Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sea Level - Act I

A story in two acts: Act I where Nate sits to write a letter to Carrie. Before this letter will be finished and delivered we will find ourselves in Act II where Nate broaches this subject while driving home from a dinner with friends.

Act I – The Letter
Over the course of the last few weeks it has become plain that in certain ways I communicate better in writing than speaking. Maybe the extra time to think and organize or maybe the anonymity of writing alone – no facial cues to interpret, no chance to banter back and forth. Once I decided to write I needed a title – maybe for an eventual post but surely to save in Word, and then I realized that last letter to you was 35,000 Feet. It was a letter worthy of its name, borne on clouds, not attached to the reality of our lives. Sea Level – it is an accurate description of our topography, both house and home.

In a recent post I came to realize one aspect of what I am doing – a high stakes game of chicken based on my continuing to sleep with men (or more accurately a man – contrary to popular belief I am not a total slut) until you have had enough of me and my behavior. Then in this particular game I swerve out of the way and we remain together. Now as you know better than anyone, I am not a gambler, not one of a poker face and lord knows my reflexes are what one would expect of someone north of fifty. More succinctly put, it is a “game” where somebody is going to cry.

There is another aspect – our mutual aversion to decisions. I wait for your deciding what you will tolerate so I can adjust my behavior and you are awaiting my deciding via my actions. We each want the other to decide what our lives should be. It would be sad if it was not so horrifying.

What is clear is the need to forge a compromise, find middle ground. That search is on hold – Anna and Bill take up some time, our therapists caution getting ahead of our individual therapies, and then there will be a time for a facilitator. All of which is well and good: but is it not our job to bring to the facilitator some common ground, a cornerstone to build around.

This all came into some focus in my last session with Bob. He was discussing ways to slowly rebuild and I realized that inherent in his suggestions was an assumption that I was not hooking up. My reaction was immediate, blunt, and not overly sensitive – not that one needs to be sensitive with one’s therapist. But from that reaction my realization that I was trying to stretch out the rubber band of acting out, without it snapping or losing its shape. Not realistic on a good day.

So where is this common ground? It seems to me that I need to be willing to attempt fidelity, attempt it seriously and in good faith. Attempt a fidelity that includes not sleeping with men and not fixating on Craig’s List or the like. That is for me a start, honest without grand pronouncements as to where it ends.

You need to accept the fact that I am excited by homo-erotic fantasies and that I am hyper-sexual (as you call it). These are not things I can change. Do they need to become the focus of our bedroom, of our sex life? Of course not, but to believe that forty years of fantasies will now be gone, banished from our lives, is not a foundation for rebuilding either.

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