Raw

S and I cancelled our date on Tuesday.  It’s a combination of her house having the vomits yesterday and things going on with her boyfriend, who, at least I think, needs her to be there for him 100% this week.  I’ve been riding the high of realizing how much I’ve grown and healed and changed in the last year. Last weekend, I had a good talk with my boss who failed me last weekend, we hashed it out, and then I sent an email to the entire management team.  It’s a well-written narrative that asks them to be better at responding to the needs of their staff. I’ve had a few responses and they are positive. My real responsibilities with my full-time job finished apart from a few details and summer is looming large.  I’m dealing with the heaviness of the responsibility of everything being on my shoulders in my home and with my kids. I’m raw as fuck. I’m happy with my new-found ability to share my hurt when it’s going on, or at least doing it that one time. The fact is, it just sort of happened.  I realized I had two people in my life who needed to know what was going on in my world at that moment. I needed to tell them, because I want to share my life, the good and the bad, with them. There’s a level of trust, respect, and acceptance in what I have with A and S that I’ve never had in my life.  It didn’t happen by accident, we built it together, but it didn’t happen purposefully either.

Over the last couple years, I’ve unpacked so much that was unhealthy in my life.  I unpacked years of passive aggressive communication and blame and manipulation. That was how my childhood was with my dad, so I grew up thinking it was normal.  I dated a series of men and even attracted friends who communicated in the same manner, not to mention my sister. Despite how amazing my mom is, I was completely broken in the way I responded to others and communicated myself.  Changing myself began when I went on depression meds. I asked for help, because in that moment, I was desperate for anything to help me cope, because the alternative was unthinkable to me. It let me cope, antidepressants made me…well…me…again.  I think it was hard on F that I was OK again. For at least six years, I had been depressed. High functioning, low level depression, that turned into acute depression of the emergent sort after #4 was born. My low-level depression was gradual and was accompanied by the arrival of baby #1, #2, and #3, plus my pregnancy with #4.  It was wrapped up in an acute period of depression between baby #1 and #2 when I had two miscarriages and secondary infertility caused by an ovarian cyst. What this meant is that my early years of motherhood were coloured by the constant anger and defeatism that overcame me in ways I didn’t understand at the time. It was made worse by a very manipulative husband who didn’t take an active role in our life without me asking or demanding that he did.  I became the caretaker of our life together. Organizing the kids, the house, the meals, the activities, the childcare, the yard maintenance, all the logistics of life. There is a post on Facebook that goes around about the emotional workload of being the wife and mother that seems to drive it home every time I see it. The workload that we take on as the managers of our lives, on top of our full-time jobs (or full-time and casual job), is enormous. All of this put together meant I didn’t communicate well.  I just did. I did all the things and didn’t ask for help and when things were hard, I just got angry and huffed and continued to do all the things. I did the things because I had to, because I didn’t have a partner to do it with me. I had a partner who attacked me for my feelings and didn’t engage in our life without pressure from me. I was easy to manipulate and control because I wasn’t capable of communicating effectively and I was depressed and just trying to keep afloat. Add to that pregnancies and newborns and toddlers and moving internationally and new jobs and more new jobs and the fact that we both worked in emergency services and new houses and more newborns and more toddlers and three kids under three and I finally couldn’t handle it and I had to ask for help because for so long no one had been giving it to me and I needed a way to keep being strong.  

Then I was strong again.  I was me again. I started making good decisions for myself. I went through the six weeks it took to adjust to meds and went through the crazy time that was having a newborn, a one year old, a three year old, and a five year old and a husband who turned my illness into a reason to be a victim. Slowly, inch-by-inch, I began to establish boundaries.  I became strong, advocated for what I needed, stood up for my children, and then, a huge coincidence happened. I ran into an old friend from my grad school days who told me a job in my field was being posted. One that I would be perfect for. I applied for it, I got it. I took it. I took it despite F not wanting me to. He wanted me to stay home with the kids.  Even though he knew that wasn’t something that made me happy. Even though he knew my career was important to me. Basically, my happiness wasn’t important to him. Then I excelled at my job, but even more, I love it. It’s my dream job, with amazing coworkers, a fabulous work-life balance and so much support. Then polyamory came into my life. I was forced to communicate with my partners and learn about the things I needed and the things they needed and everything in between.  Something even more amazing happened at the same time. I had A and D and they cared so much about how I felt and what I wanted and needed in our relationships and I learned how much was missing in my marriage. F was dating W and that just caused a world of hurt in our world and as I established boundaries, he would go to greater lengths to violate them and get his way, and since I didn’t back down, it got worse and worse. Then I asked for a divorce.

That’s when the healing began.  When you remove the poison that is slowly leeching the life out of you, one drop at a time, the titration stops, but the damage is still there. It’s not an immediate fix. It takes time, medicine, patience, and rehabilitation to to recover from a lifetime of hurts.  I have no doubt that I’m not done healing. I don’t think we really ever are. I remember talking to my parents about how conditioning from F dictates my response to situations, and my step-dad saying my mom still is triggered sometimes, 31 years later, by things because of the dysfunction that my dad brought to her life.  I expect the healing to continue and the hurt to probably hit unexpectedly as life goes on. Time has worked in my favour to heal my wounds. My medicine has come in the form of the amazing partners who love me and accept me for who I am despite my flaws. For me the patience is always a huge struggle and the rehabilitation is ongoing.  Part of the rehabilitation is opening the wounds, exposing them for what they are, treating the infection inside, and then sewing up those wounds to heal properly. The problem is it takes time to find, open, and expose those wounds.

