Thursday, November 26, 2015

Doubling Down

I think that anytime you're in any type of recovery it is easy to just know that you can't do it how you used to do it than it is to know how to actually do it properly. It's hard enough to unlearn bad habits, now you are adding on learning new effective habits.

For me, this is especially true when it comes to relationship issues. I just know that I shouldn't do what I did before. I have very little idea of how to do it right. And the secret sauce that smothers it all? That I am not in anything close to a traditional relationship. 

Back story time: So Ginger has this new boyfriend. Well, not exactly new, as they've been online friends and online sexytime buddies for over half their lives, since they were teenagers, but new as a boyfriend. When I was pregnant and she needed someone to talk to, she turned to him and their relationship developed new dimensions and feelings. Before we moved to the new place, so I'm guessing back in May, she brought up to me having him visit. At the time, she didn't know if their online chemistry would transfer to real life. 

As the months went on, we could tell she was deep in the NRE. While I was on maternity leave, I confronted her one night because it felt like she was always texted with him and never really interacting with us and I was worried about her being present, especially as I was going to be going back to work soon. She assured the Professor and I that she was just taking a little vaccation from the world until things really hit, until I was really back at work, that she wasn't going to leave us, etc. 

Right before I went back to work, she met him halfway for a visit in person. It went really well. In addition to the visit going well, she felt reenergized to take on our relationships back home and make them what she wanted. The trouble was that the Professor and I weren't quite there. The Professor was still overwhelmed with new baby stuff and trying to take some of the load off of me as I healed. I was still dealing with getting back on my medications and I felt really insecure and scared about the visit. I had a total meltdown when she came back. It was not how she foresaw it going. 

My way of coping with things that scare me is to pick up the thing, look at it from every angle, think about what might happen with it in the future. Feeling like I can handle the possibilities is what makes me feel secure again. So as I started to try to get on board, I wanted to ask more questions about the future that Ginger was thinking of. When this guy started getting brought up in the spring, he was an internet sexy escape friend. Then it was a visit here to see about chemistry. Then it was a sooner short visit in the middle to see about chemistry and then a visit out here, but he would be her long-distance, vacation sexy-escape friend if things went well. After her visit, it was her long-distance sexy-escape friend for now then maybe someday, years and years down the line, maybe he'd live here. But the more I tried to ask about what it might look like if he was here, the more upset she got because she doesn't work that way. To her, it would break her heart if she planned things and it didn't go through, so all that is sort of hazy and vague. 

We had some hard talks and cried and butted heads but then we really thought we were getting to a better place after a really great Saturday night with the three of us. But then I fucked stuff up. I was at work and I started worrying about hearing them on his visit here. I'm having some serious jealousy issues with all of this. But jealousy is always rooted in deeper things. Mine is too. At the most basic level, I thought if she was going to be with someone else, be in love with someone else, be fucking and topping someone else, that it would be me before it was someone else. It broke my heart when she told me last year that we might not ever be sexual, that it might not matter how much time she had. It poked that wound that was mostly healed when, after starting to talk to this man about topping him, about pegging him, she brought up experimenting with my strapon on me. All the things she brought up using me to do so that she could do with him when they got their brief visits. And I was game because I just really wanted us to be there. When she came back, she was all interested in making our relationship more physical and intimate, but I didn't feel special. I kinda just felt like she realized she wanted more touch and romance that the Professor doesn't really do as much and I was a good place to start. After that crazy Saturday, I did feel more like she wanted me, but that made the crazy worry kick in. I wanted to feel more secure. 

I knew that it would be really hard on me to hear them together sexually while he's visiting. I have heard her and the Professor but that's a little different. Sometimes, depending on what's going on, that is even difficult but I at least feel like that's what I signed up for. I didn't really sign up to hear them in our house with someone else. I would feel weird having sex with someone else here, especially if I thought they could hear, even though I am the only one who know one really cares if they fuck someone else. It's kinda a rule that the Professor can't fuck floozies with us here, but that we'll work to make time for him to be alone or for him to go see them at their place. What I attempted to do was let her know that I was feeling really insecure about this thing but offer ways to help this not be a thing, like get them a hotel room for a day of play, work on making a more soundproof area downstairs, or could they even just wait til we were upstairs and there was a floor between us? Honestly, she's kinda shy about sex stuff, for someone in our lifestyle, so I figured she wouldn't want to be heard either. 

Yeah, that didn't go over well. She tried to be nice about it, but in the end I think it felt like two things to her: that I didn't trust her not to purposefully hurt us and that I was trying to control her relationship with him. At the end of the email though, she said that what she wanted was for us all to live together, that him living somewhere near but in a different place was a poor second choice. Over the course of an afternoon, we exchanged emails and things went downhill from there. Some of the highlights were that she hadn't gotten to think about her needs or wants because from the time she got back she was awash in the needs of the three other people in our home and that when she'd gotten with the Professor he'd agreed that she could pick up and leave to visit anyone whenever she wanted. In the end, I threw my hands up. I wouldn't ask her for anything and we'd go back to the relationship we were good at - running the house. 

