This is a very edited version of something I wrote for a particular person. I took the shell of that message and expanded it here for my own record keeping.
This year has been kind of a horrible and traumatizing adventure.
The line between what makes a “friend” and what makes a lover/partner are often difficult and hard to see. I freely say I love you to my friends and they say it back. There is hand holding and snuggling even when I go through long periods of monogamy because my friends are the reason I stayed alive through a multitude of traumatic experiences.
With that in the background Noah and I met and started our marriage with an open relationship. We agreed to be monogamous through the breeding period (for lots of complicated reasons) with the idea that we would probably date later. About five years ago (when did Occupy happen?) I asked for us to open a bit and try things out. We proceeded to hurt each other a lot with the choices we were making around dating and we decided to close the relationship.
I have a variety of extreme mental illness problems. Treating myself like I matter is not easy for me. I would much rather sustain physical damage than inconvenience someone. As part of the agreement for being monogamous we agreed that I needed to provide sex for Noah at least ten times a month. The quota was hard to fill. It meant I had sex that was significantly painful on a regular basis. I was not honest about how this was impacting me. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
I mean, that’s true and not true. I’ve written all over my blog about having problems with it. But I also said I wanted to do it. I’m very conflicted on this issue.
Anyway. I came back from the road trip and discovered that six months of having my body be mine was absolutely transformative. I hit the wall. I’m done taking one for the team.
I had been bottling up a lot of desires for a long time. (I’m extremely sadistic. Noah is not masochistic.) He is kinda sorta willing to let me hit him if I really want… but he doesn’t enjoy it and I feel like a really gross person. Instead I have a long-term friend/play partner who likes to be kicked in the nuts, who wants me to slice him open with scalpels and drink his blood.
I started negotiation for the right to play with my friend. Then I went to visit a friend out of state and I cheated. When I say I cheated I mean I spanked two friends at a party. I did not have Noah’s consent to play outside the marriage. I didn’t have sex. I didn’t even kiss anyone. But I cheated anyway. It hurt Noah a lot.
Then I announced high handedly that I was done following rules and I was going to go date. I did. A lot. For about three months. Most of the people I dated are people I have known for many years. They are all deeply ingrained in my life. Some of them I have known for literally my entire adult life. Some of them were brand new and had boundaries Noah didn’t like.
By the end of this Noah had spent a lot of time screaming at me in the middle of the night, sobbing hysterically on the floor while wanting to die, and slamming walls to shut me up when I was arguing nastily with him. I can be pretty fucking nasty.
I made a deal with the devil. I made a deal I couldn’t keep and there were consequences for me and I didn’t communicate about them. I just completely exploded.
Noah asked me to stop going on solo dates. Noah asked that we not do solo sex unless we were at a party together and we just happen to also want to play with friends while there.
My friends know in ridiculous detail how these fights went because I usually wrote all the details down the next day. Which is why all my friends and play partners stopped calling for a few months. They were all, “Krissy stop fucking around and go fix your marriage.”
It has been a solid wall of support for I’m the asshole of the year. I’m not proud.
Hey friends, thank you for caring about me enough to tell me that I have to fix my marriage. That is loving me in a real and true way that isn’t selfish. I really appreciate it.
On the day Noah asked me to marry him he asked me to be his slave. I told him not yet. I said we weren’t ready for those kinds of roles yet. But I wanted to be someday. All this year we have been intensely focused on “It’s time to shit or get off the pot.” We’ve had written agreements in place for a while now that it isn’t ok to do ownership or possessiveness with other people at all.
That’s something that all of my partners know about. Casual sex: excellent. Intensely loving friendship: sure thing. But there are hard lines. Noah is getting a lot more honest about what he wants from me too. Last night we had a really excellent experience with a dear friend who helped us do an intense amount of processing.
Noah doesn’t want us to date alone. At all. I think having it be very clear that Noah wants nearly-monogamy is useful. I think that I have been kind of moving along on the assumption that I married a poly guy and I threw a fit a few years back and closed the relationship on him. There were things exploding. It wasn’t good.
We learn lessons in stages.
It probably isn’t going to be happening soon but someday we will have sex with our friends again. But we’ll find ways to do it together. I don’t get to have a boyfriend ever again. He doesn’t want to have a girlfriend ever again.
Which is an interesting way of phrasing it.
I need to go put some serious effort into learning how to get my intimacy needs met without sex. That sounds kind of obnoxious, I’ll be frank.
But I’ve learned harder subjects.
I hurt Noah a lot this year. I need to learn from this experience and not do it again. We are still working on the forgiving bit.
I’m utterly exhausted but I feel glowy and at peace. We didn’t sleep much. The kids went to their Bonus Family so we could have the space to talk without having to think about their needs. We also fasted for 24 hours. Shocking that it didn’t make us cranky.
Instead I feel like we were able to be very clear about some things that we have been talking around for a long time.
That’s all I’ve got for now.