Within parentheses

Both Wolfgang and The Impossible are more active in SL than most of my previous lovers. I see them very often in a week. In the past, that worked for me because I usually had only one very active lover. With two very involved and very active relationships that are developing quickly and differently, I’m kinda reeling.

Wolfgang and Alt #27's relationship was shook up this week. The tiff started a few days ago, involving two of his other lovers. He had placed Alt #27's name on his profile as doms do for their subs. And I had placed his name on my profile. In all his years in SL, he had never put anybody's name on his profile, but there was a practical reason to it this time. It was required by the place where we went to, in order to communicate to other doms that Alt #27 was exclusive to him.

But having her name on his profile made his other lovers insecure, because he didn't put their names on his profile and I don't know why he chose not to. To his other lovers, it was as though he preferred me over them.

The problem was that, if I claimed in my own profile that I was sexually exclusive to him, who would believe it if his profile doesn't confirm what I said in mine? Under normal circumstances, it was benign enough. But in the world of BDSM, who knows?

That was just the start.

As a compromise, I asked him to create an alt that's exclusive to me. I told him I didn't care if the alt looked like a newbie. I just wanted us to be able to put each other's names in our profiles again, and I explained the significance of that gesture. He argued against it. He couldn't understand the reason for putting a "label" on our profiles. And he doesn't think that he'd be able to project to a new alt that wasn't "him."

He didn’t understand why I was disproportionately upset about the issue. But, actually, something else happened two nights prior that we hadn’t had a chance to iron out. I discovered that he had logged in his alt while we were having sex, which – to me – meant that he wasn’t “with me” during a very intimate moment. And the fact that I didn’t have his full attention made me feel really crummy, as though my sexual needs are just another chore for him. That was what my sex alt was for. In an emotional relationship, that hurts.

Then the issue about the tracker came up. He had forgotten that he said it was okay for me to track when he logged in. So he lost trust in me. I had to copy and paste the conversation we had where he agreed.

I was in too much pain. One issue after another piling up. Each one felt as though he was pushing me away.

I removed him from the tracker and told him I did. I figured that if he didn't trust me anymore, we couldn't be lovers anymore. Nor friends for that matter. And if we weren't lovers anymore, there was no point keeping track of him. I was getting ready to shut down Alt #27. I told him I'd end our ongoing RP later in the day; I didn't want loose ends.

But he asked why I was always rushing things by myself without stopping to discuss with him. I replied, “Because it hurts too much and I want it to stop hurting.”

Two hours later, he sent another email – calmer, more understanding. He reiterated that there wouldn’t have been pain if we took the time to talk. I tried to talk but he wasn’t available, and things got worse before he had time to talk. But I promised I wouldn’t do anything more until we did. He echoed it, in agreement.

It was more than a full day before I replied to his email. And we explained our views about the things that happened.

He said that he didn't know there was such a tracking tool and he misunderstood when he agreed to let me track when he logs in. He explained that his alt was Away the entire time and he assumed that I would have known that. I said I didn’t. Yes, there is a way to determine whether the person is Away or Busy, but I didn’t care what he did so I didn’t track that. I only cared whether there was a chance he would have time to spend with me. If he was logged out, there was no chance, and I could leave the computer and do other things; if he was logged in, there’s a chance, so I would stay online. Even though my alt was exclusive to him, his alt was not exclusive to me and I knew he had other lovers. What reason do I have to spy? Even after I had explained, he still felt bad about it, but he said it was his own problem to deal with.

We talked about the issues, the pros and cons of solutions. He explained that he didn’t say no to creating an alt, but he had to think about it because he had different views about alts than I did. When we met early this morning, he agreed to try it and we’ll see how it works.

Then, he did something surprising. A few minutes before he had to go, he tp’d us back to where we were the last time we saw each other. He said it was like enclosing our fight within parentheses. It was surprising, because it was a very sentimental gesture. This, coming from a man who says he’s known to be emotionally “cold.”

But I did something that surprised him as well. When he arrived today, I knelt down, because it was what a sub did to greet her dom, as he had taught me. He said he didn’t think I would kneel. I was ready to leave the relationship, it was an OOC conversation, and (as I kept telling him) I am much too independent to be a sub OOC. But, he thinks that the BDSM is an important part of our relationship (even though I vehemently disagree), so I knelt. Because, if I didn’t kneel, I would have closed the door to a reconciliation. He smiled and called it “strategic kneeling.”

Usually, a big fight like that would be the end of the relationship. This is one of the most difficult – if not THE most difficult – relationship I have ever had in SL. We are VERY different. I had told him once that I had thought of leaving a few times, because we are incompatible and we argue all the time. After all, I’m INTJ and INTJs don’t stick around in relationships that won’t work, even if the separation would be painful for a while. We’re pragmatic that way.

But it’s been more than two months now. And the relationship feels like it has sticking power. Funny that.