Smelling the flowers
I guess I should start with a list of characters. I'll start with the two principal players, my fiance and me, as I don't expect either one of us to be cut from the script.
Twitch: my fiance. 40 year old male. IT Security Auditor. Bald, lean, metrosexual with some of the coolest shoes ever owned by a white boy.
Me: 47 years old. Computer programmer. Mother of three. Grandmother of one. Fit, but curvy, brunette.
Shasti: 39 female. Twitch's gf. She is also involved with Orville [Wright] (teehee, he's a pilot among other things, so I couldn't resist.)
Piper: 43 male. Graphic Designer. My interest. It's too new to put a title on anything yet. But there is a lot of potential for something.
Backstory: Twitch and I have been together for 13.5 years, engaged for 1 year, our wedding is slated for 10.2012. First twelve years of our life together were ho-hum, but the past 20 months have been an adventure as we've redefined our relationship; first by introducing BDSM and more recently by opening up our relationship to polyamory.
We were first exposed to polyamory and other forms of non-monogamy via the kink community. Our first explorations into consensual nonmongamy were two foursomes with two couples on two separate occassions. From there the idea of becoming polyamorous took root.
NOTE: Shasti and Orville were one of the couples we had a foursome with.
Of the two of us, I was more interested in poly than Twitch was for several reasons:
1.) He didn't see how he'd ever be able to fit another relationship into his life, because his job takes him away from home 3 to 4 nights per week and weekends were filled with household chores and doing things with me.
2.) The guy is so damn loyal, bless his heart.
I, on the otherhand, have the time to pursue outside relationships because of his job. Plus, this fall we'll be empty nesters and I'll have even more time to fill.
One of the biggest draws for me was that I was not ready to be married again. I was so scared that as soon as the ring was on my finger I'd be looking for the nearest exit. I hoped that by having the option to create outside relationships that I could stay in the one I was already in. Perhaps that's a bit messed up, but having been divorced once before and being practical about the low success rate of marriages and the high incident rate of cheating my logic made sense to me.
Twitch and I established rules and guidelines: background checks, safe calls for first meetings, safer sex practices, STD/STI testing, no sex in our bed, etc.
Man, it's hard to go back and fill in the details. Let's see, on Mother's Day Twitch drove to Shasti's city - it's a big windy one - for an overnight visit. Shasti is a pediatrician and she has Monday's off. I was a bit perturbed that he had no qualms about taking off on Mother's Day, but truth be told he doesn't really do a damn thing for me on that day anyhow. We had taken my youngest son out for breakfast and he had scattered as young adults do, so the day was pretty much free.
I felt so left out. I like Shasti. We kissed and did a wee bit of sapphic loving that one time. My time home alone while he was with her lasted forever! I just wanted to be with them. I have this party girl personality; I want to be included in everything. I was the kid who always rode along to the grocery store. Pathetic, I know. Good news is that I survived!
I was so jazzed to hear about his experiences and a bit surprised by the angst he shared as we worked on the yard the following weekend. It was like having a view of what he must have gone through when we hooked up years ago. Poor boy. I loved hearing how he was processing things and I was amazed with how open he was with me about his feelings. It was such an odd feeling to be hoping so much that she liked him. Kind of protective like a mother bear feeling.
Meanwhile, I was having to learn to not be secretive when corresponding or having OKC open. Old habits die hard. I knew I was allowed, but it still felt like something that should be done covertly. And even now I still don't care to have him walk up and read over my shoulder. At that point in time he was having a hard time thinking of me dating others. He was so critical of everyone's profile and didn't trust anyone an inch. He had no faith in my judgement whatsoever. Arg. Yeah, you could see the green from across the room.
The first guy I started seeing was way too young for me. Let's call him the BoyToy. :o I had originally blown the BoyToy off on OKC, even though we had super high percentages on match and friend. He caught me on IM and made me feel guilty that I was dissing him strictly over age, so I caved and met him. We clicked. We saw each other for about 5-6 weeks, but in the end the age difference was just too much and he ended it, much to my relief. LOL.
