Post four of four in the “Difficult with the D Words” series.
The other three can be found by clicking on each word below:
So, over the past year, I’ve been really looking at Relationships and what they meant to me. What I needed, what I was or was not getting, what I was looking for, how to find it, etc. I could feel my two Capital R Relationships ending and/or changing. Went through a D/s breakup in March that nearly leveled me and then in May decided that I needed to get divorced. Nothing major, or anything…
Since then, I’ve been very vocal about the fact that I am not seeking nor looking to get into any Capital R Relationships any time soon. It was on my profile, it was part of my treatment plan in therapy, and I’ve basically shouted it from the proverbial rooftops.
And of course there’s a song to go along with that:
Should I date men and/or women
Should I date no one
and make my friends the thing?
“Do Whatever the Heck You Want” by Rae Spoon
I kinda feel like this right now. I have no real interest in romance and traditional dating. I might be aromantic, but I’m not sure. I mean, I like some typical romantic things…candle light, a delicious meal, sweet gestures, moonlit walks….but…things is, I like doing these things with friends, and depending on our level of intimacy, it may include sex and/or kink, too. But this is why I identify as a sensualist. I love sensual things like…
- the aroma of a wonderful meal or essential oils or sweat or the ocean or rain or incense or good perfume/cologne absorbed into skin.
- flickering candles, beautiful roses (especially as they’re exploding on skin…), the constant undulation of the waves hitting the the shore, the moon and stars, the glint in people’s eyes when they start flirting, the way shadows play on skin and fabrics, lightning parting the sky, the bursts of color in wildflowers or sunsets or sunrises, the shapes bodies can make when they move (one of the reasons I adore dance…it’s endlessly fascinating to me what our bodies can do and then to add music….heaven.)
- the taste of an amazing meal, of salty sweaty skin, a kiss, chocolate, cold water, chilled wine, good gin, tea, the texture of sushi, trying new cuisine for the first time – that anticipation and processing and digesting…
- the sound of waves, of wind, of thunder, a voice that suddenly grows thick with desire, mewling, moaning, gasping, laughter, of someone talking about something they’re passionate about (especially if I don’t know much about it because then I get to learn), a belt being removed (holy fuck, a belt being removed…), metal cuffs clinking closed, musical instruments, a voice lifting or crashing in song, whispering….dear god, whispering…(don’t even get me started on ASMR) and then there’s EVERYTHING about music…
- touch. Dear *insert dieties here*, touch. Nails, brushing hair, grinding, gentle petting head scritches, hair pulling, fur, leather, brushes (OMFG brushes…), rose petals, water (being submerged in, running fingers through, being splashed with), the heat of a flame, soothing stroking, rope, roses, leather, fur, the smoothness or roughness of stones…and hands…the shocking sting of a belt, the comforting thud of a punch, hugging, kissing…
Right…if there was any doubt, I’m a sensualist. But there’s so much variety up there and thousands of things I didn’t even list. Some are sexual, some are considered kinky, some are just sensations…none of it has to be relegated to just Capital R Relationships….but that’s what I used to think. That some of them had to be. Or that’s at least how I worked.
Now I’m finding…not so much, in either regard. It took years, but I’ve learned how to have semi-casual sex, and not-so-casual sex but still not within what I would consider a Capital R. It doesn’t happen very often or with many people, but it can happen and has happened. So I’m trying to figure out what this all means to me now. Because what the hell even is a Capital R if I’m separating out what were important individual components?
This has led me to look at and consider what components were important to me in Capital R’s and of they still are.
A few months ago, a friend and I were talking about a bunch of things and they asked me to define what made something a Capital R to me. One of the first things out of my mouth was “time”. Like both spending time together and also…Capital R’s were always a promise of some form of long termness. It may not last forever and it was not hopping on to the relationship escalator, but it was…an assumed consistent over time.
Capital R’s and I made plans for the future, regardless of how often we saw each other. There was always some kind of plan to regularly see each other. Sleeping arrangements at events, planning to go away together, play dates, regular dates…as I spoke, it became clear and was pointed out that all those things are kinda also what I’ve said I want in friendships.
My best friend and I have been friends for fifteen years; we took a trip to New Mexico last year together for my fortieth birthday. One of my Amazon sisters and I have been friends for twenty years. Another Amazon friend and I have been friends for nearly five years now and I practically lived in their house for a few months a year for two years. I’ve played with friends. Explored dynamics. Had sex with. Made out with. Gone on road trips with. I’m in it for the long haul. Some I want to see or talk to more frequently but it all depends on if they want to and if our lives allow. But bottom line is I am invested in their lives and I want them to do well and I want to be there for their journey and want them to be there for mine. So how is that different from a Capital R? Or…is it a form of a Capital R? Just not the way I used to think of them?
So, okay, if it’s not time…then maybe romance? Love? But I love my friends. However, I’m wary about diving into romantic love. Like, the Capital L. But then again, I think maybe in truly embracing relationship anarchy, I can let my feelings for each person just be what they are and they don’t have to supersede anything or anyone else. Sometimes I’ll spend more time with certain people if we have a lot in common, but also, there’s an ebb and flow to that. And maybe sometimes it could be love.
For some reason, I’m struggling with that. Which is really weird because for the past few years, I was all about casual love. Especially since reading Carsie Blanton’s post about it.
