Happy-ish Stable-ish, Uneventful Poly
I am not new here, or new to poly, but I never made an introduction so I thought I would. Nothing noteworthy enough is happening to start a blog. Hoping it stays that way! Nevertheless I guess I'll start from day one.
I was briefly poly ten or so years ago with my ex-husband, but we broke up 9 months later, and I ended up monogamous with my other partner at the time, Adam, while I recovered from the break up. My request to Adam was to add no new partners (he was dating somebody which was fine with me) for a few months while I recovered from my break up. When it turned out Adam and I were getting serious, it seemed like a (not that much discussed) smart idea to build our relationship and figure out what was happening before taking on any other partners again. Somehow the default was “we are mono“ when it was brought up, which confused me since Adam had been poly since he was a teenager, about 20 years when we met.
I started er…putting my foot down? That we either needed a change in our relationship (the sexual dynamic) or to be open to dating again, about 5 years into our relationship. I was met with reluctance to the idea, which didn’t make sense to me with Adam‘s background. I’ll go on in great droning detail about that later. … I was actively advocating for it for two years without any progress, when somebody messaged Adam at his polymatchmaker.com profile. She asked if he would like to meet for coffee (his profile said looking for friends) and I said he should. Before the meeting I told him to sit down, shut up, and listen to what I was saying, and forbade (YES FORBADE) him to respond to what I said. I told him if he felt like flirting with her, he should flirt, and sent him on his way. He came back from coffee all giddy and energized, and suddenly remembered all the benefits to poly, and BAM.
hmm, guess I'll post this before I change my mind!
Yep, I only think about starting a blog thread after a few glasses of good red wine. My reason for posting is that I think if I am going to give somebody advice, they should get to know where it is coming from if they care to reference. And maybe my poly will be more interesting someday and all sorts of drama will ensue so I'll have something interesting to say (God I hope not)
My (now ex) husband and I had been married about 11 years when poly came up - actually non traditional relationships came up in the form of some friends talking about exhibitionistic sex at a swing club, which led to a "we said 11 years ago we weren't really ready to settle down and be exclusive, we're too young, but we are in love so that's what you do so we did it, but look there are options" conversation. A few months of talking ensued, I really wanted to date a woman, looked on Adult Friend Finder and got plenty of emails from women who wanted me to have a threesome with them and their bf/husband but that was about it. I kept looking around and found some information online about polyamory, and realized that was what I was comfortable with.
I'd given up on focusing on exclusively finding a woman to date, so we decided dating "at large" was a great opportunity for each of us. We agreed I would go ahead and get involved with my friend Todd, a long distance, out of the country friend of a few years who was interested in me. We both felt safe with me being intimate with good friend, and he could come to visit at a time my husband was going to an event in another state where he'd gotten plenty of proposals in the past.
I dropped my husband off at the airport (sheesh I better give him a fake name since he's still in my life and all...) I dropped Heath off at the airport, then picked Todd up at a train station in Vancouver BC. We went through customs and the guy started quizzing us on what some guy was doing crossing the border with a married woman, like hardcore. It was harassing, and awkward, and I managed not to say...well he's here to fuck me for five nights while my husband goes to find some random sex partner(s) across the country. (Really I wouldn't bring this up but Todd says when he came to visit me two years ago he got the same shitty questions at the border, and he's going to be here again in two weeks so :|)
So Todd showed up, we’d had sexual chemistry for a few years, and we ended up having sex the first night. I’ll restrain myself from going into too much detail, which is hard cause I like funny stories. I spoke with Heath the next day, confirmed the “deed had been done”. I had 5 days of sightseeing and 5 nights of various sexual activities with Todd, and then dropped him off in BC again (btw, Canadian border patrol are not pervy dicks like American border patrol are.) The second day Heath let me know he’d met somebody, described her and let me know what sexual experience they had. He said he hoped they’d get together again but it turned out she wasn’t around the rest of the trip, so when I picked him up at the airport, it was a somewhat unbalanced 5 night festival to a one night of fun (back then balance seemed so important)
We actually were going to get involved with my aforementioned exhibitionist friends (I'd been platonic friends with the husband for a few years through a MMORG, it was a surprise when a sexual subject came up at all), they came to meet us in Seattle, and we hung out for awhile, then flirted online with each other for a couple of weeks. They were going to visit us at our home in Northern WA, where the wife and I were going to "experiment" (we were both interested in women, I don't think we were interest in each other so much of course) and they didn't cancel so much as disappear and not respond to emails the few days before their arrival. After the fact the wife told me she felt her husband was going to pressure for swapping sex partners, and she wasn't comfortable with it so she did not want to come, and I don't blame her.
