Is it me?

I don’t think I’m massively out of touch with the world, nor do I think I’m particularly romantic, but recently a few things have caused me to call my views on monogamy and love.

I’ve never dated in the traditional sense of the word – met someone online, through a friend, at work – and seen that blossom gradually into a relationship, so I don’t know at what point most couples discuss the subject of exclusivity. I’d imagine, and hope, that it happens once they start to like each enough that they’d rather spend time with one another than anyone else who might be on the dating horizon. That they agree to be monogamous because, y’know, they care about each other. And even then, it confuses me a bit that it requires a full conversation, or even a discussion – surely you just need to establish that you’re both similarly into each other, and that’s that?

I can see that, when it comes to discussing monogamy with someone you’ve been sleeping with on and off for several years, the situation becomes a little more complex. The fact that the existing arrangement has carried on for so long suggests that both parties find it largely satisfactory. Except, of course, if you’re having to have a conversation about a potentially different set up, it suggests one of you maybe isn’t quite as happy with the arrangement as they used to be.

When it comes to my own life, if I’m having that conversation, it means I’m really not happy with the old arrangement. I’ll avoid difficult conversations at all costs – in fact I’ve fucked someone in the Gents at his place of work in order to stall the conversation for as long as possible. The reason for this is simple: even when we’re just fucking on and off, I’m already being faithful – I have neither the desire nor the emotional capacity to handle sleeping with more than one guy at a time.

So that’s where I behave badly – if you know a conversation needs to be had, shying away from it is counterproductive and unfair on the other person, who may also have had to psych themselves up for this chat. However, I’m shying away because I don’t understand what there is to discuss. If I’ve been sleeping with you for a while, and the subject of monogamy comes up, I think only the following three paths are possible:

1) Ideally, it won’t have been me who brought the subject up in the first place. I already have feelings for you, but I haven’t said anything because I’m a complete scaredey-cat and have been doing my utmost to hide the way I feel (no, this story isn’t very ‘girlpower’). One day you realise that you have feelings for me and that these feelings are important enough to warrant us being in an exclusive relationship. It may not work out, but the mutual affection is great enough for it to be definitely worth a try.

2) I somehow find the guts/something pushes me (far more likely) into admitting that I have feelings for you and that I’m no longer happy to sleep with you if you’re also sleeping with other women. I tell you this, and you care about me enough to want to try being in an exclusive relationship with me. It may not work out, but the mutual affection is great enough for it to be definitely worth a try.

3) I somehow find the guts/something pushes me (far more likely) into admitting that I have feelings for you and that I’m no longer happy to sleep with you if you’re also sleeping with other women. I tell you this, and you say  that you’re sorry, but while you like me and enjoy the sex, you’re not interested in an actual relationship with me. Sure, I’m sad and a little bit hurt, but with time I’ll get over it and find a guy who does like me enough to want the same things I do.

Do you see why I don’t think there’s a full-on discussion in any of these scenarios? To me, monogamy is black and white – you either like me enough to give it a go, or you don’t. Yes, there’ll need to be conversations about the ins and outs of a monogamous relationship: how often we see each other, if/when we get to meet each other’s friends etc. etc., but the actual monogamy bit is much more clear cut.

Because sadly, I think that if, like me, you avoid conversations you’d rather not have, from time to time people will exploit that. I might have told a guy that I’d rather he no longer slept with other women, but if I keep putting off actually talking about it, the word can keep cropping up and yet nothing ever changes: I’m still sad and jealous as hell that he’s still fucking other people, and he too gets to carry on exactly the same way he did before.

The above situation has happened to me, and it’s made me more cynical about men than I used to be, something which in the past I wouldn’t have thought possible. Now I think they’ll all play on my unwillingness to talk about commitment, and I’ll keep fucking them nonetheless – trapped between fear of the conversation on one side and the fear of them no longer being in my life on the other.

And I do think there’s a romance side to it, too. No one wants exclusivity to become a business deal to be wrangled out with both parties trying to concede as little as they possibly can. I don’t want you to be faithful to me because you feel you have to be, I want you to be faithful because you want to be – because your feelings have developed to the point where you’re happy to give up other girls, not resentful about it.

