Sunday, December 23, 2018

Relationships and RP (Pt 1?)

It's been a while since I've blogged. I've been drowning in coursework for college the past few months. The good news is that I passed my classes and will live to see another semester. In this time we wrapped up the release of Issue 1: Rain! It's been a fun wild ride.

In the studio, Mace, Verias and Oshigan are working on animating the short story I adapted for Cosmic Feline: Surrender. We have cast voice actors and everything is looking great! I am presently also working the script with Mace for Episode 2 of that arc, Survivor, so please check out our Discord for updates!

A couple weekends ago, I was able to host a panel at Fallfest 18 put on by The New Universes Project and OngoingWorlds. Fallfest was a virtual convention accessed for free over Discord focused on online roleplaying or simulations communities. It was all text based so it lacked a speaking component.

My panel was on Relationships in Roleplaying.

The main questions I helped foster discussion on were:
  • How do you initiate a relationship in roleplay without being creepy? 
  • How do you write a relationship that feels real? 
  • How do you write polyamorous relationships? 

Please note that this blog is going to contain spoilers for “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “the Prince of Tides”. These are some old media and should be beyond the point of indignant rage for being spoiled. 

The biggest thing to keep in mind for writing relationships is that if you want it to be realistic and believable, it’s like managing a real relationship. If you lack positive personal experience, then it would be best to do research through good sources to understand relationships. I enjoy observation to learn but I also enjoy reading psychological research on interpersonal relationships. Good solid research in psychology journals or books on relationships might help broaden an understanding. Books like “the Players’ handbook” or “I hope they serve beer in Hell” should be avoided as legitimate dating advice. I would also include most romantic comedies or romance novels as bad sources for realistic relationships. I think they would be good for identifying troupes.

To this effect, I think that “Mrs. Doubtfire” is one of the more realistic depictions of a relationship in a movie. The father is desperate to become a part of his children’s lives after his divorce and after his elaborate ruse is revealed, he loses custody and cannot visit them unsupervised (since he is now considered a deviant). He and his wife do not end up getting back together. He and his wife move on but eventually work something out- though she’s still pissed he lied to her. There were consequences for being a negligent husband and father. It sucks but that’s real life.

One of the books that I grew up reading was “The New Male Sexuality: The Truth About Men, Sex, and Pleasure” by Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld. It helped me develop a deeper appreciation for the pressures and issues that men must deal with. As a woman, there is quite a bit of attention on how female sexuality is distorted through dated cultural perceptions and the view of modern media. To not acknowledge that men don’t have the same issues or misconceptions is foolish.

For instance, in Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides, the main character, Tom, is talking with his twin sister’s psychiatrist because she’s attempted suicide. Tom explains his family’s background and their childhood. At the root of the unified trauma of his childhood is when he, his mother and sister are raped by a group of escaped convicts. They are saved by his older brother and their pet tiger, Caesar (yes, a real fricking tiger) but they are told to never talk about the incident. No police, no hospital, no closure. He questioned his own sexuality for years and blocked out the incident because, “men don’t get raped”. He never talked about it, so he couldn’t deal with the issue.

Modern definitions of “rape” have finally evolved to include assaults perpetrated against men which, did not change in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report until 2013. When we talk about rape in media, the idea of prison rape is funny to must so there are lots of jokes about not dropping the soap, but we don’t do this when we talk about rape when it involves women. These things are equally wrong but with males, its more socially acceptable which is horrible.

When we perpetuate the stereotype that men can only be strong or dominating to be considered men it hurts people. In roleplaying, it means that there is an uptake of carbon copies of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone in their heyday doing MANLY things. Tall men, rippling muscles barely concealed by tiny shirts, carrying big guns and kicking ass while dealing shitty one-liners. Characters trying just so hard to be a badass that it’s laughable. Or the men that play the silent, stoic type that brood darkly in a corner and glower still hoping to win the girl.