The first weeks were so hard knowing what to share with Twitch, what would be too much, and what was too little. I wanted to be able to share like he had with me, but I wasn't used to operating like that and also he wasn't ready. Not knowing was killing him and knowing was also killing him. Gak. Touchy times.
So, let's fast forward through some of this stuff. Twitch has seen Shasti once a month since May. Let's count them; that's three overnight stays. Not hard math, but I didn't want to tax anyone. ;)
On my end, I have had seen Piper twice. Our first date lasted four hours. Piper said that he broke one of his cardinal rules for first dates which is they only are allowed 1 - 1.5 hours of time. The conversation flowed and the night ended with a very sweet kiss. Our second date was not really a date-date. Piper has recently bought a condo and is in the middle of ripping the entire thing apart. Our date basically consisted of me taking the tour and then we went to the rooftop garden and enjoyed the view and talked for the next couple of hours. I don't expect to get a lot of Piper's time between now and when he has to be out of his apartment and into the condo on August 11th. That kind of blows because Twitch was gone for training last week, this week he's in D.C. for a tech committe he's on, and next week he's gone the whole week for work. So much time alone.
So, there you have it. Or at least a high level view of us. :) I'll reveal our flaws in the next installment.
We're into kink. We attended a 3 day event last weekend, Friday to Sunday. I was excited to get to see Twitch because he'd been gone since Monday and had spent the night before with Shasti on his return trip from training down south.
As soon as we had a moment to ourselves he swore me to secrecy (I don't think any of the involved are on this site) and said he had something to tell me, but that Shasti hadn't spoken to Orville yet (Orville was at the same event as us) so mum was the word.
Shasti told him that she wanted to have a baby and that she was checking into in vitro fertilization and adoption. What she wanted to know was if she was pregnant or had a baby if he'd still date her. She didn't want an answer right away. She wanted him to think about it.
(Shasti is a pediatrician.)
One of the things Twitch has been trying to avoid in new relationships is children. He's been through thick and thin helping raise my three kids. He has no romantic allusions, but instead has a background of raising children while not being their father, dealing with the father, and all that goes with raising kids. My youngest leaves for college this Fall. He can see daylight. He can smell the sweet air of freedom. It's right there.....
I could almost hear the sound of a needle screeching across vinyl in his head as the music ended.
I was the one who helped him to see that this could be an opportunity for him. How different this would be than his experience helping to raise my children, because this baby wouldn't have a daddy and there wouldn't be an ex to deal with. That if he wanted and Shasti wanted, he could step into that role.
We discussed our wedding. (things have changed so much in the past year - I never felt like we needed to do this to be committed to each other. Recently he's started feeling the same way.) Should we legally go through with it, or just have a wedding and not file the paperwork, that we didn't think that at this point we could cancel it as relatives have bought plane tickets and we'd have a heck of a time telling them that we weren't going to get married, but we were going to stay together. We tossed about the idea that if we didn't legally marry that we could do so at a courthouse down the road and no one would be the wiser. We discussed an exit strategy should things end - how the debt would be divided and taken care of. He was concerned that without us being married that if something happened to him, I'd get his life insurance, but not his pension, so that was something to consider.
We discussed how his next career move will be to take certification testing and move up to the Federal level and that he'd like to try for a position that is opening up in our region and is based out of [Big City]. I expressed that I didn't think I'd like [Big City] as well as [Mid-sized City], but he assured me that there is a nice neighborhood close by where Shasti lives that he thinks I'd like, and that it's likely that I wouldn't have to work (he knows how to woo me.)
We talked about so many things. I felt safe being able to voice things to him. He was surprising me with his depth of understanding of what it would mean to say to Shasti that he'd continue to date her through a pregnancy, how this would change things. I was also touched by how focused he was that I was okay with all of this and that this was our decision. It was a new level.
On the way home things started to unravel for me. We had separate vehicles and he was behind me. When we got home he said he was surprised I hadn't passed a slow car ahead of me. I said that by the time I realized I had missed an opportunity to get around them that it was gone. I had been lost in thought at the time. He joked and asked if I was thinking of him, and yes, yes, I was. I let him know that for some reason I was really sad and feeling threatened and that I didn't get it. He wanted to know what was bothering me, what thoughts were tumbling around. I didn't want to share because I knew that it was no doubt due to being overtired (we had stayed up almost all night talking) and I was just having a pity party. But he persisted. Then he talked me into a 9 mile bike ride. That was a good idea. The exercise helped a lot. We talked some while riding and more that night. But mostly it was me being a big baby.
