Friday, January 27, 2017

Setting the Tone and Defending My Terms

The therapist had DW and I sit facing each other in the treatment room. She told us to take a few minutes looking at each other and taking each other in. I had arrived late to the session and was tense from having to negotiate traffic with so many cars in my way and every light turning red just before I arrived at the intersection.  Madness!  I managed to shake all that off with a few deep breaths and then take a long look at my wife. However, DW struggled to maintain eye contact, and admitted it was difficult for her.  Not because she was angry and couldn't look at me.  She asked, "Do I have to just look at him?  Can I take his hands, can I rub his knees, or is it all just eyes?  I find it uncomfortable to just stare at him."  She said that last sentence few times, each time leaning toward me, putting her face very close to mine, and opening her eyes wide, as if that were the therapist's direction.  "I don't think she suggested you stare," I said. "I don't think you need to fix your gaze on me 100% either. Just take me in with your eyes for a few minutes. And you can just sit back and relax."  She really struggled with it!

Once that was over, I recognized that the therapist was setting the tone for what was to come next.  I don't think there was any sort of script, but she definitely was looking for us to go in the direction of total openness. I certainly wasn't going to be closed off in there but I could see how old wounds could inhibit us.

My DW is working hard to differentiate between her grief over losing her father, her grief over my infraction, and her general stress about much in her life -- the kids, the job, etc. She and her immediate family all cope with pain by keeping busy, by putting off the feelings until it's more convenient to let them out.  While there's sense in that, DW keeps herself so busy that the therapist believes she keeps her grief bottled up for too long, and needs a more regular outlet to bring it out. Of course, I volunteered to be that outlet, but that will probably not come until after she feels she can fully trust me again.

Moving on, the session turned to the subject of openness, as I had suspected. I don't recall the exact line of discussion, but I said that I was as open as I could be given the circumstances.  I added, however,  that I reserved the deepest, darkest stuff I struggled with -- when I felt insecure, when I was deeply depressed, when I felt totally off center -- for my closest male friends. For many years, I've had a circle of men in my life who, while I call them friends, are so much more than that. We are each other's confidants, brothers in battle, and support system when we come up against our shit. They are my safe harbor, where I can be completely broken and trust that I'll be led to whatever truths I need to face that will help me pull myself together, and put me back on the path to becoming the man I've always wanted to be.

At this news, DW started to tear up.  "I want you to bring that to me too," she said. "I want to be able to be there for you. And I don't want there to be any secrets anymore."

I had to be very careful at that moment. She was showing me her vulnerability around our relationship dynamic. I wanted her to understand that I was not going to hide things from her, that I would have an open heart and mind. But I knew better than she what she needed from me.  She didn't want to see me at my worst; she needed me to be her champion, her hero, and her warrior. To protect her and the kids, and to provide her with not only the income, but the leadership, to achieve the vision of her life that she's held in her heart. That role has been the foundation of how I've shown up in the marriage since day one, and even during the nearly nine years that I took care of my sexual needs outside the relationship. Long story short, DW was bumping up against one of those areas of my identity that I would not compromise. Like my sexuality, which I fully own and won't ever adjust again, how I process my pain is not something on which I'm going to budge.  I needed to be firm, but I couldn't be combative.

I began quietly and slowly. "I'm afraid I'm not going to back down here; this is an area where I'm not going to change. There are just some spaces that are my own. My men's group is that space, and that's where I'm going to bring my worst stuff. You have always known how I'm feeling about something, I always let you know when something is affecting me, but if I'm ever in a place where I'm overwhelmed, or feeling unmoored, then I take it to my men.  You do not want to see me at my worst, trust me. You need me grounded, and centered, and focused, and taking care of you and [the kids]."

She could not disagree, and she thanked me for holding to my terms.  The therapist seemed amazed at how easily that conflict was resolved. "This is how we resolve conflict, although it doesn't always sound like this.  We're both trying harder," I said.

My beautiful DW is softening, her vulnerability returning, and there has definitely been less angst in the house.  I never expected to hear her say it but she said she is happy with this therapist and that we're in therapy.  Makes me happy.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Third Session Is Today

DW and I go in for our third session of counseling today.  The first two, while revealing, have mostly been about intake and gathering information about our pasts, in order to establish a baseline of pathology.  Today, the real work begins.  I'm sure the therapist will have some questions directly related to the "infraction," DW's reaction to it, and how we want to move forward in its wake.

DW has not spoken in a couple of weeks about not being sure she "can get past it," or if she'll be able to trust me again. I don't want to read too much into things, because she might ambush me in therapy when all of her shit gets further stirred up.  I've been showing up, supporting the family, keeping the peace, and generally being affable and engaging with everyone in the house.

