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.”

 

 

All the feelings

I’m deep in processing things that have happened over the last week. I should be working on some prep work for my full-time job, or perhaps some extracurricular work for my casual job, but I’m finding myself highly unmotivated on the work front.  I’ve worked a lot more days in my second job than I have in a long time in this last week. Four day shifts, that are 12.5 hours each.  Of course, instead of adulting and going home and sleeping in between, I did something every night.  Day one I spent the night at L’s, Day 2 I went for drinks with coworkers who also found themselves single this summer, and day 3 I went out with my new metamour, L’s other partner and we ended up at an event for our local poly group.  I got about four hours of sleep a night and although yesterday was Saturday, I crashed at 7:30 and got out of bed at 9 a.m. I feel like a new person today.

This week was full of feelings on my part.  Not bad ones, not good ones, but just feelings that I don’t really like to deal with.  The twisty bits are often indicative of a problem inside me.  Not a problem caused by others, but one that deals with me not processing something properly or being too reactive about something. It means I’ve had to turn inward a bit lately and think about what my feelings mean, what I really want, and where I want to go.  

The first was the twisty bits with A.  I had thought it was me feeling a little unimportant and unvalued because of some jokes he was making about our relationship and what it means to him.  When I spoke to him about it, he assured me he was committed to me and explained again that for him it was less about the words and more about the actions, again.  I say again, because we’ve had this talk, and when I think it through, every time, I’m reminded that, yes, he does make me a priority in his busy life.  We have our weekly dates and steal away for drinks or lunch when we can.  It’s pretty great.  So, I was thinking I’d got over the hurdle, when I was in the shower one day and realized that while I was not entirely unjustified in the feelings of being devalued, there was a pattern with me.  That is that every time we fall our of our usual routine, or see each other less or there is a period of time coming up where we will be apart for a long time, I have an attack of feelings.  

Having thought about this a little more, it actually makes a lot of sense.  If he’s showing me that he values me through his actions, through making me a priority and spending time with me, then when he isn’t there, my subconscious reaction is to feel less valued. Of course, understanding this is good, but it’s not enough to just understand it.  He’s shown me over and over and over that I’m important to him, and there’s really nothing healthy that can come out of my doubts.  

So what do we do?  

Fuck if I know!  But I think that in the periods of absence, I need just a little more of the things that aren’t being in the same room where we can touch each other.  Checking in and chatting, good mornings and good nights, those things.  Part of it is that where we used to chat all day long, now it’s a quip here and there and the only real substance comes when we are together in person.  Add to that the fact that his wife is a little sensitive to him texting with me when he’s with her, where she didn’t before, and the next thing I know, we’re hardly in contact. What this means is a bit of anxiety about him going away for a few weeks and not being able to talk to him.  I think I just need to deal with it, with the hope that since we can’t fill up on time together before he goes, we can fill up again when he returns.

The other feelings had to do with L.  He was home but didn’t answer the door when I was stopping by at his house to pick up a few things I left there on Thursday night.  He knew when I was coming, and didn’t pay attention to the time because he was hanging out with his other partner.  I felt pretty damn unimportant. After waiting 20 minutes, I headed home to my parents to sleep. I was quite pissed about travelling about an hour out of my way to not actually get the stuff I needed, which included my nipple ring that had fallen out and I was worried about how quickly it would grow in.  In the end, I just made it clear that I was unimpressed and that it was bad form on his part.  I explained myself, he apologized, and everything is OK.  But what I realized in all of that is that I like him a bit more than I thought.  I was trying to control things and like every other time I do that, my heart has other ideas.  I’m not in love with him, but I care deeply about him, so when he didn’t answer the door, I was more hurt than I normally would be, had it been a friend or acquaintance.  There’s not much to do with this information other than acknowledge that it exists, but sometimes that’s the best way to process and understand all the feelings.  

I’m going to miss A terribly when we are apart for three weeks.  I’m going to spend some of that time with L.  But I’m looking forward to September, a regular schedule, and some normal again.  With my men a part of all of it.  

Disappearing stress

I was reminded today, by A, that I haven’t published anything in awhile.  It made me laugh, because yesterday I dumped some twisty bits on him and I’m pretty sure he came here hoping he would get more insight before he responded.  We laughed and joked and he tried to change the conversation, but in the end, we got through the twisty bits quite uneventfully, and ended up talking about all the other things.  

