Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ex's and Oh's (Elle King)

Lately I have been having a lot of conversations about relationships. Both of my housemates are straight men. One is divorced and has two sons, ages 18 and 20 respectively. The other is exactly one day older than me, born the same year. He is single but met a girl on instagram that sparked his fancy that lives in Austin. Living with two dudes has made me get more of a sense of humor about love, but made me realize yes, dudes do have feelings.

My divorced housemate whom I will call Don was married for 20 years. As he explained his wife used sex as a weapon. Eventually the sex disappeared and when it happened it was 3 minutes of pleasure that didn't make up for nearly 23 hours of pain that followed. As Don explains, he loves being a parent. He loves his sons. But as for getting married again, NEVER! He will have another kid, yes. But never another wife. Maybe she can live elsewhere Don surmises.

The other day Don and I were talking and the conversation turned to open relationships. Personally I think they are the wave of the future. Don brought up people have feelings and from a disease standpoint monogamy is safer. Plus if you can find a person who is a friend, has things in common, and the sex is great because both people are that committed you found your match. I asked if such a thing existed. Don said it must. But then we both agreed if we had the answers we would both have not been dateless on a Friday night.

My other housemate Al, like Don, is a painter. Al as I explained is enamored with a girl who lives in Austin that she met on instagram. The last girl Al dated was another painter he met in the gallery world. Yes, she was crazy. All female painters are crazy. Al found that one out the hard way. The girl on instagram is a writer. Al has faith she might not be as crazy as the painter. Truth: Female writers are cat shit crazy. I reminded him of Anne Sexton and her oven trove of adventures. Yes, I am making a tasteless joke. However, he surmised that while this was true at least it would not be painting discussions all the time which drove him over the edge.

Don suggested it was important Al met said lady in person. "She could be a real beast." Don advised. Then he told two stories. One was of a date he went on with a beautiful girl who turned out to be absolutely crazy and nearly killed him. The other was when he was fixed up with a troll looking chick who was the salt of the Earth but all these gorgeous girls were throwing themselves at him. But the troll had money. Don let the troll down easy. He wasn't into it. But the pretty girl had nearly killed him. The question is, can one ever win?

Of course than Don mentioned his ex wife was cute but not as pretty as he was into, and she was crazier than all the rest in the end. Yet she lured him in with gifts and such. Years later she tells her sons she chased their father and wonders what the hell she was thinking. He wonders what he was thinking taking the gifts. Love is a narcotic. When you are on it you are out of your damn mind, screw over those you really care about, and turn into a complete dick. Afterwards, you are forced to pick up the pieces.

My mom always said God doesn't give you everything. I still recall a Match.com date I went on where the guy walked in and was better looking than his picture. All these years I was lusting after Ashley Wilkes when I could have had Rhett Butler. The date went well for the first five minutes until he revealed his plans to overthrow the government. Then he mentioned all the other presidents were in a conspiracy. Ronald Reagan was the only one not aligned with this conspiracy because he didnt need to use a teleprompter let alone cue cards. In the words of Chris Rock, "When God puts it in a pretty package it's just to fuck with you."

And then there was the dude I met on Match who was my Ashley Wilkes. First date we hit it off and the dork squad texted into the night. Second date it was like who is the  wimp across from me. Third date I tried to give him a pep talk and made him cry. Am I mean or was he just nuts? Hell if I know.
In my chats with my housemates my last ex comes up quite a bit because he is recent. Don reminded me once that not anyone is all bad, and he even found some good qualities in his ex wife still. He reminds me there was a reason I liked my last ex who I will call Sam. Yeah, Sam and I ended because Sam was deceitful and lied about something huge. Maybe it was because he was in denial. Maybe it was to protect me. Or maybe it was because he just lies like all men do? Who knows.

But the truth was, Sam was generous to a fault. He would bend over backwards for his friends. At a rough time in my life, Sam was selfless with his efforts in order to get me back on my feet. When I was forced to replace 80 percent of what I owned, Sam showed up at my door with a bed and dressers. He brought me a purse and brought me food when I was too weak to move. Sam was patient when I had my breakdowns as my hair was falling out. He let me have my moments. Yeah, Sam had some good qualities.