Monday he was off to D.C. He was very concerned with how I was doing emotionally. I was feeling sad, threatened, and perplexed. Just thinking about him and Shasti was painful. I had lost my compersion. I didn't think I was really feeling jealousy, though.
His plan was to write Shasti a letter with his response while he was in airports on his way to D.C. And then, he figured they'd talk later in the day once he got there. She has Monday's off, so it was good timing to do so. He called me that night to tell me how things went. I was so frustrated. They talked for nearly two hours and the first 30 minutes or more was about MTKF and him getting waxed, the next 30 minutes were about her family visiting, and then they finally got to the heart of it. Basically, she just wanted to know if he'd date her if she was pregnant. Nothing more at this time. But, they really didn't delve into things like I had hoped. They skirted things.
They did discuss her issue with knowing how to explain him to her family. She has no issue telilng her friends that her boyfriend is engaged and soon to be married, but it'll be harder to tell her family and she has to decide if she can do it, because if she can't then she can't continue to see him as she's not comfortable telling half truths to them. Her sister lives close by and they are best friends. Her parents are 4 hours away. Her family is very close and she sees her cousins often. They are all very highly educated and successful. Both of her parents are doctors, her sister is a securities trader, the cousin that came to visit over the 4th is a doctor, her husband is a doctor. Oy! And their culture probably plays into this, too. Part of this discussion was would he tell his family about her or not. He said yes he planned to tell them, but he didn't want to tell them before our wedding. He was thinking November or December.
I listened and prompted him to tell me everything but it was hard. I was hurting inside. I needed to know this stuff, but it was painful. And I kept thinking how it was me that pushed us down this path, that I am the one who feels I need this.
In the early Tuesday morning hours a huge storm broke. The early morning storm woke me and my own internal storm broke loose. I sent an email off to Twitch and waited to hear from him.
I'm not okay.
He emailed me back.
We dont have to tell my family til WERE ready.He called me and we talked and I started to be able to finally identify what I found so threatening. I think it may be easier to just share what I wrote to him rather than try to write it all out again.
I think that what is threatening to me is that I think it's likely that down the road you are going to feel torn between the two of us. That you'll want to spend more time with them, but guilt and obligation will keep you with me instead. I never felt that you loving someone else might take away from what you feel for me until this scenario presented itself. I had projected the possibility that sometime down the road that you may start a family with someone, so this situation wasn't quite the same, but similar. The difference is that I thought it would be in the future when we were more experienced in polyamory and not just starting out.And later that morning I realized that my insecurities were receding, so I sent him this:
I'm okay. I needed that to reach this place. I am okay. My insecurities are retreating. I'm in love. I need to be vulnerable to be fully in love. The risk is worth it. :) I am laying my heart in your hands and I trust that you'll take care of it. It doesn't mean that you have to love only me. Your feelings for me are not diminished because of loving others. Love is not like a pie and if you give someone a piece then you have less pie. Capacity to love is infinite and feeling good and loving begets more love. Time on the other hand is finite. It's valuable and we need to make our moments count. That does not mean avoiding the unpleasant, rather maintaining the connection. We could be doing almost any kind of activity and as long as we feel connected, then that's time appreciated and used wisely.Another truth poked it's way through my subconscious that I didn't have the faith that Twitch has the capacity to do polyamory before then. Deep down I was worried that he was monogamous at heart and that he'd abandon one relationship for another rather than build multiple relationships simultaneously. Last weekend and since he demonstrated to me that he does get the concept and is quite capable of doing polyamory in a very ethical way. He's the one teaching me. It's a relief for me that I can relax into that and not feel like he won't have my back or that he won't always be there for me. He surprised me this weekend by saying that he hopes that Piper and I hit it off and even more than that, he's coming to realize that he may have to give up some time with me so that I can build a tertiary relationship (e.g. weekend time.)
