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  #1  
Old 05-05-2014, 08:32 PM
icesong icesong is offline
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Default Change in all the areas of my life...

I posted here a few weeks ago, about the end(ish?) of my secondary relationship, but things continue to be... complicated. So I want to keep talking about it but it doesn't really fit in the "Relationships" category anymore.

TheKnight and I haven't been having a good time lately. A bit of budgetary over-extension, combined with a slow period in my business (I'm self-employed) have led to a lot of stress. So I'm pulling back a bit on the business to spend more time with my son and save money on daycare and other expenses (dropping the second car, for instance). Also, his parents and grandfather will be moving up here from Florida in the next few months due to significant health issues on his dad's part.

Adding to that stress, there have been some odd repercussions of Hipster!Boy and I's breakup between TheKnight and I - there were some particular kinks of mine that were met by Hipster!Boy that are, of course, not now met. And since even Hipster!boy ability to meet them was a source of jealousy/conflict, well, me being unhappy about their absence has not gone over well. So there've been a few less than happy discussions about that, though I think those are resolving right now.

Of course, things between Hipster!Boy and I haven't really *ended*. We still text a lot, though not as often as before, but I haven't seen him in 2 weeks now. I'm going to see he and PinkGirl tonight for Cinco de Mayo, in fact. The problem is we left things, last time we discussed our relationship, on a Very Unresolved Note. So he knows I still want more, he said he wanted time to think, and we haven't talked about it since then (it's been about a week and a half). In that time, though, we have had one... confrontation? I suppose that's a good word for it, about our ambiguous status. He used one of our in-house jokes in a text conversation, an in-house joke that was, when we were dating, unambiguously sexual. I told him that wasn't fair, and he apologized and said he was just being "playful" and not trying to poke at me. I told him that I didn't want to have that conversation at that time nor in text, and we didn't talk for 48 hours or so (This is weird for us, usually we text multiple times a day, even since the breakup.). That was last Friday. So tonight will be ... interesting. Especially since TheKnight is out of town for work, so it's just me and my son going over to their house.

I know cutting off contact for a while would probably make it all easier. But I'm apparently a glutton for punishment, or something. Or at least I have hope. Still. And he's still so very important in my life. (Or maybe I just think he is. I've been doing a lot of thinking about the relationship in my head vs the relationship in reality and I haven't really come to any conclusions that stick.)

Meanwhile I'm talking to a few new people on OKC, and have a couple potential drinks dates in the next few weeks. Which is probably in some ways a terrible idea, I'm not sure I'm (in Dan Savage's words) in "good working order" to start anything. On the other hand, I'm hoping that something light-hearted and fun might be a decent distraction and make moving on a bit easier.
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  #2  
Old 05-06-2014, 01:58 PM
icesong icesong is offline
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Unhappy

Last night was just as awkward as I was afraid it would be.

Pink!Girl and I continue to bond over parenting and fashion and so many of the other things we have in common, with the odd undercurrent of mutual heartbreak over each others' respective husbands. (I mentioned this dynamic to a non-poly friend of mine, and almost made her spit her coffee across the table. And yet it doesn't seem so odd at the moment...)

HipsterBoy and I, though, well. Where there used to be sexual tension between us, there's just tension now, and rawness. I find myself unable to look at him much of the time, I don't want him to see the vulnerability in my eyes. And yet every so often it's as if we forget we're not supposed to be lovers anymore and he meets my eyes with that same smile, and I'm reminded why I can't walk away from this.

The evening progressed as a weirdly hinged threesome - I found myself focusing the conversation on PinkGirl, as did he, I think. But when she stepped out of the room for a few moments, well. He asked me how I was, as though the fact that I was a mess about this was somehow a surprise to him. I told him it varied by day - which is true, and that he had no idea how pissed off and upset I had been Friday by his absentminded flirtations. He said he knew, given I hadn't talked to him for a day and a half (and at this my treacherous heart thought something like "at least he noticed!"). And we talked a bit about the fact that we needed to have a conversation, but this wasn't the time or the place.

At the end of the evening he walked me to my car, and again we talked about needing to talk (of course, my week is kind of booked, so who knows when that will happen.) I asked him if this - our current state of being - was anything like he thought it would be - and he said no, and I told him that this was all his choice and drove off. Perhaps I shouldn't have said that. I don't know that I care about "should" in this case.
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2014, 06:34 PM
icesong icesong is offline
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Default Things are looking up...

