Friday, October 4, 2013
At the moment our rules boil down to communicate, have safe sex, and don't be a dick. That's it. The Mister doesn't really want details of my sex life, but he does like to know how my relationships are going. He asks about the new guy, Grey. He sends a quick "Hello!" to the old Flame, too. I have to remind the Mister about dates quite a lot, but that's normal for us.
Communicate, have safe sex, and don't be a dick.
We got here because while rules seem like a great thing when you make them, once you try to implement them things tend to go all wonky. Say you have a rule that no outside partners can sleep in your bed. That's all well and good, except at 33 years old fucking on a couch gets old really goddamned fast. Say you have a rule that a specific night every week is "your night." Great! What happens when the calendar gets crazy and you won't see one of the other partners for god knows how long and that's the only night that's open?
Rules inherently signal to me that partners have some degree of difficulty trusting each other. And sometimes that's okay. If you have rules and you're dating me, I'll go out of my way to respect them. But I won't promise not to get frustrated if I think the rule is a bit ridiculous (I once had a partner's wife FREAK OUT because she thought I left clothing behind on purpose) or if it's structured in such a way that it becomes difficult for a relationship to progress.
The number one rule that usually ends up affecting me is what I call the Black Ball. Lots of poly couples have a rule in place that allows the spouse to veto a new partner if the new partner makes them uncomfortable or if they think the new partner might not be a good fit for you. For the most part, I hate veto arrangements. Giving your spouse the power to just tell you "NO" often puts everyone in a very awkward position. I have been on the receiving end of a Black Ball with no discernible reasoning behind it, and it sucks for all parties involved.
Right now, I am in the middle of a potential Black Ball situation once again. Grey and I have been friends for over a year, and are just now getting started building a relationship. Because of my recent history Grey's wife is hesitant for us to date. We are bottlenecked at a particular point until after I meet her, at which point either we'll just continue being friends or we'll see how being lovers goes. All of this is okay. I respect their arrangement, but it is incredibly frustrating to go on a date with him and let myself get emotionally closer to him - all the while knowing that in a few weeks I could just end up with the black ball and a bruised heart.
This is part of poly dating. Negotiating the ever changing rules of multiple relationships can be exhausting, but it can also lead to some of the most rewarding relationships you'll ever have. Sure, it sucks to know that in a few weeks Grey's wife could simply tell us "This isn't a good idea." At the same time, getting to know him and letting him into my heart more than I would a friend is lovely. Even if I get black balled, we are going to be friends, and he'll be one of the friends I trust the most.
Dating is about making the leap and trusting the person on the other side to catch you before you fall. Sometimes they don't, and when you fall you learn something new. Sometimes they do, and what happens after that is one of the best things in life.
Monday, September 2, 2013
For lack of a better word, I'm about 40% broken right now. I'm getting better. Two weeks ago I would have pegged that number closer to 85%. Getting better is hard work, it's learning to be alone again and learning that it's okay to be sad as long as I find ways to work through it. Most importantly, it's believing that I'm perfectly fine just the way that I am, that breaking up doesn't mean some parts of me are bad and undesirable and unlovable. Getting better also involves telling people your story, and letting them get close to you again.
The problem is... when you let people in, you let their partners into your life, too. Their partners need to hear the story, and understand why you are the way you are. Those partners need to make their own judgment regarding your trustworthiness and your intentions. It's exhausting. And awful. And painful. And infuriating.
I have been triggered so many times in the past week or so by things that the man in question probably thought were totally innocuous. A current girlfriend mentioning me to another potential girlfriend. A wife being worried about how stable I am. Being regaled with stories of how gorgeous another potentials bruises are. Being told "she's concerned, but doesn't think you're a bad person." Getting canceled on a couple times because life gets in the way of things.
In every single one of these situations, the problem is ME, not the man or the partner or the weird situation. I am the one who doesn't remember how to emotionally adjust to new metamours entering the picture, or feeling as though I'm being judged, or feeling as though someone is purposely fading out so that they don't have to deliver the news that I'm just too crazy right now. I am the one who is overly sensitive.
I give myself a lot of credit for reacting to being triggered in the ways that I have. In every single case, I put down my phone (or got up from the computer), and just went and did something else while I processed what I was feeling. Why was I upset? What was I upset about? What could I do to make myself feel better?
