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  #11  
Old 01-14-2011, 10:23 PM
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When I had my first child, I was 16.

My friends were DEFINITELY "co-parents" though I had no idea that term existed back then.

In point of fact, many of those highschool friends, who I don't even keep in close contact with anymore, still remain in DAILY contact with her (she's 19).

They've retained parental-like relationships with her over the years even as our own lives have moved apart!

Some of them (who still live in the state) were at her graduation, without having received an invite (she didn't send formal invites), because they knew when it was and it meant something to them to see this kid who they've loved and cared for all of her life "succeed".

My ex-girlfriend (who I only mention once in a blue moon on here) remains in contact with my daughter. In fact, the only time I've heard from her in YEARS-was simply stating that she wanted to be in touch with my daughter but didn't want to remain in a contact with me and wasn't sure if that was acceptable. It is. She's a WONDERFUL woman with a great understanding of how to love. I would never want to keep her out of my daughters life, if my being a part of her life is too painful-so be it.

I think it's hard for most people to comprehend the idea that their children are individual people who can (and will) build relationships of their own, if given the opportunity.
But-for those of us who can, it's such a relief to know that if somethign happened to me (God forbid), my daughter would not only have our family, but her "chosen family" to hold her up, help her out and stand by her side through the difficulties.

It's such a blessing that damn near anywhere that kid goes in this whole country, there is SOMEONE who loves her near enough to help her out in a pinch. Even though it's not me.

And-on the other side of it-

all of those people say that it's been a blessing for them, that they've been granted a gift beyond comprehension in having the chance to have the love of a child in their lives that they otherwise wouldn't have had.
Some of them have their own children, some don't. But they've all found it to be beneficial to them to have this loving relationship with another child.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:38 AM
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First off, a belated thank you to LR for sharing her parenting story, really cool.

And now, a quick update on my life!

Nothing major has changed, just a few of those small-but-significant shifts that seem to happen a lot in complex relationships. One huge thing for me was realizing that I was trying too hard. I've been super focused on the outcome of every interaction between Gia and me, or Eric and me, or all three of us together. I was turning way too many conversations with Gia into processing-fests. I was doing stuff that seemed sweet to me, like getting her presents, but that was coming off more smother-y than caretaker-y.

When I saw that this was happening, I made an effort to relax -- as a start, I promised myself that the next time I saw Gia I would absolutely not bring up any aspect of our relationship for discussion... instead I would just let the relationship happen for once. I also made a point of letting her have her personal space, which she's really needed since her pregnancy started.

The difference was immediate. I felt better and I things were more natural between us. I don't know whether this was a coincidence or not, but things even seemed smoother and warmer with me and Eric. He can be a hard guy for any of his friends to get close to, but since making this internal shift I think I've noticed him being a little more open with me, more willing to include me in his world.

I also got to feel the baby move the other day. I don't think I'll ever forget feeling the fluttering under my hand, pressed against the warm skin at the bottom of her belly.

By the way, if you haven't seen this Daily Show clip from 1/14/10 about "gay divorce", watch it now -- the bit from 3:10 on is about a poly marriage and it's fucking golden:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/th...010/no-gay-out
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:35 PM
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Very wonderful!
I'm glad to hear that you are settling into a comfortable place with your dynamic! That's awesome.

It's so sweet feeling the baby swish around in there.

My oldest is due the 26th of this month with her first. It's been a riot watching her experience it all.

Are you going to get to go to an appointment with Gia so you can hear the heartbeat? That's intriguing too.
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Old 02-17-2011, 02:22 AM
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Oh wow, congratulations on the upcoming baby in *your* life, LR!! So cool.

I don't have any plans to go to an appointment with Gia, but that's an interesting idea. Maybe I'll bring it up.

Also, this line from this week's "Savage Love" (great love and sex advice column) cracked me up, because it summed up what I'd been doing with Gia:
"try to resist the urge to lesbian this thing into the ground by communicating it to death"

If you wanna read the whole thing: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/S...ve?oid=6782602
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:03 AM
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Thank you-we're all pretty excited.

I think it's awesome that you are working on "just being".

GG and I figured out that most often when all hell is breaking loose all we really need is to just "be" and not think it all through-it's a lifesaver.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:22 PM
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Dear AnnabelMore and LovingRadiance,
I've been writing on several threads here recently that jealousy has no place in polyamory... and here you’ve both been getting me jealous! At least it’s not a nasty, stingy jealousy: I'm so happy for you both. You are both so lucky!

