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.