Archive for the ‘Polyamory’ Category

Ouroboros   Leave a comment

I’m eating myself again.

There’s something freeing, and weird, about being open with the Internet at large and saying the things that are difficult in open space.  I feel like I’d do well in one of the world’s Speakers’ Corners, since I seem to be able to spout things to total strangers that I have trouble saying to the people I’m closest to…and while I’d like to say them, I sometimes find it difficult to choose words rather than allow everything to spill out of my face.  Hence my belief that a Speakers Corner would suit me well.

So, I’m eating myself again, and it’s time to get some of it out before I’m too full to process anything.  Hooray for word vomit.

First, I’ve decided to go ahead and try Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) to treat my emotional eating.  I’ve scheduled my intake appointment for next week, and the curriculum looks promising.  And, if it doesn’t work, I get some time with horses which is always a good thing.

I had yet another schedule fail with J – we’d hoped to meet up this week to finally take this relationship beyond the flirting and occasional clench in the parking lot that it’s been for a year now.  It’s almost comical at this point, really…except that it isn’t.  I’d really hate this to become one of those longed-after but never consummated things.

T is back in my life again.  We’re on a once a month schedule, and I’ll be seeing him later this month.  And yes, I know I got hurt and many of my friends don’t think I should be doing this again…which is why they’re finding out through this blog entry*.  It’s been difficult to admit that I’m back in again when the last time ended so badly.

(*I ended up telling them before this was published.)

Finally, I broke a personal rule, and I really want to talk about it because I’m not sure what it did to me.

My husband and his girlfriend had their first major fight this week, and he plunged into a pit of despair afterwards because they reached a stalemate.  Neither of them understood where the other was coming from, and when he and I talked about it I tried to explain what I thought was going on with her, based on my knowledge of her and what she’s told me about her life.  Things came to a head and, on Wednesday evening, I ended up messaging my metamour and offering to talk if she needed it.  She immediately called me and we spent 40 minutes on the phone while she vented and I tried to understand what she was saying and where the communication break-down happened while also commiserating and explaining that some of the things she was reacting to didn’t actually happen the way she thought they did.

(Complicated things are complicated.  Especially relationship complications.)

Anyway, the discussion seems to have worked – she called my husband right after I got off the phone with her, and they’ve been talking ever since.  Real communication, some of it about things they’ve discussed before, and some of it about new things, but all of it open and honest.  Last night they talked for hours, and he ended up bringing her back to our house for more talking, and he’s happy again and I am thrilled because I love him and want him to be happy.

So, here’s what I mean when I say I’m not sure what it did to me: I am not sure if putting myself in the middle like that has changed the relationship I have with my metamour for the better.  It clearly helped get them over the hump but…I’m second guessing getting involved because it’s been a rule of mine NOT to get involved in things like this.  My husband’s relationships are his to manage, and my relationships are mine to manage.  And that includes my relationship with my metamour – it’s my relationship, and so I get to manage it until it gets to a level that I am happy with…and I think that by intervening I may have pushed my relationship with her to a level that I am not ready for and that, to be honest, I’m not sure I want.

Don’t get me wrong, now: I like her, and think she’s a nice person, and I enjoy her company.  I am, however, nowhere near ready for anything beyond a surface relationship and I think we’ve somehow managed to get past my comfort level and my skin is crawling.  It’s not her, though – it’s me.  Aside from the fact that she hugged me when we first met and I couldn’t opt out, she’s done NOTHING to me that wasn’t kind.  It’s not her – IT’S ME.

I live a life that I’m not thrilled with right now, and I’ve mentioned it before, I know.  I work seven days a week between the two jobs I have, and that won’t stop until the beginning of July when I stop teaching swimming lessons on weekends for the duration of the summer.  When I am not working, I don’t want to think and so I engage in a variety of mindless activities – I watch TV with my husband sometimes, and I game sometimes, and I sleep sometimes.  And then I wake up and go back to work.  Repeat early and often.

