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-   -   ISO SouthernGal (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=68199)

SouthernGal 12-28-2013 08:53 PM

ISO SouthernGal
I've thought a while about starting a blog. This is by far my favorite part of the forum. I used to think my life was unusual, but living vicariously through so many of you, I've come to realize maybe I'm more normal than I thought. That caused a little shudder! :p

I'll start by saying I have always been monogamous. Always. When I first met my hubby, I'll call him Leo, I was simultaneously puzzled and intrigued. He's an artist and from "the wrong side of the tracks"; I'm a yuppie with 2 kids and a white collar job. But I'm pretty open-minded. I have a closet life. I'm a pagan in the South, not something that you reveal lightly in the bible belt, especially when the vast majority of your co-workers are Christian. I was in no way prepared for the turn my life would take with Leo.

Initially, we were just friends, then friends with benefits. Somewhere along the way, feelings started getting much stronger and we matched up and moved in together. That's when the talks started. He wanted an "open relationship" so he wouldn't have to contain his sexuality. Just sex, no emotions, but he's a very sexual person. I had a very hard time with that. Though I was open to the idea, he was very specific in what he would do. Since this was only about sex and we have a very active sex life, it would only be when he was out of town on business. No emotional involvement, and he would always hold me at the top of his priorities. I reluctantly agreed, but I did agree. I asked only that he not tell me about it. I cannot stress how bad an idea that can really be.

What I didn't know when we started these talks and started exploring the concept was that he already had another girlfriend (she shall be A), and emotions were already involved. Yes, he was lying to me from the start. He didn't want to give up his girlfriend, but he wanted permission to have her and me. As our relationship progressed, I found myself confused and dealing with almost constant arguments. I couldn't understand why he was picking fights with me and starting to treat me horribly. And BOY did we fight. After a couple of days of fighting, he would go to a friends house about an hour away to stay the night and cool off. Not wanting to throw away the friendship I'd treasured for so long or just kick the relationship to the curb, I continued to try to determine the root of the problems so we could work them out, or just end things on as high a note as possible. He got drunk one night, angry at me over something one of my friends had said to someone else, and blurted out that he'd been carrying on a relationship with A for months, that he had feelings for her, and that he had almost left me for her. I was shattered. It did not take long for me to piece everything together, including a strange message I had received from her on Facebook, and realize he had been seeing her before we started dating - basically the entire time we had been together. That he had lied from the start about other relationships being just sex and no emotion. It was a horrifically rough time.

A became enraged when Leo decided that in order to save our relationship he needed to put his relationship with her on hold. She made several nasty comments about me ruining everything. She had known about me the entire time. She had been his sounding board; every time he argued with me, he vented to her about me. She had heard all the worst things he had to say about me, whether exaggerated or not, and thought I was trying to control him because I had the rules about "just sex" and "no emotion" even though he was the one that told me that was what it would be. I'd only asked him not to tell me. I never imagined "out of town" meant a town only an hour away when he needed to get away from me. To top it all off, not only had he thought of leaving me for her, she had been encouraging him to leave me while I had no idea what was going on. Leo would pick fights with me to justify going to see her.

Frankly, our relationship almost didn't survive. I was hurt, felt betrayed, and enraged at him and at her. I told him I'd changed my mind and didn't want to marry him anymore, didn't even know if I wanted to ever see him again. Yes, I'd agreed to the open relationships as he had described to me, but I had never agreed to being tricked into arguments to allow him to go see his girlfriend, nor did I agree that it was okay for him to put our relationship at risk in such a way. Though he had been in open relationships before, they were always casual relationships to start, not one in which he was marrying the woman in the relationship with him. Looking back, I believe he handled it very badly and much because he was lying to himself.

Two things had to happen to get us back on track. I needed to completely open my heart and mind, even if I didn't want to hear what needed to be said. He had to be completely honest and remorseful. No more lies, no hiding, no trying to make things seem less than they are, and no more trying to manipulate me to justify his actions. He apologized, talked to me, and made amends.

