I’ve already written an exhaustive post about what I think of love, A Truly Loving Relationship, but today I realized that I’m still making the same mistakes, basing my reactions and decisions on past relationships, and that basically I’m no better than anyone else (this hurts the ego to admit). I like to think I’m a fairly evolved human being, that I make logical decisions, and that my brain can overcome hurts and challenges in a unique way.
But all of that was bullshit. I’m just another fucked up human being, but even worse, I somehow thought I was more evolved than most.
In that post I wrote about “unconditional” love and yet I have been placing conditions on my relationship with Ann. I have been categorizing us in artificial ways, trying to fit us into specific boxes that made things easier on my brain.
But love isn’t about easy, it’s about loving, trusting, and adjusting to the situation.
One of the biggest frustrations for Ann, which she so eloquently laid out in her post Other women and abandonment issues with Johnny Id, is that an open relationship doesn’t work for her because she can’t face me being with another woman. Based on her history that’s understandable. But she doesn’t know if she can be in a closed relationship for two years, long distance, or even in person. This causes a mental friction because I have thoroughly explained how I can’t be in an uneven situation, her open and me closed. Any relationship I’m in has to be equitable. Based on my history with a cheating spouse, and all that pent up resentment, I think that’s understandable.
But that equation doesn’t work out. She doesn’t know if she can be closed, but can’t be open if I’m sleeping around too. I can be closed, but if we’re open I’m going to take advantage of it. A does not equal B plus C. Logically, there isn’t a solution that works out.
But there’s a solution that’s been staring us in the face all along, I just categorically refused to consider it. Ann open, me closed.
I have always said, I can do either open or closed but the relationship has to be even. That was my condition. I placed that condition on our relationship.
I refused to consider an uneven situation because of my past relationship with Cat. She cheated on me, many times, and I refused to be placed in a similar situation again. Absolutely, never going to fucking happen. So, if Ann and I were in an open relationship, I was going to be OPEN for business. No matter what. I don’t need sex, but had casual sex anyway when we were open. I knew using my rights would hurt Ann, even though she had used hers, and I went ahead and did it anyway because the relationship had to be even. There were other factors as well, but that was the big one for me.
It hurts Ann to this day and has been the biggest issue we’ve faced yet.
I can do closed, but refused to be closed if she was open.
If I’m closed than I have insisted Ann has to follow the same set of guidelines. I’ve forced us into the this situation, making her choose between totally open or totally closed. I’ve basically leveraged Ann’s pain over that episode into putting her in a closed relationship that she isn’t sure she wants, needs, or can maintain. Equitable, even steven, all the way to the end. And Ann isn’t sure she’s comfortable with that, but what choice have I given her? That’s the condition that I’ve placed on the relationship, that’s the key sticking point in the equation that isn’t working out. That condition could cause this relationship to fall apart before we ever get a chance to see what it will be like when we finally end the long distance portion.
I absolutely love Ann, but can I love her unconditionally? Can I adjust my own perceptions, release the pain from my past, and truly love her unconditionally? I know I can do a closed relationship with Ann, but can I be okay with her not being closed at the same time?
Now that I have realized how my perceptions and artificial restrictions have created this strain on the relationship, I might be able to let go of them. I don’t think that “having an equal relationship” is an unreasonable request, but if it hurts the relationship with this woman that I love so much, why can’t I let go of it? Why does it have to be even if it risks ruining it? How evolved am I, really?
I know I can do closed and I think I might be at a place where I can trust Ann enough to let the relationship be uneven. I love her, I want to love her unconditionally. I’m not saying it will be easy, letting go of past hurts never is, but for Ann I’m willing to work on it. I want to be what she needs, not what I want. I can meet her needs, I’ve just been refusing to.
But Ann isn’t Cat. The biggest problem with Cat cheating, as I’ve said before, was the loss of trust, not the sex outside of the marriage. When Cat and I were open, we managed to regain the trust and the relationship was a thousand times better. Well, Ann has been nothing but honest with me. It wouldn’t be “cheating” per se, as she would have my permission, and as long as we were honest with each other, I wasn’t neglected, then it’s something I should be able to accept. I don’t need sex. I’m not saying it would be easy, every Friday night that she’s getting laid and I’m posting about my YouTube marathon, I would have to fight my inner kindergartner screaming “It’s Not Fair!”. But I’m also not worried about losing Ann to another guy, I’m way too egotistical for that. My inner mantra has always been “I’m fucking awesome, whether or not you appreciate it is up to you.” And Ann appreciates it. So, I’m not going to lose her, and with good communication this is something I should be able to do.
It won’t be simple or foolproof, I kind of feel like it would be dancing through my past-hurts minefield, but with good communication, and motivation, it could work and it might be the only long term solution for us. And it would be an opportunity to put my heart where my words are, truly unconditional love.