thanks for the underlining and reaffirmation, fellowfolk. when you feel like you're out on a limb, it's always nice to hear how others have been out on their own, survived, and come out to thrive on the other side.
after mutually splitting with Z a week ago friday (with the intention of getting clear about what i want/how i want to live and gathering the courage to communicate with him honestly about it), it's been a little over a week's worth of constant affirmation that i've made the right choice at this point. we actually spent a good amount of time together this past week (doing "just friends" stuff, if you will), and then this last friday afternoon, we came upon an opportunity to talk, for me to lay it all out for him, no-holds barred. this has never been easy for me, when what i want clashes in any way with what someone so close to me wants - i've often just "gone along for the ride" in order to keep the peace, or make someone happy, or to keep myself from feeling like shit when their judgment comes down on me - i'm a pleaser from way back, and as much of it has been detrimental to my well-being as it has been good for me and others involved.
the fear i'd had previously - that i was going to lose him from my life altogether, or that he was going to see me differently - didn't hold me back from telling him that i didn't want to lose him as my best friend and lover even though i was not going to dedicate my time/energy to "making a relationship work;" was not going to force this relationship (or any other) to fit a previously ascribed model which had never worked for me before and whose box-walls i felt no desire to live inside anyway; and wanted both of us to feel free to pursue (or be pursued by) whatever may cross our paths and spark a hint of deep interest, resonance, intrigue, desire, etc.
in short, i have chosen to live in a way that will allow me to consciously remain open to any and all possibilities that i may find attractive, and i asked that he allow himself to do the same if he so chose. this was AFTER we'd spent a half-hour exquisitely pleasuring each other - i LOVE to touch him, tease him, make him feel good, and see his face/feel his body respond when i can do so. he says i get him higher than anything ever has, and while i know he's exaggerating, his brain-to-mouth channel also has no filter, so it's not hard to tell when he is really, REALLY ecstatic. putting him there puts me there. and he is SO sweet, tender, and caring in return...very simply put, we make a GREAT team, great partners. our needs and desires in this area coincide magically; sometimes it feels like we were designed with each other in mind. LOVE it.
he said yesterday, "sometimes i think you came into my life just to stroke all my little pleasure glands, and i didn't know it until we had already crossed the line." (LOL - i agree wholeheartedly, sir.)
we parted ways early that evening, each to hang out with friends and enjoy our friday nights, and as fate would have it, i wound up having a couple of drinks with J, my ex, for whom i also have very tender feelings.
J and i hooked up 5 or 6 years ago as he was going through a divorce - not ugly, but very unwanted. (J, his wife, Z, his gf at the time, and i were all friends at the time, though they had all known each other years longer than i'd known any of them. Z, J, and i were also in a band together at that point.) the way and reasons J and i came together at that point stemmed much from my need/desire to shelter and take care of him, and his own needs to be that partner/father figure in someone's (my) life as well. he had known he was attracted to me before his marriage began to split, and he kept a very "proper" distance between us at that point. (he told me later; i didn't realize that to be the case at the time.) he/they were pretty quiet about the divorce and proceedings; most of us didn't even realize it was happening until he was served with papers, and when i found out, i realized why he'd looked and been acting differently. he's a very tall and slender man anyway, well-built, just very lean, but i realized at that point that his beautiful face had actually been hollowing lately, his eyes more tired and devoid of spark, and he didn't hang out with the band so much, preferring to stay pretty quiet and just pack up gear and leave afterward, while the rest of us had a drink or two and chatted together.
it was at that point that i realized i'd found him physically attractive all along, and when i saw his need for company, support, shelter, and reassurance - he needed love right then at that point - i found myself falling all-in. it was like it became one of the main purposes in my life at that point to make a nest of my heart, house, and arms for him to find refuge in. it was all i wanted to do.
