Sexy hurt dating ghosts

The other day, I felt sexy for the first time in ages. Last fall, I started taking pictures of myself every time I felt sexy.  Sometimes I share them, sometimes I don’t. But I take them, because I like looking at pictures of myself and seeing myself as the sexual person I am, instead of the image that looks back at me in the mirror and everything else that means to me.  

I was a hair model for a friend who was taking a provincial test for certification for hair styling.  Then she did my eyelashes in the evening.  I had a great, relaxing day.  I went for a walk to clear my head at the end of it, and it was amazing.  Just what I needed after busy days of socializing with relatives and hanging out with my army of tiny people.

What was cool is that I was able to talk to my friend about how I’ve been feeling without sadness or emotion creeping out.  I was matter-of-fact but not emotional about it.  I don’t know if it means I’m turning a corner or coping better or if I was just in a good place that day, but it was nice to feel normal, but honest and frank about the shit in my life.

Yesterday, I went for lunch with an old friend from my undergrad days.  He is quite a bit older than me and always has interesting and sometimes crazy things happening in his life.  It was good to see him, the last time we had lunch was a year ago.  I told him about my separation and about being polyamorous. I’m pretty sure his head exploded on the table in front of me.  For a guy who used to be my FWB, he really didn’t seem to grasp the idea that I could be dating married men and be friends with their wives at the same time.  It was kind of funny.  

After the lunch, I managed to squeeze in a very quick drink with A, and that was nice. The instant melt into relaxation and calm that happens when I see him was awesome and just getting a hug that showed the connection was what I needed.  We made tentative plans for tonight as well. I had offered to cancel a date with a new guy, and then said new guy cancelled on me, so I was available with a babysitter, and we could go out together on a real date if we wanted.  He just had to talk to his wife, said he’d see her yesterday evening, and let me know.  

Technically speaking, I learned he wasn’t able to get together when he said he was going to bed at 8 p.m.  I’m too hurt and angry and raw right now to write about it for a multitude of reasons and I need more time to process before I put words on this screen.  Part of it is the lack of communication, part of it is the fact that I think I did a very good job of expressing my feelings and needs then got a placating response, part of it is that he said he was really sorry so I just want to let it go, and part of it is that I wonder if there is more going on and the lack of communication is a sign of something else.  So process I will and type I won’t.


On the dating front, things are fun.  I am talking to so many men that I sometimes have a hard time remembering who is who. I absolutely love first dates, so I’m enjoying all of them. I’ve got a pretty wicked awesome connection with one guy who I’ve now had two dates with.  I guess in the lettering system, I’m going to assign him the letter “L”.  He’s a super interesting guy, he is venturing into non-monogamy and is a professional who owns his own house, has dogs, no kids, and is really fun to chat with.  We have crazy awesome conversations and laugh a lot.  We have enough differences to keep us interesting and enough similarities to keep us connected.  He’s also a fantastic kisser and he makes me laugh.  

K is still waiting in the wings, and truthfully, I’m holding a spot for him because he has captured my interest in a way that isn’t typical for me.  The only reason we haven’t met is because I won’t date anyone unless everyone in his life is onboard.  I can’t be “the other woman” and I can’t keep emotions out of my sex.  I need a relationship.  He knows this, and neither of us wants to screw it up and miss an opportunity, so we both know we can’t meet, because neither of us would be able to stop the chemistry from causing an explosion.

One of the things that’s happened a couple times now is people making plans with me and then ghosting.  I don’t understand this.  Why not say “Hey, I decided I’m not comfortable with this” or “the connection is just not there”  or “I’m just not into you”?  There’s so little respect or empathy in ghosting, and I just don’t get it.  It’s such a weird phenomenon.  Maybe I’m just turning into one of those old people who can’t adapt to the new way things are done! “Those young people just don’t have the same respect we did back in my day…..”

 

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.  