We spent months going over everything, with the occasional peanut gallery text message thrown in from A calling me a bitch because he put their relationship on hold. I never asked or even implied he should do that. He realized the painful nature of the reality of their relationship along with the venomous way she acted about me only compounded problems and did it on his own. Eventually, he decided he needed to break things off from her entirely. However, that was after he and I were well on the way to working out our own problems.

We are married now, and he has had 1 girlfriend since. One of my realizations through all this was that he did need that emotional connection. It would never be just sex. I worked on my insecurities and fears and expectations to determine whether this was something I could do, and together we made our relationship stronger and happier for both of his. He's had 1 girlfriend since, whom I really liked a lot. We have both come a long way and have remained honest ever since. I have the freedom to have a relationship with someone else if I want. So far, I just haven't wanted to. I'm open to the possibility, but it's not a need for me. It is definitely a need for him. I'm just glad we found a way to meet both our needs and to grow the happiest, healthiest relationship we've ever had. Coming here has also helped me understand how I see everything, and know that I'm okay with what he needs and I'm happy with our relationship just the way it is.

SouthernGal 12-29-2013 03:33 AM

The rules and the beginning of searching for myself
Upon finding out about A and the nature of their relationship, Leo and I had a few arguments (very few) and a whole lot of in-depth talks. I explained what specifically bothered me so much about the situation, listened to him talk about what he did and why, then we got down to the beginning of rules. I guess all relationships have some rules, but these negotiations seemed downright strange to me. Regardless, we pushed forward. These were the ones that we started out with:

1. No more DADT. I don't like being in the dark more than I don't like knowing how he feels about someone else.
2. Any new people in his life had to know about me and respect my place in his life. We didn't have to like each other, but hatefulness and bitterness are a no-no.
3. If either party started developing feelings, the relationship is over. (Yes, this was my rule and I thank the gods I realized how ridiculous it was and nixed it before it ever became an issue. Therefore, it is an obsolete rule.)
4. Absolutely no bad-mouthing to paramours, regardless. If one of us needs to vent, we do it privately with a friend. Not publicly and not to a paramour.
5. He doesn't have to tell me if he has started texting, talking to, or flirting with someone. However, if he feels it's becoming more, I have to meet them. (His rule, not mine. I happen to like it though.)

I really had to come to terms with myself on this. I was jealous - intensely jealous. I realized there was a need to figure out why this scared and hurt me so much. I don't believe that there is a limit on love. I know that you can love a limitless number of people. But it scared me to death none the less. I started searching for the how to identify my problems and deal with them. I realized a huge part of the problem was a fear of abandonment, made worse by the fact that it almost happened! I had to figure out why I felt that way, and spent a lot of time talking to Leo. He was terrific about it. He spent time just listening to what I was saying, clarifying and verifying he understood, then giving me the assurance I needed to know he wouldn't leave me. We added a new rule:

6. Walking away from our relationship was not an option. Ever. We work on us, we keep up good, and we stay committed.

It worked. We are closer than ever, our relationship is stronger and happier, and I'm happier. The best thing about this journey is learning about myself and growing. I believe very strongly that love is a cornerstone to being a decent human, whether it is someone specific or just the guy across the street. This has helped reaffirm to me how important I think that is, and despite the discomfort, I'm glad he's brought this to me. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll decide to find a boyfriend. :cool:

SouthernGal 12-29-2013 01:45 PM

Of Privacy and Unicorn Hunting
Leo saw me typing away on my laptop last night and asked what I was doing. I told him I was blogging on the site. He hung his head over my shoulder to read what I was typing for a minute. When I was done, he asked if he could read it. I was a little nervous. I didn't talk about anything we hadn't talked about before, but a couple of points used to be hot buttons. I gave him my laptop and confirmed it was okay, though I did let him know I was a little nervous. He told me he thought it would be a good way to see how I really feel about things without the editing I do when I talk to him to make for smoother conversations. Yes, I try very hard to be non-confrontational and not push any buttons while remaining honest. I'm aware that I can sometimes be unreasonable when I'm angry so I make sure to 1) calm down before talking to him and 2) be gentle.