not entirely healthy or clearsighted, i know - but it filled me with life and passion (not that i was lacking in vim & vigor at that point) to do this with/for him, to merge our lives in some ways. didn't take me long to realize i was truly in love with him, that i cared very much for his happiness and well-being, and that i wanted to share a lot of my life with him. we spent the next couple of years in relative happiness together. no doubt we loved each other dearly & deeply, but the discrepancies in who we were and how we wanted to live showed up. NOT TO MENTION the fact that he'd barely had time or room to grieve over or deal with his loss and come to grips with his divorce or his ex-wife (who is a dear friend of mine), who had in the meantime realized that she felt she had made a mistake in her handling of the whole divorce situation.
she initially been "ostracized" from their little clan/circle of friends (one or two i found later to be very harshly judgmental as well as hypocritical, i'll take the liberty of adding), and i kind of felt like shit for hooking up with J without having spoken to her about the matter at all. i selfishly swept the whole mess of feelings concerning her under the rug at that point, because i was in deep with J and mostly didn't want to deal with the matter. i felt for her; the couple of random times i'd see her out and about, i could almost read it in her eyes that what had happened had NOT gone as intended. i guessed she'd needed to put big distance between herself and J as well as the tight clan; she is a pleaser as much as myself - maybe moreso in certain lights - and had probably lost some sense of identity in always going with the decisions of the crowd. i had a pretty good idea where she was coming from. she's a beautiful woman with a big heart and a big appetite for fun and friends; J can be more of a hermit because of his more negative self-image. i think they clashed here, and she got too much of it; needed out. things just didn't go down well.
anyway...she and i started hanging out again, talking, and (this is from my point of view) that was one step toward The Clan's re-welcoming her. (it was inevitable, but she shouldn't have been ostracized anyway, imho.) eventually J began to hang out with the two of us upon occasion, and i always felt really good when this would happen - like, my heart swelled a little, to see them able to connect again on some level. it was obvious that they made good partners and friends, being into many of the same things and being able to speak a lot of the same "languages." eventually everything was pretty cool between them and the rest of the Clan, and people stopped making a big deal about it all.
fast-fwd to two years ago, when i was fully realizing that my relationship with J was limiting me to living in a box and trying to please The Clan myself. i loved him very much, was still in love with him on some levels, but every aspect of me was straining at the chains that held me to the ground. J and i still wanted to be each other's shelter, but i was finding that my wings were big and i felt strong in my passion for life and transcendence of fear, and i didn't really need shelter anymore. or it sure wasn't an overarching need/theme in my life at this point - i was ready to jump off cliffs and keep building my wings on the way down. i LOVED connecting with people - a lot of them, and all different kinds - and J would rather stay home. we didn't like to do a lot of the same things together after all. talk, chat, verbal connection was often debate anymore, and i wasn't on the same page with him - i wanted to find common ground with people, especially this man. i wanted to ENJOY doing things together with him...problem was, we were finding out (tho neither of us wanted to acknowledge) that we just didn't have so much in common. i felt he was living from a fear-based viewpoint, and i wanted to reaffirm and expand my own life-is-huge-short-and-beautiful viewpoint. i wanted to DO stuff. jump in and learn to swim. there was a lot of frustration between us.
that's when Z and i hit it off. like a match to gasoline, it was said. (oddly enough, we both texted each other the same thing at one point: "who had the match, and who brought the gas?!" it was almost verbatim.) he and his gf and been basically finished with their relationship for nearly two years at that point, and (again, imho) neither one of them wanted to pull the ripcord to begin the painful untwining of two merged lives. it began with sexual and SENSUAL sparks that bloomed into awareness of a lot of common ground between us.
it did not go down well, either. the first year was hell, as our haste in our actions caused a similar and fully-loaded split in The Clan yet AGAIN, as J was hurt AGAIN (in basically the same way), and as a lot of guilt, shame, anger, and fear was doled out and passed around. good things subsequently came of it: some old hatchets were buried, old friend-splits mended, etc; but a lot of shit came out of it, too....