I'm at home with my family at the moment, deep in the countryside of Northern England where I can lick my wounds and rest up. I needed a break, not to put too fine a point on it, and home is certainly that. There is very little to do - I know that in a few days I shall be bored and therefore probably feeling better and ready to return, but for now I am content to drink endless cups of tea, chat with my Mum every now and then about the end of the relationship as well as getting updates on the day-to-day gossip of a rural hamlet.
Just as my parents surprised me with their reaction to poly, they also surprised me with their reaction to the break up, realistically I should know them better by now and stop being worried by what they might think, given that they always turn up trumps. They have been very supportive, without being critical of the relationship itself, except to comment that they were unsure whether it was right for me, although they did like The Photographer. They have, otherwise, just let me talk, without offering opinions on what to do next or how I should behave or feel. I am a lot calmer here, felt the weight leave my shoulders as I left the city. Not because I dislike the city, I love it, but it is also the centre of many things, of my life with him, reminders of us and places we've been. It's also a place where I have to be many things to many people - who I am at work, at home, out with friends. Here I don't have to do or be anything - from not even having to prepare dinner through to not needing to go to work. It's a retreat, I guess, only instead of new age counsellors I've got my folks.
I feel more practical and pragmatic here - I can say with certainty that my relationship with The Photographer is over, that it has no long-term future unless he leaves his other partner or dramatically changes the way he negotiates polyamory. I can also say that I know this to be extremely unlikely. Yes, this makes me very unhappy, but it doesn't make me unhappy enough to try again, because that would be the emotional equivalent of beating my head against a brick wall. I am not sure how this stance will hold when I'm back in the Smoke, or when he and I meet up again, but for the moment, I'm more solid.
As an aside, my kinky exploration is currently confined to the internet and I found an interesting article in the Tate magazine on English art and flagellation (le vice anglais, si tu veux?) which put in a good word for female monarchs encouraging male submission. The problem with Elizabeth I is that for some reason she reminds me of Margaret Thatcher - I have no idea why - and then the thought of grovelling men is nowhere near as interesting especially as it seems to stem from true fear and powerlessness rather than submission proper.