They’d been aghast that we’d had separate relationship/experiences with other people, they were much more of a swinger mindset and had a ton of trouble wrapping their head about it, which might be why part of why it didn’t work out. On a side note my dad has been married three times, it went cheater/swinger/cheater, my mom was (is? We don’t talk about her sex life THANK YOU since she retired to Mexico) a swinger with her 3rd and 4th husbands, so I understood the “I don’t get your lifestyle” thing.
After that didn’t work out, we pondered where to go. We had been discussing for a month or so if Todd would come to live with Heath and I after he graduated, drive over the border for work (we were a 15 minute drive from the WA/BC border crossing). I’d been discussing with each of them my interests in a MMF threesome, and the sort of relationship I was open to if it worked out (co primaries). They had established a friendship through IM’ing, I got teased about on all sides about threesomes and how much I loved the cock. Yep, I said it.
Todd had said he was going to date/open to dating other people (that was actually a part of our negotiation into getting into a sexual situation) and from our talks and his actions, I got the feeling he wasn’t going to. I was very reluctant to him moving into a situation where it would be mono-poly - Heath was up for sex 6x a week, and if Todd was too (which he clearly was), I was fucked (in a musculoskeletal way of not being able to physically handle it). I repeated over and over he should be looking to date, and that I wasn’t going to OK him moving in with us until he was dating. Just to make sure he understood this wasn‘t going to be a poly-fi situation, I went out on a date with somebody who wrote to me on adultfriendfinder.com, some guy who got I was looking for women but was respectful and thought I was cool.
So that was a fiasco after a 2nd date horror story, but I digress (aka irrelevant to story except to let Todd know I was going to have sex with people who weren‘t him or Heath). We discovered OKCupid.com, put up profiles, and somehow Adam saw me on his updates. Even though he didn’t ever look for people more than 10 miles from his zip code, he liked my smile so wrote to me, me who was a 2.5 hour commute at the time.
I guess I should say, I’d seen Adam on polymatchmaker.com. I liked his profile! However, Heath shaved his head for most of the 11 years we were together, so I was like…OMG I CAN DATE ANYBODY, I WANT TO DATE SOMEBODY WITH HAIR AND RUN MY FINGERS THROUGH IT!!!! Yes, that exact thing. So, Adam shaved his head. He was funny and witty and cute, but he shaved his head, so I hadn’t written to him. It seemed kismetty he wrote to me. I had a seminar in Seattle so we went to dinner. I was in shitty shape because Heath had a sex date with somebody from AFF for the first time and I’d been up til 2 am waiting for him to call me and tell me it was over so I knew everything was OK and I could sleep. I explained this to Adam, and we went to dinner - he babbled on and on about kidney stones and failed relationships and poly (and more failed relationships and heartbreak) while I just sat there and smiled tolerantly at him… he gave me tons of good advice about Todd, and poly in general…and I came away from the date thinking “Fuck this poor dude needs a friend”
Hmm why the fuck am I babbling on about stuff that happened like 8 years ago? Well really like I said, boring uneventful poly is happening here, so ya know, drawing it out.