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.***    

 

 

 

 

 

Insert creative title here

After writing my last post, I felt much better.  It was actually quite a remarkable transformation, apparently I needed to get my feelings out in a coherent(ish) way.  I was supposed to have a date yesterday, but plans fell through when he wasn’t feeling well.  So we’re on for next week.  Although at the rate we’re going, first me cancelling, then him cancelling, we may never meet.  So, I informed A that I was available for drinks again, and headed off for ramen as comfort food and then back to the river valley to feed the mosquitoes and listen to an audiobook that had been given to me by a friend.  I was thoroughly enjoying said audiobook when A texted to say he could meet for drinks.  Pleasantly surprised, I hoofed it back to my car and met him at one of the places we frequent.  Cue complete relaxation.  I’m not sure how it happens, we’re both a bucket of stress lately, but three hours later, and just random conversation that consisted mostly of updating each other on life, I left (after getting the most amazing hug) feeling completely reset.  Ready to conquer the world again.  Which is good, because when you have world-conquering plans, you need to be ready for it.

Today was a weird day. I volunteered in my daughter’s class this morning and had a blast.  It was so much fun.  Then home to nap and off to my day job for a meeting.  I had changed a lot of things while one of my coworkers was on maternity leave and I wanted to run the changes past her.  So I filled her in on everything I did, and we had a great talk.  She was seriously impressed with the changes I made and told me that when I was hired, the job I just did was exactly what she was envisioning.  It was one of those moments complete with professional fulfillment. I had worked hard, done a good job, and not only was she OK with it, she was thrilled with the hard work I had done.  It was awesome to be appreciated and acknowledged.

I have slowly told people at work that I have separated from F.  One of my favourite coworkers, who frequently comes into my office to show me something cool or talk to me about something funny came by today.  He asked me how things were going with F.  Then he asked me how I knew it was time to ask for a separation.  So I told him some of my story, although a very abridged version, and he sat down and dumped his issues on me.  It was amazing to be a source of support for someone who is going through so much of what I have been through.  He told me that he’s pretty unhappy in his relationship, and he realized that he has to tell his wife, and he doesn’t know how it’s going to go.  It ended with me offering him a hug and wishing him good luck, but it felt pretty damn good that he felt comfortable coming to me.

Yesterday, I read this cool article about a woman who took control of her sexuality, through “wild sexual exploration”, and how embracing her needs and wants, communicating them, asking for what she desired, and being true to herself while still being challenging and sometimes difficult, led to a transformation in her outside the bedroom.  She became more likely to ask for what she needed in her professional life.  Turned down opportunities that didn’t support her goals or add value to her life.  She took on jobs that valued her education and professional experience.  She made decisions throughout every aspect of her life that honoured herself.  She stopped sacrificing herself for the selfishness of others.  She lived a life of authenticity and purpose.  She is happy.

As I read it, while the central tenet of her article was mostly dissimilar to the course my journey has taken, many of the prevailing themes resonated with me. Making the decision to shed cultural norms, making decisions for myself with disregard for societal pressures and the years of indoctrination that I have received, and living authentically, and sometimes selfishly, by making decisions that are the best for me, when others would have me choose otherwise.    She wrote about it being difficult to shed the indoctrination and identify for herself what she believed and acting on those beliefs without the internalization of cultural norms like slut-shaming, misogyny, and her own ingrained judgements hit home for me.  I’ve been pretty open with my acceptance of my polyamorous nature.  But it hasn’t been without judgement of others, but also judgement of myself, by myself.  Part of this is directly entwined with the sexual aspects of my new relationships and the fact that I both enjoy having sex more and asking for what I desire has become a norm, and I have embraced aspects of bdsm, but also that I have multiple partners.  Growing up in a mononormative culture means that I had to shed my beliefs to be true to myself.  Shedding my beliefs about what I should be doing and how I should be behaving meant thinking deeply about my feelings about others and how they act.  Its part of the realization that I truly believe that people should be able to live their lives sexually free, within the boundaries they provide, with no judgement from or for other people.  The things that rock my world are not necessarily going to be your type of storm, nor mine yours.  But as long as you are getting what you need somewhere, I’m going to be happy that you are sexually fulfilled and living a life true to yourself.  

