Chameleon and Me [Overcomers]

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Chameleon and Me

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Chameleon and Me:

Cham­e­leon and I met again in 2002. I was 20 years old now and she was 27. This was at the Bible Study again.

This time, she seemed inter­est­ed in me. We ended up read­ing each other's poetry at her house in Perkasie and pray­ing together there.

I told her about my abusive upbring­ing. She seemed to listen intently and to care. I brought up the subject of dating. She seemed hesi­tant. She said, “Guys always need to mark their ter­ri­tory, don't they?”

She was saying that, if we dated, I might need to share her with other men. However, I didn't understand this at the time.

Cham­e­leon eventually accepted the idea of dating me. It might have been because, like Ray, I didn't ques­tion her sin­cer­ity de­spite signs of pos­si­ble issues.

We went on dates and did everything a normal couple would do except for physical intimacy. We didn't even kiss. The local Church culture, or at least some Churches and schools, dis­cour­aged that.

At the time, a recent book named “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (1997) was popular in the area. FCA even used it for a while as a text­book. The book dis­cour­aged kissing and even one-on-one dating itself. The author, Joshua Harris, proposed group dates and a return to the idea of “courtship” as alternatives.

Joshua Harris eventually repudiated his book because, he said, people were turn­ing his ideas into some­thing re­pres­sive and “legal­is­tic” that he hadn't intended. Subsequently, he left Christianity as well.

With or without intimacy, it was overwhelming to feel that I was accepted by Cham­e­leon and receiving atten­tion from her. And we did have things in com­mon. We both liked poetry, old movies, acting, and Polaroid cameras.

People said that we should get married. She seemed to agree with them. She and I talked about it. Once, she said she wanted to get engaged on top of the Empire State building. It seemed like a clear statement of intent.

So, I took her to New York City. The Empire State Building wasn't accessible. I took her to Times Square instead and pro­posed there.

She said, “Are you kidding?”

Cham­e­leon berated me during the drive back for not living in reality, though I cited, cry­ing, all the times we'd talked about getting married. It was a *long* drive.

She said that we “weren't ready”, that I'd be too reliant on her, and that I needed to focus on finish­ing college. She implied that the idea of marriage was so un­real­istic as to be offen­sive and that I was behaving like a cad by trying to push her into it.

It wasn't the best day of my life.

To be clear, the best day of my life was the day that I married the woman, Shay, who I was meant to be with. But there's a reason to talk about Cham­e­leon as there is about each person, posi­tive or nega­tive, who's part of your story.

Cham­e­leon wanted me to meet with somebody who'd help me to understand that she was right. It turned out oddly. She chose a pastor, the father in a family that she'd stayed with but that had kicked her out.

The pastor was Tim Vander Stel. He told me that I wasn't being ignoble to propose marriage. But the marriage was inadvisable, he added, because Cham­e­leon was basically a prostitute. We talked to him together first. Then she wanted me to talk to him alone. After that, she wanted me to go into counseling.

That was the end of the relationship.

I think that the business with Mr. Vander Stel was manipulation. Cham­e­leon must have known that he was going to warn me away from her.

Later on, I learned she was finding reasons not to come to Church. Instead, she was going to bars and sleep­ing around again.

Cham­e­leon called me drunk, late at night, not long after the breakup.

I was about 21. I went over to her place that night and we had our first kiss. The next day, she apolo­gized. She said that the epi­sode meant nothing.

So, breakups happen. But it got strange later. I got back together with her. More than once.

Roughly 4 years passed. Then Cham­e­leon phoned me to talk and to ask for favors. This was circa 2007. So, now I was about 25 and she was 32.

She had a lover now. Chris. Chris was a couple of years older than Cham­e­leon and financially success­ful but, she said, he was abusive.

During this period, Cham­e­leon was preg­nant with her first child. I didn't know this at the time. Chris was the father.

Cham­e­leon and I met a few times. I went with her, for example, to record her reci­ta­tion of beat poetry in a small Philly club. And, after a few months, I helped her with a move to Quakertown.