Right now, I’m somewhere in the middle of this whole process.  I have open wounds, partially healed wounds, festering wounds, and wounds I haven’t identified.  I have wounds that have healed and helped me form a protective barrier and be strong after being vulnerable.  This here is the whole thing that is getting me right now. For the last year(s), I’ve had so many people comment on how strong I am.  These last few days I realized that strong was not what I was. I was broken and in need of rebuilding. Strong for me has come out this last week as I’ve been vulnerable and shared so much more about who I really am with A and S.  I’ve stood up for myself and asked for what I need and got it. I’ve recognized how positive this was and have been riding the high of it. But I’m not healed, I’m raw. I’m so, so, so, very raw. Like any exposed wound, I am cognizant of the fact that I could re-injure myself at any time, far easier than if I didn’t have those pre-existing wounds.  That’s what makes it really scary.

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Earn my submission

My submission is not owed to anyone.  My submission was given to A as a gift because he earned it.  He earned it through gaining my trust, respect, love, and obedience (in bed only – I’m a pain in his ass the rest of the time).  He earned it by talking through things with me, establishing limits together, discussing fantasies and how to fulfill them, and showing me, through his actions, that he is worthy of my submission.  He earned it by being there for me every day for the last year and a half, by working through twisty bits with me, and by dominating me in the most amazing ways every week.

So you know what, aspiring doms?  You need to do the same thing. If you are a dom and you want me to submit to you, the first thing you need to do is gain my trust and respect.  So when I tell you that I am a submissive and that I’m poly and I’d like another boyfriend, that is not your cue to talk dirty to me or demand that I meet you in a field somewhere for some kinky fun or call me your dirty little slut.  

What should you do?  You should talk to me. Get to know the strong, independent, intelligent woman that I am.  Talk to me about my life, my philosophies on how I create connections with people and allow my relationships to evolve, about my career and what it means to me, about my kids and how I manage coparenting with a narcissistic passive aggressive asshole, or even about where I’ve travelled, lived, or call home.  You know what, the subject matter doesn’t even matter, just take an interest in me as a person. Until you know me as a person, respect me for all the things I bring to the table, value me for my brain, strength, incredible nerdiness, and openness to every type of connection, I will not submit to you.

When I was dating D, we had really hot vanilla sex. There was never going to be anything more than a really fun vanilla connection between us, had we continued dating to today, and I never wanted anything more with him.  The sex was fantastic as it was, and he, to me, was a gentle giant with a soul that invited me into comfort and love. I would have never considered a D/S dynamic with him, and loved what we had. When I was dating O, he was really jealous of A.  A consequence of this was that he pushed for a D/S dynamic with me. The first time we did it, it was pretty fun. The second was a disaster. It felt forced and awkward to me. I realized that he was pushing for a sexual dynamic in the bedroom that wasn’t a dynamic we naturally had.  I was never comfortable submitting to him, our dynamic was vanilla, and had he left it at that, it probably would have remained really hot, but alas, it didn’t. Contrast this to A, who was only ever just himself. At the beginning, we just had really great sex. There was no power exchange, just mutual ravaging of each other as soon as consent was given.  I loved that he took charge, guided me with what he wanted to do, but I was just as likely to take control in the beginning, and even still, I’m often the one who initiates. What triggered our descent down the rabbit hole? Me. Not him pushing me, but me asking him to take control of me and experiment with me. Who drives our ongoing descent? Me. Who has control in the bedroom?  Him, because I give it to him, because he earned it.

There is nothing more offensive to me than the man who starts talking to me like I’m his submissive before he earns that place in my life.  Really, it turns my vagina into a desert capable of dehydrating the strongest camel in the herd. All of this makes me wonder how doms and subs work in the larger community and if that approach, the one where a man sexualizes a woman and assumes things about her desires and position in life without actually knowing her, is normal, or actually works for men.  But for me, you need to dominate my brain and stimulate me intellectually before you dominate by body and stimulate me sexually.

Healing a lifetime of hurt

My dad died last weekend.  I found out on Facebook. I was shocked. I didn’t know who to call, so like anyone, I called my mom and then my step-dad.  A few minutes later, my step-dad called me back and I asked him what happened. He was shocked I hadn’t heard. Then he told me that they found out the afternoon before when they called my sister to wish her a Happy Birthday. Turned out she found my dad around 1 p.m.  He had been dead for a couple of days. My mom asked her if she wanted her to call me to tell me and my sister said she would call me. She didn’t call until 9:30 p.m. She had to call from my dad’s phone because I have her blocked. She didn’t leave a message. I was already in bed when she called.  I had noticed earlier that someone had sent me a message request on messenger but ignored it because I was enjoying my time with A. That message came in around 6 p.m. It was a message of condolence from my dad’s boss’ daughter-in-law. She knew my dad was dead a full 16 hours before I found out. I got her message and a message from an aunt and was so confused. I had no idea who died.  I went to my dad’s Facebook page and saw messages of condolence, all posted before my sister called to tell me. In the end, I called my sister and talked to her. She was obviously hurting as she told me the story. She kept saying “When I get the body” and “I have to…” I reminded her that I was there to help. I am still reminding her that I am here to help.

After I got off the phone with her, all I could think was how awful it must have been that she walked into my dad’s house on her birthday and found him dead in bed.  He had been there for several days. It must have been so very traumatizing, especially since she isn’t exactly medical in nature and she was really close to my dad. She hates me, and I can see how in that situation, it must have caused her a lot of anxiety just thinking about calling me.  I’m not sure why she didn’t leave a message. I wish she had. In the end, while I don’t think she dealt with the situation well, I decided that she had been through enough pain and trauma with finding my dad that forgiveness was the way to go about the way she dealt with telling me. I’m still working on forgiving her as I process my dad’s death, but I’ll get there, hopefully without ever mentioning to her how much it hurt that I learned about it after so many other people.

