Monthly Archives: May 2014

Defining the Relationship…

In casual texting conversation today, Anne referred to me as her girlfriend. She was bragging about a test she had done okay on (and way better than the rest of the class) and was really happy that all her hard work despite burnout had payed off, and she said:

“It’s a good thing my girlfriend is a counselor because…”

And I think I stopped reading at that sentence because my head was spinning. I feel like a 14 year old girl with her first crush. I mean, whoa.

And yet.

Um.

Whoa.

Girlfriend seems like a too-good-to-be-true title for the mere 2 months I’ve known her. It feels important, regal, but also like…responsibility, and to just not fuck this shit up, you know? Because I’m not looking to break hearts, but this is also all so…new…and I sometimes catch myself during the day being like ‘oh yeah, you’re not monogamous, you’re not straight, you have a girlfriend.’ Gulp. Am I open to the task? Can I be trusted with another heart when I’m sometimes not the nicest person in the world? Am I ready to settle down?

Whoa Polly, you might be saying (don’t you hate it when bloggers just ASSUME what you might be saying or thinking as you read along? I sure do…) to take a breath, slow down, it’s not THAT BIG OF A DEAL. But yeah, it sorta is. Because like, sure we’ve talked about how we’ll probably date for 20 years or so (not just something I think, but other people in my life see our connection and roll their eyes and say ‘um, yeah, you’re gonna be that old couple still in love and talking about Victorian literature), so it’s not just a woo woo 14 year old “ohmegherd let’s get married!” to the other freshman kid in class…but still…dating…titles…it’s all so…serious!

It brings me to this whole conversation I had yesterday over on the post What’s In a Name where we were looking at how language shapes feelings and things like ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ can cause hurt feelings. And Anne is in a sexless platonic marriage set up for her to have a girlfriend as her ‘primary’ (only?) sexual partner. And I’m in long-time monogamous but now a budding polyamorous marriage where my husband has been the ‘primary’ emotional and sexual partner. And so while our goals for staying married to men and having a girlfriend are the same, I can’t help but wonder if our need or desires for what each other can fulfill is the same? And after two solid in-person dates, and texting and sexting multiple times a day, I’m still not sure I’m ready yet to call her my girlfriend.

So the convoluted…am I her girlfriend? Do I want to be her girlfriend (yes!) but am I ready right now (yes? maybe? what does it even meeeeaaaaan?!) Can I be her girlfriend but not have her be my girlfriend, yet? questions linger in my mind.

And then…what does being a girlfriend mean…for her…for me? Does it mean monogamy? Will I have the same level of communication with her that I do with husband Keith? What if I kiss another girl, or guy, is it cheating? What if she wants monogamy and I am just not sure yet but don’t want to lose her because she’s so damn awesome?

So many thoughts. So many feelings. So much advice is needed…

But girlfriend. That felt pretty good overall. Despite the mini-existential crisis I’m having in blogoworld…

 

 

My Opinion on Sexting

I came across this article about sexting this week, and it made me think about my own relationship to electronic flirting. While there may be a lot of hullaballoo about “kids these days,” sexting up a storm, I’d have to say I’ve been doing it forever, at least since CompUServe and AOL dial up, and some of the memories are downright hilarious.

My girl friends and I would jump online and pretend to be people we weren’t. Namely, we’d end up sexy talking some (probably equally geeky younger guys, or maybe creepy middle age men) with fun names like Romy & Michelle. Yeah, we were SO clever. I think once I pretended to be Kari Strug (yeah, the famous Olympian) to get some sexy talk going. Not sure who would have believed any of that, but if it was today the Catfish crew would sure to arrive on my doorstep!

In my conservative Christian college days, I kept the sexting under wraps (mostly due to no options, really), but once I was graduated it ramped up again with my long-distance much-older boyfriend. I love pictures. I love words. It seems I was built for sexty texting!

And now that I’m in a newish relationship with Anne, I enjoy sending her sext messages in a different way I enjoy sexting with Keith. The same picture can spark a very different conversation between lovers. And that’s what’s fun about the the whole adventure!

So I was surprised, when reading through the article’s roundtable, that there were some who were so…shy? awkward? uncomfortable with the whole idea of sexting. While I can relate, in that I wouldn’t sext someone who I wasn’t 100% sure was interested in it, the whole act is fun and flirty and without much repercussions if you trust the person on the other end (perhaps I’m naive to the uprising of revenge porn).

Bloggy world, what’s your relationship with sexting? Love it? Hate it?