The last 3 days have been kind of amazing on so many different levels.   I truly don’t know where to start.  So I’ll start with A.  We had a great date on Friday.  Friday seems to have become *our* day, and I pretty much always reserve it for him.  I’m post-surgery recovering and can’t have sex, so we spent a much longer than normal time on the couch chatting, and I was several beers in before he arrived, so I was in a mood for fun.  For the first time ever, I jokingly tied him up and went to work having said fun. I figured that someone should have an orgasm in my house, since it’s been way too tame here lately.  Alas, I played way too much, but given the length of that blow job, I’d say he at least had fun.  Tying him up was totally not my thing though.  I like the responses when he grabs my head or moderates my speed or any touch, and taking away his hands just made it less connected. Fortunately, he just untied one arm and fixed that in short order and the night was saved.  Add to that the fact that I got a lot of other attention and I’d say it was a fantastic and much-needed night.  Twisty bits aside, I needed the connection, and I suspect he did too.

Saturday, I met the other girl L is dating, and we totally hit it off.  I’m eight years older than L, and she is six years younger.  We’ve been chatting pretty much continuously, and she is very much a 26 year old version of me.  He clearly has a type.  It’s funny.  Of course, L’s mind is blown that we both get along so well, but he takes it in stride.  After that, I went to roller derby again.  One of my very good friend’s husband wanted to talk about polyamory and emotions and how to deal with everything, and so I invited him along.  It was wicked awesome.  We had such a fantastic conversation, really enjoyed the match, and everything about it was great.  

Last week, I was chatting with D’s wife about her tubal ligation and asking about recovery time and limitations (mostly in sex, because, let’s be reasonable, I’m kind of needy when it comes to this – so says A, anyway), and I gave her a heads up that I’d be at derby because the time before was so awkward (in a hilarious way though).  When I had surgery, she wished me luck and I sent her a picture of my feet in these super fun hospital styrofoam slippers:

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She joked that she didn’t get anything like that for her surgery and I joked that I’d steal some for her, and asked her her foot size.  So, while I was waiting to go into surgery, I stole a pair, shoved it in my purse, and brought it to derby.  When she arrived, she spotted me, as far away as possible from where they sit, and texted to say she saw me.  I said I had something for her and to come see me when she could.  There was more joking and awesomeness back and forth that made me giggle.  She came across at half-time, and as my friend’s husband went out for a smoke, I see D walk by and he gives me a wave and smile and I smile back, and she says “Oh, D doesn’t want to interrupt your date.”, and I laughed and explained that it wasn’t a date and referred them to a group we are all part of to catch up on who he was and then chatted.  When D came back, he came over, said he didn’t want to interrupt my date, and I stood up and gave him a hug and explained that it wasn’t a date.  He bought me a beer and the three of us chatted, mostly about how my divorce is going and my new tattoo, but it was good.  It was so normal.  So at the end of half-time, they left to go back to their seats, and I said “Enjoy your long walk, I intentionally picked seats as far away as possible to mitigate the awkward”.  D’s response:  “Next time come sit with us”.  So I laugh and say “Does this mean the awkward is over?” and he says “Yes”, and his wife laughs and says “You two are so fucking weird!” and that’s how it ended.  I sent him a text to say I was glad the awkward was over and apologized for my anger and hurt and the passive aggressive way I dealt with my heartbreak, but didn’t get a response, but for me, it was the ultimate closure.  I just feel so damn good about it.

Oh, and her slippers fit:

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That night, I went to my good friends’ house.  They moved less than a block away, and they are derby refs, so we continued the night there. There’s not much to say other than it was a lot of fun. I was in prime drunken form and probably embarrassed myself, but it was great.  As seems to be the theme with them, there was some cuddling and love and tons of joking and laughter. It was amazing.  Honestly, Saturday was probably the most perfect day I’ve had in a long time.  A left so early in the morning after we fell asleep cuddling, I met L’s other lady, I had a great chat with my friend’s husband, I chatted and hugged and shed the awkward with D, and had a great, super fun non-adulting night with friends who accept me for exactly who I am.

Sunday, I had a Lego date with my 3-year-old, my eldest two came back from my parents’ and we had a cuddling movie night.  Then L came over, we chatted, and cuddled, and started a movie, and he decided to go home because he was tired, and the goodnight kiss ended up in more work on my blow job skills.  😉  (My main joke right now is that since I can’t have sex, I’m going to work on perfecting my blowjob skills and successfully deep throating.) It was just full of connection and awesome.  I like what I have with L.  He’s so sweet.  I describe him as the “cute new guy” to everyone.  He’s just lovely.  Kind, and funny, and strong, and accepting, and enthusiastic.  He’s a good match for me and my relationship with him is a good complement to my relationship with A.  A, I refer to as “sexy grandpa”, because that is exactly what he is.    

