This week has been very productive for William and I. Getting all of the anger and pain out in the open last week was actually a good thing. A few other things happened this week that has led to us making a few changes - "course corrections" according to our therapist - in our approach to incorporating William's world into our relationship.
The first correction is in how we are communicating. Up until this week, any discussion involving this subject usually dissolved into one or both of us getting upset and/or defensive. We learned this week that verbally identifying the intent behind a question or request is very helpful in diffusing that toxicity. We were able to have a very intense discussion on Tuesday this week without either one of us getting upset...and it was one of the most productive conversations to date.
William also had an epiphany this week. He learned that he knows nothing about what I like in the bedroom. It's not that I never told him or tried to share it with him; it was "selective memory" on his part. This realization took him a bit aback; it was a very solid piece of evidence showing him that his choices had really affected us. And even worse, I had forgotten what I liked in the bedroom. The truth is that we've had seven years of "quickies", not meaningful sex. William followed up his epiphany with sincere efforts to identify MY needs in the bedroom. And, boy, did he do it right! For the first time, he was able to demonstrate that he was capable of fulfilling my needs. Wow. And just as important to me, he was able to meet my needs and still enjoy himself. His response to this discovery showed me that he truly "got" it. And even more importantly, he gets that the changes that he is making need to be lifelong ones. This has helped immensely to lessen my anxiety. I feel like if he "gets" it, he'll be less likely to fall back into his old habits.
William's efforts made me happy, then, to work to identify what was not working for him in our efforts to satisfy his needs. Our stated goal was to try to fulfill his needs to the maximum degree possible while making sure that I was okay with what was happening. We were able to set aside a few hours this week to experiment a bit. William was very good about making sure that my feelings were taken into consideration during our session. He reported afterward that the changes we made were good ones and he was very satisfied with what we did together. And absolutely just as importantly, I enjoyed myself also.
Our most important realization this week is that the focus of our efforts needs to be on both of us. We both need to work to make sure that both of us are satisfied in whatever we do. We understand that there will have to be some changes and compromises, this can't be about just one of us, but at the same time, the truth is that if either of us has to give up an important part of themselves, this won't work.
And so our journey continues...together.