Saturday, August 23, 2008

Expanded version of "A Friend Moves On"

One of the virtues of an anonymous blog is that we can be quite honest and open if we wish. And I do wish. But I fell just a little short of my own standards in my last post "A Friend Moves On".

Oh I'm not taking back a single word I wrote. It's all true and from the heart. It's just that I left out a few things ...

When I took up blogging there was a friend who was very influential in shaping my initial approach and gave me a lot of encouragement. I've continued to read and enjoy her eclectic ramblings -- they have always made me smile and at times touched me deeply.

The "friend", of course, is the famous Tiggy. And the story between the lines here is that, despite our mutually self-imposed non-communication, I have been getting a regular "Tiggy fix" by reading her blog. And she has, at times, made postings that I think were especially for me, and were a big deal to me.

So it was a big surprise today when I made my daily blog check and found that hers had been deleted. No mistake, it's gone!

And I miss it.

In fact, I was shocked. For some minutes I experienced desperation. I thought the Blogger hosting servers might be down, I thought something might have happened to her. I thought I had entered the name wrong. I thought she had changed the name. And when I knew it was really gone, there was a big empty hole inside me.

But I'm not sad -- healthy lives need change. Sometimes it comes slowly, and sometimes it's sudden but it's always certain.

These are my true feelings, I swear! I am not moping, ruminating, mad, sad, or bitter. I embrace Tiggy's choice to make this change.

But I do miss her blog an awful lot.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Marriage Counseling 3: Lost In Her Hurt

Today was our third marriage counseling session with Dr S. We actually started without him -- it began when E and I arrived in the parking lot at the same time. There are always lots of items of business to discuss, so we started with that while walking to the office. In the waiting room we got to the current hot topic, which is my pending move into an apartment by myself.

E would prefer that I not move into the apartment -- she would rather I move back into the house (I'm currently staying with a daughter) and stay in a spare bedroom. She had just asked me to clarify exactly why it was that I wanted to move out when Dr S greeted us and invited us back to his office.

Once we got settled, I told him I'd like to try to answer E's question. So that became our first subject. But somehow my familiar explanations were all starting to sound rather tired:

"I think we need some space."
"Some distance between us will help the healing process."
"I think we will be better off if ..."

And so forth.

A Poor Defense Attorney

The important thing for Dr S is not so much what we discuss but how we discuss it, and what it reveals about our communication styles. So as I went back over this well-trodden ground, he stopped me and pointed out that I wasn't really saying what I'm feeling. Most of my language was about "we" and what I thought E might benefit from.

In short, I'm not really saying what I'm thinking and representing my own point of view. As he later put it, "You're not being a very good defense attorney. You haven't stated your case, you haven't stated your feelings." And he proceeded to sum up what it seemed like I was trying to say:

"Right now I want some space."
"I need some distance between us so I can think more clearly about what lies ahead."
"It's hard to be around you too much E, because it's a constant reminder of how much I've hurt you."

This last point was another biggie.

I'm Lost in Her Hurt

I would say that I am by nature an empathetic person and thus am acutely aware of how much I've hurt E. It's hard for me to get past this! At one point Dr S asked me a question. The first part of my answer was to acknowledge hurting E, and at that point my mind was sufficiently overwhelmed to not only forget the rest of my answer, but even the original question. It's not guilt, really. But I'm just not used to hurting people who love me.

As he put it, I'm "getting parked in hurt" and that's not productive.

The Iceberg Below the Surface

If I was dealing with an issue at work, it is likely that I would clearly state my opinion, or what I wanted to accomplish. If it was important to say something, even if it might hurt the feelings of another, I would say it. But for whatever reason I'm not bringing these skills to our marriage. E described it as the "iceberg" , the 90% of my thoughts and feelings that she never sees.

Whether our marriage continues or dissolves, we'll do better if I can learn to be a lot more expressive. In fact I might find that it's a help in other ways.

Our homework for this week is to meet together a few more times. Spend some more time trading good memories. Exchange ideas on a meaningful structure for the next few months -- only comment on what we agree with. Ask "tell me more" about the ideas we disagree with.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Saturday in December

It was 10 days before Christmas. Tiggy and I had been seeing each other a little over two months -- long enough for me to be welcome in her bedroom instead of requiring a hotel. Long enough to learn how thoroughly we enjoyed being with each other, long enough to consider taking some pictures...