I’m back on OKC, on Friday, I eliminated the other 2 guys I was dating from contention for legitimate but rather boring reasons. They are both nice guys.  I’d have a great time with both of them.  But neither can give me what I need, so I needed to walk away.  Of course, this means that I’m talking to more men than I can keep track of, but it’s pretty great.  I have a date on Wednesday, and should have one or more others coming up.  A is going out of town next weekend, so I’m going out with L’s other girl on Friday, which should be fun.  

The biggest and most amazing thing is that F and I are in a good place again.  We had a great meeting with our lawyers today, and we are at the point of drafting a separation agreement.  I got basically everything I wanted and I think he’s happy too.  So much stress just disappeared from my life.

Now, if only I could have sex.  Because damn, 6 weeks is a long time.

 

Whole

I crossed the couch and unintentionally started a relationship with A just over 6 months ago.  Back then, if someone had said I would be separated, D and I wouldn’t be together anymore, and I’d be in love with A and dating actively, I would have told them they were smoking some awesome drugs.  But that is my reality.  Six months, A and I have been together.  He’s never said he loves me, although I think he likes me and the time we have together a bit more than a little.  Do I care that he knows I love him, and he’s never said it?  Not even a little.  I’m happy with what we have, including him and his reluctance to talk about feelings.

I saw my person for the first time in a couple weeks.  I updated her on the goings on in my life and it took 45 minutes to just give the brief explanation because my life is weird, and awesome, and so very fucking full. I realized again, just how much support I have in my life.  I’m so lucky.

Among the things that happened this week is that I found my first cheating asshole!  I’m very clear with every man that messages me on OKC that I am polyamorous, I’m not interested in casual sex, I’m not anyone’s unicorn, and if there is a wife or significant other in the picture, that person needs to be 100% in the know before I even consider dating someone.  Well, I went out with a guy.  Had an amazing kiss in my parking lot (did I mention that I had 3 first kisses in that parking lot in the last week?  Well, I did)  The next day, I got a text from his wife telling me that he was breaking all their rules and that he was lying to me and to her. So. Not. Cool. So, I obviously walked the fuck away from that without looking back.

I’ve been staying at my parents when F is parenting in our house and this week I had a great talk with my step-dad. This guy is the most amazing father figure. He’s been there for me, for my sister, and for my kids more than any other male figure has been.  He told me he was proud of me. That he was happy that I finally realized what was going on between F and I and that I stepped away from the dysfunction.  He was supportive and awesome and loving and amazing and totally dad-like.  It was so refreshing.  It was one of those dad conversations that won’t happen again for years, but I feel better, and anchored, because of it.

I got the second part of my tattoo done.  It didn’t escape me that the flower bud that represents my second  miscarriage was what was the most painful!  But damn is it amazing!!!  I’m so happy with it.

The other day, F and I had our second collaborative meeting with our lawyers.  It went so well that we actually got up and hugged each other part of the way through.  It was incredible actually, to be laughing and joking and having fun while discussing divorce proceedings.  Things seem to be working out as far as that goes.  We’re actually getting along reasonably well and the kids are doing well too.  We told them that we are separated last week, and they reacted as well as can be expected.  They actually seem to be doing quite well with it all and only time will tell how quickly they adjust.

So much is going so well for me right now.  I realized that I’m actually truly, unequivocally happy.  Content in my life, my strength, my independence.  Loving my kids and my jobs and my boyfriend and dating new and interesting people.  For the first time in a year, I don’t feel stressed or sad or angry.  I just am.  I’m in control of as much of my life as I can be, have accepted the parts of life I cannot change, and am moving forward with intention, joy, love, and independence.  I am whole again.

Protection

This last week has been pretty great.  I’ve had a few pretty excellent first dates and a fantastic late date with L.  A and I have spent more time together than we have in months as his wife is out of town so he was a little more available than he has been.  It’s nice to see him recharged.  He’s been burning the candle at both ends for months and the last few days he’s been more relaxed than I’ve seen him since February.  It’s pretty great to see.

