Posts Tagged ‘friendship

19
Jul
21

re-entering the world – is my “socialize” setting broken?

I really need more poly friends. Friends that I can geek out with and talk to about dating and relationships. Someone who isn’t my husband. My spouse and I are pretty open about the people that we date, and will often even socialize with each other’s metas. (partner’s other partners.) But we tend to keep specific details to ourselves. It’s a sort of amalgamation of “kitchen table poly” where everyone talks and plans together, and “don’t ask don’t tell” poly where partners date separately and don’t share all the intimate details of their other relationships.

Spilling new relationship energy onto an existing relationship can be fun in some ways. Flirting with someone new can make you feel confident, sexy, and amorous. It’s fun to share that joyful, sexy energy with a partner. On the other hand, it can get annoying to hear every schmoopy detail about your love’s new love interest. I understand that.

Part of the reason that I started this blog in the first place is that I felt like I was overwhelming my friends with stories about my dating exploits. I wanted a place where I could tell stories, and recall the fun, exciting, and ridiculous experiences that I had. Not only were my friends having trouble keeping up, so was I! This space became a place that I could chronicle my journey, share my exploits, be vulnerable, be mean, be honest. It’s really interesting to go back and read posts from eight or nine years ago. I have really evolved a lot since then. I’m pretty sure that I’m nowhere near my final form yet!

Life took some unexpected turns in the past years, and I’ve not dated very much recently. COVID factored greatly, as did the fantastic relationship that I have with my spouse/nesting partner. There were professional demands, there was a wedding to plan and host, we moved twice, there were two deaths in our immediate families, and one of us was seriously injured in an accident.

Dating was never completely off the table, but it was certainly not a priority. At least not for me. My man dates a lot more than I do and is often putting himself out there, or at least “chatting with” a few people fairly regularly. He keeps an active dating profile, and is active on several poly groups. He tends to tell me about his interests when they get to the point of meeting in person. If they are just “talking” he may or may not mention them. As of right now, our slightly unusual system works.

I, myself started flirting with an old flame several months ago and it was fun. (Let’s call him Groovy Gardener.) He’s someone that I’ve known since junior high, it’s a long-distance situation, so right now it’s just chat, but it was good for my ego, and a turn-on. I don’t expect anything to come of it, and I have a feeling that it’s not something that he would be open with his partner about, so we didn’t get far into discussing ethics or going beyond fun talks that have been somewhat naughty at times.

Then a few weeks ago, a new contender entered the arena. (We shall dub him Mr. Write because he’s a writer, appreciates a good pun, and also because he’s been somewhat mentoring me with my “legitimate” writing efforts. (Did you kids know that you are illegitimate?)

Well, perhaps he’s not entirely new. A new, old contender, I guess. I will have to look back and see if I mention him at all in past blog entries, but I don’t think so. Today he gets his own designation in my blog anyway! We met about eight or nine years ago through a mutual friend that I no longer associate with. Back then, I felt that we were flirting and vibing nicely, but I wasn’t quite sure. He would respond to a message, and possibly show up to socialize, sing karaoke, or grab a drink, but my former friend liked to stir the pot and had made a few provocative comments in his presence that may have been uncomfortable or misleading. Sometimes he would only stay for a short time, and I wasn’t sure if that was because of her, or if it was simply nothing. I don’t know because whatever flirtation we had basically stalled. I also wasn’t sure if he was poly or knew that I was poly based on conversations with me or with our various mutual acquaintances (including an openly poly friend of his that I dated.)

Anyway, over the years we have socialized a little bit, are friends on social media, have run into each other on occasion, but hadn’t hung out in quite a long time. I married Working Class Whimsy four years ago – a few months before Mr. Write also got married. He and his wife even bought some wedding items from us at our post-wedding garage sale. I would venture to guess that that was the last time we saw each other until about a month ago.

In May, yet another mutual friend (there are several,) passed away. A few weeks later, a private wake/memorial was held in a local bar. I hadn’t been to a bar in 16 months and almost talked myself into not going, but in addition to wanting to honor my friend; it was a private party, safety protocols were in place, and about eight people that I really wanted to see were going to be there. There was karaoke. I hadn’t done karaoke in two years.

When I walked into the bar (fully masked,) the first person I saw was Mr. Write. Hugs and hellos were exchanged, introductions made with his table companions. I realized that about 85% of the people in the bar were not wearing masks, and, being fully vaccinated, I decided to remove mine as well. I admit to having a few moments of moderate panic after I took off the mask, and I said as much. It was truly bizarre to be inside a building without a face covering. Weirder still was getting water from a communal pitcher and drinking from a stack of cups on the bar. It was pretty loud, so conversation was challenging and required leaning in towards the speaker to be effective.

I hopped from table to table in order to socialize with various people. It was simply amazing to be among other humans.  Despite it having been a memorial for a departed friend, I couldn’t stop smiling. The energy was incredibly positive, and I loved talking, singing, and seeing people that I hadn’t seen in a long while. So, when I say that I thought that I was picking up a little vibe with Mr. Write, well…maybe it was my great mood and over-active imagination. Maybe he’s just flirty and outgoing like me…or maybe…has it been so long that I don’t remember what chemistry and flirtation feel like? Do I just flirt with everyone? Probably yes to both.

I spent time with lots of folks – old friends and new, and then made sure to reconnect with Mr. Write on the way out. His tipsy companions (two hot chicks, as I recall,) were friendly and we talked about COVID, our late friend, re-entering society, and crazy hair color. I had experimented with purple, a “mermaid blend,” pinkish-blonde, and hot pink in recent months, and shared a photo or two, which Mr. Write seemed to receive positively. There was some level of comment about how one photo was a bit “boobilicious” and he raised no objection. I made a joke about my body having all the qualities that one enjoys in boobs, just all over. It was funny, and social, and I talked way too much, but it felt good.

