Monster metamour musings

Today, there was a post about metamours on a local Facebook polyamory group I’m a member of.  I saw the post in the morning and spent all day thinking about metamours. I have had a pretty wide range of metamours, when I think about it.  X’s girlfriend knew about me, but we’ve never interacted, because we lived in different cities. Fun fact: I’ve actually not seen him in person in 14 years.  B’s wife knew about me, but didn’t want to hear about me. She was very much “don’t ask, don’t tell” in her philosophy.  I suspect that a lot of this had to do with her unhappiness in their marriage, which ended in January this year. Then there was W.  She embodies everything that makes a metamour a nightmare. She was manipulative, insulting, passive aggressive, and outright lied.  She interfered in my relationship with F and she interfered in my relationship with other people.  She continues to get involved in our divorce and my kids keep coming home asking me questions about things she says to them.  I keep hearing the horrible things she is saying about me to friends.  She is a perfect example of what I never want to be as a metamour.  

Then there was D’s wife. She exemplifies everything I ever want to be as a metamour.  She welcomed me into her life before I even started dating D.  It was nothing for us to hang out before D came home from a date or for us to go for dinner together with her boyfriend or to go for brunch just the three of us.  She is the woman who gave up her spot in the bed so D and I could spend the night together, spontaneously, when I crashed a gathering they were at.  She is the woman who heard from someone else that I had said something that she wasn’t OK with, so she came directly to me with her concerns.  She is the model of metamour that I follow.  No judgement, no drama, great communication, support, and acceptance.  

A’s wife is very good friends with D’s wife.  I have no doubt they talk about me and that D’s wife plays a role in A’s wife’s acceptance of me in his life.  I have only really met her the once, the same night that D’s wife gave me her spot in the bed. At that time, my relationship with A wasn’t really a relationship yet, and it was new.  We’re 9 months in now, and I haven’t seen her since.  We’ve had a few texts back and forth, but our relationship exists mostly in likes and the occasional comment on Facebook.  I’m sure she knows a lot about me, filtered through A, like I know a lot about her, all filtered through A.  I find it hard sometimes that I don’t have more of a friendship with her.  I really appreciate having my own relationship with my metamours.  I have a natural tendency to think the worst.  So when A has to cancel or limits our time together, my initial reaction is always to blame her.  I always talk myself out of such ridiculousness, because I don’t really know her, so I don’t really know what’s going on in her life, and blaming without understanding of facts is stupid.  The fact is, even if she was dictating everything, it doesn’t matter.  This is where I think that many people would tell me I was in a hierarchical relationship. Perhaps I am and I’m delusional.  The reality is, A is madly in love with his wife. They have 20+ years of history together, some of it wonderful, some of it heartbreaking, but they are each other’s best friends.  They have a family together, they have their routines, and they have their life.  I’m not part of their life.  I’m part of HIS life.  He told me, in that brief period of time we were friends between our first date and our first fuck, that if she ever said she had a problem with his girlfriend, he would end the relationship.  That stuck with me, and while I know he would miss me, I also know where I place in his life, and I know that I’m not as important in his life as he is in mine.

Because of this, I am the metamour I am for her.  I’m not sure she’s even aware she has a metamour, or at least that there is a term for the relationship we have by virtue of sharing the same man romantically.  My position is to be understanding and accommodating and make things easier for all of this to work.  So, when A’s wife was having a hard time one weekend and really needed to spend time with him, I was understanding and forgiving when he cancelled a date.  When we set up weekly dates so that he could keep his weekend dates with his wife and family, I agreed.  It’s why when I try to make plans for us, I ask him to run it by her first, or ask him if she would be OK with me booking us to do an activity.  It’s why I accommodate changes in our plan.  It’s why I try to not ask for more than A can give (I’m not always perfect at this) and try to keep things casual and fun when we’re in between dates.  It’s just my part of making things easy for us to be together.  In the end, it’s about respecting the person I’m dating, his priorities, his obligations, and the other people who are important in his life.  More than that though, it’s about respecting his needs and desires in our relationship and working with him to create the relationship we want together.  

When I met L’s other girlfriend, I knew immediately that we were going to be friends. We just clicked.  I’ve been a source of support for her, welcomed her into my life with open arms, and I haven’t been disappointed.  She is really good for L and complements me well.  She’s young, but has had a life of someone twice her age.  She’s strong and independent and watching her make choices for herself to be happy is amazing.  She reminds me a lot of myself when I was that age, she’s still figuring things out and she’s doing a great job of it.  I’ve fallen into a bit of a mentoring role, mostly because I am older and have been through a lot of the things she is going through, but mostly, I think she’s going to end up being more like family. I can thank D’s wife over and over for showing me how to be supportive and accepting and welcoming of L’s girlfriend into my life.  L is so good at communicating things that he really facilitates his girlfriends being friends.  He loves us both, is committed to us both, and is creating a world with us where we all work.

