I turn over on my side to sleep, facing him. We can’t see each other, but I hear his steady breathing and know he’s asleep.
Trying to ignore the disappointment and the lust, I sigh and close my eyes, willing myself to push the thoughts away and go to sleep.
It’s been like this for months.
Every night we go to bed and follow the same routine.
I go to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and then watch Netflix on my Chromebook while he’s in the bathroom. Then he gets to bed, switches on the television, watches for a while, switches it off again, gives me a kiss and turns over to sleep.
It’s only in the last few weeks I have started missing the intimacy. Have noticed he never even touches me. Not a hand on my arm, or a spontaneous hug like has happened in the past.
I’m as much responsible for this as he is. We’ve been so wrapped up in ourselves, each going through our own difficulties. Yes, we have given each other the space when needed, but it’s time we find our way back.
I roll onto my back, my heart racing.
Maybe he doesn’t find me attractive anymore? I have gained some weight and even though he says I still look good, maybe I don’t look good enough for him to want to be intimate with me?
I try to concentrate on my breathing to calm my panic.
You can initiate intimacy too, you know?
Where has that come from?
But I know my inner voice is right. I’m sure if I show him I want him, he will be in for it.
What if he only does because you want it, not because he’s ready for it?
Irritated, I turn again, now having my back to him.
Why oh why don’t I have the guts to touch him, my own husband? Why don’t I believe him when he says I still look good? I wish I can just go with the urge, just show him I crave intimacy instead of allowing my self-esteem — that stupid inner voice — to get in the way.
My thoughts go round and round and I know I’m heading for another of those nights.
A restless one.
I also know when the morning comes, I will get on with the day, all those thoughts pushed to the back of my mind, until they surface again nights later and keep me awake again.
And so the circle continues, adding another month of no intimacy, and another.
One day we will break through this cycle, but not today, I think as I drift into a restless sleep.
Note: Written for the Wicked Wednesday bingo prompt ‘intimacy and self esteem’.