The Last Kiss
When opposite poles of a magnet get close enough, there is nearly no way to prevent them from being attracted enough to come together. The reverse is also true: no matter how hard we try, we can’t force like poles to come together. They repel each other with great force. I found a similar principle applied to my physical relationship to my husband.
I believe it was a Saturday in 2014 when I approached my husband in the living room with a wish to express my warm desire for him. Things had grown very cold between us since I had a stroke in 1999. I wanted to kiss him for more than the usual two or three seconds that was typical for a hello or goodbye kiss. This was not a greeting, but rather an interest in expressing myself physically. He seemed unable to kiss me back.
I had the impression he ran away to his office. Although anyone who walks at a reasonably fast pace looks like they are running to me since I limp and carry a cane. I can’t catch anyone. I knew there was no point in even trying to chase him. But, I knew we had to talk.
I walked around feeling a little bewildered and sad for a while.
Finally, I knocked on the office door and went in. He was focused on a flute from his collection he had been working on. Intensely focused. “What was that about?” I asked.
“I’m fucked up.”
“Seems so. What are we going to do about it?”
“I don’t know. I’m just fucked up.”
“I think we should talk about it.”
We were married for 28 years. We had been struggling to maintain an intimate connection since I became disabled. I refused to give up.
He struggled to recover from the trauma of the event on Valentine’s Day in 1999. I had a severe stroke during pregnancy. Drugs were part of his solution. They may have numbed his pain, but I think they also led to his withdrawal from being present and engaged in the marriage.
“If you’re fucked up, maybe you should go talk to someone.” , I said.
He ultimately did go talk to someone. By necessity, the talk centered around his addiction. I was grateful when he kicked the habit. I was curious whether he was addressing his being “fucked up” with the therapist. It was difficult to respect his right to privacy regarding his therapy sessions. Things were not warming up between us.
I felt I was being stonewalled even though he had no obligation to share what he was talking to his therapist about.
One thing he maintained was that he had lost his attraction to me since I had been dramatically changed by the stroke and he saw no way to get it back. This felt like a kick in the gut. I had made a dramatic recovery, but it was never enough.
We did some couples therapy. It appeared there was no solution to the lack of attraction problem.
We were two like poles of a magnet that could not be forced back together no matter how we tried. He moved out of the house in the summer of 2015.