Last night, I was just dragging my tail. A little before 9:00 p.m., I announced to the room and and no one in general, mostly my girls, that I planned to go to bed early. My husband was nearby and he said he was tired and going to bed early too.
That gave me a moment’s hesitation, but not much. I had the barest inner pause of wondering if he was thinking of you know what, but I was so tired inside and out that I didn’t pursue the thought. Seriously, should I guess if it was one of the rare times when the stars would all align for intimacy?
Don’t mistake the sarcasm, born of fatigue and pain, for lack of desire. It’s quite the opposite. It’s been countless, literally too many to count nights of my lying there awake and wishing he would want to be intimate. Lying there alone with someone in the bed inches away, but a canyon between us. And he doesn’t seem to care. Him always seeming to be unruffled, unperturbed… not needing.
Being in a relationship with a passive aggressive man is a constant push-pull. He wants me close; he pushes me away. This went on for years with my trying sane and rational reasoning to figure it out. That left me feel more crazy and diminished.
Once I came to the point of understanding what I was dealing with, it helped, but not entirely. I still have wants and needs. I want and need love, affection, intimacy, and to be able to trust a life partner.
Theoretically, if he’s in the pull-her-closer, we should be able to both get what we want. The problem is that once I’ve been through another recent push-her-away time, it’s usually left some residual hurt and fallout to my being. This means a time of recovery to regain or maintain equilibrium. I wish I were stronger and could just weather all the garbage. I wish the petty lies, and the senseless evasions didn’t bother me. I wish they just ran off me like water off a duck.
The problem is that I want to be loved. Really and truly loved. The kind of love that wants to lean into me to breathe in the smell of me. The kind of love that absentmindedly feels my hair between his fingers because he loves the feel of it because he loves me. The kind of love that smiles on the inside when something makes me happy, and feels proud of my strengths and achievements. My happiness is his happiness, and his is mine.
The other problem is that touch is probably my main love language. I used to be so much more affectionate when I was young, but it’s never left entirely. I get touch deprivation when I’m not connected. After a time of being pushed away, to be touched can feel like getting a drink of water when you’re really dehydrated. It can feel like pouring balm over a wound that relieves pain. There’s probably an element of the relief that comes when an addict is jonesing for a fix.
About a decade ago during one of the bouts of marriage counseling, we took some professional tests to help the therapist work with us. In those days, I didn’t talk about feeling lonely or hurt, and the word abuse wasn’t in my conscious mind to take to the counselor. So it surprised me when during a session he looked at my husband and said, “Don’t you realize that most men would cut off an arm to have a wife as affectionate as yours?”
But not last night. I got ready for bed, crawled in, and just felt flat, grey, and depressed. He rolled over and started rubbing my back. It didn’t feel good. It felt like life was trickling out of me when I was already drained. After a couple minutes I asked, “Would you mind moving over a little?”
He sounded surprised when he replied, “Sure.”
Then from a little further away, he was still reaching to touch me. I said, “Would you please not touch me. It doesn’t feel good.”
Silence. I felt some unease and my heart pounding a bit. Then blessed sleep.
I’m writing about it because it’s so unusual for me. Maybe it means nothing. Maybe I was just tired. I started taking some St. John’s Wort just in case.