aftermath | perspective, things that i am worthy of

I continue to pull the emotional shrapnel out of the wounds that were given to me. It’s an ongoing process but i am amazed at the amount of healing i have done since my world came apart at the seams in late October. Well, truth be told, it came apart on the 3rd of October but that’s a story for another post.

To everyone that knows my story and to everyone that has read the emails sent to me (3 Oct. & 25 Dec., last year) and seen the picture posted that someone else took of them next to the pictures i had taken (which illustrated what i was thought of and the role i was to play in her world as well as the role that her other lover was to play that i was deliberately excluded from and kept ignorant of).

I want to thank all of my friends and my family for their support, their empathy, their advise and even their criticisms over these last few months.

I want to thank the polys and the kinksters for their input and their comments on what they found to be unethical, immoral and that what was done and said to me was the antithesis of what those ideas stand for.

In particular, and i know she’ll probably never read this, i want to thank someone from another website. It was her copying and pasting as well as her professional and personal summation of myself and my ex’s behavior that single handedly, probably brought more clarity to me than any other single influence. Without going into detail, the person in question, an admitted poly and kinkster, turned out to be a professional counselor. It was her observations and judgment that were profoundly accurate (as related to both of us) and deeply appreciated (although it took me more than a month to admit she was right about my ex).

And as i continue to move beyond the grieving, as i pull the emotional shrapnel out of the wounds she inflicted on me, the process of self examination moves on. There are many subjects and aspects in relation to this examination but one in particular stands out.

A few months ago i’m sitting on a familiar leather couch in the office of my psychologist. I’m still deeply in the grieving process at this time. He asks me a question that arrests me.

“Shelly, why do you think it is that you’re so willing to give up so much of yourself to see your partner happy?”

The question smacks me, “I… I don’t think I give up myself.”

He responds with, “Shelly, you had legitimate concerns about her living with her other lover and you let her coerce you into it,” It’s true. The night she “asked” me about it, i responded with, “I have no problems with it but you two need to stop being lovers.” She was hurt. She was LIVID with me. How dare i take away what she was entitled to? How dare i be so authoritarian? She would not Skype with me, she would not discuss the matter with me face to face. All she would do would “talk” to me about it via Steam. She was not concerned about my point of view- all that mattered is that i acquiesced and her selfishness was indulged.

I acquiesced.

In hindsight, this, i believe, is the night she learned that she could bully and control me. And every single poly- every single poly and every mono and every kinkster that i have shared this with have said it was profoundly bad and selfish judgment on her part and that, quite frankly, i was stupid to be so compliant. They’ve been right on both accounts.

He continues, “Then you had agreed to these boundaries such as she would use condoms with this other person and when you found out that she had stopped using condoms after only a few weeks, what did you do?”

Nothing. I did absolutely nothing. Even after I found out that he attends swinger clubs and even after i later learned that the woman he became seriously involved with, gets gang banged every few weeks or months and goes to swingers clubs with him to address her low self esteem and poor body perception issues, i did absolutely fucking nothing. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief at that.

And yes. Once i realized i no longer had any trust in my ex, i IMMEDIATELY went out and was tested for HIV, chlamydia and syphilis. My fear of having a disease was FAR surpassed by how hurt i was that she had lost all of my trust and respect.

He goes on. Boundaries, promises and reasonable expectations ignored (and i was left to figure each of them out on my own and at no time was an apology given for any of them) and then the secret my ex and her secondary kept from me- the nature of their relationship that led to her relying more on him for her emotional security (which, among many other things, she admitted to on 3 October of last year) while he took her to a modified state of infantilism and then deconstructed and reassembled her psyche over and over and over so that he could rebuild her in his image. She was, after all, his property to do with as he saw fit- and to fully own her, he had to drag her down to his pathetic level.

And so he broke her over and over and over and over and over.

This is a phenomena known as “subspace”. I’ll elaborate on this in another entry.

And there it is. I’m standing so close to it that i can’t see it for what it is. It’s a series of coping mechanisms, it’s my drive to love and be loved in return and that i’ll surrender my dignity and honor in the process. It’s being conflict adverse. It’s also trying to prove to her that i am progressive, that i’m patient and that i trust her implicitly. It is trust that is disturbingly misplaced.

But it’s also one of those moments where my naïveté and sporadic innocence show up at the worst possible time. There is nothing cute or adorable about these moments. They prevent me from assessing situations objectively. They cause me to ignore my inner voice. These moments have brought me insurmountable pain and loneliness in my life.

If there’s any one quality about me that people know about who i am, i would like to hope it’s that i’ll live with an inconvenient truth than the convenient lie. I take a tremendous amount of honor in being self aware and comfortable with both my desires to love and create as well as my darker side that craves indulgences that range from hedonistic urges to more malicious desires.

But as i take stock of the reality he’s encouraging me to acknowledge, i see myself a little more objectively than when we began talking that session.

And from that conversation and as time went on, as my objectivity continued to grow. As my dignity began to be restored one bit at a time, as my ability to see what was done to me and why i responded the ways that i did became clearer, i decided to make a list.