I guess my point with this is that I think that if we are developing relationships that we allow to evolve on their own, without expectations or pressure, we should also do that with the relationships with our partner’s partners.  I think there are too many expectations in the metamour relationships in polyamory.  I think it’s good to respect your metamours for their decisions and their comfort levels.  What makes you happier and more comfortable may not be doable with them.  Attempt to understand them and be the metamour you would like to have.  

There’s going to be an inevitable time when I have a conflict with a metamour in the future.  I hope when it happens, I remember my own advice, to try and understand them and work with them.  

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That time I say not much has happened then write about all the things that happened

It’s been a while. I’m sure things have happened. Feelings had.  Life lived. Nothing crazy or mind blowing (well, except my sex life, but you can just be jealous about that) or hard (well except for….kidding!) or awful.  Let’s see what I can dredge up, seeing as how A is going to start nagging me about not maintaining my blog for my 3 followers.

I got tired of dating.  Or really, I got tired of all the time that was going into online dating.  All the time getting to know a guy, the messages back and forth, the seeming connection, and then we meet and there was NO spark. Like nothing. So I deactivated my OKC profile and decided to be open to new opportunities and not actively look. In an ideal world, I’d have 2 more guys to date, but I’m really happy with the two I have.

The day after this decision was made, I got a Facebook message from a guy I met a few months ago.  I was still with D at the time, I think it was right after I asked for a divorce from F. When I saw him, my jaw dropped. The man is gorgeous.  I’ve met a lot of hot men through the years, and I didn’t really expect much out of him, so when he was smart and kind and genuinely funny, I was a little shocked.  I suppose there is a lot of privilege and bias in my initial assumptions that need to be addressed. I thought that just because he was hot, he wouldn’t be nice or smart.  Wow, don’t I look like an over-educated, average looking, judgmental ass. Nothing could be more obvious about my misunderstanding than the way we started talking. He had sent out a “You are awesome” video to pretty much everyone on his friends list.  He said his phone was blowing up, and usually it’s quiet.  I was shocked that his phone was ever quiet, I told him, because he is so hot and charismatic and nice, I thought he would be fighting off the ladies.  He laughed and said he thought I was hot too.  I joked that we should talk about that fact some time, and he said I had nice moves.  Yep, that’s me, unintentionally getting a date with a man I’ve been lusting after from afar without knowing he was available for months.  This girl has game she didn’t know she had.

We’ve been chatting a lot via text and it’s nice.  He’s sweet and kind and smart and lovely.  We had a date last week, and it was amazing.  Tomorrow, he’s coming for an overnight date.  Anticipation for this date is killing me.


I had a bit of an epiphany about A and myself and my expectations.  Specifically, I realized that he is not the problem, I am.  Or rather, my expectations are.  He’s never been anything but honest with me, although he could really use an improvement in his communication, because honesty is much better received when it’s timely instead of nagged for.  I realized that normally I have no issues.  We do our once or twice a week thing, we connect, we pretty much are alone in the world when we’re together, but there’s not much more to it.  We chat a bit, are there for support, but our world exists 95% in the context of the short amount of time we spend together each week.

I realized that after I hadn’t seen him for three weeks, and I really missed him and wanted to see him, I wasn’t as much of a priority to him as he is to me.  This realization hurt.  I wanted him to care about me in the same way I care about him.  I wanted him to want to be with me when he hasn’t seen me in a while.  I wanted him to miss me like I miss him when he’s gone. But the reality is that I had to accept that that is not the case.  

G is my go-to person when I need to figure out what I’m missing.  She asks the right questions and she gives the right feedback.  She acknowledges my feelings without sugarcoating or placating. I love that woman.  I talk to her about every emotion I have before I make any decisions.  I’m so glad I have her.  Here is what she said:

“I get why it hurts that his life comes before (ergo you’re not really a major part of his life, are you? And I can read how much it breaks your heart that you aren’t)  I get how hurt and heartbroken and lonely it makes you that you need more emotionally than he can give.  He’s an unabashed third stringer love.  Hoping and expecting him to be a first stringer is going to break your heart, break you up, and isn’t fair to him or you.  He is only capable of a casual dating relationship. No more, no less.  That doesn’t make him wrong for only wanting that.  And it doesn’t make you wrong for wanting more. My question to you is why does that more have to be with your relationship with A?  Is there any chance you’re comparing his abilities to D?”

My friend, my soul sister, talked me off the ledge.  She reminded me to think about the whys of the whole situation.  She reminded me that I was searching for something that wasn’t there while ignoring the amazing I did have.  She reminded me that expecting more was futile.  She also reminded me that what we have can still work for me, but it’s my attitude that needs to change.

