Category Archives: Relationships

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!

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Moving Forward, a Slow March

On Monday we had Renee over to our house for a low key pizza night. It was important for me to have her up in our territory, and see how we all interacted together. And it was good. Easygoing. Everything I imagined it would be, minus any of the possible sexiness, since both of our kiddos were hanging out in the living room with us. There was pizza and wine and chocolate. The kiddos played mostly happily together, and it felt like we had known her for 100 years.

It was a little awkward at bedtime, as she forgot that the two of us are almost always needed to put the munchkin to bed. And after she had gone home, Keith and I laid in bed and talked and talked while the little one snuggled in between us. The debrief. Where we both realized that we are so 100% on the same page that it’s not even funny. That the fantasy of open marriage has become a reality, and that we are both very interested in moving forward. Yet, at the same time, we are both surprised and shocked by how it has progressed. In our debrief we talked about where each of us were, and I confessed that I feel a bit like I am trying to play catch up, and that is complicating how I’m feeling. I hadn’t even known that Keith was talking to Renee until a few weeks ago, and their relationship went from 0-60 in their first date. And I don’t work quite that way. With Anne, I felt instant sexual chemistry from the moment we met, but we still didn’t even begin a sexual contact until around date 3. While it’s easy to get me off, it’s sometimes a little more difficult to get me to the place where I’m hot to trot. I’m in the firmly undecided category on whether I want to pursue anything sexual with Renee.

Thought that’s not a knock on her, as I am feeling unmotivated sexually at the moment anyway. Can I be teased out of my head and glumpy thoughts? Sure. Does it take a little work? Sure. As in, if Renee made the first move, and started making out with me, I know I’d thoroughly enjoy it. I’m feeling like I’m going through some weird shift between being highly sexual and asexual. I don’t know how to describe it. I’m just not feeling that sexual in the past couple of weeks. And Keith agreed. That he’s actually felt the same way, too. And maybe that’s why we’re a good match, except when our cycles of sexiness are off.

So I think we’re all on the same page. Moving forward. Slowly. Building a relationship. And I’m (mostly) enjoying myself, though the conversations are difficult and long and necessary.

Living with Strong & Competing Emotions

On Saturday, a few hours before my first date with Renee, I got a message from my ex Anne. I hadn’t heard from her since we broke up in August. She was apologetic for how things ended, and basically said she thinks of me a lot and hopes things are good with me. Talk about punch to the gut. Sure, I think about her, too, but if someone gets so stressed out that they break up over toast, then I can’t really have that person be around.

And yet, I do miss her, miss what we had.

So I mustered up my energy to head down to Renee’s house for some home cooked pepperoni pizza, which I felt was very sweet. We were hanging out with her 8 month old son, and I felt very comfortable with her from the get-go. But not overwhelming passion like I felt with Anne, so in my mind I was conflicted, because this felt like that friendship piece I want, where I could simply hang out and be myself and could see myself wanting to progress sexually.

While sitting at her kitchen table, though, I kept having these overwhelming thoughts. I kept imagining Keith having sex with her, in her house, where I was, just five days earlier. Like in some dissociated state, I had these weird feelings of being totally present and also stepping outside and analyzing, thinking ‘what did he see in her that he would cheat?’ We all decided we wanted to move forward with pursuing one another, despite the hurt, but there was this part of me that was having a really hard time with it, the imagination piece was the worst. So I texted Keith, and said, “I don’t think I can do this, I’m so hurt by what you did,’ and after that I was actually more present and enjoyed myself.

So there’s the conflicting emotions. My experience clouded by the fact that I was sitting with the only other woman who has had sex with Keith. The hurt that the rules and boundaries we had created weren’t lived up to. The whole ‘what does he see in her that he didn’t see in me?’ irrational thoughts. The difference between intellectually being open and emotionally being open.

