Category Archives: Communication

Baby Steps into 2015

Coffee on New Years with Ann. We hadn’t seen each other since the crazy texting breakup of 2014. I got to Starbucks early, and was reading a book when she walked up. And it was exactly like no time had passed at all, and yet a thousand years had passed. I saw her with normal eyes and not the rose colored glasses of infatuation.

We sat, and talked, catching up over the past few months. Pleasantries with really good energy between us, and then the conversation steered toward the deep, the painful, the vulnerable. I opened it up by saying, ‘I’m glad we’re talking again, I’ve missed you. And I’m scared to even say that, because I’ve never admitted to any ex that I’ve missed them and want them back.”

And she apologized. For everything. And not just a desperate I’m-so-sorry-boo-hoo needy apology. A well spoken, insightful apology that included her owning up to all her shit, including things like “when I said this, it’s because you triggered this in me, and it wasn’t you, it was me reacting to my self and my own insecurities,” and WOW. It’s taken four months, but we were really communicating. Non sexy communicating about wants, needs, boundaries, hopes, and not in a fantasy sense, but in a real honest to goodness two real life people who need things way. I told her that my biggest fear about entertaining the idea of dating her again is that this will be a pattern of crazy. That I will open myself up repeatedly to not be hurt in a normal daily hurt way, but in the emotional upheaval roller-coaster way.

We’re busy, with families, and work, and life. But we decided to move forward in baby steps. Texting. Maybe planning to hang out in the next month. Maybe redefining some boundaries we are comfortable with and what we’re not. Our time at the coffee shop ran out quickly, I had to make my way to Portland and she had to get to work. I kissed her goodbye by her minivan, and in one short hour we had gone from broken up to back together on some level. It feels optimistically good.

2015 has started off quite surprisingly!

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…

 

 

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. 🙂

My Experience Coming Out (Part 4)

Scheduling is hard. With very few childcare options available, Keith and I asked his parents to watch our son so that we could go on a date (with Anne) on Friday night. But it just so happened that my sister was also in town that day, having spent the night before with us. Since she lives a few hours away, and the trip had been planned for months, I didn’t want to make her reschedule for our potential love life change. And so she came, and we hung out, and I planned to not say a word about my evening date (even hoping that it would calm my nerves to not think about it). Because my sister and I were raised in the same fundamentalist Christian home, and because she still lives in the same rural conservative town, and because we had been not as close in the past year, I just figured I would never come out to her because how would she understand?

So, the morning of my big date, we were sitting in the living room drinking mimosas and watching the kiddo chase the dog around the coffee table, and she suddenly started asking questions like:

“Have you ever thought of doing a threesome? Or how do you feel about monogamy? And marriage, like, do you ever get bored in your marriage, or jealous, or want to open it up to other people?”

Holy hell, the questions were peppering me like bullets. If we had stayed in a neutral territory, talking about marriage, or theoretical, or even focusing on her relationship (together for 4 years, living together for 3, possibly getting engaged soon(ish)). But how could I, with those direct questions rapidly fired at me, not tell her? My little sister, coming to me for advice on her relationship, by wanting connection in knowing she wasn’t the only one thinking of, or wanting, or being nervous and wanting, things to be different somehow.

At first I tried to get around it, but then I said, “so, this might come as a shock to you. And I’m going to tell you, because you asked, but it’s sensitive and I want to know you won’t go blabbing it about. Because I wasn’t going to tell family at all yet.”

And then I launched in, beginning with the bisexual bomb, and ending with the date that night with a woman and how nervous I was. Her response was beautiful. She laughed when I said, “remember when you were in high school, and you told me mom and dad thought I was a lesbian?,” because she had come to me at one point, since I wasn’t dating, and told me they were concerned. She hadn’t remembered that incident, but said that it wasn’t surprising to her that I wasn’t straight, and then she said:

“You know, just because I’m straight, and live in Tiny Annoying Town, doesn’t mean I’m judgmental. I have some really conservative friends who make Roger (her bf) feel uncomfortable because he’s much more open, and I never want to be that person. I’m excited for you, and can’t wait to hear how the date goes!” 

And then she said that she couldn’t imagine doing a threesome with a woman, but would be interested with another dude, and we had a good laugh about how very odd I felt that was (because my other bestie, Ruth, has said something similar before, and I have no interest in two penises near me at one time), and it felt like this really great bonding experience over a vulnerable topic that we were raised to believe was taboo. She then opened up about her own sex life, and their fantasies and explorations, and how she doesn’t have anyone to talk to about it because all her friends are in Tiny Annoying Town mindset. She said she was jealous that I got to live in a Big Liberal City with plenty of acceptance and even anonymity, because truthfully, if i wanted, I could take my potential girlfriend out on the town in parts of the city and I wouldn’t run into anybody I know in my other life.