So I planned on being friends with Adam, but the next thing I remember he’d come up to visit me and Heath way up north, brought a Troma video.. I’d asked Heath if it was OK if I held hands with Adam when he was over, which he was fine with, and I spent like… one of the best evenings of my life (which I always hope to recreate I the future with partners) sitting between them holding hands with both of them while watching “Tromeo and Juliet” (I think, dude I was high on omg I’m holding hands with two boys I like!) To this day we cant figure out how it went from "you need a friend" to dating.
Adam got us invited to a cuddle party, it was a bit confusing because Todd thought I was Adam’s date, Adam thought I was Todd’s date, I’m sitting there watching Todd and Adam pursue women all over the place while I’m being ignored, I end up kissing a few girls and hit it off with one that is just my type so stop caring my men are ignoring me. (I wont go on into detail in the future cause who cares about it, but her and I had a couple dates, just weren’t in the same place in life, but omg she was sexy and I wish I had been more bold, two unsure women make a funny combo)
The hostess of the cuddle party ended up being interested in Heath and vice versa. The hostess happened to be Todd’s ex gf, and interested in being his primary partner now too. She sat me and Heath down to make sure we were all on the same page, and said she was interested in dating both of us. Wtf - If we had been a unicorn seeking couple I’m sure we would’ve exploded. I said I didn’t think I could handle two new relationships at once, but wished her and Heath well. I always envy and look up to her bravery and courage. Her and I hung out and kissed when we were together and it might have gone further as we got to know each other but…sigh.
I guess I'll throw something in here about Todd. He came to visit us again, seemed OK with me dating mostly... I wanted him and Heath to get to know each other in person to see if cohabitation was possible. Sadly, I found myself 100% disinterested sexually or romantically in him now. I had no desire to kiss him. Not sure if it had to do at all with two men in one place, but I had the chance to realize I was not interested. I felt horrible. We have also experienced sexual tension off and on since then, but I don't desire him. A valuable lesson I learned, long distance chemistry, or situational chemistry, isn't to be trusted.
So it was going along well for 6 months with Adam, Heath was still dating Adam’s ex gf, Adam and her were talking about dating again, we all spent time together at our place and a friend’s hot tub, she and I hung out apart from the men. Heath came to talk to me one day and he was very serious (he’s a fucking goofball so serious was out of place) and I panicked and was sure he was going to ask me to break up with Adam. In those moments I realized I was going to have to say no - regardless of all the “we come first and if one of us wants to stop this, it stops” that poly meant you love who you love and it cant be shoved away for another person - ANOTHER valuable lesson I remember to this day when discussing agreements with Adam…
Surprisingly what Heath said was “I have to tell you something”. It turned out he hadn’t had sex with the person he’d talked about having sex with (queue melodrama!) but he’d actually had sex with uh…Melanie. Melanie was married, cheating on her husband. Heath and I had a few rules and they were
Use condoms for sex
Be honest about what is going on
Don’t have sex with somebody who is cheating (did not put an onus on him to investigate this, he could take them at their word
don’t fuck A, B, or Melanie, because they tried to have sex with you last year and tried to get you to cheat.
It turned out Heath had panicked when I had sex with Todd, because he didn’t have sex with somebody the first night. Instead of telling me to stop/slow down, he went to the easy solution of finding the weak link of somebody who had already expressed interest. Melanie had said she had a bad relationship with her husband, but she hadn’t cheated before, so apparently that was enough STI control for Heath, and he hadn’t used condoms cause you know, we’d been mono, Melanie had been mono..its not like if you're in an unhappy marriage maybe your spouse is cheating on you without condoms so when you cheat on HIM you’re passing along something. He slept with her for four nights, but decided to make up an imaginary woman he slept with so he could tell me about her, but left it at the one night of make believe.
So that is the bitter unhappy truth of the end of my first marriage. If condoms had been used I could’ve forgiven, if it was a one time event (or just that trip event) I could‘ve forgiven. But 9 months later when Heath admitted this to me, he was making plans to meet up with her again 3 months later at the event, and spend even more time with her that year (in a close 12 hour long daily work relationship for the event). I’d had a feeling something was wrong with the situation but since we were open and poly now, I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so distressed, and never would’ve seen something like that coming. Truth is he’d been a prick the last 6 months but he kept saying it was because I was angry. I felt like I was going insane since I believed him and was trying to figure out what horrid behavior I was doing, but later we realized and discussed at a counselor it was him projecting because he felt so guilty.