Here’s the thing about my dad: I mourned the loss of my relationship with him years ago.  I realized that I couldn’t go on being disappointed and hurt every time I saw him or talked to him.  I had to be the adult in our dynamic, because he never would be. It meant coming up with realistic expectations of who he was and what he could be in my life.  It also meant coming up with some pretty well defined boundaries about what was acceptable and what wasn’t in our relationship. This means I really restricted the amount of time he spent with me, especially after I had kids, because I couldn’t have him hurting me anymore and I couldn’t have him doing to my children what he had done to me as a kid.  Really, it was just a series of unmet promises and passive aggressive attacks. I don’t want to focus on those negatives, but let’s just say that I married a smart version of my dad in F, and repeated the history anyway. Now F is just doing the same thing my dad did to me to my kids.

What this all means is that I’ve been processing the death of my dad reasonably well.  I didn’t feel guilt or even sadness that I hadn’t talked to him for so long. My sister has enjoyed making quips about how “he felt the same about me as I did about him”, which I think to her means he hated me, but the fact is, I didn’t hate my dad. I loved him.  I just couldn’t give him power in my life and couldn’t let him be a big part of it. I want to get to the funeral and to the estate settlement part more so that I can be done dealing with my sister than anything. I just finally got her out of my life three weeks ago, and now she’s back in it.  The problem is that the details of settling his estate will probably be messy. I’m very actively hoping that he cut me out of his will and left everything to my sister so I can just wash my hands of the whole thing and not deal with her.

The problem is, as much as I am OK about dad dying, what happened was that his death took my capacity to deal with everything else away. This hit me hard this morning.  On Monday, after I found out about dad, I got my kids back. F and I had an amazing chat on my front step where we got along really well and I was really hopeful that we had turned a corner in our dealings with each other. Of course, this meant that I let my guard down and on Friday when he deducted money off his child support payment unfairly, I started crying in the middle of work.  Without getting into detail, my second job is in emergency services. Yesterday, I was triggered due to an event that happened that really was a nothing event, but brought back the memory of some really horrible things I’ve experienced in the job. I didn’t understand at the time, but I knew enough to ask my boss if I could have today off work. Now, I’m not exactly a delicate flower. I don’t show my “weaker” emotions often.  Usually, if I cry, it’s alone in my room with no one the wiser. Sometimes I’ll tell people after I’ve processed. It’s just who I am. Add to this that in 5 years working there, I have called in sick twice and I’ve never ever asked for anything from anyone. So when I advocated for myself to my boss, it was a big thing. Like huge. But I wasn’t over the top emotional or anything, I was just advocating for my needs. And he forgot.  At least that was his excuse this morning when our mental health support team lead talked to him about the situation. So, in the end, I came in to work this morning, pissed that we were not actually short staffed, and talked to this team lead and went home. I slept the day away. But as I did, I realized that so many things that have been making me emotional this week are because my capacity to cope is gone.

These things include A’s comment about me being “Temporary”.  Normally I don’t let words get to me like that, and would just talk to him and deal with it instead of let it cause me to really doubt him and our relationship. Normally, I don’t cry when F is being a colossal douchebag (he always is), I just get annoyed and then remind myself how happy I am that I no longer have to live with him and have a life together.  Normally, a couple harder calls in my emergency services job just make me sad for humanity, not cry in my car during my break. Normally, I don’t cry in front of several coworkers as I explain how my boss failed me when I reached out for help. The thing is, this situation isn’t normal. So much about my life isn’t “normal”, but it’s not normal to have your dad die and have your sister not tell you and find out on Facebook. It’s not normal to have to deal with babies dying as part of your job.  It’s not normal to have all this happen and not have time to talk to the person you love about something he said a week ago. Realizing that helped remind me that, as my mom says, I’m “a normal person reacting to an abnormal situation”.

Knowing why I feel the way I do, why I’m not coping well, why it’s OK that I’m hurt and sad is the key to me processing and moving on.  It makes it easier for me to understand and let myself be “weak”. Yes, I know that I’m not actually weak because I’m feeling all the feels, but this is who I am, and having others see me emotional is not comfortable for me.  It’s something I’m working on, but after years of being attacked for my emotional responses to things, hiding my hurt is my go to, and unlearning such an unhealthy protective mechanism isn’t easy.

I’ve been forced to show some pretty raw emotion in many situations this week because the shock of the emotion or the ferocity with which it hit have been too much to hide until I’m alone. This includes the tears I shed on A’s chest after I found out my dad died and today at work when I was talking to my coworkers/team leads about how I wasn’t coping and why I was triggered.  What’s more, I recognized immediately that I needed to explain to S and A what was really going on in my head, so I had to dump the horrible details about what triggered me and why it happened and acknowledge that my lack of coping with everything was affecting me in ways I didn’t understand at the time, but was only now processing. As hard as this has been, the fact that I was able to communicate the hard time I am having to both the people who love me and ask for help from the people I work with is a huge victory for me.  Me from a year ago never would have done that. I would have said that I was having a hard time, but never asked for what I needed and definitely never explained why I was having trouble. The most anyone would have gotten from me was a narrative after I had processed the pain and the emotions that told them what I went through in a casual, unattached, factual way. To me, the fact that I asked for what I needed, even if it wasn’t recognized, and that I communicated, while highly emotional, exactly why I was so upset, is a huge victory.  What it tells me is that I am really working my way towards healing from the dysfunction of my marriage. I’m not fearful of my emotions and how other people will take them any more, I’m owning my emotions and advocating for myself.

