Category Archives: marriage

Trying

I tried to talk about sex stuff yesterday with Noah. These conversations are harder for me than you might assume based on my willingness to write about sex. I talked about how I have a hard time with the fact that my masturbation must be discussed (I have to get permission to orgasm… at all…) but his is off-screen.

It’s not that I want to control his masturbation. It’s that his desire is off screen.

We’ve had this thing for years where he tries to balance my fucked up “won’t say no” crap with… not initiating sex much. It’s a good way for him to ensure he’s not pushing me into something I don’t want. I respect that. It’s a reasonable plan.

Only it means that 100% of the push for sex in our marriage is supposed to come from me. And that’s not as sexy as it sounds. It winds up with me feeling like I’m supposed to turn myself on and be excited about sex and just show up ready. That’s…. not my favorite. It stopped particularly working a long time ago.

So how do we navigate between the landmines of I’d kind of like to feel like my partner actually wants sex with me enough to bring it up and I’m a fucked up person who doesn’t set healthy boundaries in the moment because I have all kinds of messed up stuff around owing Noah and me not in general having a right to say no to sex and….

So I get that this is shitty for him. It’s not fair. It’s complicated. But it’s also not exactly a walk in the park for me. If I’m expected to just show up turned on… yeah that’s not always going to happen. So if the frequency for sex has to come spontaneously from me without outside influence or turn on… then uhm… don’t be upset if it takes me a while between that being true. And he does get upset. Not like mean to me upset, but it feels bad to him.

So he wants me to spontaneously initiate sex all the damn time because I desire him so much.

But then we run into another issue. I’ve had it programmed into me since I was literally a child that I’m kind of a monster if I push for sex.

“I won’t say no” (on Noah’s end) isn’t the same thing as a partner who feels like they are enthusiastically there for the same thing who also initiates and indicates interest and asks for things.

Let’s talk about bdsm stuff. Noah has long said he’d like to practice rope stuff. This only comes up if I mention it. Which means I end up feeling like this is one more thing I’m pushing and I shut down. Which prompts Noah to feel like I don’t want to do bdsm with him.

And round and round we go.

How to get things started is hard.

We both have different “I won’t say no” responses. For him it means that if sex is brought up he will always say yes because he always wants more than he is getting. He always feels like sexual contact is a good thing. For me, sex has been currency as long as I have been alive. So I feel like saying no to it is doing a bad/wrong thing.

Which is complicated. I am hyper aware that Noah is a better husband than I deserve. It wouldn’t have been possible to observe my sessions with the last therapist I fired and not notice that clearly the perception is that Noah is better than I deserve. She spent a lot of time talking about what I owed Noah for being so nice to me.

That’s the thing. If you are nice to me, I owe you for it because there is no chance I just deserve it. Because I’m hard and not really worth it.

And so if I need more from foreplay I should shut up and suck up that need because I am really not worth more effort than I get. Which makes saying “slow down” or “not yet” almost impossible because I know that doing so is inappropriate because I already ask for too much in a global sense.

So during this pregnancy when Noah has invited me to hang out with him while he was masturbating… that’s probably been some of the most creative sex of our marriage. It doesn’t always result in PiV but occasionally it does. It’s more about being around each other. If I need to just lay there and watch it’s ok. Because he didn’t ask me for sex. I didn’t agree to sex. So I don’t have to feel like I must follow through no matter how I feel. It’s been really nice for me. It’s been a window into his sexuality without me being on the hook for following through on an activity that might literally hurt me.

I’m really sorry that my vagina is broken.

This stuff is really hard to talk about. I feel so much shame for being so broken. It isn’t my fault. I can’t do anything about it. But I inflict it on other people by existing.

So yeah. It’s hard to talk about sex and ask for anything.

Market forces

There are few phrases that Noah can utter that make me twitch more than “market forces”. I’m not nice to him about this.

Whenever he says this, no matter what the context or conversation, I am instantly in the mindset of “Oh great the rich white man who was set up from birth to be one of the most successful people of his generation is going to lecture the white trash whore on our relative values. Great.”

I don’t think that is what Noah means when he says it. But that’s what my brain does and it makes it very difficult to hear the conversation. I know this is a me problem.

It doesn’t matter how much basic value or truth there might be in the conversation he might be bringing up. It doesn’t matter how neutrally he means it. He might be talking about something 100% removed from me or my life and I’m still… stuck.

This is going to have to move to the “work on it” list but I don’t know how to get past this twitch. I don’t know how to get past the basic fact that I view him as having just about endless value and I am worth nothing.

Goodbye love

Noah and the kids are off on an adventure. This is the first time Noah has ever taken the kids on a trip by himself.

I have complete confidence that they will do well and they will have a good trip.

It’s nice being married to a person I trust to be competent and successful at the tasks he takes on.

I’m having interesting thoughts about the future of moving with Noah and seeing him outside this bubble. I suspect it will become more important that I never say a snotty or demeaning thing about him because outside of this bubble… he doesn’t need to be taken down a peg or two. In this valley his head is a bit swelled. He won’t be valued in the same way in other places.

That’s important for me to think about. Because he has actually earned most of the adulation he gets in the valley and I’m a snot for being rude to him.

Thoughts.

Clarification

Noah emailed me. I’m going to respond here because I’m like that.

When you talk about you dating other people and it not working out because it “feels tainted to me,” there’s something I think is worth pointing out.
It’s not just when I ask you the same question repeatedly that you feel like you need to say whatever it takes to get me to fuck off. When you’re dating other people, the “whatever it takes to fuck off” can and does happen any time you feel pressured. Which often includes when I feel bothered, or disapproving, or frustrated about something unrelated.
So at those times, whether you feel “anything to fuck off” graduates to “lying” or not, you’re okay with telling me things that are clearly untrue, and I may or may not have any way of knowing if they’re true, any time you’re feeling stress. And you chose (and/or would choose) to date other people when you’re already under stress and you reasonably expect me to disapprove.
You’re not wrong about the whole thing feeling tainted to me. But I think you mostly miss what part feels tainted and why.
From the same post, but not otherwise related:
There are many non-sexual services you perform for which I praise you, do things for you and/or otherwise acknowledge it. When we’re talking later about a service that you feel doesn’t count, I’ll often mention that I praised you for it, or that I did something I felt was in return and/or to appreciate that service, and you’ll counter with something else you do for me. There are, of course, many things you do for me.
What I get from those exchanges is that me appreciating you mostly “doesn’t count” if you’ve done more for me than I do for you. It seems like anything less than “me winning the points game” is the same as “I don’t care about anything non-sexual you do for me.” A thank-you or other small acknowledgement only counts if you feel like I’m “winning”, and “winning” is only a thing I’m going to make you pay for later.
That, too, is complicated.
I’m not sure if there’s some more formal and specific way I could acknowledge service for me that would be better. I tend to start from “oh, thanks,” often followed by some specific description of what you did if it’s not clear from context (I often skip a description if you’re, say, in the middle of loading the dishwasher since I consider the task I thanking you for to be obvious.)
That’s… okay, I guess? But if seems clear that you don’t long-term consider yourself appreciated for such things. I’ve done a fair bit of praising you for things you do, especially in recent years. If you feel completely unappreciated for anything non-sexual, that suggests the praise and thanks are doing what I hoped they would.
We’ve talked about acknowledgement before. At the time we agreed that “thank you” is most of what you’re looking for. But it doesn’t seem to count, which suggests it’s not currently doing what we thought it would years ago. It may be time to revisit that discussion.

It’s reasonable that you think I don’t understand what you feel was tainted but I’m not sure that you entirely understand what I mean either. I think me *dating* was absolutely not going to work out no matter what I did and I was a serious asshole. When I told you I was dating because I needed to and you insisted I come up with more and I said because I need to feel pleasure during sex and you kept insisting I come up with more of a reason I got really mean. I’m sure you remember what flavor of mean I was being better than I do.

The part *I* was referring to being tainted was literally just the sex part. You spent years and years and years pressuring me for sex. I was finally able to show up for the once or twice every day you have been pressuring me to perform for years and even when I could finally do that you were god damn mad at me every minute.

Sure I was being an inconsiderate asshole in every other way… but if you tell me the sex the sex the sex the sex is the only thing that can make you happy…..

I tried all the other ways to make you happy and I failed. So fine I showed up with the sex and then it sucked too.

I can’t show up with the sex you want without being that kind of asshole. I can’t. I’m not fucking capable. I know that you don’t want me to have another serious partner who takes time and energy and prioritization. I get that. But you also frequently told me/showed me for many years that you also can’t be happy unless I’m providing an amount of sex I can’t physically stand unless I’m doing a whole host of other supportive behaviors for myself that suck for you.

I know that it is shitty to turn and date other people when under stress. I haven’t had a part of our marriage where I haven’t felt enormous stress to provide sex I don’t necessarily have any interest in and yeah I’m totally not fucking managing that. Because enough years of “if you are under stress you don’t get to go do anything to cope with the stress” means I’m going to crack.

You know how you told me for years that you loved me and cared about me and wanted me to feel good in my body but you were very happy to fuck me dry while I cried and grimaced and lay like a rock under you?

At some point I lost my ability to just absorb that and act like I was ok.

So I said some very mean things. Many that weren’t really true and I was just being an asshole. Yup. That happened.

I know the dating wouldn’t have worked even if I had been less of an asshole. That was going to be tainted even if I did it right. But when I managed to suck it up and provide all the sex you wanted for years… it still didn’t count and that bugged the shit out of me. Because it isn’t the sex. You will complain for years that you can’t be happy without the sex but if the sex appears and you lose all of the other sycophantic shit I’d been doing for years things went up like a Roman candle. You want everything. And I’m supposed to just… make that happen no matter how much it hurts me.

I am tired of bleeding so you can get off.

I don’t know how to deal with the depth of fury I feel about this. It isn’t all about you. It isn’t all your fault. But you are sure fucking wrapped up in it too.

You absolutely do tell me thank you in the moment for things I do for you. But you also tell me that no one who loves you could think that you should be in our marriage because I am so terrible. Which sure makes it sound like alllllllllllll the other stuff I have done has no value. If our marriage is so bad that you shouldn’t be here… that means that the “gratitude” you feel for the things I do is pretty small potatoes. I’m such a problem that you should leave.

Being married to me is so bad you should leave. So who fucking cares if I empty the dishwasher or if you say thank you. The service is stupid and pointless.

You have told me that you can’t talk to anyone about our marriage because…the implication was that there is no redeeming value here.

So what does thank you mean anyway?

