I tried to do a condensed version but there’s no way around it. I need to be as thorough as possible about our conversation. It’s important. If you’ve been cheated on and are working on reconciliation, you need to have these kinds of talks. It’s not easy but if you truly love each other and want to move forward, you need to communicate about it all.
The Way Out is Through.
This weekend was our anniversary. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. It included our first argument since getting back together. It was about sex.
I felt I was ready to move forward with sex. I wanted to do it, but I think even more so, I felt like I needed to do it. I wanted to overwrite the memory of the Incident. I got frisky in the early morning of Saturday. I was rejected. When it was time to get out of bed, I asked if she would join me in the shower. Rejected again.
I spent the whole day sexually frustrated, hoping to try again that night. No chance, now she had to do a night shift.
The next day, I learned that the kids will be gone overnight. While they played outside, I wrapped my arms around Carol and began to kiss her neck and shoulders.
“What do you want for dinner?” she asked.
“You,” I reply.
“No,” she said, looking scared and uncomfortable.
“No? C’mon honey, what’s the problem? I want to be with my wife.”
“I want to go,” she replied then pushed past me.
I was angry and sat in the car in silence while we drove the kids to their sleepovers. I didn’t know how to approach this issue. All I knew was that I was frustrated and angry and anything I was thinking of saying would be counterproductive.
When we got home, I still didn’t know what to do. I went to the bedroom and tried to read. Not happening. I thought maybe I should leave the house for the evening. I walked past the living room where I saw Carol sitting in silence crying.
“Maybe, I should go out,” I said.
“If you want to. I’m sorry,” she replied. “I know you’re angry, but I can’t. I’m just not ready for sex yet.”
I became furious.
“You’re not ready for sex? You are the one who cheated, not me! I’m trying to move on. I need to move on! All these years you spent pushing me away, refusing to engage. Well, obviously you want sex! You’ll risk your job, marriage, home and kids to f**k a mouth breathing moron!”
“I’m not ready! I can’t make myself ready! Why do you even want me anyway? How could you?”
“What the hell do you want then, if you don’t want to be with me?” I asked. “I need to…” overwrite the past, I thought but didn’t say.
“I want to be your wife! You are my best friend and I want to raise our kids with you!”
“But you don’t want me. You push me away for years, cheat on me, and now you double down on not wanting to have sex with me. Before I felt rejected and humiliated. After what you did, this is downright insulting.”
“I want to want you. But I don’t right now. I know, that’s a terrible thing to say, so I avoided it for all these years. But I love you and I want to get there. I feel this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach over it. It gives me anxiety to think about sex with you. I don’t want to do it because I feel I have to, I want to get to where I want to.”
“So never, then. You can’t force yourself to want me. If you don’t, you don’t.”
“I want to get there. I love you. You’re my best friend. I want to be a family with you. It was going so well until you started pressuring me this weekend.”
“Yeah, sorry I wanted to have sex with my wife,” I said sarcastically. “You know what? The honeymoon period is long over. After that, it takes effort. Do you think I always wanted to have sex with you every time I tried? No, but I was willing to try. Hell, I don’t want to hug you half the times I do, but I do it anyway.”
“I know I’m messed up. I’m not ready. I don’t want to do it because I feel we have to.”
“That’s never going to happen then. We aren’t getting any younger. I don’t think we should take that weekend trip we’ve been planning.”
“But I wanted to! You said there’d be no pressure to do anything.”
“Of course, there would be pressure. You think I’m not hoping to have sex when we’re alone in a hotel? But that’s too much for you. Am I not attractive to you?”
“You are,” she managed to squeeze in. I ignored her and continued.
“You’re so disgusted by me and won’t even try but you will f**k an idiot, no problem.”
I could see that stung. I was starting to let her have it.
“I know it doesn’t make sense…” she replied.
“Then explain it to me. You’re willing to risk it all for sex with him. Why?”
“There’s no logic. I wasn’t thinking.”
“You’re going to have to give me something here.”
“I was miserable and angry all the time. It was just the circumstances and how bad I felt about everything.”
“How many times?”
“I told you. Twice.”
“But is that twice including the time I caught you or…” does my rude interruption not count? I thought.
“Twice. Including the time you caught us.”
“Where and when was the first time?”
“That night where we all had to work late,” she replied.
“Was that before or after we booked our family trip?”
“Nice.” More sarcasm. I hate sarcasm and really don’t like when I get into the mood to use it.
“I was angry with you still.”
“Where his wife and kids live. Good for you. And apparently that felt fine. F**king him then coming home to me.”
“I didn’t think about it. I didn’t want to.”
“So it felt good to have sex with someone else, because somehow your husband is too much pressure. A snorting (he has constant sinus issues due to his coke habit), incompetent moron is okay but your husband makes you feel sick to think about. He is my lesser in every aspect except for one: status. And that’s because mommy and daddy gave him a piece of their hard earned business. That’s who you chose, over me. Really, how did it feel?”
“It didn’t feel good. I knew it was wrong but I was miserable and didn’t resist.”
“Yes, I wouldn’t have.”
“What did you want from him? How did you feel about him?”
“We were just friends. I was miserable and around him too much. He’s a miserable person and we fed off that.”
“I don’t f**k my friends.”
“You’re not in the same situation. I have male friends-”
“That you f**k. I got it. When you have male friends, you f**k them. So there’s been other times.”
“Bulls**t.” It didn’t seem likely, but I wanted to be certain so I pushed.
“No, I never did that before. That’s not what I meant. I didn’t want him but he was a male friend who initiated when I was miserable and angry so I didn’t resist. It was just sex.”
