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Oct 06

Kinkster, Know Thyself

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You know what’s awesome? Communication. It’s my favorite. It’s like Christmas, cake, and kittens rolled into a giant ball of yay. But even with the best of intentions, everyone sucks at it sometimes. We forget to mention important points out loud, or assume our partner is feeling certain things that they aren’t. (As you know, when you assume you make an ass of you and actually just you. I’m awesome.) But the biggest roadblock by far is when we try to communicate our feelings without bothering to understand them ourselves first.

People often react to certain things in really stupid, unproductive ways. Some people get angry when they’re actually feeling hurt and end up lashing out at their partner and making everything worse. Some people turn into Hateful Hell Bitches when they’re jealous, and end up keying a stranger’s car because Bitch smiled at My Man in the bar. Some people retreat into themselves when the going gets rough, exactly the time they should be putting themselves out there.

I think the most important step to knowing one’s self is to first and foremost ask why we feel something, rather than what it is we feel. Labeling an emotion before examining it can destroy relationships, and when you’re emotional it can be ridiculously easy to mislabel things.

Here’s an example from my own tawdry life.

I recently started dating someone I’m pretty wild about, who is poly and very in-demand in the community. It’s a struggle to find the time for each other. At one point there was a period of two weeks in which our schedules just weren’t cooperating and we’d only managed to squeeze each other in for coffee once in between other engagements.

Around that time we attended the same party separately. We hung out together for the social part, but when play started he had prior plans to help one of his other partners tie a girl up. Cool, I had friends to catch up with.

At least I thought it was cool.

As I watched his scene, I started getting really emotional. I’m not a jealous person and I’ve never had a problem with him playing with other people before, so why did I suddenly want to hit something or go cry in the bathroom like a precious little princess?

In a situation like this, there are a lot of really tempting knee-jerk responses. I could have gotten mad at the girl for taking his attention from me. I could have gotten mad at him for giving it to her. I could have taken the passive-aggressive route and pretended everything was fine while quietly harboring the sort of resentment that will only grow when left unattended. I could have just up and left, and put off dealing with it.

All of those responses are bullshit.

Instead I sat there and asked myself what the fuck was up with me. I wasn’t actually angry. I wasn’t hurt. In a way I was upset that he was playing with someone else, but the upset wasn’t directed at anyone involved.

I was just… sad.

Seeing him playing with someone else had reminded me how much I missed playing with him. Initially it had sure felt like anger and hurt, but after stepping back and taking just a few seconds to really think about it, the real source of my turmoil became clear.

After his scene he came right back to me, hugged me, and asked why I looked sad. I explained that I missed him and was feeling neglected. Knowing that, he made an extra effort to give me attention the rest of the night.

I left that evening feeling secure and cared for. It would have gone very differently if I hadn’t taken the time to figure out the real problem.

So next time you start feeling emotions that you need to share with your partner, make sure to take a second beforehand to ensure that you’re on the same page as yourself. It’s amazing how much easier it is to solve a problem when you’re working to solve the right one.

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