[Relationships] Looking After My Brain

Image is mine, the dog is just a friend.

I left a comment on Exposing40’s post, Friendly Concern which got me thinking about the reactions I’d received when exploring its contents further with folks who don’t wholly understand my dynamic with Bakji. That dynamic in summary is non-monogamous, kinky but without defined roles, romantic but not with identifying labels (not boyfriend/girlfriend for example), no intention to live together, neither with a desire to marry or perform any other kind of commitment ceremony, no shared family time and zero desire to get on the relationship escalator. We do, however, as sexy friends we do support, encourage, love and care for one another.

Her post, which you should definitely read, had me mulling over all the instances people although well-meaning had assumed that Bakji was somehow depriving me of things that I must surely want from a relationship. That I am somehow neglecting my own needs to be with him and one day I will most certainly want more.

In my comment to E40, I pondered what the reaction of the well-meaning folk would be if one-day Bakji and I parted ways because he decided he wanted a shared house, marriage and/or babies. All the things people assume I must secretly want, even though I express my desire to do none of these things loudly and forcefully when pushed to defend my right not do them all again.

I have in the past expressed this line of thinking to people, stating quite clearly that I cannot offer Bakji those things. I would wish him well on his journey to find them with someone else and I would love to think our friendship would remain in some form, but for the good of my own mental health, I cannot in good conscience offer those things to anyone. Which isn’t necessarily information I want to offer the wider world.

The truth is though that those things that people seem to think I should be open to are the very things that I left behind when my marriage ended and I left them behind for a reason. I was suffocating in their presence and because of anything my ex-husband did and not even because of the state of our marriage. They were suffocating because life had changed me and I needed a level of freedom to rebuild myself that I could not get in that kind of relationship.

In many ways I have moved on from that place, my mind is healthier, my outlook is more positive, I’ve made some degree of peace with some of the situations that triggered my need to be on my own, but still being on my own to some degree is what I need to continue through the rest of my life breathing freely and not feeling the crushing weight of responsibility dragging me down.

I realise I probably sound incredibly selfish and in some ways I am. If I wasn’t I doubt that I would be a functioning person. Which means that when I have intimated to people that if Bakji decided he wanted a baby or to get married, my needs would have to come first. Because if we had a baby together or got married it would destroy me. Which sounds dramatic to some people, in fact, I’ve been told by some people that I shouldn’t be so dramatic and negative about things that are as they see it ‘blessings’. The truth is though they are only blessings if they are things you want.

The follow on comments from anyone I’ve dared to be honest with on this subject is usually along the lines of, ‘you’d really lose someone you love, at the expense of not doing things you’ve already done?’ The answer is an absolute yes. I do love Bakji, dearly, he is one of the most important people in my life. We bring each other joy, happiness, sexual/kink fulfilment, support, encouragement and so much more. All of that would wither and die if I relented on my desires to never marry, share a home or have another baby. I would resent him for taking me down those paths, I’d resent myself for giving in and worst of all I’d probably resent any baby I had too. That is not the way I want to live my life.

This line of thinking baffles people. I’ve got one child (he’s seven) and people very kindly say I am a good Mum and he does do me proud when he is out in the world being himself. They can’t fathom why I wouldn’t want to do more mothering. The fact is I love my boy but I find motherhood a damn struggle sometimes. I didn’t always, I found it the most natural and rewarding thing in the world as a new Mum and that feeling remained until my second pregnancy ended the way it did.

The thought of having to manage pregnancy and be a Mum to a tiny baby again is terrifying. I just could not and would not do it. I would break in ways that I cannot even begin to explain and I know this because I know my own mind, I know what is in my heart and I do not have the right stuff in me to give to another child. Not anymore. All of this is okay, I am okay with knowing this about myself, I am actually grateful to know it and not be chasing my rainbow baby, because that poor love would be here for all the wrong reasons.

Rainbow Baby – a baby born subsequent to a miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of an infant from natural causes.

The other person people fail to account for in these conversations is the one person who matters to be above all else in this world and that is the child I already have. My living, breathing beautiful boy who drives me barmy and fills me with endless love at the same time. He is one of the most wonderful human beings I know, yes I’m biased, but truly he is.

His well-being and mine are intrinsically linked in many ways. He deserves the best Mummy he can get and I can be that for him living my life the way I do. When he is with his Dad, well looked after and having adventures to share when he returns, I am off doing my own thing and being my own person. He doesn’t go to his Dad’s to get away from a Mummy who is stressed out by her life, or miserable because she feels trapped. He goes to spend time with his Dad, Step-Mum and his step-brother all of whom he adores and when he returns to me he’s delighted to see me and that is exactly how I want it.

