Love, Guilt, Obligation, and Bel Canto
I am feeling a bit guilty right now. And not in that yummy, “Oh, I’m such a bad girl!” way. :-(
I was a bit of a schmuck today. My guys are so wonderful to me. So very, very good in so many ways: supportive, loving, open-hearted, truly caring, always thinking about me and supporting me in all my craziness, whether that is related to school, work, relationship, self-esteem. Whatever. They are there for me, loving me, letting me be me, helping me and, when I need it, guiding and advising me. They are generous with their time and their love.
W has been involved in this big renovation project on his house. I am awed by what he has done on his house. Every renovation has been done by him, by hand, teaching himself the skills he needed to do them. But I’ve never really been around him while he was in the midst of a big project. Sure, kinky projects, such as Onyx’s bridle and harness, or the metal bra, or other things for play. But never his house.
Well…I take that back. He was redoing the upstairs room that we call the Bondage Room when I first met him. But then we only saw each other a few times a month and emailed much more sporadically. There were long periods (a couple days is long for me) where I didn’t expect to hear from him, and when I did, I suppose that by then he was ready for kink again, since that was what our relationship was based on, so he was, naturally, “on.”
Our relationship has grown to encompass so much more than just the kink. But, to me, that’s still the heart of it. And even more so right now, because Ad isn’t feeling sexual at all lately, and hasn’t had an inkling of interest in BDSM for some time, so W is my only outlet for that. For any sex, for kink, for physical connection. He’s always been my sole outlet for D/s, but now, with me being home 4 nights a week with what amounts to a (loving) roommate, I am raring to go and very needful of sexual, kinky interaction any time that I communicate with W, and certainly by the time I see him on the weekend. Even if I was getting some play and sex at home, I’d be needful of that from W, because it’s such a very large part of our relationship, and not getting any at home only makes it that much worse. No, it’s not the only thing I want from him, not by a long shot, but it’s the one thing I am not getting anywhere else, and he’s the only one that can, and does, fulfill that need.
Worse, he’s the only one I want to fulfill that need.
Why is that worse? Because I know him well enough to know that if he felt he didn’t have it in him to fulfill that need, for whatever reason, he would want me to find someone else to do it. Oh, not to replace him, but…to supplement. Just to fulfill that short-term shortfall. But that holds absolutely no appeal for me. (Well ok, there are a couple people I can think of that might fill the physical bill, but–although a good fucking and or BDSM session is high on my list of Good Things–that’s not what I am talking about. It really is an emotional need. And I can’t get that and don’t want that from anyone else.)
So. W’s been working on this big project. It’s important to him, and he’s enjoying doing it, and frankly it’s fascinating and thrills me to watch him at work. He really, truly astounds me, and I have been so very impressed with him as I’ve watched him do this.
On the other hand…it takes up all his energy. Mental and physical. He is incredibly focused. He has to be, right? And I am all good with that…
Except when I want some of his attention.
It’s easy for me to multitask. I enjoy juggling multiple priorities and seeing if I can keep all my balls in the air. Sometimes…I assume other people are like me. I can go from emailing possible fuck-buddies to writing a media release to chatting with a new guy to sucking W’s cock, to talking about the local kink scene to planning my trip to Las Vegas to planning a work conference, to participating in a conference call to writing erotica, all in the same hour. And give each one my full attention for the time that I am focused on it. W’s not like that so much, at least for this kind of project. And I should have recognized that, and supported him, but instead? I gave him grief about not paying enough attention to me, and when he did, for not being kinky enough. Like he’s a robot that I can tune to “kink” and flip a switch.
I am ashamed of myself.
I do know that part of my issue is baggage in dealing with Ad’s low libido/disinterest in sex lately. He goes through these depressive phases, and I know intellectually they do not reflect on me or our relationship, but…when suddenly it feels (however erroneously) that W is uninterested too, well…I start to wonder. And fret. And the hamster starts running around in my skull.
But that is not W’s problem, and I hate hate hate that I end up sounding like I am demanding to be serviced by him. That is one reason, I guess, that I need him to initiate sex and kink. I need to know that he wants me. That he wants to do these things to me. Not that he is doing them because I want him to. I heard that from my Ex when we split up and he left the lifestyle (“I only did all that fucked up stuff because you wanted me to”) and I know that Ad mostly does these things, even when he’s in his “up” phase libido-wise, because I like them. So that all gets mixed up in my head and vomits out in this almost phobic fear of asking for something, and then, when I do finally ask, of not really believing they did it because they wanted to. Maybe they are just doing it to satisfy me. And maybe I am a demanding bitch and eventually they will turn to me and say, “You know, I never really got off on all that. I just did it because–”
I am listening to Bel Canto by Ann Patchett right now. I wasn’t as enamored of the novel at first as I was of The Magician’s Assistant, but it is slowly growing on me. Sort of how the characters are slowly growing on each other. She has a lovely, spare way of writing that exactly captures the emotional reserve in which human beings hold themselves, always wary of giving away too much.
For whatever reason, I have never been that way.
There is one scene in which one character declares his love for another. They are in extreme, unusual circumstances and finally, after several days of trying to find the courage and the exact right words, he approaches her. When he tells her he loves her she deflects the conversation for a moment, but then meets it head on (she doesn’t have the same feelings for him.) (Also, you have to imagine his voice in a Russian accent. She is an American opera singer.)
“As for the love,” Roxanne said finally.
“There is nothing to say. It is a gift. There, something to give to you. If I had a necklace or a book of paintings I would give you that instead. I would give that to you in addition to my love.”
“Then you are too generous with gifts.”
Feoderoff (sp?) shrugged. “Perhaps you are right. In another setting it would be ridiculous. Too grand. In another setting it would not happen because you are a famous woman and at best I would shake your famous hand for one second while you stepped into your car after a performance. But in this place, I hear you sing every day. In this place I watch you eat your dinner, and what I feel in my heart is love. There is no point in not telling you that. (My emphasis.) These people who detain us so pleasantly may decide to shoot us after all. It is a possibility. And if that is the case, why should I carry this love with me to the other world. Why not give to you what is yours?”
“And what if there is nothing for me to give you?”
He shook his head. “What a thing to say. After all that you have given to me. But it is never about who has given what. That is not the way to think of gifts. This is not the business we are conducting. Would I be pleased if you are to say you love me as well? (Yes)…”
But that is not the point. The point is, he loves, and tells her of his love, but not to obligate her. She is not obligated to love him back. It is simply hers to have, and what good would it do to go to his grave never having told her that?
This is how I feel about loving others. Me loving you does not obligate you.
But it does obligate me.
If I love you, I am obligated. Obligated to treat you with love, and kindness, and care. To not hurt you, to hold you up and support you and believe in you and love you. This is what love means to me. It is not an obligation you have placed on me, but that love places on me.
And I accept it. Because how can I do otherwise. To do otherwise is to reject love, and that I cannot do.
I am not entirely sure how this last fits into my feelings of guilt from this afternoon, except that…somehow…I realize that I have not lived up to my obligations. To be a loving supportive partner. I treated W like a commodity. I was greedy and selfish, and in that greed, in my neediness, I almost took away something from him, a deep, abiding pleasure in himself and in a task that he has set for himself. A task that he is finding immense joy and pleasure in doing.
“Please try to be happy for me as I work on my project,” he wrote. That he should even have to ask! That I should have made him feel that I feel otherwise. That I should be the person that would suck the joy from him, after all that he has given to me.
For that, I am deeply ashamed.