The Journey of JaneQSmythe
I joined this forum formally on January 18th 2012 after lurking and reading for a few weeks. Due to recent events in my life I have found that I was looking for the conversation and advice of a community of poly-people (and the people who love them) – and am glad to find you all here conversing and advising away cheerfully!
I posted my Personal Summary:
I posted an Introduction:
(and really appreciate the welcome I received there!)
Now I find that I want to share more and tell my “Life Story” - luckily for me you have a forum for that as well!
(For reference I thought it might be helpful to include a list of the current cast of players in this not-very-dramatic drama – in subsequent posts I will pseudonym walk-on characters as needed...)
(Disclaimer: my interpretation of people's sexual orientation, poly/mono orientation, relationship status etc. is MY subjective interpretation based on their behaviors in my presence, stories and observations of others – I may be DEAD WRONG...)
MrsS (Me) – poly bi female, wife to MrS, gf to Dude, LDR FWB to VV and MsJ
MrS – straight (but not narrow) male, probably mono, husband to MrsS, close (best?) friend to Dude, friends with VV and MsJ
Dude – hetero male, probably poly, bf to MrsS, close (best?) friend to MrS, ex-bf to CrazyGirl, off-and-on sex buddies with Nan. MrS and Dude were friends for 1-2 years before I was introduced to Dude.
VV – bisexual female, poly?, swinging?, primary type relationship with fiance. We've been FWB almost since we met (19 years ago?), she was friends (without benefits) with MrS for a few years before that.
MsJ – bisexual female, primary type relationship with husband, 2 kids. Married to MrS's best friend from HS for 7-8 years. We've been FWB for, maybe, 4-5 years.
CrazyGirl – straight (potentially bi-curious?) female, Dude's ex-girlfriend, stated goal is to be married and “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen”
Nan – female, off-and-on sex buddies with Dude (when his relationship status allows for it)
Thank you for your interest in my personal journey!
My purpose in writing this blog is to set down, in an orderly fashion, the events and ideas that have led me to where I am today. I actually sat down and wrote an outline of the topics that I want to address with notes on items to cover in each sub-section (unsurprisingly, neither MrS nor Dude were surprised to learn I had written an outline - “Of course you did.”). My plan is to start with a series of posts covering my/our personal history – where I was in my life, how I interacted with people, how people responded. In the second section I plan to review the hurdles we faced, the major arguments we had, the mistakes that were made and their resolutions.
I am a person who finds it easier to communicate via the written word where I can take hours editing and re-editing until I find the flow of ideas that best conveys my intent. I may spend a seemingly inordinate amount of time finding the exact word or phrase that conveys my meaning precisely. The act of doing so, in turn, gives me personal insight into my actions and reactions to the topic or event I am addressing. I expect and hope the process of writing this blog will be an enlightening one for myself, and if my journey happens to provide a glimmer of insight to anyone here (even if it is only that you find that you disagree with me vehemently) then so much the better (“value-added” bloggingness).
My request to you, Dear Reader: I realize that this is a public forum and that I have no right to expect others to abide by my preferences, however, as my intent is to bring myself up-to-date in my thought processes, I would appreciate it if comments during the initial phase be limited to your immediate reactions to my posts and links to helpful resources and posts where you (or others) have dealt with similar issues. Once I have completed the “formal” (i.e. planned) portion of this blog I intend to convert to a more “journal” style blog where I discuss day-to-day issues in my journey as they arise or write about poly- or relationship-related topics that stem from conversations I have had, both in person and online, and how they relate to me and my general “philosophy of life.” At which point I hope you will join in with suggestions and vignettes.
In the meantime, if there is a conversation that you would like to have about something I have said in my personal history posts I would be grateful if you would post in my “Intro” thread (link above) or, if it sparks a topic of conversation of general interest, we can start a thread in the relevant section of the forum that I can link back to here.
PS. That sounds so formal! My purpose in this request is to help me stay on track and get everything down. I am easily sidetracked by interesting conversations (and quite verbose about it, to boot). I think I owe it to myself (and my boys) to take the time to wrap my head around my own thoughts. Think of this as the counseling/therapy that I do so badly (I once spent an entire session talking about Heinlein rather than my feelings - an interesting conversation, but I already KNOW what I think about HIM - and he's DEAD for crying out loud - THAT relationship isn't going anywhere any time soon :))
Hi Jane, you have no need to worry in the Blogs section. Debates aren't allowed here. There are a different set of guidelines for the "Life stories and blogs" forum, and if someone posts something to your blog that you don't want to remain there, this is the only forum where you can request someone else's posts be removed from your thread. This is from the User Guidelines:
So, rest easy, blog away, and... welcome!
