Charting Our Course
(Because Hubby works on boats, so I always get into the nautical references...)
When I was a teenager, I read books with love triangles and always found myself wondering why the character had to choose between the love interests. Why couldn't everyone agree to make it work? Throughout my first marriage, I continued wondering about that, though I never explored my thoughts on it. That marriage was stifling at best, and... yeah. Let's just say it wasn't a good situation. My first husband and I split at the end of 2006, after almost 14 years of marriage and two kids.
I joined a "swinger site" (because it had "friend" in the name, and I didn't have any friends... I was honestly so naive I thought that's what it was about, though I caught on pretty fast.) I was able to explore a few things sexually and emotionally. I figured I wouldn't get married again, because I didn't like being tied to only one person.
And then I met Hubby through that site... After over a year of dating exclusively, we moved in together and married about a year after that, in April 2010.
Hubby had a "been there, done that" view on sexual experimentation; he'd already done the things he was interested in. I felt like I was still learning and exploring sexually, and it bugged me that I wasn't able to try things I wanted to try because he wasn't willing to try them with me. After this being an issue for quite a while, last March (2013), Hubby said, "I've decided I'm okay with you finding other guys to try these things with."
We made rules. Pretty strict ones. First and foremost was "No falling in love." If we developed feelings stronger than friendship for anyone, we were supposed to completely sever all contact with that person. So at first, it was purely a "swinger" situation.
And then we met Guy at a G-rated party thrown by members of our area's chat room on that website I mentioned. Something about Guy just grabbed my attention, the same way Hubby had the night I met him. That night, Guy and I made a connection, and because of a conversation they had about me, he and Hubby formed a mutual respect.
It took me about a month to realize my feelings for Guy--and his for me--were breaking the rules Hubby and I had set out. Hubby and I talked, and he assured me it was okay, especially since Guy was only in our area on business and would be leaving within a couple of months. But it scared the heck out of me. I have kids. I couldn't risk my marriage to Hubby. And so for a while, I called a hiatus with Guy. We talked, but didn't see each other, and I minimized the talking.
A month before he was due to leave our area, we saw each other at another party, and I realized I couldn't cut him out of my life. We talked for hours that night and agreed to keep things at a level that wouldn't break the rules, no matter how hard that was. And both of us knew it wouldn't be easy.
Through all this, I was completely open and honest with Hubby, and he was completely accepting of the situation. If it had been anyone other than Guy, I doubt he would have been so okay with it, but they'd formed a friendship, and Hubby trusted and respected Guy. And vice versa.
In September it reached the point where I couldn't keep my mouth shut anymore. I read. I researched. I realized I was polyamorous and had fallen in love with Guy, and I confessed to Hubby. Whose response was, "As far as I can see, you're bringing more love into the world; how could I have a problem with that?"
The next time I talked to Guy, I told him I loved him, and that Hubby knew and was okay with it. And so it began officially. Guy and I had both been denying our feelings, but we no longer had to, at least not to each other or to Hubby.
So since then, Guy and I have been in a long-distance relationship, since he left our area at the end of July. We talk at least 2-3 times a week, and I'm trying to convince him to give Skype a go so we can talk sort of face to face. I was fortunate enough to be able to pay him a visit last week, and seeing each other in person just reinforced that this is how it should be for us. And Hubby told me he's happy that I have Guy.
We're all learning. I have more knowledge about polyamory than either man, but it's mostly reading knowledge, not experience. But the three of us are open to figuring it out, negotiating, and communicating, and that's the biggest part of the battle, I think.
I'm starting this blog because we aren't open with many people in our real lives, and while I'm "out" in a couple of other places online, that's about it. So I need a place to type, think, and process as we navigate this course.
I think I made Guy cry today... I told him that even though having a long-distance relationship with no real idea of when we'll see each other again is difficult, he's worth it, and that I'd rather have him in my life long-distance than not have him at all.
What I didn't realize was that the last (mono) girlfriend he had told him almost the exact same thing--right before she broke up with him for being gone all the time, then took him back, then cheated on him and posted about it on Facebook.
He said he knows I meant what I said, and that it was one of the best things he'd ever heard because he knows I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it.
And he set up a second Facebook profile after our conversation, for the sole reason that when I was with him last week I said I wished I could tag him, post on his wall, etc., but couldn't because there are people on his main account to whom he would rather not explain our relationship.
So I tagged Hubby and Guy (under his new profile) on Facebook today... not realizing that Hubby has "real life" friends on his account. My post said something about wanting to make the people who love me proud of me, and a guy who used to work with Hubby and is friends with my father-in-law "liked" it.
