Wednesday, December 31, 2008
So the end of the year is upon us, with the usual urge for reflection and pondering of the year's relative value. Some years are more eventful than others, and this has been one of the most changing in my life. Frankly, I'm hoping for a bit more mellow predictability next year! ;)
Things that I have observed anew: Ownership of a connection is significantly more satisfying than ownership of a partner. Difficult discussions can lead you in directions infinitely more rewarding than ones you would have chosen of your own volition. Parenting ain't for sissies! Puppies create more poo than the amount of kibble they consume. There is an innate urge to think that the bone someone else has is better than the identical bone you currently have in your own mouth. Working out helps me feel centered spiritually, mentally and sexually. There are things that you know from life experience and intuition that are difficult to explain to others, but worth making the effort to communicate. I am a hedonist and an exhibitionist. My work is satisfying to me on multiple levels. My husband loves me, and shows me every day with his actions. S loves me too, and sees me in ways that reflect my best qualities, as well as the less flattering ones.
I lead a life surrounded with beautiful people that are helping me reach my best potential. Even with the challenges that are likely to await us in the new year, I am looking forward to manifesting the possibilities that await. Life and love are an adventure. Seize the day!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
There are differences in the characteristics that are common to poly relationship types. One of the broadest gulfs is between domestic and non-domestic partnerships, or what some of you might think of as primary and secondary relationships.
When you are living with someone, there are more things to consider than whether you want Thai or sushi on your date, or how to find a convenient spot to snuggle up in for an hour or two of bliss. There are all the practical details of life that need to be covered and accommodated, chores, work, kids, being sick and paying bills.
Largely being a domestic partner currently, I find myself yearning for the free-spirited nature of the non-domestic partnership. It isn't that I want to divest myself of the responsibilities inherent in living with PG and S so much as wanting to "be the girlfriend" a bit more than the domestic engineer part of the time. I envy the urgency and wanting that is often part of non-domestic equation, when you don't see your lover often and are SOOOO ready to rip their clothes off and romp all that frustration off, and it's an event to spend time together.
How to work around that dynamic, or being able to manifest a portion of the sheer fun within the context of being the domestic partner can be quite a challenge! We do "dates", try to go out to events, show appreciation in small ways and significant gestures, but under it all things are just a little different.
The love that I have for the people I live with is complex and nuanced in ways that I haven't experienced with non-domestic partners. Continuing to stay conscious of that can be tough when it feels like someone else is getting something I want from my partner. However, there are pieces that I receive in return that are also unique to our connection. You can't have it all, all of the time. What I have I am grateful for though, all of the time.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
There's a nifty web based poly drama that I'd like to turn you onto: http://www.3dogpictures.com/ The episodes are posted to YouTube and are totally free to watch.
The most recent segment was surrounding a dating partner of the main female character who is faux poly. He _says_ he's open with his wife and going to introduce them, but the reality is different. My first impression was that it wouldn't happen to me, since I generally require meeting any additional connected people before taking things to a intense level, but the reality is that almost all of us have been taken in at some point by something that is fuzzy in it's truthfulness.
There was a relationship that I was in several years ago where the woman said she was poly, largely because she figured out pretty quickly that I wouldn't date her if she was monogamous. It wasn't that she was concealing another relationship from me, but rather concealing the underlying expectation that if she loved me enough, I would come around to being exclusive with her, at least with women. This unspoken pressure to change each other into a different orientation lead to the dissolution of the relationship.
I was with a partner for 6 years who was married but cheating, somewhat like the character in the show. Although his wife knew about me, she didn't want to KNOW about the relationship. When I had started dating him, I was totally new to open relationships, so this rationalization worked for me. As I learned more about ethical non-monogamy and polyamory, the "don't ask, don't tell" stopped working for me, and I needed to leave the relationship.
There are so many little ways to tweak with the ethics surrounding polyamorous relationships that learning all the permutations can take time, and most of all, experience to learn. If you're really lucky, you learn by reading source materials on poly, or have experienced people that you take advice from. Some of the subtleties only become clear in the trenches, when you've already stepped on the mine and you're going to have something blown off any way you slice it.
Still, it's worth your time to do the research, talk to others, and continue to refine your own perspective to determine what ethical non-monogamous relationships look like _to you_. With all the different styles of polyamory, defining your personal style, boundaries, rules, deal-breakers, and preferences is hugely important.
Being able to communicate those concepts to prospective partners is a vital skill to cultivate, since knowing something in your head and heart, but not being able to share it with others, makes that information pretty much moot.
So we plow forward, making mistakes and good calls, correcting our course as we go. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Be afraid of getting locked into poor decisions, or not realizing that something that seemed a good call at the time might not stay that way in perpetuity.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
So last night S and I went out to a Darklady event to have dinner and watch porn together. There was some play space available as well, so I was pretty well primed to get out and enjoy things, especially after a week of excessive parenting! The weather was still snowy, and this was the first event of it's kind, so the turnout was a bit disappointing, with 20ish people in attendance, but I was glad to be there and add that extra something special that S and I bring to events.
You see, I am an exhibitionist. Yes, I know that those of you who have met me in person may be shocked to hear that...
So we played, we romped, we enjoyed some of the erotic potential that is part of our connection, and people thanked us for it. Thanked me for sharing all that pleasure and energy with others in the room. Thanked me for making it feel okay to explore in public for the first time.
I realized that it's one of the main ways I contribute to the local sex positive community. Being very sex positive in front of others. Leading by example. Almost always being the first one naked, or writhing in orgasm. Once the barrier has been breached, others join with their own dynamic.
Interestingly, I find myself still in a space where casual play with others is something I push away. I guess I just don't have the bandwidth to juggle any more unique personal energy at this point. It's good to know one's limits, right?
So for now, I shall continue to exercise my sense of the spiritual in my own way. With gasping breath, spasming muscles, explosions of moisture, and a deep appreciation of sharing that with someone that I love. While I am polyamorous, I am also, unequivocally, an exhibitionist.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Bella and Donna have two daddies. It sounds like a bad gay parenting book. The reality is slightly different, but I get a kick out of seeing the two guys I love get all mushy about the puppies. PG lets Bella romp all over his head (probably why he had the issue with the nose gnawing) and lick it's bald contours as she wriggles in a proxym of delight. S will stop working more readily to pick up Donna for a snuggle than he will to grab a kiss or do something for one of the kids. ;) The pups have figured out who the toughest parent is, and while they give me the props due my position as Alpha Bitch, they do enjoy the slightly more permissive parenting from the dog dads in the house.
