Not ALL smooth sailing . . .
I mentioned that my wife, Vix, has been having further adventures.
Where I last left off with her story, she was traveling with a companion in the Mid-Atlantic states, and their interaction had turned intensely intimate.
That didn't last beyond the trip. Her companion has an unusual communication style that led to misunderstanding and conflict and, in the end, he seemed overwhelmed by the experience and the idea of poly and all but shut down the relationship.
Vix and I have seen him since then, on our travels together, and they have cautiously begun to interact again as friends or acquaintances. He doesn't seem entirely comfortable around me, though.
A month or so later, Vix traveled out to the West Coast in pursuit of her avocation, and had an intense encounter with a much younger man. He and his partner are both profoundly, consciously poly, and he was also aware of his own boundaries and prior agreements. They spent the night together, but with a limit neither would cross without the consent of his partner.
Vix and I have an agreement about travel and opportunity: if she doesn't have a chance to seek my consent ahead of time to have sex with someone, she can tell me about it afterward. I trust her judgment, and her good sense about risk mitigation.
The young guy's partner met Vix, and likes her, so if Vix ever travels that way again, or if he travels this way, they have consent on all sides.
In the mean time, Vix had been developing a relationship by correspondence with an older gent - call him Doc - whom she has met here in the States but who is an ex-pat living and working in Europe for at least the next two years.
Doc traveled to Georgia back in January for an event of interest to Vix, and they attended together. He then invited her to visit him in Europe in late April, paying her air fare and other expenses.
They had a very fine long weekend together, traveling together as friends and lovers. She is planning to go back to Europe for two weeks in August, to spend more time with him.
Some trouble and strife followed her return from her April trip.
Vix does not much like living in the Atlanta area. In fact, as an asthmatic, the pollen, air pollution, and her own medications are quite possibly killing her.
She is highly motivated to spend as much time away from the area as she can, at least until I find a job elsewhere and we can move our household. This may be difficult, given my academic field and the current economy.
Doc made her an offer she had trouble refusing: spend a year with him in Europe, and take our daughters with her so they could attend school there. He would cover their expenses.
At first his offer was to have all this happen the year after next.
Now, before anyone jumps to conclusions, let me say I think the offer was well intentioned, not a play to steal my wife from me. The part of Europe in which he lives is much healthier than the Atlanta area, and Vix has long wanted to provide our daughters with an immersion experience in European languages and culture. For his part, Doc is divorced - he is staying in Europe to be close to his own children, who live with their mother, until they are out of high school - and he makes absurd amounts of money at his job and has a large house that is now mostly empty.
Even so, I balked. My understanding of our agreement regarding poly was that our household would remain intact, regardless of how either of us might venture from it. It seemed to me accepting Doc's offer would be a radical change to our understanding.
More than this, it struck me as foolhardy for Vix to commit to live for a year, on whatever terms, with a guy with whom she had spent exactly two nice weekends, and equally foolhardy to entrust the care and education of our children to someone they had met, slightly, once.
I'm not doing justice to the complexity of the discussion, nor to Vix's reaction to my reaction. Suffice it to say it was a tense and difficult time.
As tense and difficult as it was, I was blindsided by Doc's reaction to Vix's reports of my qualms: in effect, he doubled down, offering to host Vix and the girls this coming school year.
At that, I'm afraid to say, I flipped out.
Well, maybe that's too strong. I didn't rage or rail, but I was outraged and adamant.
I have never been one to put my foot down, to flatly say "no" to something. Vix has long been pushing me to be more assertive, but I think she was taken aback by the firmness of my refusal. Such an arrangement was simply unacceptable to me.
To his credit, Doc backed down when I flipped out. He had already expressed his intention not to disrupt my relationship with Vix or our relationship with our girls.
Even so, there followed long and difficult conversations between Vix and me, characterized more by missed communication than miscommunication, if that makes any sense: we were starting from different premises, and so talked past one another.
Days later, we came back to a kind of equilibrium. As difficult as it was, and as much as it planted a seed of doubt in my mind about Doc's judgment and his motives, it actually brought Vix and me to a clearer understanding of what we need, what we expect, and what we'll do from here.
The long and the short of it is that Vix won't be taking the girls to Europe. However, we have agreed to:
1. arrange things so Vix is more free to travel, to visit Doc, to pursue her avocation, and to protect her health from the worst the Atlanta area has to offer; this largely involves giving up home schooling the children and enrolling them in public school next year;
2. be more diligent in trying to find a job away from the Atlanta area - which doesn't make Nyx very happy, and will likely lead to some hard choices, down the road;
and, 3. prepare to divide our household, temporarily, in a few years, if Vix really needs to be away from the Atlanta area before I can find work elsewhere, even though the logistics of doing so might be nightmarish.
In the mean time, Vix is laying plans for her return visit to Europe, and also for a chance to meet up with Doc in the States sometime in the fall.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" - Charles Darwin
"Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is that they are not even superficial." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Last edited by hyperskeptic; 06-05-2012 at 06:09 PM.