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.”

 

 

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.  

Dirty lounge

I’m angry, I’m hurt, I’m confused, and I’m disappointed.

I’ve had an issue with A for weeks (months?).  I’ve talked to him about it.  I’ve been light-hearted and joking.  I’ve been kind about it, but it drives me fucking crazy.  Often, I ask him out or want to make plans, but he just tentatively agrees to something.  We call it the “tentatively maybe”, that’s how often it happens.  I wait around for him to decide, keeping my evening open or a space available for him, and he decides whether or not it’s what he wants to do at the last minute.  Once or twice, I’ve been surprised when he comes out, mostly, I’m resigned to him not coming long before he updates me on his plans.

While it’s been a frustration for a while, it hasn’t really been something that’s worth making an issue out of until a few days ago, when he crossed a line that meant I had to raise the issue, and I’m sad and pissed off and disappointed.  We haven’t seen much of each other in recent weeks.  Our schedules haven’t lined up and he’s needed a break and I’ve had visitors and life has happened.  I’ve felt it quite acutely.  I’m not sure how he’s felt about it.

Basically, what happened was that earlier in the week I was feeling like we hadn’t connected enough recently and offered to cancel a date I had with a new guy to be able to go out with A.  He said it may work and that he had to discuss things with his wife.  When we met the day before for a quick drink, he said he would be talking to her that evening and let me know.  The next morning, I messaged him and asked him what his plans were.  We had other conversations, which he answered quickly, but he avoided answering my questions about the evening.  In the end, I cancelled the babysitter and decided to stay home because there was no point in going out when I don’t actually have plans.  

Around 6:30 p.m., I texted to ask if there was a good reason he hadn’t messaged me.  He immediately apologized. I told him I felt like he didn’t value me or our relationship.  He responded with “I hear you”.  I hope he does. But I’m not sure he gets it, and I’m not sure he’s willing to change his behaviour.  The truth is, I feel like he treats me a bit like a 24 hour drive through.  I’m always open for him to come when he wants.  He leaves plans tentative until the very last minute.  He makes tentative plans with me and then commits to plans with other people, often times just dropping on me that he made the plans with no acknowledgement that we had potential plans.  For a long time, I just accepted that it was stress in his life, the craziness that has been all the stuff he is juggling.  I don’t doubt that is part of it.  Then I realized that he makes plans with everyone but me in advance. He commits to coffee with an old partner, he commits to going out for drinks with his friends, he commits to golf tournaments, charity events, and all kinds of other events. The point is, he can plan far in advance unless the plan is with me.

I’ve been trying to understand why this is. I have my theories, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I’m in love with someone and I’m not sure that he values the relationship with me.  I don’t feel like my time, commitment, or feelings are respected.  I don’t need to be the number one priority in anyone’s life, but it would be nice to be a priority, to feel like he wants to be with me in the same way I want to be with him.

He knew I was dissatisfied with his response to me, because I told him.  His response was “that’s fair”.  Once again, I was so annoyed.  No acknowledgement of my feelings.  No effort to assuage my hurt.  No effort period.  

Then, it got worse.  We had made plans for Saturday afternoon.  So, I asked him if we were on or not and he said he thought our plans were Sunday.  He quickly talked to his wife and I got a text that said Saturday was good but I was so annoyed.  We had discussed that Sunday was also free, but he never gave any indication that he wanted to see me, so I made plans with other people.  Worse, he started joking about things, like the communication breakdown didn’t matter.  In the end I just asked him to stop and the conversation ended.

To me, it feels so simple.  I told him I don’t feel valued.  In response to that, I would expect to get some reassurance that I mean something to him.  That my feelings matter to him.  But what I got were responses that sound good on paper but don’t acknowledge what I’ve communicated and seem to be designed to placate me.  

I don’t know what to do about any of this.  I don’t know if I can do anything about this.  