I've spent the week since doing really poorly. She and I have barely communicated. The Professor has struggled because he wants things just to be calm and work but we can't go any amount of time without drama. Her boyfriend, who I was developing a friendship with based on our shared love of tv shows, has stopped messaging me and I haven't reached out to him either. My assumption is that he's upset with me for the hurt I've caused Ginger, which is his right, and he's probably got some not nice opinions about me as a person right now, but he could just be trying to avoid the drama and being in the middle of things. And I've been in the darkest hole I've been in in a long time. I finally talked about it with the Professor last night a bit. A good bit of it was the depression twisting everything. The fact that she didn't want me running the show on her relationship, which is what it felt like from her side, was turned into that I didn't warrant any consideration, that my feelings didn't matter to her, that her complete freedom was more important to her than making me feel secure in the thing she and I were trying to do. All of this also turned into that I will never warrant being put ahead of anything else for anyone else. I had thought I would at least come in second for both of them, in the romantic relationship, but all this made me feel like I would never even come in that for her, or anywhere. The only one I am higher than is the cat. I was gripped by the fear that, when the Professor was no longer here, I would lose my co-parent and any child she bore shortly thereafter, and that our kids would each lose a father, a mother, and a sibling, all within months. I felt like not only did I need too much but I needed all the wrong things, which made me fundamentally wrong. I carried all this around for a week by myself. Honestly, I'm pretty proud of myself. I still went to work, still ate mostly healthy, didn't cut. I did cry a whole lot though and I largely did not give two fucks if it bothered anyone else in my house. 

I realized last night that a big part of my problem was that I was just being willfull. I wasn't ready yet to give up being angry or being sad or being fearful, which made it really hard to want to look for solutions or to implement those solutions. But I hadn't really talked to anyone about things because I knew that they'd all just be on my side and "oh she should change what she's doing," which I already knew wasn't a solution at all. I always knew that the bottom line was she wasn't going to change and I wasn't going to leave her. That left me with significantly less options, all of which I was really to angry still to implement. 

This morning, I was reminded of two conversations I had had with Moneypenny years ago. The first was when we were still dating. We had one of those kitchen sink arguments. At one point in the argument, he told me about how there were plenty of things that he didn't like about me and our relationship but he only brought up the worst 10% because he didn't think the other 90% were worth it. But I really wanted the opportunity to work on at least some of the other 90%, so I've tried to be open to hearing those things, to finding out what someone I'm with does want that isn't part of the 10% they're going to argue over or outright ask for. 

The other conversation was a little bit later. I had had the first major blowup fight of my shortlived marriage and Moneypenny pulled out a Dr-Phil-ism: Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right? Especially in these arguments with Ginger, that can be such a big factor. In many ways, the Professor and I can think enough alike that we can see where the other is and get closer to it, though our barrier is usually just that we don't even want to fight each other. For Ginger and I, it often feels like we are on completely different planets. We both want to be right and to have the other person admit that we are right and do what we want. Especially when it is something big enough to us for us to fight about, since we don't really like fighting either. But the thing I knew even as we were arguing was that we were both right. I just have no way to translate that into getting us both what we want or need to be happy. 

{So all of this is alot of writing and I'm not near finished, which is probably going to make my partners cringe when they try to read this. (The Professor has already thrown in the towel by now, I'm sure.) But I needed to try to write it out and see it all together. }

I think sometimes you have to mix a bit of your new skills in with your old tendencies in, but with a new spin on them. I tend to double down on things. I never met an argument that I could not make worse. That's what I did last week too. 'Oh, you're upset and just said this thing that hurt me? Well, fine. I'll tell you all about how upset I am and hurt you back.' But I think that doubling down isn't always a bad thing. Last Sunday, I had told Ginger that we should find time during this long holiday weekend to talk about what she needed so we could see what we could do about that. I meant it then and I still do. This is that 10% shit, so it really needs addressed. If she can be happier and be getting her needs met, maybe it won't be as bad when some of my need spills over. Either way, it provides me with a definite place to start, definite thing I can do instead of wallowing in how shitty I feel. 

As for some new skills, let's just call it a tell the truth, nothing but the truth, reality check. I'll list what I know is true without the depression bullshit. Even if I don't have anything I can do about them right now, I'll at least know what I know. 

The first day I met Ginger, we talked about how poly might be a better way because more hands to help out with children, with each other, with tasks. When we first got together, I really liked having a larger family than just me and one partner and I wanted to add children to that for an even larger family. It's unfair to dismiss this man she loves from being part of our family out of hand. Maybe I'm fighting this because I'm jealous or insecure in my relationship, particularly with her. I do really wish I felt like we were all involved in the idea of bringing this person into our family, especially as things progressed. So I guess I have issue with how she has handled this, even while I understand that it feels like the best way for her to handle it for her, but I don't want that to cast a bad shadow on whether or not he is a part of our family. 

