Posts Tagged ‘polyamory

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

16
Jul
14

Do you ever wonder if they are all the same people?

During the past several months I haven’t been doing much blogging. It’s funny, really. Life is generally good and I’ve been busy with work, my boyfriend, travel, games, reading, hobbies and housework. Blogging is like a live, interactive journal for me – a place to really work on my thoughts and feelings. Because I’m writing for an audience, however, I find myself needing to be a bit more disciplined than I would be in a regular diary. I feel like I need to be a bit structured and to come to some sort of conclusion or denouement in order to wrap things up nicely. Which means I don’t blog as often as I ought.

For awhile, I was following a “power blogger” who wrote several blog entries each day. Many of them were quite short or reposts of news or other items that interested him. His discipline was in posting every day and, seemingly, every thought. I tend to be more studied and I also try to keep on a theme – dating, sex and general survival after a divorce. Granted, the dating stuff was most entertaining and took the forefront, but I suppose I could share a bit more about the ex, the kids, money, insurance…the struggles…but I find that to be pretty boring, mostly. I suppose I should consider sharing a bit more of that side though.

Meanwhile, while not writing as much, I have been reading a whole lot more blogs. As I consider my current relationship, I have been considering dating again and how that might work. I’m intrigued by other poly people and swingers. How do they make it work? And do they, actually? Do they manage to find balance, contentment, love, trust, family? Is it all just temporary, fleeting moments of excitement and newness until someone else becomes the new, interesting person? Are they admirable in their ability to be self-reliant or are they sad in their constant state of flux and turnover? Are people in dedicated families (quads, triads, etc) too busy with household management and great sex to blog? I wonder.

As I was reading these numerous different stories I became intrigued by a sort of odd fantasy that perhaps they were all just sort of the same people. I know that some poly communities are quite small – even with my own very limited experience I have found that there are several people that I know of who are “mutual friends” with other friends of mine. I’ve had an incredible number of people who know other people in common. I’ve also come to know some of my current love’s past lovers socially and one gal he’s been dating lately is quite intent on meeting me. All of this supports this weird fancy that I created imagining that I was reading about the same people from different first-person perspectives.

Imagine – “Artsy Chick” goes on a trip with “The Woodsman” and is gone for a week. Meanwhile, “Suburban Poly Mom” is writing about how “Nature Boy” isn’t going to be around for awhile because he’s vacationing with “Sophisticated Sara” so she’s spending more of her time with “The Stud” who is also seeing “Hippie Chick” (aka: “Festival Freak” aka: “Tye-dye Tina” aka: “Patchouli Princess” – depending who is blogging about her!) Hippie Chick calls him “Mr. Big” and he’s also seeing “The Librarian” who is also seeing “Artsy Chick” – are you feeling me?

Maybe it’s the fact that I like to read lots of fiction and look for overlaps and common threads to solve mysteries and move a story forward, but I found that reading about ten different poly/dating blogs caused me to start fusing people into each other’s stories. Maybe “The Woodsman” is also “The Lumberjack” who hasn’t been returning texts from Portland Poly Blogger but while she can’t figure out why he didn’t respond to her impromptu dinner invite the other night, only you and I know it’s because he’s out in the woods camping with “Artsy Chick” and won’t be back until tomorrow.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re all just living in the same soap opera.

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?”

11
Feb
14

Our First Valentine’s Day

I have so much to write about – so many pending topics scratched onto little notes on my desk. But life and love are keeping me busy and I decided to write about a very current and pressing topic: Valentine’s Day! Oh crikey if I haven’t become one of those damnable smoopie pie gross coupley people who is all mushy about Valentine’s Day. Dammit. But this is my first Valentine’s Day with a boyfriend in…decades! In fact, if I think about it…it might be my first one ever. Put it this way: by 1988 I had a fiancee, later husband. Last year, I went out to dive bar karaoke with a bunch of single friends. It turned out pretty well because I did meet someone interesting that night, but that wasn’t the goal and he wasn’t ever my boyfriend – only briefly a lover. I’ve certainly never had an adult boyfriend on Valentine’s Day before. This year is different!