Annabel, if you like reading novels, and want to get more input/ideas about co-parenting, let me recommend “Woman On The Edge Of Time” by Marge Piercy. It’s sci-fi utopian, set in the future, and there are clearly some things that we just wouldn’t be able to import into our lives (at this time and in this society), but it has wonderful ideas about interpersonal relationships. It was written in 1976 so it doesn’t use the term “polyamory”. But that’s part of their society as well. This is my favourite book (and favourite author) of the 20th century. (It’s in a 3-way tie with Lewis Carroll’s 2 Alice books for favourite book of all time.)

Although I have no children of my own, children are central and essential in my life. And co-parenting (I've been fairly close to that once, and not-too-distant with another family) is definitely the best! (My absolute ideal would be a commune where every member loved every other sufficiently to consider ourselves “family”.)

I would definitely advise against being nonchalant when you tell Eric how you feel about him. Let him know that that there’s no pressure for him to echo your feelings, but that you want/need to be honest and open with him, and you don’t think it’s healthy to hide that anymore. You write “I've also found that just having talked to Gia about my feelings for Eric has really made it easier to be around the two of them together. It's like some mental pressure was released...” How much more easy is it going to be when tou unburden youself with Eric, too! And please don’t do it with google chat! I don’t know Eric, and you’ll have to make this decision yourself, but my feeling is that it would be better face-to-face.

You wrote: “We haven't been sexual together since she became pregnant, which has been rough, but I can hardly hold it against her, what with fatigue and morning sickness and all that.” If you were fine with this, I might not stick my nose in, but since you wrote that it “has been rough, but I can hardly hold it against her”, I'm going to comment:
Often, when we’re feeling particularly unattractive, we hide ourselves (or the unattractive bits) from all but the most intimate friends. [“Since my long-term boyfriend/husband knows all about my farts, I'm not going to stop sleeping with him when I feel a bout coming on... but I'm not about to embarrass my new lover / endanger our fledgling romance by sleeping with him until I've got over my present flatulence!” ]
Have you seen the bit in the film “Good Will Hunting” where the Robin Williams character says that those farts are precisely one of the things that he misses most about his dead wife?
I read an autobiography in which a bed-ridden man gets embarrassed about the fact that his mother has to clean out his bedpan, and is surprised to hear her singing while she’s doing it.
“Honey,” she tells him, “I'm just so glad that you didn’t die in that car crash that I'm happy to be doing this for you.”
Now, I'm not saying that you should put pressure on Gia to be sexual with you... but maybe you could mention that you’d love her - farts, morning sickness and all.

LovingRadiance asked: “Are you going to get to go to an appointment with Gia so you can hear the heartbeat? That's intriguing too.” And you answered: “I don't have any plans to go to an appointment with Gia, but that's an interesting idea. Maybe I'll bring it up.”
For what it’s worth, it’s possible to hear the baby’s heartbeat without modern technology (and away from curious hospital staff). Midwives carry a wooden tube, but it can be done with the cardboard tube from a toilet-paper (or paper-towel) roll. You put one end to the mother’s belly and your ear to the other end. Very Third World, very intimate, very wonderful. You just have to learn to distinguish the baby’s heartbeat from the mother’s (and all the gurgling and churning...)
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~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
Although I have no children of my own, children are central and essential in my life. And co-parenting (I've been fairly close to that once, and not-too-distant with another family) is definitely the best! (My absolute ideal would be a commune where every member loved every other sufficiently to consider ourselves “family”.)
I lived in a squat in London with 7 other adults and one young girl. I met her when she was a year and a half old, and started living with her when she was 2. (She’s now 35, herself the mother of 2 daughters, and one of my dearest friends.) Her parents liked to go to bed earlier than most of us and before doing so would ask, “Is anyone going to take responsibility for M?” Some of us would have other plans, but there was always someone – usually more than one – happy to stay in. Important was that at least one person commit themselves to this responsibility for M for the rest of the evening. As I wasn’t a big fan of pubbing, I was usually one of those that stayed in, whether I was delegated THE responsible one or not.

We soon learned to say: “Now, M, you know that when you’re tired and have to put on your PJs you get crotchety. So why don’t you put them on now, while you’re still wide awake?”
M knew that we weren’t trying to get rid of her, that she could stay up as long as she wanted, so off she’d go to her bedroom, bring her PJs back to the kitchen, and put them on (with help and later – when she was older - without).

