February 29, 2008
I was talking with someone that I care deeply for, and who’s partner does not want us to have a relationship beyond friendship, and I had the urge to tell him that I love him. We talked, and neither of us could really define the line between friendships and relationships. Friends love each other. It is, in fact, a big part of friendship. The only difference that we could see is sex. No sex for friends (in our case. There are friends who do that, too.)
Seeking help, I turned to a friend on chat:
Hey Steph, all sexual crap aside, what is the difference between friendship and romance?
you are sooooo helpful
Funnies aside, it doesn’t seem to be a concept confined to poly, however as a polyamorous person, I am in a unique position to experience friendships as deeply as I want without the fear of hurting or alienating my husband. I find this freeing and beautiful, and I am really glad that I have the opportunity to love and to express my love for this guy. I will probably continue to tell him so from time to time – I told him today – and I expect nothing from him but his friendship until and unless his partner allows more. For now, it is enough to love and to be loved, and to be a good friend to him in all ways.
February 28, 2008
So what did I do about the painful situation? I went home and waited. When my husband and his lover got home, we all went out again to Denny’s for ice cream. The talk was mostly pleasant and mostly between the two of them. I really wasn’t feeling chatty. It was actaully kind of amusing for me because we are regulars there for dessert and the waitress (who knows us) kept asking who Becky was.
When we got home, I went upstairs and Michael stayed downstairs for a while to say goodnight. We had a rather emotional talk about my feelings when he got upstairs, and he made his usual promise to “do better”. The problem, I think, is that if he doesn’t have a clearly defined limit, he has a hard time judging “too much time”, etc. We’ve since remedied that, but at the time it was an ongoing problem when he visited with family and friends.
The next morning they went out to breakfast together while I puttered around the house. I was honestly glad that Michael got to spend time with her, but I was also rather glad to see her backside when she finally left late that morning (around 11).
February 27, 2008
I was asked what I am getting out of this, and I have to pause in my writing to clarify a few things. My few blogs so far show only my own emotional turmoil, which is sometimes the cause of my husband’s feelings or actions, and do not show him for the amazing and kind person me is.
My husband is a generous, loving, and wonderful man. One of his flaws is that he is really, really bad at multitasking in just about any way. One of those ways that he just can’t seem to do it is keeping track of time (if he doesn’t REALLY have to) when he is doing something… like making out with his girlfriend. We’ve since solved this problem by giving him a specific time at which to either come home or call me when he goes out with friends or dates to solve this problem.
As to what I get out of it, well, eventually my hope is to find someone nearby to enjoy in the same way that he enjoyed Becky. For now, no one local has presented an opportunity, and I am happy just waiting. I also have a very deep and intimate connection with a man that I have never actually met in person, and with whom I speak pretty much every day.
My husband is an amazing man, and not only do I get the same chance to enjoy outside relationships that he has, I also get the closeness that we have attained through this incredible level of trust and the self growth that I have attained through vanquishing my own green-eyed demons.
February 26, 2008
Being the “odd man out” when your partner is dating someone is just plain not fun. On the one hand, I was really excited for Michael and for the opportunity that he had to enjoy time with Becky. On the other, I was home alone, and I missed my husband, who was at that time enjoying another woman. For another thing, it is a three hour drive each way, and I was a little bit worried (just a little).
I actually managed to keep myself very well entertained and happy throughout the day. The hard parts come more from hearing about things. In our situation, this is added to by the fact that my husband has a very rosy view of people. He sees only the best in people, and always reports the good over the bad. This is lovely, except that he and I are working on betterment, so he always tells me when he sees something negative in me to allow me to fix it or own it.
How must it feel to have your husband go on about the wonderful qualities of his girlfriend and in the next breath (not literally) point out that you swore or that you need to work on something particular. It can seem as if he sees all of my flaws (he does) and none of hers (he sees those, too, he just doesn’t talk about it.)
There is also NRE to contend with. That stands for new relationship energy. Every time he saw Becky, he was on a cloud for days. While this never detracted from our relationship, it did make me mourn the change of our own relationship from this cloud-dancing bliss to the settled, happy, but otherwise calm marriage that we now have. When did we lose the sparkles? Of course, every relationship loses the sparkles, and that is where the real test comes in.
Michael and I have a very honest relationship, so I asked him to relate the date to me, and he gave me all the details. It was very chaste, very sweet, and totally okay with me. I was just beginning to think that I was getting the hang of things already when they arranged their next date, about a month later, this time at our house. The plan was for her to show up in the evening. I would make them a picnic dinner, they would walk to a nearby park and enjoy themselves for a while, and then they would come back, we would all get dessert, and then go to our respective beds (Michael and I to ours, and Becky on the couch downstairs.)