I first came across that post in a poly group a few years ago and it was one of the things that started me down the Relationship Anarchy path. It’s weird that now, three-ish years later, I’ve kind of lost sight of it. I’ve been shying away from love in some ways because it’s scaring me. I keep saying I don’t want to go into Capital Rs and then, when faced with trying to break down exactly what it is I’m avoiding by doing that…I’m at a loss.
This one time, in a previous relationship, I was petrified to say I loved that person. I’d thought about it for weeks and tried to say it. Even when I got up the courage to tell that person I had something to tell them, it took…nearly an hour on the phone to come out. I just feel, sometimes, like it’s going to break everything to say out loud. Because then there are expectations, assumptions, preconceptions and I don’t necessarily buy into any of them anymore, but I feel like the other person or people would and I don’t know how to deal with that.
Right. Yes. Talking about it would be good. Fine. So I guess, more to the point, I’m afraid to talk about it. Because I’m afraid that’ll break everything, too.
So, hey. Look! A shiny new topic! It’s well established that I’m not into hierarchy (see above….Relationship Anarchist here).
I also know that everyone relates to everyone differently. I know that I want to see and talk to my circle of Amazons more than most of my friends/family. I love all of my Amazons fiercely. I play with half of them. Thing is, I wouldn’t want to live with any of them, unless it was the kind of living with like my dream of having a poly / kinky / creative commune with our own tiny houses or giant Victorian house where we all have our own rooms.
However, that’s….different than co-habitating with just one person. And in my life right now, I thought I wanted to live alone for a while, but now… I’m not so sure. A lot has changed since I had a car accident last month. But speaking of living with someone, that’s another factor…
Co-habitating / Sharing Finances / Nesting
This may be one of the biggest things that Capital Rs meant to me. Back when I was into hierarchy, the person you wanted to marry, live with, share finances with was The One. (Or The Two, in my case years ago…) And yet, when I was in a ten year triad, there was much confusion for me. My two other partners wanted to be a more equilateral triad and poly faithful, while I wanted to see other people and was also all about one of them being my primary and one being my secondary. This caused some major issues (shocking, right?!) and was difficult to navigate.
I did want to live with and share my life with both of them, but I was more worried about losing the person I was legally married to than the person we both had a non-legal marriage ceremony to. We were all nesting partners. But we had mostly separate finances.
Now all I want is some time to just…explore authentic connections however they show up, with a little manifesting along the way as I figure out what I want so I can also meet and be with people as we are whenever that happens.
But the more I move towards that, the more confused I get in some ways. For one, my last D/s relationship was a Capital R but I didn’t live with nor share finances with that person. But it was still a MAJOR Relationship in my life that’s hurt more to lose than I’ve been able to articulate adequately.
And while I don’t think I want to be married anymore, I do want to have my spouse in my life. I love them dearly. But one of the problems we ran into is that they have a much more traditional view of marriage than I do.
If I eventually have or am part of a poly / kinky / creative commune, I don’t expect to be Capitals with everyone. I may not be Capitals with any of them. I just don’t know.
I’m dismantling so many preconceived notions of relationships. What’s important, the assumptions, the shoulds, the words, and their very definitions. I hope to re-read “Power Circuits: Polyamory in a Power Dynamic” by Raven Kaldera soon but the one thing I remember him saying over and over again was to not get tripped up by what the scene says power dynamic and poly relationships should look like. Build what you want with people who also want to build those things. Which is what I’ve been working towards for the past few years.
It just gets hard sometimes. There are so many messages about how things should work / look. And then there’s new, exhilarating yet terrifying, latent kink interest I’m starting to explore. It can get intense. It’s something that, in the past, I only ever talked about with someone who was a Partner. But I’m not Capital-P Partners with the person I’m exploring one dynamic with. We’re play partners, and in some ways, that makes it both easier and harder for me.
When you’re Partners, there are assumptions. It’s like that person has agreed to prioritize you and you, them. It feels more secure, even though I’ve learned the hard way that no relationship is secure. No matter how long you’ve been together. No many how many capital lettered words you throw at it, how many statuses you update on social media, or how many legal documents you sign.
So. I’m trying not to put so much stock in preconceived notions about what things should look like or what words to use. My goal is to strip down what is important to me – qualities, actions, feelings, activities, options – separate of labels…or as separate as I can make them.
For starters, I know that I like hanging out with people in a variety of ways. Some of those ways have been:
- watching a movie
- watching TV
- taking a drive and talking / singing / exploring
- making music
- making out and/or sex
- beating people with roses
- being beaten with a belt
- long, meandering conversations about gender, sexuality, creativity, family dynamics, politics, spirituality, personal growth, kink, relationship issues, work, etc.
- helping clean their house. Or them helping me clean mine.
- them playing driver. Or me playing driver.
- taking a walk through nature
- going on a roadtrip / adventure
- going to an event / meeting up at an event
- attending classes together
- teaching classes together
- going to burlesque shows or theatre
- giving and receiving back rubs or pedicures
- being / seeking a confidante
- going to museums
- going out for / making a meal together
- going to a concert
- performing / creating together
- writing together
Many of these could be considered dates. Some of them were. Thing is, I have recently realized I can and have done ALL of these things with friends. Or lower case r relationships. I know some people who don’t understand how I can be this way, do these things outside of the rigid structure of a Relationship, but fuck that. If that works for you, that’s fine. But it’s not what works for me. Thankfully, I’m meeting more and more people like this as I explore it more and aim to be as authentically me as possible.
I’m not sure where this will all lead, but I’m glad to have been able to suss out some thoughts about the journey this far.