Something happened back in 2009.

My joyless marriage to Millie was bottoming out. Early in the year, as I was falling into a deep and paralyzing depression, I was hospitalized with pneumonia and, a month later, hospitalized again with complications related to the pneumonia.

By the time summer rolled around, I was doing much better, although things with Millie were complicated by severe difficulties she was confronting with the arrival of a newborn granddaughter a long way from where we lived and the fact that two of her family members were terminally ill.

But something happened inside me that I’ll never figure out.  My bouts with depression, my falling into the black hole of energy-less paralysis, disappeared. As I write this paragraph in December, 2016, I am happy to report that the paralyzing depression I experienced in 2009 — and it was similar to bouts I had experienced over the previous thirty to thirty-five years — was my last incident to date.

It’s been a remarkable development. Every morning I wake up and I’m not greeted by the waterlogged duvet of heaviness that I used to feel during bouts of depression. My temperament has evened out — I almost never have flashes of frustration or, as I’ve come to believe I used to experience, flashes of overwhelming fear.

No one at home, or in my family,  is on eggshells around me any longer because I’m no longer given over to brief fits of panic or instant, teeth gnashing frustration. I never did anyone physical harm when these outbursts occurred, but their unpredictability and suddenness darkened my married life and my family life.

My condition contributed mightily to the joylessness of our marriage.

As more days passed without bouts of depression, and as I was spending less and less time walled off in my bedroom, sleeping or avoiding human contact, I suddenly realized, in the spring of 2012, that I wanted to stop hassling Millie about things, thinks like money, our sexless life, remembering to do things, messing up the house, and other stuff I hassled her about. I didn’t exactly utter this commitment out loud, but made a promise within myself that I was going to trust that things in my life with Millie were going to work out and that hassling Millie never made anything better, but, in fact, poisoned things between us.

I’ve kept this promise. Our life together gets sweeter and sweeter. No haranguing. No riding Millie’s ass. No digs. No bossing Millie around. I’ve all but lost the compulsion I once had to think I could improve our life together by exercising more control over our day to day lives.

Our joyless marriage is no longer joyless. We often sit in welcome, not cold, silence for long periods of time and we just as often sit and tell stories, laugh bout absurd things we’ve observed or read about or experienced, and try to figure out where our lives are headed.

One more thing. Well over a year ago, I needed a refill of the prescription I was taking to treat my mood swings, to treat whatever level of bi-polarity I had been suffering from. My primary care doctor wouldn’t authorize the refill until I paid a psychiatrist a visit.

I made an appointment with a local psychiatric nurse practitioner and told her that I was interested in trying to figure out if possibly I no longer needed the medicine I’d been taking.

We talked. At the end of our conversation, she told me that she was not that impressed with my claims to being even mildly bi-polar and she was in full agreement that it might be time to wean me off the drug.

I lessened my dosage. There were no ill effects. I revisited the N.P. and she agreed it was time to go off the medicine entirely. After a few months of not taking the medicine, I visited her again, and reported, again, no ill effects.

I was done taking this prescription.

I continue to live free of the pressure and torment of depression. I don’t know why or how this happened back in 2009, but this freedom has not only helped me live my days more happily, it has helped reverse much of the misery of my once joyless marriage.








Platonic Love

December 20, 2016


I last posted on this blog seven years ago.

On Saturday, Millie and I will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary.

Seven years ago, I wasn’t sure if Millie and I would reach our 12th anniversary.

Our marriage was joyless.

While I haven’t written about our joyless marriage for seven years, I’ve thought a lot about it. Over the last seven years, Millie and I have slowly and steadily become deep and fun-loving friends.

We have not experienced anything sexual for at least fifteen years. We embrace each other once in a while. That’s it. No kissing, no holding hands, no physical intimacy of any kind. It’s not like we sat down and agreed to this one day, but we do, from time to time, remark to each other that we do, in fact, have a marriage built completely on what we experience with each other as friends in our conversations and in our enjoyment of our grandchildren, quiet times in our apartment, modest travel, and going out for beer and bar food.

I would love to have sex with Millie. In fact, last night we were out for beer and some food and we got to talking and the talking was really good: intelligent, honest, insightful, hopeful, deep. I kept thinking, as we talked, how much I would love for the intimacy we were experiencing in our conversation to become sexual intimacy, how much I wanted for us to join our bodies together,much as we were joining our minds, maybe even our souls.

I also thought about my long history with women — I think about this often.

I have no contact with my ex-wives and am in contact with only one of the handful of lovers I’ve known outside of marriage.

My most enduring relationships with women are all Platonic. These relationships have been, and remain, Platonic with occasional face-to-face conversation, frequent contact online, and deep interest in one another’s welfare.

I would say that I began coming to grips in about 2004 with the fact that if Millie and I stayed married, I would never again experience sexual intercourse. I have no interest in sex outside of our marriage and have no idea if such a liaison could even be a possibility.

For several years, the demise of Millie’s libido was a source of deep frustration for me and contributed to the alienation and joylessness we experienced for several years.

Slowly, though — and I’m not sure when this started — the freeze between us began to thaw. We started meeting up with each other regularly after work for beers and developed a deep fondness for several watering holes around the town we used to live in. We became fond of the places because we were rekindling a fondness for each other.

We didn’t set out to make this happen. This change developed almost accidentally.

We were there for each other in the face of loss and death. Seven years ago, Millie lost two family members within a short time of each other. A couple years later, I had to have a dog I dearly loved euthanized. The importance, to me, of whether we shared sexual intimacy shrank, nearly disappeared.

A few years later, we decided to move far away from the town I had lived in for over thirty years and Millie had lived in for over twenty years, a place where we had many friends and many social and professional and spiritual connections.

Moving put us in closer proximity to our children and grandchildren, but deciding to make this move proved to be a prolonged and deeply satisfying act of Platonic intimacy as we talked and talked and talked about whether to make this move and what we would do once we lived in a place neither of us had ever dreamed of, let alone thought of, establishing residence.

We have lived in this new place for over two years now. I love it here and I have to say that I can no longer claim to be joined with Millie in a joyless marriage.  We love and enjoy each other — and it’s totally Platonic.

I suppose this development is a lousy thing for this blog, given its title, but I still have some of the past joylessness to explore, and so, I’m going to post some more entries and bring other developments about me and our marriage up to date.