In the end my last relationship was like a curiously built European car. No one could understand it. When it ran it ran beautifully. However, when it broke down it exploded like nothing I had ever seen and there was no fixing it. No way no how. Yes, it ended badly. All my relationships do. To date me is to hate me. I'll admit I am a jealous control freak who wants what she wants and she wants it now. My ambition always comes first and my lovers suffer. Plus Sam and I saw life two very different ways in the end. He was ready to settle down, I wasn't. If things didn't end when they did, Sam would have had issues with me going to Vegas like I do. He most certainly didnt want me going to Europe.
In reality, we were people who started out as friends that should have stayed friends. He hates my guts now. I have no feelings on him either way. You see, I don't like how he lied to me, but wish him the best as a person. He has some things to figure out. We all do. And maybe Sam would have been more honest with me if I was at a better place in my life. I don't know. It's over and we probably will never be friends again. Actually, I can say that with accurate certainty. But it's fine. All is fair in love and war.

The truth is, this was my first big foray into being monogamous and I think I did a good job. I hadnt been faithful to a partner since my former fiance. Sam and I operated as a unit to the point where it was scary. I had plenty of chances to cheat but didn't. Through the grapevine I heard Sam was planning on getting some side action with a would be actress/waitress and an old girlfriend from South Jersey where he was from.

The revelation didn't upset me when I found out long after our relationship ended. Because truth being, I was being lured in by an old comedian friend and another dude I had something with once upon a time. Not to mention the nephew of a prominent New York City judge was beginning to pique my interest. While I didn't bite, the offers were on the table and things got harder and harder to resist.
Maybe both of us wouldn't have been exploding out of our skins if we just agreed on having an open relationship. Yes, I would have a date night with another dude and Sam would have a date night with another woman. Sam was more blue collar and was a genius with sheet rock. It was dead sexy, but ultimately when I said the names Thomas Paine and Albert Camus his eyes went bored. I still remember chatting with a vegan history professor about them and being oh so turned on. Then Sam walked in and I felt guilty. If I could have did the business with the professor and came home to Sam all would have worked out well.

Sam had throngs of women throwing themselves at him. He was funny and good with his hands not to mention kind hearted. They drooled over the flexing of his muscles in a primal way that I never could muster let alone understand. My need for intellectual stimulation frightened Sam because it meant I didnt always need him, and I know he needed a break from the history references and the talk of an ambitious, driven woman. What Sam wanted was someone to cook for him and worship him. I don't do those things to men. If he could have had a date night with one of them on the same night I had my date night, it could have eliminated a lot. Plus I think we could have been happier.

It was a relationship where he knew he couldn't give me certain things and vice versa. Had we opened it up, I think maybe, just maybe, everyone could have gotten their needs met. Because we didn't open it up, what happened was resentment built that is eternal and lasting on both ends. I think had we opened it up and if we decided we didn't work, we could have remained friends. However, he viciously hates my guts and that's fine. His friends and family distain me as well. Wouldnt expect anything less, it's the way these things always shake out. 

I did suggest opening it up at one point because I could feel Sam's unhappiness growing with me. Instead of being on board he accused me of wanting to cheat. And then he went on a jealous rant about feelings and heart and blah, blah, blah. At the beginning he wanted monogamy and made me promise that, but towards the end I think he secretly regretted it. This outdated social norm was the rope that was hanging us both cold and dead.

Maybe that's why I got as jealous as I did at times. It wasn't because he was a bad guy who didn't care about me. It wasnt even that he didn't love me, he would have given me the world. I think I knew deep down we both had an itch we needed to scratch and unmet needs on both ends. It wasn't so much about what he was doing, it was because I was so aware of mine that I became painfully attuned to his.

In a way it was a blessing things ended the way they did and when they did. We hurt each other at times, and a lot. It wasn't because we were bad people, it was because we knew we couldn't give each other everything and we wanted to so badly to where it was just plain painful to watch.  I know I would have been the first to cheat and felt the urge but I didn't want to lose Sam. Had things been open we wouldn't have had that issue though. Because my partner wouldn't give me that option, I would have been christened the bad girl lacking morals and would have had a crown of thorns placed on my head. It's not that Sam wanted to oppress me, his upbringing and the world he was from couldnt fathom that option.  In reality, I wasn't bad or evil. I was a person simply bowing to the basest of human instincts like we all do at times.

