Clay and I have been involved for just about three months. This weekend, we stopped using barriers.
I could go on and on about my thinking. I outlined some of it here
just now. It's a decision that really would have surprised the me of four months ago. I had to unlearn a lot of ingrained assumptions about what "high risk" and "low risk" mean, and overcome my plain old discomfort at Izzy's job. But in the end, I'm proud of coming to where I have about it. I feel like it was a truly rational and informed decision.
I had talked to Gia and Davis about the fact that I might be making this decision. Gia was fine with it. Davis stated very calmly and clearly that we would need to go back to using condoms if I stopped using them with Clay, but said that he wouldn't be mad.
I did a final check-in with Gia ("you sure you're ok?") before going ahead. I didn't do the same with Davis. I knew it would be an un-fun conversation, and I knew it wouldn't change anything, as I'd already made up my mind. I had the nagging feeling that I SHOULD talk with him more first, but I didn't feel obligated to, and in the end I didn't. I told him the day after instead. We ended up having a long phone conversation.
He was hurt. Said that he thought that he might not be able to be intimate with me at all now. Felt that I'd chosen Clay over him. Felt like I'd made a dangerous, foolish choice. Felt that I was throwing away any chance we might still have had at building a family together. I had to stop him at that and explain that if he was still basing his choices around that hope, then he needed to seriously reevaluate. Maybe it really would be better for us just to NOT be together at all, if that's really still what it's about for him, I said. I hatehatehate the idea of losing him in my life -- but in the end, his ability to lead a happy, fulfilling life matters much more than that, and there's every possibility that my presence in his life is hurting rather than helping. I told him that we need to strongly consider it.
Then it came out that we were having the conversation AFTER I'd already gone through with unprotected sex with Clay rather than before. And then he was livid. Hung up on me and called me back. He pointed out that I said I'd tell him before making any changes on this front. I was slow to accept that this was true, but in the end I had to admit that it was, I finally remembered it -- I HAD said that, and I didn't do it. I was shocked at myself, mortified at forgetting this commitment. He was seething. He said he needed to take some space, and that he'd check in with me at the end of the week. I contacted him very shortly afterwards via text, just to make sure he was ok -- he said he was -- and we haven't spoken since. It's just been a day and a half, but it feels like forever.
I don't know if I actually did just forget, or if I subconsciously chose to do things this way in order to push him away. Either way, it's pretty shitty.
I talked to both Gia and Clay about it. Gia was blase, she said that everyone makes mistakes, that I'd done everything that was required to be a decent person and had just messed up on an extra layer of courtesy. I was scared of telling Clay, scared he'd think less of me, since I know that courtesy to other partners is a big deal to him, but he took the same stance. His perspective was that Davis was really upset about other things, and I couldn't deny that that was the case.
I felt better after talking to them, but they're my partners, of course they're going to support me. Objectively, I fucked up and really hurt someone who loves (loved?) and trusts (trusted?) me. The intimate connection between Davis and I changed the moment I decided to forgo barriers with Clay. I knew that, and was prepared for it, but I don't know if we can ever even have the same sort of friendship now. And despite the fact that I think that might be for the best, I wish it weren't for this reason.
Most of all, when I think about he and I potentially stepping out of each other's lives, I get so scared at the thought of not knowing how he is. With all his ups and downs, who will help him stabilize? What if he goes into a dark place and there's no one to help him and I don't even know he's there? It's very painful to type these things. Then there's the thought that maybe he'll be much better off than he ever was before without me. Obviously that would be much preferable, and yet... it would still be strange. It would suck so hard to think that I've just been holding him down all these years.
There are other things I could write about -- Gia and I had a lovely date that actually involved dyad sex, for instance, everything about it was great. Clay and I continue to be smitten. But it all feels kind of frivolous right now.