The cub

He is young and reckless. A gambolling curious and sensitive kitten. Also a clumsy puppy who wiggles and wags and runs headlong into the furniture. Despite his outward playfulness, inside he is wounded and fearful, but he can be coaxed out of hiding to roll over and present his soft underbelly over and again. Smart, articulate, and frighteningly perceptive, he bounced into my corner of the internet some three months ago with his devastating vulnerability and got all up in my face.

He is nowhere near me, of course, as is always the way, but he made Plans, capital P Plans, because I refused to go forward without them.

They fell apart, those plans.

He has broken my heart already. Not in a ‘sobbing on the floor’ kind of emotionally-stricken way. In an ‘I can’t with this’ kind of way, with lies that make me suspicious of everything he has ever told me, or tells me, or will ever tell me. Once you discover that there are lies, everything you think you know becomes suspect.

In amongst all the mistrust, though, there is a small piece untouched: I trust his heart. Which sounds ridiculous really, but it is raw and open and damaged and he lays it at my feet like a sacrifice.

“It’s yours,” he says, full of intensity and love.

It is unfair, so unfair, that he should do that. That he should betray my trust and then put me in a position where his vulnerability is mine to do with as I please.

After the anger and the sadness and the realisation that it wasn’t going to happen, after I raged at him, at myself, at the stupidity, I found myself worried for him. For HIS hurt. For HIS pain. I mean What. The. Everloving. Fuck?!!

And I’ve wanted to write about it, but I’ve been stuck with what to write and how to write it.

I don’t know what to do with this, if I’m honest.

We talked in the aftermath of his potential-killing lies, though my instinct was to cut him loose. And if anyone had asked me what I would do if someone lied to me, I’d say “I’d cut him off, WTF sort of question is that?!”

I felt something with him that I haven’t felt in a long long time, I reached for it, I really wanted it. And if I think about how it played out, I get angry all over again that he fucked it up. HE FUCKED IT UP. It makes me so mad.

*sigh*

So now we are in this strange place. I told him that I was done, that it wasn’t happening, that he’d irrevocably broken the potential. He understands.

And still, against my better judgement, I like him, I mean, I really LIKE him. I am tender and protective towards him, have a level of care that colours everything, I want him to be whole, healed, happy. I feel that connection, you know the one… the one I never feel? Yeah, that. And I kind of hate myself for it. How can I have the feels for someone I don’t trust? I didn’t even know it was possible. Last time a potential submissive lied to me, I cut him off so fast his head must have spun. This time… the anger dissipated quickly, disappointment was left behind, the connection not intact, but still there.

Not knowing what to do exactly but unwilling to let him go in the face of his stunning imperfections, I have brought him inside a fragile bubble with me. Inside the bubble the world is light and full of rainbows and pretty colours, unicorns and fairies. Inside the bubble, we talk all day, we have occasional phone calls, we flirt, we joke, we exchange ideas, we talk about anything and everything, I share much with him, we pretend everything is beautiful. We are growing an intimacy built on affection and denial.

Outside of the bubble is an apocalyptic world, dark and toxic, thunder and electric flashes split the sky, the air is clouded with poisonous gas, everything is bleak, stained and broken. Every time I peek out to see if it’s cleared some, I feel it thick with ugliness, and I step back inside and pretend I never looked.

He still holds out a little glimmer of hope. I see it shining sometimes, all optimistic and catching the light. Inside the bubble, I can pretend I see it also in those sweet moments, as long as I don’t set foot outside.

It is unhealthy, it is not the best thing, not for me, and certainly not for him. I will step back out into the dating world again, sooner or later, when I have the energy and the will. And with nowhere to take this, we will eventually be set adrift. I know he won’t deal well with it, he knows it too, and still he reaches for more even though he knows that more will make it worse.

I feel like I should end this before I have to stab us both in the heart. Even as I write that it strikes me again that it’s so very odd that I am the protector here even though I was the one who was betrayed and am, by all definitions, the injured party. I don’t really know how that happened.

He runs at it, though, the heartbreak he knows is coming. Even if I stab him in the heart, he will fall and remain there at my feet, a flash of hurt, a spike of anger, and then he will swear that he is fine, no really, he’s fine. He will take whatever I offer for as long as I offer it and maybe even after that. A grown man can make his own choices, of course, it is patronising to think otherwise. But he is still only a cub, and I feel like I should protect him. I am doing a rubbish job of it.