The answers vary, but it really boils down to: I'm a little bit broken. It's hard to feel valued and appreciated when you feel like you have to defend an entire year of your life over and over and over and over. It's hard to build relationships when you're constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. But it's imperative that I not blame my responses on my partners, nor should I expect them to make me feel better. What I do need to do is talk to them rationally after I've processed the damage, and explain to them why I felt the way I did. Otherwise I just look crazy.
In one relationship, the worst is past, things are looking great, and I'm eager to see where things go. In the other, more tenuous relationship, I don't even know if things will get off the ground. I know that the next few months have the potential to be both joyous and painful. I know that I still have a lot more work to do. But putting myself back together means getting back out there, and letting people in again. There's no getting around it.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
But because of how intertwined our lives were, there's always just one more thing that I've forgotten about. The Libertine was never a big Facebook user, so I neglected to unfriend him there for quite a while. One morning I logged in to check on my family, and I noticed his picture was no longer smiling at me in the corner of the chat box. He had unfriended me.
A breakup is like a million little deaths over and over and over. Just when you think you're done, something else pops up and reminds you that this person you loved with your whole soul is no longer a part of your life. So you get to experience that grief again and again. I'm glad to say that each time this happens, the hurt is less. Each time he and I talk for logistical reasons (hey, have you seen my <insert random object here>) it's a little bit easier on me.
One of the things helping me is leaning on the Mister and a pair of potentials. The Mister is letting me heal, not pushing me to recommit to our marriage right away. He lets me know that he loves me without getting in my face; he's giving me space and care right now. He is supportive of my other burgeoning relationships, he likes both men and is once again talking to me about my relationships outside our vows.
The potential partners are even more careful. Both men I have known for a long time. Both men are more worried about my emotional health than they are about getting into my bed. Both men have made it known that even should I choose not to date right now, they are staying in my life in some form because I am important to them.
I am so lucky that polyamory has given me such lovely people to lean on in times of crisis. I am so lucky to know that I am loved, cared about, wanted, and appreciated. I am so lucky that despite all of the horrible choices I have made in the past year, these people can see that I'm getting better; I'm a better person and a more careful partner than I have ever been.
I cannot wait to see where these relationships go.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Clearly, I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing anymore. As you probably noticed on Twitter, the Libertine has asked for space. And by space, we're talking total non-contact, I don't know if I'll ever hear his voice again space.
This is the first day in over a year, in fact the first day since before we met in person, that I have not even said "Good morning" to him. It feels weird. It feels lonely.
It feels empty.
In a lot of ways, this is my own fault. I should have just let him go from the start, and not tried to hold on so tightly. I am terrified that he will never pick up the phone and tell me he's thinking of me ever again. I know that it's a very real, in fact likely possibility.
So how do I look back at this past year and feel like it had value?
I was loved. I was so deeply loved. I shared laughter, and tears, and intimacy, and a connection that I didn't think was possible for me. I accepted someone into my life with all of their flaws, gave myself permission to just love them without any conditions or parameters.
I took what was given me and I thought that it made me better. I still think that it made me better. I am far more confident, self aware, and centered than I was a year ago.
The Libertine taught me that I don't have to accept the status quo if I don't like it. He taught me that sometimes the best way to show someone you love them is to let them go. He helped me to understand that even if it's hard to love someone for who and what they are, it's totally worth it to have that love returned unconditionally.
I don't know if I taught the Libertine anything in our time together. I'd like to hope that I did. But even if I didn't I hope that he looks back on our time together and finds something of value in it. I hope that he finds the things that brought him to me in the first place.
I know intellectually that the odds are against my ever seeing him again. I'm working through the grief of this loss, trying to maintain a sliver of hope while I move on with my life. I'm focusing on work, leaning on friends, and keeping my mind busy.
I'm moving forward, because it's the only thing I can do.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Enter the iGino One. Just before their Indiegogo campaign was set to complete, the makers of this little gem asked if I'd review it. My initial reaction was to refuse, because how much different can a vibrator be from any other vibrator out there? My interest was piqued by the way in which the stimulus moves. The nub at the top of the unit not only vibrates, it also moves side to side. The designers were looking to mimic the way a woman moves her fingers while pleasuring herself. So I decided to check it out.
Unwrapping the iGino was almost as much fun as using it. The packaging is beautifully done, and the unit itself has those delicious plastic stickers over the surface, just like when you get a new computer or phone. My partners and I usually fight over who gets to peel those off, so that was an extra nice touch. The iGino comes with a USB cable, two power adapters, and a foam flower that changes the feel of the nub while in use. The iGino charges via a flip out USB port on the bottom of the unit. When plugged in it looks like you're charging a phone or a music player of some kind, which I liked. It's also very discreet to carry in public. I had it in my purse at work the other day and none of my assistants even noticed it.