Answering questions from friends…

At work Russ came up to me this week and asked how my dating life was going. We got on the topic of non-monogamy (something he is personally struggling with, as he enters into a monogamous marriage in the next few months), and the topic of ‘rules’ came up. I divulged that Keith was allowed everything but vaginal penetration at this point, and he made the joke, “oh, so it’s okay for you to get it, but not your man?!” I can see this perspective, and find myself wanting to go down a few different trails of logic.

The first being, it’s not a forever rule. But only a few months in, I’m still adjusting to even being out (somewhat) as bisexual, let alone dating, let alone letting my husband (who has a history of…er…indiscretions be in sexual contact with others physically or via technology) is sort of a big deal. And I don’t want US (yes, US) to rush too quickly and get overwhelmed with the “negative” emotions that might rear their head.

But mostly it’s because of historically how Keith and I have viewed morals around sexuality. At 29, when we got married, he was a “virgin” (to penal-vaginal sex). His reasoning for waiting were due to religious upbringing and an overall desire to make it ‘special’ and have this intimacy not found in other sexual relationships. It was something he set up, something he adhered to, despite many many many failed attempts on my part to pre-maritally break him of the habit (because, clearly, I was not, myself, a virgin).

So forgive me if I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that 6 married years later it’s just cool to dip the stick in any oil tank around, ya know? Because after so many years of ‘dealing with it,’ I finally bought into the myth that his VIRGINITY was what equaled out specialness together, I’m not quite ready to give that up…yet. But it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t, especially if he found someone who was more than just a 3 month non-committal honey…ya know?

But also…

I’m struggling as someone who is bisexual.

I have known for YEARS that there’s this part of my personality that has gone unfulfilled in a monogamous relationship with man. But I’m newer to the concept of polyamory being an orientation, and not just “dudes being dudes trying to get laid.” And also, because Keith’s sex drive has historically been WAY WAY lower than mine, I have this thought in the back of my mind like, “um, dude, if you don’t want to put out with ME four, five, six times a week, then why on earth should you get more than one lady to do the dirty with?”

I’m working on it.

But that was my reasoning, and he’s honoring where I am, right now. I know it won’t be a forever thing, but I’m not interested in him losing his second virginity (is that even a thing?) to just a random hookup. Ya know?

Ugh, though. Rules. They sorta suck and put a damper on things.

How do you go about navigating relational boundaries with your partners?

Friendzoned

After three months of dating Jen, Keith got the friendzone talk the other night. And I am surprised at how bummed I feel, for him, AND for me, though I have never even met this woman. I felt my husband’s pain, as he had just begun to navigate the tricky waters of dating again, and was really beginning to find a groove with communication, honesty, and time management. And opening himself up to someone who’s not his wife, after 8 years of monogamy.

We knew it was inevitable. We you tangle with someone who is only really interested in monogamy for their lifelong journey, though is okay with being the other in an open non-monogamous relationship, you are opening yourself to heartbreak. What I didn’t expect, was how much it would affect me  to see him hurting. How I’d feel processing his feelings about another woman and just how little jealousy, and how much empathy, I feel for him in this whole process.

 

My Solo Ladydate

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Pre-date: nervously stuffing tortilla chips into my face while simultaneously trying to get my wavy/curly hair to stop doing that thing that makes me look unkempt/unshowered/homeless-or-on-drugs and texting with Keith about how nervous I was for the night. His advice: it’s like dinner with Mari (my platonic bff), and don’t worry about ‘the kiss’ until after dinner.

That was good advice.

Though hard, when you’re sitting across from such a pretty lady.

Dinner: we were both early. I figured that would happen, since we’ve talked about how how we worry about being late places. She stood out front of the restaurant, and we hugged and went in, and waited for our table, and caught up and it was so…

easy.

I mean, seriously easy. The conversation flowed, and flowed. She asked questions. I asked questions. We started conversations and then got sidetracked down rabbit trails and have yet to answer some of those questions fully, but I don’t feel that panicky shit-I-should-have-said-that-in-order-to-convince-her-to-like-me-more feeling. It was relaxed. Comfortable. Like we’ve known each other 100 years.

After dinner: we took a walk along the marina in the sunset. We wanted to hold hands but didn’t. Were we nervous? I think so. I wanted to kiss her all night. And as we sat on the bench looking out over the water, people watching, and talking about life. She said she wanted to kiss me on the bench while we were sitting there, but she felt shy. And I felt shy. And then it got cold, and we walked back to our cars, and then I kissed her.

