Tag Archives: emotions

Death of a Coping Mechanism

One of the best parts of my life is being surrounded by supportive and loving people who also know how to help me process when I am feeling both good and bad…and like this week, feeling both good/excited/happy and bad/frustrated/sad/upset/hurt at the same damn moment. I managed to spend a good thirty minutes with my therapist co-worker talking about my multitude of feelings.

All of this processing has helped me articulate to Keith last night, that the hurt I felt was not because he had sex on Monday night, the first extra marital sex experience (okay, okay, the first sex outside of me period). It’s that, when we were dating, and I tried to have sex with him on our first date, and he denied me that pleasure, I was understandable hurt inside. I knew that he had these moral convictions around sex, and so I convinced myself that it wasn’t really rejection, that it was because of morals, and that maybe I was the one who was wrong. Over the two years we dated and were engaged, I tried often to get him to have sex with me, all to no avail. We could do what he felt comfortable with, but not what I felt most comfortable with, all blamed on these moral/relgious beliefs.

I had all of these high hopes that once we got married we’d go from 0-60 in a short period of time. Instead we went from 0-30, which left me still feeling quite rejected often. His separation of intimacy and sex didn’t just congeal in one fell swoop, and so there were times I initiated and was denied, or longed to be touched and have him initiate with me, and I got radio silence.

And so here we are, 8 years later, and in one fell swoop my coping mechanism was completely shattered, with nothing to replace it. So my brain begins spinning because I revisit all of those times I asked for sex and was denied and think…well, if it wasn’t religious/moral reasoning, then it must have been me. He didn’t want to have sex with me. He’ll do it was some internet honey, but he wouldn’t do it for me. I didn’t even realize that all of this was bubbling inside of me, and he said, “I had no idea you felt rejected all those times. I thought you understood, and now my beliefs have changed, and I know it was hard to make the transition right when we got married, and I thought it would have been easier, and I’m so sorry you felt rejected all of those times. ”

Being able to articulate this crumbling of my coping mechanism made me feel so much freer. I feel like Keith’s ‘popping the seal,’ of extramarital sex is actually a good thing, because it allows me to really live within my belief that sex doesn’t always have to be this thing that has all these crazy intense meaning attached to it. And yet, now I think the hard work comes in working through and revisiting all the hurt from that night 8 years ago when I asked for sex and felt rejected the first time.

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Rules are Made to be Broken?

Help me internet land, I’m in a place of cycling between incredible anger and sadness and insecurity. Last night Keith broke our one rule: no sex. It’s a rule I asked for, not because I have anything against sex, but because I have incredible insecurity around the whole sex thing because Keith denied me from having sex in the first two years of our relationship.

He was a virgin, I was not. We got married when he was 29, and the two years prior was filled with me attempting to have sex and being denied…repeatedly. Repeatedly. Under the guise of morality, as he had been raised in a Christian home, and was heading toward the ministry.

And so, when we opened up, I said…no sex…yet. I had almost lifted the sex ban with a woman who was so upfront and honest and kind with him from the get go that after their second date I said, “I feel comfortable if the next time you hang out with Kayla you have sex. She seems like the kind of girl who will stick around.”

So last night he heads over to Renee’s house, a woman he met on Tindr, and one that I’ve actually been chatting with over on OkCupid myself. It has been seemingly this really great start…he likes her, I like her, she seems to like both of us independently. Conversation and all flows well. when she invited him over to her place after the Sounders game I totally encouraged it. She had asked him if it was okay if he come over if nothing happens, which is what he was cool with.

And then they end up having sex.

She didn’t know. She didn’t know that I had that boundary. She didn’t know that he had been a virgin before we were married. Because Keith fucked up and didn’t tell her. He said he hadn’t even thought she’d want to meet him, let alone date him, and one thing led to another. I said that might work if you were a frat boy drunk at a party, but the fact that for 29 years you had a strong boundary even with the woman you were engaged with and then one night you just randomly decide to have sex?

I feel incredibly hurt. And insecure. Because now that ‘one thing’ that I had wanted to approve or share, the one thing I felt like was special between the two of us, isn’t there anymore. And it didn’t happen in a context I would like. It feels like he cheated.

So we’ve been crying. And talking. And yelling (me) and listening (him, and me). Texting her, and feeling validated, and supported, and all around soothed of my terrible insecurities.

But…how do I go forward? I’m basically asking…how do I prevent getting hurt, and I know that’s not possible.

I love this post by SoloPoly about deciding goals for yourself in open relationships. I know what my goals are, but it’s getting Keith to articulate what his goals are, ya know? Or maybe that’s not how it works. I don’t want to be the one to put a rule on to him, I want us to mutually decide what we’re goaling for, and then live into that with integrity.

