September 25, 2011

Confess, That Ye May Be Healed

I wrote a letter.

On the very useful and insightful advice of several members on FetLife (see the discussions here and here ), I wrote a letter to Wife explaining that my withdrawal from our relationship over the past few months was not in response to anything she had done and that I had not been entirely truthful about my break-up with Husband. I expressed my remorse in lying to her and the reasons why I chose not to tell her. I stated my very strong, negative emotions towards him and that past interactions between him and I are the cause of it. I shared my decision to withhold the details unless she explicitly requested to hear them, which I would provide to her, alone and without Husband.

I told her my truth.

She has always wanted to hear the truth (and she always told the truth), even when it hurt. I informed her of the transgressions and how I believe his behavior is ongoing. I proclaimed my love for her but that my attitude towards her husband is so incredibly toxic that I can no longer be with her, both to give me time to heal and to avoid putting her in a more awkward position.

I disclosed until I had nothing left.

Very quietly, she listened. When she finally did speak, her voice sounded solemn and wearied, as though it endured a long and difficult journey from within her. She didn’t ask questions. She didn’t tell me she loved me. She said she suspected as much and thanked me for telling her.

I feel lost.

I was expecting more of a reaction. I wanted more of a reaction. I wanted her to tell me how I hurt her or that I was courageous or to yell or cry or something, anything. But none of that happened.I gave her a lot to process and I feel terrible having to be the one to have done it, yet I don’t regret my decision.

I miss her.

She sent me a friend request from her new FetLife account. She has joined a group for divorcees. That’s the extent of our contact since the end of our relationship. I want to check on her to see if she’s ok and to offer my support but I’m not sure if it’ll do either of us any good.

I hurt for myself and I hurt for her.

September 22, 2011

School of the Hard Knocks

“Polyamory is a grad school relationship. It’s for grownups only. If you can’t yet bring yourself to communicate honestly with your partner about everything that goes wrong….and don’t wait too long after it goes wrong, and don’t lay on guilt when you bring it up, then don’t do it. Stay monogamous. Polyamory is not the place to work out your neuroses, any more than running a marathon is the best way to exercise your recently-broken and healing ankle.” - Raven Kaldera, The Polyamory Contract

Non-monogamous relationships are arguably one of the most difficult relationship structures to maintain and many lessons are learned (and often relearned) the hard way. Every emotional bump and bruise and scar is definitely earned. Here are some of my hard earned lessons in polyamory thus far:

Ask for what you want. I’ll repeat it a little slower. Ask. For. What. You. Want. I can't expect anyone to read my mind and just give it to me. As my aunt would say, a closed mouth don't get fed.

This is one of those lessons I’ve had to repeat many times before it stuck. (And truth be told, I‘m sometimes given a refresher course lol.) Because of the many ways in which this lesson manifests itself, it has had to be learned in it‘s numerous incarnations. For example, it can be difficult to ask for what I want if I feel it’s a silly request. I find that this reason often applies if I have a 'trivial' emotional want, ie: I know my partner loves me. He tells me that he loves me often. Though sometimes I ask to hear it. Small exercises like this have helped me in the grand scheme of things. It makes asking for what I want easier, no matter how ‘silly’ it may seem. (That’s not to say that I feel entitled and always get what I want. My boyfriend is a bit of smart ass and sometimes I’m met with answers like, “I loved you all day yesterday. I need a break today,” or, “Right now, I love college football. Try again later.”)

(For more reasons as to why we often don’t ask our partner(s) for what we want, read Ask For What You Want, a very insightful post by polyfulcrum.)

Don’t keep secrets between partners. This was an ugly one for me to learn and I still have all of the knocks to prove it.

Being romantically involved with two people who are also romantically involved with each other can be tricky. It gets trickier when one asks you to keep a transgression of theirs from the other. DON’T DO IT! Not only did I feel the guilt of keeping things from Partner B when it wasn’t even my secret to keep, I felt betrayed by Partner A for putting me in that position. The negative feelings intensified the longer it went on and the fall out of keeping the secret was much worse (for me the formerly innocent party, made accomplice) than just coming out with it.

I didn't think I would have to ask a partner not to put me in a position that would compromise my relationship with the other partner. Now, I set this boundary upfront to avoid any more unpleasant surprises like this.

Don’t be the mediator in your partners' relationship(s). It became emotionally draining for me to play that role in my partners' relationship. Going forward when put in this situation, at most I will provide a sympathetic ear without giving advice or taking sides. If the negativity of my partners becomes too much for me to even provide that, I say something like, “I’m sorry you two are having issues. Being put in the middle of your conflict makes me uncomfortable.You should talk to him/her about this.”