I’m going to forego talking about the three great first dates (that all ended with a first kiss in the same parking lot, which cracks me up) and the one really not great one I had last week and talk about a realization I made yesterday while having dinner with A.  Somehow the topic of X came up, probably because I’ve been chatting with him quite a bit recently.  I talked about how I still have a thing for him, but we’re skirting around the issue of our intense magnetic attraction.  As the words came out of my mouth, I realized that skirting around the issue is intentional on my part. That by keeping him at arm’s length, I’m protecting myself.  Protecting my heart.  

This got me to thinking about the new men I’m dating.  How I feel about them.  I remember the all-encompassing feeling of New Relationship Energy (NRE) that I felt when I was dating X and when I started dating D. I remember the excitement when I got a text and the anticipation of the next date and the overwhelming pleasure of each touch, be it holding hands or kissing or more.  I remember how I couldn’t get them out of my mind and I loved every bit of that sensation.  I realized that I don’t have this intense, overwhelming NRE with the new guys.  It’s not like I can turn it on or off, but I think that part of the reason I am not overwhelmed by NRE is just protection.  I’m protecting myself, my heart, from taking the risk inherent in dating someone new.  

I’m not sure how I feel about this.  With X, it’s an active choice.  I can’t take the risk of dating him and falling so madly in love with him again.  The wound caused by our romantic relationship ending is so recently healed and that memory is enough for me to to not want to relive it, but keep him at a distance where I can be in control of my emotions and protect my heart.  With the other men though, it’s probably more of an unconscious choice.  I think that I am naturally protective of my heart just now because of the fresh scar that D left on my heart (the one that is superficially healed but requires some time to heal beneath the surface and still has some lingering pain associated with it) and that’s translating into a lack of NRE.  Don’t get me wrong, I like these men, I want to spend time with them, they are all pretty incredible and I’m very attracted to them, but I’m not all consumed by NRE for any of them.  

This realization takes me on two different emotional paths.  The first is happiness that I can protect my heart and still embrace new relationships.  That I’m a bit more in control than I was last fall when I fell so completely in love first with X, then with D. The second is a bit of sadness in knowing that I’m not putting myself all in, wondering if it’s because the part of me that feels that intense emotion broke along with my heart or if it’s just because I haven’t met the right person.   Along with this is the mourning of the loss of that wonderful emotion and wondering if I’ll ever have that intense fun and excitement of falling in love, and being so certain in that love, again.  

I think more than anything, it shocked me that I suddenly, mid-sentence, realized that I was protecting myself. That I’d put up barriers that I was previously unaware I could erect.  That I had donned an armour built on heartbreak and hurt and disappointment.  That somewhere, in all that has happened, I shed a little bit of my optimism and positivity and freedom for a little bit of safety.  The broken heart is like a terrorist preventing me from enjoying everything I should in life due to fear.  The threat of hurt is not paralyzing, but a very real, recently experienced source of fear.  Right now, it’s protective, but I need to be cognizant of when the protection becomes limiting.  

Ephiphany

Today was the most amazing day.  I had an enormous epiphany that was the final puzzle piece on processing the end of my relationship with D and that gave me so much perspective about what has been going on with F.  I’m in such an amazing place and it’s really impossible to explain how happy this epiphany has truly made me.

First, I’m going to share a conversation that happened between F and I today.  The time has come to tell our kids about our separation.  We’ve been waiting until school is done because our oldest has a lot of separation anxiety when big changes occur.  I really didn’t want to tell her that her entire world was changing and then send her off to school.  This Thursday being the last day of school means that it’s time.  So I messaged F to try to set up a time for us to break the news to them together.  This is how it went (I’m pink; F’s blue):

This is the last week of school.  I would like to tell #1 (and the other kids) about us separating.  This is something I think we should do together.  How would you feel about doing it after school on Thursday before you go to your first night shift?

Tell me how you see this looking? I was planning on spending some time packing for camping.  How much time do you think we need? Do you think you’d be able to come back at 4pm, and we could do it then? Any thoughts on how to present it to them?

I can definitely come back at 4. I think we should sit the kids down and just tell them that mommy and daddy still love each other, but we aren’t going to be married to each other anymore, and that we are going to live in separate houses.  We should tell them that we were fighting all the time as they know, and we get along better when we don’t live together.  I think we should tell them that we still both love them and we are all still family even though mommy and daddy aren’t a couple and that mommy and daddy are still working as a team to be their parents.  We should tell them that they will still see both of us lots and that it’s OK to love us both and it’s OK to miss one of us and miss when we all lived together.  I expect #1 will react very badly, and have a lot of questions.  

