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CYNTHIA’S AFFAIR 1 (of 4)
It’s impossible to pinpoint exactly the time when Cynthia Anders’ problem began, probably because there was no one time, only a gradual development. As with most marriages, her’s began on a high note, with romance mixed with the normal carnal joys of matrimony. Unfortunately, also as with most marriages, the real world intervened and, bit by bit, things went downhill. Many things caused that decline; work, money problems and, perhaps, most important, the advent of children. Suddenly, a two-people relationship becomes one of three, then four and, in Cynthia’s case, ?ve. Life became devoted to childish things, a concentration that, of course, lasted for many years. In the meantime, the two original members of the family, inevitably, grew apart, that ?rst blush of romance and eroticism giving way to being parents ?rst, lovers a distant second.
In general, however, life was not bad. Cynthia temporarily retired from teaching social studies in the local high school and concentrated on child-raising, a tiring, frustrating occupation, but with obvious rewards. She served as a substitute teacher between pregnancies (her mother serving as baby-sitter) until the children were old enough, at which point she resumed her career. David, her husband, was in the corporate rat-race, working diligently to support the growing brood, putting in long hours and gradually rising in the company hierarchy. It was a hectic, very busy life for both of them, and one that predictably led them to have less and less in common — except for the children. As is normal, however, the children grew up, developed friendships and relationships outside of the family, and, as they left home for college and their own lives, Cynthia and David had even fewer shared interests.
Cynthia had been 21 when they married, with the ?rst baby born when she was 24. At 26 she had her second, with the last arriving when she was 29. Thus at the age of 44, twenty-year old and eighteen-year old sons were in college and a ?fteen-year old daughter was a sophomore in high school. It was at this point, when her younger son went away to college, that she became increasingly aware that she and David hardly did anything together. While her career had blossomed (she was now the principal of the same high school that her daughter attended), and David was in an important administrative position in his company, there was something really missing in their relationship. David never had been particularly demonstrative in showing affection, but she couldn’t remember the last time that he had kissed her, except for a pro forma peck “good night.” They hadn’t gone away alone, even for a weekend, since the ?rst baby was born. She had accepted these things without thinking for years, but now they took on real importance. She knew that in two years they would be alone and all she could see coming was a sterile relationship, each having a career and just living together.
Once she recognized the danger in the situation, Cynthia became even more aware of their lack of intimacy and interconnection, and it began to become a major worry. She made a conscious effort to show affection, to be interested in his concerns at work, to arrange times for them to be alone. Unfortunately, while they were really quite compatible, shared a common interest in the activities and progression of the children, and, in general, had the same view of the world, there just wasn’t a spark. Cynthia simply wasn’t able to create that spark, and, as time went by, she really wanted something more than companionship.
She tried to put the best face she could on what she now saw as a major problem, acting as cheerful as possible and trying to put things in perspective. She knew that her marital dif?culties paled into insigni?cance compared to those she read about in “Dear Abby.” Many wives would have been delighted to have a stable marriage, good kids, no serious money worries, etc. Looked at like that, the things lacking in her life seemed petty and she ungrateful. Still, whatever the rationalization, something was missing — and she just wasn’t happy!
In any case, by the time that her daughter was ready for college, two years of effort had in no way improved the situation. She even had tried, several times, to instigate a discussion about their relationship, once very bluntly, mentioning a counselor, but David simply brushed her initiatives aside, showing no concern for her feelings. The proverbial straw that broke this particular camel’s back came as their 25th wedding anniversary neared. Cynthia received a brochure from the resort where they had spent their honeymoon, offering special rates to commemorate the occasion.
One evening when they were alone, she dressed in a black, sheer baby doll nightgown, bought especially for the occasion, and, carrying the brochure, walked provocatively into the living room and sat down beside David. Leaning close to him, she showed him the picture of the resort, asking him, “Do you remember this place, honey?” As he nodded, rather disinterestedly, she hurried on. “Look, they are offering us a special rate because we were there on our honeymoon, twenty-?ve beylikdüzü ucuz escort years ago. Wouldn’t it be fun for us to go back up there for a second honeymoon? It would really be romantic!”
