rain check. Probably later this week.

I had a couple of missteps during this session, particularly at one point where I was trying to explain my context around finding a solution to our incompatibility problem. I don't believe that DW can get on my page sexually, and that she's unaware that she's asexual.  However, I'm more than willing to go down the path of experimentation to test that belief, and I'm more than willing to be wrong, and to admit it. Win-win, right? But when DW told me that she feared she wouldn't be able to provide me the same things sexually that Mel could, I saw that as my opportunity to offer my context, But I then fumbled my words. "I don't really think you can," I said in reply. This came from the place of not believing that DW would ever be sexually adventurous enough to give me a rim job, or go down on another woman, or let another woman go down on her, or consent to being fucked by another man in front of me (these are all things that I would insist would be part of my sexual experience going forward, with or without DW). This response invited all sorts of questions, both from DW and the therapist, and it felt a little like emotional mortar shells raining down on me.  DW still plays, over and over in her mind, pictures and imaginary video of Mel and me in bed, happily fucking our brains out. And whatever she can picture is true, of course, and then some. Mel and I had a fantastic sexual connection, and had it gone on for an extended period of time, I think it would have replaced the one I'd had with C/Hayden, which is still the best ever. I was able to clarify, however, and said that I had concerns over whether DW would, as we progressed, overcome her own self-imposed sexual boundaries and really try to enjoy the journey, and that if she did overcome them and discover her sexuality was truly not that adventurous, she would not be able to handle it emotionally if I satisfied my needs with another woman.

She validated my concerns almost immediately when she said that she believed that Mel was beginning to have feelings for me at the time she discovered my involvement with her. She based that on the fact that I'd paid for Mel to Uber to and from work one day when her car had broken down. This, to her, was a sign that Mel had started to see me as some sort of a rescuer. "She could have asked a co-worker to get back home, but instead she went back to you.  You'd set a boundary with her that was supposed to be strictly sexual, and when you didn't say no to it. She was probably starting to fall for you." "I understand how you can see it that way," I said, "but the reality is far less charged than that. She asked for a favor, she offered to pay me back, and I agreed. And she would have, had we continued to see each other." I know that didn't go over well, either.  The truth was that Mel did have feelings for me.  She called me the best lover she'd ever had, and that our connection went beyond the sexual. I definitely had feelings for her too, but like nearly all the others before her, they would never have amounted to anything because I'm in love with DW.  In the end they never got to be fleshed out, so it doesn't really matter.  The boundary held.

DW maintained that the arrangement should have been a purely sexual one. "Again," I said, "understood. But the truth of this arrangement -- and I suppose any arrangement that I would be involved in -- is that she and I were on friendly terms. That made the sex more fun for both of us."  This seemed to alarm DW because it never occurred to her that any extramarital sexual partner I had would become a friend.  In future conversations, I'll have to clarify that anything less than that would feel like the transactional sex one would have with a prostitute, and that's not my preference in an extramarital partner.  Her concerns about this seemed to be amplified somewhat, so I now see what needs to happen next. She needs an education about what an extramarital relationship looks like, and to be asked whether she prefers me to risk arrest and infections with prostitutes who can fuck multiple partners per day. She needs to see that men aren't that different from women in that they want to care about the partners they're fucking. I know it's possible that a man can find a prostitute to see on a  regular basis who gets him off consistently, and that over time a connection can develop, but even in those cases the clock's always ticking, and there will nearly always have been some other dick inside her before I see her. In reality, men like it when they like the women they're fucking, and it enhances the enjoyment of the sex.  Boundaries can be set to limit the advancement of any emotional connection, including limiting the involvement to no more than a few months before moving onto someone else.

I realize in writing this post that it seems like I'm again playing the end before I go through the process. It's extremely hard for me not to do that, knowing what I know about DW after nearly 20 years together. Let me spell it out again, for anyone who hasn't read this entire blog:
  • No intercourse since January 2015
  • No going down on her since July 2014
  • No blow job from her since 2006!
  • Her not liking to have her breasts touched, fondled, sucked, or kissed since 2005
  • Her not liking erotica of any kind, from literature to porn to Cinemax
  • Her never having masturbated to orgasm in her life
  • Her saying in 2009 that she didn't care if she ever had sex again
  • Her saying in 2012 that she mostly had sex with me because the relationship needed it, not because she wanted it.
  • Her saying two weeks ago that her first awareness of her sexuality came at age 18 when she had sex for the first time, more than 30 years ago.
On that last point, DW said in the session that she had interpreted the therapist's question about her sexual awakening to mean actually having intercourse.  So I posed the question in a different way, asking, "When did you first become aware of sexual feelings in your body or mind?" She said it was when she'd first seriously kissed a boy, at age eleven. But the truth is that she never fully indulged those feelings for whatever reason.  I'll need to ask more about that in the future.