Hubby said not to worry about it, so I'm not. But it does make me wonder how long this situation is going to stay as secret as Hubby wants it. He keeps saying he doesn't mind his parents and sister finding out, because we aren't doing anything wrong, but anytime there seems even a slight chance of them finding out, he gets twitchy. For example, I was going to write a blog post on my romance pen name's blog "coming out" to my readers as polyamorous, and Hubby vetoed it on the basis that even though I use a pen name on that blog, and even though I don't have very many followers, someone who knows I write romance novels under that name might see it and out me to people I don't want to be outed to.
His rationale didn't make any sense to me, but I respect him enough that I just made the post about polyamory in general and not about myself.
(Guy was happy about the idea of me doing the post about myself, but he respects Hubby too so was also okay with the compromise I made.)
Have you ever written a poly romance novel at your blog?
I don't write any kind of novels on my blog. I write blog posts. I write novels that are published by publishing companies. I have an MFM novel that was published in 2011.
Hubby and I went to a party Saturday night with friends from the "swinger site" where I met him (and Guy). A woman Guy had an FWB thing while he was in my area was there... I'm not going into detail, because you never know who might be hanging around on here, but suffice it to say at the time, she kept acting like he was her boyfriend, he kept making it clear that no, he wasn't, he didn't want a relationship with her, and even now, nearly a year later, she still talks to me about it as if he was her boyfriend.
I had no problem with Guy and her getting together, but he talked to me at the time about feeling like she was pressuring him. And I know she told some of her friends that they were a couple and that the only reason they "broke up" was because he left the area.
I try not to be petty, but it's hard not to feel... something. Not jealousy; I don't have anything to be jealous about when it comes to her. But I was irked back then because Guy was uncomfortable and I'm protective of people I care about, and every time she and I see each other, she manages to bring up something about the time they were together. At the time, someone started a rumor that I wanted to hook up with Guy (not knowing that by that point we'd already been seeing each other and "hooking up" for two months) and told this woman; she got angry about it and Guy had to talk her down.
I have to admit I did feel a little bit of satisfaction when she asked about my recent trip and I told her which state I'd gone to (I'd posted in the chat room we belong to that I was taking a trip, but not to where). She looked completely surprised and asked if I'd visited Guy, which I said I had. I felt like her reaction--a big laugh and smile-- was a cover-up, but maybe I was just projecting.
I told Guy this morning about that conversation, mainly because I wanted him to be aware that I'd told her I'd seen him. He and I have agreed to be as open as Hubby will allow, and Guy has said he doesn't care if I tell the entire chat room we're together (Hubby doesn't care either if the chat room people know), but I still wanted him to know I'd told her just in case he hears about it from her or someone else.
A couple of days ago, Guy opened the subject of dating/sex with his ex-wife, who since their divorce two years ago has been very vocal in her, let's say opposition to him dating anyone under any circumstances regardless of how one defines "dating." Apparently it's partly because she has no family or friends, so Guy's the only constant in her life other than their son, and it's also because of their son, who's on the autism spectrum and really needs both parents involved with *him* even if they aren't involved with each other.
Guy told me he's tired of dreading drama every time he even hooks up with someone, and he doesn't like hiding me any more than I like hiding him. He's not about to go around telling everyone he knows who I am, that I'm married to Hubby, etc., but he wants to be able to tell people he has a girlfriend who makes him happy without worrying about word getting back to his ex and her exploding at him.
He's taking it in baby steps; he started the discussion by assuring her he won't abandon their son and won't leave her any more responsible for their son than she is currently (since Guy travels so much for work, his ex is on her own with their son most of the time anyway), but that they are divorced, they have no relationship other than co-parenting and co-habitating when he isn't traveling (because he supports her financially for their son's sake, so he can't afford separate housing), and it isn't fair for either of them to not be free to find someone else to be happy with.
In the year I've known Guy, he's always chosen not to bring this up with his ex because he didn't know how she would react and he feared she would cut his ties with their son. So I'm really impressed, and pretty surprised, that he's talking to her about it now.
Meanwhile, Hubby and I had a nasty argument yesterday morning (about something within our marriage, not anything to do with the polyamory situation), and Guy called while I was still crying and trying to get myself back together. He's often the one I lean on when I can't lean on Hubby for whatever reason, and sometimes when Hubby and I are in conflict, Guy acts as peacemaker because he's able to explain to me from a rational point of view how Hubby's probably thinking, and he's able to explain to Hubby from an emotional point of view where I'm at. This is a role Guy's chosen, and Hubby doesn't mind it because honestly, it's been helping to keep our marriage together. Guy has said from the start that he wants Hubby and me to stay married because even if we're arguing, it's obvious how much we love each other.
Yesterday, though, I chose not to bring up the problem I was dealing with, or even to mention that it involved Hubby. It just felt wrong to bring Guy into the conflict, even in the context of helping to calm me down and process what happened.
Hubby and I sorted things out after he got home from work, so it's resolved now.
Hubby and Guy pretty much made me fall down laughing today.
