I will never have another romantic partner again.

I have decided this.

It took me a while to get to this point. I thought: That’s extreme. That’s unhealthy. There is no need to close the door on that.

There is.

A good closed door is a beautiful thing.

I’ll tell you why.

For me, it was very particular and specific. We will generalize out from that. So bear with me. There were traumatized parts who view the prospect of sex with anyone other than Natashka in the future as one more thing they will be forced to do.

They were forced to perform sex acts on others when they wanted only that one special person and they have viewed my attempts at creating something like a normal, full, satisfying life for myself in more or less the same way: more force. More disregard of their desire to choose. Their preference is this, in this order: 1) Natashka and 2) No one. There is no 3).

They are afraid I won’t listen.

I tried to say, You get to choose next time.

Only when YOU are ready.

It didn’t work.

The fact that I promised the choice in the future appeared to be evidence that I wasn’t listening even now. They have said what they wanted very clearly. NO ONE. EVER.

I am quite obviously deaf. Or stupid. Something. Something is clearly wrong, because I don’t get it. I don’t get that they will never, ever want this and on this point they are extremely clear.

As long as I kept saying, When you are ready, they were bracing themselves. That door stayed open and they couldn’t stop themselves from watching to see when something was going to walk through it, even if no one was going to walk through that door for years. They couldn’t stop being afraid.

Never shuts the door. They can stop looking at it. They can relax. They can get on with things.

For me, shutting the door does something different. I wish I could have the life I might have had if I had never been abused. I wish I could either live as if it had never happened or piece things together into something I might have done if it hadn’t.

Shutting the door lets me see the reality that it changed things for me forever. What is left as the possibilities for me might be lovely too, but they are my Plan B.

Plan A, for the parts of me that are holding the memory of what my childhood really was, is life with Natashka.

Plan A, for me, who has spent a lifetime denying that childhood, is a life as though Natashka never existed.

I need to let them choose the life we have now. Otherwise, I wake up wishing I had died in my sleep every day. Otherwise, I am filling my time up until I die. Otherwise, life is immeasurably gray and dreary and a little bit like living inside a vat of mud. Whatever life I can make in the mud is still going to feel like mud.

When they choose the life I have, it is lovely. It might not be what I want, but it is lovely all the same. I wake up happy to see it every day. It is a life with feelings instead of dissocation.

It is an imperfect life, but it is not life lived within mud.

So, for them, never lets them breathe again. It alleviates their fears.

For me, never lets me grieve the life I wish I could have had. It lets me grieve a life I still could make for myself, but because of who I have become, I can no longer want. I can make it, but I can’t enjoy it.

Without never, you keep looking at that door—either because you are afraid or because you are hoping. It is not a good idea to shut a door that you don’t need to—you trade hope for helplessness—but sometimes you need to stop looking at the door.

Sometimes, it is better to grieve. It is better to grieve, because then you can get on with things. You can stop looking at the door and look at what you have around you and see what you might do with that.

And then, if someone comes and knocks, you can still open it. But you haven’t spent the last 20 years just staring at the fucking door.

Which is what I have done.