One other major moment during the session came near the end. The therapist asked me if, should DW make a sincere effort to expand her sexual vocabulary, but couldn't for some reason get comfortable with all I wanted to do, I would agree to compromise and accept what DW had to offer sexually as enough. This was one of those moments where she, on DW's behalf it seemed, was testing my terms and whether they were rock-solid. My answer was very plain: "I'm excited to go on this journey with my wife and see where it leads. But I'm not going to compromise on my sexuality. This is a term. I'm not going to agree to limit myself because in my heart, in the context of a trusting long-term relationship, like the one ours is becoming by the way, anything and everything should be available. We should try anything, do anything, and at least talk about everything.  I'm not suggesting we have to do something wild, something adventurous, every time. I don't need to have a threesome every week, OK?  But those things should be available sometimes."  DW nodded her head and said, "That's fair."

I have nearly fully laid the groundwork for the possibility that, if DW can't or won't be able to get on the same page as me, I get to seek fulfillment in other ways, with other partners. Time will tell if she can find peace with the knowledge that her husband would be fucking someone else.  A yes means she trusts me and we survive; a no means she doesn't trust me and we don't survive.  It's that black-and-white.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

It's Been Eight Years...

Today is C/Hayden's 30th birthday.  I can't believe that in a couple of weeks from now it will have been eight years since we first met.

Open Marriage Watch, Weeks Two and Three

You'll recall this from my last post:
Then -- without any warning -- she dropped a bomb on me. "I've been thinking that one way we could start this was to maybe invite someone else to join us. Someone we both trusted."

I picked my jaw up off the floor and laughed, which was probably the wrong thing to do.  I apologized, but I said, "How am I supposed to react when you hit me with a revelation like that?  You've never, ever discussed anything like this before."

"It's been on my mind a while."
We did not bring this up in the full week in between sessions. As DW said later in the week, she didn't want to talk about this topic if we were exhausted or the kids were around.  This week, the first thing I did was bring up this exchange. I said that, since she was almost always exhausted, and if the kids weren't around it was evening and she was exhausted and getting ready for bed, "In my head, I'm thinking you are saying no" to talking about this topic.  This got DW upset and accusing me, again, of thinking the worst about her.  "I want to talk about this," she said, "but if I'm exhausted I can't give enough energy to it. It's an intense topic." I didn't respond because I knew that I could ask enough of the right questions to back her into a corner and get her to admit that she didn't really want to talk about it. In my mind, she's simply not serious about it.

But DW's admission gave me an opening to bring up setting the stage for an open marriage. To her credit, DW didn't shy away from this topic as I expected her to. She wasn't exactly comfortable with it either.

From my recollection of the session, DW has three major concerns over an open marriage: 1) that I'm going to be secretive about it and lie to her again about what's going on; 2) that she's not going to be able to handle seeing me with another woman or knowing that I'm with another woman; and 3) if she's able to handle it, that I'll eventually fall for someone who can give me sex and a future, and I'll leave her. That last one is, of course, a biggie. I've written before that if it weren't for the kids being young and needing both mom and dad in the house, I probably would have already left the marriage. And I said as much during the session.  But, I added, a few years ago I decided with the help of my men's group to recommit to the marriage, and I successfully fought through all the feelings of grief over the end of our sexual relationship in order to do that. "So really, I'm in it for the long haul now.  There's no one else I want to grow old with.  I know you're struggling with trusting me, but you're just going to have to trust me on this."

As for her first concern, she thought that her consenting to my having sex with other women necessitated being secretive about it. I reminded her of something I said in an earlier session, which was that there was exactly zero benefit for to be secretive and deceptive about this. "The only way this is going to work is if it's out in the open.  Particularly in light of your idea to have someone join us in the bedroom.  It has to be open."

Since I'm now writing this ten days after the session, my memory is a bit fuzzy, but suffice it to say that we agreed to head in the direction of open marriage and that there was no turning back.

