My friendship with Metis seems to be changing since our road trip this past weekend, as we're making more plans to spend time together.
We were at a party on Saturday night, the night after our road trip, arriving and leaving separately. She sent me a text saying she wished she'd had a chance to spend more time with me. I told her she could stop by for tea - her route home passes not far from my house - but she didn't see that text until she was already home.
Sunday, we started planning for a festival we're attending in another state - one I've posted about before. I'll be camping with the girls, she'll be camping on our own; we've been talking about sharing a site and sharing equipment and supplies.
We're planning to have lunch, tomorrow, and just today made plans for her to come over Friday evening to cook, play some music, and generally hang out with me and whichever of the girls is here that evening.
I find myself wondering what happens next, imagining what might happen next . . . and pulling myself back from imagining too much or expecting too much.
The result, in all, is a happy kind of tension.
Vix has long had a pattern of collecting odd boys.
I know, I know. That's a crude and rude way of putting it, but let me hasten to clarify: she is drawn to and often establishes affectionate friendships with guys who are geeky, damaged, or both.
Doc is actually a prime example of the pattern, falling into the "both" category. The ways in which he has been damaged by his past have come to light recently, and have recently produced more pain for Vix. That's a story for later, I suppose, but suffice it to say that he refers to his own stunted emotional capacity - he describes himself as a perpetual pre-adolescent - and uses it as an excuse for acting like a shit.
Did I just write that? Wow.
Anyway, the likelihood is that Vix will continue to feel affection for him, though she is generally more conservative - her term - with her emotional and practical energy in general than she was even last year, and she is certainly leary of him in particular
But Doc is just one of many.
The fact is that Vix has something of a cloud of geeky and/or damaged guys who are variously in like or in love with her, and with whom she has some degree of a relationship.
She's fairly selective about who she has sex with - though less selective than I might be, if I were her - but she has "cuddle buddy" status with several of them, and variously expressive affectionate friendships with the rest.
Two weeks ago, we traveled to another city for an event that was also attended by a small handful of Vix's boys. That was . . . interesting.
Last week, another of Vix's boys visited for a couple of days on his way back home from a business trip. His itinerary brought him through our city, so he stopped by for a bit before continuing on.
The two of them had tried a relationship with more physical intimacy when she was visiting his region, a few months ago, but it didn't go well; the dynamics of their friendship changed in a way Vix found disturbing. So, they've agreed to cool it and just go back to being affectionate friends.
This week, another of Vix's boys came to our town for an event we attended here; he's staying on for a few days.
I don't know whether he's damaged, but he is the geek to beat all geeks. He all but worships numbers, and yesterday he spent a diverting hour or two watching live coverage of a "Magic: The Gathering" tournament.
Vix seems to find him endearing, and they seem to have cuddle-buddy status. I don't think Vix would seriously contemplate anything more intimate with him.
The truth is, he's driving me slightly crazy.
Maybe it's the fact that this is the second week in a row we've had one of Vix's boys staying over as a guest. Maybe it's the fact that the guest room is also my home office and the room in which I keep my clothes.
But maybe it's that he is just off-the-charts geeky, and self conscious, and trying too hard to be likable . . . and sloppy, and noisy, and . . .
Oh, my. I should stop.
He's actually a fairly nice guy, and basically decent; I guess I can almost imagine what Vix might find so endearing.
I just want him to go home.
I told all this to Vix today - not just about our current guest, but about her collection, which we've discussed before - and joked that I guess I'm the closest to being "normal" she'd be willing to put up with . . . even granting that I'm fairly geeky and possibly somewhat damaged, myself.
She agreed with all of it, but also suggested that my being at the "normal"-ish end of the spectrum may be why I was marriage-worthy.
As for the current circumstance, I'll get through it. My annoyance with being shut out of my own office is a quirk of our house - too few rooms! - an it's really only a day or two more.
Vix is mindful of my annoyance, and I suspect even our houseguest is aware of it . . . though it just makes him try harder to be likeable, which makes me more annoyed . . . but never mind that.
I also have my own work to be getting on with, so I won't be around much, tomorrow.
I've been thinking that it's just as well that Vix and I didn't agree to veto power when we opened up our relationship . . . and it's certainly just as well we aren't really interested in a triad.
I mean, I'm about as straight as it is possible to be but, even if I were bi, I don't think I could put up with the kinds of guys Vix finds appealing!
Last edited by hyperskeptic; 11-12-2013 at 04:10 AM.
