The Doll’s friends (a married couple) have invited both of us over for a games night in a month or so. Also, he says when he visits his parents this weekend he’s going to fill a bag with books and DVDs I might like (to borrow, I presume, not to keep)(I guess a lot of his old stuff is still at his parents’ place? He only moved out on his own last year).
I suppose a person in a casual, noncommitted headspace might invite me to hang out with his friends and be super excited to introduce me to new media – hell, I’d do that with platonic friends, even. Still…I’d better have the nonmonogamy discussion soon. 😛
I’ve tentatively figured out a way to introduce the subject without having to resort to “Hey, I like you but just in case you thought this was heading toward a conventional relationship…it’s not.” We’ve talked about The Doll coming over sometime to watch movies; I was the one who suggested it, but now as the actual time grows near* I realize that it feels like a betrayal of Minx. I know it’s not a betrayal; it’s just that during the three years that Minx and I were together, first we were monogamous and then we were not-so-monogamous but agreed not to bring outside partners home. I drilled it deep into my brain that only Minx was allowed to make out with me in here, and now I can’t stop stop thinking it even though intellectually I know the rule doesn’t hold anymore.
SO ANYWAY. I shall contrive to tell this to The Doll. As we’re walking up my stairs I can be like “Man…it feels kind of weird to be bringing a guy back to my apartment. I haven’t done this in so long…I mean, my ex and I had a semi-open relationship, but we agreed not to bring anyone home, so yeah.” This will remind him that I broke up with someone only a month ago and might still be dealing with some fallout (I worry that he doesn’t grasp this) and get the nonmonogamy thing out in the open. And if he doesn’t take the bait and ask me more about Minx’s and my arrangement, I’ll segue into the topic of polyamory my damn self by asking him if he’s ever been in an open relationship, or what he thinks of it, or whatever.
Alternatively, I may just ask him about his past relationships and get the ball rolling that way. If he’s been poly in the past he’ll likely mention that, and if he doesn’t mention any poly tendencies at least I can probably slip my views into the discussion.
I’m curious about The Doll’s past relationships, anyway: I get the strong feeling he can’t be very experienced in dating, or at least that the dating pool hasn’t fucked him over very often. He just seems so open and trusting. He also doesn’t seem to see any red flags in the fact that I broke up with someone just four weeks ago, which strikes me as a rookie mistake. I do know he’s never cohabited with anyone or been married, what with the whole “only moved out of his parents’ place last year” thing.
I dunno. I’m starting to feel antsy. I like this boy – he has many sterling qualities – but it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that the breakup with Minx has left me vulnerable. I could easily let myself fall into a relationship with The Doll (if that’s even what he wants) simply to escape being single and lonely or because his sweetness and compliments are such a soothing balm on the wounds Minx gave me. Sometimes I’m afraid that I only like The Doll because he so obviously likes me. I don’t know whether I can trust my feelings.
Okay, a list of reasons I’m into The Doll aside from him making me feel wanted:
1) He’s got the type of bright, sharp, analytical brain that I always love in a person.
2) He’s creative – he writes for a living.
3) He’s had anxiety issues, so he’s more likely to understand mine (but he seems to have gotten over most of his anxiety, so I may not have to deal with a bunch of shit like I did with Minx…and maybe he can help me to get better, too).
4) He’s comfortable with his kinks and can articulate what he likes and why without getting all weird and embarrassed.
5) He’s heteroflexible – he told me he once approached a (crossdressed) guy at a play party and asked to kiss him, simply because the guy was pretty (dude said yes btw). And he’s played with at least one guy before. So he’s definitely not homophobic, yay!
6) He’s a nerd and a bit of a science geek, which always gets my heart racing for whatever reason.
7) It seems like we might be pretty compatible in a D/s sense.
8) He’s a slender little wisp of a thing.
9) Although not goth per se, he does own tight, black, shiny clothing to wear on special occasions – some of it feminine.
10) He’s an open communicator – he’s not prone to game-playing or manipulation.
So those are some pretty solid things that I’d want in a partner anytime, even if I weren’t all vulnerable and fucked up. Good.
I also really like that (so far) The Doll is following my lead in our interactions. Yes, he clearly likes me, but he’s not bombarding me with messages or date invites. Perhaps this will change in time – it’s one thing for someone you just started seeing to only suggest one outing a week, and entirely another for someone you’re really into to keep that amount of distance. Perhaps he’ll ultimately push for more. But for now I’m enjoying his affections without feeling pressured to pay attention to him every single minute of the day, and it’s nice.
But seriously, I’m realizing now that my self-esteem is all mashed up. Minx never hesitated to tell me all about how flawed I am – I have a temper, my anxiety issues ruin everything and keep us (yeah, both of us somehow) from talking to people or having fun, I’m undisciplined, I’m an unconscionable slob around the house. Also, there are a lot of things I should do, like get off the internet, shut off the tv, and go to bed earlier. I should drink more water. I should stop procrastinating and paint something.
Minx rarely said good things about me, even when I specifically asked him to. If I showed him a painting I’d made, he’d never say he liked it; only what I could do to make it better (not a terrible thing in itself, but in conjunction with all the other stuff it sucks). His weird “I’m afraid you’ll snap one day and hit me” bullshit made me wonder if I give off a fundamentally untrustworthy vibe. His general disinterest in sex with me made me question my desirability. His assertion that maybe he’d fuck me more if I dressed up fancy more often brought back my old crushing fear that boys won’t like me unless I wear dresses.
And now I’m seeing The Doll, who’s really into me and really effusive with his compliments, and all I can think is “Once he gets to know me better, he’ll be horrified and leave.” Which is what twigged me to the fact that I’m a bit fucked up right now.
And I don’t want to lose The Doll’s lovely attention (I so need the ego boost right now!), so I catch myself censoring my words all the time – I go to complain about something and think “wait, I don’t want him to know what a horrible negative person I am, he’ll run away” and I bite my tongue or say something deliberately cheerful instead. But even as I take pains to make sure he keeps liking me, I’m afraid he’s liking me too much and wants some huge relationship that I’m not ready for, and I’ll have to bail. So he’ll end up gone either way.
Which…if we’re doomed anyway, I guess I have nothing to lose.
So I shall endeavour to open up and be myself a bit more with him. Technically, his compliments don’t count for anything anyway if he’s complimenting a whitewashed, sterilized version of me and not the real me.
And I shall endeavour to tell him, soon, that I like him but I’m shellshocked and so things will have to proceed slowly. And also even if things get serious I’ll still want the freedom to see other people.
And in-between outings with The Doll I shall endeavour to process the breakup with Minx actively and deliberately. This will entail, at the very least, blogging and painting out my feelings and attempting to fix my shattered self-esteem in some way that doesn’t depend on The Doll’s validation.
Can anyone give me ideas on how to fix my self-esteem? Does anyone know other things I can do to help me process the breakup? Do you even think it’s possible to have a healthy and happy relationship with one person while still getting over another?
Give me your thoughts.
*Okay, we haven’t set an actual date for movie night. But with my financial situation being what it is, I don’t want to have to go to a restaurant every time I see this boy. I’d like our time together to start being spent at one of our apartments or the other.