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Old 03-09-2010, 04:08 AM
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Default The path I didn't travel

Robert and I have been married for 13 years. I have known Jim for 20. Jim was a single dad, I a single mom. Our children grew up together, slumber partied at each others houses, and my house was often the place where people gathered on Sundays for breakfast. Someone would show up with fresh eggs, someone else with bacon, beer, and so forth. I always loved Jim, but walled off potential to be in love with him, because he lives in a rural area, is a simple guy, and I felt that had we consummated our love, both would have gotten hurt. I had things I needed to go do. Over the time I have known Jim I have moved to Central America for some years, traveled to 26 countries, lived in three, gotten my Bachelor's degree, married Robert, raised my kids, cared for my grandmother until she died, and enjoyed all the excitement and intellectual stimulation city life and marriage with my brilliant gentle software engineer, Robert, could offer. I enjoyed the nice things he offered, I must admit. I wasn't willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be with Jim.

Though I loved him, I never let my feelings develop. As I do with other friends, I told him I loved him and sometimes he paid for it in other relationships when ladies didn't understand. Perhaps they sensed the depth of our feelings. He never introduced me to any of them. Nevertheless, we held back when we were together, not wanting to hurt Robert.

I was at Jim's house five years ago when I got the worst call of my life. My son had died. Jim almost never leaves his mountain, but he drove me to my house, as I called the police sobbing, not believing it was true.

Jim and I lost touch for almost a year when we both lost our phones. I drove up to where he worked and left him a message, which he never got. During that year Robert and I opened up, found swinging unsatisfying, each dated some, but nothing went too far.

Jim's parents both died last within a very short time, and he didn't know how to reach me, his best friend. He tells me he was frantic. When I learned, I hunted him out, feeling terrible that I hadn't been there for him. I finally found him and promised him I would remain is his life as long as he needed me, as he had been there for me when I had my loss. For some nights I held him chastely as we both cried and talked about love and loss, how I had survived. The intimacy was profound. I cried inside when he recounted how he had been begging his part-time girlfriend for the tenderness he needed, which she saw as an opportunity for negotiating. I felt that offering Jim a romantic relationship when he was so vulnerable was taking advantage, but my feelings for him were harder to control. He had a "girlfriend," so HE would have been cheating, and was not the poly type, I thought.

I told him that while being alone may be scary, sometimes when we let go of one thing to reach for another, for a moment our hand is empty, and that in order to get the love and kind of relationship he deserved, he might have to have "nothing" for a while. Did he really need a girlfriend like that? I tried not to let on that we might be a possibility.

I discussed with Robert whether he thought it would help Jim to be his rebound thing, to get out of his bad relationship, by not having the empty hand. Robert was not happy about the risks involved in changing such an established relationship. He feared our depth of history, and also that I might lose my friend entirely should things go wrong. But we decided Jim needed and deserved more.

Slowly, I came out to Jim. I explained to him the differences between swingers (he knows a few) and that while swingers may have free sex, most swingers cower at the emotional intimacy of expanded Love. When he seemed to wrap his head around it, I asked him did he need love or a love? Did he think he was he willing to risk it? Mountain man style, he lunged at me, but when I told him that were we to jump in, before Robert was sure he "got it" we would not be able to move ahead after that, he held back. Did he really want one night, or something real? I admit, it was a test question.

He definitely got it, and once Robert was convinced he did, we moved quickly into an intense and passionate relationship. I didn't ask him to, but he dumped his psycho girlfriend, and I helped him get restraining orders when she became violent, and threatening.

Our feelings are growing and it doesn't look like I am the rebound thing. His beautiful daughter, now 25 and a mother of two, seems delighted. (She always knew we had a thing for each other.) Jim has explained to the rest of his family, and they seem to respect his choice. I'll know more when we meet with them this weekend.

Underneath his muscularity and gruff voice, Jim is a tender soul, who blurts out insanely complex sentiments that blow my mind. He and Robert describe themselves as "great with each other," and are working on building their friendship, which is not to say there haven't been issues. That’s not this rap.

Robert's central locus is his head, and he thinks things into complex knots before he sorts them out. Jim's is his incredible heart, and he seems to come to polyamory intuitively. Both of them can cry, both of them kinda don't like showing their vulnerabilities but are feeling safer doing so with each other.

Our relationship(s) are unfolding. Robert’s kind of crushing on a cute girl we know, and it seems she reciprocates. He’s shy, which makes it even more thrilling.

I am feeling that the path I didn’t take, in fact, crossed back unto the one I did. We are older, wiser, more ready for each other. Now there is no sacrifice.

