Originally Posted by Anneintherain
Do you think that if you put your name and John's name in there instead with different reasonings to explain why, you would find that you also had not really dug down and worked on the roots of your problems? I'd reckon that because of the scope and repetition of your fights about the same thing over and over again, that the answer would be yes.
Well, yes and no. Our fights lately have overwhelmingly been about one thing - my needs. At first the specific exclusive act in question was John not being able to kiss Sarah hello and goodbye, because that's our greeting. (Remember that at some point I had still been open to the idea of John and Sarah having a sexual relationship while also in love.) John says he has started to question if exclusivity is necessary for a relationship to have value. In our first conversation about this, before it became a fight, I said "I'm sure it's not necessary for everyone. There are lots of ways to be happy. But I know it is necessary for me." And then he asked me, "but why." So I started talking about how it's probably a combination of my personality, and the culture I grew up in, and my life experiences. And that answer wasn't good enough for John.
That's when I started to get suspicious that what John was really asking me was why my need for exclusivity should be considered valid. And I said, sometimes your needs just are what they are. This is one of my needs. And that certainly wasn't a good enough answer for John. He kept pressing the question, saying that it's an important question, a fundamental thing, and that if I refused to answer I was refusing to talk about my limits (which is a bait and switch). Voices got raised, and it got heated..
Finally, while sobbing, I told him - "This is one of the few things we have left. You are in love with Sarah, and you are in a relationship with her, and at some point you'll be having sex, and this is one of the few things we have left. It has to be okay for me to have limits. We said when we started all of this that it was okay for me to have limits."
And his response was, "Of course you can have limits, but why are these your limits. Can you explain it to me." Which to my mind, I already had. It's part personality, part culture, part life experience, and it is what it is. And curiously, he was never interested in my deep feelings or motivations about why I said yes to things, only the things I said no to apparently needed to be picked apart.
But when I've confronted John on this, that he's asking me to validate my needs, he completely rejects that that is what he's doing. But if I walk him through it step by step, he agrees with every step -
- He questions whether exclusivity is necessary for a relationship to have value.
- But we're not talking generalities, we're talking about us.
- So he's really asking - why is exclusivity necessary for me.
- And he won't accept that it's simply part of who I am, he wants an external reason.
- So what he really wants is to be able to point at some "flaw" in me, say that my need for exclusivity is a character flaw, and brow beat me out of saying I need it while under the guise of having an important philosophical discussion.
So, to answer your question more directly, no, we've never had this fight (over and over again) until this whole thing happened.
But yes, we have had fights before, and we're not perfect people. We have our fair share of flaws and bad habits. I don't listen we'll enough and sometimes my tone of voice in a fight can sound authoritative and superior. John channels his frustration from fights he's had in previous relationships and projects the issues that he and his ex had in the past onto our relationship. In the first year of our relationship John had done things that hurt me, because there was social pressure for him to participate in things that I was excluded from by his then recent ex (different person) who hated me. We've got our fair share of battle scars. BUT, John and I have talked about all of those things, faced them head on, dealt with some of them, and continue to work on the rest day by day. So, though we're still not perfect, I'd say that John and I have had very good levels of communication over the years and have never avoided conflict.
In that regard, I don't think we're anything like Mike and Sarah. I don't think Mike would have ever survived having someone like me as a wife. Lol!
Funny side note (or at least funny to me) - Sarah is petite and I imagine of average strength for a woman. I'm a good 4 or 5 inches taller, and I am incredibly strong. At one point in the very beginning the four of us got into a hot tub together naked (that was my idea). Sarah and John were cuddling in one corner and that left Mike and me in the other. Now, I made it clear to everyone multiple times that I'm only attracted to John. I just want to be in the room or in the know. But Mike, who likes to be a dom, didn't really know what to do with himself in that hot tub. And Sarah and John, feeling self conscious about the fact that they were cuddling (really just Sarah leaning back on John's chest) verbally encouraged me to cuddle with Mike. And something in Mike's facial expression and body language told me he was about to put on the false confidence and swagger of a dom as he sidled over to me (and though I never begrudge anyone their preferred brand of fun, the Dom/sub thing is kinda gross to me).
So I picked Mike up and held him like a baby, resting him on my knee. I kinda felt like - you guys really aren't listening to me when I tell you this is not a symmetrical thing, and your awkwardness is not my problem to solve. Mike was a bit mortified (because I think in part he defined his strength and masculinity in contrast to Sarah's relative weakness and femininity) , but you really should listen to strong naked women in hot tubs.