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Old 09-05-2011, 04:29 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Hello everyone,

I've been reading for a while and making sporadic posts without actually telling my own story, mostly because it's very long and very painful for me.

Here it is--the story that led me to seek this forum for support.

I guess it's kind of my life story, but I'm not putting it in the life stories/blog section because I'm not going to maintain it as a current blog.

I'm not quite sure how to tell this story without explaining my whole dating history, so I guess I'll do that. But I'm not looking for support about my exes from long ago! I'm just giving context. Plus, each of relationships has fed into my feelings about being non-monogamous and understanding what that means for me.

I'm going to break this into a couple posts because it's long.
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Old 09-05-2011, 04:45 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I never dated in high school. I was shy, awkward, nerdy, and had a total lack of confidence in myself (plus I was suffering from depression that wouldn't be diagnosed until years later).

I was attracted to boys from a young age and always had an active imagination regarding sex. I had open-minded parents and went to a liberal school, so I was raised to feel comfortable with sexual issues. However, my sexuality felt kind of solitary or turned inward (i.e., lots of wild fantasies & masturbation, no experience with others).

As a teenager, I felt like I had a really high sex drive but that it was unconnected to my real life and that no one recognized that I was a sexual being at all. My male friends dated all my female friends except me (probably because I was too shy to give out any signals of interest, but at the time I felt lonely and freakish).

In high school I always had crushes on more than one boy at a time (whereas my friends seemed to become obsessed with one boy at a time), but I figured that I was trying to maximize my options and that I would just like one boy if one of my crushes returned my feelings.

(Also, I kept developing crushes on boys who turned out to be gay...I guess because they were friendly and talkative! I think there were a couple straight boys who liked me but were, like me, too shy to let anyone know).

Since I was too shy to reveal my feelings to any of my crushes, I was convinced that no boys liked me at all. I felt like I was really abnormal because I had no dating experiences at all, not even kissing or hand-holding, until I was 19.
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:16 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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When I was 18 & 19, I attended a college that turned out to be totally wrong for me. Although a "top" school, it was small, super expensive, had a lot of weird classes taught by professors who just wanted to talk about their specific theses. A lot of the students seemed spoiled to me and I did not connect well with anyone.

Anyway, I was also severely depressed, although I didn't even realize it at the time because I'd been that way for so long. The loneliness and social awkwardness I felt in high school seemed to be continuing. I was confused and frustrated and alone.

I had a crush on a male friend of mine (who was dating someone else), but otherwise I did not have any romantic/sexual experiences whatsoever.

My sophomore year, when I was 19, I finally found a social group where I fit in. It was a LARP group (live-action role-playing, like Dungeons & Dragons but outside, in costumes--I'm sure some of you geeks know what I mean!). Anyway, there I met my first boyfriend. I'll call him Larper.

Larper was 28, almost 10 years older than me. I was nervous about getting involved with someone so much older, but Larper was just as shy and awkward as me. He was much more mature than a lot of the guys I met in college, and he met my parents right away and wanted to get really serious.

Actually, he wanted to get serious much faster than I did. I felt overwhelmed by my feelings for him--this is laughable now, but with his LARP sword-fighting skills he seemed like a hero from one of my romance novels! But the way he seemed to fall in love with instantly--inundating me with cards, intense love letters, excessive Valentine's gifts--turned me off. It felt like he was dumping years of loneliness onto me, and was declaring me his true love before he'd even got to know me.

Geez, I was only 19! I didn't even know how to communicate to him that he was moving too fast emotionally. Meanwhile, we were moving very slowly sexually, and I was embarrassed by my inexperience and confused about why my sex fantasies / masturbation did not match the way I felt about sexual things with Larper in real life.

On top of that, I was depressed, failing one of my classes and facing the fact that I hated that college and wanted to drop out. In retrospect, I should have seen a therapist, but it never even occurred to me (even though the college had a whole therapy center readily available).

Another thing I remember from that time--while I was dating Larper, my crush on my male friend continued. I remember being really angry with myself--I had expected my feelings for my friend to evaporate once I started actually dating someone. Instead, the knowledge I gained from kissing Larper only made me want to kiss my friend even more!