I’m exhausted, and out of whack, and bringing myself back into alignment takes more energy than I have at the moment…especially since it will likely involve more people in my life.  There are only a few people other than my husband that I’d choose to spend time with, and I usually can’t because they either live too far away or their schedule doesn’t match mine.  Oh, and did I mention I’ve got another health thing going on that requires some lifestyle changes to be made ASAP?  And I need a measles booster – when they checked my titer, it showed I am no longer immune, and since people have stopped vaccinating herd immunity won’t protect me.

On top of this, let’s add in the fact that I don’t feel like I can relax when anyone outside of my immediate family is in the house, and circumstances beyond my control mean that my metamour is going to be at the house a lot over the next few days, and…yeah.

I don’t know what to do about any of this, but I know writing it out helps, and seeing it on screen helps.  It won’t be fixed immediately but at least I’m now hopeful that things will improve at some point.  They have to, right?

What I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory   Leave a comment

In honor of Polyamory Weekly’s 10th anniversary podcast episode, Cunning Minx’s subsequent blog entry on the same topic, and the fact that I didn’t manage to call in before the deadline to share my own thoughts, I thought it would be interesting to share the things I wish I’d known about polyamory before I started practicing it.  Although, when I did start practicing it, the term polyamory hadn’t yet been coined.* I can think of about a dozen things I know now that I wish I knew then, but perhaps I’ll try and stick to a smaller number like…five?  Sure – here are five things I know now that I wish I’d known back in my earlier days:

  1. Trying to “convert” the monogamous often leads to drama…and most of the time the drama isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.
  2. Not only does everybody have different ideas about what polyamory means, but it is very possible to end up in a relationship with someone whose model of poly is different than your own.  It can be just as difficult to navigate a relationship between partners who have different poly models as it is to navigate a relationship where one partner is poly and the other is not.
  3. Double standards must be dragged out into the light and beaten with a heavy object.
  4. It is easier to be honest up front than to hedge to “spare someone’s feelings”.  Eventually, the dishonesty will come out and everyone will be even more hurt and upset.
  5. Going against personal ethics/morality to please a partner is a slippery slope.

Some of the items in this list are self-explanatory (I think, anyway), but others might benefit from an example.  I’m going to speak to item 2 specifically, but if anyone wants an explanation of any of the others, let me know. My husband and I have different models of polyamory: he typically looks for partners with whom he can develop a deep emotional relationship, usually romantic in nature, and sex may or may not be part of the equation.  I, on the other hand, look for partners with whom I can develop a “Friends with Benefits” (FWB) relationship and in these cases sex is part of the equation.  I suspect, based on anecdotal evidence, that his model is more usual than mine, and I will admit here that my model is largely related to the fact that I seem to be mostly mono-romantic.  That is, I know I am capable of loving multiple people at once, but I only have one romantic love in my life and I don’t see the need to seek out more.

Anyway, our models have clashed a couple of times, and although it is way better than it used to be I sometimes have issues wrapping my head around his model.  Hell, I still remember being confused about how he can do multiple romantic relationships when it is so alien to me – that one difference took me years to work through, and thank goodness he’s as committed to understanding me as I am to understanding him.  I’m relatively certain that he has similar issues with getting into my head, but since we’re committed to open and honest communication, it works.  If we weren’t, it wouldn’t.   I am now (brainweasels aside) significantly less baffled about how he does poly, and don’t mind that it doesn’t match my own model.  If it works for him, it works.  Period.

I’m very interested to know what others think on this topic.  So, what do you wish you knew about polyamory before you started practicing it?  What would you change about your journey if you could?

*According to the lore, anyway – I started in 1987, and Morning-Glory Zell’s article “A Bouquet of Lovers” wasn’t published until May of 1990 so…yeah.  Take it for what it’s worth.

More Brainweasels, Poly Brainweasels   2 comments

Having Depression and being polyamorous leads to circumstances that are slightly less than amusing on first glance.  And to additionally less amusing brainweasels.

