Well, Miami and I are currently suffering through yet another growing pain in our relationship. At least it still -is- growing, and not just stagnating like a lot of marriages do. :)
Anyway...I think a bit of background may be in order for those that don't know us well, or else you won't have any idea what I'm babbling about.
Before finding ASBest, and before getting to know other zoos both on the net and IRL, Miami had rather low self-esteem in many ways. In many other ways, he was quite confident, or at least appeared to be. Like most zoos, he was good at putting up a happy "normal" facade for the world at large. Our relationship to each other was rather uneven. Like most relationships, there was some 'natural' inequality. I had held the upper hand in our marriage for so long, that it seemed second nature to me to do so, and I believe it seemed second nature to Miami to allow me to do so. I 'wore the pants' so to speak, and he very rarely questioned my authority on any matter.
Then he found all of you. He realized he wasn't alone in his love of animals. He realized that other people could, and did, love him for who he was. He realized that he didn't have to hide his desires and that he himself was lovable, not just to me, but to many other people. These realizations came gradually, and in the meantime, there were many other things in our relationship that we were struggling to cope with. We were forming, dissolving and reforming many new relationships on the net. We were -both- realizing that others could love us and we were both thrown by the knowledge that our actions could profoundly affect other people's lives, even those we'd never met in RL. We were also trying to work out ways to cope with how his zoophilia affected us.
When things began to turn sour, we looked everywhere but at ourselves to place the blame. We kept pinning it on different things to see if it would stick, but after exausting all the alternatives, we were left with each other. The blame was ours and ours alone. The friction was not caused by his fence-hopping. It was not caused by his new animal contacts. It was not caused by his experimentation with bisexuality nor by the fact of our newly open relationship. In the end, we realized it was caused by the growth we'd both experienced as our world was opened up.
His new rise in self-esteem, caused by all the support and love he received from his net friends had made him begin to question my authority. Learning how other's interacted made me question it too, silently. I began to feel guilty for the way I'd treated him all those years, and he began to feel outrage. He began exerting his will for the first time ever and I, quite naturally, felt threatened by it. I began to wonder if I could love this new Miami, this strong, confident Miami. I began to wonder if it was worth the bother of staying with someone who would not be at my beck and call.
I wrote to several of our closest friends asking for advice. Although most of them aren't what the normal world would call healthy, they are people I love and trust and who I think are genuinely concerned about us. I wrote with the knowledge that no one can fix our relationship but Miami and I. We have to figure out a new way of relating to each other, a new way of interacting.
Some of you may wonder what the hell this has to do with zoophilia, and I guess it could apply to lots of different people, and not just zoos. The reason I wrote it here is because it was the dramatic rise in self-esteem caused by the love and acceptance Miami found here that caused all this. I'm not laying blame, *smile* I'm just pointing out another pitfall on the road to understanding and loving and living with a zoo. Hopefully some couple, somewhere, will read this and recognize the signs in their own relationship for what they really are. Then they won't waste months trying to pin the blame in the wrong place. Maybe it will save someone a lot of anguish and confusion. I can only hope so.