Heteronormativity and Vanilla Bed Death

This is a story that has quite a bit of background. It is about my me, my partner, our life, our marriage, our divorce, and our solution. It is a compilation of mistakes, revelations, and challenges. We decided to share this because we are also making it up as we go. We wanted to celebrate that rather than hide it or apologize for it. This is not a comprehensive biography, this is just the touchpoints of where we have been and how we got to where we are now.

I have a partner of eight years who became my husband in August of 2014. His name is Ryan. We are very different people and we celebrated that in every way. I looked like I fell from outer space and he looked like he swanned out of 1950’s Havana. We were married by our good friend Nick in the backyard or our friends Wendy and Michael. People dressed up in all sorts of fun outfits, all of our friends that could be there were, his family (mine couldn’t make it but they supported us with all the love), and it was a gorgeous day. I was also surrounded by more of my nieces and nephews than ever, meeting several of them for the first time in person.

We wrote our own vows and the ceremony was short and Pagantastic. The cakes (yes I had two, Firefly and Dr. Who themed) were epic and the toasts made me cry. Lots. Sounds magical and idyllic, right? It was. It really was beautiful. It was exactly what we agreed on and wanted.


It really wasn’t. The background to this story is that I had been married before. Thirteen year relationship eleven of that which as married. The last two years of that marriage were fraught with every Lifetime Channel Special pain, tragedy, and mistakes. Oh did I make them. It ended amicably, but only after much sadness on both parts. I can honestly say that we got married the first time to escape and survive a truly awful teenagerdom. In many ways I would not be anywhere close to the person I am today without having the comfort and security to grow in that traditional, monogamous, heterosexual relationship. There was much good, but it ended. It needed to end because we were engaging in all sorts of psychological and emotionally harming attitudes and behaviours towards each other. We didn’t know any other way. I never wanted to be that person again.

I NEVER wanted to be married again.

Partnered, yes. Hopefully many partnered and various genders, yes. A veritable festival of sex and kink and experience with a power exchange structure that fit some and egalitarian in others. But not married. I wanted adventures, experiences, traveling and becoming.

Ryan was a different story. He really wanted to be married. He comes from a conservative Midwestern Christian background. The original tall drink of water, says something when he has something to say, tall dark and quiet guy. He wanted to throw down roots, make a home, have a community and a family. But he also wanted to be with me.

You can say many things about the Ryan, and he is indeed persistent.

We met in kink circles and very quickly developed into a D/s dynamic. I had collared him four months after we met. (For those who don’t know this is a commitment of a person to be owned by another. In this case Ryan gave me the gift of himself. ). After that I got divorced. We moved in together. I developed a taste for the Leather Kool-Aid and ran for and won a title: Ms. Oregon Leather 2007. I met my sash husband and HIS husband and thought, “This is the perfect husband. One who goes home to someone else.”

When I met him he had just served three tours in the middle east and was freshly out of the USMC. He had been in one long term relationship and was dear Johned in his second tour. So he was kind, fun, loving, polite, a proper gentleman with major trust issues and considerably less partner experience than me. I could work with that, so I thought. I was his gateway into Owner/Property dynamics, hook suspensions, energy work, multi faith paths, and polyamoury.

In the one year after my title year all of this happens:

Ryan loses his job. The recession hits. Midwest men who don’t work are self destructive creatures.

It is then we discovered that Ryan battles crippling depression. Not just depression, but a combination of depressions. This manifested in him giving back my collar at an event with no warning. By not paying his bills and telling me had. Lying about looking for work. It culminated in me coming home one day to him broken and crying on the bed saying he was going to pack and leave while I was at work. But he couldn’t bring himself to do it. I count this as the first break up.

I had had enough. I told him I loved him,  I will not be treated this way, depression or no. If he wanted to stay he could stay on one condition. He had to want to fight for me and go to counselling.

He agreed. Things got better. He started exercising, we changed our diet, we processed like lesbians on a book club date, we moved out of a stressful situation and got rid of some people who were no longer good for us. We circled the wagons and went to a pretty vanilla relationship. No kink, natural D/s dynamic instead of ritualized, and no other partners (except for our long term lovers L&J). It worked but I was not content or happy. We started to discuss both of us going back to college. He wanted to be an engineer and I wanted to be a physician. We started planning for our future. Then he breaks up with me. This is the second break up.

He did not give back his collar. He was not seeing anyone else. But he wanted to prove to himself that he could fend for himself. He had to prove to himself that he could live alone, go to school, and make it without me supporting him.

During the month between the break up and when I actually left Portland we were still lovers, slept in the same bed, and tried our best to make sure that each of us would start off our new life on a good footing.

So I sold half of my things, boxed the rest, went traveling, and then moved to Massachusetts. Because I was not about to wait around for him.

We talked almost everyday. We supported each other. He decides that he can support himself. So we make some new promises and relationship structures and I fly back to Oregon. We pack, drive across country, and start school together in Massachusetts.

University is unhealthy for you in general. The next four years were very stressful, busy and challenging. We had minimal kink in our life, minimal D/s, and no other lovers. For four years. There was no other way. He gave me back my collar again but we stayed in the relationship trying out egalitarian. It seemed to be working. We were discussing kids, and house and family. Then I decided that after interviewing in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh that I needed a Masters degree.

This led to some practical problems such as Ryan being with me. To get the partner visa it was easier if you were married. This would be one of the problems. The other being Ryan had to take one more term of college so I would be in Scotland four months before he was. We discussed it. I am very unromantic about business decisions. I said I would marry him, that we would get married in August, that he could have whatever he wanted for the ceremony (the part of the bride will be played by Ryan) and then I would move over and he would join me in time for Christmas.

