My Sleeping Wife

Every morning starting at 8, I begin the long process of waking up my sleeping wife. She sleeps in the nude and at around 8am all the blankets are pulled off and her naked and supine body just rests there. Sometimes I imagine that this is how she would look if she were dead. The bedroom is completely dark even though the sun is very much new and alive outside.

I tell her it is time to wake up but she does not respond. I go back to reading my book.

At 9am I remind her that she is missing the best part of the day. Mornings are a time of renewal. Everything has a fresh start and is yet to be destroyed by the rest of the day and night. I try to entice my wife with a cup of two hour old coffee heated up on the stove, but her body refuses to move. Looking at my wife I often think how good her body looks in the nude but how much better it would look if she would just move.

Sometime at around 11am I return to the dark bedroom and remind my wife that she is sleeping her life away. By this time her body has shifted into a different position. Often she is laying on her back and I will notice if her pubic hair remains untended to. Sometimes I will receive a response from some part of her that is still alive, which says something like, I don’t want to get up. Please just let me sleep. I love you. She seems agitated but calm and indicates that she wants to be left alone. What kind of thirty-year-old woman sleeps like this? Isn’t this the time when a young person should be most engaged in life? But I keep these thoughts to myself and let her sleep.

At around 1pm I will ask my sleeping wife if she would like me to bring her some lunch and she always answers no. Sometimes she will even say that she needs to be careful with her weight so please do not entice her with food. But doesn’t she need to eat? I will think about all the things which could go wrong from a lack of nutrition but not say anything about it. Not to mention what happens to a body when it goes without any sunlight. It seems as if my sleeping wife just wants to hurry up and be old.

In mid-afternoon I confess to becoming mad. What kind of way is this to live? She is neglecting so much in her life? Why can’t she just get it together and wake up? If she would just start exercising everything would feel better. She needs to wake up and tend to her life! It is just not healthy to be in bed this long. All these thoughts and more start racing through my head at around 3 pm. What I do not seem to understand is that my sleeping wife is tired of life. She can not handle the load of responsibilities she must tend to as an adult and would rather just remain asleep. I don’t think this is a good coping mechanism.

I realize that my wife is a shy person who does not enjoy interacting with most people but this is no way to avoid the world. At around 5pm I will tell her this. I will tell her that being an adult involves doing a lot of things that you do not want to do and this is why most adults are terribly unhappy and addicted to so many things. Rather than sleeping all day I tell my wife that she needs to find healthier ways of being an adult in this messed up world but my wife just continues to sleep. At this point she is usually laying on her stomach, on top of our comforter. I notice how healthy and appealing her butt still looks. I feel my libido spike and I want to reach out and touch her butt. I always abstain because I know she would become violently angry if I invaded her space. I think about masturbating right there and then at the edge of our bedroom but never do.

At around 7pm I go back into the bedroom, this time frustrated and indignant (it is the same every day) and notice that she is not there. She has finally gotten out of bed and is either standing naked in the kitchen or she is naked on the toilet. If the human animal could be in a state of hibernation all the time I know my wife would never get up. But because she exists in a human body she must wake up. Often I will find her standing in front of the refrigerator eating various forms of vegan food. I will ask her if she wants me to make her something and she always says no. I will ask her if she heard about the most recent terrorist attack and she always says no and that she does not care.

At around 8pm, after taking a long shower, my sleeping wife is back in bed and will remain there for almost another twenty-four hours. At this point I no longer bother her even though I am completely frustrated by this on-going situation. I understand that this is how she is choosing to respond to living in the messed up adult world but I feel like there are more proactive and responsible choices that she could make. But what can a man do whose wife has decided to remain asleep? You try waking a sleeping wife up. Any attempt to intervene just pisses her off. I have learned through time and effort to let her be and instead make friends with my own loneliness and despair by reading a lot of books.

I am usually in bed around 10pm and try not to bother her.

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Why The American Dream Has Killed My Writing Career.

When my wife asks me how I am and I tell her that I am depressed, she no longer asks why.

I know that all emotions and thoughts are inherently empty and impermanent so I try not to get too caught up in any of it. Sometimes, I just let myself be depressed.

I know that my entire identity is just a phantom passing in the day and night. I try not to identify with much of it.

But still I feel. Still I think. I am human.

