tales from the surviving straight spouse

Vagina Angina!

I was remembering again how much I love to garden.  It is strange that getting hot, sticky and sweaty in order to nurture growth makes me feel more feminine.  I was thinking about the woman who used the word vagina in congress.  I mentally applauded her.  We need to stop giggling over ‘girl and boy parts.’

I imagine that many women would say a manicure makes them feel girly or a pair of really high heels.

But do we really comprehend the girly vs. feminine?

To me girly does not mean fertile.  It means bang-able.

Feminine means fertile, nurturing and inspiring.

Right before the big reveal, DD was pulling over to the shoulder during his commute to and from work to cry hysterically.  He was falling apart.  I didn’t know.  I knew we had almost no connection.  Twice a month we met with other Marriage Encounter couples to work on our relationship and plan for weekends.  At those functions it was if I magically became visible to DD and he was attentive, reflective and responsive.  Then we went home.

DD had started therapy.  He had to because something was wrong, really wrong.

At dinner one night, he looked down at me from his end of the table – four kids between us – age 9, 7, 5, and 3.  I had dinner cooked and ready almost every night.  Family dinner at home is extremely important to me.

DD had a stern expression on his face, “How would you rate me in the bedroom department?”

I looked at him completely confused.  We had sex twice that year.  It was May.  He honestly didn’t know and he was asking me in front of our kids.  I have learned over the years what to be honest about and what to gloss over.  I didn’t flinch.

“You are the best I ever had.”

He exhaled a big sigh of relief and continued eating.  I smiled weakly.  If I had known that within the week he was going to tell me that he had been lying to me for almost 15 years and that he was sexually attracted to men, I would have told him the truth.

I would have said that watching him trying to find my clitoris was like watching a man grope around in the dark for a light bulb to unscrew.   Worse was looking at the expression on his face.  Unless he was receiving oral sex, he was bored out of his mind.   When we did have sex it was at night after his shows were over.  Afterwards, he jumped out of bed to clean himself off.  I felt icky – as if I had soiled him.  There was never any post coital bonding.  He was exhausted and needed to sleep.  I think the energy he expended to get psyched to have sex and then maintain that excitement exhausted him.  I can think of 3 times in the 15 years that we were married that we had sex during the day.  I lost track of the number of times he lost an erection.  It was frightening because he would get so angry with  me.  Any time I made a suggestion he would lose his erection.  Any time I initiated he would lose his erection.  It was so controlled and exact – there was not spontaneity possible.

DD had pushed me into therapy.  He said I was frigid because I am a rape survivor and I was impacting our sex life.

I look back and wonder at how stupid I was and how I believed that love would conquer all.  I was drawn to DD because his non-threatening ways.  He was not physically threatening at that point.  He was someone who I thought would be sexually safe for me.  He was right, my history of sexual abuse was a part of why I was with him.

The damage he wreaked on my self-image and psyche was slow and permanent.  As much as I say I want to be connected to another man at this point in my life, I am concerned about my ability to keep myself safe emotionally, mentally, financially and sexually.  I don’t trust myself to make correct decisions.  I don’t think I can reign in my desperation to be loved and discern between exploitation and genuine love.

So, I honor the feminine me – I plant, I grow, I clean, I decorate and I take care.  I am ‘nesting’ for me.

I have come to the conclusion that each new painful event is really ripping off the scabs of the past 22 years.  I won’t heal if I am still involved with him.   I have to stay involved with him because of our children.  So, I am developing scar tissue – at least it is thick.  It is the best I can do for now.

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