The downside was that we did not talk about it again at all that week. Our anniversary was last weekend (closing in on 20 years!) and it just didn't seem right to talk about my having sex with others. We didn't have sex either, although on our anniversary I gave her a beautiful card with a heartfelt note in it:
Love doesn't mean we just look at each other; it means looking together in the same direction. There's no place I'd rather be than in love with you. I love you more than these words can convey.  Please be my wife forever and ever.
The card was propped up against a vase of her favorite roses that grow in our garden, all of which I'd set up while she was out at the gym.  When she got home, I was in the shower, and when I got out she came into the bedroom where I was dressing. She had a huge smile on her face and said, "That was such a beautiful card and note! Thank you, honey!"  She put her arms around me. "Here," she said, "I want to give you a big kiss, with tongues." I hadn't yet brushed my teeth and I literally had the worst breath ever, so I lovingly took a raincheck. She was a little disappointed.  Later in the day, she tried again to kiss me, but our kid walked in the room and again I stalled. "Later, when the kids are asleep," I whispered. We finally got around to it once we got to bed.  But it progressed no further, as expected.

The next session had us digging deeper, and starting to hash out the details of how such an arrangement would work. By no means is she there yet.  I truly believe she'll never be ready to have sex with me or anyone else, ever again, and I kept playing devil's advocate with her ideas, explaining that I was trying to poke holes in them to see how serious she was about them, or if they were "just thoughts" she'd had. So far she hasn't given up, but she hasn't pressed anything forward.  In fact, I told her that this next week I wanted to press forward physically and sexually with her. As it turned out, this entailed spending some time together in bed fully undressed, touching each other, making out a little.  I treated the time like I would have with someone I was dating and getting intimate with for the first time, asking her "Is this alright?" each time I touched a different part of her body. When I got to her pussy, she said yes and thanked for asking her. In retrospect, I really can't believe I have to do this with my own wife, but it doesn't hurt things after having not been sexual with her in over two years.  We've done this twice so far. The second time I tried to massage her clit and see if she'd get wet, but no luck.  She stopped me after a few minutes, claiming that she was getting irritated down there.  I offered to go down on her, but she said no to that. It was progress, and I was satisfied as far as our marriage was concerned, but all week I've been literally thinking that if I didn't fuck a beautiful woman soon, my dick was going to shrivel up and drop off of me.

In the upcoming week, our older kid will be travelling out of state with some friends, before the two kids then leave for camp for eight days.  During this time, I will not hold back if there is some free time the two of us have to talk. I told DW to see about making plans to send the younger kid away for a night to a friend's house, so the two of us could have some adult time to talk about things, which was something we'd agreed on during our last session.

God, this is going so slowly, and my patience is being sorely tested.  But hey, on the bright side, there's no way I'm not getting laid, so when the time is right, I'll take care of that.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Open Marriage Watch, Week One

In our most recent counseling session, DW and I agreed that, despite whatever reluctance either of us had about tackling our sexual incompatibility issue (Note, the reluctance was entirely on DW's side), we needed to push forward with it. Since this session fell on her birthday, DW felt even more trepidation than she would have under less loaded circumstances.  Going in, I promised her that she could ease up or stop the discussion if she felt too uncomfortable.

After sharing some catching up with the therapist (we hadn't seen her in two weeks, during which time I'd started my new job), we told her we wanted to dive right in and deal with our sexual issues. I then introduced something I'd been thinking about for awhile, which was to talk about sex without using the language of sex. This was similar to what I wrote about a couple of months ago.  At first, DW was skeptical and said, "Let's just talk about it."  However, with a little context and some cajoling from me, she agreed and the therapist indulged it.

I established the foundation: imagine that XYZ (not using the real name here) is our favorite restaurant, where we have gone regularly for many years. I asked DW to identify her favorite dish at the restaurant, which was a pasta dish she ordered almost every time we went.  I said, "I love that dish, and every time you order it, I take a little bit from your plate, don't I?"  I then asked her to identify my favorite dish.  "You don't really have one," she said. "You order something different every time." It was then that the analogy began to sink in for her, and she smiled and nodded.  "Now," I continued, "imagine that, when we first started going to XYZ, we both ordered different items off the menu, and we shared them with each other.  But, after awhile, you found this pasta dish to be your favorite and you ordered it every time.  Which would have been fine, except that you insisted that I eat only this dish too. It was all you liked, and you didn't want all these different menu items to be showing up at our table.  And imagine that this goes on for many years. Every time we go to XYZ, all I get to eat is this one dish, even though I also like almost everything else on the menu."

