I’ve been wanting to have dreams in which J appeared pretty much since he died.
I finally had one last night—but it wasn’t a good dream. It was actually a dream about the earlier years of our marriage and about how sexually dissatisfied I was in particular.
Not exactly (at all) the good kind of dream in which I feel like he came to visit me. Instead, it was replaying tapes of the distant past when things weren’t good.
Even during those years, we were still always really good friends. We usually got along well. But the topic of sex was a source of major frustration for me for many, many years.
Basically, he was too stressed out and he said that I didn’t make him feel wanted enough. He said I was too mean to him for him to get aroused. In all honesty, I don’t think I was really that mean; I never intentionally hurt him and I refrained from making jokes at his expense.
What he considered “too mean” was (to the best of my recollection) talking about my anxieties, especially when we were in Michigan. He took that very personally, as he had been raised to believe he should be a “good provider” and felt like he was failing at it.
Then, about a year after we moved to Texas, he told me that he had been escaping to a fantasy world on a very regular basis, both during our marriage and before he even met me. The closest thing I can describe it as was that he put the faces of women he knew on porn-star bodies. Very often, they were women I knew too (even some women I was jealous of and he told me I had no reason to worry.) But sometimes they were just random women he encountered on the train into work.
Yes, it kinda creeped me out that he was having graphic sexual fantasies about women who didn’t even know it. That’s really gross in an objectifying way. And meanwhile, he had me at home willing to fulfill pretty much every fantasy he had, but that wasn’t good enough.
The last five or six years of our marriage were great, once he got that secret out in the open. He totally changed how he treated me, which in turn, also changed how I treated him. And it also dramatically improved our sex life together. We continued to have sex all throughout his chemo treatments, only doing it for the last time about 3 weeks before he died.
And I’ve since found out that such fantasizing was a by-product of the abuse he grew up with, which makes me so much more compassionate than I was when he first told me about it.
He just wanted a retreat to where no one asked anything of him and they existed (in his imagination) solely to serve his wishes and desires.
If anything, it just makes me angrier that he grew up with such abuse and never sought help for it.
I wish he wouldn’t have waited so long to tell me about it. I believe that I really could have helped him, if he would have let me.
We could have had so many more years of genuine happiness together if he had just let me in.