*my* first reaction to your initial posts?
You're freakin' adorable! :D You go grrrl.
The pre-beginning: before MrS – the High School Years
Many of my views of sex and relationships have been shaped, I believe, by reading Heinlein since the age of 12. Growing up my family did not have a strong body modesty taboo and I believe this has something to do with my comfortableness with my own body and its sexuality. I started masturbating at 12, I “lost” my virginity at 16. (I apologize for the quotes but per Heinlein = “ ...But don't talk about 'losing' anything, when in fact you will be achieving your birthright, that supreme status of functioning female that your biological inheritance makes possible.”)
Looking around at the activities and entanglements of my fellow students I knew that I was not interested in the drama and hassles I saw inherent in high-school romances. I had things to DO with my life. I didn't want to waste time with petty romances and waiting for some boy to call for a date (Blech!). The concept of “love” I was fairly ambivalent about, I wasn't really sure it existed (to be fair, this is a concept that is still troublesome to me). It seemed me that “love” was something that horny people convinced themselves they were “in” to justify the fact that they wanted to have sex with someone. Since I was perfectly happy accepting that there were plenty of people that I was sexually attracted to, the whole “love” aspect seemed an unnecessary complication.
When I decided to become sexually active at the age of 16 it was with careful consideration of what I wanted. For my first sexual experience I chose a friend of mine, call him PianoBoy, who also happened to be the first boy to kiss me (at the age of 12) – for some reason the symmetry of this pleased me. We were friends, we hung out, we had several interests in common, we fooled around intermittently and I would get turned on. I knew that he had slept with, and was sleeping with, a number of girls but never had a “girlfriend”. For a year or two he had been periodically asking “So, when are you going to have sex with me?” and my answer was “Wait until I'm sixteen.” A few weeks after I turned sixteen he asked the same question and my answer was: “Pick me up at 3 on Saturday, bring condoms. But, I have to be home by 7 because I'm going to the Homecoming Dance with some guy.” He did, and we did, and it was fun! (The dance, however, was boring as...well, hell would have been more exciting...not my sort of thing at all – had only agreed to go as a favor to a friend.)
So, having decided that sex was something that I wanted to experience more of – I called Planned Parenthood and got on the pill. Not that I actually ever disclosed this, intentionally, to any of my prospective sex partners – let them think that the condom was their only defense against potential fatherhood and I figured they would be that much more careful. I'm a “suspenders-AND-a-belt” kind of girl – an unintended pregnancy would have interfered with my plans (although I had a back-up plan, of sorts, for that as well – my aunt was having trouble getting pregnant, I was going to a.) run away, b.) call her and offer to have the baby for her to adopt, c.) come home and apologize to my parents.)
From that point on I chose my potential sexual partners from a.) friends that I was sexually attracted to that I thought were “emotionally mature” enough not to presume on our friendship for more than FWB and b.) random boys that I met that I was sexually attracted to that seemed to me to be amenable to my NSA approach to sex. (Girls had not yet hit my consciousness in regards to the range of possible sexual partners...although I had the usual “crushes” in this regard – just not registering on my “sexual attraction” radar.) To back this up I had developed a list of “rules” in my own mind to avoid possible emotional entanglement: a.) no virgins (in my observations, people had a tendency to become 'attached' to their first sexual partner) b.) 'The Rule of 3' – I wouldn't have sex with someone more then three times (in my observations, people had a tendency to become 'attached' to people they had sex with on a regular basis) – in actuality this turned into a 'Rule of 2' – I'm a bit of a hoarder, so I would “save” one sexual encounter with a good partner 'in-case-of-emergency' c.) at any sign of 'attachment' sexual contact stops – say I misread you and after the first sexual encounter you get all “mushy” or start calling me for no reason, or act jealous when I am flirting with others – yup, done.
Contrary to what you may think this actually worked out quite well for me for a few years. The few misunderstandings were cleared up by my friends having a conversation with the boy in question (“It's not that she doesn't want YOU for a boyfriend...she doesn't want a boyfriend at ALL. That's just how she is....”) So I never had to confront the “feelings” side of sex in any significant way...
… and then there is the 'Story of MrS'...
