Rainy afternoon

Lately I’ve been doing a culling of my relationships. I have intentionally cut out fuck buddies who didn’t respect me. Spouse and I are over in that way, Storyteller decided to become monogamous with someone else and I even recently cut Barista out of my life, though that’s a longer story. I wanted to make space in my life for relationships with men who would respect me, and men with whom I could develop deeper connections.

So I still have a few pure friends with benefits relationships and am still seeing Feathers regularly, though the sexual relationship has really cooled lately. But what I really would like is one or a few slightly deeper connections as well. A man or men I see relatively often, with whom I can develop an emotional/romantic connection. But I’m also always looking for new and good casual sex friends.

Ad Man and I have chatted on and off on Bumble for several months now, but last weekend we decided to actually get together. He told me that while he was open to a relationship, he was really just looking for casual sex. I told him that I was really looking for a relationship, but that since I do non monogamy, I could always use another good fuck buddy so it was no problem either way. We agreed to just see how it went!

We met at 2 PM for coffee and ended up spending the next nine hours in his bed together. Not only was the sex amazing (I learned to give a foot job! Lol! More in another post), but we had an incredible time with one another in general. It was a rainy day and so we cracked the window and drank red wine in bed all afternoon while listening to the rain in the trees. We have a very similar sense of humor and just in the span of this first interaction the teasing and laughing and cuddling felt very natural.

I completely lost track of time and honestly didn’t want to leave his house at the end of the night, but I had to get home to S.

We had so much sex, I came three time and he came 6! In one instance, he came twice back to back, which I didn’t realize can even happen to dudes. And neither did he! He joked that this is like “call your doctor if your erection lasts this long” situation and that he hadn’t even jacked off this much in a day as a teenager. He really prioritized my pleasure and wanted to be sure I was getting everything I needed and more. I might be more into foot stuff than I realized.

Beyond the sex, I’m not sure what else took up all that time. There was a lot of laughter and snuggling and talking. At one time he picked up his banjo and danced around singing me songs along with Alexa, who we yelled at all afternoon. Then he sang and played Jason Isbell while I lounged in bed in the silky burnt orange nighty I’d brought along just in case. He cried when I told him about the dog I adopted at 11 who only lived until 13 and laughed when I told him my girlfriends have been trolling the 45+ crowd on Tinder with a fake profile of Topanga from Boy Meets World.

It just all felt rather magical and shielded and I’m still a bit starry eyed from it, 5 days later.

By the end of the night, we both expressed that although the pretense of meeting was casual sex, we were maybe feeling more and wanted to spend more time together. We shall see.

More Adventurous

There is a song by Rilo Kiley called More Adventurous that has a line referencing a Frank O’Hara poem.

The Rilo Kiley song says:

“I read with every broken heart, we should become more adventurous.”

The Frank O’Hara poem says:

“Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous (and how the same names keep recurring on that interminable list!), but one of these days there’ll be nothing left with which to venture forth.”

For years, this idea has described me. I’ve always felt like a fearless lover. When my heart breaks, I do not feel deterred, I feel determined. Maybe I’m a masochist. Or an optimist. Or maybe something about the ups and downs of love feel like truly being alive.

So now, as I sit in the discomfort of such a huge shift as an ended marriage, the fragility of my heart may truly allow another person or persons to enter it.

Yes, I’ve been dating throughout the separation. But the day Spouse and I decided to end our marriage and transition into simply best friends and co dog parents, I felt this calmness wash over me. It felt clear to me. I was free and my best friend supports me completely in finding the happiness and love I want in my life.

That night I met up with a new person, a beautiful Frenchman who had expressed an interest in a friends with benefits relationship where we could explore sexually together. He was specifically interested in threesomes and “swaps”, the former I have done and enjoyed, the latter seemed new and exciting. Before meeting we clarified that we both wanted to start as friends with benefits and then be open to something more if it felt right. Because sex is so important to me right now, this seemed like a perfect opportunity.

So we met and he was charming and handsome, honest and reserved with a truly European sensibility. We went back to his and had sex a few times. All I can say is I don’t know any American men who do it that way. He was passionate and intense, insistent upon a lot of kissing and full embraces. A true love making experience, even though it got relatively rough. During and in between each time he would say he wanted to fuck me all night and wanted me to come over every night. At the end he asked me to stay the night and I did for a few hours, only waking to go home to my dog, S.

It’s difficult for me to fall asleep, but since that night I’ve fallen asleep in his bed half a dozen times. Something about being with him keeps me present, comfortable and entranced. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a fully put together adult. Meaning he has a great job, knows how to dress himself (think a slightly more European J-crew look) and keeps his life and space organized. He is also not a big partier.

