This tiny life is making sense--travels by the CowleyRoad
So how did a 36-year-old terribly shy straight male with only three sex partners ever (two of whom he was married to!) until last month decide together with his near-lesbian wife to embark on a swinging adventure that suddenly blossomed into something like a polyamorous relationship? Well, if you figure out, let me know, because I don't yet...
The back story: yes, I am terribly shy. I prefer writing because speaking is difficult for me--although I'm getting better at it. I love books and reading and literary discussion. And, as my wife will attest, while I'm not good at interaction with a lot of people, when I am close to someone my shell disappears. In other words, I prefer one to many. So on the face of it, I was never the greatest candidate to go swinging.
But at the same time my wife and I wanted to expand our sexuality. As I say my wife is closer to lesbian than even 50-50 bi. She has always been attracted to women more than men, even if she has never felt comfortable expressing that due to family and societal pressures. She came out to me about three years ago and I can't say I was surprised. There had been a lot of little hints dropped from time to time. I do not know why she has such an attraction to me. She says there is something very different about me in comparison with other men...that I do many things in a very womanly fashion. I don't see it myself but I can understand what she means.
After two years of discussion, we decided to try swinging to expand our sexuality. Really we didn't know from the outset what that would mean for us. Neither of us felt comfortable seeing a lot of people. We were both I think secretly hoping we would find a person or couple that we liked seeing more than once, who we could really get to know both in and out of bed. How fortunate, then, that the first couple we met were B and H.
You can read all about our first encounters with B and H and their own history in the earlier thread I started here. Let me just say here a few things about B and H which will help this life story make more sense. First off, B is a very sexually-charged woman. As I have said here before "nothing B does is completely non-sexual." And of course the four of us started as swinging partners so our first couple encounters were sexual. So a lot more of this life story is going to revolve around sex than the average story here. I apologize for that in advance but that's B's language and that's the place where we come from. I promise not to turn this into erotica, but I am going to reference it. Secondly, we're new at this and please take that into account. I worry about not using the language correctly. I'm not even sure what our relationship could be called right now or how to refer to B's relationship to me or my wife's relationship to H or whatever. H does not want this called poly, full stop. But it's definitely more than swinging or casual sex. I called B and H "our entanglement" here...that seems to work right now :)
Our understanding of B and H changes day-to-day as we learn more about them and about where we stand with them. But I'll try to describe a bit about them and us. The four of us come from pretty different worlds. My wife and I come from a very academic background, and although B and H are extremely intelligent, they have sold themselves short at times. I'm trying to draw that out of B in particular and I'll work on H next! They're more familiar with poly/swinging/sexual entanglements than us and have a lot of friends in the "scene" as it were. We have none and we'd probably be shunned if we were out about what we're doing. My dad would probably disown me, in fact.
Whew, that's a lot to start. To be continued...
Without brakes, then...?
It's fun to drive fast and feel the wind in your hair and watch the scenery slip by as you hurtle toward your destination. Last night was one of those hard-driving nights. We visited B and H at their home again. H announced early on that he was "out of commission" after a work-related accident to his, um, genitals. But he didn't want us to stop us from having fun, and he actually rather liked the idea, especially because the other three of us promised him some fun without me when things repaired themselves. The evening started slowly as we watched some things on TV and ate pizza and wings. H pulled the foldout couch out so the other three of us could relax, as it were. After a while I sat next to H and talked about a bunch of stuff while we let my wife and B kiss and talk.
An hour later, my wife and B were still kissing and talking, and H announced that, "Hey, if you want to start anything, be my guest." This was the equivalent of throwing a match on gasoline for B, and she started getting very intimate with my wife, eventually having sex with her while I held her. Then B turned her attentions to me, then back to her for a long while, then back to me again. All the while H was watching and smiling. Eventually, B and I were in a long naked embrace. We talked about our feelings towards each other, our goals and desires. She has fallen for me, that is very obvious. She spoke of love. I was honest with her that I was starting to fall in love with her as well, but I was nervous about the pace and the effect it might have on H and my wife. She said she had also fallen in love with my wife, although in a different way. Meanwhile, my wife and H were showing each other much affection. B was almost in tears, saying "that is not how H usually is, your wife is very special to him." We kissed and held each other until our bodies seemed fused.