Guy called while Hubby was puttering about getting ready for work. I took the phone into the bedroom so Hubby wouldn't have to overhear the entire conversation if he didn't want to, but left the door open. I don't hide much from him, and Guy doesn't mind if Hubby hears some of what we talk about.
Previously, Hubby and Guy were calling each other "bro-hub," but recently Hubby decided he didn't really like that term. So today he came to the bedroom doorway and asked if Guy was the one on the phone.
When I said he was, Hubby said, "Tell him I've decided to call him my brother-in-KC." (He used my real name, but obviously I'm not gonna do that.)
I relayed the message to Guy, whose response was, "Well, we have both been in you, so I guess that works."
Well, not exactly jealousy... more envy. If that makes sense. To me, jealousy is along the lines of "She has that... I want it and *don't* want her to have it", whereas envy is "She has that and I wish I had it also."
I have a female friend who is also friends with Hubby and Guy. To the point that last year she slept with Hubby (with my agreement) on one occasion by themselves, and also hooked up with Hubby with Guy and me present. This was before Guy and I were officially in a relationship, and after she was done with Hubby, she fooled around with Guy as well but they didn't have intercourse.
This woman is very confident and sexual, doesn't take any crap from anyone, and is proud of her sexuality and openness. She also doesn't hold back from letting men know when she wants them, other than doing so privately so other people don't stick their noses in her business. She's a lot of fun to be around, and is friendly with a lot of people.
I'm pretty shy, don't express an interest in any man unless he expresses an interest in me first, worry about what guys will think if I act sexually (and yes, I even have that concern sometimes with Hubby and Guy), and am kind of quiet and boring in social situations.
So she's what I want to be when I grow up, and that's the problem... One of the reasons Hubby didn't get together with her again after the time when Guy and I were present was because I expressed to Hubby that I was afraid (irrationally, which I recognized) that he would think she was "better" and more fun to be with than me. Guy has only been with her that one time, which was *her* choice; she friend-zoned him before I ever met him. (They met when he was in the area on business in 2012, when Hubby and I were still completely monogamous and so weren't socializing with the website group.)
My male best friend has also dated this woman and is kind of in love with her but not exactly (as he puts it).
It's hard to explain and I kinda hate myself for feeling this way, but I constantly feel like I have to compete with her. It's entirely within myself. She's a sweetheart and encourages me to be fun and playful, though occasionally she snipes at me (things like "Well, of course the guys find me hotter than you, because I'm single). It's because of my own insecurities that I feel inadequate compared to her, but I'm really the only one comparing myself to her. We're two completely different people; she's more of a partier, sex-for-fun kind of person, and I'm more of an emotional connection, quiet in public but wild in private kind.
Last summer she severely injured her back, which put her out of commission on pretty much every level. She had surgery in December and was recovering. That gave me a respite from feeling like I had to compete with her. But earlier this week she announced on Facebook that she's "off hiatus" and ready to party, have sex, whatever. And that set me off again, even recognizing that I don't have to be concerned.
Yesterday I talked with Guy a bit about my insecurity regarding this woman, and about how I hate feeling like I'm competing with her anyway. His response was, "You don't have to compete with her, but if you did, you've already won; you have Hubby and me."
Last night, I went out with the woman and my best friend, and a few other people, to hear a band we're all friendly with. The band is going on tour next month, and four of their stops are within a couple of hours of where Guy will be working at that point. (Three stops are actually in his home city, but he'll be working about 2 hours away from there.) The woman is the band's merchandise and fan club manager, and she'll be going on at least part of the tour with them; Guy had already expressed to me that he was hoping to make one of the shows so he could see her again.
So last night, she was telling Best Friend and me about "a guy who's twisting my mind on Facebook"... she looked at BF and said, "You don't know him," then looked at me and said, "He's going to meet me in (Guy's home city)." And went on to say that this person had gotten the date wrong for that city's show, which confirmed to me that she was talking about Guy because *I* was the one who gave him the incorrect date after misreading the tour schedule.
She told me, "He said he has to work on the actual show dates, and I told him he should take the time off and come see me, because we have unfinished business. So he'd better show up."
Knowing this woman, that's pretty much her telling me she plans to hook up with Guy while she's in his area. She never actually lets people in on her plans; she didn't tell Hubby she intended to hook up with him until the end of the party the night it happened, because she likes to keep her options open. But *I* knew she was planning to hook up with Hubby that night, because I know how to read her subtext, and she's fully aware of this.
It isn't that I have a problem with Guy sleeping with other women. He and I have talked about it; he's promised me that he isn't looking for another *relationship*, but he likes sex and wants to have it when it's available. After an issue before I went to visit him, when I found out two weeks after the fact that he'd spent nearly a week with another woman, he also promised that he wouldn't get together, or even talk about getting together, with any other woman without letting me know. As I put it, "I don't mind sharing as long as I know I'm sharing."