Before I even got home I had a couple of messages from him. Funnily, there was nearly an 8-year gap between our Facebook messages. He sent a couple of funny, nerdy, song parodies that he did during COVID. They are very geeky, but I love how secure he is in his nerdiness. There’s a confidence and comfort that is much braver than I. I admire people who don’t particularly mind being ridiculous. It’s delightful. Several messages were exchanged, some of them a little bit deep and personal in nature.

He’s a published author, and I sought his advice about writing. More good exchanges. He was very supportive when I had a little tantrum when I was unable to submit a piece that I wrote due to technical issues. I missed the deadline, then they extended the deadline because the technical issues were on their end. Yay. I got the piece turned in, but really appreciated that he had reached out with his support and advice.

One day, I bought a book that featured one of his short stories and settled into a hammock in my back yard and read. When I got to his story, I snapped a pic of my feet up in the hammock, and his title and name on my kindle.

I captioned the photo: “my current view”

His response was “Huzzah! Reading + legs, what a wonderful summer view 😊 and I like that story.”  

Yes, it does sound flirtatious, but during the month or so that we’ve been chatting, I became aware of the fact that Mr. Write is nearly 19 years younger than I am. This fact alone made me think that I must be crazy to think that we were having a mutual crush. Still, I truly valued our blooming friendship and excellent conversation. Yes, I love flirting, romance, passion, and sex, but I also love people, conversation, and connection. I welcome both.

He invited me to join him and some friends for karaoke a couple of weeks ago. I had plans with my family, so I declined. (Okay, the truth: I went to a dive bar with my family and had a huge burger and a couple of strong drinks and was unable to get up off the couch to go out!)

He’s been out of town for a week or so, and a few days ago, I received a message from Mr. Write asking if I wanted to get together when he’s back in town next week. My response was:

“Yes, Please.”

His response was:

“You are an I-want-to-spend-time-with-you person.”

Well, pardon me if I swooned just a bit. I did. My heart did a little flip-flop in my chest and my tummy felt funny. Because even if that wasn’t intended to be flirting, and even if it was only meant in a platonic, friendly way, it was meaningful to me. I appreciate this person, enjoy his company, and am grateful that he wants to spend time with me. It also at least somewhat validated the feeling I had that we were hitting it off.

So we chatted quite a bit more, and it was a little disjointed because I was high as hell and watching Space Jam: A New Legacy and talking about Porky Pig and Don Cheadle. Somewhere in there, he told me that he was in the bath, and sent a picture of his legs – perhaps a throwback to my hammock legs some weeks ago. I referenced the Cialis bathtub commercials, and he wasn’t familiar, but it led to a discussion of what his tub photo should advertise. I suggested the seven deadly sins, which was well received with more sly flirtation.

Then he said that he was going to need to go soon because he was tired and the phone was heavy in his hand. I made “goodbye” sounds and he said that he was turning on his side so as not to doze off and give himself a black eye. Having been told that he needed to wrap up, I said; “have a good rest of your evening” and he said; “oh wait, one more thing.”

My heart stopped, and those three little dots lingered for what seemed like an eternity.

At last, came the following message:

“Going to ask the question without being too awkward, are we doing a mutual online flirting thing, and is it welcome?’

“Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you for clarifying.”

“Sounds good. I’m also really game for flirting without direction, but thought it easier to ask.”

“I’m someone that never assumes and welcomes connections of all sorts.”

“I’m someone who overwonders about overstepping”

I love that he was brave enough to ask. I love that my consent was important to him. I also know it’s all very 8th grade and pretty tame, but it gave me quite a boost. I admit that I am currently surfing on quite a NRE (new relationship energy) high. Which is silly since we haven’t even had what could be considered a “first date” – though we’re working on scheduling something for when he gets back in town. I’m just happy and enthusiastic about getting out there again, connecting with someone, and also, I’m thrilled to know that my “radar” isn’t off. Yes, we actually were vibing. Yes, it was mutual. Yes, he likes me.

Oh my god I really do sound like my 8th grade diary!

Be safe out there, friends!

–RD

03
Jul
21

Age and Uncertainty

Let’s talk about AGE. Does it factor into your dating lives? Are you open to all, or do you have a specific age range? Why or why not? Is it a matter of attraction, or practicality? For me, I’m married, not looking for a nesting partner, or someone to breed or co-parent with…so does it matter?

My first husband was 4 years older, my second is 4 years younger. I’ve never lied about my age except to procure alcohol as a teenager. I’m 51 and I’m trying to decide if I would date someone that is 71 or someone that is 31. I think that it ultimately depends on the individual, our common interests, the conversation, the chemistry. When I was single poly it was not unusual for me to be approached by people that were 10-25 years younger. Back then, I took it all in stride and enjoyed the attention, the diversity, the flirting, the sex. Now I’m struggling to have the confidence to believe that someone who is substantially younger may actually be interested in me. I may have lost my mojo.

I recently ran into an acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in a few years. We have many friends in common, and are friends on social media. I THINK that he is poly (how do you ask?) and I REALLY, REALLY felt that we were vibing/flirting the other night. We’ve messaged a few times since – very generic, but also positive. I was looking at his Facebook profile and realized that he is quite a bit younger than I thought – nearly 19 years younger than I am. I gotta admit, I’ve not dated in a while, I’ve put on some weight, I passed 50…and my normal confidence is at war with my brain that wonders if I’m getting my signals crossed. There’s a part of me that’s like “dude, just go for it – what’s the worst that could happen?” There’s another part of me that thinks I’m just being foolish.

