Saturday, May 23, 2009

is sitting still moving backwards?

"Standing still in stasis" I wrote in my last blog entry.

Well... things are still standing still. But, I don't have much emotional sense of stasis tonight. 

Tonight, it just feels a bit... tedious. Eight months I've been biting my tongue and waiting for her. And tonight I just bit it again.

We were watching a romantic commedy together. I guess that made it a bit harder. You see all this romance and love on screen, and it can be a bit hard to not be a bit inspired! But any inspiration was clearly in one direction only, as she was as cold as an old friend. Which is to say, not cold, per se, but with no warmth at all, either. Like we were flatmates. And, no, it is NOT all about sex. There's no cuddles, no kissing, and not much emotional intimacy, either. Warmth, yes -- the warmth of an old friend; but no more. 

Which begs the question: if you aren't moving forward, are you moving backwards? 

Tonight, it feels a bit like it. 

But there are blessings in celibacy. I am more attuned to my feelings and thoughts around sex, attraction, desire, touch and love. I notice, now, when she ovulates! Not because she tells me, nor because I see it on the calendar, but because I can feel the extra phermonal attraction I have. It can make it very, very hard at times. I have lain next to her in bed, and it was everything I could do to not wrap my arms and legs around her in the sheer desire to hold her and be intimate with her. Last week it was more subtle. I saw her changing into her pyjamas, and I saw her breasts. Nothing unusual there, but it left me far more aroused than usual. And then I remembered what time of month it was, and it all made sense. 

Biologists say she is likely to feel more aroused as well, but you wouldn't guess it to be around her. Who knows. 

When our problems first came up after the birth of our first child about five years ago, she went off to the doctor to check her hormone levels. One came in high: TSH, her thyroid stimulating hormone. It turned out her TSH was in overdrive because her thyroid itself was slowly dying. It is not as dramatic as it sounds, nor is it unusual. She just had low level hypothyroidism, which is one of the hormonal causes of low libido. 

A couple of months ago, I bought her a book on the subject, and she discovered that her thyroid medication might have been a bit low. Apparently they were using the wrong test, and possibly the wrong measure for what "normal" is. 

So her meds were increased, and a month later she was to be retested. But she forgot. Then it was the next week. She was too busy. So then it was the next week again. 
Should I remind her to go and take the blinking test?!? Would it go against my private vow? I did remind her (in as low-key a way as possible), and I think it did not break my vow. She didn't seem to feel at all pressured or nagged. And of course, it's not just about sex anyway. 

So... the test said that her new doseage put all three of her thyroid horomones in the correct range. One was even pushing the high end. 

She did seem to change over the month. She seemed so much happier. Things that annoyed her still got under her skin, but they didn't stay there the way they had in the past. She could brush them off much more readily. She became a lot more emotionally resilient, a lot happier, and a LOT more pleasant to be around. 

But... any whisper of an increased libido? 


So... now what? For six or so weeks I guess the plan in the back of my head has been to see what happens with this new level of thyroid hormone. Well... she's taken it. Her mood has improved, but her libido hasn't, and -- worst of all -- the test results mean that she won't be increasing her medication again. 

Sadly, the problem wasn't as simple as that. 

So, now I am just waiting again. But no longer with a subconscious hope. I mean, if there is no spark after watching a Ro-Com together... will there ever be? 

I desparately want somehow to find a way to move things along without her feeling at all pressured. That, however, seems impossible. 

I guess that's why a vow is a vow. Because it's hard. There would be no point in making a vow to sleep every night, or to eat every day. I would do those things anyway. A vow becomes meaningful when it is tested. And tonight, today, this week -- it's really feeling tested. 

Eight months down, four to go. 

Lord, give me the strength to wait; the insight to be doing this in the right way and for the right reasons; and the courage to stay the path of what is best for all of us in the long run, and not just what might feel best in the moment. 


  1. I'm fascinated by your quest here. There are so many things you note in your wife's behavior that are familiar to me. (My wife's disinterest in sex was due to childhood abuse.)

    For me, romantic comedies became unbearable triggers, along with ads or billboards that showed loving couples. I sometimes called her my "roommate" in anger, like "flatmate" :-)

    I think the main thing is that your blog brings up the question: If I had done what you're doing, would my wife ever have chosen to get therapy and work on her issues? I can't answer this question, because the only thing that did move her into making progress was my descent into drug and pornography addictions. (I don't blame her for these.) I don't know if she would have responded to me being as patient as you're being. You have my admiration.

  2. Hey Eli, thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my blog. And thanks for your admiration! I'm not sure how wise my patience is, but time will tell. I do wonder whether she will get off her backside and do something about her issues any time soon. For her, there is clearly no pressure as long as I'm not saying anything. And she doesn't seem to have much intrinsic motivation, either. Even women who are very motivated to overcome their childhood abuse get to a point where they face a huge barrier of fear in their counselling progress.

    But at this point, it is still guess work for me that her childhood abuse is even the core issue.

    I'd like to move things along a bit as I am feeling a bit hamstrung at the moment. But I did do the nagging thing (for want of a better word) on and off for five years. Time to try something different! Eight months down and four to go! But then...?

    I am worried that if I lay my cards on the table ("you've got four months to sort it out!") it would back fire, making her feel too pressured to grow.

    Conversely, I am also worried that if I do nothing, then she'll merrily continue on living in avoidance, assuming that it's a non issue for me, and therefore having no motivation to face her own demons.

    Sungold reminded me once that the only person I can change is me. A truism, but one worthy of remembering.

    I have found that I can, indeed, change myself to live without sex (or other physical/emotional intimacy).

    But now I am wondering about a new kind of change: How can I change myself to live neither in my previous state of nagging frustration nor in my current state of passive acceptance, but into a new mode of compassionate advocacy?

    I would like to help Sue to cultivate her libido, and he inner emotional life.

    Can I do that without pressuring her in the least bit, directly or indirectly?

    How would I do it?
    What would it look like?
    How would I know if I'd gone too far?
    How would I know if I was being too low key?

    Until she is able to talk to me about how she feels, perhaps it is all a waste of time; driving a car in the dark; walking in circles with your eyes shut.

    So...perhaps that's my next challenge? To find ways to help her open up to me. Something as simple as helping her to talk to me. Just being a good listener.

    That seems like such a hopelessly, pathetically small step for a journey of 1000 miles.

    But it's a start.