Today at work I let a customer touch me during a private dance. I've allowed this before even though it is technically against my club's rules and could be considered prostitution. (okay, yeah, yikes)
Why have I allowed this? I think it's related to something that J and I have been working on. I had this epiphany at work once I got scolded by the bartender that the touching took place.
I have a desire for more romance in my life. Candles, music, caressing, lots of eye contact, compliments, massage, feeling 100% focused on the other person, presence. Being with a naked body and being present with my own. Being attentive to skin and hair and curves and smell and touch. Focusing on how our bodies complement each other. Focusing on showing deep appreciation and respect for each other's hearts, minds, and bodies. This has been a need of mine when J and I were monogamous, it's been a need since we opened up, and it's been a need regardless of the other partners in our lives. It has festered inside of me for a long time, aching to be met. My seams started to split a couple months ago and they have now, more or less, exploded.
J doesn't have the same desires for our relationship. We live together and see each other every day and he doesn't desire romance with me as often as I desire it with him. My need and desires for these kinds of interactions are aggravated by the existence of other romantic relationships in J's life. All I want when I feel insecure or envious or fearful is to have really romantic time with J.
I realized today, in the midst of a really hard week with J, that I feel empty on romance. And if I can get gentle touch and awe from a customer, I relish it. If I can give sensual touch and gazes and nonverbal appreciation, I take my chance. I realize that satisfying this need at work isn't sustainable or legal. But the revelation was an interesting one for me to have.
As far as negotiating romantic time with J goes, it's been really difficult. It has been extremely challenging for me to recognize that I need to have other relationships in my life that can satisfy this because I really want those experiences with J, too. J also is skeptical that any kind of compromise we make will never be satisfying enough for me. I am worried that even a compromise will feel like an obligation to J, and obligations don't seem particularly romantic to me. However, compromises aren't an ideal for either individual. That's why it's a compromise. I do see comprimises as ideal for negotiations and moving forward and as the healthier option (as opposed to just one of us getting entirely what we want).
So far, I have cried a lot, slept on the couch, and J has distanced himself from me. We're on the downward cycle and one of us (or ideally, both of us) needs to break it.
(Important side note: I feel like I can be open with our struggles because I know that we are going to get through them. I know that some people are raised with the attitude that you don't "air your dirty laundry," but that mentality is very claustrophobic for me. I need to be able to write, reflect, talk, and hear feedback from others who are not directly involved. Blogging is a really amazing tool for me in managing these struggles, and documenting progress and super joyful times, too. I just wanted to make it clear [probably in self-response to my own insecure-anxious-attachment personality] that I don't feel like we aren't going to get through this or that we are breaking up. We are struggling to work it out. But I am confident that we will come up with a comfortable compromise and happy medium.)
One of the biggest hurdles for me right now is battling a deep, internal dialogue that says that if J really loved me, he would desire to be more romantic with me. Or at the very least, if he really loved me, he could manage to be romantic and tolerate it because he knows it's important to me.
I know that he loves me. I know that. And there are a million other ways I feel connected and intimate with him. For me right now, it's about focusing on those million other things, seeking romance with other people, and enjoying romance with J when it feels good for him too.
Thanks for reading this angsty post.