As I sit here and think about that fact, I think about my good friend who apologized to me when I told her something she said to me upset me many years ago.  How I was shocked and amazed that someone could apologize for something without blaming me for my response to what she said. She didn’t accuse me of being too sensitive or make excuses. She acknowledged my feelings and apologized.  She was the first person to ever do that. Years later, I’ve only just realized how F always blamed me for my feelings or criticized me for overreacting. Even when he hurt me so badly that I couldn’t stop hurting, he would tell me I should learn to take a joke.  A year after I asked for a divorce, thus removing his ability to minimize my emotions or hurt me for being human, I’m a completely different person. While being vulnerable is still scary as hell for me, I am not incapable of taking the steps to reach out to people around me.  This has a huge amount to do with the fact that I have really chosen the people in my life who lift me up and love me for me. A and S are the main people who figure into this fact. S, for validating my emotions, understanding my motivations, desires, and complexities, and for just being her.  We’ve never had conflict, so I don’t know how that would go, but probably a whole lot of functional conversation and giggles. A and I though, we’ve had our things. I generally write about them here, so it’s not exactly a secret. The thing is, there’s a theme too if you look at them. No matter what happens, when I tell him about how something he did or said hurt me, he apologizes.  Sincerely and without blaming me or attacking me for the way I feel.

It isn’t easy apologizing to me.  I don’t just take an apology and accept it.  In the beginning, I would have to force myself to just believe he was actually sorry.  I was always waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop as he blamed me for being too sensitive or attacked me or minimized my feelings, but that shoe has never dropped.  Sometimes, I was just so happy he apologized, I eagerly moved on without properly talking through what had happened. In those cases, the issue always reared its ugly head again and forced us to talk.  But all this time later, I’m no longer fearful of talking to him about an issue. OK, this isn’t entirely true. I still get all twisty and scared that my feelings will be attacked or he’ll be upset by my emotions and choose to leave me, but that’s years of indoctrination of fear, and I can logic my way out of that spiral pretty quickly.  I know I will always be listened to with respect and patience. I know he hears me and I know he cares about how I feel. I wasn’t scared to post my post about being called ‘Temporary’ yesterday because I know he loves knowing how I feel no matter how intense the hurt or emotion. I also knew he would read it and feel horrible about how his words affected me. (In this case, I offered him a chance to read the post in advance, but he wanted it published first). So when I received his messages apologizing to me and his comments on my post, he confirmed, yet again, what I already knew – he owns his shit.  He owns his shit without blame, pretense, drama, or hyperbole. What I didn’t realize until today was how much his ownership of his actions has meant to my healing. As I came to him with issues and we worked through them together, I gained the strength and ability to ask for what I needed from him and everyone else in my life. Slowly, one validation at a time, he helped me fix something in myself that neither of us knew I was fixing. How amazing is that?

 

Temporary

I’m super twisty about a couple things that happened on my weekend away with A.  One, I suspect was just a drunk thing and has me a little insecure. This happened a short time before A passed out on the Saturday night. I asked for a ‘proper kiss’, something that happens more and more frequently the longer we’re together, because the only time I don’t get a “suitable for grandma” kiss is mid-sex lately.  Anyway, he said something really critical about kissing me. It just made me feel rather undesirable, and since making out like a teenager is pretty much my favourite pastime, it hurt my feelings and has me devoting a bit more emotional energy to a drunken conversation than I normally would. I’m not sure what to do with it, because I don’t know if he really feels that way or it was just his failed attempt at humour or he was just being flippant or just being kind of drunk and mean.

 

The other hit me deeper and try as I might, I’m having a hard time processing it and moving past it.  A made a new friend a while ago who is his “new BFF”. I haven’t met her, but she has had an amazing effect on his life, time with her makes him happy and feeling renewed, and, not surprisingly, she is a strong, independent woman. So basically his kryptonite.  I’m super happy he’s found someone to connect with like this again. A thrives on connection and part of his interest in people is getting to know them, hearing their stories, and knowing what makes them tick. Part of this is his graduated method of sharing himself.   He is a multi-layered man and it is no longer surprising to me 1.5 years later when he tells me something that I’ve never heard before or known about him. The night before we went away, A went out with his new BFF and I came up. I love hearing about how people take the news that he is poly with a girlfriend. (I’d also love to be a fly on the wall to her how he talks to me.) I always ask about how the conversation went, how the people responded, what was said….you know….everything.

 

Just after we checked in on Friday, A was telling me how he was describing our dynamic.  Of course, this is the poly dynamic, not the kink dynamic; not many people get to hear about the kink part, and I like that.  However, I also like be acknowledged, at least on some level. We all like to be recognized and appreciated for the roles we play in others’ lives, I’m no different.  A doesn’t gush love for me, he’s just not the type that does. Fortunately, S makes up for that with all the barfing rainbows. That doesn’t change that I know A loves me.  He was explaining how his new BFF was trying to understand the logistics and dynamics of our relationship in the context of his great life and he explained to her that I’m temporary.

 

I can’t even begin to express how much it hurt to hear him say this.  He tried to explain, saying things about the lack of trappings of his marriage, that it could end at any time and be “easy”, and we had abou few more sentences back and forth about it.  In the end, I said “I don’t like being referred to as temporary, I don’t think of us as temporary, it really bothers me to be referred to as temporary.” Say what you want about A, but he’s a smart guy, and stopped talking and offered me a drink at that point.  That was the end of the conversation.