Oh, what an evening that was. Michael and Becky were fixated on each other. So much so, in fact, that they left the house at 6 pm for dinner, and I went to find them at 11 pm. They were snuggled up on a blanket kissing in the park. I cleared me throat, pretty unnerved at “catching” my husband, and told them that I was going to bed in half an hour if they weren’t going to come home so we could go for dessert. I turned to go home, and Becky remarked that they were thinking of coming back soon anyway. I have to admit that I was angry and unnerved by the whole thing. To tell the truth, though, it was not the relationship that had me angry but rather the complete lack of consideration for me (At the time I think I was actually a week from my due date, so I was a little tired by 11 pm!) If WE had made plans, then how incredibly rude of them to ignore me… right?
Please, share what you think. How would you have felt in a situation like that? How would you have reacted? Leave a comment (please!) or email me at polyspace at writeme dot com.
I really look forward to hearing from you!
I don’t feel like writing today, so I guess it is a test of my determination to post every day. If you are reading, please comment… I really would like to know that I am not talking into a void.
So, poly vs. swinging…
When I first got started, I had NO IDEA what swinging even was. I had to have a friend explan it to me, but I promise that I have since done a bit of learning on my own.
Swinging refers to having casual sexual encounters within an established relationship. This means that you may be married, but you and your spouse are both okay with sexual encounters with others as long as those encounters remain purely sexual in nature. (Please note that I said “you AND your spouse”. Swinging without your SO’s permission is cheating, which is an entirely different topic.
Swinging pretty much excludes relationships that go beyond casual, with people preferring to keep the intimacy of an actual relationship within their primary relationship, and to allow something fun, like sex, with others.
This is great for people who can separate sex from their emotions, but not a few people tend to become a little more attached after a sexual encounter. There are also people who want to experience other kinds of intimacy outside of their primary relationship, including emotional intimacy, which does not fall under the swinging category.
This is where poly comes in, folks. Polyamory means “more than one love”, and although that term is used broadly, it generally refers to many different kinds of “open” relationships. A poly couple can call themselves poly, and still never have outside sex, since emotional intimacy and “being in love” do not have to include sexual activity. So if swinging is all about the body, then you could say that poly is all about the heart. That is not to say that there are not poly people out there who just want lots of sex. There probably are, but in general, that sex is with close friends or a circle of “fuck buddies”, who provide affection at the very least.
I know that this is really vague, but going into poly in depth is rather difficult because there is no clear definition. There are “fluid bonded” relationships, in which the group is allowed to have sex with their own group, but not with outsiders (or they are required to use protection with outsiders), there are poly families, which may raise children in a household with several parents, and there are poly couples that experiment outside of their primary relationship. Some poly people only experiment together with their partners, while others venture out on their own to enjoy life separately. Poly has as many definitions as there are poly people out there.
February 24, 2008
There are going to be a lot of entries about processing, so I guess I should let you all know what that means, at least to me. Processing is what happens when you feel raw emotion, and need to give it time to sink in and find its place. Feeling jealous is not a bad thing – going crazy about it can be. I had felt jealous of Becky for being able to make out with Michael while I sat there between his legs, pretty much ignored. She also does something that kind of makes me insanely uncomfortable, which is that she apparently can orgasm from just kissing, so she was making some noises that I am just not used to hearing from other women, particularly when my husband is the one causing them.
As I said, I was more than happy saying “no thanks” to more involvement, and Michael agreed that this was either both of us or nothing, and that he didn’t want me to be “in it” just for him. Nonetheless, he was pretty sad about the whole thing, and spent quite a bit of time just plain down about it, even crying to me several times. Still, he was adamant that I not change my mind because of him. It caused a lot of stress for me because I’m a sub and I really, really want to do just about anything to make him happy.
It was from there that the deep thoughts started hitting me. I was trying to be as open as possible about the whole thing, and doing an okay job of it, and that opened the door to new ways of thinking. One of those thoughts was that sex should not necessarily be considered more intimate than a deep conversation or a long hug. It can be, sure, but if I am okay with Michael hugging other women, and put no restrictions on that, then why do I feel the need to restrict his sexual activity, too? The answer came to me from a friend, Tara, who mentioned society’s view of sex as a bad thing. What a revelation! Some tiny part of me somehow had retained the training that I had gotten since I was a girl that sex is something bad, and something that you should be ashamed of. If I am theoretically okay with intimacy in various ways with others, and sex is good and intimate, then why should I feel that something that is both good and intimate has to be exclusively mine?
Keep in mind that these thoughts were churning over the course of a couple of weeks. The climax was the conversation that we had just before I made my decision. I battered him mentally, seeking out the reason, deep down, that he wanted a relationship with Becky. What could she give him that I could not? The reason that finally came out was that he wanted a friend. He wanted a close friend. He wanted to be able to do fun and intimate things with that friend, and sex is fun and intimate. The reasoning seemed sound to me. I told him that he had my blessing to see her.
It took several days of convincing, and several weeks (again) of thought before Becky agreed to see him alone, fearful, probably, of the drama that I was sure to cause (*wink*). Her five year crush on him won out, and she decided to date him. The funny thing is, I was as nervous as he was. I was like a new mom hovering on the playground to make sure that her little lovey doesn’t get hurt.
I think that some part of me took ownership of that relationship, even though I technically had no part in it except as lover and wife to Michael and friend to Becky. That’s probably why I took it so hard when things ended, but I’m getting ahead of myself again.