Vix's Boys, postscript
P.S. I went to bed after my last post, but woke up two hours later. I'd left Vix and our houseguest talking in the other room but, when I woke up again, just now, it was clear they'd retired together to the guest room.
Vix came out a few minutes ago to get something, wearing nothing on top. I gather they've advanced to shirtless cuddle-buddy status.
My reaction is odd. It's not that I'm jealous or afraid or anything. I'm basically just grossed out. I find our houseguest kind of repulsive, so all I can think in response to the image of them together is "ew ew ew ew ew!!"
I'll have to talk to Vix about my reaction, which I actually find slightly amusing. I don't think it has much bearing on how I feel about Vix, other than just confirming that her tastes in people are quite different from mine.
It does make me kind of see the point of DADT arrangements, though. Sheesh!
Now I need to get back to sleep.
Last edited by hyperskeptic; 11-12-2013 at 07:12 AM.
I couldn't get back to sleep. The mental imagery was a little hard to deal with, but would not in itself have kept me from sleeping. The problem, again, is a structural problem with the house: the office/guest room is just across the hall from the bedroom Vix and I share.
They were talking and laughing for hours, and I really just didn't want to bother them. I got up, made myself some herbal tea, and tried to rest on the couch in the back room.
I went back to bed, then Vix came to bed at around 4. We ended up talking until a little after 5. I let her know it wasn't really that big a deal, but that I was a little irked and a little squicked out; I had her read my two posts from yesterday evening/last night.
I then slept until the alarm went off at 6.
I don't have time to recount the whole conversation - I'm facing a busy day on three hours of sleep, after all - but it was revealing, and basically warm. We had one or two good laughs.
One quick example: She noted, again, that she isn't really physically attracted to guys, anyway. She likes them, and has affectionate relationships with them. If she wants to fantasize about physical attraction, though, she generally fantasizes about women.
She has been thinking that she may never find another guy with whom she might fall in love, and she finds that kind of sad. Guys in general are pretty messed up by traditional culture, and really good ones are few and far between.
Putting two and two together, the thought occurred that maybe she might fall madly in love with a woman at some point.
I made her laugh out loud when I suggested - tongue firmly in cheek - that I could be her wing-man.
So, speaking of weird friendship, here's one episode in the increasingly idiosyncratic way in which Metis and I relate to one another.
I've mentioned several times my intention to attend a festival in another state, last month, with my two daughters. Metis was going to the festival early and offered to set up a campsite for us.
Now, Metis had been hearing from an ex bf of hers, one about whom she still had strong and mixed feelings. She knew he would be at the festival, but was hoping very much to avoid him.
When I arrived with the girls late on Friday, I was misdirected as to where to drop my camping gear before parking the car, and there was only spotty cell phone reception and . . . well, I finally managed to get in touch with Metis and arrange a meeting point.
She was waiting there . . . with her ex bf. In fact, I'll just refer to him as X. He helped out in hauling our camping gear to the campsite, and generally seemed good natured about the whole thing.
I went in expecting Metis and I would be independent of one another at the festival, though we would arrange to spend some time together and to meet up for certain happenings. We did some of that, but she also surprised herself by spending a lot of time with X.
When I talked to her about him, she expressed some reservations. She had been caught off-guard by his friendliness and affection.
I found out later that, in the weeks after they broke up, a year and a half ago, she had been compelled to establish very clear boundaries with him. They would get together then, and he would express affection toward her, hold her hand, and so on. She called a stop to that, at the time; it only confused things, when she very much needed clarity.
He wasn't happy about letting her set boundaries, she told me; he resented her having "the upper hand", as he put it.
Well, at the festival, those boundaries became very . . . wobbly. Metis knew there would have to be some kind of reckoning, a hard conversation about what it all meant, but her older feelings for him were stirred up.
Metis and I spent even less time together at the festival than I'd thought - a fact about which Metis later expressed regret - though we had a very fine hour of sitting in the sun on a frosty morning, talking about X and relationships and other matters, and we did get to dance together and listen to some very good music.
I should say that I enjoyed the festival on my own account, and my daughters had a really great time; they especially enjoyed the independence that becomes possible in such a setting. I was, at one point, a bit sore at Metis for "abandoning" me . . . but got over that as quickly as I could manage.
In the days after the festival, back home, Metis texted that she'd been in contact with X again, and asked for some clarity about his intentions. She expressed how surprised she had been by his affection, and what it had begun to stir up in her.
He replied, to paraphrase slightly, that what happened at the festival should stay at the festival.