My agenda, if I'm allowed one, is to sift through my own stuff as it comes up and to keep asserting that our sexual incompatibility is unresolvable, at least in my opinion, unless and until DW revisits her sexuality and/or steps aside to let me explore mine.  I'm open to other solutions, but there is no avoiding it.  We will have to confront it head-on and make some difficult decisions, even if they're in force for just a while instead of forever.  Communication is, of course, key.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Gratitude List

Along with the day my first wife and I parted ways, the day I lost a good friend on 9/11, and the day nine years ago when the economy tanked and my career was set adrift for the next eight years, the day Donald Trump ascends to the presidency (happening at this very hour) represents one of the darkest days of my life.  I truly fear for America, for the world, for the people who are too powerless to stand up to a global era of tyranny that is being introduced as the most powerful country on earth inexplicably puts its future in the hands of someone who is singularly unprepared for the job, and whose incompetence is only matched by his profound and malignant narcissism.  I proudly assume my new role as a member of the resistance. I will fight as often as I can, and as loudly as I can, to push back at the wave of horror that surely awaits us, beginning today.

But today -- today is a day when I focus on beauty. Like the kid in American Beauty, who says, "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it.  And my heart is just going to cave in."  There is so much I'm grateful for.  I did a gratitude list for my IRL friends, but here I'm going to do one for my sugar life.

I'm grateful today:
  1. That I'm alive and healthy, with a body that still does what I want it to do (most of the time)
  2. That I'm married to the most beautiful woman on earth
  3. That my children are healthy, gorgeous, and outstanding human beings
  4. That for the past eight and a half years I've met dozens of lovely, kind-hearted young women who loaned me their delicious bodies and agile minds for a few hours each month.  They have no earthly idea the value that they have had for me.
  5. That I spent three delightful years with the lovely C/Hayden, and that today she's happily married and maintaining her health.  I pray for her every day.
  6. That music exists to soothe my soul, and will, every day, for the rest of my life.
  7. That I, my family, my relatives, and my friends are all safe from harm.
  8. That I'm able to protect and provide for my family.
  9. That it's raining today in California, and will again tomorrow, and the next day.
  10. That my parents are alive and well and married for nearly 60 years.
  11. That my siblings and their families are well and living nearby.
  12. That there is still so much more for me to learn.
Tomorrow my eyes may not recognize beauty, but I'm betting that eventually they will.  I hope to communicate that beauty to all of you in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Therapy Begins

Earlier this week, DW and I had our first of what I hope to be many sessions with a therapist. I had no expectations going in, although I did put DW on notice ahead of the session that I preferred a therapist who was older, not an intern (it is common with "counseling centers" that some of the therapists are actual interns, grad students doing their rotations of different practicums before completing their masters degrees), and someone who had some experience with couples dealing with issues of extramarital sex.  I just believed that some 20-something or 30-something student would lack the breadth of life experience that both of us would need to get past my infraction.

As we settled in with the therapist, who appeared to be in her 30s and an intern, I realized that I actually had expectations, and I had to let go of them. After all, the session was supposed to be mostly information gathering on the therapist's part, and not a whole lot of questions or digging deeply into our pasts.  She said that she also worked with a senior therapist in the center who would be her guide, but that she was also sensitive to our wanting the therapist to be a good fit for us. We could ask for someone else if we chose.

The session gave DW her first opportunity to tell someone about what had happened -- the "triggering event," I called it. She still hadn't spoken to a single person about this, despite my assurances that I was OK if she wanted to confide in a close friend. She told the therapist that I had "cheated" on her.  I fully expected her to use that word. The therapist reflected back, as she took notes, "OK, so infidelity." I also fully expected that word to come out as well.  I sat there and kept my mouth shut.

In my mind, however, I believed that what I had done was not cheating.  The word "cheating" is so loaded and full of judgment, and faced with the layers of facts in our relationship -- the lack of communication, her consistent refusal to participate in efforts to resolve our sexual issues over the last nine years, and the fact that I kept coming home without seriously considering ending our marriage -- what I did actually looks to me like the opposite of cheating. But if we're going to insist that it is cheating, then I got cheated too.  Cheated out of an intimate relationship with the woman I love, for nine years.  As far as "infidelity" goes, I'll accept that I engaged in sexual infidelity, but that's it. I was never fully disloyal toward the relationship.  But I admit that I did not do enough to fight for it once I realized and accepted that our sex life was over.