I came over one after a work gala he had planned and attended for work and caught him still in his tux. WOW. He had taken another woman to the gala as we had only met several days prior, but it flattered me he didn’t go home with her and came to me instead. When he mentioned her, I got a pang of jealousy. He saw it and teased me. I had literally just told him I could not see him the next night due to another date. I’m unsure whether the jealousy had to do with wanting to attend a gala with him or because I may be developing more substantial feelings towards him. It passed quickly, but it isn’t something I’ve felt a lot of since I’ve been dating again.

Our time together is still very sexual and there is still talk of a third, etc. But there seems to be something else developing there as well. I drove him to the airport, for example, because we wanted a bit more time together before he left town for work. Something a fuck buddy may or may not really do. He asks a lot of questions about non monogamy and how the time I spend with him is different than the time I spend with other men. I’m not exactly sure what to make of that.

In any case, too soon to be too worried about any of this. But I do feel as though the vulnerability and freedom elicited by deciding to end my marriage is contributing to my openness to a new relationship that could be more than casual or purely sex based. We seem to have the same ideas on the best ways to spend time: nice music, a mellow lounge or low-key bar, the orchestra or Opera in Grant park, reading poetry to one another, and lots and lots of very passionate sex.

It does cross my mind that the feelings I’m developing for him could end in heartbreak. But I think that’s what makes them matter! And the fact that I can even start to feel this way again with anyone gives me hope for my ability to find love again.

 

 

 

 

The End

I married Spouse with a sincere belief that we would grow old together, husband and wife. But alas, it isn’t true. Instead, we will grow old together as dear friends, confidants and one another’s constant champion. I imagine that will look differently over the years.

I refuse to see the end of our marriage as a failure. Quite the opposite, in fact.

At the beginning, we fell in love quickly, madly and without hesitation. We founded and ran an advocacy group in our conservative college town and community. We held hands and walked together away from a religion and culture we now condemn. We gave one another the confidence and bravery to be the truest versions ourselves.

The first night we kissed, he was about to drive me home for the night when he came around to my side of the car, opened the door and asked me to please get out. He said he couldn’t wait and he pulled me close to kiss me as the first snowfall of the season began around us. The first time we had sex, I cried. It wasn’t my first time, but it felt as though it was.

For months, I would lay naked in bed, watching him play guitar and sing Iron and Wine or Sufjan Stevens and he would pick me wildflowers on the way to my house each day in spring. We spent hours on his roof discussing philosophy, poetry and religion. We both felt fully seen for the first time in our lives.

We were married  barefoot in the foothills of the Wasatch mountains not 8 months after meeting. We wrote our own vows and my pastor grandmother officiated as we stood beneath an arch Spouse and brothers had built from found wood in the mountains.

We moved in together and out of state simultaneously after that. We were so poor we had to borrow $400 from his parents just to buy a bed. We laid on a pile of blankets in our living room for months, referring to it as our couch. That first year of marriage was bliss and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. He built us a raised bed in the front yard and we adopted a dog together.

But then we began to grow up and through the things of life. Spouse embarked on the arduous and in my opinion, abusive, path of medical education while I held many jobs and finished my undergraduate degree. We supported one another the best we could. There was always love and respect and a good degree of emotional connection through these challenging years. But we were also growing into ourselves. And that means figuring out how we wanted to live and what kinds of things we could give and needed to get within a romantic relationship.

I don’t feel that I can pinpoint a moment where our marriage headed south, because it really didn’t. Part of our vows had a promise in it to hold the space for one another to grow and change as individuals and I feel proud to say that for the most part, we did do that. There is more to it than this, but I think it boils down to the fact that we just aren’t what one another’s needs anymore. Not in this way.

So even though I am palpably feeling the heart break of the end of our marriage these days, I find solace in the knowledge that a broken heart has cracks in through which more love can enter. And in the end, I still have my best friend and words cannot express how grateful I am for him.

Relief

We sat on my porch to discuss the disentanglement of our finances a few Sundays ago. It was just getting warm and he brought beer to ease us through a very annoying but important step we’d been intending to take for a while. We’d been discussing counseling a while. It was clear that although non monogamy seemed to be a good thing for me, it wasn’t solving the problems that existed in our relationship. So the conversation started there. Should we do counseling? What do we want out of that exactly?

Then sheepishly, Spouse said “I mean, maybe this is crazy, but what if we were just best friends?” I immediately began to cry. These were the words I’d said over and over to my therapist. What if this marriage that made so much sense at one time didn’t have to end in divorce and hate? What if we could transition into best friends? That’s the part of our relationship that always felt seamless. It’s the whole reason this separation and the last few years have been largely peaceful and always respectful.