I have found that I need to believe I have worth in order to practice polyamory in the manner I think it should be practiced.  That is to say, I cannot be sure of my position with my partners unless I know my own worth and, when I don’t have a firm grasp on that, my grasp on how I fit into their lives gets shaky.  I find this to be an interesting problem but, like I said, not an amusing one, because my Depression goes after those bits of my brain that know I have worth and so I oftentimes end up in one of those endless loops of mental non-logic.

This is not amusing.

Here’s a routine brainloop, for your consideration:

>Hooray!  My husband found someone he really likes!  He’s inviting them over to hang out with us!
She won’t like me.
>It’ll be great to meet her; he’s so happy!  I love how NRE affects him!
People never like me.  I won’t know how to act.
>Maybe we’ll get along and she’ll come over more often.  We can all sit on the couch together.
No.  I’ll do something wrong, and he’ll decide not to bring her here and then I’ll get less time with him because he’ll be over there.

Logical brain knows this is a fallacy, and not how polyamory works.  Logical brain knows my husband loves me and isn’t going anywhere, and that love multiplies, and that I am loved and cared for.  Depression brain?  She doesn’t care about logic.  Depression brain knows that the end of every good thing is coming and that it starts with teeny tiny things like a happy husband.  And yes, I’m rolling my eyes as I write this, because I am not in the throes of Depression brain.  Plus, as you know from my other post, brainweasels make less sense when written down or said out loud.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, too: many poly- people have brainweasels around their polyness. (Is polyness a word?  Chrome doesn’t think it is.)  They usually suppress them, or find a way to work through them, but they have them.  It’s not unusual to identify as polyamorous and still feel jealousy, or envy, or anger, or any of the other emotions that can pop up from time to time to wreak havoc on communication and honesty.  The people who say we shouldn’t feel these things in the name of compersion or frubbly are LYING.

*ahem*  What I mean is, we feel what we feel, and don’t need to make excuses for it.  I fully plan to kick the next person who says such things to me in the ASS, then hang them from a wall until they beg to be taken down.

(And, yeah.  This is not a post about sadism.  When I write one, I’ll cover it with trigger warnings.)

Paxil helps with my Depression brain, and my brainweasels pop up much less often than they used to, but at this point they are corralled rather than eradicated.  And, you know, I think that’s okay, really – brainweasels, in small amounts, can point out things that need to be addressed.  Brainweasels, in small amounts, make you aware of things you might not otherwise notice.  And that’s a good thing.  Brainweasels en masse however need to be rounded up and have their feet held to the fire; a sneak of weasels isn’t good for anyone or anything.

I don’t know if there’s a moral to all of this rambling, but I have come up with two things to remember: (1) Feel what you feel, and let it out.  Better out than in, if you will.  (2) Clearly, brainweasels are going to be a running theme, and I should probably make them a category.

Poly Origin Story   Leave a comment

Interestingly enough, I’ve had polyamory on the brain as a concept recently rather than as something I do, and I’ve been trying to track back to the how/when/why of my poly- origins.  Some of this has to do with the fact that I’m currently setting up meetings with people from OK Cupid (OKC) and am trying to figure out explanations, some has to do with the fact that my husband is in his own “describe what I do” phase with some people he knows, and still more has to do with the questions I’ve been getting from people.  There’s a lot of “WHY do you do this?” and “HOW does that even work?”, but there are just as many questions, asked and unasked, that try to dive into the depths of origin and discovery.

So, I thought I might put my own poly origin story out there, and encourage other people to share theirs…especially if they’ve not done so before.

I can’t really remember a time when I believed that I would find one person who was right for me for all eternity, but I do remember that once I was old enough to date I found myself unable to concentrate on being involved with just one person at a time.  Oh, I could do it for awhile in the beginning while the New Relationship Energy (NRE) was running high, but once it died down a bit my mind would inevitably wander toward dating someone else, but as an additional relationship rather than a replacement.  I didn’t really understand why it wasn’t okay to date multiple people at the same time, and why my friends were all pairing off into, well, pairs and then getting upset when their boyfriends or girlfriends became interested in other people and broke things off or, worst of all, CHEATED on them!