I talked to my spouse about this, and he said “just ask! When have you ever been shy?!?” Um, now, I guess? I’ve been chatting with this fellow and really enjoy our conversation and re-emerging friendship. I really don’t want to fuck it up by being some inappropriately creepy (older) woman that made it weird.

Also – I think that most people between 33 and 75 look “around my age” anyway. I think that along with my mojo, I’ve lost all perspective.

What really bothers me, is that I felt much more confident back when I was dating regularly. I find it destressing to think that my confidence and self-worth was based partially on positive attention that I received from other people. Then again, I’m not worried about my own feelings of self-worth here, I’m talking about how other people perceive me.

Also, I think navigating ethical non-monogamy in an organic, “real world” setting rather than on a dating app is a completely different process and a lot scarier.

03
Apr
21

The Return of “Brad Pitt”

Is it weird to have a crush on someone that you are regularly shagging? Because I did. I had a crush on “1994 Brad Pitt from Legends of the Fall.” I have written about him a few times in the past in Friday Freak-outs, Flirtations, and Friskiness from March, 2013, Embracing the Unexpected (Firmly, With my Thighs,), I Don’t Often Get Nervous, and but…but…I wore Sexy Underwear and Shaved from the following month, and Brad Pitt Got Fat from October, 2013. His “designation” under the “old system” of naming people that I dated was “P29” – but the system was impersonal and flawed. First, it was hard to keep track of folks without a nickname. Secondly, people age. “P29” would be “P37” if I met him now. Nicknames like “Dancing Dr. Who” and “Teddy Bear Pirate” make it easier to follow. I once said that this guy showed up at my door with a leather hair tie looking like Brad Pitt from Legends of the Fall and the name stuck. He’s been “Brad Pitt” ever since – even when he’s looked more like Kevin Smith before he went vegan.

I really liked “Brad Pitt” and he was a regular hook-up for about a year or so. We had most excellent sex and, when he wasn’t aloof or in a “Pitt” of depression and despair from his PTSD, we had fantastic conversations, lots of common interests, and a remarkably similar world view.

I think I was a little bit in love with him.

I mean, just a little.

I recently responded to a question in a poly group about whether you have to be “in love” with each of your poly partners in order for it to “count” as “poly” or whether it would be considered “friends with benefits” if you weren’t. I’ve never really been a fan of labels, but basically, I feel like we have lots of different levels of friendship, affinity, attraction, common interests, etc with lots of different people. We can love them in different ways, and with different degrees of intensity. Different people meet different needs – that’s the whole point.

Anyway, it’s been a while, but I really liked Brad Pitt. I know that I was a low maintenance booty call for him, and that was really okay for me. I would occasionally see him near the beginning of my relationship with “Working Class Whimsy” and they knew about each other. But as things progressed with “Whimsy” “Brad” and I didn’t see much of each other. I assumed he was figuring his shit out, or maybe had gotten involved with someone – as I had. There was no drama or bullshit, we just sort of faded away from each other. I would occasionally think of him fondly and wish him well.

Then, after years of no contact, he popped up again a couple of months ago, on Facebook. I should be clear – we are not, nor were we ever Facebook friends. It was not that sort of relationship. (Plus, I generally don’t friend people that I date.) He and I mainly communicated by text. So, in the midst of a global pandemic, I get a message from someone using a slightly different nickname than the one that I knew him by, (both different from his real name, which I also know.)

So after about five years of no contact, he reached out and said:

                So, are you married or not?

His profile picture didn’t show his face, and the name was different. In the span of about 30 minutes, I did a complete social media creep on the dude and read about a year’s worth of posts. I soon found video and photographic evidence that it was him, but I already knew. Eventually I responded:

                Hey, it took me a few minutes to figure out who this is.

                Yes, I am.

                How are you surviving the apocalypse?

He said he wasn’t good. We briefly chatted about how fucked the world is, how much we miss singing, about TV shows, video games, movies, and how we were managing during isolation. We talked about fears, feelings, despair…we even talked about how he had legally changed his last name – due in part to his no longer wanting to have his father’s last name. After my social media perusal, I wondered if his name change also correlated to a significant change in relationship status. Did he get married too? There did seem to be a woman in some of his social posts. A chubby, older woman – hmmm, I think he has a type. I mentioned that I had planned to keep my exes last name as my middle name, but then decided that I no longer wanted or needed it. That was literally the entire extent of our “relationshippy” talk.

It’s funny that even after so much time and distance, we were able to be extremely forthright about serious, global, emotional, painful, personal stuff, while completely misfiring on general, social, small talk. It’s always been a bit like that with us – deep, intimate connection, but also weird, guarded, aloofness bordering on “ghosting” – then back again. I think it speaks a lot to his damage, and it’s just the way that we’ve always related to one another.

I’m not sure why he reached out. I like to take it as a compliment – he was thinking about me, looked me up, sent a message. But it probably wasn’t like that. I probably showed up in his “people you may know” on Facebook and he was likely curious about my name change. Still, it was really nice to hear from him and know that he’s alive. If we weren’t in COVID isolation, I may have explored the contact with a little more seriousness and interest, but we are, and it was nice to reconnect a little bit. I continue to think of him fondly, and to wish him well.

–RD

A post-script to my own post.

This could probably be an entire post unto itself, but I don’t want to do sound like I’m obsessing over this guy.

As I mentioned, I’m not Facebook friends with “BP” – never have been. But he did hit me up on Messenger when he reached out, and that’s where we have communicated most recently. When I started to write this post, I went back to our Messenger chat for reference and I noticed something new: we now have one FB friend in common. Wait, what?! That’s new. We did know people in common from the local karaoke scene, but he wasn’t friends with any of them on social media, and told me that he didn’t keep in touch.

