To My Beautiful Wife,
I'm still struggling with our relationship. I have this desire to be whole, with you, to be fulfilled, expressed, accepted, and feel loved and know that you are happy. But I can't figure out how to make this happen. To reset the clock, as you've said, and go back to that time. How were we in the beginning, 17 years ago? That seems like a lifetime ago, and the details are becoming fuzzy.... I do remember feeling that you are very special, beautiful, kind and generous, and that my life wouldn't be the same without you. I fell in love with you, and being with you felt like the home I'd never had. You have healed me in so many ways.
Over the course of the last 10 years, we've really had some ups and downs, some real challenges as individuals and as a couple. While we do have beautiful children and a wonderful home, I have such a sense of grief and loss that is deep and hard to admit. You see, I've lost my best friend and lover, as we've moved into being (merely) good friends, roommates of sorts, bound by children and mutual friends, but not to each other. Truth be told, we've been less than friends at times, and while being friends is an improvement, we were more. We should be more again.
What I haven't been able to express consciously has come out in my dreams. Remember those mornings when I'd wake up more tired and drained than when I turned in? I vaguely recall grieving the loss of our relationship in my dreams. And that dream I shared with you about how you had taken my penis and wouldn't give it back, and that you were laughing at me the whole time? That dream expressed what I couldn't acknowledge. Ever. Until now.
On the surface, all appears Ok, as we don't fight and are polite to each other. We could probably keep on this way being friends for years to come, as I suspect many couples do. But I want the primary relationship in my life to be more - more intimate, fun, tender, desiring of each other's company, and (yes) more sexual. etc. Do you want the same? Can we be that for each other?
If I know you, you're asking - what does closer look like?
Well, what i envision is less TV, little or no (please) drinking, more time together, finding a shared activity (your idea, a good one). And more good sex. Not just sex, but touching with fun and with feeling. As you know, I'm a sexual person. I am and I finally accept that about myself and don't feel that makes me broken, selfish, weird or shallow. Really. It. doesn't. Sex as a part of bonding is hardwired in many humans, so much so that good sex actually drives bonding by releasing oxytocin (http://people.howstuffworks.com/love7.htm). What that means to me is not about "just doing it", as our first therapist and some self help books recommend. I want to feel close, really close, be partners, be fun, playful, sexy, and occasionally blow each's other minds. In short, to share something that is a celebration of our special relationship and love for each other. This desire is what I need to feel fulfilled. I know you've tried to show interest, but those few times have felt so artificial.
Maybe we really just have different ideas about what a marriage should be, about the genuine healing power of touch. Your criticism and dismissals have made me feel weak and needy. Yes, I understand that you have some physical and emotional issues that are affecting you. And you have resentments and unpleasant memories from our earliest days together. I've apologized sincerely and asked for forgiveness. But did these issues start 10 years ago? Will they last more years? You do acknowledge that I am much warmer now, a different person as a result of my own personal growth. Will you be able to let go of the past? Please forgive me my trespasses, as I forgive those those that have trespassed against me.
Please tell me what you want and need. I know we've discussed all of this before and this may appear to be repetitive, but I need a reminder and to hope that we can start and make progress. And in this spirit of openness - I'll share that I'm troubled when you say this is all in my mind, and that I exaggerate it by dwelling on it. All I can say is that the heart isn't rational, and it wants what it wants.
So my frustration is expecting more than what we have. Am I being realistic, or should I reduce my expectations and we agree to be friends? Once upon a time, you felt like "home". I miss this most of all, and I want to be in a softer place with you. However, I'd settle for each of us being happy, what ever form that is.
There is one question that I have of myself - do I have the courage to send this? We should have this conversation face-to-face, and not as a letter. But you've said that emails are less confrontational, and it's hard for me to share this without teering up.
Life is short enough as it is. Let's be good to each other.