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  #601  
Old 12-31-2012, 09:53 AM
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Haha, I love the schizophrenic you!

Reading your last post, I admire the strength you have. I think that is a really difficult direction to take, particularly when you're feeling so very raw, to go towards breaking away the boundaries rather than towards solidifying them and setting up new ones. But I can't help to think that, somehow, it's the right direction. Not because it's more evolved or something, it's just... The other direction seems to work fine for some people, but I don't think it does for us. Maybe it's the over-analysing nature, but eventually more boundaries just can't bring the satisfaction of safety. In the end, they simply don't help that much. You'll still be looking at the uncertainty right in the eye, the fact that things can and do change. The fact that the person you love is an autonomous being with their own wants, and even if the consequences of that fact sometimes hurt like hell, everything else is still kind of beside the point. So I think, keep going with that.

I also have some thoughts about the gender thing. That is such a tough one. I've been on both sides of the equation. I haven't written about it that much, but at one point I seriously questioned my own gender identity, to a such extent that a full transition was on the table. I later came to conclude that I do not feel like a man any more than I feel a woman, i.e. there's not really a recognisable gender I could transition to. Also, I prefer the social/cultural position of a woman, at least having been socialised as one. So, any major physical changes have been shelved for now, so the issue is not as critical now, but one thing that was really difficult to when I was evaluating everything is that Alec is straight. I've never been straight, and it feels just somehow so very wrong that even if I didn't change as a person, just my body changed, that he might think it too much for himself for us to be in a relationship anymore. At the time, I had serious difficulties with this, with the concept. There's something very unsettling, a feeling of lack of acceptance.

Yet, later, I've started to understand it slightly better. Helps that my own (practical) sexual interest has been moving more towards one gender (women). Gives me something analogous, something through which to relate, at least slightly, to how a gay/straigh person feels. And also shows me that there may be things that are unfair and really arbitrary and yet affect the comfort of being sexual with a person... It's almost karma, or something, that such a small time after I struggle with the boundaries of his sexuality, I end up struggling with mine in very similar ways the other way around - having difficulties with straight sex and evaluating whether I can/should be sexual with a man at all... Difficult stuff, on both sides of it.

One last thing I wanted to comment on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
One thing that I don't know how to react to at all is the idea that Dexter might help bring us closer. On the surface, of course, that sounds wholly positive. But, like, if she's suddenly more eager to schedule dates with me (this upcoming date being the first one in recent memory that she took the initiative to suggest days for rather than me being the one to do that), how much of that is because she wants to be with him, and knows that in order to do that without alienating me she needs to schedule time with me too? How depressing, to only be remembered because someone else has set her alight and she's trying to get the logistics in order. Or perhaps it's not that, perhaps it's just spillover NRE, her excitement for him making her more excited about sex and sexuality in general. That wouldn't be so bad, if it was just sort of a happy side-effect. OR, perhaps this is something that I should really try not to over-think and fruitlessly speculate about...
To the last suggestion, that is what I would focus on, aiming to limit the fruitless speculation. It is Gia's place to decide and evaluate the validity of her choices, not yours. Not something you need to worry about, and not really even something you should worry about. Distrusting her motives is actually slightly disrespectful even, it kind of says "I don't trust your ability to make choices without them being influenced by factors which I don't think should have an effect". Even if that has some truth in it, that the new situation has some new, potentially problematic factors which might have an effect, distrusting her ability to make good choices disrespects her agency. None of us makes decisions in a vacuum, after all. It is her job to figure out which impulses she wants to follow, to decide on priorities, to figure out what she wants. It is yours to trust that, whatever the combination of motives that go into her decision of spending time with you, she has chosen that as what she most wants to do.

<3
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  #602  
Old 12-31-2012, 02:20 PM
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I wonder if perhaps Gia's plans and desires regarding Dexter is even something you should be privy to. This is what fucks me up a lot of the time with Lively when he has chosen to devote time to be with or do favors for his friend K. I start feeling like it's unfair to me or sets me aside somehow, but he has every right to schedule his time as he wants - why do I choose to take offense over it? Why do I compete? Maybe I just shouldn't know what else/who else he's doing. Maybe you just shouldn't know what else/who else she's doing. And although you are taking some kind of comfort in knowing how much harder for Gia it is to be vulnerable/sexual/assertive/whatever with people who are more important and close to her, it is just some justification you are seeking for all the time you put into this relationship and everything you've given up for her. But at least you feel better because now you can say you mean more to her than Dexter does - but why does that comfort you to see your place in her life as elevated above his? I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, but just to be aware of it. Maybe in certain cases, it is just better for everyone all around to focus on the relationships we have with the people we love and not be informed about the relationships they have with others, especially if we know there is a part of us that sees it as a competition for equal, or perhaps, special treatment.