Our mutual friend is a slight, attractive, single woman who is much closer to his age than I am. I found myself having a brief flare of…ooooh…is that jealousy? How WEIRD! I’m completely comfortable with the notion of him being married to the chubby gal in his photos, but I had the slightest spurt of “grrrrr” when I saw that these two were recent Facebook friends. Very interesting, and something that I will have to consider more. Not quite what I expected from my open-minded, polyamorous self!

Your thoughts and comments are most welcome.

22
Mar
21

Like Meets Like

I have to admit, I haven’t been meeting too many new people during the past year or so. My household and I have taken pandemic isolation very seriously.

The new people that I have gotten to know while sheltering in place, have been almost exclusively online connections. Even colleagues from work are now “remote” and meetings take place by phone or Zoom.

Interestingly, I have reconnected with a lot of old friends and relatives that I hadn’t spoken to in quite a while. It’s been strangely easier to discuss past decades than past weeks or months. Probably because there are actual stories to draw conversation from. Talking to my current close friends sometimes sounds a lot like this:

“What are you up to?”

“Not much.”

“Yeah. I finally got the golden watering can in Animal Crossing.”

“Oh cool. We went to Costco. It was crazy. Four people without masks.”

“Seriously. That’s crazy.  I had a panic attack last time we went.”

“I know, right? I was just thrilled to get away from my children.”

 “I hear ya…”  

Talking to friends about the monotony of daily life in isolation can be tedious. There are also days when I simply feel toxic and don’t want to talk because I feel like such a downer.

Still, I have really tried to get involved with online activities. I started a Facebook group about cooking, and joined several others about art, polyamory, travel, music, and a couple of support groups. I have even been playing trivia online pretty regularly.

Through these various “virtual” activities, I have “met” several new people this year, and I started to notice an interesting pattern. Many of my new acquaintances and I have quite a bit in common. Sure, this makes sense if we’re in a cooking group together, but I was surprised to discover that two of my new online pals were openly poly.

Which begs the question – does like find like? Is there something that inherently exists among poly folk that causes us to find each other organically? I’m in a number of poly groups and the types of people (politics, social class, education level, type of poly that they practice,) seem to vary broadly. I guess we tend to be liberal, openminded, and outgoing, but that’s a generalization at best.  

One person that I discovered to be poly was an existing “electronic acquaintance” that I had been following an interacting with for a while. I don’t usually accept friend requests from people that I don’t personally know (and also decline many that I do know personally.) In the case of this guy, (let’s call him DM,) we have some friends in common, he’s smart, witty, nerdy, and has a gift for terrible puns. We’d engaged in some online banter and at some point, a couple of years ago, we became friends on social media. For some time, I had suspected that he was also poly. I’m not sure what caused me to think so, but he’s a sexy, outgoing, charming fellow who seems to have an active social life and no primary partner. I didn’t really care one way or another – he lives on the other side of the country and it’s not like I want to date him, but I had a little “ah ha” moment when DM recently put the word “poly” in his Facebook description.

I “met” a queer, poly woman a few months ago when she and I were both actively objecting to a transphobic joke that a mutual friend of ours had posted. It wasn’t a terribly ugly joke – in fact, it poked fun at a rather nasty person. Unfortunately, the “fun” punchline was that she had a dick. Not cool. If the insult is about their weight, genitals, illness, religion, ethnicity, or the like, I don’t generally find it funny. This gal (let’s call her Viv,) and I both voiced our “not cool, man” objections, and our friend pushed back a bit. Everyone doubled down, conversations were had, and our (male) friend eventually agreed.

Viv and I then messaged back and forth for about three hours and had a wonderful exchange. She showed me photos of her partners, and shared how much she missed being separated from one partner due to COVID. She was very forthright about the fact that one of her partners was a trans woman, which she mentioned as part of her argument against our friend’s joke. She was fierce.

I’m not super secretive about being poly – many of my friends know, as do some family members. I’m happy to talk about it if it comes up. However, I’m not “out” as a general rule, and live a “passing” life as part of a heteronormative couple. Honestly, other than some messaging and chatting, the past year has been monogamous for my nesting partner and me. Safety has been our top priority.

Still, I really admire people who are open and out. I think it’s important to have representation, but I worry about it impacting my work, and honestly, I just feel like it’s nobody’s business. I don’t mind sharing, (ha ha,) but I do mind having a label slapped on that causes a lot of speculation or inappropriate questions. That may change at some point, but not right now.

Much respect to people living their truth!

And much love to you all,

RD

14
Jul
14

Hometown letdown

A brief summary to catch you up: I am primary in a poly relationship that teeters on the brink of being monogamous. My guy has an active dating profile. I do not. We came to our relationship as poly people and it got serious and we really like spending time together so we do. I am fine being an ethical slut and have no objection to a poly lifestyle other than it can be time-consuming hard work and also I hate drama and bullshit. If there’s drama I’ll just pass, thanks. My fella and I have an active, frequent & satisfying sex life. Right now he dates and I don’t. But mostly he just talks to others. I’m certain that he hasn’t had sex with anyone else in the past seven months.

Every time I write about this I feel like I’m making excuses or justification. I guess it just feels a little weird and pseudo-patriarchal because he dates and I don’t. That’s not how it is.