I am having a hard time with the fact that you would tell me something so mean like, “I can’t talk to anyone about our marriage because no one could be on my side and think I should stay” and then that turns into “I didn’t say that” and now thank you for the dishwasher is supposed to be the measurement of how well you appreciate me.

You think you should leave. Because I am awful. No. I don’t feel appreciated.

Am I capable of objectivity?

Noah thinks about our history in a more linear fashion than I do. I don’t remember things in chronological order and I never really have. I think in terms of associations. When I was writing No Secrets I had to categorize my memories based on a bunch of weird little associations then try to stitch them together in order. I’m still not certain I got it perfectly in order.

So when we talk he can list off how I mistreated him year by year. Ok. I can talk about “Ah, when this was happening this other thing happened and this other thing and that’s why that thing over there happened.” But I don’t remember which years of our marriage have been better or worse. That’s all very fuzzy to me. I mean… I could go read my archive but who the fuck has time for that?

I think I’ll remember “2016” until I die and shiver whenever I hear it though.

Anyway.

Noah and I have both done a lot for each other. We do things for one another all over the place. We have both learned an amount of affability and predictability that is shocking. Clearly he’s better at that than I am, but he started from a better place too. We have both done a lot of work in this department. I am still a bitchy person; I’m sharp and critical and demanding. Pieces of that I now see as me trying my best to manage my extensive list of weird ass requirements in life. I’m a delicate fucking snowflake and I need fairly particular amounts of exercise and people interaction time and rest and sleep and sex and foods and… My body is not easy going. My body can’t just take “whatever” and be ok.

I am struggling with my commitment to stay alive. Because the problem is the kinds and quantities of pain I carry around. Which isn’t fair and it sucks and it hurts Noah and I absolutely understand why there are people in this world that believe I am emotionally abusive because I am mentally ill and they don’t even need more evidence than that. “You hurt people by existing. You abuse people by talking about you existing.”

I know.

Noah and I have both worked on adult financial responsibility for one another. We both came into this marriage with gaping holes in our skills and we have both worked really hard to manage our combined resources way the fuck more responsibly than we ever managed our independent resources. Most of our money goes to medical care and food. Then travel. I have been very consistent about saving money for the future. I like to joke that Noah is providing for this stage of our life and I am providing for everything that happens after he stops working. Because that man was not on track to be so comfortable before I got my hands on his money. The best part, in my mind, is how rarely we argue or fight about money. We have more than we need to meet our needs. We have so much that we can afford to give wads of it away and that’s not a problem for our life. That’s an incredible privilege that I would not have if Noah were not so hard working.

And you know what? Even that is complicated. Cause I know a lot of people who work as hard and harder than Noah and they aren’t doing very well financially and that’s bullshit. Noah does this well because he has been set up to be in the right time at the right place since he was a child. He made good choices all the way through his college and career. He has rapidly acquired all the knowledge he can related to his entire field so that he can figure out which choices will get him in the right place to work how hard he wants to for a fantastic amount of money. That’s very lucky and cool for him.

Big problem in our marriage: my difficulty being nice to white men. This has manifested in a great variety of ways through our marriage and creates a noticeable strain for us.

When we started our marriage things were very different. I was a lot less capable of meeting a variety of Noah’s needs. I was not comfortable with how much time he wanted to spend touching me. It was very difficult for me to adapt to his expectations around physical contact but I have done so. In the beginning I couldn’t handle that much touch that wasn’t sexual. So we fucked all day and night long because that was the compromise we could manage together.

I worked on accepting touch. I had babies. I stopped having time or interest in sex all day every day and night. It became a problem that my sex drive had dropped. There were a lot of years where I didn’t really orgasm. I think there was like a 3-5ish year gap? Yay breeding hormones. But we never stopped having sex; it didn’t matter how it was going for me.

We both came into our marriage with, in my opinion, a fair bit of sexual dysfunction. We both have hypersexuality impulses. A lot of my hypersexuality impulses are both impulsive and compulsive and they revolve around self harming choices. (When I stepped out last year I may not have picked dangerous people but I did a tremendous amount of permanent harm to my life.) Noah needs to have sex in order to deal with his tremendous feelings of shame and basically nothing else helps. That puts me in the position of being like his drug dispensing machine and that’s not ok. (Yes, we both know that semen is an anti-depressant and we do have sex frequently because we notice that my mood varies tremendously based on when I’ve last had some deposited. BUT STILL.)

Sex is complicated for everyone. I hear that folks go into therapy to talk about: sex, kids, money, housework.

I have done the vast majority of housework throughout our marriage. Noah has had periods of doing a lot: pregnancy, during the remodel… but mostly I do the cleaning. Sometimes I go through these pseudo-modern-woman phases and I set up a chore chart and ask Noah to do more for a while. Somehow that never lasts very long. He does to the cooking and meal planning now though. Except when I do it. Which isn’t that uncommon either. Whether Noah is in a phase of actually doing a lot of housework or not he expects to be praised and petted as if he were doing it. Specifically: he tells me that he needs me to have sex to motivate him to do all the stuff he does for me no matter how much he is really doing for me.

He doesn’t view most of what I do as being for him even though I can link it directly with logical reasons why I do it the way I do out of respect for his preferences. I don’t view most of what he does as being about me even though he can link it directly with logical reasons why he does it the way he does out of respect for me.

It’s a real festive situation.

We are trying to find the words to communicate about his emotional state. It’s hard because we run into these situations where the words he is using have vastly different meanings in my head and it’s definitely like we are speaking a different language.

He told me that I go through periods of treating him like a roommate. I blink real hard at that and think of the many people I’ve lived with and sputter and go, “Whaaaat?” Cause…

I have never in my life put as much thought and energy into an adult as I’ve put into Noah.

I feel like we go through periods where I take him for granted and he gets the short end of the stick when it comes to my attention. At those times he often gets the brunt of my frustration and overwhelm regarding some other part of my life. It’s not random or targeted at him. Things in other parts of my life go up and down in intensity and that massively impacts what I have to give to Noah.

To the point where I feel like it is not a good idea for me to have very many out of the house obligations or overly consistent presence on social media or forums or anything like that because if my mood fluctuates and I pay less attention to Noah… that’s a problem.

Noah feels like he can’t have friends. Despite me spending a lot of time for many years begging him to go see a fucking friend. When he wants to travel and dump many hundreds of dollars to see his friends I cheer and shove him out the door. When he goes to see his friends I don’t interrupt unless I am literally in the fucking hospital and I cry and apologize for interrupting then.

Hosting people in the house is subject to my rampant social anxiety. Hi pervasive belief that everyone hates me and me inviting them is creating an onerous situation where they have to do something they don’t want to do, clearly because it’s not like they ask to come see me unless I pressure them and they feel guilty and…

I go through long periods of not reaching out. And it’s not really about you. I have a god damn mailing list of people who said, “Hey! IT’S OK TO PESTER ME WITH INVITATIONS” and I would rather cry than do the work involved in reaching out. I just don’t have anything to give.

I feel really sad and helpless and unable to carry the weight of trying to create a community because I don’t really fit into any other community anywhere.

BDSM has been hard for both of us through our marriage. I can partially understand why Noah was irritated with me playing with friends last year because when I’m doing heavy SM there are a few predictable consequences. One: I withdraw from physical contact… especially with the person who hit me. I mean… I can turn it on to touch them for a few hours but then I will be withdrawn for the rest of the day and night. I live with a lot of chronic pain and sometimes if I am dealing with having been hit a lot… you can’t really touch me without me wanting to lose my mind and start hysterically screaming and beating on you like you just committed the gravest assault. Because I’m no longer consenting to you giving me more pain and the only way I can keep you from hurting me more is to stay the fuck away from you.

Yeah. Ask me how well that kind of fucking cycle goes in my current life with Noah and my kids expecting to god damn paw me 24/7.

I feel like we have done most of our bdsm play in the psychological or D/s realms. I mean, I haven’t had a whole lot of orgasms without his permission in eleven fucking years. I feel like it is god damn appropriate to say that we have always had strong D/s elements in our sex life. But I’ll admit that we don’t do a lot of the SM part. And… he doesn’t ask for bondage and I’m really not up for asking for it so we don’t do it.

I go through long periods where I just can’t deal with feeling like if I ask for something he will do it halfheartedly to hurry and get to the part he wanted to start with. So we do a lot of fucking. And no bondage.

I go through long periods where I just can’t handle hearing “no” or being flexible about being moved around in someone’s life. It causes too many other negative effects in my life at those times. So I shut off from most people so I don’t have to hear it.

That has an impact on our marriage.

Because Noah and I are in a situation where neither of us feel like we have a lot left to give. We do a lot for each other and the well of “I want to give” is about run dry and neither of us know how to get much outside help with that when we get to this point.

The systems I try to build to help with this all fail for a variety of perfectly valid reasons. Life is about a lot of moving pieces and getting those to line up and stay lined up is a challenge. I’m not blaming anyone or feeling angry about any particular situation. Like, the babysitter’s family moving away has been a serious blow to the support structure for our family. We were so god damn enmeshed with them and that’s been really hard. The other divorces that happen with friendships are hard too.

But they are part of life.

My kids feel like they have a stable life with a lot of people in it. At least, that is what they tell me. Rebuilding this seems absolutely daunting… but I would build experience elsewhere too. I don’t really believe I would hermit forever. I’m a sunny soul. When I’m not depressed.

I make a fantastic number of choices all night and all day that are not focused on my needs. That’s really complicated. It’s both a good and a bad thing. It is part of why I am so rigid about how I do things. Because one of the biggest factors driving a lot of how I’m trying to shape my behavior is: I’m supposed to figure out how to be in less pain so that I can live longer for Noah and the kids. I created this fucking situation. I put myself in this position so I would have no choice but to grow the fuck up and change things in my life.

I mean… I know people who spawn and don’t grow up. Let’s not invalidate that as a life path. But I didn’t god damn do it. I have worked god damn hard at maturing. I’m not perfect and the cracks in my mask are biggest on the side that faces Noah.

And that’s complicated.

I spend a lot of time and energy trying to solve my feelings of inadequacy and failure and depression. I perceive that Noah does very little to work on his own similar feelings besides want to be more famous in his field and earn more money and say that only sex can make him feel better.

I feel like we go back and forth because it’s not really about how often we “have sex” it’s about a kind of attention that Noah only really feels when it involves sex and I don’t know what to do about that. I’ve tried a lot of things.

I’m not invited into his masturbatory life much. I’ve indicated for many years that if he wanted me to be around for masturbation that would be fun… but instead we both hide and masturbate alone. I mean, I have to ask for permission first. But it’s not a shared activity for us.