Sadly instead I had to ask him to call his gf and let her know to get tested there was risk (he hadn’t gotten tested since before the event) I had to go get tested, three days later we had the house up for sale. Wtf all our cats died in the next year, everybody was miserable. I was embarrassed. I was angry he had by omission lied to his gf and put her health at risk. I could not get over the fact he would risk me dying for his desires. He wanted to stay together, we made a few halfhearted attempts but I could tell he said one thing and meant another. He denied it vehemently at the time but 8 years later he admits it was right for us to separate. Well he admitted it after 3 years, but now we are comfortable with it!
Crap, I hate looking back and seeing I used to be able to have 4 pretty reasonable agreements and after being lied to by somebody I trusted the list got so much longer. Food for thought.
So this is where the whole pseudonym thing gets wonky, I misused it two posts ago, where I said Todd instead of Heath. My (now ex) husband Heath was dating the hostess at the cuddle party who was ADAMS ex gf, not Todd's. Todd spent a lovely week with me and that was the end his involvement of anything poly. I imagine I'm not the only human who wishes for more liberal editing capabilities....I'll try not to feel like a douche about it...guess I should've checked in the morning after a long run of posts to make sure I had edited correctly.
Heath - ex-husband who I was with 11 years before we became poly, broke up due to infidelity, best friends currently
Todd - long term friend/flirtation, 1st poly "experience" was mono, not poly, so back to friends, best friends currently
Adam - first poly relationship >>> second husband (err, and best friends currently!)
Brian >>> first poly relationship second time round, LTR
Where was I in my long winded story...I promptly broke up with Heath, had our house sold 3 days later, and stayed with Adam for a month until a housing opportunity I had was open. His roommate of 8 years/ex-gf saw things were headed "somewhere important" for us, so she used that as a reason to give him a one month notice she was moving in with her boyfriend, so although I managed to live alone for about two months of my entire life, I ended up back co-habitating again.
When Heath told me he cheated on me, I asked Adam if he could not date anybody new for three months while I found solid footing (partially because I was staying with him), which he was glad to do. He was already dating somebody else which was fine, but I wasn't up for any more upheaval if he and I were going to keep dating. He stopped seeing her a few months later, and I found out after the fact that he'd actually stopped being intimate with her after Heath and I broke up. I was surprised to find out later that their relationship never included intercourse (his choice). I include that mainly because in the near 8 years we've been together, he hasn't had another sexual partner, which does affect things going on in my life.
So somehow the three month hiatus became much, much longer - it was fine because we got serious, then we got engaged and it made sense to stay monogamous while we were figuring out what was happening, however it was never discussed, it just became the default.
Things were all dreamy and you know everything was perfect (no of course not, we weren't 20 year olds full of tolerance and shit). We had two issues.
1. Money/constant bringing in of new purchases books/videos/comics/games into our overcrowded living situation (Yes, I care about interior design stuff) which was resolved several years ago for the most part.
I was used to just about daily sex, at the time Heath and I opened up to seeing other people, so when I met Adam I was assertive/aggressive/sex positive, and it took over a year before I really started realizing we had different libidos (as I was always pursuing him, and he usually got in the mood after awhile spent making out.) It took two years to realize we were really incompatible (sadly coinciding with our engagement & wedding). By that point I really was feeling like a teenage boy pressuring his virgin girlfriend for sex.
We got married without really resolving our libido differences, I was sure poly was a given at some point, since he'd been poly for over 20 years when I met him. He, then we, saw a poly friendly sex counselor, which I think made things worse. At about 4 years I started bringing up poly as a very useful option, at 5 years I was pushing for poly, and at 6 years I was clear that either I needed to be able to seek another partner, or I did not think I could stay in our marriage.
