Hello! Long time no blog! I traveled to Texas for Christmas break, since my in-laws live in the Fort Worth area and Amarillo. It was lovely to see family and catch up with some old friends who have relocated and meet some nifty new people. I did not take a computer with me or do anything resembling work. Instead I read many, many books and sat on recliners under warm blankets and ate enchiladas and other wondrous things. It was an excellent and much needed break from everything. Today I’m back, with the problem of unreciprocated love.
I am head over heels in love with my girlfriend (I am a 20yo female, BTW, we are both bi). She is funny, clever, friendly and supportive – all my friends and family love her. I am into photography, so she learnt the basics about photographic technique and composition just so she could talk to me about it. I love having my hair brushed, so whenever we are sat on the sofa watching TV she will sit behind me and brush my hair *for hours* because she knows I like it. And, Captain, she is stunningly gorgeous – like a 10/10. She has very light hair and big blue eyes – so let’s call her Elsa. I think about her all the time. I want to be with her all the time. She makes me the happiest that anyone has ever made me.
The thing is, she does not love me. I declared my feelings to her about a month ago. In the sweetest and kindest way possible she said that she is attracted to me and likes being with me, but she is not ‘in love’. I was crushed. I cannot bear to be away from her; she is perfectly able to spend a day or two without being with me (or even being in contact with me) and she’s fine with it. For her, our relationship is a fun, casual thing. For me, I feel like my life would end if I ever lost her. We agreed that as we both make each other happy we should stay together. I don’t think she ‘gets off’ on the fact that I am more into her than she is into me. She is a good person. There is just an imbalance in how much we are into each other. We have a mild sub/domme relationship, with me as the sub. I say ‘mild’ as it’s not like she calls me ‘slave’ and locks me up in a dungeon or anything, but she is The Boss Of Me. This is what I chose and I like it.
Here’s the thing about me sexually…
I am a bit broken, in that mid-orgasm – and this is every single time – I pass out, then wake up groggy and dizzy 5-10 minutes later with no memory of what happened. This is seriously every time – I have had hundreds (thousands?) of orgasms in my life and I cannot remember any of them. I could not accurately describe what one even feels like for me; (all of I have to go on is what past partners describe seeing/hearing me do). I – I am told – have orgasms quickly and easily, so this is a fairly regular occurrence when sex-stuff happens. There is a real health-and-safety aspect to this. Once I cracked my head open on a bed-post and had to be hospitalised, and I have head-butted partners mid-pass-out more than once when I was on top. In short, ‘lying down’ is one of the few sexual positions I can safely be in.
Elsa is sexually adventurous, and always tries to go beyond standard bedroom stuff. Owing to my condition, there are limits to what we can do reciprocally. I can ‘do her’ in the shower, in the woods, etc… – but she can’t do anything back to me easily unless I am in the ‘lying on something soft’ position. This is frustrating for both of us. Her sex drive is higher than mine anyway, and I try to do what I can to make her happy. She never tries to guilt or coerce me into doing anything, but I can tell that she would like to do more with me.
A few days before my confession-of-love, Elsa told me – as carefully and respectfully as she could – that there was an itch I could not scratch. She wanted to have a one-night thing with a guy, and she wanted to make sure I was cool with it. I was mortified; the idea of anyone (who is not me) with her totally kills me. But, she was quite clear that she wanted to have a session with a guy. I am not sure how or why, but I proposed a threesome – I think I wanted to have some degree of control over how this idea which I hated went down. I’ll spare you the details, but the threesome at first went as planned and was horrible. About 2 minute in I burst into tears and said that I wanted it to stop. Both Elsa and The Guy were very understanding about it, and/but I ended up feeling like a stupid cartoonish villain. It wasn’t my finest moment.
A couple of weeks after that, Elsa asked me again what I thought about her casually seeing guys while also dating me. I was drunk and didn’t respond well. We had our first ever stand-up argument, where I argued that she should have known what an insensitive thing that was to even ask, while her counter-argument was that she was doing the right thing by asking me and she wold never cheat on me.
Then, things went crazy. I became the ‘crazy bitch’ that so many of your other letter writers write about. I literally screamed the words ‘What can I do to make you love me?’ and ‘If you leave me I will fucking kill myself”‘. When she tried to leave I physically blocked the doorway so she couldn’t, then I collapsed on the floor crying. I am not proud, Captain – I am really ashamed.
A day later she texted saying that she cared about me and hoped that I was okay. She also said that she would like to keep on seeing me.
