So, we tried some different things and never did follow-up with how they went.
First, 30 days without sex. Prior to the 30 days, he would scrunch up close to me, with his hands caressing me here and there. His arm laid heavily over me. I inevitably would feel like I was sleeping on the edge of our bed and ask him if we could move more to the middle. Sometimes I just wanted to be held gently and tenderly.
The first week of no sex, I noticed not as much affection. I asked about this and he stated he did not realize that was the case. The affection picked-up. During the second week, when holding me at night, I noticed it wasn’t as tightly, his arm wasn’t as heavy around me and he wasn’t as handsy as prior to this 30-days no sex period. It was really nice. The affection from him felt more relaxed and gentle and I really did like that a lot.
Since the 30 days are over, I can feel it slipping back. I really don’t know what to do about this because after years of him not initiating, I so want him to be the one to initiate. On the other hand, I also want affection for its own sake. So, yes, during the 30-day no sex period I did feel a difference in affection for its own sake versus affection geared towards sex. We need to work on this conundrum!
Second, “today I recognize. . .” For the last month, once per day, MC comes up with one thing to share with me to recognize the contributions or difficulties I experienced as a result of his being an SOB for so many years. Sometimes they are positive contributions that I made to our family that he had ignored or minimized in the past. Sometimes they are sad, lonely moments for me that were a result of his selfishness. And, then he will apologize and tell me why it is different today. What he is doing to ensure it is different today. We had, I had, gotten into this horrible pattern of rehashing something, anything at bedtime. I think it is because these things are still on my mind (I have a hard time turning my mind off for sleep) and I needed to know that it was on his too. So, I made sure it was. Somehow, the “today I recognize” has nipped this in the bud. That’s not to say I don’t respond sometimes with a question. But, more often than not, I just absorb what he is telling me and it somehow calms me.
Third, he is working on sharing immediately any memory that flashes through his mind about his affairs and also about any current situation that in the past he would have sought to act selfishly. I want to know all the tiny little details. I also want to know all the situations today that in the past would’ve been threats, even if they are not today. While he has done a lot to tell me these details, “our story” of this blog was his attempt to give me that, I want all the tiny pieces of the puzzle that may still be out there. For 18.5 years, others (i.e., affair partners) knew more about my marriage than I did. They had windows, where I had walls. I want ceiling-to-floor, wall-to-wall windows. He is trying to fill in any small little blanks that might be left out there. He is working on telling all that comes into his thoughts the minute it is there. Not minimizing anything to himself, not telling himself he would tell me some other time when a-z was just right, but just telling me, whether at home in person or calling from work. He is working on this without me asking, “Any memories to share?” or “Anything happen today to tell me about? “But, I find myself still asking occasionally. This to me is the difference between active vulnerability and passive vulnerability. Active tells immediately, freely, without filters, bias and in spite of any fear. Passive waits for me to ask. He is doing so much better on this. But, it is a work in progress.