I Manage My Expectations

I spent a long time with virtually no libido. I tried the “fake it till you make it” approach and it worked sometimes, but it was a lot of effort. I tried being selfless and doing it for TN’s sake, but it often just left me feeling used and not in a good/kinky way. I tried avoiding it at all costs and used health problems to say I couldn’t, instead of I wouldn’t. I rejected his advances and I got pissed about the joking innuendos. All in all, I was miserable and made him miserable too. Eventually he pretty much stopped trying. For awhile, I was relieved.

Finally!

I didn’t have pretend I was asleep when he came to bed.

I could cuddle with him and not worry that hands would wander and he’d want more.

I could kiss him without seeing the look of disappointment when we stopped at that.

And then one day, my libido woke up. The story of exactly what triggered it is for another day, but it was almost a literal flip of the switch. Much to his surprise, I was initiating sex. I was horny all the time and pushing boundaries. TN didn’t know how to react. On one hand, he was thrilled that I was more like my old self. On the other, he was afraid that it wouldn’t last. On the third hand, he was a guy in his 40s and didn’t have the stamina he once had. And on the other, other hand, I was worried that if I didn’t feed my desire for sex, I would lose it again.

At one point we actually had an argument where he said he felt like I was expecting him to perform on demand. It was the exact argument we’d had dozens of times in reverse roles. I felt bitch-slapped by karma because now that I was suddenly horny all the time, he wasn’t interested and/or could not he perform like I wanted/remembered.

It took some time and a lot of talking but we settled into a good compromise. We made it a rule that we slept naked so that even without orgasms, the skin on skin contact gave me the intimacy and oxytocin release that I needed and craved even if we weren’t fucking like rabbits all the time. He didn’t feel pressured to perform. Our sex life became more than I ever expected.

Over 18 months later, our marriage is better than ever. We don’t fight any more and we rarely even have an argument. We’re exploring and trying new things and having amazing sex. So what on earth is my problem? To borrow a line from my current obsession favorite musical, Hamilton, I feel like “I’ll never be satisfied.”

Most days I accept that TN and I have different libidos. I understand that we have different needs and I take care of things myself. To put a horribly clichéd corporate spin on it, I manage my expectations.

I strive to be understanding that the demands and stress of his work are not conducive to long play sessions every night. I manage my expectations.

I write about sex often even though I only post sporadically. I manage my expectations.

I accept (mostly) that the biological effects of mid-life are not always kind to his physical ability to get freaky every night. I manage my expectations.

I flirt on Twitter to release some of my pent up energy so I’m not constantly on him for sex. I manage my expectations.

I seek the intimacy that I need through kissing and touching and naked cuddling during bedtime TV. I manage my expectations. 

I try to remember that my low libido and rejection of him was much longer and much harder on him and I should stop wasting mental energy on this. I manage my expectations. 

In other words, I manage my expectations in a way that works for me, doesn’t annoy him and no one gets hurt.

But goddammit, some days I don’t want to manage my expectations. Some days I want to be able to have sex when I want it. I want him to want it as much and as often as I do. I want him to follow through on the innuendos and promises he makes. Just once I want to get dirty text back from him after I send one. I want to be like the young lovers we once were…morning, noon and night.

But the very worst part of this expectation management are the days that I fight like hell to stop believing that I deserve this. That I deserve to be never satisfied because I was the cause of our problems for so very long.

Rationally, I know it wasn’t just me. Yes, my lack of libido was a huge factor, but there were other issues in our relationship too. We got along for the most part, but we stopped talking and laughing and liking each other. We were dealing with a child with mental illness and developmental challenges. He worked long hours in the office. I worked long hours taking our child to doctors and therapies and appointments while trying to keep some normalcy in our lives for the other kids.

I can type all that out and know with all of my soul that I wasn’t the only the problem. But when my confidence waivers, when another another broken promise or disappointment happens, I forget about managing my expectations and I believe the bullshit voice in my head telling me that it’s my fault, that I wasted too much time. That I’m middle-aged and should be thankful I’m having any sex at all.

And after I write it all out, I do what I always do. I put on my big girl panties. I flirt on Twitter. I workout. I try to silence the voice in my head and instead listen to the love in my heart.

I manage my expectations.

 

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31 thoughts on “I Manage My Expectations

  1. I have so much respect for you, NDG. I love the way that you write, I love that I can feel the emotion from your writing like you were reading it right in front of me. Truly, yours is a writing style that I’d be proud to imitate and, maybe someday, be lucky enough to emulate.

    Speaking personally, I know very intimately what it’s like to be on the other end of the spectrum. Eiren has often felt and continues to feel very much as you do. It’s hard balancing the burdens of life and love on a scale, and the older I get the more I realize that it really doesn’t get easier… we just get better at doing it the more we grow.

    It sucks that they’re both burdens, too… It sucks that the “fun times” can also be taxing on us instead of completely rejuvenating and fulfilling, right? What’s with that?!

    But it’s true. And, yeah… it sucks… but you’re doing the best that you can.

    That voice in your head is wrong, and it’s screaming all of the day-to-day self-doubt, frustration, and other nonsense that our inner voice loves to tell us all about all the time.

    Honestly… I can tell you, as your reader and as your friend, that the love in your heart sings through your words… and I’m always happy when I get the chance to read what you write, whether it’s on Twitter or in a blog post.

    Berkson

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find it fascinating that you have been on both sides of this. I think that’s probably pretty rare, and while you may have insight, I can understand that emotionally and physically, it doesn’t make it any easier :(.

    BOTH sides of a mismatch in desire are hard and frustrating and filled with guilt and doubt and horrible voices in your head. And you are so right that nobody wants their partner to go through the motions, we want them to WANT it as much as we do, and as you well know from being on the other side, you can’t force yourself to get there.

    Thank you for sharing this. I hope you and TN can find your balance.

    Ferns

    Difficult tricky stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It never ceases to amaze me sometimes how many people have struggled with this. I have also been on both sides of this coin and Sir has tried hard to keep up. Managing expectations has been difficult, but I have found it to be the best way to keep things calm. I hope things continue to improve for you, as that will be hope for me too 🙂

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  4. What a wonderful piece of writing, your words are so similar to my life that I hardly drew a breath whilst reading them, its as if you’d reached into my mind and read it. Though many years ago now there are still times that the guilt of what I put my Sir through plummets my mood and regardless that there were many valid reasons I have to manage my guilt for allowing so many years to be wasted. I try to manage my expectations but sometimes Ive found that very difficult but now knowing I’m not alone in this, I just wanted to let you know that your writings has given me real hope! Thank you.

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    • Wow, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so happy that sharing my experience has given you hope. The guilt is hard to fight sometimes, but rationally I know it serves no purpose. I allow myself to feel it when it strikes, but I fight like hell to not let it control me. I hope that you find the balance that you’re seeking. 🙂

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    • It’s a shitty thing. I had postpartum depression and the meds were what started the downturn. It became a horrible feedback loop for far too long.

      My kids are old enough that they don’t need us to help them sleep. OTOH, they are also old enough to know what they might be hearing. LOL

      Like

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