It was still a rough week after that. I saw my therapist at noon on Tuesday and told her all of this. She was happy for me and said for the first time she felt she was seeing me a a bride. And you know what, now I want to get married. Good thing seeing as it's less than 3 months away.
I'm still having a hard time not letting jealousy overcome me when I think of Twitch with Shasti. I want my compersion back. I don't think either one of them has the experience to know what an emotional journey a pregnancy can be. I can see where they could really bond and fall in love and that baby and her will become very important to him.
I had a super lonely week, but on Wednesday I a friend over for a girls' night of gabbing and just company. By Thursday I was starting to get my equilibirum back. I can't wait for him to get home. I need reassurance and time with him. I'm still feeling twinges in my heart.
I think I'm finding the whole baby/Shasti thing threatening because I don't think they have a clue how emotional this is going to be. That they'll be in this little cocoon of love and wonder that won't have a place for me.
Everything in my life from the reason I got a divorce, to why I moved 200 miles away from my family, to why I am with Twitch (original reasons), has to do with being a parent and having to look out for them and provide them stability and a future. In my world, that's been the most motivating factor to every major decision I've made for the past 27 years.
So, now I am feeling threatened and insecure about my place for the long run with Twitch. I don't want to be the one shut out of this wonder that is about to take place, but how can I be part of it? There is no role for me to fit into that. And I really don't have a right to intrude into Shasti's world. This is her time, her baby. Twitch may never get to be as involved as I am worrying about. Their relationship may never reach that richness that would elevate him to such a status within her family unit.
My fears cause me to flirt with the idea of asking him to walk away from the whole situation, but I can't do that to him, to us, to Shasti. They have found in each other someone that they like and enjoy spending time with. That isn't such an easy thing to find. I don't even want to ask that of him really. It's just my insecurity speaking.
I am going to have to fall back on his word and give him the benefit of the doubt. I need to trust in his love for me. On my end I'm going to make sure to keep our connection strong, so that our relationship isn't weakened. Attentive and engaged will be my new mantra.
My feelings about getting married have radically changed. Ten days ago I was so relieved when we played with the idea of having a ceremony, but not filing the paperwork, to now wanting it all to be legal.
Security has been a huge motivator in most of my decisions in life, so now I'm wondering if this urge is because I find Twitch's budding relationship threatening.
When I talk to Twitch about wanting to get married for real and not just a pretend ceremony, he's very noncommittal and says that the reasons to get married just aren't what they once were, so he's fine either way; as being married does not guarantee that you'll be together forever.
I worry that he's feels that we have to go forward with the wedding, but doesn't feel like actually getting married. I only have myself to blame. I promoted this feeling. It's not fair to expect him to toss it off as soon as my feelings change and I start embracing the idea of matrimony.
I need to talk to him more. I need to know if he still believes in the symbolism of standing before family and friends and declaring our commitment to one another. Does he feel that commitment?
To me getting married says that we have picked each other as our primaries and that we put our relationship above all others.
He's going to see Shasti on the 12/13th and I'm fighting down twinges of pain over the thought. I need my compersion back.
Twitch and I talked by phone Monday night. I wanted to convey to him that I really want an actual legal marriage to him. My thinking was, if I don't say it outright, then how is he suppose to swing his thinking around from the path I had taken him down a few short weeks ago? I'm asking a lot of him it seems all the time lately. Our lives have been changing so radically.
It's painful to hear him say that a year ago when we became engaged he was very excited about getting married and our wedding, but now he's not very excited at all. I know it's because I've taken the shine off of it for him. I'm hoping that I can put some of it back. It's going to take time, though, and that's one thing we don't have a lot of. Our wedding is mid-October. I could just kick myself for causing him this pain.
What I really needed to hear was that he loves me. He's really making a huge effort to make contact with me on a daily basis now and give me words of affirmation. I love him so much for how hard he is working to make us work and to show me love in the way that I need it when I need it. He's wonderful. Really wonderful.