I don't even have a problem with Guy sleeping with *this* woman. They've been friends for two years. I've seen him with her. And hell, if I didn't have a problem letting her sleep with Hubby, I can't exactly have a problem with her sleeping with Guy. My problems were that it sounded like she and Guy had plans that Guy hadn't informed me of, and that I started comparing myself with her again. (And I have to admit it's also because I wish I was able to get out there to see him again.)
I called Guy last night and asked him about this. He assured me that he and the woman hadn't had any discussion about getting together during the band tour, other than "Hey, are you coming to the show in your home city" and "Well, I have to work, so probably not, but I'd like to." She hadn't let him in on her "unfinished business" plan any more than she'd let Hubby in on her plans for him last year. I believe Guy on that, because he has never been dishonest with me that I'm aware of (his omission of getting together with the other woman earlier this spring was a matter of him just not thinking to tell me, not of him trying to hide anything), while this woman tends to exaggerate and reformulate reality at times.
So that took care of one problem, which was my concern that Guy had made plans he wasn't telling me about. But my other problem is the same as with Hubby: Guy might decide he likes her better than me.
It's juvenile, immature, and irrational of me. I completely recognize that on an intellectual level. But on an *emotional* one, it's hard to shake, even when both Hubby and Guy have told me that she's fun to be with but isn't someone they'd want anything long-term with. (Even my best friend, who HAS HAD something long-term with her, has said he likes being with her sexually and romantically, but likes being with me for friendship and conversation.) The reassurances help, but I have that little kid who was always told she wasn't worth anything and would never be good enough still living in the back corners of my mind, and it's hard to shake that sometimes.
I *know* I'm not going to lose anyone to her. I know she wouldn't do that to me, because she and I had that conversation last year regarding Hubby. She has no interest in poaching other women's men, and she only went through with her plans with Hubby last year because I told her it was okay with me. She's been in a situation where her partner in an open relationship left her for a woman who was supposed to be just a playmate, and one of her absolute limits is that she will not put another woman through what she went through.
I'm really blessed that Hubby and Guy understand why I feel the way I do, and that they recognize it isn't anything at all against this woman, it's more something I have against myself. And they're talking it through with me and helping me reach a place where I don't feel like I'm competing.
But it still sucks, and it sucks even more because I don't like myself for being so petty and immature about it. Which is one of the reasons I'm typing all this, because I process by writing things out.
Somehow or another I got dragged into a conflict between Best Friend and the woman I mentioned in the previous post. Fortunately, it seems to have resolved, but I'm a little worried about fall-out... She doesn't react well if she perceives someone as having betrayed her, and the fact that I listened to Best Friend's side of the story and offered him a leaning shoulder could easily be seen by her as a betrayal. She also has major issues if two of her friends become friends with each other separately from her... and she's the one who introduced me to both Guy and Best Friend, both of whom I now have a separate connection with. (And Guy and I being in an actual relationship now just adds a layer...)
I would have listened to and offered her equal support if she'd asked...She and I don't really talk unless we're in the same place.
She has, however, apparently been unloading about it on Guy. I told him I don't want to know what she's saying, I only want to know if she says something that he interprets as either an emotional or a physical threat to me. Unfortunately, that isn't as unlikely as it sounds; I've heard some of the things she's said about other people she feels have "wronged" her in some way. Guy says so far she's been talking a lot about Best Friend but hasn't really mentioned me.
Guy's planning to go to one of the band shows in his home city; he's already arranged the night off. So he'll be seeing her, which I'm okay with. He knows my concerns, and he won't do anything without telling me.
I'm not actually as concerned as I was, though. As Best Friend pointed out to me, this woman hadn't really talked to Guy after he left our area--until she found out last month how far our relationship had progressed and that I'd gone to visit him. That's when she started constantly messaging him. On the other hand, that's also when the band's tour schedule was announced, so she may very well have only started talking to him again because she knew she'd be in his area. And if she and Guy get together, I trust Guy. (Because of things I've been hearing from Guy, Best Friend, and another friend who knows this woman, I'm not completely sure how far I can trust her.)
Meanwhile, I joined OKCupid, and I'm not really sure why... I saw people talking about it in the OKCupid thread in the Fireplace here, and thought it might be fun, but now that I actually have a profile there and have gotten a couple of messages from men who sound interesting, I have second thoughts. I'm in a marriage and a long-term relationship, though Guy is also long-distance, which makes it more difficult. I have Best Friend to hang out with. The only thing I don't have at the moment is a sexual partner aside from Hubby (because of Guy being so far away), but I don't want just casual sex. So I'm going to leave the profile as is for a few more days and see what happens, but I'm not at all sure right now whether I want to meet anyone else.
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