This is me being awesome

So last night I had a minor breakthrough in terms of jealousy. It wasn’t some big revelation or anything. It was just a pretty mundane situation that didn’t make me jealous. When I got home, I thought about it and I realized that same situation would have been a huge. fucking. deal. just a year ago. The fact that it was easy makes me feel justified in all the work I’ve put into non-monogamy and my mental health because it shows me that it is paying off.

We hang out with a BDSM group, and last night there was a get together. Mike had no previous plans to do anything with anyone but me, but we had sort of tentatively planned an impact play scene. One thing led to another and instead of the impact play scene he ended up fire cupping me and a friend of ours together. So, not a big deal. But in the past, I would have been stressed and jealous and resentful that my impact play scene didn’t happen. Instead I relaxed and had fun and then when we got home we rescheduled the beating for another time.

I learned a couple of lessons here. One is that I can slowly overcome jealousy. I’m really proud of myself and have renewed confidence in my ability to be confident and OK. The other is that things are just so much easier and more fun when I can manage my jealousy. If I can make the choice to be fine with things, my life will be so much better.

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Taking a break from new partners

So for a while now I’ve been feeling pretty “meh” about new partners. I took a break for several months from people other than Mike, and then I tried to meet people. Nothing has come of that yet and I think that I hurried into it too soon. My earlier break from other people was following a couple of bad experiences and during a bout of really bad depression. I was both gun-shy and too much in my own head to really be looking for anyone else. Right now my depression is much better, but I think I’m still not really up for having other partners. I don’t know how long that feeling will last, but I think there are some things I need to work on with myself first.

I’ve had some trouble in the past finding partners who want what I want. I want a friend. Preferably a close friend. And I want sex or BDSM play or both. But I don’t want a lifelong relationship or to fall in love or to replace my primary partner. It can be hard finding that, and in the past I’ve ended up feeling a little used or uncomfortable with people who had the sex part down but not the friend part. I’ve had trouble feeling vulnerable with people and ended up feeling like I got too invested in them or been disappointed or something. But at the same time I try to err more on the side of too casual than too serious, because I am not interested in a romantic (as I define it) relationship with anyone but Mike and I would hate to feel like I had toyed with someone’s emotions.

There is one guy in my life that I’m making an exception for. He’s a close friend of both of us and he and I occasionally play with him. Because of a combination of our friendship, his personality and our existing relationship, being with him just doesn’t come with the emotional baggage I feel when I think of adding new people to my life. In fact, I had to laugh at myself because I had just decided to take a break from looking for other partners and the very next day I was making plans with him.

Mostly I just feel like I really need to work on myself before I add anything that could complicate my life. I need to make sure that I’m doing well in school. I need to exercise more and feel better about my body. I need to feel better about myself in general and work up my confidence. I need to be a better version of myself before I’m strong enough to put myself out there, and if I work on my inner self I’ll have more to offer anyway.

The good news here is that I feel fine about this. There are a lot of little self-improvement projects I have on my plate right now and I feel positive about them. I don’t really have the desire to add more partners to my life right now. I don’t feel threatened by the idea of Mike being with other people, so I don’t think I’m becoming monogamous, but I do want to really focus on him and our relationship as part of my push to improve my current life. Once I’m in a more stable place I will be back on the market again, I’m sure. But right now it would be too much for me.

My feminist rant for the day

This has nothing to do with my usual topics, but today I am filled with rage and annoyance and this is my blog, so there.

I am so damn sick of hearing every feminist conversation about something women regularly have to put up with from men devolved into “yeah, but what about when women do that? Why don’t you complain about that?” Ninety nine times out of 100 the answer is “because it’s not something that systematically happens as part of a general pattern of oppression.” I don’t want to excuse bad things women do, and God knows I would love to see people in general behaving less like assholes, but this is just a classic derail. People of any gender do bad things, but when I talk about the ways the patriarchy excuses certain types of offensive male behavior towards women, you can’t just flip that around to disprove what I’m talking about.

