Friday, June 29, 2012

Conquering the Awkward

For those of you who don't already know, the Libertine is getting divorced.  I know most of you follow both of us, but if you hadn't yet put it together from all the ridiculous tweets, you can find his story here.  Most of the time, the nitty gritty and bullshit of the divorce doesn't impact me much, other than listening when he needs it, holding him when he needs it, and being a shoulder to cry on.  But this weekend, it hit me full in the face.

I had the weekend off, a rarity in my line of work.  A few weeks back the Libertine and I were Skyping with the Princess and I mentioned that Disney's Brave was coming out, and we should all go to see it.  We made plans to go, the Libertine, the Princess, the Monkey, and I.  Now, the Princess is 5, and she doesn't really understand divorce beyond the sad fact that her parents aren't living together anymore.  She asked if her Mommy could come, and since I am a mother, and I know how much this is hurting them all, I said "Of course!"

Cue the awkward.

The Libertine's ex and I have had a tenuous relationship from the start.  I was never really sure that she liked me, and I felt that perhaps there was animosity there that was churning just under the surface all of the time.  She would come have dinner with my family, or meet the Libertine and I for lunch, but it always felt forced or strained.  The Monkey and I arrived at lunch late - and when we arrived the tension was palpable.  The Princess and the Monkey took to each other immediately, just like they always do, leaving the adults to flounder through awkward conversation.

As lunch progressed things would get marginally better, then go back to awkward again.  Little things, like the Monkey needing to use the bathroom, suddenly seemed to be huge potential problems.  He is 4 1/2, and at that age where using the boys' restroom is a really big deal.  Normally when we go out, he simply goes with the Libertine, but having him do that while out with the Libertine's ex felt like it would be uncomfortable.  I'd rather have the argument over using the girls' restroom than be left with the crazy silence.

We made it through the day somehow, we pushed through small talk and watching the kids play (that was the whole point, after all).  This is new for all of us.  Adjusting to a semi-blended family situation is challenging, especially when the kids don't get to see each other as often as they'd like.  All I can do is continue trying to be a part of the Libertine's life.  I love him.  I love the Princess.  The Monkey and the Mongoose love her, too.  We can make this work, somehow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Relationship Reboot

A few months back I had a fantastic first date with someone, but the relationship died during the second date due to something unfortunate.  Looking back on the incident, we both know exactly where we went wrong, but we have remained friendly, chatting here and there, ever since.

This is someone I genuinely like, someone I find funny and charming and worth spending time with.  We have a lot of natural chemistry.  Normally I don't continue to pursue friendships with people if dating them didn't work out, because I find it awkward.  With this boy, it feels natural to allow a friendship to grow.

Last night we met up for drinks and a light dinner.  We talked about his recent experience at the OpenSF conference and all the amazing people he met while there.  We talked about the need for a more diverse and activist poly community here in Chicagoland.  We walked around the shopping center aimlessly, chatting and doing that thing where you keep bumping into each other as you walk.  It felt great.  There was plenty of positive energy, but absolutely no pressure for anything more than chatting, flirting, and enjoying each other's company.

Perhaps the funniest thing about the evening was the expectations of our friends and lovers - they knew we were going out, and most of them assumed that things would get sexy.  Live tweeting during the evening made things even more hilarious - when we decided to go hot tubbing, I got a lot of "nudge nudge, wink wink" type responses.  But even in the water, we just chatted.  There was some incidental touching, and playful banter, but nothing ever felt like it was going to lead to a place we didn't want it to go.

At least not yet.  Who can say what will happen?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Treading Lightly

I'm in a bad place.  I feel like I'm walking through my day carrying a time bomb, and I can't see the timer.  I never know what is going to set it off, I never know if today is going to be a quiet day or a catastrophe.

Mentally I'm feeling vulnerable and laid bare.  It's hard to be really open and forthcoming in this space sometimes; I know that some of the people who read this blog are people who have negative opinions of me, who want me to fail, who think I am not worthy of the relationships I have.  I have scores of drafts sitting in my file, awaiting a click on the "publish" button, a click that will never come.  Censoring myself in order to reduce the drama in my real life, to maintain the peace in my partners' lives, makes me crazy.

The Mister and I are struggling.  

We have been struggling with these issues for far longer than we have been polyamorous.  Becoming poly hasn't amplified the problem so much as it's made me aware that most people don't live with this stress day after day.  We'll go through periods where things are perfect and beautiful and quiet, and then suddenly we'll hit a patch where every day is a battle over nothing.  I'm not going to go into details, that's not the point of this post.  

