Ghosting, why is this a thing?

This is where my thoughts led me yesterday, from Care without knowing: “Have the heart to be truthful about your interest or disinterest. Don’t just disappear.”

Ghosting is a thing that I don’t think should exist. When I am not interested in chatting further on a general level, it sounds something like this, “I have some people of interest, and I am going to spend some energy there. I don’t think we are a match, but I wish you joy in your journey.”

There is a cycle that has happened in the past. Profile is active, a few chats flare up, some good potential matches warrant further exploration, and some chats need to be put to rest. I have never ghosted a person. Even the fuckwads get a message, “RIP Fuckwad, I am now blocking you.”

The ghosting just says that I am not worth the ounce of honesty required to say, “No thanks, sweets.”

Or it says you have died.

Neither is great.

My most vivid ghosting came from a Dom with whom I was active for nearly three months. We chatted every day, met once or twice a week, and had a great time. He reminded me constantly that we were play only as he had a soul mate, but he did so in a way that felt honest and kind. The last thing he wrote in chat was something like “I can’t wait to see you Tuesday…I know you need me to spank your clit.” That was New Year’s Eve, and I never heard from him again. I guess there was a resolution implemented, and he stuck with it. “I will join a gym, and I will not spank that nice girl’s clit ever again.” – This is written on a piece of paper and posted in conspicuous places to remind him of his strong will power toward realizing his 2020 goals.

Here are the excuses/legitimate reasons related: The app Kik marks messages as delivered for a while if the app is active, and then sent when it goes into the abyss -like the recipient has logged out or deleted the app. Presumably, messages marked as sent will be there waiting when the recipient logs in again. Kik is also glitchy as all fuck. I have lost many a message having my Kik reset on its own…almost as if the app has a drama overload threshold and just dumps it down the sewer for me from time to time. It saves me from having to watch a message sit undelivered…or worse yet, read and unanswered.

So, a man disappears without a word (or actually after repeated words promising that ghosting is NOT a thing he would EVER do), and I do the internet shameful things:

  • Question – Are you ok? Where have you gone? Have I done something wrong?
  • Rage but still questioning – What the actual FUCK?
  • Rage with assertion – I DO NOT DESERVE THIS SHIT!
  • Guilt – Something must have happened, sorry for capital letter feelings.
  • Resignation – You are gone and I will never know why. That sucks. I wish you joy on your journey.
  • Further reflective notes – Checking in on you…wondering if you are alive. I still think about you now and again….and again…and again. (Truly, this is the stage I would like to eradicate from my habit train.)

He is not the only to ghost me. There have been many MANY others. Usually people just wander off. It doesn’t feel like ghosting so much as just not seeking. Ghosting is the refined art of communicating regularly, usually claiming a disdain for ghosting, then something happens POOF – assume a gas-like state of supernatural apparition.

Let it be known though, if you ghost, and you return…I will never ever trust you again to be honest.

It is so very easy to say, “shit got real, I am out.” Cut and paste that to your hoards of Kik chats, and then move on with your dignity in tact. This is a place in which it is super simple to be honest. The internet allows you to write it and walk. So be brave, be kind, and for the love of all things fried – be direct.

Care without knowing

This is where my thoughts led me yesterday, from While my cities burn: “I cannot hold my others when they need it most. My place is here, in my monogamous construct. I want to be able to pick up the phone and hear my partners’ voices while they struggle. I want to be able to reach out when they don’t have any ability to come to me.”

In the world of discrete relationships at any level of involvement, there is a a common understanding. I will not fuck up your shit. You will not fuck up my shit. With that seems to come a list of practices that seem to be counter to developing a bond based on vulnerability:

  • Likely, we will not share real names. If we share first names, it would be even more unlikely that we share last names.
  • We may know the fields of work, but specifics are often guarded
  • Family situations are often talked around. I am married and have two teenage kids. We refer to kids by gender or birth order maybe. “I spent two hours explaining to eldest progeny the reasons why her tone was unacceptable tonight before I lost my shit and hissed. Now I feel like shitty parent. Please chat with me to distract me from the seemingly futile practice of parenting.”
  • We may refer to other partners by monikers also, to the extent we even divulge those realities.
  • We know the general quadrant of geographic location of our home bases. We like close for convenience but not too close for fear of overlap in our “real lives.”
  • We wonder if mutual destruction involved in discretion mistakes is enough to protect ourselves, and fear keeps us from telling truths.

The partners with whom I share the best connections are the ones who know my whole. We have traveled through this nebulous zone of protecting identity into a trust to care for the whole of the other. It is fucking scary business, but in theory, the rewards of actually knowing someone and being known deeply are worth the risks.

In theory…

What happens though, when we are vulnerably involved with another, and they are suffering?