Today I saw a Facebook conversation about a woman retaliating against a man who sent her an unsolicited dick pic by forwarding it to his mom. I’m not going to judge the woman’s behavior here, but I think we can all agree that the guy was out of line, and I’ll admit to indulging in a bit of a revenge fantasy where I do that to about 70 percent of the guys who have messaged me on OK Cupid. Anyway, several women jumped in to say how much they hate it when men they don’t know or barely know force their nudity on them like that, and then a dude commented “Why not unsolicited nudes in general? While I’m sure men are the main gender that do this women can be just as bad.” You know why not? Because in our society, there is no widespread issue of women feeling entitled to men’s sexual attention; there is no widespread problem with women using sex to keep men in their place and there is no society-wide rush to excuse women of sex-based violence that starts with pushing small boundaries like this.

I 100 percent agree that it is unacceptable for women to send vulva pics to people who did not consent to them (or insert whatever other sexist behavior you are talking about), but it’s pretty ridiculous to insist on gender neutral language when we are specifically talking about sexism or a phenomenon that is based on sexism.

ETA: I want to clarify that I actually am friends with the guy who posted that and I don’t think he is sexist or a bad person. It was just something that illustrated an issue that I am generally irritated with.

Self care day, yay!

Today is one of the rare days when Mike and I are both free and home and have nothing to take us away from each other all day. We’re hanging out some and being productive some and also doing our own thing but in the same room some. I’m treating today as a much needed day to devote to taking good care of myself.

But today has me thinking about how I can use my time with Mike as a lesson on how to treat myself when he is gone, especially when he’s gone for a reason that is difficult for me. Being more OK with myself is a general project of mine, but part of that is having the self-confidence and internal resources to be able to stop looking at my primary partner’s time with other girls as a threat or a competition and start looking at it as a nice thing they are doing for me by giving me some time to take care of myself and be alone. 

Of course, that is easier said than done, but for me, part of it is having a plan so that I know I will not be spending the entire time watching dinosaur documentaries on Netflix and feeling sorry for myself. I’d rather save “Walking With Dinosaurs” for a time I can appreciate it anyway. 

Here are some of the things I want to do more of. The general theme here is “shit that will make me feel like I am a good/productive/interesting human being.”

  • Make time to spend with friends
  • Drink tea while reading a book
  • Write a novel-length Pride and Prejudice fan fiction and publish it online
  • Take my dog on a very long walk
  • Prepare a home-cooked meal 
  • Clean my living space
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Jog
  • Lift weights
  • Practice origami
  • Make myself a gin and tonic and drink it by the pool
  • Get caught up with homework or reading for school
  • I did not mean to rhyme there, but that’s OK, it’s cool 😉

 

Talking about open relationships and “I could never do that”

Today the Internet led me to this piece called “Shut the Hell Up About My Open Relationship.” Don’t bother to read the comments, and don’t bother to read the thing on polyamory she links to. Anyway, I enjoyed it to a point.

Unlike the author, I don’t mind talking about my open relationship. In fact, I love talking about it. When I talk to other non-monogamous people I can learn from their perspective and experience, and when I talk to monogamous or curious people I can both educate them on something that may be new (I love hearing about new and different things and sometimes project that curiosity onto others) and I can solidify my own thoughts by being forced to put them into words. And when monogamous people are hearing about things like this for the first time, I sort of expect them to have the predictable questions about jealousy (which, to be fair, is something that I’m pretty concerned and preoccupied with) and sexual safety (ditto). I’m not surprised if they’re a little freaked out by the concept, although many of them don’t really give a shit or are actively supportive.

But at the same time I could relate to the author’s annoyance and amusement at some of the common responses she gets to the disclosure of her open relationship. The “you must be a slut so I can totally fuck you now, right?” response being one of the more obviously irritating. 

My favorite is this: 

“THAT’S, LIKE, OBVIOUSLY AMAZING FOR YOU GUYS, BUT I COULD NEVER DO THAT”
This one is the most annoying to me, because it’s so aggressively passive-aggressive. I get that my relationship set up is confusing and maybe a bit scary (because it’s different and change is hard), but I’m not asking you to prise open your relationship. I’m not even asking you whether or not you would be interested in doing something like this. We’re doing it, sure, but this isn’t some kind of large-scale conversion project.