Yes, it's another snow day. It's looking more and more as though this week before Christmas is going to be a total wash for any uninterrupted time during the day for me. I'm sure that S is also feeling a bit of a crunch from the squalls of sibling rivalry that swamp the area regularly. PG, who works outside the house, is enjoying life fairly well as usual. Typically, I think he's the one that envies we home office types, but the past few days, well, let's just say that I think the commute is looking better. ;)
The snow is lovely outside, very festive. I'm really enjoying seeing the blanket of white covering the trees, watching our curious pups enjoy their first snowfall as they snorkel through the yard. Bella actually was living up to her moniker of the "Dumb Blond" by barking as the first flakes were swirling down on us. The kids are outside building a snowman/person/thing and expressing their own sense of creativity. Let's hear it for outdoor activities! My time here is short, as I must return the vacuum to the shop. This would be the third vacuum casualty since we moved in. This time, it's under warranty! Apparently, we have bad vacuum karma here so far. Does anyone have any good small appliance rituals to apply?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
This is a bit of a continued thought from the previous post. Last night we had a little family meeting, called by my daughter. She was sharing that there was a level of discomfort on her part with the live-in arrangement, including things like the level of affection that S and I show each other, and some differences in parenting styles.
While I am glad that she feels comfortable enough to speak directly with all of us about how she was feeling, this isn't a democracy. The parents will form the course of action. It becomes incumbent on us, as parents, to help devise ways to improve comfort-zones, or grow skills in coping with uncomfortable feelings. While one does not cease being their own person to become a parent, one cannot cease being a parent in pursuit of their own personal growth. This is equally true for mono and poly parents.
In my work, I spend a goodly amount of time talking with a wide variety of people. What I've heard repeatedly is that disaster awaits when one sublimates their own needs in the raising of children. Even if your relationship makes it to the time that the kids are out of the house, the likelihood of it thriving, in the face of empty nest and having no clue who you are as a person, is extremely low. Well before becoming poly, I had decided that parenting was a role, but it wouldn't become my life.
On days like today, being an individual is pretty tough to see. It's a snow day. S and PG are out of the house. I am it. This is one day though. On Friday, I will be going to a party with S to view porn and enjoy some public play. I have a weekly date with PG on Sunday. I am looking forward to a soak in my tub later on and curling up with a book. There are still massages to be done, people to help heal. There is a person inside that parent that is important to nurture, and it's my job to be mindful of that, even in the face of family meetings and snow days.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This is something that comes up over and over again for those of us with children in poly relationships. What about the children? You can look at things logically and know that there is a positive nurturing environment for the kiddo(s) in question, but when you get the: "Why are you going out with him again? I want you to stay and spend time with ME!" or "Why is Daddy always gone?" or other such blatant over-blown statements about your six girlfriends (? I'm sure I would have noticed that!) it can feel squidgy as a parent. You wonder if your choice of being poly is imposing something damaging on your child. Surely time spent on your weekly date is outweighed by the fact that there is almost no time spent in daycare anymore? Aren't the sibling experiences you're providing going to serve them well in the future? What about the part where they'll likely always feel a little different than their friends?
I've spoken with adults that grew up poly. They're responses to my questions about how they felt about it had a lot more to do with the relationship and personal skills of the parents in question than the specific state of the environment being polyamorous. Just as in any household, it seems that the love, caring, communication and negotiation skills modeled are really the main matters of import in shaping how one feels about the family of origin. I think we're on the right track for most of that.
No matter the relationship style, it is made up of imperfect people. We'll make mistakes. We might even repeat them from time to time. The strength here is that we are all interested in continuing to improve. The focus is on next year being a stronger and healthier experience than the previous year. Not just in our personal relationships, but within the family structure as well. That is something that I can give these children for the time they are with me: the firm desire and resolution to put in continuing effort to improve myself, both as a parent, and as a person.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
When we moved into the new home, one of the questions we were thinking about was who would be sleeping where, how often, with whom? Specifically, how often would I sleep with PG or S? For me, this question has not a lot to do with sex, and a lot to do with snuggle time and the conversation that happens when the lights are out and I'm drifting off to sleep.
We tossed around the concept of a schedule, and both S and PG put the thumbs down on that as being too inflexible. So we've been working with a pretty amorphous concept. I decide where I sleep each night, unless someone has a particular need that they verbalize to me. To this point it's been working pretty well. The first couple months I felt a bit anxious about it. What if someone wasn't feeling like they were getting their share of my time spent drooling onto my pillow and snoring softly? Then I realized that they could just ask anytime, and that I should, in fact, trust them to be adults and do just that. Wow! What a relief!
Sleeping is something I'm pretty picky about. I don't sleep well with others, just my primaries. It can sort of blow people away that I might be able to be physically intimate with them, but they'll get punted when it's time to hit the hay. PG and I have been sleeping together for 13 + years now. We have very well-established sleep patterns. It's very restful to be curled up next to each other and know that if I nudge him a specific way, he'll respond in a predictable fashion. With S, we're still getting the hang of it, but have different sleeping "short hand" developing. I like his mattress better. ;)
Here's to the bedroom shuffle!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
How many of us can honestly say that we've never done it? Never done something that we know isn't right for us to try and make a partner happy? We swear up and down that we won't ever do that again. Our partners tell us that they don't want us to, and still the temptation is there to give someone else what they want, even if it's going to be a negative, or at best, neutral experience for us.
Why is that? Is the training to please others so deeply ingrained that we instinctively martyr ourselves? When the situation is turned around, and you can see someone else following in your past footsteps, it's so much easier to see why taking that course of action isn't likely to be a positive experience.
Back in the day, way back when we used to do more swing types of activities, the temptation to "take one for the team" was always present. I'm not sure if it was a more prevalent attractions for PG or myself, since he's more picky physically, and I, by virtue of gender, had more options. We both wanted to give each other what we _thought_ the other wanted. How many times did we decompress after making that call only to find out that the other person really wanted us to say no unless we could give a resounding "yes!" to the question at hand?
This concept can translate out into so many other things, like taking the kids for the night, when you really want to be going out instead, or taking on some extra responsibility that you feel really shouldn't be on your to-do list. So how do we break this habit? Time? Experience? Listening to our partners? Sheer repetition?
How about listening to ourselves? There was an article I read earlier today about people choosing a course of action depending on if it felt "warm" or "cold" to them. Your underlying gut response will show you which is closest to supporting you. This has a lot of appeal to me, but at the same time, there are a great many decisions that are outside the comfort zone, and therefore aren't likely to feel so warm, perhaps also learning to discern the icy thrill of anticipation as opposed to something that leaves you cold, would be a good thing also.
