Going to bed early

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.

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10 Responses to Going to bed early

  1. Exodus says:

    If I’m going to sell myself short, I would rather have sex with a stranger. Having sex with an abusive man, married or not, doesn’t turn me on in the least bit. Oh my gosh, I can’t even fathom the thought of him touching me after all the abuse I’ve endured. My husband would be more than happy if I would roll over and submit to him and I’m sure he would really enjoy it. I wouldn’t. YUK, YUK YUK. I may not ever get out of here but I will die with my dignity in tact- dignity is about all I have left and even that is quite deficient these days.

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  2. marsocmom says:

    I think that after a while, after you get no response for year after year, it’s just inevitable that you will stop caring. I hope there is time in your life for you to reach out and make other friends, volunteer somewhere, or get some kind of a hobby, because you obviously are a very caring and giving person and you need an outlet! Take your daughters with you. 🙂

    I meet a lot of very nice widowed/divorced men in my job at the library, and I know they are out there. It’s a hard choice to make, especially being a Christian, but I believe he is abusing you and you only have one life to live. It is extremely unlikely, from what all the experts say, that he will change.

    I’ve managed to move out of the bedroom entirely, into my son’s old room. I allow him to believe that it’s because he snores and hogs the bed, which is true, but the main reason is that I just don’t like him anymore. I have always been the one to take the lead, bring up the touchy subject, etc., but not anymore. If he wants me back in his bed, he is going to have to initiate the discussion. I am happy in the other room with my kitty, who snuggles me and sleeps on my neck.

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    • WritesinPJ's says:

      I had to smile because I have a couple friends (in other states) that are librarians. Now I’m wondering if they’re keeping the library as a resource for interesting men a secret, lol.
      I need an outlet. I’ve given up many over the years, but this time if I get going with something, I’m digging my feet in. I’m thinking a gym membership.

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  3. I understand what you’re going through. My love language is touch but I don’t want to be touched by someone who abuses me, it is a gross feeling. Detaching did help as well as my faith but you’re right, it’s not one hundred percent better. I have good days and bad days. You are definitely not alone.

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  4. lonelywife07 says:

    PA Man and I haven’t had sex for three weeks now…and I’m THRILLED! All desire for him is GONE! I KNOW he wants it, but I have NOTHING left in me to give! Sex was never that great anyway, it always felt like a chore…let him have his “fun” and he wouldn’t bother me for a few days!
    He knows how I feel, I’ve told him that I have no desire left in me….you cannot treat a woman like he treats me, silence, anger, emotional affairs….and expect sexy lingerie and wild sex in the bedroom…it ain’t happening!
    My mind makes love…NOT my body!!

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  5. Exodus says:

    Feeling like an idiot? Here’s my confession about my sex life with a PA husband.
    This is very difficult for me to share for numerous reasons but mainly because I fear that everyone will wonder why in the world I stayed.

    I haven’t had sex with my husband since 2005 and that was the first time in several years. The sex with him left me feeling so completely used that I simply can’t imagine ever doing that again.
    For me, sex with a partner that I’m emotionally invested in requires more than just a quickie behind the grocery store. I need to feel loved, cared for and respected by an honest man. Otherwise, I would rather get sex from a stranger that that doesn’t care about me at all. At least the stranger is being honest and we’re on the same page.