I don’t think Noah needs to be ashamed of what he wants. I just don’t think I can necessarily meet what he needs and that’s a different problem. He doesn’t have a lot of spontaneous desire to ask for the rope practice that would turn him into the rope top of my dreams either. *shrug*

He does ask me to dance in the house now. That’s a huge thing. Sometimes it is even really fun instead of awkward and uncomfortable. He is trying. I do see that he is trying.

And I am too.

And is that enough?

We are both clearly devoting our lives to one another. How is that working out for us? It’s mixed. The balance is off somehow.

I feel like daily snuggling and 2-3 meals a day together and talking all the time and having sex at a rate well above average for our god damn demographic means that clearly we are both putting a lot of god damn time into our relationship.

Time spent is not the problem.

The problem is that we are so tired we can’t give one another the kind of intensity that we both use like rocket fuel to plod through what is otherwise a very exhausting round of Being An Adult. Being An Adult is boring and shitty. We do the work of being semi-healthy animals but there is something we just aren’t finding. There’s a piece we have failed to figure out.

And I’m pretty fucking sure that me doing more talking isn’t going to help that much.

It’s kind of funny that after years of bitching loud and long about how white men need to shut the fuck up and listen more… I’m not pretty damn grumpy at this white man for not talking more.

It’s not that I need more time of him talking but I need to hear about his feelings instead of web comics and video games.

I’m such an asshole.

I’ve been the designated Problem for a long time now. But part of what gets kind of heaped in my direction is my inability to cure Noah of shame. If only I wanted more sex with him then everything would be perfect.

Yeah. But you married the wrong woman if the measurement stick was the sturdiness of the cunt.

I cannot do that.

That is something that my body cannot do and I need to stop trying because the emotional fall out is too great and it impacts too many people. I can’t keep dashing myself against that rock.

So what’s next?

There’s this thing that when people grow (and I think Noah and I both have) sometimes they don’t fit as well with people they picked at a different level of dysfunction. We need some shit to change and I don’t know what and I don’t know how.

Oh what tangled webs we weave…

Something occurred to me recently, as Noah and I are in round 45,203 of our Epic Conversation. This has been going on since we met. We… we like to talk. A lot. We are cutting into our sleep patterns in ways that might prove to be a problem because we censor ourselves in front of the kids and they WANT US ALL THE TIME.

Side note: I am feeling surprised by my interactions with the kids’ therapists. I keep expecting them to think I’m doing something horribly wrong and I keep thinking they will give me feedback that indicates I’m totally fucking up. Instead they say things like, “Things seem pretty developmentally appropriate but gosh your kid wants to spend more time with you.” We then had a civilized adult conversation about how there are not more hours in a day and I’m with my kids all the fucking time. So I guess that means it is time to talk about how feelings and wants are valid and real even if they can’t be acted upon. I can’t spend more time with you. That time doesn’t exist. But I get that you want more from me. That makes sense. I’m really glad that the big feedback from your therapist is, “Gosh your kid likes you and wants to be with you all the time.” I love you too.

Back to main topic for this babble. My marriage.

I realized something when we were talking. Noah was emphatically talking about a current set of priorities and I realized… I don’t have a good map in my head of who Noah really is at this point. That’s complicated. I still think about conversations from 13 and 11 and 8 and 3 years ago when Noah expressed different preferences and needs and… I get it all mixed up. That’s really not a great thing for facilitating good communication.

Noah was asking me how many times he had said a particular thing and I had to admit that I don’t know for sure. It may be once. It may have been an almost flippant thing one time 11 years ago but for some reason the phrasing stuck in my head like glue.

It’s making me feel really shitty and awful. I don’t know what set of “requests” and priorities I’m supposed to follow at this point. That’s… overwhelming and kind of scary.

When we first got married I felt very much like what I had to offer was constant sex. We did… a pretty terrifying amount of it in the first year. We went to work and we fucked. We didn’t see our friends much. I felt like it was very clear that I was expected to maintain that pace. I… can’t. It’s not physically possible.

Later in marriage I was told that at least 10 times a month would be… acceptable. So I hurt myself keeping to that schedule for many years through times when my body literally was not god damn interested in sex because I believed that I had to.

Then I kind of collapsed under the weight of that and Noah tried to pull back from his demands. But I could still see the tally system and that was enough for me to pressure myself and it just kept going badly.

So I decided that since what Noah cared about most was me being constantly up for sex I should find a way to make that happen. Sex with lots of people will make that work for me pretty much regardless of other stressors. I’m still getting hurt by the sex, but I go into this hypomanic state where I’m highly dissociated from my cunt and it isn’t the same problem in terms of my daily life. I’m hurting myself, but I’m numb to the damage.

That blew all the way up. Ok, that’s not the solution.

But now what. What is the most important thing? I don’t know.

This is complicated by the fact that Noah has spent a lot of time telling me that sex is how he motivates himself. He rattles off the stuff he does for me (much of it without me directly asking for him to do) and explains that doing ALL THAT makes him tired and he needs something to make up for it. So I respond by taking over as many of the chores as physically possible until I overstrain myself and collapse because I am just not great with the dynamic that I owe sex in exchange for him doing the dishes. I’ll do the fucking dishes.

Man those Cosmo articles that tell men to do housework to earn sex are complicated.

Because the thing is, if I’m falling down on my share of housework because I don’t feel good, the housework being done isn’t going to make me feel good and make me feel sexy and make me feel like I want sex. But if I have to feel up for sex in trade for housework then I’ll do the god damn housework if I have to drag my nearly corpse-like body around to do that shit.

But the thing is… me doing more and more and more of the housework so that he’s not worn out so that I don’t owe him more motivation… yeah that fails completely and totally. There is never a reflection (that I see) that I am taking strain off of him. Nothing I do removes strain. The only thing I can to do to make his life better is add sex. Everything else seems to be basically worthless.

This is hard because when we got married I was touch averse in a big way. I would have freaked out and physically attacked someone for trying to get me to snuggle as much as I do in an average day now. I could handle sexualized touch or a bdsm scene, sure. But I didn’t do casual just sit around and touch each other shit. It was a big concession for me to sit on the far side of the couch and let Noah touch my feet all the time because that was something I had to work through. That was overwhelming.

But I’ve worked on that. At this point I snuggle my kids and Noah so much that I feel like I spend almost 1/4 of my waking time with one or the other of them touching me. Some days it’s a much larger block of time.

And that doesn’t count as being something I’ve done to increase connection and that’s really god damn hard for me. Noah was touch starved and that wasn’t ok… I had to figure out how to touch him. But I don’t get credit for that being part of what I have done for him. That doesn’t count as connection when he wants sex.

(Disclaimer: We’ve had good sex this month. Lots of masturbation near one another without it having to escalate. We are trying.)

And when I say “It doesn’t count” I don’t necessarily mean that Noah has never acknowledged it or has never commented on it. I mean that in aggregate I feel like conversations about his needs always come down to one kind of need and all that I do to meet his other needs is kind of hand waved away. I *feel* like this happens. I’m not sure it is the only thing that happens but my emotions camp right there and throw a mean as fuck party.

I’ve worked on being kinder to Noah. For all that I worry that I am still abusing him terribly… I know I am better than I was early on. I’m not as negative. I don’t bitterly complain about him as much. I don’t swear at him as much. I don’t call him names like I did. I’m still not where either of us want me to be in terms of my treatment of him… but it’s come a long way and I still don’t think that is good enough.

I feel like no matter how hard I try to change it will never ever ever ever be enough. No matter what.

But a lot of the current problem is I’m still tied up in my head in trying to meet demands that were made a decade ago and he doesn’t really still feel like I should be doing that. But I don’t know what I should be doing.

I don’t know how I could be good.

I don’t know what to do.

If Noah really believes I hate him this much then I should either divorce him or kill myself because doing this to him is cruel.

It doesn’t seem to matter what I feel. He believes what he believes. And I’m hurting him by staying. I’m wrecking his life. He feels abused. And it’s my fault. He believes that no one could love him and believe he should stay with me.

That really means I should go, one way or another.

Divorcing him with a third child who is a baby seems like a really big problem. Leaving him with two children who can basically care for themselves seems like a much smaller problem. That means I have four months to get it done.

This is going to be muddled and non-linear

These issues stack in my brain in weird ways. They combine and intertwine such that my memories are sometimes amalgamations of conversations and impressions and I know that’s not great. But trying to sort it out is the only thing I know to do.

Ok, marital problems.

I don’t think Noah spends a lot of time getting really upset but we’ve had a few conversations over the years that struck me as particularly intense and I’ve latched on to them in memory in ways that bother Noah a lot.

I feel like Noah values me (or at least he valued when he married me) for the fact that my consent is kinda not important. My cunt is just available whether I like it or not. We’ve talked about how monogamy is not celibacy a lot. We’ve talked about how it isn’t ok for me to deny Noah sex for any reason, including medical reasons, on a long term basis. He will give me a grace period of a year and then things are Just Going To Change. That has become a sword of Damocles over my head. My cunt has to be available or I am not worthy of being a wife.

I feel like Noah has some fairly set ideas of what bdsm is and they don’t always overlap with mine. Last night we had a fierce conversation where I asked him what the orgasm control and the denial of personal right to determine masturbation and the degrading sex and the name calling and the hurting me is if it is not bdsm. Because if we have been in an M/s contract for going on a year and you still feel like it is appropriate to yell at me that we will never get around to doing bdsm because I don’t want him enough…. what the fuck do you think bdsm IS?!?! Noah does hurt me sometimes. Not in extreme ways because I haven’t been up for it, but our sex is not pain-free. I submit to a lot of stuff. I bathe him. I’ve followed various other rules for a long time. If absolutely everything I do is devalued and “doesn’t count” towards us having a bdsm relationship… then fine. I guess you are right after all and we will never be doing bdsm. Even though I met a quota for years about having sex ten times a month whether I wanted to or not… nothing counts.

When we first got married I was still very much in a period where I was not comfortable with most casual touch. For the first three or so years we were married if Noah wanted to cuddle… we’d sit on opposite sides of the couch and he could touch my feet. That was what I could bear. It is very hard for me that Noah has repeatedly over the years stated emphatically that sex is what makes him feel loved and the other things don’t count. So I’ve worked very hard on my panic disorder and I’ve learned to cuddle him because he wants it… but it doesn’t count towards making him feel loved. Even though it was incredibly hard for me to learn to do and it literally took years of effort.