His reply shocked her. “Don’t be silly! Why would we want to drive all the way up there just to celebrate an anniversary. We can do something here like we usually do.”
Cynthia just froze, crushed and humiliated by his abrupt rejection. At that point, something that had atrophied already, her romantic feeling for David, died, or, at least, went into deep hibernation. Not saying a word, she simply got up, dropped the brochure in the wastepaper basket and walked into the bedroom. There she took off the sexy nightgown and carefully folded it, putting it away for another time, possibly one without her husband! She was proud that she hadn’t cried or launched a tirade at his rebuff. She did break down and cry afterwards, but, at least, she upheld her dignity at the time.
She said nothing more about the resort, and when David, possibly trying to make amends (he was not a complete clod), invited her to go out to dinner on their anniversary, she graciously accepted. She admitted to herself that she actually hoped that something would happen, that the elusive spark would reappear, but it didn’t. The dinner was good, the conversation a little strained at times, but not too much so, and, all in all, the evening went well. However, it was like going out with a colleague, a friend, or, even, a brother — not a romantic night to celebrate twenty-?ve years together!
So, things continued as they had, an outwardly happy marriage with something missing at its core. Cynthia maintained a stoic composure, but inside the unhappiness was eating at her. As with many things, the denial of romantic intimacy made it even seem more desirable. Perhaps she should have brought the matter to a head by confronting David directly about the ?aw in their relationship, but, somehow, she just didn’t want too. Unfortunately, that hibernating or (dead) feeling toward David made her question as to whether she wanted to attempt a reconciliation. It’s a measure of their relationship, and David’s obtuseness, that through all of her internal travail, David never seemed to sense that she was upset or that anything was wrong!
Cynthia didn’t dwell on the problem all the time — she really had little time to dwell on anything with all of her duties. Most of the time she was more concerned with school, her daughter, and a multitude of other activities. However, late at night when she lay awake, the issue plagued her and she found her desire for real intimacy becoming more and more demanding. She wanted physical intimacy, of course, but, even more, she wanted a psychic closeness, a feeling that she mattered, that the other person cared for her — not as a wife, not as a mother, but just for her! This was bottled up inside, at times almost causing her to either burst into tears or explode in rage. She needed to talk about it, to relieve the pressure by sharing her problem.
Cynthia’s prime con?dante was Cathleen Simmons (Cathy to those who knew her well), a very close friend for years, now retired, who was the school principal she had replaced. Cathy was one of those people who cared for and was very considerate of her subordinates, never acting superior or taking advantage of her position. She was always cheerful, enthusiastic and helpful to all she encountered. Consequently, she was loved and respected by everyone and, even alter retirement, she still was the person people turned to for advice or just to receive sympathetic support when the world was too heavy.
It should be noted that, despite being retired, she looked, dressed and acted much younger than her years, nothing like the stereotype retired teacher or administrator. As said before, Cynthia was extremely pressed for time, running the school as well as being a wife and mother of three children of her own. Now, with two sons in college and her daughter ready to leave, she should have had more free time, but, as usual, her work had expanded to ?ll her available time. Still, she and Cathy got together as often as possible for lunch, a play, or rarely, an evening alone. It was one of those evenings that turned out to be crucial for Cynthia.
They were sitting, talking quietly, when Cathy looked at her closely for a minute and ?nally asked, “What’s troubling you, honey?”
Cynthia had decided not to burden Cathy with her personal problem, at least not that night, and had thought that she seemed perfectly normal. Surprised, she asked, “What do you mean? I’m not bothered by anything right now. I’m perfectly cheerful.”
“Look, I’ve known you for some years now, and I know that when you act ultra-bright, too cheerful, that something is wrong. Did something blow up at school? Trouble with the board? What is it?”
Cynthia tried to keep smiling, but it was useless. Her resolve to ignore or, even, forget the problem for the evening crumpled and collapsed when faced with the sympathetic inquiry of her friend. Suddenly, tears welled up in her beylikdüzü üniversiteli escort eyes and the whole story poured out as Cathy listened intently. Finally she ran down, concluding, “I suppose I’m being silly. David’s not interested in other women, he’s a good father, doesn’t waste money, works hard. He does all the things a man should do except…” breaking down and sobbing, “…except paying attention to me. I want something more than us just being comfortable together!”
