Today was the Christmas party at The Doll’s friends’ house (a married couple who had invited their whole social group).  There was food.  There were beverages.  And there was gaming.  I get flustered when people try to teach me the rules of a game, and can’t seem to grasp them; but I mostly blundered through okay.  At first I just watched as The Doll and a couple of other people played a “capture as much territory as you can” sort of board game.  Then a group of people split off to play a word game called Quiddler, whose rules kept escaping me (the hosts’ eight year old son grasped this game faster than I did) but before anyone could get too annoyed by my constant “Wait…so I’m allowed to pick a card off the deck, right?  But only if I put one of my cards back in?” type questions, the game came to a close and all the scattered little gaming groups around the apartment consolidated around the dining room table to play Cards Against Humanity (which was super fun, and so simple even I could do it).  Then came another game that I kind of hated, and shortly after that The Doll and I decided to leave.  Overall I really liked all his friends and believe I made a decent impression on them.

The Doll has now told me that his parents would like to meet me, and asked if we could all have lunch together sometime soon.  Which…I guess I’d be up for that?  But I have to say, it feels like The Doll is entwining me deeper and deeper in his life and it kind of freaks me out.  Not just because I just broke up with someone and don’t want to get into anything too serious…and not just because I don’t in fact feel too serious with The Doll just yet.  The whole entwined lives thing has always freaked me out.  It puts all this pressure on everything!  Instead of just trying to impress the person I’m interested in, I have to try to impress god knows how many other people, too, otherwise it’ll cause tension at best and people actively recommending a breakup at worst.  And if the family and friends are on board but then I eventually break up with the guy, I stand to lose not just him but a whole social network.  So, double sadness.

Also: I don’t give much of a shit what my parents think, so the idea of introducing them to a partner holds little or no emotional resonance for me; in movies and tv shows, however, Bringing Your Partner to Meet Your Parents is this big milestone that happens when a relationship gets serious.  So…is that what the normals do when they really really like someone?  I’m trying to figure out whether The Doll wanting me to meet his family has any particular significance.

Anyway.  The stuff above is all context for this next part.

When I’m with The Doll, I try not to mention my previous partners too often – but Minx has occasionally come up in conversation and so, for some reason, has Ex.  The Doll, conversely, has never mentioned another woman ever – which seemed very gentlemanly, and which I liked.  I don’t like to hear about the exes of people I’ve just started seeing; it makes me feel threatened (I know that doesn’t make sense: they’re exes and I’m the one the guy wants now, so where does this sense of threat come in?  But it does.).

Tonight, though, on our way home from a gaming night at his friends’ place, I bit the bullet and asked him about his dating history.  I asked this because a) I do have to face his history sometime, and he’s certainly been patient in hearing about mine; and b) you can tell a lot about someone from the way their most recent breakup(s) went.  So yeah…I asked him who he dated last and how it ended.

And he looked a little embarrassed and said that between his anxiety and social awkwardness and general nerdiness, he kind of never got around to dating anyone.  Ever.  

This changes the whole way I’d been thinking about our interactions, and brings up a whoooole lot of questions:

-Is he unfazed by the fact that I’m just coming off a breakup because he has no idea what that headspace is like?  (I’d been assuming he knew the risks and pitfalls of dating someone who might very well be in a reboundy place, but chose to go ahead anyway…but maybe not!)

-Does he even genuinely like me or is he just overwhelmed by the fact that a woman has declared an interest in him?  (Okay, I know I have at least a couple of traits that he likes.  But I’m still paranoid.)

Does he think we’re “serious” – because he has no basis for comparison – and that’s why  he wanted me to meet his friends and parents?

-Or, were his parents and friends the ones who initiated these meeting plans because OMG THE DOLL FINALLY FOUND A GIRL AT 37 WE TOTALLY HAVE TO INVESTIGATE ?

-Is The Doll so delightfully unpushy about sex because he’s awesome, or because he’s a terrified virgin*?

-Could it be that he’s only submissive because women weren’t interested in him when he was just regular-nice, so he upped the ante?  (This question is so not fair to him but I’m thinking it nonetheless.)

-Is he going to get unduly attached to me simply because I’m the first woman who’s shown an interest in him?

-If he is in fact a virgin and I have sex with him, am I gonna imprint on him like he’s a little baby duckling?

-Oh dear god how the fuck can we navigate a poly relationship when he’s never even had a regular one?  Is that too much stuff to pile onto a beginner?  Do I need to either be monogamous with him for a while or bail entirely?  (I don’t want to do either of those things…)

The Doll’s revelation also brings up one or two epiphanies, like:

-Ohhhhhhh.  Now I know why he becomes palpably awkward every time I bring up my art modelling career (and once when I mentioned that I still have tan lines on my chest from a sunburn all the way back in May): he quite likely hasn’t seen a lot of naked ladies, and realizing that am sometimes a naked lady must have flustered him a bit (he’s getting better, though).