Of course, being shy and 19 and confused, I never mentioned any of this stuff to my boyfriend Larper. He was kind of weird himself (later I realized he may not have had any sexual experience himself, but he didn't tell me that explicitly). He seemed bizarrely close to his mother and often made odd comments that implied he disapproved of women having who had casual sex.

But I'm remembering that stuff in retrospect--at the time, I liked him immensely but was terribly worried that he would ask me to marry him. I knew I didn't want to commit to someone for life. I had always imagined that I would date a lot in my twenties.

At the end of my sophomore year, I finally decided to drop out of college and not return for my next year. My parents and other relatives were crushed (although later they became much more supportive). My friends at college weren't at all sympathetic and seemed to think there was something wrong with me if I didn't love that school.

So, while I was dealing with all of that and packing up my dorm room to go home, Larper visited me and announced that it would be too hard for us to see each other after I went home. (Although I'm not sure why, as my home was only an hour and a half away). I suggested that he and I take a break while we each figured things out (he was changing jobs at the time). I was actually relieved to take a break from him--plus I was dealing with a heck of a lot of other stuff, of course.

Now, I did not at all realize he and I were breaking up for good. I thought we would talk again later in the summer. So I went home, talked a lot to my parents about my decision to drop, felt immediately better to be on a break from school, got a job, started getting help for my depression...and then realized that I missed Larper and wanted to see him again.

He never returned any of my calls, nor responded to the (embarrassing!) letter I sent him. Finally, after I badgered him, he sent me a one-sentence email saying we'd broken up and I needed to move on.

I was crushed. I cried every day for months. Instead of moving on, I decided that he was the love of my life. I stopped contacting him, yet harbored feelings for him FOR YEARS. This seems very silly now, of course. But it affected me well into my early twenties.
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:52 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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A year later, when I was 21, I went back to school, transferring to my local state university. I absolutely LOVED it and my depression was pretty much cured. I studied abroad for a summer, won a bunch of academic awards and made progress with my writing career, winning some contests and getting some small publications for poems and short stories.

I also discovered that I liked myself, something that had been missing when I was age 15-20. I was very happy with my life.

Unfortunately, I was still insecure about dating and still carried a torch for Larper (although I had stopped going to the LARP club because it was too painful to see him while he would flat-out ignore me).

I also had some social anxiety (which I had probably always had, although now I was finally acknowledging it and dealing with it). Anyway, I didn't date again until I met Techie.

Like me, Techie was a student at the state university. He was a couple years older than me (I was 21 or 22, he was about 26) and was, also like me, returning to school after taking some time off. He also had a history of depression.

Our relationship was...unconventional. I would say "poly" now, but I didn't know the term then, and he did not use that term. (He wasn't truly poly himself, because it was lying, cheating, and manipulative, but I didn't know it at the time).

Techie lived with another woman (I'll call her Louisa), whom he described as his ex-girlfriend and best friend. He was open about saying that he still slept with her sometimes, though they each dated other people also. To my surprise, that didn't bother me.

I met Louisa right away and liked her a lot (not in a sexual way at all, just to clarify). I considered her a friend, and I respected that she and Techie had a special bond. In fact, one of the main reasons I liked Techie was that he believed in remaining close to his ex-girlfriends. (He also had two other exes that he talked about a lot).

I'm not going to go into a lot of details about my relationship with Techie, since that isn't at all the source of my pain now. But it does have to do with me feeling open to the idea of polyamory & non-monogamy.

Part of why I was open to exploring a non-exclusive relationship with Techie was because I still believed Larper was the love of my life. I didn't feel like I could date someone who wanted true love with me. Techie came from a sort of free love/hippie-ish background and I thought his perspective was really interesting. I felt totally comfortable with him, and I could be honest with Techie about my feelings for Larper.

I'm also a very solitary person and I need a lot of "alone time" for reading and writing. Techie was very social and needed to be around people. I realized right away that whatever he did when I wasn't around didn't bother me at all. I didn't feel any jealousy of Louisa.

However, all this was new to me--and sex was pretty new to me too--so I wasn't interested in dating anyone besides Techie. I also wasn't interested in hanging out too much with Louisa and Techie together. I also had a problem with Techie flirting with every single girl he met at college, but he refused to stop doing that, and I didn't know how to stand up for myself at the time.