Here's what I know now: I don't want my partners doing things that make them uncomfortable, or humor me at their own expense. If something I am asking doesn't feel right, say no. Give me another alternative. Tell me it's something I should find someone else to enjoy it with. Help me see your point of view, because sometimes I am just that single-minded. Fortunately, I am pretty amenable to finding another course of action. Why? Because I want my partners to be happy too. I love 'em. I want to give them what they want. Hang on, isn't that where we came in on this topic??? ;)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
There are so many things about living poly that I enjoy greatly. The additional support, time resources, loving, more types of activities to enjoy with different people, more ways for my partners to get support and learn new skills emotionally and practically.
The quest for me at times is to find a sense of being unique, of being the person that occupies a certain space in another's life and heart. On some levels, it hearkens back to the desire to feel important and special that we carry with us from childhood. What makes us different from someone else? What makes us desirable? What do you share with someone that is just "us" in nature?
In particular, I struggle with sharing things with metamours that were difficult to achieve with my partner. There can be a sense of ownership over something that took a good deal of work to open someone up to exploring or experiencing. My goal is to let go of having a sense of ownership over my partners, but does that mean I need to share everything with everyone, or vice versa? Is is counter to poly to have things that are unique to a given connection? Things that you don't share with others?
I'll be continuing to work towards understanding what is controlling versus feeling special, and how I can get that need met without restricting my partners actions or emotions. Emotionally, I know it's an apples and oranges equation, with who I am being unique to my partners in pretty different ways. The practical applications are what I want to gain more clarity on!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
"the hair of the dogs that bit me!" You see, just the prior day, I found a drink recipe for a drink called the "Bella Donna." So, I whipped up a batch for s1m0n, polyfulcrum and myself.
2 tsp Sugar
2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Fill mixing glass with ice
2.5 oz Dark Rum
2.5 oz Amaretto
Shake. Strain into a chilled glass.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Just to update on this: T-Day has come and gone. Prior to that, the full disclosure of relationship structure had been covered, so when the parents were over, they knew who everyone was.
It went great! They were gracious, engaged, curious and personable. Very pro the happiness and stability that this relationship has brought across the board, particularly to their granddaughter. We're all having dinner again this evening before they leave town. In particular, I really appreciated the way they drew my daughter out, since she was pretty shy with these new people.
Given that we're talking about a Catholic and a Mormon, I was prepared for a much more dramatic response. To have such a warm reception was a very pleasant surprise! Still, I'm glad it's over... ;)
Now, I'm in a space where I want to get to know them better, but don't think that there will be time to make that happen much. It would be great to have some time without the kids around for a more frank conversation. Ah well, I guess it will need to be a more incremental approach.
Yes, I like them. What a relief!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
OK, maybe I'm overstating that. I'm a bit on the nervous side. Tomorrow is T-Day. The day that I meet my poly in-laws. S came out fully with them last weekend in person, to allow them a little time to process and get their game face on before we have them over for dinner tomorrow. That went well, but it wouldn't be the first time I've heard of a delayed reaction to coming out either...
The thing is that I've never really done the "meet the parents" thing. When PG and I were first dating we were very young, and I met his mom pretty immediately, since he was still living at home. She and I get along pretty well on most points, and she's been a more supportive parent to me than my own nuclear types have been, so thus far, I'm doing well with that end of things.
It seems as though I've "grown up" within our relationship with S telling me how he's formed a lot of his strategies in life based on his father, sort of a round about way of seeking approval. I certainly don't want to let him down, or seem like a down-grade from his most recent spouse. This silly sort of comparison stuff doesn't serve a constructive purpose, but is in keeping with the desire for acceptance and approval that many of us were heavily ingrained with as children.
Living a pretty thoroughly alternative lovestyle, one would think that one had grown out of these things! Largely, this is true. However, there is still that niggling little remnant from youth that wants the pat on the head, the "Wow! You did well to find this one, Son!" sort of validation. For me, the challenge tomorrow is going to be to stay present in the moment, be myself, and enjoy meeting and getting to know these people that have been so important in forming a person I love on my own terms. I hope I like them.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This upcoming weekend, S's parents are coming to visit the area. While he is out as poly to his folks, I don't think that he has a great deal of confidence that they understand what that actually _means_. As we are hosting a Thanksgiving meal in our home, he figured it might be important to give them more details on the specifics of our arrangements before they hit the door for Turkey Day. He's looking to hopefully cover that this weekend while they are at the coast. Hence, I will be meeting my poly in-laws.
Now, it's not that I've never laid eyes on these people before. I've met them at both of S's weddings! LOL As a matter of fact, PG was the Best Man at the most recent iteration. However, this will be the first time I've met them as anything other than one of his friend's wives. This is leading to a smidgen of anxiety.
It seems like I've often been seen as a corrupting influence on people. Eroding their moral fiber with my loose ways and open perspectives. In this particular case, I feel very strongly that my influence, although non-standard in application, has been positive pretty thoroughly across the board for both S and his daughter. I'm trying not to get locked into the desire to have these people like me, or see those things, and instead remain a stable supportive influence as he's going through the stresses of coming out more completely to parents.
So far, PG's mom has been the most positive experience in sharing that information, and even that took a few discussions, repeated exposure to those we share love with, and seeing that her grandchild (or son) isn't being neglected or damaged by our decisions.
So S, I will do my level best to stay out of my ego, and present in the moment while you are sharing your life with your parents. I will be my charming loving self, and hope that seeing you happy resonates more strongly than how you got there.
Monday, November 17, 2008
There is really no way to go through life interacting with others and not reach a place where a difference of opinion happens. PG and I have our time-honored ways to argue, and S and I are still finding our way through that morass of fun-ness. Not that we have a high-conflict household, by any measure. Still, I think the good part is that none of us is so afraid of conflict that we won't bring a problem up.
One of the advantages of having a third partner around isn't that they referee for the other two, but it does help to get an additional perspective on when I am being an ass, if I haven't picked that up on my own. ;) Particularly of help is when S tells me that I am falling into long-term patterning too much in the way that I interact with PG. When you are having the _same_ minor issue crop up for the 50th time, it can feel more frustrating and/or bigger than it actually is. Our usual patient approach and clear communication can get muddled, since we've been having this same conversation since before we developed a lot of those skills. It helps to have someone else present that can say: You wouldn't be approaching this the same way if it were anyone else.
That's always been something I've found abhorrent: When people treat their family members and loved ones worse than they ever would a co-worker or friend. Being able to recognize when you are losing perspective and change your approach to a more compassionate and loving one is a great skill to develop!