In the meantime, inside the bubble, I put him to bed every night with petting and sweetness, I call him ‘my lovely’, and he rests easy there, curled up against the curve of my neck, all sleepy-warm and purring. And I wake to his bouncy enthusiasm every morning, and every morning it makes me smile.

I don’t know what I’m doing here. But now you know where I have been.

“And I wanted it, I wanted it bad
But there were so many red flags
Now another one bites the dust
Yeah, let’s be clear, I’ll trust no one”

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53 Comments

  1. Maybe it’s time for a true second chance? We were young once and made stupid mistakes and hopefully not held accountable and hurt by every single one. This connection you describe is not one I’ve seen you share in real time before. Granted, I’ve not been following you as long as some, but there’s something there bubbling underneath your words. Without knowing the full story, maybe it’s time to throw caution to the wind just a bit, give him another chance, give yourself another chance.

    Or maybe it’s the giant margaritas talking.

    NDG xx

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

      *smile* Perhaps he has already had his second chance. Or perhaps his third.

      At some point, everything becomes suspect and then you either abandon it or you have to do so much work to dig the truth out from under that even the thought of it is exhausting.

      I have chosen the much-less-common ‘put him in a bubble’ route. That way I get all of the sweetness and don’t have to deal with any of the rest. Unsustainable, obviously. More a delaying tactic than a solution. So at some point he and I both have to make a decision on what to do about that.

      Ferns

  2. It isn’t the same situation, of course, but it reads so much of how Eiren must’ve felt when she decided to take me back into her life after my lies.

    Against her better judgement, against her heart of hearts, but she did, and we are better for it… But you aren’t Eiren, and I’m not him, and it just isn’t the same situation…

    But I know how hard it is. I know how hard it is from both sides, because I caused the hurt and the pain & I saw the distrust & hesitation, so much that it’d make her sick how much she loved me regardless of the wrongs.

    *hugs & hugs * It’s hard…

    1. It is so interesting to hear from someone who lied to the woman he loved (and admitted it out loud, which is no small thing, I mean ‘phew’), thank you for your comment.

      I see you as a devoted husband who loves his wife madly, with a sweet and playful D/s dynamic that you both have a lot of fun with. You managed to build a wonderful life despite starting with a lie that you kept going for years: It’s no small thing and your wife is amazing in her capacity to forgive. I’m so happy that it worked out for you both (Berkson’s piece on how it played out with his (now) wife is here, it’s well worth a read).

      Lies are fascinating, really. And I’ve told my share. I’m sure many of us have.

      Most lies are born out of self interest (“I want…”), often sustained and fiercely protected because of fear (of loss, of consequences), but the bottom line is that once you build a house of lies, you’ve made a choice. And it gets harder and harder to come out from under it without destroying everything. It’s like some dark matter that you need to frantically keep spinning or everything will topple over.

      I don’t think most run-of-the-mill liars are evil bad people who wish ill on those that they lie to. There are exceptions, of course, butI think it’s mostly just that they put their own interests above those of the person they are lying to. It’s fundamentally selfish, no matter how you justify it.

      And thank you for the hugs and support *hugs*.

      Ferns

  3. Wow. That was powerful. I really connected with both your pain and his. Reminds me of my own longing for second chances. Some granted, some denied. I hope the pain is both brief and enlightening.

  4. Shit Ferns… At a loss for words here for you this time, and that doesn’t happen to me easily, being at a loss for words.
    I can feel your pain through your words, and i can feel his pain through your descriptions. It’s hard when the connection is there but one party does something to fuck it up. All you have then is that bubble you describe, that bubble where you pretend nothing bad has happened and nothing bad will ever happen. But bubbles do have this tendency to burst from time to time, and i would hate to see that happening to the both of you.
    I hope that your bubble can last a while longer, for both your sakes, and that at a certain point you can either move past the lies and the hurt those lies cost, or, you can find the strength to cut the bond and move on, even though that is going to hurt both of you deeply for a while.
    *hugs*

    1. Bubbles are fragile, yes. Either we choose to burst them, or they just do it in their own time.

      And yes, when the connection is there, everything becomes more complicated. And I feel it SO rarely that when I find it, I hang on with both hands. Mostly that’s a good thing.

