Well, I got something to say
I killed your baby today
And it doesn’t matter much to me
As long as it’s dead
Sweet lovely death
I am waiting for your breath
Come sweet death
One last caress
One last caress, sweet death
One last caress, sweet death
“Last Caress,” by The Misfits
My partner told me she was falling in love with another man yesterday. We’re exploring polyamory – that’s part of the lifestyle. But it wasn’t part of the plan. She’d promised to tell me if she started having those kinds of feelings… and yesterday she did. But she told him first.
It was before noon. I was upstairs in our bed, sick and exhausted and in a lot of physical pain, when the two of them had the conversation. I found out hours later, at night, right before I was about to engage in a ceremonial, emotionally intense topping session.
“He said he was falling in love with me.”
And how did that make you feel?
“I told him I was falling in love with him too.”
I held her and kissed her and told her it was okay. I told her I didn’t know how I felt. I didn’t know what any of this meant. But I felt positive. I was ok. More importantly, I told her I was not “not okay,” and if I ever felt “not okay” I would tell them both immediately.
The three of us engaged in amazing communication. We talked, bared our souls, and embraced our vulnerability. She and I engaged in a BDSM session in front of him that included mindfulness, gentle touch, impact play with a flogger, open hand spanking, face-slapping, and some mild display and humiliation. It was intense for me and her, so I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for him: he’s never seen or experienced BDSM. Here I was making him watch me strike the woman he just admitted he loved. I needed him to see that she belonged to me. I needed to remind her that she was my submissive. She needed it too, but that’s her story to tell.
We call it “church.” Our BDSM sessions are the exact opposite of punishment. We celebrate our D/s relationship in these scenes and having someone else there to observe – and to a very limited degree, participate – was transcendental. It was glorious and beautiful and I’m the proudest Dom in the world.
I didn’t go easy on her.
After I’d finished with her, I made her stand in a slave pose. I held a fistful of her hair and turned her towards him. I made her pull up her dress to expose her naked body to him. She had to stand there exposed and shivering in front of the man she was falling in love with. I could tell she was barely keeping it together. Tears were streaming down her face.
It was a powerful moment.
I invited him to participate in her aftercare. He held and caressed her while I poured drinks and packed us a bowl. We touched her gently and talked to her. She came back down to Earth with us after a few minutes and… if I can rip off Meatloaf, she was glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife.
She started talking and it was like I was seeing her for the first time. I had the very clear, distinct image in my head of a butterfly unfurling its wings. It was like she didn’t even know anything was happening. One pink, purple, and gold wing unfurled behind her as she spoke. Then the other. It was breathtaking.
We talked a bit more about D/s and BDSM and the two of them decided to explore some gentle bondage and touch-play together. I can’t write about that right now. I’m sorry, reader. But I just can’t. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I’m tearing up right now remembering the care, love, and kindness she showed him as she brought him along on his very first D/s experience. But I’m still processing that.
In that moment, watching them, I had the very clear, distinct image in my head of a caterpillar watching a butterfly flap its wings for the first time. The caterpillar was me. I knew that nothing would ever be the same again. I knew she was about to start flying. And I knew I hadn’t even started working on my cocoon yet. But I was somehow comforted by this thought.
As long as I don’t have to become a butterfly until I’m ready, I’m perfectly content watching her learn to fly. I comforted myself with the knowledge that I was a really good Daddy, a kind and loving partner, and the kind of friend and lover my fiance deserves. I told myself that I was the safety net that would let her fly as high as she wanted to go without fear of crashing. I wanted her to change while I stayed the same.
We tell ourselves a lot of things that don’t make sense when we receive information that our brains simply cannot process. Hearing that my fiance was in love with another man, and then feeling solely responsible for her and his emotional well-being was too much cognitive load for me to deal with.
A team of researchers from Australia and the Netherlands discussed this effect in a research paper “Cognitive Architecture and Instructional Design” published in the Educational Psychology Review in 1998.
“If a learner has to constantly leave the context of a task to search for related information, a so-called split-attention effect can be caused, leading to an increase of extraneous cognitive load.”
I point this out because I was so focused on what was happening between the two of them that I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to see that I was changing too. I’d spun a subconscious cocoon and settled into it without ever knowing.
After another really hot threesome, we settled down together to calm down and drift off to sleep in each other’s arms. She and I made love again, but midway through I stopped because I needed some care. She recognized this and turned away from him to lie with her head on my chest. I breathed. I balanced. I began to focus. I found myself alone with her, drifting in a magical bubble that kept everything out but our breathing and heartbeats. I felt my soul entwining with hers.
And then she reached up with a metaphorical needle and popped the bubble. She said his name. I’m going to be honest: I was so deep in my fantasy bubble with her that I don’t even know what she said, I just snapped out of it when she said his name.
