So, perhaps unsurprisingly, things ended with that guy. I guess the potentially surprising part is that *I* finally ended it.
And now that it is done, I have to stand back and marvel at the whole situation and the craziness of it all:
I had an open relationship for two months. AND for the most part I was perfectly fine with it. ME.
I had intense sexual experiences with someone I wasn't even particularly attracted to (although I clearly must have known on some level that he would be awesome in bed). More importantly, I had sexual experiences with someone I didn't have feelings for. ME!
I managed to do a whole bunch of stuff that I thought was off the table for good, because I have never been able to manage it without pain. And I did it without even being able to indulge in my favourite arousal inducing activity- french kissing- because he was shit at it (but awesome with his tongue everywhere else, wtf?). ME!
And the weirdest part is, I am still mulling over a whole bunch of stuff that he has left the door open to, should I wish to walk through it.
I am worried though, I feel like these past few months challenged me in a lot of ways and while some of these were good, because they were long standing thought patterns that were holding me back, I'm not sure if I want to completely set fire to EVERYTHING that I have thought and based my moral code upon.
Like a bit of a backburn to allow for new growth= good, but a complete scorched earth policy? Perhaps not...
And yet, when I am around him, I just want to push things further and explore more and I'm not sure if that is a good idea. I don't want to push myself beyond the point of no return and do more damage to myself, psychologically or physically.
I have tried to explain this to him, when he goes off on one of his little tangents- all he sees are the possibilities, whereas I can see the possibilities, but also the pitfalls. I have had so much pain and trauma in my life-almost all of which was completely beyond my control. This makes me cautious to the point of paranoia about causing myself any more.
At the same time, I have worked really really hard to move past it and not let it rule my life, because I don't want to live a life that is controlled by fear.
I fear pain, yes, but ironically I fear being controlled by something else- even fear itself- more.
That is what finally pushed me to end things with him. Not the fact that I wasn't having my needs met. Not the fact that I was actually quite unhappy. Not even him triggering one of the worst anxiety attacks I have had in years, simply by being incredibly insensitive. Nope. It was my new psych pointing out that the only thing that was keeping me in this completely bullshit relationship that I knew that I didn't want was the fear of being alone.
I broke up with him the next day. (We are meant to be staying friends though.)
But now I am at a bit of a crossroads. Do I see certain things as opportunities and explore them further, knowing that I risk pulling myself deeper into a community I'm not sure I want to be a part of, and more importantly, put myself in situations that could be quite confronting and damaging, given my history?
Or do I write this whole thing off as a crazy experience that taught me some stuff and be grateful that I got out relatively unscathed?
I think it's the whole pain/fear thing. I have a complicated relationship with both and also for me they are intrinsically linked.
Previous pain has caused me to fear various things, including more pain. Fear makes my remembered pain worse and contributes to the pain cycle. I fear pain...and so it goes around and around like a snake biting it's own tail.
The thing is, this whole fear of pain issue also means that I often don't even go there if I think that pain is a potential outcome.
Going through this treatment and discovering that it is definitely fixable and more impressively, making massive gains very quickly and being well on the way to fixing it has been an incredibly powerful experience that has also made me question a whole bunch of things.
The only reason I agreed to an open relationship was because what he was offering me- help with my treatment- was worth it. As far as I was concerned, that was worth everything and I would compromise on whatever I had to to get it.
And then, once I was in it I discovered how easy it was to switch off and just roll with the punches physically, without having any emotions involved at all. Like, scarily easy.
I also saw how adaptable my body has become. It really is primed for sex- or it was with him at the very least. Which, because I genuinely never ever thought he was hot, EVER, makes me think that it must be generally on board, because I didn't once think that I wanted to rip his clothes off. Once they were off and he was touching me I just wanted more though.
It was weird, before I had to really like someone and trust them and be wildly attracted to them and then when they touched me I could enjoy it. With him, I never felt anything beyond a fondness for a friend and didn't find him attractive and yet him touching me made me get into it. And yes, the man has skills, but nothing THAT crazy, really. He just generally touched me, pretty much everywhere, that was it.
Like, I always assumed I had to really have strong feelings for someone and to trust them, but the last 3 guys I have trusted, but not had super strong feelings for and it has been fine. And the guy and I had a discussion about trust and I realised that it truly is just an innate, gut feeling when I meet a guy. Either I trust them, or I don't and they have to work their ass off to build it.
I find it funny to think about the fact that the only 3 guys I have ever trusted enough to talk about the sex issues with, have all been totally amazing and understanding about it. And yet, there are people I haven't told- who I have dated for longer periods and/or had stronger feelings for- and they have proven themselves to be untrustworthy in other ways.
So maybe that is it, maybe I just need to trust myself more. Yes, I have dated some douchebags- BUT, I have never done anything sexual with them, or put myself in the major damage zone with them, I have kept myself safe in that way. (Yay me!)
And all 3 of my last sexual partners have proven to be trustworthy and to teach me something about myself/sex in the process.
And then there is the recent guy, who has turned a lot of what I thought on its head. Yes, I can separate sex and emotions. Yes, I can let someone touch me without being in a monogamous super serious relationship. Yes, I am good in bed. Yes, I can actually enjoy penetration- who knew?
I think the kicker with him is that we talked about stuff- before, during and after. And while it might seem clinical to other people, breaking it down like that, like a football game, has actually helped me more than any declarations of undying love or devotion.
I understand a lot more about my body and what it is doing during various aspects of sex. The other benefit to dating a complete man whore who also likes to chat is that he tells me what is seemingly 'normal' for other girls.
That, as crazy as it sounds, has made all the difference. It turns out I was beating myself up about a whole bunch of stuff that I couldn't do and feeling like I was failing because everyone else could do it- err, no, apparently they can't. WHO KNEW?!
So, in a nutshell, I now know a lot of stuff. But I have no idea what to do with it. Or, perhaps more to the point, what I WANT to do with it.