He believed…

When we were together long ago, in the distant past, he believed that I had betrayed him.

Not just ‘betrayed’, but ‘BETRAYED’ in all caps with a bright neon red, sharp and harsh, and so ugly it can barely be looked at head-on.

That betrayal impacted him deeply, coloured all of his relationships since me with a murky grey cloak of fear and self protection. Years of it.

He got over it, of course, put it behind him, carried on. Lived and loved and worked at avoiding the potential for that sort of hurt ever again. That meant putting away some pieces of himself, and keeping away from women like me.

I knew none of this. Not an inkling.

After our relationship ended, our separate lives went on, we lost touch.

Recently he contacted me. We talked.

Between that post and this one, he brought up the betrayal: the pain, the bitterness, the anger, even hatred that my betrayal had caused him as a young man. There was no blame in it. He laid it out as a mature man looking back at his history and laying some of it at my feet, to shed light on it. Although it seemed like an ancient artefact, the remnants of all of those awful feelings were clear: Ragged, chewed up, spat out, hardly recognisable, but still being afforded breath there in the back of his mind. Or somewhere in his heart. Wherever these harsh experiences of life continue to live long after they are past.

The thing is: the betrayal never happened.

It was a misunderstanding, an unfortunate happenstance, easily cleared up in a single email. I wrote that email immediately in reply, banging it out in a kind of head-spun disbelief that he had believed such a thing to be true.

Both of us reeling that this lie had festered as a truth in his mind for years. His shock to discover that this thing that had caused him such terrible pain had never actually existed. My shock that he had carried such a hurtful untruth around with him for so many years and I never knew.

The truth came out easily, but unravelling the consequences has been a little more complex. I have been almost morbidly curious to understand the impact of learning the truth for him: it is a kind of rewriting of history because of the way it coloured his view of me, of the relationship, of his place in it. I can’t imagine it, really, and I think he has handled it with much more grace and maturity than I would have.

He has shared snippets of where it has taken him, glimpses which I find fascinating and for which I am grateful. He sees a kind of rueful humour in it, skipped past the what-ifs, and moved on to a sense of relief at being able to let those tattered negativities go into the ether. It is closure of the kind you hear about.

As for me, I have apologised profusely for his hurt, but what I am *really* apologising for is the fact that I created a relationship where my young submissive didn’t feel safe enough to come to me at the time and ask “What’s this?” so that the misunderstanding could have been avoided in the first place.

For that, I’m deeply sorry.

___

I’m going to pre-emptively ask commenters to please not play the ‘blame game’ here. I expect my regular readers wouldn’t dream of going there, but I’ve seen too much of it lately and I want to give fair warning that I won’t hear a word of it.

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32 Comments

  1. We can only ever see through our own eyes, and it’s all too easy to misconstrue another’s actions. What Happened, and one’s *interpretation* of What Happened, are often two vastly different things. Getting to The Truth Of The Matter is a long and exhaustive process. Because “truth” – especially in relationships – is subjective.

    If only it were easier…

    But nothing worth doing is ever easy, is it?

    These posts strike a chord with me. One that is atonal, perhaps. And little too flat to be in tune. But it’s a chord I recognize, and this melody you are humming is all to familiar.

    It is the kind of closure you hear about.

    I envy you that.^

    1. “We can only ever see through our own eyes, and it’s all too easy to misconstrue another’s actions. What Happened, and one’s *interpretation* of What Happened, are often two vastly different things. “

      This is so true. And it is rare that a situation is as cut and dried as this one was.

      I expect if we share more, other more muddied waters will be stirred up. This one was by far the deepest cut, and also the most easily healed because the truth was a simple fact that just needed to come to light.

      Mostly that’s not the the case and the ‘he said/she said’ will never lead to a nice clean resolution.

      And sometimes, if it’s messy and long past, leaving well enough alone isn’t a bad idea either.

      If you are going through something similar yourself at the moment, I hope it goes well for you and you (both/all) get what you need out of it.

      Ferns

  2. I have found in my life that there are some people in our lives that the universe brings back for closure. That somehow that comes full circle to bring the understanding and healing for all involved. How blessed you both are that this was one of those times.

    ~ Vista

  3. Oh the stories we tell ourselves to fill in the blanks. We humans seem never satisfied waiting to find out the real story. Especially when our emotions get involved.

    So we tell ourselves a story, get angry, and it can take a lot to pull ourselves back and recognize that our self told story is not the only story that could be true.

    This is a great example of why being able to have a dialogue is so valuable. Especially when the stakes and emotions are high.

    That must have been a melancholy feeling of relief for you after all those years…

    1. It’s so true about the stories we tell ourselves, and the reasons we do it are legion.

      “That must have been a melancholy feeling of relief for you after all those years…”

      No, if you think that, you misunderstood. I was completely clueless about any of it until he brought it up with me in the last couple of weeks, so there was nothing for me to be relieved about.