The telling of her side of the story looked, from my vantage point, to be cathartic for DW. Let's face it: the woman has a busy life. She works full time, we have two young children with busy lives, and my work requires me to be available almost all the time. She's said many times that at the end of her busy day, the last thing she wants is physical contact with anyone.  Sleep is her sex and she wants it all the time.  Coupled with the onset of menopause, I get why sex has no appeal for her, and I get why she saw sex as one more thing she had to do for the marriage rather than for her enjoyment. But she doesn't exist in a vacuum, and her choices had ramifications for more than just her. When a wife decides that not only is not interested in having sex, but in talking with her husband about why she's not interested or in resolving the problem, there are consequences. While I regret the she is hurt by what I did to meet my own needs, I feel absolutely zero guilt about meeting my own needs in a way I felt was best not only for me but for us.

When it was my turn, I methodically laid out the timeline of how I arrived at the place I was, pausing frequently to get DW's agreement on the facts. I maintained that if we were going to arrive at a clearing place with each other and create the conditions where we can be present for one another, we first needed to agree on the facts.  DW agreed with everything I laid out.  When I got to the end, I said that, when confronted with the dilemma of either telling her I wanted to see other women or just doing it in secret, I opted for the latter because I believed that either way she'd seek a divorce. DW disagreed slightly and said she'd have at least listened to me, but she had never shown a willingness to do much listening when I brought up our pathetic sex life, so to me the choice was easy even though I preferred being out in the open.  I've written that in this blog many times.  "In a way, I'm glad [she found out], because now we're talking about what has been bothering me for years," I said.

One surprise for me: she confessed that, in the past couple of weeks, she wanted to have sex with me, but opted not to because she felt she wasn't fully ready.  As I saw it, her armor was now irretrievably cracked, and it was only a matter of time before she let herself trust me again.

We ran out of time, and resolved to come back the next week.  I'm taking this a week at a time right now, and I have no expectations that DW will remain enthusiastic about therapy, because she has never shown herself to be otherwise. We walked to the car, arms around each other.  On the way home, I asked her about the other day when she gave me a hand job and I saw her touching herself. She said she couldn't fully remember that she even did it, that I touched her, or why she did it.  I found that a bit strange, so I am holding onto that for now to see if she lets me touch her again. We spent the next hour alone at home, preparing dinner, talking, and getting ready to pick one of the kids up at sports practice.  I thought about suggesting sex, but it would have been too contrived.

That night, for some reason, I didn't sleep at all. While at work the next day, I sent DW a text: "Even though I'm exhausted right now, I think we should smoke some weed tonight and fool around a bit (no penetration). Thoughts?" I received an encouraging emoji in response.  We did smoke the weed, and both of us fell asleep, but in the morning we made out a little, and she ended up giving me another expert hand job.

At work today, I'm hopeful, determined, and optimistic, but also completely open-eyed. We'll see what develops over time.

NOTE: readers will ask why DW works full time. Shouldn't a successful sugar daddy have a wife who is well-cared for and who doesn't need to work? During the recession, when money was tight, she had to go back to work, and for a time her income matched mine.  But I've fully recovered from those dark days now, so if DW didn't want to work anymore, she could stop. But she's been at her job now for six years and she loves not only the work, but her work family. It's an incredibly close-knit group, and we have regularly socialized with many of her co-workers, including her boss. Her income now goes into the kids' college funds and to her retirement.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Reader Comments Now Moderated

I have been receiving comments from one reader that I have determined are malicious and potentially threatening.  As a result, all comments from this point forward are moderated, and only some will be published. Sorry to have to do this, as I have enjoyed the comments I have received to date from all my readers, and appreciate unfiltered feedback.  Given the sensitivity of my current posts, however, I must take this necessary step.

I respectfully request that readers take care in the future to be respectful and to refrain from malicious comments. This blog has been very helpful to me over the years and I hope to continue publishing.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Note of Clarification

If you go back and read my previous post, you'll see a comment someone posted at the bottom. It was a criticism of not only my post, but of my whole outlook at a Sugar Daddy. It was a personal attack on me that was based on a false judgment, and there's simply no time in my life to allow stuff like that to hang out there. (PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The comment has since been deleted, but references to it remain.)

I will say that there was one kernel of truth in there, and I'm going to share it with you. One thing the commenter wrote, which I'm roughly quoting here, was, "You're going to bang the next 27 year old girl as soon as you're able." And, the truth is, the commenter is probably right. I say "probably" because I'm not yet certain of it. My objective right now is healing the wounds in my marriage, repairing the trust I've had with my wife for so many years.  Once that's done, however, the two of us need to chart the path forward. The path forward will absolutely include my continuing to have a rewarding sex life, on my terms.  DW can join me on that path and enjoy a good amount of fun, or she can step aside and let me do my thing, or we can work out something where both can happen at the same time (my preferred option).  If none of that works for her and she has no workable solutions of her own, then I'll have to move on, purely because I don't deserve a wife who won't do the work needed to move the relationship forward.