It ended up being a lovely evening, with no physical exchanges since her son stayed bright eyed and bushy tailed all evening, and I was getting a scratchy throat that turned into a full blown fever by the time I got home. It’s weird being in this place where I’m living with all of these conflicting emotions that bring up strong emotions and fears and insecurities. With Renee it was so easy until it wasn’t, which is part of the reason I enjoyed dating separate from my husband, though I think I would like to know the person/people is having sex with.

Maybe over time I’ll get used to it, but right now I still feel raw. And yet, I want to proceed, is that crazy?

Death of a Coping Mechanism

One of the best parts of my life is being surrounded by supportive and loving people who also know how to help me process when I am feeling both good and bad…and like this week, feeling both good/excited/happy and bad/frustrated/sad/upset/hurt at the same damn moment. I managed to spend a good thirty minutes with my therapist co-worker talking about my multitude of feelings.

All of this processing has helped me articulate to Keith last night, that the hurt I felt was not because he had sex on Monday night, the first extra marital sex experience (okay, okay, the first sex outside of me period). It’s that, when we were dating, and I tried to have sex with him on our first date, and he denied me that pleasure, I was understandable hurt inside. I knew that he had these moral convictions around sex, and so I convinced myself that it wasn’t really rejection, that it was because of morals, and that maybe I was the one who was wrong. Over the two years we dated and were engaged, I tried often to get him to have sex with me, all to no avail. We could do what he felt comfortable with, but not what I felt most comfortable with, all blamed on these moral/relgious beliefs.

I had all of these high hopes that once we got married we’d go from 0-60 in a short period of time. Instead we went from 0-30, which left me still feeling quite rejected often. His separation of intimacy and sex didn’t just congeal in one fell swoop, and so there were times I initiated and was denied, or longed to be touched and have him initiate with me, and I got radio silence.

And so here we are, 8 years later, and in one fell swoop my coping mechanism was completely shattered, with nothing to replace it. So my brain begins spinning because I revisit all of those times I asked for sex and was denied and think…well, if it wasn’t religious/moral reasoning, then it must have been me. He didn’t want to have sex with me. He’ll do it was some internet honey, but he wouldn’t do it for me. I didn’t even realize that all of this was bubbling inside of me, and he said, “I had no idea you felt rejected all those times. I thought you understood, and now my beliefs have changed, and I know it was hard to make the transition right when we got married, and I thought it would have been easier, and I’m so sorry you felt rejected all of those times. ”

Being able to articulate this crumbling of my coping mechanism made me feel so much freer. I feel like Keith’s ‘popping the seal,’ of extramarital sex is actually a good thing, because it allows me to really live within my belief that sex doesn’t always have to be this thing that has all these crazy intense meaning attached to it. And yet, now I think the hard work comes in working through and revisiting all the hurt from that night 8 years ago when I asked for sex and felt rejected the first time.

$15 Sweatpants

A few years ago Keith bought me flowers. I know he was trying to be sweet, but we had been fighting, and I felt so misunderstood and I’m the kind of practical gal who thinks ‘flowers, really?’ And I told him so. I know it hurt him, because he had been trying to be sweet, but I think I remember shouting something like ‘flowers don’t fix things? they don’t change things, I don’t even really like flowers all that much?!’

I might have been a bitch.

It’s not that I’m opposed to flowers, but I have sorta never seen the point in getting a bouquet of things that will die in a few days. I’m not the sentimental romantic like my sister, who still probably has every corsage and bouquet from every high school prom date. She seriously used to hang that dusty shit from her ceiling and it always felt like a graveyard of broken relationships. I’m a little more Daria and a little less Suzy Sunshine. But, I do appreciate sweet gestures.

Like books. The time Keith bought me a book for my birthday, that was this book within a book idea, that I loved and felt really special.

Or like today, after our ‘discussion’ on finances, where he comes home from Costco grocery shopping and says:

“Don’t pay attention to the sizing, because I wanted ones that were long enough for you, but here are some $15 sweatpants that I thought you would like.”