Noah used to complain a lot that I didn’t share his interests. So I can discuss most of the comic series he reads and I’ve watched his favorite movies and I listen to him read the books he wants me to know about. I would say that he has only started really trying to do the return favor since the road trip and that’s still… I think I put more effort into sharing his interests but I’m not sure I’m evaluating fairly. And none of this time or effort counts as showing love for him.

Noah talks a lot (fairly and reasonably) about how hard it is for him to be emotionally level for me and that’s a huge gift he gives to me. I agree that it is a huge gift. I do understand that it is a lot of effort for him. It’s visible effort… I know how he struggles with being upbeat and cheerful for my sake so I can sponge off of his good humor. But the thing is… I have put in equally as much work if not more. He may have started off this marriage not being as good natured as he currently behaves… but I started out a basket case who cut myself and isolated myself constantly in between crying jags and screaming at people. I haven’t injured myself in… I don’t know how long. It’s been a long time. That was a multi-decade habitual response to dysregulation. I have replaced it with fucking typing. I used to need full days of hiding alone in my house in order to go manage a two hour munch. Now I am “on” and I have to be cheerful and helpful and loving and physically affectionate…12-14 hours a day every single fucking day and I don’t get breaks. I don’t get an hour off a day to hide in a room and work on my feelings. I have to just fucking show up and act nice and put my shit to the side ALL DAY EVERY DAY.

I don’t feel I get a lot of credit for this. When I am minimizing things that will serve to dysregulate me (like heavy SM scenes) I feel like the response is that I am being mean and taking a toy away from Noah. When I feel like I am trying to be able to show up and do my primary job every day without fucking up.

Would it be more fun for me to have more babysitting and do more dysregulating things with my body? Yes. But my parenting would go downhill faster than an Olympic skier. We have collectively decided that for a few decades here it is more important that I show up for my kids than that I have fun. But I feel like I get punished for sticking to that. Punished isn’t the right word. I feel like I am resented for it. And I was getting to the point where I had more space to be able to do that without being a fucking asshole…

But now I’m pregnant and the whole fucking thing is starting over. I won’t have that much bodily privacy for another five fucking years.

And I feel like that means I am doing something terrible to my husband and I feel incredibly resentful of that. Yes, I want this kid really really badly. But I want this kid fully seeing how shitty it makes my life to have another fucking baby. Babies make my life shitty. I am not the kind of mother who says, “My life barely changes”. EVERYTHING CHANGES when I have a baby. I give up independence and autonomy and I am a fucking life support device. I don’t have bodily privacy. I don’t have space for myself. I am subsumed into the me-not-me who is currently in that state of need. There is no fair here.

I know it isn’t fair to have your sex life derailed from where you want it to be. I know it isn’t fair that when your body is still doing the normal same old same old you don’t get what you want and need under those circumstances. I know that sucks.

But I fucking started this journey with chronic pain and then I exacerbate it in every way. I start out emotionally dysregulated and I stick a fucking rocket launcher on the back of that when I’m pregnant. I can’t fucking sleep well. I can’t eat well. I feel like fucking shit just about every moment of the day.

But I’m so meeeeeeaaaaaaaaan if I don’t want to have sex.

Clearly I don’t love Noah if I’m not having sex.

I kind of want to jump off a bridge.

So I can stop grocery shopping and doing laundry and cleaning and home schooling the kids and putting a death grip on my behavior so that I’m not mean to people around me and I can stop dealing with how hard it is for me to accept casual touch and I’m going to start fucking masturbating three fucking times a day and I’m never asking for permission again and…..

I’m really frustrated.

I feel really sad that I’m a failure as a wife because my cunt is defective and that is all that I am judged by.

I feel desperate and sad and hopeless. I feel like I will never be able to make Noah feel loved so why in the fuck am I beating my head against that rock?

Because I love him so much and I’ve still never had anyone in my life be as nice to me as he is. Even though he is kind of an asshole sometimes. Perspective is a big thing.

Noah does a lot for me. Noah is incredibly helpful and kind to me most of the time.

But I have a hard time with how many of my friends are all #TeamNoah and Krissy should stop being such a bitch to that poor sainted man.

I’m not saying I should be pitied or that Noah should be denigrated to hell and back. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that I don’t ever write the Full Story because I can’t. I write my current thoughts and feelings and impressions and that’s fucking limited. I don’t have enough god damn time in the day to write the Full Story.

This. Is. My. Alone. Time.

I have learned how to be regular for this marriage. I have learned how to show up every day and deliver on my promises even when I don’t want to. I take care of my family whether I want to or not. (Noah does too… I’m not saying that I’ve done more than him.) I’m saying that I did not grow up seeing people show up through the hard stuff. I’m making this up out of whole cloth and I’m doing it because of how much I love Noah and how much I want this to work.

When it was very clear that I had to stop fucking around or my marriage was basically over… I stopped on a dime.

I feel like I get all the credit for fucking up and being wrong and no credit for how far I’ve come or how much I do.

I can do something…

I may be a shitty wife who rarely does the work that a wife should do, but once in a while I try. I screwed over Noah’s day by fucking up the timing of when EC needed to be somewhere so I’m making dinner while he’s out and about.

Holy fucking shit this stock smells SO GOOD. I may not be the greatest cook in the world… but I’m pretty bad ass at making soup.

*pat self on the back*

Yay another year passed.

I’ve now been married for eleven years.

I like Noah. I don’t just mean I like what he does for me. I like him. I like the way he smiles. I love the way he softens around me like butter, as if I’m safe.

I like that even though I sometimes get very mad at him for having different opinions than I have, he doesn’t back down and he stubbornly defends his sources because he came to this conclusion for reasons. I like that he doesn’t bend at my whims.

I love watching him parent. I picked Noah as a coparent and I made a really god damn good choice. He’s such a good parenting partner for me. Our kids shine with love and that isn’t all me.

I appreciate how much work he’s willing to do to help me figure out my complicated body.

I like how hard it is to go to sleep sometimes because I wannna keep taaaaaalking to hiiiiiiiim.

If you had asked me when I was 10 years old if I believed I would grow up to have a good marriage I would have fallen down laughing. But here I am.

Things I appreciate about my husband.

He’s consistent. He remembers the promises we make to one another and follows through on them better than I do. I think our relationship would have disintegrated without him holding it together saying, “Nope. We promised X, Y, & Z and so we’re gonna do that.”

He is kind. Sure, he gets on my nerves in lots of ways… but he is consistently kind to people. He slows down and explains. He will help anyone who asks him for help. He’s getting waaaaaaaaaay better at volunteering help without needing to be asked. He watches for ways to make life better for people inside of our family and out of it.

Did you know that he tutors people in programming stuff all the time? Sometimes locally and sometimes long-distance. All folks who really can’t afford to take a class. They need help and they reach out to him and he almost never says no. He wants as many people as possible to have access to the kind of fantastic life he has gotten to have because of programming.

He will stop and talk to anyone about ways to improve their career trajectory. He has lists of articles he sends out to people who are in various transitions whether in his field or not. He really wants to help other people do better. Even when they aren’t programmers.

He goes really far out of his way to try and find ways we can do things together. Naturally we have very different temperaments and interests. He keeps trying to find things we can share. Most of it doesn’t work out, but he keeps trying anyway.

 

Family, opinions, planning

There isn’t much in this world I like as much as I like how much my children want to spend time with me. Last night they begged me to sleep in their room between them. I was there for six hours until my back was hurting enough that I needed to change beds. I was sad to leave them, but gosh I get to hurting.

I read a lot of development stuff. There are some seriously contradictory opinions out there. Some folks (who will remain nameless cause I ain’t sending support their way) really believe it is terrible for me to provide as much support and physical affection as I provide. “Children need to get used to being alone.”

I got used to being alone. It broke something inside of me I don’t know how to fix. Naw, I’m good with not doing that to my kids. We deal with the separation that we need to deal with, but I don’t force space between us. My kids ask for space as they desire more of it and I let go and give them a little push. “Sure! Try your wings! Jump out of the nest! Do it! Do it!” But I’m standing behind them at first before I fling myself headlong at the ground to be there to catch them if they need it.

My children aren’t really alone as they try things. Sometimes I stop and reflect that my children are some of the least-alone people I’ve ever personally known. I did that. Wait: I did that.

Holy tomato. I took this hole inside of me and I decided “Ok that piece is not getting passed on” and I haven’t. I have been able to do what I set out to do.

My kids treat one another like they are a matched set. They get whiny about how much time they are separate for camps a few times a year. They are together and happy about it every day. My constant harping on how they are a team must help. I tell myself. Because I want to feel useful. It’s working.

I have children who believe deep in their bones that we are happier, stronger, and better together as a group than we can be alone. After I grew up feeling like I poisoned everything I touched. How did that come to be?

It started with Noah. It started with the fact that I don’t poison him, I help him. I make him feel more motivated and alive and inspired than he has ever been in his whole life. Nothing ever jump started him like me.

That’s pretty cool because he was a neat guy when I met him. He’s grown up so beautifully. I’m not entirely sure I married a man. He really may have still been a boy. At this point, he’s a man and it is so beautiful. He’s responsible. He’s diligent. He’s caring. Where he has tendencies towards flakiness or fucking up he has devised elaborate systems of checks and balances so he can’t drop anything important on accident. He taught himself how to stop fucking up. That’s huge, yo.

I appreciate how self-reinforcing our family values are. We value hard work and the pursuit of health. We think exercise and outside time are necessary to health and if the grown ups are slacking and lazy the kids tell us to get off our butts and do it. It is a glorious system. My kids think that life is a balance of work and rest and if you do too much of one or the other you develop problems so you have to pay attention to your schedule. When I work too much, they come down on me to rest. “Mom you will get sick. Don’t act like this.” My kids will comment on how we need more protein and vegetables to balance out the sugar we eat.

They are going to be some micromanaging motherfuckers when they are grown. It will allow them to be excellent at a wide variety of careers.

My kids are fierce. They are always the most female-presenting looking kids in the fighting group at whatever kid event we go to. They love to fight and they are getting better and better at sportskidship. Less gloating over winning. More “that was a really fun game, thank you for playing with me”. It is a work in progress. I use the word fierce because that is the most common word that random parents observe about my kids. “Wow they are fierce.” “Yup, they are.”

My kids have never been taught to soften themselves because people expect that from folks born with a vulva. Psh. Whatever.