Summer Lovin’ Happened so Fast

Sometimes I find myself so enraptured in life, not even trying to mindfully live and experience it all, that I don’t take the time to sit down and get it all out. Channel the energy of the moment into words on paper. And then the moments are gone, because life is a series of moments strung together, and writing about the past, for me, is sometimes difficult because the feeling in the moment has passed.

So there I am, having not written about what it was like to lay in her arms laughing after we had sex for the first time. I didn’t try and describe what it was like to taste her, my first woman, or how she moaned in delight saying I had a magic touch. I didn’t write about the sunshine streaming in the bedroom window, or how romantic I felt in buying her a handmade gift off Etsy. Instead of writing, I was living, experiencing, loving (with a little l, not the big L).

And just like that, it’s over.

A new moment. A new feeling. A new blog entry, with the gap of time between the beginning and the end. A first chapter and a last but no middle.

The reason we ended was silly, trite, frustrating for someone like me that values conflict as a refining process toward creating a shiny diamond of relationship. Miscommunication, perhaps fear on her end, and a breakup in the middle of an argument over…toast.

Though, in the words of a shitty therapist I fired a few years ago, “it’s not about the fucking laundry toast.” Somehow the smallness of a conflict over a text message was really a symptom of something bigger. We both behaved like 8th grade girls and I’m embarrassed about my part in the ending. 

And yet, this Wise part of my soul knows the freedom I now have is what is best. I fell into a relationship with Anne, and now, with my foray into OK Cupid (like, actually messaging people), I feel like I am being more intentional. Really examining who I want to be in an open relationship and what I’m looking for in a potential partner. 

In a sappy final breakup text, sent a day or two after the fact, as I wanted to round some of the sharp edges we had left off with. In tribute to how we both enjoyed Emily Dickinson, I sent her this:

THAT is solemn we have ended-
 Be it but a play,
Or a glee among the garrets,
Or a holiday,

Or a leaving home; or later,
Parting with a world,
We have understood for better, 
Still it be unfurled.

Mimosa Mondays

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My lady love and I have a relaxed summer schedule, since we both work in the education field. So we’ve dubbed our Monday hangouts “Mimosa Mondays,” because…mimosas. Mmm. I can’t believe that a mere few weeks ago I was an emotionally distraught mess thinking that maybe I should go guns blazing into the world of OK Cupid to soothe my hurt little fledgling bisexual/lesbian pride. Because now? Um…amazing.

The conversation is so good. We can spend five hours talking and it feels like five minutes. We text a lot and I find myself mentally and emotionally stimulated. And the sex? Well, I’m no longer a lady virgin, ya’ll, and I’m loving every second in the lesbian pool. Mmm.

So we hang out, on Mondays, drinking mimosas and writing and reading books and snuggling on the couch and having sex. And it feels really nice. We’ve also started attending this online creative writing group that goes for the next few weeks, and I’m excited to connect with her in this way. Makes me feel closer to her already.

How Cake Didn’t Help Me Feel Better

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I’d been waiting a week for a repeat of our Saturday night goodtimes (which I have yet to blog about. Sigh). At any rate, the day sorta came…and went…and despite having bought Anne flowers and a chocolate cake to celebrate the end of the year and her graduating top of her class with a diversity certificate, I ended up watching too many cartoons on TV with my child and husband. And then I fell asleep in my kid’s room while doing his bedtime routine.

All of this after eating half a Trader Joe’s flourless chocolate cake…by myself.

Because, see, I had let myself get my hopes up. It’s something my mom told me NOT to do as a kid, rather than just teaching me how to deal with crushing disappointment. I don’t like to show how sensitive I really am, so I build up a shit-ton of walls to put on this swag that gives an impression that I am cool and unflinching in the face of disappointment. But, I gotta be honest, when Anne texted that she had to cancel our date, I was pretty fucking bummed.

The rational part of my brain kicked into gear, though, of course. I mean, her little sister had driven up from Oregon to fucking surprise her on Friday for her graduation. Out of town family TOTALLY trumps finger-banging your not-yet-girlfriend in a Saturday night date. I would have done the same thing. Especially since her sister doesn’t know about me. And it was partially my fault. Because Friday night she had invited me to this awesome end-of-the-year party thrown by her “wild friends,” and I had said no, earlier in the week, because I’m not yet ready to go to a party where I’ll stumble home at 5am drunk or stoned off my ass. With a toddler, that sort of shenanigans doesn’t fly unless I’ve pre-pre-pre arranged it. And it’d be better if I was just gone for the weekend than coming home.

So I had the opportunity to see her, and had to say no. And she got blindsided by her sister surprising her and had to cancel our date. I’ll survive. We’ll survive. But in the meantime, with my period just starting and being ‘stood up’ (or…cancelled on? rescheduled on?) I ended up eating half a cake and drinking a beer. Which made me feel barfy and chubby and probably why I fell asleep relatively early.

I hate that newness in relationships, where a one time change in plans can cause the emotional upheavel. I feel like a junior higher again.