Last week I established that I am, on occasion, a liar.

Unfortunately, I am also a hypocrite. My current long distance relationship with benefits (as Johnny Id has characterized it) is open, which we both agreed to. But I am learning that theory is much different from practice.

Johnny’s marriage with his wife was actually open, whereas mine was fully don’t-ask-don’t-tell-and-nothing-had-better-change.  Although in hindsight I recognize my husband may have been with others, at the time, I faced no jealousy or possessiveness because nothing was obvious to me, or even suspected.

Here’s the thing;  I love the idea of an open relationship / marriage.  I worry I will not ever be satisfied by one man – given my sex drive and predilection to become bored.  I am intrigued by being with one dedicated and committed partner, and together we find others to play with.  It would allow me to explore my desires to be with multiple men at the same time, and potentially a woman as well.  Now, my current situation isn’t about sharing partners, but it made sense to me when Johnny said he didn’t care who had my body once in a while, since he knew he had my mind (he has my heart too, even if he doesn’t know it).

If anything, my current experience of dating multiple people at the same time, especially after having met Johnny, proves to me that my heart is capable of affection and desire for many. The intense feelings for Johnny have not pushed out the feelings for others – for example, my being with NIM (as I have a couple of times in the last several weeks) does not change how I feel for Johnny at all.

He completely understands this. Love is not zero sum, it is additive.

We had talked last week about not seeking out new partners prior to seeing each other in August. For me, that means there are a few guys who I may see every once in a while.  They include NIM, Sochi the crazy Russian, and Jason.  None of them are real potentials for relationships, they can barely make time to see me, and Johnny knows that.  All of my dating profiles are currently down (so yeah, no new opening line fails coming to this blog for the next little while).  All existing dudes are “grandfathered” in, and no new applicants are being accepted.

Johnny told me what mattered to him most of all was that I be honest with him.  That alone has been tough, because it feels so strange to tell him “oh hey babe, by the way I’m seeing NIM tonight”.  He’s promised me time and time again that it won’t change how he feels about me, so last week I committed to him that I would tell him all the dude-related stuff.

However, Johnny didn’t have anyone he was already seeing.

Imbalanced? Yes, absolutely… in my favor.  He has reminded me on multiple occasions that openness goes both ways.  Intellectually, I know this.  But yet, I have been tested and found wanting.

Johnny and I were texting last night.  He mentioned he’d heard from a woman he met online and asked if I minded if he went out with her.  Mainly because he was bored.

Did I mind? FUCK YES.

I hadn’t really been tested until the moment he asked me that question. For all of his reassurances, and as much as I trust him, I instantly that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Jealousy, anxiety, possessiveness.

Anger.  We’d just had a text exchange about how fantastic we thought each other were.  I thought “what the fuck are you trying to do…warm me up with compliments then – bam! – tell me about another woman?”

All this at the sheer notion of him going on a date – what if he liked her? God, what if he fucked her?  The thoughts started swirling around in my head and all of these very powerful emotions came to the surface – of abandonment, fear, and rejection.

He says nothing will change between us, even if something did happen with her.  That there is no potential with anyone he might see.  Why can’t I believe him?  Why can’t I know in my heart this is true?  If I reverse the roles I believe it – as far as I know.  Yet with each lover, I give a little piece of me.  But I don’t seem to run out of pieces.  Why can’t I trust?

Perhaps it has to do with a history of abandonment, of heartache.  Of infidelity in key relationships – between my parents, my high school sweetheart, my second high school sweetheart.  My heart broken by my husband.  Men who do not say what they mean and mean what they say.  Who use lines like “it won’t affect us, baby” as a ploy to get what they want.  This is my history.  The anxiety and possessiveness come from such a deep place within me.

He says he will prove to me he won’t hurt me.

I so want to believe.  But I am so scared.  I end up bawling on my couch, phone in hand, unable to respond to his text for several minutes until I compose myself.  I’m not crying out of anger, out of hurt for him wanting some in-person companionship, but from other hurts, long ago.

This is the leap of faith I must take if I’m going to learn and grow.  I may discover I can’t do this – can’t share a love – but I do need to try.

0 thoughts on “Possession

  1. This is the leap of faith I must take if I’m going to learn and grow. I may discover I can’t do this – can’t share a love – but I do need to try.

    Yup, this.

    There is no other way, you’ll learn to face those demons and don’t forget to talk to him about why it’s making you feel insecure and why you need him to hold your hand for a bit about it.

    You’ll get to a point where it won’t matter, but for now, it probably will.

    I’ve no doubt you guys will communicate through it.

    If you haven’t already I’d suggest reading the Ethical Slut. Awesome book, really good chapter on jealousy. For mono and poly people.


  2. Reblogged this on The Woman Invisible and commented:
    I couldn’t articulate these feelings better myself. We tell ourselves over and over we won’t be jealous….but the heart has a mind of its own.

    I want to remember how well Ann articulates these feelings so felt compelled to share.

  3. I feel that that this guy is unconsciously setting up a power struggle with you that he finds exciting. Often times people will create drama just to stay engaged. He is unconsciously jealous of you being with others and so trying to get back at you or regain his power by being with someone else. It is fine to keep playing, just be aware of the game

    • I can understand how it might appear that way, and even be likely in other relationships, but I can assure you that that isn’t the case with me and Ann.

      Long distance relationships have an undeniably high failure rate, we’re trying to figure out how to make it work for us. That’s why we’re being flexible and talking through things. It’s a learning process, but as long as we’re honest with each other we’ll be fine.

