Dear Internet,
I am frightened.
On paper my marriage was flawless.
TheSoonToBeExHusband and I had the trappings of a couple who had it all. We had a beautiful home, we had a vacation home, we were both educated and made good money. Our individual needs for space, both of us creatures of solid independence that were attractors to us both, allowed us the freedom we needed to thrive. We challenged the other and we learned from the other. Our differences is what made us strong because our worlds were so vastly different and so remarkably the same, we connected on levels that we never thought possible with another human being.
In the beginning, our relationship was glorious.
There was not a single event that said “aha! this is ending” but rather, it was a slow, agonizing death. The sex slowed to a trickle. Then stopped. The affection was debated and negotiated. He would give me the world if he had it, but he couldn’t give me himself. He told me this, many times. He could not trust me not because I had done something wrong but because he could not trust anyone. Period. His own past was a chock a block of defense mechanisms that I could not penetrate no matter how hard I rammed against them. I was so desperate for him to love me and let me love him, but I could not ever hope to win.
I remember we were laying in bed one evening watching some schlocky movie when a romantic scene came on. I remember thinking that as the male lead grasped the female lead into a passionate embrace, I would never have that feeling again. I began to cry.
In the beginning when we were dating, he would throw me up against a wall and fuck me just because he could. And now a few scant few years later, I would never have my husband grab me and kiss me as if his life depended on it ever again. Oh, he gave me affection for we cuddled all the time, but that missing bit of raw primal sexual urge was gone and I found myself making allowances for those missing needs. He protected and supported me when the crazy hit. He took excellent care of me when I was ill. He made me laugh. He grounded me when I when I got too manic. He had a lot to give me and he did, but withheld the one thing I really wanted: himself.
Bipolars are attracted to the next big thrill. Many a relationship has ended with me because the honeymoon phase wore off and reality set in. “Oh, you’re not constantly wanting to get in my pants every second of the day? Well obviously you don’t love me enough.” So I reasoned, with TheSoonToBeExHusband, the honeymoon was wearing off and we were now in the dull throes of day to day life. This is what adulting IS, correct? Love isn’t always about sex. So I consoled myself that I was being manipulated by the media into believing that if my husband wasn’t fucking me every second of the day, the relationship must be terrible when it really wasn’t.
The sex could be fixed, and I knew that, so I sat down with him numerous times and explained what I needed. What I wanted. And it wasn’t just about getting fucked so hard my toes would curl, but it was about the act of seduction and tension. I needed to be wooed on occasion. To be desired. To be thought of as sexy and worth fucking. But he no longer agreed with the meeting of our sexual needs. He said at one point he thought he was asexual. His desire for sex was not the same as mine and while he could see about meeting my needs, he was content about where he stood with his. But he would try.
But it wasn’t enough. And soon, it wasn’t just about the sex, it became about everything else. The more he withdrew, the more frustrated I became. I fought to fix this, but every discussion brought out reasoned (him) analytics about the relationship while I couldn’t make him understand or could not apparently articulate that relationships were not about logic or reason, but also about emotion and feeling. It’s also about the sharing of the worlds.
He slowly stopped wanting to be a part of my world. I was his pookie bear, and he loved me, but I became more of a household pet than a lover or even a partner. I was to be petted and adored, mainly from afar, but everything else was off the table. At times he was cruel. He would grab me and give me a toe curling kiss, my body would meld into his, my arms around his neck, begging for more. Then he would stop. He would say he was not in the mood and walk away.
No amount of editing is going to make this clean and easy to follow. Life is not easy to follow.
I knew TheSoonToBeExHusband was depressed. He knew he was depressed. I begged him to get professional help and he refused. A long history of misguided therapy in his youth tainted seeing a therapist as an adult. He offered to work on it his own way: St. John’s Wort, working out, light therapy. There would be days where he would be semblance of his old self and days when he couldn’t get out of bed. My depression, which I had mostly been free from in recent times, came back. I was drowning and I had no idea how to save myself, let alone him. Or even our marriage.
Several months later, I called my therapist and went back into therapy.
Over the last two years, I found myself negotiating everything to make it through the day, but what I found myself losing was large parts of myself in the process. I was not the woman he married, I had become a shell of myself. I no longer found the world to be a big cookie for me to eat as everything tasted of sawdust. What was the point of having financial freedom when all we did was stay locked in our house for days on end. In the three years we were living at Throbbing Manor, we never explored the neighborhood we lived in, so how were we to go out into the world and explore it as we once dreamed?
Sure relationships have problems, I get that. I know that. But how far do you put yourself out there to save it before it becomes too broken to fix? How much can love really conquer all? And at what price?