I understood that Techie just did not have exclusive relationships. I liked him for who he was and told him he could still see other girls he was involved with (friends he went to visit in other cities, which included another ex-girlfriend). I didn't want to restrict him from being who he is. In fact, I was looking forward to someday being one of the ex-girlfriends that he would occasionally visit!

My one rule was that I asked him not to pursue sexual/romantic relationships with girls in our social group at college. He agreed...but, as I learned when our relationship fell apart a year and a half later, had been cheating on me with not one but two girl in my group of "friends."

Long story...turns out he was lying about almost everything he said to me, including the "rules" of his relationship with Louisa. Louisa had started hating me at some point because she thought Techie and I were getting too serious, but Techie would never communicate to her that that was not the case...Techie started accusing me of jealous of Louisa when I wasn't... basically he turned out to be a complete nutcase. He started telling me everything was my fault...it was my fault he flirted with other girls, it was my fault he was failing his classes, it was my fault I wasn't enjoying sex with him, etc.

Yes, it was emotional abuse. In the end, he told me that our relationship had just been about sex and we had nothing in common because I didn't like all his friends. He wouldn't talk to me after he broke up with me, not even when my dog died.

So, the ending of my relationship with Techie left me depressed again and feeling completely emotionally drained and confused. But I was older and wiser than when I had been with Larper, so this time I saw a therapist to try to make sense of it all.

But unfortunately, my therapist (not to mention my friends and family) were so hostile to the idea of non-exclusive relationships that I ended up feeling like the whole thing was my fault because I had been so stupid for entering into that type of relationship.
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:17 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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More of my story:

So I graduated from college feeling like I had squandered my college years dating two awful boyfriends and not dating anyone in between. I had never had casual sex, never even been on a date with anyone besides Larper or Techie.

Nonetheless, my life was pretty awesome. I felt attractive and sexually confident and was making new friends. I got into a very respected writing workshop, had more short story publications and awards and got a job at an awesome museum.

I decided to build my writing career while working several part-times to support myself (which I did, and have been doing for the last six years).

Just before I turned 25, something finally "clicked" and I met three wonderful guys in the same month. I had learned to flirt for the first time in my life, plus I felt finally secure and happy enough to try a more casual approach to dating. I had always imagined that I would have many lovers throughout the course of my life, but it never seemed possible until then.

So I met these three guys who each ended up being really important to me. (Now, this part of the story is not my past so much as my current situation).

I'll call my three guys Phil, Actor, Editor.

I met Phil (because he lives in Philadelphia, which is 6 hours from where I live) at a party at a writing convention. I think he was actually the first guy I ever flirted with at a party. We became friends (no sexual contact at the time), but it was clearly a flirtatious friendship with the possibility of sex at some point.

Actor, a talented star in some local theaters, was someone I'd known through mutual friends for years (and in fact, back when I was dating Techie, I'd been told Actor thought I was hot) but I did not really get to know him until around the same time I met Phil and Editor. I spent more time with Actor and realized that I thought he was REALLY hot.

But Actor was over 15 years older than me and had a reputation of being kind of a player. Clearly he not "boyfriend material." And honestly, that's what I liked about him. I decided to pursue sex with him--and in fact, I made the first move (a first for me!) and he was delighted.

Actor turned out to be a sweet guy. He was very concerned about hurting me emotionally, but I assured that I was only looking for something casual. And it was AWESOME. I was having great sex for the first time ever. (In retrospect, I realized that Techie hadn't liked sex very much).

I also felt like I had sexual freedom for the first time ever. Both Larper and and Techie had basically demanded a relationship from me right away, but Actor encouraged me to keep exploring my sexuality. He was absolutely the most positive influence on my life.

Actor was open about the fact that he was seeing other women (including a friend of mine) but I didn't mind at all--in fact, I wanted other women to experience what I had with him. I wasn't jealous of my friend at all. I felt like Actor was meant to instill confidence in many women throughout his life.

I had no interest in getting more serious with Actor (we have almost nothing in common besides sexual compatibility). But I would have been happy to see him more often than he wanted to, so I was disappointed in that, but not severely upset.

During the three months that I spent having casual sex (or friends-with-benefits or whatever) with Actor, I also met Editor.