I turned over. I gave myself permission to disengage. She was falling in love, of course he was on her mind. He’ll be on her mind A LOT. That’s how love is supposed to be! You can’t stop thinking about that other person and it’s amazing. They deserve that. I want to help them squeeze the motherfucking marrow out of their love story. Feel it, live it, indulge. We all deserve this.
But I needed something else in that moment. I needed a bubble. I needed a safe space to be with my thoughts. And when I chose to disengage it felt good, it felt like self care because I was giving myself that while allowing her to stay in her own bubble. But I was also scared that I’d disturb or upset her.
I slept well for the first time since we started sharing our bed. She and I woke up before him and quietly made love.
Then it happened again.
I was breathing her morning scent in, reveling in the thrill of post-orgasmic bliss (I hadn’t came the night before during our romp, so it was a good one), and she asked me if I was comfortable with her fulfilling one of his fantasies this morning.
This time I heard her words, so I was able to quickly respond and tell her that it was okay, that I was okay, and that it was fine. But it took me a minute to register what had happened.
I was in that bubble again, floating off towards a magical place where nobody but us exists. It had only been about two or three minutes since I’d been inside of her, we were still slick with cum as I snuggled against her backside. And she said his name. I finally realized that I had been alone in that bubble.
She was somewhere else, floating on a cloud, thinking about making love to him.
I turned over. I waited for a wave of negative emotion and braced myself for big feelings that didn’t come. I realized I was shutting myself off. Fuck it, I’ll deal with these emotions later. Right now, my job is to make sure that she’s….
No. I have to make sure that they…
I realized I had no fucking clue what my job was. I got up and went downstairs. I cuddled with my dog. I still couldn’t think. I was overwhelmed and numb. There was a distant pressure in my head (and heart) that I recognized as a runaway train of emotion that was about to go off the fucking rails. I knew that if I didn’t find a way to express my feelings that I was going to have a breakdown.
For the first time in nearly a decade, I couldn’t just ask her to hold me so I could calm down, breathe, balance, and focus on reality. There wasn’t anything stopping me from doing so, but I just knew that I shouldn’t. For a split-second I was terrified. I was on the verge of panic. I went back upstairs, walked right past the two of them snuggled up in my bed, and went straight into the bathroom to take a shower.
The same shower where she’d held me, loved me, and rebuilt me when I had my first breakdown over our polyamory journey just a couple of days ago.
Reader, I walked in and took off my clothes. I made the water too hot, and I got in there and cried so hard that I spent 10 minutes throwing up. And then I cried harder. And harder. And for half of it I just had a silly, meaningless refrain playing in my head over and over again:
I don’t want to be a butterfly. I don’t want this. I don’t want to be a butterfly. It’s too hard. It’s too much. Please let me be a caterpillar again. Please. Please. Please. I don’t want to be a butterfly anymore.
Then it stopped. I breathed. I kept crying. I let it out. And then I felt safe and happy and loved again. I’ve never given myself any care before. Never. I’ve never been strong enough to save myself from the dark, lying, ugly thoughts that have kept me from experiencing happiness during my lifetime.
I did it.
I went in there. I did what I needed to do for me and only for me. And I walked out looking like shit. I was a total fucking wreck. I couldn’t stop the tears, my chest was hitching. My voice was shaky and breaking and I burst into sobs in mid-sentence. But I walked right up to the bed and said “I”m in a really wonderful place. I need you to know that. I also need space. I deserve space and I’m going to take it. I need to write.” I told her I’d never been so happy, that I felt better than I had in a very long time.
And then I disengaged.
I left them to deal with their emotions and I went downstairs to my office alone.
I knew I needed to write this. I sat down to collect my thoughts and I had a bonafide epiphany. I heard Glenn Danzig singing those “Last Caress” lyrics that start this post.
I killed a caterpillar today by emerging from a cocoon as a butterfly
and it doesn’t matter all that much to me, as long as it’s dead
This is sweet, lovely death.
It’s the last caress I needed. My breakthrough was so powerful that I instantly knew I’d killed the person I’ve been for so long, and become much more like the one I’ve been trying to be.
If I can take care of myself, If *I* of all people can learn to practice self-care when I’m about to go over the edge… then I don’t have to be scared anymore. The love and trust she’s given me has healed me in ways I never dreamed possible.
I can face this, embrace it, and I can fly too. And because she loves me so much and cares so deeply for me, I can do it on my own when I need to. Now.
Nothing will ever be the same again and I couldn’t be happier. I’m so proud of myself right now. I feel stronger than I’ve ever been. This is happiness, this is fulfillment.
This is polyamory, exploration, and growth.