This year finds me with a live-in boyfriend that I am stinking crazy about and have been seeing for nine months. (A substantial chunk of time.) Also, our “poly cult” (as one friend jokingly referred to it the other day,) has been pretty mono these past several weeks. He had a couple of weeks of heavy texting and one date with some little bit of fluff with a stripper name, but it didn’t pan out. His two other girlfriends are out of the picture – one since Thanksgiving, the other since Christmas. I’m not naive and we have managed to have a few conversations about monogamy and whether we see our relationship evolving into that, but I think we’ve both decided to just enjoy each day we have together. And boy do we ever! As I said, I’m a little grossed out by how gooey happy I am but I’m spoiled rotten and fucked silly by a sweet, sexy, funny man every day. What’s not to like? Well, I admit it – I don’t like the sort of loosey-goosey, ill-defined unknown. My guy points out that I am his girlfriend – period. He reminds me that even if we define our existence beyond that, definitions mean different things to different people. The feeling that this might all go away plagues me as well – but again, I’ve been in a very long-term relationship that did go away…despite the legal documents, the children, the family…and I need to be independent and strong to survive that possibility. And I need to trust what I have, relax and enjoy these fantastic days and nights that I have with my guy, “Whimsy”. It’s just a little weird building a life and a home together while not being sure if you are going to do the holidays together or if you will be the +1 at that wedding he was invited to.  Well, we did address that one recently by clarifying that we are in a primary relationship. Right now, neither of us are seeing other people and we became…Facebook Official. Yep. “RD is in a relationship with WW.” That one acknowledgement went a really long way with me. That might be the saddest thing that I’ve ever said, but it was very nice to be recognized publicly as the girlfriend.

I have mentioned how Whimsy is not a “grand gesture” guy – he’s more a small deeds every single day guy. He’s thoughtful and kind – he leaves out my vitamins, calls on his way home to see if we need anything, often welcomes me home with a nice dinner, sends sweet little texts. He’s affectionate – always touching, rubbing, kissing, hugging – and he tells me that he loves me all the time.  Our sex life is creative, satisfying, very frequent, extremely generous and goddamn fantastic! On the other hand, he’s never bought me flowers and tends to be very relaxed and casual in his romancing. So, when he sent me a text link to a ring and the message “would you want this?” It was…typical. Yep, you just stopped my heart by offering a ring for God’s sake…but you did it in a conversational, casual way that is not dissimilar to asking if we need milk or what’s for dinner. He said he didn’t want to surprise me with something that I wouldn’t like but that he was thinking of getting it for me for Valentine’s Day. No acknowledgement of what, if anything, it might mean to give your girlfriend a ring, but he wanted to get it for me. That’s cool. I said yes, discussed what I preferred, gave my size and he ordered it – only to find that it was back-ordered until April, so he canceled the order, lamenting that he thought he had my Valentine’s gift all figured out & now was back at square one. Well, after a few days of talking about other options and ideas, I finally suggested another website, another jeweler, another ring…and he ordered it last night.

*squee*

So…my man got me a 1.4 carat sapphire ring. What do I get him? I’m stumped. Oh, I have plenty of ideas. I just can’t decide if I should go serious or casual, practical or whimsical. I thought about just getting something sexual in nature. Perhaps some nice under-bed restraints and a bottle of lube? But what message does that send? “I want you to fuck me and I trust you to tie me up.” Okay, that’s not bad and I’m sure it would be well received, but it’s as much of a gift for myself as for him and maybe doesn’t adequately commemorate our first Valentine’s Day together. Plus if I flash my sparkler and people say “oooh, what did you get him?” I guess I could coyly say “well, that’s private” but…I’d like to get something a little more substantial and romantic. Perhaps the sex stuff will just be an add-on gift.

I thought about getting something practical as well, but I feel that the same problem exists in the “not romantic” department. The guy needs a new office chair in the worst way, but it’s not sexy is it? Even if I say “I want your body to feel good because I love your body” or something like that, it’s still…kinda lame. But I do worry about his back and body and I would like for that body, that provides me so much pleasure, to feel good. A chair is a bit of a personal purchase though – something that someone ought to try out for themselves rather than have someone else buy.