Also, what if Gia winds up having time with Dexter and they don't have sex, but just cuddle and caress instead? Would that feel as upsetting to you?

There is also something that struck me in your earlier post. And this is something I do, too. You have been sort of "keeping score" and that isn't totally fair to her, either. You've been highly aware of everything you've given up for her, and of every sacrifice you've made for her, and somewhere in the back of your mind, you want "what's due." You've been keeping a tally for over a year, right? You want that to count. You want her to acknowledge all that and make it all up to you, even though much of the time you suffered and struggled silently and she probably was never even aware of what you were going through in order to accommodate all her needs.

You want a pay-off, and I don't say that to be cruel. I do this with others, too. It is what we are taught in this society, but I have a strong feeling that such score-keeping is not good for relationships. My husband did it with me, and in the simplest view of our relationship, he left because he didn't feel I gave back what he gave to me. But I wasn't aware of all the things he held against me as sacrifices he had made. I also over-compromise and willingly give up things I want in relationships, with the hopes it will get me a return later on, that at some point the person will turn around and say, "You've given me so much, been so patient, so good to me, now let me reward you." But I'm not verbalizing the deal to anyone. I am making it look like I am selflessly giving, while underneath it all I'm keeping an inventory of everything I give away, and then when it seems like that person chooses someone or something else to direct their focus on, I feel unappreciated and passed over. There is definitely something to look at there, I think. Either we give just to give, without expecting something back, or we stay aware of our motives and keep them in check so we don't hurt ourselves with them later when the pay-off we want doesn't come. Because she has, and Lively also has, every right to choose whomever they want to be with at whatever time feels right for them, but it is up to us to work on not letting their choice to be with others be some sort of slight against us.

I hope that all made sense.
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Last edited by nycindie; 12-31-2012 at 02:23 PM.
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  #603  
Old 01-02-2013, 03:17 AM
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Thank you so much for your post, Rory. It's really nice to feel understood -- we seem to be on the same page on multiple levels -- and your advice is spot on as well. Excellent point about the importance of trust.

I feel certain that the direction of letting go of my boundary about the time they spend together is the right one. When I was focusing hard on the time-together boundary, all I felt was anxiety and sadness, to the point that I was questioning the relationship itself. There was no peace to be had there. If she broke my boundary, I would be left in agony, but if she followed it, I would always be wondering whether I was just holding her back, whether she really wanted to be with him more. Clinging to a hard limit provided the illusion of a solution without actually settling anything.

When I started to discard that way of thinking, I became much calmer. Since then, the whole situation hasn't troubled me in the same way. I'm sure that there will be times when I struggle with it again, but for now I've found what I needed in order to have some peace, which was to let go of the idea of controlling the situation.

Did you see, on my tumblr, my post about my gender? If you didn't, I'll send you a link.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #604  
Old 01-02-2013, 03:46 AM
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Hey Annabel, I just re-read my last post to you and I think it sounds too much like I made assumptions about what you want from Gia. I am sorry about that - I wrote that looking at your situation through my own personal lens, based on what I am currently going through with Lively. I hope that the statements I wrote -- about you wanting something back for all you've invested in your relationship -- has value for you, but I really should add that I think these are simply possibilities for you to consider, just something to look at to see if there is any small truth or something similar you can identify with - not that I am judging or presuming to know anything about your motivations or struggles around the issue of jealousy/envy/competition, or anything else.

Just wanted to make that clear.
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  #605  
Old 01-02-2013, 04:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I wonder if perhaps Gia's plans and desires regarding Dexter is even something you should be privy to.
I've considered this idea. Right now I know what's happening with her and him due to a combination of her telling me things, me asking, and me following her tumblr blog. I'm not quite ready to let go of any of that yet -- knowing what's going on with my partner is too big of a deal to me. I think I could handle not knowing if she really didn't want to tell me about it, maybe? But if I know the option to have the knowledge is there, I can't bring myself to pass it up.