- Intense stimulation that is easily adaptable via positioning and the foam flower.
- The unit is sleek, discreet, and rechargeable.
- You have the ability to deliver pleasure directly where you want it due to the small size of the nub. This is something I appreciate because it doesn't leave me feeling like my whole vagina has been numbed by vibration.
- It's very loud!
- There is only one speed.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
I was talking to a friend of mine recently about poly relationships, and poly marriages in particular. My friend's marriage has been suffering the malaise that was/is affecting my own - and I realized that this isn't an uncommon occurrence in poly marriages. I know and know of many couples who became poly and ended up with completely different partners as primaries - myself included. Some of them stayed married and adapted their lifestyle, like me, while others divorced and married the new partners.
So what is it that drives us to make these changes? The Mister and I didn't choose polyamory because we were consciously looking for a new partner. I didn't expect to find someone who completely redefined the term soulmate for me. The Mister didn't expect to find that he didn't like dating after all. I don't know what we expected, exactly, but nearly 18 months later we've found a version of polyamory that seems to be working for us.
Day-to-day things are so normal around here that the only real difference between us and a "normal" household is that there are more cars in the driveway and three people doing the parenting. We wake up, feed the dogs & kids, head to work, come home, make dinner, and try to unwind before we start all over again. We pay bills and grocery shop and make plans to fix things around the house.
Is this kind of polyamory for everyone? I doubt it. I know that for some in the community the rush is in the dating, the getting to know new people, the ever-changing roster of lovers and friends. But for me the rush is in coming home at the end of the day and having partners - real, committed partners - to help me make the drudgery a little less painful.
Friday, March 22, 2013
At some point in the last month or so, things at home got comfortable again. The Mister and are still not perfect, we still haven't gotten back together intimately, but we are living in the same space peacefully again - something I had begun to think was impossible.
I looked up about a week ago and it hit me that I was actually happy. No, we're not where we need to be, but we're working towards it. Yes, there will be adjustments and there will be changes as we figure out where we're going and what we need from each other... but at the end of the day we've gotten past the worst of it. I think.
The Libertine is naturally nervous. He doesn't want to lose his time with me, and I can respect that. It's a fine balance we've struck, but I think we are going to be okay.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
This is not an endorsed post, this is simply a product that I absolutely love and can't live without. Men, you might find this post a bit tmi.
Period sex. Some women like it, a lot of women hate it; a lot of women struggle with the mess and the embarrassment of something that happens to us naturally. I fall into this last category. The Mister has never really been a fan of it, while the Libertine's attitude is more along the lines of "I'll fuck you either way."
When we started dating, this was hard for me. I looked for other ways to meet his needs while minimizing my own awkwardness. Compounding the problem was my own innate horniness during those four long days each month. It was as though Mother Nature was mocking me - I wanted nothing more than to wantonly fuck as much as possible, but the resulting mess and my constant "I'm sorry about that" were getting in the way of really enjoying the process.
Enter the Instead Softcup®.
In December I came across a coupon flyer in our newspaper and was instantly intrigued. The Softcup is a hypoallergenic cup designed to fit in the space just below the cervix, like a diaphragm. I'd been curious about similar products in the past, like the Diva cup, but the necessity of removing the Diva cup for sex didn't really solve my problem. The Softcup, however, can be worn during sex. Because it fits like a diaphragm, it doesn't have to be removed during intercourse. It is flexible and my partners have hardly noticed it.
The first cycle I tried it out, it was a little odd. It is pretty easy to insert once you practice a few times, but at first it feels awkward. I will say, if you are at all squeamish about putting your fingers in your vagina this is not a product for you (though if you're reading my blog I doubt that's the case). By the second month I had it down to a science.
In the four months I've been using the Softcup, I've quite simply fallen in love with it. Now I can listen to my body's signals and get intimate whenever I want. I'm not worried about mess, or that period scent, or having to apologize after. The Libertine has actually performed cunnilingus during my cycle because of how well it works (he actually stopped briefly to remark how amazing the Softcup is).
