Have you ever looked into the eyes of someone who is supposed to love you and seen fiery, burning hatred gleaming back at you?

At first I wasn’t sure that that is what I was seeing. How could it be? This man is a fountain of inexhaustible affection and romance. It must have been a misunderstanding. We don’t communicate in our native language, after all, so misunderstandings are bound to happen. I ignored it, telling myself that I would go crazy if I reacted to every glint, twitch and shrug. Communication must be intentional if it’s going to work, and the only way to get that is to be firm about only responding to intentional messages. Then it happened again. In fact it happened several times exactly during a period when our relationship was particularly tense.

I believe I have mentioned that I am polyamorous. I am more emotionally stable in a triad or quad of some form than I am single or as a couple. More than that, I have fuzzy sexual bounaries so that I become stressed when artificial barriers, such as the confines of monogamy, prevent me from expressing myself sexually with others. My boyfriendlike partner is a romantic and a pretty solid monogamist (masochistically monogamous, if I may coin the term) so when he was faced with meeting and interacting with my long term partner he lost it. Unfortunately he wouldn’t admit that he was losing it. Instead he tried to bottle up his feelings and chase them down with a glass or ten of beer every day for three weeks. It was during this period where I became aware of the look in his eyes.

It would happen whenever I tried to assert myself. He wanted me to stay out drinking with him and I wanted to go home and sleep: the look. He wanted me to agree that I misused some vocabulary word and I insisted that I said what I meant: the look. Last night he wanted to cuddle and I wanted circulation in my leg, so I shifted off my side, and there surfaced the look again.

When I see him looking at me that way, I am suddenly in a different dimension where reality isn’t what it was. There is this beast in the room that shouldn’t exist according to the normal rules of nature, but there it is and it is filled with pure, boiling hatred directed entirely at me. I don’t know what it is that contains that beast and I don’t know what it is that calls it out. All I know is the eery sensation of wrongness that seeps through my pores when those eyes focus on me. I’ve never seen eyes like these before.