My dream has always been to be able to make a living as a writer. A fiction writer. I did not expect this to happen until, and if, I made it to fifty.

Now at forty five I can’t really write. The American Dream has killed my writing career.

My younger self knew this would happen if I gave in. There is no one else to blame but myself.

Depression makes it hard to write. Depression is often the end result of the American Dream.

I have a house now. I must keep my house clean because I can not function adequately in a house that is a mess. Cleaning my house every day takes away from time that I can write. Being stressed out about a house that is a mess takes away from the energy I need to write.

I must work a real job in order to afford my lifestyle. A real job drains a person and does not leave them with much energy outside of work to do anything else.

I own a business, which requires much of my attention, which leaves less attention for my writing. A man can only spend so many hours working. Whether it is my real job or writing, it is all still work. I need a good amount of non-work-down-time in order to feel alright. Down time plus working a real job does not leave much space within which to write. I see now why Kafka continually decided against marriage and the domestic life.

I am married and a marriage often comes with a good amount of emotional drain. There are problems to attend to. Another person in your daily life mix. This takes up time and energy, which was once used to write.

I have a garden, a front yard and these organic entities need my daily watering attention. This takes away time to write.

I have four dogs which are continually needy. I can’t stand to see dog shit just hanging out in my yard, so I must pick this up each day since my wife refuses to. Having four, needy animals around all the time takes away from the tranquility which is often needed to write in. Dogs take up a lot of psychic space.

Then there is the daily meditation that I must do each day to deal with the anger, anxiety, stress and depression, which seems to be a daily part of American Dream life. Meditation makes me feel more at peace and when I am more at peace I have little use for writing stories. I would rather just sit in my garden and watch birds fly by.

As a business owner I have emails to check. People that want things from me. Appointments to make. People to stay in touch with. Bills to pay. Other people’s problems to think about. All of this will drain a person’s creative inner life away. All of this leaves me feeling too preoccupied with the real world to think about fictional other worlds. I am too caught up in this world and rather than write I just engage my iPhone.

Being overly connected is the death of a creative life. A creative person needs to spend a certain amount of time each day disconnected our else their creative energy will be sapped. Great artists and writers, I doubt, check their social media, text messages and emails fifty plus times a day. I do.

Then I need to do dishes, make food, buy food, be pissed about not eating the right food. This food thing takes up a lot of time that could be spent writing.

Then I need to buy things to feel better about not having the writing career I want. Does not seem to work.

Then there is everything else- bills, cleaning car, tending to cars, laundry, exercise and on and on.

This is the standard lifestyle, which is a result of achieving the American Dream. It generally leaves a person overwhelmed, addicted to zoning out on their iPhone and looking forward to that drink they can have when the day is done, so they can get some temporary relief.

This is a pathetic way to go through life. It is completely missing the point in being alive. It is a lifestyle based in comfort and security and it leaves a person feeling trapped, stuck and overly entertained. Nothing good grows out from this place. Especially not a writing career.

I know there is a lot more I could say here, but I do not have time. I must go to work now.

The End.

On Loneliness

I wonder if dogs or cats or birds feel loneliness.

I did not realize until this morning that loneliness is the unpleasant feeling that is eating away at me, especially in the mornings. I have always wondered why I am so unhappy and negative in the mornings. Now I know.

Do I feel lonely in the afternoons or evenings? Is the unpleasant feeling still eating away at me but I am now too distracted to notice? In the mornings my wife is still asleep and everything is quiet. In the afternoons and evenings there is work, texting, email, booze, interactions with other people, television, occasional going out and having fun. I keep busy and maybe this is why I do not feel this lonely feeling as much during afternoons and evenings. Maybe. But when I come home in the evenings or get in bed at night, the feeling usually returns. So I pick up my phone, eat more, turn on the television or read a book.

Is it because of my lonliness that I can be such a jerk in the mornings? Is loneliness the feeling behind all that depresses me?

I wonder if my need to always be reading, listening to music, checking my emails and texts, is all just an attempt to flee from the feeling of loneliness inside me.

Is this deep feeling of loneliness what has been bringing me so down over the years?

Up until a few years ago, I do not remember feeling as depressed as I have recently been. I wonder, if my lonelines continues, will my depression get progressivly worse? Even just writing this makes me want to cry.

