Marriage Of One

July 4, 2010

A Tale of Two Susans

Filed under: marriage,relationships — marriageofone @ 9:42 pm

I’m going to tell you about Susan.  And Susan.

I’ll dive right into the relationship and sex aspect first.

True to form Susan waited 2 weeks before she decided that it was time to have sex under our new roof.  That made it about 2 months since her previous effort.  I wasn’t surprised or deflated – it was just what I expected and how I expected it to be.

The surprise was when barely 3 weeks later she initiated yet again.

And the ultimate shock was when just 4 weeks after that, she did it again!

By our standards that was like sex at the drop of a hat!

If frequency was all-important (which I’ll admit in the early days it was), then it would appear that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  But the exact nature and conduct of a sexual relationship bears some relevance to the quality.

Firstly of these only the first was actual intercourse.  The others were just mutual masturbation.

Secondly in all these, Susan’s effort was confined to initiating and then literally just lying back once things got started.  She didn’t tell me what she was planning in advance (to build any kind of anticipation),  nor during sex, nor did she talk afterwards (either immediately or the next day).  So sexual conversation has remained consistent – at zero.  I actually found even whilst in the rather tepid heat of action that I was feeling quite uninvolved on one hand, but that I was having to carry the whole thing off on my own.

Thirdly, all of these were confined to our bedroom, late at night.  We have had ample opportunity during the day on some days and in other parts of the house.  No takers.

On one hand, I’ve come round to the conclusion that I should just make the best of every opportunity and throw myself into it.  On the other, I did find myself thinking on both the last two occasions whether I should just apologize to Susan and fake an excuse to stop or just tell her I’m not in the mood (or I was but she’s put me off).

Now I’m not being ungrateful, in this marriage I take what I can get and what I am given.  I actually harbour some – let’s not call it hope – but say, belief that IF she can get past the problem of frequency then in order to keep a regular sex life, she MAY become more creative or get me more involved in shaping OUR sex life.  Of course, that may just be wishful thinking.  Why would an asexual want to increase the frequency of tedious sex when all it will lead to is more tedious and complicated sex?

A few weeks ago, my parents moved in with us.   With that we lost any opportunity to have sex outside our bedroom.  We had a window of opportunity and like many that have passed before, it was ignored and missed.

In my last entry I wondered if we were on the cusp of a change.  My estimation despite this ‘sexual surge’ is that Susan hasn’t changed as a result of this relocation.   That is one Susan.

Susan the Ambitious?

Since having the last of our children, Susan has been a stay-home mum.  This was just the pragmatic thing to do.  Susan has a non-professional job and she is not a career woman.  She doesn’t care for that kind of thing and so she earns modest money.  So modest that although it is nice to have her earnings, we can do without it too.

But that is not the point.  We both agree that going to work – even part-time – is good because it gets her out of the house, away from the constant nagging of the children (and vice-versa I should add) and doing something that does not revolve around being a home-maker.  Its a mental thing.  I’m sure there are women (and men) who think that life couldn’t get better than being with there children all day every day.  Good luck to them.  Susan is not one of these.

Susan wants to get back to work.  She doesn’t care about the career.  She’s happy to get a modest salary.  She just wants out of the house.  And as I say, I agree with that.  It will do her some good.  It will do the children some good.  They’ve got too used to having mummy on their beck and call.

In any case, we’re just talking part time or a few days a week here.

What has been interesting is just how seriously she’s taking this.  Now when I look for a job I throw myself at it wholeheartedly.  That is because I am the main breadwinner.  I don’t expect Susan to do the same.  And she doesn’t.  She’s looking for work as though  it was a hobby – an important hobby.  She’s reading books and articles and she’s said that she’s even willing to try a career change!

I used to have a theory around 10 years ago.  At that time Susan was working (to my mind) well below here potential – doing a job that she was well over qualified for.  I’ve since learnt that this was only partially true – being a competent professional involves far more than having a degree certificate.  It takes a huge dose of confidence, ambition and intellectual and emotional courage to push yourself to do things that college prepares you for – but does not actually teach you.

Right so my theory was that if I could coach Susan to being more confident about her work prospects, she would find a satisfying career and be happier.  If she was happier, then I wouldn’t have to listen to her gripe about work (nearly) every evening, and we could get on with other things – like sex!  And the more self-belief she had, the theory went, the more adventurous she’d be in her career, life and yes, sex!

I plugged the theory through two job changes in the first 5 years of my marriage.  But I learnt quite early on that Susan’t degree really was just a piece of paper – she hadn’t developed the other bits that make a career.

And when she eventually did find a job she was happy in, it didn’t matter.

This time, the challenge she faces is tougher.  She’s been out of the job market for a few years, we’re in an economic downturn and her experience is rather limited.  I’m letting her find her own way, showing her that I’m interested without taking on a ‘coach/motivator’ mentality – which I know  Susan hates.  She doesn’t like pressure – even helpful pressure, which she knows may be for her own good.

What I do know is that she’ll have to be persistent, creative and above all, lucky to secure this first post-baby job.  I hope she doesn’t give up before that happens.

Why?  Because I’m starting to feel that she’s feeling cooped up by her situation: the children and now my parents.  Every day the same.  Her patience is breaking sooner that it used to.   She needs a lucky break.  Fast.

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5 Comments »

  1. You leave out some vital information! Why are your parents now living with you?

    Susan’s new desire to return to the work force screams that she isn’t happy with this arrangement, and your last sentence indicates you are aware of this. I am as puzzled by her limited sexual explorations as you are, yet it could have been that she merely needed a stress-reliever and didn’t want to risk pregnancy knowing your parents are becoming part of the household.