On to attachments! So, our new rug throws off a lot of lint. We've pretty well trashed both of the vacuum cleaners that we moved in with already. S and I went shopping and brought one home as a trial model. It works pretty well, looks pretty sexy for a vacuum cleaner, and has lots of attachments. One of the attachments is specifically for bare floors. We have some hardwoods in our downstairs, and while we were trying out the vacuum, S asked me to use the bare floor attachment. I refused, on the grounds that I didn't think I'd use it generally, so wanted to make sure the main attachment would handle things on both carpet and hardwoods. He expressed that it would feel better to him if I would, since it would be less apt to scratch. I did it my way. Folded a load of laundry. Thought about it, and decided I was being silly. The minute it would take to switch attachments certainly wouldn't hurt me, and it would make him feel better about the vacuuming process.
Having decided to give in on the point, I approached S and said I was wrong, and I would be using the preferred attachment in the future, since it was important to him, and it's important to me that he felt listened to. He launched into a spiel about how irritated he was with my initial response, and various other frustrations, which I listened to quietly. Then I said he was right, I was wrong to blow him off at first, and that I would try to do better in the future. He just sort of sat there a minute, then realized how hard it is to have an argument with someone who'd given in before you were able to toss the first volley. Moments like that help me to realize how different most people's experience of a disagreement is from what usually happens around here. There is a certain amount of pride in being able to change course and not become ego-vested in the outcome. I hope to continue to do better for all my partners each day. They deserve the best from me, and I want to give it as often as I can.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
When S came aboard the poly train with us, it was a big change from how we'd been doing relationships outside of the dyad that PG and I have shared for over 14 years now. There had been this gradual and increasing scale in the ways that we expressed ourselves in relationships, however, as each new partner, on whatever level has entered the picture, I've found the level of complexity and logistics increases exponentially.
This isn't to say that I don't enjoy that depth and complexity, because I do. As much as I'm a stability junkie, having more people to value and relationships to nurture feels interesting and in pursuit of growth to me. The question is: How much of a difference does it make when you add a new person into an existing poly structure?
To some degree, that depends on the intensity of the relationship, the amount of time spent, how far advanced in their own understanding the person is, but some of it has got to be sheer numerical complexity!
The scheduling, for example. I am the lamest in the pod regarding the use of google calendar, which is the tool that we've chosen to try and coordinate the many independent, yet totally entwined, schedules that exist. It is a source of frustration to my pod members at times, since they'll put something up there and think I'm aware of it. For me though, I need actual verbal contact about stuff, and then add it to my paper calendar to make it real. My bad. I'm working on it!
How about trying to make sure that everyone is getting their needs met? This can be both a good and bad thing. Good: Chances are high that not everyone is going to have a crisis in a given week. Bad: Chances are high that illnesses will work their way through the entire system over a given week/month. My general expectation is that whoever is "healthy" emotionally or physically, steps up to help care for those who are not. The more people you have within your system, the higher the odds are that someone will be available to step in and handle things in the event of an emergency, and the higher the odds are that someone will need care at a given moment.
What about people getting lost in the shuffle? This seems to be a real concern, particularly if you have those in the circle that aren't as assertive (read: pushy) as I am about stating needs and wants. Those are skills that _need_ to increase as the pod gets bigger. It isn't the responsibility of those you are with to pull things out of you. You MUST be able to be a self-proponent, or fading into the background can happen.
These are some of the reasons that I consider carefully whether or not to become involved with new people. I want to give of myself to any connection, and there is only so much to go around. Changes in line up can make global shifts happen. There is more to track with each person that I become "responsible" to emotionally. So, if I seem to be approaching the idea of connecting with you with caution, take it as a sign of responsible relationship husbandry. ;)
Monday, November 10, 2008
Last week Sunday PG, myself and his other partner got together to have a conversation about some of the unresolved stuff from last summer that has been holding me back from feeling comfortable with their relationship. It was a meandering conversation at times, but we reached a place of accord with a gameplan to work on getting things cleaned up emotionally moving forward. As a matter of fact, it's already being implemented, and seems to be working. Primarily, we're spending some time with just she and I to clear our energy interacting together. That is feeling good.
Then comes the part of the early week where two of the people close to, but not within our household, split from their primary live-in partners. While these were largely "bloodless" breakups, they were still traumatic in ways that required some extra support and time from all of us this week, and will continue to do so.
We had a significant parenting meeting with S's daughter's mom. S is the legal custodial parent, but she's been spending a lot of time with his daughter since she moved back to the area a few months ago, after school a couple hours each day, as well as the traditional every other weekend thing. His daughter has been having some academic issues, and also hasn't been adjusting well to her mom's new foreign husband, who just moved to the country a few weeks ago. Thought we made some progress there in forming a plan to better support the daughter, and then...
Things were starting to look like they were reaching a more stable space again when S's daughter's mom called on Saturday morning to say she wasn't able to cope with her child, and is basically done parenting for the time being, come get her. That sort of put a wrench into plans for the evening (sorry B!) and put things into a more emergency focused parenting sort of space. The rest of the weekend was spent in trying to get things set to get that system in place to help her academcially as well as emotionally.
Oh yes! My mom emailed me this week too. Something along the lines of: We don't judge you. We just think you're totally wrong! Blech. I'm just glad that the turmoil surrounds us, but isn't inside the household. Love you guys!
One great piece of news is that S's old home finally sold, so that will help free him up somewhat, hopefully in the direction of having time to sleep and be sane, rather than working his smallish butt off to make the bills. ;)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
An acquaintance of ours posted something on her blog about feeling like it was very challenging to find friends as an adult. Particularly in light of some of her less mainstream types of recreational activities, relationship style, and a more extreme profession. I wish she lived closer to us, as I've always found her very fun to be around, and have the same sorts of issues finding friends that aren't scared off by who and what I am in life.
You see, I'm too into guys to be comfortable to lesbians, too into women to be comfortable to straight folks, too kinky for the vanilla types, too dominant, or too submissive for either of those crowds in the BDSM scene. I'm too domestic and sober to hang with the party crowd, too adventurous to be contented acting like a suburban house Frau. I'm too poly committed, or too much into recreational sex, for most of the poly crowd, and WAY too poly for the traditionally mono types.
So where's the happy place? The few, the proud, the brave, the people I call friend in life are those that embrace me, allow me to talk about my life without censorship, who will say if they disagree, but not judge me for making a different decision than they would. My closest friends are my partners. I know people say that all the time: "We're each other's best friend.", in my case, it's true.
