You Can Be Both Abused and Complicit in Abuse: A True Story

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
– Hans Christian Anderson

TW: this post is about abuse

One late afternoon in spring of 2015, I went to meet my then-metamour in a coffee shop. Talking to her was a last resort in a tangled, confusing mess of a situation that I couldn’t find my way out of. Our shared partner had become increasingly unstable, volatile, and verbally and emotionally violent towards me, and I had simply no idea what to do.

She called me her sister, and in some ways we were closer than close. We shared not just a partner but a coven, a plan for our little polycule’s future, and sometimes even a bed.

In other ways, though, there was always a wall between us that we could not scale. That wall was made of a lot of things. Of the fact that we both knew that, if push came to shove, he would choose her. I simply did not compare, as I was told frequently. Of the fact that I was a kind of human shield to her, someone who took the worst of his heat and terrifying temper away from her. Of the fact that I was afraid of her, because I knew she too could yell me into submission if I did anything she didn’t like.

Still, I turned to her because I thought she might be the one person who could get through to him. I’d seen how, sometimes, she was the only person in the world he’d listen to. So we sat across from each other, at a quiet corner table, and I quietly told her, in as few words as possible, that I’d realised I was in an abusive relationship with her husband.

I’ve never forgotten, and I doubt I ever will, the icy chill that ran through my body when she met my eyes, sipped her coffee, and asked calmly, “am I supposed to be surprised?”

That might have been the moment that I realised I was on my own. She was the final ace I had to play, the one person I thought might actually be able to help me. Instead, she told me that she’d known for years that he was abusive. She’d learned to live within it, she said, so I should too. I should be stronger, be better, be more loving. Remember everything he’d been through, his painful childhood and his fucked up family and all those girls who rejected him.

I didn’t have to be another source of pain for him. I didn’t have to be another brick in his wall of hatred and distrust of the entire world, especially women. Instead, I could help heal him. I could be one of the good ones. All I had to do was be quiet, be good, be better. Swallow my needs and my feelings and just smilingly let him be what he was.

That day, that conversation, was one more little step in my journey towards the inevitable end resolution of I cannot do this any more. Less than a week later, I left. Even as she counselled me to stay, what she inadvertently did was give me another of the series of little pushes I need to leave. Because I realised I had two choices: live within the system he’d built for me, or get out of it. It was never going to change.

No longer satisfied with just surviving day after day, I decided to get out.

Even after I’d left him, she struggled to retain access to me and piled on the pressure for me to stay. “How could you do this to us?” she asked me, even as we held each other and cried in her living room. “How could you choose someone else after all this time?”

What I wanted to say, and didn’t, was that it wasn’t about choosing someone else. It was about choosing sunlight and freedom and flowers over an oppressive cave where I could barely breathe and there were rocks just waiting to fall on my head. I didn’t say any of it. I just told her I was sorry, got out of that house as quickly as possible, and didn’t look back.

What I realise now is that she – my metamour, my friend, my sister – was both complicit and a victim. I do not doubt that he behaved abusively towards her, probably for most of their two plus decades together. I also see now that she behaved abusively towards me. She directly enabled him, counselled me with variations of if you could just be better he wouldn’t hurt you countless times, and did her fair share of yelling and threatening and intimidating me herself.

In the classic, endless, fucked up circle, the abused became the abuser. There’s a part of me that left because I didn’t want to end up an abuser, too. I do not forgive her, but I also hope that she will get away from him someday. I still feel guilty sometimes because I couldn’t save her. In the end, all I could do was save myself.

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This piece was written for Quote Quest, a new weekly meme by Little Switch Bitch. Click the button to see who else was inspired by this week’s quote! And if today’s piece resonated with you, you can always buy me a coffee to say thanks!

Fuck You, 2018 (A Surprisingly Positive Year-End Wrap Up)

A lot of things sucked about 2018. A lot. Two people in our lives passed away far too young.  Politics continues to be a fucking farce. It was generally a bit of a trash-fire.

But there were good things this year. Small good things sometimes, true, but good things nonetheless. So, in time-honoured fashion, here’s a top three round-up before we say goodbye to this hellscape of a year.

3 awesome new sex toys

  1. Blush Exposed Nocturnal Bullet. This little $32 powerhouse was probably the biggest surprise in this year’s reviewing. It’s small, powerful as hell, rumbly, has controls that actually make sense, and is ridiculously affordable. Now we just need a UK retailer to start stocking them.
  2. Womanizer Premium. At the other end of the spectrum, this was the most expensive toy I tried this year. Simply, nothing else quite mimics the sensations this thing produces. And the cool extras such as the Smart Silence feature really pushed it into the “worth the price” bracket for me.
  3. Sola Cue. A surprisingly strong and rumbly mid-priced vibe that I just keep coming back to again and again. A great in-between when a bullet is too pinpoint but a wand is too broad.

3 proudest achievements

  1. Making spot 6 on Molly’s Daily Kiss’ Top 100 Sex Blogs list. Holy fuck.
  2. Making just over £5000 from my blog this year.
  3. Raising £1100 for Abortion Support through Smutathon 2018: #SmutForChoice edition.