I understand where my feelings are coming from and why.  I know how to mitigate it through communication.  I know how to work through it by really processing the why of how I’m feeling before I react.  I’ve had a few more rounds of visceral feelings to various things in the last week, and it’s been easy to put my relationship with A back into context.  In fact, he started talking about me getting another boyfriend so he could go back to his role as “number 3” and I just started laughing and told him I was astounded by how romantic he was and that he really knows how to make a woman feel special.  Friday as he was leaving, I told him he was a “perfectly adequate third string boyfriend”.  We’ve fallen back into that comfortable routine where we are both busy and are able to live our lives and catch up when we’re together, with no pressure.  Uncomplicatedly complicated.


In other news, I’m in love with L.  He’s sweet and kind and fun and lovely to be with.  I’m happy he’s in my life and I’m enjoying every minute I spend with him.  The future is bright there and we both know it.  I had a gathering the other day and several of my friends met him.  One of them said: “L is such a dork and I love him!”  He is. He is the best kind of dork.  I love him for just being such an amazing person, the person he is.


I have seen D quite regularly in the past months, just being at the same events.  It’s fun to chat with him and his wife and to see that he’s doing well.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I still want him, I have reconciled myself to the fact that I always will, but it doesn’t hurt to see him as a friend.  In fact, I think it’s pretty great that we can get along and I really like that he’s still in my life.  I don’t pine away or silently hope he’s hurting too or want anything more.  I just am aware that if he came to me tomorrow and said “Can we try again?”, I would.  This is never more true than when I hug him and smell his beard oil.  It’s a crazy Pavlovian response that I have every time.  The scientist in me understands it completely: the ex-girlfriend in me who knows what it’s like to be covered in that scent after hours or even days in bed together connects that smell to more wonderful things.  In the end, this is all just amusing to me.  

As I thought about this today, editing it for the third or fourth time, I realized that I’m not sure I would take D back.  Honestly, I want what we HAD back.  The thing is, he broke my heart by leaving my life during one of the most difficult periods I’d ever gone through.  He left me when I needed love and support most.  I’m not sure I would actually be able to jump fully back in.  Being friends is exactly what we should be.


Otherwise, life is moving forward. I’m crazy busy, happy, and fulfilled.  I have good days and bad, full of connection and full of sadness, full of joy and full of boredom.  My life is awesome, my life is authentic, and my life is so much easier now that I’ve made so many good decisions for myself and my kids.

 

A poly year

A year ago, I went to bed, happy and fulfilled in my life, at least I thought.  I had a crazy dream that night.  A dream about X that was anything but platonic. That dream prompted me to message X when I got to work the next morning.  And the rest is history, as they say.  He introduced me to polyamory, and changed my entire life.

I’ve been poly for a year.  I’ve never been so certain about a decision in my life.  I am polyamorous.  I have had the most amazing year.  I fell in love with X and felt the intensity of our connection and loved him so completely.  Then it ended.  I met A, and we had the weirdest first date ever, with our bizarre coincidences and crazy connection.  We friend-zoned and were both happy to do so.  I met B, who was a romantic interest in my life for a short time, but has been a steadfast friend as I navigate my divorce and my dating life.  Then I started dating D.  I fell so madly in love with him, in the most intense and amazing way possible.  I had months of a near perfect relationship with him. It ended, in an absolutely awful way, but it doesn’t change how amazing the relationship was.  In the meantime, I unintentionally started the incredible relationship I have with A.  We embarked on an adventure exploring BDSM together.  We supported each other through some pretty shitty times.  We turned to each other when the rest of the world was railing against us.  We just became who we are together as a couple, while being who we are as individuals.  We figured out what worked for us.  I met L.  We are still working on creating what we want in our relationship together.  Committed and cooperative and happy and moving forward together.  

My marriage disintegrated.  It was awful and conflict-filled and I held on too long. Then I stood up, hopped off the roller coaster, advocated for myself, and moved forward.  We are working together to co-parent the most amazing four kids in the world.  We have moved forward as adults and our separation is negotiated.  I hope that moving forward we’ll work together instead of apart.

I dated.  I had coffee dates and dinner dates and drink dates and lunch dates and breakfast dates, and I had first kisses that rocked my world and second dates that ended in disappointment.  I had horrible dates and hopeful dates and disappointing dates and a wife messaging me to tell me I had a liar date.  

Outside of the poly part of me, I had three grandparents die.  My dad was diagnosed with cancer.  My sister cut me out of her life in a hail of fire.  I lost friends, met new friends, and connected more strongly with others.

