Archive for the ‘Shannon’s World’ Category

This is the second installment in what is quickly becoming the “What I Should Have Said” series. So, here goes!

In Spring of 2013, while I was still living in New York, I met a woman at the dance at the LGBTQ Center I volunteered at. Her name was Kat (yes, this time using a real name, because it’s so common and she’ll never, ever read this). She was very nice at the dance, but I’d quickly learn otherwise.

The first red flag was that she cancelled our very first date and instead invited me to meet her family at some kind of BBQ celebration. It was at that point in time that I was subjected to her narcissistic mother, her 100+ year old grandmother, and her grandmother’s caretaker. Now, keep in mind that I had never hung out with this woman other than at the dance, and very briefly at a tavern with a friend of hers across the street from my apartment. The fact that she basically didn’t give me a choice as to whether or not to meet her family on the first real date or not was red flag number one. Red flag number two was that when I got there, I realized that she literally lived in her mother’s dining room at the age of 29.

Now, I am a very independent woman. I was really struggling financially at this point in time, but I still stood on my own two feet. However, I know that it is sometimes hard to make it on your own, so I try not to judge. I proceeded to develop a relationship with this woman. To that end, my worst fears came to fruition.

It turned out that Kat was completely under her mother’s thumb. She had to be home when her mother said, and things on that front really came to a head when she texted me one night in a panic because her mother was flipping out, saying Kat spent too much time with me. I essentially texted back that I didn’t know how to deal with that, but it felt like I was dating a high schooler. Kat came over, and tried to smooth it over, then went back home. The situation was recurring– her mother demanding time, my having to spend time with them all the time, even though we had JUST started dating. I should never have even met these people at this point, much less been required to spend time with them.

Kat was also very controlling, with a serious anger issue. I never knew which version of her I was going to get. She flew off the handle at the smallest things,and actually had the attitude that it was the duty of people around her not to piss her off, rather than her job to handle her anger. In the end, I gave some lame, “it’s not you, it’s me,” excuse to get out of what was quickly becoming a very scary relationship.

Just a few nutty things she did are as follows:

  • When I moved into a new apartment, she took my bed off its beautiful mahogany frame, and arranged things to her liking
  • When she came to get me from volunteering at the Center, she met a buddy she didn’t like. She screamed at me that I should have warned her that he was there. In a public place.
  • She would tell me we were doing things, rather than ask
  • She would show up at my apartment unannounced, and take over my evenings
  • She said it was my job to make her laugh when she was in a bad mood and that I, quote, “failed the test”
  • She smoked marijuana in my apartment, even though I don’t smoke it and don’t want it in my space.
  • The real doozy was when I finally dumped her. She literally held my freedom hostage, and insisted on one last in person meeting, in an effort to impose her will on me one last time.
  • She tried to force me into having “break up sex”

You get the picture. She was not independent, she was controlling, and she had a serious anger management issue that she refused to do anything about. So, without further ado, this is what I should have said to Kat, but didn’t:

Dear Kat,

We’ve had some good times these last few months. However, I have come to the conclusion that we have some serious compatibility issues. You have very serious anger and control issues, and your attitude that it is the job of others to pacify you rather than your job to do something about the problem is unacceptable to me. I cannot be in a relationship with someone who is so completely controlling. Further, I view your demands for a final meeting as nothing more than a last ditch effort to impose your will on me one last time.

The entire time we have been together, you have not respected me, my space, or my time. You simply want what you want, my feelings be damned. Further,the break up sex stuff? Sorry, but that really is gross, creepy, and downright pathetic. Why would you want to have sex with someone who clearly wants nothing to do with you? It really makes no sense.

The last reason I cannot be with you is likely the least important (though all of the reasons are important). I get that your mother is helping you out, but you are in no way independent. At all. Dating you has been like dating a high schooler. Perhaps it’s your lack of dating experience, but we were together less than three months. You don’t meet the family that soon, much less on a first date, and you sure as hell shouldn’t be obligated to feel close to those people/spend time with them. I didn’t even know YOU when we went to that BBQ. I’m thinking you just don’t know much about dating. Well, I do, and that was downright weird. Grow  up and become your own woman. You’re 29, not 19.