“Now look, you’re not being silly! There should be some romance in marriage, not just living together and taking care of the kids. I hope you don’t mind a personal question, but do you still have sex?”
“Oh yes, we still do that, and I enjoy it, but something is still missing. While we’re obviously doing it together, it’s almost as if we’re doing it separately as far as feelings are concerned. Actually, of course, it’s not the sex itself that’s the problem, it’s more that there just no ?re, no interest in the relationship. I kept wanting David to show affection, some romantic feeling, but he just doesn’t, and, worse, I guess, I don’t care anymore whether he does or not. My feelings toward him are numb: l’m not angry, I don’t dislike him, I still think that he’s a ?ne person — but I just don’t care! Gods, I’ve even been thinking of having an affair just to have a romantic interlude, to get excited again!”
“Boy, you do have a problem! However, before you do anything desperate, I think that you should see a marriage counselor and see if something can be done to bring some interest or passion back. You don’t want to ruin what you have in a wild attempt to ?nd something better.”
“Well, I certainly don’t want to risk what I have, which is why, I guess, that I haven’t done anything yet. But I don’t want to go on like this! Do you really think a marriage counselor could help? I could never get David to go since he has no idea that anything is wrong. Can you believe that? He has no idea that I, or we, have a problem!”
“I’m sure that you could go alone, at least at ?rst. You certainly have nothing to lose, and a counselor might be able to suggest ways to re-kindle your emotions and to get David to see that there is a problem.”
The discussion went on for some time, with Cynthia ?nally agreeing to see a counselor. Cathy’s sympathetic reaction, particularly her agreement that Cynthia was not being irrational in her need for more passion and affection in her marriage, really seemed to help. Feeling more cheerful to actually be doing something, she made an appointment the next following week. Meeting with the counselor, a Mr. James Silkin, and describing her marital situation in embarrassing detail, Cynthia sat back and hoped for some enlightening suggestions. Unfortunately, the advisor was not able to provide any substantive answers.
As he said, problems of this nature can be overcome only if both parties recognize the need and are willing to make concessions and changes. He did suggest that Cynthia try to arrange a second honeymoon-type rendezvous, try to arouse David’s hormones by sexy dress and actions, etc., things that, as we’ve seen, she already had tried and which had failed. He suggested that she try to overcome her own negative feeling by thinking of David’s (admittedly) good points. In other words, he offered nothing but bland, and useless, platitudes. In essence, he indicated that, barring divorce, which she certainly did not want, learning to live with it was the only real alternative.
However, it turned out that his services were not quite as useless as it appeared when he went on to say, candidly, “Mrs. Anders, I am a marriage counselor and I specialize in mediating between a husband and wife to help save their marriage. I really cannot help you very much, but I would recommend that you see a sex therapist who, I think, can help. She is Dr. Janice Butler, very well regarded in the ?eld, and she can handle your type of problem better than I. I’ll give you her card, if you wish, and you can make an appointment with her. After being assured that the suggestion did not mean that something was wrong with her, Cynthia agreed.
After meeting the Dr. Butler and having a preliminary discussion, Cynthia was given an evaluation sheet that probed her sexual history and practices in embarrassing detail:
Were you a virgin when married? Yes.
Do you enjoy sexual intercourse? Yes.
Do you have an orgasm from sexual intercourse? Usually.
How often do you have sexual intercourse? Once a week.
Are you satis?ed with the frequency? No
If not, more or less often? More
In addition to vaginal intercourse, have you participated in:
Oral intercourse? Yes If yes, cunnilingus? Yes. If yes, fellatio? Yes
Anal intercourse? No. .
Do you masturbate? Yes If yes, how often? Once or twice a week.
[The questions continued on, an inquisition that laid bare virtually all aspects of Cynthia’s sex life, things the she had never dreamed of revealing to anyone else. For beyoğlu escort example, she certainly had never even hinted to anyone that she masturbated, much less talked about it. A number of other questions went into her thought processes, and unveiled things she hadn’t known about herself. It was an exhaustive review and, except for some of those embarrassing revelations, Cynthia actually found herself enjoying it. The ?nal inquiry, however, did cause some hesitation as being almost too personal.]