Editor is the most important "character" in this drama of mine, so I'll give him his own posting (below).
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:00 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Editor is a top editor in my writing field. When my good friend introduced me to him, I was very nervous meeting him (because he was already famous in my field), but he turned out to be the sweetest guy ever. My friend kept telling me that Editor was single and had a million things in common with me.

I was skeptical about seeking to date someone in my professional field--someone who would have the power to help me get published, no less. But Editor and I clicked as friends instantly. I felt like he was my long-lost best friend.

We hung out in a group of close friends for many months before we started dating. Editor lived 4 hours away from me, so we were not sure that it would make sense to date.

Simultaneously, I had decided to stop seeing Actor, at least for a while, because he wouldn't see me regularly and seemed to have a lot of other women on his plate. I had no anger or sorrow about that--for the first time, I had stopped seeing a guy without collapsing into depression for months!

And within a couple weeks, Editor and I had arranged a sort of first-date weekend. Things between us had escalated to email/IM flirtation by then, so it was definitely a date.

Editor was very similar to me. He had had very little dating experience. He had been depressed in his teens & early twenties. He had dropped out of school, recovered, and went back to school. He was nerdy and geeky.

He had also been very overweight--even obese--before I met him. He had lost over 100 pounds a year or two before we met. Editor was turning 30 at the time (I was turning 25), and he had spent his entire twenties overweight and taking care of his sick grandparents.

When I met him, his grandparents had just passed away, he had inherited their house, lost weight, got his life on track, seemed happy and was actively trying to get a healthy dating life.

He'd had one sex partner in his twenties, but he "didn't give her enough space" (he said) and she dropped all contact with him. Then he dated someone about a year before I met him, but she had dumped him on the excuse that he was "too nice."

I thought Editor was the awesomest guy ever. But I was not ready for a serious relationship, and told him so upfront, right away on our first date. I wasn't even sure I wanted to have a boyfriend at all--I had just discovered casual dating (I told him about Actor and my past boyfriends).

Editor said that he probably wanted a girlfriend someday, but right now he felt crippled by being almost completely inexperienced. I told him my (new) philosophy, that sex & dating is about exploration and trial-and-error. He agreed.

We spent the weekend together and had sex. When we first kissed, I felt that there wasn't quite the spark of physical passion that I had felt with Actor, but I felt we would get better at it. Editor also was experiencing pretty severe "performance anxiety."

He said he'd had erectile dysfunction with the girl who told him he was "too nice" and that they hadn't been together very long. I assured him that it's normal to need to take time to get to know someone, and that it didn't matter to me how long it took for us to get experienced, comfortable, and good at sex. I felt that we were playful, resourceful, and open to trying knew things.

So Editor and I embarked on a long-distance relationship that lasted over two years. We saw each other for one weekend a month, alternating visiting each other.

Editor's performance anxiety turned out to be severe sexual dysfunction. There were some improvements after the first weekend, but not much. He could get an erection, but it wouldn't last. He saw doctors and tried Viagra, but it only helped a little. Even when he could maintain an erection, he would be unable to come.

He insisted that the problem was his inexperience. He was mostly used to porn and masturbation. I, too, am much better at coming by myself than with anyone else, so I was sympathetic and not too troubled by it.

We tried almost everything. Oral sex, hands jobs, different positions. Instructional videos and books, sex therapy, watching porn together. Nothing really worked for him.

The only way he could come was if he masturbated while watching me. This didn't bother me--in fact I thought it was pretty hot--and as I told him many times, I considered it real sex. If that's the way we do it, then that's the way we do it.

I was disappointed (as was he) that intercourse never really worked for us. But there's so much more to sex than intercourse, and I was having great orgasms just from fingering. So I was having fun. And I thought we had a lot more to explore together.

However, he had a lot of inhibitions. He didn't like giving oral sex (a problem for me) and was off by my dirty talk. He was unwilling to try my role-playing suggestions (nor contribute any of his own suggestions). But overall, I thought we were communicating well and being very supportive and generally having a lot of fun together (even our sex therapist told us that).

Meanwhile, I wanted the relationship to move slowly emotionally (in terms of "getting serious," whatever that means) but we were exclusive with each other and called each boyfriend and girlfriend. I maintained a friendship with Phil, which still involved flirting, but I wasn't interested in having sex with anyone else but Editor.