I'm treading lightly because boundaries are being renegotiated.  Where I want to be and where I'm expected to be are not always the same place lately, and it's stressful.  What I want my life to be is not what I was okay with it being a year ago, and that's hard to explain to the Mister.  While I'm in this place of insecurity, things keep happening which threaten me even more.  It's like trying to navigate foreign territory with no map and no compass.

Yes, I have people I can lean on, but even there things feel tenuous. I don't want to further add to their drama by heaping on my own.  My mother's advice boiled down to "marriage is hard."  The Prime said the same, but he was a great listener and I think truly wanted to help.  The Libertine is doing the best he can to be my rock, but he is going through a divorce and has his own series of challenges to get through right now.  I try to be there for him, too, but lately it's felt like we're pulling at each other instead of working together.

The more I think about what I want and what I need, the more I come back to the following:
  • I cannot go back to being monogamous.  I will not sacrifice any of the relationships I have to keep only one of them.
  • I want to come out to my family within the next year.
  • The Libertine and I need to negotiate the future.  There has been talk of Big Things.
  • I want to be able to write from my heart and publish what I say.   I do not want the "What Ifs" to rule my writing.
  • I want to advocate polyamory and nonmonogamy without having to become an active member of the Chicago poly community (because of incidents of exclusion/cold shouldering).
More than anything, I want to be able to openly express these things without feeling the judgment of others.  I want to be able to admit that my marriage might fail without feeling like I didn't try hard enough.  I want to make peace with the feeling that life is too short to dwell on the little things, the perceived slights, and the mistakes I've made.  I want to be able to stand up and say, "This is who I am, you can like it or hate it, it doesn't bother me either way," and mean it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's Friday, It Must Be Music Time

I may find Bono to be a bit of a douchebag, but I'd still totally fuck him.

You don't know how you took it
You just know what you got
Oh Lordy you've been stealing from the thieves 
And you got caught in the headlights of a stretch car
You're a star

Dressing like your sister
Living like a tart
They don't know what you're doing
Babe, it must be art!
You're a headache in a suitcase
You're a star

Oh no, don't be shy
You don't have to go blind
Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, kill me

You don't know how you got here
You just know you want out
Believing in yourself almost as much as you doubt
You're a big smash
You wear it like a

Oh no, don't be shy
It takes a crowd to cry
Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, kill me

They want you to be Jesus
They'll go down on one knee
But they'll want their money back if you're alive at 33
And you're turning tricks with your crucifix
You're a star (Oh child)

Of course you're not shy
You don't have to deny love
Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, kill me

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


It's mid-morning.  The house is asleep, and you've just left.  The pillow is still warm against my cheek, still full of the smell of you.  I'm drinking it in, and thinking of your fingers entwined in my hair.  I roll to my back, and the shift in my weight exposes my nipples to the chilly morning air.  They're already erect, my breasts full and hot with the memory of your hands caressing their curves.  I lay still for a moment, enjoying the breeze on my chest, then my hands trace the paths yours took so recently.  I can still see you, sitting on the couch, watching me tease myself, asking me to make myself come again and again while you watch.  Your face was so full of joy and pleasure, your breath so heavy and lusty.  The first orgasm takes me by surprise, leaves me gasping and soaked.  I haven't even touched my pussy yet, but I can feel the result of that first orgasm dripping slowly down the curve of my lips.  I'm not ready for that yet.  My nipples are aching for more attention, and my mind is stuck on the beauty of clothespins and the gentle way you peeled my top down Sunday morning.  I loved that feeling, of being clothed and unclothed at the same time.  I loved the way the clothespins on my nipples rubbed the carpet while I knelt for your ministrations.  The memory of the paddle and your resulting excitement pushes me over the edge again.  My fingers wander to my panties, pushing them down just enough for access.  I'm stroking my lips, teasing myself with tiny flicks against my clit, thinking of you torturing me with the tips of your fingers.  Again, I come before I'm ready, before I've made contact with the hottest, wettest parts of myself.  Again.  Again.  I can't take much more.  I plunge fingers inside myself, other hand at work on my breasts.  The sound is tantalizing.  I can feel myself moaning but I can't hear it, all I can hear is you gasping as your hands strike me, hear you roaring with pleasure as you spill into me over and over.  The final orgasm is so intense that I can't move right away.  I'm breathless, face buried against the pillow, breathing you in, missing you fiercely.

I need you.  I want you.  Always.  Every minute of every day.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In Which I Probably Admit Too Much

I've briefly mentioned a time or two that my relationship with the Prime has a pretty strong basis in kink.  Someone recently asked me to describe what being a sub is like, and the question got me thinking.  People have a hard time seeing me as a sub, they can't wrap their brain around the idea of me letting go enough to follow commands and be at another person's beck and call.