He likes the variety, the conversation, the discovery, interest & admiration. I like intimacy, sex, sense of family, security & trustworthiness. I don’t like the games & bullshit so I don’t put myself out there to seek out new men & new adventures. However, I’ve been thinking about it. Also, I’m not opposed to it happening organically if it does. I like flirting and wouldn’t mind letting it go further if the opportunity was there. But realistically, unless the circumstances are really specific or unusual, there aren’t that many opportunities to say “oh hey, just so you know, my live-in boyfriend and I are poly and see other people so if you were interested in maybe going out sometime…”

Which brings me to a situation where I ALMOST had that exact discussion. Almost. We didn’t get that far.

There’s a guy that I dated back in high school. We’re Facebook friends. We keep in touch. He knows about this blog, my dating and we’ve shared a lot of naughty discussion over the years despite never having hooked up beyond heavy make-out sessions in the late 80s. He lives 2000 miles away or it might have happened by now, but he has a brother who lives about 35 miles from me who graduated with one of my siblings. Over the years, we had both commented on so many mutual Facebook posts that we finally became Facebook friends despite not having been friends previously. He’s attractive and while not local, he’s not far away either.

A few weeks ago during some generally Facebook chatter I said we should get together sometime this summer – it’s a shame that we don’t socialize since we live so close. He simply said he would love to. Okay, cool. I’m glad to socialize with someone from my hometown. Someone who is a friend of my brother. Someone who is the brother of a friend of mine. Yes. It would be fun to get together. Though I notice he used a lot of winky smiley faces. And I find him very attractive. And he’s a little flirty. And…should I ask him if he wants to get together with my man & I or just me? I mean, would that be presumptuous? Because honestly, I’m good either way. If we just hang out in a friendly way that’s cool. If we hang out and discover a deeper interest, that’s cool too.

We had a few brief texts about getting together, “I’ll check my schedule” type messages here & there, then I sent him a message saying that I would be attending a festival in his town over the weekend and he quickly & enthusiastically responded “sounds like I may be going down as well! :)” I then explained that I would be helping out at my guy’s sister’s booth and said I would help for a few hours during the high-traffic time of the afternoon but that I would be free to grab a drink and hang out. He gave me a “LOL – very generous! ;)” then dropped all contact.

I should be clear – my Facebook clearly states that I am in a relationship and I regularly post check-ins and photos of myself and my guy. So I hadn’t been misleading in case you think that saying “my guy’s sister” threw him for a loop. Nope. I figured we would meet someplace neutral and convenient, chat, have a drink and see if there was maybe potential for more and if so…I would explain my situation casually and without pressure. Given the new information he could then run with it by saying “oh wow – then we should DEFINITELY get together again!” Or say something like “oh man, I don’t know how you do that. I never could” or he could suggest that we should all go out sometime. Whatever. Something, right?

I sent him a text message on Wednesday to make sure he had my number. No response. I sent a FB message. No response. I sent a text the morning of the festival saying that the weather was nicer than expected & encouraging him to come down. No response. Later I sent a text asking if he was watching soccer & saying that I was enjoying a match and my first adult beverage of the day. I said he should come down & I would buy him a beer. Finally, I sent one last message on FB – just in case his phone number had changed since January when we last exchanged text. Meanwhile, he was posting & commenting on Facebook. Just…not responding at all to my messages.

I find this annoying. Hometown guy or not, romantic potential or not, if you’re going to blow me off could you maybe just communicate? How about “oh hey – wound up watching World Cup with some friends so today won’t work after all.” You can even leave off any “but let’s try again soon” if you don’t actually want to get together. I can handle it. But don’t act super friendly, enthusiastic & excited then just stop responding. It’s super weird. And quite unfriendly.

I’m debating whether I want to make the effort to say “hey, what happened?”

22
Oct
13

Once I had a blog

Jesus. I used to have a blog.

Now I have…

  • A Facebook addiction. Hey, I’m level 31 on Game of Thrones & always in the top two on Bejeweled Blitz! 😉
  • Football season. It happens every fall – the NFL takes over my life.
  • A messy house, unfolded laundry & a constantly neglected “to do” list.
  • Friends that need me. These amazing people were there for me when my marriage was falling apart, my life was in the toilet and I was terrified. I worked hard at making sure that they were not neglected while I was in the intense early stages of this new relationship. Now, as I’ve settled into a more domestic stage of what has become a passionate love affair, I continue to work at maintaining, nurturing & protecting friendships. I’ve made the mistake of being too insular in the past and have blown off friends, family and other interests because I was focusing on my new love and ignoring everything else. I’m trying to be balanced and not lose the rest of the life that I value so much just because I’m in love with a man that I’m kinda giddy crazy about.

And oh yeah, I have…

A relationship. I mean, it’ really great. Really. But it’s moved fast and in unexpected directions. It’s tough to maintain what has primarily been a dating blog when I’m really only seeing one man right now. But there are still interesting stories that haven’t been told – bits & pieces that I have been experiencing and saving but not sharing because most nights I spend time continuing the discovery of this amazing man. And having mind-blowing sex. God DAMN the sex is great. I thank all the powers that be for a smart, funny, generous, big-cocked man with a decent sex drive who is really into ME! Thank you! Thank you! I like to think that karma brought him to me because I deserve it! Lord knows that I do!

Gushing aside, nothing is perfect. I have my frustrations, insecurities and areas for growth that I need to work on. This blog has been a great tool for working out my stuff and I’ve been neglecting it – which is just dumb. Writing for the blog is much like writing for a personal diary, but since there actually is an audience (however small you may be,) I find that I really make an effort to condense my thoughts and find a denouement or at least some sort of summary/life lesson to wrap things up. Even a bit of humor can really tie the room together and give me perspective. Having not written here in over a month, I find that without a sounding board, I get a little too introspective and tend to over-think things. This is my first new primary relationship in…26 years. I’m trying to learn from past mistakes and am forging a new path into this love. I’m discovering myself as much as I am my man.