Whether you want to cheat or not, monogamy is like Vietnam, the memory messes with a person's mind. After my relationship ended, and even though Sam does not want me back and vice versa, I felt my first date with another dude I was cheating. He took me to a nicer place than Sam could ever afford and brought me flowers, but it felt as if Sam was watching me the entire time.  I wasn't doing anything wrong. But society has brainwashed people so badly to make them a slave to the paradigm that the second you question it or break away, you are akin to a slave on the Underground Railroad running to your freedom. I have seen said gentlemen twice since then and both times have been lovely. And I want to see him again.

Then I did scratch the itch with the judge's nephew who has spent a ton of money on me and took me to places Sam would never step in let alone dream of as he joked about being a trust fund brat. We ate lobster, talked Camus and Thomas Paine, and even laughed about literature.  But the judge's nephew has a long time lady friend who he is with but not really. They sleep in two different rooms and it's complicated. He does what he does and she does what she does, not questions asked. I don't want serious and neither does he. People would say he's cheating and I'm the other woman. But we aren't hurting anyone and I am having fun. And I want to see him again, too.

In Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead surmised someone should have three partners in their life. Each should be for 7 years, and at the end of that term you should decide if you want to renew or not. And if you do renew for another term, don't renew for another 7. Essentially a romantic partner is like an apartment. There are people who have decried Ms. Mead and said she is full of baloney. Yet in this world 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. It's not always because both people don't love each other and that they are bad. People grow, people change, people get bored, people evolve. Relationships also run their course, and we must realize this without the malice typically involved in a split.

I still remember being in high school, working as a lifeguard and regularly being propositioned by married men. They all agreed they loved their wives but that they were bored. Yes, bored. They all said she was a good woman and a good mother but they craved that new adventure and then would tuck it away to go back home. And even those that were too pure to proposition me admitted to looking at porn. One got in big trouble because his wife found his search engine history. It wasn't that he didn't love her. The man had needs. It's not that she wasn't enough.......it was complicated.

It's all complicated. People cheat for a myriad of reasons and the person they cheat with isn't always a Playboy/Play Girl model type. Heck, I have been cheated on a bunch of times. My former fiance cheated on me with a former girlfriend I will call Busty. She was a bigger girl, which made me do a double take when I found out she was the side piece. But Busty was attractive not to mention a semi-celebrity on the roller derby circuit. When I bitched about it, people cited she could have had a better personality. Maybe she did, I never met her so I can't comment on her either way. However my ex cheated with her so I didn't care for her therefore she was  a bitch by default at the time. But then others saw her picture and exclaimed, "She's fat and ugly! What was he thinking!" He was thinking he had needs that needed to be met and I wasn't the woman to do it.

Isaac regularly dated other women as he dated me, but got upset when I did the same with guys. The much older Playboy with the Park Avenue apartment was once out with this frumpy would be writer who sometimes contributed to some feminist blog that no one besides feminists care about. She was cute, but not pretty. The lady looked like she had never seen a tube of lipstick. I remember she was pleasant enough. Isaac tried to pretend he was parading her around to make me jealous and it kind of worked.......but then I started talking to her, liked her, and came to the conclusion Isaac was the idiot not her. Still, she was closer to his age and I wasn't. She understood how to have a good time and let go whereas I was a clingy kid. We all have our strengths I suppose.

And of course there was Paul who was on the run and working as a male stripper and rent boy. While living California, he called me from the home of his "sugar mama" to tell me he still loved me. I saw a picture of his sugar mama and she was easily 200 pounds. Not only was she bank rolling him and his coke habit, but she had three kids. Yeah, it was shitty and he was using her. But she wanted to be used. At the same time, although I was easily better looking I hated her guts because I loved Paul so much even though he was a terrible mistake. But feelings are not facts, they just are. In the end she found out Paul was calling me and had a shit fit. But he needed funds in addition to emotional support. As I said, one person cannot give us everything......