  4. So the below comment made me pause. I had to read, and reread it a few times.

    “He says he will prove to me he won’t hurt me.

    I so want to believe. But I am so scared. I end up bawling on my couch, phone in hand, unable to respond to his text for several minutes until I compose myself. I’m not crying out of anger, out of hurt for him wanting some in-person companionship, but from other hurts, long ago.”

    Unfortunately, for me my other hurts, or many of them come from B. And when he says things to me like this, i too break down sobbing.

    Your comments really struck a chord.

    I know in my case, i really dont want anyone getting close to me again. Ever.
    Because i always end up being hurt worse than the last.
    Ive got nothing left

    Good luck to you and Johnny.

    Please be sure his S/O is in agreement that they are in an open relationship. I know B was telling everyone that he and i were. So while everyone knew he was sleeping around, no one told me because they thought i knew.

    • Thanks for reading and your comment. I’m glad I struck a chord but I hope I didn’t cause any pain. It’s so hard to trust again. I completely understand.

      However, Johnny has no significant other. We are both single. It’s just us, trying to get close enough geographically to make it work. We are thousands of miles apart.

  5. It’s good that the two of you are communicating n all venues, including this blog 🙂 In all seriousness, thank you for sharing. For me, jealousy is one of those emotions that is not only just below the surface but buried deep, depending on what the triggers are. Those you’ve listed resonate in so many ways and of course then there is the complexity of compartmentalization and what does that mean? what does that look like? I know that when I set out on the journey that led to him, it was one in which I was cavalier, thinking I could be with different men (at different times) and purely sexual satisfaction. I didn’t take into consideration my own past, and triggers or the possibility that I would meet someone that shook all of my beliefs and assumptions to the core. That said, he has said to me on occasion, that due to the distance between us (east coast to west coast) and the unknown as to when we will have moments together, he would understand if I sought a local lover for the in-between moments, for the relief if you will. When he says this to me, it never fails to throw me for a loop and into doubt about us, even if the parameters of what we are supposed to be. Not because I have any intention of doing so but because it makes me wonder if he is doing the same. We are both married, with no intention of leaving our marriages, with busy and full lives. But I can’t help worry about being “replaced” by someone closer in proximity with a less complicated schedule. In the last 8-months or so we have been faced with the additional complexity of my husband discovering my affair and instead of walking away, as has always been his sop, he has remained by my side and I work through the challenges of my marriage. I continue to follow your journey and send positive thoughts and hopes for you and johnny.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful and touching comment. Of course you would be thrown for a loop in that situation…I would as well. It’s definitely more complicated when you are long-distance in the kind of relationship you discuss.

      I liked your use of the term “compartmentalization” and I do wonder about that…whether it’s really possible. I’m not quite sure yet. I know my “affair” didn’t impact how I felt about my ex-husband, and it wasn’t the only reason our marriage ended, but it was undoubtedly a trigger event. Lots to contemplate for sure.

      I’m so welcoming of your positive thoughts…it’s very kind. Thanks 🙂

      • As of yet, I have been unable to compartmentalize. That is my ultimate goal, but I can’t seem to achieve it. I think it’s because I am a woman and compartmentalizing is something that men do.

        I also have this double-standard where I think it’s “okay” for me to go out and have ‘relations’ with someone else, but if HE did it I would be broken to pieces, just like you were. For the exact same reason you state: what if he likes her better than me? What if I get replaced? Maybe it’s an issue with self-esteem, maybe it’s deeper than that.

        Maybe it’s something simple like: I know I can’t ‘have’ Loverman so I don’t want to get too attached to him – if I sleep with other guys, it might help me to remove some of the attachment. Then maybe I get worried because, if he starts sleeping with someone else, maybe he’s trying to do the same thing…

  6. Such a brave woman, if I were ever in this situation I would have no idea how to react, to deal. We have to listen to and follow both our hearts and heads. Good luck to you both.

    • Thank you so much Veronica. I guess I just believe that I have to try…having taken the massive step of splitting from my husband, I feel that life has to be lived, explored… And although I am sometimes afraid, I have to leap.

      I really appreciate your words 🙂

  7. Pingback: Taking a Break | smittenwithhim

  8. This reminds me of something I experienced with Tina recently. Not just my own jealousy for her lover, but her jealousy for my wife. I plan to write about it soon, but I will say for now that this sounds entirely plausible, and decidedly normal, to me. These are the sensations and expectations we have to overcome if we ever hope to maintain a *normal* relationship, much less an open or clandestine relationship. For what it’s worth, you have my condolences and sympathy.

    I hope things are going better for you now, Ann. I’ll be reading.

    • I will take any condolences and sympathy…so thank you. Things are better on that front but I had a flare up after a post he wrote. I do worry about future decisions…but I suppose I should just figure it out as I go.

  9. Reblogged this on ann st vincent and commented:
    A new-ish reader liked this post of mine today and I clicked on it to read, since I couldn’t exactly remember which one it was.

    There were a few phrases that really stood out, given everything I’m processing right now…so consider this my own made-up four month throwback Tuesday, for those of you who didn’t read it the first time.

  10. I read this, did a lot of head nodding that you couldn’t see, went “Uh-huh…” a couple of times and even said, “Hmm…” because I learned something very important about beng open other than it works both ways: You cannot hold onto monogamous thinking and things like being jealous and possessive just doesn’t work. It’s okay to have your cake and eat four or five of them but if it would bother you that a lover would be jealous or angry that you’re exercising your right to be open, then doing it to them doesn’t make sense, does it?

What do you think?