Also, I am rather fond of my Risqué Divorcée persona. That bitch is fun, frisky & fearless! I need to tap into that bold, confident part of myself more often!

16
Sep
13

Eschewing Drama

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Editor’s note: drama is something that I have been trying to weed out of my life but is a rather powerful force that is difficult to avoid. I started writing this particular blog entry in early August 2013, updated it in mid-November and mostly finished it in January, 2014. However, while loading a photo before posting, my computer crashed and all updates to my draft were lost. I got pissed & put it away again.  Now I’ve pulled it out because I feel the topic deserves attention, and because it feels weird to have written so much without actually finishing something. 

The fact is, drama can be exciting and engaging and blind us to the fact that what we’re really dealing with are toxic relationships. It’s often tremendously difficult to leave those and I could write an entire book about that!  I initially had planned to write three “chapters” that covered episodes of drama in my life that were currently troubling at the time that I started this draft. Particularly, I meant to address the “drama queens” that were actively seeking attention at the time – The Ex, The High-maintenance Friend & The Other Woman. I finally decided that I should make it three separate entries because the first “chapter” became quite long. But then something interesting happened. As I was finishing the first section today, I realized that the other two sections no longer hold much weight. In fact, they are barely worth writing about, let alone having their own entry. The ex hubby & I are getting along pretty well and I haven’t had a nasty-gram from him in months. The other woman barely exists in my guy’s life now  – largely because he has also been working on getting rid of drama and limiting unhealthy relationships. Perhaps setting boundaries gave me more strength than I realized. Maybe getting rid of one drama queen made the others fall away as well. –RD

It’s true. I’ve been accused if being a drama queen. I fully accept the fact that I’m loud, direct & I like to spin a good yarn. I wouldn’t have this blog if I didn’t enjoy sharing humorous & dramatic tales. But lately I’ve coined the term “save the drama for the opera & the end-zone.” It’s just not always a good thing.

Sometimes drama is engaging, fun, exciting and riveting. Sometimes it’s energy-draining, hurtful, negative, time-consuming, nasty bullshit. Too often we get stuck in a cycle of drama with friends and in romantic relationships and it can be really difficult to get out. I have a long history of taking on other people’s pain, tragedy, angst and worry. It’s great to have empathy and compassion, but the past few years have found me learning the boundary between being a supportive friend and being used as fuel in someone’s drama-fest. I’m also trying to learn to not escalate my personal conflicts into big, dramatic episodes. I try to avoid or at least not ramp up these moments of strife while at the same time, not allowing myself to be a doormat. I guess I’m learning to pick my battles. I’ve always been direct but I’m trying not to be aggressive. As for being passive-aggressive? I’m trying to do away with that altogether. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

THE FRIEND  Speaking of crap I don’t have time for, I recently cut a friend out of my life after what was simply the last straw for me in her constant flow of high-drama, self-absorbed, narcissistic incidents. Seriously. I used to refer to her as “my high-maintenance friend” and many of our mutual friends had already grown tired of her conduct and cut her off. When I first got to know her a bit I used to downplay her behavior by saying “she’s just young and has some maturing to do.” I cut her tons of slack. I felt like I took on a sort of nurturing role of confidant who was helping to thicken her thin skin. I reasoned that her hypersensitivity might actually help me learn to be more thoughtful and sensitive in my communication too. How often was my “directness” considered abrupt and insensitive? I was absolutely willing to examine my own behavior.

We often had fun together – she is very smart, lively and witty. But her go-to emotion seems to be butthurt, in conflict or going through some sort of drama with a client, employer, landlord, neighbor, lover, friend, parent, sibling, cashier, server, ex, other drivers on the road, etc. It was ongoing and exhausting. Her Facebook posts were full of angst and conflict disguised as intellectual conversation. Soon I realized that she tends to bully people with her feelings – requiring that hers be validated in a very specific fashion, while downplaying or dismissing those of others.

My justification that “she’s just young” doesn’t really play either. My last straw happened on her 27th birthday. She had specifically requested a karaoke outing and I had enthusiastically accepted.  I asked if it was okay to include my niece who was visiting from college. She agreed but asked that it be “just girls” and no dates. It took a coveted Friday away from my fella, but I agreed. I shopped for a couple of small, personal, thoughtful gifts and a nice card. I also spent more than an hour on the phone with her that afternoon talking about her sister and her feelings having been invalidated because her sister cares more about her new baby than her (my ex-friend’s) feelings. Seriously, it was painful. An hour and a half of her saying how her sister having a baby was just one more thing for her to hold over her head. One more way that the sister is more successful. The entire conversation I never knew if the child was male or female or had a name. It was always “it” or “the baby” and occasionally “the damn baby” – gross.

Again, I give someone slack on their birthday in particular. I was kind and patient and I showed up that evening dressed nicely and with gifts in hand. She thanked me saying that I was the one person who always got her something for her birthday. They weren’t big or expensive, but they were thoughtfully selected for her. One was a nice, carved wood bookmark that she immediately put inside the book that she had brought with her. The other was a small, decorative pill box that you might keep safety pins (or perhaps Prozac) in. It was painted with a miniature of the Seattle skyline and she seemed very pleased to have received them. Ironically, the card read “Don’t be a Drama Queen – it’s just a birthday!” It proved to be quite prophetic.

