hen Daniel and Elizabeth married in 1993, they found it was easy enough to choose a ring for her, but there were far fewer choices for him.
Daniel, then a 27-year-old who worked in information technology, decided to design one himself, requesting that tiny stones be placed in a gold band, like planets orbiting in a solar system.
It was both an outlandish idea and, to him, a totally rational one.
He eventually even wrote about it in 2009 for a friend who had a blog about sexuality.
Elizabeth, baffled by Daniel’s disappointment, wondered: How great does sex have to be for a person to be happy?
Daniel wondered: Don’t I have the right to care this much about sex, about intimacy?
One seismic shift in a marriage often drives another.
In the fall of 2015, Elizabeth met a man at a Parkinson’s fund-raiser.
They met once more, and that afternoon, in the parking lot, he kissed her beside his car, someone else’s mouth on hers for the first time in 24 years. But I don’t like it when someone my wife is seeing takes the parking spot in front of my house.”Elizabeth did not announce that the friendship was turning romantic, but she did not deny it either, when Daniel, uneasy with the frequency of her visits with Joseph, confronted her.He started to think of the ring as if it were radioactive, an object burning holes in his flesh.A month into the marriage, he took it off and never got around to replacing it.He was relieved to find, as the years passed, that he still loved his wife — they kissed hello each time they reunited, they made each other laugh and he was someone inclined to appreciate what he had. But as with any happy marriage, there were frustrations.Daniel liked sex, and not long after they were married, it became clear that Elizabeth’s interest in it had cooled.