To add to that, #1 was asking me last night if I like W, and asking me if I think you love her or me more, etc.  She knows something is up.  I told her that my feelings about W don’t matter because you chose her and it’s not my decision.  She tried to argue that you chose me first and that means I’m more important and I basically deflected the situation.  Be prepared that she’s going to need your reassurance that this decision was both of ours, not that you left for W.  I absolutely will not ever tell the kids that you chose her over me. I promise you that.

Just to clarify there, I did not choose W over you. She actually has nothing to do with this. You asked for a separation. But I agree that this is not something they need to know.

Are you sure you want to do this when you’re going to have them by yourself for several days?

I think #1 already understands. She’s a smart kid. Of course they’re going to react against new partner(s), and want us back together, that’s natural.  I think we need to try and minimise the conflict between us that occurs in front of them.

Me asking for a separation is mutually exclusive from you choosing W over me.  It doesn’t matter though, you made your choice and that influenced my choice. It’s OK, I’m not blaming her, I blame us.

I do absolutely want to do this when I’m going to have them alone for several days. #1 will need the extra time with me to talk to me and be close to me so I can help her process. I do not want to wait until just before you take them for the weekend or just before she goes on her trip.  And honestly, I don’t like having to avoid answering #1’s questions.

I tried a few times to write a response to your comments about, “choosing W over [you]”. This isn’t what happened — but I can understand how you may feel this way, given we haven’t had any real conversation about the causes of the separation. On one hand, I feel like the time we spent together means I owe you explanations of what happened, and that you deserve to hear my perspective.  But on the other, I think you’re not ready to listen, and it will only cause more anger and conflict. So I’m going to leave it there.

I think telling them on Thursday puts me in a difficult situation, in that they (especially #1), will have a lot of questions that I won’t be able to answer until Saturday, when we’re off camping. But I’m not seeing a lot of great alternatives.  Telling her just before going on her trip would be a nightmare, and I agree that doing it on almost no sleep before going camping is also a bad idea.

I also don’t like avoiding answering questions, I’m glad it will be out in the open, although I suspect they have worked much out themselves in their clever little heads. I am worried about how this is going to affect them, but remain far more worried about how us remaining together would have affected them. At least we know how we’re going to screw them up now.  Everyone screws up their kids somehow, this will be our way.

I want to say that I’m not angry at you for this.  We are not a good combination together, and became (or maybe always have been?) toxic. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, any more than it makes me a bad person. It just means the combination of us doesn’t work. I wish you happiness in the future, and hope that you can find someone who meets your needs better than I could. I hope that you’re doing ok.

No matter what,  your perspective and my perspective are going to be different.  You have a dialogue, I have mine. Somewhere in the middle is the truth.  If you want to tell me what you think happened, I will be happy to hear it.  But as you said, it’s not necessary.  I hope to one day be friends again, because it will be good for the kids, and honestly, most of the time, I like you.  I think that you choosing to have W in your life will complicate our friendship, but that is the choice you have made.  For what it’s worth, I’m glad you are happy with her, even if I don’t like her and I’m concerned about the influence she will have over our kids in the future.

Honestly, I may have been the one to ask for the official separation, but you left our marriage a long time before I did.  I was just the one to pull the trigger, but we were both done.  I dislike that you keep saying “You asked for this”.  I didn’t ask for this, but I did choose it, because it was the right decision, and I suspect you wouldn’t have chosen yourself.  I think that when I look back at our relationship, there is a theme that presents itself. I don’t like to say toxic, because it wasn’t all bad. There were some really great times.  The last six months were awful.  I thought at one point that that awful was new, but realized that it wasn’t new, it was just more frequent.  When I thought back through our 14 years together, I realized that the dysfunction had always been there, it just took the addition of 3 new people in our lives to expose those cracks in our foundation.  When we didn’t acknowledge those cracks or even try to repair them, it crumbled. It crumbled in a horrible awful way because we were both too stubborn to acknowledge our roles and work together or pull the plug sooner.  Stepping off that roller coaster was the best thing I could do for myself, for you, and for our kids.  It was the best thing for our marriage to end it.  You and I both know that.  There are times when you and I chat now that I remember why I married you.  I’m glad I have that back, because it had been nearly a year since I felt that way. It helps remind me that I do want to parent with you because you are a good dad.  I think as things settle down, we will get better.  There will be challenges that we haven’t faced before, but in the end, I believe we will do what is best for the kids always.  