For the longest time I did not suspect loneliness. Me lonely? No way. I am married to a beautiful and cheery wife (who spends much too much time on her phone). I have four dogs and a library filled with books. I spend my days working as a psychotherapist and have non-superficial interactions with a lot of people. I lead several very full groups each week. I spend time with my sister and my wife’s parents at least once a week. I have dinner with my own wife almost every single night. With all of this going on, how could I feel lonely?

I always feel isolated inside my own inner world. No one understands or grasps what I go through from day to day. Can anyone understand what we all go through internally from day to day? Isn’t this why we all feel so alone? No other person can ever understand what it feels like to be us. The end result is always loneliness.

But to feel alone when in the presence of other people can be the worst kind of feeling. I hate it. I want to run away from it. I drink to make it go away.

To feel like there is no one who understands you. To feel like there is no one who shares similar values as you do. To feel like there is no one whom you have the same interests as. To not feel like you have stimulating and engaging conversation with anyone. To be together but still feel so alone and disinterested. To be with others but feel so unseen. It has driven many people into a self induced early graves. I believe this is the feeling that caused Kurt Cobain and the wonderful writer Edouard Leve to take their own lives.

I feel so isolated from everyone around me. I try hard to connect but there is nothing there that feeds me. I am usually left starving. I don’t find interesting the banal ideas that populate their minds. Maybe it is my fault. Maybe I am no longer open to take anything that they have to offer me in. Maybe I have shut down. Closed the doors. I feel so uninterested in what these people have to say, that I have stopped listening. I have been so bored by people, I have been so disinterested by other people that I have given up. I have become totally disengaged, thus isolating myself even more. (One main hazard of the psychotherapy trade.)

I engage when I must in order to make money, but am always left feeling flat with nothing left to give. This must be similar to what a prostitute feels when having sex for money and being so unfulfilled by these sexual experiences that he or she loses interest in sex with everyone. It is a terrible situation to be in. One that leaves a person starving inside.

I suppose I write to help fill myself up. Writing as a kind of force feeding. I write because I want to connect with someone. I write because I want someone to understand me. I want to share something in common with someone else. But even writing leaves me feeling empty. I get nothing back and this just exacerbates the loneliness even more. This is why I have started to give up on any kind of literary success.

I don’t know what to do. Maybe I should turn more to drugs. This is why people use drugs. A person forms a relationship with drugs because it is the only relationships, often, that makes them feel less alone. You can count on drugs to be there for you every time. They can make you feel less lonely inside. I don’t know if I want to do this to my life.

I will keep trying to assuage my loneliness by reading books where I feel something in common with the writer. There are not many writers I feel something in common with since most writers are just trying to make a buck. I only finish books written by writers who write because they want to feel less alone. These are the only writers I am interested in. When I find a writer who feels like a friend I feel better for a bit. But I get sad when I know that many of these writers killed themselves.

I don’t think that smartphones are helping. Sure, I use the internet as a way to feel less alone. I use text and email also as a way to feel less alone. But these interactions often leave me feeling more empty and alone. I also find myself les able to read as much as I would like because I am always reaching for my phone. I also feel more disconnected from other people because they too are combating their loneliness by going on their phones rather than putting effort into things that will make them more engaging and interesting people to spend time with.

Smartphones turn people into unattractive, distracted, bores. I am surrounded by people (including myself) obsessed with their smartphones. We have sold out for the quick fix of shallow communication and connection.

I don’t know what to do. Most of my time is spent alone. Lost in the meanderings of my own brain. I need to be alone in order to feel “better.” When I am with other people but feel alone, I feel terrible. I feel mad. I feel disengaged. I feel like I am wasting time. I would rather be alone with myself. This never feels like a waste of time. But it always hurts.

Lazy Girl, Lazy Girl, Lazy Girl.

Lazy girl, lazy girl, lazy girl.

You are one of the greatest sources of stress in my life and I love you so much.

But sometimes I feel like I hate you. It is your laziness that I do not like.

You seem more than willing to neglect the more important things in your life. You will do just enough to get by but then you want to retreat into your rabbit hole.

You get angry when I tell you to get off Instagram. You get pissed off when I say you sleep in too much. You do not want to hear about how I think you neglect developing your career or tending to your health. Oh no lazy girl, you just want me to let you be so you can do what you want.