He read the whole thing. Poor Leo! Then tickled me by reading the second entry again to make sure he knew the rules. Silly man! :D He said the last rule is his favorite and became non-negotiable when we got married. There's a reason I love my husband. I guess we have more rules than some and less than others. To my way of thinking, it condenses down to everyone has to be respectful (me, too!), everyone has to be honest, and our relationship doesn't always have to come first but it does absolutely have to be nurtured.

It was slightly uncomfortable none-the-less. Privacy is a really big deal to me. Even at the height of the angst over A, I didn't look at his cell phone or laptop even when he told me I could. He would show me snippets of conversations via text, but I was very careful of respecting his privacy. We both have an open door policy with our phones. We know each other's passcodes and have nothing to hide. But that doesn't mean it's okay for me to go flipping through his phone to see what he's been doing. It's difficult sharing my innermost thoughts too. However, sharing and being honest is important. Part of why I was nervous was the worry he would find an inaccuracy. I have a policy of not lying to myself, but I sometimes worry that I'm not being honest with myself. Therefore, Leo reading the blog was a good test for that. At least I wasn't lying.

Threw that Unicorn Hunting tag in the title, so I figure I should address that. :p I will admit that early in this whole truly opening up (meaning opening my mind and heart to the full ramifications of this relationship), I felt more comfortable being involved in his relationships more. Yes, even being there in the bedroom. Turns out Leo really wanted a threesome too. I'm bi-curious I guess. I find some women attractive, but had never had a sexual experience with one. I like to please my husband as well, so I was on-board. He was lucky enough to find a bi female that had been on both sides of a relationship with a couple before, understood how it works, and shared a mutual attraction with. It came time to meet me. I met S with him and absolutely adored her from the start! I wasn't exactly comfortable with the idea of being very involved with his girlfriend and the threesome, but I honestly liked her. In fact, over time, I bonded with her emotionally. I could totally see why he was attracted to her. She had a lot of wonderful characteristics. The threesome aspect was okay for me, but I had conversations with Leo pretty quickly about that. I'd been reading a lot about poly and explained I had come to understand that I didn't need to be sexually attracted to his girlfriends or even involved that way, and the fact that I genuinely like her was actually pretty ideal. S eventually broke things off because she had started dating a mono guy that she was very excited about and wanted to see where it would go. But she remains friends with Leo and I, and I honestly believe she was the best possible girlfriend for Leo to start me in this journey. She taught me to back away and be comfortable. Let him have his relationships in a way that is comfortable for him and his girlfriend, don't expect anything from the girlfriend more than respect. Be grateful if I can be friends with his girlfriend, and be okay with it if I'm not friends but we're all respectful. In fact, thinking about S yesterday, I sent her a message telling her how much I appreciate her even though that part of the relationship is done. Nothing says we can't all be friends, right? No unicorn hunting, no threesomes unless it evolves organically, and no need to include me on their dates.

Leo's got a new potential now, J. She's pretty down to earth, kind of shy, and poly is completely new to her. All I could do is reassure her that I'm okay with what is developing between her and Leo and won't go all psycho with her. So our meeting went well. I'm not really part of their relationship anyway. Leo updated me last night that he didn't feel like he'd been giving her enough attention due to the holidays and work and wanted to try to spend more time with her. I suggested he schedule a date with her. No lying here - I'm on board with this. I didn't feel jealous or insecure. I just wanted to help my husband solve a problem and let him know I support him. I might actually achieve compersion at some point! ;)

SouthernGal 01-01-2014 07:31 PM

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year to all! I hope that each of you is starting the year the way you wish it to go. It's something I've been thinking about frequently the last few days. If I wish my life to go a certain way, then I should live it to move in that direction and treat it as an expectation instead of a wish.