Sunlight and Glass

The late afternoon sun is magical in your bedroom. The stripes of bright sunlight streaming through the blinds. Sparkling crystals -- crystals in the window, hanging from the ceiling, and on this day, in your hair.

They are glass beads, really, shining in the sun on your barrette. Catching my eye, it's a place to start and becomes the first picture: the sunlit barrette in your thick brown hair, pulled back over your right ear. It is 3:44 pm.

A few quick shots of the barrette. But the light is changing and I'm not getting the sparkle I wanted. In less than a minute I've moved on to your ear with its three small diamond studs. An ear that both listens and seems to speak, to say "nuzzle me". But not yet.

You smile at the attention, striped sunlight playing across your left profile with a broadly stretched grin, finally breaking into the warm, tender smile that always tugs at my heart. Your eyes on me and on my lens, window on your left (my right) and we're starting to feel comfortable. There's your left ear with its array of small silver rings. There are nine on this day -- the number was always changing -- and two studs in your nose.

I'm working it now, shooting as fast as the Canon XTi will allow. "Yeah baby! Yes! Yes!" Somehow silly foreign accents help me play the part. You laugh at my antics and with your wide, loving smile my heart melts.

Black Leather

The sun is raining shadow stripes upon you through the blinds. Today you're wearing the black leather jacket, and it shines where the sunlight spills across it. In a certain pose, the leather can make you look intensely butch. But to me you're looking so cute, saucy and sweet, my first thought is of a young girl wearing her young man's jacket.

All this has taken barely more than a single minute, and I've taken 20 pictures already. You fascinate me, Tiggy. I hunger to know you more and so I devour you with my lens, storing your images like a squirrel storing nuts against the long winter.

Half a minute later, your hands in the jacket pockets, weight on one hip, the jacket is unzipped to the waist, held in place by its leather belt. A red rose celebrates the background sunlight on your bedside table. As you arch your back and look toward the ceiling, your tatooed chest begins to thrust its way free of the leather. It's intensely sexy, but in two seconds you're laughing again, tension released, looking at me with such cuteness that I just want to grab you, kiss you and squeeze your bottom.

Another 30 seconds and your hands are on the buckle. You know how it is affecting me, and you prolong the action. I can feel the excitement mounting in myself as you slowly loose the leather strap, teasing me, then pulling the ends to either side. It only takes 10 seconds but seems forever.

You reach for the zipper slider, poised only an inch above the end of its track. As your fingers enfold it, I can imagine them on other zippers, probing the fly of your pants, or of my pants. In 3 frames the zipper is open and you pull the jacket aside. You're wearing a dark green dress, thin and clinging to all your curves. The striped sunlight falls across jacket and dress, across your bare neckline, bringing to life the ink on your chest.

Your expression changes, your jaw set with something like determination, or perhaps desire? Or maybe just a glimpse of the wild woman that you are. Your hands grab the open jacket just below your breasts, pulling on it as your whole body is seized by a fierce new strength. The leather is pushed back, off your shoulders, your eyes are on fire and there's a passion in your face that startles and frightens me. The sun paints shining stripes across the massive leather folds of the sleeves. I could be afraid of you ...

But in the next instant you smile and laugh warmly, perhaps surprised at yourself. And the jacket comes off, a plaything in your hands. I love the gleam of the sunlight on your white teeth, in your brown hair, striped across your chest, across your green dress, gleaming from your silver bracelet and rings.

Less than four minutes have elapsed since the first frame.

Shoulder Straps

More slowly, deliberately, you pose in front of the window on my left, facing it. Then turn slowly to your left, toward me, the black leather jacket draped casually over your right shoulder, away from me in the shadow. The window light is a little behind you. You turn a little more and abruptly the striped sunlight explodes across your profile, across your face as it turns more toward me. Breaking into a big smile you lift your chin and the sun catches one of your front teeth, shining through it like a beacon or a charm.

Now one strap of the green dress is off your shoulder, revealing all the art above your left breast. You're looking at me intently, patiently, questioningly, seriously, then laughing again in a wave of joy that catches me too. Over the course of a minute the strap slips lower and lower down your arm, the dress slips too and now your left breast is an inch from freeing itself. The sun through the blinds dances across your chest in bars, measuring every curve as the shadow between your breasts grows.

