I haven’t written much lately, in part because I’ve been swamped with work and answering messages and generally trying to catch up projects, and in part because I haven’t felt like I had much to write about in the meantime. Things are going well, I had this fantastic day about a week ago where I realised I was quite ready to start considering entering into another relationship. I’ve been more consistent this week with prioritising Bible study and prayer than I have been in a long time, and it makes such a wonderful difference.
Currently, my brain is being handled with great care after all the extroversion over the last week. I have to pace myself better, or I am going to be in tears. So, taking lots of breaks today between the longer messages (which I love, but they’re tough when I feel like I’m running on empty) and doing the self-care things I know I need: prayer, Bible study, playing piano, organising/tidying my house, etc.
The best thing that happened today, however, is I realised that I actually can and will say no to a situation I know isn’t right for me. In my last relationship, I said yes to a lot of things I didn’t fully want. I said yes because I knew my significant other wanted them, I wanted to please him, I hoped that if I just gave a little more that he’d be in the right place to give me what I wanted so badly, and on and on, until after the relationship ended I realised three things.
First, that I gave up a lot of what I wanted, I gave up hoping for the things I wanted, and even the things I needed because of what my ex wanted, and I let him convince me it was not only okay, but right. When I started considering looking for a D/s relationship a little over a week ago, I got so incredibly excited that it reminded me of when I first began exploring this part of my life, and I was elated. I didn’t think it’d feel that way again, but I actually have hope that I can and will find the right person, and the person that I genuinely fit too.
Second, I realised that I was right, and I let my ex convince me I wasn’t. It was such an incredible relief to realise I was in fact right, I wasn’t crazy, I wasn’t horrible at relationships, I wasn’t entirely out of touch with myself and lying to myself half the time. I was right. And I’m still unraveling some of that from time to time, but I feel so utterly free all the same.
Third, I realised that so much of what I wanted in the relationship, so much of what I treasured and loved, they were promises that were yet to be fulfilled. They were promises that got put off, set on the backburner, replaced, sometimes deleted entirely, for a long time. And I hung on, and I fought, and I was faithful, and I supported my ex as best I could, I was understanding, I was patient, I prayed my heart out, I was available whenever possible…and I set aside what I wanted for him, I set aside my own needs to meet his, and in the end all I had worth grieving over in that relationship was things that never even got to happen.
So I’ve been rather careful with myself in the first leg of this search, I’ve been keeping an eye on what I say and what I am willing to change my mind about. I keep going back to the list of things that I realised I wanted before my last relationship (during the course of which I gave up on hoping for most of those things) and reminding myself that I want these things for a reason, that I need these things within the relationship, and to be patient and trust myself, to trust what I learned about myself through my experiences.
But amidst all of this, I’ve been quite afraid that I will make the same mistakes. That I will like and even love this new person, whoever he may be (it’s only been a week, I’m not rushing this at all), so much that I let him dictate when I’m ready to say ‘I love you’, that I let him decide what kind of online interaction we have, that I let him decide what I am and am not comfortable doing. That I will end up in that same place, where I feel afraid to talk about how I feel for fear that I’m ‘wrong’ again, where I feel more alone in the relationship than I ever did out of it, that I feel constantly set aside and pushed out, and that I give up things that I love for someone who does not actively love me back. And Friday night, I realised how afraid I’ve been and spent a solid hour crying while I explained it to someone else. It was cathartic, but now I was even more wary of myself because I know that is a kind of weak point for me, that I am sometimes self-sacrificing in the wrong ways. And I firmly believe there are good ways, very good ways, in which one can be self-sacrificing, and I don’t want to stop doing those but I need to get a handle on my bad habits here.
At the very least I want to make whole new mistakes, not cycle through the old ones.
One person seemed to stand out for a few days. He was insightful, we appeared to be on the same page regarding many things, we could message at length and have wonderfully detailed discussions (which, for me, is a very good sign, and I was surprised it happened so quickly). Then through our conversations I realised he was looking for more of an offline relationship and has certain views regarding online relationships (which is what I want) which do not fit with my experiences or desires. And perhaps I will write on why I love and feel genuinely fulfilled through online relationships sometime, but I’m prattling on enough as it is.