I guess the real turning point was when you went away with your mom for a few days. I felt relieved that you were gone. I didn’t miss you at all. I was relishing in just having a few days when I didn’t have to cater to you, your whims, or your moods. I had just a few days where I had my life back. No one should ever feel that way about a significant other. I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now, but the point of this letter is to break up with you. I’m not trying to hurt you, or be harsh, but you have a penchant for not listening, and for doing what you want to do and thinking what you’re going to think, regardless of how others feel, so I believe the harsh, no nonsense tone is necessary here.

At any rate, I hope you have a nice life. Work on your anger/control issues. I truly hope you find someone who can deal with your issues, or, even better, you deal with them before getting into anymore romantic partnerships.

Good Luck,

Shannon

Anyway, once again, writing this is cathartic. It’s for me. It’s for the purpose of learning to set boundaries, of learning to be honest, to say what I mean and what I feel in these situations. Stay tuned for the next installment!

This summer, right before Mother’s Day, I received a message from a woman on OKCupid that would really make me re-evaluate the casual flings I have. We’ll call this woman Kate.

Kate was in a monogamous marriage with a woman who was much older than she was. She and her wife had an agreement that Kate could have play partners, because the wife’s lack of libido left Kate feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and unwanted. So, that was their solution to that problem. Well, unfortunately, I didn’t read Kate’s profile prior to returning her message. If I had, I never would have written her back.

It turned out that Kate had a very traditionalist approach to love and marriage. Her wife was, to use her words, her “person,” and marriage was til death do you part. No exceptions. To that end, she didn’t even think of ending her marriage over the issues within. Instead, she used her time with me to “take a break” from being herself. That right there was a HUGE red flag. I wanted to say, “If something is so wrong in your life that you literally need to seek out someone to take you away from it on a regular basis, perhaps you should take a long, hard, look at that life, and make some changes.” But, I never did. Instead, I continued to allow myself to be used as a band-aid, a quick fix, for problems in a life and in a relationship that I had nothing to do with despite the plethora of red flags and alarm bells.

Kate and I got together for sex on multiple occasions. During that time, we texted back and forth several times daily. All the while, there were these nagging concerns that I didn’t dare voice, because Kate had this hang up about being judged for the situation with her wife. I didn’t want to make that worse. Further, she had little (read: no) knowledge and experience of poly life. She just wanted her sex, any sort of consideration for the community she was dipping into be damned.

The turning point came when I took a cat from Kate’s friend, due to the fact that the cat was causing behavior problems in the household. This would turn out to be the last time Kate and I met in person. Kate and her friend delivered the cat, an adorably crazy little black cat. Things went downhill when the friend talked nonstop about how good she is in with the cops.

Now, being a woman of color, this enraged me. She boasted of getting the cops to come to her aid at the drop of a hat, and defends law enforcement at every turn, despite their obvious bias that often turns deadly against certain populations of people.

I expressed my discomfort with this to Kate via text message later. The fact that Kate, who claimed to be a socially aware liberal, was friends with someone like this and even was a total apologist for it wouldn’t leave me alone. I knew I couldn’t, as a proud woman of color and an activist, be involved with someone like this. So, I wrote Kate a Facebook message breaking it off. She exploded, naturally, called me a “fucking child” and blocked me. That was just further proof that I had done the right thing, in my mind. She did apologize later when she sent me the cat’s vet records via OKCupid. However, what Kate didn’t– and still doesn’t– know, is that this particular revelation was just the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. So, without further ado, here is what I should have said to Kate, but didn’t:

Dearest Kate,

I’ve enjoyed our time together. You’re a warm, caring, interesting person. However, there are a few things that bother me about our set-up here. Firstly, the fact that you resent the fact that many poly people wouldn’t give you a chance due to your situation with your wife and your lack of poly experience, that you take that as some kind of judgement or personal affront, is very misguided.

“Polyamory”– as in the word itself– literally means “many loves.” And that is what poly people do. We have loving romantic partnerships with multiple people at the same time. You state clearly and upfront in your profile that you are not looking for a relationship of any kind. Those are your words. So, there’s a fundamental lack of compatibility when it comes to what you are looking for versus what poly people are looking for anyway, right out of the gate.