The simplest part of the answer is this:  I could not do this for just anyone.  I know there are people who make a living being subs for hire, I know that I couldn't do it.  There is something about the Prime that allows me to absolutely let go and trust him.

When we first started dating, things started out as an experiment on my part.  I knew going in that I was a fan of the rougher side of sex.  What I didn't expect was to be a fan of all of the trappings of kink.  I love all of it.  The toys, restraints, rules, the mental challenge of it... all of it turns me on and gets me going.  The first few times we played were what I've come to think of as kink lite; there was not a true D/s relationship yet, it was more two people testing each other out to see if we were compatible.

The first time I wore a collar for the Prime, I was completely shocked at my emotional and physical reaction.  I was not ready for the unbelievable release of it.  Knowing that I had agreed to completely obey a man for the first time in my entire life, I found myself in a place where I was able to just let go of all of the self conscious behaviors I'd built up over the course of my sexual experiences.  I didn't flinch when he took my chin in his hand and made me look into his eyes.  I didn't try to position my body in a way that disguised its true shape.  The Prime commanded me to kneel, and I knelt.  He commanded me to put my hands behind my back, and I did so.

That's not to say I'm perfect at it.  I was not expecting it to be as difficult as it was (and still can be).  I am stubborn, and have a tendency to laugh when I screw up.  The Prime has taken all of this in stride, and has been teaching me how to behave appropriately - but I still sometimes forget to call him Sir, or will do something without asking permission first, and I laugh or smile every time he points out my mistake.

As my relationship with the Prime grows, as we go further down the rabbit hole, I've noticed that he is a little surprised at what I can take before I safe word.  In all the time we have been together, I've only called it once.   Part of the trust inherent in a kinky relationship is knowing that your partner will tell you when you've gone too far.  On more than one occasion, he has stopped what he is doing to ask if I'm okay, and I get the feeling he is expecting me to say no.  I am able to compartmentalize the external stimulus, to make it a mental challenge, to accept it for the love that it represents... and that allows me to accept almost anything he is ready to give.

The Prime and I don't always have a scene.  There are times when it's just two lovers meeting.  When we do get kinky, it's always with complete trust, love, and understanding.  We get each other.  We accept what the other needs from us.  And that's all I need.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Newbie Questions - Poly Dynamics

The night we went to karaoke, the Libertine & I spent a lot of time outside talking to Ingenue, the newbie poly girl.  She was sweet, and funny, and extremely curious. Being new to the lifestyle, she spent a fair amount of time asking us questions about poly dynamics, and ours in particular.  I thought some of her questions were really well thought out, so here is a mock up of how the conversation went.

I started writing this post solo, and realized that I couldn't do it alone.  The Libertine wrote his side of the story for me... yay for guest posts!

Ingenue: Do most people end up in triads or V's?  Which is harder?

Me: I think most people end up in V's.  For me, a triad seems unnecessarily messy, not to mention potentially difficult to find.  There is a lot more opportunity for jealousy in a triad, because the lines of attraction run in all directions.  With a V, my spouse may get jealous of the Libertine, but I can handle that.  When you start talking about multidirectional jealousy things get complicated.  All of my relationships are V's, and my metamours are amazing women.  That's not to say things are perfect all the time, but I imagine it's much easier to maintain day to day.

Libertine:  I don't know about "most people," but within my constellation there are more V's than triads. I am dating a girl who is dating a couple, and a friend of ours is also dating a couple.

Ingenue: How many partners do each of you have?

Me: I currently have my husband plus two, and an extremely casual/occaisional play partner.  I don't think I could handle more than what I have right now.  The Mister and I have a complicated schedule, which allows both of us to have dates multiple nights a week without infringing too much on alone time, etc.  Overnights are more the norm than the exception for the Libertine and I.  My other boyfriend, the Prime, has a really limited schedule, so our dates are less frequent and shorter.  We utilize chat and phone calls to keep in touch during the week.

Libertine: That's complicated, depending on how you classify "partners." I suppose I would say I am currently at wife plus three.

Ingenue: When you are meeting a potential new partner, do you tell all of your current partners before the date?

Me: I tell everyone if I am meeting someone new, but it's not as if I'm asking permission.  It's more like I'm giving them a heads up that I'm screening a new boy.  What often happens, because all the boys can see my calendar, is one of them will ask me about the new person before I get the chance to mention it.  It's occasionally awkward, but I never ever hide what I'm doing.  I have a "no sex on a first date" rule, so they all know I'm not going to rush into anything crazy or dangerous.