    I’ll do my best to tell this story in as few words as possible but I doubt that will happen. In the summer of 2005, I was having female problems and doctors discovered that I had a malignant tumor on my ovary. I didn’t panic. I didn’t even care if I was dying other than being concerned about my dogs and I didn’t want to die in my current circumstances with my husband. I wanted to at least die happy, if even I could only enjoy a month or two. My husband turned his back on me, ignored all I was going through, never went to the doctors with me and guess what? He even stole my pain medicine and took them for his own pain. What pain? I was truly experiencing all sorts of desperate thoughts about how to find homes for my dogs, how to set up my estate, etc.. I was wearing thin. I refused any chemical treatment because I just wanted to live out the rest of my life as well as possible without all the side effects of chemo. Besides- me on chemo with a negligent husband who behaved like an angry rebellious teenager? No, that would not work. My doctor, a wonderful man, respected my wishes but he made me promise that I would at least do something that I had always wanted to do and he made me promise to ask for help from a friend or family. He explained to me that a woman’s ovary is her center of creativity and when someone or something is stifling her and preventing her from living a life that is true to her nature, then often diseases of the pelvis will result…cancer, cysts, fibroids, etc.. It’s probably not coincidence that my mother in law suffered from fibroids for many years and her daughter died from ovarian and uterine cancer in 2008 at age 44. Even more frightening is that when I did some family research on my husband’s family, several women had died in the early thirties from uterine or ovarian cancer and they were all involved with abusive men.
    Later that summer, I desperately needed help and I turned to a dear friend of mine, a man, who I had known for a few years through my work in social activism in the UK and US. I explained to him all that was happening, that my husband wasn’t able to help and that I needed a personal assistant who had legal and business knowledge and who I could trust to manage my estate. I offered to pay him for his assistance and travel, etc.. He refused any money other than being able to eat at our house. He immediately arranged a visit to the US and moved to a nearby hotel suite for most of his stay. Eventually he did move in to our home since the expense of hotel was just too much. During that time, he was very respectful of my husband and tried desperately to support him and encourage him to help me but my husband was just ugly and detached. My husband began drinking and hanging out with some contractor that was giving him vicodin or some other pain medication. One night, my friend and I were sitting here waiting for my husband to come home. We were hungry but I refused to serve dinner without my husband- as always. Looking back on that moment, I feel like such a piece of you know what. I mean, here was my dear hungry friend who truly cared about me and I wasn’t serving dinner but instead I was waiting for my lousy negligent husband ???? My friend was just a go with the flow kind of guy. He never let those type of things get to him because he didn’t want me to get upset. Anyway, my husband finally came stumbling in, all drunk and doped up and I just lost it. I was so angry and upset and felt like such a fool. Not only that- he was driving our company truck. My husband even threatened me at one point with his fist and my friend jumped up and defended me and at that point, I knew my situation was so bad that even a gentle caring man like my friend would turn into an angry bear to defend me. So, anyway, during the next 2 months, I managed to get all my bits in order and I spent some time in a rented house on the bay. I purchased a violin and began learning to play it. My friend stayed here at our house with my husband to make sure that I could get away without having to worry about my dogs and the house, etc… It was a dream come true really. I was not accustomed to having someone that I could depend on and trust. My friend would go to the doctors with me and take notes and then he would spend hours researching holistic treatments, etc.. I think he loved me, very much. I think I loved him as well but I was too distracted with all the bureaucratic details of dying to even consider my feelings. Romance didn’t enter the equation until finally just before my friend left, I asked him to make love to me. I just wanted to know what it felt like to be romantic and to be touched by a man who I felt safe with. I wanted to know that feeling before I died. He took me to a beautiful tavern for dinner and then to a beautiful old bed and breakfast. It was a most beautiful experience but it was also very sad to me to know that my husband was back home and not there instead. Although I don’t regret what I did at all, I felt as though it was such a pathetic attempt to feel good for a moment. I wanted something more permanent. That was the last time I had sex with anyone.

    After Christmas, my friend needed to go back home for his job but he offered to take me with him and that we could return within a couple of weeks. He kept telling me over and over again how the stress of staying here was going to kill me. My husband turned into a pathetic little boy and began crying and begging me to stay. He told my friend that he loved me more than anything and that we shared so much, blah blah blah. My friend gave him an angry look and said, ‘ This is how you show your wife that you love her?” I, felt sorry for my husband and fell for my husband’s pity party and decided to stay. My friend respected my decision but was very worried about me. Once my friend was gone, my husband reverted right back into his abusive ways immediately. I tried my best to stay focused on my violin lessons and I even got a dream come true job working at the local university that January. In March, I went back to the doctor for my checkup and miraculously, the tumor had disappeared. I felt like G-d was giving me a second chance. For the first time in years, I felt alive and hopeful. My husband to this day tells me that he wasn’t any help to me during my medical crisis because I never told him I was sick. He’s truly a man of the worst kind.