Credits towards my very own poly degree :p

September 18, 2011

Do Me, Baby

I began exploring female Dominant/male submissive forums a few weeks ago and I have come across MANY discussions lamenting the prevalence of male 'do me' subs. You know, the ones that present a list of things that they want to have done to them but nothing that really shows what they can do for the Domina?

The ‘do me’ label most certainly applies to some male subs. Specifically the ones that always attempt to steer the conversation back to their fetishes and what they want you to do to them. But I also think this label is all too often brandished about unfairly to a male sub that is simply stating (or listing) what he likes. On the flip side of that, I find it very interesting that in male Dominant/female submissive relationships, a fem sub is rarely - if ever! - ostracized for stating her list of interests upfront.

A large portion of male subs seem to be driven by their fantasy. The most clear example I can give is the business of pro Doms. I have heard from several female pros (which, when you break it down, generally work in fantasy fulfillment) that it's not uncommon for many of their clients to eventually want to serve the Domina outside of play. They offer to clean her home, wash her car, run her errands, etc expecting nothing in return except maybe her gratitude (and they STILL pay for future sessions). It seems that once some of the 'do me' subs find a woman who can fulfill their fantasies (a very intimate and important part of their being), they want to pamper and spoil her and make sure she is content.

However, many Dominas (non pro) expect a submissive to prove his desire to serve her. Her pleasure should be his motivation and any indulgences of his fantasies are to be earned. When she presents a list, she is not branded with something as negative as ‘do me’. Why isn’t she considered to be unreasonable when expecting to be catered to before indulging him in his fantasies?

While I believe there are those male subs that just want the fantasy (and obviously confusing 'bottom' for 'submissive'), lately, I have been considering if some of the frustration experienced on both sides may be the differing motives men and women have for relationships in general. (Initially, for men that tends to be the physical and for women the emotional.)

(Note: If you want to view the FetLife threads that I started on the topic, you can find them here: Dominant Women and subs/slaves who adore them ; FemDom Group ; Female Dominants and submissives who love them ; BDSM Theory . There have been some very interesting comments shared if you care to have a look.)

September 14, 2011

Your Silence Will Not Protect You

The title of this post is a quote by poet and LGBT activist, Audre Lorde. While this isn't exactly the context in which Lorde shared her words, they have resonated for me and my situation. 

 For many weeks I have wrestled with what to do about the things I have been keeping from Wife about her husband (Forgive Me, Girlfriend, For I Have Sinned). As I see it I have two options, each with their own sets of pros and cons:

Option #1

 End the relationship, offering vague excuses with some semblance of truth - ie: we are drifting apart, we don't have enough time together, etc. Although I don't feel this is fair to Wife (or my conscience), I believe it is the best chance I have for preserving our friendship.

Option #2

End the relationship with full disclosure. This will likely ruin our friendship but my guilt will be more manageable, and she will be allowed to make an informed decision.

By choosing the first option, I am trying to shelter our friendship and her emotions. However, it doesn't actually improve the situation. I will still be a liar. I will still be miserable. She will still be oblivious to Husband's indiscretions.

There is no virtue in my silence, only suffering.

September 9, 2011

Forgive Me, Girlfriend, For I Have Sinned

About 4 years ago, I met a married couple at a local munch. Wife was a kinky vanilla and Husband was a full-on kinkster. We enjoyed each other's company and casual friendship.

They were people I came to admire and even revere. While we all had a mutual attraction for each other, our friendship was pretty platonic aside from one sexual experience Wife and I shared that was facilitated and attended by Husband but in which he did not directly participate.

I moved out of state and we lost touch. When I moved back a year later, we reconnected and reestablished our old friendship. We discovered that in the interim, we had all decided to explore poly. (That is to say, it was a decision they made as a couple and I made by myself in the year that had passed).

After many long discussions between the three of us about expectations and such- together and separately - we agreed to enter into a romantic relationship. My relationship with Husband was D/s and my relationship with Wife was mostly vanilla, each with their own set of agreements.

So all was fine and dandy for about two months. And then...

I realized Husband was a very selfish and manipulative man. He took advantage of my trust and my submission by asking me to compromise my integrity and my relationship with Wife several times during our time together. The most egregious example:

Early in the relationship, sex often involved the 3 of us together. Then, Wife came to us and said: while she didn't mind Husband and I having sex, she was having a hard time witnessing and taking part in it. So she proposed that I suspend my sexual relationship with both of them as she recovered and readjusted emotionally. Though, I was still free to have sex with others during that time (my relationships with them were never expected to be sexually exclusive).

We continued to bond and grow close in that time.