The Beginning – Meeting MrS
My senior year of HS my friend, PonyGirl, and I used to hang out on weekends at a house that some of our friends had in the city. One weekend a mutual friend (Rube) brought two new guys to the house while they were home on spring break – MrS and JB. I had my eye on MrS but PonyGirl beat me to him. By the end of the evening MrS and PonyGirl had a little thing going and JB had asked me out.
JB and I got along really well in terms of interesting conversations and shared interests but he got knocked off my 'potential sex partner' list due to my “No Virgins” rule so we became friends instead. Over the next few months new friendships developed and a group of us – Me, PonyGirl, JB, MrS, Rube and SweetPea (MrS's ex-girlfriend/now FWB) and a few others - would hang out together regularly. Rube and I developed a FWB relationship, MrS and PonyGirl were seeing/sleeping with each other (he was of the understanding that this was a FWB scenario – she never said anything to the contrary). MrS was also sleeping with SweetPea (he was clear with her that this was a FWB-and-no-further situation, she voiced understanding but was still hoping they could get back together). Confused yet?
For the first time in my life I found myself playing “games” try to get a boy interested in me (Ick!). For example, I usually drove when all of us friends would go out (my car could hold 7) - at the end of the evening I would feign fatigue and ask MrS to take over the driving and drop everyone off and then I would just have to drive home from his house. I'm thinking – alone in a car, at night, way out in the country...NOPE – the guy never made a move (...maybe if I had ever learned to bat my eyelashes?) At the time my usual method of chasing men was “letting them chase me while I ran very slowly” (to quote Mama Maureen in Heinlein's To Sail Beyond the Sunset). Apparently MrS's method of seduction is to sit around having interesting conversations and looking sexy until some sweet young thing drags him bodily off into the bushes. [MrS makes no attempt whatsoever to deny this – says that it has always worked out pretty well, why change a system that works just fine?]
Passive seduction techniques + Passive seduction techniques = No sex with MrS for Jane.
It turned out that Rube, MrS, and I would all be attending the same college campus in the fall so I pretty much decided that I would have my chance at him then. I (apparently) made no secret of this intention – which led JB to make a bet with MrS that I would trip him within 3 days of getting to school (it only took 2). [When I tease MrS about this bet he says: “If I won I got paid, if I lost I got laid – where's the downside?”]
Anyway (got a little ahead of myself there) – don't think that I spent that summer just lusting after MrS and not getting anywhere – there were some of my prior partners that hadn't quite used up their 3 times yet, I met new people to play with when I went up to college for a pre-freshman summer session, AND... I discovered girls! And threesomes! [Actually I tease MrS that these developments were all his “fault”] ...but I'll save that for the next post...
The Beginning - A Threesome Tangent
Mid-way through that first summer SweetPea approaches me with a proposition (and a sweet smile on her luscious little rosebud mouth and an adorable dimple and a sparkly glow in her eyes and ...wait...where was I?) She thinks that MrS would enjoy a threesome with some hot girl-on-girl action and she knows I am attracted to him and she thinks I'm cute and would I consider being a third? Hell YES! BUT – I have never done this before so I might be awkward, yadda-yadda, we set a date (it was to be a surprise present). I also told her that for our “first time” I didn't feel comfortable having sex with him so if she wouldn't mind taking care of the sex-with-him part...?
Now you may ask yourself why, if I am so eager to get in his pants, I don't take advantage of it at this opportunity? A few reasons – two new sex partners, my first girl, my first threesome – all at the same time! - I was afraid I would get overwhelmed and suffer “performance anxiety” (and he would think I'm lousy in bed). ALSO, I really like SweetPea, she's sweet and friendly and fun and nice and sexy, her “problem” is the fact that she can't keep her pants on...something that I can totally identify with. Look – I don't approve of her cheating on MrS while they were together – but I viewed that as an issue between the two of them – if SHE had known herself well enough to admit at that time that she wasn't wired for monogamy things could have turned out a lot differently. (Actually, I think years later that she and her first husband ended up being swingers – we went to the wedding but then they moved out of state and we didn't see her more than a few times after that).
So anyway, I like SweetPea and I know that she is hoping that the current FWB situation with MrS will evolve into them getting back together, in fact, I think that she is hoping that this threesome will aid in this (“See what a cool, sexy, girl I am? See what I can do for you? Don't you want to get back together with me?”). I am afraid that if I have sex with him in front of her and they don't get back together (which I didn't think they would – he was really hurt by her cheating) then she is going to want to blame me, which would mess up our budding friendship (and our potential FWBship? If it turns out that we like this girl-on-girl thing as much as I suspect we are going to) and just complicate the whole situation (I can't stand drama...) Also, this being her first time with the girl-on-girl bit, I am afraid that if she sees me having sex with him and has a negative emotional reaction, she will not have a good time, she will associate it with the girl-on-girl activity and won't invite me back!
