Tag Archives: love

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?

$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.

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.

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…

 

 

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?

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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