“You’re not saying anything.”
“I’m a sex toy that caters. I don’t figure I get much say.”
Z’s face goes slack. Anger, restraint. “Do you have any idea how insulting it is for you to say that to me?”
I do, and I regret it. “Defense mechanism.”
Too many words, too late at night. They both say they care. I deflect. There’s mention of romantic attachment. I acknowledge, question relevance. I don’t trust hierarchical relationship structures. The Techie doesn’t say anything. Z says she doesn’t know how else to practice poly. I’m trying not to shut down, failing. This can be a conversation, but not at six in the morning, not after four hours of this. I accept the term “dating,” if tentatively. There’s more to discuss.
Spouse is furious. He hates the Techie. He cries, threatens, manipulates, cries. The reaction surprises me. It’s too strong. I can’t manage empathy; I don’t understand. It hurts to comfort him while he attacks. It hurts that he sees self-defense as an attack. I’m frightened and shut down, curled into the closet messaging strangers for support. Wondering why I ever thought human interaction was worth the work.
Two days, more than twelve hours of difficult conversation. I dredged up ancient history with Spouse. I felt forced into it, but no less guilty. Still wondering whether human interaction is worth the work.
Today’s been stable. Work, meetings, listening to Nightvale radio. No difficult conversation. But stress hasn’t gone down. I’m not certain it will.
I do this to myself. Poor choices, I guess.