So what do you think? Do I need to man up and tackle the issue of monogamy head on or am I right that the desire for monogamy comes from the heart, not the head, and that it doesn’t therefore need a discussion at all?

 

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Stop blitzing him with calls and texts!

I’d probably have written this post, or one very similar to it, off my own back, given time, but I noticed in the press this week the story about the jury in the phone hacking trial being told about Chelsy Davis ‘blitzing Prince Harry with calls and texts’ while he was at Sandhurst. I also noticed that the Daily Mail removed the ‘jury told’ bit of the headline in their page header, thus presenting Chelsy’s actions as fact. Sigh.

Now I’ll admit, there’s a lot I don’t know about military training (unsurprisingly!). Apparently Harry was only able to field her calls after he’d finished training, which was “sometimes after 10pm.” This bit doesn’t seem that surprising to me – I can see that checking your phone isn’t that compatible with target practice and obstacle courses. Not, incompatible enough though, apparently, that Harry considered just turning his phone off. Instead “He keeps the phone on, but on silent – it buzzes and vibrates so frequently with new M [sic].” How fucking inconvenient that he should have to keep the phone on silent because of silly Chelsy – I mean, if it wasn’t for her he could have kept the sound on – it’s not like messages from other people who aren’t nutjob girlfriends cause the phone to buzz or vibrate.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I can’t help but feel that the story would never have made it out if the roles were reversed and it was Harry doing the bombarding. So I did a bit of an experiment. I googled ‘Should I text him first?’ Total results: 744,000,000. I changed it to ‘Should I text her first?’ Total results: 423,000,000. It seems pretty clear that most of the ‘rules’ around texting are being dished out to women, not to men.

The other reason it bothered me so much is because it’s a constant minefield in my life, too. I’m pretty clear on how often I’d like to see the boy in an ideal world, pretty clear on the fact that I like texts to end with a kiss. But we can’t reach a sensible position on communication because he can’t win – if he gets in touch it makes me stressed, and if he doesn’t get in touch it makes me stressed. The issues aren’t all to do with him – I’m terrible at contacting my friends too because I don’t want to seem needy. It’s not that I don’t care how they are, or that I don’t want to spend time with them, I’m just sure they have much better things to do, like spending time with their boyfriends or closer friends. And of course the irony is that it’s precisely that lack of self-confidence that makes me neediest of all.

I don’t blitz boys with texts, most of the time. Sometimes when I’m drunk, or when I’m angry – when it’s completely the wrong communication medium to use, in short – I’ll send two or three in quick succession without waiting for a response, but normally, I stick to just the one message, and, if I don’t hear from him first, I’ll wait two weeks before I send it. I’m no Chelsy Davis. 

When he and I spoke about this, I couldn’t explain why I’m so cagey about communication. I don’t think he’d ever accuse me of texting him too often, and nor do I think I have to play hard to get – I’m pretty sure he’s not going to go off me because I asked twice in one week what he’s been up to. But having thought about it some more, the problem lies exactly there – the reason I don’t text is because I don’t want to know what he’s been doing, or, more accurately, who he’s been doing. When he texts me it’s extremely unlikely I’ll have been fucking someone else since the last time we spoke: the same can’t be said for him. 

Of course, he’s not so heartless that he’d admit to this, or gloat about it – it’s just that knowing that it is something he does makes me nervous about otherwise innocuous lines like ‘I’ve got friends staying’ or ‘I’ve been away for the weekend.’ I’m sure he’d say I have to get over reading too much into what he says, and working myself up over stuff that I can’t be sure about, but I disagree. If you’re sleeping with someone and it’s exclusive, yes, the above is the kind of paranoid jealousy that will inevitably tear things apart. If you’re not exclusive, and a polygamous relationship isn’t your ideal, it’s not paranoid, just sad. And it’s why I won’t be becoming more proactive about communication any time soon.

I’m not going to go into the reasons here about why I’m still persisting with something that makes me unhappy, because that’s not the point of the post. The point is, you’re an intelligent woman, you can decide how often is too often. Personally, couples who text each other every day scare me a bit, because I can’t imagine someone being that massive a part of my life, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable if that’s what you want. 

