Yesterday Maximus and i worked on our couples questionnaire for Fern. i had already filled out my answers and forwarded the questionnaire for Him to finish, but Maximus requested that we go over His answers over the phone and have me type them out as writing is my strength and speaking is His forte. i thought this was an excellent idea as i was pretty sure the intention of this questionnaire was that the couple complete it together.
This was an amazing process for us! We had breakthroughs when we did this and i wonder how much of the questionnaire was for Fern and how much of it was to get us to talk about things. i’m going to include the questions and our answers here and then talk about the breakthroughs.
Describe your previous individual or couples counseling experience if you have had any.
We have not had any previous couples counseling together.
gabriella had couples counseling, primarily solo, toward the end of her second marriage, as her spouse was not interested in going to counselling. He went begrudgingly twice, once with each one of the two counselors she met with, trying to find someone he would feel comfortable with. The second counselor advised me, after a few sessions and after meeting with my spouse, that i needed to consider whether this was a marriage worth continuing. i ended my counseling relationship with him then and then, eventually, the marriage.
Maximus was in individual counselling 3 times a week for three years, 1998-2002, at the end of His first marriage and after their divorce. He went to four times with first wife, but it was of no use, as the marriage was too far gone at that point. In 2003-2004, He was in couples counseling with second wife prior to their marriage. His last experience in counselling was 2011-2012 where He was in individual therapy related to the separation and divorce from His second wife.
What would you most like to get out of our work together?
gabriella would like to stop raging. she would like to restore her ability to trust in a relationship and believe that Maximus has chosen to be with her, and not question that.
Maximus would like gabriella to realize that there is a commitment in the phrase He presented to her, GOT (Growing Old Together). He would like for her to deal with her rage and jealousy issues so that we can get back on the same life path that we were previously on together.
Attraction Phase: Describe falling in love with your partner. What were the traits they possessed that made you decide to connect with them.
gabriella never intended to be in a Relationship again and really didn’t think she would be in love with someone again. Maximus and i had known each other for several years, had been friends in the swinging lifestyle, having met each other with our respective spouses in that arena and played together (although our spouses did not like each other at all!!). Maximus and i got together after both of us had our divorces, not to start a Relationship, but to reconnect as friends, enjoy sex with each other, and divorce support. We both really understood what it was like to be twice divorced and during conversations, discovered that we had both come to the place where we just wanted to embrace our Ethical Slut, enjoying that lifestyle, enjoying friends, cultivating fun relationships, realizing that marriage just wasn’t our thing.
We also share a common passion for endurance sports, Maximus being involved in that for most of his life, gabriella more recently. Maximus was very supportive of me.
The traits i love about Maximus that made me fall in love with Him, despite my belief that i was not ever going to be in love or in a committed relationship again were:
- Complete openness and honesty in communication. We talk for hours and hours about our pasts, about our current feelings, at a level i had never experienced with anyone before. We call this a principle of over-communication and it has been a big part of our relationship.
- Common interest in non-monogamy, swinging, high sex drive, adventurous sexually
- No interest in polyamory, complete agreement and understanding of emotional monogamy
- Amazing fitness level, supportive of my time requirements for training
- Professional, educated, intelligent
- Wonderful social being who lights up the room.
- Financially stable.
- A neat freak like me! This was a huge issue in my second marriage.
- He’s my biggest fan. i’ve never had that before.
- In love with life, “Life is Good!” attitude
- A desire to travel and travel together
- And despite me telling Him that i was not ever going to fall in love or be in a relationship again, He had the courage to tell me He had fallen in love with me and asked me to reconsider.
Maximus: There has always been a connection with gabriella. We met through mutual friends at a swinging party. Whenever we attended parties that these friends hosted, we always looked for each other, and when we were both there, at some point, we always got together–and it was always more than just sex to Me. I was unaware of what she did for an occupation and I was also unaware that at the time, that she was 70 pounds heavier than she is now.
gabriella reached out to me in 2012 when she heard that I was separated. she reached out to me as a friend, there was no sexual intention to that contact. The relationship started as we started to get to know each other. I invited her up to My home to stay during an athletic event she was participating in, as two friends; that’s when I learned about her occupation, her leadership, all these things, that she’d lost all this weight, and she was into triathlons and working out. There was a shared view of work, in other words, we are both leaders, and we had a lot of discussions about this. her business philosophy was very impressive, and she had the extra barrier of doing that in a male-dominated field. Because I have three girls, I have always championed women breaking glass ceilings.