Have you had extramarital relations? No.
If not, do you fantasize about having extramarital relations? Yes.
If yes, describe a fantasy that arouses you.
[It was at this point that Cynthia almost backed out, but having gone this far, she, reluctantly, described the following scenario.]
I’m at a close friend’s house where she and her husband have a swimming pool. The three of us are in the water, batting a beach ball around. I’m wearing a very brief, two-piece suit, far more revealing than I have ever worn. The top is strapless and a little too large, and as I jump for the ball, it falls down, showing both breasts. I’m horribly embarrassed as I pull it back up, but they both just laugh. As we keep playing, the bra just will not stay up so my breasts keep being exposed. Finally, my friend says, “Cynthia, why don’t you just take it off? We’ve seen them, so there’s nothing to hide. I’ll take mine off, too, so you won’t be embarrassed.”
We’re both topless and it excites me to feel my breasts out bare and I can’t help being fascinated by seeing her’s exposed. We keep playing, but all three of us are more interested in looking at the breasts than the ball. We ?nally stop, and the husband, who seems very nice but who I don’t know really well, helps me onto a ?oat, touching my breasts as he does so. He feels them several more times as we play around in the water. My friend sees this but just smiles, obviously not minding. I really enjoy the attention and am aroused, both by being felt and having her watch.
Suddenly, she hears the phone ring inside the house and hurries in, leaving me and her husband alone. As soon as she is through the door, he pulls me over to the side of the pool, kissing me while fondling and squeezing my breasts. He takes down my pants and, raising my legs, enters me under the water. He screws me vigorously, pushing me back against the pool side. It feels wonderful. Just as we ?nish and he lets my legs drop, my friend comes out. I quickly pull up my pants, but she has to have seen what we were doing. Again, however, she just smiles, and the three of us act as if nothing has happened. When I leave, both kiss me goodbye, and insist that I come back very soon.”
When the questionnaire was ?nally completed and reviewed by Dr. Butler, Cynthia was asked to spell out in detail exactly what her problem was. Having gone over it with Cathy and the marriage counselor, Cynthia was well prepared to describe her marital relationship quite succinctly. After doing so, she summarized by saying, “The problem may not sound like much to an outsider, but I just feel that I am missing something. That life is going by and I have spent all my time working, taking care of the children’s needs, worrying about how they’re doing, running the house — all those things. I also deal with David and his problems! I feel harried, pulled in all directions, with little to show for it. All this would be eased, be less a burden, if there was romance, some affection to lighten the load. Now I see a future with the children gone and just the two of us just living together. I’m sure David loves me, in his own way, but he’s not demonstrative. Worse, he’s oblivious to my feelings. I wanted us to get away for a weekend to celebrate our anniversary, a chance to be alone, and he said that he thought that it was a silly idea I don’t think that he gave any thought to what I really wanted. He didn’t know it, but I broke down and cried about that, and I haven’t felt the same toward him since. That may seem trivial, but it was the final situation that epitomizes out life together. We live together, we even have sex, but we’re not really together!
“Ok, Mrs. Anders, I think I have the picture. First, let me say that your responses on the questionnaire indicate that you are perfectly normal and, I may add, that your desires for your marital and sexual relationship are certainly reasonable. In addition, while this may not help, your situation is not really uncommon. Nature played a dirty trick on human beings in that men have their greatest sexual drive in their teens, gradually running down as they age. Women, on the other hand, tend to mature, sexually, later, and the sex drive grows as we age, with our peaks being reached in our 30’s, 40’s or, even, 50’s and 60’s. Consequently, you are in a period when sexual desire is high, while your husband has less interest. Men tend to focus on their work, an emphasis increased by insecurity, the need to advance and succeed — in other words, the old rat race. This is not to say that a man’s sex drive vanishes, but, unfortunately, living with the same woman for years, the mother of his children, tends to dampen his sexual attraction to her. Another woman, on the other hand, can kindle his interest, giving him an opportunity to prove that he is still attractive and virile. From what you say, this is not the situation with your husband, and, since you do have sexual intercourse, he has no physical inability.
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