Relationships are built on the foundation of communication. You have to communicate to even initiate the relationship. This is a hard lesson learned by people as they navigate the world of social interactions. Everything you say and do makes up your story. So when you find the right person it can be daunting to let them turn the pages of your previous chapters and gain the insight what makes you you.
Ben and I have been very open and honest with each other from the very beginning. If asked, we answer questions. We keep talking even when mad at each other and agreed to do so in all fights. It’s more difficult than you think. Especially if you have learned to go nuclear, say the most devastating thing you can to stop the fight, then shut down to harbinger the negative feelings from your choices. I am a dirty fighter. I have a long memory and a sharp tongue. So this has been a struggle for me to understand my feelings enough to communicate it without destroying the trust of our relationship.
A few nights ago, Ben asked me about characters I had played with other people and to tell him about Khalyia Danakar (one of my favorites). I was telling him of the opening scene, and how I had tortured this poor man’s character, Vero, over the course of the game. He sympathized and we laughed about how I tend to be the Helen of Troy style writer. (He isn’t wrong.). Then, yesterday, I connected with the person who wrote for Vero, and was reminiscing about writing. It bubbled up into him talking about his current characters, where he plays, and all the lovely things about writing with other people. I shared with him a story that I had written, and had only shared with Ben, and it was lovely.
In telling Ben about my day and that interchange, we got on the topic of other things I have played in the past, and why I did not seem as interested in the more adult style of play as I had once been. This is all tied into the game we are currently building together which has some rather intense scenes and relationship issues. I discovered I have a trigger in one of the stories and hadn’t been able to talk to him about it. Other than I did not like how that story was going to end and could not find a better way to tell it without destroying our entire story. It also made me realize I had been guarding a lot about myself from my life before Benjamin.
Ben is exceptionally attentive and shrewdly begins to press further, and question my ability to play through some of the things we intend to do to our characters. I had to honestly assess this and we altered the few places where I thought might further trigger the issue. But then asked me about my life before him.
He purposely asked about what triggered me in that relationship we were playing. I can tell when Ben has switched to investigation mode and took a bit to answer him. I have felt like my wild and eventful past would be something that tarnished our rather innocent and loving relationship. To confide in him things I have done with and to people now left me with fear of him looking at me differently and maybe not wanting me anymore.
So we talk about that trigger. Being in a relationship where you cannot have physical contact because one partner is so damaged that doing so makes it worse. It was a key part in destroying my first marriage, I am sure of that now. Because it led to me emotionally cheating on Garth for years. I used the online community to fill the void of our relationship and that community happily did so. Which then opened the flood gates. The next few hours I told him of things I had done with men. Telling him about how I had been a part of statutory rape as a child. Opening up about my relationship with Eddie, and how it shaped a great deal of my adult life.
Growing ever more fearful that now I have ruined our relationship and he would be angry that I had not confided some of this before. Because, Ben is younger, and far more innocent than me. But that isn’t what happened at all. It made him more curious. It made him ask different questions. I could see the gears turning and the way he then confided in me his life before we met. It was a wonderful few hours of talking through some things that I felt was a wall between the two of us I had built. It brought us closer and revealed more about both of us that either had realized.
We then shifted the conversation to our time in counseling before our wedding. As part of getting married in the church, we had to attend six months of marriage counseling. Reverend Sean was right about a lot of things that we mildly blew off, but have come to practice and use in our relationship. It forced us to look at why we were building our online community in a different way. Talking about some of the choices we made and how that will impact our relationship.
Eventually we ended up in bed talking through our story again. New points we wanted in it, changing the story that caused the initial trigger in a way that still provided the needed outcome and dealing with the part that causes the trigger to work through it. We realized our story is truly a way for us to explore different aspects of our relationship without the danger of hurting our relationship. I feel like it’s going to be the weirdest therapy ever. Especially some of the rather fucked up things we intend to do to these characters to have them grow as people. He also feels like this is going to be a good way for us to explore that stuff as well.
But Ben did pull me into his big bear arms and hold me tight. Told me he loved me. I feel like we are far closer for this conversation. It also brings about the lesson of trusting my partner. Trusting that we said we love each other through thick and thin and will do that; with all of our story in tow. He laughed about how my life prior to him felt like a soap opera. I was embarrassed, but had to agree. The things I have seen, and done, definitely would provide such a story to tell.