Bloganuary Tag: Day 14

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Don’t look back, look forward.

Hello Twisties!

Welcome back to another Bloganuary post. The prompt is now available and I am excited to write again for you. If you haven’t read it already, be sure to check back to yesterday’s post for more fun answers, or take a read of all of my Bloganuary posts under the ‘Bloganuary’ category in the right-hand menu.

What Is Bloganuary?

A fun and quirky amalgamation of ‘blog’ and ‘January’ (obviously), Bloganuary is a brand new tag award run by WordPress. Every day, a question or prompt can be sent to you for you to answer on your blog, however you so please. Why wait? Get involved with other bloggers, make new connections, reach new audiences and drive more traffic to your site today!

Fancy taking part in the Bloganuary tag? Click here.

And now, let’s begin…

Day 14: Write about a challenge you faced and overcame.

There have been many challenges in my life that I have overcome, however, today I wanted to talk more about the relationship that I have recently left, that turned increasingly toxic and abusive towards the end. My hope is that this exercise will serve as a source of catharsis for me, as well as a moment of transparency with my audience.

Emotional Abuse In Long-Distance BDSM Relationships: My Story

It all started around August last year. He reached out to me on the app, Slowly, and we connected right away. We laughed, we joked, we talked, we were quite open and flirtatious with one another. We were both writers and so a lot of our discussions surrounded the topic of writing. He told me that he was married with kids but that didn’t bother me because even as just a friend, I still liked him and I looked forward to receiving his messages. They were relaxed, informal and full of emojis, he seemed like somebody that I could get along with easily.

My new friend told me that he was in the Royal Navy and I was fascinated by him. I told him about two of the Royal Navy ships that I’d been on – the HMS Quorn and the HMS Somerset – and he called them “old ships”, which I supposed they are. We talked about life on military aircraft carriers, the air-sea rescue that I’d seen take place and we talked about the Sea King helicopters that would have been involved. He knew his stuff, of course he would, he also warned me about deployments so I’d know that there were times when we couldn’t talk.

It was my idea to take our conversations away from Slowly. We got on so well that to be honest, the two-hour wait time for a letter to go back and fourth was annoying me. Two hours was too long, I was impatient, I wanted to hear from him and reply to him sooner. I suggested Kik to him, he agreed, and we made the switch.

We talked pretty much all day every day from then on. It was nice in a way because when Matt was gaming it meant that I had somebody that I could talk to, that I could hang out with and relax with, I wasn’t occupying myself with housework and resenting Matt for relaxing while I cleaned. We sent one another some of the stories that we had each written too, and I’ll admit, one of his made me a bit jealous. He sounded so great and romantic!

To say that he ‘looked good on paper’ would be apt.

I opened up to my new friend about what I did for ‘work’, explaining to him that I write about BDSM as someone with years of experience and that I try to support and educate people in the BDSM scene. He told me that he had a feeling about me and had dabbled with it himself, but that his marriage is sexless and his wife wasn’t interest in kink. I was happy in a way because it meant that we understood one another for the most part. I admitted to being “polyish” too: poly-curious, but not actively seeking anyone else.

I’ll admit, he’d caught my eye.

Very quickly, he wanted to establish that we were more than friends. I was nervous about the idea but equally excited. I had a keen eye on him but I couldn’t believe for a second that he would want me, I’d never been that lucky in love. It all seemed a bit too good to be true!

He seemed like an amazing man; loving, protective, generous and caring. We talked extensively about stargazing and polyamory and he told me that he hadn’t explored polyamory before, but he was fully committed to the idea and would even get an STI check before ever becoming physical with me. I was swept off of my feet by him, he seemed to really care about my wellbeing. He even mentioned polyandry to me.

Two husbands? Wow! He WAS serious!

He wanted to help me and support me with my blog and I let him, knowing and believing that he really loved me. He wanted to write for me and I was happy, I’d proof-read his work for him and then publish it. I didn’t feel quite so alone with my blog anymore, I felt like we were a team.

