Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Talk.

I'm going to follow Wilhemina's example here and post some excerpts (or maybe a lot) of the conversation Bear and I had the other night, a few days after we'd had sex. I've had a little more time to think it over now, and I think I'm OK with things. He says he is, too. But for some reason, I feel like sharing this. Partially, I think, because I'm impressed with the fact that we actually talked about things like grownups (admittedly, over AIM). And also because this is a new experience for me, and it made me question many of the primary tenets of how I conduct relationships, if only for a brief time.

He said he was concerned that we hadn't talked about what had gone on between us. I'd been busy, he'd been frustrated and trying not to show me, I think.

Bear: I dont know if everything should just go back to normal
Sasha: do you want it to?
Bear: yes and no
Sasha: k... elaborate?
Bear: well what do you think?
Sasha: well, there's this kind of contradiction between my previously established theories and practices and now. I mean, I don't want a boyfriend, I don't want to be in a serious relationship. I don't do those well. And I don't have any problem, morally or otherwise, with the simple fact that I've slept with my best friend. In my mind, that doesn't mean anything has to change. At the same time, things feel different with you, and I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's just because I'd kind of filed you into that nevergonnahappen file cause you were always so adamant about that, heh.
Sasha: and whatever happens, i don't wanna lose you as my best friend.
Sasha: as cliche as that sounds.
Bear: Sasha
Sasha: and i really wanna make sure i don't hurt you. (part of the i don't want a relationship clause.)
Bear: that's not going to happen
Sasha: well, it just needed to be said.
Bear: I just want us to be on the same page, whatever we may decide
Sasha: ok. so that's where my head is at. where's yours?
Bear: I dont know, honestly
Sasha: that's fair. but run me through it - giant block of text style,if need be.
Bear: Sasha, I know you're pretty liberated in terms of sex, and I don't if what happened thursday meant anything to you
Sasha: i'm gonna let you continue before i respond to that.

That particular statement caught me off guard. It's something I've struggled with before, this problem with owning my reputation while simultaneously trying to convince people (truthfully, I should add) that sex isn't meaningless with me. I mean, yes, sometimes there is meaningless sex. But more often than not - actually, I can only think of ONE exception in the past year - it IS meaningful. Maybe it doesn't mean that I'm going to marry this person, but I'm generally not even particularly detached. I don't really like empty sex. The intellectual and emotional stimulation are arguably as important as the physical stimulation.

But again, that's something I worry about him ever being able to really understand. He (at least used to) believes that sex is so important, and such a big deal... and I don't even necessarily disagree. But it isn't the end-all, be-all. And it doesn't mean we have to get married. But it doesn't mean our friendship has to end, either.

But before I could say any of that, he continued.

Bear: Sasha, I think we're on the same page with a lot of things
Bear: but shit isn't so black and white with us (no pun intended)
Sasha: haha.
Bear: you're bad at relationships
Bear: and I've never had one
Bear: we're both graduating in may
Bear: youre going back home
Bear: I have no fucking clue where I'll be
Bear: it would probably be a bad idea to start anything at this point
Bear: but still, what if...
Bear: and that's whats bothering me

And so what the hell do I say to that? I read it, essentially, as him telling me that he's rationalizing away a relationship with me. Which, actually, is OK with me. Because I really don't want to be in a conventional relationship, and knowing him, he wouldn't want anything but. I told him as much.

Bear: Yeah I guess I don't know if we would really be good for one another. There's a lot of complicated shit involved with that. But I hate that things are so complicated. I hate that I'm so complicated.

So at least, here, I guess, it's not just my fault. I know he has his shit to deal with, too. And I think he's all too right in that we wouldn't be good for one another. And there's the minor fact that I don't want a relationship. And I reminded him that relationships - of any kind - are hard. They're supposed to be, or they wouldn't be worthwhile.

We ended up deciding to basically play things by ear. See how we feel. We both have what we do or don't want out in the open, but we aren't swearing that nothing is going to change, because in my book that's a sure-fire way to make sure the inevitable change is uncomfortable and damaging. So we'll see how things go. I really do just hope that I don't lose him as a friend. I suppose I should have thought of that beforehand. Then again, in my defense, I'm not used to sex having such a power to change things. In so many ways, it feels like a throwback to high school... to a time when I'd had a whopping one or two sexual partners.... When I was a lot like Bear, in that regard at least.


Roland Hulme said...

Wow, what an interesting character Bear seems to be. Funnily enough, the first thought that struck me reading the AIM was: "Well, the guy must be a good bloke, because he doesn't use txtspk or 'u 2' or any of that crap.

I think you hit the nail on the head - he's kind of rationalizing NOT having a relationship with you, while clearly part of him wants/expects something along those lines.

Trying to imagine things from his perspective, I'd imagine that you are fairly intimidating. Merely because you own your sexuality and while sex generally has some meaning with you, it's not neatly billeted into 'relationship' territory. You have friends and friends with benefits and sex can mean everything or it can mean nothing.

For a guy who isn't so sexually experienced AND actually has feelings for you (friendship is still a strong feeling and the basis for anything more than that.)

I would imagine (and I could be totally wrong) that Bear imagines he's the one who runs the risk of being hurt or burnt by entering into anything more than friendship with you, even though (like a moth to a flame) that's probably what he wants to try.

I think a part of it might be your 'reputation' - as in, people think you're more impervious to emotional flak than other people might be. That might or might not be true.

Merlin said...

I have a saying (it's not really mine, I just use it a lot): "one day at a time."

You and Bear made love. It was good that time. You have feelings for each other, but you don't want to be exclusive.

Isn't that cool? Why should it be the cause of anxiety?

If you decide to make love again, you've broken the ice, and know something about arousing each other. It's almost always better the second time.

If you don't, the moment can always be special to you as each of you moves on to other sexual relationships while remaining friends.

Enjoy what you had, and be at peace with yourself. You can decide what to do tomorrow when it comes.

Amalthea said...

*tears up* So grown up!!! Roland had such an excellent comment to this. I think you both ended up in a wonderfully honest headspace about all this, and really, what else can we ask for?

Essin' Em said...

My reaction isn't to the conversation, it's to the reputation thing. In fact, I think I wrote about this before with L. (edit: searched and found it: At one point, she said something to me about how could I "just have sex with people" and how could I not get attached?

Well, I don't JUST have sex. I make choices about having sex with people I care about. With the exception of the woman at the swinger's club around this time last year, I am very choosy about who I have sex with, and have a connection with all of my partners...different connections, depending on the partner, but a connection none the less. Yes, I feel attached to you. And to M, and F, and K, and C, and S and the whole damn alphabet.

I have sex with a fair number of people. Less than I want to sometimes, but more than I used to. People tend to think I have a lot more sex than I do, but regardless. I can have sex with people I care about but am not in love with, and it doesn't "mean nothing" to me.

You mean something to me. And so does every single person I've had sex with (minus swinger's club lady). So yeah.

Lost my train of thought. I'm sick and doped up on meds, sorry. I'll step off my soap box. But just know I totally understand what you mean.