It's been a ticklish last few days. I surprise myself sometimes. So many months of working through my jealousy and insecurities about him having a long-term relationship with someone and being okay with "just sex", only to find myself now feeling jealousy over the idea of a fling and sympathetic about a relationship. Good grief! :rolleyes: Leo was joking the other day about having a threesome with a couple of girls that have been trying to get his attention, and despite knowing he won't go there, the jealousy sniped me. Yet, he talks to me about his prospective gf, J, and I'm sympathetic and making suggestions. I doubt she will be a prospective much longer, however. He's feeling as though she just doesn't value his time or him. I gave him some advice and empathy, because I know he's been excited about it, and I want him to have that. Not a jot of jealousy. I've come a long way, but sometimes I remember just how silly emotions can be. I coped with my jealousy about the girls, laughed it off, and went on with life. It was really just a little hiccup. But it resonated for me the difference between now and when all this was first started. Hey, I might be growing!

Leo and I had a tense moment a couple of days ago. We took a little trip to our local bar for drinks. I was talking to him right before going to the bathroom about whether I felt as though I could have one more drink since I was driving, and I feel buzzed driving is as bad as drunk driving. When I came out of the bathroom, there was another drink, in a short glass instead of the tall glass I usually prefer. I sipped it and it tasted off, but I've been fighting a cold and can't taste things well with a stuffed up nose. However, before half the drink was done, I didn't feel drinking anymore of it would be a good idea if I didn't want to be buzzed before driving. When I persistently said no to drinking the rest of the drink, it was finally revealed that he thought it would be funny to get me a double. Good thing I didn't drink much of it. :mad: He picked up on how upset I was immediately and started apologizing immediately. Still, I wasn't happy. I told him I have good judgement about my body and limits and he should trust it, then told him never to do that again. It doesn't do much for trust when something like that happens. It was juvenile, he meant no harm, and was obviously not thinking. I could forgive him, but from now on, I'm taking my drink with me to the bathroom. That was not cool. He's been stepping carefully since, because he realizes it was a violation of trust. Small things like that can build up into big problems if we aren't careful. I'm glad he's taking it seriously.

The best part of all this is that as Leo and I have improved in our communication with each other, my youngest child (7 years old) has been watching and learning. Not the deep, hard conversations of course, but the small stuff. He walked up to me this morning, hugged me, then said "I want to sit in your lap." I asked why, to which he replied, "I need extra lovings!" So I cuddled and kissed him, chatted with him, and made him giggle. Once he had enough loving from mom, he was off playing again. We've managed to craft a happy, healthy little family in unexpected ways. :cool:

SouthernGal 01-11-2014 02:21 AM

Work has been awful the last couple of days. Yesterday, my company did a mass layoff. 83 people lost their jobs. I survived the cut, but a lot of people I respect and like are gone. Surviving is not as bad as getting let go, but it's incredibly difficult and shocking to be one of the ones left standing. You feel scared, like you're under a microscope, and it gives you a feeling of "there but for the grace of God go I." Not to mention, my duties just doubled, I've spent hours in meetings while announcements were made, duties were shifted, and people basically panicked. Leo has been amazing. He said "Honey, you're awesome. You are worth every bit of your job and then some." He's been reassuring and supporting me a lot while I've been dealing with the shock. I told him that I was worried I was neglecting him, and he just told me "If I feel neglected, I can take care of it. I like porn!" Goofy thing! :D Days like this make me so very glad we worked through everything to get to this point in our relationship. Have I mentioned yet that I believe opening our relationship made our relationship stronger and better? I know that's happened for others. I'm just glad it happened for me too. :p

Things with J fell through. I had a feeling it might from the time I met her. She has never been in a relationship with someone poly before, and didn't know if she would be able to do it. He's already married to me, so he couldn't be her next husband (she's been divorced about a year). He wanted to be her boyfriend, but he wasn't sure it would last either. She's still in a state of mourning her marriage. However, they made a go of it, and apparently it was just too awkward. He's been talking with a couple of others, but nothing's piquing his interest yet. I figure when he's ready, he'll find someone he likes. He's a very good-looking man, charming, and social. He doesn't have a problem meeting and connecting with people. I'm shy; he's the exact opposite. I honestly think he's just focusing on other things right now. His career is really taking off right now.