Last edited by bonobosfemale; 03-09-2010 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 03-09-2010, 05:01 AM
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Wow! What a story!! Thank you for sharing.
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:49 AM
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Thank you so much for sharing this with us, truly a beautiful love story
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:55 PM
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Default This is that rap

In my previous post I said that Robert and I had opened our relationship, and we have moved into a relationship with Jim. While it is a deeply satisfying and evolving thing, I said it was not without issues, but that was not the rap. This is that rap, in part.

We have found it very nearly impossible to connect with the poly community. We've read a book or two, but haven't gotten access to any forums where we might discuss thoughts and feelings except where it seems they are swarming with, "I'm a journalist" or I'm a sociologist" posts. I don't really want to be a case study. So when I saw this forum, I decided I would post about our situation, and the story of us, so far. I wanted a place where I could discuss our issues, and perhaps not have to cut trails when others have been there before and made maps. I don't mind if he reads my stuff, but I was seeking a place to share, divulge, even if I get called on my shit.

I guess I've always been a free soul. Last night and this morning we had to work through some of those issues when Robert got notification of the post I made yesterday. His initial response was how could I post about our story without telling him first? I recoiled at this, bristling at what I perceived to be his idea that he owned my right to communicate about him. This ownership has been a big issue for us. When we first opened up, he felt that something (my time, my affection, sex, love) was being taken away from him. I felt that his view implied that I was empty handed. I didn't have anything to give him or anyone, that was my own, because the transfer was already complete. Nothing of mine, emotionally was mine to offer and give freely, because he already owned it. I couldn't say, "I give myself to you freely." I wasn't mine to give. I am reclaiming myself. He feels it as a loss. While the words "my friend" and "my sister" describe a relationship, the term "my wife" hurt me. Oh the time he let slip, "you are my wife, and this is my house" as if I was on his list of assets. Aaaack!

"Sharing" is a hard word to avoid. In the book Opening Up the author analogizes children learning to share their toys. In my mind, while one child may share his or her toy, and the non-owner is also sharing, I feel that I am the one sharing. I am sharing myself with those whom I choose. As much as I like Jack Straw, "We can share the women, we can share the wine," I am nobody's toy or property, but my own. I am the one sharing.

I am the boss of me. I hate when people say, "You don't have to do that for me" or even "You can't run down the street in blue paint naked." In fact I can. I can do anything I want, within the laws of physics, but I am the boss of me, and responsible for my actions and I must pay the consequences. I can run down the street naked, but I'll probably get arrested. I can jump off a house and break my legs. I can delve ahead in new relationships that hurt Robert, but I would be responsible for the mess I make. I am responsible to Robert (because I choose to be) not for Robert. It's a willing gift, not a debt.

Robert has a tender heart. Last night he found syntactic errors that confirmed all his fears about Jim and me. He leapt to conclusions. He questioned whether he was "just my anchor" and whether I could only have the relationship I have with Jim because of him and that I can always run back. Well of course I can. Is being my anchor bad? We talked a long time, I listened to his feelings, and we worked things through.

At first Robert would say he wanted the relationship I had with Jim. He had become disillusioned with someone he was seeing, and expressed that now if he didn't see her, he had nothing. I said no. It wasn't a dichotomy. There was what she thought she was, which was lost, what she is, still to be more fully revealed, and which he could take or leave, or nothing with her. Also on the table were unknown relationships. I told him that if he wanted the relationship I had with Jim, we would be having it, that he didn't share our taste for LOUD ACDC, going fast on the quads, rougher sex, and if he and I were having that relationship we wouldn't be having the complex intellectual stimulation and Old Relationship Energy that I find so satisfying. Still he is shy and I am lucky to have both my anchor and an old friendship that so readily blossomed into romantic consummated love. It will be difficult for him to get to the point I have with Jim, or compare our relationships, not that he should, since I have many long standing bonds with male friends. (No other such a latent romance. )

Another thing we talked about this morning was that one of the reasons my relationship with Jim is so easy is because it's mostly frosting, and as such would be ultimately nonsustaining. We don't let each other down because we don't depend, per se, on one another. Jim has never had to say to me, "We really couldn't afford that X," and I've never had to ask "Why didn't you stop and pick my prescription?" Mundane stuff, but reflective of commitment. Jim still apologizes when he calls for support, like when he got word last night that a friend had died. "I'm sorry to bother you...?"