As for me, there will never be some”one” for me.  I am polyamorous – acknowledging that and embracing it was life changing in the most amazing way.  What it means for my future, I don’t know, but I’m really really really happy knowing who I am and living the life I was meant to.  It doesn’t make it easy, lord knows I’ve suffered a lot in the last six months, but it is worth it to me.

As for the conversation with the kids, the reality is that we are not going to both be with the kids for them to ask us questions together. That’s the very basic fact of what we are telling them.  It will take them time to process. If #1 needs to talk to you, I can call you and you can talk to her. It will be OK.  But this isn’t screwing up the kids.  Screwing up the kids was what we did from November to March.

I wouldn’t focus so much on W. It will be a minor miracle if that relationship survives our separation. Also, you really don’t know the first thing about her — you never got to know her.

I think we will be able to be friends and make this work amicably. We’re obviously going to have disagreements, but I think it’s important to both of us to maintain a strong parenting relationship moving forwards for the sake of the kids.

I think sometimes that the children helped keep us together.  Suddenly we had these amazing little people that we were in love with, and we saw that love reflected in each other. I also feel I have some responsibility for not having the self esteem to leave the relationship earlier –  but, at the same time, I’m glad we had the four amazing kids that we had.

I’m glad that finding polyamory has made you happy. I also think that kids are very resilient, and will deal with this.

I’m not focused on W at all, apart from the instigation, rumours, and general defamation of my character that she likes to partake in, both to my face and to others who will listen, I couldn’t actually care less about her.  I just don’t want her to hurt the kids.  My separation is with you, and I work very hard to focus on what you and I need to do to work together, but it’s also obvious that a third person is influencing things. I’m fortunate to have partners who don’t get involved.

I, too, am glad that we have the kids we did, the frequent pregnancies and crazy changes we experienced certainly inhibited us from really seeing what our relationship was.  We looked at events instead of happiness as a whole.  I, too, acknowledge my responsibility for not leaving you earlier.  I think that the fact that I wasn’t living authentically meant that I settled for something that didn’t make me happy for a long time.  I truly thought we were good when I proposed polyamory last August.  I didn’t doubt my love for you.  I’m sorry that I hurt you along the way and that it took me until now to know myself.  But how amazing is it that we both know that we weren’t happy and can pursue what we really want in life?  With the best kids in the world to join the adventure?

Thursday at 4 it is.

“But how amazing is it that we both know that we weren’t happy and can pursue what we really want in life?  With the best kids in the world to join the adventure?”

I like that sentiment.

The journey we take together is apart.  That’s OK!

I have no idea what that means, but good luck!

Hahaha. I got too philosophical!  

I meant that we have had a life’s journey together that brought us to this point, and now we are on parallel journeys to create the life we want, still together because of our wonderful kids, but apart.  

It made sense in my head.

I like this conversation. Thank you.

Me too. You’re welcome.

There is so much awesome in this conversation. From both of us presenting our feelings and listening and accepting the other’s perspective, to the acknowledgement from both of us that we are doing the right thing by separating, to the discussion of how to have a difficult conversation with the four people we love most in the world, to the support and encouragement from each of us to the other with regards to creating the lives we want.  

The second thing I want to write about is a conversation I had with a coworker today.  He has chosen to leave his wife in the last few weeks.  On paper, they have a great marriage.  There really isn’t an obvious reason he’s not happy that an outside observer could identify, but he’s not happy.  He doesn’t find his relationship fulfilling and wants something different.  He’s been trying to explain this to his wife and she doesn’t understand it.  Of course, she is trying to understand and is making her own conclusions about why he’s doing what he’s doing. She’s concluded that he’s depressed and that is the reason he blames their relationship for his unhappiness.  It’s such a natural thing for a person to do – to try to understand something because it’s hard to accept without understanding, and to make up a reason that makes sense to them.  In fact, I did that exact thing, actively, as part of my process of mourning the loss of my relationship with D and less consciously as part of my processing the dysfunction in my relationship with F.  I sat in my office, listened to his story, and said: “It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, as long as you are making the decisions that make you happy.”  