I felt like Editor was my best friend in the world. Unfortunately, we weren't falling in love because we seemed to lack physical passion or whatever spark you need to be "in love". I didn't mind, though--I felt with my dating past, I'd rather be exploring sex with a close friend than crazy-in-love with someone who would just disappear.

While I was enjoying the sexual exploration, Editor seemed to be getting more frustrated and discouraged and disappointed by his sexual dysfunction. He began lose interest in having sex at all. If we spent a 4-day weekend together, he would only want to try having sex once during that whole time.

That began to frustrate me, and I talked to Editor openly about it. He insisted that the problem was him, that he had a low sex drive. He still went to doctors (and was seeing a sex therapist on his own), but nothing changed. I began to worry that his impotence was a deeply-rooted physical problem.

During this whole time, we had also talked about the possibility of seeing other people...(continued below)...
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:18 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I had suggested to Editor from the beginning that we should keep our options open because we were both so inexperienced. I was not remotely ready to commit for life, and told him so. He agreed.

Editor had told me that he was finally aware that the world was full of women who might like him. Before he met me, he had believed no girls would ever be attracted to him. Even though he had lost weight, he was very insecure about his body, and he was self-aware of that insecurity.

I felt like my job, as the most awesome supportive girlfriend in the world, was to encourage him to seek other opportunities if he wanted, and to assure him that many, many girls must find him attractive and awesome.

I also told him that he and I might not be sexually compatible and that his sexual problems might improve if he tried other partners. He himself often said that he felt like if he could only "learn to have sex" with a more experienced woman, he would be a better partner for me. I also wanted to try more experienced partners (Actor was the only truly experienced man I had ever been with). Editor and I talked about how he and I should try having sex again later, after each being with more partners.

Editor confessed that he was often attracted to girls he saw at heavy metal concerts (the one hobby of his that I did not share). These girls have a totally different "look" and personality from me, so I suggested Editor explore that. I told him that he and I might be too similar--we are both shy, nerdy, reserved, and maybe we'd each benefit from trying something a little wilder.

When Editor and I went to writing conventions together, we were not public about our relationship (because we did not want to look unprofessional, and I did not want to the unknown writer only known for dating the famous editor). So occasionally other people would flirt with each of us (thinking we were single) and we had discussed that and decided that was fun and fine.

Anyway, meanwhile, we'd been together a year and a half, had met each other's families and taken vacations together. I spent a week with Editor and my brother on a vacation, the longest consecutive amount of time I had ever been with a boyfriend for, and felt I was having a very successful and healthy relationship with Editor.

I was really proud of myself, because my relationships with Larper and Techie had been so unhealthy. I felt closer to Editor than to anyone I'd ever met in my life.

However, I was also longing to return to being able to date around as I pleased. But I did NOT AT ALL want to break up with my best friend while he was impotent.

But we still entertained talk of some type of open relationship, or of the possibility of breaking up amicably and remaining really close friends. It just seemed a question of when, really. It was tough because we were having so much fun together. My weekends with Editor were the best of my life, even though we were both getting more and more sexually frustrated.

One day I was by myself in a bookstore and saw a hot guy checking out my favorite series of books. I chatted him up (the first time I had ever hit on a stranger!) and we ended up exchanging emails. It was really fun--but I also felt like I had just cheated on Editor, or at least crossed a boundary we had not discussed explicitly.

I told him about it right away--and to my delight and relief, instead of being hurt, Editor was happy and relieved himself. "I was thinking I wanted to do the exact same thing!" he told me. I thought we might decide to break up--but instead we decided to stay together and explore a full-out open relationship.
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:34 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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We were excited and even looked up information about polyamory and other types of open relationships. But we weren't quite sure that "poly" fit what we were doing, especially since we weren't even sure what we were doing.

Remarkably, our sex life improved as soon as we decided to be open (but without either of us being with anyone else). It was like, the pressure of a monogamous relationship was finally off, so we could just have fun.

I went on a bad date with the hot bookstore guy, then out of the blue I heard from Actor, over a year and a half after I had last seen him. Actor wanted to know if I was still with my boyfriend. I told him I was, but that we could see other people. Actor was glad to hear it, and he and I had sex.

My experiences with Editor had made me much more comfortable with sex, so sex with Actor was even better than it had been before. I was amazed and thrilled. I felt absolutely awesome.