 

I had intended to talk to A about these things and clarify what he meant in both situations on the way home, but then my dad died.  So instead of working through my emotions and twisty bits with A, I got to work through my emotions and twisty bits with my dad dying.  I’d prefer the former. So here I am a week later, trying to wade through the rather deep emotions I feel about these two things. I think they are wrapped up together in some dysfunctional way, and all come back to me feeling a loss of security in what I thought we had in our relationship that maybe isn’t as strong and committed as I thought.

    When I hear “temporary”, I hear “disposable”, “insignificant”, “unimportant”, “uncommitted”, or as the definition states: “lasting for a limited period of time, not permanent”.  None of these descriptors are things I would use to describe my feelings or relationship with A, ever, and it really, deeply, hurts me. Truthfully, no relationship is permanent. Lord knows that I am a shining example of “permanent” relationships that became temporary.  In the last year, my marriage ended, I cut my sister out of my life, and my dad died. However, in the context of A’s comparison, it was directly said that his relationship with me was temporary and the relationship with his wife was permanent. I understand and appreciate the difference between a relationship with nesting partner and kids and the obligations, financial, family, and lifestyle in nature that come with it.  I get the difference between his obligations to his wife and family and business and his obligations to me, because despite any ceiling on our escalation, we have obligations to each other, they just come in the form of time, priority, respect, support, and our dom/sub dynamic. It just never occurred to me that I was temporary. Add to this the cruel insult and I feel….. I don’t know? Disappointed? Insignificant? Unimportant?  Like what we have built together and what it means to me versus what it means to him is a really scary imbalance that makes me want to curl up in a ball in my fuzzy blanket fortress and protect my heart, while I know in that same heart that it’s too late to protect anything, because he’s touched every dark corner. This is especially so after he was there for me when dad died, to hold me and support me.

    One of the first conversations I had with A online was about how words have power.  I, truthfully, thought he was a bit wacky at the time, but we’ve had a version of this conversation many times and I grasp his meaning a lot better now.  The premise of this argument is simple, an attack with words has more capacity for sustained pain than any physical attack. My argument often focused on chronic physical or emotional abuse, not isolated events.  There’s a good example of acute pain from words and acute physical pain in my example though. I still have some pretty amazing bruises from last Friday night on my body. They don’t hurt at all anymore (we’ll ignore that they were consensually obtained and that in any other situation, there would be emotional pain completely interwoven with the physical pain I received, although that probably makes it a more adequate analogy), but one word, and the subsequent attempt at justification of that word plus one other word a day later, those two words hurt me in a way I can’t quite process and move past a week later.  It really hurts. And it really sucks.

    Words do have power.  

Last weekend

I just got back from a weekend away with A.  It was amazing in the way that only time alone with someone you love can be.  We were alone together where we watched TV for hours in silence, where I sat on a balcony and listened to my audiobook for an hour in the morning sun while he slept, where we showered 2-3 times a day together in the most amazing steam shower, and where we had more sex in three days that we usually have in three months. Where we got to wake up next to each other and fall asleep in each other’s arms.  Where we were able to extend a kinky scene over days instead of just a few hours. That is is exactly what we, or rather, he, did.

    Our first night, we both needed the connection of the previous week apart had been, so it was a pretty standard Friday date night.  We had dinner and drinks and hours chatting. Then amazing sex that was everything I, and I think, he, needed. The next morning, he laid out a bit of his plan. That in the morning, he would go easy on me, let me orgasm, but then after that, the control was going to begin. We had amazing morning sex and a fantastic steam shower, and then sat on the deck of our suite, I had a bath in our jet tub, we day drank, and then we watched TV for hours.    I had asked for some extended orgasm control and more impact play than usual, and he over-delivered in so many ways. He tied me to the bed and fucked my throat. He beat my ass with the OH SO bitey cane, flogged me with our amazing new Irish knot, and all the other different flogging implements we have. My ass was red, with distinct marks that were OH SO pretty. My boobs were bruised from being bitten and flogged and bitten some more. It was so hot.  He fucked me, but didn’t let me cum. He edged me with the hitachi. He had me begging for orgasm. He denied me. I tried to finish him with my mouth, but alas, he stopped me after a while and said it wouldn’t happen. We had another steam shower, we cuddled on the couch and watched silly TV shows while he edged me for hours. Literally, hours. Hitachi to my clit, dildos inside me, and me shaking I was so near orgasm and him stopping at the crucial moment. Over and over and over.  

We went for supper and returned to our room and we returned to our couch position. He returned to edging me, promising me an orgasm when we went to bed for the night.    All of a sudden, I realized he was falling asleep. (As the hitachi made it’s way from my clit to my inner thigh….) He asked me to wake him up an hour later, “then he would be drunk still but not so tired”.  I laughed, said he wouldn’t wake up and he was passed out about 10 seconds later. I had another bath in the whirlpool, chatted online with S and some men on OKC, and then took some silly selfies with a passed out A and went to sleep too.  I was ridiculously turned on, so sleeping wasn’t that easy. The next morning, I sat on the balcony and listened to my audiobook after setting him up with coffee, advil, and water at his bedside. I came in and found him awake, so teased him about my unmet needs.  What followed was the most amazing sex, where he edged me perfectly. To the point where I was shaking and begging and near tears because I was so close but he just wouldn’t let me pass the precipice. Not to mention that the cane, crop, and other floggers all came out and I was already “enjoying” the intense pain and sensation that was the combination of endorphins, adrenaline, and complete submission of myself and my body to his desires.  Then he did something I didn’t know he had the ability to do and made his control of me and that much hotter. He managed to continue to fuck me and cum without me having and orgasm. This is not something that is easy, preventing me from having an orgasm. At least he was human and told me it was difficult to do.