In our house we talk about what it means to be a person born with a vulva and a uterus and what it means to be a girl and a woman. We are very clear that there are some maintenance acts that happen to anyone with these body parts but that doesn’t make you a girl or a woman just like having long hair wouldn’t make you a boy or a girl. But whether you are a boy or a girl you have to care for long hair–it’s just something that takes effort. Bodies take work and the nature of that work does not define who you are.

I’m well aware that there are people in this world who do not approve of how I am raising my children. I’m well aware that there is no “right way” to parent. I don’t think I’m doing it th One Twue Way. I think I’m adapting to my quirks and issues and my childrens’ quirks and issues and my partner’s quirks and issues and devising a system that makes us happy. That doesn’t mean it applies to other people.

Sweet cheese I don’t think I know what you should be doing. You are so different from me. You have such wildly different needs from this parenting journey. If I told you what to do I would hurt you and I would probably hurt your kids.

I need to remind myself of that more often. Even when I have a very strong opinion about an aspect of other people’s parenting I need to shut my fucking mouth. I’ve been failing at that lately in a specific case. I need to back all the way off. I can’t control other peoples actions. I need to stop trying.

Sometimes it is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard not sharing my opinion.

Suck it up, wench.

I know there are a multitude of reasons I would make different decisions. Just one small aspect of our life would have to change and I would believe I needed to alter almost everything. I don’t think my path is the right one. It’s just the one I’m on.

I ask my kids about school regularly. I am not married to home schooling (even though I love it for entirely selfish reasons and I would cheerfully keep them around forever) I am choosing it as the right path for now. I really didn’t want to send my children to school before the age of 7 or 8 for a variety of developmental reasons… but past that… school is probably fine or healthy unless you have reason to know that a specific school is a bad match for a given kid. I just seriously think the US fucks up early education.

Up until I started painting my house like mad I flat yelled at anyone who hinted in any way that I was an artist. Because in kindergarden I was told I couldn’t do art right and I would never be good at it.

I wanted my kids to skip the imprinting of kindergarden.

Achievement: unlocked.

Now what?

I’m pretty sure I should stop calling us unschoolers. We are eclectically home schooling. We aren’t following a formal curriculum but we are borrowing aspects of a bunch of different curriculums and wandering back and forth as I see fit. I’m also making a bunch up because I’m totally trained in how to do that.

This is getting way fun. Youngest Child is being allowed to very slowly work through first grade. Kiddo is in first grade and I don’t need to push at all. Kiddo opts in to doing work. (I said kiddo didn’t need to start till next year but they were bored.) So I pushed Eldest Child a bit and at this point she is solidly where she would be if she had been doing academics for the last three years.

The amount of progress they have both demonstrated this year kind of blows my mind. Eldest Child started off the year seriously delayed academically and she isn’t anymore. Holy crap. I have always been just praying I wasn’t fucking her over too much. I was totally taking it on faith that things would work the way they did.

Thank. Fucking. Goodness it worked out. That wasn’t actually guaranteed. Science experiments involve the possibility of complete failure.

I’ve been aware from day one that I’m not raising my children in a given cultural tradition. I’m raising them as a science experiment in which I get to control the variables. Yeah, yeah I researched a ton of theories first. I’m not just flying blind. I’m making conscious choices. This is a science experiment. Let’s see if I can hold it together for 20 or 30 years. 30 god damn years. I didn’t want that many years of parenting. I wanted to have kids closer together than that. Sigh.

I want more kids. I want them so much it is a constant ache inside of me. People tell me to adopt. People tell me to find “Chosen Family”.

I want more people who are related to me. Who come back. Who want to see me. There is a fierce ache inside of me.

I have so many cousins and aunts and uncles and a mother and a sister and a brother and nephews and a niece…

And they prefer loyalty to rapists over me.

I want to have children. This is my only chance at having the kind of family that other people get to have. I know people who adopt and have it go well. I know people who were adopted who had a shit show of a life experience because they never ever got over the fact that they didn’t get to stay with their mother.

It’s a roll of the dice with someone’s life. I respect people who can do it. I’m not in that place.

I wouldn’t write about it so often but someone or other brings it up with me every god damn week.

Noah and I talk about moving somewhere more rural in a few years. Somewhere we could have a much bigger house and spending a decade or two fostering kids. Fostering children is different. I have always felt a call towards fostering. But I’m not in the right place in my life for it for a variety of reasons.

I’m working towards it.

But I want more children and my window on that opportunity is not going to be open much longer. My body is not exactly in perfect working order and that’s not going to improve when I hit 40.

Hey I’ll be having kids in the same age range as most of my friends who have kids who are the same age as my older kids. See, I do want to emulate your life experiences. Sorta. In that way that my emulations usually barely resemble the originals.

I like that we are all different. I like that we need such different kinds of support. I learn so much from knowing you. I learn about things that I could never understand without your explanations. Thank you for your patience with me.

I try to not be too obnoxious with my lack of initial understanding.

Individuation is going to have to be a thing next year. I’ve subsumed in a way that is eating me. I noticed something yesterday. I completely flipped out and started dating when Pam left. I think that Pam was filling a huge intimacy hole in my life and I didn’t know or understand what that meant until she was gone.

I miss you Pam. I support you in what you are doing. I know it has value and I know you need to do it. You are learning things you need to learn. I miss you. You have value all the time. You have extreme value to me personally. I support you in not always prioritizing my needs. I really do. But I’m allowed to miss you. That’s ok.

Everyone who loves me is busy as fuck. It isn’t personal. It has nothing to do with me and I’m not allowed to be cranky about it, not really. I pick people who have a lot going on to love intensely. That’s something I do.

I need to figure out how to have consistent contact with folks. We are going to try some arrangements of inviting folks over. We’ll test some approaches. Some things will work. Some things will fail. Both results will teach us stuff.

It’s going to be an adventure to start trying harder to have non-sexual relationships with some folks I like having sex with. For a lot of the past ten years I have just avoided specific people at times when it wasn’t opportune to be jumping them. I have treated more than one man kinda like a meat stick and I need to stop that. I need to expand some of my comfort zone. I need to get better at enforcing boundaries other than with actual walls.

This will be a drama filled adventure. Oh fun.

I hope we don’t fuck up too badly. Erf. I hope that I manage to learn these lessons without more turnover of friendships.

like the people I know. I would prefer to keep them.

Sometimes people ask me with paranoia about my agenda for wanting to know them. What I want to get from you is pretty simple: understanding of how and why another person makes the choices they make. If you let me learn about you I will be able to make better, kinder decisions in the future because my understanding of what people might need will be expanded. Thank you.

And if there is anything I can do for you that helps reduce the pain you feel at being alive, let me know. I fucking live for that shit.

Life is hard. I need you. I am a selfish bastard and I wish you needed me too. Most of you don’t need me and I get that. I accept it because there really isn’t another option. But I wish you needed me the way I need you. I cannot be an understanding person without trying to understand you.

I really want to understand people as a larger group. As a collective. I have to do that through individuals. My data is entirely made up of anecdotes and I’m ok with that.

Only in the anecdotes do I hear the why behind peoples beliefs and actions.

I’m going to rewrite Outrunning Suicide next year and I’m going to do it through talking to children. I’m going to find some and work through the chapters one by one with kids. If I can’t explain it in a way that the younger kids can get… it is still too advanced. Right now it is challenging for some adults to read. That’s not the book I’m trying to write. So I need to rip it apart and break it down into smaller pieces.

It’s going to be a lot of work. That’s ok. It is worthy work.

I need to feel like I am doing more in this world than just being super nice to my crotch droppings. I mean, it’s a good thing to do… but I need more than that. Writing the books I have in my head is part of how I will establish the reputation and credibility I will need for building the incest database. My runway on that is extending by an extra ten years. I should put that time to good use and write some of the other books I need to write.

I know I have at least ten books in me and I’m still working on the second one. Time to get the lead out.

I’m getting closer to being able to understand how to tell Part 2.

I know there are several books in me about family dynamics aimed at children. Aimed at teaching them a vocabulary with which to seek out help.

I think I have a truly terrifying children’s board book to graphic novel series in me that slowly unveils layers of stories of abuse. It’s going to be really god damn disturbing. But educational. “When I was a child I spake as a child; when I became a man I put away childish things.” How does understanding of these topics grow and change and morph? What does the boogeyman mean? How is it used? How could it be useful? What is just… entertainment? What do we owe as family obligation?

Am I ever going to be the grownup I see in my head? Will I ever feel like I am a real person who deserves to be loved because they have ruddy well earned it?

I frequently see people espouse the view that no one should have to earn love. We all just deserve it. Well. I can see how you would want to believe that. Sure. I haven’t experienced a world where that is how it works. I could rail at the world for existing in this form or I could work really hard to try and earn love. I’m going to fuck up sometimes. It is going to backfire sometimes. Standing still and stomping my feet and saying, “But I deserve it so give it to me” hasn’t ever worked for me.

I’ve had to work on my behavior. My mood swings. My actions in the world. My fucking facial expressions. My kids won’t even let me fucking cuss much anymore. What the hell.

I have had to learn to tolerate types of touch that irritate me and I’ve had to learn how to reject types of touch I like a lot in order to have this life. It is a painstaking process.

There are people in this world who get to occupy positions they haven’t really earned. That hasn’t been my life experience very often. I work. That’s how I get things.

Time to stop typing. I missed you, internet.

Love, friendship, dating, and sex.

This has been a year of trying things to see what fits. What improves situations. What makes things worse. I end the year with a lot of mixed feelings. I didn’t manage to love myself more.

After experimentation and months of talking… Noah has asked me to commit to never dating solo again. Polyamory is off the table. No, we won’t reevaluate that at year twenty. When I go out on dates Noah feels like he wants to die and that’s not ok. When Noah dates I feel relief that he has found someone better than me and it is ok for me to die.

Dating… doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Ok.

What does love mean then? Because we both have intense feelings of love for many people in this world. We both say “I love you” to people and mean it with our whole hearts.

Noah got to relearn this year that other people think that saying that means you want to Commit To A Relationship. I am lucky in that most of the folks I say it to accept it as a gift and don’t really think of it as meaning more than that. I get to be a comet in your life. Not a girlfriend.

I feel like my impulse to avoid women for casual sex was a good one right now. Both times Noah really reached out to women this year… they weren’t looking for casual. They wanted to be important. They deserve to be treated like they are important–no argument from me. But that doesn’t mean that we have it to give in the way they need to receive it.

I’m feeling pretty shitty about the way we hurt some folks this year. We needed to learn more about ourselves and that is a messy shitty process sometimes.

I find it fascinating that the men I reached out to have universally said, “Don’t worry about me. Fix your marriage. I’ll still be your friend in whatever capacity later.”