Libertine: I don't ask permission from my partners to see someone new, either. I also have a "no sex on the first date" rule. Unless the new person would have a sexual impact on the rest of the constellation, like an STI or if it's a current partner's ex or something, I don't ask permission there, either. I often fly by the seat of my pants on open days, and there aren't a lot of those, so I don't clear first dates with my partners. For instance, when Open Source Heart and I had our first date, the two of us both just happened to be leaving work at the same time and decided to meet at a coffee shop between us. Make sure these expectations are set and communicated before you start seeing anyone new. I actually had a breakup because a former girlfriend of mine got very upset that I didn't ask her for permission when I dated or slept with someone new.

Ingenue: What about when you do decide to have sex with someone new?  Do you talk about STI's up front?  Do you tell your other partners?

Me: STI's and tested status are discussed way before naked time even becomes an issue. I am an over-sharer, so everyone usually knows if a date has potential to lead to sex, again not because I'm asking for permission, but because I believe in really clear communication.  Plus, if I meet someone super awesome, I'm apt to talk about them a lot, to anyone who will listen.  My monogamous friends are sick of hearing about the Libertine & the Prime.

Libertine: I always talk about STIs before anything progresses to a point where genitals are involved. I like to think that I am very forthcoming with information when sex is involved, but, again, I have had a relationship end because she didn't feel that I was communicating properly or seeking the appropriate permission. I don't seek clearance before I have sex with someone new, requiring that everything is clean and safe, and there is never unprotected sex with anyone except my single fluid-bonded partner. I value that bond and connection so highly that I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that. I haven't added any partners, sexual or otherwise, since we approved the fluid transfer.

Me:  There you go making me think of Demolition Man again.

Ingenue: How long have you two been dating?

Libertine:  How long do you think we've been dating?

Ingenue: I don't know, a year? Six months? A year.

Libertine, smiling at me: Shorter than that. Our first date was on Leap Day, so just over three months. My wife and I have been together over ten years, and we had this sort of instant and deep connection, too. It's really something else, this thing we have.

Me: The Libertine recently met a long time friend of mine.  She actually commented on how insanely comfortable we are with each other for only having been together a short time.  She has known me longer than I've known my husband, and to her we seemed like a natural fit.

Ingenue: How do you define primaries and secondaries?  Have your spouses met?

Me: That's... complicated for us.  Our spouses and children have met, we like to do family dinners whenever we can.  I love the feeling I get when we're all together and the kids are playing while the adults chat, cook, whatever.  When all of us are in one house doing what "normal" families do every evening, I feel as though my life couldn't possibly get any better. The running joke is that I want the Libertine to be around when we discover the Mongoose (my 1 year old) is an evil genius.

Libertine: There are so many flavors of polyamory... Our definitions don't necessarily map to everyone else's. Open Source Heart and I... We blur the line between primary and secondary. Already, we are definitely "family." All of us, our children, OSH and I, both of our spouses, we all get along wonderfully. I have never had a feeling of stability and permanence and connection like this with anyone except my wife, but OSH and I don't live together, don't budget or pay bills together. But I do know people in relationships who consider a partner to be their primary even though they don't live together, either. OSH and I spend at least half of our time together, we cook and eat and sleep together an unreasonably large amount of the time. OSH and I are at the point where I wouldn't make big life decisions without talking to her in addition to my wife.

For me, my real secondary relationships are with women I see regularly but not too often. Both of my secondary relationships are once-a-week relationships. Rarely, we'll do multiple days in a week. The only women who get me for several nights a week are my wife and OSH.

Me: I would call the Prime a secondary, and I know he would do the same.  That's not to say we don't love each other.  We see each other about once a week, whereas it's not unusual for the Libertine and I to spend several nights in a row together.  There really is no right or wrong way to experience a polyamorous lifestyle.  I choose to share my life and my love with these men in whatever way our lives fit together.  I would love to see the Prime more often, but it's simply not possible right now.


Ingenue asked a lot more questions that evening, everything from how we meet people to how long we have been poly & the always interesting break up stories.  I want to cover all of that, but keeping this post topical and also less than a mile long meant some serious edits!  I also want to give the Libertine the chance to tell parts of the story, if he so chooses.  Because I'm an awesome girlfriend like that.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fleeting Moment

The Prime and I, snuggling after a scene.  Music is playing, and it catches my ear.

Me:  ANOTHER song about zombies?  You have way too many songs about zombies.

Prime: I have two.  Two out of something like 40,000 songs.

Me: That's two more than the average person!

Prime: I am NOT the average person.

Me:  So true.