Two years married

Today is our second wedding anniversary. We are doing well.

I got tired of recording the endless minutiae of stats regarding my fitness goals and our personal life. In the last nine months, B’s procedure was finally deemed a success and I finally had the BC implant in my arm removed. The removal was only ten weeks ago. I was both curious and scared to see what my body would do on its own. So far, my cycles have become way more regular than they were on the birth control, and I’ve finally got the scale moving in the right direction.

I’ve always been a healthy weight; I just wanted to get to the lower end of healthy for the sake of my joints (and vanity). I’m about two pounds away from where I was when we met four years ago, and that’s just fine, darnit. At thirty-five, I’m startled and saddened to see the skin on my face wrinkle and sag at an alarming rate–and it’s a lot more noticeable the more weight you lose, so I’m trying to just be happy with where I am with everything. It’s not easy in this society, that’s for sure.

All last year, I was mostly vegan, and around mid-November I realized it felt right for me (meaning it felt weird to eat dairy/eggs sometimes). Never thought I’d actually commit to eating vegan, but there you go. Eating fewer processed foods overall feels really good. Also, I’ve discovered that you can replace the oil in a lot of baking with either avocado or nut butter, and it’s quite delicious. I feel like we’ve all followed along as foods have gotten more and more “convenient” and less and less healthy–or recognizable as food!–and it’s just being perpetuated. So unnecessary! B is still an omnivore, mostly vegetarian from living with me. It’s not always easy to be in a vegan/non-vegan household, and I think he’s been very accepting, given that he married a vegetarian and now she’s gone all extreme on him. I’ve just made him non-vegan brownies for our anniversary. (Which means I won’t eat them all before he gets any, which is what would have happened before!)

We’re good. We read aloud together and watch movies and tv together. We play bananagrams and boggle. We try to keep up our running/handcycling together. We’ve had some really lovely sex and some okay sex. We’ve had some emotional arguments and one even turned into a really good talk. B doesn’t share much emotionally, so when any of that does come out, it’s amazing to hear it, amazing how much closer I feel to him and how much more I understand about him.

I’m not perfect and our relationship is not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. I think the life of this blog has reached its end, but I’ll leave it here in case it’s a help to anyone. Older virgins–you are not alone! Older virgins with disabilities–it’s possible to find someone!

 

 

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August in Review

Fitness

Total pounds lost: 6

Pounds to go: 7

Handcycled: Once, six miles.

Weekday walks of more than a mile at once: Have 13 recorded, but I think there were more.

Days vegan: 30. The remaining day someone gifted me a box of chocolate caramels, so I had a few and let B have the rest.

Personal Life

Bleeding days: 13/31. July’s cycle carried over. Then I had a three-day break before it started up again.

Sex: Back to 3, but for good reasons.

August was eventful. Though clearly my weight has stayed the same, so nothing eventful there.

After my cycle finally ended, I tried to loosen up a bit on sexual hygiene and go for (at least the feeling of) spontaneity before B’s appointment. So I didn’t stop and say, let’s go have a quick wash first. We’d showered recently enough; I was probably too uptight anyway, right? So we had weekday sex two days in a row (that never happens for us!), and I was feeling pretty good. Then I got a UTI. Yep. Just as I’ve feared since my first one in 2013. It wasn’t as severe and painful as my first one, and I was able to cure it by drinking lots of water and peeing literally every ten to fifteen minutes for a couple days. Well, a day. Then I thought I was better the next day, and when I woke up the third day it had flared again. Thankfully it was Saturday by then and I could perform the exhausting drink-pee cycle in peace. I was relieved that it cleared up completely after that and proud of myself that I handled it without antibiotics this time, but the experience only reinforced my rather unromantic need for good standards of hygiene. At least B now has seen that it’s for real and not just my being unnecessarily cautious.

B had his appointment. He recovered well, and we are both quite relieved to have it over. There was a woman in the waiting room who gave me a smile when we came in. Only she had a very tiny baby to take care of while we waited for our husbands, and I was so glad I didn’t. At the eight week mark, B will be tested to make sure the procedure was fully effective. I’ll keep my birth control in until then, even though it’s officially due out at the end of September. Hooray for permanent solutions!

July in Review

Fitness

Total pounds lost: 6

Pounds to go: 7

Handcycled: 1 time. 3 miles total. Heat is a great unmotivator, still.

Weekday walks of more than a mile at once: 20ish?