The sexuality was spectacular. her experiences were right aligned to Mine. I was looking for a partner in this area.
I learned, after the race, her intelligence, how smart she was, and more about her. I didn’t really know a lot about her until then. I thought, she’s cool, athletic, professional, sexy as hell, and she’s been married twice, no intentions of being married again–finally I find someone who was a kindred spirit to where I am now. I cannot think of a time that I didn’t enjoy her company.
In Las Vegas, September 2012, I verbalized what had been occurring in my heart. I was being transparent and honest. We had talked enough that I thought she would understand. I don’t think I knew her as well then, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Because it’s real. A little later, I came up with GOT and that was it.
I just love gabriella and love being around her. We have so many things. It’s hard for Me not to get a little pissed off about what’s happened. We shouldn’t be having this conversation because I just love her so much and am totally committed to her.
I never thought I would fall in love again. I wasn’t opposed to it. I love the concept of having an emotional relationship. I feared I was toxic to people. Falling in love with gabriella was a wonderful thing that’s happened, the sexuality is extremely powerful, but you can’t fuck 24 hours a day, there has to be a connection with someone. Conversations are just natural and wonderful. I have no jealousy.
I enjoy talking about her. I enjoy sharing about her.
I don’t have to entertain her. she is self-reliant, self-confident, doesn’t need me to find things for her to do—this was a problem in my second marriage.
Power Struggle: (Things changed when…)
For gabriella, things changed when we went from Friends with Benefits to a committed relationship. i told Maximus i was terrified when He shared that He had fallen in love with me and wanted to have a committed relationship together, because i realized i hadn’t done any work to prepare for having a Relationship, only had worked on restoring my ego or self. But, i realized i was in love with Maximus, He was in love with me, and i thought that would conquer all. i believed, at the time, that these wonderful traits of Maximus, the fact that He was in love with me and my biggest fan, would automatically make me feel secure and trusting. i truly believed that.
i had not felt insecure about any of the other women Maximus had been with, including Ms. W, when we were FWB (friends with benefits)—not even an inkling. It wasn’t until we were in a committed relationship that i began to question His relationship with Ms. W, and particularly her, not any other women He was with sexually or socially. She has been my focus of insecurity and jealousy.
Maximus says…with the rage. There are four particular cases.
What do you imagine it is like being in an intimate relationship with you?
For gabriella, i think it’s difficult to be in an intimate relationship with me. i am impatient, headstrong, over-analytical, require a lot of communication. i think a large part of my desire to never be in another relationship was my fear of being lied to and taken advantage of. On the good side, i am 1000% committed to the person i’m with, give them a huge amount of attention, pay attention to their interests, desires, needs, wants, take time to find special things and gifts from my heart, things that often surprise them due to their specificity to them, and am their biggest fan in the world. i will defend them to the end of the world, am their champion. And i am enormously passionate, of them and sexually.
For Maximus, you have someone who will love you unconditionally, will accept you, will hold you when you cry. I will spoil the shit out of you, money is meaningless, if I want to get something I will and if it’s directed to you, so be it. A relationship with me is also a relationship with my profession and my kids and swimming (working out). At times, that 4 legged stool is balanced, and other times it is not. There is competition for my time. I try to balance that.
What are the strengths of this relationship?
Despite some very ugly and hurtful episodes of raging from gabriella, Maximus is still here. i think that is amazing and truly says everything about His commitment to this relationship.
We are communicators, about EVERYTHING.
We are on the same page sexually, desire the same things in our relationship and in our sexual relationship.
We both have a desire to be in counseling. We actually talked about doing this four months ago, before things got to this point, and weren’t able to due to things going on in our lives.
The only thing is, at times, communication can be two sided sword. I always want to be transparent. When I tell her, she gets jealous, or she misinterprets. Should I not communicate and we not have a problem? I don’t want to do that, don’t want to withhold anything.
Is there anything else that would be important for me to know about you and/or your relationship, past experiences or your current challenges so I can be of most help to you? (Use the back of page as needed.)
gabriella has included journal entries about this.
gabriella can be very social, but her power meter goes down in that environment and she is expending personal energy. To recharge, she needs alone time for solar recharging. I am the opposite. When I’m by myself, I’m happy, but the battery is running down. Mine charges up so quickly from people.
