I'm finding that it's easier to tell the bad stuff the further out I get. It doesn't hurt either, that Tdub and I remain friends and we've recognized that seeing the other person live and overcome can actually be helpful in our own journey as we pick up our pieces and move forward. It's unusual, yes, but unusual is very different from bad or wrong.
Back in the anonymous days, I never wrote much of the heartache and pain of being married to an SSA struggler. I mostly did that because it would have been hurtful to Tdub, but I think part of me was also afraid to talk about it too much because talking about it would have revealed just how much rationalization I was having to go through to stay married to him in the first place. So back then, I wrote mostly about the positive aspects of our marriage, our joys and struggles with the boys, and a bunch of my personal ideas about being a Christian, etc...
Being back in the "dating game" (which may sound fun but trust me, it's overrated) has given me a new outlook on the whole "males attracted to females" aspect of life in general. Or I guess I should say that my marriage to Todd afforded me a different outlook than I had before. In my online dating exploits I often find myself replying to my suitors (blame my recent foray into Homer's Odyssey for my use of the word "suitors") with a weird mix of rejection and appreciation.
Some of my replies go something like this: "Thank you for the compliments. I do value and appreciate your interest in me but I don't sense a similar attraction on my part and I generally don't believe we'd be a good match for one another. But I sincerely appreciate your interest because it does feel nice to be wanted." That or something similar. That probably sounds really corny or something, but believe it or not, most guys are very appreciative of the honesty and seem to be a bit confounded by the appreciation.
I told someone the other day that I had a great appreciation for male attraction even if I wasn't willing to respond to the males in question. I've learned what it's like to be with a man who doesn't have a basic "need" to be with you or an inner stirring that causes him to lose all sense of reason just from watching you flip pancakes or throw clothes from the washer to the dryer.
With Tdub, I never felt really needed. In fact, I knew all along what he needed as well as what I needed. We were each longing for the love of a man. According to reparative therapy, if Tdub could have just gotten a good, healthy dose of manhood by having healthy relationships with male friends, he'd have eventually developed the sort of stirrings that men have for women. Basic attraction, basically.
I learned that this basic attraction is a vital piece of a healthy marriage. I often felt purposeless in my marriage to Tdub because I didn't feel really needed. Being married to a man who does all the laundry (and does it WELL), keeps up with all the kids activities, and not only helps but enjoys staying up half the night with you setting up Christmas decorations may sound like a dream for many women. And honestly, it was. Those things that we shared were incredibly fulfilling in their own way. But the whole thing would fall completley on its face the minute the lights were out and we went to bed. I went to bed with a brother, not a husband. I had nothing to offer Tdub in the way of physical fulfillment. In fact, intimacy became, for him, just another thing to check from the list of things he needed to accomplish for the....uh....month, maybe? It was pretty bad.
So now, I do appreciate and value male attraction. I find it refreshing, not something that gets in the way of really getting to know someone. In fact, after what I've been through, it's important to me to KNOW that a man is attracted to me physically. That's an important item on my personal checklist. The downside is that physical attraction could easily become a problem for me if I weren't self-disciplined and actually committed to checking off a great deal more things from that list of mine before I venture into that realm. But, in the words of Martha Stewart, that's a good thing.
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