No one shares our home with us, it’s mine and it’s his. Oh, and the cats. Okay, mostly it is the cat’s now. I don’t feel confident that I could keep his home life settled if I moved anyone else in with us. I can’t promise him that if someone moves in they’ll stay forever. This is absolutely not a judgement on folk who make their choices differently, but for me, I need the freedom to walk away from someone without it having too much of an effect on him.

That’s not to say he hasn’t met Bakji, he has. They get along well and Bakji has kindly been an emergency babysitter on occasions. An act I am extremely grateful for and not something I expect from Bakji at all, but my goodness he has been a lifesaver on the times I’ve asked him to step in. As far a the little one is concerned though Bakji and I are great friends, he knows our friendship is different from Daddy’s with his girlfriend and he seems quite happy with our set-up.

Again if I point out that my decisions are not only informed by my well-being but small humans people seem to be a baffled once again. Its as if their desire to see people conforming or behaving in a way they expect overrides all other sensibilities. They appear to be dumbstruck by the notion that the best thing for my child is this strange alternative existence I have created for us both.

On the rare occasions I have explained all of this to someone they still don’t seem to quite grasp the concepts I am talking about. We don’t seem to nurture folks taking care of themselves if it means watching them step outside of societal norms. Doing that makes people really uncomfortable and when your life doesn’t reflect theirs in any way they seem to go into panic mode, wondering how best they can find the nugget of information that will get you back in a box they recognise.

The truth of the matter is there are very few boxes I fit into that make anybody comfortable. Which makes me sound like I think a lot of myself … ‘Oooh aren’t I fabulous that I’m sooo different to everyone else.’ Some of those statements are in fact correct. I do think a lot of myself and I am fabulous, but I’m not that different to people I surround myself with.

Thinking highly of myself and acknowledging I am fabulous means treating myself right and that means making sure I stay as well as I can. No one deserves to feel depressed and anxious and I know some of the ways in which I can avoid those things, so it makes sense to me to do just that. Then as a kinkster and also as a blogger, I have found people I can run with, who understand my approach to life and see my choices as valid and support me in being the person I am telling them I need to be.

It’s also kinksters and sex bloggers who have the best understanding of how all of this relates to my mental well-being. There are no retorts of ‘yes but if you married the right person you would be happy’ or ‘how could you resent a tiny baby?’ Fuck my life, people who ask though sorts of questions make me wonder if they’ve ever even had a bad day. Even with the right person, or right people life can still be hard. As for resentment, well in my experience you can resent anyone for all manner of things, whether it is rational or not. It’s a sad situation to be in, it hurts and I don’t want to be there again.

I live my life in a way that stops my brain from retreating on a constant basis. Don’t get me wrong, it still has days and weeks where a blanket fort is required and sometimes this means adjustments need to be made. Those adjustments are never going to result in monogamy, marriage and a baby though, so people may as well stop badgering me about it!

9 thoughts on “[Relationships] Looking After My Brain

  1. Marvelous post Floss – and I so wish people in general were as honest as you are about what they want and need in their life. x

  2. A wonderfully post Floss. I am in awe of of your self analysis and your ability to convey your thoughts and feelings with honesty and sensitivity. x

  3. Well said, Floss. One of the benefits of being a “woman of a certain age” is that I no longer get these questions. Really though, hasn’t society moved on enough to see that old model doesn’t fit everyone?? Good on you for knowing and standing up for yourself.

  4. It does seem to be often misunderstood that the ‘selfish’ option is the best one for our needs and those around us.

    Very honest in your assessment. Those societal norms, the expectations of conforming to other people’s concept of a ‘proper’ life can be very distressing and I find it too tiring to keep trying to explain each and every time.

    melody xx

  5. Brilliant post, Floss, and I feel that we all should be able to make our choices of how we want to live our lives, what makes us happy, what keeps us healthy, and others shouldn’t try to force society’s choices on us. I wish you well on your life’s journey, living it the way you know is good for you.

    Rebel xox

  6. It’s all about doing what’s best for you. Doing anything outside of what you know is good for you only leads to unnecessary problems and trauma. You know your mind and being firm in that is awesome. Much respect for telling your story (I went to read the other post and bless you for sharing that one as well).

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