    You also don’t mention whether she’s talking to you in any meaningful way. I would expect that she isn’t, for everything else you mention screams of escape – even her initiating sex only to become a passive participant. I think Susan is very conflicted between familial duty and personal self-preservation, yet doesn’t know what to do about it anymore than we do on her behalf. Being in this condition, she is likely to be very confusing to you, and what gains you have made with her could be affected. Getting your emotions centered and stabilized would be strongly advised, especially if Mr. Cameron’s recent public economic statements lead to preventing Susan from even finding a job.

    Red sky at morning, sailor! Batten down the hatches and damn the torpedoes!

    Comment by ToppHogg — July 5, 2010 @ 10:05 am

  2. “Why are your parents now living with you?” – I can’t go into these details without saying ‘too much’. Suffice it to say that it was unavoidable – if not now, then in a few years time. You can refresh your memory if so inclined by reading ‘The Early Years’ article on the links on the right-hand column of this page.

    The return to work was always part of the plan and we factored in this length of absence from work. So that in itself is not surprising. The interesting bit is just how ‘ready’ she seems to be to get into work, and how frustrated she has become with her daily home life.

    And as for conversation – not much has changed there. We speak about family, friends, home chores and matters involving money and mundane things, the children, school, and so on. We speak about movies and television we watch together. We do NOT speak about US. Our relationship. Intimacy. Sex. She doesn’t know how. And I don’t see the point.

    As for the point about pregnancy – that’s not it. The one conversation that HAS happened is that we are not having another child! The reason is that she does not want to put her body through that again. I agree with her. I believe that we can do more for our children if we have a small family. She agrees with me. Secretly I wouldn’t mind another but I don’t want to have another pregnancy because in each of the previous cases I’ve had to live through hell. Either whilst trying to conceive or after becoming pregnant or after child birth. I’ll be looking at 15-24months of being treated like crap.

    Quite frankly I don’t think the marriage will take that kind of beating yet another time.

    Comment by marriageofone — July 6, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

  3. I only mentioned pregnancy in the context of Susan having another reason to avoid sex, not that it was something you were planning together. I don’t see that happening at all.

    But I am beginning to become concerned that your efforts to hang on to this marriage may be for naught. There are some parallels between Susan’s current behavior as you describe it and the personal history of a relative of mine. This relative made little moves away from her husband for years, until the day came when she could make the big break all at once – with the support of a very nice man who she later married.

    This isn’t to say that Susan has another man in her life. In fact, I rather doubt it. I don’t sense that she values much in her relationship with you enough to try this with someone else. But she may well be thinking about what her life might be like now had she not married you. She might even be thinking about what it would take to try to catch up with that dream.

    As you two don’t talk about your life together as a couple, all of this is speculation on my part. But the fact that you don’t talk about your life together is universally seen as a bad sign in a relationship. It leads me to wonder if Susan hasn’t been so cold to you as a tactic to get you out of her life. If so, then she may well be getting tired of waiting for you to act, and is working up the courage to take action on her own.

    Based on her behavior with other of her rare initiatives, she will only get herself into a mess when she stops in midstream and will expect someone to rescue her again – and that someone will clearly be you. She will love the fact that she’s being rescued, but will resent that it is you being the rescuer. Her conflicts over her wants and needs and her involvement with you aren’t going to be helped by the close domestic quarters filled with extra people, and she could become quite a handful very soon. I would be watching the liquor cabinet and the prescription drugs for any radical changes in quantity or variety – and I hope for your sake this doesn’t materialize. Her behavior will likely become more of a problem without these accelerants.

    I’ll close this load of negativity with a hope that I’m completely wrong and that none of what I discuss here ever materializes.

    Comment by ToppHogg — July 10, 2010 @ 11:04 am

  4. I don’t know about ‘hanging on for naught’. I’ve said several times before what the ‘value’ of staying in and sustaining this marriage is for me. Ironically, the value that Susan attributes to it is I suppose little different: children, lifestyle, security, company/friendship. The only difference is that for her it is (mostly) enough. For me it isn’t.

    For now I don’t believe that Susan is in any danger of infidelity or substance abuse. Nor does she want me to do the bold thing and initiate the split.

    The thing is that I no longer view this as a ‘sex avoidance’ issue. I believe this is a ‘sex is completely off the radar’ issue aka asexuality.

    She cares about sex in the same way as I care about whaling; something that pops into my head now and then, but I’m not joining Greenpeace or heading to the Pacific to stop Japanese whaling vessels.

    That level of ‘care’ requires token commitment, a petition here and a donation there. In fact I don’t REALLY ‘CARE’ at all! So for Susan’s commitment to sex. I understand that she actually doesn’t REALLY ‘CARE’ about sex. She can’t; it’s too far removed from her personality.

    For me the issue is purely one of fairness.

    The problem is how to define fairness; she thinks it is unfair for her to have to do anything she does not want. Even compromise is unfair.

    Oddly enough I subscribe to the idea that fairness involves giving in sometimes and letting others ‘win’. Even Susan understands this as she seems quite capable of demonstrating to our children when rows break out over toys and crayons.

    For some reason she doesn’t think this applies to sex.

    Comment by marriageofone — July 12, 2010 @ 9:51 pm

  5. “For some reason she doesn’t think this applies to sex.”

    I disagree. Have you not reported that she was the initiator in your last couple of connections? She must care about it enough to occasionally be your partner.

    But the “occasionally” part brings us back to your initial complaints about your relationship. Having gone round-about once, can you go again? Can you accept that what you now have is as good as it is going to get? It isn’t going to be fair, and it looks like you believe there is nothing you can do about this but to accept it. You have rejected just about every other option I can think of, so this will have to be OK with you. Is it?

    Comment by ToppHogg — July 18, 2010 @ 3:49 am


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