The other shoulder strap is off now, the green dress defying gravity as it clings to your arms and bosom. You've turned back to face the window and the light falls full across your chest, in profile. My lens is zoomed into your chest, loving the fresh light on your soft skin. Then you're turning towards me again, slowly, as I capture the fabric's precarious hold on you. The light falls off into shadow as you face me. Out of the glare of direct sun, all the colorful ink above your breasts becomes more vivid, with tantalizing hints of more hidden below your neckline.


The short green dress rides up as you place your right foot on the chair, revealing the lacey black top of your sheer stockings and the full curve of your thigh as it vanishes under the dress. The silver bracelet on your left wrist sparkles as you rest that hand upon your thigh while your right hand steadies you against the chair back. Your head cocks, your eyes beckon me and your tender lips leer at me, "Come here big boy." In seconds we're laughing again. You throw your head back then lean in toward me, embracing the fun, scorning seriousness, leaning closer to me, into my lens, looking 20 years old, wanting each other.

Once again, we've built to a climax. And again the tension is momentarily relieved and we relax a bit. Your leg is still on the chair but your left hand has found it's way up to your left breast. The dress straps are back on your shoulders, and your succulent nipples are secure beneath the magic green fabric. For twenty seconds or more your fingers gently massage through the dress as your eyes roll up and then down to rest on me.

Strapless Fondling

A minute later, the straps are off again! Dress barely holding above your nipples, your left hand now cupping your right breast as you look up at me, perhaps offering yourself? For two full minutes I click the shutter as you hold yourself the way I will hold you, as you gently cup your breastly softness, pinching and rolling your nipple again and again.

In the Mirror

It's precisely 4 pm and you're kneeling on the chair in front of the mirrored dressing table in the corner of your room. Striped sunlight falls across your bare, painted shoulders and your thick brown hair. Sunbeams falling down your torso and across your bottom, clinging to your curves as tightly as the green dress. In the mirror, sun stripes light up half your face, but not so well as your soft, pensive smile. The straps are halfway down your arms. The rose on the table peeks at me through the mirror.

The scene is beautiful and so are you. We linger there for minutes. Suddenly your dress is down to your waist, revealing most of your illuminated back. Turning to me over your left shoulder you laugh, teasing me, hiding your breasts. I can almost see one in the mirror, but it's hidden behind the rose.

You stretch your head high, taunting me, tossing your hair. I shift myself to the right and capture your exposed breasts in the mirror even as you laugh. Turning toward me over your right shoulder, you cross your arms modestly, and your breasts are hidden once again.

Still kneeling in the chair, your back toward me now, you turn away and we regard each other in the mirror, our love bounded by its frame. Your smile radiates joy as the red rose turns its face to yours.


Pulling your dress down still further reveals your copper colored velour panties. Unusual for you to wear panties. Tch, such a tease. It's 4:04 and you're wiggling your perfectly shaped ass in my face, looking over your shoulder at me, your eyes say "What are you gonna do about it?".

Right and left, you're wiggling it. For two solid minutes you hold me in thrall, entranced by its curvaceous, mobile goodness. Somewhere along the way you acquire a red hand-print on your right butt cheek. Finally I'm drawn once again to your face in the mirror. Your face, and the rose.

Thirty seconds later, the panties are gone, vanished down around your knees. The sunlit stripes stretch across your back and ass like a topographic map. Another red hand-print has appeared on your left butt cheek. The stripes across your body are hypnotic. Each time you move and stretch it's a new scene.

Finally, standing, you face me. Nipples bold and challenging above the gentle enticing curve of your belly. Cupping your breasts in your hands, you offer them to me, head cocked onto your shoulder. It's almost 4:10.

Standing on the Chair

Now, standing on the chair, you face me, the window between us on your left and the sun stripes all across you from knees to chin. The stockings are still on your legs, the black lace mid-thigh, and the copper velour panties are stretched stretegically just below your hips, just high enough to conceal your pussy. Your trimmed hair points the way. I'm excited to have you so close to me, so close to naked, so available to each other.

Your right hand slides purposefully below your waist, down inside the small region concealed by your panties, down to your labial lips. For ten seconds they linger, reacquainting. Suddenly plunging downward, your knees bend and your hips thrust forward as your fingers enter your yoni, just for a second. Back out again, you smile and giggle.