Metis was outraged that he could be so callous about it, and told him so. His response? He was surprised that she would be hurt and angry, and offered - lamely, I thought - to talk sometime.
I met up with Metis for coffee one afternoon that week and we talked about the whole situation. She told me she had written a long, angry email, but she didn't want to send it until she'd had a chance to think about it.
A little later, she sent me the email, to see what I thought.
I hope I never make Metis that angry.
I suggested, as gently as I could, that perhaps she should not send that particular email. It was an email she needed to write for herself, I suggested, but not the one that X needed to read.
I joked that what I really wanted was to drop the email into a Word document and mark it up for her.
"Do you know how happy that would make me?" She texted. "And with that, our relationship reaches a new level of weirdness."
I agreed to edit the email, and I agreed about the weirdness, like some really twisted retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac.
Unlike Cyrano, I didn't write any text. I really just suggest some changes to the email, mostly deleting the attacks and the insults, leaving in her account of her own reactions and responses, including her hurt and anger and dismay.
She edited the email and sent it - the final version was still pretty harsh, more so than anything I would have sent - and hasn't really heard from X since.
I think the weirdest thing about this whole episode is how it did not and still does not feel all that weird. I mean, I can see that it would look really weird from the outside - it is off-the-charts unconventional - but it makes a daffy kind of sense from the inside.
Last edited by hyperskeptic; 11-14-2013 at 12:41 PM.
An odd turn of events, this past week.
It has been worrying me a bit that I have been investing so much of myself in my friendship with Metis. It just seems to put too much of a burden on her to be the only other person besides Vix in whom I can confide. She's very busy, and has other friendships; she's been dating guys all along, though none of them have really caught on.
For some reason, I thought I might try out OK Cupid, again. I'd had accounts on there in the past, but really just couldn't deal with the weirdness of online dating and the frustration of never hearing back from anyone . . . except Nyx, of course. But then, she wasn't all that in to OKC, to begin with, and I was just about to shut down my account there, so we had that in common from the first: we were both defectors from online dating.
So, I have a new account, and a new approach. Here's how my profile starts:
And, whaddya know? Some of them wrote back.
I've struck up a very nice correspondence with a woman out in the darkest suburbs of my region - I live in town - that seems already to have settled into an easy familiarity.
I'll be meeting someone for coffee this weekend. She's especially intriguing. She describes herself as being in a marriage that is "open on both ends", but with little detail beyond that. From her answer to the various questions I gather she's looking for FWBs (FsWB?) and - unless she answered many of the questions strategically or ironically - what she really wants is a sub.
She seems to want to portray herself as the whip hand . . . in earnest or not, I don't know.
I plan to go to coffee with an active mind, though, and without undue assumptions or biases. From other aspects of her profile and other answers to other questions, she certainly seems worth an hour or so of conversation, if nothing else.
What strikes me about these developments is how calm I am about them, how entirely normal it all seems. I may feel differently about this after coffee this weekend . . . but I suspect the difference from my previous experience on OKC stems from The Shift that took place last spring, as documented at the beginning of this blog thread.
I'm feeling confident. If none of these new connections becomes anything other than a passing correspondence or a couple of coffee dates, I'll be okay, and I'll have learned something. If one or more of them develops into a friendship or something else, I'll be okay.
It's been an interesting exercise to write engaging introductory notes - in complete sentences, with correct spelling and grammar, about something other than the physical attributes of the recipient. Some of those who have written back made a point of thanking me just for that!
Of course, I found Vix's profile and sent the following:
Last edited by hyperskeptic; 11-22-2013 at 02:03 AM.
I am enjoying your updates very much, btw. Your posts clearly show the shifts you have undergone. I wasn't thinking of you as more confident, though it seems that you are, as much as I was thinking "at ease." It seems you are so much more at ease with yourself, your life, your relationships. It's quite attractive, and I'm happy for you. I wish you well with your dating adventures! I've had my OKC account disabled for a few months now - I just can't bear to do it again right now.
The world opens up... when you do.
"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "
An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
I agree that "at ease" might be a better term for my state of mind, just now.
It's a new experience for me in my relationships with other people . . . perhaps especially in my relationships with women I find attractive.
Sheesh, talk about a late bloomer!
So, I met someone for coffee this morning, as I mentioned in my previous post. I'd thought we'd talk for an hour, maybe a little more . . . but we talked for just over two hours.