There are a lot of scenarios to explore this helplessness:

  • How do we feel when an interest (or later a trusted partner) disappears from communication without notice?
  • How do we feel when regular communication patterns are out of balance? What does even temporary lapse in regularity do to trust and ability to remain vulnerable?
  • How do we hold each other when we cannot be close?
  • How do we negotiate a difference how we process stress when our main form of communication is devoid of in-person time and contact? For example, every one of my partners tends to process stress internally while I process it externally. Simply put, they retreat while I reach out.
  • And what if something actually happens? We aren’t talking about ghosting here. We are talking about the shit that comes in from the side and we never saw it coming. How would we ever know what happened? How long would we be left with feeling abandoned and disregarded?

In this weird world of COVID-19 and civil unrest, everything feels insecure. I wish I could claim a right to know if something happened to my people. I wish that someone in their life would think to contact me and say that shit went sideways. As it is, I love deeply and I fear the day that people disappear.

Maybe at the heart of it is my own fragility. I know I have looked at death. I am super careful to manage others’ fear around this issue. It is part of my caring standard, and I want others to care for me in the same way. Please, gift me with your truths if you want mine, and take care of my fears as I would care for yours. Don’t leave me wondering what the fuck happened. Honor me by sparing me the humiliating task of checking obituaries with only a first name, approximate age, and a stab at a general geographic region.

And although the art of ghosting is a topic for another day, have the heart to be truthful about your interest or disinterest. Don’t just disappear.

While my cities burn…

Twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire again tonight. People are hurting, and trust has been broken so many times that lashing out seems the only recourse. Burn it, and start over again.

I worry for my cities. I worry for communities who are perpetually unheard. I worry for people trying desperately for something that feels even remotely like justice. I worry for the future of people feeling safe again in their own skin. I worry, but I despair from a place of safety and privilege.

I received some pictures from a love. The pictures were from nights of burned gas stations, bars, clubs, and local restaurants. I hadn’t heard from him in days, and I always worry when he goes dark. His heart resonates with the world around him, and I know his pain is heavy. I cannot reach him whenever I worry…I have to wait for him to surface on his own. Each time he is quiet, I wonder if it is the last I will hear from him.

I received some texts from another love. The words were also filled with a longing to be of use to a community that is suffering. He, like many of us, feels helpless watching the coverage on television after promising family that he will stay safe and out of the justified rage on the streets.

I think my cities and of those who have died senselessly. The helplessness we feel is thick and paralyzing, and so we demonstrate. The pain is livid, and so we scream. The need is paramount, and so we beg and plead and cry until people listen without being defensive. Please, Minnesota! Just let your guard down and listen to each other. Change is needed.

One of the hardest parts about relationships outside of my marriage…I cannot hold my others when they need it most. My place is here, in my monogamous construct. I want to be able to pick up the phone and hear my partners’ voices while they struggle. I want to be able to reach out when they don’t have any ability to come to me.

More on that thought later. For now, I go and curl up in my safe place, guarded by the curfew in the area, assured that my race gives me the benefit of the doubt, and I cry with my cities.

Doors: Kintsugi

Aria Scarlette, 25 Sept 2019 

Kintsugi = “Golden Joinery” 

It is the Japanese artistic practice of repairing broken pottery with lacquer that is then coated in precious metal. The scars from being broken are then part of the history, and the piece is more beautiful from having endured. 

____ 

Today, I watched as a man’s last evidence disappeared from a chat feed, minute by minute. It was the record of a dark day filled with loss, desperation, and deep pain. That day was terrible, and reliving it in a fashion today was rawness renewed. 

____ 

Months back, I sent a message in response to a profile I saw. As a general rule, I never message men with no optional narrative information, but I sent him a message. He listed himself as bilingual, so maybe I thought he has learned and seen things. His listed height was tall, but I don’t care about that. In his photo, he was bearded, outside, and he wore sunglasses and a hat. He looked like the vast majority of men on the platform for discreet dating opportunities. He was nothing extraordinary, but I sent him a message, and he sent one back. 

We chatted about life goals, appreciation for jaded humor, and the desire to fuck standard filters that keep people from saying what is at the heart and soul of communication. He expressed dominant sexual preference, and I wanted him to show me everything he had. 

The first time we met, he wore a suit. I smelled him when he hugged me upon approaching the booth near the back of the diner. I watched the mischief in his eyes as he told stories. I saw the way he held his coffee cup with both hands like it would escape accidentally. He didn’t wear a wedding ring, but I knew I would ask later about that observed detail. We parted, and out in front of the diner in public sunshine, he kissed me. For all of the chat about dominance, force, demanding, and taking…the kiss was kind, gentle, quiet, shy, and gorgeous. He barely touched me, and I was hooked. He went one way, I went the other, and we both looked back to catch one more photo frame to remember. 

