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  #71  
Old 07-07-2012, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by fuchka View Post
Ah, I have plenty to get sorted before I travel (under three weeks now). Not like I have time to deal with the complexities of this. Surely over-thinking things anyway... Well. It's more that I find all of this very interesting. That's one thing Carob and I have in common - a consuming passion for vivisecting social phenomena.
That's the thing! I do this kind of thing a lot with Mya. It's not the case that everything is so complex that it needs to be analysed - it's more that it's fun to examine aspects and whys and all of that.

I actually came across 'spoken word' recently and quite liked it (a friend sent me a link to a video). Actually found it very engaging in comparison to written poetry (which I'm also not too familiar with).
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  #72  
Old 07-09-2012, 11:48 AM
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I've been relatively slow off the mark considering STDs properly.

In retrospect, I've been unrealistically trusting of people letting me know of any STDs they may have, let alone knowing their status in the first place.

That said, this hasn't been a significant risk for me til recently. Although I've been open to sex with other people in principle, since Sago and I got together we've mostly been practically monogamous. Apart from a couple of forays, we hadn't hooked up with anyone else until me and Carob, three years' back.

Last year was when things started to fan out a bit. At that point, I should have confronted the STD issue explicitly, but I didn't. For some reason, it wasn't til Carob and Ella got together (and I was hearing of Ella's other partners) I thought - wait on. We should discuss this properly. (Stupid, I know.) Long-distance was a factor here too (Carob started dating Ella after I left town); maybe it would have crossed my mind earlier if not for the long-distance.

Anyway, I did a bit of research at the time (earlier this year) and found this really good resource about STDs and Poly:

http://www.serolynne.com/poly_stds.htm

I've been meaning to post about it but hadn't got around to it.

After reading the articles, and some other things, I decided to get smarter about this stuff. I chatted separately with Sago and Carob and figured we could do regular tests spaced out so that between the three of us we get tested every four months. I 'locked in' a firmer consciousness of my own boundaries with any new partners. I know Sago is very conservative in his own practices. Carob and I are a bit more relaxed. But neither of us want to be dumb, and have a commitment to informed best practice.

Anyway, I got tested first - about a month ago. Was all good. Carob's up next, later this year. We felt we'd dodged some bullets by not dealing with this aspect earlier, but glad we were on the right track now. Still more to discuss perhaps re: clear agreements on how restrictive we each should be about any new partners (at the moment, as before, there's a basic expectation of safer sex, but what that means for each of us is up to us.)

Well. All this is somewhat unrelated background to an issue that came up this weekend. Carob calls me with some really bad news. He sounded freaked out (in fact, his opening words were - "Bub, I just think I did the stupidest thing of my whole life"), and tells me he had a slip up with someone the night before, who's HIV+. Based on what happened, it's very low risk of infection for him but it's still exposure and we'll need to treat it as serious til he's clear. Tests at 28 days, 3 months and again at 6 months (though 95% of cases show up in the first test, at 28 days). And of course treating our sexual encounters as +/- til then. Fuuuuck. A diagnosis would be life changing.

Last couple of days have been very rough. C feeling intense fear, guilt. We've been chatting a lot. I am so happy I'll be seeing him soon, just 2 1/2 weeks from now. Small mercies.

Praying we can dodge just one more bullet. Re-assessing how risky we are with other people. I guess being non-monogamous sexually is a risk in itself. Yada yada. Other people (like link above, and heaps on swinger sites too, and prolly elsewhere on this forum) have written about this in depth. This is just my own experience of making judgment calls.

I value sex with my current partners too much to get it wrong. I'm considering being even more stringent with new sexual partners, even maybe not kissing (!) Feels a bit paranoid to me, but it doesn't hurt to check where my boundaries are and why. Since it's going to be a long wait before C is fully cleared (six months), it is something positive to do in the meantime.