*cue gasps of horror*

Now, I’ll admit when I was younger I didn’t have the feelings about lying that I do now (and even now it is touch-and-go, depending on the situation), but I could not understand the drama around fidelity.  First of all, we were in high school.  Secondly, since when did having feelings for someone automatically render you incapable of having them for anyone else?   I was able to love both of my parents and all of my grandparents and my brothers and my best friend at the same time – why couldn’t that translate into other types of relationships?  Why was I off-limits to someone just because I was dating their friend, or their brother, or cousin?  Why didn’t I get a say in all of this?

I tried a couple of methods to get what I wanted/needed during this time.  Part of the time, I tried honesty – I would tell people who asked me out, or who I asked out, that I was interested but didn’t want to be exclusive, and that I didn’t expect them to be exclusive either.  This worked about as well as you’d expect – my partners thought it sounded wonderful and were fine with it until my “Oooh, Shiny!” syndrome kicked in and I actually acted on what I’d said…and then things would fall apart.  Sometimes I tried not mentioning that I was dating other people, but that would backfire because a friend of a friend would always mention it.  The remainder of the time, I kept my multiple partners separated by distance – my most successful relationships before I went to college involved a partner at each of four different schools plus one who was out of school (that last one, btw, was T).  Of all of the methods, the third one was the only one that really worked, and as long as I managed my calendar, no one was the wiser.

(There was, of course, the time that two people showed up to pick me up at the same time and found out about each other…but that’s a story for another post.)

In addition to the above, I also had a number of friends with whom there was some sort of a physical component, and I never understood why that was a problem, either.  Needless to say, all of this led to me having quite a reputation in high school, and I could not wait to get to college…except that I met the man who would become my first husband during that summer and ended up going off to college involved with yet another person who expected monogamy of me, and this time I’d decided there was something wrong with me and swore to myself that I’d try.

So, I tried.  I tried all the way through him repeatedly accusing me of cheating when I wasn’t, through him trying to trip me up about various things, through a so-called friend of mine telling him that the baby I was carrying might not be his, the birth of that child who very much WAS his, and through a year of marriage afterwards.  During this entire time I managed to remain monogamous in behavior, if not in thought.  And then, just as I decided I couldn’t bear to continue to be married to this man, T came back into my life.  And so, off the monogamy wagon fell I, back into a comfortable relationship where I didn’t have to be anyone but myself.  And I swore, from that moment forward, to never fall into the monogamy trap again because it isn’t who I am, and I chafe under that expectation.

This decision, of course, has had consequences: my first marriage ended in divorce, and subsequent relationships never really moved past the friends-with-benefits stage, despite how those partners might have felt about me.  It wasn’t until I met my current husband that I realized that there was more than one person out there (ha!) who could love me and have no problem with who I am.

(In fact, I think he might relish it, although you’d have to ask him.)

So, that’s the origin story in a nutshell.  My walk and talk finally match, and I have never been happier.  That is why I am polyamorous.  And that is why I’ll never again attempt anything else.  At this point, I’d rather be alone than be false.

**************************************************************************

So…why are you polyamorous, if you are?  How did you realize it/start to act on it?  If you’re not poly-, what’s the origin story for your own relationship style?  What makes it work for you?  I’d be thrilled for you to share your stories, if you’re inclined to do so.

Posted March 27, 2015 by veggiewolf in Polyamory

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Back on the Horse   Leave a comment

I wish that the title of this post actually was about how I’ve decided to start taking horseback riding lessons again, but it’s not.  It’s about getting back on the horse I fell off last May – developing relationships that are not with my husband.

Blargh.