Really, we just told stories about ourselves and asked each other questions. She and I seem to have a good mix of common interests and divergent experiences, just enough so we don't annoy one another, but can still surprise one another.
I have no idea what happens next, or where things might go - if anywhere. She suggested a possibility for a next meeting when we parted, though, so I suspect I'll see her again.
Like Vix and me, she's a Northerner living in (and chafing a bit at) the South; she has a Northerner's directness, which is always refreshing.
Whatever happens, I'm glad I met her. It was two hours well spent.
A quick update on the state of things:
The contacts I made on OKC last fall have all gone by the wayside. Just as I was about to delete my account, again, I wrote to an intriguing woman who had looked at my profile but not written.
She wrote back, and we've started an enthusiastic correspondence. She is not much younger than me but has left a career to pursue a PhD in a field with some overlaps with my own. I hasten to add that she is not pursuing this degree at the institution at which I work.
We seem to have much in common, intellectually and perhaps personally, though much we might learn from one another as well.
Because of potential complications to our professional lives, we're both being very, very circumspect. Right now the topic for discussions seems to be whether we should meet face-to-face at all!
Well, if prudence demands that we don't meet just now, she's a marvelous pen-pal, if nothing else.
Oh, and she was delighted to finally meet a vanilla guy on OKC.
If I have reason to write about her again in this context, I'll use a pseudonym she herself provided when we moved our conversation over to email: Frankie.
Anyway, soon after I met her, I went ahead and deleted my OKC profile . . . again. It was taking up too much of my time and attention and needed to go away for good; the constant implied rejection, the sound of crickets chirping, with an oh-so-rare exception, is soul-withering.
In the mean time, I still see Metis occasionally for coffee or lunch or a concert, or in other contexts in which we have a shared interest, though less often than in the past. She has been spending more and more time with - and at the home of - her current boyfriend.
Once again, Metis is puzzling over what she wants. Monogamous marriage? With this particular guy? Maybe kids?
She has been surrounded all her life by failed and failing marriages, and marriages in her family continue to fail even now. That makes her skeptical of the whole enterprise. Besides that, the relationship with this particular guy is new enough that she's not sure she could make a go of it with him, not for the long haul.
Once again, I find myself in the role of confidant and advisor, at least providing a sounding board as she thinks things through. I'm not trying to convert her away from monogamy, just helping her to be intentional - rather than conventional - in the choices she makes.
I hope to see her for coffee tomorrow. I'll be interested to see how things have been going with the guy in question, and with her thinking about what she wants.
Speaking of monogamy, Nyx went and done eloped! She flew to New York recently to marry her girlfriend. That makes me so happy, I hardly know how to express it.
As for Vix, well, she seems to have gotten over Doc; when we talk about him, she just seems wistful about him, and also a bit bemused at the degree to which, even as he approaches retirement age, he is still a damaged little boy. He continues to be capricious in his choices about how and where to live, and I think Vix has come to the conclusion that she's well out of it.
The end of that relationship has left Vix a bit jaded. She says she really doesn't want to fall in love again, doesn't want to go through that kind of wrenching heartbreak.
That doesn't mean she doesn't seek out other kinds of connections with people, but she's just sort of done with the head-over-heels stuff . . . at least for now.
She was in another part of the country, recently, and got to spend a night with a beneficial friend - a guy with whom she has an honest and utterly uncomplicated relationship of mutual respect and occasional sex.
(Oddly, it's also the relationship that makes me the most unabashedly happy for Vix.)
Vix is also developing a relationship with a younger woman, also out of state but who travels around a lot. We were at an event over the weekend this particular young woman also attended - I'm likely to need a pseudonym for her, too, by and by! - and there was a hint of a beginning of some drama . . . but Vix managed to talk it through with her.
Vix - who traveled in another direction before coming home for the weekend - texted me earlier today to say that the drama between her and the younger woman is gone, leaving only confusion.
I noted that confusion is stage-appropriate - that is, appropriate to the stage of the development of their relationship.
Okay, so it wasn't such a quick update. It's been a while since I posted, though.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" - Charles Darwin
"Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is that they are not even superficial." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Last edited by hyperskeptic; 03-18-2014 at 03:57 AM.
Vix is traveling again, an a road trip around the Midwest in pursuit of her avocation. Under other circumstances, I wouldn't be fazed by her departure but, given events of the past week, I'm feeling entirely out of sorts.