I told many people about being polyamorous.  All but my sister reacted positively.  Nearly all embraced me and my chosen lifestyle completely, asking relevant questions and supporting my choice.  Most importantly, my mom supports me and my kids support me.  I have told so many people now that I’m almost “out”.  Not yet.  But one day, I will be.  In particular, I came out to G and to my person at work.  I made the strongest connections with two women who will always have my back.  They are better than having a sister.

I loved.  I loved men like I’ve never loved before.  My relationship with D only need serve as an example.  I’ve never loved someone who wasn’t blood so unconditionally.  My love for A is unique too.  It’s the first time I’ve submitted to a man worthy of my submission.  He’s earned a special respect and love from me. That’s something bigger than I can explain in words.  The fact that he doesn’t really ‘get it’ makes it even more important and a little funny too.  These loves taught me about the type of love I should have.  The type of love I want and the type of love I deserve and the type of love that I shouldn’t accept.  Through loving these men and the understanding of what it meant, I loved myself again.  I chose to stop sacrificing my happiness.  I expected more. I demanded more.  I became more.  I became a better woman, a better mom, a better partner, a better person.  I stood up for myself.  I supported the people I love.  I became who I’ve always wanted to be.  

I cried.  I hurt.  I raged.  I cried some more.  I have never felt so broken.  I have never felt so confused, hurt, rejected, unloved.  I cried as I shed my old me and the new me became.

Today, a year later, I’m happy. Truly, completely, thoroughly, uncomplicatedly happy.  My life is full of everything I could possibly want.  The most amazing kids, parents who love and support me, friends who accept me unconditionally, partners who accept me for who I am, two fulfilling, challenging, and stimulating jobs, and so much of everything I could ever need.

Happiness came in a form I never expected, because I had a dream.

What was missing

I’m the girl that nearly eight months ago advised A to stop trying to find a girl who fit into a mold he had envisioned and to embrace the opportunities in front of him.  I encouraged him to date and enjoy what developed. To stop looking for a specific thing and to see what could develop.  Part of the reason for this conversation is that both of us didn’t really feel a romantic connection, despite the fact that I had crossed the couch and we were already having incredibly hot sex at the time.  He had gone on a date with a girl who he had a great connection with but for allergy reasons he couldn’t continue to date.  He had other reasons he didn’t want to continue to date her, and at that point, he felt like there was something wrong with him.  I suggested he should just have fun and see where things went with the girls he was dating.  That he should stop looking for something specific and embrace what came to him.  I suggested that since he was happily married, he didn’t need to check so many boxes, that he could probably find something that was fun in and of itself.  Something unique.  Something worth it.

When I was giving this very good quality advice, I wasn’t thinking that he would end up dating me.  I never thought that we would be in a slightly complicated committed relationship.  I never envisioned anything that happened in the months that followed.  What I know is that this man saw me through the greatest heartbreak of my life, he also saw me through the negotiations of my divorce, and he saw me through the emotional breakdown that happened when my life slowed down enough for me to start processing.  This man, who is so incredibly frustrating to talk to about emotions was my biggest support when I was going through so many.

I’ve been dating.  I was rather smug when I first dated as a poly woman.  Three dates and two boyfriends out of the deal.  Break up with the one boyfriend and accidentally make the other one my boyfriend.  Well, I have more than learned my lesson since.  I had that horrible date after Christmas, I had another with a guy who was married to a girl I went to highschool with, I had a coffee date with a guy that was nice but there were no fireworks.  I had the great date with the hot bearded guy that knows D, and a second, but he doesn’t want what I want, so that went nowhere.  I had the great date with another guy, who ended up too busy to keep dating me, which was too bad, because I was really into him.  There was the guy who was lying to his wife.  There are so many guys I’ve been talking to who I eliminated from contention for this reason or that.  The guy who, before meeting me, suggested we have sex without protection and set off every red flag there is, who I stopped talking to immediately.  The guy I met the other day for coffee, who I had this great connection with in text, who completely failed to ignite a spark.  

I’m disconcerted, disenchanted, and disinterested.  I miss NRE.  I miss connection and that overwhelming desire to be with the man I choose.  I had it so completely with X.  I had it throughout the entire relationship with D.  I haven’t felt it since.  Not even a little.  I am in love with A, but that happened slowly over time, with connection, shared experience, and the deep trust that we have developed.  It was an interesting transition from friends to friends who fuck to friends who fuck who get in a collision together and he unintentionally calls me his girlfriend when we make out in the back of the cop car, then I become his girlfriend and we really like each other and then I fall in love with him and he avoids talking about feelings with me to where we are now.  I’ve been dating L, who I think is cute and amazing and fun and lovely, but I’m not overwhelmed with emotion for him, I just really like him.  The rest of the guys,  I just can’t get past the first date with.  Those I do, don’t get past the second.  