Now we are all caught up.  This is exactly what happened. We, for the first time EVER in our relationship got to spend Winter holidays, New Years and his birthday  together. But after that the distance starts happening again. No kink, no D/s, no sex…and I’m getting upset. I check in, we start being aware if he has behaviours towards a depression. We don’t see any, but some nasty words are said and I tell him to quit it. So now we are on alert. This is the structure we have in place to prevent backsliding.

Valentine’s Day comes, and the whole weekend is gorgeous minus physical intimacy. We are talking kids and houses again. We are going to Italy on Wednesday to teach at a BDSM conference in Rome! Like a full contact honeymoon. Sunday night we have a small fight about the lack of touch and desire.  Monday he goes for a walk, comes back and says he doesn’t love me anymore and wants a divorce.

Floored. Utterly Shattered.

Sadly, this is also the third time. Personal rule is we are done. Truly done. We talk about it. I love him, he loves me but not in the way he should. He doesn’t like who he has become, that he can treat me poorly in love matters is not ok. He needs to go back to counselling…yada..and to be perfectly honest I just filled in the rest with what I heard before. Only this time we are in another country, with no family, and limited friend resources and swiftly dwindling money.

Oh and I have to teach five classes in 48 hours. I have to be fabulous and engaging and not a heartbroken blotchy faced trainwreck. So we repeated the behaviours. How do we both come out of this ok? What are our resources? What do we need? Money, taxes, paper work…the drill.

I go to Rome by myself. I meet amazing people, teach great classes, and have some interesting conversations, introspections and realizations. When I get back rather late at night the week after he is at the door to help with luggage, big hug, and a cup of tea (went from 60 degrees back to 40 and blowy as hell because Scotland).

We talked late into the night and with his permission here is what we came up with:

I am an incredibly intense person. I burn brightly. For those that know me this is not news. It is, however, extraordinarily hard to be a partner to. I constantly want to make, do, learn, go, and most importantly travel and experience. It is as essential to me as breathing. This also means that I am attracted to steadying influences, calm rational people who will read on a couch with me. Who tend to be deep thinkers rather than fast. Who tend to be helpful and useful and kind. And sometimes they are just not resilient enough to handle it 24/7. Heck I’m me and sometimes I can’t handle me.

Ryan needs to spend more than three months in counselling and getting his act together. A couple of years at least. He deserves the chance to fully indulge in finding out who he is, and what he wants to become. He has two life sections, Marine and Coral’s Boy/Partner/Kitten/Husband. He would like to just be Ryan and see what that looks like.

I need to not keep taking care of partners. I need to go and do all the things I have been dreaming of before my knees completely go. If I continue to slow down and wait for my partners I will regret it. I will resent them. Then I will become a hateful person rather than a loving person. I work better from love.

We love each other. Deeply. We still have a good relationship, talk, laugh, play, and eat together, we are still sharing the same bed. This is a good relationship. Ryan unfortunately has the baggage that states that you must throw the baby out with the bath water even if it is not what you want or need.

The one thing that we both still start crying over is the idea of no more Kitten (Ryan) and Dragon (me). It is a joyful and powerful dynamic. For us it is comfort and joy. The idea of not having it is hurtful and the idea of having that space with others is painful.

On his part he wants to see our friends and my family. On my part I would love for him to do so while never having to see most of his family again. (You all missed a great moment when Yan Li from my class hit him in the arm and called him an immature man child as only a thin beautiful woman from china can. He was very good natured about it. Kate I believe has nexts. 🙂

We should not now or ever again be primary partners.

We will be getting divorced.


we have discussed maybe relooking at this in September and seeing if we are good as secondary or tertiary partners. If not we will still be good friends.

We made several mistakes and we believe that in trying to save our relationship our continued reversions to vanilla heteronormativity was actually more damaging. I hated it and felt constrained, trapped, and consistently drained. He felt he had to be everything to me and set impossible personal standards for himself. We wound up having the sad trope of a sexless heterosexual marriage trying to do what we thought was right for one another.

What was right was calling it on account of love (Although I still kicked him for complete timing fail). In order for Ryan and I to be happy we need to not live together. We need to have dates, spend maximum two weeks together. We do not have compatible life goals and financial comforts.

In all honesty I am really hoping for us to have a part time Dragon/Kitten relationship. If not I will still have a kick ass friend who will support me on my crazy life. I have another ex-Boy who turned out just fine after we broke up. I’m not worried.

I am in fact very excited and looking forward to being completely unfettered.

You don’t have to do anything someone else’s way.

You don’t have to destroy everything you worked to build.

You certainly do not have to compromise if it doesn’t serve you.

It’s not a failure. It’s an evolution.

Love to you all.


  • Oh, doll. Thank you so much for sharing all these details with everyone. I miss you like crazy. And J and I are here for you in anyway you need.

    Linda MercuryFebruary 25, 2015
  • I love you both dearly Coral. I wish you both the absolute best, however it comes about. Thank you for sharing love. Namaste’.

    LynndaFebruary 25, 2015
  • Thank you. This is your story and not mine but the themes of love and baggage and illness are close enough that it hurt in a place that I haven’t visited in a while. But it also reminds me that healing happens and that the ride with an open heart and mind is usually worth it if you do what you truly believe is the right thing.

    lisaBFebruary 25, 2015

Leave a Reply