"I see where this is going," DW said. "You've been thinking about this awhile, haven't you?"

Asking her to keep indulging the analogy for a little longer, I went on. "After awhile, eating this one dish left me a little unhappy.  Maybe a little bored too.  And I would tell you about it. But you continued to insist that this would be the only way we could keep going to XYZ, our favorite restaurant. Eventually, though, even you started getting bored with it, and we started going a lot less often. And then, one night, while eating at XYZ, the dish made you sick.  We never finished dinner, and we left the restaurant, and we haven't been back since. I asked you a few times to go out with me, but you refused because now the food made you sick and you were no longer interested.  Imagine," I emphasized, "how it must feel for me not to be able to go to my favorite restaurant for more than two years because that one dish made you sick, even though there might be other menu items that you might actually like if you tried them again."

She sighed.  I abandoned the analogy, having made my point.

"You've asked me for more than two years to go without sex, knowing how much I love it. This has felt, for me, like asking me not to eat. This is why I used the restaurant analogy, by the way. Sex is a part of who I am, it is central to how I identify myself as a man."

The discussion at that point turned to her sexuality, as the therapist had asked if she could ask DW some questions about her sexual development.  She revealed that her first awareness of her own sexuality was when she'd lost her virginity to her first boyfriend, at age 18. This admission confirmed for me what I'd long suspected: that DW had had very little sexual education as a teenager.  She said she had never had an orgasm through penetration, and felt a little defective for not being able to do what a lot of other women she knew were claiming was "the best orgasm ever." 

She also revealed that, while she was excited to have sex with her boyfriend, it wasn't so much the physical sensations which excited her, though she liked them.  It was the closeness, the love she'd felt for him, and the belief that sex "was just something I ought to be doing if I wanted him to be my boyfriend."  I said then that I had long believed that sex between DW and me was always "purpose-driven."  For her, while dating, sex had been about emotional bonding and intimacy, and then, after marriage, it became almost exclusively about making babies, and that once the babies came, it became about, as DW had put it years ago, doing it "because the relationship required it."  Not because it felt good to be naked and making love just because she wanted to make love, but because I wanted it and the relationship needed it. Like periodically driving an old car around the block to keep the tires from rotting in the elements. "One of these days we'll get rid of this old car, but for now let's just run the engine and take it for a spin to keep it in shape."

Until she stopped having sex, she had come to think of the physical part as something she could take or leave, but she liked the closeness and the intimacy. This was when I asked, "What if you're really asexual, honey? Because that's a pretty accurate description of  asexuality." She shrugged and said, "Could be.  But what do we do now?"

We didn't have much time left in our session, but I wasn't going to hold back any longer. Both of us had agreed during the session that resolving this issue would either propel our marriage forward or end it. I was determined to move it forward, and I believed she felt the same way. I said, "You told me last New Year's Eve, six weeks after you'd found out what I'd done, that one of your goals for this year was to 'come to terms' with your sexuality. I told you that I thought that was a great goal, but that it was going to take work. And it will. Your sexuality isn't going to find you, you need to find it. But I want to take that journey with you. I think it can be eye-opening for both of us. And as I see it, there are really only three outcomes here."  I went back to the restaurant analogy.  "One is that you and I go back to XYZ and you sample all the different menu items, and you realize that you love all the food as much as I do. Two is that we go back and you realize that that one pasta dish is all you like and you're happy with that.  And three is that we go back and you decide that you've had enough of XYZ forever.  I guess there'd be a fourth outcome, which is that you decide not to go back to XYZ after all and you're fine the way things are. Which is where we are now. Whatever outcome happens, though, I'm OK with it. If this is who you are, I accept it; I have to, if I want to stay married to you."

"But it goes both ways, doesn't it?" she said.

"It goes both ways.  You need to accept me for who I am too.  I've already done all my grieving about the end of our sex life, and I'm going to be OK, so long as I still have an outlet for my sexuality. Because I can live in a sexless marriage, but I can't live with a sexless life. I won't. You can't insist that I give up sex because you're done with it. Not if you want to stay married to me."

It. Was. All. Out. There. I had finally said what had been burning in me for so long.  And DW could no longer hide from the truth, or hide from what needed to be done. The survival of our marriage would very likely mean that she would have to accept that I was someday going to have sex with other women. I assured her that nothing would ever again be done in secret. "There's no benefit to that anymore," I said.  "We'll work something out, discuss it offline."