I would feel broken.  I would feel disappointed.  I would feel wounded.  But I’m not.  It’s not about me.  Or maybe it’s about me having standards that didn’t exist before.  I have a benchmark, a threshold, that I can’t reach.  That threshold was set first by D.  He’s tainted me for all future relationships.  So few will ever reach a place where he just set himself by being who he is.  A and L and even X are the only ones who have lived up to those standards long enough to stick around.  There is nothing wrong with having high standards.  There is nothing wrong with high standards.  There is nothing wrong with insisting the men in my life fit into my life in the best possible way.  What is wrong to me, is that I was giving exceptional advice about eight months ago that could apply specifically to this situation, and I am doing the best to avoid listening to it.  What is also wrong is that I didn’t insist that my husband reach that bar.  I settled. That realization hit me hard.

 


 

I wrote the first part of this post over a week ago.  I was dealing with some pretty heavy emotions that I didn’t understand at the time.  Feeling like something was missing, not knowing what it was, thinking there was something wrong with the relationships I have and trying to figure out if I could stay happy with what I have or if I needed to communicate needs I have, and if so, what those are.  I was a bit lost, to be honest.  I was admittedly sad, thinking about how in love I am with A and how he’s not expressed love for me.  I even engaged him in a rather unproductive text conversation about it that ended up in him shutting the conversation down as I got way too into the feelings.  At the same time, my dad was showing his worst side on Facebook, and between the two, I knew I needed to shut down the outside world for a while and take some time to turn inwards.  So I deleted Facebook off my phone, stayed in contact only with those I love, and embarked on a 2500 plus kilometre road trip filled with camping alone, visiting the best of friends, and so many epiphanies that I don’t know if I can actually put them all into words.

The first epiphany came the morning after I embarked on my week-long journey and I was chatting with a friend, saying how disillusioned I was with dating.  How my standards were just too high, and I was finding the effort that goes into internet dating to be too much.  I realized that my “problem” is that my standards ARE high.  But it’s not a problem, I just haven’t met anyone worthy of my time.  It’s a good thing.  

This realization made, I decided to focus on that feeling like something was missing, but not knowing exactly what it was.  I’m pretty damn good with my emotions and I know myself really well, so it was so weird to not know what was missing.  There are two major factors that fall into this part of my many epiphanies. The first is that there isn’t anything missing.  I don’t need anything more than I have in my relationships.  Do I want more?  Yep.  I want love to be reciprocated.  Is it something I need or want enough to draw a line in the sand?  No.  It would be pretty damn dysfunctional of me to demand something like that, and if love isn’t given freely and willingly, then it’s not really given, and the alternative is to end a relationship that I love and cherish and value so very much.  I would never do that because A doesn’t tell me he loves me, when he does, at least some of the time, show me that he cares about me.  

This is overthinking it and so far away from my point. The reality is that for the last year of my life, I have had the full range of very very very intense emotions.  From love to anger to heartbreak to disappointment to lust and back, I have had it all.  I have navigated enormous amounts of stress and major life changes, and as such, have been in emotional damage control mode for so long that when I finished that damage control, my mind didn’t catch up with my reality, and I started treating the functional parts of my life as another problem to be solved.  The thing is, there is no problem. They are functional relationships with partners who are working with me to create what makes us both happy.  That things aren’t perfect is a given.  Nothing is perfect, because we are human.  But the commitment, affection, and cooperation is there.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

The second part to this “missing piece” epiphany hit me so hard that I was nearly winded by it, and then I had to spend two days thinking it through and deciding what to do, and was the subject of my second night camping alone in a no cell service area.  X and I reconnected in May, just a week or so before D broke up with me.  It started out just chatting and joking with the usual sexual innuendo, and has progressed from there to more intimate conversations.  It got to the place where when I was talking to people I met on OKC, I would mention him.  “There’s X, he was my first poly partner.  We’re just friends now, but if we’re ever in the same room together, we probably won’t stay clothed for long.”  Over the last few weeks, as F and I finalized our divorce negotiations, as I was having some pretty deep feelings about A going away and not seeing him for a few weeks, and as some pretty amazing things were happening in X’s life, we started talking more, and he became a huge source of support for me and I for him.  On Friday, a huge event happened in his life, and when I heard how well it went, I was so very excited for him. Like genuinely happy in a way that shook me to the core.  I realized in that moment, that I love him.  I don’t know if it’s “still” or “again”, but either the hidden feelings rose again or they rekindled.  