SouthernGal 01-12-2014 10:00 PM

Leo and I hang out at a local bar frequently, and lately a friend we have known for a while has expressed an interest in me. She's very attractive and fun to be around, but I'm just not that interested in her. Leo has been trying to encourage me to hook up with her with the hopes of hawt threesome sex :rolleyes:, but I have resisted. I figured out a few weeks ago she is not looking for a one night stand, but a long-term girlfriend. She is in an open relationship, but is not interested in guys or casual hookups. I really respect and like her, but I'm not sure I want to start dating her. Leo finally figured out that she was looking for something long-term last night and has realized I'm not likely to go in that direction. I've felt pressured lately, which doesn't sit well with me. I'm one of those people that is more likely to do the opposite when pressured just to be a pain in the ass. We've talked about it a little, but he's now left if firmly in my court to decide how to proceed.

I'm actually mostly heterosexual. I've been involved with a woman once, but she was Leo's girlfriend and I was just a visitor in that relationship. My relationship with her was more mental with a strong friendship "click". Oddly, I came to realize I sort of have a girlfriend in my best friend. Because I sometimes lack imaginations, we'll just call her Bestie. :D I'm as close to Bestie as I am to Leo. I can talk to her about anything, spend long amounts of time with her, and have a very strong emotional bond with her. She's one of those people that I know is going to call me before my phone rings. She's also very attractive to me. But I value my relationship with her so much that I won't go there for fear of causing any problems. I love her as my friend and love Leo as my lover, and I'm very happy right where I am. So I guess she's my non-romantic girlfriend and that's perfectly suitable.

SouthernGal 01-27-2014 12:33 AM

Last weekend, Leo revealed he'd had 2 other relationships during the DADT. One he had told me about before, but said was before he met me. The other he had volunteered that she wanted to but he had not. Both were lies. His excuse was that he wanted to tell me about them but couldn't, so he lied so he could tell me anyway. Yeah, right. I was very offended by the lies. We talked for a couple of days and things died down. He said that was all that had happened. I guess we'll see.

I had been thinking for a while about a man I know. He's fun, interesting, intelligent, and attractive and made his interest in me plain. I told Leo Friday that I was thinking about approaching him with the possibility of a FWB arrangement. Things seemed fine, but it came up again last night while we were out with our best friends, another poly couple. He started treating me very disrespectfully, giving me the cold shoulder, even flipped me off in front of other people and hanging all over a couple of women there that had flirted with him but are the type to go home with a different man every night. He even implied I'm a whore.

I've not once even approached a relationship outside of ours from the start, and to be treated like I'm a whore for thinking about doing a little of what he's done so much more makes me absolutely furious!!! :mad: I have never judged him for his relationships! The DADT had to go because that was just an exercise in self-deception. I've been honest with him, expected the same, and have been getting back in bits and pieces the actual truth from before. Why lie? It's a don't ask, don't tell. I certainly didn't ask, he didn't have to "tell" and lie about it. I thought we worked those things out. This was supposed to go both ways. He can have a girlfriend, I can have a boyfriend. We just have to be open and honest about it. I have never told him he couldn't be with a woman, not even A. He made that choice himself. I have listened and given my support each time he has talked to me about a potential. But the first time I even bring it up, he treats me like I'm less than him. If this is how it's going to be, I'm not doing this. Either it goes both ways or it doesn't go either. And if he can't handle that, I'll help him pack his bags, because I'm not going to put up with being disrespected and mistreated because he can't even try to face his jealousy the way I did. This is not how poly works, dammit.

nycindie 01-30-2014 02:20 AM


Originally Posted by SouthernGal (Post 258153)
I have listened and given my support each time he has talked to me about a potential. But the first time I even bring it up, he treats me like I'm less than him. If this is how it's going to be, I'm not doing this. Either it goes both ways or it doesn't go either. And if he can't handle that, I'll help him pack his bags, because I'm not going to put up with being disrespected and mistreated because he can't even try to face his jealousy the way I did. This is not how poly works, dammit.

