Romance Between System Mates

This may be quite a long post, but I feel like there is many points that need to be made, and I want to talk in depth about all of them. These are the main points I will hit on with this post, but I will most likely make more post about this subject in the future. 

  • History of our relationships.
  • How they work for us.
  • Why they aren’t for every system.
  • Why they are totally okay if you have them, and why it’s totally okay if you don’t. 

I hope people won’t judge us too hard for this, we haven’t really told anyone about this ever. It’s just my experience, and my life- it doesn’t have to change yours or how you view things.

So first things first; 

How this all started-

It has always been a thing in our system for us to be in romantic relationships with each other. Even with others we aren’t romantic with we are all generally pretty darn close with each other. 

Before we were ever diagnosed, back when we thought this was all a figment of our imagination and that it happened to every creative person, we believed that we were characters that Kenny (then our birth name) created. Of course, since every book or story we read was some sort of romance story, we kind of paired off into couples as Kenny would write us in his stories. When we would spend time together, it would be labeled as Kenny brainstorming story ideas- but in reality it was us getting to know one another and us being romantic with each other. 

The bonds have all remained strong, though some things have changed since we got diagnosed. 

When we did get diagnosed, we were all so close to one another that it both made it hard to handle and easy to handle at the same time. Easy because, hey we didn’t need to learn to talk to one another and we all basically got along. It was hard though because it left us feeling like our feelings for each other were just empty trauma feelings that weren’t really there. Those feelings weren’t helped by the therapist who we were working with at the group home. She was used to working with people with Schizophrenia, and kind of made us feel like we were just parts to a broken mirror and not our own mirrors.

Now, I know that works for most systems, feeling as if they are all part of a bigger whole. It’s never worked for us, we’re too individual, too strong of people, we feel so different from one another. So inside our mind we hold a different belief as to why we are here in this body- though it still is 100% trauma related. I may share that theory if someone is interested.

Anyway, back to where I was. We eventually got past this fear that everything was just a hollow meaningless nothing caused by trauma. It was helped in part by a very nice person on YouTube, whose videos have helped us tremendously through out the years. She made a video that helped us feel not so alone in our way of thinking, and helped us feel  validated.

A week after the group home’s psychiatrist formally diagnosed us with DID, Ren practically begged Kenny to try a relationship with him. It was kind of pathetic, but he’s my twin so I’ll give him a pass. That marked the start of us accepting us as people, and us trying really hard not to brush off our feelings.

During Valentine’s Day, since my older partner (Roo) wasn’t around when we got diagnosed, I decided to try and ask a protector I had become close with to see if he would like to try what Kenny and Ren had started. Joji of course said yes, and that was that. When Roo finally did come back in early 2016 (maybe even 2015 Christmas time) we kind of awkwardly talked to each other and also eventually decided to continue where we had started. The feelings were still there, and now he and Joji may even be closer with each other than they are with me (maybe). 

How our relationships work-

I’m going to break this down into subsections, protector&protectee, and, how do you date someone in your body.

Protector and Protectee-

After spending the last two years doing nothing but helping with our sister and messing about in head world, we have come to learn a lot about how our system works. There is three types of people in our system (they aren’t 100% accurate for every one), the protector, the inbetweeners, and the protectee. This is all just a good way to work out how our system makes sense. 

A protector is generally a fairly masculine male, tall and muscular, intimidating and grumpy. They are all, for the most part, huge softies. Like with Joji, he looks like an intimidating man with long (now purple) dreads and dark skin, but he spends his entire day sewing or knitting clothes for everyone. There is also Elijah, the oldest protector, who comes off as a grumpy old man with long hair and a mean look. In reality, he is just someone who is very misunderstood and who likes cooking. He is also very confused by everything in the world, and enjoys it when Kenny puts flowers in his hair. 

Their job is mainly emotional support and doing things the system deems too hard for anyone else to do (going to trauma land, doctors appointments). They mostly stick to emotional support because they are usually too easily riled up to do anything daily. So that means helping if one of us self harms, trying to pull someone out of a flashback/supporting someone after one, holding someone when they feel bad, sleeping in bed so we feel safe, etc. 

Our protectors are; Joji, Elijah, Squall, Rose, Rude, Duck, Cat, Xiggy, Ox, and Clarence.

