The path I didn't travel
Robert and I have been married for 13 years. I have known Jim for 20. Jim was a single dad, I a single mom. Our children grew up together, slumber partied at each others houses, and my house was often the place where people gathered on Sundays for breakfast. Someone would show up with fresh eggs, someone else with bacon, beer, and so forth. I always loved Jim, but walled off potential to be in love with him, because he lives in a rural area, is a simple guy, and I felt that had we consummated our love, both would have gotten hurt. I had things I needed to go do. Over the time I have known Jim I have moved to Central America for some years, traveled to 26 countries, lived in three, gotten my Bachelor's degree, married Robert, raised my kids, cared for my grandmother until she died, and enjoyed all the excitement and intellectual stimulation city life and marriage with my brilliant gentle software engineer, Robert, could offer. I enjoyed the nice things he offered, I must admit. I wasn't willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be with Jim.
Though I loved him, I never let my feelings develop. As I do with other friends, I told him I loved him and sometimes he paid for it in other relationships when ladies didn't understand. Perhaps they sensed the depth of our feelings. He never introduced me to any of them. Nevertheless, we held back when we were together, not wanting to hurt Robert.
I was at Jim's house five years ago when I got the worst call of my life. My son had died. Jim almost never leaves his mountain, but he drove me to my house, as I called the police sobbing, not believing it was true.
Jim and I lost touch for almost a year when we both lost our phones. I drove up to where he worked and left him a message, which he never got. During that year Robert and I opened up, found swinging unsatisfying, each dated some, but nothing went too far.
Jim's parents both died last within a very short time, and he didn't know how to reach me, his best friend. He tells me he was frantic. When I learned, I hunted him out, feeling terrible that I hadn't been there for him. I finally found him and promised him I would remain is his life as long as he needed me, as he had been there for me when I had my loss. For some nights I held him chastely as we both cried and talked about love and loss, how I had survived. The intimacy was profound. I cried inside when he recounted how he had been begging his part-time girlfriend for the tenderness he needed, which she saw as an opportunity for negotiating. I felt that offering Jim a romantic relationship when he was so vulnerable was taking advantage, but my feelings for him were harder to control. He had a "girlfriend," so HE would have been cheating, and was not the poly type, I thought.
I told him that while being alone may be scary, sometimes when we let go of one thing to reach for another, for a moment our hand is empty, and that in order to get the love and kind of relationship he deserved, he might have to have "nothing" for a while. Did he really need a girlfriend like that? I tried not to let on that we might be a possibility.
I discussed with Robert whether he thought it would help Jim to be his rebound thing, to get out of his bad relationship, by not having the empty hand. Robert was not happy about the risks involved in changing such an established relationship. He feared our depth of history, and also that I might lose my friend entirely should things go wrong. But we decided Jim needed and deserved more.
Slowly, I came out to Jim. I explained to him the differences between swingers (he knows a few) and that while swingers may have free sex, most swingers cower at the emotional intimacy of expanded Love. When he seemed to wrap his head around it, I asked him did he need love or a love? Did he think he was he willing to risk it? Mountain man style, he lunged at me, but when I told him that were we to jump in, before Robert was sure he "got it" we would not be able to move ahead after that, he held back. Did he really want one night, or something real? I admit, it was a test question.
He definitely got it, and once Robert was convinced he did, we moved quickly into an intense and passionate relationship. I didn't ask him to, but he dumped his psycho girlfriend, and I helped him get restraining orders when she became violent, and threatening.
Our feelings are growing and it doesn't look like I am the rebound thing. His beautiful daughter, now 25 and a mother of two, seems delighted. (She always knew we had a thing for each other.) Jim has explained to the rest of his family, and they seem to respect his choice. I'll know more when we meet with them this weekend.
Underneath his muscularity and gruff voice, Jim is a tender soul, who blurts out insanely complex sentiments that blow my mind. He and Robert describe themselves as "great with each other," and are working on building their friendship, which is not to say there haven't been issues. That’s not this rap.
Robert's central locus is his head, and he thinks things into complex knots before he sorts them out. Jim's is his incredible heart, and he seems to come to polyamory intuitively. Both of them can cry, both of them kinda don't like showing their vulnerabilities but are feeling safer doing so with each other.
Our relationship(s) are unfolding. Robert’s kind of crushing on a cute girl we know, and it seems she reciprocates. He’s shy, which makes it even more thrilling.
I am feeling that the path I didn’t take, in fact, crossed back unto the one I did. We are older, wiser, more ready for each other. Now there is no sacrifice.
Last edited by bonobosfemale; 03-09-2010 at 05:34 AM.