But now the downside, when the car needs to have some brakes. My wife is starting to fear the intensity of the relationship between B and I. So am I. B can put on a very tough exterior but she is extremely vulnerable. She is used to men not showing her physical affection, and she is used to thinking of men as being pigs. H is not a pig but he has not always shown her the affection she wants, so I come along and, right. So she's fallen hard for that part of me. And I'm scared about the effect it's having on me. I want to help that vulnerable side of her, and that's the wrong thing to do. Patronizing to her, offensive to my wife, and dangerous for me. My wife says it is OK to love her. But I fear what the consequences of that are, for my wife and for H and for me. And I'm so scared. My wife is supporting me and letting me express how I feel toward B but at the same time she realizes that we could be in for a great crash.
B wants my love. But cars need brakes and sometimes love needs limits, for cars without brakes hurt people and sometimes love does as well.
Last night was difficult. My wife was very upset with B's attempt to go around her and H, and wanted to talk to her. She did and was surprised by the depth of her emotion...anger mostly but betrayal and hurt. She said to me she didn't want to be accusatory but it came out that way she admitted. B was kind of evasive with some of her answers
My wife was angry after that and we argued but we kept communicating. I got the sense this all might be over. I told my wife that "if you want to end this tell me to end it now, and we will get through it, but as it is we're getting very hurt
" She didn't want to. I got the sense she said it so I wouldn't get hurt. I wish she knew I am already hurting uncontrollably. I felt betrayed by B too. I told her in a text "you need to stop going around people or we will lose each other."
B wrote to both of us individually and also together. She spent all night writing by the look of the time stamps on the emails. She admitted she was going too fast with me, and was afraid she was scaring my wife. She said or claimed to be telling H everything about how she felt about us. She claimed he was already aware. I want to believe her but my wife isn't sure. She also says she wants to be polyfaithful to us but H isn't ready for that. My wife doesn't believe that. She also says she loves my wife and my wife REALLY doesn't believe that. I'm not sure she could ever regain my wife's trust after yesterday.
B also said she is planning to take a trip away at short notice, for a week or more. My wife and I think she's running away from her problems. I hope she takes the time to think about things. But her decision to do this is really demonstrating how vulnerable and damaged she is. I want to tell her no don't do this, but it's not my place to do it. So I sit here paralyzed in fear. Will she come back to change her mind? Will she come back at all?
Will my wife and I survive this? It's the only non-negotiable thing. She is worth more to me than anything. But I see emotions in her that are frightening and I can neither push B away nor get closer ... the first because she will always blame herself for ending it and breaking my and B's heart, the second because she will have the broken heart.
I read here that "the joys in polyamory are multiplied But the pain is exponential." Three people make me happy but their fears and multiple relationships are almost infinite. I wish I had a better realization.
No situation so bad it can't get worse
Last night I almost lost my marriage.
My wife came home in a furious mood over work. She and I fought back and forth for hours. Most of it revolved around work and her problems but when I suggested that maybe our problems with B might be making it worse things really got bad. She was mad that B was contacting me more than her and when I said that was not always true (and in fact H does not respond to me at all, which is troubling ) she got angrier. She said "B is just trying to get on my good side to get to you." When I said that I thought B's feelings towards her were genuine she disagreed. She intimated that part of the reason she was ok with B loving me was that she "didn't deserve me" and she felt B could give me things she couldn't. I said I would leave B if it would help her because my wife is the one I want to be with. She said if I left B she would leave me or worse because she "couldn't live with herself for "making me unhappy." We ended up fighting a lot more.
My wife has had self-esteem issues for many years. I thought things were getting better but I see a lot of problems reappearing since this started with B and H (she denies this). Last night made me realize that things are not ok. I feel stuck...feel like my relationship with B is hurting her and our marriage, but she will not let me leave B. It doesn't help that B is starting to tell me very personal things that make me realize leaving her will hurt her too.