Then she’d climb onto someone’s lap – or play with her toys on the floor – while we young adults would have these oh-so-important discussions about politics, sexuality, philosophy, food: you name it.

Since she didn’t go to school (or playgroup) there was no specific time when she had to be up in the morning. And with so many people in the house – as well as in the street (the whole street was squatted) without regular jobs (and some of them with children that M could play with) – whenever M’s parents needed a break from her during the day, there was always somebody else ready to help out.
So there was never that oh-so-typical battle at bedtime that happens in so many nuclear families – when the children have to go to bed because the parents are worn out...

(There were times – when M was 3 or 4 – that I would think: “Poor M! Listening to us babble on and on about some philosophical topic that’s way over her head.”
And then M would ask some question that was so apposite, so intelligent, that it was clear that she was following the conversation well... and was interested.)

And when (later than most London children are allowed to stay up) M – sitting on my lap with her “sniffing blanket” - would ask in a sleepy voice: “J, would you put me to bed?” I'd answer: “Of course, Darlin’!”
... And my heart would just melt!

[When M was 4, she moved into a nuclear-family situation in much more confined quarters in the country with her parents and her younger sister (another of my dearest friends). I was invited to move in “but not for a few months, until we’ve consolidated our position there” and, when I got there, the effects of the different life-style dynamics were already making themselves felt. Although there was one friendly neighbour family with 2 small children who helped a bit, there wasn’t that intimacy or love for M from so many adults. Her parents – having to deal by and largely alone with her– didn’t have the energy or the patience with her that they’d had in London. (e.g. “You have to go to bed now!”) And M really suffered from the change. (Her sister – being younger and not so grown-into the squatted-house dynamic – suffered less in adjusting.)

I remember one occasion – shortly after I'd moved there, a drizzly day when the 2 girls and I were playing on the floor of the living-dining-room/kitchen (the parents’ bedroom being through a door and my room in another building) – when the father said: “Look, I've got a headache. If you girls are going to be making such a noise can’t you go play outside?”
(I was amused and indignant that he put all the blame on the girls, when I was being just as loud.)
“It’s raining out!” I said. “If you’ve got the headache, why don’t you go outside?”

Epilogue: Adult conflicts of interest / the strain of living as the “outsider” with a couple – our original idea to start a rural commune never was realised - in an isolated rural society... caused me to move out and away. (I did find them their present home - a lovely farm with much more space – before I left, and visit often – less now since M and her sisters have grown up and moved out.)

Annabel, you write: “Because of how strongly I feel about both of them, I'm pretty positive that I'm going to fall massively in love with their baby. It's scary, because I'm going to be emotionally vulnerable on so many fronts... when it comes to her, when it comes to him, when it comes to the child which is in no way my child and yet is the progeny of my two lovers.” But rember 2 important things:
It’s Gia who brought up the subject of co-parenting.
And if you weren’t emotionally vulnerable, you wouldn’t be human (not REALLY human). You’d be a machine. Life is scary. My best advice is: fall massively in love with the baby. I did with M (and her sister) and – although it’s brought me heartache on several occasions (for example, when I decided that I had to leave) – I've NEVER regretted it.

You also wrote: “Time has always been a problem for Gia and me, and for Gia and Eric as well. There's never enough of it! And when the new baby comes, of course that problem is just going to get a million times worse.” I want to criticise your word “worse”. And you yourself hit on the same point when you wrote: “I can actually see it getting stronger because I'll be helping her through so many intense things.” And don’t forget that “fall[ing] massively in love with their baby”!
John Lennon sang: “People asking questions / Lost in confusion. / Well, I tell them there’s no problems / Only solutions.” [“Watching The Wheels”] I think that you should bear this in mind: look for opportunities, not problems. If you’re going to be “Number One Auntie”, this might bring you even closer to Gia AND Eric. Certainly very appreciated on more than just a sexual / romantic-love level.

Annabel, Annabel! Why are you worrying when you’ve got so much to glory about?
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If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:57 PM
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Mr. FarFromRight-

Two excellent posts!!
Thank you for sharing.

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  #19  
Old 03-17-2011, 04:24 AM
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It's been an intense few weeks!

First, MrFarFromRight, thanks for your thoughts and for sharing your experiences. I read your posts shortly after you put them up, and while I hadn't taken the time to respond before now, your parting words about glorying vs. worrying have been playing in my head. Also, I've gotta try that thing with the wooden tube.