I'm feeling much less committed to polyamory as a relationship style now, too. We discussed this and we're not going to change anything right now, as it's likely that later this fall when the house is empty I'm going to start feeling the pull towards it again. He's so leery of advancing his relationship with Shasti, because he's scared I'm going to pull it away from him. I would never do that to him, but it's his fear and it's a valid one.
So, we continue forward. I'm meeting a new guy early next week. We've been talking a lot and I really like him. He's not sure if he'll be able to enter into relationship as a secondary, though. He's trying to wrap his mind around the concepts. I should find a name for him on here.
Is that the right term for what others will be in our lives if we set up our relationship as primary, meaning that we are each others base/anchor/core? I don't want anyone to feel that they are less, because of a title or designation. I guess that this is something we'll sort out as things develop and we know how much time and energy we can give to others and still keep our balance.
Coming out of the fog and back into the sunlight
The past two months have been the most difficult months of my life. They've been productive in personal growth and also in becoming okay again with polyamory and an open relationship. It was really hit and miss there for a while. One of the things I learned was that a good portion of the pain I was feeling wasn't jealousy as I had labeled it; it was more lonesomeness than anything.
The third weekend in September Twitch and I went to the Windy City to visit Shasti. I needed to get a handle on their relationship and I also wanted to get to know her better. When we first met Shasti it was via a mutual friend at a party he threw in March. The next time I saw Shasti it was for a foursome in April that she had suggested. From that time until our weekend in Chicago the two of us hadn't spent any time together and a lot of emotional upheaval had happened in my life - much of it related to her.
I learned a lot about myself that weekend. I figured out that the threat I was feeling was linked to loneliness as a child and not being 'part of the group'. It's amazing how once the root of an issue is revealed it looses its power and fades, healing. That doesn't mean that I'm totally over my insecurities, but I certainly feel my old self coming back. I'm going to be okay.
Twitch has been so incredible through all of this. I love him more each day.
We are both excited about our wedding (10 days.) He's been so much help with everything. It's definitely been a dual effort. We don't have any family that lives close by to lend a hand, so the two of us have done it all.
My compersion is coming back and it feels nice. We are talking more about his relationship with Shasti and it feels good. Last night's conversation revealed that she made an awesome suggestion for something for him to do for me when we are in D.C. later this month. He won't divulge what it is, but he seems excited and I'm just very touched that she did that.
It's all going to be okay. In fact, I think it's going to be more than okay. I think it's going to be great! :)
We were married on Friday. It was an amazing day. Most everything went off without a hitch and our guests had a great time.
I do think that we scandalized our families a bit. Twitch was dancing with a friend of ours (not Shasti) and afterwards his brother-in-law came up to him and said that we may have had the longest wait for a wedding, but that we were going to have the fastest divorce. Oops! Maybe the groom was a bit too familiar with the lady. Or vice versa. And here I thought we were all on our best behavior.
Shasti and Orville were guests at our wedding. I was actually very happy to have them there. I'm feeling so much better about having an open relationship.
Earlier in the week if I'd have had the time, I wanted to send Shasti a card telling her how grateful that she was the one that Twitch was involved with. I debated about sending her an email, but the thing with email is that one feels compelled to reply and this isn't a message that warrants a response. I simply ran of time because there was one thing after another that needed to be done before the wedding. I'll be in D.C. from the 18th through the 25th, returning on the 26th. From the 23rd-25th Twitch will be busy with a committee he serves on during the day. I think I'll take note cards with me and write her a note then.
Last night as I helped Twitch pack his suitcase for the next two weeks (Dallas, TX this week, D.C. the next), I was thinking of badly he needs new luggage. My mind wandered a bit to his birthday and Christmas and I had a thought that maybe Shasti would like to go in with me on new luggage for him.
This may or may not seem odd to you - joint gift buying, but it struck me that I've come a long ways from the hurting person I was a month ago. It's hard to say exactly why all of the puzzle pieces shifted into place again, but I'm very grateful that they have.
On a fun note: Orville contacted me today and we're doing lunch on Thursday before I fly to D.C. I better pack a lunch that day, because I usually leave there hungrier than when I got there. :p
Congrats on the Wedding!
A note card sent via snail mail would be a nice touch and very personal.
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