“What do you mean you don’t want to go with me? Didn’t you see me just solo that big monster?”

Excuse me, you cannot see my eye roll through this wall of text.

I can’t tell you how annoyed it makes me to have people that are full of themselves parade themselves in front of me, talking about nothing but themselves and flexing. They reek of douchebag and I avoid those types as best as I can in real life and roleplay. The silent types… if you don’t TALK to someone ever, why should I be expected to like you? I mean, who says: “oh wow, that dude that doesn’t talk and stands in the shadows staring at me is SO SEXY, I WANT HIM”?

Then there are those other types. The “heroes” that go, “But I just saved you, why don’t you want to go out with me?”



There is this toxic idea that people are machines that you put tokens of “Kindness” into that will eventually drop out sex. This is true in real life as it is in roleplay.

No one is entitled to you for helping you.

You are not entitled to anyone if you help them with something.

Think about this a minute.

Take a scenario where you character has broken their leg and has fallen unconscious. When they wake up later in the hospital, they are told that DUDE B saved them. You are grateful, so you offer to buy them dinner or a beer. But DUDE B says, “You can thank me by having sex with me.”

Doesn’t that just FEEL skeezy? I mean, the nerve. You didn’t ask to be saved. Why do you owe him anything? You only offered something because that’s how you were raised. Someone does you a favor and you reciprocate the favor, but that doesn’t automatically mean you have to throw yourself at them.

A less extreme example is when two friends go out for lunch and one friend covers the other.

Does this mean that this is suddenly a date and sex should be the compensation for a meal?

No.

No it doesn’t.

I don’t understand this notion that dates are a transitional affair.

Meal ≠ Sex.

Dates are supposed to be a way to get to know the other person. Sometimes dates are the first time that two people meet, and dinner/lunch is a safe time to get to know someone new. Think about it, you are both sitting in one place and aren’t being distracted by anything (put your phone away!) except the person sitting across from you.

It’s a neutral place to decide if you want to continue spending time with someone. Unfortunately, most modern approaches to dates consider it a short cut through all that relationship nonsense to sex, placing more pressure on both parties. The person that gets told "no" thinks feels he’s entitled to sex and the person that says no is made to feel worthless.

I have had guys tell me that they don’t consider women that put out on the first date worthy of a relationship. They also hate it when a woman does not put out on the first date. I have also told them that they are idiots. This is the type of thing that makes people crazy.

So what does this have to do with roleplay? Everything.

These are things that happen in real life.

Writers will write what they know. If someone feels that dates = sex, then their character doesn’t have sex on that first date, it can lead to some angry out of character ranting. Then the other player who turned them down gets to be berated in and out of character for saying “no”, when they shouldn’t feel pressured to write something they don’t want to. Which will likely lead to them not wanting to write relationships with that person or anyone in the future if they constantly get this sort of reaction.

If people want to yield more in character relationships in roleplay, they need to communicate positively with the people around them. Being a decent human being will get you further than being an entitled douchenozzle.

The characters need to interact normally in character to get to know one another to figure out if they like each other. I have seen far too many people just try to force a relationship with the first person of the opposite gender that talks to theirs. It’s easier than people think.

Talk to people, interact and if you decide that you want to date them, you make your intentions known.

“Hey, I really like you, would you like to go out on a date?”

Rather than, “Let’s hang out some time.”

If the other person tells you no to the date but yes to the hanging out, it might just mean that they want to be friends. That doesn’t mean that “nice guys” finish last. It just means that the other person is not interested and it’s creepy to hang around at the edges with the desperate hope that the person will come running back to you.

You cannot get mad for someone not being able to read your mind that you want to be romantically involved with them. It is not enduring to make puppy dog eyes at your friend and hope that they will some day look at you with the same love as you.



(I’m looking at you Taylor Swift).