-Ohhhhhhh.  Now I know why he bought me gifts way sooner than I feel is “normal” in a dating scenario – he doesn’t really know how to conduct a dating relationship because he’s never had one.

-Ohhhhhhh.  Now I know why he seems so mushy and attached to me even though our dates have lots of awkward silences and we struggle to find things to talk about – he has no idea it’s possible for a date to go better than this**.  I am literally the best romantic companion he’s ever had, by default.

So yeah.  I feel like I’m really out of my depth here.  The Doll is very smart and seems self-aware, but…he has no relationship experience.  None.  At all.  And that’s gonna have to affect things at some point, right?

Dammit.  I was so happy when The Doll told me about conquering his anxiety and anger issues.  I was thinking “Yay!  I’m tired of being the more emotionally ‘together’ one, forever trying to coach my partner and pull him up to my level.  I am totally ready to date someone who’s a step above for a change.”  But I guess The Doll isn’t a step above.  Or at least, he’ll end up coaching me through my anxiety shit and I’ll end up coaching him through the basics of relationship maintenance and it’ll all even out…but I’m really not sure I want to be anyone’s coach.

I’m trying to think why the universe sent me an inexperienced boy (there’s a reason.  There’s always a reason).  Ummmm I guess as much as I want to be nonmonogamous from now on, I’m pretty afraid of it…I worry that if I’m poly with someone from the getgo (vs. after we’re totally in love and I feel confident that our relationship will be the strongest one) he’ll easily be seduced away by someone else.  The Doll’s inexperience makes him more likely to glom onto me and less likely to have the balls to ask out anyone else.  Or, maybe it’s the fact that I’m kind of terrified of having sex with someone new…I need someone who’ll back the fuck up and let me take things at my own pace, which The Doll has been doing quite nicely – possibly because he’s terrified of having sex, too (is he a virgin?  I so totally have to ask at some point…).

I dunno.  It’s late and I’m rapidly becoming too tired to think coherently.  I’ll have to mull this over some other time.

I’ll say this, though: being first/corrupting the innocent used to be a huge turn-on for me – to the point where I’d seek out potential hookups by going to the Craigslist personals and searching for ads containing the word “virgin”.  I’ve since gotten over that…mostly***.  But the idea that The Doll may have been pent up for all of his 37 years is pretty hot.  Part of me loves the idea of claiming his virginity (if indeed it’s there to be claimed).  Part of me also loves the idea that if I take charge in bed, it’s because my superior experience level qualifies me to lead – not because he’s “letting me” be in charge.  But there are also a whole bunch of reasons why his lack of dating experience and (possible) virginity scare the fuck out of me.

Anyone have any thoughts/ideas/relevant experiences to share?


*Never having dated anyone doesn’t mean he’s definitely a virgin, of course.  But it does mean that the probability of it is higher.

**Mind you, I do know that it’s possible to have dates with no awkward silences and yet I’m sticking this out anyway.  I really like the making out, and I think The Doll is really cute and sweet, and I’m hoping the moments of weirdness will go away eventually.

***I figured out that my real kink was “boys who are absurdly grateful to have fucked me” and although you’d think virgins would be the best source of that validation, they aren’t always.


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10 responses to “PLOT TWIST!

  1. He’s mentioned a lot of play though – I remember you saying in an earlier post that he’d given blow jobs – so he’s probably not a virgin. More likely he’s just never made it out of casual / play party territory with someone. Definitely worth asking him some more about it, though or the guessing might drive you crazy!

    Might also be that he wanted to make sure he was in the right head space before dating, and conquered his anxiety issues first, which would be commendable.

  2. De-lurking here. When I was 26, I was a virgin who’d never been in a relationship who started dating a poly person. Few to none of your fears about the Doll would have been true of me. Virgins can be adult, emotionally mature people – not baby ducklings who imprint. My partner ended up falling for me way faster than I fell for him (although I did eventually fall in love.) And we live in a culture that talks about romantic relationships all the freaking time. It’s easy enough to pick up norms like when you introduce parents. Maybe the Doll is just the kind of person who likes the people he likes to like each other.

    There *was* a certain amount that experience changed me. Getting to have regular (as opposed to casual, only once or twice with the same person) sex helped me to understand my own desires more, though they didn’t change their fundamental nature. And learning what it was like to go through heartache and jealousy made me more sympathetic to other people having those issues. I’m not saying that inexperience won’t make him different. Just not to the degree you fear.

    re: Poly being too much for a newbie – Poly can be hard for anyone. In some ways it can be harder for someone with years and years of monogamous experience under their belt. It’s up to him to say whether he feels overwhelmed by it. I know I would have been furious if I’d been told the relationship was off because I wasn’t ready to handle it.