But it drives me nuts lazy girl because I can not help but think you are neglecting everything important in a well lived life. Just because certain things are hard, is no reason to jump into your comfortable hole.

I wish I did not get so upset about your lazy ways, lazy girl. I wish I could just leave you alone. Let you be. So what if you neglect your health, taking care of your garden, your relationship, your closet, your house, your car. Why do I care that much? It is not like you are that bad, right lazy girl?

I don’t think so. I think you let so much slip away. You would rather spend hours lost in a smart phone rather than tending to what needs to be done. You would rather let your body lose its shape and your health lose its vigor than deal with the effort required to maintain these things. I know lazy girl- you just want to have fun. If it requires effort, you will do just enough to make it look like you are not letting everything go.

It drives me nuts. I hate lazy girl. Lazy girl is not good for me because she stresses me out and does not push me to be a better man myself. Lazy girl does not care what I do. Lazy girl leaves me alone to “be myself.” If I don’t exercise, if I drink too much, if I don’t pay bills, if I am depressed, if my health is going to shit- lazy girl does not seem to care. She does not say anything about it.

Lazy girl just wants everyone to get along and enjoy life. Do what you want, forget about it and leave me alone. Lazy girl prefers things being easy and sometimes confronting a person about how they are letting themselves go can be hard. It can be very stressful especially when you confront lazy girl because lazy girl doesn’t want to hear it. She wants to be left alone. My anger stresses lazy girl out and lazy girl does everything she can to avoid feeling any kind of stress.

How many times have you checked Instagram today lazy girl?

I don’t know what to do lazy girl. I love you so much, but man you are really stressing me out. My hair is falling out. My digestion is off. I am always tired and feeling unwell. You always tell me what is the big deal. Why are you getting so upset. Just leave me alone. But lazy girl, see what the stress you do not want to face is doing to me?

But then why do I care so much? Why can’t I just let lazy girl be lazy girl? Why can’t I just put my ideas about how I think a productive and healthy person should be to rest. Why can’t I just leave lazy girl alone to be lazy girl? I can pick up the slack. I can try and just take care of myself. I can make an effort not to be a lazy guy. Why do I have to care so much that lazy girl is choosing to wake up in the morning and go right on her smart phone?

Because it drives me nuts!

A person should be more focused on the important things in their life! A person should take care of their health! Walk their dogs! Tend to their garden! Make their partner the priority! Tend to their house! A person should not do just enough to get by and then let everything else slide!

But lazy girl does not want to hear this. If I tell lazy girl this she starts to cry. Her tears are not tears of sadness, they are tears of rage. Lazy girl wants to be left alone. Lazy girl does not want to be told that she is being lazy girl. Lazy girl can not handle having her flaws pointed out to her. This is why she is lazy girl after all. Lazy girl doesn’t want to deal with the difficulties that are unavoidable aspect of living a healthy and disciplined life.

Lazy girl just wants me to leave her alone. Lazy girl just wants to have fun. Lazy girl wants to take off her clothes, have a cocktail (or three) and invite everyone to jump in. Fuck tomorrow, lazy girl thinks. Lets play today.

 

Letter To My Dad.

What is a man to do?

I feel so much pain inside. Maybe I should not be writing this letter to you. Maybe it is a bad idea and will only piss you off. After all, I presume that no man wants to know their son is feeling this way. You and I don’t talk anymore and we have little to do with one another, and here I am turning up in your email with an email like this.

But I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where else to turn. I have no man in my life who I can talk to. I have no one to seek guidance from. I need a father to help me through this one.

I really don’t know what to do. Here I am on a Wednesday morning feeling like I am about to cry. But I won’t. I will hold back tears. I think I want to cry because it feels so painful inside. It really hurts dad. I am in so much pain. Ridiculous, right?

I mean, I have a nice life by most people’s estimate. I live in a nice home. I have all kinds of wonderful possessions. I am not a rich man but I don’t want to be a rich man. I have never wanted to be someone who makes much money. But I make enough money now to live a comfortable life. I want for nothing material. I can buy whatever I want (within reason) and this feels nice. I don’t have very expensive tastes so I don’t need much beyond clothes, books and records and food. But none of this takes away the pain. What the hell? I have a beautiful wife, dogs, garden, nice bed, my own writing and art studio- all the things I could of hoped for when younger. But these things don’t seem to arrest this pain.