I spent the next couple of days trying to decide what to do with this knowledge.  I’m really enjoying our friendship, and don’t want to lose it.  I’m happy with what we have and can stay happy with it.  There’s not a lot that can be gained by pretending that the feelings don’t exist, but it occurred to me that I don’t need to advertise them either.  Then I remembered a year ago when he dared to tell me about polyamory.  How he dared to reach out to me and love me and support me and ultimately, lose me because the timing was wrong.  So much good came back from that risk he took.  I decided to reach out to him and tell him how I feel.  He received it well and is taking time to process. That part doesn’t matter (well, it matters, but not for what my topic is). What matters is that I realized that part of the reason that I don’t spark with anyone I meet is that the space is occupied by someone else, and I don’t have room for another person unless the spark is strong.  There’s very little chance that anyone will ever reach the level of spark that X and I have.  It’s 23 years of foreplay, for fuck sake! What form our relationship takes going forward is up to us.  It may stay the same, it may change, but no matter what, it will be interesting, for sure.  

I spent the last two days processing what is going on in my life.  Or rather, what isn’t.  I decided to stop dating.  I’m going to focus on the relationships I have, including my two men, my family, and my friends.  I return to work tomorrow and as a career-minded girl, that will consume a lot of my time.  I’m going to live my life with love and freedom and really hot sex.  And instead of looking for the missing thing that isn’t really missing, I’m going to enjoy all that I have, because I have so very much, and what was missing was me being cognizant of that.  

 

Well, yeah! But OUCH!

In recent weeks, A and I have had a recurring conversation.  I’m not sure exactly what he’s trying to get out of saying so, but essentially what he says is: “My relationship with you is different than my relationship with my wife.  If my relationship with her ended, I would be devastated, but if you and I broke up, life would go on without much trouble.  I would be sad, and think it was too bad, but it wouldn’t be the same kind of pain as the ending of my relationship with my wife.”

Every time we’ve had this conversation, I have two responses:  1.  “Well, yeah!” and 2.  “Ouch!”

It hurts to hear someone tell you that you are not as important as other people, no matter how obvious it is that it should be that way.  It’s like my brain and my heart are arguing about the way I should think and feel, respectively.  They are at odds with each other for the appropriate reaction, so I have both.

Beyond that, the fact that he’s said a version of this a few times in the last few weeks suggests to me that there is something more behind his words. Part of me thinks it’s a justification that he doesn’t love me.  Or possibly him trying to compartmentalize the love he does have for me and the love he has for his wife and justifying the hierarchy in his brain.  Or maybe it’s him trying to subtly make the point that he doesn’t love me and that he won’t ever actually love me.  And part of me wonders why the fuck he doesn’t love me, but when I get into that line of thinking, it takes me to this place where I think about things and decisions I’m not ready to face, so let’s not go there.   

Maybe I’m off base.  He may not actually be trying to say something deliberately.  He may actually be obtuse enough to think that that is just conversation.  I think there is a message I’m not getting. The man is careful with words.

Among the other things he said was something about the duration of our relationship. Something along the lines of “My relationship with my wife will go on forever, years and years, but my relationship with you won’t.  It’ll end, maybe a year from now, it’s not meant to last as long.”  When I replied, I said I “didn’t think of it that way, my commitment isn’t any different because we can’t escalate’.  He backtracked a bit and said “Or it could be 20 years, who knows, but it’ll never be the same as my marriage.”

There are so many things that go through my mind when I think about these conversations.  It alternates between feeling unimportant and hurt by this to attempting to understand why he thinks the way he does about me and recognizing that it’s just part of his process in dealing with his feelings within our relationship and understanding where I fit in the context of the rest of his life. It’s not this horrible hurt or offense or anything, it’s mostly just trying to understand him, and as much as he likes to pretend he’s easy to understand, he’s not.

I recognize that splitting up a marriage, with years of history, children, grandchildren, a mortgage, debt and the rest of a shared history is harder than breaking up with a girlfriend who you share a hot sex life and a couple selfies with.  I recognize the permanence and meaning of a 20+ year relationship and how that is so substantial.  How sharing a life and a bed and sadness and happiness and being bored together and conquering adversity together is always going to be more substantial than the relationship with the girl you visit most Fridays to exchange great pillow talk and fuck.  I get that there is a tolerance of problems in a committed marriage that there isn’t going to be in a relationship with a girlfriend.  

What I also get is that I’m fun.  I’m the escape from reality.  I’m the safe place, the place of calm, the person who offers catharsis and support.  I’m unfailingly supportive, because my only concern in any of his stresses is him – I have only met a handful of his friends and none of his family and because of that,  my priority, when we are together and when we interact,  is supporting him and meeting the needs he wants filled by me.  There is no compromise in this. Within our relationship, there is just us.  There are no children, responsibilities, debts, assets, or stresses.  There is only us and what we choose to make of it. I also know that I’m the partner who is always willing to have sex as opposed to the one who makes excuses and takes it for granted.  I am a girlfriend, not a wife.