Last week - Wednesday - HipsterBoy and I finally talked about "the state of things", and it was the conversation that needed to happen. Not a long one, really, but at least not text. I still feel like I may have been pushing a bit harder than I should have been, and told him so, but while he didn't know what he DID want from the two of us it wasn't the platonic thing we've been trying to do for the past two weeks.

So we're in a state of... comfortable ambiguity, at the moment. Love is there, attraction is there, we can talk and touch and it's not-weird now. Which is really important for me - I was discussing a friend's relationship and in the course of the conversation ended up taking that "5 love languages" test, and I maxed out on touch and words of affirmation. So deliberately not touching someone I still loved was the hardest thing about the "platonic experiment".

I'm not sure when we'll go out again, nor when we'll be intimate. I don't find myself to be impatient about that though - while I look forward to it happening, it doesn't have the urgency it once would have, nor even the urgency that getting things resolved between us did.

Elsewise... went on an interesting first date last night with, hmm, guess I'll call him MartialArtist. He's an OKC high match who turned out to be the sibling of an acquaintance and friend of some of my other friends. That coincidence had the potential for awkwardness but turned out to just be amusing. Good conversation, and some fairly delicious chemistry - the date ended up with a fair amount of making out in a secluded corner of the bar.

I see this turning into quite a fun-but-casual sort of thing - very lighthearted and giggly - no real potential, I think, for the sort of connection I had/have with HipsterBoy but I don't want that right now anyway. I'm still very much looking forward to seeing him again, and he knows I'm in a slightly re-boundy headspace and just looking for fun, and is apparently ok with that. So yay.

I've been having a lot of conversations with TheKnight about the nature of sexual attraction/compatibility/chemistry. One of the most wonderful things, and yet the biggest challenges, about our relationship is that we were each other's first sexual experiences. And as you can imagine NRE + 16/17/18 yr old hormones were an insane mix. Like any relationship, though, that NRE has waned, and we've had our ups and downs as far as sex is concerned.

A lot of those issues are my fault - I have both self-esteem issues as far as attractiveness is concerned, and a somewhat submissive / passive approach to sex. I suspect most people get off on being wanted, but I think I'm probably worse than most on that front - my level of desire tends to be directly proportionate to how much I feel my partner is attracted to me. This can be awesome, especially at the beginning of a relationship, but in a long term relationship does tend to me being a bit of an emotional vampire on the sex side of things. If I don't feel wanted, I don't put energy into seduction, which is a bit of a death spiral for a sexual relationship.

It's not a pattern I've figured out how to break, though, as "going outside my comfort zone" on that one is an active turn off. So that's a problem.

The other problem with TheKnight and I is that we've slightly grown in different directions, sexually - I crave intensity, he tends towards a somewhat more playful/fun style in bed. Not that playful isn't fun, part of the time... but it's still not my number one choice. Even trying to use kink to hit that "intensity" button doesn't seem to work, and while I can find others to hit that "intensity" button, I hate that I can't seem to have it with my husband, especially when we once did have it.

TheKnight, on the other hand, is frustrated that I am still stuck on something from 15 years ago, a bit jealous that I keep looking for that and/or finding it with others (it was the one real point of conflict over my relationship with HipsterBoy), and really *wants* to be able to hit that button on me and can't figure out how to. And he becomes more and more frustrated that he sees me as not putting energy into our sexual relationship that I did/do put into other relationships, not understanding that my actions were direct reflections of the energy I was getting first. (A concrete example of this is that I took more pains with my appearance when going out with HipsterBoy than I have in the past while for dates with TheKnight. True, unfair of me, and yet it's hard to bother going all out on hair/makeup/lingerie etc when the reaction is the same if I do or if I don't.)

I'm not sure this is a problem that's ever going to resolve well - it's something that's been an issue our entire relationship and poly does tend to ... expose that flaw. Still trying to figure out solutions...
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  #4  
Old 05-15-2014, 02:54 PM
icesong icesong is offline
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Spent last evening with HipsterBoy. Pink!Girl and TheKnight decided to go get drinks and try to figure their relationship out, and since we were both sans-spouse, I figured it'd be nice to hang out.