    The only fear there that really speaks to me is:
    “Is he going to get unduly attached to me simply because I’m the first woman who’s shown an interest in him?”

    The main reason I’d never had a SO at 26 was social anxiety. When I met someone then, I did force myself to push through the anxiety in part by reminding myself that it was “about time” I had a relationship. But I never would have done that work for someone I wasn’t truly, wildly attracted to.

    In the end, my SO and I dated for a year and a half before I broke up with him due to other incompatibilities (where to live, whether to have kids). We’re still friends. Neither of us regret the relationship.

    That’s my anecdata.

    • That was SO HELPFUL. Thank you!!!

      I do agree that it would be insulting to tell him “you can’t handle this relationship.” He’s an adult and I need to treat him as one. It’s hard not to second-guess him, though, especially since my previous partner turned out to be SO much less of an adult than he initially led me to believe.

  3. Juuuuulia

    I think all those questions you jotted down are stuff you should actually ask him. Just the way they’re written! You also might have to do some lengthy explaining of the break-up headspace because, you’re right, it’s really not something people can relate to without going through it themselves.

    • I really don’t think there’s any way I could bring myself to ask him most of that stuff – at least not without sugar-coating it a whole lot!

      I may try to explain about the breakup headspace. Or, maybe I won’t, because there seems to be no need – he’s not crowding me or demanding the title of “boyfriend” or anything, and I’m self-aware enough to have some idea how to process my breakup in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with The Doll (I mean I might occasionally postpone an outing because I’m going through some stuff, but when we’re together I keep my emotions on an even keel and don’t fall into the trap of talking constantly about Minx).

  4. Andy

    I agree with what everyone else said. I also want to add two things:
    1) Relationships can teach you good things, but they can also teach you bad things or scar you. You’ve talked about the “lessons” your ex and Minx taught you which were flat out wrong (e.g., your ex teaching you to reconfigure yourself to accommodate every annoying aspect of your next partner). Fortunately, you’ve seen these bad lessons for what they are, but there’s no guarantee that everyone who’s been in a bad relationship will recognize all the wrong things they’ve been taught. If you wouldn’t have reservations about dating someone who’d been in a *bad* relationship, I don’t see why to have reservations about dating someone who’s been in *no* relationship. That said…

    2) I am biased because I’m 26 and have never been in a traditional relationship. But “never having been in a traditional relationship” as a someone in 2012 who hangs out in a queer, kinky, poly crowd is very different from “never having been in a traditional relationship” in 1960 or even in mainstream culture. I’ve seen *plenty* of naked ladies (and men); I’ve had various sexual experiences–and I could have had more if I chose. And I’ve had various non-dating friendship relationships which were intense and important and close enough to involved a lot of the work that relationships do, in terms of defining boundaries and working out compromises, etc. etc.

    It’s possible The Doll is doing things like bringing you gifts too soon and being-all-mushy-despite-silences because he’s clueless, but it could just be a good old case of him liking you more than you like him 🙂

    Oh, and a random P.S. As a bottom, the pressure that comes from the awkwardness of silences can sometimes transmute itself into a scary-good thing. I don’t quite know how to explain that, but I’m just saying, don’t think silences are the end of the world.

    • Oh, I’d totally have reservations about dating someone who’s been in a bad relationship. That’s the whole reason why I started asking The Doll about his dating history – to see if there are any red flags!

      But you’re right…he’s a blank slate. I can write all over him. MUAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!! 😀

      And he hangs out in kinky spaces, too – at least some of the time. And has performed fellatio and drunk urine during D/s play. I…probably shouldn’t lump him in with the traditional/mainstream boys when I’m figuring out what he’d be like to date. 😛

      I’m going to pretend that awkward silences turn him on. That way I’ll feel like less of a failure as a conversationalist, and more of a master of tease and denial.

  5. Also delurking to say: as another someone with a poly first relationship – I don’t think it’s accurate to say that poly is ‘more stuff’ than a monogamous relationship. It’s just two different paradigms. Like, say, having a regular 9-5 job and being a freelancer with your own schedule are different paradigms. It can be hard to go from one to the other. If you’re suited to one but not the other, the other is likely to go badly for you. If all of society treats one as normal and expected, and the other as abnormal and ‘when are you going to get serious’, that can be hard to deal with. But, they each involve both problems and good things that the other does not – just different ones.

    • I guess I think of poly as “more stuff” because it requires a level of communication and negotiation that mono people can often avoid dealing with. Aside from that, though…yeah, it really is just two different paradigms, each with its own set of challenges. And for all I know, The Doll could be well-suited for polyamory. Certainly he hangs with a kinky/queer/poly crowd at times, so he knows that polyamory exists and has maybe even seen it in practice, which gives him an advantage over most dudes.

      Thank you for delurking. 🙂

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