Then -- without any warning -- she dropped a bomb on me. "I've been thinking that one way we could start this was to maybe invite someone else to join us. Someone we both trusted."

I picked my jaw up off the floor and laughed, which was probably the wrong thing to do.  I apologized, but I said, "How am I supposed to react when you hit me with a revelation like that?  You've never, ever discussed anything like this before."

"It's been on my mind a while."

The session was then over, and we had to stop the discussion. Because it was her birthday, DW asked that we not discuss this issue again for the rest of the evening.  I was cooking dinner for us and the kids, and there was cake.  I had the kids light the candles and together we sang for her.  I have a great pic of her and one of the kids blowing out the candles.

We haven't talked about it since therapy. I asked this morning if she'd like to discuss it tonight. She said yes, so long as "we're not exhausted, and there are no kids around." Basically that was a no, since she's always exhausted, particularly after the kids are asleep. I'm a little frustrated that we haven't discussed it some more, but she can't escape it for long.  Next week we have another therapy session, and you can bet that, in that little room, I'll bring it up.

Next week is the Fourth of July.  "Independence" is taking on a new meaning for me.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Where am I?

Dear Readers --

This will be a very long post. 

I know you have all been wondering where in the hell I've been these past couple months.  What's going on with my marriage?  This post will, I hope, catch you up on the goings-on in my home and elsewhere.

First off, I'm still married, and I'm grateful.  When I last posted, I wrote about listening with empathy.  I finished the post with this: "To be a good listener, which is an essential part of survival in a long-term committed relationship, a man must be empathetic toward his woman. Empathy completes the connection, creates intimacy, and builds trust. The end."

Since this post, so much has happened, both in and out of my marriage and our counseling, to test my resolve to remain empathetic.

Four days after that last post, I got a call from the big boss -- the managing director of the unit where I worked. I was being dismissed in a "reduction of force," which is a nice way of saying that the company was laying me off. On the surface, this didn't shock me. The company has been circling the drain for a while now, and since I was the newest hire in my business unit and required an office closer to home and separate from HQ (which was 45 miles away from home), I was unnecessarily expensive.  Further, problems at the executive level required the decision months earlier to preserve capital, which meant that my business was going to suffer.  And it did; it immediately dropped 80 percent from the end of the third quarter 2016, and by the end of the first quarter of 2017, it had dropped to zero.  I had started looking for work in early March after an announcement was made that a business unit that represented half the company was being sold.  They tried to spin it as though the people who remained behind would see an opportunity to expand their business, but I knew the real truth: the company was being readied for sale.  That would not be good for me.

I knew the drill, as I'd been laid off once before. They had to give me 60 days' notice by law, so that meant my official last day is going to be July 1. But because my work generated revenue for the company, they weren't going to let me stay on and solicit business that I could take with me to my next job. So, I was given until the end of the week to finalize whatever I'd been working on and then clear out.

My last day was very weird. There was no one in the office when I usually arrived, so the place was empty. I was going to have to turn in all my keys, my computer, my ID badge, and my parking passes.  I had to park half a mile away on the street and walk to the office. I cleaned off my desk, threw away non-essentials, shredded some sensitive documents, and placed all my company property in my desk drawer and locked it, leaving the key on a co-worker's desk with a note.  I was done within 30 minutes, and felt a sense of dread leaving the building that it was not going to be easy to find a new job, even as I outwardly expressed confidence to anyone who would listen that I'd find a new gig in no time.

On the day I was laid off, I told DW that I wanted only one thing from her. I needed her not to freak out.  She has always been very nervous around money, and believed that any type of setback like this meant that we were going to be homeless by the end of the month.  Forget the fact that we had enough cold cash to last us the rest of the year with zero income, plus a huge investment portfolio and a home with tons of equity. If things were desperate we could go ten years with no income and still have something left. I told her I felt OK that I'd find a job within a few weeks and we'd be back on our feet soon. She listened, and she told me that she'd keep it together and not panic.  I believed her.

