I’ve been unusually worried about an upcoming date. Not my date. The man I’ve been seeing for a few months…his date.
Our budding relationship is different than any relationship I have been in up to this point. The biggest difference is that I actually fall right into a submissive role with him. This is new for me. I knew I had a submissive side but hadn’t known what it felt like to really recognize a partner’s dominance until I got to know this man. It’s a scary feeling when you realize you never thought twice about handing control over to a partner. How does that happen?! It’s a wonderful feeling yet leaves me so vulnerable. There is something about the dominant/submissive dynamic that makes me feel extra safe and cared for. I feel my vulnerability is appreciated and encouraged.
And then it happened. He told me he had a date coming up. I’m a firm believer that ethical non-monogamy is for me. I’ve dated other people while we’ve been together. This is the first time he has had a date with someone else and I will admit, the fear rolled in fast. My baggage was delivered.
I’ve always wondered when my baggage from my previous marriage would show up and what it would look like. It looks like fear of being left behind. In short, as a reminder to long time readers and a primer for new readers, after over 17 years of marriage, we added a long time friend to our relationship. It was fun but it was rocky. In the end, the man I thought was 100% committed to me and our family walked away to be with her monogamously. While we are all friends now, the baggage is still real. It is wrapped in a bow of fear. It’s not a pretty bow just a big ugly, floppy bow.
I couldn’t figure out why I was so afraid of his date. Yes, I really like him. But in my heart I know this is how I want our relationship structured. Or at least I have always wanted a relationship structured like this. For a reason I couldn’t quite see, this first date scared the shit out of me.
I spent last week in West Virginia at Sex Geek Summer Camp, a business camp for sex educators. While I got a lot of training in marketing, I also got a bit of relationship advice. I came home and spent the weekend with my guy and I took the advice I learned and shared my fear with him. I just laid it out there. “I’m afraid of you connecting with someone else and then deciding you don’t want non-monogamy and walking away from me.” He heard my fears and let me cry.
I spent the afternoon yesterday with friends. He joined us later in the day and we all shared a family style meal, which is fitting because we feel like a misfit family. It felt like every time I started to struggle due to conversation that reminded me of the upcoming date in one way or another, he would pull me in and reassure me with just a squeeze and a kiss to my forehead. He knew. Or at least it felt like he knew.
It was time to leave and I laid my head on his chest and started to cry. We talked about it again. I admitted that I didn’t want to share him, that the thought of seeing him with someone else, the affectionate way he is, would kill me. I got in my car and started the hour drive home. The tears continued to fall and my mind raced. That’s when it hit me.
This is my baggage. It was delivered. I’m dealing with the baggage from my marriage. It isn’t his baggage. It’s mine. I am embarrassed that he has watched me process it. At the same time, I’m thankful that he seems to be able to handle it.