Vix was supposed to be traveling with a companion, a younger woman from another state who has a lot of time on her hands and likes to travel. I mentioned her at the end of the last update, noting I did not have a pseudonym for her. Not to give away what happened, but I'm not sure I'll need one, now. For this post, I'll call her 'N'.
Vix had been attracted to N for quite a while, having met and gotten to know her at various events and festivals. Vix once told me that she really likes men, even loves a few of them, but she's more likely to find women physically attractive; at the time, she named N as an example.
The two of them had written back and forth on Facebook for months before they arranged for N to be Vix's "tour buddy."
I'm not sure exactly when or how it happened but, some time after that, they became lovers.
From the first, there were signs that it would be a difficult relationship. N came across as very needy and somewhat manipulative in securing to her self what she needs.
It turns out, that wasn't the half of it.
N stayed here a few times, and Vix traveled with her and another friend for a weekend out of town a few weeks ago; there, Vix and N really started to get it on . . . as it were.
N also stayed here at our house a few times, for a night or two, on either end of travel plans of her own. I was never sure what to make of her, but gave her the benefit of the doubt since Vix was interested in her.
After that, things got very weird very quickly. By "got weird" I mean "exploded into bizarre and toxic psychodrama".
N is kinky, tending to structure her sexual relationships around a D/s dynamic. Vix has not been kinky, really at all, but was curious enough to be open to the idea. It had also been a long, long time since she'd had sex with another woman, so I think she was feeling adventurous.
Part of what happened may stem from the fact that N does not clearly distinguish sexual from other kinds of relationships. As Vix describes it, N doesn't feel love except through sex . . . so she tends, perhaps in spite of herself, to structure all her relationships around a D/s dynamic.
Also, as Vix describes it, N was trying to push Vix into being the dominant in the relationship if not in bed . . . which really doesn't work very well, when Vix not only doesn't want to be dominant, but discovered she is in fact really uncomfortable with a D/s dynamic as such, in bed or out.
She just doesn't want to put that kind of frame around a relationship.
Sometime early in the week, Vix started trying to tell N that she needed something different, needed to back way down, maybe start over.
N was having none of it, and kept pushing back, making demands, being manipulative . . . based on Vix's account of what happened.
They went back and forth, back and forth, by text and on Skype, trying to understand each other. Or, rather, Vix was trying to understand N.
At one point, I reconstructed part of N's approach something like this: "I won't tell you what's bothering me because you wouldn't understand and I won't let you walk away until you understand but when you understand everything will be okay and you won't want to walk away but I won't tell you until you prove to me that you can listen and the only proof I'll accept is total capitulation."
By this point, I'd already suggested to Vix that her best course was not to walk away, but to run like hell. She was hesitant to do so, not wanting to hurt N unnecessarily.
The problem is that N insisted that the decision to break up could not be unilateral: she wanted to have a say in any decision Vix made.
(Is it just me, or is that just wrong?)
Vix had wasted whole days and big chunks of a few nights struggling with all this, and N kept coming back and coming back, demanding, needing, wanting, feeling. These were days Vix should have spent preparing for her trip; instead, I had to watch as N drained away all life and joy from her.
Finally, by sometime on Wednesday, Vix had had enough and wanted to break it off all together, which would mean making other arrangements for her tour.
For a moment, though, it looked as though N would relent, that she would be willing to hit the reset button and travel with Vix just as a friend. They decided to meet for an hour on Thursday - N had stayed in town for the big kink event this weekend - to talk it over.
Vix took a hard line, though: any hint of drama, and the deal would be off.
The deal was off within a few minutes of N's arrival on Thursday, but they still continued to talk for two hours or so.
Vix may finally have gotten N to see that she had been trying to impose the dominant role on Vix against her will - figure that one out! - and that she should probably have just let Vix cut and run on Monday, but subsequent notes from N suggest she still isn't really willing to let it go.
By that point, Vix had not packed or prepared for her trip, and needed to arrange a rental car.
(We're really un-American, a family of four with just one car!)
There were . . . issues . . . with the rental, the upshot of which is that the whole thing will be more expensive than it should be.
So, Vix drove off in a black mood, and I came home in something of a funk, myself.
Even as I was typing this entry, Vix texted me to let me know that the calm and solitude of the drive are helping her a lot.
Hearing from her has helped me.
I'm going to a party, later, and will get to see Metis.
There's also someone new who may be of interest: I'll be having lunch in a couple of weeks with someone I met on another site.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" - Charles Darwin
"Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is that they are not even superficial." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Last edited by hyperskeptic; 04-19-2014 at 07:33 PM.