My guy also really needs a new phone – I thought about getting him one, but the best way to do that would be to add him to my cell plan and get a free or cheap phone with a two-year-contract. Well heck, that says serious commitment, doesn’t it? Heh. Again, this seems like something that I would need to consult him about – which may be sort of like his point about “not really being into surprises” – does he want a new phone number? Which phone? I think this is the same reason that I didn’t get him one for Christmas. Still, it’s a good gift and something that he would like, but would probably want to be involved in.

So how about jewelry? My Working-class Whimsy really manages to pull off wearing jewelry better than most men. He has a casual artistry about him that lends itself to hats, jewelry, scarves, accessories and interesting clothes. He also manages to rock some varieties of facial hair. His funky style is one of the things that first attracted me to him. I’d love to get him a ring or necklace to add to his collection, but he has a couple of nice necklaces already and a ring could be a bit of a tricky thing. If he gets me a ring and I get him a ring…yeesh…is the symbolism there a bit too matrimonial? I mean, it’s a conversation  I’m willing to have, but he has to be the one to initiate it. 🙂 Meanwhile, I’m afraid that even the simplest silver band might be a tad…spousal. Maybe I’ll get it in a large size to wear on a thumb or middle finger. Or hell, maybe I like the idea of us wearing rings from each other on our ring fingers. Maybe I should just go ahead and get the “serious” jewelry.

If I opt for the “casual” jewelry rather than the serious, I’m thinking about leather bracelets. Which could be funny – get him some bondage cuffs for private and a leather bracelet for public? Maybe that’s the way to go. Funny, funky and sexy – like my guy. I like that idea.

Meanwhile, I’ve been browsing and shopping in another window the entire time that I’ve been writing this post. I know that I’m on a time deadline and that the worst thing I could do would to be show up empty-handed on Valentine’s Day. (Though I suppose with a card and some hot lingerie I would probably be forgiven.) Anyway, since my fella and I both like variety, I ultimately decided to go with that! I got the wedding-band-like ring, the funky leather bracelet and also the soft bed restraints. Hopefully he will enjoy experiencing all of these with me! Only a few more days!

24
Oct
13

‘Brad Pitt’ got fat

I caught you up on the return of Pirate Bear, so it’s only fair to catch you up on the “return” of “Brad Pitt” after I ran into him Tuesday night. Saying that we “dated” would be an overstatement, but we had fun hanging out for awhile and I really liked him, so it was good to see him alive – even if I failed to recognize him at first. He’s packed on about 20 pounds since I last saw him in May, the golden highlights he’d picked up in Afghanistan are gone from his hair – now several inches longer – which puts it well past his shoulders, and instead of a tidy goatee, he’s now wearing a full beard.

When we met in February, he caught my eye because he was my type – cute, scruffy and casually sexy. That first day, he was wearing jeans & a hockey jersey and though we flirted a bit, I figured he was too young and pretty for me. When he gave me his number and expressed clear interest with his subsequent texts, I responded positively and we started a brief affair.

The “Young Brad Pitt” nickname came from conversation with my girlfriends. He was 29 when we hooked up and other than the fact that he has brown eyes, the first time he showed up at my door he looked like a 1994 version of Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall. By the time I last saw him five months ago, he was looking like the scruffier Brad at the end of the movie – which is still pretty yummy. At that time, we were discussing the notion of moving our “relationship” from “occasional FWB/fuck buddy” to “dating” but he was really inconsistent. Sometimes we would text all night. When we were together he was attentive, complimentary, sweet and thoughtful. When we were apart, he sometimes would just drop out of the middle of a conversation and disappear. We had planned our first public outing with friends – a real date – and he essentially stood me up. He later told me that he’d been experiencing really bad panic attacks and PTSD as well as depression. I appreciated what seemed like honesty, but it didn’t change the fact that soon after he went full hermit and disappeared for nearly five months – until a few weeks ago.