I want to issue him a "Get out of Jail Free Card" which means that he is not without entitlement, a toy boat in our bathtub, at our mercy. Having accepted his place as "secondary" he has earned more. He needs to know that he can call me at any time, and I will drop things and run to him at least once. Not all the time. But when he needs me, please call, and don't apologize. Robert would go too. Robert has earned a bunch of those cards. I hate to think that Jim thinks he is expendable. Really I hate the hierarchical terminology and structure. Grandma used to say that a marriage isn't always 50:50. Sometimes it's 70:30, sometimes it's reversed. Here it can be 30:40:55? I think it adds up to more than 100. Well you get the point.

Cylinders are intrinsically stable under axial compression. Jim was a point. Robert and I, a line. Together we are a Vee. But Triangles are more stable than points, lines or Vees. If we can learn to trust and rely on one another for support, we are all better off. We can be a triangle, if they will build trust, in time and grow to a circle/cylinder, with cross supports. Here's where the structural-geometrical analogy fails: A web/mesh/honeycomb, if you will. I always knew that Robert liked Jim, and "why wouldn't Jim like me", Robert expressed, somewhat cynically, "he's taking a piece of my wife?" But today he used the words, "I love Jim", and it confirms that their relationship is growing, too. I kind of like when they gang up in me. I like the attention and I like that they bond that way.

In this century, with the traditional support of extended families changing, and many people our age having lost roots, our families spread out, evicted from homes, gone are 401ks and 10% of us unemployed, we need to explore alternative bonds, some of which are emotional, some logistical. It is an adventure.

Last edited by bonobosfemale; 03-09-2010 at 07:57 PM. Reason: Grammatical errors
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonobosfemale View Post
Last night and this morning we had to work through some of those issues when Robert got notification of the post I made yesterday. His initial response was how could I post about our story without telling him first? I recoiled at this, bristling at what I perceived to be his idea that he owned my right to communicate about him. This ownership has been a big issue for us. .
This is an issue of mine as well. I have the belief that information of the shared experience of two people belongs to both of them and there is an expectation for privacy. I don't feel I should have to start every conversation or activity with the words "please keep this between us". So I can relate to your partner's frustration. That being said, recognizing the different approaches to this sharing of experiences and establishing a mutually respectful understanding can alleviate this.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by bonobosfemale View Post
He questioned whether he was "just my anchor" and whether I could only have the relationship I have with Jim because of him and that I can always run back. Well of course I can. Is being my anchor bad? .
The concept of being someone's anchor so they can explore the world and have something nice and stable to return to disturbs me as well LOL! Your partner and I have some things in common it seems.

Thank you for sharing this.
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:10 AM
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Default Anchor vs sails

". I have the belief that information of the shared experience of two people belongs to both of them and there is an expectation for privacy."

I agree, and ordinarily, that goes without saying, but, in the anonymity of the forum, the only place I have to sound things out. Thank you.

*******
I can totally see how being "just someone's anchor" would be offensive. We have been married for 13 years, by far the most long term romantic commitment either of us has had. But our commonalities are for more spiritual and emotional than interest based. To grossly oversimplify, I am vegan hippie assed VW driving adventurer. He is my brainy shy hunk best friend and super-lover. He can totally handle what's between my... ears. True to engineer stereotypes, he sees things in black and white. "Only an anchor",
"what I thought she was, or nothing."

Robert is both an anchor and a sail. He is shy and doesn't care to travel, so he has sent me around, the world on my own. He says that he gets a better me out of it. In a way, I am his safe place, too. When he gets banged up in the world, I patch him up and urge him to go back out. So I would say we are secure in the knowledge that we know each other's hearts and there is a safe plave we can go.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:18 PM
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Beautiful story! Best of luck to all of you, now and in the future!

Last edited by NeonKaos; 03-25-2010 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 04-05-2010, 05:04 PM
venusaquarius venusaquarius is offline
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Default Alternative Bonds

I like this:
"In this century, with the traditional support of extended families changing, and many people our age having lost roots, our families spread out, evicted from homes, gone are 401ks and 10% of us unemployed, we need to explore alternative bonds, some of which are emotional, some logistical. It is an adventure."[/QUOTE]

Kudos to you for working toward sustainable relationships. I love to hear more about your adventures. (visit me at VenusAquarius.com)
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonobosfemale View Post
His initial response was how could I post about our story without telling him first?.
Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading it and I find you to be refreshingly articulate!! I just wanted to remind you/him that this forum is private and if you do not choose to reveal your true identity, you don't have to. That's what makes it safe !!

I hope to hear more of your story!!
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