(You may at this point suspect that I have a tendency to over-analyze things...you would be correct.)
So, the date came and we showed up at MrS's house while his parents were at work and informed him of our intentions and he was appropriately enthused (I believe “Woohoo!” and “That's hot!” sprang to mind). So with some blushing awkwardness, a few false starts, and LOTS of giggling we embarked on our little adventure. Initially we turned to MrS for some direction (“OK, you nibble her there, now you kiss her there, now you touch me there...”) - after a bit we relaxed and bit and figured out our own dynamic and then drew him into it. We had made it to the naked and kissing and cuddling stage...When MrS's Dad pulls into the driveway – home from work several hours early! Chaos! We all dive off the bed so as to be below the level of the windowsill, SweetPea crawls to the closet, I scramble to the bathroom, MrS is trying to sort out our clothes and toss them in the right directions while getting his own pants on. By the time Dad makes it up to the house MrS and SweetPea are sitting in the kitchen talking, and I am just coming out of the bathroom...La-La-La – nothing interesting happening here...
God that was freaking hilarious!
We did arrange an encore a few weeks later, when MrS's parents were out of town – warm August night, blankets outside, fire, cool breeze, starry sky and two naked teenage girls running around like woodland fairy nymphs. I like being naked outside and girls are fun! After we got tired of catching and kissing each other while MrS looked on and laughed, SweetPea and MrS had sex by the fire while I watched and kissed and petted them...that was a lovely evening.
The Beginning – The Relationship that Wasn't
So in the fall MrS and I go off to college. MrS's roomates are Rube, OrangeBoy, and 3 guys named John (not really but they did all have the same first name). OrangeBoy is only notable because down the road he cheated on his long-time girlfriend with my dormmate (and because his girlfriend happened to go to college with one of my best girl friends from HS she ended up finding out)...and for one other incident that will come out later in this tale. I moved into my dormroom, met my roommate, said goodbye to my parents and headed off to Rube and MrS's apartment to meet the rest of the boys. MrS resisted my sexual advances that first night (no worries, Rube “consoled” me on the couch).
Night number 2 MrS lost his bet with JB and...apparently my rules flew out the window. We blew through my “Rule of 3” in no time flat. Sorry to say we busted my suspenders-and-a-belt rule as well - if I can't be honest in my blog and admit my mistakes then I am not telling the whole story. (More on this later.)
I tease Dude that he is such a Uhaul lesbian, but essentially the same thing happened when I got together with MrS. That first semester I spent most nights with MrS, my dorm room was a place I kept my clothes and studied between classes or when MrS wasn't at the apartment (I did NOT have my own key). When PonyGirl or SweetPea would come up to visit I would visit with them during the day (and in the case of SweetPea we would play with MrS together - or with each other if he was off doing something else) but I would go back to my dormroom leaving him to them for the night (even though he said I didn't have to). Sometimes I would call one of the other boys I had on tap (unceremoniously referred to as “Dick-On-Call” by some of our friends).
At some point during this phase Rube said something to MrS that triggered one of my quotable quotes that gets repeated frequently in jest. Rube and the rest of the guys are hanging out having a general bitch-session and Rube says something to MrS about “...your girlfriend...”. MrS looks confused and I glance up from whatever book I have my nose in, look puzzled, and comment “MrS doesn't have a girlfriend! I would know...I'm here all the time.” Then I got all embarrassed because I realized that he meant ME...we 'set him straight.'
A few months passed and I found myself getting upset and agitated by things that would not have EVER bothered me in the past. I actually started keeping a journal around this time (something I don't generally do) to vent some of the confusing feelings I found myself having. One night we were at a party and my dormmate happened to be there with us and wanted to leave early. MrS offered to walk her back to the dorm. (ALL of the boys in our group of friends were incredibly attentive to making sure that we girls never had to walk across campus after dark alone – there were incidents all of the time on such a huge campus.) They ended up stopping at a pool hall and hanging out for a few hours – I actually got back to our dormroom before she did (Rube brought me home). When she got back to the room she disclosed that she was upset because she found herself attracted to MrS and had come the closest she had ever come to being tempted to cheat on her long time boyfriend. I said something vague like “Oh, really?” but inside I was seething with...?