Days vegan: 28. I meant to only have one non-vegan day. But then there was fudge. And B brought me some chocolates, so I had eat those. See? It wasn’t all lack of willpower.

Personal Life

Bleeding days: 7/31. This looks normal, I know! Yay! But I had a full week of breast tenderness and uterine yuckiness leading up to it, and the cycle started the last week in the month, which means it carried over into August.

Sex: 7 Hooray!

So, my fitness is definitely not moving right now. Weight-wise, still staying right around where I was 2.5 years ago. (I remember because it was the new year, and I was hoping to get those few extra pounds off.) Trying to cut out most added sugar again this month as a way to stop myself from automatically reaching for dessert as soon as dinner is over.

With three consecutive weeks when my uterus wasn’t shedding, I actually got to enjoy a nice sex life with my husband. I realized something that may be obvious to others. Putting lube on me rather than on him works way better. So for anyone out there still working on ease of entry, there’s another tip for you to try. I used to put it on him and then put any excess on me, but if I just start with myself, entry is way smoother than when he was the primary recipient.

In other news, we finally have a date for the vasectomy! Hooray! There will only be a month of overlap until my implant is due out, but it doesn’t just suddenly lose its effectiveness, so I’ll check to see if I can leave it in until B is deemed truly unable to impregnate. We talk about it freely now, not awkward to bring it up, so that’s really good.

We’ve stuck close to home this summer, trying to save up for a possible big trip in the works for next year. We’ve been enjoying lots of reading days. But I feel a combination of fatigue and restlessness. Ennui?

June in Review

Fitness

Total pounds lost: 6.5

Pounds to go: 6.5

Handcycled: 1 time. 5.5 miles total. Heat is a great unmotivator.

Weekday walks of more than a mile at once: 14? I haven’t been recording all of them.

Days vegan: 26 or 27.

Personal Life

Bleeding days: 11/30

Sex: 4

Still gaining and losing the same few pounds, but overall heading in the right direction. Same knee pain. I had a massage for the first time in my life. I was curious to see if I would feel any different, if I’d be able to tell if my muscles were more relaxed. The woman was impressed by the tightness in my hips and was able to work it out some. It didn’t feel any different to me until a did something a couple days later with a little more ease than I usually do. And sure, if I could afford a weekly massage, it wouldn’t hurt. I don’t know if I’ll go back though. Very expensive.

As for my cycle–I see that it was only eleven days this month. That’s a whole week more of freedom than my 18/28 days in February. But it doesn’t feel like freedom because there’s often an aching uterus and a feeling of general uckiness that it could start any minute. (Like right now for example.) It’s entirely possible that I have endometriosis. My sister does and she just went back on birth control at the age of almost forty because her cycles were so bad. She doesn’t (and won’t) have kids either. I’m so looking forward to getting this implant out, and yet–what if, when I do, I feel even worse than I do now?

The vasectomy is still unscheduled but finally moving forward. (B has to watch a video and then have a phone interview. This is after having to miss work for an office visit to be handed a sheet of paper.) Thank goodness. I think the timing will still work out okay.

We’re good, but feeling stressed about homeowner-adult things like new dishwashers that should work but don’t, switching internet providers, dead computers, landscape maintenance with water restrictions… (we’re okay with letting everything die basically, but the neighbors aren’t happy–it’s like a common area but we control the water sort of). So many things when we’d rather just relax together. Thank goodness for streaming video and bananagrams.

May in Review

Fitness

Total pounds lost: 4

Pounds to go: 9

Handcycled: 8 times. 47 miles total.

Weekday walks of more than a mile at once: 21.

Days vegan: 24. (Vacation. Anniversary. Lots of baked goods.)

Personal Life

Bleeding days: 18

Sex: 2

Well. After feeling like I’d found a good system diet wise in mid-April, and keeping it up the first three weeks of May, I discovered it wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped. And I got really bummed and frustrated about it. I’d been weighing myself weekly before dinner, but on May 21st, I weighed myself before bed, when I knew I’d be my heaviest (truest) weight. Hoping that I’d be back where I had been at this time last year, for my wedding. Well, I wasn’t there. I was just about to go on a six-day trip where there would be lots of yummy things and indulging, and I’d wanted to be in a good place for that. I shook it off eventually (no husband wants to hear his wife complain about her weight, especially when they’re celebrating their anniversary), and resolved to have a good time. I gained a pound and a half, even with walking many miles each day.

