my journey into radical self-love
So, it looks like I've given myself a good case of the crazies. You people don't seem crazy to me; and pretty accepting. I think it might help to write this out. And it wouldn't hurt if it happens to get read.
I wrote an intro in that section. Re-cap:
I am female, barely into my fifties, bi, and til now, have been pretty much a serial monogamist. Though this forum has reminded me of long-forgotten dalliances with poly (and it wasn't the sex).
I met first boyfriend in 2003 [on st patrick's day, at a group dinner at a hof brau. I told him every awful irish joke I know. he traded numbers with two guys at that dinner and didn't seem the slightest interested in me. I had previously crushed on two men who turned out to be gay (and dated each other) so I was becoming convinced that my gaydar was broken]. I crushed on him, hard. We took up more seriously after I asked him to 'babysit' me the day my mom died. About two years (hmm, I kept thinking three ~ I don't tell time well) we were together.
He is an intensely private person, an extreme introvert, maybe slightly Asperger's and brilliant (seriously, I might know one person with a higher IQ and they're actually probably on the same level). He started wandering his attentions, and mostly lied by omission. He was wanting to move and not wanting to take me; and had in fact, stated that he never wanted to live with anyone again. Until his early thirties, he had never lived alone. I was pretty sure that wouldn't work for me. Oh, and he's 13 years younger than I.
Early in our relationship, he hired current boyfriend to work for him. Eventually they got to be good friends and he brought him home and we were often 'the three musketeers.' Current bf is 15.5 years my junior (I have issues about their ages from time to time)(!). When he heard first bf was planning to move he started thinking on being with me.
And he was. He was very charming, very funny, it was so lovely to have attention after first bf. Current bf and I are like glue ~ we can't be in the same room without touching each other somehow.
Six years later, I finally 'broke up' with current bf in March-ish, but he didn't move out til May-ish. It took him a long time to get all the way out. He only moved into the next building over.
I didn't break up 'clean.' It has been my practice to be in a complete no-contact for 40 days after a break-up. This has been most successful and I'm friends with almost all my ex-es with whom I have done this. I didn't do this completely. We saw each other a few times, and eventually had sex again. In October, we attended a friend's wedding. (got the invite and I realized we had forgotten to tell them we broke up) It was mushy and romantic (1930's style to it), and we had some deep emotional conversation. A rarity for us. Then we spent two nights at a bed & breakfast. It was a gift cert that hadn't been used, and he suggested it, and I had never done such a thing and very much wanted to so there ya go.
So, after some lovely sex, he says, 'am I your boyfriend again?' Which pissed me off, and I really didn't want a fight right at that moment, so I didn't address it then. But on the way home (stuck in the car) I did. I asked why, and mentioned that nothing had changed since the breakup. He muttered a small amount of nothing. We had no resolution, but have been behaving much like our former coupled selves.
During the time we were more apart, I did everything but attack first bf. He knew I was out, he knew I wanted him; nothing. (kinda like in the beginning) So a few weeks ago he came for a visit. In past, he's stayed at current bf's, because he got the long couch. This time, I had cleaned up my den/library/guest room to the point where an air mattress could go on the floor. He's pretty uncomfy on the couch. Current bf had to go to work, so he went home early. There was a lot of liquor (all around, but most of it into first bf). He turned it loose, and said a lot that he might not have if it weren't for the liquor. I feel like I can't write more without revealing too much without his permission. One thing we did talk about was first bf's love for current bf, and how much it upsets him that current bf sabotages himself (more below).
Anyhow, I did tell him that current bf and I had discussed on many occasions the possibility of me 'snogging on' first bf.
After weekend, I was fairly freaked out, and totally full of NRE (or something). I made arrangements to talk to local friends who are poly. Never discussed with them, but they'd been to dinner, and talked a small amount about poly on fb. So, I was pretty sure they could help. She got sick that night, but he came up and was totally awesome. Kinda thrilled to hear my story and to know a live, thinking, good-hearted person also into poly. He encouraged me to be myself and that was exactly the right thing; and it did give me courage.