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Love and distance

I remember being told that "long distance relationships will never work". That once distance is a factor that people will forget you and will do nothing but break your heart. I argue that this isn't always true. Nothing in this work is ever so black and white. Not every time you are apart from your partner will they stop thinking of you for the sake of another.

I'm sure this I where the fact that I am in a polyamorous relationship would garner cries of "your relationship is different, you don't have the same fears of being forgotten". Which also isn't true. There is large amount of trust that goes into any relationship, distance isn't a factor. Some people do not trust their partner's fancy to stray from their side if they go to the store without them, while others consider a few days apart suspect.

The success of a long distance relationship has more to do with mutual interest in making the relationship succeed and mutual trust between the people in the relationship. In my own experience, I have found that my "close friends" that are telling me that the relationship will fail are the ones trying to make it fail. They are trying to instill fragments of doubt to make me distance myself from the person I am with and make me stray. They come up with cute little sayings to justify cheating on your partner.

"It's not cheating if it's eating."
"It's not cheating if there's another zipcode involved."
"What they don't know, won't hurt them."
"It's just one night, what's the big deal?"

These people are the ones that need to get out of your life. They have no interest in your well-being and are only interested in having sex with you. They are doing it dishonestly by feigning interest in your well-being and feelings. They are instilling doubt to make you make that choice and alleviate them of any responsibility of what they are doing.

"I never forced you to do that."
"You are the one that came onto me."

Being alone and heartsick while someone you love is a world away is a very vulnerable time. You need to be strong and have faith in your relationship. Faith is something you can't touch, it's a feeling. You can't let people fill you with doubt that your relationship won't work. Have faith in your partner and in what you feel.

It's true, some relationships don't always work. Sometimes, it's through outside interference. The strength of your feelings just weren't enough to overcome the challenges of distance and while it might hurt, that's okay too. You have to know what you want out of a relationship. If you need someone nearby that you can spend most of your time with, then a long distance relationship isn't for you.

Communication is the most important thing in any relationship. In a long distance relationship, it's all you have. You have to be willing to initiate contact and keep it going. I remember a time where I wrote physical letters and waited for a phone call at my house because I didn't have a cellphone. Emails weren't an option a few years ago.

I can't open my phone without finding a dozen ways to stay in touch with any one person. Facebook, Twitter, instragram, snapchat, Line, Scout, Discord and all forms of email. There really is little excuse for not being able to stay in touch with someone you care about. There are some circumstances that may be beyond anyone's control, time zones, limited internet access but there are many ways to stay in touch, you just have to be willing to put forth the effort.

As someone in a relationship that has survived time and distance apart before being polyamorous was an option, I know it can work. =) Just don't give up. Send the people you love an email or facebook message or call them, they love hearing from you.




Sunday, October 7, 2018

Coming out

Just a quick round of news. The first Entry of the comic is almost complete. The donation drive for Entry 2 is still open so if you want to help make this next issue and have your original character cameo through the issue, now is the time! When this Entry concludes, we'll likely go on a short hiatus to get the next Entry ready and will likely slowly update as the funds filter in. The plan is to have the next issue in full color so funding will make the comic happen faster.

If you are coming here from one of the many dating sites, HI!

For those confused, the next Entry of the comic is focused on meeting someone from a dating application and hooking up. When I originally started this blog years ago, I wrote a review about the dating sites I was using. Since times have changed, I have made some new accounts to click around. I don't have too much free time at the moment so all I can really do is type at people and swipe. But that is a blog for another day!

As a bisexual, I've had to answer the question about why and when I knew I was attracted to women. It's something hard to pinpoint because it's something that I've lived for most of my life. When do most people realize that they find something attractive?

I remember having "boyfriends" when I was 5. My mom thought it was cute when talk turned to marriage hen I was running around after church on Sunday with a little boy that told her he was going to marry me. Back in that age of innocence where kissing was scandalous.

I always found certain women to be pretty. I idolized She-Ra and Jem and the Holograms. The cartoon heroines were beautiful, talented, bold... blonde. I didn't think much of it.

