Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Should Probably Work on That.

During one of my (increasingly rare) visits to Facebook the other day, I clicked on a link to an article on relationships a FB friend shared. Though it did have some mind-numbingly obvious statements like “contempt for each other is the number one reason relationships fail” (I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it), some of the information was pretty interesting.

The article was about researchers who studied couples six years after they were married to find the differences between the couples that were still “happily” married and those who were divorced or “chronically unhappy.” The article did not, as far as I can remember, specify how they differentiated between “happy” and “chronically unhappy”, or how they could be sure that people who claimed to be happy truly were, but let’s just take their word that they know what they’re doing, at least for the moment.

It seems that one big factor in couples remaining happily together (outside of the whole not having contempt for each other thing) is the number of times one responds to one’s partner’s “bids.” They describe “bids” as the requests for attention made throughout the parts of the day a couple spends together. For instance, if your spouse or SO makes a comment on an article they are reading, they are looking for a connection that goes beyond the article; they simply want an acknowledgement perhaps a brief (but meaningful) dialogue about it.

Couples that are still happily together respond to 87% of each other’s “bids”, while those who are divorced or chronically unhappy tend to only respond to 33% of the attempts. It’s not just responding, though; it also depends on how you respond. If you mutter “okay” or “uh huh” or something without really giving any attention, or respond with hostility (“stop bothering me while I’m reading”) it’s just as bad as if you completely ignore the bid. In either case, you’re subtly making your spouse feel worthless and invisible, which obviously affects their feelings towards you.

(This is a gross generalization of the article; I highly recommend reading it in entirety instead of relying on my quick synopsis as there is a good bit of other information in there.)

I definitely see myself, at this point in my marriage, as someone who probably doesn’t respond to the wife’s bids as often as I should. I “turn away” instead of “turn toward” more often than not, especially when I’m reading. Sometimes it’s unintentional; I’m really into what I’m reading and it takes several moments before I register that she was saying something. Other times I purposefully give the minimal “uh huh” in the hopes that she’ll get the hint that I’m not interested and wish she would not continue.

In my defense, she does tend to keep up a steady stream of babbling; if they’re all bids, I don’t think it’s humanly possible to respond to more than 45% or 50% of them and still have time to do things like sleeping and masturbating. And of course she does the same to me, except in general I’d say her “turn aways” are far more likely due to her being engrossed in whatever she’s doing and genuinely not hearing me than intentional neglect. Besides, I’ve pretty much stopped making a lot of bids.

Anyway, it’s an interesting article, and I think there’s a lot of validity to their findings.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Checking In

Just some odds and ends to catch up, and assure those of you I don’t communicate with on a regular basis that I’m still alive and kicking.

Things are mostly the same with the wife and me, which is to say that they’re right back to where we were last year at this time. I guess I didn’t really think anything would change, but I had hoped. Really, it’s not bad though. When I’m not spending most of the day moping around and feeling sorry for myself, it doesn’t bother me that much. She spends her time on her computer, I spend time reading, and we kind of half-assed spend time together. Sex is just something to do when masturbation gets boring, and though she’ll tolerate me going down on her for a minute or two I don’t bother with it much. Why should I if she doesn’t get anything out of it?

I’ve also pretty much given up on making any of what I consider the “first moves” to initiate sex. I don’t try to rub her ass when we’re in the kitchen, or reach around to caress her from behind or nuzzle or play in any way. Again, why bother? She sometimes tolerates it, but usually I just get “Honey, please!” So holding hands on the couch (when she’s not too busy with her games) will have to suffice, and if she wants to have sex she’ll just have to tell me. At which point we’ll go back to the bedroom, she’ll blow me for a few minutes, and then lay back and soon it’s over. If she wants something I’ll get her toy and watch (and sometimes touch, if she wants me to) as she gets off.

L continues her campaign of cutting us out of just about all physical involvement in her life. We still text during the week, but it’s mostly just pleasantries; nothing of any real substance and not even much of that. I stopped initiating text conversations with her (unless it’s something important, which it never is) but will respond if she says something. Maybe I’m being stubborn, and maybe she is too, but fuck it, right? I can’t be the only one making an effort. It may be best to let her just fade out of our lives altogether; it seems like what she wants anyway.

I’ve decided to give up sodas, at least for a while, though I honestly don’t know what I expect to happen from it. For the past two weeks I cut back to just one a day, and on Friday I had the last one from the last case I bought so this weekend was my first soda-free (diet or otherwise) in… well, hell, I couldn’t tell you how long. It’s been at least 25 years, when I was in the Army and we’d go on maneuvers, and even then I’d have at least one each day if I could get to the store before we went. But again, I don’t know what I expect to happen; it’s just something to do.

The more I write here the less I want to post this, so I’d better stop before I just delete it altogether.