In a comment on my last post, Aethel said this about her current relationship:
“I really want to strangle his old doms whenever I think of them. I have had to undo the fears, almost expectations, of abuse that previous partners left behind”
Yeep. That sounds terrible, and I’m really glad that he has you to create that safe space for him.
I actually expect (though I haven’t asked) that my First’s partners after me had to deal with a lot of that same thing. Because of his misunderstanding and the terrible hurt and mistrust it caused, I have no doubt that he cursed my name for what was done to him, and that his partners cursed my name also for doing that to him (even though I never did that to him!).
I keep thinking about this in different ways, and have to work hard not to get defensive. Parsing out the mistakes I made from the perception he had is difficult. The betrayal-that-wasn’t coloured *everything* for him, both at the time and in hindsight for all of these years, so any light and brightness that we had was tainted, seen through a shroud of bitter ash.
I’m aware that he is mentally and emotionally rewriting our history in his own head (or has already), as am I, and that means the ground isn’t solid, it’s a shifting landscape for both of us. His memories moving from the bleak into the sunlight, mine wavering in a haze of confusion on the horizon.
I think all of this is a good thing and we will end up with a relatively common understanding of it all. I actually think I am struggling with it more than he is: the epiphany that his greatest hurt was a misunderstanding has cleared the majority of the way for him to let it go and move on. That bit is relatively simple and understandable.
My confusion arises from the fact that I never noticed anything was wrong and my fear is from the knowledge that he never felt safe enough to talk to me about it. Revising history is hard. Especially when you have a poor memory, like I have. I tried to find my old writing this morning to see if there were any insights there that I missed or ignored, but I can’t locate it. Frustrating.
I wonder how different our relationship might have been if the truth had come out then (very, I’m sure). And I wonder how much of my feeling that we weren’t really a good fit was due to the hurt and anger that might have influenced his behaviour. That is, he was in a relationship where he was harbouring hurt and betrayal and mistrust, and I was in a relationship that just didn’t feel right. Of course it makes sense that the two things were related.
I never felt loved by him, even though he said the words to me. By the time we got together, I *knew* what ‘being loved’ felt like. And this wasn’t it. I think it was part of the reason that I never took him seriously: He said the words, but his actions didn’t feel like love to me. At the time, I thought that he didn’t really know what love was, didn’t know what it looked like or felt like. Now I wonder if he was afraid to let go, to show love, because he was doing his best to protect himself from me.
I need to find my old writings.