Making my own path is necessary because there’s no path for the freedom I need. I find myself in many situations there’s no Hallmark card for.
The other day my good friend asked me, “What do you say to a friend, when her rapist dies?” There is no greeting card for that one. But many people must experience it, like I did.
I need freedom, to be true to myself–freedom to face reality honestly, feel how I feel, and form relationships that meet my needs. I love collaboration and inter-dependence, but being told what to do creeps me out.
Well, there’s being told what to do within a bdsm context, for power play with a desired result. I mean I won’t be told what to do for real.
The relationship my spouse and I have is open; we feel whatever we feel toward whoever. But we don’t intentionally seek dates with random people. The stress of dating is intense, and we’ve avoided dating sites and other intentional dating methods so far.
There was a friend I thought I was getting together with early this year. She had pursued me, and I did like her. We had txt sex once, mild conflict, and she disappeared.
I was charmed by a porn star friend for some years who I had emotional connection with, but little physical contact. We held hands at an Ethiopian food restaurant and a pupusaria. I adored him. He promised a lot, didn’t follow through, broke my heart a second time, and I cut him off.
There was another friend who I had big feelings for, much younger than me, brilliant. We were close for some time, then had a falling out. They did some great things in my life, like going on two important road trips with me and my spouse as driver. But they were not interested in being close long term.
I pissed them off in ways that made no sense to me, like being too polite? I annoyed them by reminding them of someone else, a former co-worker who they hated. They lashed at me painfully. It was confusing, and I couldn’t be close to someone who would be so mean to me.
Before that we had a family member for a year or so who I refer to as my ex, but he and I didn’t really have sex. We cuddled, kissed, went around holding hands, talked every day, saw each other almost every day, and had emotional interdependence, but no actual sex.
He read to me for hours, and he wanted to live with us, which is when things fell apart. Part of me wanted him here, but he had too many animals, so I said no, he couldn’t bring them all. He freaked out when I set a boundary he had to respect. The whole time we were close, he was in charge; he couldn’t accept me having any power at all. That’s what helped me end the relationship, after many breakup attempts.
People assumed we were doing it. When my period stopped for a few months during that time, I thought I was pregnant and mentioned that to someone. She asked, “Who’s the dad?” in a judgmental way that hurt. She made assumptions and didn’t respect my choices.
All that makes me ask–what is a boyfriend? What’s a relationship? Does it matter, that we didn’t have sex? When I finally successfully broke up with him, he briefly stalked me. It was definitely not a regular friendship.
I know people who are asexual and have relationships–of course those relationships are real. Sex isn’t necessary. We can form relationships however we want, to get what we need. Relationship is how we define it. It can be intensely personal and nobody else’s business.
But people are nosy, curious, and want everything neat in boxes. They want to relax with “Oh, they’re seeing each other,” or “No, those two broke up.”
Social privileges are afforded to couples. Ambiguity makes most people uncomfortable–they want things classified so they can feel safe. But that’s false–real safety is in change and reality, too big for boxes.
To feel safe, I need freedom and way more choices than check boxes give me. If there are 100 ways to do relationship, most people only do one through ten. I need other.
Thus the open relationship, but not being poly. It’s not that we’re trying to have sex with or partner up with many folx. More that we’re honest, feel however we feel, take everything on a case-by-case basis, and stay in good communication.
We’re free but very close and inter-dependent, honest about how what we each do affects the other.
Yesterday I apologized to my spouse for what happened with the painful house guest. I was moody from grief and withdrawal, and it was hard to be kind to him, as I suffered.
I cried and thanked him for supporting my freedom, sorry that our small family can be disrupted so badly by the bad behavior of one unskilled visitor, and my unrelenting love.
My spouse accepted my apology, though he said he didn’t need it. He wasn’t resenting the hard work of emotional cleanup. So I’m lucky for that.
Freedom means I risk being harmed, in many ways, but to stay isolated and stuck is a risk also. I heard the quote, “I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order,” by poet Wislawa Szymborska. Yes, brilliant.