The protectees are usually small, moody, sometimes mute people. They make up the majority of the main fronters, and are usually filled with lots of trauma memories but also lots of strength. 

Our protectees are; Kenny, Roo, Cloud, Deir, Matty, Tang, Lolly, Shark, and Zen.

I am an inbetweener. We usually lean more on the protector side of the scale, but some of us usually need our own protectors and some of us don’t. 

We are; Me(Adam), Ren, Sora, Marly, Mellow, Kyu, and Levi. 

Here is how we pair up. 

Protector  Protectee – Inbetweener

Joji – Roo Adam

Elijah – Kenny – Renau

Squall – Cloud

Cat Shark

Rude – Deir

Xiggy – Tang

Rose – Marly

Duck – Sora

Ox – Lolly

Clarence – Zen

Kyu – Levi 

How do you date someone in your body?

No idea. 

Joking! Well, we do a lot of stuff in head world. We spend lots of time cuddling and talking, we can hold hands and go for walks, or sit and watch a movie. Normal things like that, though who ever is fronting for us to be in head world doesn’t get the full sensation as if you were holding hands with someone in real life. It’s like long distance dating, but you can see and hear the person you just can’t feel them. 

We do stuff while co-fronting as well. We’ve taken each other out on dates (is easy that way because you only pay for one meal), we’ve bought each other gifts, etc. 

I suppose it’s just like dating someone in real life, but even when they’re next to you they aren’t next to you. 

Which brings me to my next main point;

Why this isn’t for everyone- aka why I kind of don’t suggest it.

It’s really heartbreaking. I’m glad we are opening up about it because it means we can vent on twitter. 

“It hurts being in love with someone you can’t touch. Someone you can’t bring home to mom, or have a big marriage with, or even have a child if you wanted to. I can’t go grocery shopping and hold hands. I can’t watch him cook in our cabin while wearing an apron that says some silly thing on it. I can’t hold the love of my life when I’m sad and scared, I can’t braid their hair. I can’t kiss them. It’s nearly torture. But I subject myself to it because I can’t imagine the thought of not having them at all. I can’t stand the look in their eyes when I have even a sliver of a doubt about all of this. The hope of some day getting to spend real time with them makes it worth it, and makes every day a little bit easier. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. ” – Kenny 

It is so rewarding being able to spend even a little time with someone you love, but it sure does make you wish for more.

Why this is totally okay if you experience it, and why it’s totally okay if you don’t:

This last point is just a little bit of validation for the systems out there who do have memebers in relationships. I never really see this talked about (except in maybe Tumblr, but that website is toxic), so I want to open this up for anyone to come and talk to us about anything. 

If your in love with a system member- awesome! Try a relationship if you both want. 

If your entire system is kids and that would be super weird- that’s also cool! Don’t feel like this is something you have to do or that every system does. Zack isn’t included on this list because he is just a child and it would be weird for him to date anyone. Instead he is Cloud and Squalls kid. 

If your entire system hates each other- that’s fine, it happens. 

Remember, what your experience is is your own true experience. You don’t need to change based of what others say. If it happens to you, then it’s normal! 

Also side note; we do have other relationships that aren’t romantic.  Siblings is a big one, like Cloud and Roo or Ren and myself. 

Okay thanks for reading all of that if you did. Any comments are much appreciated, except pure hate. Even if you don’t agree feel free to comment why, just try and be nice about it.

– Adam.


3 thoughts on “Romance Between System Mates

  1. Thanks for writing this Adam. I date Lora. When I first wanted to take her out I saved some money to buy dinner and theater tickets (she wanted to see a play) and surprised her. It was kinda funny though, I saved enough money for two of everything, I wasn’t thinking about that. it was my first time asking anybody out. I ended up being able to get her a present too though. I wish I could “see her” see her on the outside, hold her, get married, and all that. Inside is ok, but you’re right it misses a lot of stuff. I wouldn’t change anything if I could though cuz maybe that would make things different in ways that would make me lose her. Good post. I like the questioning. B wrote a whole long list of things on our blog cuz of another question you guys asked. Very cool. Lawrence

    Hey, btw, will u read our post about Spring and Coffee and let us know if any of you have similar experiences. It’s hard to explain how we can see (kinda not really) sense others around us. Just if you want to. ty.


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