We ordered drinks and food – I opened a tab with the intention of covering the bill for the three of us plus the two other friends that she was expecting. Meanwhile, I asked if she wanted to sing a duet, she said yes and I went over to chat with the karaoke host (a close friend of mine) and put in our song. I came back a few minutes later and told her we were all set and she said “No, no, no! I don’t want to sing that YET! I mean, I want to sing it, but I don’t want it to be the first thing I do.” Okay, I guess that’s why I asked you in the first place, but away I went to change the song (which the KJ had kindly put at the top of the rotation because of it being this gal’s birthday.) I chatted with him for a few more minutes about what to sing, what songs he’s been working on and general friendly chit-chat. Apparently when I was away the birthday girl lit into my niece saying asking what was wrong with me and saying she could tell that we were over there talking about her. My niece thought this was really crazy and it made her uncomfortable, but I didn’t know about it until later.

Food arrived and was virtually ignored by the guest of honor who was starting to get really spun up about the fact that her other two friends hadn’t yet arrived. She began texting to see where they were and encourage them to hurry up. When one of the friends messaged back that she wasn’t feeling well and apologized, saying she would take her out for lunch in a few days, but couldn’t make it out, the tantrums started. This 27-year-old adult human began whining “but it’s my birrrrrthdaaay! It’s only one day! She should have known better than to go to yoga and overdo it!” A text exchange then ensued wherein she blatantly guilt-tripped her apologetic (and apparently ill) friend. The friend, having said that her head was throbbing and she felt nauseous, apologized again and the birthday brat tapped in a response that said “you say that so frequently it no longer has any meaning to me.” She then turned her phone to me and said “what do you think? Should I send that? Is it too harsh?”

I responded very directly by saying “well, if you really want to escalate things, okay, but she’s not feeling well, offered to take you out another day and has apologized multiple times…”

Clearly, I had not given the response that she had wanted to hear, because she immediately started defending her aggressive retort. She got really shrill and said “but it’s true! You have no idea how frequently she apologizes – it’s just meaningless anymore!” Rather than engage further in what had become an absurd discussion, I simply said “well, you’re a grown-ass adult, do whatever you want.”

(Now, I feel as though I need to interject here – I use this phrase all the time to my friends. I feel like it’s a way to validate their decision to do what they want to do without asking me or anyone else for permission to do so. My niece, who was witness to this exchange, hears this from me often!)

Well, instead of laughing it off, considering my response or taking it as validation & moving on, she changed the focus of her attack to me. She sneered then looked stricken, asking me what was wrong with me and asserting that I had been in a bad mood all evening. Well, I kind of lost it. Years of her neediness, absurd demands and constant dissatisfaction and dissection of even the kindest comment had piled up to break this camel’s back. I finally said something. It’s been months and I would be hard-pressed to accurately quote exactly what I said, but it was something like “hey, you asked for my opinion. Just because you didn’t like my answer doesn’t mean that I am having my period.” I said that she was so busy bitching about her friends that hadn’t shown up that she was ignoring those of us who had actually bothered to come. What happened next what the straw that broke our friendship for good. Frowning, she silently stood up. Slowly, she took the bookmark out of her book, the birthday card & pill box out of her purse and laid them down on the table. She then turned to my niece and said “Olivia, it was nice to see you again,” before standing up and shuffling to the bar at a glacially slow pace while occasionally glancing back to see if anyone was going to chase after her and beg her not to go. Nobody was. She paid her portion of the tab and walked out.

I had given this person multiple chances – far beyond what others in our mutual social scene were willing to do. I was patient, calm, honest, kind and willing to listen and examine myself. I was the only one of her friends who actually managed to show up to her birthday celebration where she chose to complain, demand, tantrum and whine instead of having fun and enjoying the people and the present moment. It was the straw that broke this camel’s back for good. I literally got up and took a picture of the abandoned card and gifts on the table. I save it as a reminder NOT to get drawn back in. NOT to forgive and cycle through the same toxic crap.  Somewhere in my “nice” Judeo-Christian upbringing, I was taught to “forgive & forget” and to “be the better man” and resolve conflict (or at least ignore that it happened and never speak of it again!) I was taught to be loyal. That marriages, friendships, relationships last forever. I was never taught how to walk away. How to disengage. How to not care. How to essentially “give up” on something that wasn’t worth doing anymore. My “play through the pain” parents never gave me an example of how to say “no” or how to say “no more.” I’m teaching myself how to set boundaries that make me feel empowered and sane instead of guilty and bad.

With “the high-maintenance friend” I feel that I wasn’t really her friend. At best, I was a bit player in her ongoing drama but usually I was just set dressing or audience for her little show. The night that she walked out of her birthday party I unfriended her on Facebook. Not as a dramatic gesture and not even as a punitive gesture. As a finality. As a very real means of cutting off the feed of something unhealthy that was draining me with its demands and not really feeding me in any way. Funny thing is? For as much as I am sarcastic and snarky? I’m a good and loyal friend who is willing to forgive a lot if the other person is willing to consider their behavior and their treatment of me. Had my former friend sent me a message saying “hey, I’m really sorry how things went down on my birthday. Can we talk?” I may have responded positively. Instead, I got this message:

Wow. Seriously? Not even a message or a text?

It was my BIRTHDAY and you were giving me a hard time. Wtf.

I didn’t feel comfortable taking your gifts. It didn’t feel right.

Your complete lack of interest in conflict resolution is so opposite from my experience of you, thus far.

 

Yeah, screw you and get used to it. No more blaming me. I’m no longer willing to be anyone’s whipping boy. I ended a marriage that was nearly as old as you are and with far less drama. I’m done.