We went out to breakfast and then shopping. Since she’s super into fashion, she wanted to help me pick out a cute outfit to wear on my first date.  She even tried to convince me to wear a trendy fashion necklace accessory, but I stood my ground, because I wanted to seem somewhat like myself and figured if I gave the impression that I can pull of trendy accessories on the first date, then I’d have to keep up that facade!

 

 

My Experience Coming Out (Part 2)

Monday night ritual, for the past few months, has been pizza and beer/wine/champagne with my bestest in-town girl friend. She totes her two sons over here, or I tote my son their direction, and we eat dinner and gossip and watch our boys grab toys from each other and cry play with each other. It’s kept us sane while our husbands are in class, or working late hours, and has allowed us to connect quite deeply. And so, that Monday night, while our kids ran around in my backyard, I turned to her and said:

“Mari, I have something to tell you, but I’m afraid you’ll be judgey.”

My word-choice was poor, as she had taken my coming out blog post SO WELL, and was SO SUPPORTIVE, and I hated that I had used judgey in a sentence with her. But I was afraid. Because while we are besties, our sex lives and even spirituality/morals/ethics vary wildly. To use a label to sum her up with a broad brush stroke, she is my most conservative friend. But there I was, on our wooden backyard bench, saying:

“I am going on a date on Friday. With a woman. And I am really excited, and nervous, and I really like her. And Keith will be there. And I’ve never felt feelings like this toward a woman, and she’s in the same life experience as me, and I’m really nervous and thought you should know because you are the closest person to me, and I’m not going to tell many people yet (or at all) and I just thought you should know.”

She suspected something was up.  While out to dinner the previous week, her husband was teasing me about some phone numbers I had gotten a few weeks prior out drinking after a soccer match. When I said we had plans on Friday he was all like, “oh, you meeting up with one of those girls?” and apparently my shocked expression and lame excuse had left her suspecting that something was up. But she didn’t want to press the subject, especially since there was a mutual friend present and he isn’t aware of my newly exposed identity. So there we were, sitting together, and me nervous about rejection, and her response:

“You are my friend. I may be more conservative sexually, and I may not understand it, but I will not judge you. I am not judgey about it. I think it sounds cool, and you seem happy. The hardest part I have is that I knew Keith in middle school and it’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this is who he is, in comparison to who he was back then.”

Phew.

My biggest obstacle was hurdled. The one person I felt NEEDED to know because of the amount of time we spend together had handled the news like a pro. I knew in my gut she would be supportive, but based on that last out-on-a-limb experience that didn’t go so well, I wondered if my gut feeling was way off. But it wasn’t. I was out, and supported, and it felt really good.

 

Communication & Connection

 

Oh my Lord, I haven’t felt connected to my husband Keith in such a long time. I don’t know, we’re just in this space where the talks are free flowing and things are seriously GOOD. It feels really lovely, though it’s not exactly easy. Because the ramp up off communication has it’s spark in our newish foray into the world of openness in our marriage. We’ve been talking about feelings and insecurities on how much time we will spend together, or how we feel about our partnerpossibilities that we’ve each been exploring, and how the page sometimes changes and we will need to adjust accordingly.

See, when Keith reached out online to Anne, it was because she was seeking out a threesome with an already established couple. They flirtatiously texted for a few days before he introduced her to me, and then she and I hit it off. We met up last Friday, but I had already been forming a bond with her that began to feel more girlfriend quality than random hookup  or even friends-with-benefits quality. Having never had a girlfriend before, I can’t quite explain why this felt different (because maybe it was just different than I expected it to feel?), but somehow the page went from it being  our couple wanting a threesome initially, to me wanting to date her, make her my girlfriend, and let a threesome happen more ‘naturally’ if the case may be. Because, while I have a really high sex drive, I also move at slower pace in terms of initiating something sexual with her, than Keith would.

Keith was under the impression that she was still game for an experience with the two of us, initially, because he wanted to be in on the vulnerable experience of me really being with a woman. He has known that it’s been part of my identity since the beginning of our relationship, and he felt hurt that he might not get to experience that, and worried that he might feel jealous in the future. But just like how I felt different after he explained that it wasn’t just a ‘guys think two chicks making out are hot’ reason why he wanted to be there while I explored being with a woman, he realized that I was still picking him, us, over a new relationship. But we talked, and talked, and talked, and didn’t have an agenda in trying to convince the other person that I AM RIGHT, it was truly an exercise in sharing vulnerably, allowing our insecurities to be seen, and loving each other through it.

And so, at the end, we are in a really amazing place. I have no jealousy about the ex-coworker he’s sexting and hoping to meet up with her at some point. He feels good about me pursuing a dating relationship with Anne, while maybe keeping the hope alive for a possible threesome in the future when she and I are comfortable with each other, and already established. And ultimately, regardless of what is happening in these budding new relationships, we are still all about each other at the end of the day. This type of relational openness isn’t for the faint at heart. Because talking about feelings and insecurities is exhausting, but oh so worth it at the end of the day.

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