The one big qualification I want to make about this deleted comment is this: if I do head back out there and have sex with "the next 27 year old girl," it will no longer be in secret. My days of being a husband who secretly cheats on his wife are over. There's no way to go back to it. If I have sex with other women, it will have to be out in the open (with her, as opposed to our whole community), with DW's full knowledge and consent.  That actually seems like it would be more fun.

I know how this reads: like I'm being totally selfish and thinking only of myself. Complete and utter bullshit. If you go back and read my blog, especially this post right here, you will see that my love and commitment to DW and our family, and all that surrounds them, does not and will never waver.  I think what's really hard for some people to understand is that all men, not just me, have certain aspects of their identities that are unbreakable.  For me, they are the pillars, the foundation, the places where I simply won't compromise for anything or anyone. I call them my terms. I have terms around my purpose in life, my spirituality, my identity as a husband, a father, my work, and yes, my sexuality. Some men go their whole lives not having the vocabulary to articulate what, exactly, their terms are, but in my self-work over the past 20 years I've done that.  In all other areas of my life, I'm willing to compromise and be cooperative, but when someone -- including my wife -- comes up against my terms, that person knows clearly that they will not be able to go any further. My sexual terms became known to me through my three-year relationship with C/Hayden, and now that I know them, I will never again sell myself out in order to satisfy another person. I imagine that someday, when I'm old and my equipment no longer works and I have no desire for sex, I'll revisit these terms and decide if they still mean something, but for now, there's no budging.

Having these terms means DW can know exactly where she fits into my life, and how we can create the relationship we want to have with each other.  She may not like some of my terms, but because she knows she can count on them and on me -- and despite what she or anyone else might think, I've never given her any reason to think otherwise -- she'll respect them.  Or not.  And if not, there's no relationship.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Intimacy Returning, Slowly

Over the holiday weekend, DW and I spent a lot of time together, actively mending the broken lines of communication that over the years have fallen to neglect.

The night before New Year's Eve, she and I did a "burning bowl" exercise.  There are several different versions of this exercise around, but the one we did involved a glass bowl, a few colored candles, some paper strips, and our open hearts.  We wrote on the paper the things -- emotional baggage, events, etc. -- that we wanted to unload for the next year, and then lit them using one of the candles, dropping the lit paper into bowl until it turned to ash. Each candle had a different color, to signify the different kinds of burning we wanted to do. For example, a brown candle symbolized "Earth energy," where we could use that energy to transform the negative experience or emotion into something positive.

The exercise took some work.  DW was having trouble connecting to it because all she could see around her were the negative things, and was unsure of how to transform them.  The death of her father last May hangs over her like a gray cloud, and with the upcoming choice of headstone in the near future, as well as the marking of his grave, she just doesn't see a way to burn that away. Similarly, she's struggling to let go of the whole infidelity incident.  I led by example. "I want to turn the secrets we've been keeping into openness," I said, and I lit a paper with the word "secrets" written on it using the white candle, which symbolized purity and light (light out of darkness).  That seemed to do the trick, but it still wasn't easy.

When we were all done, we then read to each other a list of goals we wanted to achieve in the next year.  Normally, these goals are written on a sheet of paper and then put into an envelope, which is sealed with the melted wax of the candles, not to be broken or opened until the next New Year's Eve. But in the interest of transparency we shared our goals with each other.

One surprising goal DW had was "coming to terms" with her sexuality, whatever it is.  She is open to seeing if she's straight, gay, or asexual. She admitted to having sexual feelings towards women in the past, though none that she's ever thought of acting upon.

That night we slept close to one another, periodically reaching out and holding each other.  early the next morning, I crept up close behind her, reached around to hold her, and whispered in her ear, "Will you touch me?"  She could feel that I was hard and she knew what I meant. She took hold of me and stroked me, the first time she'd shown any sexual inclinations toward me in about six months.  It wasn't going to take her long to get me off.

At one point I opened my eyes to look at her, because she had taken one hand off of me.  She sometimes did that when her arm got tired, but we were literally just a minute or so into this, so I wondered what was up. She had her other hand between her legs, stroking herself.  This was a shock to me; DW never, ever, ever, touched herself -- at least not that I ever saw.  Maybe she was turned on, or maybe she was just seeing how it felt -- I just don't know.  Anyway, I could have let it go, but her hand jobs are much better with two hands.  I started stroking her instead, and she resumed stroking me with two hands.  I hadn't touched my wife's pussy in a very long time, and I climaxed in about a minute just from being so excited.

After I came, I just burst into tears and kissed her. I hadn't realized how much I'd missed her touch. Nothing more has happened since then, as I haven't made any advances.  But the stage has been set, and you can bet that, with the help of a good therapist, DW and I will be moving back into more sexual territory.