I found my dad's porn stash when I was 9 and I started watching it out of curiosity. I recognized that it wasn't real. I had friends at 8 that were talking about having sex with their boyfriends and... I had a "boyfriend" that was pressuring me to have sex with him. I told my mom how inappropriate it all was. We were too young. I had already experienced Sex-Ed in health class and I knew it was serious business, this sex stuff.

No, this isn't the part where I say I had sex when I was 9. I didn't. I knew I wasn't ready for it. I had faith, I was a "good" girl. Sex before marriage was a big no from my Sunday school teachings.  I wanted to wait. And I did.

I got horribly teased when other girls saw me reading comics and drawing the super heroines there. They accused me of being a lesbian but I didn't understand what they meant.

I was a tomboy and my dad teased me about my combat boots and being a lesbian all through high school.

I was conditioned to considered lesbianism as wrong. It was in the porn, it looked like it was fun. The women were attractive. The men in porn are hit and miss as attractive but the women. Fantasies are interesting. With pornography, you are meant as a male viewer to project yourself onto the male lead or was a bystander in the room during the lesbian scenes. I have heard of some guys talking about imagining themselves as the woman. My thoughts turned that way at times. I imagined myself in the place of the guy.

I had seen things like strap-ons in the hentai comics I found. Cherry and Bondage Fairies were big influences. And I considered their use as I got older.

When I was old enough to start having sex, I had considered myself straight. People kept telling me that being interested in girls was wrong. They keep telling it to me. I had friends that were lesbians and they seemed happy, normal people. My mom got horribly upset when she found out one of my friends was bisexual. There was a level of betrayal in her voice when she talked to me that seemed misplaced.

"You've shared the same bed as her!"

"And we slept. What's the big deal?"

At 23, I came out and told my father I was bisexual. I had to convince him that there was nothing wrong with me. That it was okay, that  I was the same person I ever was. But he thought it was a phase and put that declaration on a shelf somewhere.

Years later, I told my dad that I wanted to introduce him to my girlfriend. It was stanch denial. How could this be? I was straight? How could I be a lesbian if I've slept with guys? I had never slept with women before, right?

It felt good to confront him about it. I was bisexual. There was nothing wrong with me. I could love whomever I wanted and it was not a failing of parenting. I had always been attracted to other women but it wasn't until college that I got to experiment. My friends were supportive of me and I was accepted. It wasn't gross, it was just a thing. It's more than waking up one day and deciding to wear your hair a different way, it was just me.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Feast or famine

Apologies for the delayed blog. I got home late from work Saturday morning and I'm trying to meet another deadline. The newest page of the Koko comic did make it on time! Which brings me to this week's blog topic: Time.

Tammy in this week's page. 

One of the biggest challenges I face in my life is time management. Professionally, academically or in my personal relationships. There just never seems to be enough time in the day for me to accomplish everything that I want to do. Sometimes, I just wish that I had some sort of life-hack like in the Sims were I would have infinite energy and money so I could devote all of my time to my relationships and my hobbies instead of wasting time at work or sleeping.

But this is real life. Time marches on. The world is there and it certainly isn't waiting for you. It becomes a balancing act. You have to allot time for the things you have to do- I mean, the things that you need to do to survive. You have to eat, sleep, and use the bathroom. There is no real way around those three things. You can try to override one need for another but your body will rebel against you. You can be so hungry that you can't sleep. You can only hold your bladder so long before you should leave your bed. And the human mind can only tolerate so much sleep deprivation before it starts shutting down.

Since those things are unavoidable needs, you have to factor them into your day or else. People joke about being, "hangry", angry because they are hungry. But it's true. If you're body is not getting the things it needs, it impacts your mental wellbeing. People that are tired, tend to be grouchy.