Secondly, poly people understand that people come into your life at certain points in your life, but that it is human nature to grow and change. Sometimes that growth and change happens at different rates, and even in different directions. We understand that connections and relationships that may have worked at one point in a person’s life may simply not work anymore, and that that’s okay. That is a concept that you clearly don’t understand, considering how you’ve tried to hang on to me even though we just met (I mean you had a sex toy sent to my house after only two dates, and you gave me a cat after three), and how you are clearly unhappy in your marriage, but have no plans to fix that, but instead are using me as a band-aid to fix your problems in a relationship you likely shouldn’t be in anyway. Instead of addressing your lack of fulfillment in your own relationship, you are instead using outside partners– in the current case, me– to fix what ails you.

Thirdly, when I get into a relationship with a primary partner, there just won’t be room for this. I tried to gently warn you of this, but you either didn’t catch on or chose to ignore the implications. There’s no room in a poly life– at least not in my poly life– for catering to an FWB who doesn’t know what she is doing, who isn’t really poly anyway, and who is just using me for a band-aid on issues in an existing marriage.

The fourth point that has been bugging me is that I’ve done all the giving here. It’s exhausting teaching Poly 101 to a newbie who isn’t even really poly. Further, I’m always the one who has to rearrange my schedule to be with you. I’m always catering to whichever days are good for you and your wife. You even selfishly asked if a sternly denied day off could still be reversed. You knew from the beginning that weekends were my time off, yet you refused to ever even attempt to set a date then. You didn’t care about me, or even my livelihood. You just wanted what you wanted.

Lastly, your friendship with [name redacted] really shows that you aren’t as open and liberal as you say. To befriend and defend someone who is a racist cop apologist really is just beyond the pale. Perhaps it is your white privilege that allows you to continue this friendship– I don’t know. But that is beside the point. The company you keep says a lot about you, and that just isn’t something I can abide.

So, to that end, I’m afraid I have to end this. The rest of the stuff maybe could have been worked out, eventually, at some point. However, the thing with your defense of  the cop apologist friend is really just the last straw. There were so many things that I fault myself with not telling you. I take full responsibility for that. But, in short, these are the reasons this just isn’t working for me.

I’m truly sorry. I should have just told you all this before, when it first started bothering me, but I didn’t and that is my fault. I truly wish you the best, and I hope you either repair your marriage or find what you are looking for.

Yours,

Shannon

So, that’s it, folks. Long read, I know, but it was more for me than anyone else. It was very cathartic to write all that out. Hey, maybe she’ll run across it sometime. Either way, it was good for me, and that is what counts. Happy blogging!

Hey Readers! Thanks for stopping by. Well, I can only assume that you’re wondering who I am and why this blog exists in this tiny little corner of the interwebs, so here goes. I am Shannon, a 34-year-old queer chic. I write for a living, but this blog is personal, and, no, I won’t be making any money off of it. Not because I don’t want to (who doesn’t like money, right?), but because the people who run Google are ridiculously puritan and I don’t want to restrict what I say for fear of losing an ad account because I somehow managed to offend the delicate sensibilities of the Google Gods.

I can’t promise that this blog will survive. I hope it will, of course. I wouldn’t be starting it if I didn’t believe in it. However, as I learned with my now-defunct blog So You Want To Be A Lesbian, almost nothing is forever. I still love that blog. I miss it. But I’ve grown and evolved so much since I started it in 2010 that I don’t even hold most of the opinions I posted on there anymore. That’s okay though- that’s all part of growth. And, with that growth, I outgrew that blog. That’s a great thing, though, because this one was born.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’m sure you’re wondering what you’ll find here. Well…..lots of things, really. When I say that these are “ramblings” in the tagline, I mean it. I have a lot of things that I have a lot of feelings on. I have a lot of potentially unpopular opinions, and I don’t feel like getting crucified or even banned on internet message boards for expressing them. Here, you’ll read about relationships and my feelings on them, LGBT equality, racism, police brutality, feminism, sex, and just about everything else you can think of that might affect or be of interest to a quirky, nerdy, fat, black, atheist, non-monogamous gay chic.

Oh, and just so you know- I welcome comments. I welcome dissent. I’m here to learn and be entertained, too. The only thing I don’t welcome is bigotry of any kind. So, welcome aboard! Hope you enjoy the ride.

~~Shannon