Posts tagged ‘learning’

Hurt

I haven’t posted in a while, mostly due to not knowing what to say.

A few weeks ago we were woken late at night by a call from a member of the Boyfriend’s family notifying us that his daughter had been raped at a party.

Quite honestly, the list of women (and men) I know who have been raped or molested is staggeringly long. That doesn’t make it any easier when you hear that it’s happened again, especially to someone you might barely know, but whom your loved one loves dearly.

The compressed anger I felt from my own past experiences (the ex-husband was an abusive bastard), including my daughter’s molestation when she was in grade school, resulted in me just shaking for the next 24 hours. I watched the Boyfriend’s daughter being surrounded by friends, family and more adults than I’d thought possible jumping in to support her, help her and hound the police to do something.

Part of me was comforted by that. Part of me was crushed. Who was there for me when I lived in fear of my own husband for eight years? My mother, for one, but other than telling me that the spare bedroom in her house would always be available to me whenever I was ready to leave the bastard, there really wasn’t much else in the way of support. I put on a stubbornly brave face and told everyone I was FINE, leave me alone. So they did.

When my daughter’s rape was reported, most of the adults involved–friends of the perpetrator–denied it could have happened. They called my daughter a liar, backed themselves up with age and authority, told me they’d known him for so many years and didn’t believe he was capable of such a thing.

Denial. Suppression. Willful blindness. Arrogance. Delusion.

Driving the Boyfriend’s daughter back from a therapy session recently, she confided that she was tired of talking about what happened. She didn’t want to keep bringing it up, just wanted it to go away.

How often does rape go unreported for the same reason? Just make it go away. The boys involved and their friends have tormented her, posting on twitter and facebook, spreading rumors. Maybe they’re scared, maybe they’re just that badass that they don’t care, I don’t know.

What I do know is this has been a devastating situation for the Boyfriend. My own father never knew what I went through. If he had known, I would have been mortified and deeply ashamed (as if I wasn’t already, just very good at hiding it behind a veneer of aloofness and superiority). I watch the Boyfriend go through grief, anger, frustration, and other emotions while I hide behind my all-too familiar aloofness. I’m fine. Just stop asking what’s bothering me. 

I’m grieving the loss of innocence my daughter and I suffered through, and the lack of support we had to get on with our lives. I am slightly jealous that the Boyfriend’s daughter has an army of people behind her, smothering her with love and support, and that my daughter and I didn’t. I am selfishly crushed at how this has affected my relationship with the Boyfriend, at how distant we’ve become recently, just as we’d moved in closer. Sex? What’s that? Something that happens once in a while, if we’re lucky. He’s too tired, I’m sick, someone else needs one of us to be somewhere else for hours on end, etc. The stress is overwhelming. I feel like I’m supposed to be supportive and help him through this, but there are too many conflicting emotional gremlins nipping at my heels to keep me on the selfless path.

I want to feel loved, protected, safe. And I do, but for all the times I haven’t been safe and had to stand up for myself. Because of those times, I am always on the defensive. Trust is a huge issue. I’ve never allowed another lover to be physically dominant with me in the ways I’ve allowed the Boyfriend to. I trust him fully, but do I trust myself? The honest answer is no, so I pull away, retreating to anywhere but where he is.

There has got to be a way out of this.

Digging

In the past five months, my life has taken quite a turn. Met a man, fell in love, moved in together, merged our lives in all the messy ways couples do.

He’s given me a garden. A bare patch of dirt that we weeded together and have been busy filling in with herbs and flowers. On weekends he takes me to nurseries and buys plants with me, then we come home and get our hands dirty. Digging in, putting down roots.

On Sunday I found a soft silk halter top I’d forgotten about after my move last year, and wore it out on our most recent garden outing. The sun felt good on my bare back, and I felt liberated and free in the open air. Common sense told me to put on sunscreen, but I seldom listen to common sense. The result was a mild sunburn, but nothing so bad that I worried about it too much. Monday night after we’d had dinner and late night showers to wash off the dirt and sweat, he tackled me on the bed and bit into my shoulder. I gasped at the sensation, and relaxed into the pain. He bit more, harder, all around my back and shoulders, eliciting more gasps, sighs and shudders as I found myself happy to be at his mercy.

