Hey all! High time I checked back in.
The big annual camping event, which I'm again choosing not to give too many details about so as to retain some small degree of anonymity, was intense -- kind of relaxing, kind of super hard, kind of mega-super-crazy fulfilling.
Gia, Eric, and Bee camped in their little custom camping structure. Our friend Summer and I camped right next to them, sharing my roomy tent. Dexter, another mutual friend and Gia's crush, camped on his own a little ways down the road, for logistical reasons, but spent a lot of time in our camp. Gia's parents stayed at a hotel nearby and visited daily.
The days and nights were full of classes and parties, and we all also rested and swam a great deal. I loved spending time with my peeps, cooking meals together, chatting, juggling the baby. Bee can walk now and knows a few words. It's just becoming more and more rewarding to interact with him.
As an aside, Gia's parents seemed totally chill and accepting of my presence, especially her mom, who smiled at me a lot. I think she must be comparing me to their last gf, who was involved in a lot of pain and strife with them. It wouldn't be hard to see how different things are now. She also seems to really appreciate and respect my relationship with Bee. It's kind of amazing and I'm truly grateful to her for not being weird about me dating her married daughter.
Of course, my appreciation for her is muddled somewhat by the fact that she basically emotionally abused Gia for part of her childhood??? But Gia assures me that she's become a different person since then, which certainly seems to be the case.
Anyways, all of this was a huge contrast to last year, when I'd decided that it made more sense logistically for me to camp separately from them. It did, in a way, but I think I was also just afraid that it would hurt too much to be close to them all the time when they were still figuring out how close they could let me (Gia was still in needing-space mode at that time). I may well have been right, who knows, but it also hurt to be apart from them. This year, I felt very warm, relaxed, and part of a unit with them most of the time. I was so very happy, so often, with just our simple day to day interactions. There was one especially nice afternoon where Bee fell asleep in my arms as we laid together in a hammock. I also felt seen and understood by Eric, in a number of small ways, which is always so meaningful to me.
Where things didn't feel so good was for the first several days, in terms of me wanting to be closer to Gia, and having difficult feelings about her interest in Dexter. I was already going into things feeling vulnerable, like I needed more quality time with her, feeling fragile about the relationship in general (as detailed here -- http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showp...&postcount=466
-- and here -- http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showp...&postcount=471
). While I wanted it very much, the opportunity to spend much solo time didn't really present itself for those first few days, and I didn't push.
Then, one evening, we all went out partying and Gia ended up taking Dexter aside and kissing him. She told me and Eric immediately afterwards and was obviously giddy. I was genuinely happy for her... as I've mentioned, she's never had another male lover and she really wants one.At the same time, it genuinely hurt to see her so excited over someone new while I was in the midst of struggling with things between us. It helped that Dexter is so very sweet and unassuming, a hard person to resent in any way.
Not long after, Eric announced that he might try to hook up with a bartender chick who seemed into him. I was surprised at the timing. Was he, in fact, feeling some jealousy as well and choosing to deal with it like this? Or did he just figure that this was a good chance to have some fun, meaningless sex without having to worry about Gia potentially being jealous, since she had someone else to occupy her? Either way, it seemed kinda weird, but I didn't comment. It's their relationship and it's not like he was out of line.
Dexter, Gia and I moved on to another party, leaving Eric behind to flirt with his bartender. While we were waiting in a line, I made a move. Admittedly terrible timing, since she was clearly so excited about having at last made a successful advance on a boy she had a crush on, who was still with us, but I was feeling wounded, as I said, and was looking for some validation of my importance to her. I feel kinda dumb about it now. But anyway, there in the line I whispered to her, "So, sounds like your bed may be free tonight... wanna spend some time together?" She considered it for a moment but then, with some small regret in her voice, said she wanted to keep partying.
I played it cool -- nothing is less sexy than someone who can't handle a "no" -- but not long after, I slipped away. I was drunk, feeling maudlin and rejected and lost. I found a quiet spot and cried to myself for a few moments. Then, walking back, I ran into Eric. Apparently he hadn't been successful. He and I went to yet another, different party together, and hung out separately there. I left after a while and just walked along the torchlit paths, crying to myself intermittently, totally not caring if anyone saw me. Not my proudest moment. I actually got completely lost, even though I know the pathways well in the daytime, which was just depressing on top of everything else.
Eventually I calmed down and found my way back to the party where Gia and Dexter still were. They were talking, sitting very close together. "Oh hey guys, sorry for intruding," I said, and plopped my head onto Gia's lap. I was really sloshed, what can I say. Gia took me aside and said some really beautiful things to me about how much she sees in me, how she knows she hasn't been able to give me what I deserve. I asked her if we could just spend some time together, the two of us. She promised me a night before the trip was over. Eric and I ended up walking back to camp together, me leaving heavily on him to stay upright.
The next night I said I needed some time to myself, and walked far away from all the camps, to the top of a hill. As I walked, I thought about all of the expectations and desires that I hold and how they hurt me, all the unanswered questions that I obsess over. One by one, I recited them to myself and let them go. Then I just laid on my back, looked at the stars, and thought about my life. It was calming.
The next morning, I thought about the time left in the trip and the various plans we had for our evenings and realized that a solo evening between Gia and me, along the lines that she had promised, might be very hard to find. I brought this up to her and she concurred, looking unhappy. When she left camp I followed after her and told her that it was ok, I understood.
But that day, as I went about my business, I wondered if I had lied to her. I sure as hell didn't feel ok. I wondered if I should tell her about my bad reaction to her kiss with Dexter and her subsequent "no thanks" to my offer of sex. I couldn't bring myself to be ok with the idea of admitting how poorly I'd dealt with things when I so wanted her to have the chance to be with Dexter, so wanted to be able to be ok with a "no" when it had been the wrong moment anyway. I decided that it was ok to keep an embarrassing, drunken overreaction to myself, that telling her about it might well just push her away and ruin her trip, but that unless something major happened to shift my feelings, I would HAVE to have a serious talk with her. There's fairness to your partner and then there's fairness to yourself, and in trying so hard to respect the former I was beginning to feel that I was losing all sight of the latter.