Hi, figured I would check in.
So, things are going well....and not so well.
Overall, we apparently can do karezza pretty well! Wife seems to enjoy it, although I still don't know that she has fully grasped what we are trying to do.
The not-so-well part is more involved.
Last week we had a bit of a run in where I had indicated a desire to get together and left it in her hands for the day, and at end of day she had chickened out (her words) at saying "no"....so she said nothing. I was upset not for the no but for the fact she didn't say anything. I am pretty sure she doesn't believe that entirely (that I was OK with the no but not the ignore-the-problem schtick). I didn't fly off the handle, but I was a little hurt she didn't say anything (later the reason was given that it was unclear that I meant that DAY).
That led to a longer discussion the following day where it came out that she still felt pressured to say yes when I ask for ...just about anything it seemed (see list below). Some of this harks back to my reaction to the no in the past (not loud or violent, but I had a hard time keeping myself up and happy sometimes...not all the time, just sometimes...and that was hard for her to deal with). In fact, it was EXACTLY my emotional reactions that seemed out of character (and out of control) that led ME to karezza.
I have reiterated many times since we started this little journey that I feel much more in control and I have gone into cuddling or kissing or anything remotely intimate with the statement that I really am looking for nothing more than that. I am not heading down the "sex" road, and I can say that in 90% of the cases that is 100% true and in the few that aren't, it was not an unmanageable emotional event for me.
At the end of that talk, I basically offered her the opportunity to initiate sex for the time being. I would NOT initiate sex, but I would feel free to initiate cuddling or other non-sexual contact with the understanding with her that I wasn't looking for anything more. I also said I was hoping we could do something every day.
Last night we had another talk, and I discovered some more new things. First was that she hadn't read everything I gave her, and second that she was feeling pressured to cuddle now and it was disturbing her, especially the every day part.
Here is a summary of what came out of the 2 discussions:
- She has felt pressured to say yes to sex and still does
- She feels like she has kind of been dragged down the karezza road without much discussion (see note on this below)
- She said that even when I put my hand out to hold hers she feels pressured
- She feels pressured to read the stuff I gave her (highly abbreviated summations from the website, etc), so she hasn't gotten through much (I asked once and she won't tell me what she has and has not read, I am not pushing the point for obvious reasons)
- She feels pressured to say yes to cuddling and that that level/frequency of intimacy is too much for her right now. "Daily" seems like WAY to much to her (I thought she had made it through that much of the reading I gave her, which is why I asked for frequent bonding behaviors).
- She feels bad about being the first one to pull away during any contact
So I am backed into a bit of a corner now. It was a little surprising that even the hand holding thing was hard for her and that cuddling was NOT a very nice thing for her right now. I admit that my personal blind spot missed these feelings on her part, so my bad. I am not sure it hurts more that holding hands is a high pressure sport for her or the fact that I missed that fact!
And now my note on the 2nd item above: The corner is made more....cornery...by the fact that she won't read the stuff I gave her and won't talk to me about it. When she says she is being dragged down the karezza road, I really want to point out (I don't tho) that I WANT to talk about it, I WANT her to read the stuff so we can have an intelligent discussion/decision and not have this just be something that happens just enough to get me to back off and let her alone. I have been very careful to state that this is nothing more than an experiment and that I will not force her to a) help me be non-orgasmic or b) be non-orgasmic unless it is something we mutually decide. The problem is, there has been no discussion therefore no decision....and I am left wondering what to do because she IS kind of being dragged down the road.
A while back during an emotional moment, she said that she was really upset that I felt like sex was so bad that I felt there needed to be a change. First I never said it was bad, and I have told her several times since then (and last week when it came up again), that it wasn't that it was bad, I had just reached a point where I was questioning whether there was more to be had, whether there were ways to make it better. Based on everything she has said about feeling so much pressure (and I have yet to explain to her the depths of pressure I have been under with this), I am confused as to why she felt that it was so good that we could use no improvement!
Giving up the initiating was hard for me. There is a deep seated insecurity in me that thinks if I give that up, it will never happen, or that it will happen once a month or less and I will be met with the "Well, I am happy, why aren't you?". I know that this is my insecurities talking, that there is a validation you get from sex that is hard to replace, but I realize now that I don't want sex with someone who doesn't want to be there, so the fear has softened and seems manageable. I had to face that one down, and it has been easier since starting karezza, but I will have to be vigilant to make sure I don't slip back into old habits of ramping up my desire.
Am I perfect in this? Heavens no! I know that I still struggle with desires (dopamine rushes), I know that I have 20+ years of history with being less than well-behaved in this department and I need to establish myself as a truly different person and that takes time. Probably a long list of other things....and it will take time to repair all of that.
And I know that she hasn't disengaged completely. But this morning I woke up feeling like giving up...just saying to heck with it and let her decide when/how/why we do ANYTHING. I am tired of being the pushy one, the one labeled as "needy", the one that induces fear if I am told no. I am horrified that I have put that much pressure on her over the years and disappointed that even cuddling is an emotional workout. I had so hoped (naively) that at least the cuddling might be pleasant for her.
I need to work on the "first one to leave" part (be more in tune with her), but many of these things are things I can do nothing but sit and watch. I refuse to remove all pressure from the situation by caving in and ignoring it, but other than that, I am waiting on her. Without reading or thinking or talking about it, she will have to discover everything on her own and (my fear) only at my pushing the subject.
The realist in me know that things will progress...slower than I want them to but progress nonetheless. It is just a hard row to hoe right now.