Today, same as most days, my neck and shoulders are absolutely killing me. They probably hurt from carrying around my children, or in my own microcosm, the weight of the entire world. I can barely turn my head without wincing or yelping in excruciating pain. I could use a massage today—especially after the amount of stuff I had to do before work, at work, and then after work. But, I’d sooner walk around in traction before sharing any of my maladies with my husband.
One simple yet predictable reason—he’ll offer to give me the massage that I so desperately need because I know he genuinely wants me to feel better. However, beyond any shadow of a doubt, I know that my yelping will be confused for a twisted type of mating call. I know that the massage that he’ll be so eager to perform won’t be just a massage; it’ll be foreplay. And that foreplay invariably ends with me doing yet another thing before my day can finally come to a close.
It’s not that I don’t want to. I truly want to. I just feel like, right now, I can’t. Do I wish my current perspective, the one where anything resembling any type of intimacy feels like a chore was different? Sure. But does my desire to just go to bed after a really long day outweigh the thought of having to physically interact with one more person? That’s a resounding, HELL YES!
The funny thing? I I spent the better part of three years trying to get this guy, my now husband, to actually talk to me. And, once he did, I certainly did not adhere to the obligatory “three-date rule” (Is that even a thing anymore?) before moving past just talking. Honestly, my husband is every wife’s dream come true: handsome, thoughtful, compassionate, a great father and, Jesus Christ, the man is one hell of a cook. He’s a friggin’ gem and I appreciate him and the partnership that makes our marriage more than I could ever express. But that doesn’t mean I have the physical, mental or emotional energy to tack him onto my already extremely long to-do list at this juncture in our lives. I hate that I feel that way, but it’s the sad truth.
I’m. So. Tired.
At the end of the day, all I want to do is just put on my most hideous pair of worn out sweatpants, you know the ones, they’re hanging on by an elastic-less, college-aged thread. What I don’t want to put on is something lacy, see-through or remotely “sexy.” I don’t want to shave my legs or spritz myself with perfume to make sure I don’t smell like an escapee from the asylum. I’m too spent from caring about everyone else all day long to give any semblance of a rat’s ass about my own appearance or sex appeal. Though, I did throw on some mascara at roughly a quarter to five this morning—that’s about all the gussying up I care to muster.
But I would love to know why isn’t HE tired? How is he NOT tired? HOW?
He never seems to be tired… for anything!
It’s as crazy as it is infuriating and it makes me wonder: Did he not do as much as I did today? Did he actually get to eat lunch/drink coffee/pee alone at work? Does he have any concept that my job is insanely busy? Is being a dad as emotional as being a mom? Then I start thinking of all the things I could get done during the time I’d be having massage-induced relations: I could eat a hot meal. I could take a shower, one in which I actually get to WASH my hair. I could fold the growing mountain of laundry mocking me from the corner of my room. I could catch up on one of the five episodes of This is Us on my DVR list (although maybe I’ll watch something else because I’d just end up feeling guilty since Jack and Rebecca also have three kids, yet they always have all the sex…).
I have to take full responsibility for setting this little routine because, let’s be real, after enough coaxing, and pleading and delicious dinners that I didn’t have to cook, I almost always end up feeling way less like it’s all an imposition. Sometimes that massage that I swore I didn’t want will help me feel like a desirable person—not some wearied, robotic taskmaster.
Apparently my yawning and griping, combined with those grotesquely ancient sweatpants, are my husband’s brand of aphrodisiac.
In my own defense, because I know full-well I sound like a wretched animal that doesn’t put out for her handsome, dinner-cooking husband, I rarely will openly reject his advances. I’m keenly aware of how crappy it must make him feel to work so friggin’ hard, so eventually I’ll choose him over my pillow. If the roles were reversed, I know I would not make that much of an effort—but bless his heart, he never complains! And yes, I can add that to the long list of reasons I rarely reject those advances. And I know that one day the gentle glow in the bedroom will come from candles, not multiple baby monitors. I know that one day we won’t need to schedule a slot for alone time, as if we were business partners gearing up for a meeting.
Today, however, is not that day.
Today, our realities of being in a dual-career household with three small children effectively leeches the spontaneity that makes intimacy so exciting—at least for me. Today, as I think about the meals I couldn’t eat and the hair I couldn’t wash and the laundry I couldn’t fold and the arguments I had just to get the kids to bed at a decent hour, the idea of then giving myself over to another human being seems as desirable as volunteering for a root canal or colonoscopy—sans anesthesia. Maybe that’s truly what lies at the heart of why, right now, it all feels so much like a chore.
Here’s the real kicker: If he ever stopped offering up those self-indulgent massages? If he ever stopped being more persistent than a kid begging for a new toy right before Christmas? I’d be utterly devastated—and thoroughly annoyed.
It’s totally not fair, but it’s the plain and simple truth.
Now how’s that for ridiculously simple and predictable?