PG and I have been friends my entire adult life. One of the things that we noticed as we opened up our relationship 7 years ago was that a lot of topics and ideas that had previously been on an imaginary list in our heads as "things we can't talk about" became very important to discuss. Once the expectation that we'd be the one and only and fulfill each other's every need was gone, then we could talk more deeply than ever about substantive ideas, needs and wants.
When S and I started dating, he jumped into this whole communication thing with a vengeance! Of course, since he and I both enjoy the sound of our own voices, this lead to a lot of really great conversations, deepening the existing lower level friendship in a huge way.
Now, all my closest friends live with me. This is a beautiful gift that I am enjoying deeply! On the flip side, I think it is still important for me to have an outside person that I feel close with on a friendship level as well. There are a few people that are close to that role in my life, but not to the degree that I would like. As a child, my family moved often, preventing me from learning the skill of having long-term meaningful friendships. It's something that I think I kind of stink at, frankly.
That's going to be my personal goal for the next year, to develop a strong friendship outside of my household. Preferably one that thinks that too much or too little is just right.
Monday, November 3, 2008
In any process that is repeated, there is a high probability that a pattern will emerge over time. One of the aspects of poly that I particularly appreciate and dread at the same time is the attention that one must give to assuring that patterns aren't becoming ruts.
With relationships of a certain "vintage" there are typically going to be some default settings. What are your "normal" ways of interacting, dividing responsibilities, and giving to each other? This can be a great thing! It provides a degree of predictability in emotional and domestic landscaping.
On the other hand, as situations and people grow and change, patterns can hamper that growth process when you're running off of old settings in new situations, what I think of as being in a rut. It takes focus and energy to break out of a rut and establish a new pattern that fits the changed scene.
With poly, there are so many changes to the landscape that staying on top of your patterns to prevent rut formation becomes pretty critical. It can be as drastic a contrast as pre and post baby household types of things, or someone going from an on the road job to a local position. Those are the easy ones to spot. There's been a big change, so patterns must shift to accommodate that change.
When the changes are more subtle, it becomes harder to recognize a pattern that has become a rut until someone feels that lack of balance in the system. How do you get on top of those less obvious shifts before there has been a pain-threshold reached?
Check-ins are a good place to start. That's something I try to do on a regular basis with all my direct connections. This helps to establish smaller, less traumatic shifts in patterns before a huge amount of energy is required to do so. More tricky can be indirect connections, like metamours.
When you don't have an extremely open dialogue with someone, calling them up to ask if they have any issues, or letting them know there is something you want to work on, can be really out of the blue. No one likes getting "The Talk", so is there a good system that any one's come up with to keep even the more loosely connected people in the loop and open to sharing their challenges? Let's hear what tools you've found useful in preventing poly relationship ruts!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I've been out for a couple days, due to loss of connectivity surrounding one of our poly puppies chewing my power cord. Returning, I see this great discussion going on in the comment section between Anita Wagner and S1M0N. Now, there are a great many things that S and I agree on, but on the issue of being able to work towards recognition of poly as a valid lifestyle choice, I agree with Ms. Wagner.
There have been too many stories about poly folk loosing custody of children, having trouble with employers, not being able to find lodging easily, to be apathetic or happy in my closet. Having minor children in the house, and being self-employed with most of my major referral sources being LDS (Mormon), I have stayed in the closet in a work capacity generally, although my clients, and my daughter's teacher, know that I live with these two men and help raise a child that isn't my own by any standard definition. People that are in our life on a voluntary basis, daycare, friends and some family, we're all out to across the board. That hasn't been easy. We've lost friends over it, endured family rejections, but generally, people around here are a bit more live and let live. I'm much happier not having to censor myself when I am around my friends and family, even with the tough bits.
PG and I have already talked about taking a more visible role in the local poly community, with the main detracting concerns being the minor children in the household ,and loss of business opportunities, but there will come a point further down the road where that will likely be part of our landscape.
I have a great deal of admiration for what the gay community has accomplished. It is a success that the poly community is likely to be able to model. It's like when you are raising multiple children, the first one has the toughest time, most restrictions, tightest controls. They do the work to break in the parents and the next kid down the line has an easier time of it generally. Much in that same way, the gay community, and other alternative communities, have worn down the public to make it that much easier for us to slide in and present as just another option.
I look forward to the day when I can say I'm polyamorous and not need to make a big explanation, because it's part of the lexicon of society. Closets should be a tool, but they shouldn't be a requirement for all polyamorous persons, S1M0N. Maybe we can get you down to a wardrobe in a few years. ;)
Thursday, October 30, 2008
How does one, or DOES one, finally, completely eradicate the old shit that keeps resurfacing? Is there a place where it at least becomes useful compost to grow something new from? Actually, I've found some of the least savory experiences in life to be the most formative, the most positive to motivate moving forward. Still, it would seem like there must be a happy medium, where you get the benefits from moving on a new tangent, due to an experience that shook things up, and yet don't have the trigger point pain stabbing you at unexpected moments.
Most of the interesting people I've ever met have had hugely nasty or traumatic things happen to them, usually as a child. Their childhood was shitty. People abused them physically, sexually or otherwise. They experienced major change on a regular basis. Someone very close to them died. In short, there was massive challenge(s) they lived through, and came out the other side stronger than they went in. This has been the case for me, and I wouldn't turn any of those experiences in on a more convenient and safely bland life path, but it sure would be nice to mulch them down a bit more!
So share your insight with me, tell me what's worked for you? How have you moved into stronger space, uncontaminated, but still wiser, for the experiences you've had? How have you turned the shit that life has shoveled at you into the fuel for your future?
Monday, October 27, 2008
About 80% of the people we invited and were either "yes" or "maybe" responses to the RSVP showed up -- which is a pretty good ratio I'd say. So, we had 20 people in the house at the high water mark (including the hosts).
The invitees were from various spheres in our lives: Former Swinger Connections, Craigslist Connection, OKcupid Connections, LoveTribe Connections, and Polyamory Discussion Group Connections. Together they make a great mix of people who generally seemed to get along pretty darn well! (Some in a more intimate fashion than others...) ;)
The setup: DOWNSTAIRS was the general social and food space. I really enjoyed how we re-configured the kitchen area for the bar and food tables. We were able to comfortably fill the downstairs kitchen/family room area with all of our guests. UPSTAIRS was the sensual spaces and I hung signs renaming each room: Guest bedroom became "The Torture Chamber" (containing the violet wand and B's custom strap-and-buckle chair), S1m0n's room became "The Stud Stable" (containing the Sybian), PolyGestalt and PolyFulcrum's room became "The Gallery of Delights" (as a public play and gathering space), PolyGestalt's office/retreat became "The Love Nest" (the only closed-door private place space for two or three people at a time).