      And thank you for the hugs *hugs*.

      Ferns

  5. I don’t know the full story, of course, but I do know that people can learn from their mistakes. I second (or is it third?) the idea of giving him a second chance. Greater risk brings greater reward, sometimes.

  6. GAWD! That video! I love it so much!

    I feel for you my friend about the cub. I have one that is states away from me. Broke my heart back in February after promises of a visit….and undying love. Now he is back trying to win my heart again…I still let him talk…I’m cautious…but the connection… yeah… that one.

    Sometimes it’s like someone comes into your life that feels as if you’ve shared a lifetime with them before. There’s an illogical sense, feeling and protection for them, an understanding of their core that cannot be explain and they feel that too and cannot break away. Sigh….

    I’m no help to you. Just learn more of yourself through it and enjoy the ‘feels’ as long as you need it.

    xxoo ~ Vista

    1. I’m so sorry about your broken heart :(.

      I’m curious, always, about the reasons for the mismatch between words and actions. I assume he balked at stepping up to *actually* get on a plane. Best case, I imagine it was fear (of the reality of it, or of him, not living up to expectations) or worst case, a way to avoid fessing up to *other* lies.

      I keep thinking of Ruby Ryder’s discovery that a man who she was involved with was married with kids. He presented as single, talked glowingly of her, of the future with her, they’d had incredible visits, and then she did some digging. Ugh.

      She called him a sociopath, but honestly, he just seemed like any other run-of-the-mill cheating liar to me: “My encounter with a sociopath”.

      Digression.

      And yes, the connection… rare and elusive and so seductive. I really hope you can sort it out with him in whatever way is best for you. It’s a tough one *hugs*.

      Ferns

  7. Against my better judgement I’m going to be sensible here. . .
    YOU! At the back there STOP sniggering!
    I’ve always believed and allowed that everyone is allowed ONE mistake. Fern’s maybe this one time go with your heart not your head, and see what happens. If he fucks up again then cut him free and stab the heart and kill it dead. I wish I could offer some profounder insight and advice, but I have none only my opinion (Which of course is right) and my hope that it works out, if it doesn’t you know I’ll be there with ice cream, and a flamethrower of course
    Your friend
    Coug

    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Coug.

      My heart put him in the bubble for his own safety, and mine. My head is outside brandishing the fuck-off huge knives being all stabby and looking for a way in.

      Also I had two ice creams yesterday. TWO. I’m practicing for when I really need them. I’d hate to get it wrong after all…

      Ferns

  8. it sounds like you are being manipulated. i think a lot of times we think of manipulators as cold and calculated but some people have a feral instinct for it, using whatever the situation offers to get what they want. in this case he gets your loving attention without putting in the work or integrity required to be a safe partner for you. offering up their vulnerability as a torgan horse to get behind you wall so that they can exploit yours is a common tactic of emotionally toxic people. you didn’t ask for advice but i would say be careful.

    1. I’m not so sure about your Trojan Horse theory.

      Maybe he knows that he cannot get behind those walls and his actions are that of wishful thinking?

      I’m sure he is a clever manipulator, but, can’t one use those powers for good and not evil? Not all manipulations are coated with malicious, insidious intent. Maybe some are from defense mechanisms programmed early on?

      Just maybe

      1. @The Maybe Guy: I think it’s less Trojan Horse and more just laying everything at the foot of the walls right out in the open and seeing what happens. And occasionally slaying dragons and taking a battering ram to the gate.

        I think he knows that while he might dislodge some mortar from the stones in the wall, I have to be the one to remove them.

        Does he hope that laying things down out there will help make that happen? Sure. Is that a kind of manipulation? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not also the truth. And none of it takes anything away from my choices in what to do with that.

        Ferns

    2. @Anonymous: I have no doubt that he manipulates me, we have talked about it (we talk about pretty much everything). And he is really good at it. I’d posit that I’m good at manipulating him also.

      ‘Manipulation’ is *by definition* something negative, so perhaps it’s not the right word for what I mean. I consulted a thesaurus and the closest I can find is ‘manage’ which isn’t quite right.