Why? What is going on? I don’t understand?

My wife came in to give me a kiss this morning and I could not even face her. I asked her to go away. Like a cat who is dying, I want to be left alone. I don’t want to be seen like this. It has been happening too much. For too long a period of time. I don’t know how much more I can take before my body and mind breakdown.

What is a man to do dad? You are an older and successful man? Granted I don’t think you have found happiness either but maybe this can allow you to have some insight into what I am going through. Maybe you can tell me what to do because you now know what does not work?

Why am I starting to feel like a brat writing this? Maybe I just need to get it together and stop complaining. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with it. This is the American way right? Maybe I need to just stop feeling sorry for myself and snap out of this? Maybe. Maybe this is what a man has to do. Maybe this is just the way life in America is.

But my work feels bad. I feel like my work is making me sick. I do not enjoy it. It causes me so much pain. I struggle through each day filled with such uncomfortable anxiety. My chest gets tight and I struggle to breathe. I feel awful. Today I have a long day at work ahead of me and it feels terrible. I don’t want to do anything. I feel empty inside. I am just sitting here killing time waiting until it is time to get ready to go to work. I don’t have the energy to exercise. I don’t want to read or listen to music. It is hard for me to find fulfillment in anything. I feel empty and drained inside. This worries me but I don’t know what to do dad. Can you help me? Can you give me some guidance here? I don’t know where to turn.

I make good money from my job. I have the respect of others. It brings me a good amount of social legitimacy. It provides me with a decent material quality of life. You and I both know how down and out I once was. You and I both know how much I struggled to make a dollar and lived for years in impoverished conditions. But I did this because I did not want to sell-out. I did this because I did not want to go against what I felt was right and best for me. I did this because I knew that if I sold out I would feel like I do now.

What do I do dad? Do I just quit my job and find some other way to make a living that does not hurt so much? Do I commit myself and try and make a decent living at my lifelong dream of being a writer and artist? Do I really apply myself to living my dream or do I continue to let my dream die out? My work and everything I have to do to make money just drains the dream right out of me. Isn’t this what selling-out does to a man? It drains the life or the dream or the substance or the soul right out of him.

I don’t know what to do dad. I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this. My poor wife. It is so hard to have all these wonderful things all around me but feel so bad. I do start to feel better on my days off. I feel this huge sense of relief but all I have energy to do is rest and recover from the drain of work. By the time I begin to feel better again, it is time to go back to work.

Maybe you don’t have any answers for me dad. That is ok. I have never felt like I have received much helpful guidance from you in the past. We have never really gotten along. You have always felt like I need to work a job (even if it is “flippin burgers”) and become a financially independent man like you. You have never really had much tolerance for all of my negative feelings about work and selling-out.

So I have done what everyone one else has told me I should do. I have done what everyone else around me seems to be doing. I have gotten a real job and am making good money. I have my own office and my own house. I am a financially independent man. I did good dad, right? But then why am I in so much pain? Why does this hurt so much? All these fucking bills and debts and things that I have to do to make a living and support myself in this society- it does not feel alright. Why does it not feel okay? What the hell is going on dad?

What am I supposed to do?

Maybe I should just go take a shower and get dressed. Maybe I should get out of my house and get to my office early. Maybe this will help. Just get out. I know that work today is going to be really hard and painful and unfulfilling but maybe I just need to get started with it. Stop sitting here dreading it. Two more days of work in front of me and then I can be free for a few days. I just need to get through this week. When I come home tonight I can look forward to drinking a bottle of good wine and just relaxing. This is it. This is all a man can do, right? Tell me dad, what the fuck am I supposed to do. How the fuck do I get out of this mess without losing so many of the things I love?

I don’t know what to do dad. Maybe I should not even send you this. I don’t want to worry you more than I probably already have throughout the course of your life. People tend to worry way too much about their kids, but I assume that it is because they do not want their kids to end up where I am right now.

I really don’t want to go to work. I really do not want to do all the things I am going to have to do. I really don’t want to do this. It hurts so much.

