Our Story, Part 3

So, I figured it out. Orgasms, pretty powerful stuff. Just as I did, we really had hit a rut, stagnant to the point of discontent. I had really retreated inside myself, worried what would happen if I shared this with him, embarrassed, fearful of rejection. I worried he might feel inadequate if I told him I had never had one. I never faked them, I just never talked about them.

My husband actually approached me first. He sat me down to talk about how he felt like we were at a place where we acted more like friends than a married couple. In a very loving way he proposed we figure out how to get our sexy back. I was almost bursting with excitement and fear, listening, then sort of poured out all this emotion about not ever having an orgasm, how I bought a giant box of sex toys and I figured it out on my own. Surprisingly, his face lit up. We got busy.

I’ve said before that sex can be pretty powerful. As soon as we began communicating openly about what was happening in the bedroom, our communication outside the bedroom improved. I heard him more, he was much more confident. We were happier than we’d been in a while. Then, at work, something threw me for a loop.

For years, I worked with female sex offenders. I heard their horrific stories every day, both the crimes they had committed and the ones they had suffered. I was always able to separate what had happened to me, I guess I just stuffed it down deep, ignored it. I never really even thought about it, didn’t give it much weight. It never seemed any more worthy of sadness than any other relationship I ever had. It was certainly tame compared to some of the stories I heard. Then, one day at work we were told there was going to be some major restructuring and positions would be shuffled around. There was a possibility I’d have to work with the male sex offenders. I could barely breathe. I went home a mess. I couldn’t do it, even if it meant I’d have to quit, I knew I couldn’t do it. And I knew why. Suddenly, this thing had weight. A crushing, embarrassing, guilty, remorseful, weight and I hated it. I was devastated, I felt weak and silly. Not only did I have to think about it and admit it hurt, I had to tell my husband I might need to quit my job because of it. So, this thing I always thought was not important was now governing my life in an instant.

I was afraid. It made it more real that my husband knew the guy. He could put a face to the name, the same face I saw when I thought about it. Most of all, I had to face feeling like I let it happen. I went there willingly, sat on that couch, let him think I was there offering myself to him. I felt like I let this guy take complete control over me and it made me feel weak and small and defenseless. So, I spent the next few days pretending there was nothing wrong, trying to figure out what to say. Finally, I just sat him down and told him. I began with the work situation, then told him what had happened, even told him who it was. He just hugged me, for a long time. He told me he loved me, it wasn’t my fault and it didn’t change anything between us. Then, he told me he’d help me look for a new job.

I loved my husband, I wanted my husband, but I never wanted to NEED him. I didn’t want to have to rely on him, to not be able to live without him. This sounds crazy even as I write it, but truly needing him felt weak, dependent, like my mom, like that girl who was overpowered by that guy in college. But, after we talked and he was so accepting and loving and supportive, I knew I needed him. I needed him with very ounce of my being (I always had) and it wasn’t quite so scary.

Luckily, the work restructuring didn’t effect me and I never had to move or quit. As a result of the situation, my husband and I were closer and our communication kept improving. As it improved, I began to realize just how screwed up my thinking was. It’s all I thought about, actually. I really wanted to give him a voice, to hear him, respect him, empower him. I began to see that my behavior did exactly the opposite. I also began to see that I didn’t even respect myself.

I started exercising, eating healthier and lost weight. My husband was so supportive, helped rearrange our schedules and lives to make my exercise plan a priority. He joined in, ate well with me and lost weight too. I started doing races, feeling better, gaining confidence and opening up a little more to him. Our sex life was better than ever. The control issue, that was the most difficult, it was habit at this point. I struggled relentlessly, knowing I needed to stop, but not knowing how, to just really let go. In my head, all I wanted was to follow and not feel weak. I was getting tired. He was so much more confident, expressing his desire to make decisions without me fighting them so often. I tried, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. For the next few years we were pretty happy, but I struggled to stop being so controlling and we kept talking, trying to figure it all out.

Then, I got a Kindle and bought a book.

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