I actually had an awesome fitness month in May. Three weeks of sticking to a 1200ish calorie a day diet, lots of walks, and, most amazing of all, we did a half marathon-distance hand cycle/run together! Last year, before our wedding, we’d made it ten miles. Next goal: half-marathon (13.1 miles). But we slacked off and never even made it back up to ten. So we were finally going to do ten before we left on our trip, and then just decided to keep going! It feels awesome actually! To have propelled myself that far with only my upper body strength. I just wish I felt fitter having accomplished that… So. I did all these things and it’s great. But I’m still back up to the same weight I was at the end of January. I don’t have the energy/drive/dedication to be any more active than I am. Maybe this is just it. I love food, my knees hurt. Maybe this is just it.

In the thirteen days at the beginning of the month, we had sex twice. Then I started my period and it lasted through the rest of the month. Yes, through our first anniversary trip. We had an awesome time, and we were exhausted every day, so it wasn’t like I was turning down any requests. But I’m sure if I’d felt like offering, he’d have accepted…

Now it’s June. We’ve been married a year. My knees have hurt for a year. It’s time for B to get his vasectomy if we want it to be fully effective by the time I get my implant removed. We haven’t talked about it since he agreed to have one, and I feel like if I bring it up I’m pushing it again. But since he’s onboard, it’s not pushing, just reminding… Man would I love to feel great, and feel like I look great, and have all this birth control stuff sorted…

April in Review

Fitness

Total pounds lost: 6

Pounds to go: 7

Handcycled: 8 times. 32.5 miles total.

Weekday walks of more than a mile at once: 18.

Days vegan: 27. (Although I did cheat because there was honey in the bread…)

Personal Life

Bleeding days: 20

Sex: 4

What a roller coaster. Mid-month I was really frustrated by my inability so far to reach, maintain, and finally surpass the weight loss I’d achieved (4 lbs.) at the end of January. Three months gone and what had I accomplished? And I buckled down. I hadn’t wanted to do anything extreme because it isn’t sustainable, but my attempts at moderation weren’t getting me anywhere! So I drastically reduced the calories I eat in the middle of the day, leaving a good chunk of calories for dinner (our one shared, relaxing meal of the day). My dessert-once-a-week plan hadn’t worked, but I found something that seems to so far.

I have my sweet chocolatey goodness after dinner, but I measure it and savor it. Really, guys, try this for your own nutella: a tablespoon of nut butter, a tablespoon of maple syrup, and two teaspoons of cocoa powder. Three ingredients and utterly delicious. Plus, you’ve got your nut butter that is only nuts and salt–protein and good fats, and your good-for-you dark chocolate. Without all the corn syrup and hydrogenated crap. And without an entire jar. I mean, I could make an entire jar of the stuff… But this way, I go through the ritual of making myself a single serving every night. And it’s working so far.

I’ve been wearing my fitness band and tracking my calories. And we’ve been going on a hand cycle/run three times a week. I’ve been keeping up with my morning walks. So basically, the equation is (truly, literally) double my activity level, and cut a few hundred calories out of my day (really hard when you’re already under 1500). Exactly what I’ve been avoiding because it doesn’t feel like something I can keep up long term. But keeping it up most of the time makes room for occasional indulgences. (It’s just that after indulging once, it’s hard to keep it occasional!)

And yes, I had a 13 day period, a 2 day break in which I felt crampy and awful, and then a 7 day period. The sad thing is that I feel the best at the end of my period–after the cramps of the first few days and before the premenstrual cramps start up again! Never catch a break. There has to be ways to make this better without being on hormones. I’m determined to find out once I get this implant removed. Can you tell I’m counting the days?

B and I are doing pretty well I think. We did our taxes together for the first time. We’ve discovered bananagrams. I’m trying to be more generous sexually. B is frustrated that he’s having a hard time getting me all the way to orgasm with his hands. But it’s always been kind of hit or miss, and with me always bleeding, there’s hardly time to have consistent practice or experimentation. Sometimes it’s not easy for me to get there myself either, and I just think my body isn’t really in the mood and I’m trying to force it. But how else am I supposed to wake my libido up? So, we keep trying, and we keep enjoying our time outside the bedroom too!

A shift in perspective: be generous

The other morning, B and I were talking and he mentioned something about our lack of a recent sex life. (I’m on my period again–I got 16 whole days without bleeding, a record since December.) We were talking in a light tone as we were getting ready for the day. I said again how being on my period makes me not in the mood, and he said something along the lines of how we all have to do things we don’t want to do.