Before I kissed her, I said “i’m feeling like an awkward 15 year old boy, and I want to kiss you,” and she was so short and soft and smelled so nice. It was so different than kissing Keith, and different than all the drunk makeouts from my younger years.

And then we talked some more.

And kissed some more.

And a little more talking.

And kissing.

And finally it was too late, and she had to go home, so I put her in her car and we both headed our separate ways.

I have so many more thoughts about how the whole date, but today I’m just feeling quietly happy.

 

Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage (Book Review)

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After my dismal foray into the FetLife forum, I decided to just continue reading blogs and blooks. And a quick Amazon search led me to this book by Jenny Block, and the description seemed to fit me so well already that I purchased it in one quick click.

It arrived yesterday, and I’m done reading it today, which means A) I had a lot of time on my hands, and B) it was a quick read. It read partly like a memoir-gone-self-help-book, which I appreciated in most parts, but got tired of in others.

What was refreshing about the whole book was how honest she was about her thought process, while also making some assertions about society at large on the issue of monogamy/non-monogamy. And I appreciated that she hasn’t been doing it for years and years and years, so it read more like the blogs, here, that are still continually exploring their relationship with open marriage and/or polyamory (or both? definition?).

I think the reason I liked it so much is because, deep down, I really want what happened to her: married to a man, in love and long term commitment with a woman, and with a husband who is open to open marriage but doesn’t act on it that often. Just writing that made me have a twinge of ick in my belly, in thinking that I could possibly ever want Keith to not explore, but still sometimes thinking I have more of a right to explore because I’m bisexual and he knew going in that I was attracted to both men and women (though, while married I’ve been attracted to some men, though rarely).

I know that just the little insecurity creeping in, and is more of a head thing than a heart thing, because when I see how connected we’ve been lately, and how much more free he feels (like it looks like he’s lost weight from the decision), I can’t help but want him to keep exploring and relating to others, both in a sexual or in a non-sexual context, whatever feels right for him (and us). But there are certainly those moments where I feel this disgusting entitlement  feeling, and I don’t like it!

Overall I would recommend the book, though it’s probably one you could borrow from the library, and not necessarily one that you NEED to own. Though I thought it was vanilla enough that I could happily order it for my sister or close friends to read to give them an idea of how our open marriage is working, that might dispel some stereotypes/myths that they might have about open marriage = orgies or swinging or things that it certainly could  contain, but don’t necessarily need to.

The last few chapters seemed redundant, though, which is why I feel like it could be a book borrowed and not bought. I overall really like it, and am so glad I purchased it. I underlined a few little gems, and am excited to discuss the overall message with Keith tonight!

What books would YOU recommend on the subject of open marriage or polyamory?

FetLife? Or where to find other supportive peeps…

This week Keith told me that he had joined FetLife, to try and gain some advice from other people “in our situation.” I had heard of FetLife through OffbeatHome, in one of their posts that suggested the supportive environment for people of all kinky walks of life, including polyamory. While I’m not typically drawn to online forums (with the exception of one that I moderate, lol), I decided to give it a try and see if I could find anything useful (or anyone cool to provide advice) in our area.

Um. . .

I feel like I should have stuck with blogging. And reading books off Amazon. Because I don’t know about you, but the website navigation is terrible. And because of their security (which I appreciate) policy, you can’t just search for people in your area. You sorta have to stumble upon them, and with over 21,000 people listed in the Seattle area, and no discernible way to connect without reading hundreds of profiles or joining random groups, I got internet social-anxiety and left. Not to mention, I’m not super excited about clicking around and seeing surprise dicks in my face. Yes, I know, it’s a kink website, what was I expecting?

Lots of dicks, tho.

Keith agreed, though he has managed to connect with a couple and has a good vibe going with them, getting some questions answered, and building a friendship (they’re not looking for more boyfriends, and neither is Keith). But when we chatted about it, he too felt it was hard to engage with the material because clearly there’s a lot, but navigating is hard. And I have no idea what to even classify myself with all the titles they have going on over there.

So my question to ya’ll is, how do you go about connecting with other like-minded people? I know about munches, and maybe someday we’ll go out in person and socialize outside our little budding poly experiment?, but for now I’m inclined to simply meet and chat online. I’m not really into kinky, at least I don’t think I am (I would know, right?), and so that part of the website doesn’t necessarily fit. I’m fine with meeting kinky people, but preferably would like to meet other people who’ve turned monogamy into successful polyamory. Ya know?

Survived the first date and the first kiss!