Here’s a thing about me – I am notoriously bad at getting back to people until I’ve actually met them, and even then it can be dicey.  This is not because I don’t want to be a good correspondent; it’s because I really don’t like the methods of correspondence that are available.  I’d much rather sit down and have a conversation face-to-face than a 30 minute text session…and I’m usually okay with waiting to converse until I can actually see someone, although I’m surprisingly okay with IM as well.  Anything to do with responding via mobile phone, though, drives me up a tree; I don’t like it and because I don’t like it, I am horrible at responding when someone sends me something.  Unless it’s an emergency.  Or a sext.  Come to think of it, I’m good at responding in both those situations.  The problem is, if I don’t know you, it’s unlikely that I want to receive a sext from you, and it is also unlikely that you have an emergency that is also an emergency for me.

Complicated person is complicated, and around and around we go!

Anyway, I want to develop some FWB relationships , so I went back on OK Cupid a couple of weeks ago with an updated profile that included a note about the fact that I won’t respond to dick pics.  For a few weeks, I got visitors to my profile and likes, but no messages.  Then, I got a message and responded to it…and more messages started pouring out of the woodwork.  Seems like the more I respond to people, the more people try to contact me, and that’s because OKC has this thing where it shows your reply frequency and it appears that people are more likely to contact me if I actually respond.  Which means that if I want to develop relationships, I actually have to do the fucking work…and I hate having to do the fucking work.

Well, unless the fucking work is literal.  Then, it’s amazing.  Did I mention that I self-identify as an Ethical Slut?

So, for OKC to work for me I need to respond to people who message me, even if it is just me saying that I don’t think I would click with the person, so my reply frequency will go up and then more people will message me, and then I’ll have to respond more and and and.  Add in the fact that I can’t really access OKC from work where I am on a computer all day, and the fact that I don’t really want to get on the computer when I get home, and I’m left with responding from my phone.  And I hate having to respond from my phone, even if it is shiny and smart.  So, I want to meet someone and the only way to do it successfully using the service I’ve decided to use is to embrace something I hate.

I mean, I suppose I could go out and do things and try and meet people that way, except that would mean going out and doing things, and then getting to explain polyamory to people who think dating while married must equal infidelity and that I’ll be super fine with them cheating on their spouse.  Well, unless I go to a munch, but I don’t really want to go to a munch.  At least OKC has the open-relationship status right off the bat and my profile in which to explain things.  And I don’t respond to people who don’t read my profile.  Although, I probably need to update it again to add that random requests for sex won’t get responses either – I like to be friends with someone before sexy things happen, and I’m not really into one-night-stands right now.

I’d also like to be able to carry on a conversation with you before tearing your clothes off.  Just saying.

As far as new relationships go, I appear to be in early stage NRE with one person (a colleague, actually), and I’m speaking with others from OKC and, hopefully, meeting up with some of them over the next couple of weeks.  I’ve no idea if it will get beyond the coffee stage, and I’m okay with that.  At this point, putting myself out there at all is a HUGE step when I’d rather hermit up with a good game and a bottle of wine.  So, I guess I’m growing?  Maybe?

But, since climbing back on the dating horse, I’ve been wondering how much of my ambivalence about actually connecting with other human beings has to do with the fact that I still miss T, and the way that he knew me and cared for me unconditionally.  We still speak via email occasionally, but it’s nothing like the pause-and-play we had for 27 years, and now that almost a year has passed since I last saw him, I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that we may never again be what we were to each other.  It’s been a grieving process, really, and lately it’s taken everything I have not to ask him if he’d like to meet up for any reason at all.

FUCK.  I’m not over it.  I wonder if anyone really gets over something like this.

The girlfriend closet: Making space for partners in a solo poly home (Guest post)   Leave a comment

A great idea for a common situation!

SoloPoly

The girlfriend closet, a week after I created it.  One of my partners has already left a few more items at my house, accidentally. I've put them in her basket, so she can decide what to do with them the next time she visits. The heating pad is for "those days.") The girlfriend closet, a week after I created it.  One of my partners has already left a few more items at my house, accidentally. I’ve put them in her basket, so she can decide what to do with them the next time she visits. The heating pad is for “those days.”)

By Seth Peck

Growing up in Illinois, I didn’t get to see my grandmother much. She lived in the middle of Kansas, smack dab in the middle of the American breadbasket and frontier history. My first memory of visiting her was when I was six-going-on-seven.