Then began the slow, alluring dance to find time and to align schedules. We met another few times in public, we met once in private, and then a few more times in public. We filled weeks with chat in between meetings. I will likely detail those meetings at some point, but they seem irrelevant now. Our shared connection and our sex were both crucial learning opportunities for me, but the enduring lesson came from actually breaking, gathering fragments, and carrying sharpness around in my bloody hands.  

There was the day that didn’t go as planned. He messaged from the darkness. I heard his pain the second it hit my phone. He felt lost, outside, and alone. He muttered suicide sounds, and I freaked. I fought in order to reach him, to hold him in the ways I could, to let him know he was important, and to remind him of perspective. I don’t know if I mattered, but he survived. He made choices that weren’t permanent in reaction to temporary situation. He survived, but I do not feel we survived. I rinsed bloody pieces in salty, endless tears, and I carry every part around, still, hoping that the history of us will be beauty again after the repair. 

Dick Pics

This is where I left off, from Thought Experiment: Round 1: “Dick pics – they are an odd method of saying HI.”

The last time I dated, there was no electronic component. I am sure it existed of course, I just didn’t know about it. The very first conversation I had on the dating platform went like this:

  • Dude: Hey sexy. Wanna chat on KIK?
  • Me: What is KIK?
  • Dude: LOL…messaging app. Find me there @USERNAME.
  • Me: (sigh, researches app, downloads app, makes profile and deals with notifications/settings/privacy concerns and then figures out how to find @USERNAME)
  • Me: (In brand new KIK) Hi! How are you? Am I in the right place?
  • Dude: (LARGE DICK PICTURE)
  • Me: Ummmmmm, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore….

So from there on, I learned to make small adjustment to my communication standard. I meet a man in main platform, I suggest the anonymous chatting app for the larger “get to know us” conversations, but the first message is “Hi, thanks for sending me a message, and I am happy to get to know you here…but if you send me a dick pic unsolicited, the conversation ends and I block you.”

If the response is something along the lines of “LOL, I never send dick pics,” then it is more likely we are a potential match. More often than not, the next exchange is a dick pic. I have found that a rule isn’t a rule unless broken and punished, so I fire back with a dick pic of my own that looks like antibiotics may be required and THEN I wish them peace on the journey and block them.

I have since learned to view the dick pic as something very different. Sometimes I feel pictures as an expression of mutual risk. For deeper connections, the pictures absolutely help fill in the space between meeting or across larger divides. Dick pics though, should never be used to say “hi.”

Welcome to dating in the current world. I have seen more dick in the last year than in my entire life combined previously. The majority of that was unsolicited.

I am a sapiophile. This label is one I came to in the last year as well. Next blog post on that world, because it is very true for me. I give zero fux about your photo…until I do. Once you are in my head, I know everything as a whole.

Do you know what you want?

This is where I left off, from Thought Experiment: Round 1: “Unknown intent – very few people know what they actually are seeking and not everyone who responds is actually prepared to have an affair.”

This is particularly evident with reading profiles. People provide info about interest sometimes, often profiles are completely blank out of either laziness or just complete lack of awareness. It is impossible for me to tell if I am into a person from their height, weight, age and photo. Wait, that is incorrect. I am completely disinterested in all people based on those factors.

Then there are the lies we tell. Here are some that I have heard:

  1. “I am looking for a best friend and confidante.” Followed closely by revealing no information at all without careful extraction with surgical tools and truth potions.
  2. “I am looking for someone to spoil with my attention.” Followed closely by no available time for attentions to be at spoiling levels.
  3. “I am open to multiple partners.” Followed closely by the double standard that men can have multiples but women cannot…or by wanting to be the “favorite” or jealousies get stupid.
  4. “I love smart women.” Followed closely by the dismissal of independent thought.
  5. “I am seeking long term friend with benefits.” Followed closely by not actually wanting friendship so much as benefits dispenser in a supersized manner and only on one sided needs schedule.
  6. “I don’t want to change my situation or yours.” Followed closely by the lazy guarding of privacy.

Awareness of ourselves and others is a skill we are grossly deficient in as a people. We don’t do that hard work, and yes, it is hard work.

When looking for partners, I demand that I do this work for myself, and I look for people who want to learn themselves and me. This means spotting the lies given to use to parrot to others, and it means being willing to risk the pain that comes from not spotting truths glaring. It also means being uncomfortable while we call each other on bullshit.

Know who you are. Know what you need and want. Know why. Then share it. These are my impossible standards. Who the fuck is still listening and ready to give some vulnerability a try for a change?

Numbers Game

This is where I left off, from Thought Experiment: Round 1: “Numbers game – there are WAY more men than women on sights for discreet affairs, and most female profiles are bots or scams for money.”

Growing up, I was always taught that I was in major competition for men. There are more women than men in the world. There are some men we don’t want, therefore, for the ones we do want, the competition is extreme. Keep yourself put together, but don’t be conceited. Be physical, but not a tease and not slutty. Be strong, but make sure your man is stronger. Be smart, but your opinion and thoughts are shadows to the wills of men. This sounds absurd of course, but it is very real.