That hasn’t been the response of the women. I lost a friend. Noah learned that he isn’t going to be able to continue a friendship he wanted to continue.

That’s fair. It’s ok that there are consequences to our actions. We earned them.

But this is why I didn’t pursue women. I knew that what I was doing was messy and complicated and I didn’t know how it would end up. Thank you, lovely forgiving men.

I completely and totally understand why the women who were approached responded the way they did. I get it. I do. I think their reactions are understandable, fair, and appropriate.

Frankly the men involved could use with a little more self-protection mechanisms. Y’all deserve more consideration than I can give you.

We like having sex together with friends. It feels fun. It feels validating. It feels like having an adventure together. I think it is funny that my friends (whether conservative or liberal, Christian or atheist, monogamous or VERY POLY) and my therapist are all coming down hard on “Y’all are swingers and that’s ok.

Many of you were not the sorts of people to say that sort of thing when I first met you. I’d like to believe I’ve had a positive impact on you. I love you.

I love my relationship anarchist friends with all my heart. I can’t live like you. I think it is cool that you make the life and love and relationship choices you make. Go you. But I have to make the choices that make me ok and that make Noah ok.

We started out completely open. We have rocked back and forth on the pendulum trying to figure out what works for us from completely closed to “I can’t follow rules right now”.

I feel like a serious asshole, but it really did take the second time Noah completely broke down sobbing hysterically on the floor before I got it. I can’t date. Never again. I can’t have a boyfriend. It will rip him apart and I can’t do that.

Ok.

That is the deal. I needed to see that laid out plain as day.

We have friends who are happy to have sex with us together. If I need to individuate so badly (and I totally fucking do) maybe I need to do it in a way that respects this boundary for Noah.

I’m good at having sex with a friend and continuing to love them forever while having a 99.99% of the time platonic relationship. Even my platonic is effusively affectionate and supportive. I show up for my friends.

As long as everyone understands that if Noah needs me that is my first priority. Balancing my kids and Noah is weird sometimes. Early on when my children are infants they come first because triage of needs and all there is to a power struggle of importance. But frankly with six and eight year old children… Noah doesn’t have needs very often. When he does I tell the kids they have to wait. Yes, yes preservation of the species and all that…

Noah is the only person on this whole earth who is committed to taking care of meI’m not fucking with that.

I’m a needy thing. I can’t guarantee that my kids will take care of me. Barring his death or incapacitation… Noah will take care of me until I die. That’s the deal. Noah isn’t the sort to wander off if it gets hard. Noah isn’t a quitter. I started out hard. There have been no misrepresentations here implying I might be easy in any way.

I’m hard.

And he picks me over and over every day. Year after year. His intensity and commitment grow instead of diminishing.

I haven’t worn him out. Not in ten years of hard and shenanigans and fuckery.

I have a really good deal. It is a deal I want. It is a deal I like. It is a deal I appreciate.

There are limits within that deal.

It was really good and important to get to the point where Noah could actually admit out loud that he does not want polyamory at all, ever. That was important to hear. It’s important to document as a shift in what he wants. It’s important for my future behavior that I internalize what that means.

We aren’t looking for a unicorn. We aren’t looking to date. We are just the kind of friends who are fun to have sex with sometimes. Ok.

I need to internalize what that means. I need to figure out how to shift my behavior set so that I accurately signal what is on the table instead of leading people on.

We’ve hurt enough people this year. I hurt the Quiet One. We hurt our friend. I’m going to go ahead and be a shit and say that Noah hurt the out of state person.

Fuck. We did that. I’m sorry. There isn’t much I can do to fix any of it.

But I can move forward and try to figure out how to not do it again. You can’t always repair the damage you cause. Sometimes there are good reasons you can’t fix things with someone you have hurt or traumatized.

That doesn’t mean that you should pretend it didn’t happen. Acknowledge the pain you cause. Even if part of acknowledging it means stepping back and not inflicting your presence on people who don’t fucking want to deal with you.

That’s legit, yo.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Thank you, Bailey.

Some people are in our lives so we can learn lessons. Sometimes that lesson is, “I’m an asshole who hurts people in ________ ways.” I feel really bad about the number of people who have been in my life to demonstrate to me that I am a disrespectful bully.

I’m sorry. I think I do better about that now than when I was younger. I’m still not perfect.

I’m not sure I will ever stop being a bully 100% of the time. That shit can be effective, yo. There are times in life when you need to be able to stand up and demand your way. Bullying behavior works very well. Like, when Noah was in the hospital and none of the nurses would take me seriously that he needed a non-Opioid medication. I had to all but throw a temper tantrum to get them to call a doctor and evaluate him. I don’t feel bad. I brought chocolates and apologized later.

They said they deal with worse all the time.

Life is funny.

Bullying is a complicated subject. We present it in school as “evil” and The Behavior To Avoid when the reality is that the world is full of bullying and being able to manage it is important. Sometimes bullying is not evil. A lot of really important stuff only gets done because there is a bully shoving everyone along.

It’s like manipulation. It gets a bad rap but I think there is some utility there.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to add anything else to this topic. Cheers.

Lessons I’ve learned

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.

Moving the needle

I’m trying to figure out how to get things to improve in my marriage. I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m scared. At this point we are most of the way through arguing about all of our done-me-wrongs over the last ten years. There’s been an absolute fuck ton of arguing this year.

I don’t know about you, but I have let a lot of things slide over ten years because I didn’t want to argue. Then when things kinda hit a boil… everything comes out. We’ve had little and big problems that I’ve bit my tongue and la-la-la ignored. I’m not so sure it was useful.

At some point last night I realized that we have fairly equivalent lists of “you did _____” for one another. So we have hit the point where we have fairly well hashed out the problems and we are getting to… we have to forgive to move on.

Fuck.

I both am and am not a forgiving person. There are lots of things that I don’t really forgive. Lots. Shit dude, I cut off my family. There are things I won’t forgive. But I don’t think Noah has done anything that heinous. Everything that has been hurtful has individually not been over my threshold, but collectively… oh that’s harder.

But I want him to forgive me. Damnit.

I did something, well said, something horribly awful this year. I screamed at Noah that I wished he would die. I didn’t mean it and in less than five minutes I was crying and apologizing and saying I wanted to take it back.

I don’t have a high horse for sitting on here. I don’t think I have been less hurtful than Noah. I have been differently hurtful at different times… but I have been a horrible person. I’m really not denying that.

If we are going to move forward we have to forgive.

Oh fuck.

One of the biggest problems we are dealing with isn’t really Noah’s fault but he’s done some awful things because of it. Me saying no. I don’t really speak up when things make me uncomfortable all that well. My early life taught me that life is uncomfortable. Full stop. Speaking up about it just means people punish you for not complying faster because my comfort is irrelevant.

This is creating problems. I have done a lot of things while feeling wildly uncomfortable because I don’t react to that feeling as if I have any right to be defended. So I put myself in situations where I don’t believe I can say no and I do it over and over.

Sex. Oh sex is a fucking mess. Well, our sex life has been better between us lately than it has been in years. Which is fascinating given how much we are fighting. I feel like everything is my fault. I’m not sure it is but I feel like it.

How are we going to learn to have boundaries around “us” as a collective instead of maintaining individual boundaries and I’m supposed to learn to speak up more, and earlier, when I’m uncomfortable? I really don’t know. Yes, unicorn hunting is hard but both of us completely flip out when the other goes off to play alone.

It is both of us.

I feel really ashamed of how strongly I react to Noah playing separately, which is kind of funny because his reaction isn’t… that much less intense. Not really. It feels like imminent death for both of us. So why do I need to feel ashamed of that feeling?

Because I feel like I’ve been exposed to poly for my entire adult life WHY HAVEN’T I MATURED PAST BEING AN INSECURE TWAT WAFFLE? It isn’t lack of effort or time. I just… I’m just so insecure that it’s ridiculous. It isn’t Noah’s fault, not even a little bit. If anything were going to make me feel secure it is Noah’s behavior in aggregate.

Yet here I am. Feeling like I really should jump off a bridge so that Noah has more space in his life to replace me with someone who is less of a colossal loser. He doesn’t want that. Not even a little. But it is very much how I feel. He… doesn’t feel that differently about me dating.

Why do I feel so ashamed of having the same feelings he has?

Because I believe I am supposed to feel supportive. I believe I am supposed to be willing to support him finding every scrap of happiness he can in this life. That’s what a good wife/partner would do.

I am not a good wife. I am small, selfish, insecure, and so very sad.

Do you know what is incredibly fucking complicated? The fact that… we don’t really have many platonic friends. If we are going to be controlling as fuck about one another, how do we handle the fact that we are mostly only friends with old lovers/play partners? It is hard. We both have a habit of acting like people on our side aren’t as threatening as people on the other persons side.

I was listing off the people I feel closest to… all of them I’ve been intimate with. I haven’t had SEX with all of them. But I’ve been intimate. I like crossing boundaries with people. I like bonding.

After this year I wouldn’t be surprised if none of our friends ever want to play or have sex with us again. Oh the drama.

Noah is right that I can’t ever have sexual contact with someone again without his consent. I ignored his no this year. I can’t do that again.

That’s a mistake I get to make once this lifetime.

Last night’s conversation hurt a lot. But I feel like we got closer to understanding, “I did x because y.”

We really are getting to the point where the only step left is forgiveness. If we want to move forward, and shit we are talking about another god damn kid, we have to forgive. What does that look like? What does that mean?

It means tearing up the tally marks for who has done what wrong to whom. That’s pretty scary.

I know I have behaved abusively in the last ten years. I believe there have been times when Noah has too. Should we be carefully keeping lists of documentation so that we can hurt each other as much as possible with these actions? Is this how abuse is normalized and tolerated and excused on a wide spread basis?

There are lots of kinds and types of abuse. Our marriage has not included the deal breakers I experienced early in my life. We both abuse in the ways we do rarely and only after a lot of pressure builds up that we haven’t figured out healthier ways to manage. Does that excuse it? No. I don’t know what to do.

Noah is right that in order to know what is going on with me, sometimes he has to listen to venom and sort through it for the truth. That really sucks. But there are a lot of things I just can’t talk about until I am so angry I am almost frothing at the mouth.