We told the kids that night over dinner.  They were pretty level-headed about it, even though we told them that we were going to drastically cut back on expenses for non-essential things so that we could preserve as much of our cash as possible.  We'd be eating meals at home every day and night and weekend until I started working again. We wouldn't be buying anything unnecessary like gaming stuff or movie tickets (we had Netflix and HBO and Amazon Prime so that would have to be enough).  We wouldn't be traveling this summer unless grandparents were footing the bill.  We couldn't fork over cash to indulge a new hobby.  We only bought one ticket to the awards banquet for my younger kid, the athlete, and said that mom and dad couldn't go because money was too tight.  We arranged for a friend to take the kid to and from the banquet (it all worked out; the kid had a great time without us).  The result was that our normal monthly expenses dropped about 40 percent, which was pretty amazing.

I got to work immediately, telling the family that my new full time job was finding a new job.  I had made some fantastic connections during the last job, and I leaned on a couple of them to network and make connections with other companies. I also dug deep and reached out to former colleagues I hadn't seen or talked to in 15 years for job leads.  I refreshed my LinkedIn profile and really reworked my resume so they matched each other.  I got notices from LinkedIn's job search engine, uploaded my resume to Monster and ZipRecruiter. I applied for unemployment so that I could at least get something while I did this work.  And I researched an Uber gig to see if there was a way to make even more (though I decided against it in the end given how much wear and tear I'd have been putting on my car).  This was all in the first week.

I came up empty, everywhere.  The connections I had went nowhere, other companies weren't hiring even though they said they were expanding their business goals for the year. Former colleagues were no help. The LinkedIn and other job notices were for jobs for which I was either grossly overqualified or under-qualified.  Not one call back for an interview. And I learned that these online applications did not come with a method for follow up. The only way to follow up would have been for me to call the company's main number and be routed to HR, then talk to some faceless person who probably didn't even know I'd submitted a resume or applied for the job.  All in all, very disheartening.

I started feeling really anxious, and I started withdrawing. Even though DW and I were continuing counseling, I felt like I was going through the motions.  She'd wanted to pause the work we were doing due to the expense of it, but I insisted that we keep going.  But I was hiding from DW how I was feeling because I wanted so much to project an attitude of "I got this under control." I figured I could clue her in after I'd nailed down a job.

Two weeks had gone by.  I managed to snag one interview, with an old colleague who was now running a busy unit at a competitor.  I only got this interview by inviting him to lunch to talk "networking."  He said that the company had just wrapped up an acquisition and that he wasn't sure there was a budget to bring on someone else, despite the fact that I came with a serious book of business that could increase his bottom line by a minimum of 15 percent.  He said he would talk to the president and see if he could get permission to hire me.  But I wasn't counting on it. 

It was now three weeks since being laid off and I had no good prospects for work. Even though we had cash and assets, I didn't want to get to the point where we had to tap ourselves out, sell the house, etc. DW's income, which always dropped to nearly nothing in the summer, would in about three week be going away for about two months. We were digging deep into our savings.  We managed to snag a few thousand dollars in help from family members so we could put the kids into camp for the summer.  The younger kid's athletic facility waived about a thousand dollars from our obligations there, saying that after paying for over seven years there they wanted to say thank you.  Our synagogue waived a few thousand dollars in religious school and membership dues.  All told, the fall had been well-cushioned, but neither DW nor I were under any illusions that this would continue.  I started researching how much we could get in rent for our house, how much we could sell it for, and what other houses in our area were renting for.  A good friend had just rented out his three-bedroom house for over $4,500 a month, which was nearly our entire housing payment now.  Our house was much bigger and in a better neighborhood, so I felt we could get at least $7,000 for it.  That would give us about $2,000 toward rent in another house, making our net housing payment about $2,000-$3,000 a month.  A big nut, but much less than what we were paying.  No plan of action was forthcoming, but I wanted us to be informed just in case.

At the end of the third week, I got a call from my old colleague at the one place where I'd had an interview.  He said that he was going to talk to the company president about making room for me, but I wouldn't know for about a week.  I kept my fingers crossed while we hosted my parents for the weekend to celebrate a sibling's birthday. At the end of the weekend, I'd found a short stack of hundreds in the kitchen; my mom had left a note saying she and my dad would be there for us, whatever we needed.  I was feeling quite humbled.

But still, my connection to DW was faltering. Our early morning ritual of holding each other had dropped away, and I was too depressed to talk about it, or much of anything.  On top of that the kids were nearing the end of school, and the stress of final exams for my ninth-grader was intense.  The middle-schooler was also having some end of the year pressure to complete some projects that had been put off till the last minute, and some extra credit work to bring up the grades.  I would say that the overall mood under our roof was bleak.