I hear a bird chirping. It is a beautiful sound. The sun is out. A fly is keeps running into my window. Silly fly. Maybe I just need to sit here for a little and pay attention to these things. Just watch the shadows on the wall. Maybe this is all a man in my situation can do? Just let go? Just surrender?

I know you don’t believe in that sort of thing. You believe that a man must tough it through. Just suck it up.

But this world of work really sucks dad. This is why I wanted my dreams to come true. I thought it could be a way out of this. I wish you could of understood this more dad and given me more support and less hardship. But that’s in the past now. That doesn’t matter anymore. I’m just going to sit here for a bit and listen to the bird chirp. Then I will go shower and get dressed nicely for work. I will spray on a lot of cologne. Maybe that will help to lift my spirit.

That is what you did, right dad? I remember your smell more than I remember your face.

Anyways, just writing this letter to you has helped. I don’t think I am going to send it now. What would be the point? I don’t think you could say anything that would help me anyways. I hope you are enjoying your winter vacation home and getting a lot of skiing done.

Thanks dad. Take care.

Instagram Stole My Wife.

There is a new kind of addict around. No one has seen this kind of addict before. The vast majority of people do not even see it now. Not yet at least.

This kind of addict is continually being pulled by uncontrollable compulsions to check their phone. To see how many likes they have received and if anyone has commented on their posts. They want to feel connected. They want to feel good about themselves. They want to feel like they matter and with every like they receive they feel better about their standing in the digital world.

Last night I was up until two in the morning talking with my wife about what I think is a full blown Instagram addiction. It was a stressful conversation that gave her chest pains and kept me up most of the night. The conversation consisted of me trying to make her aware that she has a full-blown Instagram addiction and her begrudgingly confronting the truth about her own addiction with a reluctance to want to do anything about it. She was trying to appease me by saying she would give up Instagram for good but it felt like I was forcing her to do something she did not really want to do.

I do not need for my wife to give up Instagram. I need her to get more control over the compulsion that are causing Instagram to take over her life. Even though she still denies it is a problem, I know that my wife cannot go twenty minutes without feeling the pull to check her Instagram page. She is addicted to seeing who has liked her posts. Who has commented on them. “Her baby, you look hot!” “Awesome drawing! You are brilliant.” “Sexy! You are so sexy!” Stuff like that really gets her off. She says that this makes her feel more appreciated and noticed. She admits that she is addicted to the likes, to the positive feedback from other people she will never know. I am glad that she is getting this kind of positive feedback from the pictures of herself and her drawings that she posts. She deserves this since she is such a good woman. But being pulled by compulsions to secretly check on her Instagram every twenty minutes or so is something I seriously dislike.

This is not the woman I married. Instagram stole my wife.

My wife used to love the culinary arts. She was a prolific reader who finished almost every novel she read. And she read long novels! She wrote poetry and exercised on a regular basis. She went to regular yoga classes and engaged in regular deep conversations with me. I could not keep my wife’s hands off of me since she was always sexual in some way. Since my wife started regularly posting on Instagram, I feel like all the above has practically disappeared. What remains is a shell of what was there before. My wife no longer writes poetry. She does not attend yoga classes. When she cooks half the time is spent on her phone and the lack of interest and focus on what she is cooking has caused her enjoyment of the process to decline. My wife rarely finishes books that she starts and does not exercise anymore. I have to literally force her to go outside for a walk if I am going to get her to go exercise outdoors. My wife spends more time in the bathroom than she ever did before. Now she will go into the bathroom six or seven times a night for a long period each time! I never remember this happening before Instagram. And most of her sexual engagement with me is gone. It is just not there anymore. If I talk about any of this, she will get immediately and immensely combative and stressed out.

I realize that life is all about change. Nothing remains the same. People are verbs not nouns. Things that we used to do and/or be like is not what we keep doing or who we remain. But I would like to think that people have the ability to become better at the things they do. We can become more masterful and refined with regards to the things we work at. The problem with Instagram is that the Instagram user is striving for things that only exist in the Instagram world. Instagram is an end unto itself. A destination and any fifteen-year-old with a phone can get there. More likes, more recognition, more followers. But very rarely does any of this translate into something tangible in the external world (very few people actually make a career or something tangible out of their efforts on Instagram). But what does happen with hourly Instagram use is that everything that a person strives for in the external world goes into great decline. A person has less of a need to put the energy into various things in the external world that these things require to grow and evolve. Instead, with Instagram, people do just enough to get by. Just enough to get that post up and get those likes. When someone is getting their satisfaction from likes and comments on the mediocre things that they post on Instagram, they have less of a need to get this satisfaction from things that require effort and attention in the external world. As a result, Instagram is a breeding ground for a unique kind of mediocrity that bleeds out all over a person’s real life.