Now I do recognize the irony in the fact that I'd had sex at least once a week since I was 20, and once a week was just fine for most of my 20's, when I hit my 30’s libido, going back to having sex once a week with Adam still seemed like hardly ever having sex - part of that was that I was just about always the aggressor, part of that was that I it was rarely a easy and joyous experience to make to to sex, there were/are often roadblocks, rejections, startled looks when I say I'm interested. Mutually positive sex experiences go a lot farther to make me feel content than awkward ones do.
Adam felt my desire to be poly again was all about him being a failure at the sex stuff and was too focused on that negative to say OK to it. He still had a profile on polymatchmaker (looking for friends), and somebody had written to him (this was almost two years ago now) and was interested in meeting and talking. Before he left to meet her for coffee, I made him promise to not respond to what I said (as he’s good a naysaying stuff) , and I told him “Feel free to flirt if you feel like it.” He came home invigorated, interested, and had flirted and had a great time, finally remembering that he’s an extroverted person who loves meeting new people and making new flirty or romantic connections.
Was I pissed! Yes, I was a bit pissed, those few years of pushing to be open again had taken a toll on me in a lot of the typical ways – overeating to avoid desiring intimacy, loss of self esteem because I didn’t feel desired, depression because I felt stuck in an untenable situation, eventually a lowered libido (kinda) from my preferred state of always in the mood . Nevertheless, he was finally open to it, and I was glad that he was the one who finally opened the door.
I had my first date when the husband of the woman he’d gone out with asked me out (his first ever date ever after 15 years of monogamy, though his wife had been having FWB and NSA sex for a couple years). It didn’t work out but I think I’m a good learning date!
I chatted with a few people over the next few months, and met a couple people for coffee. The second person I met for coffee was Brian. Suffice to say though it wasn't quite an Adam situation, I was surprised we kept seeing each other (I had planned on dating people who clicked as close chatty friends with me), and then suddenly it was something important to me, so 18 months later we are still together. (I do feel a bit of angst that both Adam and Brian were second actual dates when first opening relationships, especially when I read all the fun new dating stories people post on here, though I never feel badly when I read about tales of sucky dates!)
Adam’s was struggling with trying to figure out if he wanted to have sex with his girlfriend or not, when she got diagnosed with a high risk strain of HPV. Her doctor was very scary making, warning about the risks of throat/tongue cancer from kissing and performing oral sex, penile cancer from receiving oral sex and sex, etc, which made us really firm up our safe sex agreements down to the specifics. Her husband had gone on a second date too, and had fallen hard and fast into NRE with the chick, enough so that she decided for a time at least to become monogamous again to sort out their stuff.
Adam started dating a second woman, who had HSV2. I tested negative (so we assumed he was negative too), but I was OK with the risk of getting it since I don’t have any auto immune issues. Brian however was actively avoiding that risk, so since we were already in an established relationship, Adam and her were not going to participate in activities that could spread it to him, then me, then Brian. So according to our safe sex chart, certain activities were OK’ed and others weren’t. She wasn’t OK with some of those being off the table, so they decided against becoming sexual at all. Several months later Adam went ahead and got STI testing and asked for HSV2 tests, and it turned out he was positive already (likely gotten during the mid 90s when a chick had been having sex with him a couple weeks before letting him know her last bf had given it to her). So even though I was negative after 7 years with him, we decided it gave him a green light to have sex with her, and I upped my testing to every 6 months so I’d know if it was spread to me so Brian and I could stop being sexual.
I’ve felt deprived of sexual intimacy with Adam often these eight years. He is uncomfortable with sex due to a lot of his own issues, and often is uncomfortable with my assertive sexuality. We'd had a particularly sparse year AFTER the sex counselor, going a couple weeks at a time without sex, then an entire month once (during which time I would've been glad to have sex any or all of those days). Things were better in the year before we started dating other people, and they are better now, but I am fearful if he had another partner it would go back to that, as he only actively desires sex every so often, and agrees regardless of who he has it with, he isn't likely to be interested for at least a week after being sexual. He has never had NRE or a new partner spill over into wanting more sex with his other partners. We made the agreement that if his starting a sexual relationship with somebody new decreases our frequency, or results in him going into a pattern where he is having sex with them more than he is me – that he will stop dating to work on us.