The following week, I was hanging out with a very large gathering of male friends, one that tended to be powerful when we all started talking and sharing what was going on in our lives.  One of our gathering stood up and shared a lesson he'd recently learned. He was my age, and had been married for over 30 years.  He said that when he was younger and up until a few years ago, he believed that he needed to keep certain details about himself from his wife, for a variety of reasons: some level of mystery was good in any long-term relationship, and he needed to have emotional space of his own, of which he was fully in control, and to share his deepest and darkest stuff just with the men in his life.  These resonated deeply with me and I agreed with all he was saying.  He continued that, now that his children were older and moved out of the house and it was just him and his wife, he realized that the level of intimacy he needed to have with his wife absolutely needed to deepen.  He realized that he needed to be as open with her as he had been all these years with the circle of men in his life. Otherwise, there'd be almost nothing to talk about and they'd slowly just drift apart.  That last thing hit me pretty hard, and I felt awakened to a pretty harsh truth: I'd kept a lot of stuff close to the vest when I was with DW, and that wasn't going to serve me anymore. I needed to open up, to be as intimate with her about what I was feeling as I was with the men in my life.  I knew she felt jealous of how much I shared about myself to the men, and that she only got a small amount.  She said she wanted as much as I gave to them.  I got home that night to find her asleep, but as soon as we woke up the next morning, I took her in my arms, kissed her, and told her what I'd realized. "Thank you!" she said, "I've been desperate for the last few weeks not knowing what's been up with you."  Since that day, we've been far more connected as I've been far more open with her about what's been up.

The next evening, she and I were at a school event for our ninth-grader, when my cell phone rang just before the event got underway.  It was my old colleague.  I ran to a quiet place to take the call.  "I just wanted to give you a quick heads-up," he began, "that an offer is coming out to you in the next couple of days. It'll take a couple of weeks to do the background check and get things ready, and you'll start just after mid-month." It was as we had discussed when we'd met a couple of week earlier.  He managed to convince the company to cough up the funds to hire me. I felt ecstatic!  After saying thanks and that I wouldn't disappoint him, I ran back to DW and my smile gave me away.  We held each other and tears just started streaming down my face. All this time I'd been unemployed, doing all this work to find a job, and nothing was working.  My head told me it was my age, my level of experience, or the fact that I'd had too many jobs over the past five years, that were in my way.  It could have been all of those things too.  I held it together for weeks trying to keep up a positive outlook, but the truth was that I was terrified that I was going to find nothing.  In fact, I'd come to the conclusion that my career was over, and that I'd probably need to spend the next few years transitioning to something else, perhaps less lucrative.  Well, now I had a job! My kid got the news a minute later, seeing DW and me holding each other, and we shared a high-five and a big hug as well.   Through all of this, the kids had been awesome, but I know that seeing their dad not going to work every day took a toll on both of them.

The big lesson for me here is that, in truth, that layoff did really end my career. For years I've worked under the pretense that my hard work in corporate America was someday going to lead to a major executive job, in charge of dozens if not hundreds of employees.  But in over 30 years, I've never even come close. Working with money in my current capacity is really as good as it's ever going to get. I'll make a decent living, but it no longer gives me pleasure or feels fulfilling.  Therefore, every position I hold from this point forward will simply be a job, one that I have to do well in order to survive and provide for my family. There will never be anything more from it.  So the next two to five years will be spent researching and creating an opportunity for me to open and run a successful business of my own, something that brings me joy, that means something to me, and that is something I can give away to my kids if either of them wants it.

As for my marriage, therapy continues. We spent the next week with the therapist talking about the fallout from being unemployed, and I learned more about how my actions affected everyone else.  I was able to tie my behavior to the worst aspects of my dad's personality that I'd inherited, stuff that I had hoped never would be something I would pass onto my kids.  It was a breakthrough of sorts for me, and DW thanked me, through her tears, for sharing that with her.

All of this is good, and I know we'll continue peeling back layers. But we must soon get to the crux of what got us into therapy in the first place, and that's our sexual incompatibility.  The truth about where I am versus where she is has not gone away; she's not all of a sudden finding any desire to be sexual with me, and I'm not consenting to a life without sex.  So discussions have to happen to bridge that gap and find a workable solution. The long-term survival of our marriage depends on it.  I imagine that this will begin at the next session.

Thanks for reading this very long post.  More to be revealed.