We'd had a couple of bad flare ups lately and agreed to couples counseling. We spent weeks researching online until we identified five different practices that looked promising. Together we decided on the strongest choice and made an appointment. This process was important to me because the last time we saw a counselor, it was someone recommended by a friend of hers and I spent a year feeling like I was getting punked. Anyway we made the appointment.
It's important to understand that before we got married, we had many frank and open conversations about what we wanted and who we wanted to be. She wanted to climb the corporate ladder and live the big life. That's what she's good at and I actually enjoy watching her do it, so I agreed. I told her that I was always going to be the flaky freelance artist and that my choice came with no guarantee of financial security. I'd always aim for success, but the nature of life as an artist is a crapshoot at best. Those of you who paint, dance, write, or make music for a living will understand. She agreed and we got married.
So we arrive at our first session. I liked the therapist. She asked us to tell her how we met and to talk about what we admired about each other in the beginning. We both went on about each other for a while. She eloquently made me sound like God's gift. Then the counselor asked about what we wanted to work on. I said that I'd been desperately unhappy for years because my wife isn't remotely interested in me romantically or sexually and I'm drowning in loneliness within the confines of my marriage. The counselor asked her if this was an issue for her as well, and did she want to work on it. She shrugged it off and said that the subject was more important to me than her. Then her posture changed. She became angry and aggressive and explained to the woman that her real issue with me was that I didn't have a retirement plan and rarely managed to save money. That I was ten to fifteen years away from being a stone around the necks of her and my son. Then she laughed and said that I shouldn't take that personally. She wasn't mad at me for being me. She was mad at herself for marrying a guy like me. You know that moment when you realize that you've just thrown away 18 years of your life?
This isn't the whole story and I can't honestly say that I can paint a portrait of myself as the innocent good guy/victim. I definitely have things to work on. Looks like that's the next step. In any case, the grand experiment has run it's course. We're done.