3 favourite blog posts

  1. On Weight, Rope, and Grief for the Body I Wanted. This was probably the most painful thing I wrote this year, talking about being fat and not being okay with it and being unable to engage in some of the kinky things I want to do as a result.
  2. Me and My Fur: All About Body Hair. A love letter to my body hair, a tale of learning to love it, and a rant about the negative reactions it gets from society, all in one.
  3. Love Letters to People I’ll Never Fuck. A collection of mini love-letters for Valentine’s Day 2018, celebrating non-romantic love – to my best friend, my metamour, the longest-standing friend I’m still in contact with, my childhood best friend who moved to Australia when we were 13, and a straight girl with whom I was once in unrequited love/a very emotionally complex friendship.

3 favourite publications elsewhere

  1. The Ethics of Age-Gap Relationships for Girl On The Net. Drawn heavily from my own experience in a relationship with a 20+ year age-gap, I discuss the ethical concerns to take into account if you want to date someone substantially older or younger than yourself.
  2. Sex Robots: The Next Frontier of Sexual Pleasure, or Damaging Rape Simulators? for Sex Tech Guide. I’ve been wanting to explore the topic of sex robots forever, and getting to dive deep into the consent implications of AI now and in the future was fascinating.
  3. Sex Blogging Saved My Soul for Hot Octopuss. A personal story of how this blog, and by extension this community, gave me hope and removed so much of my personal shame around sexuality.

3 favourite events

  1. Eroticon 2018, of course. This event changes my life a little bit for the better each year.
  2. My accidental-sex-party for my birthday.
  3. (Not a sexy event, but) my sibling’s wonderful wedding.

3 amazing books

  1. The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti. If you want to know what I mean when I say “virginity is a social construct invented to oppress women and girls,” read this book.
  2. Vibrator Nation by Lynn Comela. A fabulous history of feminist sex toy shops and how they did so much for the business and politics of sexual pleasure in America and beyond.
  3. Playing Well With Others by Mollena Williams-Haas and Lee Harrington. The book I wish I’d had when I was entering the kink scene a decade or so ago!

3 superstar humans (apart from my two romantic partners!)

  1. Kayla Lords of Loving BDSM, The Smutlancer and more. I never stop learning from this amazing woman (and her equally wonderful husband!) In particular, she’s done so much for me personally with regards to advising me as I launch my Smutlancing career and try to go full time as a professional writer.
  2. Quinn Rhodes of On Queer Street. Yes, you’ve probably gathered by now that we’re play-partners, but beyond and separately from that, in this remarkable woman I have found a true friend and a creative kindred spirit.
  3. My metamour Pippin. I’ve not always had the best experience with metamours, but they welcomed me with open arms into The Artist’s life and continue to be a wonderful friend. They introduced me to the concept of “radical cosiness” and being a part of this polycule continues to be one of the most profoundly healing experiences of my life.

3 goals for 2019

  1. Make £10,000 from my blog and associated Smutlancing activities this year.
  2. Significantly advance my vanilla writing work and income from this.
  3. Finish my damn novella.

And that’s it, folks. Everyone with me now: fuck you, 2018, you relentless garbage-fire of a year.

Thank God It’s Over.

I’m Not Going to Steal Your Boyfriend (For the Girlfriends of My Casual Lovers)

Hey, you? Nervous girlfriend/wife/partner of the guy who just caught my eye? This one’s for you.

I’m not going to steal your boyfriend. Promise.

A fence with padlocks with love messages fastened to it. For a post called "I'm Not Going to Steal Your Boyfriend"I know I’m cute and I know it can be really threatening to see someone else interested in your partner. I’ve been in the position you’re in now countless times, and I am absolutely sure I will be in it again. Social programming and insecurities and all of those things are real and they can be really hard to overcome, even if you ideologically want to.

But what I want you to know is this: I have absolute respect for your place in his life and I would never, ever want to jeopardise that in a million years.

I might flirt with him, because I am a flirt and I often do it for the joy of it without wanting things to go any further. Flirting is fun and makes all parties feel good if it’s done properly. But if that’s not okay in your relationship, I will back off immediately. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. I don’t want to make you feel sidelined or pushed out!

If you’re in the type of relationship where these kind of things are okay, I might want to kiss him. Fuck him. Go on dates with him. Fall in love with him, even. But I would never do these things without consideration and care for you.

You see, I know you come first with him. That is the way it is and that is the way it should be. Furthermore, I don’t WANT to come first with him! I have my own Number One, my own person I come home to and sleep with at night and share my life with, and I am happy in that relationship.

I want him to prioritise you above me. Of course I want him to make time and space for me for as long as that’s good for us, but I never want to step into that top spot. That is yours. I want you to feel that your place is safe, because as far as I’m concerned, it is.

I’m not going to steal him. Even if he offered me that option, I would turn it down. But he won’t, because he loves you. I see it in the way he looks at you, the way he talks about you. And I revel in seeing and feeling that love between you. It is beautiful. Why would I ever, even for a second, want to break up something so beautiful?

We’re on the same side. I’m not competing with you, and I promise, you don’t need to compete with me. I’m not out to steal your boyfriend. I just want to love him alongside you for a while.

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