For the next six months I saw Editor and Actor both, about once a month each. Editor said he was comfortable with me seeing someone else but didn't want to hear too much about it yet. He mainly wanted to find someone else to date himself.

Editor and I discussed transitioning to a platonic friendship if that would be better for us. We felt like all these possibilities were open to us--continuing to date, be friends who slept occasionally, be friends who did not sleep together at all--and only time would tell which we would end up as.

I kept asking Editor what he wanted. He kept saying he didn't know, wasn't sure. But he seemed to be holding something back. After the initial increase in excitement, he seemed to become less excited about sex with me, so we spent some time together that just involved cuddling in bed.

I was concerned that he was hurt that I was fucking someone else (which is all it really was with Actor, though he and I did have a fond friendship) or that I had hurt him by rushing into things with Actor. Or maybe Editor was just discouraged that he still had sexual problems and hadn't met anyone to date yet. Either way, he grew kind of silent (more silent than usual) and wouldn't tell me much of anything.

Meanwhile, Editor and I had also decided to see each other less because we were both struggling with too much work and too little money, no time to travel 4 hours by train to see each other. It seemed like a good idea to scale back our relationship and each explore things more on our own.

Then, somehow...I'm not sure what happened...it was Editor's turn to visit me, and he kept putting it off. He had legitimate excuses--writing deadlines, his mother's surgery, some minor health issues himself.

I was frustrated because I wanted to finalize our relationship--whether we were actually going to break up or not. Say good-bye, start a platonic friendship, whatever. But Editor kept saying he would visit me as soon as possible. Yet somehow, a year went by without us seeing each other.

We still spoke regularly, and were exchanging birthday and Christmas gifts. I still considered him my best friend in the world, but I had no idea if we were "together" or not together. It didn't actually trouble me at all--I had a lot of new things in my life, including a new job, new writing opportunities, new friends and new hobbies.

And a new lover--I spent two very sexual weekends with Phil (after knowing him as a friend for almost three years). Meanwhile, my delightful Actor had moved away, and I was surprised by how much I missed him.

But I really, really wanted to see Editor and discuss all this with him, and find out for sure whether he wanted to continue a sexual relationship with me or not. I had learned a number of sexual things that I thought might help Editor (for example, Phil does not come from intercourse and has learned to adapt to that). So I wanted to tell Editor about this, even if he and I decided that sex with each other was no longer right for us.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:02 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Oh, and I forgot to mention, during this whole year that Editor and I did not see each other yet spoke frequently, he was constantly talking about this girl he had met (I'll call her Jill). It was obvious he had a huge crush on her, but she had a boyfriend, and Editor was good friends with both of them.

As time went on, it was clear to me that the situation with Jill was very painful for Editor. I kept urging him to visit me, since neither Editor or I are good at heart-to-heart phone conversations. Editor kept saying he would visit as soon as he could. (He also kept telling me I should visit him so I could meet wonderful, wonderful Jill).

I was concerned that since Editor wasn't dating anyone at all, that he was using Jill as a way to avoid dealing with his sexual problems. What's safer than a girl who's unavailable? It also crossed my mind, for a variety of reasons, that Editor might be gay or asexual or something, and I was very worried that in general, he wasn't doing very well and was getting depressed again. (I even felt guilty for having so much fun on my own while he was doing so badly.)

Now for the sad part.

Editor and I spent a couple days together platonically at a writing convention. At that time, it had been just over a year since the last time we had seen each other and been sexual together. Editor was originally planning to stay at my brother's condo with me so we could talk about things, but he canceled at the last minute, citing other plans.

I was going to ask him what was going on, but he got really sick and was briefly hospitalized for getting dehydrated while recovering from the flu. So he and I spent a couple days together at the convention, but he wasn't himself and was pretty sick. He didn't want to talk about anything except he kept telling me I would really like Jill (who still had a boyfriend).

I was in a bad mood because I was dealing with some other stuff with my family that weekend. It was the first time he and I had not had fun together and had not communicated well.

After that convention, I emailed him to ask if he was okay and to remind him that I still wanted him to visit me so we could talk. He again said he would.

Then he stopped returning my phone calls.

It actually took me months to figure out that we weren't just playing telephone tag. My first thought was that he was depressed, or maybe I had somehow hurt him during our open relationship. So I sent him a gift (a fun party game) to cheer him up. He never even thanked me for it.