My first official night as a resident of his house, we both fell into bed exhausted after midnight. I assumed he’d be too tired for much more than snoring, but he surprised me by flipping me on my back and getting down to business for the next half hour. We spent several days adjusting to being around each other more often, and sex slowed down again. Sometimes the rhythm works for us both, and a break is good. Other times I find myself moody and withdrawn, wondering what it’s going to take to rekindle his interest. He’s learning to let me work through things on my own until I’m ready to talk to him about what’s bothering me, and he listens. “I can’t read you mind,” he reminds me, “so if you’re upset, you need to let me know what I can do about it.”

While washing dishes together yesterday, I dug down into what was bothering me, and broke my silence of many hours to let him know that I needed more sex, please. My body is tuned to a higher sex drive than most women, it would seem, and without it I can get seriously irritable and unpleasant to be around. I also mentioned missing some of the rougher aspects of our early sex life. The tender stuff is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but the pain, rough handling and domination that we’d be dabbling with before was more enjoyable than I’d ever imagined or experienced with other partners. He leaned over the sink and looked at me, still withdrawn, as I stared at the pan I was drying. “Okay,” he said. “See? That wasn’t so hard. Just talk to me.” He wiped his hands on a towel, took the pan out of my hands, put it on the counter and took my hands in his, then kissed them. A few hours later we lay in bed, tumbled and bitten, but very happy.

Communication is a wonderful thing. So is being honest with myself so I can be honest with him. The deep stuff can be disconcerting to look at, but it’s necessary to dig through it to see the other side.

 

Away

Lately I’ve been having dreams about ex boyfriends and other awkward relationship situations. This morning I dreamt I had two lovers and had to choose one, but didn’t want to, so kept both. One was injured and had to go to the emergency room, and the other took him, leaving me alone to panic because I didn’t have a cell phone number for either one, and no way to contact them. I woke feeling awful, and found it difficult to look New Guy in the eye when he rolled towards me in the pre-dawn dark and blinked at me sleepily.

We were both raised Catholic, and although I’ve long since left the church, he teases me that something of the faith still remains in my system. It’s true, despite shifting all that guilt in therapy, I still feel as though I’ve been cheating on my lover when I dream of someone else.

I had the pleasure of welcoming in the First of May with him early after midnight, and felt the pangs of loss as he drove away this morning to help his mother for the next few days. Thinking of May Day and of Beltane, I was glad that we had at least a little time together before he went away, especially after not being together much over the past week. This page caught my eye this morning:

Beltane is the Sex Sabbat just as Samhain, held six months hence, is the Death Sabbat. All other Beltane (also called May Eve or Walpurgis Night) customs are minor compared with those that explicitly celebrate human sex and fertility. Up to the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century, marriage vows were conveniently forgotten at Beltane in many rural European villages. Newly formed ‘couples’ went into the plowed fields at night to lie down together and copulate in order to ensure the fertility of the coming year’s crops. The Catholic Church could not stamp out this ancient pagan tradition. It took the dour Protestants who suppressed May Eve celebrations in England by passing and enforcing laws against public gatherings around Maypoles with their accompanying dances and fertility rites.

Kinda looks like the Catholic church missed out on the two of us, too. We’d spent much of the previous day weeding his garden and looking for new plants, so that counts as plowing the fields, as far as I’m concerned. In fact, shortly after I’d arrived yesterday to help with the weeding, he lured me into the house and upstairs… then brought out the handcuffs. Hinged ones, not the type with a chain between the bracelets.

Once the cuffs were on, I found myself quite compliant, really wanting him to dominate. He is a self-described dork (which I find very appealing) who has a lot of respect for women, so he doesn’t come across as the sort of man who gets off by humiliating anyone. In fact, it’s a fuzzy line for both of us, and we’re still figuring out where the borders actually are. Instead of humiliation, he seems to be drawn more to control, whereas I seem to like pain. He pointed this out as I lay on my back, still cuffed, by suggesting we try some nipple clamps. “Really?” I raised my eyebrows. “What makes you think I’d like that?” I asked, actually wondering if they might be too painful for me. “Well,” he said, lying on his side, head propped up on one hand while with his other hand took one of my nipples and stretched it out, “you seem to like this quite a lot.” I sighed contentedly. “Oh yeah, that’s right, I do.”

After a few seconds of hard twisting and tweaking, he rolled onto his back and pulled me up to straddle him. Even when I’m on top, he’s still in control. His hands guide my rhythm and pull me close or push me away. Close in, his mouth on mine, we breathe into each other. I can scream or whisper then, and he drinks it all in. Pushed away, he looks into my eyes and we share that dazed, orgasmic look that lovers have when all the gears are meshing in the right ways. We have so much eye contact during sex that there are times when when simply sitting across a table from each other, a gaze can bring back a hint of that intimacy in an unguarded moment.