I have tried to talk to my wife about how she seems much less interested in our sexual life. She does not ever talk to me about having kids and we are not getting younger (I am 45 and she is 32). She says she wants to be in better shape but she does very little about it. I don’t see her putting much effort into advancing her career. Books remain unfinished (I am not allowed to talk about the fact that now she is only able to finish graphic novels and the more intellectually challenging books she used to regularly finish remain unfinished). The car is not getting cleaned. Dogs are not being walked. The house is not being tended to as much (I do most of the cleaning and decorating). The act of cooking brings her less pleasure. Clothes sit in the washer for days (I have taken over the laundry). Closets are a mess. And our relationship exists in a continual state of strain. Every time she checks her phone my nervous system is now triggered. If I bring up the issue of her intensive Instagram use she gets angry with me. She says things like, “Can’t I just relax right now. Do we have to always talk about this!” I continually notice her sneaking off into bathrooms or someplace else to check her phone. If I talk about this she gets mad and stressed out. She feels like I am trying to control her. Many years ago I dated a serious alcoholic. What I am experiencing now with my wife feels like exactly like what I went through with her. The secrets. The sneakiness. The outrage. The: “I only had a few drinks. What is the big deal? Jeeze you are always making a problem out of it. Cant I just relax!” Meanwhile she was drunk almost every single day.

I really do not know what to do at this point. There is no doubt in my mind that my wife and hundreds of thousands of other people are seriously addicted to Instagram. That person sitting at the dinner table with their partner while being on their phone, is probably checking some form of social media. They probably have a serious social media addiction that is not allowed to be spoken about right now. After all, almost everyone is doing it and several more years of lives falling a part because of it need to happen before people begin to really see the problem. But it is a serious problems that is currently destroying lives and relationships. People have no boundaries with regards to their social media use. It is “all on” right now. Full-time use. A pack a day or more! My wife is still young and could be using this time to steer her life in the direction she wants it to go. She could be getting her body into optimal physical condition. She could be cultivating her life with her husband. She could be doing whatever it would take to have children and work on reestablishing some kind of sex life with me. She could be spending more time just enjoying her life in the present moment. Cultivating in person relationships with other people. Growing that vegetable garden she has talked about for years. But none of this happens because she is getting all the pleasure and satisfaction she needs from Instagram. She is continually being pulled by uncontrollable compulsions to check in with Instagram even as we sit there having dinner together (I now always feel like I am keeping her from something she would rather be doing- checking Instagram). Meanwhile we are growing apart. I am becoming more and more despondent because I am watching a woman that I love, seriously neglecting her real life. If I talk about this I just stress her out. If I don’t talk about it I feel very uncomfortable inside. This Instagram things is just this massive presence in both of our lives, but neither of us seem allowed to speak about what is really going on. I resent her for this. When she goes into the bathroom for the sixth time that night, I have to just accept this as a normal part of our life together now. Fuck. I don’t like it but I am trying to roll with it. I just want my wife back.

The Disappearing Marriage

I’m going to write now. I told myself that I would take a month or so off from writing, but sometimes this need to express things is stronger than my ability to not. Especially when I am loaded on caffeine. So let me say this, my marriage is dissolving. It is flattening out into a very dull two-dimensional image that looks nothing like what it used to be. Fuck.

I love my wife very much. I think she is a very good and sweet person but I am terribly bored. What have we done to ourselves? I often think. We have just about let all things pertaining to maintaining a working marriage go. We have stopped having sex. We have stopped trying to be sexy for the other. We have stopped really talking about interesting things. We have stopped holding one another. We have stopped kissing (this is especially my fault since I notice that my head slightly turns now when she comes to give me a dispassionate peck on the lips). We have stopped enjoying our time together because now when we go out anywhere together we usually fight. In the same way that a feeling of disillusionment and fear has taken over the American landscape, resentment and boredom seem to be taking over my marriage.