Had good conversation with current bf, and felt like I had real 'permission' (for lack of better vocabulary just now), rather than theoretical. Said, 'could you call first bf and tell him that? because he's not gonna believe me' Said he would, but they are the kind of guys that talk when they get around to it.
So, here I am a week or two after that convo. The holidays were so sweet, I love current bf's family and spent a lot of time there. I applied all that NRE to him, and was so happy to love him more for the freedom to continue loving first bf.
Yah. then there's the crap. Current bf is an alcoholic. [I've pretty much figured out that if I'm attracted to someone, they're an alcoholic. knowing this does not help me in the least.] Also a fairly non-stop gamer. Both those things are higher on his priority/motivation list than I am. I have known both of these things since before I moved in with him. I believe people vote with their feet, and when his feet have a choice, it seems to me that it's never in my direction. If I'm around, great. If I invite myself in, terrific. There's no pursuing, there's no seduction, there's no invitation, there's no evidence that my pleasure is necessary, or hell, even has an effect on, his own.
In addition, I am physically challenged. I have a ridiculous genetic condition that causes my joints to come unglued, at random. All my joints. Fortunately, not all the time. But, my muscles have to work harder to hold the joints (it's my ligaments mostly that are defective) so I have chronic pain also. I've had this forever (it's genetic) but I've had the pain since about 28 years of age. I've kinda learned how to manage it.
Current bf doesn't understand it (don't really blame him for that), doesn't really want to (hate him for that), doesn't believe me (yes, I could walk around the city for some hours, but it cost me tons of pain and energy and lots of meds the days after)(yes, sometimes sex hurts, but the endorphins, not to mention closeness, love, all that, are totally worth the small pains it costs), and he has said he would be embarrassed to go out with me if I were in an chair.
All of these are really awesome reasons not to be in relationship with him, I think. Reading here has made me think so even more.
New Year's I nutted myself up good and crazy. I'd been trying to get together with him all week prior. I was totally amped from Christmas. Alcohol got the date, and I didn't. Thursday, he was all there, but I had massage, and told him that I didn't just pay $100 to get put back together so he could fuck it apart. New Year's Eve we shared with a couple we know, was nice. He didn't want to stay because he didn't want to wake up with me with a hangover. Fine. Call me when you get up, we'll have breakfast or whatever. No call. Seriously. All day.
Monday morning, I got a voicemail from 6:30 previous evening. 'uh, you wanna do dinner or something?' Literally. I came unglued.
I started crying at one point and it occurred to me that my reaction could be detox (my diet was crap through the holidays, and I've been getting back on track over the weekend). Some friends have said, 'well, his behaviour was pretty bad.' ME: yah, but it's been bad for 6 years. this is ALL on me. He's been, actually, pretty damn consistent about who he is.
So, I rail at myself. I've been in and out of therapy since I was 8. I live in freaking California, I've done almost every weird therapy there is. And a whole bunch of mainstream as well. 12-step, hypnosis, rolfing, massage, rebirthing, EFT, yada-endless-fucking-BLAH. And here I am, doing *this* to myself.
So the only thing I can come up with is that I don't love myself enough to stop it. (and many thanks to nycindie, magdlyn, redpepper, and a BUNCH of others for helping with this) I have a great group on fb, I took it to them. They are the life-long sister-friends I have searched for all my life. Smart, wicked funny, no holds barred. One of them pointed me to a website with a list of 100 Ways To Start Loving Yourself RIght Now. It was actually quite encouraging.
She has a course, but at one point in my therapy, it became therapy to stop. I think I have to take it up again. I'm starting by engaging in radical self-love. Because it doesn't really matter what happens with my boyfriends if I don't love me first.
(and I'm not doing very well at putting myself to bed early, but I really needed to do this here)
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own...
Robert A. Heinlein
Me: female, bi, (formerly hinge of a vee)
with FirstBoyFriend (FBF)(moderately long-distance)
and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who now lives in a house far away-with stairs I can't climb)