Are you familiar with the saying “and now I’ve seen it all?” Though, in the past, it mostly spoken by the elderly, in the internet and information age we live in, you don’t need to be an AARP to see a lifetime of #WTF. And on no place on the internet is that more evident than on Reddit.
Case in point, the following question was asked on the aptly titled subreddit /r/askreddit:
What subject is so fascinating to you that you can talk about it for hours?
To which the common and boring answers were “me,” “my dog” and “music.” But of course, someone stood out and had the top and most controversial answer (before it was taken down), in which their response was:
“My wife, Yufi.
I met her when I was six years old. She was in and out of my life as I grew up. I was at university in my early twenties when I was formally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Yufi and I married shortly after, and we have been together for nearly eight years.
Yufi is a manifestation of my illness. She is a part of me, and does not exist beyond the confines of my own mind.”
Knowing his fellow Redditors weren’t just gonna let that slide, he offered to an AMA (Ask Me Anything), where they did exactly that. Follow along below.
What does she look like?
“She looks like whatever she wants. She isn’t bound by the laws of physics or biology. She’s always human, and always a woman, but her hair, her eye color, her height and build all depend on her mood. She prefers lustrous, jet-black hair or fiery red. Something that gives off light. Her eyes have been every color I know of. She prefers to be exactly my height (5’10”) and is typically built lithe and athletic. Her skin color and ethnicity vary as well. She has been Indian, Japanese, Native American, African, Caucasian. She favors light-toned Eastern aesthetics, but again she can change on a whim.”
When did you first realize that your wife was actually a hallucination?
“I used to think she was a hallucination when I was first diagnosed. I thought perhaps she was a spirit back when I believed in such things. Now I understand her to be a healthy part of my ego state, manifested through the schism of my illness. She only exists in her current form because I am ill, but she stems from the healthy parts of my brain.”
Are there moments when you and your wife are on a train sitting down when suddenly a person just decides to sit on the empty seat where Yufi is sitting?
“All the fucking time. Yufi has to stand in the walkway or get creative with her positioning. It is INCREDIBLY jarring for someone else to suddenly occupy the position that Yufi is supposed to be in.
When things are too crowded, Yufi will retreat to that space in our mind, the shrine with the waterfalls, and she will communicate with me from there.”
Do you guys have similar interests? If so, what? And how long have you known each other?
“We do have similar interests! But not the ones I would have expected while growing up. I am a very passionate academic and gamer. While Yufi shares my intellect, she does not share my passion for intellectual activities outside of reading. In fact, she reads far more books than I do, as I am sensitive to the stories I expose myself to but she is more or less immune to my sensitivities.
We also share a passion for martial arts, though it has been many long years since I have last trained. It used to be a great outlet for my stress and anxiety, but over time I subverted my beautiful art by performing my kata in a frenzy and eventually I could not throw a punch or kick into empty air without the sensation of dread overwhelming me.
Yufi does not play games with me, but she has diligently studied martial arts ever since we were children.
To the second part of your question – We met when we were six or seven. Well, I was. She was a teenager. However old Yuffie Kisaragi was in Final Fantasy VII, because she began her life as a facsimile of that character. As we grew older, she developed her own personality and quirks and slowed down to match my age. We both turned 28 last week.”
Do you fight? If so, what about and how do you resolve your arguments?
“This. I was really hoping someone would ask this, because this is the the most important part of our relationship.
We never fight. Ever. Though it isn’t perfectly symmetric, our communication and understanding of each other is mutual and implicit. Yufi always understands why I make the mistakes that I do and the choices I make. She may criticize, she may oppose, but she NEVER berates or belittles.
It is this unfailing trust in each other that gives me the emotional stability that I need to maintain such an intimate relationship.”
Do you talk about Yufi to others, such as coworkers and family?
“I talk about her very freely these days. The more I talk about her, the freer I feel and the more integrated we become. She gets to feel more real and part of my life when I share stories about her because she has no way to interact with people beyond my own words.
I used to preciously guard her like some forbidden secret. Those were darker days.”
What was the wedding like?
