Tag Archives: friendship

Coming Out, College Friend Edition & Blurred Lines

It had been two years since my last catch-up session with a good college friend. She was in town for Christmas, and so we decided to take our friendship offline and back to a Starbucks like the old days. Her mom was sweet enough to watch my son while Clover and I got our caffeine fix, and about an hour into our hang out, I decided to come out to her even though it’s ‘not really relevant right now, since I’m not actually dating anyone,’ and her response was:

“You know I dated a woman for 5 years, in college, right?”

Um, no, I didn’t know that, but A) my instinct (and Keith’s instinct) was right this WHOLE TIME, that she was not totally straight, and B) I reframed and felt so bad that I hadn’t been a better friend at various points, because apparently her relationship with Denise was abusive. And full of shame, and secrecy, because we ALL were involved in the college youth ministry group, and our life was built around church, and a church that appeared ‘liberal’ in so many ways, but same sex gender relationships was definitely not on the table. It was so lovely to connect in this way, and later I told her that I had wished I would have known, because I remember when she decided to stop hanging out with Denise, and how hard it was, and it makes so much more sense now knowing that she was BREAKING UP and not just ENDING A FRIENDSHIP (which is also hard, but in a different way).

So, yay, I’m out to all my college friends, except Laura, who I was probably in love with anyway, and might make things awkward. So, ya know. Another good coming out experience for the record books.

But then, I’m in this weird place. Texting Renee has been boring as fuck lately, because being a mom is not my most interesting feature, and while I’m okay to talk about our kids, I really get tired of hearing a grocery list of things you’re going to do today, like three loads of laundry and dishes. I want to know the thoughts in the head that are beyond that, though I also recognize that in the haze of new baby it can be hard to remember to think about things like the patriarchy, or whatever. And since I got this apology email two months ago from Anne, I’ve just been missing those conversations that tickled my brain and my clit.

So, ten days ago or so, Anne texts me that her ex-husband, and the father of her older teenagers, had died in a car accident. And suddenly we were texting. Not just condolence niceties, but actual texting. Like nothing had ever happened. And then my grandma died, and she was texting me about that. And then I sent her an article on the rising cost of childcare, and she sent me an article about horrible 50’s sex advice, and suddenly…we were texting. A lot. Like old times.

I’ve missed her.

Her long blonde hair, and laughing during sex, and the conversations over text about life AND poetry AND Victorian literature AND education AND etc.

I haven’t missed the horribly juvenile and tumultuous way we ended. Via text. No closure, just ending. And passive aggressive pinning quotes on pinterest. Like we were dumb junior high girls in a girlfight.

So I invited her to coffee tomorrow, since I’m on my way to Portland for my besties’ birthday, and she accepted. And we both said we were nervous. And I feel DUMB, because I feel like I’m going against all my better judgment in wanting an ex back, but my co-worker Bethany said that ‘maybe it’ll be closure at least, if not something new going forward,’ and I can honestly say that in the 4 months not dating her, I’ve given dating an honest shot and been totally bored or not turned on by anyone I’ve been talking to. Despite that tumult, I would honestly like to date her again, with some parameters and lessons learned, perhaps.

Any advice? This whole game of romance is so fraught with emotions, and dating a woman is so different than dating a guy. I feel like the complicated emotions and different communication style had contributed to our breakup. And I don’t want to rush into something that is in a constant state of emotional upheavel, but there’s this big part of me that misses all the really good things. Anyone been here, done that? Dating an ex? Closure? Reconnecting? Having to tell people you really want to get back together with someone you’ve been bitching about for four months even though you know you’ve still liked them this whole time?

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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.

Coming Out Among Strangers

 

My one piece...a bathing suit :)
My one piece…a bathing suit 🙂

My bestie, Ruth, lives a few hours away, and invited me down for the night while her husband was bachelor partyin’ it up in Vegas. It was SO NICE to get away, even just one night, and have some good girl talk. She and I met in college and have somehow managed to push through our phone-anxiety and talk weekly for something ridiculous like NINE YEARS. Whoa.

While visiting, we headed to one of her friend’s houses, for an awesome One Piece Party (where all you could wear was a one-piece outfit plus undergarments. SO FUN!) with a bunch of other lovely introverts. There was ping pong, and a backyard fire, and dancing to Soul Train in the living room. So lovely.

And while I was there, the talk about relationships came up. There was this lovely single girl there, also wearing a bathing suit + tights combo, and my bestie was trying to set her up with this single dude friend of hers. But all night I just got this vibe that she actually was interested in ladies. We were all sitting on the couch, talking to another single girl about the perils of being single vs having a relationships. My bestie said that it was really nice to have the house to herself for the weekend, even though she missed her man. I processed aloud that I was in a strange situation because I hate feeling caged in, and yet here I am getting into this situation where commitment is happening. The one girl asked what I meant, and I explained that I had a husband and a girlfriend, and that if  my husband were out of town I’d be wanting to see her. And her response was “wow, I don’t think I could do that.”

What I loved is that she was just so not judgey about saying that. Seemed interested in knowing it worked for me, but generally musing she didn’t think it’d work for her. Cool. My first stranger coming out.

Soon followed, in part by the copious amounts of yummy vodka spiked juice, the vibe girl sitting down on the couch entering the conversation about being single and not. And she casually asked me what my deal was, and I explained the situation. And she perked up, saying “I’m a unicorn! And I’m so into the whole poly thing, so cool. I’m trying to meet this lady right now, who seems really cool, but she has kids like your girlfriend, and is having all these hesitations.”

Wow.

I met a poly gal in person all for just being open and out. And I loved that my initial gut read was spot on when I had just felt that she might have been less into the dudes and more into the ladies at the party. Yay for gut instinct.

And yay for more positive coming out experiences. With the exception of the first online outing that was ‘negative at worst, neutral at best’ I am at so many positive ones. And feeling more confident and secure in myself and my ability to trust those around me.

 

My Experience Coming Out (Part 5)

I have a bestie, Ruth, who I’ve known since college. We’ve talked every day on the phone for the past NINE years, and that’s saying a lot because I HATE THE PHONE! She’s seen me through amazing and hard times. She’s seen me go from fundamentalist Christian, to practicing Agnostic, and has loved me through every phase in between. She had read my recent coming-out-as-NotStraight article, and so she has been aware of my sexuality for a bit. And honestly, she wasn’t surprised at all. And she was supportive in every way possible.

So I knew that telling her about Anne wasn’t going to be an issue, but since she lived 300 miles away from me, our relationship is reduced to stealing phonecalls whilst driving home from work. Or, in this case, home from her dad’s wedding. It was a long car trip she had, and I was a part of the passing-of-the-miles. I find phonecalls to be awkward for sensitive subjects that haven’t had a segue, but I needed to just confess, so after I listened to her experience at the wedding, I just launched into my coming out speech. And, of course, her response was amazing, like I knew it would be!

We talked about sexuality, and polyamory, and how straight-as-a-board she is, and how she wished Keith and I well in our venture. And since then has followed up in a non-forced way, letting me gush about Anne’s love of literature, and even crack the joke that she’s basically a bisexual Ruth (something my friend Mari might feel uncomfortable about me saying).

I’m now out to all the people closest to me, and it feels really good. I’m waiting on second date, and now that I’m home from my weekend trip to Vegas, I can schedule something with her. But our texting relationship is going really well! I am excited to hopefully someday soon introduce her to Ruth, so she can see just how cool she really is!

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.