Her home was the clean and cozy environment one would expect from a widow who had been a farmer’s daughter, wife and mother — with family photos and a collection of toys and comic books quite unlike anything I had in my own toy box.

Two things stood out from the first day I walked…

View original post 947 more words

Posted February 12, 2015 by veggiewolf in Polyamory, Sharing Things

Polyable Moment   Leave a comment

I realized today that I’ve not really written anything polyamory-related since May of 2014, and while thinking about what I could write I landed face-first in a polyable moment.

What is polyable?  Well, it’s a portmanteau – polyamory + teachable = polyable.  Basically, something happened today that made me go, “Aha!  This is what it’s all about.  I can use this as an example of how polyamory works.”  After all, once someone learns I am polyamorous, the questions start: who, what, where, when, how?  WHY????  I don’t mind the questions – hell, I’ll talk about anything if asked to, and human behavior is right up there as one of my favorite topics, along with sex and religion.  Oh, and my cats.

So, who?  Well, right now my only partner is my husband.  The post I linked above explains the break I had with my other main partner, and I’ve not really been up for hitting the dating market (I know I’ve mentioned before that DATING SUCKS MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF ASS.)  I don’t tend to count my platonic relationships as part of my polyamory; I know some people do, but it’s a case of YPINMPBYPIOK (your-poly-is-not-my-poly-but-your-poly-is-ok.)  If I did, I’d be close to maxing out the color choices in my Google calendar.  So, at some point I’ll end up hitting OK Cupid again and steeling myself to meet people unless a potential partner just falls into my lap while I’m playing Dragon Age: Inquisition.

*looks up at the ceiling hopefully*

What?  I define my version of polyamory really well in this post from 2012, so I don’t think I necessarily need to do it all over again…unless someone wants to see it here?  Let me know.

Where?  Everywhere.  I’m polyamorous everywhere.  I may not speak about it in all venues (over dinner with the parents and the aunt who is a minister?  Ummm, no.), but I am polyamorous.  I can behave otherwise, for a while, but the truth will out.  For the other version of the where question…also everywhere.  *winks*

When?  All the time.  See my answer to Where.  More practically, when my schedule permits.

How?  Well, if you’re talking definitions again, see my 2012 post linked above.  If you’re not, here’s where the polyable moment comes in: I communicate.  I tell people what they need to know even if I’m afraid they don’t want to hear it.  Especially if I’m afraid they don’t want to hear it; if I’ve angst over saying something, it is probably something that needs to be said.  So, earlier, my husband told me something via IM and I communicated back.  I told him how I felt about what he was saying, and how I felt about him, and how I want to move forward with bringing more people into my life.  We communicated, and it was profound like so many of our conversations are – we were so on the same wavelength that I felt we were vibrating on the same frequency.

The thing is, my husband’s polyamory only matches mine where we intersect with each other.  It works differently for him – he’s more emotionally open and more welcoming of romantic love, and I am, well, like I said, go read my definition.  I’ve broken off relationships when emotional connections have grown in directions I couldn’t handle, and when I can’t give people what they want/need from me (two in the past few years, actually).  My husband is completely different than me when it comes to love…and I love him so much for that, and want him to be happy.  So, I communicate so he knows where I am.  He communicates so I know where he is.  We communicate, and it is awe-inspiring to me.  Today’s communication, simple as it was, was polyable – I’ll be able to refer to it as an example of how my polyamory works and it just might give people some more insight.

Finally, why?  Why do I do this or, as people have asked, why would I choose this, or just why, for gods’ sakes why???

I could be flip and say why not, but the truth is that other relationship styles haven’t worked for me and this one does.   Monogamy didn’t work for me; polyamory and non-monogamy do.  I’m fortunate that I get to have the relationships I want, in the manner I want, without compromise, and I see no reason not to do so.

Thoughts?  Questions?  Good polyable moments?  I’d love to hear them!

Posted January 8, 2015 by veggiewolf in Polyamory, Terminology

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