Nine Years

Nearly a decade of my life. And now it’s over.

I haven’t been posting much lately, and this is why. Because 10 days ago, my primary significant other came to the conclusion that he no longer wished to be in a relationship with me.

I can’t say it was entirely unexpected. I mean, I did tell him that if he didn’t want to be with me, he should leave. I got the feeling that he didn’t want to be with me from the fact that over the past two years or so, he had grown increasingly distant. Our physical relationship was absent. Getting him to make plans to spend time with me was like pulling teeth.

I felt rejected and unwanted. So why didn’t I leave him? I didn’t want to. I wanted the relationship to get better. I wanted him to get better.

His stress level kept going up and up. He kept coming home from work and dumping all of his negative feelings onto me. No explanation about what was bothering him, no “sorry for venting”, no affection. The affection got fewer and farther between.

I believe that he is depressed. After suffering through professional school and licensing exams, he has found the transition into working in his profession more difficult than he expected. He has also had physical health problems. Long before we met, he was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Just recently, new drugs came on the market that effectively cured him. And while this was an immense relief to him and everyone who loves him, his feelings about it were complicated. There was anger and resentment, mostly directed at the people who never really understood how the virus had made him feel. He was angry that it had slowed him down and made him feel sick, something he didn’t fully understand himself until it was gone.

On top of this, while we were together he was diagnosed with both sleep apnea and asthma, so for most of our time together, in one way or another, he wasn’t getting enough oxygen.

And even with treatment for these problems, he still acted like a person with depression. So I urged him to get treatment for that, too, or at least look into it. But he always resisted.

Things between us had cooled. We had been through some difficult times when he was still in school, and hadn’t quite recovered from that. We morphed, very naturally, I felt, from having threesomes to having an open relationship. He told me, after leaving me, that he thought opening the relationship would make it better. At the time, he always told me that the decline in our physical relationship was due to him not feeling well, if he had any explanation at all.

We both knew that what we started out as – Dominant and submissive, with him as Dominant, was not going to work, not the way we had envisioned. I bristled at submitting, even though I loved him and loved the bedroom play. But the first time he reprimanded me, and said there would be a punishment, something inside me welled up and said, “NO”. Being raised by a volatile, sometimes borderline abusive mother probably had something to do with this. I also felt like he put very little into it.

Over time I came to the conclusion that I was a bottom, not a submissive, as well as being a switch. Gradually, my Dominant side came out more and more. But I still enjoyed playing with him, mostly. His interest seemed to wane. We would begin play, and I would end up calling an end to it because I could tell he wasn’t at all present, emotionally. Sometimes he would do things I had asked him not to do. Perhaps I was getting a little overly picky, but the energy between us wasn’t right.

I wanted some affection, physical and otherwise. And I developed a crush on the person who inaugurated the openness of our relationship. He was amazing in bed, but emotionally, completely unavailable. I put an end to the affair, and set about to getting over the crush. I did this partly by scanning the personals, looking for new partners.

He, apparently, was not happy about this. He got upset with me one evening, and made a snippy comment about me talking to every guy in the area, or something to that effect.

I felt like this was unfair. My response was, “if you want me, you know where to find me.”

He recalls that I told him he should make his own profile. And that this was very hurtful to him.

This was four years ago.

Why didn’t he tell me how he really felt? Every time I asked him what was wrong, why he was so distant, he couldn’t give me a clear answer. He felt bad, physically. He didn’t know what was wrong with him.

I didn’t know, either. But I knew that I felt neglected, and unwanted, and unloved. Even though he said he still loved me, he didn’t show it. I figured he was stressed, and probably suffering from depression. I tried to encourage him to get help, to find a different job. He wouldn’t do anything.

In the meantime, I lost both of my grandparents. Given how unreliable my mother was, they pretty much raised me. And then I flamed out of my job. For the last two years, I’ve been working from home, because the thought of returning to another job like the last one fills me with untold anxiety. My mental health has not been great.

And in that same time, he found someone else. Someone who lives several hours away, and who he apparently is very fond of.

And now he has decided he’d rather be with her.

I suspect that the thrill of a new relationship felt great to him, just as I’d had crushes that alleviated some of my bad feelings. But as someone who has been diagnosed and treated for depression for 20 years now, I can say with certainty that the thrill does wear off, and when it does, you are the same person you were before you started. I don’t want to be vindictive, but I feel betrayed, and I suspect that he will follow the same patterns as he did with me.

I know some people just aren’t cut out for non-monogamy. It seems likely that this is the case for him.

As for me, I won’t go back to monogamy. If I do find love again, it will be with the stipulation that they won’t be the only one. I don’t mind if it’s an asymmetrical arrangement. But I won’t get involved with someone who prefers monogamy when I require non-monogamy.

I feel like a part of me has been cut off. It hurts so much. My mind tumbles endlessly from anxiety, to despair, to anger, to sadness, to “if only” bargains. If only he’d gone for treatment. If only he’d told me what he was feeling. If only we had communicated better. If only. If only.

He understood me, better than just about anyone I have ever known. He knew me. We shared a sense of humor, and liked a lot of similar things. We hated a lot of the same things.

But as much as I want that missing piece back, the relationship just wasn’t healthy. I can sit and place blame for that all day, but it doesn’t change anything. At one time, he told me that I was 99 percent of what he wanted in a kink relationship. That the lifestyle D/s was only a small thing compared to what we had. Now, looking back, it feels like the compatibility issues ballooned well past that one percent.

I feel like I’ve been kicked when I’m down. I’m struggling in almost every area of my life. I feel alone and adrift, my anchor pulled out from under me. He was the secure, stable rock in my life. Even though it was far from perfect, he was there, and that made me feel better.

Except when it made me feel worse. Being in a relationship with someone who withholds their time, attention and affection can be very painful. Not as painful as the jarring, cutting wound of separation, but there were times when I wished I had the wherewithal to leave him.

But I didn’t want to. I loved him. I wanted him. And I wanted him to want me back.

We can’t always have everything we want.


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