Jade's Jumbled Journey
It's been more than three years since we met our poly partners. We met as swingers and technically still are, though neither pair of us is terribly active in the swing world. The relationship has been fraught with challenges. There was jealousy from the male half of the other couple toward my husband, initially, which may have been a result of his pending deployment at the time. He (the other male... I'll call him Joe) shut down for a few months. I was hurt and ready to give up. His wife (I'll call her Jean) tried to maintain the relationship with us, though not in terms of physical intimacy. Jean also withdrew from the emotional closeness she had developed with my DH, while trying to stay outwardly close. About six or seven months into Joe's deployment, I broke down and reached out hard. I was in love before he left and I couldn't shake the feeling that he was too. We grew closer. My DH struggled to maintain some sort of emotional connection with Jean, and as Joe's return was nearing, he finally was able to have some intimate alone time with her.
Joe's return was more complex than any of us could anticipate. He seemed to have some ptsd symptoms. Jean wanted no physical intimacy with anyone but him for awhile... to re-establish home as primary, I believe, though she made an exception the weekend we came to visit (two weeks after Joe came home, at their request) and allowed him to participate in a threesome with DH and me. Joe seemed to be happy, but then his contact diminished. He stopped IMing. Jean displayed some signs of jealousy toward me, which DH advised came from Joe's lack of sexual/intimate relations with her at the time. You would have thought he'd be all over his wife when he came home...
In her efforts to reestablish some normalcy for Joe, Jean then launched into a series of social gatherings at their home. We were invited, along with a couple of old friends of theirs - a couple they'd known and were close to for years, and had even had a couple of swing experiences with in the past. It became apparent, while we struggled to reestablish our relationship with Joe and Jean, that Joe and Jean's energy was consumed by time with this other couple: family dinners three-five nights per week, t.v. together, etc. And although Joe and Jean consistently said they wanted us to visit (welcome anytime) and even prodded us to come, when we did, their friends (the couple and even other friends) were always there too, and DH and I found ourselves concluding that if Joe and Jean didn't see our relationship as different and requiring some nurturing, then we would have to be just friends and see them less often. Though they wouldn't openly acknowledge it, Joe and Jean had developed a high sexual tension with their old friends (I'll call them Al and Alaina). Joe and Al wanted to be able to have the unlimited swing potential (since we'd all been swingers at some point); Jean wanted desperately to cement the relationship with Al and Alaina (Alaina, whom my DH described as Jean's holy grail friend); DH wanted to feel valued and not like a pawn; Alaina seemed to want nothing, but played along well enough that there was a veneer of potential. I was torn. I could see what everyone wanted, and Joe and Jean didn't give thought to what DH and I wanted. We were not their focus, after all.
Fast forward to now... Joe is getting back to normal. His relationship with Jean is apparently (per DH) much better. We let Joe and Jean know how we were feeling about things, but just when we were about to see what the impact would be, Alaina left Al - just up and took four out of five kids with her two states away. Al and the one kid are now living with Joe and Jean and their kids, and I... I am so frustrated. Jean and DH were getting back to a place where they could communicate. Joe and I are just now truly communicating without fear. Now Jean is saying no physical intimacy in their home (even in private), because of any possible signals that might get to Al's kid, who has some mh issues. Joe has a possible job change coming up. Here is what's killing me: Joe and Jean and Al are joining Alaina for a week long getaway, in a warmer locale, without the kids, because they had paid lots of money for it after all... Between DH, Joe, Jean, and me, there is a weekend being planned. The weekend hasn't been pinned down quite yet, but will be within the next month. Joe and I will go one place, and DH and Jean will go another. But while this week of the four of them has just begun, I can't help but wonder how this will impact everything.
I let Joe know I was scared the other day. "What if they reconcile?" I want them to, mind you; I believe in marriage. "Will the four of us suddenly become all about Al and Alaina again? I don't want to go through that again." Joe and I had a real heart to heart on that, and the next morning, when he texted me and called me wife, I felt probably as much reassurance as any act could provide.
I can't say I'm on tenterhooks, but I wonder... DH says, "I just can't worry about that." I told Joe, "I don't want to get lost in the shuffle of your life." I never believed I'd love another man again. Sometimes I wish I didn't:rolleyes: But I feel such joy with Jean and Joe.:o DH feels it to, though it's harder for him. He worked so hard for so long to keep things together that now he's taken the "let go and see what happens" approach. I can't do that:rolleyes: At least not in my head.
If you've read through this, thank you for giving me a place to speak. I feel better when I can write things out.
I'm feeling a sense of peace now that we've all gotten through the last couple of weeks. And this weekend we get to spend alone time with our OSOs. DH is not in the greatest of moods... I'm thinking it's because he feels down on himself for household responsibility stuff, ebbs in libido, and a recent birthday. He says it's not the upcoming weekend (and has pinned it, himself, to these other things), though he has expressed concern that he's not in the right mindset for the weekend yet. I was actually able to let Jean know that he's not in a good place right now. I've always feared talking to her, but we both seem to be opening up more. I am truly grateful for her friendship. The funny thing is, no matter how hubby feels right now, I have this gut feeling that the weekend with Jean is exactly what the doctor ordered. I don't know what it is about Jim and Jean. There's no doubt the relationship with them has been challenging, but on the other hand, there's something about them that brings out the best in us.
In the meantime, I think I need to let go of any fear about the emotional place hubby is in (my gut reaction is a defensive one ~ what have i done?), and just love him to death.
Wow... so much can change in the course of six months. Our OSOs have dealt with a lot of drama in their household, but to their credit, they've made time to see us consistently. Jean seems to have let go of her fears of Joe's connection to me. I'm slowly losing my fear of them disappearing. Joe has opened up more about who he really is (tough to swallow at times, but intriguing). DH is... tough to pin down, but he's not in a bad place. He's working on himself.
My hope is that all of these things will work together to get us through the next hurdle. Three weeks ago Joe let me know he was going to work in Kuwait for a year. They need the money. DH and Jean allowed Joe to take me away alone for two days. I told him that when he shared the news, the only thing that ran through my head was, "I held onto you so tightly in my head while you were gone the first time. I just don't think I can do it again." Without hesitation, he answered, "Yes, you can." I shook my head, dazed a bit by the response and thought hard. "Yes," I said, "I can, but I need help." "I'll help you," he assured me. DH said it's the military in Joe. It probably is, but his words were magic to me nonetheless.
This weekend, we say goodbye to him (at least physically) for possibly the next year. We'll all share some quality time and one intimate evening. I am looking forward to it, even though I'm a little scared and sad. And then, next Tuesday, he flies.
Is it crazy that I have some sense of peace about it? Maybe not. Jean is handling it well. Maybe the relationship can thrive in the challenge.
Oh, I've had my gut full of long distance romance. I'm beginning to think there is no such thing. Communication is so difficult over distance with someone who doesn't tick like you. It's hard to reach out, get nothing of substance in return, then be reached for and unable to respond in the same positive, but meaningless fashion... pretend everything is hunky dory, because nothing's really wrong, when in reality, nothing is really right either. :(
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