Right at the time this journey started was right after we had made many other changes to our lives. My wife and I, when we make changes, we donít do them half-assed. When we change one thing, we tend to change a bunch of things. We didnít move in together, and then eventually get married. Nope. We got married and moved in together the day after the honeymoon, when I was still on probation for a new job. When we decided to buy a house, she got a new job at about the same time, and we radically altered our lifestyle to something far less sedentary and idle...utterly changing our eating and exercise habits at the same time.
When we started down this road to non-monogamy, we had done it again...I had changed careers, we had become parents, and we had moved to a city in another province. I had also become a very different person than before...Iíd call it a rite of passage (or at least one of the few mechanisms in our society that functions as one) ...sheíd call it brainwashing. Either way I wasnít suffering from a case of being a boy in a manís body anymore. The process involved a purposeful stripping and rebuilding of identity, so while the core of me is still here, my overall identity changed quite significantly...and itíd be foolish to think that some of that wouldnít be apparent to others...especially someone as closely attuned to me as my wife is.
We also left all my friends behind...everyone that I knew and held dear pretty much were back home...still are. I donít give up friends easily. The core of our social circle before I left were people I have known since elementary school, with some late arrivals from university, and a few tag alongs that showed up since. We grew up together, know everything about each other because we were there when it happened...rejoiced together during the good times, and seen each other through the worst...even when it was our own doing. And even 20 years on, weíd get together almost weekly to socialize, party, game, whatever...lots of gaming. If it sounds a little sappy and sentimental so be it...I have no doubt Iím suffering from a bad case of nostalgia this weekend.
I should probably explain briefly why I call them Ďmyí friends...even though they were very much my wifeís friends as well. Her last bf managed to drive away all her friends at the end of high school...so she fell into my social circle as a consequence...it was a source of some dissatisfaction back then that all her friends were Ďmyí friends....something which has been reversed in the new city, where I have no friends, save co-workers (which Iím not discounting by any means, but itís a very different kind of friendship), and all Ďourí friends outside work, are actually Ďherí friends...and Iím just tagging along for the ride.
There are times, like now, as I reflect on this fact and finally understand completely why she was pissed off about this before we moved.
It explains why she doesnít want to move back there anymore...her life, her friends, social activities....lovers....itís all hers now. Made by her, for her, on her own terms, and through no small amount of effort, for the first time since she was a teenager in high school.
So whatís the problem Iím getting now? Why does my wife want me to reconnect with my old hobbies and find new gheeks to hang out with? I always used to encourage her to find hobbies to give her an outlet...and got her involved in mine when she wouldnít go get her own. Now sheís found her outlet...which tends to leave the husbands as widowers to it....and she hasnít been able to get me involved in her world...I might actually think about it someday, but for now Iím never around. Is this the same thing? Turn-about is foreplay...er, fairplay, isnít it? She has her hobby to keep her busy and wants me to have mine back now? Is this why sheís trying to give me my office back to be Ďmyí space?...something else I lost in the move...told you she was well attuned to me.
Did I lose something when I went though transitioning my identity? Perhaps it was just the new city, not knowing any gamers, and not having a lot of time to get involved with a regular session or group? But itís not like pick-up games are hard to find, or gamers. Thereís usually notices, meetups, etc. Iíve looked for them on occasion, and found some...but I never actually put in the effort to make sure it happened. I never actually went to the meetings.
Even though Iím not gaming, Iím still getting pretty sedentary again. I donít work out as much as I should, or could. Iíve put on enough weight to become fairly self-conscious about it again...which keeps me from doing other things that I had always intended to do...skydiving, tattoos, surfing...dating. Funny how Iím still not actually Ďdoingí much about it.
It hasnít been a complete loss....I took up Guitar after all, after a 20 year love/fear relationship with anything artistic, and stringed instruments in particular. (I suffer from L.O.F.T....Lack Of Fucking Talent) Iíve been at it, off and on, mostly off for 2 years now....and still suck. But unlike every other instrument I ever picked up, I havenít quit this one...and still enjoy it in spite of sucking. Either Iím getting better, finally learned stick-to-it-ivness, or I am truly a sadist at heart by inflicting such auditory pain on anyone within earshot. But why did I start it to begin with? I got along fine with just listening to music....why would I start trying to play it...especially well into my 30ís? Reading the book This is your Brain on Music
there was something in there about certain centers of the brain being activated by music...iirc some of the same pleasure centres involved with ...other...activities...which is why so much music revolves so much around emotionally charged situations such as romance, and why it can illicit particular emotional responses....hmmm.
Part of stripping out the old identity involved a period of loss. Like a depression following a death...a mourning period for the part that has past away. For things that were personal, close, part of my personality, it was dealt with at the time. But did I every go through that mourning for the other things I lost? My hometown? The gaming routine? My hobbies? Most importantly my Friends? I suspect by the time I got back to the new life in the new city, I was busy with everything else. Given the nightmare last week about loosing a dear friend from back home (and who just happened to be having similar thoughts about loosing my wife and I that same day) I donít think that process ever happened.
One thing about having friends who have been around effectively my whole life, is that there was never a doubt that I was loved when I walked into a room. Even if there was an argument and a collective bitch slap upside the head for doing something stupid, it was because they cared enough. Is that what Iím lacking? It might explain why Iím drawn to poly meets whenever I can find the time for them...since itís full of people with lots of love to give...and the women are usually happy to give hugs without an undue amount of convincing. Is it just the physical and emotional affection Iím missing?
Is this why I keep trying to make new friends online, locally and long distance...even when my dance card for now is approaching full? I like to be open to possibilities, but when I contact people now, itís purely in the interest of connecting as friends. I was originally thinking it was just a good way to approach relationships in general is that friends first makes for better lovers later...and reduces expectations, which keeps me from getting attached to the infinite possibilities which in all likelihood wonít ever happen. But I donít think thatís it. Maybe I just like being able to go places and have someone being happy to see me again. Where their face lights up with a smile and they actually divert their time and attention from whatever it was to come over and get a hug. I was a hug junkie in high school...not surprise I suppose that a couple decades later maybe Iím just building a network of lovely lady friends to feed my addiction?
Now hereís an uncomfortable thought....How much of my inclination towards poly is just an extension of those changes, the sense of loss, and the impulse to find new people to help fill some possible need for affection?
Iím not too worried about the karmic balance of love received from others...since I ended up having a large collection of friends back home, and I gave as good as I got. Which is maybe why the notion of being able to romantically love more than one person didnít seem like much of a stretch when I was first re-introduced to poly a few years back;...it was one of those things where I didnít doubt for a moment that I could. Does it actually matter? Even if that loss is what got me started on this path, so what? Will I get to a point where Iíve had enough and will want to turn back? If Iím addicted to human affection....is that a problem? Should I see a 12-step program about that? (Hello, my name is II, and Iím a lube-aholic....opps, wrong meeting...that oneís on the day that ends in Ďyí!)
How did this loop back to poly? I was talking about reconnecting with gheeky hobbies!
This is me processing...and how I come to change who I am, how I behave, what I think, and alter my course towards my eventual destination. And now that Iíve let you all in to see what a complete headcase I am, my waistline will be the least of my dating concerns...good thing I use a different handle for dating sites.
This is a work in progress....Iíll update as answers or better questions become apparent.