I feel as if I am in a dark place at the moment. The tidal wave has crashed in hitting us with full force; but it's the general detritus in the murky water that has done the damage. I feel very numb from the force of the icy water. Now it's retreated, and upon turning around to face back in the right direction once more, I can see the road has been washed away in parts and it'll mean taking very small steps and feeling our way to ensure that the ground is strong enough to hold our weight.
Last night Starman and I had one of the most difficult heart-to-hearts of our married life. We sat in the kitchen whilst I drank copious glasses of water because my mouth kept drying up, and he leaned against the Aga and drank scotch.
I waited for him to return from Rotary. As time went on I got more and more nervous and demented, full of thoughts about our day and what we had talked about.
In truth, the day itself wasn't that bad. But I still felt very despondent from the morning's 'non-discussion' session. I noticed that Starman had made quite an effort to act in a normal way. But I had a lead weight in my stomach.
He walked in the door and I just burst into loud and spectacular sobbing. Naturally he wanted to know what on earth I was crying for, yet again. So we went through the morning's scenario once more, as I tried to explain that I felt we were in a rut, we weren't communicating properly, our marriage was slipping into lethargy. Etc, etc.
He told me that he wondered what was wrong with me. I was always in tears. I had thrust something on him that he wasn't happy about. Instead of my usual self I was trying to get him to take on a personna that he felt intimidated by. And now a questionnaire or all things. What on earth for?!
Because I thought you could give me some indication of your feelings, because I know I can be difficult, because I want to end this monotonous life we seem to have slipped into, because I want to take a step back and let you be the leader in this, because I realise that I could take the lead in Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" and because I want to change.
It's since you read that bloody book. And now you're getting all these ideas on the internet. You've been acting far too emotional for some time now. What the hell's going on?!
From there it went rapidly downhill.
Starman rarely shouts when he's angry. He is quiet and cutting. He is good at words. He doesn't hold back.
A whole range of topics were aired - from our sex lives to our social life to our working lives to our day-to-day existence with each other over the last 35 years. It was awful. Because we weren't shouting (Starman was quietly incandescent and I was sobbing and sniffling for England) it seemed much worse. We weren't slinging insults, no, not at all. But we were telling it how it is, how it was, how it could be, to each other.
He admitted he has enjoyed these last six weeks. That the house has been much more peaceful and that I have been loving and accommodating. That he is happy to oblige with my desire to be spanked once a week, but that for him, the thought of using spanking as a punishment is more than he can contemplate at the moment. He was really thrown by me putting on my questionnaire that I would expect to pay penalties for not living by the rules, ie getting some exercise, focussing on finishing off some jobs that have remained unfinished for over a year, eating healthily. I tried to explain but to no avail. Our conversation continued and I asked him if I had improved as far as nagging him, interrupting him when he was talking to me, complaining that he wasn't doing things right, was concerned.
I know I can be a harridan, I told him. He agreed. Then he told me something that tipped my world upside down.
"You are much better than you were once upon a time" he said. "I nearly left you fourteen years ago. I couldn't stand you a minute longer."
The colour drained from my face. I gulped and cried harder, trying to take swigs of water because my mouth was so dry. I honestly couldn't say a word. My brain seized up completely. I actually felt as if everything was moving in slow motion like on the films.
"Then why didn't you?" I gasped.
"I don't know" he replied. "I guess I thought I'd give it another shot. But you were awful. I couldn't say anything to you. You leapt down my throat immediately. You just bulldozed your way around all the time. You were the same with everybody. The kids hated it.
Then you started to change. You got better. You weren't so snappy.
But remember when I slept in the spare room a lot. It wasn't just work. You just didn't want me near you. Every time I made an effort you pushed me away.
I suppose I stayed because I still loved you."
I rested my head on my folded arms. I was too exhausted to cry any more. I was throbbing with misery. I kept thinking I would wake up any minute from this nightmare.
It was with the greatest of efforts we continued our conversation. I told him that I felt our sex life had been pretty dire in those days. He never ever gave me satisfaction. It was always over in a flash. Wham bam thank you mam.
He explained that he was always tired. He used to set off for work very early and arrive back late at night. He wanted to give his family the best of everything. He'd known that he hardly saw me to talk to let alone the kids, but it had never occurred to him that it was HIM I wanted, not material things.
He explained he knew he wasn't much good at expressing his feelings. That he knew he wasn't very demonstrative or lovey-dovey. He hadn't thought it mattered to me.
I explained that I hated to go to bed night after night on my own while he slumbered on the sofa and watched late night TV.
But mostly I just sat in silence and shock. I had far to much to process.
So last night he didn't stay up till all hours. He came to bed around a half hour after me.
I was turned away from him and clinging to the side of the bed as if my life depended upon it.
He reached over and pulled me into him spoon fashion. (We never do that.) I was cold, and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the warmth of his body. He put his arm around me and stroked bits of me. Then he put his leg over mine and held me even closer.
We fell asleep entwined.
Then we woke up around 2 am and made love as if our lives depended on it. And we talked.
He said he didn't want to fill in any silly questionnaire, and that he would go through the questions face to face and tell me his feelings. He said he was determined to 'cherish' me more and to show his love in little ways. He had noticed my efforts and he was quite amazed at my desire for change in that direction. He said that he would never have actually left, but that for him it was a bad time. I told him I wished that I had known then what I know now. He said that he still didn't understand it, but would be willing to carry on slowly, but didn't want pushing. He said he didn't agree with tying women up to spank them. I said that actually I wasn't into that myself. Each to his own. But that I had known for some time that I wanted to be spanked, and that I couldn't at the moment explain it any better than that. We cuddled and went back to sleep.
We woke up around 6 am and repeated most of the above.
Today has been much better.
I have exercised. I have accomplished several outstanding jobs previously left unfinished. We have talked some more.
So, no, I don't have a plan of action. We have no formal rules drawn up, and probably never will have. I don't know how any of this is going to turn out. But we have once again turned round in the right direction. We just need to negotiate the gaps where the road used to be.
As for me. I am carrying this huge rock in my chest. It is called "Guilt and Regret".
I very nearly swept away our marriage fourteen years ago. How I didn't, heaven only knows. I'm just thankful Starman kept with me. I must have been a horrible wife. I'm probably still a horrible wife. All I can say is that I am very keen to change. I don't want to be horrible any more. But it's not going to be an instant fix. I know that now.
And if Starman ever gets around to spanking me again, I hope he can manage to lift that weight from me and to let me know that everything is forgiven.
I hope you'll still want to know me after all this!