In this arena, the news is very different. There are so few actual women on sites for discrete encounters outside of marriage that the power is shifted. For the first time in my life, men compete for me.

They have to accept my poly tendencies and my path to understanding that within myself. They have to accept my intelligence and my demands for emotional awareness on their part. They have to be about more than sportsball and hunting….though I accept lovers of both sportsball and hunting. They must be funny and enjoy laughing. They must be communicative. They must see and accept me.

Then it hits me. The numbers are just a game.

We must always be real, and we must always demand the things we need in order to pair meaningfully. We must stop the game cold. We must be aware, honest, and communicate who we are to others. We cannot win while playing a game.

Welcome to my awakening…It happens in stages and it is constant.

Making a profile

This is where I left off, in the last post: “Profile writing – almost nobody reads what is written, most look at age/height/weight/picture, maybe even a few just see gender and don’t care past pussy”

When I started writing a profile, I thought about who I was and what I had to offer another person. This was stupid. I was not looking to market myself, but this was default programming at work. I needed to be something that is seen as special. I should have said what my partners would need. People should have read it.

What I should have written: I am smart, creative, emotionally aware, and deeply fun. I seek to practice radically open, clear communication as a standard. This means I want partners who are intelligent, emotionally deep, and willing to be vulnerable. I want time made when time is scarce. I am programmed polyamorously, though I am in a traditionally monogamous marriage. I seek partners who value discretion while learning to care for multiples.

As a direct bonus that would have saved me time and anguish: I give zero fux about your dick pics, your sportsball as your only interest, your hoping for my pussy over my brain, your assumption that poly is about threesomes and therefore hawt as long as there are two women and you, and your egocentric need for a woman to validate your masculinity.

I then proceeded to ask every potential interest a list of questions, that were hilariously referred to as the “common application for my pussy.” As I vetted partners, these questions got more direct and intense. Think to yourself, how do you distill your needs down to questions in order to find people worthy of your most precious energy?

  1. How long have you been seeking partners outside of your marriage? Have you been successful (however you define that)?
  2. What do you love and value about your home partner and life there? We all have baggage and nothing is perfect.  I look to celebrate what works rather than letting the things that challenge ruin the perspective of what is exceptional. I am married with two kids in high school. My husband is super funny and beyond dedicated to me and the kids.  I love him for that dearly.
  3. What are you looking for here ultimately?  I started looking mostly as a thought experiment…and found that actually knowing and asking for what you want and need is pretty cool….so do it here.
  4. Kinks? Preferences? What do you like?  Where are the boundaries that you already know are there?
  5. Do you drink? Do you experiment with or use drugs? STD free now and what is your sexual history? (Now I would add: What are your COVID-19 distancing habits?)
  6. Do you understand polyamory? How many partners do you seek?
  7. What do you do for a living?  I know what you do and who you are aren’t always same thing…but that is part of your being…so tell me about it.

The questions help me weed out the folks who cannot have complete, complex thoughts, those who will rag on their home partners nonstop, those whose identity is wrapped up in something that isn’t a good fit for me, and those who don’t wish to spend time submitting the “common application for my pussy.” If they cannot answer seven little questions, they don’t deserve an ounce of my energy. And frankly, if the don’t have questions of their own, they don’t know what they need or want either.

From there, then decisions can get made. Do I shut the door, or does the dance begin?

Thought Experiment: Round 1

After I asked my husband for an open marriage and after running from the pain of that request, I was lost. Is it important enough to revisit the discussion? What do I want? Am I capable of loving and being good to more people? Do I have the skills needed to be clear with my potential partners?

I started an online profile on a dating site for attached folks seeking discrete relationships. It began as a thought experiment to see if I was capable of being clear about my desires, what I seek in partners, and if there were actually others out there whose desires were in line with mine. The answer is YES! But not in round 1. There was learning to do!

My first round of interested folks came to me. They sent messages and I responded. I learned a lot:

  • Profile writing – almost nobody reads what is written, most look at age/height/weight/picture, maybe even a few just see gender and don’t care past pussy
  • Numbers game – there are WAY more men than women on sights for discreet affairs, and most female profiles are bots or scams for money
  • Unknown intent – very few people know what they actually are seeking and not everyone who responds is actually prepared to have an affair
  • Dick pics – they are an odd method of saying “hi”

Today…I use my voice.

Today…I use my voice. I use it to say what I have hidden. I use it to avoid being unseen and unheard. I have been thinking and writing for the better part of a year, and thus far I haven’t been brave enough to press “publish.” Today, my words will be few. They will not be profound. But they will be brave and they will be out loud.

Hi, my name is Aria. Welcome to my awakening…