    The abuse continued and my husband made working at my job a miserable experience. He hated that I loved my work. He hated that I had made friends, he hated my violin studies, he hated everything and once again, he spoiled everything that I loved and that was good for me. He continuously created more and more drama and issues for me to deal with and I couldn’t handle the stress of trying to maintain the deceptive facade of living a normal life with my husband around my coworkers. When our research grant expired three years later, I quit my job and never went back. I also quit my violin studies and I very basically quit living in order to appease my husband and keep the peace.

    In 2012,I joined the historical society in hopes of just having something interesting to do that would provide social interaction. I even encouraged my husband to join and that it was something we could do together. At first he seemed fine with it but then I was promoted to correspondence secretary. I should have never accepted that position. Anytime I was working on my tasks at home, he would get angry and accuse me of working for people who were using me and not paying me enough and he made comments like, ‘ I don’t have time to sit around all day writing letters to people’ and ” why do you have to do that work NOW?” He always exaggerates everything I do…’ all day?’ Hardly even 2 hours per week.

    I’m so ashamed that I am not strong like I was when I was a young woman. I am so ashamed that I have lost my grit and gumption. I am so ashamed that I have let my husband destroy my well being, my frienships and all the wonderful blessings that I have received in recent years. I know that I carry this shame on my sleeve and that others can detect it. That’s why I want so badly to integrate back into society and change that about myself but it’s so hard because I feel so small and pathetic around others. Every time that I’m around other people, I can’t even concentrate because my mind is constantly wondering if they are noticing how insecure I feel.

    Guess what? I’m having female problems again. I went away this weekend to visit some of the old historical graveyards in my state. I figured it was a good way to spend memorial day weekend and I had some genealogical research to do anyway. All I could think about was how I’ve let my ancestors down. They were so brave and strong and courageous in the face of wars on their property, Indian attacks, epidemics, the loss of several children and I have let one weak, small minded, evil man destroy my quality of life and rob me of all that ever meant anything to me. I came home yesterday evening and all of our flats of vegetables had dried up. My husband deliberately let them die even though he was here all weekend. He told me that if I didn’t want them to die that I should have stayed home. I made my bed in my office, put all my dogs’ ashes around me and their favorite toys and went to sleep crying as usual.

    Sorry for writing so much and thanks for tolerating my rambling thoughts this morning.

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    • WritesinPJ's says:

      ((( Exodus ))) I read your entire post, and I feel not one shred of judgment or criticism. I found myself wishing you’d gone away with your friend though.

      This especially resonated for me: “I’m so ashamed that I am not strong like I was when I was a young woman. I am so ashamed that I have lost my grit and gumption. I am so ashamed that I have let my husband destroy my well being, my friendships and all the wonderful blessings that I have received…I have let one weak… man destroy my quality of life and rob me…”

      Let’s not waste what we have left in shame. I only have understanding, compassion, and empathy when I read your post.

      I’m getting excited for you.
      I think you’re turning a corner with your recent trip, and now taking over a new space for yourself. I hope you keep posting your journey.

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    • Jane D. says:

      Exodus – Thank you for sharing. I found a lot I can relate to in this story – certainly the female issues and the fact that my husband has not been there for me (except if there are witnesses) with any health issue I have had. I’m so glad you had that experience with your friend when you were ill. I, too, have been thinking about what I would do if I became ill. I know my husband would not take care of me. I’m glad your friend was available. My husband would have done the same thing with the plants.

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  6. Exodus-thank you for sharing your post. You are an amazing strong woman!!! You have been though a lot and yet you live and are able to tell your story.

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