Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Dinner With Jealousy

Even though it’s a moot point after he turned out to be such a jerk, the dinner where I met The Man’s wife still haunts me, like a test I didn’t pass. Sweetie called it self-sabotage then, and I’m still not 100% sure that it wasn’t.

The Man and The Wife asked us to dinner after my first (very happy) scene with him, and I was delighted. Here was a guy on the up-and-up, inviting me into his life. We exchanged our spouses’ phone numbers and it really felt like we were all on the way to a real something.

But as the time neared, I felt dread and sadness. As we got ready for the dinner, I chose a dress, blew out my hair, put on lipstick, all the while saying to Sweetie “I don’t want to do this.” We let them know we were on our way and he did his nice manly thing of telling us where the parking was good near the restaurant they’d chosen.

Now, I knew The Wife wasn’t easygoing, just from the way that he’d characterized her—nearly every time he picked me up for something, they were in the middle of a phone-snit of some kind. So that could have been a reason I was feeling dread. There was also the fact that she did have veto power, so if I failed to impress her, that would be it for me and him. I was thisclose to my dreams coming true, as long as I didn’t fuck up this dinner. In retrospect, there was no way that I could have fucked it up—all I had to do was be myself. Which is, I guess, what happened.

When Sweetie and I got to the restaurant, only The Man was waiting for us. “(The Wife) is off pouting somewhere, I’ll go get her.” he said and inside I was like Whaaaaaaat? How do I deal with this? I went to the restroom and breathed and fixed my face and hoped for the best. When I came out, they were all seated at the table together waiting for me. I wanted to ask her what the pouting had been about—that really threw me off.

When I saw them together, my dread got so, so much worse. He looked at her and smiled, put her arm around her, rubbed her leg the way he’d lovingly rubbed mine the week before. Here’s where I feel like I failed every poly test, because instead of enjoying the love he clearly felt for her, I felt stabbed in the stomach. I couldn’t feel my connection to him and everything in me said RUN. I made a very good try at disappearing into the wall, and when it turned out someone had run to the store for wine, I literally jumped at the chance.

Nothing like this had ever happened to me mid-relationship! I’ve only ever felt jealousy like that when I knew something was already over. I’ve adored many a partner’s spouse and happily played with wives upstairs. Before we got to the day of this dinner, I’d been so excited about having The Wife as a new friend. I was so, so disappointed in my feelings at that moment.

But in a nice, simple world without judgment and guilt, I’d say, I just didn’t like her. I didn’t like THEM. They were nasty to each other, George-and-Marthaing their way through dinner. She said that she doesn’t play with women because she respects them too much, she can only look down on men that way. (Um, huh?) He complained about her asshole ex and his huge schlong. (I do believe that is the first time I’ve ever typed that word.)

Conversationally, The Wife was like a pitbull, especially on the topic of the horror-themed play party she was planning. I said I thought that really wouldn’t be for me, but she really, REALLY wanted to convince me, to the point where I yes, almost started to cry.

When everyone was all “WHAT’S WRONG?” I admitted to being really nervous that she wouldn’t like me, and said that I really couldn’t figure out how to be. (It’s worth noting that I was a bottom sitting at a table trying to figure out how to please three tops. At the time Sweetie joked that she would just have to be in charge of me next time.) The Man reached across the table and held my hand, but I still couldn’t feel anything of the connection we’d had before. Sweetie tried to soothe me too, but I knew it was over, I knew I’d been this close to my dream and wrecked it.

Toward the end of the dinner, I asked if I could take a little walk with The Man, just to touch base, and it was a whole awkward mess convincing The Wife not to come along. (Sweetie, of course, was ready to give us the five minutes of space that I felt like we needed.)

We did go for a little walk. He said he knew that the jealousy just meant I liked him, and I thanked him for being one of the few guys I’d been with who were okay with emotion. That’s when he made the first of a series of weird references to stalking: “Well, as long as you don’t show up at my work, or (The Wife’s) work.” (WTF? How did it go from nervous-at-dinner to stalkertime? I never so much as overtexted the dude.)

Nonetheless, he said that what was between us was still real, that it wasn’t just scene chemistry, and I wanted to believe him. He kissed me goodnight and everything, but I couldn’t shake the idea that it was over. I stayed up all night feeling really, really lost, but Sweetie convinced me that it was okay, that I should keep giving him a chance.

A couple of days later, we had a date at my house—I couldn’t wait to put on my cute cupcake apron and make him dinner. He was an hour late, but I wasn’t upset about that because the busses around here can be glacial sometimes. But as he sat at the table texting with The Wife for about 20 minutes, eating the dinner I’d cooked for him, I started to feel hurt and I said so.

“Well, do you just want me to leave? Because I won’t be talked to this way.” (Doms always say they’ll keep that kind of nonsense to scenes, but I’ve noticed it tends to creep in.)

Of course I didn’t want him to leave; I just thought it was something we could talk about.

“I’m helping her with something. I would do the same for you as long as I wasn’t with (The Wife) or friends.”

I failed to see the hierarchy in that statement and we went to the couch to snuggle. About an hour in, his wife texted to say this “I’m bored, tell me what you’re doing.” By then I was too happily riled up to mind the boundary-breaking, so I was like sure, tell her! He sent her a picture of our happy faces with the caption “Naked stuff.”

By the end of the night, I’d let him downplay my concerns about ignoring me during dinner with “Oh, I know you’re bratty sometimes.” Ugh. The things I’ll apparently put up with when someone smells good!

So I wonder still if the jealousy at the dinner was my intuition telling me it just wouldn’t work, that he only really did have eyes for her, or at least that he and I were not on the same page. I still don’t know. It felt like once he knew I was jealous once, I never had a chance to carve out any space for myself—any objection to her constant presence was characterized as possessiveness. The last day, he made a reference to Fatal Attraction! Why bring me into your marriage if you were so afraid I’d destroy it, if you were so afraid of ME?

I honestly don’t know what comes next. Probably a lot of time and paragraphs, maybe some casual scenes and a lot of healing rope time with Sweetie. For all that he let me down, I do miss him so much, and I’m sad about losing the chance to know her too—I still keep thinking that if I’d just been stronger, more openhearted…

When he blamed my “emotional problems” for the trouble between us, I knew it was bullshit, just a story he was telling himself for when the venue owners called, but I still want to be a better, stronger me the next time a chance for connection comes along.

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