So here, in brief, is the point: text him first if you want to or wait for him to text if you’d rather. Because one thing is certain: even if both of you are waiting for the other person to move first, eventually one of you will get drunk and break the deadlock. That’s just how these things work. 

Casual sex – just how intimate should it be?

The last couple of posts I’ve written have been pretty personal, and there’s one more post I’d like to write in the same vein, but I have a feeling it might be a lengthy one, so I’ll save it for later in the week. For now, there’s something else I’ve been thinking about – when it comes to friends with benefits, just how much intimacy is desirable?

I’ve always liked casual sex for its lack of intimacy. The boys I fucked at uni always got kicked  out of my room before anyone was likely to fall asleep and a close male friend of mine who came to stay for the weekend and who I ended up sleeping with ‘just to test the chemistry,’ got sent back to the spare room before he’d barely even caught his breath. I still feel pretty bad about that.

So the fact that the guy I’m currently sleeping with doesn’t stay the night doesn’t really bother me. I always think there’s a Cosmo type pressure that makes us think we should snuggle up together after the act, but seriously, wouldn’t you rather have the whole bed to yourself and a good night’s sleep? As far as I can see the only downside is that you don’t get a second round in the morning.

But then the boy went and wrote about how good he thinks he is at / how much he enjoys intimacy – how he likes looking into someone’s eyes, stroking their face, staying spooned together after he’s come, Honestly, that’s not my experience with him, or at least the spooning part isn’t – there’s rarely any snuggling after sex – but as I’ve mentioned previously, he also has other partners, so who am I to say how intimate he is with them?

It gets to me more now than it used to, though. I’ve written previously about how much I love the traces he does leave behind, and although I like getting my bed back, I do wish he wouldn’t spring out of it quite so quickly after the act, just like I also wish he’d fuck me under the covers from some time (I get that he likes the view of being on top of the duvet, but sometimes I crave the closeness of being underneath it) and that there was sometimes more focus on the hotness of undressing one another (sure, there’s something very horny about urgency, but being skin to skin from top to toe is usually hornier, in my opinion).

Why does it get to me more now? Well, because I care about him more, surely? On the surface, I’m saying one thing (usually ‘Stop pretending we’re friends. We’re just two people who fuck’ – which rarely goes down well), but on the inside I’m wishing he’d be more honest with me, about everything from what’s going on in his life to his likes and dislikes in the bedroom. Or at least, half of me is thinking that. The other half is thinking ‘No, keep the intimacy  out of it, especially if it’s something you can turn on and off like a tap.’

Because, after all, one day he’s going to get out of my bed and not come back to it, isn’t he? And that’ll be the one time that I am grateful that we’re not friends, just two people who fuck.

Endings

I’m so bad at putting a stop to things that aren’t good for me. Friendship not working? I’ll be the bitch from hell in the hope you’ll just stop trying to arrange stuff, but I’ll never do the grown-up thing and just have a sensible conversation about why doing stuff together is no fun anymore and maybe we should just stop.

And with boys, it’s worse still. A few years back I had an extremely close bond with someone whose behaviour subsequently began to hurt me quite a lot. I let that carry on for over a year: half-heartedly applying for jobs that would allow me to move away from him, but not able to cut him out of my life while he was still in the vicinity. I was on anti-depressants, in therapy. And so, so unhappy.

The current situation in my life is not dissimilar. Unusually for me, I have tried to draw a line and end it twice, but both times he got back in touch and I got drawn back in to a situation that was great for my confidence at the start, but now just corrodes it. I need a guy who ‘s monogamous, who cares about me beyond when I’m next available to fuck and I’m just too weak to cut him loose and stick with my decision. It not only makes me hate him, it makes me hate myself , too.