Maybe I should try to move past that, I don't know. I think that I might feel less connected to her if I knew that she was having these desires and new experiences but wasn't telling me about them. But, on the other hand, maybe the desire to always know the details is a type of addiction. I often feel a bit addicted to her. Isn't that what love is, sometimes, though -- a mutual addiction? I suppose that one should strive to not let it be like that, to love without attachment, but we're in a serious relationship of 3+ years... how am I supposed to keep from being attached? Can I? Should I?

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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
And although you are taking some kind of comfort in knowing how much harder for Gia it is to be vulnerable/sexual/assertive/whatever with people who are more important and close to her, it is just some justification you are seeking for all the time you put into this relationship and everything you've given up for her. But at least you feel better because now you can say you mean more to her than Dexter does - but why does that comfort you to see your place in her life as elevated above his?
It's not like that, I think. It's not that I need to feel that he's lesser, or that I need to feel justified in the fact that I've given up things... I don't actually think that I've given up anything, I just haven't gotten everything I've wanted when I've wanted it, which is different. I just need to understand why our sex life is the way it is... it's not that our sexual interactions are bad, or wrong, by *any* means, but they're different, it seems, than what she's trying to develop with him. Her desires and the way she expresses them are different with him.

I want to understand, because it hurts to think that it's just that she wants me less. Even if that might be true, I'm seeking different ways to look at it. Maybe they are just justifications, just means of self-comfort, but I need something to hold on to here. The real solution, I suppose, is to be less attached to the idea of being wanted... but I'm not there yet. I'm definitely not there yet. It's so painful, to want someone with a steady and hungry longing, and to not feel wanted in return. If she were just a friend, I hope that I would do the smart and self-loving thing, and pull away, give myself space. But she's my partner, and I want to keep this relationship strong and growing. How can I do that while pulling away?

Why do I keep putting myself in this position? Loving Eric, and being cared about as a friend in return. Desiring Gia, and being wanted in what feels like a more distant, academic way in return. Uneven. It's enough to make me want to give it all up. I've invested so much in these people, this situation, and sometimes I feel incredibly foolish for that. Other times, I can only bask in how happy my association with them makes me, how much they mean to me.

Eric has only ever offered friendship, so I can hardly fault him for not being more than a friend. And it's not like I spend all my time writing our initials in the margins of notebooks and drawing hearts around them, I'm not deluded about it. I like to think that I keep a sense of perspective, that I'm handling it healthily, as healthily as one can when it comes to unrequited love. As for Gia, she is doing everything in her power to be a good partner, I really do believe that. She sent me a couple of naughty pictures on her phone last week. She picked up a book on domming just recently. When she sees things I'd like she sends me links, when there's an exciting event coming up she invites me. Whatever slights I feel are not her fault, I can either accept what she has to give or not.

...I kind of got off on a tangent here, but there's a lot on my mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Also, what if Gia winds up having time with Dexter and they don't have sex, but just cuddle and caress instead? Would that feel as upsetting to you?
If she took *more* time for that with him than with me, yes, that would be upsetting. Maybe even moreso than if it were sex. What it would say, to me, was that it wasn't even about her physical desire for him, which I can rationally understand, but rather that it was about intimacy, closeness. Which is fine, except that *I* want that, *I* need that, with her... and if she can give that to him, but not to me, or at least not as much, well, the only conclusion I'd be able to come to would be that she values intimacy and closeness with him more than with me, and I wouldn't know what to make of that, how to reconcile that with the idea of she and I as partners. The idea that she would prefer to be with someone who's *not* a partner, just a FWB, well, it's just hurtful. I think that's natural, isn't it? It would mean that this relationship is far more unbalanced than I thought.

So, I'd be fine if they did that every now and then. But if it was frequent... well, we're back to the same problem I was having before, the problem of comparing. I may be moving away from setting limits, but that doesn't mean that the issue of comparisons is done away with entirely. I don't know how to get rid of it, or if I should. It's not a trivial thing, how she chooses to spend her time, not when she has so little of it. She is her own person and free to make her own choices for her own reasons, but that doesn't mean I can necessarily weather them and still stay involved with her in the same way, as a partner.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #606  
Old 01-02-2013, 04:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
There is also something that struck me in your earlier post. And this is something I do, too. You have been sort of "keeping score" and that isn't totally fair to her, either. You've been highly aware of everything you've given up for her, and of every sacrifice you've made for her, and somewhere in the back of your mind, you want "what's due." You've been keeping a tally for over a year, right? You want that to count. You want her to acknowledge all that and make it all up to you, even though much of the time you suffered and struggled silently and she probably was never even aware of what you were going through in order to accommodate all her needs.