Through acknowledging who I am and asking for what I need in one aspect of my life, polyamory, I gained a momentum that I didn’t really understand.  I started trying new things – my 40 things before 40 was one example.  I started taking charge of my life more. I was already strong and independent.  But I became strong and independent and unstoppable.  In all my relationships, I asked for what I needed.  I started expecting the respect I hadn’t been getting automatically.  It’s part of the reason why I’ve had to redefine boundaries with my sister, father, and F.  It’s why I’ve taken charge of so many aspects of my career.  It’s part of why I’ve found my voice in my relationships, both clothed and unclothed. I’ve started insisting that everyone in my life honours who I’ve chosen to be.

What does this all mean to me?  It means I’m happy.  Not “life is easy and everything is coming up roses” happy, but happy knowing that I am living my life the way I have chosen.  That my decisions and actions and interactions are my own choice. That I’m doing the right thing for myself and my family and taking control of my life means that the challenges I face are mine, the victories are mine, the sorrows are mine, and I can learn, love, laugh, cry, fail, and succeed knowing that I’ve made the best decision for myself by acknowledging myself and honouring myself.  

 

Broken

The last week has been amazing in so many ways.  Things are falling into place.  F and I are working together really well.  Our bi-weekly finance discussion went so smoothly this week that we ended up thanking each other for working as a team and cooperating so well.  We laughed about things our crazy kids did.  I offered to do some things for him, he for me.  It was so….functional.  

My job is gearing down for the summer.  This is awesome, because it has been, at times, rather insane, with long days and intense work stresses.  I love my job, but even a job I love gets overwhelming with pressure sometimes.  I  also had a great weekend with so many friends around me that love me.

So everything is shiny and beautiful and perfect, right?

No.

I’ve been really down the last couple of days.  This is completely unlike me. I’m normally a super positive person.  I usually have to focus on something super sad to even cry when I want to.  (Unless I’m angry, I can cry very easily when pissed off).  Yesterday, for unknown reasons, my date ghosted and I ended up alone in the evening.  This isn’t that big of a deal. I like being alone with myself.  I’m great company for myself.  But the overwhelming sadness just wasn’t going away.  I asked A to go out for a drink, but he was busy.  This isn’t surprising, he’s always busy these days, and I’m trying to be cognizant of exactly how much I’m asking of him, which in recent weeks has been more than he can give because I haven’t been coping with life that well. I know that sometimes I need to find my support elsewhere, and working out exactly what I need to do to get what I need and, truthfully, even recognizing what I need, is a challenge.  

So, since I was utterly alone last night, I headed into our gorgeous river valley to feed the mosquitoes go for a walk.  I decided I was going to focus on the super sad things that have happened in my life in the last 5 months, to see which one was the one that was trying to make itself known.  I had 2 grandparents die.  My dad was diagnosed with cancer.  My sister attacked me unfairly in a family text conversation and we haven’t talked since.  D broke up with me via email.  I asked F for a separation and we have had near endless conflict for about 9 months. I figured if I was sad, I probably had one or more of these things still to deal with. What this meant is that I was completely overrun with despair. I walked and walked and stifled tears the whole way.  I was feeling dejected and unloved and unwanted and weak and overwhelmingly hurt.  I can’t explain how bad I felt, I haven’t ever felt the way I did last night.  I got back to my car, sat in the driver’s seat and cried.  Full on sobbing, ugly tears, break-down cried.  It hurt in my heart and my stomach and my head.  I cried for probably a good 20 minutes until F texted me to ask me if I was coming home soon because he wanted to get to W’s house.  I figured if I sat there much longer, someone would call the cops because they would be concerned for my safety, thinking I was about to jump in the river or something.  So, I drove home with tears in my eyes, just hoping I could hold it together while I said goodbye to F so that I didn’t have to explain to him that I was broken but didn’t know why.  