The first part of the list is what i am deserving of. The second part is a list of things that I need to be aware of and focus on changing within myself. There are some components that are immovable and will never be compromised. There are other aspects that will evolve and continue to be refined. There are some ideas that have yet to be added and will be as my conscience dictates.

Things That I Deserve and Am Worthy of

I deserve a girlfriend that respects and honors boundaries that we have discussed and agreed to. Boundaries, expectations and even rules are natural components of every type of relationship and discussed and used correctly, enhance trust and strengthen bonds and love itself. And not that it needs to be said but if i ask for a boundary or state an expectation from my partner, it immediately applies to me as well.

I deserve a girlfriend that, if she makes a mistake and breaks a boundary, will discuss the situation with me as soon as possible and not continue to violate the agreement- ESPECIALLY if breaking that agreement puts our health at risk (eg: deciding to not use condoms after agreeing to, especially with someone whose partner goes with him to swingers clubs and is a cum dumpster at gang bangs on a regular to semi-regular basis).

I deserve a girlfriend that, if she’s frustrated with me, will come to me in a reasonable amount of time to constructively discuss what the issue is so that we can work toward a remedy.

I deserve a girlfriend that isn’t so stupid and cowardly to tell me she wants me to go to her other lover so that he and i can talk about OUR relationship. Yeah, this was said to me before and she honestly thought that was a good idea. Guess that reveals more about her than it does me but i was so fucking stupid and broken that i agreed to it, albeit very briefly.

I deserve a girlfriend that is not emotionally predatory, abrupt, or emotionally violent.

I deserve a girlfriend that will not become a bully, even if she is hurt, angry and/ or frustrated.

I deserve a girlfriend that will be honest… absolutely honest with me. She will tell me her needs and desires and help me understand and explore them with her.

I deserve a girlfriend that is not proud, arrogant, cruel nor unforgivably selfish.

I deserve a girlfriend that will let me know if i say or do something hurtful and will let me apologize and work towards making things right. I deserve to make things right- it is essential to my well being.

I deserve a girlfriend that will treat me with dignity and respect and not lash out at me when she is angry or frustrated.

If I am in another non-monogamous relationship, I deserve a girlfriend that will keep me and love me as her primary and that I will do the same for her. She will not give more trust to another nor will she compromise our relationship with someone else nor will she allow herself to be disproportionately controlled or influenced by someone else.

I deserve a girlfriend that understands that the “ethical” part of “ethical non-monogamy” is more important than the “non-monogamy” part. And let’s face it: if you’re into polyamory because you “need” to satisfy your sexual appetite, you’re no more polyamorous than you are capable of love than you are worthy of respect.

I deserve a girlfriend that will not put my health nor the health of our relationship at risk because she wants to be unethically promiscuous and engage in high risk thrill fucking with strangers.

I deserve a girlfriend that surrounds herself with friends that are honest and critical of her instead of surrounding herself with friends that use her to validate their bad/ destructive behaviors while they, in turn, encourage and validate bad/ destructive behaviors in her. I pledge to surround myself with those types of friends, too (the former, not the latter).

I deserve a girlfriend that has constructively dealt with any issues of abuse and/ or neglect and is healthy enough to distinguish between love and sex and between quality and quantity of sex.

I deserve a girlfriend that knows, loves and trusts me enough to know I would never say anything to deliberately hurt her- and if i do hurt her, she will be woman enough to give me a chance to apologize and make things right.

I deserve a girlfriend that understands that boundaries are an integral part of any relationship (poly or mono) and by negotiation and honoring those boundaries, that allows for for each of us to explore our own desires while being trusted in return.

I deserve a girlfriend that I have NRE with. I have not had an NRE experience since 1994.

I deserve a girlfriend that, if she’s submissive, will work to help me dom/ top her better and not attempt to, “top from the bottom.”

I deserve a girlfriend that understands that honor and dignity are vital to a healthy mindset- and that those qualities are as important to her as they are to me.

I deserve a girlfriend that, when things become difficult, will not use, “You knew violent personality swings/ realignments were a part of who I was when we started dating and I have a new personality now,” as an excuse for her unethical and emotionally predatory behavior.

I deserve a girlfriend that will be diplomatic and honest about matters of health and that understands that our individual health has an impact on our relationship as a whole. I will continue to work on improving my health and lifestyle, too.

I deserve a girlfriend that cares about my appearance and knows I care for hers.

I deserve a girlfriend that is fundamentally honest and kind when things are easy but works to be even more honest and kind when things are difficult.

I deserve a girlfriend that, if we’ve been discussing marriage and planning on spending our lives together, is woman enough to fight for our relationship when things become challenging. Why is it that of the three women that i loved enough to marry that two of them steadfastly refused to fight for our relationship? Well, the sad truth is that neither of those two are any more capable of love than they were of honesty. They loved the way they FELT when things were good but once the relationship required work, they just ran away and found someone else. I’ve done a lot of thinking as to why i’ve attracted those sorts of people.

I deserve to be married.

I deserve to make a home with my wife.

I deserve to have my emotional security needs recognized and respected.

I deserve to be respected.

I deserve to be loved.

I will post the list of things I need to and am working on within myself in my next post.