It was a hard week but full of good progress and nice surprises. First, the hard part: during the big snowstorm of Tuesday night, right at the moment I was writing that post about self-love, Sweetie was getting onto a city bus and slipped, cutting her leg open badly. She has a condition called venous stasis that keeps the blood in her legs from circulating and makes her skin there very thin and hard to repair. She called me from the ambulance and I was scared to death, both for the normal still-care-about-her reasons and the bone chilling fear that this would be she’d have to move back in with me.
I know that might seem selfish, but I felt like the universe (caution, magical thinking ahead) was going to take away all of the good steps we’d taken, and that seemed so unfair to both of us, especially to her. She finally has a good job close to home, we’ve been working so hard to get ourselves apart, and it felt like fate was forcing us back together. (Sheesh, sometimes I sound like a character on Lost)
I knew without a doubt that I shouldn’t drive through a blizzard to go to the hospital and see her. It wasn’t safe physically or emotionally, so I did what I try and do whenever I’m panicky and overwhelmed: I went to bed early.
When I woke up the next morning, there were a whole bunch of texts from her dad on my phone and a nasty facebook message from her sister, sniping at me for abandoning Sweetie in her time of need. I freaked but wrote and backed her off, saying that I hoped someone was on their way because Sweetie’s family needed to be the ones to take care of her. “I thought y’all were still family,” she said. Funny how I hadn’t heard from them in the last six months and now all of a sudden they’re family.
I felt like such a bitch, but I knew I was doing the right thing. The sister had unfriended me but I went ahead and blocked her anyway, just for the relief of it. I blocked her aunt’s number when she called, and when Sweetie’s roommate emailed me for updates, I told her to please update people herself.
It all felt really harsh, but I really love the hard-won progress we’ve made and I feel very protective of it. I’ve been calling to check on her, I’m not a monster, but it was an enormous relief when it finally sunk in that nobody was gonna make us move back in together, that her dad was on the way to look after her and she and I could keep choosing to go forward.
Sweetie was a really, really hard person to take care of—stubborn, volatile, fragile, self-neglecting, and dependent on me for nearly every single social and emotional need (I think this is part of why lately I’m attracted to people who have a million partners—I like knowing they’re taken care of when I’m not fawning over them.) I felt horrible that I couldn’t love her in the exclusive, consuming way that she loved me, but I could never make myself have enough patience and compassion to give her what she needed. I hadn’t felt that guilt in a while, but last week there was a blizzard of it. And then I woke up the next day and the knots in my stomach were gone. I was set back a little, but I knew we’d separately be okay.
Partly because my Mystery Man said the wisest, most comforting things on that hard snow day, my break went back to “mostly.” I resumed lavishing him with attention and receiving lovey-dovey notes in return—so much of his appeal is that he lets me be my ridiculous, doting self instead of expecting me to try and be cool, which would be a futile effort anyway.
I cheerfully re-started sex-brainstorming with the Recurring Character for when I see him at the Big Poly Conference in a couple of weeks, and I reached out to Mr. Sweetface, too. I’d been wondering if maybe he didn’t have enough attention for me, but he told me he thinks about me all the time, so I thought it’d be worth another date, especially one for which I could stay in my pajamas. But the weather got all dramatic again so I wasn’t sure if he would make it.
Know who’s good to have in a snowstorm? A Twitter guy. I’d already decided that we should consummate our relationship, and what better way get some company while I was waiting for Mr. Sweetface to make up his mind.
The Mystery Man is beyond chivalrous and polite (probably I’m the only girl ever to learn how to be treated chivalrously via the internet…) so I’d kind of wondered how I was going to get smutty with him. After about two tweets, though (you can read my side of the exchange here if you promise to forgive me the sex-typos) the special underpants I’d put on for both of them (blue sheer with tiny multicolored stars) were COMPLETELY soaked and I was swooning into the desk between interactions. (Guys. How old-timey am I? Why do I not have a smartphone or even a laptop? These are weirdly intimate moments to be having at the same desk where I type in my grades.)
I LOVED the fact that we were loving each other up on the public feed, and even though I got a little stage fright whenever somebody (especially a stranger!) favorited or replied, it appealed to the showoffy part of me that’s been kind of under wraps lately. One of the best parts was when I @mentioned one of his wives midscene (she’s his Mistress, and so I felt a little self-conscious about writing the spanky part) and she sent me some encouragement. “Well, as long as you believe in me Ma’am,” I typed with an enormous grin on my face.
When Mr. Sweetface texted to say he wasn’t coming, he may have found me surprisingly magnanimous about it. I do miss him and I was sad about it later, but I loved being absorbed in my Mystery Man and I was enjoying the challenge of trying to write something good and hot when all of the blood had rushed south from my brain.
One of the Mystery Ladies had been in the room watching him and she sent her applause as he finished. I took a bow and felt very adorable indeed. Aftercare took the form of chatting sweetly about other things until I felt sleepy and typed him a chaste kiss goodnight.
There are things that everybody kind of thinks of as normal that just completely fucking blow my mind. Internet sex has been around for two decades, but that was the first time I tried it, and I’m still trying to get my head around it. Being here in my body but also out in the ether with him felt natural at the time but was really quite a shock to the system—the next day I had a hangover from it, similar to ones I’ve gotten after happy-but-harsh nights at the dungeon.
I spent Sunday feeling surprisingly vulnerable about him, afraid the friendship would change, afraid that he wouldn’t like me anymore or that I wasn’t special or that he and the ladies would somehow be gone now. I’m so proud of what I did about that feeling: I told him. Even though I’m pretty sure I was interrupting some other fun, we got to talk about it. It didn’t make the fears go away, but it feels really important that I showed him my insecurities and had them met with kindness, reassurance, and love. I’m doing my best to take that to heart.
It feels very scary to let myself like someone, even just online, but I’m glad to be letting myself feel it, letting myself play a little part of his cute poly life that is so much of what I aspire to someday when I’m ready. But sheesh, everybody, there need to be some real-life spanks in my life pretty soon. Dear heart and soul, please keep healing, so I can get the heck back out there.