I don’t pretend to understand how he thinks about all this.  I know that he’s committed to our relationship, he makes a priority of me, and we have a fabulous time together. I’m not in a place where I need to change anything. I’m happy with where we are. But my brain doesn’t let me stop thinking about things that bother me emotionally even when I know intellectually that I don’t need to be concerned about them.  When I write a post like this, I worry about what his reaction will be at my bluntness, but in the interest of being authentic, and true to myself, I write as if he isn’t a member of my “audience”. 

I had never considered my commitments to my partners different than my commitment in my marriage.  Not that I thought from the beginning that they were equivalent to F, because that was never the case, because we had kids, 14 years together, and were completely committed to each other.  I never thought of dating someone for anything other than a committed relationship.  I have always acknowledged that each relationship has its own intrinsic limits and insisted that each relationship evolve in a way free from expectations.  I never considered that there was a guaranteed end to a relationship.  I see zero reason why I can’t be a girlfriend who is not a nesting partner but who is a girlfriend for the rest of my partner’s life. I don’t enter my relationships thinking that they are temporary.  Maybe I’m naive?  Maybe I’m too committed?  I just don’t think of my partners as disposable or unimportant and I don’t want to be thought of as disposable or unimportant.  Is it not possible to have a long-term or even lifetime committed relationship as the girlfriend of a married man?  And why doesn’t that married man love me yet?

 

***Sorry A, I got raw and honest and decided to put it out there tonight. You don’t have to respond. It’s me processing. I love you. ***

What, Why, and how I feel about it.

I have so many posts floating around in my head, but there’s one in particular that I think I have to write, largely because I don’t want to write it.  I’m not sure that makes sense, but here I go.  In a conversation with a friend who is new to polyamory a few days ago, I realized something about myself, and I need to work out if I can communicate it and process it.

We talked about how she’s transitioning from the world of being a swinger to the world of polyamory. The men she is interested have been swingers and the two she is interested in are both interested in seeing her exclusively, or as the exclusive other partner that isn’t her husband, anyway.  That part is really not important, but she was talking about how she is completely overcome with NRE for one of the guys but doesn’t feel as strongly for the other one, but he is sweet, kind, generous, fun and she is attracted to him and would like to date him too because of these comforting characteristics. (This really smacks of the difference in the way I felt about D and the way I feel about L).   

We were talking about the “exclusivity” thing and she asked me how I would deal with things if one of my partners had asked that of me when I was still married and I immediately said it wouldn’t be an option I would consider.  She said, “what if D had asked you?”, because she knew how overcome with NRE I was for him for our whole relationship.  She knew how deeply in love with him I was.  My response was the same: “I wouldn’t even consider it, but part of what I loved, appreciated, and respected most about D was that he would never have asked something like that of me.”

Then she said something about how completely I loved him and I said that the truth, as hard as it is to admit it, is that if he contacted me tomorrow and asked to date me again, I would say yes in a heartbeat.  It wouldn’t even be something I’d have to think about.  

For the last few days, I’ve been mulling this revelation over.  Part of it is how it “looks”; how people would react if I admitted it aloud; what they would think.  The other part is me analyzing the why of all things; trying to understand why I feel the way I do, despite my ability to look objectively at the way things ended.  The final part is trying to decide if it’s OK that I feel this way.

I’m not generally prone to caring about what other people think, but there’s something that triggers me when I think about how someone would feel about the fact that I would be willing to take D back after the intensity of the heartbreak.  In particular, the way the people who care about me most would feel. If they would feel less important or less loved because of my willingness to forgive D.  If they would be disappointed to hear that I feel that way.  If they would be concerned that I still have feelings and am pining after D.  I would argue that I’m not.  I think about him often, but it’s not with wanting or sadness, it’s just factual – I’m cognizant of what a great relationship it was and the memories I have are good ones, and if I’m completely honest, I just really miss him.  

That being said, I saw this article a couple weeks ago that resonated with me.  In fact, that seems to be a theme lately, articles that resonate so strongly with me that it feels like I was hit with a brick to the head.  This excerpt from this article, in particular, triggers the most powerful response from me every time I read it:

“…here’s another thing they won’t tell you about finding the love of your life: not ending up with them doesn’t disqualify their significance.

Some people can love you more in a year than others could love you in fifty. Some people can teach you more within a single day than others could teach you over the entire course of a lifetime.

Some people come into our lives only for a particular period of time, but make an impact that no one else can ever quite match or replace.

And who are we to call those people anything but the loves of our lives?

Who are we to downplay their significance, to rewrite their memories, to alter the ways in which they changed us for the better, simply because our paths diverged? Who are we to decide that we desperately need to replace them – to find a bigger, better, stronger, more passionate love that we can hold onto for a lifetime?

Maybe we just ought to be grateful that we got to meet these people at all.