There are serious trust issues in the relationship. Namely, I don't really trust anyone. I'm better than I used to be, don't get me wrong. But I only trust people to be who they are, who I feel they are based on their past. Now, I feel like this makes it not so much their fault and they aren't trying to hurt me when they do something that does hurt me. For me, it shifts some responsibility to me, that I should have seen they might do something like this and worked to deal with how I would feel beforehand. But, no I don't trust that people will act on their best natures or even what they said they would do and sincerely wanted to do. Quite often, I have regretted ever telling Ginger this because, when I tell her I am not capable of other kinds of trust, she only hears that i don't trust her. So when I try to exercise some control of a situation because of my own insecurities and as a way to cope ahead, all she sees is me controlling things because I don't trust her specifically. In reality, these are two sides of the same coin, but in my head it is not personal. 

In the same vein, when I am feeling insecure about a situation, I try to think through the situation and shape them in way that I can handle as a way of coping ahead. I do try to shape them in a way that is beneficial to all, so that no one will mind my controlling or changing some things. At least in this, she only sees this as me controlling things because I don't trust that she will not purposefully hurt me. I do not know right now how to ask for anything regarding this situation, to try to mitigate my own harm, without it coming off like I am controlling her. And I would have negotiated differently about the freedom thing if it was ever a thing we had negotiated. Especially when we are raising kids, yes, I would have issues with any of us just leaving on a trip without any preparation or concern. (The Professor assures me that how I read what she wrote is not how she meant it.) 

I am just not polyamorous in the way that many people claim to be. I fell into a relationship with them and we were together. I loved both of them, so it was polyamorous by definition. But I am more on the open relationship side of things. I want to be able to fuck or play with other people. I might have feelings for these people but it is probably not love like I have for my current partners. Honestly, while this relationship should give me the more freedom for other sexual, dating, or love relationships, I've found myself progressively more annoyed by most attempts I've made at any of the three. Hell, right now, I'm annoyed with most relationships with other people. I have a hard time relating to people right now, with finding people I can actually be all of myself with, with finding people I like hanging out with. My crushes usually last a few weeks and then I want them to find better situations with people who can actually devote time and love to them. I just don't have it in me right now. But I'm realizing more and more that my truth right now is that I love the people I'm living with and I don't really want to love anyone else. I do want to be in love with Ginger again and develop that but I'm not sure we can bridge that gap. But I am seriously and deeply in love with the Professor and, other than Ginger, I do not want to be in love with anyone else. This may change. I may meet someone and just fall, but I don't have all that love to give people like Ginger has. I barely have enough love for the people in my life right now. I've tried and tried and tried to have feelings for other people that were love or love-like but I just don't have it in me. Maybe if I did, I could feel more secure in Ginger loving all of us and staying with all of us, because I could empathize with it. But it is a foreign language to me. No, it's telling a blind person what "red" is. I can see the concept but I can't experience it. I will keep trying to sympathize and support her in this, but I will probably never empathize. I don't expect either of them not to love or be in love with others. I just can't empathize with it myself. Maybe I'm more polysexual and monoamorous (they've always been kinda a package deal, "together they barely make one good boyfriend")? Honestly, even now that I feel better about the situation and more willing to work on changing things, I still feel very cold, cut-off, and detached from almost everyone and everything in my life. Other than the baby and the Professor, I haven't felt a continued connection to anyone for months and months. What's probably even more sad is that, other than this thing with Ginger and a few people I have met in the bdsm community, I don't have a real desire to change that.

I know, I know. That's a whole lot of words to say that I don't actually know how to make anything better. Fuck, I need some sleep. Well, anyway, there it is.


TyRoy Washington said...

During your conversations with your partners; I am sure it is passionate and elicits other high-running emotions that are hard to anticipate and even harder to temper. Still try to keep in mind you are are talking to your friend and moreover your partner. It is worth concessions sometimes.

AvaAlso said...

Honestly, I'm not sure there is going to be any conversation right now. I am resolved to do what i am going to do on things. Because Ginger is also going through other things right now that are very hard & she really needs & I'm proud of her for doing, I feel like I've been told that this is tabled. Also, it doesn't really matter. She isn't going to change how she does things. I'm not going to leave. Seems to me the only answer is to work within that.

AvaAlso said...

Honestly, I'm not sure there is going to be any conversation right now. I am resolved to do what i am going to do on things. Because Ginger is also going through other things right now that are very hard & she really needs & I'm proud of her for doing, I feel like I've been told that this is tabled. Also, it doesn't really matter. She isn't going to change how she does things. I'm not going to leave. Seems to me the only answer is to work within that.