I am so proud of Keith. He survived his first date with Jen! They had a lovely time at the soccer match, went out for a beer afterward, and he scored an “open mouth goodnight kiss” which did not include tongue (yes, I wanted all the juicy details!).

While he was busy dating, I was busy parenting our two-and-a-half year old at Happy Hour with my friend Tabby. It was a nice distraction, and the evening was pleasant overall, despite my son’s refusal to freaking sleep already! I know they say terribly twos, but I can’t help think that they’d be less terrible if he wasn’t so tired all the time…because when I’m tired, I’m pretty terrible, too (which colored Keith’s whole date, too).

I think dating with kids is hard. I think trying an open marriage with a kid, especially a toddler, is going to be hard, too, though I am positive it’s worth it. Because this morning, as he was telling me about the kiss, and the game, I was excited for him…but crabby from a poor night sleep and wasn’t really in the mood to be touchy feely. I think that’s going to be the challenge, in having him understand that I wasn’t mad or upset about the date, I was just tired because it’s Thursday and we slept poorly and my back hurts from too much work in locust position on Tuesday night’s class. I have zero jealousy from the experience, and love hearing that kissing a “girl who wears face makeup” tastes different than kissing me. 🙂

How I’m Planning to Spend the Night of My Husband’s First Date

Tomorrow Keith ventures out on his first official date with the lovely Jen. Sure he’s hung out with her in person before, but while they were tentatively re-establishing a friendship and before she felt that the open marriage ‘situation’ was totally legit. And so tomorrow’s the day, where they meet up for some beers at the pub before the soccer match and then head on out to the stadium. I have no idea what to expect as far as what might happen at the game, and think he’s being cautious since we’ve had season tickets for several years, knowing all the people who sit around us, as well as knowing his sister’s in attendance at the game, too. In my mind they’ll appear like platonic friends (which he often brings to the game instead of me) and that the making out, or physicality will happen in the privacy of alleys or bathroom stalls or the backseat of his car…

At any rate, I haven’t given much thought to the imaginings of what will go on, knowing he’ll give me the update when he’s home. I’m excited for him, and am having  hard time explaining that feeling to friends who know of our situation, and a hard time not telling those who don’t. But at risk of sitting at home and suddenly freaking out I thought that it’d be good to spend some time with a friend. So I’ve scheduled a mama/son and friend happy hour date at the local family friendly brewery. I figure that doing something fun and social with a good friend will help me if I have any of the poor me I am stuck at boring home being a mommy while he gets to have fun feelings come up. Because those feelings surface when I get into that parenting-is-fucking-hard and we have to go tit-for-tat in time away. I don’t think it’ll be a concern about him necking another woman, more that he’s not here parenting when my kid refuses anything but chocolate chips or wants to watch 53 episodes of Curious George 🙂

It feels like tomorrow is the crossing of a threshold, entering a way of being in our openness experiment, and I’m really excited that he’s we’re getting go through that door, together, even if we are actually apart.

 

Dating is about more than the good times…

I’m incredibly bummed.

Yesterday I had a wickedly amazing texting conversation with Anne, about life, and family, and school, and looking forward to our date on Friday. And she wanted advice on contacting her instructors about a possible schedule conflict for class, because she learned her grandma wasn’t doing well and she wanted to fly there to say goodbye one last time. We were really connected, and it was sweet to share bits of our life together, and I started getting really excited to hang out with her again in person in just a few days.

But this morning I got a text, at 6am, that she was on a plane already heading ‘home,’ because her grandma had passed away. And in the second sentence she said she would have to cancel our date. The thoughtfulness of telling me that in the middle of her sad time put a lump in my throat. While I’m bummed we’ll have to push back our hangout time, I have this quiet confidence that she’ll be in my life for a long time, and what’s one or two more weeks in the grand scheme of things?

And it really put into perspective for me, that dating isn’t just about the good times. It’s not just about the sexy thoughts and the romance of first dates and wine and making out under the stars. It’s about real moments, like sharing childhood memories, and dealing with deaths in the family, and experiencing conflict or hurts, too.

Keitht’s reaction was sweet, when he texted me, “is it weird that I’m sad my wife doesn’t get to go on a date with her girlfriend this week?” and I knew how he felt. Because if Jen were to have something happen where she couldn’t make their date next week, I’d be bummed for him, too. And it sparked a great conversation betweent he two of us, about jealousies and potential jealousies, and the care we have in wanting each other to be happy with our other partners.

I think relationships can be messy, not just because of hurt feelings and conflict, but because life is full of really beautiful and hard experiences that we get to share with each other.