I was startled. “Not in a sexual relationship!” I said. We left it at that, but as I went on my morning walk, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I felt like I was under pressure to provide for all his sexual wants and needs, and that I shouldn’t be. Just because he has a wife doesn’t mean that B should never give himself an orgasm. My bringing myself to orgasm happens regularly in our relationship. Often with B there holding and kissing me, usually after we’ve had sex wherein I didn’t get all the way to orgasm. I’m good with this. I like it. It takes the pressure off B trying to do it all himself with a few directions or repositioning of his fingers from me. But we don’t often switch roles. I’d love it if I could kiss and snuggle him while he does things exactly the way he likes them to his own body.

That day I typed all these thoughts out. The spouse shouldn’t be completely responsible for the other’s entire sexual satisfaction. We should both be able to masturbate if we’re wanting or needing more orgasms. With or without the other person participating. We’ve always had different libidos and should be able to say no without feeling guilt or pressure.

When I showed my writing to him that night, he got really upset. Felt like I was making a power play waiting until we were ready to go to bed to mention it. Felt like he was being painted as a villain. Felt like I got to say everything I felt and that it was one sided, without giving him a chance to say anything. And that he’s always the one making compromises, not me.

I told him writing it down has always been the way I think and communicate best, and that yes it was one sided because those were my thoughts, and I wanted to hear his. I told him I hadn’t wanted to spring it on him as soon as he came in the door, but that he was right I shouldn’t have waited until we were going to sleep and I was sorry.

He was sorry if he’d made it sound like he expected me to do something I didn’t want to do sexually. I was silently amazed that my apology elicited one from him, who had been so upset just moments before. We had a really good conversation. It’s a bit sad that it had to start off as an argument for us to really talk about intimate things, but I really did feel closer to him and a lot better afterward. He says he’s inherited moodiness and reticence from his parents, the worst of each. =)

But here’s the important part. He explained that there’s a big spectrum between not wanting to do something, and being willing to do it for your partner. That morning he’d meant being willing to do something for your partner, even if you weren’t in the mood yourself. And that I understood.

What about doing something that’s just for your partner? he asked me.

I do, I said. Whenever I give you oral or manual stimulation that’s just for you.

You don’t ever want to do it?

Hey, I thought in my head. I can’t win! I’m trying to remind him that I do give him attention sometimes, and then he’s sad that I don’t want to do it enough! I assured him that I do like turning him on. He just wants it to happen more often, which I understand.

We were back to him wanting it and feeling rebuffed and my not offering it enough. I’d written about using condoms for these activities to contain the mess and to add lubrication, so we talked aloud about it too. I don’t really want to deal with him coming on me. My hand, sure. But my stomach or thighs, clothes, or sheets…I’d just rather not deal with that (I’ve definitely kept my mouth/face away so far too, at the moment it counts.) He noted that I seem to care more about bodily fluids and messes than he does. Evidently yes. We’ve located our container of condoms. A blow job with a condom is better than almost none at all.

He’d said again how I’m always the one in control of when we have sex and that he feels like he has to hop to it and perform when I give the go ahead because it’s his only chance (See above with the condom thing, for instance. Yes, I realize I’m putting perameters on that too.) I’ve written about that before here, and how I don’t really know what to do about it because I don’t know how to make myself be in the mood. Also, this whole birth control thing with its ridiculous amount of bleeding makes me feel like I have to grab the chance when it presents itself, too! We talked about him giving himself orgasms if he needs more than I’m giving him. But I think he wants me to want to give him more. Maybe it’s even less about the number of his orgasms and more about our relationship as a couple.

The next day I thought through our conversation and realized something. He’s right. It would be nice for me to be willing to do more for my spouse. My spouse, who has a higher libido than I do and who gets rebuffed and waits for my whims way more often than he gets a hand job. Why has it taken this so long to sink in? Why have I been so stingy with the sexual pleasure I can give him, when he would obviously really appreciate it? (And maybe even sleep better and be less stressed.) I don’t really know.

Maybe it’s all part of learning to live with another person after being so long solo. Part of learning to be a spouse. A spouse who is sensitive to her partner’s desires and who can recognize that his more robust libido is just as valid as my tame one. Even if I’m not feeling frisky, I can offer my husband more than a few caresses. Chances are, I’ll start enjoying seeing the enjoyment he’s getting. He wants to feel wanted and desired. He is. And I can show it more. He wants to know that I want to make him feel good, not that I’m holding our sex life over his head. This part of our life can be more equal. I can be a more generous partner, and that will make our partnership even better.