“Just sex?” I took that to mean sex is no big deal for her but I’ve since realized she meant she had no desire or attraction for him. “Yeah, no big deal. Unless it’s with me. ‘Just sex’. Really, why did you come home? Why the f**k do you say you want to be with me?”
“Because I do want to be with you.”
“Just not for sex though. Not unless I treat you like s**t and the sex will put all areas of your life at stake.”
She was silent.
“Really though. How quick would you be to forgive me if I was the one who ruined your pregnancy? If you came home from work and I just made you feel like s**t and stressed you out all the time?”
“I… I don’t know.” She was silent again for a while.
“Did you want to get caught?”
“God, no. I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“Tell me, what would’ve happened if I didn’t catch you?”
“I think it would’ve gotten worse. I’m glad you stopped it. I needed a rude awakening. I’m just sorry that it had to get so bad, that I had to hit rock bottom. I’m sorry you had to find out that way.”
“I’m not. I don’t think there could’ve been a better way for me to find out. I don’t think I could live with myself if I had to hear it second hand.” And deal with trickle truth, I thought. “The memory hurts, but like I said, it ends with me giving you guys hell. I see what you did and that is terrible, but I also see his face, drained of colour, and you cowering. For a few moments, I made you both feel fear, shame, and humiliation. I got my words in. Without that, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I needed to find out that way.”
More silence. It hurts her especially to think about my reaction that day. She knows that I was justified in my verbal assault but all the same, it hurts her terribly and she wishes to never see or hear me like that again.
“What now? What are you thinking?” I asked.
“I’m just tired of talking about it,” she said, but I could see it wasn’t an attempt to shut down the conversation, it was exhaustion and defeat. She hated what she had done and hit her limit of reliving it. “Do… you want me to sleep at my mom’s?”
“No, that’s out of the question. We’re together and you’re not going there anymore. Why would you say that?”
“Because you were saying you were going to go out. If you don’t want me around…”
“Stay at home, if you want to be with me,” I said.
“I do want to be with you. I love you and I want to be your wife. But I’m broken. Please, have patience with me. I’m working on it. If that’s not enough for you, I’m sorry.” I noted that she couldn’t finish that thought with recommending I leave her. She didn’t want that to be an option. “I know you’ve always loved me more than I loved you-”
“Not anymore,” I interjected. “I’m not trying to be mean (yes, I was), but I don’t feel as much love for you anymore. I’m not as certain about wanting to be your husband as you are about wanting to be my wife.” That last part was true. Until this conversation, I was very much on the fence about being her husband. I was just hanging in there, seeing how things would play out.
She began sobbing. I continued, “Remember when you wanted to hug me to comfort me after what you did? Why would you do that if you’re so terrified of contact with me? Do you even want me to hold you or are you just suffering through that too?”
I knew I was wrong about that the moment I said it. My heart melted. I knew she needed me and wanted to be in my arms.
“Of course I want you to hold me!” she cried. “I do love you!”
I went to her. She cried into my shirt. I wrapped my arms around her and held her tight.
“How does this feel?” I asked.
“It’s where I belong,” she replied. “I used to dread being touched at all. Not anymore. This is where I want to be. It’s what makes me happy. I’m just not ready to do it. I’m broken still.”
“No, you’re not broken. You’re getting better. You’re putting in the effort and I believe you when you say you want to be with me. I wish you could stay here in my arms forever.”
The conversation about sex became more productive. I explained to Carol my need to overwrite the bad memories, how I hated living with that last memory of seeing her naked, since now she won’t even change her clothes in front of me. The conversation eventually became more light and playful, so I gathered up the courage to ask to see her naked.
Carol showed me everything but only allowed me to touch her above the waist. At least now I have a new memory of her naked body, to overwrite the previous one.
She put her clothes back on.
“It’s not as bad as it seems then, if you’re okay with me looking and touching a bit. You don’t have to feel like it always needs to end with sex,” I said.
“I know, it’s just where my mind goes though, and I tense up. We had a lot of trouble with that part for the last few years and I know it’s my fault. I made you feel unwanted so you became unable to perform. It stressed you out a lot and it stressed me out more. It became something to dread, not enjoy. I need to relax and get through it.”
“We don’t have to go all the way. If you’re willing to fool around a little bit, that’s a lot better than nothing. Sometimes, a little groping goes a long way,” I laughed.
“You can grope me,” she said.
We kissed a little more passionately than usual and I touched her a bit again but went no further. Yes, I wanted to do it very badly at this point but it was not the time. Keeping her in her comfort zone and not pushing her is the key to making it through this.
“I was really looking forward to our little trip. You don’t want to go now?” She asked.
“Of course I do. I didn’t mean what I said. I do want to spend time alone with you. I know I said ‘no pressure’ but of course sex will be on my mind.”
“Well, we’ll go. And if we had a few drinks and could loosen up a bit…”
“You’d show me your p***y.”
Carol laughed, “Sure! And I know I said ‘no’ to you, but I’m glad you asked me to join you in the shower. I liked that.”
Carol went to the store and got us some snacks, then we snuggled and watched a movie. Before going to bed, she pulled me on top of her and kissed me some more. Someday, we will be in that position again and I’ll be inside her. I just have to take it slow, give her time.
We survived our argument. She survived me bringing up the incident. Through it all, she insisted that she wants to be my wife. That is so different than how she would’ve reacted to a difficult conversation a few months ago. Her remorse is genuine. Her desire to be with me is real.
We put our wedding rings back on and went to bed.