While Sam never cheated, as I mentioned he was getting ready to. The actress/waitress he was going back and fourth with on facebook that I will call Pasha adored him to no end and seemed to need him. Sam was the type who needed to be needed. I wouldn't say she was pretty or ugly, but she was distinct looking. I saw some of her youtube videos and she is a good actress, and she could be great someday. Ultimately, she decided to forgo Sam for a homeless, married man because the poor thing is more invested in good decision making than I am. I met her once and did like her. I hope she's okay. The other girl he wanted to get it on with was a girl named Jennika who had 3 kids and had her ex desert her. While she wasn't unpretty, she wasn't above a 6. She also wasn't the achiever I am. Yet at the same time she was probably a better cook than I was and like Pasha, needed a man whereas I don't.  Sam needed to feel important and valued and I wasn't giving that to him, and maybe it was because I didn't know how. Freak if I know......

When each of my relationships ended in disaster they were truly over. I can honestly say while I am no angel, there was no ultimate bad guy on either end either. In each case, we were all people who had a journey together and that journey was ultimately over. We had run our course. The lease to this schlepp truck was not being renewed. We were all relieved.

This is where relationships become like free therapy sans the Freud couch. We all claim that they are the bad guy when we seldom look at our role in things. But we want to point the finger because as I said, relationships are akin to therapy, and we learn truths about ourselves we don't want to learn. Maybe that's why break ups are hard. We don't adore them, they weren't so great. It's because we beat ourselves up for being such pathetic doormats who forgo what we really believe in because we sell out to the social norm that it is better to have a partner who pisses you off than to be alone and happy. Or we realize how much we gave of ourselves when really we couldn't give them everything and were pissed we tried in the first place.

Then there is always the bullshit promise we will do things different next time but we never do. I'll admit I will always be the same jealous, self-centered hot mess with trust issues. My puppets and my career will always come before any man. I don't cook, clean, or do laundry and never will. I am iffy about wanting a family and marriage is eh. That being said, at least I'm honest which is more than can be said for any man I have ever been with let alone most people out there. I do some things right and need to give myself credit somewhere.

Do open relationships work and can they? I have 2 friends a witch and magister in the Church of Satan respectively. Their relationship is open, and it is more honest and healthy than anything I have ever seen. Each has a date night and then they compare notes. At times I don't understand it because it is like nothing I have ever seen. But they are truthful in a way no couple I have ever met is, and not to mention their ethics are amazing when it comes to the rest of the world. They come to the aid of those who are bullied constantly. Not to mention they are good friends with their other sexual partners and at the same time love each other unconditionally. While there are those who judge the witch and the magister, maybe they have stumbled upon utopia in the way the rest of the world hasn't.

On the other hand, I had another friend do an open relationship with a vampire dungeon mistress as the man on the side. She fell in love with him and her husband got jealous. In the end, he used her lifestyle against her in order to get full custody of their kids when he had been game for an open relationship before all this went down. Then my buddy married her and she picked up a female side piece with mental and emotional issues who later fell in love with my pal's wife. In the end, she tried to kill my pal and his wife and was led away in a straight jacket. That time it didn't work.

Maybe it was because they didn't have boundaries or people developed feelings. But I also think it was because people wanted control. Long after the fact I found out my bud's wife was jealous of me because she thought he wanted me  because he called me talking for hours about the depth of their relationship. Meanwhile she had no reason to be jealous. She had a date night with someone else. So again, maybe they needed to figure some things out.

But then there was the dude when I was 22 who lied and said he was in an open relationship. I didnt know this until his wife called me to scream. Alas, they should have had an open, honest discussion. Nonetheless, I do believe open relationships are the wave of the future.

My mom disagrees. She says, "Women will continue to be jealous. Men will continue to be possessive. People will continue to die."

Who knows? I wish I had the answer. If I did I wouldn't be writing this blog. I know one thing for sure though. Hell will be a round table support group with each of my ex boyfriends exchanging notes and me walking in on the meeting. Eh, what can you do, right?

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