Polyamory, bisexuality and maybe even some atheism

A Post-Mortem of Sorts July 26, 2008

So I ended it with M the other day. Things generally started to go south about a month and a half ago – right after we got all warm and fuzzy, it seems. Now, of course, all the little niggling doubts I had about our relationship suddenly seem like such blindingly obvious red flags. Ah well. You learn.

Basically, I no longer felt safe. I didn’t realize that was the case initially, specially since I’ve had a bit of stress piling up from various other quarters. I thought I wasn’t paying as much attention to M as before because I was tired, frazzled, upset, distracted, etc. I thought we weren’t catching up as often as before because she’d been ill and overworked. All those things were true enough, but they were excuses, not reasons.

A friend of mine once commented that your body doesn’t lie to you. I think she has a point. At least for me, physical contact hinges on trust. I can talk a good game, but if I don’t feel safe with someone, touching them, particularly intimately, is out of the question – it makes me physically ill. It’s not a pleasant reaction at the best of times, but when it’s your girlfriend that makes you recoil, it fucking hurts.

A while ago, M carelessly mentioned something I had told her in confidence in front of someone I barely knew. I don’t for a second believe that she meant any harm, but I was quite upset and she realized her mistake and apologized. It was a slip. But it shook me pretty badly – worse than I thought because, H recently reminded me that I mentioned wanting to end it when I got home that day. I had forgotten I’d said that, but it’s true and, now that I think about it, things weren’t quite the same from then on.

While the incident itself was Not Good, I think what it did was highlight the fact that there was a disconnect between us. Our attitudes towards a few important things were quite different and I found that I’d done my stupid just-smile-and-go-along-with-it thing, which is never a good idea, however easy it seems at the time. You keep hearing about boundaries, and in theory it makes perfect sense that you would identify and then defend your own, as it were. But in practice…well, the balance between patrolman and peacemaker can be a bit difficult to negotiate.

Still, M is a smart woman and realized something was up, so she asked. And the upshot of that conversation was that I no longer wanted a physical relationship with her. Which hurt her. But I think that she would have been more hurt if I hadn’t been truthful and it had all come out at some later time, so I am telling myself that it is for the best. It’s awful to be the one doing the breaking up. It’s no cakewalk to be broken up with, but I think I prefer to be on that end, really. There’s certainly less guilt involved and you don’t feel quite so much like a horrible person who apparently doesn’t care about hurting other people. Halfway through, I was wondering why on earth I was torturing her like that and almost backed down. I’m glad I didn’t, ultimately, but there was a moment there when I’d have given anything to not have said what I had. Perhaps it would have been easier if one or both of us were given to histrionics. Unfortunately, it was all calm and reasonable and I got to explain how I felt and she explained how she felt, we cried, we went home.

And so it’s done. It’s over. We will carefully avoid all contact and try not to run into each other for the time being, and hopefully, over time, she’ll be able to stand being in the same room as me. She’s a wonderful person – just not someone I should be in a relationship with.


4 Responses to “A Post-Mortem of Sorts”

  1. polyoldfart Says:

    I am very much a proponent of not delaying the inevitable. If you break it off with thoughtful kindness, there is hope to recover something good from it after the dust has settled. Maybe one or both parties will have changed later, maybe you are able to be friends. But dragging it out just to say you tried is far more likely to end badly. And this from someone who does not handle confrontation well.

    And, yes, until very recently the thought of being in the same room with R made me ill. Not because “I was dumped” (far from it) but because I was misled into continuing something that never should have started. Later, when everyone was in a stable place, things would have been very different. I can only make decisions and set boundaries with the information that I have. “Smile-and-nod” is insidious, it creates far more damage later than the uncomfortableness you think you are avoiding in the present.

  2. Francesca Says:

    I’m sorry – that goes out to both of you. A break-up is never easy, whether it is a cold hard one, or one that’s amicable.

    Time heals….

    Hugs to ya! xx

  3. Araliya Says:

    Thanks Francesca and PolyOldFart (can I call you POF? Addressing you as Old Fart just makes me feel like I’m being rude). Things are better now. Time and all that.
    POF, I agree. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this, it’s that I absolutely need to speak up sooner when things are amiss rather than let them get out of hand in some misguided effort to avoid confrontation.

  4. polyoldfart Says:

    POF works, I’ve started using it myself. Saves me typing all those characters. 🙂

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