Tag Archives: marriage

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.

How Cake Didn’t Help Me Feel Better

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I’d been waiting a week for a repeat of our Saturday night goodtimes (which I have yet to blog about. Sigh). At any rate, the day sorta came…and went…and despite having bought Anne flowers and a chocolate cake to celebrate the end of the year and her graduating top of her class with a diversity certificate, I ended up watching too many cartoons on TV with my child and husband. And then I fell asleep in my kid’s room while doing his bedtime routine.

All of this after eating half a Trader Joe’s flourless chocolate cake…by myself.

Because, see, I had let myself get my hopes up. It’s something my mom told me NOT to do as a kid, rather than just teaching me how to deal with crushing disappointment. I don’t like to show how sensitive I really am, so I build up a shit-ton of walls to put on this swag that gives an impression that I am cool and unflinching in the face of disappointment. But, I gotta be honest, when Anne texted that she had to cancel our date, I was pretty fucking bummed.

The rational part of my brain kicked into gear, though, of course. I mean, her little sister had driven up from Oregon to fucking surprise her on Friday for her graduation. Out of town family TOTALLY trumps finger-banging your not-yet-girlfriend in a Saturday night date. I would have done the same thing. Especially since her sister doesn’t know about me. And it was partially my fault. Because Friday night she had invited me to this awesome end-of-the-year party thrown by her “wild friends,” and I had said no, earlier in the week, because I’m not yet ready to go to a party where I’ll stumble home at 5am drunk or stoned off my ass. With a toddler, that sort of shenanigans doesn’t fly unless I’ve pre-pre-pre arranged it. And it’d be better if I was just gone for the weekend than coming home.

So I had the opportunity to see her, and had to say no. And she got blindsided by her sister surprising her and had to cancel our date. I’ll survive. We’ll survive. But in the meantime, with my period just starting and being ‘stood up’ (or…cancelled on? rescheduled on?) I ended up eating half a cake and drinking a beer. Which made me feel barfy and chubby and probably why I fell asleep relatively early.

I hate that newness in relationships, where a one time change in plans can cause the emotional upheavel. I feel like a junior higher again.

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.

 

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?

My Experiences Coming Out (Part 1)

The last few months have been a blur of gradual coming outness. I had written a coming out response to a recent news article, and it made the circulation to some select friends and family that I felt comfortable in sharing. In that blog I wrote that I was NotStraight, which was my catchall description, because I wasn’t yet comfortable saying bisexual (because of all the various meanings associated with that word. And the reaction in my life was AMAZING. I felt like most people had probably sensed my NotStraightness, but had not labelled it as such. Nobody was surprised. Everyone was amazingly supportive. It felt so good to be out, at least in name only, and accepted.

And then, a few weeks later, my world was rocked by meeting this girl who was like WHOA ya’ll. I mean, whoa. Having never dated a woman before, I never imagined meeting someone who fit me so well in terms of personality AND was looking for the same thing. Being a married bisexual woman, with a child, I am not looking to date someone who

wants me to leave my family and ‘run away’ with them Thelma & Louise style. And there she was, this beautiful, intelligent, well-read woman with a husband and kids of her own, and no intention of running away with a woman. In fact, she had ended her previous relationship because that woman had expected her to leave her family, and that was something she just wasn’t going to do.

Whoa.

Suddenly I am thrust into this experience, leading up to our first date, where I was having all the feelings  and wanted nothing more than select friends to be in on this knowledge with me. So I took the plunge. At first I reached out online, to a fellow blogger (from my other anonymous family blog) who I had met off a website geared toward non-traditional families. Knowing she had dated women in college, and has a high sex drive, I was excited to share with her my new found feelings toward this woman, and the fact that Keith and I are exploring open marriage or polyamory (still such a newbie I’m not quite sure what term we fit into?). And her response shocked me.

She said: I would never… I’m pretty bound into those marriage vows. I guess this is one thing we don’t have in common. . . I’m kind of at a loss for words here. . . I just can’t relate to wanting to go outside of my marriage, so I don’t really know how to respond/support. I can listen I guess, but that’s pretty far out of my wheelhouse. It seems like those things are really hard to pull off without someone getting hurt/confused. But I wish you the best!”

Talk about being dismissed. I, in one fell swoop, I felt like I was lumped into slutty cheating sex-fiend who can’t “totally be into my husband” like she had said in another part of her message. Because that is NOT what is happening here. I didn’t seek it out, and while I’m grabbing life by the horns, it is not without the blessing and encouragement of my husband. I was shocked. I figured that my IRL friends might be shocked on my acting on my bisexuality by dating a woman while married to my husband, but I was so shocked that  supposedly such an open minded blogging friend could project so strongly onto my own experience. And I am not so naive to think that all of this is going to be easy  or without it’s challenges (and possible heartaches), because I’m not just starting an office affair and fucking someone in the janitor’s closet risking getting caught. We are on the same page, communicating extensively, and still very much in love.

Based on this experience, where I had mustered up the courage to share, and risked (and got) rejection and judgment. But, I couldn’t live in the closet forever…it felt too important to keep to myself…

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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My First Date in 8 Years

I nervously applied, and re-applied my lipgloss, as I rode in the passenger seat of my husband’s car. We were heading out, on a Friday night, to the restuarant where we had our first date almost 8 years ago. And we were heading there to meet up with a woman who had advertized a threesome online, and was interested in having a girlfriend.

I was so nervous as we walked into the restuarant, and she and I were texting back and forth about how we should meet up. And then there she was, and I hugged her, and gave her a gift I had picked out, and we got our table. I’m not sure what the hostess thought, because I just kept saying “I’m so nervous,” and my husband Keith was in the bathroom peeing, and so we awkwardly stood there and then headed to our seat and ordered a glass of wine.

As a recently out bisexual, who’s been married to a man for 6 years, and with him for 2 more, it’s been a pretty big deal to let people know that I have attraction toward women. But this recent coming out has also coincided with this unexpected attraction toward a woman with similar passions and goals for a relationship that I also outed myself to a few close friends saying, “I’m going on a date on Friday, with a woman, and my husband, and I hope she ends up my girlfriend.”

I was blown away by the connection we had together. How four hours sitting across from each other felt like 5 minutes, and though I felt super awkward, it was because I couldn’t believe that she could possibly be as in to me as I was in to her. We had already spent a few weeks texting, so I knew that we would connect on poetry and literature and sociology/psychology/anthropology/education, but to sit there and see it happen in person was pretty crazy. So crazy that I almost started crying in the car on the way home out of nerves that she wouldn’t like me. Because I get insecure around pretty women, and she is definitely a pretty woman!

I have so many mixed feelings about the date, and the subsequent discussions with my husband Keith, and her, that I want to explore. But I want to preserve the memory of that first date giddiness, where I sat across from her and was so amazed by the connection, that I couldn’t believe it was really happening.