Thought of a food analogy today. How I eat food prepared by other people expecting that they wouldn't serve me anything that is dangerous for me. I had til recently unconciously thought of sexual partners like that too. But since turning my mind to this (earlier this year), I have realised my naivety - esp considering many people who have an STD don't even realise they've picked up one.

I wasn't allowed to go to sex ed at school (my ma wrote a letter excusing me due to religious reasons.) I wonder if I would've been so slow on addressing this if I had more info about this growing up. Not really exonerating though, I feel there's enough attention on the topic of STDs that I should have known better.

Mm. Well. Fingers crossed for Carob. No matter what happens, we're going to be even less likely to take a disease-free status for granted from now on. If you're the praying kind (of any tradition), prayers would be really welcome right now.

Finally, I know some people may feel critical of anyone ever having a relaxed approach to this topic. All perspectives are appreciated but please be respectful and gentle.
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  #73  
Old 07-11-2012, 12:11 AM
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Strained, stretched, butter spread too thinly... Carob's been fairly mindfucked. He's got sick, convinced it's early symptoms of infection. Very likely not, but it's triggering a cycle of worrying. He hasn't been able to sleep much, and big bills this month means he's also really poor. I suggested going to the doctor to get something to help with sleep or anxiety, and he said he will if he needs to but is concerned with if he can afford it.

Couple of days ago he went to see an AIDS counsellor - really good idea. It calmed him down quite a bit and he has a plan to get tested again when I'm there later this month. That will be 80% chance of accurate result.

This morning got up early to help Sago with a presentation he's doing today. Two hours later, there's a message from C asking if I can Skype. I finish up as quickly as I can and talk to him. He's crying, scared. Worried that if he's positive and I leave again that he won't be able to handle it. Aah... shit, dude.

Need to hold you right now. Wish I had money to help you out. You're slipping and I can't help much at all :/ I told him it's almost certain the result won't be positive, but if it is and he needs me to stay then I will. I said in general, whatever you need, if it's something I can give you then I'll do it.

As for me, I dunno. Need to get a whole heap done before I head away. When I keep busy I'm mostly okay. But my heart's going out to him, bleeding out.

I'm sleeping better than he is, but restless dreams, going round the cogs of this stress. In the morning I feel churned out of my subconscious.

Can't talk about anything I need right now, not to C at least, perspective all out of whack.

Sago and Ayla have been awesome. Ayla's very good friends with Carob and has been chatting with him quite a bit. She's found some useful links, like the free counselling and testing service.

Sago's been gentle with me, wrote a really sweet & kind e-mail to C, and is simply being his regular all-round awesome self.

In another city, there's apparently a better test available that shows up accurate results much sooner. If this is true, C may ask his ma to pay for him to go to get that. I reckon his mental health is really on balance right now, so if that's an option for him to get what he needs, then I hope it works out.
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  #74  
Old 07-12-2012, 12:17 AM
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Scraped bottom yesterday, found the contact of a poly-friendly counsellor in town, felt like I really needed to talk myself out... Then thought, ah, don't think we can afford that. Reflected for a bit and decided one way to destress myself would be to really focus on the non-Carob things that were looming (my to do list).

Sought Ella's help with one of them - so glad I did! Was really helpful and good to chat. She doesn't know about things with C at the moment but yeah, in some ways that made it easier to unwind.

I suggested to Carob to find someone in our home city that he trusted, who could be there for him in person, hugs and such - he suggested maybe Enid (his ex-gf who was visiting here last month). Sweet. He and her had a coffee date this morning. Glad he's getting different perspectives on this.

Meant to Skype with C last night but ended up hanging out with Sago and his work friends til late. Needed the release.

Ah nice! Just heard from Carob that he hung out last night with another mutual friend of ours (one who is house- and cat-sitting for Sago and me at the moment)... Excellent. This definitely makes the distance less awful. He had his first good meal and sleep since the weekend too, and is feeling much better. Relief.