I tried to end it again this week – or rather, I didn’t – I asked him to end it. Apparently, he won’t take that responsibility for me. I can see that he shouldn’t have to, sure, but I just don’t trust that if I do find the inner strength to do it that he won’t contact me again – there’s nothing I hate more than that moment when you can feel the misery of having lost someone you care about begin to lift only to have them pop back into your inbox. So I stick with what we have – a situation where the pleasure and the pain are constantly jostling for superiority – and meanwhile I halfheartedly trawl Internet dating sites looking for a reason to break it off for good, but not really wanting to find someone else because I’m convinced that ultimately they’ll just hurt me too.

Sometimes I think I should swear off men for good – that I’d be more emotionally secure if there was nobody in my life. I’ve never been that bothered about getting married, after all – I just want to be a mum one day, and we all know that there are other ways of going about that.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll stick with what I have and keep trying to find the resolve to do what I know I need to. Because sure, loneliness hurts, but so does hating yourself for constantly swimming back out into the rip tide.

It’s not easy being … monogamous

Early this morning I flew back into London to a perfect dawn. The whole sky was orange, and it was truly beautiful. I was tired, and groggy and coming down with a cold, but I was happy. I’d spent the past two days having great sex with someone I really care about and who I’ve missed, someone who knows, in the bedroom at least, just how far they can push me.

Just above my left breast is a tiny purple bruise, subtle, but painful when pressed – the best kind. Sure, it’ll fade, but it’s the best souvenir I could have brought back. Sometimes it feels like my whole sex life is a quest for good memories – even the most knee-trembling orgasm fades; but the feel of a guy’s come inside me, or the ache from a bruise lasts longer – it can be taken back out into the world and enjoyed over and over again – if you watch closely you’ll see me slide two fingers under the neckline of my dress from time to time and press down on the skin – I’m remembering how good it felt to get that mark in the first place.

I may be wrong, but I think this is the first time I’ve been honest with him about liking low-level pain. It’s the first time I’ve been honest with him about other stuff, too: the first time I’ve been willing to admit that yes, if it’s snowing and slippy I *am* scared of falling, and I would rather hold on to him. The first time I’ve been willing to go to bed dishevelled post-bath and been more than happy for him to find me that way, holed up under the duvet, prioritizing snug over sexy.

Sometimes I think I’ve spent years trying too hard. I always want to be sexy in a traditional, girly kind of way – you know, matching underwear, great cleavage, good cook, when the reality is that actually, I don’t have the restraint or discipline to be that kind of girl – I’m too loud, too curvy, too honest, too emotional and my behaviour reflects that – I eat chocolate for breakfast, for example. Yes, most days.

And this weekend it felt like he didn’t care. Like I was hottest in big jumpers, drinking too much, asking stupid questions. As if as long as I was being fun, it didn’t matter that I came ill-prepared for seduction – yes, I bought new, fancy underwear for the trip, but he ended up having to sever the tag on the knickers with a corkscrew, because I hadn’t brought scissors and therefore couldn’t get it off. When he tried to play chivalrous and help me put my coat on at the end of the evening, I handed him my phone and bra to hold instead, because I’m happy for the concierge to see my nipples if it means I don’t have to go to the effort of putting everything back on. And, finally, finally I felt like I could be me and still be sexy. That realisation’s been a long time coming.

But when the confidence and happiness take you by surprise that way, it inevitably takes you equally by surprise when they’re yanked from underneath you. Because I fucked up: I fell for a guy who likes to have multiple partners, and I, well, I just don’t. Sometimes it’s easy to ignore. He’s overseas, after all and that makes it easier to turn a blind eye, easier but still not always possible. I live by the motto that what I don’t know can’t hurt me, but if the information’s out there somewhere and it’s down to me whether I look or not, I always will. Even when I know it’ll make me cry.

And that’s what happened this afternoon – I saw something I didn’t want to see, and now I can’t go back to not knowing. All I can do is learn from it, and what I choose to learn is that I have to get better at not seeing monogamy as some kind of personal failure. Sure, this blog will never be a rich source of all the different things I’ve done with different men who all thought I was the best thing since sliced bread, but then, that wasn’t why I set it up. If it means I write mainly about him, and the handful of boys who preceded him, I’m not going to apologise for that. I like boys, and I like sex, and I like writing about them. I just have to learn to do it my way.