Hell, yeah, sistah! It is so very refreshing to read this! I love to see a woman stand up for herself and not tolerate any bullshit. Gosh, we see far too many women here putting up with all kinds of crap just because they're in a poly situation and don't know whether they can establish a boundary or not. Good for you. Any guy who holds onto a double standard and disrespects and slut-shames you for wanting the same things he wants should be out on his ass on the curb, with the locks changed!

starlight1 01-30-2014 02:44 PM

Love love love this post. Sorry to hear that he's treating you so badly, don't love that part. But I DO love that you are standing up to him!!! I agree if he's going to slut-shame you, you should kick his ass to the curb! I am sorry that he's being so rude, but I am glad you're standing up for yourself in this way. I really enjoy reading your blog, so I hope you keep writing and let us know how it all turns out. :o

SouthernGal 01-31-2014 12:35 AM

Thanks, guys. You don't know how much your words mean to me NYC and starlight1.

I'm very submissive when it comes to a lot of things because I don't care that much. When I care, I'm not submissive and tend to be very aggressive when I feel I'm being ignored. Leo knows that, and frequently takes advantage of my submissiveness, but he's also learned to back down fast when I get my back up. I was infuriated when I wrote that post, and poured it all out in a letter to him because he wasn't home at the time. When he read it, he immediately backed up. He was abashed and horrified. Wanted to know what he had said and done specifically, apologized, and started working with me on it. Nothing is resolved yet on that front, but the passive-aggressive crap and insulting comments have stopped. Usually, when I bring something up to him he starts working on it. Doesn't try to blame me or make me feel bad, just tries to figure out what happened, where it went wrong, and what to do about it. Of course, it goes both ways. I'm not perfect either and have my days when I can be a real bitch. As long as we are both working and moving in the right direction, I have no room for complaints. I'm glad he recognized what was happening and took steps. He knows the guy I was talking about and even offered to try to make it happen. Somehow, I don't see that working. :p

The weather here has been absolutely awful. I live on the Gulf Coast and we were expecting to be hit pretty hard by the winter storm. Get your shopping done, gas up, booze, beer, and cigarettes, right? We were sitting pretty when the ice fell from the sky. Not snow, but sleet and freezing rain. Woke up to a sheet of ice in the front yard and the back yard. It looked pretty, but it was intensely cold and very dangerous to drive on. We had a few wrecks in our area, but it wasn't bad. Nobody went to work or school for 3 days. :p However, I work from home anyway so I was nose to the grindstone throughout.

My coworkers in Birmingham (Alabama) weren't so lucky. A lot were stranded overnight at work, in churches, drug stores, whatever place they could walk to that was safe and warm. They've been filtering out to get their cars today. Things are slowly returning back to normal, and no one I knew was hurt or had property damage outside crashed cars. I know everyone else looks at us with a giant WTH ringing through their heads, but we are not set up to deal with things like that. The night before the storm hit, all the weather forecasters were predicting the snow would be 100 miles south of Birmingham, so no one knew to prepare up there. Here, we don't have salt trucks or plows, just sand (yay for the beach!). Power boxes aren't insulated against ice, power lines are susceptible to falling if ice builds up too much, and no one in my city has seen icy roads like this in 13 years or so. It's a bit like Hurricane Sandy hitting the northeast. It wasn't that powerful a storm, but not being set up to deal with something like that left devastation. This wasn't as horrible, but it was pretty bad. I'm just glad it's over, at least in my area.

I hope you all are staying warm and appreciate the supportive comments.

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