We went for breakfast, where we laughed because sitting was hard for me to do, and my nipples hurt just sitting still, and I was still swollen and aching (ACHING!!!!) with need.  He was his smug, sexy self, which didn’t help my desire dampen. After breakfast, we returned to our room and turned on silly TV. I complained about my unmet needs and the next thing I knew, I was being edged again, for hours.  Eventually he flogged me with all the implements while I lay on the couch, and he bent me over the edge of the couch and flogged me more. I was on the verge of crying again, when he let up on me. Eventually, I ended up tied up, wrists to ankles with little slack, and then the real control began.  He flogged me, brought out the violet wand, and the Hitachi. He had me begging, near tears, and so full of adrenaline and endorphins that I found myself lost. I was completely lost in subspace. I was probably only capable of brain stem function. Subspace is the most amazing thing for me. I stop thinking about anything.  My brain is only aware of the intense sensations I’m feeling. Talk to me and I’m delayed in responding and hardly can word. As I was completely engulfed in subspace, A climbed on top of me and put his cock in my mouth. This is not normally a thing that requires thinking from me, but as he did, I found my nose covered by his balls.  I found myself suddenly panicked that I couldn’t breathe. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to realize that I just needed to tip my head back slightly to uncover my nose. Immediately, my brain was off. I was engulfed by the sensation of that amazing cock in my mouth and the hitachi on my clit. Of him biting my abdomen and thrusting into my mouth.  In fact, I have to really focus to even remember the details, because the sensation was so overwhelming. Then he fucked me. He fucked me hard and edged me until I begged. Then he let me orgasm. He untied me and gave me my “freedom”, and then let go. I came and came and came and came. I came so hard he shushed me because I was so loud and then I came again.  I destroyed the sheets with my many orgasms. I asked him to cum, but he had spent so much time pleasing me that he couldn’t. I collapsed. He turned on the shower for me and after an indeterminate time in bed, I headed into the shower under his direction, alone, with the promise he would join me.

To say I was overwhelmed, both during and afterwards, is an understatement.  I was so far away from myself that I was, if I’m honest, scared. I was trembling and relieved and so very happy and so very scared about how much power I gave away to A.  During that whole time, I was completely his. To do with what he wanted. Had he asked me to fight back, I’m not sure I could have. I was relieved and thankful and deeply in love with the man who took that power and used it so responsibly.  Who took me so close to the edge but knew exactly how to read me and change directions or slow down or increase things to push my limits or maintain them.

As I stood in the shower, I was near tears and confused as to why.  I’m not exactly free with tears at the best of times, and certainly not after mind-blowing orgasms given to me by someone I love deeply.  When A joined me, I hugged him tightly and he asked if I was ‘back’ yet. I wasn’t. I couldn’t think, I wasn’t ‘myself’, I was still submissive and needing of protection and love and care that I am not normally demanding of.  A is good at reading me. He asked me several more times if I was ‘back’ yet, and each time, with some confusion, I said ‘no’. I was shocked it took me so long to come back. We cuddled and he held me and I slowly, oh so achingly slowly, made my way to the surface.  We finally left our hotel room, two days into our weekend away, and about halfway to our tourist destination, I realized I was as ‘me’ as I could be.

As we drove, I was trying to figure out what I needed when we returned to the nakedness that was the mainstay of our hotel room stay.  I had decided that EITHER I needed for him to take me completely over the edge and to flog me to the point where I actually cried and let it all out OR for our connection to be about as vanilla as we get, which, by most people’s definition is not vanilla.  As I stewed on when to talk to him about it, I became more and more relaxed. The energy completely drained from me. It’s impossible to describe how it felt to be completely comfortable, completely loved, and completely happy with exactly where I was in the moment.  I don’t want to say things full of hyperbole, but the fact is, I haven’t been as relaxed and content as I was on Sunday for as long as I remember. It’s probably been over 15 years, but it makes me sad to try to figure that out. In a first, I fell asleep, completely cuddled up to A, feeling completely safe and happy with the perfection that had been our weekend to that point.  At some point, I moved to the bed while he finished our movie, and when he came to bed, I realized that I needed him to not push me at all. I wasn’t ready to be pushed to the point of tears, for him to take me there, or see me breaking down. I needed him to connect with me and be with me and I needed it to be everything that means everything to US. That was exactly what it was.  It was hard and intense and full of connection and perfection, but there was no power exchange and no submission. It was us, loving each other, in the most basic way. It was perfection.

    The next morning, we were back to us.  He edged me, told me I wouldn’t orgasm until after breakfast, and then forced me to orgasm until I tapped out before breakfast.  As we got ready for breakfast to arrive, I was anticipating our next sexual episode. In the weirdest turn of events, we never got to have sex that morning, because instead, he got the ugly cry that I had decided he didn’t need to give me the day before, because as breakfast arrived, I found out that my dad died and the shock hit me like a ton of bricks. A was amazing.  He was the strong arms that held me tightly and made me feel loved and the loving shoulder to cry on, as I realized my dad had died and all the consequences of that fact. He was perfect. He cracked inappropriate jokes and made me laugh instead of cry. Then he held me as I cried. He held my hand, stroked my hair, and held me so tight as we navigated through it all together.  A real Dom is exactly what you need in the moment.

 

Passive aggression

Passive aggression is when your husband blames all financial issues on you because he hasn’t participated in any bill payments, household shopping, or budgeting in the 14 years you’ve been together.

