Why doesn’t love live here anymore?

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One of the many perks of spending my summers in Spain is running into old acquaintances. Such was the case last night when the elevator I was waiting for opened to reveal two old friends.

After exchanging excited greetings, we found ourselves sharing a bottle of cheap Spanish wine while catching up. We discovered who was pregnant, who had a new grandchild, and sadly, who’d passed away. We found out who tied the knot, remarried, or filed for divorce. While this may sound like a typical gossip fest, I assure you it was not.

Why? Because what started off as a simple exchange of information, deepened into a high order discussion of identifying “the why.”

One minute, one friend was revealing details of her brother’s marital break up, and the next, the other was admitting she’d been in a loveless marriage for twenty years.

Wine glasses were quickly refilled to cover up the awkward silence that ensued. However, the question hanging in the air was, “Why?” The friend in question did not have an answer.

The conversation that followed was so interesting, my friends have allowed me to share our results. But first, I should point out that our first question was, how different is staying with someone in a loveless marriage from an actual divorce? The answer is, not much.

We identified that in both cases, the individuals have become distant; estranged. They no longer share common interests and exchanges of affection are either rare or nonexistent.

Conversation is limited to current events, the weather, and the daily conundrum.

They never make time for one another and everything else always takes precedence.

Romantic, intimate moments, and sex are just a hazy memory. They claim to be busy, tired, or stressed. One has a headache, the other has to get up early the next morning.

Time continues to pass. One year turns into five, then into ten, and before long, they’ve spent two decades in the company of someone who is nothing more than a roommate.

You’d think all things considered, they wouldn’t want to spend a moment in each other’s company, let alone a lifetime. Yet together they remain.

Our discussion revealed the typical reasons for this being so: religion, financial difficulties, and the famous, “it’s in the best interest of the children.” However, we wanted to go deeper. Much deeper.

We wanted to discover what had the power to hold two peole hostage and force them to wake up in a state of misery day after day.

We were convinced a justifiable reason existed.

I want to tell you we were successful. I want to tell you we had an “aha” moment, that one of us screamed, “Eureka!”. But alas, such is not the case.

We were more confused at the end of our conversation than when we started. We bid each other farewell, disheartened and frustated.

This morning, an empty coffee cup by my side, I continue to look for answers.

My brain tells me perhaps it’s fear.

Fear of the unknown.
Fear of abandonment.
Fear of starting over.

Or perhaps it’s conformity–blind acceptance that this is the hand destiny has dealt.

Or maybe people are just too tired, lazy, or believe themselves unworthy of something or someone better.

I’m certain each case is different. Individuals in these circumstances are sure to have personal reasons for remaining. However, something tells me many, if not all, have one thing in common. They all want to know why.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation, and if so, why do you stay?

XOXO,

Could this be the best kept secret?


cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by Skelekitten

Note: Be advised that this post deals with a subject of a sensitive nature.
Dear readers, please read at your discretion.

“I sat there and listened to him. I heard the group of men he was with laugh heartily. The only thing that kept me from outing him was her pleading look across the table. I was outraged, Bella. Disgusted. And to think this poor woman may not be alone; that other women might find themselves in this circumstance.

Ever since you were ten, I’ve heard you quote, ‘knowledge is power.” Well, don’t you want to know if this is the best kept secret in the world? Don’t you want to debunk the myth? Isn’t it, like you say, your ‘civic duty’ to create awareness?”

“Yes, but my readership is mainly composed of women.”

“So what? Don’t you think it will help women like Betty? Don’t you think it will help her feel better to know that she is not alone? That this has nothing to do with her?”

While I love to write what I hope are humorous posts, I also like to address subjects that I feel strongly about.

The introduction to this post is an excerpt of a conversation I had with my sister. She was recently invited to dinner at a friend’s house and had witnessed her friend’s husband joking with his friends over his frustration of “not getting any.”

Not only did my sister find his public disclosure of lack of intimacy with his wife distasteful, she also knew he was lying. A week before, her friend Betty had mentioned she hadn’t had sex with her husband in six months.

The reason? He wasn’t interested.

However, when in the company of other men, Betty’s husband had felt the need to make light of the situation and blame her for their non-existent sex life.

Sex starved women.

As a society, we’ve been conditioned to believe that men are always ready for sex; that testosterone drives them to have intercourse so they can reproduce, spread their seed, because it’s in their nature.