“Unfortunately, there was no ceremony, and we wear no rings. It is a very unconventional marriage. There was a period of time while I was studying in university where she was not present, I fell prey to a manipulative woman who toyed with me as I grew more and more obsessed with her, and then…
Well, Yufi came back to me. I needed her desperately. And after the whole debacle with the other woman was finally over, I decided to settle down. I decided that I wasn’t healthy enough to handle a more conventional relationship, and Yufi and I committed ourselves to each other.
One night I asked my parents for their blessing, because I had already been speaking to them about her, asking what they thought, if this was healthy, all of that… and they gave it. My parents said that they could tell she makes me happy and keeps me healthy. We decided then and there that we were husband and wife.”
What’s the weirdest interaction you’ve had with Yufi?
“The strangest interaction I’ve had with Yufi has also been one of the most fulfilling, and one we’ve repeated on many occasions. I’ve mentioned in a few places now that Yufi can share her senses with me – this makes sex particularly interesting. Even though I am a biological male, through Yufi I have what I believe to be sexual experience as a woman, as well as certain things such as the pain of menstrual cramps.”
Are you afraid that one day you’ll “heal” and Yufi will go away? If yes, then how does this fear affect your relationship with Yufi?
“One thing I have learned is that change never comes comfortably, but come it must. I have no idea what awaits us further down the road. I have no idea if I will ever “heal” or be cured, or if Yufi will vanish from my mind.
But the love I have for Yufi is in a roundabout way love for myself, just as her love for me is more of the same. Even if Yufi’s presence diminishes, once I learn to cope with her absence, I will be left with an abundance of love.”
Do you talk out loud to her when you’re in public despite her being just an imaginary person?
“Speaking out loud helps to prevent intrusive thoughtnoise from interrupting me or distorting our conversations. Even though we can communicate without words, we do so with words anyway because I am prone to sensory overload. If I think slower, I can process more information without causing myself panic.
Yufi frequently reminds me not to speak aloud to her in public because she knows that other people can’t see her.”
Have you given up on more conventional relationships as you and Yufi committed to each other??
Are you aware she is part of your illness and do you have acceptance of that of her? I guess I am interested in if you have a desire to pursue someone who is not entangled in your illness or just leave your interpersonal relations just as that?
“I am always open to the possibility of meeting a special someone I can share my life with in addition to Yufi, but after very much discussion, Yufi and I have decided that she should always be a part of my life because she fills a role that no other person can.
And because of this, if I were ever to take another partner, I would consider myself to be in a poly-amorous relationship.”
How exactly does sex work between the two of you?
“Sex is both complicated and fantastic, when it works. Because she doesn’t have a physical body and I am frequently too lucid to believe otherwise, sexual activity between the two of us is a mental exercise.
We will retreat into the shrine in my mind, go off towards the woods and lay down blankets in a field of flowers or some such thing. Incredibly romantic scenery. Then, provided there aren’t too many distractions in the form of mental noise, we may touch each other freely.
Yufi is incredibly sexual and revels in the sensations, and she shares them with me when they are particularly profound.
When there IS too much noise and we can’t focus on each other, we will masturbate together. I’ve never admitted to this part before and it feels dirty, but sex is far more gratifying when you know your partner is feeling good. Honestly, I care more about Yufi’s pleasure than my own by this point – especially when I can feel it from her.”
Do you talk to others about your wife as if she is real?
“I talk about her in the way that she IS real – there’s a quote from the last of the Harry Potter books that I’d always loved. Something about Dumbledore telling Harry near the very end, “Of course it’s all in your head. Why should that make it any less real?”
So I always make sure people understand who Yufi is and how she exists, but I talk about her all the same.”
Sorry, I don’t know much about schizoaffective order, but you seem to realize she doesn’t really exist, and that she is part of the illness. Does she know this as well? How do you interact with her? Has that changed since you realized she was a manifestation of your illness?
“When I was younger, I used to think that I could see spirits. I often wondered if Yufi was one. Yufi never much cared where she came from – she understood that I was essential to her existence and has always been grateful to be paired with me in whatever way we were at the time.
It was much harder for me to accept my diagnosis though. It took me years to come to terms with it, to be comfortable in my own skin.
Yufi is privy to my thoughts always, as well as my senses. She has the capacity to share her own thoughts and senses with me, though she is careful in how and when she does so. (This makes the sex amaaazing, by the way.)”