I told him about the journals that I write for my husband, and how they’re aimed at (and do) boosting communication. My journals were meant just for therapy originally, but we’d done some research and read from other couples who share a journal, so we thought we’d give it a go. He was happy to make that a part of our relationship too and I agreed to try and journal three times a week at a minimum.

That was when it all started going south.

The Downward Decline

Matt has admitted to me before now that sometimes my journals hurt, but they are meant as a method of communication and he tries to keep that in mind and to treat them objectively. Instead of reacting to my thoughts and feelings he accepts them, takes them onboard and then we discuss our problems at a convenient time, then we agree a solution that works for the both of us.

My new partner, unfortunately, didn’t.

Instead of finding solutions, what I was getting was reactive journals back, journals that were quite often full of hurt and anger. There would be lots of exclamation marks from somebody who very clearly felt affronted by my thoughts and feelings. We didn’t really fix our problems, a lot of the time it was just his feelings to my feelings, and then me trying to explain what I’d meant, and so on. By the time we talked, I was usually exasperated and just willing to agree to anything if it meant that it calmed things down.

But those agreements often made me feel uneasy.

One of the first problems that we faced was that he was keeping me a secret from his wife. I was deeply uncomfortable with that and kept encouraging him to be honest. Even Matt had put his foot down – if she didn’t know and agree, we had no future relationship. That’s not polyamory, that’s infidelity.

That was our first major argument.

I stayed for a while anyway, knowing full well what I was involved with. I wasn’t comfortable with it and I wasn’t proud of myself, but it was intoxicating knowing how much he derived from me. It was a heady feeling that took me back to my humiliatrix days, except this time, he was willing me to commit to him as his submissive.

His wife eventually found out about us anyway and I expected never to hear from him again. Even if the affair had dealt a blow to their marriage, she’d agreed for us still to talk. I was extremely grateful to her for that, for him and for me.

The Next Steps

I can remember considering a sugar baby arrangement after one argument. I wanted to wash my hands of him, but if he needed me that much then it was only right that I too should derive something from it. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, I knew better than that and I also didn’t have the heart. I knew that he had a family and his family deserved his income much more than me, I also knew that he too had a heart and didn’t deserve such treatment.

I hated on myself for ever considering the idea.

I can never forget that one night. We’d been talking and flirting quite a bit and things got quite spicy. I was invested in our time together until Matt ambushed me in the bedroom and I had to put my mobile phone down. I apologised the next morning believing that my partner would understand.

He didn’t.

He repeatedly accused me of using him as a warm-up act to get myself in the mood for sex with my husband. I apologised for hurting him and apologised that it seemed that way, but that hadn’t been my intention. I promised to be more considerate in future, keeping myself from sex with Matt if I’d been having cyber sex with him, but that still wasn’t good enough.

He asked me to consider how he would feel in future before I have sex with my husband.

I considered that an outlandish and unreasonable proposal and one that put a lot of stress and tension on my marriage. Of course I could understand that he might be jealous of me having sex with my husband, but to consider how he, my other partner, would feel before having sex with my husband? That was a huge ask!

We argued, I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore, and we broke up.

Healing Hurts

A few days later and a few days before my birthday, I received an expensive-looking bracelet from Amazon. The bracelet had a small silver and crystal infinity symbol next to a blue heart. Blue, the colour of sapphire, my birthstone.

On the tag was his name.

I was completely flummoxed and I paced the room looking for answers. What do I do? I’d feel bad for keeping it if we’d broken up.

So I reached out to thank him.

One thing led to another and we got talking again. We admitted that we’d missed one another and that the old times were great. Maybe if we just tried, we could find a way to make our old selves work again.

So try we did.