I am OK with this because of a few things.
1. His regular statements that he’d like to be more comfortable with sex, and to have sex with me more often. If he isn’t actively working to improve our relationship or his own complicated relationship with his own sexuality, he agreed he doesn’t have much business having other sexual relationships.
2. Our original agreement was that I would date and he would not, because I wasn't happy with how our relationship stood, but he was fine with it. He decided a OVP wasn’t fair (or manly) so we agreed that as long as he maintains some activity of reading useful books/seeing a counselor, and actively seeks/responds to invitations by me to sexual activity of some sort with me once a week, I can handle if he’s got another partner, as long as he’s not avoiding his “responsibilities” with me.
3. When he has actively worked on this, eating better, exercising, spending less time on the computer, his sex drive has increased, so it is certainly within his abilities to improve things if he ever gets around to deciding he is ready to.
On the other hand, I wonder sometimes if I should roll the dice and be OK with him doing whatever. I do not want to be put in a position where a new sex partner is asked to go on the back burner because he got lazy and stopped making the effort with me. Since I can tell from all our current poly experiences and issues so far, he'll take distraction any day over awareness. It makes me feel I'm not "poly enough" for the liberal branch...I have to keep reminding myself that I know my limits, I am clear about my limits, Adam can negotiate or change things anytime he wants, all it takes is a few words and a moment of bravery on his end.
I was OK with Adam having sex with her (she was nice and actually in a similar situation with a husband who wasn't much interested in sex with her) and looking & forward to getting over that hurdle so I could deal with any jealousy, envy or adjustments I needed to make. At that time though, he had sort of dropped his responsibility to work on our sex and intimacy that he'd agreed to, so I asked him about it and wanted to make sure I spoke up. Instead of setting up phone reminders or something, he did a drastic flip flop, which he is rather prone to and said “if I can’t do it right I wont do it AT ALL and I wont date ANYONE!” I just wanted him to put equal energy to us and our agreements but I guess that my timing sucked, he decided he wasn’t sure he was ready to date after all, and after the yes-no, yes-no rollercoaster of negotiation with his girlfriend his wishy-washy attitude was enough to end things.
This was about 8 months ago, and after he had more time to think about it he still decided not to date anybody again until he works through some of his stuff. Truth is though I am grateful he chose to do that, and know he needs to work on it to be happy in any relationship, sexual or otherwise. And of course it sure is much easier being on the “I have a partner” end as opposed to “You have a partner” end. I'm still hoping he does whatever it takes so he can date again, not just for his well being but there is some truth to the fact I would feel badly dating a second person before he is dating again.
Yes, I am aware I talk a lot.
So that’s where Adam and I stand – we re-poly’ed well fuck – it’s been 18 months. I have a partner, Brian, for a bit over 16 months, and Adam isn’t dating (and hasn’t indicated any interest in doing so again soon, though he has started seeing a counselor which I’m very excited about). On a side note, he has said he is fine with me sharing stuff about him/us, which is why I’ve elaborated so much. Brian & his wife are much more private, so there is not much to say about that in general.
Since the re-poly I’ve gone out on several first dates with guys over the last year (I tend to be so smiley and friendly they think it’s a rousing success whether it is or not, to my chagrin) one was nice enough to go out with a few times, but not nice enough to deal with a the long commute to see. I’ve talked to a few women but only been out with one, had a second disastrous/torturous meeting with her. I finally took my OKCupid profile down last month since I’ve upped my hobby and other interests, and while I’d love to date somebody who was a BFF/lover, I’m content with how things are for the most part.
So here I am…boring, mostly stable and uneventful. Wishing I was more extroverted and wandered across suitable men or women more easily but …that’s why I never got around to posting until now. Nothing..happens here…. ;)
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