I'm still trying to figure out what we are to each other now. The sexual tension that was such a defining part of our relationship for so long is just ... mostly gone. Not sure how or why. Perhaps it really did take both of us to sustain. I can't tell whether he wants it to be back or not. I don't really know where the line between romance and friendship is though, in its absence. I still want to touch him in ways that I don't want to touch truly "platonic" friends... and if I was given the option to go back to "the way things were" I'd take it.

We're back to able to cuddle while sitting on the couch now - I sort of wonder whether I am taking too much advantage of that, I was a little aware that I was touching him more than he was touching me but that may be personality and mood (he was coming off a couple days of work conferences, which for someone who's a bit of an introvert...) rather than me being too pushy. I don't know. It's hard to tell - I'm bad at body language and this is still a really unique situation compared to anything I've ever dealt with.

For that matter, we fell asleep on the couch together for a little while, since I was waiting for TheKnight to come back to go home and that ran a (lot) later than I expected. I don't know whether it's lovely we are comfortable enough to do that or sad that even though we so rarely see each other these days we aren't taking advantage of every minute we have. Maybe I shouldn't over-think that.
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  #5  
Old 05-16-2014, 06:47 PM
icesong icesong is offline
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I had a very odd interaction on OKC today. My "main" profile picture is a selfie taken as I was getting ready to go out with TheKnight during one of the many low points of our relationships with Pink!Girl and HipsterBoy - it happened to be the best picture of me with my current haircut I had. So this morning I got a message about having a different "aura" in that picture vs. my other pictures, as though something was missing. My curiosity being piqued, I asked for more details, even added a newer picture for more commentary.

It's interesting the perception a stranger can have from a few snapshots - the most telling quote was this: "It's like you feel you lost something special to you, that you don't ever think you are going to get back or find again.". And that was, in fact, a pretty decent description of how I felt at the time about HipsterBoy, and still do, a little (and apparently it still shows in the most recent picture, if less so, which makes sense given there are some other good things going on in my life but there are still things I treasure and want back about that relationship).

The trick, of course, is figuring out which parts are about me and which parts are actually about the relationship. I met HipsterBoy at a time that I was "coming out from under a rock" about a year and a half after having a kid, pulling way back from a hobby and social group that was really important to me (because of my son) and moving from a full time job to a work-at-home business. So I was pretty primed to let things get intense due to some serious gaps in my life. Doesn't mean there wasn't (isn't?) something real there, but does make... proportion and perspective difficult.

Anyway, the random conversation this morning put into perspective how very unhappy, in some ways, the relationship with HipsterBoy had made me in the past few months. When it first started - say, May-October of last year - it was pretty much pure joy. There were a few bumps, but overall it was good. But since then it really had been spiraling in many ways - the moments of joy got rare and got lost. I hadn't realized just how often the answer to "how are you?" from friends was "Tired", or "My life is crazy", or otherwise just not great. And that wasn't all him - there were lots of other things involved. But I was wasting so much mental energy on trying to decode us, or cling to something that had become logistically unfeasible, or pour energy into something flagging... well. I'm very much glad I'm not doing that now. Maybe that means I am moving on.

Certainly the next few days seem to indicate that. TheKnight and I are having a close friend/once-and-future-FWB over for dinner and possibly a bit more tonight. Probably seems sudden, in the context of all this, but that sort of "waiting-is" status has always been true for her. Let's call her TheBride, since I'm one of her bridesmaids next year. TheBride was, when we met her, a "unicorn", getting over a VERY bad relationship. In many ways she was our first foray into "true" poly as opposed to just non-monogamy - we met through a mutual hobby rather than through a dating site or the like, she was openly poly and had been for years, and dating us, as a couple, was both safe and healing for her. It very much stayed on the level of friendship/love with some fun, not romantic at all, and when she met her now-fiancÚ they went mono for a while and we all stayed friends. Once they opened back up, the four of us got together a few times but that didn't really work the same way, and then TheKnight and I went mono for a while because of my son. She and I remained very close, though, and there was always a (occasionally spoken) understanding that we might get back together at some point, either just TheBride and I or perhaps all three of us. And really that probably would have already happened in the past year or so, except that Pink!Girl was uncomfortable with TheKnight having other partners. So now that they're done...well... options open again. So I'm looking forward to that - we'll see if we still have as much fun together as once was the case, as it's been 3+ years now since we connected that way.