In arguments Noah keeps saying, “You knew it was hurting me and you wouldn’t stop.” But I have stopped. I stopped months ago. I have not continued leading people on in conversation. I’m not making promises I can’t keep with other people. I certainly haven’t been on a date recently. I did stop. I just didn’t stop on a dime the way he wanted me to. Something is going on currently that I feel will do a lot to decide how we move forward. If boundaries can be expressed in a way that actually supports our marriage going forward… that’s going to be a big deal. If I feel that it isn’t managed well…

I’m scared. I’m bitter. I’m frustrated and angry.

I work all the god damn time and I really don’t have much in my life that is about letting off steam. Most of my work demands that I project happiness and cheer whether I feel it or not. I don’t show my emotional range to my kids much because I don’t think it would be very fair. I’m a god damn roller coaster and they don’t need to be on the trip with me. So I shove my feelings in a box and I smile and I keep my voice pretty calm and level. Are there cracks in my armor? Sure. I’m not perfect. But my kids seem to genuinely not understand how upset I get and how often.

I am a very good liar.

I spend a lot of time hugging and snuggling when I would like to be shoving my head through a window. When I would like to be raging and crying and cutting myself up. I pretend that I enjoy being a loving mother instead.

How in the fuck am I supposed to learn to care about being uncomfortable when pretty much my whole life is set up around, “It doesn’t matter how you feel it matters how you support the people around you.”

I honestly don’t want as much physical contact with my kids as they want with me. It feels alienating and hurtful. Partly because I am so jealous I didn’t get it that I feel like I am going to burst into flames. My needs didn’t matter. Why in the mother fuck are yours so god damn important?

Why is everyone more important than me?

I’m supposed to make other people feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter if I’m sitting there thinking about the various pitfalls of ways to kill myself.

I don’t matter.

But Noah has built a life around how much I matter to him. I am seriously impressed with the amount of work he has put in to being a good partner. It’s a lot of why I feel he deserves someone better. Someone who can meet him halfway honestly instead of with a forced smile.

It isn’t that I don’t love Noah. It is that I spend so much time shoving down how uncomfortable I feel that there is often not room for authentic emotions near the surface. I have to have a layer of pretense over everything in order to cope.

This is how I have survived. This is how I have accomplished as much as I have. I pretend that how I feel doesn’t matter even a little bit, I put my head down, and I work.

A lot of my work is consciously projecting emotions I don’t feel: happiness, comfort, feeling secure. Because I am so good at pretending I feel these things I’m very good at helping other people feel this way. From what I understand from the people I weirdly interrogate: their feelings seem to be more authentic than mine.

Uhm I guess that’s good. I can pretend to be ok and help other people feel actually ok.

It all comes down to how I actually feel is irrelevant.

As a result I hurt and hurt and hurt and hurt.

It’s been a bad year in pretty much every way. Well, the cruise was lovely. We made promises for the next decade of our life that we need to figure out how to keep.

Otherwise 2016 has been overwhelmingly shitty. I’m so god damn over this remodel I could scream and never stop. Today they finish the initial drywall installation in the bathroom. They have finished the stucco outside. They will be here till January at least. We have a hearing in January and doing work communicating with the lawyer saps my will to live. It feels so mentally taxing and draining.

In retrospect… I’ve done an amount of work this year that I probably shouldn’t have been able to get done. I’m so tired.

I’m on the verge of collapse.

And I don’t really know what feeds me at this point. From where am I drawing energy? From the clear blue sky and I don’t god damn know how much longer I can continue.

I miss socializing. I miss my friends. I miss community. I don’t in any way shape or form have the ability to do more of it right now. Because as much as I get something back from that there is also a cost associated and right now I can’t pay.

We haven’t even been inviting people over to dinner much. I just can’t.

I have felt existentially lonely for a long time. The road trip was really hard in this way.

Noah desperately wants to be enough all by himself for me. But Noah has a lot on his plate. I can’t ask for any more of Noah. It isn’t fair or appropriate or ok. So I feel like I have spent a lot of time trying to make myself smaller. So that what Noah has to spare is enough.

I’m hurting so much.

I feel like a real schmuck in our conversations sometimes. I know he has made enormous leaps of progress in the past year since we’ve been back from the road trip. He is organized and efficient and he’s trying so god damn hard. The trouble is I have a back log of hurt and frustration and need and sadness and I don’t know how to deal with it. If I weren’t dealing with years of hurt… would this be enough? I don’t know. It is closer to enough than it ever has been before. But I don’t know how to evaluate it given how much I’m flailing.

I feel like I’m reaching the part where I’m genuinely in a family and I genuinely need to figure out the coping skills for forgiving and staying that other people have. I’ve never developed these skills. They have never been relevant to my life.

I need to stop making Noah cry. I don’t place it as a goal that I will feel happy. But I need to stop making Noah cry. Because Noah having a minimum bar of ok is more important than me being happy.

And this is how things fuck up. This is how I build up backlogs of things that hurt me until I explode. Because I don’t think I am important enough to deserve support on the smaller stuff. There is just so much that makes me uncomfortable that I really don’t believe I have the right to ask for consideration. It would be a job and not a fun one.

I’m not sure how forgiveness ties in to being able to respect or like myself. Can I forgive if I think I deserve the bad treatment? If I think it will never stop because it is just that I receive it?

My heart and my head and my stomach hurt. I feel physically sick and I don’t think it is illness. I think it is sadness. I think it is the feeling that I matter so fucking little. I feel worthless and pointless and stupid. I feel like I should die.

I feel like death is the only route to stop hurting. Life is pain.

Forgive. I have carved forgive on my body in more than one place because I feel like if there is a lesson I am supposed to learn in this lifetime it is how to forgive. But am I forgiving Noah or am I forgiving myself? I sorta feel like I will not ever be able to forgive anyone else, not really, until I forgive myself.

Forgive myself for being petty and weak and insecure and so very damaged by the experiences I’ve had. How do I forgive myself for not being whole when I have never been whole and I don’t really even understand what that might be like?

I feel so very sad. And my arms hurt like a motherfucker. I need to stop.

Don’t pick a side.

What I really wish I heard more of is, “You both try. You both fuck up sometimes and do it right sometimes. You both do the work and yet still fall short.”

It isn’t that I feel that I am right and Noah is wrong. Oh goodness, no. I’m a fucking asshole and I do awful things.

I just don’t know how to deal with feeling like I am the one who fucks up.

Sex and fucking up

I had a great chat yesterday. It made me think about a lot of how I’ve screwed up this year.

Sex is complicated. We have sex for so many reasons. For connection, intimacy, orgasms, bonding, feeling-not-alone-in-this-minute.

The thing is, that’s complicated. Why didn’t I pick Noah for every time I wanted sex this year? Because that’s complicated. Sometimes sex with a particular person is loaded with implications across your whole life you can’t handle and you want the ease of sex with someone else. Sometimes I wanted to feel like I still had the ability to connect with new people.

New people have been very instrumental to my survival. I get that it isn’t something that is a big deal to everyone. I know that lots of people have been safer in the known communities of their lives. I have survived by over and over again throwing myself backwards into the arms of strangers and just praying they would catch me. At this point it is no longer a survival mechanism but it is an ingrained habit. That’s complicated.

I don’t think I chased sex as self harm this round but I have certainly done so in the past. Sometimes the choice is, “Do I hurt myself in a known and predictable way because I don’t like myself very much or do I take the risk that this person will be nicer to me than I am able to be to myself or maybe they will hurt me more than I would hurt myself. Roll the dice.”

That’s a choice I’ve made many times in my life. If you haven’t had to deal with the cognitive load of poverty plus severe traumatization… you probably won’t understand. It will seem baffling to you that someone would make such a choice.

I’m glad you’ve never been there. That’s awesome for you.

I’ve been there a lot. I’m not there lately, but I have zero judgment for someone else finding themself in that position. It happens.

There have absolutely been nights when I’ve picked up a stranger and fucked them instead of hurting myself because I didn’t think I could stop until I put me in a hospital.

Was that a bad choice? I really don’t think so. I think I made the best choice I could given all the circumstances of my life in that moment.

It is hard to keep the larger picture in mind when you are judging one particular choice. Choices that were completely reasonable for me at different points in my life shouldn’t be judged the exact same way at this point in my life. I’m in different circumstances. I have different options.

To put it bluntly: I can have an emergency “weekend trip to relax” at this stage of my life. If I feel like I’m going to freak out and do something drastic… I can make it a very safe kind of drastic. Because I’m rich.

But that was literally not available to me before marriage.

Money. Money. Money.

If you have enough money, time, support, fill in the blank to have better options… who the fuck are you to judge someone doing the best they can!?

Get off your high horse.

But I’m really not in the same position as I once was.

How in the hell is any of my behavior this year justifiable? Hunh, hunh?

I’m not sure I can “justify” my behavior. I think I can explain it. I don’t think my explanations are “good enough” from many points of view and there’s not much I can do about that.

I learned things I needed to learn. I was able to find words for problems I wasn’t able to find words for until I processed all the way through some extreme emotions. I was able to change boundaries that were a big problem for me.

Could I have found a way to do it without freaking out and breaking a lot of rules?

Maybe. I tried. I failed.

I succeeded when I blew the boat up.

Things are going a lot better in a variety of ways. Was it worth the cost? Yes. To me. Was it to Noah? He’s still deciding. He’s still raw. That’s fair.

Sometimes we don’t do things to people and they hurt anyway. I didn’t go out and fuck people to hurt Noah. That’s not why it happened. We are all autonomous beings running our own stories and our behavior is not always about our partners. We have our own narrative running. It isn’t about you.

Even if we love you. Even if there could be negative consequences for you. We can’t make every single choice only about you. That’s not a way to be a person.

Would it be nice if our choices didn’t hurt you? Yes.

Yes.

I played a very careful line this year. I didn’t actually do stuff that was that risky to my life. I mostly went out and spent extra time with my friends. People who have been good to me for a long time. I had a tremendous amount of fun. It will help keep me warm for years to come. Was it worth the price I paid?

Probably. Does that mean I can do it like that again? No. I really can’t. It would break Noah.

What does that mean? Our relationship functions based on a lot of trust and mutual worship. If I kill that then I’m kinda destroying both of our reason to live. Whether or not I’m doing something at Noah… I need to pay attention to the impact. My life is completely intwined with him.

If I rock the boat he feels every wave. There is not a lot of separation there.

I’m not sure we will ever get to the point of being “polyamorous” even if we are allowed to discuss it in ten years. But it is ok to have sex with our friends sometimes if we do it together. Is that my ideal? I don’t know. I don’t think my ideal is more fair so I guess it will have to be ok.

There is no fair.

I get why we are both so possessive. I see the holes in both of us that we use one another to fill.