The only odd thing for me was having so many of my actual and potential female connections in the same place at the same time. It was nice to be able to introduce them to each other, but at least a bit mentally awkward to balance enough interaction time between all of them. I mostly just "went with the flow" and roamed around the party making sure that everyone was having a good time.
So, from my impromptu exit polling when people left the party, I'd say that we have a repeatable party on our hands! The only question is: Should we have these every 3 months or every 6 months? Feel free to respond with your votes!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The big poly-oriented housewarming party was last night, and it felt like a good success! We had nice turnout, a variety of experience levels, lots of big piles of scantily clad people, use of special equipment brought in for the evening, interesting conversations, loads of orgasms and new experiences available for the eager to try.
The big experiment in getting things running earlier in the evening seemed to work out well! It was remarked by more than one person how nice it was to not be totally wiped out by the time they'd had some fun and had to drive home. I still had a hard time sleeping, having my mind pretty well buzzed from all the various conversations and adventures for the evening. Oddly enough, I still didn't connect fully with any new male energy. It puzzles me a bit, but since I'm not feeling a lack, I guess I'll just take it as it comes without trying to push an agenda just to do something.
B and S both played a bit with some new people, and it looked like PG was a bit torn by having several interesting people in the same space and time. I did get to enjoy some very fun electrical play with a delightful woman who is involved with a long-time erotic friend of ours. We had a couple of overnight guests, which was nice to wake up to this morning, and there were several people who had puppy 'gasms, which was fun for all concerned. The piles of people were pretty impressive, and I will cherish the mental picture of our bed so totally and completely covered with snuggling sexy geeks!
As per usual, my clothes came off first, and I took the initiative to get the ball rolling, along with some helpful guests who put on a lovely display of flogging. It was a pretty kink-oriented party, which is a bit different than most of the poly gatherings we've been to. Of course, the way the floggers were laid out next to the bondage chair might have had something to do with that... ;)
One of my favorite things was that everyone helped with party prep and clean up both. It really felt like we did it together and contributed fully across the board as a household. The space worked really well for this function, and I am hoping we'll do this again in a few months!
Friday, October 24, 2008
So tomorrow is the (hopefully) great party we are throwing! In the early days of our relationship, PG and I had some really fun parties, as a matter of fact, my personal favorite involves S, way back in the days before we dated each other. ;) After that, we sort of went through a few years where our party mojo was a little off, then died following the advent of parenting. No one knows what that's like, right?
This is our first major attempt to resurrect the hopping fun days of yore and take it up a whole additional notch with the addition of sexy and poly interactions. Having attended several events in the larger community, and also being able to choose (to some level) the attendees has generally left things feeling pretty good.
Probably the biggest departure that we're making, is to try to get things rolling earlier in the evening. It's a tragic joke, but I am one of those people that crash a bit earlier than most. This has led to some frustration in the past when attending events. There I am falling asleep, or getting grumpy when I still haven't manifested desired connections at 1am or later. There was a rant at OryCon a couple years ago where I was audibly wondering what a woman has to do to get laid before midnight?!?!?!? Truly, it was funny...later. So we're requesting that people start getting more scantily attired by 8pm. We're also separating the space into up and downstairs, with downstairs being more snuggle and platonic social activity, and upstairs being more hedonistic and naked. Hopefully this will provide a nice range of available energy and places that people can feel comfortable throughout their experience of the evening.
Best laid plans... I'm sure that once things get rolling, it's just all going to be based on who is there, and what everyone's up for. At the very least, we'll have cute puppies, fun toys, and a good environment for our guests to enjoy their evening in.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So, those of you that read this blog, are interested in coming, and have somehow gotten missed on the invitation list for our upcoming party on Saturday, please holler at us! We want to have a great mix of people interested in seriously sexy fun.
On that note: This will be our first real attempt at a larger social event in the new space, and as a larger household. The new puppies add a wrinkle into things, and I'm really hoping that our guests and metamours are willing to help pitch in and take the kids out at various points in time, as well as get some intense socialization in for them!
PG is working hard to get a variety of details lined up for the event, and we're all trying to add a little here and there to help things run smoothly. It sounds like we've been able to borrow some cool toys from metamours and friends (bondage chair, sybian), which could add a nice bit of spice and variety to the proceedings. I just ran over to pick up extra "party hats" and lube, although I am very happy that our guests will be policing their own interactions on the barrier level of things.
S has been sick this week. This sounds like a small thing, but it's the first time he's taken time off work in 5 years or better, so that's kind of big to him. Since he runs at pretty full capacity as it is, a day off really cramps the rest of the week. Hopefully, he'll be fully recovered by Saturday! Since our guest list is somewhat female slanted, we'll need all hands on deck to help out! ;)
For me, I'm trying to fit things in between puppy duties, with varying amounts of success. There are several people that I'll be meeting for the first time at the event, so that can help create a certain level of anticipation/concern about how those interactions might go. I also realized at lunch today that I haven't had sex with any other men besides the ones I live with since S and I started dating. Shocking! lol Who knows? There are some that I find interesting on the guest list, so things may drift in that direction. Perhaps some additional processing time will be needing afterward, but things are good and stable, and we're all looking forward to having some fun!
The main focus is to enjoy the company of our friends and see if any of them hit it off, or have common interests. Cross-mojenate and introduce our household to a larger community of those we enjoy spending time with. Bring on the social circle jerk! ;)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
We (PG, PF, S and our dating partner, B) went to the local poly discussion group last night. It was a larger than usual group, representing several takes on poly, from different stages of development, including some people that had been poly for 20 years or better! As it usually seems, there was a couple there just opening up their relationship, and looking to find community and a way to answer some of their questions and observe some real live poly people in action. ;)
One of the thoughts that came up after looking around the circle and seeing all the various types of people represented was trying to figure out _who_ gets interested in, or involved in polyamory? After some thought, and looking at the variety of polys I've met and talked with, it seems like there are three major types that get into poly.
First, we have the techno-geek. I'm partnered with two of these! Because the geek didn't grow up popular they aren't afraid to branch out as much as others and like the logical aspects of multiple partners fulfilling a myriad of needs.
Secondly, the healer. This would be my type! PG seems to almost exclusively date this type. They see the emotional healing that can be done within poly relationships and enjoy the rich and complex environment that continually evolves.
Thirdly, the artist/actor/dancer/musician. This may also include SCA members, for example. These are the ones that blaze their own trail and like to create their own reality.