That we got to love them. That we got to learn from them. That we got to have our lives expand and flourish as a result of having known them.

Meeting and letting go of the love of your life doesn’t have to be your life’s single greatest tragedy.

If you let it, it can be your greatest blessing.”

What this article did was make me realize that it was OK to no longer be with the great love of my life, while still thinking of him as my great love.  This really falls into the second thing I’ve been mulling over – the “why”.  I think that the reason I’d take him back is because he’s the great love of my life.  I’ve never been that completely in love with someone.  So much so that I was completely blindsided by our break up.  That makes it sound like I wasn’t aware of obvious problems, but the thing was, there were none.  I’ve been over it every possible way and there wasn’t a single thing that could have indicated to me that there were issues.  He’s that person I most loved in my life, and so for that reason, if he asked for me back, I would take him back immediately.  It’s in my nature to forgive, but that’s at odds with the fact that  I do not usually give people a second chance when they have hurt me.  Forgetting isn’t my nature.  In this, I’m different.  I wish I could understand the why of that. I guess love is just that strong an intrinsic motivator and remembering the incredible experience that dating D was is far more important than colouring it with negativity and rewriting history. 

Finally, I’m still trying to decide how I feel about the fact that I’d take D back.  I feel like I’ve done a damn good job of moving on from that heartbreak.  I’ve cried and processed and let go of my anger, hurt, and resentment.  I’ve hugged him, chatted with him, and didn’t feel anything but the same type of happiness I’d feel with seeing a good friend I hadn’t seen in awhile.  There was no hurt, sadness, anger, or even love that made itself known.  I wish I could be a person who could say “but he didn’t value me, so I hate him and never want to see him again”, because that anger would bring me so much comfort.  Anger is a great substitute when the truth makes us feel weak.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t hold on to that resentment.   Once I realized that he, as someone I loved, was making a decision so he could be happy, I had to let go of all that and just understand and accept.  

So how do I feel right now?  I feel like this is still a new situation for me. I’ve never left a relationship still thinking the person I was with was an excellent human being, the best kind of person.  Or thinking that everything about the relationship, except for its ending, was incredible.  So, I guess I feel weird.  Like this is uncharted territory and I don’t know how to proceed in navigating the emotions I’m feeling.  

And why did I write this?  Because it’s part of my process. It’s part of being honest with myself, knowing my own boundaries, understanding my strengths and my weaknesses.  Apparently my strength is forgiveness and my weakness is D.

Truthfully, I wouldn’t change anything.

Because, “If I let it, it can be my biggest blessing.”

 

 

Not heartless

The last couple days, I caught up on work around home, including a shit ton of yard work, and shampooing my carpet (having a 3-year-old with a UTI is glamorous, I tell you).  My mom and I took my kids out to an international festival where they have countries from all over the world that serve their signature dishes.  We hit up our favourites, mango pudding and chicken satay from Singapore and Malaysia, cevapi from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and tons of yummy Scandinavian treats from the Scandinavian tent.  My kids had a blast, we got soaking wet, and it was generally fun.  

    While we were out, F asked to borrow the van to pick up some bunk beds for the kids. When I returned to the van, the seat was far up and the steering wheel wasn’t where it usually is.  This clued me in – W had taken the van, not F.  I really didn’t care that she had driven it, just that he hadn’t told me it was her taking it.

    My mom started talking about the fact that the kids are going on vacation to F’s parent’s house for the last 2 weeks of August, and how she and my step-dad are also going on vacation during that time.  My kids announced loudly that they were driving to their grandma and grandpa’s house but W was flying out to meet them later.  There. That was it.  The first time I felt a pang of sorrow about my choice to separate from F.  Not because I want to be with him.  Not because she is with him.  But because she gets to go on vacation, with MY kids, to MY in-laws house.  For 14 years, they’ve been MY family.  I love them.  But now, she gets to go to their house with my kids, instead of me.  

    There’s truly no reason to be upset.  I don’t want to go on vacation with F to his parents house just months after our separation.  But I don’t want her to go either.  I don’t want her to have my family and live my life.  Even if it’s the life I chose not to live anymore.   I wonder if I would feel this way if I liked her at all, but I suspect I wouldn’t, and then that makes me sad too. My kids could have a great step-mom in their life, instead of this pathetic excuse for a partner that F has chosen.  

    Part of me is quietly happy that I finally had feelings about my separation, because I was feeling a bit weird that all I had was the annoyance of dealing with F.  I was starting to feel like there was something wrong with me after being completely devastated when D broke up with me after six months and hardly being upset after I broke up with F after 14 years.  I guess I’m not heartless.

    I don’t have much else to say.  I’ve assimilated the new information and no longer am sad.  But there was a moment where I hurt, just a little.