Then there is the time you need to factor into your day for the things that you are required to do as an adult. If you have to work full-time, you have to factor in time for getting dressed, hygiene, your commute to and from work, and then your time at work doing professional things. You have deadlines and times for when you have to be places. You are a shackled by time. You make the decision about whether you can skip lunch to work on a project or if you can get by eating at your desk. You'll sometimes sacrifice a decent meal for snacks to get things done faster.

Then when you get home from work, you have to figure out what else you have to do. If you have a dog, like I do, I get to change my clothes and take the dog for a walk. It has to happen or else the dog will mess in the house, then it's one more thing to clean up. Then I have to try to balance time with my husband and any coursework or hobbies I might have. Do I have time to blog? DO I have time to work on my book? Do I have time to watch tv? Can I manage doing assigned reading for college while watching things with my husband?  Will Shep be satisfied with the shared time or do I need to take the time out to devote more specific focused time?

I don't feel like I have enough time but the truth is, that I have enough time as I give myself. If something is important, I will make the time in my schedule for it and then adjust my workflow around it to compensate. Time with my husband is important to me so I will make the time and then lose sleep to meet a homework deadline or I will tackle homework in a dead time at work.  I am grateful that I have great communication with Shep about how I devote my time.  If my schedule doesn't mesh up with Shep's, it means we're not doing focused couple things together all the time but that's okay too. Our relationship is strong enough that we appreciate what time we do get to have together even if it isn't technically, a "date". 

I have the freedom to work on what I need to or want to. And when I am free, or want to spend time, I can just let him know and we can do it. If he's unsure of what I'm doing, he'll just ask and we'll find the time. I think I get the most time with him in conversation when we are walking the dogs or driving somewhere for groceries. It's important to me to make the time in my day for all the things I need to do but I can't do everything in a day. So I try to spread it out.

When I am between classes, the opposite seems to happen. I don't know how to structure my time because I am not under a  deadline. And I feel unproductive so I make work for myself. I am glad for Google calendar since it helps me structure my time. So it brings up the question of how to fit another person into my already busy schedule. If it's important, I will make the time. Having a short conversation via text while doing something else is less of an investment than going out for coffee. If I know something is coming up, I can adjust my workflow or adjust my sleep (or lack thereof). But it means timing is everything. Communication is also important to set expectations for any relationship.

Will your partner be satisfied to only see you for X amount of time? Do you need to go on X dates to feel validated? How often do you need to physically be in the same room? You will never know unless you have that conversation.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Fantasies

This week has been mentally exhausting for me. My hours have been shifting around so I haven't been sleeping well but it's made it harder to get my thoughts straight to settle down enough to properly write.  The comic gives me a chance to filter a specific narrative or concept into a visual form which is great but some of the memories that accompany certain scenes are hard to face again.

Tammy in this week's comic. Fantasy fulfillment?
http://kokoheartu.frillypink.com

I wrote last week about ending a relationship and on the comic blog I mentioned Dave and an abusive relationship. I haven't gotten the question about my decision to include it in the comic since it is an adult comic. It's porn, why include it at all if the business is presenting a sexual fantasy? It's storytelling but it's also a fragment of truth. It's a bit dark but I felt it was important to include, just like I felt it was important to describe the neglectful relationship preceding my marriage. I try to include an underlying truth in the narratives I create.

The stories I plan to tell in the comic have undercurrents of truth. You might have to truly know me to see what fragments of truth are glittering there under a patina of falsehood. It is a bit of fantasy fulfillment in the stories too. I want to present a narrative that is real. These people are real even if they aren't being fully presented as who they fully are.

It's why sexual fantasies are so powerful when executed correctly. You take a real thing and you take it a couple of steps too far and lose yourself in the untruth of it all. The things you wish had happened, that you want to be real. It can't be too far fetched, otherwise it's not a tangible fantasy.

