Another World

Listening to Antony and the Johnsons “Another World” on repeat.

I feel like writing for the first time in a long time. I’ve been keeping a private journal and perhaps sometime I’ll share bits of it here for you all. Sometimes I feel as though I can’t write if I’m not going to be able to tie up a post or idea with a nice ribbon for you, my readers. Yet, both here and in the rest of my life, I’m learning to accept the unfinished, knotted, dribbling on of ideas that more accurately represents lived experience. So here’s a bit of that for those who’ve missed me.

I am deeply in love with Feathers. It feels like it came out of nowhere. He’s always been very special to me, but I had no intention of going this deep with him. I suppose that’s the magic of this lifestyle; when you let go of well-laid plans or expectations on the development of a relationship and instead allow it to evolve naturally, the results can be a surprise.

We are practically living together, spending 6 or sometimes 7 nights a week together. As it turns out, we each have some very real mental illnesses and personal struggles. But, it seems, they compliment one another’s in a way that is working. For now anyway. I’ve gotten used to the idea that the only answer I need to have is for now and the immediate future. On a practical level, he has taken on all the shopping and cooking and I have taken on all the laundry and cleaning. We went through extensive talks about this “trade”, not wanting either of us to eventually resent the other. So far so good. So good, in fact, that I’ve lost 10 lbs just because he is regularly feeding me healthy food.

On an emotional level, the exchange is not that simple. And perhaps viewing a relationship as one big barter doesn’t make sense. Or maybe it’s the most logical thing a person can do. In any case, with all this shared time, my PTSD and his ADHD cannot be masked. He has been unbelievably patient, kind and caring for me and I believe I have been the same to him.

We have something of an ethos for our relationship. We want to be a good thing in one another’s lives, we want to help one another reach the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: flourishing. It all sounds very nice and balanced and dreamy.. and it is.. but it’s also tough work. Creating this unique relationship, this bubble for us, all while being conscious every step of the way is challenging. But we’re doing it. And I have truly never felt so supported by a partner in my life.

I have this feeling all of the time that he truly wants me to thrive, whatever that looks like. I am back to old hobbies. I am writing again. I am finding my way and even though I’m doing it alongside him, I don’t feel that I have to give up myself to be with him the way I did, at times, with Spouse. He really doesn’t seem to see me as an extension of himself and so his investment in my behaving a certain way is quite low. So I feel free.

Also. The sex is blowing my mind. It didn’t start out that way either, it’s grown as our intimacy has grown. It’s very playful, even though that sometimes means serious. Costumes and toys and some role play. I’m relatively uptight day to day, so to have this adult playground bedroom space has been so wonderful.

Essentially, I’m just trying to soak up every minute of this time. Being newly in love and designing the shape of things together is enthralling and I don’t want to miss a thing. I knew I could never fall in love the way I did with Spouse again. This is different. It’s not as reckless and it involves navigating more baggage. It’s more careful and perhaps braver. Because this time we both know more about what could happen and we’re doing our best to stay open to it anyway.

I imagine you’re wondering if we’re still open.

Yes, we’re still open. I suppose I could imagine periods of monogamy again, but I’m certainly not needing that now and maybe I never will. Storyteller has come back into my life, which is a story that needs its own post. And he has a woman he sometimes sleeps with trying to make plans with him. Neither of us is consciously looking for new partners though. For now, what we have is pretty all-encompassing.

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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.

 

 

 

 

My first twinge of jealousy (i think?)

As I tell people (mostly just very close friends) about my decision to try non-monogamy, the first question or comment they usually have is about jealousy. It’s a huge thing that one must sort through and deal with in order to truly live like this with the least amount of damage to all involved.

Usually, the question is about Spouse: will I feel jealous if he starts dating? It’s hard to answer since it hasn’t happened. Right now, I think I’d be really happy for him. He needs to have some experiences, sexual and social, to figure himself out. But I don’t really know. Maybe I’d really fucking hate it. I guess we’ll see.

But over the last few days, I had a twinge of jealousy in another, very bizarre, place. With Filmmaker! You know, the married guy I went out with a few times and had a great time and then he and his spouse realized they rushed into opening up and needed to do a bit more prep.

Well, even though Chi-town is huge, a friend of a friend matched with him on Tinder and has been texting with him. We realized it because his job is so unique. But hearing that he was still chatting with another girl made me worried that the reason he wants to just be friends does not actually have to do with him and his wife, but is simply he doesn’t want to see me romantically. He hasn’t met up with this other person and whether or not he does is not actually of interest or importance to me, unless he felt he had to pin the change on his marriage when it was actually just me. I can handle either reason, but it makes me feel bad if he felt he couldn’t be straight with me.

Ugh. I hate that I even spent the time to write that paragraph. But alas, I had a feeling, and I needed to sort it. One thing everyone seems to advise in entering nonmonogamy is that feelings will come up that don’t logically make sense to you. You need to feel them and sort them or they’ll turn into nasty and disproportionate problems.

So here is what I have learned and am feeling about this unanticipated reaction:

  1. Whatever his true reasoning for changing his mind on what he wanted for our relationship, it isn’t really my business in this instance and I can respect it. We went out exactly two times. hahaha
  2. I am actually OK with just being friends. Like, I truly feel OK about that. I enjoy his presence beyond the physical and romantic aspects and feel I can glean some insight into Spouse and people in general by talking with him.
  3. I am not immune to jealousy but am able to sort through it.

Yikes. I promised  I would be honest on this blog. So there it is. I had a bizarre feeling that I didn’t like. But I feel better now just having admitted it. More on jealousy and insecurity soon.