Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Post in Which I Do Not Mention the Unmentionable.

Tim's a pretty laid back character, and he seldom has any objections to what I write about. He doesn't want me to write about this though, and out of respect for him, I will not.

Many breast cancer 'patients' take medication following chemo and radiation. These drugs come with a myriad of side effects. Bone pain is one of them, and it has been a challenge to me.

But there is another one that affects not only me, but my husband as well. This side effect has been a difficult adjustment for us, and for our marriage. What I have lost interest in, well, my husband has not. Reading about this, I am surprised to find that the overwhelming majority of women seem to believe that if the woman has lost interest, well, her partner must simply do without, or be labeled as 'insensitive'.


I don't believe that.

Number 1) I appreciate that my husband still sees me as a desirable woman, even if I don't feel like a desirable woman.
Number 2) Marriage is a partnership. My feelings are never more important than his feelings.
Number 3) I'm expecting that in three years and seven months (but who's counting) things will go back to the way it's always been.

In the meantime, I accomodate. Willingly. I do not feel degraded, nor do I feel that my husband is insensitive. I guess you can call us 'a purpose driven marriage'. Our story has always begun with 'It is not about me.'

Your thoughts?

Tim? I didn't write about it. Well. Not much anyway.


Kelly said...

My thoughts? I think you're right.

Pencil Writer said...

Discretion is important in sharing marital information of a sensitive nature. Men are acutely sensitive (at least in my limited experience) to issues of that nature. Prostate cancer has issues attached as well. And accommodating each others needs is part of making the marriage a working relationship.

Time is a gift. And while we're still here on earth, we should use our gifts to bless those we love so much. We are, after all, married and marriage includes all the good times and bad times as you often remind us of. Bless the two of you--and all married couples who struggle with similar issues, whatever the initial cause might be. "Love one another as I have love you."

steviewren said...

I have a couple of friends who are struggling with the same unmentionable problem. One thinks maybe she is a nutcase...I try to tell her it's her hormones being out of whack. If you didn't have an issue before menopause and then you suddenly do...blame it on the hormones.

I'd have never wished my period away if I'd only known what friends our hormones really are to us. I haven't felt really really good very many days since mine went wacko.

Redlefty said...

It's a love language, and often the #1 one for men. It's not dirty or selfish -- it's a core part of who we are. That's asking a lot to tell a husband he should just do without his #1 love language because she's not in the mood.

Women would probably feel differently if a man wasn't in the mood to say he loved her or show any interest in the details of her life. It's often a fundamental need for a woman to feel loved, appreciated and cared for by her partner.

This does change some over time in a marriage. And physical handicaps certainly change the game and a couple can work through that.

But "not feeling like it" is a tough pill to swallow as the reason a person's core love language can't be met.

Good for you, Debby!

Jayne said...

You do what works for you both, there's a partnership in a marriage, not two separate people.

Bill of Wasilla said...

Debby, I read this and then remembered your post from the other day, when your classmate had to present an argument either for or against prostitution. I can't say for sure, but I suspect that if more wives took your attitude, the demand for prostitutes would drop a bit. It wouldn't go away, it will never go away, but it would drop.

One way or another, a man will either get what he needs - or he will live a horrible life of frustration and regret. I believe it is this way for some women, too, but on the whole, less so.

In my opinion, you are doing a good and loving thing.

Scotty said...

Tough post, Debby, but good on you for writing it.

From a male viewpoint: we are often given short thrift on the subject of intimacy because it's perceived that we're only interested in our own pleasure. This is not true in and of itself. For me, a great deal of pleasure comes from watching/feeling a woman respond and enjoy herself as well.

I imagine this must be difficult for you now (and for perhaps a while?) I suspect it's not that you're 'not interested' but perhaps more of Point 1 in that you don't see yourself as desirable at the moment. I don't envy women and the body image issues they have to endure on a daily basis and you have to remember that you've been through many changes these past few years. You lost your hair (a feature that is often associated, rightly or wrongly, with a woman's femininity and sexiness) - as a bloke who's lost most of his hair, it doesn't bother me and it's true that a lot of women find a bald pate rather sexy. Sadly, the same can't be said with women and it could be that this played on your mind more than you realise? (I'm only postulating here since I'm no psychologist, or anything).

And then of course, there's the breast issue - the size, the shape, and in many cases, the loss of one or more breasts would probably play havoc with a woman's perception of her 'desirability'.

Men see a lot more in a woman than just 'tits and ass' - eyes play a big part for me (and you have terrific eyes, Debby) as does a woman's comfort in being comfortable with herself, being provocative or forward on occasion - Tim still finds you desirable - perhaps this is what you and your inner self need to discuss in detail for a while until, like Tim, you can look at yourself and say, "C'mere, husband of mine, I can still take your breath away and knock your socks off." And I don't doubt for a moment that Tim would wait for as long as it took for you to reach that place. Any man worth his salt, would.

Again, kudos to you for discussing such a difficult topic, Debby. You're a brave woman.

Mary O. Paddock said...

What you're doing (giving to him even though you're not "in the mood") is beautiful and right. It's just as right as his helping you dig a flower bed, which--if he's like most guys--he won't give another thought to after you've filled it with flowers. He gets nothing out of it other than seeing you happy and the knowledge that he's fulfilled one of your needs. Bravo, Deb.

Hal Johnson said...

Brave post, Debby, and although Tim may not want you to write about it, it's a subject that should probably be aired more often.

BB said...

While I am not sure I am the best person to answer this query (was it a query?) I wonder if it's not just a new chapter that ever couple goes through at one stage or another. I think what you express here is something most feel, but few are brave enough to vocalise.

Perhaps it's just that you need to find a new way to walk that path with him? What I mean is, if it is a hormone-related thing, then perhaps there is some way to compensate or supplement (my BIL is a gyno and would be much better at expressing this!).

I think your Tim offers qualities that sound super sexy - a man who provides the kind of unwavering support he does is a real gem. They are a rare breed indeed.

Debby said...

I actually do not think that Tim and I need help or advice, per se. I guess that I'm a little astonished to find that what appears to be a majority of women feel that if they have no desire, well that's it then. The man will simply have to be sensitive to her needs. Sensitivity is a two way street. Tim understands that tamoxifen is a necessary course of treatment. We both understand that this situation is temporary. I accomodate in that sometimes I do when I'd rather not. He accomodates in that sometimes he'd rather, but doesn't. We meet in the middle, no pun intended. For me to demand my needs be respected while not even acknowledging that he has needs is just, plainly put, selfish.

Bob said...

I really couldn't add anything to the wisdom already espoused here. Since you didn't write about it, I won't comment. But good points all.

PaintedPromise said...

wow Debby, you are brave, Randy feels the same as Tim about this unmentionable subject... and yeah, we have been dealing with something similar. certain medications can have a real impact on a man's drive and/or ability... but in deference to Tim and Randy, we won't mention that either ;)