Leaning toward me, your breasts are revealed in their fullness, like ripe clusters of grapes clinging to the vine. Next you're standing erect once more, arms are at your side, squeezing the clusters between them. Painted across you is the ever-present striped sunlight: arm-breast-breast-arm, the curves of your body, painted in your tatoos and in the light.

Hands at your sides, turning this way and that, the sunlight dances across you, mapping the terrain, the landscape of your body.

On the Floor

Soon I'm on the floor beneath you, shooting up while you stand on the chair wreathed in the bands of glowing sunlight. You're posing, enticing, drawing me in. Exciting me with the nearness of your bare flesh and wet pussy, looking straight down into my eyes, my lens.

Your thumbs find the strings of your panties and hold them out from you, stretching them across the mouth of your labia, the second lips that I long to kiss. After half a minute of stretching them and teasing me, the panties come down.

It's approaching 4:12 when you finally pull them down below your knees to your ankles and step out of them. You're still on the chair and I'm looking straight up into these inviting pussy lips. As you move, your labia ring sometimes catches the sun. The striped window light defines the curve of your innermost thighs. And soon your fingers reach down once more.

Both hands, roaming down inside your thighs, thumbs inward, just barely touching your lips. Then up, hands arching together, framing your yoni, before pushing down again, knees bent on either side of me. Your right middle finger finds its way down and in, down and in as your eyes hold mine, hold the camera lens.

I can no longer remain the observer!

Soon your hands at your side again, then up to your hair as your eyes close in pleasure and you gasp in delight, back arching, head turned toward the ceiling, hands falling to your breasts. My left hand explores between your legs, probes your wet mysteries, while my right hand wields the camera. I love the expression on your face in the last frames as orgasm seizes you. It's 4:15 pm.

I take no more pictures that day, but do not leave for several hours yet.

428 frames in 30 minutes -- gotta love digital.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Marriage Counseling 2

Back story: Two weeks ago, my wife E and I had our first meeting with Dr S. At that time, E was staying with her girlfriend, then going out of town for about 10 days; we had agreed that I would be out of the house when she got back. And while Dr. S did not support this separation, both E and I felt more comfortable with it. At least that's what I thought. Our second meeting with Dr S was this past Thursday -- we began with a communications deficit ...

I'm a few minutes late to the meeting; E and Dr. S are already in the office. I push the call button and wait. I don't have the family checkbook and Dr. S needs to be paid, so I've made a detour to the ATM -- in my pocket is an envelope stuffed with $500 cash for the two visits. Maybe I'll get some change.

The waiting room is pleasant in a Thomas Kinkade sort of way, and I relax for about five minutes until Dr S comes in. Apologizing for my lateness, I mention the cash. He seems pleased with my explanation as we enter his office, where I find E awaiting us.

And discover that there's a problem: I'm a bad guy because I moved out of the house without sufficient discussion. Hmm, I thought we had agreed on this. We even exchanged email the day before I moved. But no. It wasn't clear. She didn't know. I didn't discuss it enough with the kids.

This gives Dr S an opportunity to show us his mediation skills as he ascertains that I operate from a "default" perspective: once a decision has been made I expect that it continues in effect until a specific determination has been to change it. E does not. Well, it's a good way to defuse the tension and get us communicating a little.

I believe the real problem is that my moving out is intrinsically an emotional action. It's a milestone event in our marriage and in our lives. It's new, it's scary for both of us, and even more so for her because it's largely out of her control. And it's a step in the direction she doesn't want to go: formal separation or divorce.

The session continues, overshadowed by vaguely negative feeling in the room. Dr S is trying various approaches to help us communicate better, most of them straight out of Effective Listening 1A. But that's ok. Anything to keep us talking, getting through the emotional dragon's teeth we've placed in each others way.

Finally he gives us some homework: we are to meet with each other once or twice between now and our next session and talk about happy memories together. He also hands out a set of psychological tests for us to take.
  • I've done Myers-Briggs before, at work. I used to place pretty damned close to the center of the grid, but when I took it on AFF and Alt, I came out as a "Wheeler-Dealer" ENsomething. I'm looking forward to getting a more accurate result.

  • Never heard of the FIRO-B before. Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior. It's a very short test, based on a theory that one's interpersonal relations can be measured in terms of expressed and wanted Inclusion, Control and Affection.