We’re just… literally doing it. Getting all condescending about how it’s sooo cute that we’re doing something different, but reasserting that it’s definitely not something you would ever do yourself, is just you being a real square and quietly policing the status quo, whether you’re aware that’s what you’re doing or not. So stop it, please.

This is by far the most annoying response I get about my relationship. “Oh, I would never do that,” “That’s nice, but I could never be with a man who doesn’t commit to just me,” or even “Well that sounds great for you, but I couldn’t handle it,” all manage to reaffirm the person’s belief that what I’m doing is bad without saying it outright. When I tell you that this is what I do, I am in no way asking you to join me. I’m just letting you know, the same way I would tell you what religion I am or what I’m studying in school. It’s a fact about me that, for whatever reason, seems pertinent to the conversation.

When someone says something like “I could never do that” to me, I mentally translate it to “I’m glad you’re happy despite the fact that your relationship model is wrong, but please don’t try to infect normal people like me with your depravity.” And coming from a stranger on the Internet, that’s pretty easy to shake off. But coming from someone I know IRL whom I have trusted enough to share something that I know is not popular with, that fucking hurts. 

What it comes down to is the fact that my personal choices are just that: mine. The fact that I’m non-monogamous, kinky, dating a dude, sleeping (sometimes) with men and women*, not planning to have children, the proud owner of a dog but not a cat, etc., etc. have absolutely no bearing on what I expect anyone else in my life (except in some of those cases my own primary partner) to do. By making my life a reflection on your own, you betray a lack of confidence in your own choices while simultaneously shitting all over mine. 

I feel like this post got away from me a bit and became more of a rant than I intended, but apparently I had some anger I needed to vent about so I’m just going to leave it.

 

*I feel like I’m veering into somewhat less choice-y territory here, but for me (and just me), I could conceivably choose to date a woman instead of a man or to not act on my sexual attraction for one gender. Please don’t take this to mean I’m cool with people who say “I don’t mind if you’re gay, I just think it’s wrong to act on those desires.” That’s not at all what I mean.

Information overload

I’ve had a lot of emotional processing to do lately. Mike has started making arrangements to see a new partner. They haven’t quite been able to get their schedules to coordinate, though. That means I’ve been in a shitty limbo area where I want to adjust to it but I feel like it’s hanging over my head. At first when he told me I was pretty upset. It wasn’t standard jealousy, though. There was some social awkwardness because he wanted to play with her at a kink party we would both be at and I didn’t feel comfortable with it (I know, I know, but baby steps). I offered to stay home so he could play with her, and I was sad to miss the party but otherwise fine with it, but he said he’d rather just do a scene with me and meet up with her in private another time. To him, that was the end of it and it was no big deal, but I worked myself into a frenzy of social anxiety over it for a while. We talked it out and ended up having a nice time at the party. I was worried she would be mad at me but she wasn’t.

Now I suspect that when they actually do play it will either be anti-climactic (for me, not for them) or that it will suck majorly but then as soon as it’s over I’ll be OK with this girl. She is a really nice person and I already liked her, so I’m at least pleased/comfortable with his choice of partner in this instance. But things were complicated by the unfortunate timing of him telling me about their plans just as my depression was dipping into a bad spot. I think I promised to write a nice, long, super-insightful post about it, but right now it doesn’t feel urgent or important, so this will have to do and I will try to get something more profound out of the experience when he actually does start to see her.

Also, one of my friends got a call from a former sex partner informing him that the partner had recently had genital warts that turned out to be HPV. Since this is my blog and not his, that’s all I feel comfortable saying about his situation, but I’ve been trying to support him while also dealing with some of my own anxieties surrounding sexual health. Talking to him about it and knowing that I’m about due for my regular testing has stirred up some nerves. By a lucky coincidence, this post over at Captain Awkward’s blog is a really beautiful piece that is technically about dating with HSV but is really so much more widely applicable. It soothed some of the anxiety I was having over my friend and I sent it to him and about three other people for various reasons.