The text progression on my phone shows my last text from him on May 11th, followed by a 2am text on October 9th asking how I’ve been and asking if I was at his neighborhood bar. I assumed that this was merely a closing time booty call query and was somewhat bemused. I considered not responding at all, but eventually did the following afternoon, saying that I’d been sleeping like a baby at 2am and that my formerly regular Tuesday hang-out had become pretty busy on those nights and I don’t go as often. He didn’t respond.

Interestingly, I had received a report from a girlfriend that he had been there a few weeks prior on a Tuesday night when I was off at a different place with my boyfriend. At the time I wondered if “Brad Pitt” had been looking for me. I also joked with her: “Did he get fat?! Tell me he got fat!” Well, he did. To the extent that this week, when I was out on the patio at said bar, talking to my same friend and she stopped, stared behind me and said “I thought that was D” I said “no, that’s T’s friend, B.” The person walking in the door looked familiar, but I didn’t recognize him as the guy that I’d been fucking for three months this past spring.

He was decked out like the Kevin Smith character, Silent Bob – complete with trench coat, beard, long hair and backwards Mooby hat from Dogma. I heard a couple of guys shout “hey, Silent Bob! What’s up!” A few minutes later, my friend had gone home and he walked out onto the patio, greeted some people, looked straight at me and said “hey, how you doing?” Even then, I still thought he was the other guy…for a minute. That’s how different he looked! I even went back into the bar for a second drink without speaking further to him – but as I passed and heard his voice I felt like an idiot! I came back out a few minutes later and sought him out – I mean, I didn’t want it to seem like I was pretending to ignore him or playing games. He said “hey, you never texted me back the other day!” I said that I had, then showed him my phone with the text. He then apologized, saying that his phone had been acting weird and texts were really slow – he said he hadn’t sent the text at 2am, but that he had sent a bunch of texts to his “karaoke buddies” earlier in the evening to see if anyone was going out.

We chatted for quite awhile and he acknowledged that his PTSD and panic attacks had been really bad and he was trying to force himself to go out. Several times he mentioned trying to be healthier, wanting to lose 30 pounds and how he’d been riding his bike and working out. Okay, duly noted. We talked about his 30th birthday last month, how that really sucked for him and we casually chatted about movies, music and such neutral topics. When he asked what I’ve been up to I talked about work, my summer and the fact that I’m seeing someone pretty seriously – but that it’s a poly relationship. We briefly talked about that and it was interesting to gauge his reaction. Part of me wanted to know if he would still be interested in seeing me if I was seeing someone else. The fact that he made some noises about getting together again and that we exchanged some more texts yesterday seems to indicate a strong…maybe…

The rest of the maybe is with me. I’m so over the moon with my current guy that I’m struggling with the notion of being poly at all. I haven’t been dating for awhile and I took my OKCupid profile down – at least for now. I haven’t really been sexually aroused by another man since Whimsy & I got serious. I did make out with a new guy but then I called it off before it went further. It hadn’t felt hot or sexy – it felt awkward.

“Silent Brad” could be a different matter. I like him, we’re very compatible in bed, he has his own place and he’s not looking for a relationship. I know he can curl my toes and I’m attracted to him – because let’s face it, Kevin Smith is pretty hot too, right?

There’s a big part of me that just wants to be monogamous with Whimsy to see if we could be successful at that. I think we could be, but there’s another part of me that rebels at the thought of being one of his “harem” and waiting to see if he’s willing to take a risk with me. We’re really good where we are, but it feels somewhat weird that he is seeing other people while I am not. I’m not sure that this inequity is reason enough for me to date, but it’s something that feels out of alignment.

Meanwhile, my options are open as long as my relationship is.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

13
Sep
13

dating others while in a committed relationship

I guess this one could fall into the “thinking vs. over-thinking” category in my “future topics” list. I’ve sure been thinking about it a lot!

I have a boyfriend that I love like crazy. He makes me laugh, he’s generally kind and thoughtful, the sex is frequent & phenomenal, he expresses himself well, he’s sexy as hell, smart, cute & suitable to take out in public – that is, my friends really like him too. He’s a good man. He’s even met my kids and they like him too.