For instance, a popular fantasy from my reading of Nancy Friday's "My Secret Garden" and "Forbidden Flowers" is an attractive authority figure pulling the woman aside to talk to her or to punish her (a spanking usually) and then gets too into it. The authority figure is lost in his passion for her and they have powerfully liberating sex. Or you and a co-worker are alone in the office and you have sex on the conference table or over your desk. Things that are a) risky, 2) forbidden, and 3) are based on somewhat real encounters.

I'm sure there is more literature about power exchange and submission that could be had at another time. It's a mindset. It's just one set of fantasies out of a multitude of fantasies. Not every fantasy is realistic or feasible. Not every kink can be mutually shared by another. I for one, am not a fan of physical violence in sexual situations which means I am not a sadist or a masochist. But that's someone else's kink. Some people get off on verbal abuse, not this girl.

Engaging in something like that can be liberating for the fetishist. I have found in my own interactions that many of abuse survivors have these violent fantasies that help them take their power back from the indignities and horrors they suffered, because if it's too much, they can end the encounter. This isn't true for everyone but many people discount the therapeutic aspects of sex with someone you trust and love. But many people aren't comfortable with telling the person that they are in a sexual relationship in what they fantasize about.

There is a sense of shame that people feel when it comes to expressing their sexual fantasies. A tangible fear that they will be judged and rejected. So people turn outside of their loving relationships to get the validation and acceptance that they need. They cheat because they cannot be sexually fulfilled in their normal relationship. So how can you head this off? How do you get comfortable talking about these kinks?

Everything starts with a conversation. It can be small. "Hey, I would really like to try having sex in a new position." or "hey, can we have sex with me in a costume?" Little things to test the waters. Or "hey, I love having sex with you but I want to try something different how do you feel if we do X?"

If you never ask you will never know what your partner might be willing to do or the heights of awesome sex you might be missing out on. =)


Saturday, September 8, 2018

Ending a relationship

Koko <3 U! Entry 1 Page 5. Koko explaining.
This week's comic update will depict a particular relationship as a whole in about 5 panels. I will comment on that particular relationship on the comic blog directly but it brings up a good question, "When should you just give up on making a relationship work?"

There's no hard fast rules to this relationship thing since it is a very personal thing. What I might find acceptable behavior in my partners might not be okay in another relationship. For instance, some women think it is cheating for their partner to look at porn, sexy pictures of other women on the internet or looking at other women. The defense to it is that those pictures or videos aren't real. It's not the person engaging but some people argue that in their minds, the cheating has occurred, therefore, it is not allowed.
This is really disrespectful. He totally is being an asshole here.
I think pornography viewing is one of the biggest sticking points in most monogamous relationships. One partner is forbidden from watching porn or even masturbating because it is somehow cheating. If it was me and I was given such an ultimatum, I would consider getting out of that relationship. It's not that porn or masturbation is more important than my partner but because it's my partner dictating to me how I should be thinking, seeing, experiencing and doing. You cannot control where your mind wanders. If you give this person that power over you, what's next?

Do they start approving of who you are friends with? What you look at? Who you talk to? This is of course a worst case scenario but I have seen this sort of thing happen to my friends. One friend married a woman he met through WoW with a few children from another relationship but ended up not being to live with her since he was stationed overseas and she had to stay in the States to maintain her custody agreement for the kids. But he was forbidden from watching porn, or masturbating. He loved her and he agreed to it, but it did not stop her from yelling at him about what he was doing at any given point of the day. It was a seriously bad relationship. He found out later that he was paying for her ex's bills and he had paid off her debt but she was still racking up more.

He persisted in that relationship because he loved her. He wanted to make it work. She tanked his bank account and started killing his credit score by taking credit out in his name. They were married, she had a power of attorney. He tried to resolve the problems, his "porn addiction" and went to counselling. She starting dating other people through WoW and he eventually found out. He wasn't allowed to look at videos and she was sleeping with other people behind his back. She had taken control over him and it took 4 years of this sort of manipulation for him to say that he had enough. He finally filed for divorce.