I am not good at this marriage thing. Not good at all. I was married before my current wife and that marriage failed long before it’s end as well. My first wife and I really loved each other but we stopped working well together. We fought a lot. We stopped having sex for years. We resented one another even though we were both good people. We grew fatter together. I left my first wife to be with my current wife. I felt like my second wife would be a chance to have a new kind of life, one not shaped by my parents unhappy fate. She was the one who would offer me, after a lifetime of trying, one of those happy and healthy relationships I occasionally saw people involved in. One of those relationships where the couple actually looks happy together. Where they actually get along. Where they actually seem happy when in one another’s company rather than lost on their smartphones. Where they actually maintain an active sex life after years together. Where they are connected and engaged with one another. Where when one of them is acting like a jerk the other can have compassion and not take it so personally. I thought I would be able to have this with her and for a while I did. But old habits die hard, and of course I managed to maneuver my marriage back to the same place where every single one of my relationships seem to end.

My wife is attractive and a lot younger than I (fourteen years younger). She is smart and sweet. She is a kind and loving person (she really loved me a lot). She has a lot of youth left in her. With her I had the best sex of my life (and this is saying a lot since I have had a good amount of sex in my life). She was sexually skilled and masterful at certain things. She had no shame sexually. An exhibitionist at heart she could be sexual and naked anywhere and in front of anyone. I loved it. And what a body! To see how our sex life has ended up today, really is a tragic thing and I realize that much of it is my own fault.

I am fucked up when it comes to relationships. I blame my intrapersonal dysfunction on my mom and dad. They had a terrible relationship when I was growing up. My dad was a complete asshole and still is most of the time. My mother withdrew into resentment and submission. These were my teachers and now I have not a clue about how to maintain a relationship without the presence of continual conflict and difficulties. How do people do that? How do people actually love and desire one another most of the time? It is hard for me to be sexual with the person I am close to. I become shy and withdrawn. I have a hard time desiring them after a while. It is only with people I do not know that I can avoid sexually freezing up. I am often critical and upset. I notice all the things that my partner is not doing. I become hyper aware of all their failures to be this ideal version of themselves that I need them to be. Why don’t you exercise more? I can’t believe you are so messy? Why can’t you get more organized? You are never sexual with me anymore? You have let yourself become a boring person? You are way more interested in our dogs than you are in me. You have stopped trying to make yourself sexy. Why don’t you go out more? Go out with friends. Go out and sleep with other people. Go do something to make yourself more interesting. Stop being on your phone all the time. We have both become so dull together. It goes on and on like this. And I seem incapable of just keeping my mouth shut when I am really upset.

Maybe relationships are not supposed to work out. Maybe this is some kind of deluded dream that humans have thanks to Hollywood. Maybe a marriage that really works well after a few years of constant use, is an illusion. A fantasy. A bluff. Why we keep holding on to this fantasy I do not know, but maybe human beings are just not meant to be married and live together in harmony for long periods of time. I mean who does? The fact that a marriage gradually grows bitter and asexual may be much more realistic than this idea that a relationship should remain sexual, engaged and connected for long periods of time. Maybe our collective failure to embrace the reality of what happens when humans partner up together for long periods of time, is what keeps us miserable.

Maybe.

I know that I am unhappy. I know that my wife is struggling. She loves me very much and I love her but we are no longer working well together. We have too much responsibility. This married life has caused us both to bite off more than we can chew. House, business, dogs, cars, bills; maybe we have cracked under the pressure of these things. Maybe these day to day domestic shared responsibilities are the greatest threat to the couple’s shared libido. Whatever the case, I do not like what our relationship has become. I do not like feeling bored and asexual. I do not like feeling like my wife resents me. I do not like knowing that at any second any conversation we have can turn sour. I do not like not feeling very attracted to one another. I do not like feeling like she is very depressed and discouraged and this is why she struggles to apply perfume and purchase new razors and deodorant when she has long ago run out. None of this feels good but I can not seem to stop focusing on all the things that I do not like.

Old habits die hard. I am doing it again. I am turning my marriage into something I don’t want it to be. I’m always upset, my wife tells me (so is she). I’m rarely happy. I want to sleep with other women. I want to be left alone. I want to be with her. I have no clue how to keep this marriage from becoming the disappearing marriage that I fear it has already become.