Read the previous post first.
I’m having a difficult time writing this post because it puts my head back into dark places. But I also feel like the only way to get rid of the demons is to drag them, kicking and screaming, out into the light. So, that’s what I’m trying to do here, and believe me they are kicking and screaming.
Yesterday morning I read Ann’s post, Other women and abandonment issues with Johnny Id. Her post explains how we both can’t be open because she can’t face me being with another woman, but she wasn’t sure if she could be in a closed, long distance relationship. The catch is that I can’t be in an uneven relationship. She needs an uneven relationship, I couldn’t do that.
I was having a really good morning, my head was in a good place, I was happy, and the post really started some thinking. Thinking turned to writing and I ended up late to work because I tapped out a 1,1000 word post on how I was going to try and be a better man for Ann. I was going to try and put aside all my past hurts and dedicate myself to doing whatever was necessary to make the relationship work long term. Making the relationship work long term would basically mean letting Ann be “open” and keeping myself “closed”.
Being in a good place that morning, it seemed the obvious thing to do, the mature and smart thing to do. Let go of my past hurts that demanded an even relationship, and do what I needed to to make Ann happy. I wrote the post with blissful ease.
Fast forward three hours.
Work was stressing me out as soon as I showed up. All sorts of problems had cropped up overnight (I had been fielding calls and texts until after midnight) and everything needed to be addressed immediately. I had skipped breakfast because I’d been writing, my blood sugar was getting really low, I was exhausted from lack of sleep, and work felt like trying to stop the flow of water blasting out of a fire hose with my bare hands. It wasn’t going well, my head went from a good place to a very bad place.
None of this had anything to do with Ann, she’s been nothing short of wonderful, this just shows how my own head can be my worst enemy.
When I went to a bad place, the demons started screaming.
For the entire rest of my work day there was a raging internal argument in my head between happy-half-enlightened-Johnny (we’ll call him “Nice Johnny for this post) and angry-hurt-jaded-pessimistic-Johnny (we’ll call him “Not so nice Johnny”). Nice Johnny thought I was doing the right thing, making the right choices, and moving past old wounds would lead to a higher level of enlightenment, as well as a better relationship with Ann. Not so nice Johnny thought that I was fucking retarded, being used, and basing all his arguments on past hurts.
The debate wasn’t pretty. And it was constant.
Nice Johnny: What’s wrong with having an uneven relationship with Ann? It will make her happy and we can move past the old hurts, reach new levels of trust.
Not so nice Johnny: Dude, you’re fucking retarded. She’s totally manipulating you to get the kind of relationship she wants. I thought we learned all these lessons with Cat already? Did you forget so quickly?
NJ: Ann isn’t Cat. Sure, Cat was a master manipulator and fucked with our heads. We’ve learned and moved on. We’re with Ann now, who has a kind heart, and wouldn’t hurt us like that.
NSNJ: HAHAHAHAHAHA! Dude, you’re so stupid. If anything, Ann is WORSE than Cat. Cat was cool with a totally open relationship, Ann wants to have her cake and to eat it too. And you’re totally falling for it.
NJ: That’s not true at all. We have excellent communication with Ann and this is only a stepping stone to a better place. There is no comparison. We’re smarter now, we’re making conscious decisions to improve our relationship.
NSNJ: Ok, imagine this for a moment, we’re at home watching TV on a Friday night and Ann is out on the town. She’s got four hot guys hitting on her and she’s telling them all about her retarded boyfriend… who let’s her fuck around but he is faithful. All four guys laugh at how stupid this boyfriend is and then take turns fucking Ann. All the while, they thank the idiotic boyfriend for giving them the opportunity.
NJ: You are so messed up, Ann would never do that. We love Ann, Ann loves us. We’re just letting her fulfill her needs when we can’t be there.
NSNJ: How do you know Ann wouldn’t do that? She’s thousands of fucking miles away, she could be doing it right now and we’d never know. There are no fucking guarantees here. All she has to do is not post about it and we’d have no idea. Hell, she could write a post about this Friday, but say that it happened a couple years ago, and we’d have no idea.
NJ: We could be doing that too and she would never know. The whole relationship is based on trust, we have to trust her.