I wrote what is above a few days ago.  I decided not to post it before I talked to A in person.  I also needed the time to process the feelings I was having.  I’m a pretty good communicator, but in general, I’d rather do anything other than talk about my feelings.  This is especially true with A.  Largely because talking to him about feelings is an exercise in frustration.  In fact, he took great joy in me groaning and saying he was a pain in the ass to talk to.  But we got through it.  He sort of explained a bit about how his conversations about me go with his wife. I was right, I’m a bit more of a loaded topic.  It requires dialogue, not just an update on his plans.  He “explained” that he wouldn’t be with me if I wasn’t a priority. In the end, I think we were both just annoyed with the conversation, him wondering why I was still talking about feelings, me wondering why he just couldn’t get it.  

Truthfully, we spent much of the conversation laughing at each other, interspersed with me calling him names and groaning because he’s so fucking frustrating.  I had shared our text conversation with G, who is my rock on all things dating, earlier in the week, and she just called him a “douche canoe”.  I told A this and he laughed and said “Want to play with my oar?”  And I did. So I did.  It was fucking amazing.


That evening, I went out with G to roller derby. It was my first time at derby, and it was fun.  It was especially fun to get a chance to chat with D’s wife as she and D were there. It was….weird…to see him. To recognize several of his movements and expressions and know that he was uncomfortable seeing me. We didn’t talk, but there was a bit of eye contact and a smile and wave as he passed me on his way out.   It wasn’t as bad as I thought the first time I saw him would be and I have some hope that we will be able to be friends in the future. In fact, that is something I would really like, as he is a really good person, someone who knows himself well, and is patient and kind and understanding and has all the characteristics I would like in a friend, even if he the way he broke up with me was cowardly.

On the way to derby, I was updating G on the conversation I had had with A that day.  We discussed how he isn’t meant to be a “primary” partner to me.  I’ve never really considered him a primary partner, but the gist of it is that he has been my only partner for about six weeks.  When he started out in my life, he was firmly placed in #3 spot. Then he moved to #2 when I separated from F. When D broke up with me, he moved to #1, a place he was never meant to be.  He’s been quite honest about saying that it’s in his best interest for me to date, because he doesn’t have more time to devote to our relationship, and apparently I’m quite “demanding” now that I’m only having sex with one person.  

G always has amazing analogies, and as we laughed about A’s oar comment after I told him she called him a douche canoe, she said this:  “A is like your favourite lounge that you go to on Friday and Saturday nights for a few drinks and relax.  You love it then. It’s a wonderful place to be.  But it’s not the place you go in the daylight on a weekday. Because when you do that, you find that your favourite spot is just a dirty lounge.”  I laughed and called A a dirty lounge, but her analogy notwithstanding, what it really means is that I’ve been expecting/demanding/asking too much of him lately, and forgot to see him for who he is and who I am and how we are together.  While I want to be reminded that he values me and know I’m completely reasonable asking for good communication, I need to be cognizant of managing my expectations too.   As G said, I just need to relegate him back to second fiddle again.  So many analogies.  

 

 

Perfectly imperfect

I’ve been dating.  I had a fabulous first date last week with a guy I’ve been talking with for ages.  We have another date next week, and we’ve been chatting a lot.  I really like him.  I think there might be something there.  He might even get a letter in this blog the next time I write.   I’m talking to a handful of other guys, some of whom really interest me, some of whom I’m just chatting with because they are nice guys and I like getting to know new people.  But it’s good. I’m moving forward. Lord knows I need one or two more guys to fill the gaping hole in my sex life.  I always have more room for love, so that isn’t an issue.

What’s amazing and awesome in all of this is that F and I are doing well. We had our first meeting with our lawyers on Friday, and it was really positive. We came up with a parenting order.  The highlight for me was definitely that both my lawyer and his gave him shit for the way he was treating me, for being inappropriate, and making assumptions.  The look on his face was amazing. Second to that is when I called his discount lawyer on some assumption he was making about my position.  Sure, F was 10 minutes late, which translated to 45 minutes late to the actual meeting, costing me more than $150 just to chat with my lawyer, but we walked away with a parenting order.  He’s going to parent more.  I’m going to leave our house so he can stay overnight with the kids.  I’m going to get a break.  It’s going to work. I’m sure of it!!! We have another meeting set for early July, and things are moving forward. I’m thrilled.

