Griffin is a whole other issue altogether, as I've had feelings for him since at least a year before I even met my husband. We met by going on a few dates, slept together a few times, were caught up how accidentally awesome we found one another, and then he dropped off the face of the planet. I was sad, but I accepted this. Six months later, he called and said that he really missed me and that he hoped we could still be friends. How to answer was not even a question for me, and we've had a deep, emotionally complex relationship ever since.
We are both prone to dropping off the face of the earth, and so we lose contact pretty regularly as either he or I are in a cocoon phase. Our friendship hasn't suffered from these weeks, or even months that we don't talk. Somehow, it's simply understood to be the nature of the beast and Griffin and I pick back up where we left off as if no time had passed at all.
I met Mr. Unicorn during one of these cocoon phases, and I didn't see Griffin again until well after my relationship was established. I told Griffin it didn't change anything about our friendship on my side, and I told Mr. Unicorn I'd quit sleeping over cause it implied things that weren't going on. Things went on as before and I was very happy that I had these two great people in my life.
About a year later, I had my first real emotional crush with a responsible, professional, highly competent older man at my job. He was moving, and I confessed my feelings right before he left. He admitted that he felt similarly, and was just awed by my competence and energy from our first shift together, and it sent me on a huge emotional dive as I was hearing the sort of things this man was saying about me, and how I felt like I had none of that personal admiration from my own man.
In a very bad emotional place, I sat poor Mr. Unicorn down for a talk and expressed the things that I needed that we hadn't been addressing, and confessed about my crush. We were trying to be good communicators, but neither of us had the emotional maturity or the experience to really deal with some of the issues at hand relating to responsibility and support and sharing. I decided I really needed some time alone to think about things, and so, unsatisfactorily, I broke it off. Aaaand the month of December was a sad, sad, horrible, lonely month for the both of us.
I spent much of this time with Griffin, who listened patiently as I poured out my frustration and my dissatisfaction, my anger and my sadness. I cried, and he held me, and just listened. I am so grateful for his support.
On New Year's Eve, Mr. Unicorn and I found that we were both alone, and spent the entire night talking about what we'd learned about ourselves and what we wanted from the relationship. It was a real turning point, and we came away clearer in our expectations, and very committed to better communication and openness that have been the defining characteristics of our relationship to this day.
In the months before Mr. Unicorn proposed, I was having to make the decision of whether or not he was The One. Whether or not I could be committed to him without directing my energies elsewhere. I didn't want to lose him, and I knew I wanted him to be forever, and I was under the impression that it was an all or nothing decision.
I was fighting undiagnosed anemia during this time, and I wasn't sleeping well, and you know what chronic lack of sleep does to a person. I was withdrawing into myself, paring down anything that wasn't entirely essential to my daily functioning and my love for this man who I was sharing my life with.
I didn't really know what to do with myself for a while after I realized that I wanted my time with Mr. Unicorn to be forever. I had very deep and emotionally complex relationships elsewhere at the time, and I cut them ruthlessly from my life because I didn't know what else to do. For my entire adult life, being social, connecting with people, personal power, joyous physical activity, sexuality, and creativity were all rolled into one, and I pushed every single one of these things away because I couldn't figure out how to separate them.
Yeah, I know, not healthy at all.
The problem became that I felt isolated because I had walled up so much of myself, which made me rather inaccessible to my husband as well. I lost a lot of who I was for quite some time and I am very thankful to Mr. Unicorn for being so supportive while I have been going through the process of finding myself again.
Griffin was the only person I couldn't bear to give up in this personal witch hunt, and it paid off for me. It was conversations with him that sparked my interest in looking at the question of my sexuality again.
When I was finally ready to deal with all that mess I was ignoring, part of the solution happened to be that various forms of internet roleplay were a safe outlet for those energies that were otherwise inappropriate or overwhelming in the space of our marriage. I've been a much more balanced person and our relationship has improved dramatically since I no longer felt like I have to hold parts of myself at bay. And Mr. Unicorn loves my renewed liveliness, and he reaps the rewards in more ways than one, so he was nothing but encouraging.
The last six months has been a wonderful period of growth and exploration for me as I unpack and evaluate all that crap. Our marriage has grown stronger as I am able to bring more and more to the table. Plus we are growing up a bit, that does help some. I suppose it was only a matter of time before the poly discussion came up.
And come up it has.
We hit our first bump the other night when we were talking about insecurities and fears being best discussed sooner rather than later. I blurted out some rather incomprehensible and contradictory statements about my relationship with Griffin that really hurt Mr. Unicorn's feelings. He told me that he wasn't ready to discuss it outside of theory yet, and that the idea of me involved with Griffin makes him really uncomfortable and he shut down.
After we reconnected emotionally, I spent a lot of time crying because I told Mr. Unicorn that I had signed up for a traditional marriage and I feel like I am going back on that contract. His reply was that he didn't sign up for a traditional marriage, he signed up for a marriage with me
. If being poly is part of my identity, then how could he do anything but accept it because he loves me and wants me to be happy.
People, this man is incredible.
The happy side effect is that by voicing my fears and concerns about what Griffin may or may not mean to me, all of a sudden I'm not worried about it anymore. Suddenly I can see past that uncertainty and see that he certainly doesn't fit my criteria for what I want to bring into my life romantically. And that doesn't change anything about the amazing friendship I have built with him. He's a friend, a great friend who I just happen to have been involved with in the past, and I can continue to be his friend without feeling guilty that I'm somehow doing something wrong by being close to him.
It's like five years of worry have been lifted off of me and I'm positively floating.