We made lists of boundaries, talking about what was and wasn’t okay. I tried to consider both of my partners, iron-fisting things that Matt had insisted on (like our Friday night date nights undisturbed) and things that my other partner wanted, that I could agree to. It was new and exciting, I finally felt like I had the right level of bedroom and everyday submission that I’d wanted. We even talked about covert signals for emails when he was on deployment, something that I was already used to using when Matt was in the office.

One of my partner’s boundaries was that he wanted me to let him know about anything sexual that he might not want to read, prior to me posting it. That hurt me and made me feel like I was no longer in control of my blog, but I respected his boundary anyway out of respect for him. I’d dutifully oblige, giving him the head’s up on anything sexual that I wanted to share, or any naughty TMI Tuesday questions that I had to answer.

Things seemed to go okay again for a while apart from one thing – he was jealous that I sometimes call my husband “Daddy”. I could understand his jealousy of course, but it also felt strange to put him on par with my husband so soon. Matt had worked years to get to where he is as my partner and Dominant, so to level him so suddenly with somebody that I’d only known for a few months felt uncomfortable. I’d heard of people having two Daddies before, but they were usually gay polyamory relationships where two (or more) partners are top to one (or more) bottoms, I’d never come across a female submissive with two male Daddies.

We argued over differences again, I found the stress too much and I walked away.

Soon after that I received three long and angry journals, including one that told me that I needed to “get things right” and that wished me luck finding a partner that loved and respected me the way that he did. I almost laughed at that idea because I knew that I already have one.

Doubling Up

A few days later, a copy of Batman: The Killing Joke turned up for Matt. It was a graphic novel that my partner liked, and that Matt had said he wanted to read. There was also a mention of me on the label, an instruction to look after me and that I was ‘amazing’. Matt was grateful, I was grateful too for the attempt to heal over old wounds, and again I reached out.

One of the pivotal moments then was deciding and accepting that I have two Daddies. It was weird as hell, but then my life is weird, full stop.

After that, a lot of the tension dissipated.

Temporarily.

I let my new “Daddy” help me reorganise my life. I let him help me revise my rota and come up with healthier eating habits. He taught me to not think of things like chocolate as a treat and to treat it instead as something that I was allowed to have in moderation. It changed the way that I saw sweets and chocolate, I stopped consuming them all in one and I’d allow myself a taste if and when I wanted one instead. Instead of a bag of chocolate buttons lasting for a day, they’d last a week, sometimes even two.

My new Daddy wanted to revise even more of my eating habits, and I baulked at that because that meant infringing on the meals that I cook and enjoy with my husband, that are generally fairly healthy anyway. We talked about breakfasts and he helped me make decisions there, but something about our dynamic felt off.

I no longer felt like an autonomous and respected human being. From having to talk about what I was wearing and where I was going, I no longer felt in control of my life outside of kink, and kink was never supposed to consume me. I had a chore list app on my phone, and when my shared to-do list was routinely loaded with (often miscellaneous) tasks that needed my doing as a responsible housewife and not as the ‘little girl’ submissive that he wanted me to be, it upset him, and that upset me because I wanted him to be happy.

But I still had to do these things, so I felt trapped and not good enough.

No More Fun & Games

There were other little things that I started to notice and pick up on and that hurt me or made me uncomfortable, so I started to keep a log on my mobile phone – ten red ‘tokens’ on my note, I decided, and he was toast. I put a description of what each one was for underneath, just so that I wasn’t tempted to forgive and forget.

Angry faces started appearing and associated with things that seemed trivial to me, and scared me. Is this someone with an anger problem? That’s a token.

When I showed concern for his family in a busy pre-Christmas household, instead of thanking me for my concern, he told me that “children need to learn”, followed by several exclamation points. Again, it made me feel affronted and my thoughts and feelings controlled. I’d said several times that I read multiples of exclamation marks as aggression, and he still continued to use them, regardless.

That was two.