I give him a lot of credit, he really tried to make it work. I just think that after he found out about her using his money to float her deadbeat ex he should have started questioning. He was being used. But he endured it out of love. He is now trying to repair his life and his credit.

In a 2015 issue of Psychology Today an article titled, "Top 10 reasons why relationships Fail" trust issues was cited as the number 1 reason. This isn't the only reason to end a relationship but it is a good one.

If you cannot trust your partner or if you feel that your partner does not trust you, why are you in a relationship with them? But more so, have you attempted to communicate with your partner your feelings of mistrust? Do you feel like you can actually talk to them?

If you can't communicate with your partner, then you might be in trouble. There has to be mutual trust and a good line of communication. If you have never even tried, you might want to consider talking to them.

The porn ultimatum is just one example of a trust issue but that issue is also rooted in jealousy. The partner could be saying that they don't trust their other with porn because they are afraid that they will go out and cheat on them if they witness sexual scenarios that they might not be willing to indulge in. Or perhaps they feel like they are inadequate compared to the porn star or someone else. It could be a matter that the idea of their partner looking is telling them that THEY aren't GOOD ENOUGH. I would argue that the act of scoping out another person or flirting with another in front of your partner is rude and disrespectful if you haven't communicated with your partner.

I actually thought the scenario in Beyoncé's "If I were a boy" music video was a good example of a deliberate level of disrespect for a relationship. I thought it was an interesting way to handle the topic.


It is possible to cheat on your partner while being open or polyamorous. How you might ask? By lying to them or being disrespectful towards their feelings. I would argue that flirting with someone else without talking to your partner about it is wrong. There have to be some managed expectations. It can be as simple as, "Would you mind if I flirted with some people at this party that I was interested in pursuing?" This way, it gives both people a chance to state what their expectations are and gives one partner to opt out. It's okay to say "No. I don't want to see you hit on other people in front of me. It makes me feel a certain way." This way both people know what the expectations are, that they are at the party together as partners and will be going home together or that they will be together for only a part of the night and possibly leaving separately. Managing expectations will save everyone's feelings at the end of the day.

But I digress, I was talking about the when you should end a relationship.

There are some good times to consider calling it quits on a relationship. For me the following things would end a relationship for me, regardless of the strength of my feelings.

  • If my partner ever hit me outside of martial arts training, it'd be over and the police would be involved. Physical abuse is the easiest determination of whether my partner is trust worthy. If it is ever okay in a romantic relationship to hit me outside of me trying to hurt them, fuck no. I'd be done. I've seen what physically abusive relationships do to people. I might love that person but I am no one's punching bag.
  • If I don't feel like I can trust my partner. I mean, after all of the talking and such has come to a wall. If I think my partner is lying to me about something important like a drug addiction not something trivial like not washing their dishes. There is a lot of risk with emotionally and physically engaging with someone else. You are opening your life to them and if they can't respect you enough to be honest, then they aren't worth your time. 
  • If my partner does something that makes me feel unsafe. If I am worried for my personal well-being at any point of my interactions with them.. then I definitely don't need to be in a relationship. 
  • If I felt like I was being manipulated into doing something about my morals. There are certain lines that I feel shouldn't be crossed. Certain things that will never be okay in my book.
  • If I felt like my partner isn't actually interested in me. I have already lived this, I definitely know what it feels like to be discarded. If I ever feel that way again, I would rather end the relationship than keep trying to make it work. 
For me a relationship needs to have: mutual affection, trust, and honesty. If something is missing then why am I wasting my time and theirs? Please note that I did not mention physicality. It is possible to be in a loving relationship without a physical component but their has to be a mutual understanding between partners. Just my thoughts for this week! I hope it's helpful! 


Monday, September 3, 2018

A bit about jealousy

Update is up! Check out the newest page of the comic: http://kokoheartu.frillypink.com/comic/entry-1-rain-pg-4/

I wanted to talk a bit about jealousy today. Of my top 10 questions about the lifestyle, “How do you deal with jealousy?” is definitely one.