And  I swooned.

Because seriously. That kind of shit is sexy. I put the on and they are so comfy and long enough (hard for a 6’1 girl, without buying men’s pants) and a lovely charcoal gray. And I thought “fuck flowers, buy me sweatpants any day.” Yeah, that is my kind of romance.

WTF Profile Pictures

I think I could possibly make 14.56 million dollars for coaching people in the fine art of online dating. You know where I would start? Profile pictures. I get it poly/bi/queer ladies…you’ve got hair. Brightly colored hair. Dreadlocked hair. No hair. That’s cool. But why do you take pictures of your hair with a 1.2 megapixel camera from 2004? Also, are you so drunk that your hand shakes constantly, because BLURRY. 

Seriously, that’s what I’ve noticed so far. Online dating is full of special snowflakes who feel the need to pick 4 pictures of them in costumes or with dia de los muertos facepaint. I get it, you’re into cool and edgy and offbeat things. So am I. I went barefoot for a year (there are no pictures of my feet online). I was kidnapped by a taxi driver in India while living there in 2006 (no pictures of me in front of the Taj Mahal). I have my wrists pierced and a tattoo on my ribs (also not visible in my profile pictures). I don’t get it. I want people to know all the cool things about me, too, but I am not my wrist piercing. I am not my tattoo. I am a cool person WITH these cool things. 

Maybe I’m just a bitter Betty after sending like 25 messages to seemingly ‘normalish’ people online, and only getting 2 back (1 lady was clearly cray cray, and another is really boring in her messages, so I have no idea what to talk to her about). I’m not turned off by flaming purple hair or the giant rose tattoo on your thigh, but think that could possibly be an element of our possible relationship, and not the whole thing. 

Thoughts people? How do you feel about the pictures people post? The quality of the pictures? How shallow and ‘like a man,’ I am for judging these ladies based on their profile pics? 

Tarot for Moving On

I was struggling this past weekend. I had written Anne a letter, not trying to rehash details, but to cauterize some of the jagged edges I felt from how we had ended. And when she responded in like, which brought up a lot of unfinished feelings inside myself. Because I see myself as a very straightforward person, it’s hard to hear that she said “I think you were more serious than me,” when in fact, she was the one who had a few months ago asked “are you taking a girlfriend application?” I feel like the confusion of her personal life was spilling over into dating me, and it was especially painful to read, “I give 99.9% of myself in all my other relationships and at work, and I need someone who will be my oasis.” As someone who doesn’t really do drama, but will call out miscommunication, that hurt, and I haven’t responded. I wasn’t the self-proclaimed ‘Disney princess, hopeless romantic,’ that she was, and I certainly do not want to be relegated to the point of doormat oasis. I don’t ask a lot from relationships, but what I do ask is to be present with me and work through communication issues as they arise. 

So naturally, after hours and hours of processing with my sister/good friends/Keith, I consulted an online tarot reading. Because fun and harmless. 

Past

The Past position in the reading refers to recent events and challenges that just took place, things that lead up to the present situation, and your role in them.

Six of Swords
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The Six of Swords represents a retreat that you took. You were dealing with heavy stress, signified by the choppy water behind the boat. This card can also indicate that you felt “haunted” by someone or something, and you sought closure. You left the situation behind, and set forth for the calmness of still waters. You learned to balance your mental state, evidenced by the swords that do not fall though the boat is in motion. You were the protector in the situation. Your loved ones relied on you to carry them away from troubled waters. You didn’t let them down.

Present

The Present position in the reading represents what is happening right now. Typically, this is what triggers you to seek out a reading. This card can often help you to understand what steps to take next.

Two of Cups
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Love and deep friendship are suggested by the Two of Cups. You may be in the process of entering into a fulfilling love relationship. This union is based on passion and strength, symbolized by the lion, and a healthy attitude, suggested by the Caduceus, or wand of medicine. The man and woman facing each other, staring into one another’s eyes, suggest the deeper sense of understanding that exists between them. You are probably feeling understanding with this person that you have felt with few others. Perhaps marriage is on the way.