There is a lot of overlap between these, and I'm sure something has been missed, but it's a good starting point when seeking out new partners. Where do you find them? Go to your local massage therapy school, latest musical hot spot, or a gamers haven! We're everywhere!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
So I give my mother a call this morning. The usual sort of "it's been a few weeks and I should touch bases" thing. She unloads at me all sorts of emotional blackmail. How do we assure our daughter's safety around our other partners, as you never know who might be a pedophile? Do we have group sex? Don't I want them to be happy with me? Where is God in all of this? Do you really want your daughter to grow up "like that"? You really must get off on doing things that put you at risk of your life falling apart at any time...
I knew when we came out to them that it was going to be a bit rough. They are staunch conservative Christians, minister and wife, and neither of us is likely to budge much in our stance. The good pieces of the conversation were that I really held it together and didn't allow myself to get riled up much, stuck to non-violent methods of communication, mirrored what she was feeling back pretty well, and just generally tried to speak with integrity about my personal positions and stayed honest.
It sucks that the only thing that matters to them is religion. Nothing else counts. Any other factors are irrelevant. This isn't a new position though. It's been that way since I left the church and struck out on my own. I guess I should be pleased that she at least acknowledged, without my prompting, that the people around me seem to be good people. They are.
The family of choice that I enjoy is more real to me than the one of biology I was stuck with. I will continue to live the life that fills me with joy and fits who I am inside.
Monday, October 13, 2008
This upcoming weekend is my birthday, #33 to be precise, so I guess I'm officially in my mid-thirties now! I'm very happy that I am able to spend individual time with both S and PG as part of that celebration. Much better to have time to myself and my loves without domestic responsibilities than get a new robe. ;)
S and I went to a quirky little tree house out in the gorge last weekend and we pretty well collapsed. Slept and ate and enjoyed the time together. I think the sleeping was a key feature though. ;) It seems like we've all been pushing so hard in the past couple months in particular that when we were able to stop, it was just a total crash. S was wily enough to set up a massage for me at the beginning of the trip, so put that on top of the hot tub on the deck and I was a happy woman!
This upcoming weekend, PG and I are going to the Seattle area together! We have some things that we are planning to do, and I'm sure there will be quite a bit of that relaxed snuggle and crash sort of stuff going on as well. We're also supposed to have dinner with our friends who are feeling very uncomfortable with our poly selves. Since that's pretty early on in our trip, I am hoping that it doesn't negatively color outlooks, or lead to too much mulling things over.
S is being rather brave. He's handling both kids AND the new puppies while we're gone. Last weekend while he and I were out, PG was at home with our daughter taking care of business. This would point out one of the main advantages of the poly household model. With the exceptions of the few times that all of us head out together as a larger group, there is usually someone available to hold things down on the home front, freeing up others of us to be out and about. We all have more opportunities to participate in a wider variety of activities and trips. There are times when I feel like I take advantage of that, since I am seldom the one that is at home alone while they are out, then I consider all of the additional domestic stuff I handle during an average week, and I get over it! ;)
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Etymology: Italian, literally, beautiful lady
1 : an Old World poisonous plant (Atropa belladonna) of the nightshade family having purple or green bell-shaped flowers, glossy black berries, and root and leaves that yield atropine —called also deadly nightshade
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
We had a housewarming party this past weekend that consisted largely of PG's family and co-workers and a few friends to leaven things with. It was our first big event in the new space, and I think we're all delighted with the way that was working!
My mother in law brought a blanket over as a gift that has all our names embroidered on it, and the kids, which I thought was extremely sweet and supportive of her. All of PG's sisters were here, and there was an amusing moment while one of them was browsing the bookcases and I'm quite sure saw one of our polyamory books out. Both S and I thought the other had put it away.
Later in the evening G (PG's... whatever they're calling each other these days? sweetie?) and her kids decided to spend the night on the fly. This left her stranded without feminine hygiene products, as we use different varieties. Thus was borne one of the odd poly moments in life: S and I went on a mission to buy feminine hygiene products for G, whom neither of us has a direct relationship with, while PG and G were putting the lot of kids that we all share to bed! I'm not sure why I found that so amusing, but I really did. ;)
On a slightly more toned-down note, I also found myself feeling sad later on. G was a part of my family at one point, and I keep hoping to find that feeling of family coming back following the re-orientation in their relationship. During the overnight and following morning, I wasn't able to resurrect that family vibe, and I don't know if that's going to come back. We were very amicable with each other, friendly, interacted well, and were helpful and appreciative of each other, but it just wasn't the same, and I miss that.
Monday, September 29, 2008
This word comes up fairly frequently when one is trying to convey the gender of person one is sexually compatible with. When it gets a little odd is when your orientation is so very amorphous that labels just sort of seem off. For me, I've found that I am quite capable of loving and being attracted to more than one gender, so that would make me bisexual, right? Well, it's not so much about the gender as it is the person though. The equipment is just packaging, but the stuff inside the packaging is what I want to eat! Sexual gender isn't terribly relevant at that point.
Now that we have a general guideline set up; I'll date men or women, if they're a person I'm attracted to, we come to an inconsistency: I'm domestically straight. What does that mean? Well, as much as I am quite capable of loving and lusting after curvy woman energy, I don't feel interested in living with other women. I dunno, maybe it's an alpha bitch thing, maybe it's just a yin-yang energy mechanism, but I don't want to live with other women, even ones I'm in love with.
Just to add fuel to the fire, I must further add the caveat that this attitude seems to fit me... so far. If there is one thing that the past seven years have taught me, it's that I am surely not done growing. My attitudes will change in time, I will continue to shift, and in x years, I might be ready to share my home with another person of the feminine variety. For now though, I, and my partners, are going to have to settle for me being sexually and emotionally an equal opportunity employer, but domestically hetero.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Pride isn't a word that I bandy about lightly, and I find myself in a space where I feel great pride in my poly partners. PG has been finding his feet in the new household environment and exploring some areas that aren't super comfortable and easy for him. He has been dealing with those feelings in a constructive and adult fashion, and communicating where he's at with things. (see post immediately preceding) Over the years we've been a couple, I've really grown to appreciate him as a person, and I feel definitive pride in the person he is, was, and is becoming.
S has been learning what it's like to be the person in the middle, trying to balance the wants and needs of more than one. Exploring what it's like to be in a relationship with someone where you aren't thinking about where it's going to go is a new thing for him. As we're dating B together, it's something we are both in the midst of, and sometimes one of us is farther into that connection than the other. Finding ways to fit that relationship within the existing structure of our relationships and life is a new challenge for us as a couple, and I'm proud of his capacity to show affection and focus in that context.