Chris showed up to help with the move. We didn't talk much, but my impression was that he seemed intimi­da­ting and Cham­e­leon's story about abuse might be true. I had no way to know, though, for sure.

Cham­e­leon gave birth to her first child, a boy, and became pregnant with a second one.

I told her that, if Chris was abusive, she needed to stay away from him. She responded that she and Chris had “been through a lot together”. Then she married him.

The marriage took place around the time that she became pregnant with the second child. The couple sep­ar­a­ted about 8 months later, shortly before the second child's birth.

Chris didn't believe that the second child, a girl, was his. I don't know if that was a factor in the sep­ar­a­tion or not.

Cham­e­leon's story was that Chris would become more physical­ly abusive toward the end of each preg­nancy.

Cham­e­leon moved to Michigan to live with her mother. Her mother felt that she wasn't pulling her weight, the two children being one issue, and asked her to leave.

She moved in with a wealthy couple from her Mother's church. They too eventually kick­ed her out.

She was able to support herself. However, jobs didn't seem to last longer than a year. She was vague about the reasons for leaving them.

In April 2008, Cham­e­leon asked me to drive her and her children to an air­port. I was now age 26 and Cham­e­leon was 33.

She had a flight the next day and planned to stay overnight at an “AirBNB”. It was late when we got there, so I stayed overnight with her.

I slept on a fold-out couch. The children were in a different room. Cham­e­leon was to be in her own bed but came to the couch.

She got the kids to bed. We started drink­ing alcohol and talk­ing. This might have been my first alcohol.

Cham­e­leon said, “You can touch me any way you want.” The way she talked and looked at me persuaded me everything was going to be okay somehow. We remained clothed, though. I slept with her after that with both of us just in under­wear, but there was no further explora­tion.

If there was a way out after this, I didn't see it. Or I didn't want to see it.

I was only able to see what was in front of me. An exciting life that I'd dreamed of for years. I set aside qualms.

If somebody makes you an offer that you can't refuse, you're in a position of weakness. They know this. It isn't a friend or a lover. It's somebody who intends to own you as they'd own a plastic toy.

If you deal with somebody or something that, deep down, you or part of you wants, don't be overconfident.

I'd learned to manage anxiety. I'd found some inner peace. I thought that inner peace had made me invulnerable to mani­pula­tion. I was mis­taken.

There is a balance between being accepting of “the universe” or others and know­ing when there is a threat to your safety or spirit­ual well-being.

If you trust others blindly, whether or not you're in balance spirit­ual­ly, it's not likely to go well.

It's a warning sign if somebody talks about how people who don't simply trust him or her are willfully blind to the marvels that they offer.

If you meet somebody like this, run away. Run away fast.

Chameleon told me that she was an amazing and trust­worthy person and that Chris­tians who didn't acknowledge this were unfor­giving of appear­ances and unworthy of the Grace of Christ.

I noticed primarily that she was confident, assertive, and sexually attrac­tive. I accepted these factors in lieu of integrity or depth. Regard­less of your age or gen­der, don't make the same mis­take.

Cham­e­leon commented, that night, that perhaps she should have married me instead of Chris. I was enthu­si­as­tic upon hearing this. I told her, “That's what I've been saying”.

I'd made a foolish vow years before. I'd promised myself that if I ever had the opportunity to get back together with Cham­e­leon, I would. And now the pieces were falling into place.

We talked about getting back together. A few weeks later, I flew to where Cham­e­leon was now living, Wixom, MI, and moved in with her.

The relationship wasn't physical at first. I slept on the couch.

Cham­e­leon told me that a divorce was in prog­ress, but Chris was hold­ing it up.

I thought it was positive to live there so that I could help to raise the two children. I saw this as a moral imperative which superseded the fact that Cham­e­leon was still married.

Plus, eventually, she'd be free of Chris and then we'd be able to marry, ourselves. It seemed like a reasonable plan.

We were affectionate, but it came across as a pose on Cham­e­leon's part or even an inconvenience. She didn't want affection, but she did want domination and sex. This was distressing to me. My distress made her angry.

I agreed to experiment with dom­in­a­tion but resisted sex. Looking back, yes, it was an odd relationship at this stage. But this was just a prelude to an asso­ci­a­tion that was further out.