Well, that didn’t work.  I walked in and he immediately asked me if I was OK.  I said I didn’t want to talk about it and stood their crying silently as he talked about the day he and the kids had.  He looked up and realized what was happening and stopped talking and offered me a hug.  I declined and he asked if I was sure.  I took the hug.  It was the first proper hug he’s given me since early February.  It wasn’t what I needed, but it helped. It got me out in the yard to do some work before I went to bed and helped redirect me.

I was chatting with X and K during the evening as they both asked how I was doing and I was honest.  X said he had been thinking that he wondered how I did it all, and he concluded that I am Wonder Woman.  K said that he didn’t know how I held up as long as I did and that I’m superhero strong and a real lioness.  In my weakest moment, two people who I care about deeply said something about me being so strong.  I felt so vulnerable and so broken.  I cried even more then, but it helped to realize that people who actually know me see me as a strong person, and that it was OK that I was sad.

I think what happened, or what is happening, is that life has calmed down.  I’m no longer running on adrenaline, putting metaphorical fires out, bouncing from one stressful life event to the next.  I don’t have constant conflict in my life.  I’m not busy like I was a couple months ago.  I’ve had sufficient, and even abundant, down-time lately.  Dealing with the stresses in my life, on top of parenting my children, maintaining my career, boyfriends, friendships, and family obligations has been overwhelming the past months, and I was just operating on autopilot, because I didn’t have the luxury of taking time to process.  I think my subconscious decided that now that I have time, it was OK for me to feel all the feelings.  All those feelings came out all at once last night.  I broke.

This is all OK. Actually normal.  Of course I couldn’t hold it all together.  Who could?  

My friend, the one who came for my birthday, when I posted about my crying in a group we are in together with four of our mutual friends, said: “ It’s normal to feel some sadness. While there are some great things happening in your life, there is also some not so great things happening in your life. Sometimes it’s great to have a good cry.”

Rock reforms with the pressure of water.  Water carves canyons and creates beautiful creations simply by running over it.  I’m hoping that’s what my tears are doing, helping me reform and create something beautiful.  

 

Comfort

This weekend marked the end of my 40th birthday celebrations.  I had a party on Saturday night, and about 30 friends attended.  It’s funny, because a few friends I’ve had forever, but the demographic of my circle has changed significantly since my 39th birthday, and definitely for the better.  There were people at my party that included roommates I had in my last year of high school and first year of college, people I went to grad school with and work with, people I met in moms’ groups when I was on maternity leave, a friend from when I lived in Europe, and then my now expanding group of poly and poly-friendly friends. And A, of course he was there!  

What was unique was that we all sat in a giant circle in my backyard and chatted. Everyone part of the same conversation. It was so cool.  No one splintered into groups of friends who knew each other, we all just jived.  It was so great.  There was much laughter and much joking and it was a really really fun time.

My good friend who lives a four hour plane ride away came out for the party. As is with all my best friends, we haven’t seen each other for years, have kept in contact on social media and the occasional private message, and the minute I picked her up at the airport, it was like we had never been apart.  It was so cool to see her just insert herself right into my groups as if she always belonged there. In particular, she and A got along famously.  It was the first time that I introduced A to many of my friends.  Unlike monogamous relationships, our time together is at a premium, so we rarely socialize with other people because it takes away from our alone time together.  What this means is that we’ve developed our close relationship in the near absence of any interaction as a couple with our friends. It’s an interesting phenomenon, actually, and one I hadn’t really thought of until this moment.  But what I really loved about it, is that A required no “babysitting”.  I spent 14 years with F, and he hated when I hosted parties or dinners, hated meeting people, and I had to spend a lot of time at his side to make sure he was OK.  It wasn’t at all shocking to me that A jumped right into the situation and socialized like a pro and made friends with everyone there, easily and simply.  I didn’t once think of checking on how he was doing and I didn’t need to.  It was awesome.  I think I might have to take him to more things, if he ever has more time to give, because I certainly don’t want to give up my alone time with him, but he is definitely a high-quality date, even with his clothes on.