      I was happy enough in my own little memory-bubble of ‘how we were’ (*my* self-told story…), so from my side, the shock has been to discover that we weren’t at all on the same page. Not even close.

      Ferns

  4. I’m sorry that misunderstanding was out there for all that time, but I’m glad you were able to clear it up so easily once you found out.

    1. Oh, me too.

      I’m imagining the horrible light he painted me with when he subsequently talked about his history with new partners.

      I hope I never meet any of them. I might get punched in the face :P.

      Ferns

  5. None of us are the person we think we are in the eyes of another.

    The best we can do is to try and understand who we are for another, especially if we have cared about them or impacted on their life.

    Sometimes life is a journey of wonder and fulfilment. Sometimes, though, it’s finding out that you were an arse and that you hurt someone.

    And it takes some work to handle that, assuming you’re inclined to care and wish to make amends, of course.

    I think that tackling this head on, and honestly, is worthy of respect. It’s hard to say that you hurt someone, and harder still to say you hurt someone you cared about.

    Yet we all have, at some point, I feel.

    1. “None of us are the person we think we are in the eyes of another.”

      This is so very true. SO true.

      Funnily, I’ve often thought that people in my life have believed that I was a better person than I really am. It’s never really occurred to me that some might think I was *so much worse* than I really am.

      Ferns

  6. That must have been the most incredibly disorienting experience.

    As for me, I have apologised profusely for his hurt, but what I am *really* apologising for is the fact that I created a relationship where my young submissive didn’t feel safe enough to come to me at the time and ask “What’s this?” so that the misunderstanding could have been avoided in the first place.

    That’s actually one of my biggest fears as a dom, that I might inadvertently create the sort of relationship where my sub didn’t feel comfortable coming to me with a problem. I really feel for both of you, that just sucks all around.

    1. “That’s actually one of my biggest fears as a dom, that I might inadvertently create the sort of relationship where my sub didn’t feel comfortable coming to me with a problem.”

      I think this is something I still need to work on, even in relationships that I think are running really well.

      The line between ‘Oh FFS, suck it up’ and ‘I want to know: tell me’ is not one I draw as clearly as I would like, which is why I need someone fearless who will broach things with me regardless.

      I also don’t think I’m particularly approachable for the really hard things. I *like* to think I am, but I know that I am capable of being (inadvertently) scary as fuck, and my reserve often comes across in a way that is ‘closed’ if you know what I mean.

      That wasn’t a great relationship in many ways, not least because I was a newbie Domme and uber stompy with it, but I NEVER imagined that it was was so bad that he a) could believe me capable of such betrayal or b) could believe something terrible and not say a word. Goes to show how unaware I really was.

      Ferns

  7. For that, I’m deeply sorry.

    You aren’t perfect. Communication breakdowns happen in relationships. I think it was really admirable that you took the time to answer his questions despite the relationship being over. Because the only thing worse then a particular negative feeling is not having any closure for it.

    I am sorry things went bad and he thought that you betrayed him. I am glad though that you are both still close enough you could hash it out together.

    Respectfully,
    Mysticlez

    1. Thank you.

      It never occurred to me not to answer (though he was quite clear that he was prepared for me not to discuss it with him), but I shot that explanatory email off to him so fast, I nearly burned my fingertips off *laugh*.

      I’ve recently asked him for some *happy* memories of our relationship to see if he actually has some now that the veil of horribleness that covered everything in bitter ash has been lifted. I really hope he does.

      Ferns

      1. I came back to this because I am curious now. Did he respond back with some good memories? If so what was it like for you to read them?

        Respectfully,
        Mysticlez

        1. He came back with some moments that he said weren’t necessarily happy but that ‘burned bright in his mind’. I think the terrible-badness clouded everything and even erased a lot of the good memories for him.

          He remembers intensity more than happiness, though as we’ve talked, I think it’s become more balanced.

          In the end, you forget the detail and just remember how someone made you feel.

          Ferns

        2. It’s interesting, which snippets of memory you retain after 18 years.

          I remember very few of the words said, much beyond some of her personal catch phrases of the time. But I remember the sound of her voice so clearly. Her eyes I will never forget, her hair, nor the shape of her mouth.

          Of late there’s a memory that’s resurfaced, as part of the slow but enjoyable process of getting to know Ferns again. I remember my arms around her, holding her close, wanting to keep her safe, the warmth of her body against mine. This isn’t a sexual or kink related memory. I’m simply remembering my friend.

          It’s the happiest memory to come back so far.

        3. @My First: It’s SO interesting what remains.

          I remember some key moments (good, bad, weird, funny), but even most of those are fuzzy.