This weekend he moved a bunch of his stuff into my place, where he’s effectively been staying for the past three weeks. (Hey, when a man moves his computer gaming rig into your house it’s serious, right?) I want him here. I love having him here. I thought it would be difficult to bring someone into my space – my sanctuary – but it hasn’t been. He really fits here. He fits in my life.

But…

Well, is it a “but” even? This is the part I’m having a hard time with. He’s poly. He has two other girlfriends. This really isn’t a problem for me and I rather enjoy having “me time” when he is away spending time with them. Not being together 24/7 seems healthy.

But…do I want to date other people? I hadn’t for awhile while I was flying on the new relationship energy with my guy, Whimsy. The thing is? I have felt that new, crazy zing easing, but what I’ve discovered in its place is a really solid, deep and abiding love. I can imagine being monogamous with this man & I can absolutely imagine him being in my life forever.

But…

I don’t want to be just prong on his poly pitchfork while he dives into any haystack that catches his fancy. An equitable relationship would allow for both of us to date. We both absolutely agree this to be true, I’m just sort of struggling with how to advance that and whether I want to. Yes, there’s a part of me that just wants to close up our relationship and just enjoy that gooey squishiness that goes with being a newly committed couple. We’re really enjoying our sweet domesticity right now, but there’s a sort of oddness to advancing our relationship to living together without even being “Facebook official” as a couple, you know?

Interestingly, the other night, in bed, after some rather intense physical and emotional intimacy, my fella, while stroking my back, said “I love you very much. You make me believe that a monogamous, non-poly relationship could be possible.” (Squee!!!) Well, Jesus…are you in my head again? I see the possibility too. I just don’t know how we would transition to it or whether we even should. Don’t get me wrong, my heart flipped all over in my chest when he said it, I just don’t know if it’s something we can or even want to do. I think that I’m at the point that if he asked I would be willing to try and see how it goes.

But…

We can’t overlook the other women in his life. His loyalty to them has always been attractive to me. I don’t exactly see him throwing them over anytime soon. This must happen in poly as with monogamous relationships though, right? Two people find each other and want to give it a go and other people get hurt? I just haven’t been a party to that sort of action since I was 15. Rejected? Yes. The woman that someone’s lover dumped them for? Never.

We both also have active profiles on OkCupid and I know that both of us have had recent interactions with new people there. Could we pull off monogamy? I’ve had a few former suitors sniffing around lately as well as one very enthusiastic new fellow. But I’m having some trouble getting too excited about them, really. The “older” guys have all managed to take a comfy place in the “friend zone” – all by their choice or actions, may I add. C43 – “The Librarian” had sex with me one time in November, 2012 and put me in the FZ soon after. We’ve been date-like companions on & off since then. He sent me a text on Tuesday suggesting that we should get together. Hmmm. M41 is the little Pirate Bear and we’ve talked about him recently. He’s kind of a mess but we’ve spent some recent time together and he’s taken to emailing me a couple of times a week. P29 is “Brad Pitt 1994” and he broke our date then went dark soon afterwards in late May. He apparently showed up at my regular Tuesday night hang-out this week. Interestingly, I wasn’t there because I went with my E38 Whimsy to an event he had, but I got a text from a friend letting me know that he’d showed up alone and stayed for awhile. Granted, this isn’t the same as calling me up and asking me out, but I suspect that he went there expecting to see me. Hmmm. R33 is the new guy – haven’t met him & he doesn’t yet have a nickname. He’s really interested and seems pretty nice and interesting.

But…

But. What do I want to do? Well, I guess the answer is not to over-think it, but to enjoy it. If Whimsy & I decide to change the parameters of our relationship, we will. Meanwhile, what’s between us is fantastic and I enjoy it immensely. If I decide that I want to see other people, I will. Some of these “friend zone” guys might even be decent candidates because it could be casual, comfortable and friendly without relationship pressures. I already have a relationship & it’s pretty great. We’re figuring it out and having a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

 




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