Tag Archives: fail

In which I fail, and fail, and fail

“Did you want to try to have sex, before I go?”

I don’t know. That is, I don’t, but I don’t know why I don’t. I’m frustrated and lonely and I crave sexual touch. It’s been months. “I don’t know. No, I think–” I’m inarticulate, nervous. Is it going to be a fight, if we don’t? Is it going to be a fight if we do?

“It doesn’t have to be like standard PIV. You could fuck me, or try punching or electricity. If you need to feel in control.”

My gut twists. I don’t want, not at all. It’s visceral, shocking. I am not like this. I’m babbling. I say definitely no but I’m trying to explain and it doesn’t make sense. I have to say it three times before he understands.

“What about just kissing? You like kissing.”

I do. It’s been months. I feel pressured and miserable and scared mostly, afraid because there’s a delay between reaction and reason. I can feel it, the gap. What I want/don’t want is inchoate and the words I give it feel like excuses, like lies.

I’m trying. I don’t want to say no because I want to want it, because I think maybe the fear will dissipate and excitement can take its place if I just try. Like riding a roller coaster.

It doesn’t work, the kissing. I try. My body wants to fold into itself, there’s no enjoyment, but I try. And then I can’t. I bury my face in his shoulder and apologize.

Questions. “Why” and “what’s going on” and on and on. It feels like pressure. I feel like I deserve it. I snap at him. I don’t want questions I just want to curl up quiet and alone. He deserves answers, it isn’t fair, but my mind isn’t clear enough. So I snap. So we fight.

He only suggested it because I said I was frustrated the night before. He thought I was pressuring him. I thought he was pressuring me. He pulls apart my words and calls them inconsistent. I don’t see it, don’t know how to explain.

This is what I mean by not working.

Scenes from a Break-Up

Z and I broke up. It wasn’t pretty. The conversation followed a couple of weeks of silence and a passive-aggressive facebook post, so it was obvious where it was going to lead. Still. It wasn’t pretty.

Z: “I assumed you were lying and trying to manipulate me.”

I understand this fear. I don’t understand how it excuses her lying to and manipulating me. She feels paranoia and mistrust, she decided it was true, she decided not to say it, and she decided to treat me differently based on those feelings. She decided I was lying to her. That I wasn’t invested in a relationship with her. She closed off to the relationship in response to that fear. She didn’t tell me. It’s long standing (I’ve written about it before), and we’d discussed it more than once at length.

Z: “So if I think you’re manipulative, I shouldn’t stay in a relationship, but you don’t trust either of us. Shouldn’t you not be in a relationship?”

She may be right. My trust issues are severe. I’ve hidden things I shouldn’t, and a part of the problem that led to this most recent mess came out of that. I wasn’t being open about my mental state or the effects of illness. I’m not being open about them here, even, and you folks don’t know who I am. I hide in closets sometimes, or in my car. It’s probably not healthy.

The difference, as I see it, is how we respond to fear. I am always afraid. Anyone who is allowed to get close is close enough to cause hurt, and that thought is never far away. I try not to make decisions based on fear. If I have to–if I can’t think straight anymore and terror becomes certainty and the floor falls out–it’s not an excuse to attack. It’s not an excuse to lie. It means I’m leaving.

Z: “Every time you say you want someone else, what I hear is ‘not enough, not enough, not enough.'”

This wasn’t directed towards me. It’s not the first time she’s said it. Not enough. That may be what she hears, but that’s not what is being said. I’ve always found this line of thinking particularly childish and narcissistic. “If same-sex marriages are legitimized, my heterosexual marriage means less.” “If you’re bi, you can only half-like me.” “If you want other partners, it’s because you don’t want me.” No. No. NO. Look, I get that we’re told to believe this basically from birth, because that’s a major tenet of the theory of One True Love. In reality? “I want to be in another relationship also” doesn’t say she’s not enough. It doesn’t mention her at all. The need to make herself the subject of a sentence or topic that has nothing to do with her is kind of baffling.

Also, she was dating both of us. Does she translate her own behavior the same way? Were we each not enough for her? Or did she never consider us to be in a relationship?

Z: “You’re saying this is all my fault.”