If you are anything like me and get extremely excitable when your cycle peaks, you need to try this out. Even if you're not, there is another reason it's awesome: it offers 12 hours of protection with pretty much zero upkeep. On my worst day I have to empty it after about 6 hours, but that's as simple as doing a couple kegels while I'm in the bathroom anyway. There have been days that I've completely forgotten I'm on my period while using these.
A box will last me two months, and they're around $5.50, making them half the price of tampons, since I would use roughly a box of tampons a month.
I swear by these little babies. Check it out!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The Libertine and I are out to lunch:
Him: "Did that woman just say 'I praise God' over there?"
Me: "I think so. It makes me want to say cunnilingus really loudly. Or rimjob."
We keep eating, and the woman keeps loudly talking about how God wanted her to do whatever it was she was taking about.
Me: "I'll tell you what God would want me to do-"
Him, interjecting: "Cunnilingus?"
Monday, February 4, 2013
I've been really really avoiding writing these past few weeks. I am feeling like a terrible person, and a terrible partner, and a terrible everything.
Things with the Mister really aren't any better. He has been trying, in his way, but he bungles just about everything and I just don't have a lot of patience for it.
I can't really honestly say that I've been trying all that hard.
The worst part of this whole thing is that even if I want out, I cannot financially get out - and he knows it. It takes both our salaries to pay all the bills, put food on the table, and we have a little left over to put aside for home repairs and a bit of fun. Without the Mister, I would have to pay for all of those things myself AND put the kids in daycare (which would cost me more than the mortgage).
The Libertine is frustrated. From his perspective, I'm not doing anyone any favors by staying unhappy. I have to remind him that we are not as financially stable as he is, and that I will not put myself in a position where I can't support myself and have to depend on him.
For now, I'm stuck in an awkward holding pattern. I can only hope that in time the Mister will come around and see that I'm miserable. I doubt that will ever happen, but right now it's all I've got.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The other morning I woke abruptly, shook the Libertine awake, and exclaimed, "You will not believe the dream I just had!"
In my dream, I was best friends with the Bloggess, and she was just as awesome in real life as she is on the internet. She and I were going a movie or TV premiere party together. I don't know why she chose me over her husband as a date, but it was a wicked fun time.
She had appeared in the movie or TV show in a scene with Benedict Cumberbatch, he of Sherlock fame. When it came time for the screening, she headed for the bathroom, leaving me seated next to Benedict all by myself.
Trying to make idle conversation, I asked him what he thought of the Bloggess. He, assuming that I was asking if he was interested in her romantically, responded "She is a little chubby for my taste. You, on the other hand..." He looked me up and down. "Women make you make me doze off, I'm so bored."
You guys, Benedict Cumberbatch is an asshole.
(Disclaimer: I don't know if he is an asshole. He could be a totally sweet guy. Or an asshole. I don't know. But in my dream? ASSHOLE.)
Saturday, January 19, 2013
It's really hard to be a poly blogger when you don't feel very poly.
It's been two weeks since I've slept in the Mister's bed. It's been over a month since I last was intimate with him. More and more I am struggling to find my way back to the emotional space that allowed me to love him.
He and I talked yesterday for more than 3 minutes for the first time in a week. We're more like roommates than spouses right now.
He dislikes that I'm shutting him out. I dislike that every time he approaches me I feel as though all he is looking for is physical release, and doesn't really care to spend time with me otherwise. He doesn't make me feel sexy or desirable, he makes me feel uncomfortable and like the only important part of me is my vagina.
Six months ago I asked him for a divorce and he stoutly refused. For a little while things were better, but more and more they feel like they are falling apart.
I finally faced him yesterday and said, "I don't want to be alone with you. I don't want to walk on eggshells because your pride is hurt that right now I don't love you." He was hurt, but he did actually try to listen to what I was saying. We were able to agree that his current work schedule is killing any chance we may have at fixing what is broken. He works overnight, four nights a week. Basically, as soon as I get home from work he heads for a nap before his shift starts. We really don't see each other for more than 30 minutes a day.
He and I need to start over, at square one, and act like we are dating, not like we're married. We take too much for granted, we get upset when the other doesn't do something that we thought was obvious (but probably wasn't). Essentially, we've become strangers in the same house.
The Libertine is ... wary of the Mister and I reconciling. A lot has happened, and there will be many things that will need to be atoned for and changed by all of us in the future. I still don't even know that I want to be married... but I do know that I will do anything to keep custody of my children, and in a poly divorce anything can happen.
In the meantime, I'll share what I can. Maybe it will help some of you.