What was cool was that afterwards, F and I had a great conversation. He felt much better, stating he was surprised we didn’t argue about parenting (despite the fact that I made it clear from day one that I wanted shared parenting!).  He was so friendly, and kind, and there was laughter and hugs and a dance party in the kitchen.  We really got along.  It was great.  I have so much hope, going forward, that we will be friends and co-parent in a productive way that means not only our children will be happy, but we will be too.

I saw A for drinks the other day.  There were several hours of talking and laughing and just being, it was wonderful, but it was very much a consolation prize compared to our nights together.  Lately, our schedules just haven’t been lining up. This is actually affecting me more than I let on.  While I love the chatting and joking and conversation and the endless teasing that happens between us, I want to *be* with him.  I want to cuddle and laugh and kiss and get annoyed with him and try to distract him from his joking asshattery.  I want to spend quality time with him. The kind of quality time that only he can provide.  I want to show him how I feel about him without saying it and have him do the same.  I just want it to work without missing him or wedging him in between other obligations.  

This last week also was characterised by funny conversations between A and I.  I have no doubt that he is committed to me.  He has so much to offer a woman, and truthfully, he could have nearly any woman in our age group, because he is that charismatic and that good in bed, but I think he is happy with what I offer him.  Among the funnier conversations was the one where he told me how much I need another boyfriend.  He said that I’m too demanding when we’re together, that he needs someone to fill the space in between so that I don’t completely wear him out.  This made me laugh.  Then, we talked about what kind of things I need in another boyfriend.  Although A is skilled in bed in way very very very few men have been, there are certain things that I would like to get from others.  One of the things that D was (extremely) proficient in was his oral.  So, we talked about how I needed a replacement for that awesomeness.  It was hilarious trying to come up with potential “interview” questions for someone for the position of my boyfriend given this criteria, and I used some on one of the guys I’ve seen this past week.

Among other things, A reconnected with an old partner this week.  They are probably meeting in the next week, which is awesome for him.  He’s cute in that he thinks she doesn’t want more from him than coffee/drinks, but he must know better.  A woman doesn’t text out of the blue to meet without wanting more.  I hope he enjoys their reconnection, but I’d be lying if I said I thought it was entirely a good idea.  He doesn’t have the emotional energy to devote to himself and his business, let alone another girlfriend. This is honest and sounds jealous, but the reality is that if both of us are having such trouble getting in the same place at the same time and just being together, adding another person to the mix isn’t going to make it easier.  But in the end, the decision is his and I’ll be happy no matter what he chooses.

Another thing he said was that when he came into my life as a partner in January, he was third.  Behind F, and then D, who was behind F, and that he was never prepared to be #1.  I had honestly never thought of him as #1, which might sound bad, but I guess I just always knew he had obligations and engagements that were going to be so far outside of our relationship that I never really considered the ramifications of the fact that he is my only partner right now.  But he’s right, he can’t be everything to me, and while I don’t expect him to be, it must be hard to be the married boyfriend of a newly separated, recently dumped, solo-poly girl with four kids.  Perhaps I should spend a little more time thinking about our interactions than just being?  Maybe.

In the end, I’m enjoying dating again.  I’m quite interested and intrigued by several men I’ve been chatting with.  K is still in the picture, and I’m hoping that our first date will happen soon.  The new guy has promise. There are about three more guys who also have potential, whom I am getting to know.  I hope to one day be musing about the hard decisions I have to make about who to prioritize and all the awesome sex I’m having.

As a side note, god I miss the days when I had lots of awesome sex.

Life is moving forward in its wonderful and crazy and complicated ways.  Some days are hard and awful, but most have moments of love and laughter and happiness.  Some are full of family and connection and love and perfection.  So many more are full of good than those that are full of bad.  I truly love my perfectly imperfect life.