I responded through my tears “that’s what I want to do too!”. He began crying too and saying “oh honey” in the most tender, loving voice. It’s the voice that soothed me when I worried I had said something dumb or wanted something dumb. It’s the voice that held me during many a panic attack, late night school work complaining and every other life hurdle Spouse has held me through.

I climbed onto his lap the way I always do after we’ve reconnected and we held one another on the porch for a long time, just sitting in the relief and love at the idea that our marriage the way it was is truly over, and that’s OK.

After a long while he said “you know what this makes me think? I want to hear about your boyfriends.” What a strange sentence to come out of my husband’s mouth. But it was the final piece to things. I could finally let him in on my whole self again, the way best friends do. It’s true that he may never meet another partner of mine and I will probably never discuss sex with him in that way. But, I spent the next 20 minutes debriefing him on the wild ride of the previous six months.

I gave him the basics of the important men. Barista, who he knows. We laughed cause he of course had picked up on the fact that we had probably dated. I told him about Storyteller and Filmmaker and Feathers. The most bizarre thing was that it actually felt normal and comfortable. I know that as we navigate going forward things will not always be this easy, but it felt nice to let my best friend in on my life completely.

Since then my world has opened. I spend some nights crying. I spend some nights with new loves. But I’m feeling it all.

 

The end is nearly as beautiful as the beginning.

It’s been six months since my spouse and I decided to separate. It’s been painful and good and sad and exciting and all kinds of other things. We finally came to a place we both feel good about. We are going to let the romantic and sexual part of our relationship go. We’ll continue to be best friends, co dog parents and in some ways, partners. We are both relieved and feel calm about this decision. I don’t regret one day of our marriage the way it was and I think I’ll always love him. Those of you who know Spouse can understand why. He’s truly a remarkable person and I feel lucky to have shared five years with him. We grew up together. Got each other through degrees and jobs and moves and truly breaking with our families of origin. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in all of that. And so even though we’re planning to stay legally married for the time being and there is some chance there will be romance or sex or love in that way again someday, this is very much the end of our marriage as it was.

I am happy to say I’m discovering and deepening female friendships, truly developing myself as an independent woman and enjoying some new romances. I am also able to enjoy Spouse again for the person that he is and not resent him for the partner that he couldn’t be. This decision has freed me to truly start looking for the love and partner(s) I need. But it’s also very emotional and sad.

I haven’t been writing much lately because it’s a lot to live. But tonight I found myself crying in bed and just really wanted to say these things to someone.

Jealousy, Comparison Brain, and Possessiveness

Martina J here again. Yesterday I was all worked up about a rather negative experience I had when I found myself in a situation where I was at the same event as my partner, Sphere, and my metamours, who he failed to introduce me to. The situation left me feeling a great big ball of complex, new, negative emotions: guilt, sadness, jealousy, fear, disrespect.

I took time for some self-care yesterday – left work to have a cry in the park and unpacked what really was making me upset about the situation: fear that my partner likes his other partners more than me. 

As soon as I had the thought I found it silly. Of course love doesn’t work like that. I immediately thought about the nonsexual relationships that matter to me most: my sister and my best friend. I don’t love my sister more than I love my best friend. I love them both equally and fully. This is something I need to keep reminding myself as I work on undoing 25 years of social conditioning that has convinced me love is zero-sum. It’s not.

Sphere and I had a long and productive talk yesterday. He owned up to his mistake in failing to facilitate an intro. He listened attentively and offered compassion. I expressed my struggles dealing with jealousy, unlearning possessiveness, and “comparison brain”: comparing my metamours to myself, worrying they are better than me.

I told him I’m realizing the whole “one true love” message that comes along with monogamy is actually a logical fallacy. Why? Because it presupposes that someone might choose you, and only you, because you are somehow “the best.” But none of us really are “the best.” None of us are better than anyone else inherently. We are all made of the same star stuff. We are all different but valuable. Wanting to be “the best” or “number one” is just the ego talking.

I’ve said it before, but I find polyamory to overlap with Buddhism quite a bit. When it comes to jealousy, part of my worry is my partner liking someone else more than me. The other part of that worry is fear of abandonment (he’ll like my metamour more than me and he’ll leave me), which is actually a future-focused thought. Buddhism teaches us to be in the present moment as much as we possibly can, to eschew future-focused thoughts, because they create anxiety and do not serve our well-being.

Sphere said he used to be where I am — totally new to all this. He used to struggle with the same aspects of polyamory that I’m struggling with. He said he made it a personal, self-development goal to practice poly. He said that while he still struggles and has jealous or challenging feelings come up sometimes, it does get easier. He said he now experiences compersion, or a happy feeling when his partner spends time with or finds someone else they really love.

