Marriage Of One

September 9, 2009

New Battlefield, Same War

Filed under: marriage,sex — marriageofone @ 10:02 pm
Tags: , ,

I don’t really like bellicose language, but I thought this was somehow apt.

Just over two years ago Susan and I moved to our current home with hopes of turning our lives around. A large part of this turnaround was to do with our sex lives as Susan believed that our sexual problems were to do with our home environment where we used to live.

Well as regular readers of this blog already know, this was and remains a failure in the sense that we did not turn our sex-life around. It has not been a complete failure of course in that I got the proof that I would not have otherwise: Susan is the cause of her own sexual problems – even if only subconsciously. She even accepts this.

Where we differ is what she ought to do about it. All I know is that there is nothing that I can do to help her or us. I can only help myself.

So now we are on the cusp of kicking off another move. This we hope will be the last move of our lives – at least whilst our children are … well children. And this time sexual revolution will not be on the agenda at least for me. Circumstances, environment, parents in the house, children, work, extended family – all the old excuses have been shown to be just that – excuses. It doesn’t matter now how great the home is, or how good the location or whether or not she has an easy job that she loves or if my parents live with us or elsewhere.

This is the cornerstone of my self-help plan. It will be the place I live out my sexless life with other distractions and activities to compensate for the feelings of emptiness I still feel from time to time. I want to move for myself and my family – including Susan, but with the central feature being my comfort, my aspirations, my happiness.

One certainty is this : the struggle isn’t ending with the move. It is just moving to a new arena.



  1. You are confusing me! First you are all set to take care of yourself separately from meeting the needs of your family. Then you are resigning yourself to the continuation of your persecution. Where is there any progress shown? You must like rolling that boulder uphill, Sisyphus, for you have chained yourself to it.

    Since you insist in calling this a war, you might want to heed an expert in the field – Sun Tzu. He once said something that I think applies to your situation: “There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare” and “In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.”

    Allow me to interpret victory, and it isn’t over Susan. Victory is won when you can put down this fight and emotionally walk away from it. “The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat.” You are still in the house and still with your kids and still with their mother, but you are not chained to any of it. You remain voluntarily, and are thus in control.

    Become this person you proclaim! Nothing prevents you from achieving this even if you stay in the home. So stop using your wife’s excuses as an excuse of your own.

    Comment by ToppHogg — September 24, 2009 @ 9:43 am

  2. So if I read you correctly, you are arguing for a victory by detachment or disengagement. (My fault for using the ‘war’ metaphor. The war I was referring to is my own war with myself and the feelings and day to day ‘living’ I have to do in spite of the lifestyle that has been imposed. I’ve never said Susan was the ‘enemy’. Nevertheless….)

    But disengagement means I lose all ability to engage with my children and partner Susan. How can I as you stay “still [be] in the house and still with [my] kids and still with their mother” and not have or even want some kind of emotional attachment? In my opinion if I were to remain in the house with them with that attitude, it would be more harmful than if I were simply to walk out of the relationship with Susan, i.e. divorce.

    To that extent at least I am in control. I have chosen to stay with them. Chosen to build an alternative life with them. This blog is no longer to whine about what my marriage is not although I can’t ever escape my disappointment with that and will probably express that from time to time. It is about how I come to terms with and relate to my children and Susan in the context of this choice. Yes the choice has been forced in the sense that Susan has imposed it upon me – but I did still choose between staying and going, chose between staying emotionally involved or being detached, chose between remaining angry and bitter or getting over it, and in time I will no perhaps even have to confront the issue of marital fidelity and make a choice on whether I still want that to apply in my circumstances or not.

    As these are all my choices I don’t feel persecuted at all. I have no control over my marriage. But I do have control over my response to these circumstances. There is no boulder being rolled up the hill: my sexual relationship with Susan is almost certainly dead now – I can’t fix that even if I wanted to. Nothing I am doing or will do has any relevance to fixing that problem.

    Comment by marriageofone — September 30, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

  3. You are partly correct. but you err in taking it to an extreme. The only win in this context is that you win back your peace of mind. Is that not what you are after despite the lack of physical intimacy in your marriage? You don’t have to invest any more or less of yourself in your relationships with your family members than you already are. Any changes in this activity is entirely your decision. But you don’t have to continue to take on the negativity that your current situation generates in you. That is the rock you keep rolling up the hill.

    Much of what you write in your posts puts you in the position of responsibility for what goes on under your roof, such as when you wanted to prod Susan into activities, when she should be allowed by you to take the initiative on her own volition. In other words, let her make her own decisions and take her own actions. That is the limit to disengagement that I propose. How does that force you to “lose all ability to engage with my children and partner Susan”? Are you interacting with them, or attempting to direct them?

    Another thing: find new metaphors for your relational condition. War and battlefield don’t work if your words are true. They will negatively color your future attempts at finding personal peace and contentment unless you find another image which isn’t destructive and hostile.

    Comment by ToppHogg — October 1, 2009 @ 2:44 am

  4. Well I’m glad you said these things. Because I think we are in agreement. I can’t and as you point out shouldn’t be trying to help or influence Susan to make decisions she should be making for herself, regardless of how it may or may not help our marriage or sex-life. And actually, I’m not. My efforts really are confined to finding that balance of engagement and disengagement and that will take some fine-tuning.

    As for metaphors I’ve myself felt uncomfortable about using the war one but felt it conveyed the strength and depth of feeling and anguish I felt. Nevertheless, point taken: as a reader of this blog and hopefully there will be many others I really want to convey to you the full breadth of feelings I have been through and at one time I was in a war with Susan, then with myself. At this point in time, I’m not fighting any battles. In fact I’m becoming more content with my life – not happy yet – just content. Which is a great deal better than I was before. What’s more I have no desire to return to those days of depression, helplessness, rejection and anger etc.

    This is why, when Susan recently made a small effort to resuscitate our sex life I threw the ball firmly back in her court. If she was sincere she would have persisted. She has not. QED.

    Comment by marriageofone — October 3, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

  5. OK, we’re more in agreement.

    If I might make a suggestion, altering the content of the blog toward WHAT you are doing to make these changes in your life and HOW it works for you would display evolution in your life, both your successes and your failures. I think that you have by now established the WHY motive of this action, so anything more than a brief reference to a past post would be redundant.

    Comment by ToppHogg — October 6, 2009 @ 12:52 am

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