I was more confused than hurt. I trusted Editor more than anyone else I'd ever met. I also knew that like me, he deals with things by withdrawing and being more solitary, so I just left him alone and continued to live my life.

I was finishing a year of teaching, applying to grad schools, and going on a trip with some friends, so I was really busy (although not dating anyone at all). While on the trip, I spent a whole day picking out a humorous and awesome birthday gift for Editor, who I knew I would see at an upcoming convention the week of both our birthdays.

I called him when I got back from the trip to see how he was doing. When he didn't return that phone call--that was when it really hit me that something was wrong between us. But I had no idea what.

Then I got an email from him asking if I was going to the upcoming convention. No mention of the months of not-returned phone calls. When I replied that I was, Editor replied: "Well then, I guess I should tell you, since we left things very nebulous, that I've been seeing someone and it's very serious. She'll be at the convention with me."

I was stunned. At first I was thrilled that he had finally met someone. Then I was hurt that he chose to tell me by email, after months of not speaking to me. And I was crushed that he hadn't wanted to tell me that his sexual problems were (presumably) resolved.

I replied that I felt awkward about things and that I had a birthday gift for him and could we talk on the phone? He replied that we didn't need to talk on the phone.

I was so shocked I ended up sobbing on the floor for hours--something that I hadn't done since Techie dumped me years before.

This was last summer, the week of my 29th birthday, four years after I first got together with Editor.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:18 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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The rest is just fallout. But it's pretty bad fallout.

I was still more confused than anything. Why would my best friend have no interest in speaking to me just because he had a girlfriend?

But why would he get a serious girlfriend without telling me? I wasn't even sure that things were over between him and me. I didn't think I was allowed to get a serious boyfriend without telling him about it.

And after everything we had struggled through with his sexual problems--why wouldn't he WANT to tell me that he was doing okay?

I called my good friend (I'll call her Ann) who had originally set me up with Editor and remained a good friend of his. Of course, I had never told her about Editor's sexual problems (and I still haven't), but she knew that he and I had been trying an open relationship.

I didn't want to put Ann in the middle of things, but I also felt totally confused and like I didn't have enough information. I hadn't seen the group of mutual friends I shared with Editor in a while (they all live near him, not near me). None of them had been in contact with me for a while. I had felt left out for a while, but I figured it was my own fault for abandoning Editor to fuck around with other people.

The first thing Ann told me was, "Oh, we've all been really worried about Editor." Editor had apparently met a woman (I'll call her Clara) from across the country, spent one weekend with her, and then declared to all his friends (except me) that he had a serious girlfriend and was moving across the country to live with her and her two kids (by two different marriages) as soon as possible.

I was...stunned doesn't even begin to describe it. My best friend didn't want to tell me that he's moving across the country?

Am I to assume that means his penis is finally working to his satisfaction?

Ann warned me that I would not feel comfortable about Clara. She and Editor were affectionate to the point of inappropriate at conventions (where he and I had always had no PDA for professional reasons). Editor's friends thought Clara was possessive, manipulative, immature, and "trying to take over every aspect of his life."

Editor had gotten Clara a job at EVERY magazine he works for (which is several), published her writing (she is an unknown, unpublished writer). Meanwhile, he hadn't remembered to tell me about his latest publications and magazines.

So I ended up not going to the convention, and sobbing all weekend when Editor never even emailed me to find out where I was. My birthday passed without him calling me or sending me something (which we'd always done).

I became...unwell. I couldn't eat or sleep or think of anything else. I couldn't stop crying.

Finally I got up the courage to call him and tell him our friendship was over unless he talked to me. Then I added a babbling message about how nobody in the world would be happier to hear he was dating someone than me, but the fact that he didn't want to tell me hurt more than anything.

To my surprise, Editor called me back right away to apologize. I thought our friendship could be resolved (maybe once I got used to the situation or something). I asked him if we could speak in person.

He said he had very little time because he flies across the country to visit Clara for half of every month. But he allowed me the privilege of driving four hours to talk to him for an afternoon. (Yes, I'm angry).

I drove down to see him thinking that we could work out some kind of friendship, or else amicably decide to not be friends and part on good terms.

What he said to me shattered everything I believed about myself and my relationship with him and...well, everything.
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