I wasn’t, and I don’t believe that. “I’m saying your choices and your behavior are your fault. And my behavior is mine.” If she doesn’t tell me there’s a problem, she’s not giving me the option of addressing it. But that doesn’t erase anything I’ve done wrong, of course not.

Me: “You’re important  to me. I’d like to know we could still spend time together, but I don’t see how a romantic relationship could work.”

Z: “It can’t.”

I respect the hell out of her for being blunt there. I should have been, and I chickened out; softened it to uncertainty even though there was no doubt that this needed to end.  Maybe I felt I’d been harsh and unkind enough in the hours leading to this, but more likely it was plain cowardice. It is not kind to leave the burden of saying what needs said on someone else, and I did.

 

As we left it, she and the Techie are still together. In theory, so are he and I. I’m wary: if she can’t be happy with polyamory and he can’t be happy with monogamy, it seems to be a pretty clear recipe for misery unless one of them changes their mind or they split up. In the meantime, I’m in a real good spot for collateral damage. But that’s hardly new.

 

Obviously this is only a few snippets of the conversation, the comments that most upset me. Obviously this is only my interpretation and perspective. I’m upset. These are patterns I don’t find acceptable and I am known for showing little compassion and no flexibility when faced with things I don’t find acceptable. It means there’s a fundamental incompatibility. It doesn’t mean she’s a monster or a villain or a Bad Person. I’m not interested in any support/commentary that feels the need to say she is.

Damage

If you follow me on Twitter you may have realized that my nerves don’t always necessarily work the way they should. Peripheral neuropathy is not constant but normal. I can feel my feet but they rarely register pain.

Menstruation is a problem. Setting aside the shame and highly unpleasant associations (if only it were that easy), nerve issues sometimes kick in. I can feel but it doesn’t register. It’s like my cunt is made of plastic, or has been hit with novacaine. I can feel it, vaguely, but it hardly feels like mine.

What I can feel is visceral pain. Cramps severe enough that I can’t do anything but curl around them and try to breathe. Orgasm is the only reliable way to abate the cramping for a few hours.

Orgasm is either very difficult to achieve or just impossible on days when the pain is worst. There’s the mental blocks, doors I have to make sure are closed before I even try. Then the plastic feeling, the thoughts that come out of that, the shaking sense that whatever this thing is that I’m touching definitely can’t be part of me. The simple lack of sensitivity.

I’ve spent an hour with three of my favorite toys trying to get off, not even for the sexual relief but just to stop the pain enough to sleep. And failed. So now I’m pushing back disgust that I can’t get myself off when it’s normally so easy, grumpy, frustrated, exhausted. I’m feeling petty that this is the thing that I focus on, not the risk of falling or passing out on a bad day, not the blisters and cuts and broken toes that nerve issues usually let me miss. Feeling damaged and broken and unusable.

I’m not looking for advice or sympathy on this, just taking the space to vent.

Cat Logic

One of my cats has a terribly annoying habit. She will sit down just out of reach and wait for me or Spouse to move and pet her. Then she will walk away a few steps, flop down, and stare at us until we get up and go pet her again. This continues until (1) we stop following her, (2) we become frustrated by her manipulation and carry her back to wherever we want to be, or (3) she suddenly stops the game to tear around the apartment for no damn reason. Cats do that sometimes.

My theory is that she’s measuring our love for her in how far we’ll follow when she goes away.

Z is acting distant. Saying bitter things that suggest I only spend time with her in order to get to the Techie. Moving away from casual contact–if I touch her she suddenly needs to wash dishes or go outside to smoke. Last night she asked if she needed to leave the room so he and I could fuck, and left before we could answer. (She’s been in too much pain to join in, but still.)

She’s pushing me away, maybe him too. She’s said not to follow, that she’s insulted when it seems like we are babysitting her emotions. I respect that. But it seems a lot like cat logic. If we don’t follow, it means we don’t care. If we do, she keeps moving away. Dragging her back whether she wants it or not is not an option (for obvious reasons).

I’m handling this poorly. It’s hard for me to show compassion when I feel insulted. I spend time with her alone often, invite her to my place, suggest we go to shows. Z and I hang out, talk, cook, etc. without the Techie. The Techie and I only see each other around her. If he and I are alone together, it’s because she briefly left the room.