  • The Edwards Personal Preference Schedule takes a fairly long time to complete. It's a personality test that attempts to measure 15 dimensions of personal preference, such as Achievement, Order, "Intraception" and Heterosexuality.

Sure, why not? They couldn't hurt. I'm a little disappointed that he doesn't test our Explanatory Style or Pessimism/Optimism since I've been reading one of Martin Seligman's books recently.

As the session ends I hand over the envelope. $150/hour, two hours the first session, how long was today? Almost an hour and a half. No change.

Afterwards, E and I talk in the parking lot. It's not comfortable. E is looking for me to express a commitment to working through our problems, an unconditional commitment to our marriage. And I'm not giving her that. Not all of it anyway. I am committed to addressing our issues, improving our communications, and seeing where it goes. But I'm just not in love with E anymore, and I cannot promise that I will be. I don't tell her that, not yet. She knows, but it seems too cruel to say it to her, even now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Leaving Home / Necessary Suffering

Monday I posted "On Moving/Moving On" which included my apartment-hunting story. The apartment isn't available for a few weeks, and Wednesday my wife E returned from her travels. So... I have temporarily moved in with my oldest daughter A and her husband J.

At this moment I'm sitting here on the bed with a laptop, allowing the reality of these actions to begin soaking into me. I have left my home. Another step beyond theory into practice.

The significance of this action has not been lost on E. Even though it was originally her request, it's still hard for her to see it happen. E described it Tuesday as "one more shockwave" to her system. And later she said that our situation was like "blue smoke in the night to me right now...hard to see."

I ask myself, "How can I wound my wife so grievously?" It certainly gives me no pleasure. But as E herself has admitted, it's better to address our problems than live a married life of "polite cohabitation".

For some of you reading this, "polite cohabitation" might be an improvement at home. Or might be what you live with now. So by no means do I mean to denigrate it. But E and I have always expected more from our marriage. For the most part, we've gotten it.

Four times I've been with E as she gave birth to our children. I remember the pain, fear, tears, and blood. Childbirth was sometimes fast, but it was never easy or pleasant.

I feel that there is some parallel to be drawn now -- despite the suffering and current destruction, we are in the midst of a highly creative act. We are creating a new relationship for ourselves, casting off the old one like an outgrown skin. We are tearing down a structure that has served us well, but isn't working anymore.

And for me, this change is inevitable. No woman approaching the delivery of her child can say, "Oh I've changed my mind. I'll just keep things as they are." No, she must go through with it, there is no choice.

Or imagine the doctor or husband stricken by her cries of pain, deciding to spare the mother by instead just leaving the baby inside. It's absurd! The delivery must go through.

But we should do all we can to mitigate the suffering. I don't know if I'm doing very well on that score. But I'll keep trying. Maybe if I offer E some drugs ...

Monday, August 11, 2008

On Moving / Moving On

On Moving

A month ago my friend Russell invited me to help him load the truck for his move to Seattle. I'm sure most readers can relate to this experience -- you want to help your friend, but it's a hell of a lot of work for which you are not especially well qualified. At first I dissembled. But Russell called in his markers ...

An engineer like so many of my friends, Russell also happens to be the most competent sound man I know. His tender touch at the mixing board, not to mention his own very good PA, have enhanced a number of gigs in which I've had a hand. A PA requires loading, moving, unloading, setting up, tearing down, loading, moving, and unloading again back at home. It's a lot of work and he has, in effect, done a lot of moving for me. Now it was my turn to pay him back.

Moving On

I've got my own move to deal with: moving on, moving out, out of my own house, away from my wife. I've been giving it careful thought, I've weighed the parameters, I've been analyzing the pros and cons of each location and type of housing, I've thought about the expense.

But thinking was not quite enough to bring this to a conclusion. Friday evening and Saturday morning I employed a technique loosely based on something I read in a book about samurai. "The Arrow That is Not Aimed". This also happens to be the title of a "Magnum P.I." episode, from which I quote:

It is an old discipline ... The bow is pulled. The archer has no thought of his aim, the arrow, his game, or even of himself. All is one. All is emptiness. Yet, the arrow always finds its target.

So Friday evening I drew the bow, but I did not aim. I fired an arrow. I am the arrow. I emptied my mind of as many preconceptions as possible. I tried to give myself a receptive, cheerful, open, happy mind as I drove through the different parts of Silicon Valley where I have been considering living. And as I did so, I found it easy to dismiss this place and that place for reasons that I cannot articulate, they just weren't "right". But in one area I could feel a sort of warmth, a sigh of relaxation. I felt that the arrow had reached its target -- I had found my answer.