      I think when someone knows you well, they learn how to get certain responses from you, and I know I am unusual in that I see that mostly as a good thing (“they like that thing, I want them to be happy, imma do that thing for them”). That kind of emotional manipulation is how we kick someone out of a bad mood, how we seduce them, how we motivate them, how we make them feel loved. It sounds cold as soon as you call it ‘manipulation’, but it’s not to me, and I don’t think I’m an outlier when I say that I appreciate that behaviour in someone (though absolutely an outlier in calling it ‘manipulation’, people hate that term, understandably).

      “I feel loved when someone is made happy by pleasing me” is a common enough sentiment. So someone who looks for ways to please me is essentially manipulating me into feeling loved. And if I know that when I show appreciation, he will be happy, I will do that. So I’m essentially manipulating him. And all of it can be honest and true and not as calculated as it seems when you just say the words.

      And you don’t do the same things in the same way with different people because you know it doesn’t work that way for them. So you change how you interact in order to ‘manipulate’ them better.

      Hmmm… apparently I have a lot of thoughts about manipulation. Thank you for your comment.

      And yes, I am aware, and careful.

      Ferns

      1. i’m glad i got the wrong end of the stick and that your ok. you seem like a really nice person i hope this all works out in a way that you like.

    1. arghhh HATE typos, its ‘trogan horse’ and ‘your’.

      also one last point, from my experience (which could be different from what is happening here) people who maneuver you into feeling responsible for their happiness after harming you care more about what they want from you than your well being.

      1. @Anonymous: You raise an interesting point.

        There is a line between ‘how one feels’ and being ‘manoeuvred’ into feeling that way and I’m not sure where or how you draw that line. Or even if you can.

        I generally think that nothing occurs in isolation and it would be impossible to parse out how much is me feeling care and responsibility and concern for someone I genuinely have feelings for and how much is ‘something else’.

        Interestingly, I sometimes have this dilemma myself where I know if I share my feelings about something, it will impact the other person’s behaviour even if I specifically don’t want that to happen. That’s how human beings relate. So the choice between ‘sharing’ and ‘not wanting to influence’ is very fuzzy.

        He doesn’t want me to be responsible for his feelings (and I suspect he keeps a lot to himself because of that), but I can’t ask him to share them and then continue on in ignorance as if I didn’t know. That’s a special kind of cruelty, no?

        Ferns

  9. Oh, so this is why Miss Ferns has been less sparkly, shiny, sexy? Almost like she’s not the real Miss Ferns who is somewhere making men blush in CrossFit classes.

    Understand that cubs can need more guidance with the whole lifestyle thing. But even so… what is this guy’s capacity for self pity? There’s no worse manipulation than the self pity routine which really is endless.

    Also, is it necessary for clandestine superheros to have tight fitting costumes or do you think if I knock off the quips, lose my logo and my mansion on top of the mountain shaped like my logo then I can be more like a regular guy who just happens to save the innocent, fight evil doers and deals ineffectively with past emotional trauma? I have prominent nipples so skin tight costumes can attract unwanted attention. Also, if I go with a kilt option, how short is too short?

    1. Self-pity? I’m not sure where you picked that up. Maybe.

      Maybe there is a hint of it here and there because he knows how much he fucked up and is in the mouth of consequence, being chewed up and gnawed to unbearable lengths and SHE is not doing the chewing, because she is grace and divine affection because that is how SHE chooses to deal.

      Maybe what you see is guilt and regret and she is the only place to release it. I’m sure he doesn’t share it all with her. I’m sure he tears his skin open and watches himself bleed to try and find the ugly part in him that made him behave so out of character (maybe).

      1. @The Maybe Guy: *smile* “grace and divine affection”? I’ll totally take it.

        I think I do some chewing now and then. Mostly when I look outside the bubble and remember that I have things to be gnawing on that aren’t of the ‘enjoyable chew-toy’ kind. Though mostly I tend to take a snarly bite and then drop it because it tastes terrible.

        And I’m sure you are right about the guilt and regret, though he doesn’t share so much of that with me. And rightly so: That is his to own and deal with. Hopefully he can do that without causing too much carnage because after he finds and excises it, he has to patch himself all up again so he can go forward without it.

        Ferns

    2. @Anonymous (so many Anonymouses in this little corner, makes it very confusing!): I HAVE been less sparkly, shiny and sexy. But only here. Out THERE *points vaguely off-blog* I am much *more* of those things, not less.

