Marriage Of One

January 26, 2011

Conversation Of One

Filed under: relationships,sex — marriageofone @ 11:32 pm

I have conversations with Susan all the time.  Sometimes we talk about things that concern our marriage all the time, approaching the issues again and again from different angles, trying desperately to gain a new tack to try to improve our lives, a new realisation or perspective that will bring about a sea-change in our prospects.
The trouble is that these conversations are all in my head.Take yesterday’s conversation whilst I was sitting (alone) in the car on the way home from work.  The topic was ‘Why Don’t I Want Another Child’.
You see the thing is, Susan thinks I don’t want another child.  That’s true.  But only partly.  Why not?  Well that’s the question she hasn’t asked.  She probably thinks… well who knows what she thinks.  I certainly haven’t asked why she WANTS another baby.  Wasn’t she the one who after suffering lower back and leg pains during the last pregnancy said “Never again?”.

But why not?, she finally asks in this Conversation Of One.

“Because”, I explain, “I don’t think it’s safe for us anymore.”

“You mean our age?” she says incredulously.  “We aren’t that old!”

“Not that. I mean us – it’s not safe for us as a couple”

She is silent.  I imagine the wheels turning inside her head as she tries to comprehend what I’m saying.  She can’t.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

No, I think, you wouldn’t would you? I take a deep breath in.

“Look, we have an… unorthadox… er non-normal marriage.”  I resist the urge to use the word “abnormal”.

I continue, “We are now at the point where essentially we are just friends – best friends, but friends just the same.”

She purses her lips.  She knows where this is going, and probably doesn’t like it.

“Friends do not have children with each other.” I conclude.  It is sharp, concise and logical.

There is silence for a few minutes.

“Is that all you see me as then?” she asks finally.  “A friend?”

“Best friend.” I reiterate.  “For us, after all that has happened, that’s something to be cherished.”

She shakes her head. I suspect not because that is what our marriage has come to, but because I dared to say something that upsets her.

“Maybe having another baby, ‘trying’ for it, will help mend things.  We’ll take it slowly.”  She picks her predictable euphamism for “we’ll have sex to get pregnant on my schedule”.

“I’m sorry, but my previous experiences with concieving, pregnancy and life after child-birth don’t fill me with hope.”

Not surprisingly she doesn’t remember. It was a long time ago, she says.

“I remember all the time. For me it still hurts.” I remind her how it took 18 months to get pregnant the first time because she refused to have sex unless she was ovulating.  How she consented to sex just 3 times during her pregnancy without any good reason.  And how after delivery she didn’t resume sex for 15 months after.

“But it wasn’t like that the second time was it?”  she genuinely didn’t remember.  She was almost hoping it wasn’t like that.

“No the second time, you agreed to have ‘normal’ sex to get pregnant.  You conceived in just a few months.  But then you didn’t have sex during the pregnancy at all, and for a year after.  What’s more you excluded me from the pregnancy itself; at least the first time I got to massage you and feel part of the process.”

She is silent.  She probably still doesn’t remember.  But she apologises.
“I’m sorry.  I sometimes don’t realise what I’m doing.  You must tell me if you’re hurt.”

I brush the guilt-assuaging apology aside.

“It’s in the past.  We can’t change that now.  And we can’t change the shape of our marriage either.”  I elaborate now. “What we do have a is a good friendship and partnership, both for ourselves, our home and our children.  I sincerely believe that is worth protecting.”

I pause. “And I don’t think we should risk going through all the pain that getting another baby would bring to me, because I don’t think I would stay to put up with it this time round.”

“I’ve become accustomed to this lifestyle now. I don’t like it.  It doesn’t make me happy knowing that a part of me has died.  But many things about my life DO make me happy.  I can’t risk that now. I can’t risk having to look into our childrens eyes whilst my heart is being torn out yet again – and pretend that everything is okay.”

“Do you understand now?” I ask. “The risk I’m talking about is do we take a chance to have another child when it could mean the end of our marriage or should we accept that this is as good as we can make it and do what we can to preserve and strengthen what we have?”

I don’t know what she says because just then I drive into my street and my mind turns to the small children in the house waiting for Daddy to give them their bedtime bath.


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