Here’s the thing – and I can’t emphasise this enough – I am insanely in love with Elsa. There is now way I could break up with her in a million years. I am crying right now as I type this even thinking about it
But I know that she is already bored of me, and is trying to cope with said boredom in a humanly decent way. In a way, I suppose, I am torturing her.
What do I do?
Elsa’s GF Astrilde,
If it’s okay, I’m going to give you your own pseudonym, “Astrilde,” after the Norse
goddess of love name for Cupid. You’re not a supporting player in someone else’s story, you’re a protagonist of your own, so, hello and welcome to this winter’s tale.
I don’t think that this relationship with Elsa is going to be the Great Love Story Of Your Life that you hope it will be, dear Astrilde. She wants different stuff than you do. For example, she wants to do sex with more people than just you, including threesomes that you don’t enjoy. She’s not in love with you and she’s told you that. She might be some variation of aromantic or she might just not feel that way about your specific relationship. As you say, “For her, our relationship is a fun, casual thing. For me, I feel like my life would end if I ever lost her.” You told her you loved her, and her response was “I’d like to fuck a dude, is that cool?” She’s being honest with you, and honesty is good, but it’s not the same as taking care of you and your feelings.
You say that you’re the happiest you’ve ever been but also you are having emotional breakdowns where you yell at her and threaten suicide if she leaves you. You blocked the door to prevent her from leaving, which you know is unethical and all kinds of not okay. You’re also painting yourself as a “villain” because you didn’t enjoy Awkward Threeway Times and describing your sexual needs – what you need to be safe during sex – as evidence that you are “broken.” Forgive me, but this doesn’t sound happy?
There are lessons here, the first one being that there are charismatic, foxy, adorable people in the world who will feel like home but they aren’t home. You can enjoy your time with them and love them for a while but you can’t move in and live there forever. You can make lists of why it all should work out between you, you can show evidence of why it is meant to be (my friends & family love her, she brushes my hair, she learned about photography just for me), but none of those facts are a substitute for her saying “I love you and choose you (and only you.)” You are living in the movie 500 Days of Summer and (sorry!) you’re the Joseph Gordon Levitt character who has been told straight up “I won’t fall in love with you” and “I don’t love you” and he’s chosen to believe that that will change if he just hangs in there long enough. Summer leaves, like she said she would, and he is angry and disillusioned.
You’re probably gonna be with Elsa for a little while yet since she’s still into you and you’re still into her, but it will end, it’s already in the process of ending. She’s going to go experiment with dudes for a while, or she’s going to figure out that “I can’t live without you” isn’t actually a compliment and break up. I don’t have any advice for turning this into the functional, lasting relationship you want. Elsa’s gonna Elsa, and there’s no script we could write together that would influence her to change her mind. If we somehow stumbled across some magic words that would make her say “I love you and I will stay with you and only you forever” that still wouldn’t guarantee anything, because promises that are compelled under pressure aren’t real promises.
So what can you do?
- You’re a photographer, so, take pictures.
- You have friends and family, so, pour some love into them.
- Figure out what’s great and important about your life that isn’t centered on Elsa, and cultivate the shit out of that.
- Look hard at the ways you talk about and think about yourself, and practice saying only kind things about yourself. If you think you’d benefit from talking to a therapist, this is a great time to try to put that support system in place.
- When it ends, it’s okay to cry and be sad. It’s not okay to scream or threaten. Again, this is a good time to put some mental health support in place.
- NO MORE THREESOMES OR ANY SEX THAT YOU DO NOT 100% ENTHUSIASTICALLY WANT TO DO. Take this lesson forward into all future relationships. You don’t have to try to be cool with stuff you don’t enjoy because you’re afraid the other person will leave if you don’t accommodate them.
- Start telling a story about this that isn’t “OMG I will die without her.” A story like, “hey, we’re both young and we’re both figuring out who we are and what we want, and nobody has to be evil two people to be incompatible.” Or “relationships don’t have to last forever to be valuable and important.”
There’s a general cast to your letter that makes me so sad, Astrilde, like Elsa is some magical superstar Elf Queen and you are not worthy of her. You assume you are boring her, that staying with you is “torturing her.” This makes me think, hrmmmm, either Elsa is not as nice and kind and cool as you think, if she is making you feel this way about yourself, or that there is a big pile of bullshit your jerkbrain is feeding you about your self worth that doesn’t originate with Elsa but is being exacerbated by the incompatibilities between you. You are worthy of having someone brush your hair if you want that, and worthy of having someone take interest in your creative work and be nice to your family and do sexy stuff that you enjoy. I hope that whatever lessons you take from all of this, one of them is that you yourself are the magical one, the magic is in you.