Passive aggression is when you get in an accident with your boyfriend and you husband tells you to do whatever you need to recover and then when you go out that evening with your other boyfriend, he feels disregarded because you didn’t choose him.  Even though he didn’t once say that he wanted or needed you home with him.

Passive aggression is him saying he’ll get back to me when I ask about a parenting switch or scheduling detail to do with the children, and he just never responds.  When I remind him, if it’s too soon, he says “Sorry, I don’t know the plans yet”, or “Sorry, it’s too late, I have plans now.”

Passive aggression is him complaining in advance that I won’t want to give him “anything from our shared possessions”, and then complaining when I drop them off at his house. To the point where he said that me returning his possessions was harrassment and that he would call the police.  Then he told me I was a terrible person.

Passive aggression is using guilt and shame to pressure me for sex.  Expecting sexual favours but only reciprocating based on satisfaction.  Linking his expression of love to how often he came due to my actions. Then guilting me when I wasn’t attracted to him anymore because our sex life was a very unsexy power struggle that involved manipulation and degradation.

Passive aggression is refusing to direct message the nanny I employ for childcare during my parenting time, despite the fact that she is there for 90% of the transitions.

Passive aggression is never once seeing the work that needs to be done around the house, and then calling me controlling when I ask him to do things like mow the lawn.

Passive aggression is complaining to the kids about the fact that they are with a nanny during my parenting time, not acknowledging that our parenting arrangement is set up the way it is to accommodate his work schedule, so he wasn’t responsible for astronomical childcare costs himself, and that the kids would have much more one-on-one time with me if we had an alternate schedule that accommodated my Monday to Friday job.

Passive aggression is complaining to the kids that they are too much work or he doesn’t get enough down time because he only has them on his days off.  Ignoring the fact that everyone else has to parent on their days off too.

Passive aggression is kids being kids and him telling them that they are responsible for him yelling or being angry, “because they shouldn’t be behaving this way when he just got off a night shift/hasn’t had a day to himself/just had a bad day at work/has to deal with so many kids all the time/wants to spend time with other adults.”

Passive aggression is refusing to pay the child support he owes me on the first of the month, despite the fact that he signed a document stating he would do so, simply because I originally provided him a verbal agreement that allowed him to pay on the 15th, even though I provided him written notice of revoking that agreement three months ago.

Passive aggression is him spending our entire relationship criticizing me for having feelings.  For attacking me when something upset me. For minimizing my hurt, joy, or otherwise. For making my life changes about him.  Like when I went on antidepressants for postpartum depression and the whole three weeks of adjusting were a constant barrage of complaints about how hard it was on him.  Or how me taking my dream job made it harder for him because he had to solo parent on his days off. Or how getting the nanny was a bad idea because the benefit was mine.  Or how I was a bad mom because I chose my career instead of being a stay at home mom (something that made me miserable).

Passive aggression is never respecting a boundary.  Be it me asking for time alone and him breaking down a door to the bathroom to make me listen or turning on the light minutes after I went to sleep to force me to listen to him because he’d “been home with kids all day and I owed it to him to listen to him” and then him being upset when I responded strongly and negatively to those behaviours and making himself out to be the victim; or when he repeatedly and often insulted me, destroyed my things, or tried to destroy me verbally and excused his behaviour because he didn’t feel like he was getting what he needed from our relationship.  

Passive aggression is strategically undermining my reputation and instilling hate in the poly population in our community because he can’t have a conversation with me where he admits that both he and his girlfriend are at fault for some things and that their cooperation and compromise are required to move forward.  In his mind, it is all my fault.

Passive aggression is abuse.

I was a victim of passive aggression for the first 40 years of my life.  My dad is a perfect model of the passive aggressive manipulator who is always the victim.  He’s never taken responsibility for anything in his life. I married a smarter version of my dad, thinking that he wasn’t like him, but later realizing that he was exactly like him, just smarter and more manipulative.  I spent years thinking I was a bad person, because I asked my husband to contribute to household responsibilities. Scheduling wasn’t a thing we could do, because it was me “taking away his freedom”. Splitting responsibilities wasn’t something we could do, because I “would hold it over his head if he didn’t get something done”.  Trying to schedule a talk to tackle some of the challenges in our relationship wasn’t possible because he felt attacked when I asked him to look at his behaviour. Convincing him to see a marriage counsellor was so hard and he spent weeks complaining and picking fights trying to get out of it, because he felt he would be unfairly portrayed.  Just getting him out to social engagements was an exercise in futility, because he often made it so miserable to go out together, just leading up to the engagement, that I felt it wasn’t worth taking him with me.

I’ve spent the last year unpacking these things.  Realizing that I am not, in fact, a bad mother because I have a career and have hired a nanny who lovingly takes care of my children when I can’t.  Realizing that I am not a bad person or a control freak because I expected my husband to participate in our life and the household we built. Realizing that I was not the root of all financial issues just because I was the only one responsible for organizing child care, shopping for the household, and managing all the children’s activities, education, and needs.  Realizing that it’s OK to ask for help and expect it to be given because my partners actually want to support me and that I don’t have to be a solitary island of strength, but someone who can show weaknesses and accept support without being an inconvenience or them making me feel like I’m inconveniencing them. Realizing that sex is not a weapon or an expectation but something that you give freely and readily, and is mind-blowingly amazing to the point that you would rather do nothing else when you have a partner that returns all the communication, advances, love, and touch with enthusiasm and acceptance.  