On Moving

About 12:30 I arrive at the pleasant Silicon Valley home of Russell, his wife Hera, and their two inexplicably young children. I'm expecting a crowd of movers, a mob of well-organized church friends. I'm uneasy, expecting to be making awkward explanations for my collapsing marriage.

But no. It's just going to be Russell, me and a woman named Becky from church. Even her husband Mike can't make it. Three of us to move a house full of furniture into the truck. Most of it from upstairs.

Nevertheless, we get started. I've learned to enjoy certain endurance sports. Bicycled 200 miles in a day, or 15,000 feet of Sierra passes in a day. But not this decade... Have you read my profile? I'm 54 years old. And Russell is not much younger. We're reasonably fit, and so is Becky, but really, what the hell was he thinking?

Well, this is when you put your head down and grind it out, one box at a time, a desk, a sofa, another sofa, in fact five fucking sofas, and on and on. Russell has kindly provided cold water to drink. In mid-afternoon I get a single egg-roll to eat.

Around 6pm Becky's husband Mike joins us and the pace picks up. Now Russell can stay in the truck arranging and tying down while Mike and I bring down the heavy stuff. The time is passing, and I'm getting more and more fatigued. Putting bookcases on the hand truck I find myself saying things like, "We don't use furniture blankets after 7 pm" or later, "After 8pm we don't care if the cushions get dirty."

By 8:30, everything that we had staged on the lawn is safely in the truck. There are still a few heavy items left in the house, but Russell has already said he can get a few people to come finish tomorrow. I tell him "I'm done" and say goodnight.

Moving On

Saturday morning I drive some more, this time in the particular area I have decided upon. There are a lot of options so I'm driving around to get the lay of the land, a feel for the different places. I have two hours.

I used to work in this vicinity and have remembered an apartment complex located right off one of my favorite walking/running/biking trails. Already looked them up on the web as part of my general research, so after sniffing around a few other places, I go there, drive in, look around.

I like it, it feels good. I see a parking spot for "future residents" and an office. Is there any reason why I should not go in there right now?

Susan is attractive in the way that most young women are. Not necessarily beautiful in that imperative, makes-me-embarrassed-to-look-at-you way. But she has the beauty of youth: clear skin, flashing eyes and teeth, long dark brown hair, a pleasant, intelligent smile. Charming. Susan is friendly and also efficient, after looking at two apartments that weren't quite what I wanted she came up with a perfect choice. Within about an hour I have applied and put down a deposit. A phone call during the afternoon tells me I've been accepted.

So there it is, I am moving on.

I was married in 1979, more than half my own lifetime ago. The six month lease sets some clear boundaries: this isn't necessarily permanent, but it isn't quite ephemeral either. I'll have my own place. In fact this will be the first time in my life I won't even have housemates. This is definitely "moving on".

Now who can I get to help me move?

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Hug

The last time Tiggy and I saw each other was toward the end of June. We went roller skating, then out for dinner, and when I took her home, we hung out for a while, until finally it was time to go.

We walked slowly down the stairs together. I was a little stoned but not too much. Not like the last time.

All evening I had been looking forward to hugging you goodbye. Not that I was looking forward to saying goodbye, but to the hug; looking forward to hugging you. It was the single physical outlet remaining to us, the one small space we had allowed ourselves in which we could touch each other and give our wordless feelings just a little room to breath within the Rules.

Down the stairs and into the kitchen. The lights were out and it was nice.

The Rules we had agreed to precluded almost any other contact. Of course there might be a casual brushing of hands. We might even hold hands a little. But no kissing, no fondling and certainly no sex! But a goodbye hug? Sure, what could be more innocent and natural?

Standing in the darkened kitchen, there was nothing left but to say goodbye. Our arms reached out of their own accord and we drew ourselves into each other.

We were gentle, unhurried. Content to hold each other. Not the pawing, frantic, hungry lovers one might imagine.

Feeling your wholeness pressed against me, being one with you for just these minutes, I was in no hurry for it to end and neither were you. The only thought left in my mind was that this was the most perfect loving moment in my memory. But mostly I didn't think at all.