Way back when I first began exploring D/s, I had this one incident where I submitted to someone I could not please; essentially, I tried to be someone I wasn’t to make him happy, and it was an awful experience, I wound up hurt in many ways, and I swore: never again. If I ever submitted to someone again, I would only do so as myself, I would only submit if being myself, as purely and fully as possible, was what pleased that person. That was the confirmation that led me to submit to my first Dom, who was fantastic and taught me more than I can ever thank him for. And when I realised that this new person, with whom I thought I was feeling the ‘click’, wanted something I was not ready to give, did not know how long it would take me to get ready, and had very different views regarding the nature of online relationships, I went back to that core concept: if I cannot be me, I am not the person he is looking for; correspondingly, he is not the person I am searching for.
As nicely and encouragingly as I could, I wrote him and told him what I thought, explained why, told him I thought he was wonderful and I knew he’d find someone who suited what he sought. He had said in his previous message that he would respect my decision, so I also offered to be friends, because we did converse well and shared some similar interests.
Then today I got an extremely long and emotional message from him, which I understand, I was a little disappointed too. But this message crossed some lines. He assumed the role of ‘Dom’ when I had not submitted to him. He told me to apologise to him and to reconsider. He told me that it was about him and his feelings, and not mine (he was half right). He accused me of making decisions for him and not giving him a chance to decide how he felt – and there I can understand his frustration, but at the same time this is my life and I know from experience, multiple experiences, that it’s absolutely miserable to be submitted to someone that I know I’m not pleasing, not to mention it causes some significant emotional damage. He accused me of using this as an excuse because I am afraid of being in a relationship with him, and that I haven’t allowed myself to be truly open to anyone in the last 2.5 years (he and I have been talking for five days, just so we’re clear about the strangeness of that conclusion).
Then he wrote this: “So I am going to do the very best dom/daddy thing I can for you and tell you that you are mistaken here. That I love you (figuratively, don’t know you well enough yet to say that) and that I think you should listen to me on this, because I think I’m right and if you honestly search yourself I think you’ll agree.”
And dammit, if that wasn’t something that sounded eerily like my last relationship, and I realised Wow, nope, I do not feel bad about ending this. Because I know I’m right, I have lived the difference between being in a relationship because it’s kind of what you want and being in a relationship because it’s exactly what you want.
Then this clinched it: “It has become more and more apparent that you do indeed need a dom. Not necessarily to tell you what to do, not my style, but to give you a swift kick in the ass and say pull out of your head and live your fucking life.:
I just stopped and enjoyed the moment. Because if I learned one thing, one solitary thing from my last relationship, it’s that I can have the most important person in my life putting me through this hellish rollercoaster of emotion and drama, and I can not only take care of myself but him too. I have realised that I can lose the relationship (referring here to my first D/s relationship) and feel utterly crushed 24/7, and I can not only survive but that I can continue living and being happy without a D/s relationship. I have learned that as much as I want to be submitted to someone, that as much as I treasure getting to express that part of me, that is absolutely part of my core self, I only get to genuinely do that with the right someone. And I have learned that I can be right when it comes to knowing myself, that I am not being unfair when I take my needs into account, and that if a relationship ends it is not the end of the world and I will be okay. I will be better than okay. I can be alone. I can be happy and be alone. I can be myself and alone. And I’m not afraid to be alone.
So no, I don’t need a dom. And I am living my life, and learning to live it better by the grace of God. If anything, I need God, because He’s the one who has led me through all this and never once failed me.
I wrote this person a reply, and I was polite but firm, I clarified things as best I could, and then I told him that I thought it best if this was the last message exchanged. I have a lot of wonderful friends, and there are plenty of people who respond to me respectfully, but this message did not fit either of those scenarios. And I’m a little bit proud of myself, because I said no, and I thought it through a second time, and I said no again. I did not bow to pressure, I did not let someone else talk me out of my conviction, I did not let myself start doubting that I knew what the right thing to do was.
And I feel that freedom again. I feel pretty good. I’ve continued talking with other people and getting to know them, and enjoyed it quite thoroughly today. I feel like I can trust myself a little more, like I made it through the first trial and have proven that I have perhaps learned a valuable lesson and am capable of applying it.
Finally, I am grateful that things didn’t go further, because that is not a situation that I think would end well otherwise. I don’t do well with people who cross lines at will, and who are not respectful of my decisions when they become emotional. I cannot and will not submit to that, and I feel quite strongly that I’m being watched out for.
So I continue, slow and steady. To the kitchen to enjoy my strawberry ice cream, because frankly I think I deserve a treat.