Circa May 2008, Chameleon and I attended a real-life meet­ing for a dis­cus­sion group named Ann Arbor: The Next Gen­er­a­tion of Kink­sters or A2TNG for short.

Chameleon and I talked about the meeting in advance. We seemed to be in agree­ment on “Kink­ster” issues. In par­ti­cu­lar, we agreed that there was nothing wrong with “kinky” acti­vi­ties even though sometimes Bap­tists frown­ed upon them or even upon discus­sing such things.

I didn't have a problem with the idea of “kinky”. I'd noticed, as part of this, that mission­aries were typical­ly kinky and open about sex.

In fact, the most secure, con­fi­dent, and spirit­ual Chris­tians I'd met had proven to be the most kinky. They had no prob­lems, for example, with giving kinky gifts to newly­weds.

Missionaries, in short, were far from lim­it­ed to the Mis­sion­ary Pos­i­tion.

In a discussion about this subject with Chameleon, I noted that, as a Bible verse ex­plain­ed, “Any­thing done in the mar­riage bed is undefiled”.

In the A2TNG meeting, though, Chame­leon told people that sex of any type between any two people was fine.

I wasn't fine with this. I'd agreed to the notion that kinky activity in the mar­riage bed was fine, but Cham­e­leon was all about about “any­thing goes”.

In the A2TNG meeting, for example, there was a married woman who slept around and her husband was O.K. with this. The term that the couple used for this was “polyamory”. It sounded fine to Chameleon.

Chameleon used the phrase I'd given her in the discussion: “Anything done in the mar­riage bed is undefiled”.

My feeling was, excuse me, but for it to be a mar­riage bed, the couple needs to be mar­ried or at least ex­clusive­ly commit­ted.

I was about relationships. Chameleon was about sex any way that it was pos­si­ble. Right-side up, upside down, married or strangers, do it with a clown.

This woman wouldn't simply have done it with a dog. She'd have been delight­ed to get to know a corn dog and then to put it to nutri­tion­al use. Woof!

The idea of restraint was foreign to my S.O. unless you were talk­ing about hand­cuffs. Honestly, we weren't com­pat­i­ble.

On a serious note, adults understand that X-rated fantasies are fan­tasies and role­play. They have a place in private life but Cham­eleon wanted adult films to be real. It isn't like that in real life.

There is a time and a place for such things. The thing that matters in real life is commitment.

Look for a mate whose views you share. If he or she suggests that you'll never do better because there's some­thing the mat­ter with you, leave right then and there.

Legitimate criticism is one thing. Manipulation is another. If some­body mani­pulates you to get you to go to the store for them, do it with a smile. If it's to con­trol you because you're just a tool to them, it's time to move on.

You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don't need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

Send a Christmas card or whatever at the end of the year. But, if you're kind, thought­ful, and reflec­tive, you *will* do bet­ter.

No fas­cina­ting S.O. – sex-obsessed or not – is worth the belief that there's some­thing the matter with you and that it isn't possible.

Circa July 2008, Cham­e­leon said, “I don't know how much longer I can wait”. She was referring to sex.

Chameleon added that she was going to see a BDSM domin­a­tor that she'd found on Craigs­list.

She said that I wasn't dominating enough. Sure, that was great.

I told Chameleon that I'd go with to the BDSM whipper or whatever he was. She seemed surprised that I was willing to do this. I felt as though I had to. This, among many other times, would have been a good time to end the rela­tion­ship. However, I went with a woman that I view­ed as a fiance to a BDSM session.

If BDSM is your thing, O.K. But it needs to be about com­mit­ment and com­pat­i­bi­li­ty.

The dominator was a foot doctor. He and I did BDSM things together to Cham­e­leon. Cham­e­leon saw him alone after that. I'm pretty sure that they had sex, but I didn't witness it.

Cham­e­leon and I went home and we had sex ourselves, for the first time, the same night. I proposed to her as well using the same ring that I'd brought the first time.

Cham­e­leon was amazed that I'd kept the ring. She said yes, she'd marry me. Just as soon as Chris's obstinate delays to a divorce from him were dealt with.