NSNJ: Ok, so let’s say we trust her. What the fuck is wrong with insisting the relationship be even? What’s wrong with that?
NJ: Theoretically nothing is wrong with that, unless insisting on it ruins our chance for a “happily ever after” with Ann.
NSNJ: So, you’re going to give up our principles for some hypothetical future? You’re going to give up a justifiable condition, that the relationship be even, to make her feel good? You’re going to let her go out and have sex, but exist under her condition that we cannot have sex? We get NOTHING out of this except some vague, possible future. Why don’t we learn to roll over and lick her feet while we’re at it?
NJ: You are basing all of your arguments on past experiences. Our mom was fucked up at times, highly manipulative and controlling. Cat was fucked up at times, highly manipulative and controlling. Ann isn’t like either of them. This is just a small concession that will lead us into something wonderful.
NSNJ: You think Ann isn’t manipulative? She wrote a post basically saying she doesn’t think this will work out long term. You and Johnny write her back about how you’re willing to give up your principles. What does she do then?
NJ: She sent us a few nudie pictures when she got back to her room. It was a very nice, thoughtful gesture, that made us smile while we were having a bad day at work.
NSNJ: You’re just naive. She writes a sad piece that works on our emotions negatively. We make concessions to make her happy. She provides positive reinforcement to our concessions by appealing to our dick. When we don’t do what she wants we feel bad, when we do what she wants we get rewarded. Dude, that’s conditioning. She’s conditioning us to do whatever she wants.
NJ: That’s something Cat would do, not Ann. Ann doesn’t think like that.
NSNJ: ALL WOMEN THINK LIKE THAT! They use our cocks to get what they want. Maybe Ann isn’t doing it consciously, like Cat, but at least subconsciously that’s exactly what she’s doing. She wants to have it all, fuck buddies and a loyal boyfriend. She’s conditioning us to play the role in her fantasy.
NJ: Well, like it or not, we’re going to try the uneven relationship. We’re trying to get over all the crazy shit that fucked you up. We’re going to open our minds to possibilities beyond your comprehending. We’ll be better off for it.
NSNJ: Ha! You think it will be that easy? The first night we’re at home writing a post about how much we hate FaceBook and she’s out getting laid, believe me, we’ll be having this conversation again and I’ll be coming out on top.
This debate raged all day. All day. Every single second that my mind wasn’t occupied by work, it was occupied by arguing voices. If this happened every day I would probably turn myself into the psych ward, that’s how bad it was. My brain hasn’t been this worked up and divided for a long, long time.
So, while my brain was in a good place I was almost completely fine with the idea of an uneven relationship. A small sacrifice on my part that would, hopefully, enrich our lives. I could forget old wounds and move past them toward a more promising future.
But when my mind was in a bad place, the demons started kicking and screaming. And they were loud. And their arguments weren’t entirely without merit, which made them even harder to ignore. Had all their statements been ridiculous the debate would have ended with an early blowout. Their bottom line: what is so wrong with insisting on an even relationship? And that isn’t an easy point to ignore.
Do I believe those voices? No. Do I listen to those voices? I try not to. I try to ignore them, but they’re still there.
Now that I’ve been given such a dramatic view of the demons, I almost feel like I have to try and get rid of the old pains that breed them. It won’t be easy, sometimes I don’t even recognize the shadows that pass in front of my eyes before an outburst of unexpected emotion. So much of it depends on mood too. When I’m happy, everything is deceptively easy. When I’m not, many more hurt and angry voices whisper in my ears.
If anything, this day has demonstrated that past experiences have affected me more profoundly than I ever thought. That’s why I think I need to move forward with an uneven relationship with Ann. But in baby steps. One tiny move at a time. And paying very close attention to the moods and voices. It will be a process, but at least for me, I think it’s absolutely vital. We just have to be extremely cautious.
And it might be the only way we can move forward together. Hopefully, it’s just a stepping stone, but if it doesn’t kill me it will give us options and flexibility.
I knew that the idea of an uneven relationship was extremely painful to me, but I hadn’t realized how deep the fissure was. I truly thought I had a handle on all those old wounds, but it seems like every time I think the bleeding has stopped the demons reach out and force them open again. Old wounds breed the deepest demons.