So now what? We are looking at counseling, maybe too at slowing things down further. I'm not sure any amount of slowing down will work. My wife suggested not talking to B for two months, then B wrote (without knowing what was going on) "if you need to wait I can wait for ten years". So who knows? Then my wife suggested we meet B this weekend to discuss slowing things down "because maybe only if we're physically there will she get the message." Maybe. I don't think she's comfortable with B talking to me at all. When I got a text from B today she said "I thought all this was supposed to be about me, you are supposed to slow down" even though the text asked me what kind of jewelry my wife liked. One minute she says she's happy for B and I, the next she doesn't want me to contact her for weeks. She says we need to take a break, but she was the one suggesting the meetup this weekend.
Feel like my heart is shattered into ten thousand pieces
And it's probably going to get worse soon. I'm truly scared of losing my wife now but I have no idea how to fix things.
I don't have any advice but I feel for your situation and I think I know what that feels like. I'm not sure what you do with it though.
The mountain / the handhold
Waiting now to talk to B. B called and spoke with my wife, then had to go for a while, but has promised to call back. They are meeting on Saturday--I guess I will not be there, but that is probably for the best. My wife didn't mention anything about how either of us were feeling, which is probably also for the best.
Because, in a nutshell, I'm feeling completely shattered. I told her that I can't go on much longer like this, not feeling there was a way out. I feel a bit like a mountain climber. If I could see where the next handhold was, where the next place I should put my foot, then I'd be...well not OK but a little better off. And I don't really know where that handhold might be, or when I might find it.
And it just continues. It feels as if the slightest bit of happiness is snuffed out in less than a day, that a great time with B and H is immediately followed by dread and doubt and fear, which then lasts until the next time with B and H, which is seemingly great but then followed again by another period of dread and doubt and fear. I want so much to talk to B and work things out but...it's not happening yet.
I just got to talk to B. My wife said that she has not seen me smile like I did when I was on the phone with her. Although my wife talked to her for about three times as long as I did, and I know I'm probably not going to see B for the next three weeks, I feel...some measure of peace. B and my wife are going to meet on Saturday, and my wife is at last comfortable with giving us a little space to ourselves. She's agreed that we can talk on the phone for one night a week, for at least half an hour, without her there. It's going to be a long time before she will feel comfortable with more, and maybe she will never feel comfortable with us being alone (maybe H will never feel that way either).
But is this the first handhold? It seems that way. There is so, so much for my wife and I to work through, not just in relation to B and H but also with each other. And neither is this the last difficult day I'm going to go through. But...there is a way upwards.
So, about that other guy he wants you to sleep with
Everything was going really well yesterday. B and my wife were planning their day trip out. H was in a really good mood because he had gotten a new electronic toy, and he was texting my wife and me (!) all about it. B went to work around 7, and H started texting my wife again, then shyly asked if he could call. So, he did, and he and my wife ended up talking for an hour. It was all very sweet. My wife still insists that she doesn't think she can fall in love with him, but I don't think anyone is expecting or forcing her to. There is an obvious friendship and affection, though, and B and I both are enjoying watching it grow.
So then I was a little disappointed that I hadn't received a reply to a text I had sent B. My wife said, "well, there's no reason she can't text you," and let her know that. B sent me a few texts and things were going well. Then B started sending some very naughty texts to my wife and all was amusing and sexy for a while. But one of the last texts...well...opened up a real can of worms. B let it slip that while H was having his "genital injury troubles" he made her an offer: that really cute guy she knows who wants to bang her? The one that's obviously not me? Well, he doesn't mind if he sleeps with her while H watches! Now B made it clear that she was not interested in this offer...
But. H didn't want me to even talk to B on the phone alone, but it's OK for her to fuck some other guy she barely even knows? What. The. Fuck.
Yeah, that one called for a serious time out. I was pissed about that and my wife was completely on my side over that. I'm not even sure why B had to mention that. I know it was an attempt to show me that she was looking to abandon her formerly wild ways, but...seriously, did I need to know that?
So B called me. She warned me early on that her phone was dying. I admitted to her, look, I appreciate so much that you are turning down offers like that, and I know what this means, but on the other hand it's not easy to hear that H is OK with you sleeping with random guys but wants pretty serious restrictions on contacting me. She got that. I said, you know, I thought H was being pretty cool with my wife and I, talking to and texting us all day. And she's admitted to H that she's fallen in love with both of us, and he's totally cool with her spending the day with my wife. So, what up B? B admitted there was some other stuff going on. Mainly, that H isn't ready to settle down just yet. She's OK with abandoning the swinging lifestyle to settle into a poly relationship. He's not, because of a previous bad experience with poly, and, as she put it bluntly, there's a part of him that still wants to be a horndog. It's obvious he loves B and craves sex with my wife but maybe that's not enough for him now. I said I respected their lifestyle (this is something that B worries about me, that my lack of experience in this leads me to not respect them as people) and I understood that people needed to move at different paces.