It doesn’t hurt. I don’t miss her. Why? Because even though I was a friend to her, she wasn’t a friend to me. It’s not like giving up salt or chocolate or wine – those things feed you and make you feel good. I gave up the equivalent of emotional rice cakes. Something I felt like I ought to like but I really didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

29
Aug
13

Upcoming topics

Yes! There will be some! My schedule changes next week and I have quite a few blogs backlogged in my head right now. Here’s what’s coming up:

  • “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” the ex drops a bomb that would have wiped me out not too long ago. I discover I don’t give a shit anymore.
  • “What Are You Afraid Of?”a very good question, posed by my boyfriend. Worthy of consideration and thoughtful contemplation.
  • “Butt Stuff” we haven’t talked about sex in awhile, have we? Let’s.
  • “Purging Drama” part of separating, divorcing & building a new life is letting go of the drama, co-dependency and unhealthy associations that drain you. This includes “friends” who demand too much.
  • “Overthinking vs. Thinking”something I struggle with.
  • “Bring Your A Game” does being in a poly relationship pressure you to be your best self all the time because you are always sort of “competing” for time & attention? Should it? Is this a bad thing?
  • “The Return of Little Pirate Bear” he’s back. Sorta. Not sure if he’s staying.
  • “Crossing the Streams” the pros & cons of knowing your lover’s other loves.
01
Jul
13

the risky prospect of offering your love…

Okay. I’m a lover. No, really. I’m not just talking about sex, dating & intimacy. I’m extremely demonstrative with my friends and…well…everyone. I’m the kind of person that says “thanks, hun, you have a great afternoon” to the cashier at the grocery store. I’m gregarious. I’m outgoing. I say “I love you” to lots of people.

It’s something that is frequently said & texted among my girlfriends & I. It’s how we end a phone call. Most of my friends hug & kiss me hello/goodbye. Both of the men that I’ve lived with in romantic relationships (including my ex-husband,) still exchange “I love yous” with me. The bartender at my regular watering hole/karaoke joint greets me coming & going with a hug. Recently, he’s started saying “love you, gal” when I leave and I naturally respond “love you too, baby.” It just feels right to share my love with these people. Even my curmudgeonly uncle says it to me & ends emails with “love” from him.

Yes, I like to share my love & affection with people that I care about. It’s just how I am and most of my friends seem to be equally expressive & demonstrative.

And yet…you can be sexually involved with someone in the most intimate way possible, have the most fantastic, intense, emotional, physical connection. Exchange fluids, conversation, trust…rim-jobs…and somehow the romantic aspect of that relationship makes those three words dangerous, weighted, terrifying & forbidden.

Oh, you can say “I love fucking you!” “I love your cock!” “I love it when you do that!” and the like, but Lord knows, saying “I love you” to someone who is actually a lover is risky business. Especially if you like how things are going & don’t want them to freak out, get all weird & run away – or to start picking out china patterns. You never know how it’s going to be taken! Or worse, if you will be offered the “I love you return” (as Seinfeld called it.)

Certainly, “I love you” means different things to different people. I think my writing so far gives you a sense of what it means to me. It’s something to be shared. Being someone who identifies as polyamorous may lend to my comfort at dispensing my love among many. To me, it lets them know that I value them as a person and a friend/family member, that I care about them – their health, well-being, activities – and that they are part of my chosen tribe of people.

In the movies & on TV there’s often a big, dramatic, climax when Harry & Sally finally figure out that they LOVE each other and that means lots of kissing followed by MARRIAGE and HAPPILY EVER AFTER. There’s a “love binary” that happens in fiction that often transfers to real-life – particularly with the typical monogamous construct. You “fall in love” and then are expected to be with that one person forevermore – loving them exclusively with a passion so bright & fresh that you would never consider being involved with another person ever again.

It’s not that way for me. If we are romantic partners and I say that I love you – it means that the words have probably been teasing my lips for weeks. It means that you are more than just a fuck. You are likely someone that I have felt an intense connection with. We’ve probably had some intense and insightful conversions. You are probably sensitive, thoughtful, kind, funny, weird, focused, goofy. You’ve made me laugh. You’ve probably made me cum. It doesn’t mean I want to marry you or be exclusive, but it means that I want us to have a relationship. One that lasts awhile. One that we enjoy. It means that even if we breakup sometime when it’s no longer good for us, that I will probably have a degree of love and affection for you. I care about you and I want you to stick around.

Is that really so scary?

(Yes.)

(But I did it anyway.)

Post Script…I came to a realization that I don’t really blog about men that I have feelings for. I blog about the ones that spurn me, hurt me, make me laugh, send me stupid messages that we can mock…the ones that I like a lot? They barely get a mention. I’m going to work on that.

Meanwhile, there’s this new guy. Poly. Two other girlfriends. Really great. Been seeing him steadily for about five weeks now. Emboldened by a fantastic day celebrating equality & gay pride yesterday and during a time that we were neither under the influence or having sex, I told him that I love him. I said “don’t freak out – it’s just a day for sharing it.” He said “oh, I’m not. I know. I love you too.”

The I love you return!

Yay! (<—-my actual response to him saying it to me.)

It’s not so scary, right?

15
Jun
13

It’s like they know!

I sit down with my coffee and open up a page to start a new post. Then I get a text asking me if I want to join friends at my city’s Pride Picnic this afternoon. Well heck, yes I do! I have awesome friends too & it can’t always just be about dating & men, right?

Anyway, I hope that you are all out enjoying sunshine, BBQs, Father’s Day preparations, loved ones, good friends, good sex and making fantastic memories! I’ll be back soon!

Two new topics I plan to hit are….

  • Getting dumped by someone you didn’t even find attractive in the first place
  • New serious interest & new relationship energy
  • More tales from Vegas – and why didn’t I snap a photo?!?

XOXO




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Quickies with the Risqué Divorcée!