More on how the relationship progressed and how my processing continued later. For now, the next topic is going to be Poly versus Swinging.
Thanks for reading!
February 23, 2008
That is the thought that kind of started me on this journey to acceptance; but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I like to look inside myself, and I like to work toward self-betterment. Some people might call me Polyanna-Poly for that kind of thinking, since for many people Poly is about enjoying connections and trying really hard to keep things together, but it has always been about growth for me. Oh, and fun. We can’t forget fun. Really.
Our first encounter was supposed to be based on a story that I wrote. Hot, steamy, and nothing but pleasure, this story was about meeting some woman in a hotel room for an afternoon of hot threeway sex. The growth part? Well, that was me looking at the root cause of the jealousy I felt at the mere idea of another woman touching my husband. No way! I didn’t want him to have feelings for anyone else, and I didn’t want anyone else to be able to touch him the way that I do. As I said, neither of us had ever so much as been naked with a member of the opposite sex before each other.
Examining the jealousy was hard. It was a look at my own insecurities and at problems that we had been working on in me for years, including depression. I realized at some point that no one would ever be as important to him as me, and I felt like I was ready for this. I brought it up to him, along with my reasonings, and he blew me out of the water with the fact that he doesn’t like the idea of casual sex. So we would have to be dating this girl? It took a while to get used to, but after a couple of days, I was totally on board. I even started searching relationship sites for single gals who wanted to date a couple.
I was stopped in my tracks again when I realized something that should have occurred to me a lot sooner: there was no guarantee that our girlfriend wouldn’t be totally crazy and do something like poke holes in the condoms to tie us to her. The terror was intense, and The Plan stopped right there until my fantasy started to turn toward Becky, a friend of ours. She is poly, bi, and she and her husband (back when she was married) had tried to “recruit” my husband and I. We asked her, and after a few weeks, she said yes.
Our first date was near her house, a good 3 hours from where my husband and I live. I was about 7 months pregnant at the time, I think. A good part of the trip was spent in a grassy area at a Tantra temple. We took turns petting each other and even making out before we eventually went back to her house. She made out with my husband on the couch, and I ended up going down on him for a while. He felt a spark. She felt a spark for him. I felt… nada. No thanks, not interested. For one thing, she’s short, like, not even up to my chin short, and I felt like a giant when I was kissing her. And a guy. I don’t care for the butch feeling.
On the drive home, I told my husband how I felt, and figured that would be the end of things. Oh, well, lesson learned, right? Uh… no.
We’ll go into the next few weeks and lot of processing later. For now, thanks for reading!
February 22, 2008
Before I get deeply into what has been going on with poly in my life, I really feel that it is important to talk about who I am and who I am not, and the same for my husband. We are young. I am 22 and he is 26, and we were a year younger when we started with all of this. We have a D/s relationship, which means domination (him) and submission (me), but he has never used that as a lever to force me into any of this. When it comes to our relationship, we are equals. Always.
I am a new mom (my baby is 5 months old, and yes, he is my husband’s), a business owner, and a very strong and independent woman. I’ve had issues in the past with jealousy and clinginess, and although it took me 5 years or so, I worked steadily to get rid of them. I don’t like feeling that way! My husband has never had that problem. He is confident and sure of himself when it comes to me, and although I have always been a flirt, he has never worried about me cheating (nor has he had cause to).
We are responsible adults, mortgage and all. We are not cheaters, sex addicts, or abusive to each other. We have a loving and happy relationship. In fact, at the moment neither of us is seeing anyone else, and that is fine, too. We have a wonderful sex life, we laugh together, and I have never been happier or wanted to be with anyone more than I do/am with him.
Something important to note: Neither of us had ever had sex with anyone else. We lost our virginities to each other when we were engaged, and neither of us ever planned to have sex with anyone else. Ever. But on with the story.
So if this is not about desperation or escaping a sucky marriage, then what is it about? It’s about love. Seriously.
I love my husband so much, that I can allow him to experience a connection with other people without the fear that he will not come back to me when he is done. This is going to get long, so I’ll go into it more tomorrow.
I learned about polyamory when I was about 18, and unlike others to whom I have spoken, Poly was not something that came naturally to me. Indeed, instead of looking for a swining good time, I was searching for my life partner, and by that point, had even found him. A new friend of mine, about 8 years older than I am, talked to my fiance and I about poly, and I honestly could not understand why in the world she would choose to live her life that way. She was married, but they were allowed to see other people. In fact, we had gone over to her house before, only to find her and another guest hidden away in a spare room making out.
Talk about terror! Not only did I feel like a party to her cheating (even though she wasn’t), I was also confused. This kind of lifestyle was an assault on my idea of the perfect relationship. I loved my fiance, now my husband, and he loved me, so what more could we possibly need? The truth is that things are rarely so black and white as we assume. Here I am just four years later, and I am still working through jealousy and other issues, however poly has become a part of my life, even if it is a hard part, and it looks like it is here to stay.