Last week, women reading the Internet collectively reached for their wallets to check how much cash they had, because there was a fellow lady out there who needed a drink. And that lady was a woman on Reddit who posted a spreadsheet (picked up by Deadspin) that she had just received from her husband.
The spreadsheet had three columns: DATE, SEX? and EXCUSE. The second column was mostly filled with the word “No” and the third column was mostly filled with the wife’s reasons she did not want to have sex that day, like “I’m exhausted” and “You’re too drunk.”
On the Reddit thread of her post, Spreadsheet Wife (username throwwwwaway29) said her husband sent this to her right before she left for a 10-day business trip — and wouldn’t pick up his phone when she called. Assuming this isn’t some Internet prank — always a possibility — the whole shitshow is rude, immature and callous.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that many commenters on Reddit and Deadspin didn’t see it that way and, in fact, defended Spreadsheet Husband’s behavior. He’s frustrated! They whine. He’s just desperate! Nope. It’s not okay to spring something extremely shitty on another person over email, especially before a long trip, and especially-especially to further dig in your heels by refusing to answer the phone when said person calls you in response. This man is 26-years-old but his communication skills are like those of a 7th-grade boy. I hope that if this marriage is reaching its end, it’s over his lack of communication skills not her apparent lack of interest in getting down.
And yet …
I won’t defend Spreadsheet Husband, but I do relate to where he’s coming from. In my relationship a few years ago with a guy I’ll call Ex-Mr. Jessica, sexual incompatibility was an unspoken issue — although I was more on Spreadsheet Wife’s side of the situation. We didn’t belong in Reddit.com/r/deadbedrooms or anything but we were averaging maybe about once a week. Unfortunately, neither of us talked about it. I have no idea why Ex-Mr. Jessica didn’t bring it up (he just sorted dumped me and washed his hands of our relationship), but looking back, I can see exactly what was happening on, why, and how it all went to shit:
To feel intimate with each other, you actually need to spend time with each other. I realize that we’re limited to what little information Spreadsheet Wife is telling us about her relationship. But from what she has explained so far, it doesn’t seem like intimacy with her husband of any kind — cuddling, sex — is a particular priority. As she explained in the Reddit thread:
My weekday routine has been shower, go to work, get off at 4pm, go home and cook dinner, go to the gym, watch some TV, sleep. He’s never up to have sex in the morning, and I never want to have sex after being all sweaty and gross from the gym.
This sounds a lot like what I went through with Ex-Mr. Jessica, only his schedule was “go to work, go to an event after work, come home around 11 p.m.” We really never had an overlapping period of time when sex could be had. I didn’t want to have sex in the morning because I had a bus to catch and I was usually asleep by the time he came home at night. The opportunities for us to even cuddle or talk during the week were very few. What’s more, I felt extremely frustrated when he would come home close to midnight and try to initiate sex with me when I was half-awake.
Sexual incompatibility can take awhile to reveal itself. At the beginning of a relationship everything is shiny and new and you’re boning all the time because you have endless enthusiasm for this attractive new person who wakes up in your bed. Unless you have really obvious incompatibilities — like someone is hella kinky and someone is not — it takes awhile for sex to level out to “normal.”
That said, “normal” changes. Spreadsheet Wife explained in the Reddit thread:
For the most part of our relationship, we averaged 3-5 times a week I’d say? Including a non-reciprocated blowjob thrown in here and there.
Look, if my husband and I could be a lady and gentleman of leisure, we would have sex every day. Wait, no, twice a day. But work, friends, workouts, chores, and crappy periods that make me feel like a bloated cow get in the way. Two or three times a week is more normal for us — but I would be happy with one GREAT fuck a week over three just bone-tired ones. Does quality not matter to anyone anymore?! I think what pisses me off about this spreadsheet is how cold the husband seems by breaking their sex life down stats that don’t mean anything other than the damning implication “WAHHH, you don’t give me what I want.” While that may be technically true in Spreadsheet Husband’s case, it’s also completely naive and frankly childish for him to be so inflexible. Not much about a relationship will be consistent and unabated forever and ever and ever, including libidos. There are bumps and dry spells in every relationship, even ones that have had a previous period of really hot sex.
Also, let’s talk about that non-reciprocated blowjob. Does she not like to get oral? Does he not like to give it? Not explained! But nothing makes me think Hmmmmm like the words “non-reciprocated blowjob.” I’m just throwing the idea out there that Spreadsheet Wife included that particular phrase because, perhaps, Spreadsheet Husband is not as giving as he could be.
Numbers don’t mean anything. Like, really. I mean, maybe numbers mean something if you are a teenaged boy and you are bragging to your friends about how often you “do it.” But most mature adult appreciate good sex over more frequent meh sex. We don’t have any clue as to the nature of Spreadsheet Couple’s sex life, but deducing from some of the wife’s excuses — “You’re too drunk,” “I feel sweaty and gross,” “I feel gross,” “I ate too much” — there are more than a few circumstances at play that could have made hypothetical sex meh or bad. And she’s not interested in having crappy sex just to get it over with. And can you blame her? Spreadsheet Husband just seems to want any sex — any sex whatsoever.
It can feel harder to talk about big picture sexual issues than smaller, in-the-moment ones. It’s easy to tell a partner in the moment, “Ack, don’t lean on my bladder!” It’s a lot harder to talk to a partner about patterns in your sex life that are making you not-so-happy. It takes courage to address big picture problems (whether they pertain to sex or not). I did feel genuinely regretful that I didn’t give Ex-Mr. Jessica what he wanted in terms of our sex life because I never got the chance to even try to fix them. But he never brought them up to me until he broke up with me. I wish he had had the courage to talk to me.
One thing is for certain: this couple has problems and should employ the help of a therapist if they can afford it. But I hope this woman’s husband has a wakeup call. Spreadsheets are never a good idea. And they are a particularly bad idea when you are trying to convince someone to have sex with you.
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.