In polyamorous and even open relationships, jealousy can mean the end for a relationship. Academically, there are two distinct terms that are used regarding this particularly sensitive emotion - envy and jealousy. Envy is when you see someone else with someone that you feel you lack, be it an item, or positive trait or a person whose attention you desire. We covet what we don’t have. Jealousy is our gut feeling when we feel like what we have is being threatened. Someone wants your shiny because they want it and you want to keep it, protect it, and most times, you are willing to fight for it.

I have described fear as a serpent that coils around you and threatens to squeeze the life from you. To me, jealousy can also be that same serpent but ends up manifesting as a dragon. We fear we will lose someone we love to some valiant knight or supple young maiden. Sometimes, we would rather burn what we have than lose it someone else. Our fear of losing the thing we love often makes us hurt the object of our affection, and we lose it anyway.

And it makes us feel like shit. So how do we deal with it? How do we not feel jealous?

The short answer is that we don’t.

The long answer is that we address the things that make us feel like less worthy of retaining the love that we have and want.

Let’s cut out all of the bullshit.

Strip away the other people entirely. The person you think is a threat and even the person you love. Let’s just look at ourselves for a moment. No one can make you feel anyway that you don’t let them. So why do we feel this way?

This brings us back to envy. If you are afraid of losing someone to another person, why? If you come back with the answer that they are: younger, more attractive, or more affluent, then it means you are envious. The answer has more to do with you being insecure about yourself than anyone else, this feeling will not go away until you learn to love yourself.

Let’s go further. Do you trust that your relationship is strong enough to withstand the existence or presence of another person? If your answer is no, then you really should not be attempting polyamory or open or swinging. There has to be trust in your partner and faith in the strength of your relationship or else this will not work.

Jealousy is rooted in our fear and insecurities.

Fear comes in and tells us that we aren’t good enough, so we will lose everything we love. In the end that we will be alone. All of our hopes and dreams will be scattered like ashes on the wind.

It’s all a pile of bullshit, lies we nurse because we have been taught that we lose something by letting our partner have their freedom. Lies that tell us that by engaging in this sort of lifestyle that our relationships with our primary are not worthwhile or valuable because we are willing to do things apart from them.

In a normal monogamous relationship, do you do everything with that partner? I mean, everything? Do you both have exactly the same hobbies, interests, and friends? Do you fully engage in everything that they do? Is there some hour of the day that you aren’t with your partner?

Typically, people spend time apart even in a happy and fulfilling monogamous relationship. People have other friends, hobbies, and places of work. Being apart does not lessen the affection or devotion you have for your partner. Loving your family, children or friends does not diminish the love you have for your partner.

When I felt jealous or inadequate, I looked at myself and asked why? I found in myself that I was insecure about my looks. I felt like attention devoted to pursuing someone else was a threat to me. But I thought about it. Was it really? You have to invest time to have a relationship with anyone, especially a new one. When I realized that I was afraid of not getting the same quality time, we made it a point to not take out time together for granted and scheduled time for us as well as for other people.

We take our time together for granted since we love each other and live together. I found by talking we had different definitions of quality time that were only revealed because I talked to Shep about my insecurities. But once I did, I stopped feeling inadequate. I stopped feeling jealous for the most part. I have faith that at the end of the day my husband will always come home to me. It's been 17 years, I have not been disappointed yet. <3

So while those doubts may never go away, I don't have to let that fear, that doubt rule me or make my life hell. I acknowledge it and move on with my life. If I have a  question about how Shep is feeling about something or me, I ask. I can only work on the things that I can control. If I don't like my clothes, I can buy new ones. I feel out of shape, I can go do some push-ups or run. I can improve myself for myself. I can't do it for anyone but me. I have to love myself before anyone else can be expected to and even that is a developing process.