You want a pay-off, and I don't say that to be cruel. I do this with others, too. It is what we are taught in this society, but I have a strong feeling that such score-keeping is not good for relationships. My husband did it with me, and in the simplest view of our relationship, he left because he didn't feel I gave back what he gave to me. But I wasn't aware of all the things he held against me as sacrifices he had made. I also over-compromise and willingly give up things I want in relationships, with the hopes it will get me a return later on, that at some point the person will turn around and say, "You've given me so much, been so patient, so good to me, now let me reward you." But I'm not verbalizing the deal to anyone. I am making it look like I am selflessly giving, while underneath it all I'm keeping an inventory of everything I give away, and then when it seems like that person chooses someone or something else to direct their focus on, I feel unappreciated and passed over. There is definitely something to look at there, I think. Either we give just to give, without expecting something back, or we stay aware of our motives and keep them in check so we don't hurt ourselves with them later when the pay-off we want doesn't come. Because she has, and Lively also has, every right to choose whomever they want to be with at whatever time feels right for them, but it is up to us to work on not letting their choice to be with others be some sort of slight against us.
I feel like, in my life, I very, very rarely behave purely altruistically. I assume that's true of most people. Instead, I act in ways that reflect enlightened self-interest.

For instance, I babysit for Gia and Eric twice a month, minimum. I do that because I want to spend time with Bee, because I love him and my bond with him is meaningful to me. This may, in fact, be my best chance to ever bond with a developing person -- I don't know whether or not I'll ever have a child of my own. I also do it because I want to give Eric and Gia the chance to be alone together. I know that they miss that, and that they need that. I do what I can to give them that because I know that the stronger and more copacetic their relationship is, the more energy Gia will be able to give to me, because she won't be despairing over her connection with him. I *also* do it because I care about them both and want them to be happy, and, while I certainly might occasionally help other friends for similar reasons, I devote much more to helping them because, on some level (and this is a bit hard to admit for a variety of reasons, not least of which being that we don't have a formal arrangement and therefore I don't know for sure how they'd react to this idea), I think of myself as being in service to them. It's a submissive thing, I won't try to explain it further. It would be simpler, though less complete, to just say that I do it because I love them.

So... am I keeping a tally on that issue? Well, yes and no. I don't expect some sort of direct return, that they'll someday, somehow, "pay back" all the time that I'm giving. That would be absurd and incredibly unfair, especially since I'm the one who convinced them to allow me to give so much to them in the first place, by gently bringing up the idea again and again over time! But I do expect that they recognize the value of what I give them, that they respect my contributions, and that Eric will be more willing to step in to provide time and space for Gia and I to have our relationship, because he knows and appreciates that I'm doing the same for him. Am I keeping a tally? Yes and no. I'm aware of what I give. I try not to give more than I can give without beginning to become resentful, or more than they can accept without beginning to become uncomfortable. I do care about how my giving is received, and I do expect to receive certain things in return, I think that's only reasonable and rational, I'm not a saint and have no wish to be one.

I know, for the record, that you probably weren't referring to babysitting above, but I think it's a good example of a way in which I give and don't "get" in return, aside from the many, many side-benefits that motivate my actions.

Have I been keeping score? Certainly I've been hyper aware of every instance in which we've been physically intimate, and the frequency thereof. I think it's fair to say that it's one of the very few things I've directly asked her for -- time. Once-a-month dates, which she said no to. I've struggled with that, and you could say that I've "sacrificed", I suppose, by accepting her assertion that she couldn't meet my needs on that issue. Have I suffered in silence? I don't think so. I've tried not to whine, or bring it up often, and maybe I could have been clearer? But I asked, and she gave me a very clear no, so what was I supposed to do, nag her about it? When the issue came to a breaking point, during our November date when we didn't have any time or space in which to be physically close and I couldn't handle the feeling of rejection, I made no bones about why I was hurting, I took her outside so we could talk about it, and she swiftly moved to remedy the situation by scheduling a second date for the next week where we *did* have that sort of time.