Well, that is an interesting question. My journal entries from that time contain a lot of questions (”Am I developing FEELINGS for MrS?” “Am I feeling JEALOUS? - you don't even believe in that Jane” etc.) and express a lot of anger at myself for responses that I would have scoffed at had someone else been having them. At some point I talked about my conflict with a friend of mine (call her Gina). (Sidenote: Gina was my friend because we had independently picked PianoBoy to be our “first” for similar reasons – small world...). Basically, she said, after several weeks of hearing me whining that, if I didn't say something to MrS, then, as my friend, she would be compelled to. After protesting, I agreed that if I hadn't “said anything” by a certain point that she would press the issue.
After the allotted time Gina called me (at MrS's) and asked if we had had 'the conversation' yet. I admitted that we hadn't and she said that I needed to put him on the phone. I protested but complied. MrS takes the phone out in the hall while I have an anxiety induced meltdown in the bedroom. After a while (10 minutes? Seemed like hours on my end.) MrS comes to me and says “Is there something you need to talk to me about?” Oh, agony! I can't talk, I can't think, I can't breath. So I write something on a sheet of notebook paper, hand it to him and bury my head in the pillows. A minute passes...was that a chuckle? After an eternity passes he comes over to me and and lifts my head up ...he waits until I can't help but look him in the eyes and he says...”Yes.”
The burning question that I had asked? The question that had precipitated this whole juvenile charade?
“Do you care for me, at all?” Turns out...he did.
The Beginning – OK we are in a “relationship”, what does that MEAN?
So, having determined that we did, in fact, “care for” each other – what does this mean exactly? After 6 mos of seeing each other practically every day (and sleeping together almost every night) I have finally acknowledged that I have 'feelings' for this guy, and (through a very junior- high-type intervention) have determined that he has feelings for me as well. Great. Now, what am I supposed to DO?
After the whole emotional upheaval of the “Do you care for me?” conversation I was exhausted and we spent the next few hours pursuing our normal routine – I studied in his room while he and his roommates hung out. That evening we were going to a party at another apartment (in the same complex) I wasn't sure how the conversation earlier in the day affected how we were “supposed” to interact now that we were a “couple”, so I determined that I would find out... We go to the party and I pursue my usual pattern of floating/flirting between the guys that I am friends with and chatting up the “likeliest” guy in the room. At some point in the process of chatting up my “prospect” I get the tap on the shoulder (which I have kind of been expecting...) from MrS - “We need to talk.” We go back to the apartment for a conversation about boundaries...which continued over a period of time.
After a lot of conversation (for us) it boils down to this: a.) he is fine with me having any relationship I want with other women – telling him or not telling him beforehand / including him not including him in any sex play (Ladies Choice), he is fine with me being flirty with our (male) friends including “physical” flirting (cuddling/lap sitting/light petting), he is fine with me hanging out with/being friends with/ verbally flirting with other boys that he doesn't know ...but he is NOT ok with me being romantically or sexually involved with other males. (The difference in the degree of flirting he is comfortable with – physical vs. verbal flirting - between friends of ours and people I meet on my own has to do with whether he trusts them to STOP when I say “enough.”)
MY boundaries – who knew that I had any? Turns out I did. I was fine with him having any relationship he wants with other males (neither of us thought at the time that this would come into play – all of his prior sexual partners were female) but I did not really want to hear any details of “anal” sex/play. (Apparently I have an anti-fetish in this regard...). With regard to females I came up with a MMMNM rule – which stands for “Mucus Membranes Must Not Meet”. This is not a “safer sex” rule per se. Kissing, oral sex, and intromission are, to me, intimate acts that have the potential to lead to “attachment” (i.e. romantic involvement) and I wanted to know if his relationships with other girls were headed in this direction. I gave him a “free pass” right off the bat for SweetPea (who we were both into) but other than her I would like to be informed.
Before the poly police start screaming “OPP! OPP! Someone is being oppressed!” (This is said very tongue-in-cheek...:p) We were very young (me 18, him 20). This was my very first “relationship” ever and his third (according to his count), the first two ended by having his girlfriend cheating on him. The word “polyamory” had been coined a few years earlier but we didn't have the Internet back then and were playing it by ear (making up the 'rules' as we went along). To be perfectly fair, this worked (fairly well) for years and years...
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