Future

The Future position in teh reading describes what is just around the corner. It’s an official “heads up” about where the situation is heading and how you may navigate through it towards the best possible outcome.

Page of Pentacles
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Frequently, the Page refers to you, or someone of either sex who will strongly influence your life in the situation, and tends to be young or have a youthful semblance. In this card, the Page’s garments of brown and green demonstrate his connection to the earth. He gazes at his pentacle with pride and reverence; he does not take what he has for granted because he has worked so hard to earn it, and he knows he deserves what he has. He is the student, mezmerized by each mystery his studies reveal. The pay-off will matter very little to this person: he will do what he loves to do. His success will stem from his passion for his chosen field.

 

It didn’t solve everything, but it did leave me with a sense of groundedness. That it wasn’t ‘all my fault’ that the relationship ended (which was what my monkey mind was telling me), and that while the future is uncertain, it’s not a dreadful gloomy place. I learned so much about myself, letting myself open up to the possibilities, and am now free to pursue more relationships that make me happy (and are hopefully low drama? Does that exist with women?). Today I’m feeling in a calmly grounded place, and that is nice. 

Mindful Choice

Keith’s recent FriendZone came back to him, asking for things to ‘go back to how they were,’ and while I encouraged not rushing quickly into deciding one way or the other (because simply acting out of hurt isn’t good). So he hung out with FriendZone, and realized that the friendzone is right where they should be right now. And he was able to articulate that to her in a (hopefully) non hurtful way.

And as he and I processed through the last 8 whirlwind months in this whole openness thing, he was able to be insightful about many things that I appreciated. Namely, he saw FriendZone as a friend/co-worker who was cute and he was attracted to her sexually. But as their relationship progressed he realized that, much like many patterns with women in his life, he was giving much more than he was receiving. He was this girl’s emotional stability, the counselor she turned to at 2 am when she needed a shoulder to cry on, and while he enjoys that role in a relationship, he would like something that fulfills him in an equal way, and that is not in the amount of BJ’s he’s receiving. He was able to say that he was infatuated with the NRE and the simple newness of being ‘open’ that he went for the first fish on the line thinking ‘maybe Polly will want this closed soon, better jump!’ or ‘maybe this is the only one I could get to relate to me, I better just go for it.’

When she friendzoned him, it gave him pause and time over the past two months, to provide that emotional support without the sexual reciprocation. Initially I was surprised, but as he talked more about his desires, his patterns, how he’s enjoyed talking to people on OKCupid who are seeking non-monogamy and have a similar worldview as the two of us, it made perfect sense. No harm no foul in this whole experiment of living life to our open fullest.

And that’s what I appreciate most about our journey. He didn’t just start going to seedy bars to get his bang on. He’s been the mindful thoughtful guy I’ve known our whole relationship. Today as I laid intertwined with Anne and we were talking about our orientations, and how I believe that my husband is at heart polyamorous, she said, “I could see that. I could see him having 6 wives. And giving each one 100%. Treating each one with the individual respect and love that they need. And sure jealousies would come up, but not because he would be comparing you to someone else.” Because his personality is bent toward being relational, sex included.

And that summed it up for me. And to have my sweetness able to already see that about Keith, who she’s only met a handful of times, made my heart happy. Sunshine in Seattle happy.

Mimosa Mondays

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My lady love and I have a relaxed summer schedule, since we both work in the education field. So we’ve dubbed our Monday hangouts “Mimosa Mondays,” because…mimosas. Mmm. I can’t believe that a mere few weeks ago I was an emotionally distraught mess thinking that maybe I should go guns blazing into the world of OK Cupid to soothe my hurt little fledgling bisexual/lesbian pride. Because now? Um…amazing.

