Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How Do You Know?

Last night, I had a mini crisis of the soul for about an hour.  It really shook me up and made me think all these deep thoughts.  I hope I can adequately capture what I want to in this post.  As most of you know, I'm sure, Holly and I are on a break from seeing each other regularly.  It was also supposed to be a break from talking/emailing regularly too, but, since both she and I suck at taking breaks from each other, we've already broken the rules many times over the past few weeks.  We even managed to sneak in an all-too-brief (but hot) meeting at her office one day last week.

So anyway, we're on this break and my wife has also been on an extended business trip out of town.  Thus, I have found myself with lots of free time on my hands.  As you may also know, Holly and I have discussed the possibility of having an "open" relationship where it's ok for us to sometimes have sex with other people.  Thus far, I'm the only one to partake in that particular extracurricular activity and, frankly, it's caused a little bit of discord in my relationship with Holly.  To date, the open issue has really been our only stumbling block and, consequently, hasn't been something that either of us has exactly been excited to discuss like we probably should have.  Before this most recent break though, we did finally talk about it more and it felt really good.  But, as you might guess, it's a complicated issue that certainly requires more than one or two conversations to successfully navigate.  With all this alone time, my mind has wandered a bit.  And, the fact is, I have met up with my couple friends, Alan and Annie, too.

When we started this most recent break, Holly told me that I should feel free to "do what I need to do" with regard to seeing other women.  I think she was essentially giving me permission not to feel guilty or conflicted about it.  And yet, I do.  I think she was also basically saying that I shouldn't feel the need to tell her about any encounters with other women.  But, not telling her just doesn't feel right.  I had the opportunity to see Annie again last night and I considered it, I really did.  I struggled with it all afternoon and put off giving her an answer on whether or not I could make it last night.  In the end, I told her that it just wasn't a good night for me.  It felt good and I definitely had a sense of relief and peace about it.  Right after that, I sent Holly an email to tell her about it and to let her know that I was struggling with these urges that I sometimes get.  As I got to the end of the email, I wrote about how much I love her and how being honest with her feels so good to me.  I was choked up and had tears in my eyes as I hit the 'Send' button.

And then, I really lost it.  I got up from the computer and went into my kitchen and just sort of became overwhelmed.  I had this big ball of emotions swirling in me and it came out in a torrent of tears and some sort of anxiety attack, I think.  Now, I know Holly well enough by now that I didn't truly expect her reply to be, "Fuck off and don't call me again" but I think there was a tiny piece of me that was worried about how she might take that email.  She actually replied fairly quickly and reassured me that she wasn't upset about anything I'd written.  I felt a huge sense of relief, of course, but the tears didn't stop.  I had all sorts of crazy thoughts running through me.

I started to write more on the subject here: Thoughts on Open Relationships - Part I and have worked on a "Part II" to that post a few times but haven't gotten around to finishing it (spoiler alert - Part II is a bit long-winded and rambling).  As Holly knows, I struggle with this issue mightily.  I do desire other women sometimes and, while Holly thinks about other men, she hasn't acted on her desire yet.  She tells me that she isn't really interested in acting on it now.  Of course, my ego absolutely loves hearing that - I love thinking that I'm totally satisfying her in every way (even if I don't believe that it's possible to do so over the course of years and years in a relationship).  So, the situation feels unbalanced to me and, as a result, I have been searching my soul and racking my brain to understand myself better.  Why do I desire other women?  What does it mean? 

I think, at the end of the day, it all comes down to this one terrifying thought for me: Does my desire for other women mean that I don't really love Holly?

In the bright light of day, I really don't think that's what it means, but I am obviously carrying around a LOT of baggage on this issue.  I suppose I've just had it pounded into my head so hard my whole life - this idea that true love means that you don't even think about other women, that I have bought into it on some level.  Perhaps that notion is so deeply imbedded in my psyche that it's messing with my head.  And, apparently, my emotions.

So, how do you know that you're in love with someone? I mean, you can't really produce any empirical evidence to prove it, now can you?  By the same token though, how can you prove that you're angry or sad or grieving.  I mean, I can say, without a shred of doubt that I know when I'm angry about something.  No one asks me: "Are ya sure you're really pissed off?"  So, why should love be any different?  The answer is that it shouldn't.  Society (and Hollywood) fills our heads with all this crap about "true" love and being "in love" and being "sure".  It's maddening, sometimes.  I can say without a shred of doubt that what I feel for Holly is, in fact, love.  Real love, whatever that means.  The best kind of love I can think of or hope for.  The best, most intense love that I have ever felt.

So there.  Fuck you, self-doubt.  Fuck you, Hollywood.

Just because I'm lusting after some hot woman in a porn video who's got a great ass and big, beautiful breasts, it doesn't mean that I don't also love Holly.  And I know she sometimes lusts after other men but it doesn't give me pause for one second that she doesn't really love me.  Yes, I realize that there is a difference between jerking off to a woman gyrating on my computer screen and actually having sex with another woman, but, for me, honestly, the feeling afterward - the net result - is about the same.  I like Annie - she's smart and sexy and fun to talk to - but once we're "done", that's it.  Just like when I watch porn on my computer, I have my orgasm and then I get dressed and I am on my way.  It's a totally different feeling with Holly.  There is a deep emotional bond that exists between us that I haven't ever found with anyone else.

I woke up this morning defiant (can ya tell?).  I know that writing like this helps me sort out my emotions and makes me feel better.  And I do.  But, more important than anything else - everything else - is that I woke up this morning more certain than ever that I am madly in love with a wonderful, thoughtful, smart, sexy, sweet, and beautiful redhead.

You're the best, babe.  Really.

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