We were there for each other. We held each other in perfect peace and it felt perfectly right to me. Not for the first time I began to wonder how I could ever let you go? You are so precious, wouldn't it be wise to give up everything for you?

For some reason my left foot was poised on tip-toe, pushing out my left leg and exposing my groin just a little more than usual. The position brought you closer -- my left thigh rubbed against your leg, hinting of encircling you, and you were nestled against me. Soon your closeness began to stir me more and I noticed my cock beginning to thicken and throb, pressing through my shorts against your belly.

Next we began to move a little, swaying gently. My weight was still largely on just my right foot; was I losing my balance? Or was it a dance? Or were our spirits gently flowing together like wind chimes in the breeze? Or was it just a chance to grind our hips a little more?

Gradually, my face began to flush, and I could feel my lust was rising. I know you felt it too. I wanted to stay, stay, stay. But that would break the Rules. We stood together in each other's arms for a long time. But the Rules. Inevitably we disengaged. I left and went home alone, head spinning.

The next day our hug was all I could think about.


The Hug was intense for Tiggy as well, proving to her that we could not successfully straddle this line between friends and lovers. For the sake of her own broken heart she distanced herself from me for several weeks, and finally broke things off.

I was hurt, even angry. But in the weeks since then as I've blogged about the experience, listened to people's comments and read their blogs, I've begun to understand her feelings better.

Tiggy has been generous in giving me beautiful and exciting memories, many of them highly erotic. But The Hug, our last time together, is the one I think of first.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Marriage Counseling 1

Our first counseling session took place yesterday (Friday) afternoon. I've captured the bits that made the biggest impression on me, but there was a lot more.

I got there 20 minutes early and parked to review the last chapter of Don-David Lusterman'sInfidelity - A Survival Guide, the chapter on "Choosing a Therapist". I quickly jotted down some questions to ask, such as "Have you worked with many cases involving infidelity?"

As our 1pm appointment time approached I found my way to the second floor office of the counseling practice. Nicely appointed, comfortable chairs, some soothing music playing. No receptionist -- an unnecessary overhead. After taking in my surroundings, sitting on the leather couch waiting for my wife E, I calm myself by jotting down a few key points that I want to be able to communicate.

  • Our relationship has been becoming very gradually more distant and less satisfying for a number of years.
  • The collapse of our sex life was the thing that pushed me over the edge to seek an affair.
  • I don't want to go back to the way things were. I either want a better marriage or ... separation or divorce.

  • I have been depressed for a long time even before the infidelity. I felt helpless to change anything, but my affair gave me a feeling of control. Now that this is out in the open I feel a great relief, I feel like we can really make changes in our lives.

In our session to come we'll only touch on two of those. But I was damned glad at the time to have a list in front of me to refer to as my head spun with emotion.

1 PM

There's no clock in the waiting room. I don't wear a watch anymore, but check my cell phone: 1:01. Where is E? I start to call her, then decide to wait a few more minutes. Soon, looking out the door I see her walking slowly, sadly up the stairs outside. At the top she starts to look around, so I open the door and wave.

There's a cool breeze off the bay. Combined with the warm California sun, the weather is just about perfect. It feels good to step outside. I revel in just how fresh it feels, stretching inwardly, taking my thoughts momentarily away from the meeting ahead.

E and I have not seen each for nearly a week. For the first time in almost 30 years there is no hug, no kiss, no touch at all as we say hello.

Meet Doctor S

Back in the office, I push the therapist's buzzer and we wait. Neither of us have met "Dr. S", but he is one of the two most highly recommended Christian therapists in the area -- the other is a personal friend of ours. E has insisted on a Christian. I have misgivings.

Almost immediately the door opens and in pops Dr. S. He is a few inches taller than my own 6' frame, roughly my age or a few years older, strongly built but with a few extra pounds. Again, much like me. Bald head and suntanned face, with a gray beard appropriate for a therapist. He smiles, he's friendly, he's welcoming, he offers us water or coffee. My throat is dry and a little thick, so the water is welcome. E takes some as well.

We settle ourselves into comfortable leather chair's in S's comfortable corner office. I'm bracing myself, wondering which of us will go first to tell our story. Well, neither. S has some innocuous questions first: medical history, family relationships, exercise, alcohol use -- the sort of thing you fill out before you see a doctor. I'm a little annoyed to be paying $150/hour for this. First with E, we plod through the items. Many of them spark little discussions ("Was that in 1983 or 1984?").