And of course I have a second date with MartialArtist tomorrow night, which I'm very excited about. I don't knowhow things will go, there, but our first date had a level of giggly and unabashedly attracted to each other physically that I've missed. Actually, no, I haven't exactly missed it, as looking back at it, even my first couple dates with HipsterBoy there was an undercurrent of seriousness and a slight undercurrent of potential-for-drama. (For instance, I came home that first night and told my husband "I don't know what this is going to be, but I think it's going to be very different than anything else we've ever been around." And there was weirdness with Pink!Girl - we all had a drink before HipsterBoy and I went to dinner, I even have the World's Most Awkward Selfie with the three of us. )

Part of that awkward was because none of us were used to dating other people yet, but I still wonder if I should have seen how this was going to go and never gotten involved...

I'm also trying very hard to not internalize Pink!Girl's attitudes towards sex/relationships. Sounds funny, doesn't it? She is a woman of very strong opinions, and has, when it suits her, this idea that having more than one partner outside one's primary relationship is greedy or unsustainable and there's more than a little bit of sex-negativity associated with it - a level of not really being comfortable with her own desires, if one is honest about it. While I certainly have my own issues with regards to desire and sex, as I've mentioned in previous posts, I don't have some magic number that I consider "too many" or "enough", assuming everyone is playing safely and everyone's needs are met. But I'm going to have to tell HipsterBoy - and by extension Pink!Girl - about TheBride, at least before I'm intimate with HipsterBoy again. Though it perhaps won't be much of a thing given I've always been frank and honest about my desire to have female companionship in my life as well - had things not gone weirdly, this could have been Pink!Girl, but things went completely off the rails between her and TheKnight just as she and I were trying that, and it got too weird. I'm... not looking forward to that conversation, in any case. It's a little screwed up that I don't want HipsterBoy to think I don't care about him because I'm moving on too quickly after he dumped me... but, well, it's still complicated. The problem is that he's saying he's fine with me seeing other people, Pink!Girl is saying he isn't and that he agrees with her on the "one other partner should be enough" front.

I don't know if I'm throwing away the chance for he and I to be together by moving on, but I also don't want to sit here and pine for something that will never be. No, I'm *not* going to sit and pine. Especially since I was willing to not have another partner while we WERE together, he told me he was fine with it if I did, and now, regardless of the slight ambiguity of our relationship, he's even less entitled to an opinion on that one. But nonetheless, I overthink things...
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  #6  
Old 05-17-2014, 08:53 PM
icesong icesong is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by london View Post
You see, for me, once one agrees to a polyamorous relationship, they are also agreeing to let go of some mono normative ideas about sex and relationships. They have to. If they dont, neither they or their partner will be able to have healthy relationships with other people. Lots of people who identify as poly don't seem to let go of these ideals though, not entirely, and although they aren't monogamous they construct their relationships and have expectations that are in line with mono normative thinking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
The thing is, 'romance' is a treacherous term for anyone who takes a radical approach to relating to other people - that is, an approach that tries to get at the roots of things - because 'romance' is a bundle of ideas and expectations that defines a very particular and tightly circumscribed corner of the space of possible relationships. It's something like all-aflutter-gushy-feelings-attraction-and-affection-and-devotion-hearts-and-flowers-and-candlelight-dinners-leading-inexorably-to-exclusive-commitment-emotional-intimacy-physical-intimacy-first-base-second-base-third-base-home-marriage-and-babies. <snip>Hence the problem with 'romantic friendship.' Sometimes the 'romantic' part seems to signify feelings, sometimes expectations, sometimes actions. It doesn't help a lot to juxtapose 'romantic' with 'platonic', because that term has issues of its own.
I'm saving these here because in many ways they're two parts of a lesson I need to learn right now. Debundling romance and figuring out exactly what a relationship can be in the presence of love and sex and friendship but WITHOUT those expectations is something I failed at and something that I'd like to figure out so that I can build... *something* with HipsterBoy. I've done sex+friendship successfully, but getting my heart involved? that's something entirely different, and new, and hard.
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