Sometimes it isn’t possible to get what we want. What’s the right way to handle this? Are disappointment, anger and fear getting in the way of your happiness, or can you live peacefully with unfulfilled desire?
This week was a crucial turning point in my relationship with N and R. After spending two days alone with N last week, in a totally friendly mode of helping her out with putting together a bed, generally hanging out and talking about stuff, shopping for a rug and picking R up from the airport, I was in a bit of a desirous cloud. Not that anything sexual had happened, but I was just a bit high on the connection that we’d deepened.
She spent the weekend reconnecting with R, who’d been away for two weeks. I left them alone; if they needed me, they would let me know. I didn’t really hear from her until Wednesday, after I had asked for permission to talk about them in this blog. This conversation eventually led to another topic: the nature of our relationship.
In short, N said she wasn’t in it for a romantic/sexual relationship. That our thing was different, and that I shouldn’t expect to have sex with her–because she didn’t want to have sex with me.
Which, at 5AM on a Seroquel-laced morning, was a bit of a shock.
Let me go back a little and give a little bit of background before I continue.
I met N in early December 2015. I attended a party which she helped organize, and the connection was instantaneous–at least for me. I saw her and I knew she would change my life.
We exchanged a few messages, met up at local events; I met R at one of them. The three of us started regularly spending time together after meeting up a few times.
Without calling myself “their” submissive yet, our relationship is, first and foremost, a D/s one. I serve them. They give me a safe space where I can explore this part of myself, supported by love and trust.
So, it’s 5AM on a Wednesday morning. I’m groggy because of medication. I wake up to pee; I check my email at the same time and find one from N saying I shouldn’t expect to have sex with them.
Knowing that E is awake at this time of day, I send him a text: “Shit. Call when you can.”
And then I do what I usually do in those situations: I find something to write on. In this case: my laptop, which I take to my bedroom. I turn it on, open Mail, and start writing a reply.
The content of the reply itself doesn’t really matter. I was upset. I was disappointed. I had just received a kick in the fantasy-pants. I was reeling from the shock. And despite all the care I took to write something that was respectful and as emotionally neutral, yet honest, as I could manage, I still reacted within old scripts.
We learn scripts really early in our lives: the way our parents treat us, our siblings, our childhood friends. Our first crush. Our first lover. Our first important romantic relationship. We learn from those how to act, how to react, what to expect, and how to get our own needs met as best we can within the tangled web that is human relationships.
As I sit here and write with the hindsight of a few days, I realize that this first gut reaction was one of a received script: that being in a relationship with people you love should involve sex. (Which isn’t true, as I think more about this, because there is no sex with E right now, and yet I love him as deeply as I’ve ever loved anyone.) That my desire should to be reciprocated, and fulfilled.
There’s a lot of background noise from my relationship with M in that reaction. As our dead bedroom moved from months to years, I was increasingly frustrated that he wouldn’t reciprocate my desire for him. I left him for that very reason. So, as I try to develop new and healthy relationships that answer to my needs, I find myself focusing a lot on sex–even knowing that it doesn’t matter so much as connection does.
And that… demand, that condition of my relationship with N and R, that I shouldn’t expect sex, went against that script. It hit this received behaviour–that I should be able to have sex with the people I desire–smack in the face.
And this is why I felt so upset. So scared. What if I never get to have sex with them? Can I handle this kind of relationship? Can I serve, can I submit to them truthfully and enthusiastically, without sex, when sex is so intimately connected to every kinky fibre of my being? Can I imagine the next few weeks, months, years, serving them and spending time with them without a touch other than platonic (that’s the only word that fits the frame of mind I had at the time–but the true nature of their touch is another post altogether)?
And at first, the answer was no. The old script was screaming: “if you don’t have sex with them, you’ll get frustrated, and you’ll want to find people you can submit to and have sex with. This is not an acceptable proposition. You will not function properly.”
N listened to my concerns, yet she remained uncompromising: you will submit to us in the conditions we choose, or you will not submit to us at all. Either you commit to this without resentment and expectations, or we are done.
There it was: the choice I needed to make. Could I accept this, could I let go of my desires and expectations and simply serve? Could I cut through the fantasies and ideas in my mind of what I want this to be, and accept what it actually is?
I was terrified, to be honest. The thought of losing them, losing this, was overwhelming. I had been thinking about this for a day now, turning my desire around in my mind like a Rubik’s cube, trying to find the way it fit with the other colours of this relationship: love, submission, service, trust, truth, art. And I realized that my desire had a place in it, that it existed for a reason–but that it needed only exist. It didn’t need to be reciprocated or fulfilled in any way that I wanted. Because my place is not to want, but to serve.
I have a phone chat with E at this point. He asks: “If she was in front of you at this moment, if you were kneeling at her feet, what would you tell her?”
I reply: “I’m scared. But I am yours.”
I sit with this realization for a second. I let it take over my whole body, my whole mind, my whole spirit. I’m scared, but I am yours.
I grab my phone and text those six words to her.
E says: “Write it to her.”
I reply: “I already have.”