I do not spend my time on people I do not care about. I’ve told her this, and she’s seen it, but the idea remains that I’m just using her to be with him. It’s hard to handle because I do care. I’m not willing to just roll my eyes and walk away rather than try to resolve this. And I empathize: I’ve pushed people away and shut down because anxiety said it would hurt less than waiting for them to leave. It’s unspeakably difficult not to shut down now, because I don’t know how to handle this. I can’t help but think Z and the Techie would be more secure, happier, if I walked out the door right now and disappeared from their lives. It’s hard to believe either of them when they say that isn’t what they want.

So far I keep following. Keep talking. Will continue to invite her out and ask for her time because she’s important to me. I worry it isn’t enough, that she’s going to keep moving further, keep looking for the spot that’s just too far. I texted earlier:

this is an issue and it’s looking like a lot of that is on me. I’d like to talk it through if/when you’re up for it. Meantime if there’s anything you need, just say the word.

She hasn’t answered. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Folks, I’m really fucking bad at this. In case you hadn’t noticed.

[Update: conversation has cleared up issues. We had been using the same words to mean different things without realizing it. The Techie had separate conversations with each of us and didn’t relay what was said, we each assumed the content of those conversations had been relayed and were frustrated that the other wasn’t acting on information we didn’t have. And then it asploded. So…oops. Lesson #1: The Techie does not communicate. No assuming things. Double oops.]

Limited

This woman drives me crazy.

We’ve been discussing play via FetMail off-and-on for weeks now. The flirting at parties has escalated from brief teasing as we pass in the hall to her grabbing me by the throat while we chat over tea and fruit. (I goaded her into it. And oh, man, that was fun.) I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want more.

I have the distinct impression that this is how she views herself.

But she worries me. I don’t know if she can understand what is and is not crossing a line. She offered to tag in a couple of weeks ago, while the Fireman was getting a drink. It amused me at the time, but it was in no way appropriate to think that she could just join that scene without so much as asking me. I don’t know if that’s indicative of her attitude generally, that she thinks subs/bottoms are just there for her to play with, or whether she would have spoken to me before jumping in if the Fireman had given her the go-ahead.

Still, it didn’t worry me enough to prevent the beginning of FetLife flirtations. She called me a little banshee. She makes me laugh. Her over-the-top imperious attitude may be serious to her, but it just makes me giggle. So we mail, we flirt, she suggests lunch, I say great, when and where?

She didn’t answer. Maybe life got in the way, maybe it was some kind of test, maybe a power play. I didn’t think much of it:  she knew how to reach me if she wanted to. The next time I saw her was at the party. She had me by the throat with her fingers up my skirt ten minutes after we said hello, then we barely said a word the rest of the night. I did wake up to a new e-mail, the gist of which was “that was hot, we should play, you should know I don’t play with someone unless I can bite, claw, choke, and cut them.”

Cutting? Nope. No way. Not happening. I tried to make that damn clear: “Choking, fingernails, biting, all lovely. I will not participate in any form of cutting, blood- or knife-play. It’s a hard limit, due both to health issues (severe anemia and hypotension) and past trauma. If that’s a deal breaker, it’s a shame, but understood.”

Her response? “Health issues… ahhh the dreaded foe. Truly, that is the only acceptable reason for a hard limit.”

Honestly every time I read that it makes less sense. Maybe I’d get it if we were talking about escalating an existing relationship into a 24/7 M/s deal. Maybe. But we’re talking about casual play at parties. I can have any damn limit I want. If I said no sex, it wouldn’t be for health reasons, but it’d be acceptable. Or no food play unless it’s kosher. Or no Russian accents. Doesn’t matter. My point is that my limits aren’t something she gets to rummage through and pick the ones she likes. I come with all of ’em. If that’s not workable, she can play with someone else.

I’m actually kind of regretting responding as politely as I did. At the time the (possibly paranoid) implications hadn’t really sunk in, so I just restated: no knives, no threatening with counterfactual knives, I’m serious, this is non-negotiable. Now that I’ve thought about it, I’m 95% sure she’s not someone I’m willing to trust anyway. The 5% is willing to check whether her apparent dismissiveness was sarcasm that didn’t translate over e-mail. Given that I get the distinct impression of Twue Domliness from her, it seems unlikely.

See this? This is me being responsible and not a zebra. Which is a shame, because I kind of want to be the zebra.