Well, yeah! But OUCH!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

What, Why, and how I feel about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truthfully, I wouldn’t change anything.

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

 

 

All the feelings

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

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

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

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

So what do we do?  

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

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

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

Six long weeks

Smack dab in the feelings. That’s where I landed tonight.

A friend invited me to her birthday party in the first week of August today.  She specifically invited A with me, which is kind of awesome.  I invited him along.  Sure enough, he’s gone that weekend. Then he’s away for 2 weeks starting the weekend after.  And I’m gone the weekend he gets back.  So we just lost every weekend in August. Every. Single. Weekend.  I’m having surgery on Wednesday. I’m getting a tubal ligation and uterine ablation. As a now “single” woman, I need to be in control of my fertility, and this is the best way. Of course I’m safe about my sex.  Condoms are an investment I make in bulk. Sexual health is important to me.  But most definitely, my uterus is closed for inhabitation, and I won’t be leaving control of such a situation up to the men I’m having sex with or a piece of latex.

But the thing is, I’m going to lose a couple weeks of recovery time to this procedure, possibly more. The recovery time can be anywhere from one to six weeks.  So, we’ve also lost the last couple of weeks in July.  It may be as distant as September the next time we can have sex.  This makes me sad. I guess it will depend on my pain and how well I heal, and the ridiculous schedule the men in my life have.  I had absolutely incredible sex with L on Friday afternoon and what was going to be mind-blowing sex with A that was interrupted with real life on Friday evening, and then he spent the night for the first time in our entire relationship and it was amazing and I wish I could have enjoyed it properly, but he had to leave early in the morning, and biology decided to fuck with me and be a giant pain in the ass this morning, and my period arrived three days early, when I was really hoping to use those three days to bank all the sex I could before I had surgery.  So, now sex is off the table for the foreseeable future, A and I probably won’t be able to have sex for two to six weeks or so, and L and I won’t have sex for at least two to 4 weeks.  Maybe one of the other three men I’m dating/interested in may move in there, but the reality is that this girl who needs a little more attention won’t get the sexual attention she needs.  Chances are, regardless of need for sexual attention, the men in my life won’t be available.


I wrote this several days ago.  Yesterday, I had my tubal ligation and endometrial ablation.  I had a bit of hope when the nurse told me it would be only a couple of weeks until I could have sex, but the obstetrician burst that bubble just before I went into surgery and told me it would be 4-6 weeks.  The endometrial ablation basically destroys all the cells in the lining of my uterus, and so no penetration with anything is allowed for 4-6 weeks due to the risk of infection.  So, it’s going to be the end of August before I get to have sex.  I know what it’s like to need IV antibiotics because of a major infection, that’s not something I want to repeat, so I shouldn’t complain. It’s totally worth it.  But damn if it isn’t going to be hard. I should have had this procedure when I was still married to F and didn’t care if I had sex for months at a time.  Well, I’m sure I’ll live through it, and it’s not like I have to be a nun during that time.  I’ll find ways to enjoy myself and the men in my life.

Among the funnier things yesterday was my mom coming to pick me up from the hospital and asking me how I was feeling and me answering “I’m stoned”, and us both laughing about the fact that we never expected me to supply that answer voluntarily when she was picking me up.  The anesthesiologist I had was the same woman who gave me my epidural with baby #3.  Somehow, we ended up having a conversation about misogyny in academia and in her chosen profession, congratulations about separations, and everything in between.  In general, the whole thing was fun and interesting and relatively painless, thanks to some Tylenol 3’s and my parents who spoiled me rotten, and exceptionally good medical staff.  

Today, I’m feeling a little bit tender and swollen. I stole away for a lunch with A, which was, by far, the highlight of my day.  The man gives the best hugs and the after lunch hug has sustained me for the rest of the day.

I’m back with my munchkins now, having convinced F that he should put them to sleep to give me a little extra time to recover, since I’m not supposed to lift anything and I have a toddler who loves to be carried everywhere.  I got a lovely welcome from #2 and tomorrow will be full of cuddles and relaxation, while my new nanny gets acquainted with the kids.  It should be good.

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.