I’m making polyamory a self-development goal, too. I’m working on manifesting compersion. I just ordered a few more books on the issue and am committed to working through my comparison brain, jealousy, and possessiveness.

And someday soon, I’ll meet my metamours, and it will be just fine. Because they’re not better than me, or taking anything away from me.

Meeting Your Metamours

Hi there. It’s me again, Martina J.  Let’s talk meeting metamours, and hostile metamours.

I started exploring polyamory seriously two months ago, when I met a wonderful man, let’s call him Sphere. I had seen him around the park at a weekly event we both frequent on Saturdays, let’s call the event Meetup. I constantly asked my friends, “Does anyone know who that cute guy is?”

Sphere ended up finding me on OkCupid, and we connected there. I didn’t have the guts to go up to him in person! I’m so, so, so glad he found me otherwise 🙂

I haven’t been this into someone in a really, really long time. I will spare you the gushy details.

Sphere has two other partners. One is a girlfriend of four years, let’s call her Blue; the other he’s been dating about a year, let’s call her Greek. The three of them often hang out together at Meetup.

Around the time of our second date, I told Sphere I was going to Meetup. Sphere called me to let me know Blue was going to be there that day, and she was very unhappy about him seeing me and did not want to meet or be friendly with me. I decided not to go.

Although Meetup is a public event and lots of my friends attend, and I have so, so much fun there, I ended up avoiding it for about two months. I wanted to avoid the awkwardness of interacting with my metamour (Greek), and being in close proximity to a second, hostile metamour (Blue).

The whole thing felt intimidating to me. Sphere assured me Blue’s negative feelings were not personal, it was more a reflection that their relationship was on the rocks and starting to unwind. He said that if I ended up at Meetup and Greek was there, she’d likely want to meet me and be friendly, though.

Although not ideal, it felt like avoiding Meetup was the right choice to give Blue space, and to make sure I was in a place where I’d be comfortable meeting Greek.

I have given meeting my metamour a lot of thought. The last time Sphere and I talked about me meeting Greek, I told him I was unsure about meeting her and felt intimidated. I wanted to cry thinking about it, in fact. But a week or so later I came around to the idea and wanted to at least be introduced.

I finally decided to go to the Meetup event this weekend. I had woken up in Sphere’s bed and knew he had plans with Greek that day, so I figured they wouldn’t be at Meetup.

Yet when I arrived to meet a friend, she happened to be sitting right next to Blue.

Blue’s unfriendliness cast a rather distracting and uncomfortable shadow over me all day. I enjoyed myself regardless, but then Sphere showed up with Greek in tow. He approached me, and said he’d like to facilitate an introduction with me and Greek. I said yes. I felt as ready as I could be.

But Sphere never did it! What followed was a very awkward hour of watching Sphere sit and talk to Blue, and presumably Greek, although I still am unsure which woman Greek was within the group of people at the park.

Sphere said bye to me without another word about my metamours. I left the park feeling horrible, and guilty, and rejected, and disrespected, and confused, and upset. I’ve been feeling that way ever since. I’m hiding in a private room at work right now to cry a bit.

It’s brought up a lot of new feelings. I can see clearly from Blue’s behavior that being a hostile, unfriendly metamour creates negativity for all parties, and I don’t want that. That’s why I want to be friendly with Greek, as challenging as it may be. Yet I’m also working on unlearning 25 years of feeling possessive over men I date, and that is no small thing to work through.

But I want so badly to be okay with all of it! To meet my metamours and be fine with it. I want to be chill and free and not give any fucks about the other women my partner is seeing.

But, the limbic system (the part of the brain that regulates emotions) can’t just be shut off when you want it to stop giving you feels. I am trying to be compassionate with myself while I work through difficult emotions, but I admit I’ve been having silly thoughts, too: Does my upset about this and intimidation about meeting Greek indicate I’m not really poly? Am I really cut out for this? Am I working against my inherent nature?

I want badly to be polyamorous, to be open and to be free and to allow my partners to be free, and so I know I will find a way to be okay with this. But I’m so upset with Sphere for not facilitating this interaction and making it easier on me. I would have loved to build a bridge and cut through some of the internal tension and anticipation I’ve been feeling about meeting my metamour.  

I plan to see Sphere today and talk to him about it. I’ll write an update as things progress. For now, I know that I am working toward a place where I will feel peaceful about meeting my metamours, and navigating the complexity of emotion that comes with it, and wherever I am in the process right now is okay. I am being compassionate with myself.