          For example, I remember you serving at a dinner we had for my lesbian friends. I can’t remember if you cooked as well. I also have no recollection of how it came about, what I said to my friends about it, what you wore, or how it went (though I have a niggling memory of the fact that you were really nervous about it, and I did a lot of reassuring). All of the detail of that is gone.

          That’s such a sweet memory that you recall *smile*. It’s lovely for me to hear that some of the sweetness is slipping back in.

          Ferns

  8. “He sees a kind of rueful humour in it now”

    Honestly, that’s an understatement :)

    It was 18 years ago, and many of my memories of my time with you are still so vivid, good and bad. I remember the moment I discovered the ‘betrayal’… I can play back that video in my mind in excruciating detail.

    It hurt me. It changed me. It made it difficult for me to trust women again for a long time. And for a while, I hated you, yet all the while longing for you as much as I ever did. I hated myself for feeling that way.

    And then time went by. I had new experiences in life. I grew and I learned many new lessons. In time I began to realise just how complex life and relationships can be, and that I was far from a perfect person myself. So finally the day came when I realised that I forgave you. My time with you helped define me, and there was plenty about myself that I liked.

    So a few months ago I made contact with you for the first time since 1999, and immediately rediscovered my love of simply conversing with you. I remembered your eloquence, your ability to draw me in with your words alone. You were, after all, the first woman to make me discover my sapiosexuality.

    It took a little courage to bring up the ‘betrayal’, but I really needed closure – the wound had never fully healed, and I simply wanted to understand that chapter from my past.

    And closure I got, just not the sort I expected! Rueful humour? I literally burst out laughing. It’s difficult to express the feeling of realising that the greatest hurt that was ever done to you, that shaped you, that scarred you, that made you deny the submissive side of yourself for nearly two decades, had never actually happened. It was like my timeline unravelled, the hurts were erased, and I was suddenly 25 again with my eyes blinking in wonderment. I felt embarrassed and stupid, yet renewed; I felt the scar tissue melt away.

    Since then, I’ve been able to focus more strongly on the good memories of our time together, and reawaken some of my forgotten kink interests. Now I can look back at my past and laugh, and look forward to my future with a devious smile on my face.

    1. You told me recently that it happened at the beginning of our relationship: that hadn’t been clear to me.

      How you lived with that anger/hurt/hate in parallel with longing/love in the time that followed, and how I blithely carried on without noticing a thing is unfathomable to me. Shocking.

      “It took a little courage to bring up the ‘betrayal’, but I really needed closure”

      I’m so pleased a) that you got in touch and b) that you raised it with me. I’m sure it wasn’t easy.

      “And closure I got, just not the sort I expected! Rueful humour? I literally burst out laughing.

      *laugh* I’m trying to imagine what your face must have looked like as you read my email.

      “It’s difficult to express the feeling of realising that the greatest hurt that was ever done to you, that shaped you, that scarred you, that made you deny the submissive side of yourself for nearly two decades, had never actually happened.”

      I can’t imagine it. It absolutely blows my mind.

      “Since then, I’ve been able to focus more strongly on the good memories of our time together, and reawaken some of my forgotten kink interests.”

      I’m so glad. Thank you so much for sharing all of this so openly here, and I’m really pleased about that devious smile.

      Ferns

  9. I would have blamed you both and banged your heads together. But you knew that right ? (That’s about as close as I get to playing the blame game ) It’s nice to see you kids playing nice now then though, it’s rather sweet. That or I’m still squiffy from New Year
    Coug

  10. I’m sure I’ve been on both sides of hurtful misunderstandings in my lifetime. I love this story, and appreciate you sharing it. It says a lot about you that this entire kerffuffle mattered a hill of beans to you after so long! Clearly (to my thinkng) had you been the a***ole he thought you were, you would’ve dismissed the whole encounter as just an awkward meeting with a loser you once knew.

    People matter to you at a deep level. I can’t tell you how widespread is the mistaken impression that dom/mes are cold, uncaring pathological narcissists, and this is all just casual amusement for them. Well not the really good ones, that’s for sure!

    When I see a really gifted dom/me, I know it by how hot the tender moments are that sneak into even the roughest scenes. You’re a credit to the species! <3 xxooxx!

    1. Thank you for the kind words *smile*.

      I do know that the ‘icy bitch queen’ stereotype is pervasive: such a pity. I think it’s exacerbated hugely by pro-Dommes and findoms whose marketing is exactly that (and if there wasn’t a market for it, they wouldn’t do it, so it DOES appeal to many submissive fantasies).

      The main issue is that there is not enough public representation of loving Dommes. I’d say we are the majority, but since we don’t advertise ourselves or actively seek publicity, we are largely a silent majority.

      Oh look, I’m in danger of ranting. Ha!

      All that to say (again), thank you.

      Ferns

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