Boys will be boys.
He’s a man, for God’s sake.
Men just can’t help themselves.
Testosterone fuels their desire.

We hear this constantly.
Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with the notion that men are sex machines.

Yet my sister will attest to the fact that the group of women who sat huddled in Betty’s family room are of a different opinion.

Every one of them complained that their husbands always had an excuse for not having sex.

Yes, folks, for not having sex.

They were too tired.
Too stressed.
Worried about work.
Not in the mood.
Thought it was too much work.
Didn’t have the energy for it.

Healthy men.
Men who were not having affairs.
Men who were not suffering from depression.
Men who were not substituting sex with porn.
Men who were simply not interested in having sex with their wives.

The result?

Women who felt rejected.
Women who thought it was their fault.
Who thought that it was because they weren’t sexy enough.
Who thought they weren’t desirable.
Who thought it was because they’d gained weight, gotten older, gotten grayer.
Women who felt unworthy.
Women who were trapped in a relationship with a man who was nothing more than a roommate.

This post leads us to ask many questions.

Why do we continue to fall prey to the myth that men are the only ones who are sex starved?

What is causing men to lose interest in sex?

What compels men to lie about their lack of sexual libido?

How can women deal with the feelings of rejection and the insecurities that surface as a result of living in these circumstances?

Why isn’t this being discussed more openly?

Why is the only suggestion given, “talk to your husband” when clearly men do not want to discuss the issue?

Is partner celibacy more of a reality than we think it is?

Today’s post is meant to fuel conversation around these topics.
Intelligent and respectful feedback will not only help us discover possible answers, it will also help determine if Betty is alone in her predicament or if more women are also dealing with this problem.

Your input is most appreciated.
I have allowed for anonymous comments on this post so those who wish to share their thoughts but not their identity can participate.
Please note that I reserve the right to delete any comment I feel is not relevant to the discussion.

What say you, friends?

XOXO,

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Who’d rather give up sex than coffee?

I know I’ve mentioned to all of you how much I enjoy drinking coffee.

What I haven’t confessed to you, is my obsession of taking photos of coffee every time I’m served a cup.

This obsession is one of the Significant Other’s greatest peeves.

His biggest complaints is that by the time I drink the coffee, it’s stone cold.

My biggest complaint about his complaint, is that this shouldn’t bother him since he’s not the one drinking my coffee.

But I digress.

Some time ago, reader Sandy Bodeau wrote the following comment in my “about” page (the one titled The One and Only Me):

“I almost stormed out of your blog when you said that you’d give sex up for coffee (the nerve! LOL), but I really like your blog :-”

My reply to Sandy?

“Sandy, I’m most serious about the fact! There’s nothing, and I mean nothing, that would make me give up coffee! Not even sex! hee hee! Well, if it was sex with Javier Bardem, I might reconsider! :)”

So is sex with Javier Bardem the only thing that would make me give up coffee?

The jury’s still out…for the moment.

However, I do know that my relationship with coffee is a serious one.

If for any reason I don’t have time to ingest my early morning java, I quickly go into caffeine withdrawal; as in, my head starts pounding, I become lethargic, and my brain turns to mush.

Hence, I’ve come to accept that drinking coffee is a necessary addiction.

After all, how else can I be functional if not for my required two cups of early morning coffee?

However, drinking coffee is not just a survival strategy, it’s also a pleasurable activity.

I can’t think of anything cozier than wrapping my fingers around a coffee cup while I curl up in Marcelo, my favorite chair.

And drinking Italian espresso at my favorite coffee shop? Simply sublime.

To add to the enjoyment, is the beautiful way coffee is served; the beautiful cups, the little serving tray, and even the spoon, all inspire me capture a “coffee moment.”

I’ve become so accustomed to capturing shots of my coffee, that I find myself accomplishing this feat in less time that it takes the Significant Other to open his sugar packet.

As a result, he barely has time to say, “You’re not Cartier Bresson, so would you drink your coffee already?”

Well, I may not be Cartier Bresson, but I bet he didn’t have as much fun taking coffee photos as I do.

As for, would I give up coffee for sex with Javier?

I’ve made up my mind and my answer is:

Sorry my Spanish lover in another life. No can do. While passionate sex with you might be fleeting, my love affair with coffee will last till the day I croak.

If you’re a coffee drinker, what would you be willing to give up for coffee?