Sex with friends is different than the anonymous sex I also like. They scratch different itches. Sex with friends is safer and more predictable (not in a bad way). Anonymous sex allows me to feel like I am touching the core of connection between strangers. It is both intimate and distant in a way that feels like a spiritual practice to me. The trust and risk are intense rushes.

But my life is wrapped around Noah. So whether or not I’m doing something at him… he will feel it.

Noah doesn’t feel so awesome about my having sex with other people. He wants me to keep my worship at home. When we are having sex with other people together, that’s ok. That’s not scary or hard. Well, sometimes it is logistically hard or a position is hard or… but it’s not threatening in the same way. We are having an adventure together. No one is left to sit with their imagination and fear.

Noah really doesn’t want me to go off alone any more than I want him to. Seems fair. Annoying, but closer to fair than most things ever get.

Why annoying? Because I am selfish selfish selfish selfish selfish. A lot of the reason I have sex is for the orgasm and changing partners increases that like a motherfucker. Sigh.

No life is perfect.

(For the record: Noah has been working hard on this and has had a pretty fucking outstanding success recently. There’s an A for effort and result.)

I know he’s trying. I can see it. I don’t think it would be possible to look at Noah and not see that he is trying as hard as he possibly can for me.

I’m so annoying and hard.

He works far harder than anyone can ask for; that kind of effort is a freely given gift. I know how lucky I am. My physical and mental health issues have not been easy. But Noah considers my companionship worth the cost.

How in the hell did I end up here?

I auditioned hundreds of people and Noah won the part.

I think we are much better and more interesting together than we ever were apart.

I’m looking forward to pregnancy. I get so exhausted that our pace of life will utterly collapse. Yeah, yeah, pregnancy isn’t a disability yeah yeah pregnant women should carry on as if nothing was happening…

I can’t. Gestating is fucking hard in my body. Remodeling and resettling the house has to be complete by January. Next year I’m going to work on academics with my big kids, sit around, sleep, exercise, eat and go grocery shopping.

I’m probably not going to get much else done, to be honest. And that’ll continue for at least 3-6 months after the baby is born.

I’m toast. Breeding is hard.

I’ve completed the cycle and come out the far side more than once so I’m very aware of what it looks like for me.

I’m really excited about the possibility of a pregnancy where I am in much better physical shape to start with (hello marathon and half marathons, you have halo effect I still feel) and I have my IBS mostly under control and I can breathe through my nose. This will be a different experience. I’m also older. This will also be a medicalized experience (hiya bleed out problems) which is kinda terrifying for me.

All the feelings. And my back is giving me trouble. I need to finish this damn remodel. But bending over really kinda sucks.

I’ll get through it. Put a corset on and get your work done, woman.

It’s kinda funny how we all adapt to the tasks life puts in front of us. This art shit weighs on my soul. I really am more calm in my home because of the art work. It is so easy to ground in my house. When you are here you are really in a particular, individual place. That’s a big deal for me. In other peoples homes, in most of the homes I’ve ever lived in… they all kinda blend together. Sure the knick knacks and furniture are sorta different… but the white walls meet the white ceilings and I want to crawl under a table and cry.

No, it’s not rational.

I do not want a fancy “nice” bathroom that looks like it could be in a hotel somewhere. And I’m willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money for the experience I want to have. Every doctor I have wants me to take baths as often as I can. I spend time in my bathroom. I recycle the water too. To deal with my hippy guilt. (The internet tells me that epsom salts, baking soda, vinegar, and sugar are all fine for plants on a small scale so my bath water is fine  for my plants. Woo hoo.)

We’ve had a broken toilet for a long time. We’ve been using the grey water to flush the toilet. I’m thrilled that with the increased bath capacity of water I will also be able to use the water for more plants. I’ve always used some of it sometimes… but never for plants if someone has used shampoo or soap.

Why am I so tolerant of my friends having quirks or needing accommodation for their mental health needs? Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Uhm, err, just because I’m a nice person?

*cough*

Because I fucking obsess over what to do with my bath water. I got no stones to throw on people needing to do their thing.

Oh man. I’m going to go through a pregnancy in a bathtub big enough to roll over in. Oh the glory.

Spoiled rotten motherfucker.

I really like my house.

Did I mention I’m having candle holders permanently installed on the walls of the bathroom? And there are skylights above it?

The walls are going to be glittering scenes of autumn and winter. I’m working on them.

My house is a very particular place. I like it so much.

I need to clean it. But that’s a problem for a different day. It won’t be really cleaned until the remodel is done. Too much dust and dirt is being generated every day. Not worth a deep clean. I’ll probably splurge on professionals in January at the start of the pregnancy.

Then I’ll spend a year basking in my family. In 2016 I was supposed to learn how to love myself. I don’t know that I managed, exactly. But I’ll spend 2017 hanging out and letting my family love me. That’s… almost the same thing?

Today will be a Zen sorta day. Noah has a dentist appointment. I’m watching a neighbor’s child in the morning and walking them to school. It’s kinda funny. Then I get to come home and get the kids onto chores and academics while I work. I will have to find a way to do work that is right next to them so we can talk while they do their stuff. They always have questions, which is very appropriate.

Tonight we are going to trick or treat with friends we haven’t seen much in the year since we’ve been back from the road trip. We’ve been really bad friends this year. I’ve dropped everyone and everything on the floor for this remodel. And I do it when I’m doing the breeding thing too.

Uhm, I’m sorry. I will crawl out of a hole again in the future. I hope you still like me then.

But yes. Touching base with old friends. Longevity is a big deal for me. A dear woman I know is deeply associated with a phrase: “Friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”

I’m really curious which threads are deep enough in the weave that I will know them for most of my life. I am made up of the people who know me. The people who carry my story with them when they go. I am made up of the people who sometimes ruefully think, “What would Krissy do?”

I am a creation in your mind as much as I am anything at all. And the fact that you think about me. That fact is enough to mean that even when I fuck up, I am maybe not beyond forgiveness.

Forgiveness

Noah wrote me one of those epic blog posts he writes to me. Noah is of the belief that if we had public back and forth about our issues it would go badly. Given that I write publicly… he writes to me. I worry about this dynamic.

He’s bringing a lot of reality into this relationship. What the ever loving fuck. He accurately catalogues some of the problems we have had over the years and says that it is less about forgiving me for these ways in which I have fucked up and more about exalting that no matter how big the bump we always find a way past it.

That’s… that’s deep, yo.

I’ve fucked up a lot. I have done some pretty awful things. Some of the things are ongoing problems and some of them were problems for a while and then I stopped.

Just like some of the ways in which Noah has fucked up are ongoing and some of them are stopped. But I have not been giving him a lot of credit for change and growth. I have been acting like every problem, every fuck up is about an escalating pattern. Is it?

I come from a background of domestic violence. I literally spent my childhood moving every few months because my mother was running from a man who beat and raped her children.

Am I capable of looking at fuck ups and not wondering about the escalation potential?

Noah does not beat nor rape my children. I feel completely comfortable saying that. My children exhibit no stress signs of hidden trauma. I watch for it. My friends watch for it. My neighbors even watch for it because I’ve talked to many of them about my background and family history and I’ve flat asked to be monitored.

“I don’t know what healthy actually means. I’m trying to learn. I need feedback so I’d appreciate it if you commented when you see me doing something that might hurt my kids.”

People are always fairly stunned by this request, but they honor it. People call me on my shit.

I have all the potential in the world to be a monster.

So does Noah.

What does potential mean?

I don’t think I am a monster at this stage. Or maybe, I’m a monster kinda like the BFG is a monster. Are you a monster because you are in a category with other monsters based on demographic factors but you don’t enact monstrous behavior yourself?

Noah wants me to not forgive him but instead exalt him for getting past many of the ways he has hurt me. I get why he wants that. I get why it is important for the story arc. Given that we are fresh on the heels of several straight months of me being the problem and me hurting him far more than he hurt me… I get it.

2016 will go down as one of the years when I hurt Noah the most for our entire marriage. Was it worth it?

I don’t know.

If I had to do that in order to really force through the idea that I will never grit my teeth and take one for the team again? Yes.

Yes. A million times yes.

Noah may want me to not forgive and instead exalt that we got past our issues, then I need 2016 to be the last year I ever submit to sex that hurts me in a bad way. I’ve been having sex that caused me intense physical pain for more than 30 years. I’m done. If I had to blow the fuck up to convince the people around me that I’m done done done done done I can live with that.

Does that make it good or fair or right to blow up like that? Not really.

Sometimes there aren’t right choices.

I know that means I will have to change behaviors on my end as well as figuring out how to keep coaxing behavior from Noah that will work better. That will be really hard.

I’m off the team. I can’t ever take one for the team like that again. Whatever service of that kind I owed in this lifetime I have paid. I have paid and paid and paid and paid. I’m out of currency with which to pay.

My cunt is mine and I need it to not be treated like something that anyone has a right to use no matter how much pain they cause me.

I understand that a lot of this has happened because I “let” it happen. Because I was conditioned from toddlerhood that this was my lot in life so I encouraged and allowed this kind of behavior. Yeah yeah, it’s my fault. I know.

If we go seek out people to hurt us and they hurt us is it their fault or our fault? I don’t entirely know.

Exalting. I should exalt that Noah has gotten to the point when he can recognize that I am engaging in bdsm as self harm he stops participating.

Really if I want to talk about the things Noah has worked on to be better at being my partner… I won’t stop talking for a few weeks.

I know.

I know.

Bossy friends, sleep, and the big D

Do you know what I hate about blacksheep telling me to do stuff? I pretty much always listen. I stopped using the Afrin. (@#$#$@$#$ bossy friends)

I am happy to report that with Zyrtec and saline nasal spray (to irrigate and moisturize, naturally) nightly I’m still getting 8-10 hours of sleep. Like fucking magic. I haven’t slept this well… ever.

(I wouldn’t listen to blacksheep so much if she weren’t usually fucking right.)

I find it funny how my initial response is always I’M NOT LISTENING TO YOU then two days later I’m doing what she told me to do. I’m so mature.

Things with Noah are… rocking back and forth in a gradual upswing. God damn that was some unfun conversating we did this weekend. (Yes I know that isn’t a word.) But it was important and useful and we said stuff we needed to say. There were moments when I asked questions about divorce, but suicide wasn’t the answer. This still needs to be considered progress.

No we aren’t getting a divorce. But I’m scared that I’m so bad for him that he really should get away from me. He doesn’t want to. We are both… crazy attached. Is this good? I don’t know. But I know I like Noah more than I like anyone else.

This is so complicated.