Have I suffered in silence? Yes and no. I'm actually thinking that I'll bring it up again soon. I have a plan for how to explain to her why setting once-a-month dates as a goal would be better than the way things are now. I think she's afraid that it will create disappointment, on both our parts, if we can't meet that goal, and so she'd rather shoot for something more attainable. But I'd rather be satisfied more often and disappointed occasionally, than never disappointed but less often satisfied. We'll see how that goes, I don't want to bring it up until it feels right to do so, not when we've already been over this ground before.

Are there other things that you're seeing that I'm missing?

I would appreciate any and all feedback on this, really. I know it's very hard to feel like you have a real sense of perspective when you're only reading one person's necessarily incomplete account of complex events and interactions. But have I been too giving, too silent, too expectant? Is it actually unreasonable to feel passed over if my girlfriend, well, passes me over, and not even for another partner but for a FWB, when it comes to one of the very few things that I've asked for explicitly in this relationship?
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #607  
Old 01-02-2013, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Hey Annabel, I just re-read my last post to you and I think it sounds too much like I made assumptions about what you want from Gia. I am sorry about that - I wrote that looking at your situation through my own personal lens, based on what I am currently going through with Lively. I hope that the statements I wrote -- about you wanting something back for all you've invested in your relationship -- has value for you, but I really should add that I think these are simply possibilities for you to consider, just something to look at to see if there is any small truth or something similar you can identify with - not that I am judging or presuming to know anything about your motivations or struggles around the issue of jealousy/envy/competition, or anything else.

Just wanted to make that clear.
Thanks. I really appreciate you taking the time to think hard about what I'm going through and to provide advice, as well as for the clarification. You're certainly under no obligation to provide either, these aren't your problems.

Your post above was hard to read but, as you can see from the length of my responses, it gave me a lot to chew on, and I tend to think that it's always helpful to consider something from another perspective. Even if I end up saying "No, I don't think I do this, actually," I can still also say "and I should be very careful not to start!"
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #608  
Old 01-02-2013, 06:17 AM
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Gia and Eric had originally planned to go out for New Year's Eve, though they hadn't quite decided where. There ended up being confusion with the babysitter (not exactly an easy thing, to get a babysitter on NYE), so Gia threw an impromptu party at her house instead, which, I'm happy to say, a few of our friends went to (it would have been so sad to think of them being alone). I would have loved to go too, of course, but I had intended to spend the night with Davis, and he actually had been arranging an impromptu party at Bonnie and Jay's just as Gia was formulating the plan for hers.

Both of your partners planning last-minute parties in separate locations on the same big night -- poly problems. It would have been so nice to be with both of them, but I was hardly going to ditch Davis. He was actually open to the idea of going to Gia's if things didn't work out with Bonnie and Jay, but they turned out to be quite happy to host, and uninterested in going out to hang with people they didn't know, so that settled that. I explained the situation to Gia and she agreed with me that it was good and right that I should stick with Davis. I said that, next year, I ought to be the one to throw the party, so I could make sure that all the people closest to me were there.

Davis, Bonnie, Jay, and a few other friends and I had a very pleasant night, drinking and making fun of movies. At midnight, Davis and I kissed. A minute later, I went into another room and called Gia. We spoke briefly but warmly, it was good to hear her voice. Davis and I spent the night on Bonnie and Jay's fold-out couch. I dreamed of flirting with them, in subtle, delicious ways -- I can't help it, I get crushes on my close friends, what can I say. The four of us spent the whole of the next day together, cooking and playing dice and card games.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #609  
Old 01-03-2013, 12:13 AM
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I've been thinking today about the idea of addiction. There's a strong history of it on my father's side. Thankfully, I've never developed an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes, but I do find that addictive tendencies plague me. I often feel addicted to procrastination and distraction, I get behind at work and lose sleep for the stupidest reasons. It's a detriment to my life that I feel only a limited amount of control over. I'm trying hard to become aware of it and fight it, and it's an ongoing battle.

Similarly, maybe I really am addicted to Gia, in a way. Well, not addicted to *her* exactly, but addicted to thinking about her and obsessing over our relationship, addicted to her attention. I'm thinking that I'd be better off spending my mental energy elsewhere. Not ceasing to think of her altogether, by ANY means, but just... like Rory and I were talking about above, not ruminating, at the very least. Just focusing more on other things. I'm going to try to direct my thoughts away from her more often, not to obsess. We'll see how it goes.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #610  
Old 01-04-2013, 02:02 AM
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Just wanted to share: Harry got married!!
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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