A few days ago my personal life had the potential to blow up in my face, but I didn't let it. Because of what I'm reading.
To explain: I have been in a fantastic relationship with a pretty cool guy for the last ten months or so. We connected in so many different ways, and also, our differences made the interactions spicier and more interesting. Best, there was absolutely no drama. We had both been through a lot in our relationships and wouldn't allow that.
Like me, he's kinky, but more of a sadist than I like. Happy to please me, he modified his style for my enjoyment, and I worked on gradually accepting more pain as part of our play. However, he's also poly, and I had thought we'd figured out how he could be poly so I would be comfortable--we'd find a play partner (or partners) we both liked. We often talked with happiness and joy about how lucky we were to be on the same page about this sticky subject and how much we enjoyed our pleasure-filled, drama-free relationship, which he characterized as a "committed couple in a long-term relationship."
Then I felt the relationship changing. I didn't feel quite so connected. I talked with him about it, and he gave the usual reasons men give--kids and work. I was good with that. I extracted a commitment to spend more time together when his work schedule and the kids' soccer schedule allowed.
That I had to "extract a commitment" wasn't a good sign.
A few days after that, he told me he was going to a play party without me. I was, like, WTF??
Three days after that, he told me he wanted an open relationship.
I have no moral judgment of open relationships and those who enjoy them, but am aware that I am not among them. Too much stress and drama for me.
Of course--being me--my first plan was to send his house key back with a simple note: "You're a great guy, but this isn't working out for me. Sorry! Best of luck!" It's a simple, undramatic exit strategy.
|Sorry, but not right now.|
Image from bing.com--okay to alter and
That way, I can enjoy the aspects of our relationship I love--the conversation, cuddling while binge-watching Archer, sleeping together--without having to endure the tension and uncertainty of wondering if and when my lover was banging another woman. That just doesn't sit well with me. And I wouldn't get caught in the shit storm that would surely ensue when one of his other relationships tanked. 'Cause, let's face it--this will happen. I know a little bit about a couple of past relationships of his, and they ended badly. What's the common denominator? Yep, you guessed right.
We have yet to discuss it--that will happen tonight--that is, the night this post goes live. Yikes!!
I expect it to be a very interesting conversation.
So what did I read that made all the difference?
A column in a small local paper really helped. Joey Garcia, who writes a column called "Ask Joey," said this:
There’s a spiritual practice called witnessing which invites an individual to observe what is unfolding in front of them without any comment or resistance. There’s no stress, just awareness of what is.
It’s helpful to practice this skill regularly, so that in a crisis it rolls into place. Witnessing feels like there’s no barrier between the interior world of thoughts, emotions or motivations and the exterior world of other people, the environment or situations. This awareness of being one transforms everything. (I'm sure this is copyrighted by Joey Garcia and/or the Sacramento News and Review, so here's a shout-out to them. Great paper, great column.)
Here's a little something else that helped a lot--a little book by a relationship adviser, Michael Fiore. Many relationship advisers tell women to be more self-confident, and he's no exception. But he goes into developing self-confidence in his readers by creating exercises that assist women to honestly assess themselves, their strong and weak points. That was great because, ya know, I'm pretty damn amazing. I'm 61 years old and look at least ten years younger. In fact, I got carded today :) I have a rockin' bod, a great mind, plus accomplishments and experiences few can match. I try to be aware, focus on my personal growth, and constantly strive to be a better, more loving, more compassionate and empathic person. Hope that doesn't come off as conceited or narcissistic, but hey. Just sayin'.
Fiore wrote: "You're awesome. You're beautiful. You're a woman any man would kill to be with and any 'random bitch' he's hanging out with can't compare to you." (also sure this is copyrighted by Michael Fiore. Thanks, Mike, for helping me out!)
I also recommend aNewMode.com for relationship advice and MarkManson.net for, well, just about anything that Mark Manson wants to write about. He has a different and interesting take on things.
So yeah, along with rereading the Fever urban fantasy series by Karen Marie Moning, so I can read the sequels, and diving into more Regency romance, I'm reading a lot of (cheesy but worthwhile) self-help material online.
Wish me luck on Tuesday evening.