      I don’t think he needs guidance in ‘this lifestyle thing’: the cub analogy is more for the clumsy and enthusiastic adorableness he brings me.

      As for self-pity, I think he probably has the same capacity as anyone, but I don’t think he is using it as a tool. I think maybe I am carrying that pail at the moment.

      Tight fitting costumes are mandatory, kilts should be below the knee. You’re welcome.

      Ferns

  10. Ferns,
    We miss you, here in the comments. (though you’ve kindly explained the why of your absence and so we understand and thank you for that explanation). Dont worry too much, Coug keeps us entertained in your absence.

    1. “Ferns,
      We miss you, here in the comments. (though you’ve kindly explained the why of your absence and so we understand and thank you for that explanation). Dont worry too much, Coug keeps us entertained in your absence.”

      Please rephrase that I’m not some sort of dancing monkey you know
      Coug

    2. @SSS: I do worry a little bit. Funny that.

      The space here is shared, and I know people are not just interested in what’s going on, but are also concerned about me, and I do appreciate that very much. I always feel vaguely guilty and rather rude when I am slow to respond.

      Also, your Coug-crush is showing *tucks it away politely*.

      Ferns

  11. Wow. We could have been in conversation with the same cub, our experiences were that similar. You write beautifully, Lady. Someone recently talked to me about the concept of compartmentalizing (your bubble imagery) a way of saving the good moments in an exchange that is otherwise characterized by dishonesty and pain. I think much of my erotica is based on this, and enables me to exist in a realm of beauty and safety that I haven’t achieved in real life.

    Thank you for being so frank, rather than propping up some false all-powerful image of yourself as a Domme. We have our hurts and vulnerabilities like everyone else, and sharing and exploring is a source of strength. Magnificent.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Betina. Maybe we ARE in conversation with the same cub *gasp!* (just kidding). I’m sorry you are experiencing the pain of dishonesty: sucks :(.

      I think compartmentalising is a really useful skill, and it can be healthy or unhealthy. I think the unhealthy kind is about denial. The healthy kind is more about preservation (of self and of goodness). Either way, it’s tricky business.

      And thank you for the lovely compliments: I probably don’t show as much of my vulnerability as I ‘should’ for the full picture (because I’m bad at it and I hate it), but I also hope I don’t present some false image of impenetrable domly domness because that would be a lie.

      Ferns

  12. “He runs at it, though, the heartbreak he knows is coming. Even if I stab him in the heart, he will fall and remain there at my feet, a flash of hurt, a spike of anger, and then he will swear that he is fine, no really, he’s fine.”

    I’m living the same thing! I’m doing it every day right now with her. We have both agreed, even again last night, because of circumstances beyond both of us that we probably won’t go any further than we have. We have tried twice now. Just some things we can’t get past. Yet, I reach for more..every single time. I know I do it. I willingly choose to do it. She tries to protect me but knows I will keep reaching, just as she sometimes does.
    Perhaps, despite the heartache he knows is coming, he has chosen like I have that, I would rather spend each and every glorious moment with her that I can and deal with the heartache, then to walk away from one single moment of it.

    Respectfully,
    Mysticlez

    1. Yes that sounds about right.

      I always struggle a little bit with the idea of ‘protecting someone’. I think you have to be honest and then they are grown ups and can make their own choices, but sometimes it can start to feel like a cruelty. I’m not quite sure where that line is.

      I do hope it doesn’t end too badly for you, either of you. And I trust that the moments you spend together will make it all worthwhile.

      Ferns

  13. You’re in Love. Congratulations (ouchies).

    If his pain’s more important than your pain, that’s as pure as it gets.

    It’s balls-to-bone honest-to-god love. The kind that time will lie down and be still for. From personal experience, it turns a bear into a teddy, and the teddy into a doormat, and *you’re still happy about it because they’re with you*, and they’re happy.

    It sacrifices in silence, gives without ever asking why, and never never quits.

    And when that’s not reciprocated, it makes you wish you had died. Except then they’d be alone, and that thought kills you.

    Do. Not. Stop. Fighting. For. It.

    Because, God, I’ve been rooting for you to find this and make it work. ❤💕

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