The conversation is so good. We can spend five hours talking and it feels like five minutes. We text a lot and I find myself mentally and emotionally stimulated. And the sex? Well, I’m no longer a lady virgin, ya’ll, and I’m loving every second in the lesbian pool. Mmm.

So we hang out, on Mondays, drinking mimosas and writing and reading books and snuggling on the couch and having sex. And it feels really nice. We’ve also started attending this online creative writing group that goes for the next few weeks, and I’m excited to connect with her in this way. Makes me feel closer to her already.

Poly Dating & Band Camp

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A few weeks ago, after the friendzoned incident, Keith and I batted around the idea of joining OK Cupid. I finally got around to helping him set up his profile, and away he went, off into the land of non-monogamous dating in  serious and methodical way.

Not long after, I joined with my own profile. My intentions were FAR LESS pure than Keith’s, as he is really looking for an in-town girlfriend. I was…acting out because of hurt that Anne had to cancel one date (and then had to reschedule another). While we’ve patched it all up and are clearly moving in a beautiful direction, that hurt and insecurity over my lady love caused me to put my line in the water and see just who is out there in online dating land.

And honestly…

I’ve been sorta surprised. It feels a lot like band camp in this poly dating world.

Let me explain.

I come across a few different types of profiles. Gay or bi girls who are married/partnered and looking for another, or single gay/bi girls looking for casual/FWB/long term girlfriend (and they’re open to me being married or single).

And then…

Then there are these couples, with couple profiles, and it reminds me of all my years in marching band. While I was in band all through high school, I was also involved in sports (as a 6’1 girl, it was basically mandatory!! haha). As a part of the band I noticed this trend toward (what I deemed, then, to be) promiscuity. It was surprising to me, because band kids were NOT popular in school. And often I felt like I didn’t quite fit in. Yes I played sports, but I wasn’t popular. Yes I played an instrument, but I had a different set of social skills than most of my band peers. And thus I was sort of a floater. In my four years of high school band, it acted like one big poly community. Many of the people I knew were on the kinkier side of vanilla, and often they switched partners after a few months. While I wouldn’t say it was sophisticated poly (because often the girls felt heartbroken to be ‘traded in’ or ‘traded up’ by the guys in the band), there was definitely this openness to dating all within the community.

But in online dating, and now this might seem pretty judgey, I am coming across these very…band-camp couple profiles, where I am left scratching my head thinking ‘wow, they managed to find a partner, and now are wanting more?”

Oh God, I can’t believe I just admitted that online. But yes, I judge them. Not only based on their grainy or overly posed pictures, but also on how their profiles are written. And what they’re wanting from the theoretical ‘me’ that would be their third. I don’t feel super judgmental of people in person, so why am I reacting so viscerally to these online couple profiles? Maybe I should create a business helping people write their profiles so they don’t come across as so…creepy? Desperate? Borderline creepy?

But things like having Juggs&Gunns in your name, or ” hit me up right now if you are a liberal, non-religious crafty gal with a toddler or baby with a lot of free time on your hands and a reliable way to visit on a regular basis!” I I had heard the term unicorn hunter before, but..um…seriously? Isn’t that list a little bit specific?

I don’t really have a point to all of this, except that the whole thing fascinates me. There are quite a few really attractive and really interesting INDIVIDUALS on there, and some where they link their profiles to each other and seem super cool and down to earth, but the people who have couple profiles just come across as weird.

So far I haven’t actually done anything active, except upload pictures and fill out my profile/answer questions. I love that my situation with Anne has happened organically because Keith introduced us. I’m not quite ready to yet take the step and seek out/message people to try and get a relationship started. Plus, now that the hurt with Anne has smoothed over, and we’ve hung out again in person, and it was fabulous, I really want to focus on where she and I are going, rather than jump into the pool.

Anybody else have strange experiences with the couple profiles on OKC or another dating site? Am I the only one?