It meant a lot to me that my friend and A got along so well.  I just told her I was poly about two months ago, and she’s been remarkably supportive from the first response.  But they laughed and joked and teased me the whole night and had a great time.  It’s amazing to me when two people I care about so deeply get along so well.  The next day, she and I laughed and shared stories and it was like she belongs here.  It felt like home.

At the end of the night of the party the remaining people sat around the fire in my backyard chatting.  There was a lot of joking and a lot of drinking.  But we sat there talking, and laughing, and being ridiculous as we do, and I reached over and grabbed A’s hand.  We sat and held hands and talked with all the other people there.  I realized how good and normal that felt.  I also realized we’d never just sat there holding hands and talking to other people before.  It was such a normal, comfortable thing to do.

I think that that is where we are.  We are a normal couple, within the context of our ridiculously abnormal lives, that are comfortable.  I guess five months later, we should be.  Comfortable is good.

Another

I love my job.  I’m sitting in my office, late in the day, with the fresh smell of a thunderstorm wafting in, while avoiding going home.  Today, I started doing some research into how to make part of my job better and more interesting.  I just fired off an email to a colleague about my ideas, and it just got me excited about my job.  My passion is returning, one small moment at a time.

    Things are so good, I’m happy.  I’m chatting with X frequently and we’ve slipped into this comfortable friendship full of honesty and connection.  I still have a thing for him, and I probably always will.  He knows I do so it’s not like it’s a secret.  But we are having fun catching up right now.  I’m chatting with a handful of guys from OKCupid and just enjoying getting to know new people.  I love dating, and I forgot how fun it is.

    Among the things that I chatted with X about yesterday was that I realized that the 20 plus year I was monogamous helped me realize that I was always sacrificing something in each of my relationships. I never had all of my needs being met.  Each monogamous relationship was a sacrifice.  Be it sexual fulfillment, emotional support, financial compatibility, or anything else, there was never a time when I felt like all my needs were being met.  That was until I was dating A and D.  Those two, together, despite the issues with F, fulfilled every need I had.  I had it ALL for a short time.  For nearly 5 months.  I think that this realization hit me today.  The reality is, I understand now that no one person is ever going to meet my needs.  When I chose to embrace polyamory, it was because I knew I had the capacity to love more than one person in a romantic way. That I could have more than one simultaneous committed relationship.  I’ve just realized that part of all of this is that I have needs and wants and desires that can’t be met by one person.  I’m not sure why this realization just hit me.  It makes sense.  Different people scratch different itches.  But I think the truth of it was a bit shocking to me.

One of the funniest things that comes up over and over again in online dating is: “What are you looking for?”  Well, I’m not looking for anything.  I just want to meet people, see if there is a connection, and if there is, see where it can go.  I don’t want to prescribe anything to my relationships.  I think that the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s easy to miss opportunities because we are too focused on trying to achieve a goal.  But really, the goal in relationships should be the journey.

Tonight, I asked A if he was having a hard time with my dating again.  He’s been teasing me a bit about it all, because I had loudly declared that I wasn’t in a place to date and three days later reactivated my OKCupid account.  I teased him back saying that I am a woman and reserve the right to change my mind.  It was funny, because he answered “not at all” when I asked if it was hard on him.  My first reaction was “Phew”, because I don’t always deal with other people’s emotions well, and then my second reaction was “Why isn’t he having a hard time? Shouldn’t he be having a hard time?”  and then I laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more.  Because it was such a monogamous thing to think.  He understands that, while I love what we have, I need more than just him.  He knows he’s in no position to provide everything I need and want and desire (although he’s pretty good at the latter), and I know that as much as I love him, I will never want to escalate our relationship to more than it is.  

I need another.  Another lover.  Another partner.  Another something.  I don’t know what that something is.  My life was “perfect” when  A and D were a part of it.  Figuring out how to achieve the next “perfect” is the fun and the challenge.