I’ll miss him while he’s away. There are physical pangs we both feel at the same time when we can’t spend time together, a yearning to indulge in sensory connection. When we’re together, we’re most often within reach of each other, if not actually touching. Right now, all I can do is write about it. He did tell me to, after all. “Now you can tell your readers we used the handcuffs,” he chuckled as he put them away yesterday. “You can ask for them anytime,” he said as he hung them on a hook in his closet, “but I won’t always say ‘yes’.”

Oh, go on and tease me, why don’t you. I can take it.

guilt

Occasionally Married Man and I have long text discussions about life, kids, relationships, sex, and whatever else comes along, including guilt. Recently he shared the following:

Freedom is being able to choose what makes you feel good and bad as opposed to being pushed or pulled. Now you select a code of ethics that suits you… it’s based on love, respect, and your thoughts as opposed to a preconceived notion or externally injected belief.

Imagine a world with no jealousy or envy? That’s paradise.

Having been raised in a family in which guilt was part of the glue that held us together, it’s taken a lot of work for me to get past it. Guilt served as the driving force in so many relationships, and even helped to keep me in a miserable marriage for too many years. There is perhaps a healthy level of guilt which keeps us human, and I respect that. What I choose to ignore is that level of guilt which we, especially in the US, consider to be “normal” and dictates how we respond to one another.

At some point guilt becomes self destructive, not socially constructive. To feel bad for causing another being pain is to feel empathy. Guilt is not necessary in that case. It becomes negative reinforcement, whereas empathy becomes positive reinforcement. Typically, animals (including humans) respond well to positive reinforcement.

How did I move past my own guilt and get on with finding a better life? Talked to my friend Angela Lord at Feel Good On Purpose. I find that since my session with her last autumn, I’ve not had the same fear/guilt pangs that I had previously accepted as “normal”. I can choose to empathize with people, or I can choose to remove myself from a situation, whichever suits the situation best. There are times when guilt really serves no other purpose than to drag one’s self-esteem down, which is counter-productive in the grand scheme of things. My mind now reasons things through by asking “is that going to be a good thing for me to do, or will it harm anyone?” before I commit to an action. Guilt serves the same purpose, but at the end instead of the beginning. Guilt says “that was stupid. Look what you did” without offering much in the way of constructive help. It’s more deconstructive, really.

pause

Week three with my new man, and things have slowed down just a bit. But not too much.

The weekend was a jumble of family projects, obligations, work and other diversions. Most of our discussions revolved around family and relationships. Making dinner last night in his kitchen, I had to laugh as yet another conversation went by with both of us saying “so I was dating this person before I met you, and…” We tend to bring up past relationships and talk about what we learned from them, which seems to be a healthy thing to do.

The start of the weekend was rough for me, coming out of a stressful work project that wasn’t completed until early Sunday morning (under his watchful eye, I might add). I found myself holding back, feeling out of sorts and wondering if maybe this was indeed the right relationship for me to be in. He could tell I was tense, and asked me what I was thinking. “I’m wondering when I’m going to find our you’re a serial ax murderer or something,” I ventured. “Why is that?” he laughed. “Because it’s too good. I can’t help but wonder what’s going to go wrong. I’m not used to this.” The thought made me squirm. “Don’t think. Just be,” he counseled.

Each morning for three days, one of us would wake up just before dawn and ravage the other. Taking it in turns, I found that while I enjoy taking him, I much prefer it when he takes me instead. It doesn’t matter if I’m on top or bottom, when he’s in charge, he is In Charge and there is no doubt about it. I’m told what I can and cannot do, how I may move or not move, and I submit willingly. We share an abundance of trust between us, and I know he would never hurt me unless I specifically request it. Several times while he had my wrists pinned, he played with the bracelet he gave me last week, pleased to know I’d not had any cause or desire to remove it. No mention was made of the ring, but I’m fairly certain he noticed it was not on my finger anymore.

There was a level of softness between us that wasn’t there last week. Between the stress of my project and his own family-related stress (which I choose not to discuss here), we were a bit subdued, but no less randy. I think we were craving more comfort than anything else, and spent a lot of time simply holding each other, confirming that yes, we both plan to stick around and see things through. A few times one or the other of us attempted to start a conversation around sex play, but it never got off the ground. Real life intervened, and we both stepped up to the task of dealing with it. I’m okay with that.

Sometimes simply feeling your lover’s heartbeat against your own is enough. Sometimes it’s more than just enough; it’s everything.