Then her phone died. Shit.
Wife and I went to bed. I slept, sort of. Woke up at 6 and clutched her tightly. Finally around 8 I checked my phone. Nothing. My wife wanted to call off the day at first, said that I was the one who needed to talk to B, and she felt nervous talking to her. I said "you're the person that H trusts with B, I need you to talk to her." She wasn't sure, and her self-esteem was starting to ebb. I reminded her of how much B would like to see her. I kissed her to tell her it was OK. Then we had passionate, giggly, multiorgasmic sex, which I had wanted so badly from her. Around 9:30 we finally bothered to check my phone again. B had texted around 8:30. She said that she and H had talked a lot, and she would tell my wife about what they had discussed. She was afraid of losing me and said she hadn't slept all night. She reiterated that she loved me. I texted back to tell her I loved her too.
So I think today might actually go OK.
H sounds way too much like my OSO. Power and control make him tick, and he isn't even aware of it.
Jade -- I wonder if it's that, or something a little more complex. My wife (who though analytical is very perceptive) thought H might be trying to slow down the relationship between B and I by introducing complications. Could be. Or he just wants to have sex with a lot of people and sees it all ending. B could end all that because she is typically the instigator of that for H. He sees B settling down and he doesn't want to.
I'll find out more when my wife gets back. They sent me pictures from the beach. They are both so beautiful. I do need to remind myself of how fortunate I am when things are not going so well.
Finally, there is clarity?
B's cell phone was not the only one which died over the weekend. I called my wife at 6 to see if she was on her way home. By 7 I was getting a little antsy, because there had been no response to either text or call. So I did something which I'd wanted to do but hadn't had the guts to. I called B. B told me my wife had left at quarter after 6 but that her cell had died, and she'd been trying to call her too. Then I asked B the question...what's going on with all this?
A long sigh. Apparently, that morning, she had talked to H about his offer from the previous night. She asked him point blank "why is it OK for me to sleep with random guy but not with CowleyRoad?" H said he felt nervous about me, and was afraid I would try to take B from him. B said that wasn't the case, but H was still concerned about that. B said she'd work slowly with him. B also admitted that, yes, H is not ready to settle down and commit to my wife and I, even though my wife intrigues him a lot. H has this list of things (OK people) he'd like to try. As it happens, my wife is top of that list (put there by B, but admitted to by H). H is rather infatuated with her, in fact...he has called her three nights in a row now. Anyway, B said, H will be OK with us being together at...some point. Maybe when his list is complete. Maybe in June. 2011.
So, sigh. After I hung up my wife came back. She was all thrilled about her time with B and I threw a turd on that, and I am sorry to her about that. She wasn't too happy with the time table, either, but we realized that we had to go at H's pace. She was especially a little confused that H felt OK to call her and talk for an hour or so, but that it wasn't OK for me to do that with B. After H talked to my wife last night, B sent me a text. She was willing to talk to my wife and H, and see whether it would be OK for me to have "supervised" calls with her, for about 15-20 minutes at a time, for a few days a week. It pained me a little that that was the best we could ask for, but we also realize we need to go slow. My wife agreed right away. H probably took some talking.
So tonight was the first night of the experiment. My wife and I agreed...keep the conversation light and not about "sappy stuff." First H called my wife, amusingly. He is a bit sappy himself I think even if he doesn't know it. Then B called my wife and talked for a bit. She handed the phone to me. Then, to her overwhelming credit and in a very loving display of trust, she left me alone to talk. B and I talked about some of the intellectual things we shared, and some books we'd both read. We actually ended up talking for 25 minutes. Then we wished each other well. I was rather sad not to hear an "I love you" from her.
But a few minutes later she texted back. "I know I'm not supposed to say it but I do love you. Overwhelmingly so." And I responded in kind.
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