More than that, realizing what I did that was wrong.  I enabled his behaviour and rose to the occasion. Every. Single. Time.  When it became harder for him to push my boundaries, he pushed harder, and every time I responded.  I responded and escalated and when I did, even when justified, he had a reason to play the victim. I reacted inappropriately and in ways I am not proud of.  I have very specifically and thoroughly apologized for these things, although an apology doesn’t ever undo an action. I chose to step off the emotional roller coaster that was the breakdown of our marriage about 8 months too late.   I should have left when he told me I was less useful that an HIV infected sharps container.

I did, and often still do, communicate like I would with someone who can be direct and honest and work with others, and I find myself surprised, every time, that he is incapable of communicating without trying to control the situation, me, or add conflict that doesn’t need to be there.  I’m working on trying to figure out how to communicate minimally and effectively so that I can accomplish what I need to for my children’s happiness and still maintain my own. This goal is very challenging, because every hill is the one to die on in his world and I have to walk a line between being a doormat and demanding my boundaries be respected when they should be.  

Right now, my eldest daughter is heartbroken as she tries to navigate dealing with her dad’s less than stellar communication style.  She is a child who needs calm time and reflection to come around to a place where she can discuss her behaviour. He is a man who needs to demand and power struggle everyone into submission.  They are butting heads, he is blaming her for his reactions, and she just wants to avoid him all together. This isn’t an option. My heart breaks for her. I feel guilty as hell because I was the one who chose him to procreate with.  I am free of him, as much as I can be, but she never will be. I am powerless to help her deal with this at present, other than to hold her, tell her it’s not her fault, and remind her that I am proud of her and she is not the person that he makes her feel like she is.  

Every time polyamory comes up, communication is at the forefront of the conversation.  This is as it should be. Communication is everything in polyamory. I’ve become a much better communicator because of polyamory.  I am direct, strong, unapologetic, and very loving and accepting. I have become a complete and total stickler for my boundaries, to the point where some people feel I’m a bitch because I don’t let them push me.  I have no regrets for this. No one should ever violate a well-expressed boundary. When they do, there needs to be consequences. Those consequences usually, in my experience, involve a whole lot of self respect, self-reflection, and accountability.  It’s not easy to stand up for yourself and demand to be treated appropriately, and, in my experience, you lose friends when you do. It’s worth it. Completely and totally worth it.

Red

In the days preceding my last date with A, I spent some time anticipating our date.  I had received a rather large box full of toys that I had ordered online and wanted to try them all.  I also wanted some limits tested. I asked for exactly what I wanted and A, like the gentleman he is, obliged.  In retrospect, I probably asked for too much. After a long time flogging me and forcing me to orgasm over and over, I was tied up, kneeling, with a spreader bar holding my ankles apart and my arms behind my back.  He flogged me hard. I had candle wax poured over me front and back. I sucked his cock. It was hot. Really fucking hot. Then I felt nauseated and dizzy and had to stop. Immediately. I suppose it would have been a good time to use my colours and if I had, I would have been saying “red”, but all I could say was “I need to stop, I’m dizzy and don’t feel well”, and I broke out of my arm restraints and sat down because I couldn’t do anything else.  A undid my legs and I crawled, covered in wax, into bed. I was scared. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I couldn’t articulate my feelings, I only understand them now, in retrospect. It’s pretty clear to me now that I had some form of shock, but at the time, I couldn’t process anything, my logical brain just wasn’t functioning. I remember A talking to me, but don’t remember what I said in return, but then he did the most amazing thing. He cuddled up to me; he spooned me and wrapped his arms around me tightly.  It was like I was falling through space with nothing to grip on to, struggling to breathe, and then suddenly I was surrounded by an anchor that kept me safe and warm and because of it I was able to return into my body and reset. A, who had, minutes before, been very much in control of every sensation that brought me to the place where my mind shut off and my body took over in a scary way, instantly became my place of calm.

The first thing I remember A saying to me is “You’re clammy, I think you’re in shock”.  I couldn’t really respond at the time, but now that I look back, I think I was in shock.  I was dizzy, nauseated, hands tingly, shaky, and scared. Really scared. What I suspect happened was a mix of adrenaline from the pain of the flogging and heat of the wax and endorphins from all the orgasms.  I think I hit fight or flight mode and my body shut down because it couldn’t reconcile how much I was enjoying things with how much pain I was experiencing. Once A wrapped his arms around me, my body chose the path it wanted to go down, my brain rebooted, and the adrenaline disappeared.  The endorphins must have stayed, because I was instantly turned on again. It’s amazing to me that as soon as I was grounded and calmed by A’s touch, I wanted to be engulfed in it again.

It all happened so fast, I’m not sure A realized what was happening to me. Truthfully, I’m not sure I realized what was happening to me.  I know that I didn’t have time to feel anything other than fear and then safety. There’s something truly amazing in that. In my past, there have been times that I have laid in bed next to a partner scared or sad or overwhelmed and been as alone as if I was the only person on the planet.  Times where I was afraid, crying, and desperate for someone to hold me, and that person was in the room but unavailable. I wasn’t even capable of asking for what I needed the other night with A and he did the only thing that would help me process and be me again. It was so fast that an outside observer could have missed it, but sometimes the big moments are like that, they flash right by.  I suspect he did it without really thinking. Perhaps his default it to hold the people he loves until they find calm or maybe he holds people when he doesn’t know what else to do. That doesn’t change what it meant to me though. Having someone provide me safety and calm when I don’t have the ability to ask for it is pretty much the greatest gift anyone can give me. A and I spend a lot of time joking and minimizing the meaning of our relationship.  I’ve written several versions of the end of this post and each sounds flippant and catch phrase-y. I can’t minimize what A means to me and I can’t shout it from the rooftops either. What I can do is not do either, and sit back and be happy with what I have. I am so very happy with what I have.