There was the time that we’d had some fun together, and he’d been offended because my brain switched from him to an unknown stranger at the moment of climax, I supposed because he wasn’t physically there. That became a problem for him, and he insisted that I tried to think of him and him only in future, with a guilt-inducing question about how I would feel if he thought of another woman during one of our cyber sex sessions. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the human mind is a strange thing and that it wouldn’t bother me that much.

Still, that was three.

The final straw, and ironically his tenth red token, came when Matt set a new boundary: Matt wasn’t willing for my other Daddy and I to have penetrative sex, not yet, anyway. That hurt and I had to push for his reasoning, but nonetheless, I understood.

Unfortunately after that, my other relationship seemed continuously tense.

I knew that something was wrong because the atmosphere was different. He wasn’t his usual jovial self and I knew that he was brooding about something. I gave him some time of course – maybe it wasn’t me?

I’ve never forgotten that journal.

First of all, there was the issue that I’d agreed to get fitter with Matt, but I hadn’t mentioned even the foggiest of it until my other Daddy read my TMI Tuesday post less than 48 hours later. I apologised again, but explained that it was a ‘huge red flag’ for me that he would rather call me out with anger than calmly start that conversation himself.

Second was the fact that I’d made plans to start the Bloganuary challenge on my own blog and I hadn’t consulted him about it. My Daddy knew how much I loved to write, but instead of talking to me, he bought it up as a problem in a journal. I put my foot down then and there. I’d already compromised on okaying personal experiences prior to posting about them, there was no way that I was compromising on Bloganuary too!

Third was that my husband was once again vilified in our relationship. My husband had said no to penetrative sex, and my husband’s boundaries were clearly not respected, nor was my husband it seemed, nor was our marriage. At that point, I had no option but to let go.

I made the mistake of posting (then deleting) about my reasons for the break-up last week. I regretted including his name, but I didn’t regret the break-up or being honest with my readers. I’d been honest about feeling controlled and secreted, and that his anger scared me. I wanted to reach out and apologise for including his name, he said that he couldn’t forgive me for it yet, and I said that that was okay.

He responded to my acceptance with a link to the music video for Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, followed by a journal and an angry email ten minutes later. I told him very clearly never to speak to me again, and that any further contact will be treated as harassment. He accepted that, and we haven’t spoken since.

Battle Scars

Life has been different since the break-up. I feel calmer, I feel happier, I feel grateful for being able to spend quality time with my husband without feeling guilty for it and I feel back in the driving seat with my blog. My ‘to do’ list is more of a ‘got done’ list and I’ve found little bits of myself to be proud of. My new purple and black aerobic step arrived today and I’m looking forward to using it starting next week, I’ve even developed a fitness plan using tolerances and pacing strategies like I learned on the Pain Management Programme that I attended back in 2004.

Perhaps the weirdest and hardest part of this whole experience was how often I was portrayed to be part of the problem. The blame game got so bad that I ended up reading countless articles on being an abusive partner, two of which gave me some reassuring advice that I needed to read and one was a list of unhealthy ways to treat partners, all of which I answered a resounding “no” to. No, I don’t feel the need to control my partners. I wholly accept them, their wants, needs, lives and desires, just as I would hope that they can wholly accept mine. However, accepting them isn’t necessarily the same as accommodating every nuanced detail of them, that’s called compromise.

It’s also important to not to think of abusive people as inherently bad people. Abusive behaviour does not make a bad person, we are all capable of abuse and we are all capable of change if we put our hearts and minds to it. My Daddy was not a bad person, he reassured me on world politics as much as he hurt me and scared me. I don’t say that he is a bad person because he had a good heart, but also a troubled heart, and one that can’t be fixed by getting into a BDSM relationship.

Lastly, one article reminded me not to think of myself as a victim of emotional abuse. A victim, the article said, is someone who is helpless because of adversity. A survivor is one who lives on in spite of it.

That’s it from me for today Twisties! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for my next Bloganuary post!

Until next time,

Stay safe & have fun,

Helen xx

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