My turn comes. While E was speaking, I helpfully wrote down a few notes so it would go faster.

"Broke my leg in 1961, spent about a month in the hospital."

"Really? Why so long? Was it a compound fracture?"

"No, but they had to put me in traction."

Discussion ensues. I explain that a compound fracture is where the bone goes through the skin, and that did not happen in my case. But Dr S corrects me, saying that a compound fracture is where the bones are no longer aligned, but overlap. He is wrong. But I nod my head, "Yes, that's what I had." I'm not paying $150/hour to argue about my medical treatment at age 8.

We talk about my knee surgery two years ago, which leads into more discussion of my running and bicycling history.

E interjects from time to time, correcting me (sometimes erroneously), reminding me of various illnesses ("You were treated for depression." "Oh yeah") and even suggesting possible new illnesses (sleep apnea?) that should be investigated. Thank you, yes I will.

Through the course of about 40 minutes, using our medical histories as a tool, Dr S has skillfully created a conversational space, a neutral zone, between E and myself.

Not Just an Hour

Finally Dr S asks what has brought us here. I exchange glances with E, offering to let her go first. "No, this is really your story" she says with some bitterness. I ask Dr S how much time we have, thinking that our hour must almost be finished. "Take your time" he says. "I always allow extra time for a first visit."

On my lap is the notepad with my four bullet points. I take a deep breath, put on my reading glasses and look at the paper.

Reading glasses are a useful prop when you want to collect your thoughts. I'm going to start with the first point: the gradually increasing distance between us. But I want to be able to link this to my mild depression and unhappiness. I want to be able to contrast my feelings of helplessness-to-change before the affair, with the new sense of empowerment and freedom I feel today.

I say a silent thanks to E for mentioning my treatment for depression. It was about 15 years ago and I'd forgotten. Now it makes an excellent lead-in. Using that as a starting point I describe my very gradually increasing dissatisfaction with my life. E interjects, pointing out that at that time the issue seemed to be more my unhappiness at work. True, but Dr S recognizes that things are not that simple. Anyway I'm not unhappy with my work right now. In fact I like my job more than ever.

Then, more recently came the issue of our oldest son B's homosexuality (I refer to the kids as A, B, C and D) and the difference in E's and my responses. In short, I have become much more accepting of B's choice, while E maintains a more typical Christian response of "love the sinner but hate the sin." This has also contributed to the wedge between us.

We Didn't Discuss Sex

At some point I began to launch into what prompted me to seek sex outside marriage, but Dr S stopped me short. He explained that he really didn't believe in "spontaneous communication" in these sessions, but that everything we say should have a helpful purpose. Hmm! Well, as I thought about it I couldn't see how it would be helpful right then to tell E that our train wreck of a sex life was a big factor in getting us where we were today. Maybe later.

There was a lot more discussion. Dr S talked about our communication style, our way of listening, and our need to focus on the real problems, rather than on my affair. In fact he congratulated me for understanding so well that my affair was not the primary issue we needed to address. In the end he identified four problems that he thought we should be dealing with:

Briefly, the first issue is that E is not really happy that A married who she married. But both E and I thought it odd that he picked this. My "spiritual" issue is the fact that I am rejecting Christianity.

Don't Separate

Almost as we were getting up leave, E asked about our temporary separation, and whether Dr S agreed that it was wise. Well, he did not. Dr S said that while it was a good idea in many cases, he didn't think it was a good idea in our case. Our relationship is not abusive and our marriage appears salvageable in his view. He has observed that people get used to living apart, and that sometimes makes it that much harder to get back together.

My feelings about this are mixed. While I am not eager to trade my nice house for some cheesy apartment at $2000/month (this is an expensive area to live), I was actually starting to look forward to being under my own roof, spreading out my musical instruments and computers however I like, blogging and masturbating whenever I want and, after a decent interval, a restoration of female companionship.

Afterwords with E

E and I spoke afterwards and agreed that we liked Dr S well enough to continue. He had been in her face a few times and I was concerned it might be too much for her, but no.

But E reiterated a question that she had raised during the session: Am I seriously open to a restoration of our marriage? Or am I just treating the counseling as something to check off my list, a way station on the road to legal separation or divorce?

I've been thinking about it ever since ...