Some recent things:

I went on an out-of-town excursion with Gia and Eric to visit a friend and to help them build a piece of camping equipment that they've wanted for a long time. It'll be a tight squeeze for them and a kid. I had fun and learned things and enjoyed the time with them. I also felt hella bummed out and tired by the time the weekend was over. I just kept thinking about how weird it felt that I was literally helping them build something with no room for me in it.

During the trip we were staying at our friend's dad's place. Out of respect for the dad, I didn't consider sleeping with Gia and Eric -- they took the spare bedroom upstairs, and I volunteered to take the futon in the basement. But the more I thought about it the more depressed and alienated I felt.

Finally, I talked to our friend and he said that his dad would not, in fact, care. So I worked up my courage and went upstairs. I was practically hyperventilating so I had to give myself a minute to calm down before I could knock on the spare bedroom door and ask if there was room for me to sleep with them. They said there certainly was, so I got my stuff and crawled in between them. I was still having a little trouble slowing my breathing and Gia noticed and commented on it. I wasn't ready to talk about it then, but I brought it up to her the next day and shared how scared and weird I had felt.

It's been a long time since I've been that deeply physically affected by something emotional. It comes down to two things, I think -- 1) fear of rejection (what if they said they'd actually rather sleep alone?), and 2) fear of not knowing where things are going and not knowing if there's much figurative or literal room for me in their lives long-term.

As for #1, the fear of rejection... I'm pretty sure that the pain I felt from not even *asking* for what I wanted was worse than just getting gently denied would have been.

And #2? Well, I obsessed over it for a lot of the following week. I said some pretty harsh things to myself, like -- Gia will never love you like she loves Eric, and Eric will never love you at all. This will always be true and it will always hurt you. You deserve someone with whom you can be primary, and they aren't it. And in the meantime you're denying yourself the opportunity to find a relationship that can be a deeper partnership because you're spending all of your time and energy on something that's not going anywhere! You're a loser! Never mind the fact that I don't even particularly *want* a primary partner right now... negative self-talk knows no logic. :P

Finally I said to myself:

Look, just SHUT UP. There is NO WAY to know where this is going! No way for anyone involved to know! The baby's going to change everything anyway, so why even try to forsee the unforseeable? So, ok, if you can accept that you can't know the future, how do you feel about the way things are now? Do you want to leave Gia? Of COURSE not!!! Not even a little! So shut up and stop running around in these mental circles. It would take much more than a little insecurity to make you leave your girlfriend, who you love and who loves you, while she's pregnant and more vulnerable than she's ever been!! Here's the deal: we'll revisit this three months after the baby is born, k? Until then, just... chill and enjoy the beautiful thing you have.

Phew.

It helped a lot, actually. I calmed down considerably after all of that. Then I spent some time with Harry (new-ish sexytimes friend mentioned in a previous entry) and that helped too.

The following weekend, I helped throw a big, crazy party at another friend's house -- the whole thing had been Gia's idea and, with the help of several of our other friends who also contributed a lot of time and energy, it went GREAT. There was lots of potential for awkwardness -- Harry was there and parts of the party were quite sexy and the question of where people were sleeping was totally up in the air. And yet... I felt totally fine. Gia liked and respected Harry, which meant the world to me. She and I spent a lot of time together at the party, and people very clearly knew that we were a couple.

At the end of the the party, after most people including Harry had left, Eric asked me if I wanted to go back to their place to sleep. After the events of the weekend prior it meant SO much to me that he asked. I thought about it and told him that, no, I would just stay at the party and sleep on the super-comfy guest bed there. I love being close to them, but I sleep more soundly with a little space.

Since then, I've continued to be in a good mental space. There is a smart, creative, funny, beautiful woman who loves me. Her smart, creative, funny, beautiful husband is my friend. And that is MORE than ok! MrFarFromRight is absolutely right on that score.

I've also thought a little more about the idea of telling Eric how I feel about him. I'm now leaning heavily towards face-to-face, and to a compromise between casual and scripted. I'm not going to worry too much about the time or place, or whether I'll use a lot of words or a few, but I'm committed to the idea that when I know I need to say it I'll say it and explain myself in some way. I did come up with a very simple, direct way to get across what I want to communicate --

"I love you. I have for a long time now. It doesn't change anything. It's not a request, it's just a statement of fact."

Last edited by AnnabelMore; 03-17-2011 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 03-17-2011, 04:50 AM
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That's a wonderful post Annabelle! I think it's awesome that you told yourself what to do AND of course, once you followed your own direction, things started to shape up for something more the way you needed! Excellent!
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