As those words came out of my mouth, I had my epiphany.  I realized that what I was saying applied to D too.  It doesn’t matter what I think or feel or even why he did it.  It doesn’t matter that the decision he made for himself hurt me deeply.  He made a decision for himself because he decided it was what he needed to do to be happy.  While I was more heartbroken than I’ve ever been before, the love I had for him allows me to be very happy for him now that I understand that he knows himself well enough to make decisions for his own happiness.  

As I sat thinking about this revelation, I realized that it also applies to F.  We have walked a path together and at the fork in the road, we chose different paths.  Those paths are now parallel, because we always need to be near to our children, but they are our own individual paths to walk that we each get to choose for ourselves.  We get to make our own decisions about what makes us happy, who we bring along on our journeys, and how we get there.  

This epiphany meant that I suddenly felt very happy for D.  I suddenly felt very happy for F.  Even more, I felt very happy for myself.  We are all making decisions that make us happy and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.  

Revisiting D

I booked a counselor’s appointment last week when I was blindsided by the crushing emotion that prevented me from being functional.  Well, the counselor’s appointment did exactly what it should.  I had to dig in the dark corners and expose them and identify them and try to deal with them, or at least come up with a plan.  I realized how incredibly bizarre my life has been this last 6 to 9 months.  And how it makes sense that I wouldn’t be able to deal with all the bad that has happened and that my subconscious would wait until now to let me deal with it.  And how amazing my brain is for allowing me to navigate all that insanity for so long without ever wavering in my commitment to my choices and my happiness.  In fact, this one truth is what has helped me cope more than anything.

I talked with the counselor about everything.  The deaths of my grandparents, my separation, the horrible way in which D broke up with me and my ongoing sadness and confusion associated with it, my sister and her crazy, my dad’s diagnosis and the fact that he’s spending so much time with my sister that he’s stopped communicating with me too, and W and the fact that I had the lovely opportunity to listen to a pocket dial conversation between W and F and had an absolute confirmation of the fact that she is the instigator of so much anger.

Yes, despite saying I wasn’t going to write about D any more, I have decided that I have to again.  Since I am both a woman, and this is my space, I get to change my mind if I want to. One of the things that I talked about with my counselor is that not understanding is really difficult for me.  The sudden change, the way he broke up with me, the absence of him in my life when there are still so many things I think of sharing with him on a daily basis and then realize he’s not actually part of my life anymore.  It’s like my brain is dividing by zero and this unhealthy cycle of misunderstanding isn’t working for me.  

This is because I’m a logical and rational person. If I understand something, I can accept it.  I can’t understand this.  She made the point that many people get stuck in the loop I’m in.  They can’t get past an event because they can’t wrap their brain around what happened.  She said that maybe I should create my own narrative, my own story, and make it true in my head to help me accept it.  I said I was having a hard time because I don’t want to reframe our relationship. I want to remember it for how awesome and fun it was.  She made the very cogent point that I can make up a story that forgives him, recognizes that he may have misunderstood something, and still makes sense to me.  Of course, my brain went crazy with possible scenarios, from the logical to the bizarre.  Here’s a few I came up with:

  1. First off, I really don’t want to believe he is fallible. That he could make a mistake.  Our relationship was *really* that good in my eyes.  I really love(d) him that much. So, the first scenario is probably the most forgiving to him.  Because it’s completely outside the realm of reality.  He was abducted by aliens.  Not in the “beem me up” type of abduction scenario, but more of the Stephanie Meyer “The Host” scenario. (Yes, she wrote another book, it was much better than the Twilight series, even though her grammar was appalling).  Where an alien being overtook his body and was acting as him, making decisions for him, running his life, without actually making a whole lot of sense.  Said alien clearly installed itself into his body, couldn’t compute all the “logic” it had learned about our species, and decided to cut out the non-childbearing character.  It was intelligent about the dumping too, because it didn’t have to face me, who knew that face and it’s expressions well, and it did it in such a way that if we ever got back in contact, I would forever doubt him.
  2. He’s depressed and overwhelmed.  He had been feeling more “down” off and on since January.  He always brushed it off as something he would get past, but I’m not so sure that’s the case.  The overwhelmed comes from the external forces – the excessive social plans, frequently forgetting about things and rushing last minute, work getting busy, not being completely professionally fulfilled, and hardly having enough time to finish one major renovation project and taking on a second equally large scale project, on top of the normal daily life stuff, which includes a wife and kids and all the other adult responsibilities that he naturally took on.  When he looked at his life and all those things he had non-negotiable obligations to, he naturally looked over his schedule and looked for the point of weakness, the one priority that could be discarded without affecting the other things in his life.  That was me.  He didn’t really not love me, or not want to be with me, he just felt like he had to, when there were other things that he needed to get done that were stressing him out. So, I felt like an obligation to him and for some reason, that obligation was too much pressure to value me enough to try to find a way to work around it. What’s unfortunate is that I would have gladly given him more time to get what he needed done. Fuck, I would have had every date be one where I was helping him get the stuff done.  I would have understood.  I would have moved mountains to make it work.  
  3. He felt he had to fulfill a support role in my life with the stress I was going through, and that’s where the obligation set in.  He could have just talked to me.  I would have happily talked to other people about my stress if it was too much for him.  I feel like sharing with him brought him down and I didn’t realize it.  That my sharing of the daily ridiculous that was the early days of my separation wasn’t the same to him as it was to me.  He felt stressed by it, while I was just sharing it.  He didn’t need to internalize it or even listen to it.  I could have taken it elsewhere.  He just needed to say it was too much.  And that he misjudged me and didn’t think he could ask me to stop.