Last edited by fuchka; 07-12-2012 at 05:15 AM.
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  #75  
Old 07-15-2012, 02:14 PM
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Carob's up and down, what a mindfuck, sometimes holding it together, sometimes spaghetti on the floor.

See him in ten days, woo.

Had a bit of an awkward negotiation with Ella over Skype. She doesn't know what's being going on for C recently. I arrive there on Thurs, and she heads off herself (away for a month study overseas) early Sat morning. Initially I was thinking I'd see her on Thurs and stay with Carob from Fri onwards. But given current situation, really need to spend the night with C on Thurs. End of the rope. Is not ideal to spend the night with Ella on Friday (given she's flying out very early the next day, would have been lovelier to sleep in etc) but yeah. Situation gnarly. Just gonna have to be that way.

Ella didn't really understand, she asked why couldn't we go with the more convenient option of seeing her on Thurs (given I'm going to be in town for a week and can see C on any other night.) I didn't want to get into details, but pretty much told her that the way things were, it was a bit more delicate than mere convenience. Said that Carob's been going through a pretty rough patch...

She was sweet about it, but kinda unconvinced. Not sure how I can say any more. Maybe she'll find out later, and it will all make sense in retrospect.

Having some sweet cuddles with Sago. After I visit Carob & Ella, I'm going to be travelling for a couple of months more, so will be a while before I see him. Ah man, gonna miss this dude... But so amped to be travelling. Just heard that my friend managed to get hold of a Burning Man ticket for me too!

Mmm...

There's just one more thing. A few times, when Carob's been feeling really guttural, he's said "I might not be able to cope if the test comes out positive, and then you leave"... As I mentioned before, he pretty much asked me if I would stay, if he couldn't handle it without me. I've said "yes, I'll stay if you need me to" each time but I'm hoping like fuck that (a) he isn't positive (for many other reasons apart from this!) and (b) even if he is, he won't need me to stay.

It's selfish, I know, but I don't feel guilt about it. It's simply how I feel. I need to hit the road. And, yeah, it would be a real waste of money of everything I've spent so far. Plus, be a disappointment for friends. Doesn't bear thinking about.

I meant what I said. If he really needs me to stay, I will. Maybe this is my little gamble.

Ah. This is rough.

So busy before I go too. Gonna be shredded by the time I board that plane. Hey, what's new
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  #76  
Old 07-15-2012, 03:43 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear what you guys are going through right now. I'm hoping for the best!
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  #77  
Old 07-21-2012, 04:32 AM
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Heading away in five days! Spending a week back home - staying with Carob, and seeing Ella a wee bit too. C took days off work for the whole time I'm there. I'm really touched. So far he's used up pretty much all his annual holidays to see me during this year (over Easter he came here, and now he's taking more time off when I'm there). I asked if he could manage one or two days off so we could take a long weekend away, but he actually got a whole week (five days) off. Man, I love that boy. Time is something precious you can spend on people, no matter how tight for cash you are.

Have a few major things to finish up before I go, gotta hunker down this weekend. Sago helped heaps last couple of days, talking to the bank and doing some immigration stuff that I needed to get done.

Had a bit of a twist with Ayla last night. I'd been avoiding seeing Patch since she's been here, but I caught up with him for a drink last night. I was feeling like I should ask her whether she'd be okay with that, but my thoughts on the matter were - I don't want to treat him like she's his gate-keeper, and I don't think she wants to be treated as that either. But my feelings were... ah, I don't want to make things harder for her. Give her things to process.

But. I did wanna see Patch. He's a bit of a recluse, doesn't always make an effort to hang with people. As a friend, I wanted to touch base and see how he was doing etc. So yeah, I did. Ayla was busy last night, so couldn't hang out with us, but I met up with her at home much later on. She said she felt a bit weird cos he hadn't replied to her earlier about catching up, but then he did make an effort to catch up with me. He often doesn't reply to messages, that's just how he rolls... but she felt hurt by that.