We had a recent episode meeting another couple and I got completely energized and engrossed, fed by the social interaction, but failing to get signals and hear gabriella saying she was not connecting with them and wanted to end the meetup. she could have stabbed me in the thigh and I wouldn’t have noticed. We need to figure out a better way to communicate so I don’t repeat that. This was a raging event that I can’t blame her for.
To Me, I have the best relationship, I am proud of it. I have introduced her to the kids, and they love her. My brother’s heard nothing but great things from my kids about her. What’s not to like and love about her? I’m proud of that. I enjoy bragging about her. I love telling people about her kicking My ass, a beating, when I took her to Kona to train. I have no desire to compete with her. I enjoy time together. Few people could keep up with her. I was glad to complete the things I did. I am happy about that. I don’t have to beat her. It’s something we can do together.
I think for gabriella, there is the fat chick in this hot chick’s body that can’t believe I chose her. And she’s waiting for me to see the fat chick and leave, confirming it.
The breakthroughs for me were about how Maximus fell in love with me and the things that attracted Him to that. And that He felt there had always been a connection with me, even while we were still married to others and without future divorces on the horizon. It made me tear up. I was actually kind of amazed that we’d never talked in depth about this and realized how important it was. And despite everything, He is still absolutely in love with me and still my biggest fan.
For Maximus, the breakthrough came at the end of the questionnaire. When He made the comment about being fearful of over-communicating and that perhaps He should just withhold stuff as to not get Himself in trouble, i shared with Him that i need the over-communicating and that my raging was not because He had been honest and open with me, it was because i had taken that information, over-analyzed it, and distorted it into something completely different. The problem was within me, not Him–He’d done nothing wrong! Failing to communicate fully and openly would just prove my fear of things being hidden from me.
He asked why i was doing that and i explained the history of how ex-husband, OneGuy, used to hide information and when i discovered things and wanted to talk about it, he absolutely refused to do so, going to extremes by not looking at me, not acknowledging my presence, not talking to me, including not answering the phone or texts, for periods up to a week. i was constantly lied to, including lies by omission, so i had to use other means to get the truth, including body language, phone history, etc. i got very good at picking up on non-verbal cues about OneGuy’s lies.
Maximus asked when i started raging and i told Him it was after living in this environment that i started raging at OneGuy. i felt like i was being treated as a prisoner, behind bars. After time, being ignored this way, i just started to yell, scream, stomp my feet, banging things against the bars to try to get the guard’s (OneGuys) attention, just like prisoners do. i think this is human nature, and is even shown in the Zimbardo Prison Experiment in the early 70s, a psychological experiment i had even studied with fascination prior to my relationship with OneGuy. i turned into an inmate, and i’ve never dealt with that.
During this discussion i shared with Maximus that during these past two weeks, as i have recalled the raging events, the things i’ve said, i’ve come to realize that i am still raging at OneGuy. In fact, the things i have yelled and screamed about to Maximus are not even things He’s done–they are things OneGuy had done. The feelings of being taken advantage of, being trapped, ignored, lied to, used financially, are all feelings i had with OneGuy; Maximus has not done any of those things. i am screaming at Maximus for what OneGuy has done.
This last part was the big breakthrough for Maximus. He has been just devastated that He could not figure out, for the life of Him, what He had done to cause me to rage at Him–it wasn’t making any sense. All He could see was that i was bat shit crazy and coming up with things out of thin air. He couldn’t understand my rage and what He’d done wrong. It makes sense to Him now as He can see that i have been projecting my anger from my last marriage upon Him. In His gut, He had a feeling that i’d had unresolved issues from my divorce.
Maximus shared, “Today I took a huge step toward you. I feel closer to you now since our trip to Las Vegas. And I feel very good about that.” He shared that He has all the confidence in the world that i’m working on this an not going to fuck this up. This breakthrough removed a huge chunk of the toxin He’s been injected with. And i shared that it my toxin he was suffering from.
“This is what I want,” He continued. “I’m willing to take a chance.” And then He shared,
Love bears all things,
Love believes all things,
Love hopes all things,
Love endures all things.
Love never ends.
~ Corinthians 13:7-8
We are so blessed.
i could hear the improvement in Maximus’ voice, He has come back. Our phone calls ended with “I love you” again, and He’s texting and calling. We are recovering together. Patience, space, and guided communication has helped us. Maximus is my biggest fan, so incredibly committed to me and us…i cannot question His commitment. He is Maximus, not OneGuy. He loves me unconditionally. i get it. i will not fuck this up.