Post by paulb on Jan 19, 2020 0:32:09 GMT -5
I was going to put 'turnaround' somewhere in the subject of this post but I realized it's not really possible to define a turnaround in the context of a SM - things can be getting worse, better, or just stagnating. In my case things have been trending 'better' for about 18 months now. The recent lingerie thread kind of inspired me to share my story.
I've actually been around quite some time, back to the EP days. I read much and write little. My story is pretty typical... married almost three decades now, SM started pretty much immediately - no honeymoon sex and extremely infrequent sex for decades. I think the longest period of sexlessness was about 18 months. Prior to getting married our sex life was pretty crappy but somehow got even worse.
I knew she had some issues. Some bad prior experiences with guys and 'trust issues'. I thought marriage and patience would help out with that. I'm really not sure what the extent of the bad experiences were, even to this day. I had been in a handful of relationships with their ups and downs but always with good to great sex. I had absolutely zero notion of a SM. I think I figured things had to improve but weeks turn into months, years, and decades.
What didn't work:
Patience, chores, books (many good ones recommended here), pshrinks (my god I have terrible luck with this people or maybe they're all just useless bastards), 'the talk', creating romantic contexts, suffering in stoic silence. Etc.
What did work:
About a year and a half ago I started getting up to speed on the household finances. I can't stand that stuff and am grateful my wife likes money managing but I felt I needed to gain some understanding for innocent reasons. My wife thought I was 'seeing how things would shake out for me' in a divorce. When she told me that a 'hmmm' went through my head. Of course at this point we had been through 'the talk' (more than once) along with my therapy which she sometimes attended. I think think the divorce fear lit a little fire under her and she started making some real effort. I've had plenty of reset sex and this was a step above that but not exactly great.
What *really* helped on my side was the 'Overwhelmed Brain' podcast. I don't think this guy is for everyone but I happen to be a similar people pleasing, non-authentic-self guy as he was so most of what he says is extremely relatable. Specifically:
- Be my 'authentic self' which in my mind means asking for what I want and discussing things that bother me when they come up. This rather than clamming up when things are bad and assuming my wife knows what I want.
- Stopping the people pleasing behavior. In retrospect I think this leads to distrust rather than trust which was a relationship problem from the get go. Among other terrible consequences.
A result of this is having a 'take it or leave it' attitude. But not in a jackass sort of way. Be yourself and the right people will be drawn to you and the wrong people won't be. I finally get why the 'talks' never worked... it's not about ultimatums or deadlines. It's about being yourself and being fine with being with the right people or none at all with zero maliciousness attached. I'm thrilled things are going better but if we end up splitting up of course I would experience sadness but being with the wrong person is just stupid. I'm in a pretty peaceful spot with that attitude.
I've been rambling on so I'll wrap up quickly...
An important ingredient is I think my wife has wanted to change things for the better and my changes have allowed her to do that. Some of the spouses I've seen written about here seem like sadistic demons and that, fortunately, hasn't been my situation.
Regarding the lingerie thread, I've had my share of 'wear once/disappeared' items. A week ago my wife surprised me wearing some lingerie she had bough herself and said something like, 'this is what you should have had on your honeymoon'. Things are getting better. She's trying hard, I need to stay on top of my own shit too. I can see a lot of my own behaviors actually made things worse even though I was 'the good guy doing everything'. In my mind, at least.