I said I was sorry to do something that made her have to deal with these emotions. She said - processing things is part of life, and I shouldn't feel guilt about this. Mm. I guess I just hate making her feel like she's the problem, like her emotions are getting in the way of other people's happiness. I told her that there's nothing I need her to process, or "get over", so that I can hook up with Patch or whatever. I would like to be friends with him, and if we can make that work (given that I've said that I'm attracted to him) that would be perfect.

That said... ha! Talking with Patch made me realise what it is about touch that I really like. I love, absolutely love, conversations. The feeling of someone combing through my mind with their words. But sometimes touch lets you adventure further with ideas... you can explore rockier territory cos you're holding each other physically. We traded good words as always, but I did want to run my hands over his skin. (I didn't, but yeah.)

I suppose I am inclined to be intimate when I feel the connection is there. Hmm. If I get enough stuff done, maybe will see if anyone's free late night to hang out and smoke shisha (there's a place that's central and open til 5) or some such thing. Could be a good chance to unwind with friends and also see Patch & Ayla together if they're into it. Ah, okay, gotta do enough stuff so I deserve a break
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  #78  
Old 07-21-2012, 04:41 AM
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Quote:
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I'm so sorry to hear what you guys are going through right now. I'm hoping for the best!
Mya - thanks a lot for your reply. Felt really good actually. I didn't expect or ask for comforting messages from others on this forum but it was nice to read your words. Was feeling a bit dumb (but not as dumb as Carob was feeling!)

Also was a bit unsure about posting about our HIV scare here, given it's a publicly accessible forum, but it was (and still is) pretty intense at times dealing with it, and writing helps. Maybe I could have written it out to myself and kept it private (as I do sometimes) but I guess I felt like reaching out a bit too. And as it's part of our relationship story, seemed to fit here. Depending on result, this could be a massive part of our lives.

This has made me aware of how variable people are about STIs. Some people are very knowledgeable and have strict boundaries. But yeah, using condoms doesn't protect from everything so we take some risks even with condom use.

I have only recently had a couple of experiences with guys in a more casual-sex way and it surprised me that they both seemed to think of condoms as a birth control thing. They said "oh, aren't you on the pill?"

Anyways. I feel like to be naive about this is a taboo? Like, something shameful to admit? I feel like there's this social expectation to be perfect and to know what you're doing when you're having sex with other people... And definitely, being smart is good! For whatever reason I'm only now learning some important lessons. Should have thought of some of this stuff much earlier, yes. But also this seems like quite a personal thing, how you assess risk. Mm.

Well we have a test scheduled for the afternoon on Monday week. Something like 80% chance it'll show up then if it's going to be positive. Can't remember all the percentages. After that, another test at three months which will almost certainly be the correct result. And then finally six months for a full clearance. Carob wants to be cautious between us until the 6 month test, which I totally agree with.

It's good I'm going to be there with him for the first test. Then second test I'll actually be with him no matter where he is (looks very likely he's getting job! But still not confirmed... aaah... so excited!). I'll be there after 2 months, since we're sailing back into my home city (so can go with him if he's still there). But then a few days after that will be coming back here (so can go with him if he's moved here) So it's really perfect timing. Small blessings, eh?

My blood-type is B+, which I always thought of as my attitude towards life... Cheesy, yeah, but helps at times like this. (Though, not being stupid means you avoid those avoidable bad situations that require optimism to overcome! Ha)
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:18 AM
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Sitting on the deck at Carob's ma's place - 1hr drive out of town. We wanted to get away somewhere for our three year anniversary but too broke really His ma just bought this place after selling her old place in town. It's so beautiful out here. Plains and mountains all around me, a smear of clouds across a blue winter sky... Shorts and t-shirt weather, amazing.