One of #2 or #3 are the most likely scenario, although a combination of the two is also not unlikely.  I seriously wish I was lame enough to believe in aliens, because #1 would be so much more comforting.  There are a few more less generous scenarios that have gone through my head, but the reality is that I don’t believe that he is a bad person at all, so I can’t go there.  I just can’t, even when I was at my angriest, which I certainly am not now.

I think about D less every day.  But I still think about him often.  When I’m alone, when I’m not occupied by my million responsibilities, he slips into my thoughts.  My kids took it really hard when I told them that he wouldn’t be coming to visit anymore, and then he didn’t come up anymore.  I had hoped that he was gone from their reality, when in the last two days two of them brought him up.  One, my 3-year-old, who loved him most, asked if he was coming to visit last night, and the 7-year-old asked me to do some internet searches she’d done with him so we could laugh and learn about the same thing.  The hurt that I felt early on when they brought him up wasn’t present, but it wasn’t completely absent either.  

I’ve been confiding in some close friends about the hard time I’m having.  About the tears and the sadness and the hurt.  While I think I’m coming out the other side of this sadness now, there was a point where I was concerned that I was slipping into depression again.  So I asked them what they thought.  How I would know for sure.  They responded in so many of the ways I needed. Reassured me that my feelings were normal, that the fact that I was concerned I was depressed again probably meant I wasn’t, and that with all I’ve been through, being sad was a very normal, natural emotion.  It was amazing. And it hurt at the same time.  They focused on my relationship with F.  How I would be mourning its loss, and the loss of that love, and the awful that’s happening there.  Don’t get me wrong, he drives me fucking crazy, but that’s not it at all. It made me sad that my best friends didn’t recognize, understand, or acknowledge that the hurt for me is coming from the break up with D, that to them, this relationship, that was so very important to me, is insignificant.  It’s like the few pictures I have of us together are the only proof that we were once were a couple. That we once loved each other.  That we were something that really truly mattered, that was amazing, and real, and powerful, and should have lasted.  Because to them, my hurt is coming from my separation from F, because he was around for 14 years.  But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I would love, more than anything, to hear what it really was that led him to send that email over a month ago.  I would love to hear from him why he threw me away like garbage.  I would love to see him again and hug him and get lost in his embrace.  He always smelled amazing and had a way of moving in for a kiss that made me feel like he was bracing for the earth to open with the connection that was about to happen. The truth is, although it’s not as acute and painful and awful as it was a month ago, I miss him.  I would give so much to stop missing him and just be able to look back and enjoy the memories of our time together fondly without feeling.  But the truth is, I’m still having a hard time with the fact that he’s no longer a part of my life.  Things happen that I want so much to share with him and then I remember that that isn’t who we are anymore.  And my heart breaks again; remembering that he isn’t part of my life anymore hurts. Every time.

 

***I’ve spend 6 days writing this post.  I feel weak, and vulnerable, and lame for still feeling so much for D.  I feel like I shouldn’t feel these things. Like I shouldn’t hurt, or need comfort, or want someone to hold me while I mourn and grieve and cry and rage.  I’ve put on a brave face for over four weeks.  The fact is, I’m not brave, or strong, or resilient just now.  I’m hurting and weak and I’m also brave and strong and resilient.  Strength comes with hurt.  Right now, I’m getting stronger.***