New Stages Bring New Challenges

Learning who I am without someone was one stage.   Learning who I am with someone is a new stage.

I spent the year after my split from my husband of 18 years learning a lot about who I am without him.  I sat in his shadow for 2 decades.  I was the wife, the mom, the support staff.  He was the bread-winner.  I rarely did anything in life that he didn’t approve of.  It was too much work to stand up for my desires.  It was just easier to fade into the background.  That translates to:  I didn’t know what I wanted.  I didn’t know what I liked.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.  I didn’t know what I wanted in a career and I definitely didn’t know what I wanted in a partner.  I couldn’t even imagine having a partner.  You can look back over my writing and see that I was scared of even the thought of a relationship.   I built in every excuse for someone not to have to stick around.  Looking back, I was scared.

The good news is, I knew I didn’t know.  I knew I didn’t know anything.  I was figuring it out as I went.  I knew enough to know that.  The men I attracted reflected where ever I was in that journey.  I was wishy-washy for a good chunk of that year.  My dates were also wishy-washy.  A kink acquaintance (who later became friend), when asked what she felt from my energy, she responded something like, “It isn’t a feeling.  I hear music.  I hear the theme to Mission Impossible.”  I totally got it.  I felt like the theme to Mission Impossible, not from an “I’m up to a scheme” but from an “I am all over the place” feeling.

Then the feeling stopped.  My friend didn’t hear “Mission Impossible” anymore.  I didn’t feel like “Mission Impossible” anymore.  It was mid April when I admitted I wanted a relationship.  I wanted stable.  I think that was because I finally felt stable.  …And the universe delivered.

I’m in a stable relationship and I find myself confronting fears and baggage.  I guess that’s the stage I’m ready for.

Here are my latest truths:

  • I have used sex to get affection.  I am a sponge for touch.  A touch slut if you will.  I have a partner that feeds me affection (without it being connected to sex) by the boat load.  It feels amazing.  But the truth is that sex is another form of affection for me.
  • I’m insecure.  I still have issues with my own self worth.  I base my worth on how desirable I am to other people.  When I’m not being pursued for sex, I think it’s about me.
  • I realize I didn’t feel true intimacy in so many of my married years, maybe never.  That idea that sex equals self worth?  Yeah, that was where I got my value in my marriage.  We had a lot of sex.  But there wasn’t intimacy.
  • You can’t get hurt if you don’t really trust people.  As vulnerable as I try to be, letting myself really trust someone with my best interest and to protect me is scary as shit.  I’m really afraid of those feelings of abandonment I had at the end of my marriage.
  • I’m afraid to share.  I’m afraid to share my partner because I’m (see above) afraid of not being picked.
  • It is easier for me to date someone already in another relationship than it is to open my primary relationship.  But it’s getting a lot easier.  And it’s important to know that we aren’t letting my fear stop us.
  • I enjoy dating, and at the end of the night, I really want/need to reconnect with my long term partner.   He’s home.
  • The beliefs I thought I had, like being solo poly or a relationship anarchist, flew out the window when I found myself in a relationship and feelings got involved.  Real life polyamory and book-smart polyamory are two totally different things.
  • I recently had random sex (sex with someone I didn’t know) just to prove I still could (meaning that I wanted to remind myself that I could still enjoy sex for the sake of enjoying sex).  It wasn’t fulfilling.  Sex has become a form of connection for me.  You need to at least be a friend.  That’s what works for me.  Sex is still fun.  But I’ve become a bit more picky about my partners.

I think life is about the learning experiences.  I never want to stop evolving.  I always want to be exploring myself.  I never want to have it all figured out.  I like the stages.

 

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