Ella headed away yesterday. Spent a couple of nights with her. First time just the two of us... she's still quite rough from breakup with Carob. Interesting dynamics. Was kind of hard. I mean, I'm just getting to know her. I really like her, she's cute, smart, hilarious, sexy, so delicious, she has an electric ukelele. I have no problem with relating to her as a person, and I think there are many adventures we could have together.

But... I dunno if I have time / energy. We'll see. Sounds harsh, but that's how it is. In bed one time, she said "aaah, move back to this city." She's at uni here for at least another three years. Man. Carob's nearly nearly nearly got a job at our new city. I'm not heading back here for at least another year, I reckon. And, well, yeah. The thought of another long-distance, wrenching, missing kind of relationship really does not appeal.

On the other hand, I don't like the idea of trying to regulate my feelings towards her. Mm. So far, I haven't fallen too hard. I think it's because I know the context - it's gonna be long-distance for the foreseeable future. And, she's just figuring her stuff out (I'm the first girl she's been with)... She has other crushes. So far not dating anyone else, but she could do. And that person may prefer to be monogamous. In which case, I would like to stay friends and not hurt too much.

So I guess I've got my armour on a bit. Keeping me sane... And she knows this is how I'm feeling, so I don't feel like I'm acting poorly towards her. I spent as much time as I could with her before she left. Went to dinner with her folks (I was a "friend"). She came to dinner with a couple of close friends of Sago's & mine.

It feels good to consolidate circles of friends and family. It's making me aware of the areas that are still segregated, though, and I'm getting nervous about not having come out to Sago's family and my parents. I mean, we don't have to do this at all, but I think it would be preferable and - perhaps - necessary (depending on what happens if/when we have kids). Visited Sago's folks the other night. In the past I've felt like it wouldn't be so hard to tell them about being poly, but this time it struck me how much of a betrayal it would feel to them. I don't know whether it's my mood, or me losing my naivete about the situations, or whether it's because it's worse now (like, it would have been better if we'd told them earlier). Ah. Will discuss this more with Sago later. I know this is one of the only concerns of his, in terms of living this way openly. I share his concern... Another topic for another day.

For now, I'm chilling out in the sunshine. Carob's hanging with his bro playing computer games. We've had some rocky moments since I've been back, with him being absorbed in other things and kind of ignoring me. I had a bit of a sleep-deprived meltdown the evening I arrived... Needed more attention than he was giving me. I felt stupid because I knew he wanted to spend time with me, but felt like he didn't give a shit about me being there. Eventually talked it out, felt much better. I think it's a symptom of long-distance relationships... there's this adjustment period of wacky emotions when you see each other again. Probably heightened by the general stress of travelling - packing, sorting out other things to make time to see each other.

I love just hanging out in each other's company. Or doing different things in the same house. It's enough to me that I'm being acknowledged... So, even though Carob's been playing this computer game almost all day, he's come out and talked to me every now and then. And I got to sleep in (yay! Hardly ever manage that) while he talked geekery with his bro this morning. His ma just headed back into town. We're about to go for a walk with his bro.

Heading back ourselves tomorrow. Carob's test in the afternoon. Fingers crossed. Flying out a couple days after that. Me time, yay!

(For once I got cancellation insurance on what I've spent on my holiday so far... just in case test results not good... Here's hoping not.)

Last edited by fuchka; 07-29-2012 at 05:22 AM.
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  #80  
Old 07-30-2012, 07:18 AM
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Fu-uuuuck yeah. Sat with Carob while we waited for test results today, and it's all clear. What a mind bend. Test in two months, but pretty likely it's going to be fine. Deep breath...

Mm. Had a few celebratory drinks and rolled around in bed a bit. Feeling rather destressed now Was really good to be here for that. As if long-distance wasn't hard enough...

Ella wrote me, wondering if I was going to scale back from her, for fear that we'd frow to care too much for each other, and start missing each other... Well. No. I don't think I can do this (step back). But I'm going to go as slowly and sensibly as I can manage.
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