There were no such delays, of course, but I wanted to believe the story. So, I did.

In lieu of a marriage license or other record, we made a commit­ment doc­u­ment our­selves. It seemed real enough at the time.

Chameleon and I had sex regularly from the BDSM night on.

I discovered, though, that there were steps required for the divorce that she wasn't taking. I should have seen this as a red flag.

Cham­e­leon eventually revealed that Chris was close to marry­ing a woman who was a social work­er. I think she was afraid that Chris being mar­ried would put her (Cham­e­leon) at a dis­ad­van­tage when it came time for a custody bat­tle. She was appar­ent­ly delay­ing her divorce from Chris for this specific reason.

Chris was going to try for custody of both children. He didn't believe that the 2nd child was his. But, Cham­e­leon said, he wanted both of them just to hurt her.

By mid-2008, I was in a situation that definitely wasn't “Leave It to Beaver”, though a hun­gry beaver does en­ter the story at a later point.

In July 2008, I moved out of Cham­e­leon's place in MI and into a room in the same complex. This was due partly to moral advice offered by a couple that we knew, Pastor Jeff and his wife Peg of Ridgewood Community Church.

The move was to be just until we were genuinely mar­ried. We con­tin­ued to have sex, regard­less.

At this point, Chamelon told me, “The sex is fine, but I can't han­dle this rela­tion­ship stuff. Don't be unreason­able and expect too much.”

I agreed to stop voicing concerns that my emotion­al needs weren't being met or that the rela­tion­ship wasn't going well.

I had mixed feelings about the agree­ment. We were still at least in a physi­cal rela­tion­ship. I didn't under­stand yet that it wasn't going to go any­where.

It might seem foolish, but it never occurred to me, or I didn't want to be­lieve, that an S.O. could be so cold and calcu­la­ting as to keep me around mostly for sexual and finan­cial pur­poses and that they'd have no inter­est in build­ing a mean­ing­ful rela­tion­ship.

Chameleon sometimes begged me to stay. I'm not sure what to make of this. But Dem­bro­sky beg­ged me as well. There are les­sons to be learn­ed here.

Just because somebody needs you doesn't mean that it's a healthy and pro­duc­tive sit­u­a­tion. If a rela­tion­ship isn't mutual­ly sup­por­tive, don't feel that you're sup­posed to stay or you're being remiss.

Life is short. Look for sit­u­a­tions where things are going to grow and be real.

In the year 2008, at age 26, I was an inde­pen­dent IT con­trac­tor. I was living in MI but had clients in PA. So, I'd drive to PA, work part of the week there, and then drive back to MI. Once I took Greyhound, with 5 layovers, which saved a significant amount of money there and back and was less stressful despite transfers in early AM and following hours.

In the Fall of 2008, I returned to MI after a business trip. I visited Cham­e­leon's room and used her computer to check my Gmail.

I happened to see Cham­e­leon's Gmail account in the pro­cess and noticed that she was using an account named “sugrn­spice” or similar con­fec­tion word­ing.

Cham­e­leon was using that account to send email seeking “NSA” sex. “NSA” means “No Strings Attached” in this con­text.

I talked to my roommate about what I'd seen. He said that Cham­e­leon often hung out with dif­fer­ent men when I wasn't around. She'd told peo­ple that I was a be­liever in poly­amory.

I'm not a believer in polyamory.

So, Cham­e­leon had:

(1) berated me for proposing marriage at age 20
(2) lied about seeking a divorce from her husband Chris
(3) apparently cheated even on Chris
(4) berated me for not being BDSM enough
(5) sought “NSA” sex online during our pretend marriage
(6) gone ahead and had “NSA” sex with other men
(7) told our neighbors that I was fine with this
(8) engaged in prostitution with “sugar daddies”

I'm a patient man. There are, however, tipping points.

The Old Coder says that he's rarely met anybody so patient but that the list of issues got to be too long. In mid-2008, I agreed, and that was my 2nd break­up with Cham­e­leon.

It gets better. I went back to her just months later.

chameleon_me.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/03 15:55 by poikilos