Next weekend is our first housewarming party. Largely, this is for family members and co-workers. Even though we aren't likely to be "out" with all these people as a poly V, I'm still glad we'll be seen as a family of choice in a society that is ever more isolated and segmented. There is power in taking a path that not many choose to manifest. Even without the relationship component, I take pride in having a household of friends choosing to pool resources to improve many aspects of our life.
This weekend I get the opportunity to test my self-management skills. My wife (PF) and her other primary/boyfriend (S) have been having lots of fun doing several activities with a woman they've been dating together (B).
It's been a bit of a transition for me to fully embrace the fact that there will be times where the two of them (PF & S) will develop relationships where I am not included. Well, of course, their own relationship doesn't include me either, but for some reason when the three of them get together and I'm the fourth person in the house (not involved in their activity), it just feels a bit strange.
Oh, and I have been wanting to make a point for several weeks now. Technically, the group of us (PG, PF & S) are not a triad. That would generally imply that S & I have more than a platonic relationship -- which we don't. It's really a "V" centered on PF.
On a related note, I am actually happy that PF and S have found someone that they really get along with! I think it's especially cool for S to be able to flex his poly wings that direction. And I'm glad that PF has the opportunity to connect with female-female energy again.
As for me, I believe I'm getting better at taking a deep breath, focusing on what I'm feeling and finding alternate activities to satisfy myself. And most importantly finding activities that are constructive or fulfilling and not just reflexive or destructive.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
One thing I've noticed as a tendency in this group is that they are less connected to mainstream responsibilities and more able to live in their own world than most of us. For example, most of the Poly-er than Thou's don't seem to have standard 8-5 corporate jobs (they are self-employed, artists, musicians etc.) and often they don't have minor children in residence.
It's a lot easier to create a world that mirrors your ideal version of polyamory when you aren't also trying to co-exist with "normal" society, and to be judgemental or lack understanding towards those who are choosing to remain connected to a larger societal reality and still have an authentic space within it that reflects their vision of poly.
The other thing that seems to be a tendency within the Poly-er than Thou's is that they don't seem to be _living_ their vision on an on-going basis. They talk a good game, but when the chips are on the table, they aren't manifesting their concept in reality. It's an easy out to blame that on the unwillingness of others to fit within their version of poly. They start something idyllic and idealistic, it flames out largely because it doesn't work in reality. The people they're dating, must not be poly enough to make it happen.
Well, I might not be "true poly", but I'm living and loving my vision every day! Me and my primaries, our secondaries, and those tertiary connections too. ;)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Abundance! This is one of the main reasons that most people get into poly. The idea that you can have the vast majority of your needs met without overburdening one partner. Ah, but wait, there's more! For me, love and sexual energy are a positive feedback system. The more I have, the more I want, the more I have to give to others, the more I have for myself! Let's call this concept trickle out polynomics, shall we?
How does this affect the way that one approaches life? To have needs met, to feel full and capable of giving to others in your life, without sacrificing your own energy and boundaries on the altar of "Should" is bliss! The similarities I share with my partners are deeply appreciated. I cherish the things that we can do together, as couples, triad, and extended family. The differences are honored instead of resented, as they don't take away from my life, but instead provide more opportunities to stretch myself within a supportive environment. I can give of myself, and know that when I've given all that I can comfortably give, there will respite and the ability to plug-in and charge my batteries. Physically, there is room for pleasure in all the different forms it takes, and I am very motivated to explore and give in this realm as well, and crave the intimacy that goes with the physicality.
My bank accounts are full of emotional currency, and I can support others whenever the need arises without tapping myself out. Polynomics: It works! I'm still not sure about that Reagan thing though... ;)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
After reading through S's last post, I realize that some thank you's are in order to the universe and various people within it for helping me have the life and loves that I do.
First, I must pay respect to my parents. Understand, my dad's a evangelical minister of conservative bent, and both of my parents are pretty significantly different in fundamental ways than I. Years ago, I was trying to figure out WHY was I born into this particular family? What was it I needed to learn from these people that I felt so little personal resonance with? The conclusion I came to was that my parents have a strong relationship with one another, and that I needed to learn those skills to be able to navigate this life that I now live. So, kudos to you, Mom and Dad, for teaching me the basics of what I needed to have healthy relationships as an adult! Mom, Dad, I love you.
Second, my husband. We've been together as a couple for almost 15 years now. That's coming up on half our lifetimes! We've grown up together from early adulthood, and he has the exceptional quality of allowing people to be, and become who they are. He has held me in moments of joy and sorrow, through confusion, and spurred me on to create and recreate myself, even when it's been uncomfortable for him personally. I've always had laughter and support in my life, and a sense of belonging, of being home, with him. This stable base has allowed me to dream bigger than I would ever have on my own, in ways that are healthy, and experiencing the security of knowing that there is always a safe space to be. PG, I love you.
Third, my former lover, C. We explored a lot of early poly territory together for 6 years. He encouraged me to be my most outrageous, to push my edges, to think outside the box and see the box when I was oblivious, to know that if I crashed and burned, there was going to be someone there to dust me off and point me back into the fray. Being someone special to more than one person was something I learned here, and it was a beautiful lesson. I continue to celebrate this relationship and what it's brought to my life daily. C, I love you.
Fourth, my daughter, who, although young in years has already shown me that PG and I are more than the sum of our parts, and who holds up a mirror for me to see more clearly. Little C, I love you.
Fifth, but certainly not in my affections, is S. Having known someone for such a long time before moving into a relationship with them was new to me. Being able to expand my understanding of him as a person, as a partner and lover, has been revelatory! Seeing his boldness in embracing the changes in the past 15 months has encouraged me to be more brave and risk more than I ever would have previously. Feeling such intensity of passion colors my world with joy. S, I love you.
There are so many others that have contributed, and will continue to enhance my experience of life than I can mention here! There are those that have shown me the ropes in BDSM, those that helped me understand that love isn't about gender, but about the inner self, those who have just gotten me to loosen up and not be so serious and responsible all the time! There's my household that is teaching me new things, and my metamours, who embrace those I love in ways that I cannot. I love you all in different ways.
At the heart of it is me, this person experiencing an amazing life, astonishing loves, and a world that is beautiful and charmed with possibilities, depth, nuance and potentials. It's a big thing to be at a place where I can say: I love me, too.
Monday, September 22, 2008
As the past couple of months have been very high on the learning curve and challenge, there have been several opportunities to try to figure out what the differences are between having healthy boundaries and trying to control the behavior of your partners.
This concept still gives me fits! If you let someone know that X behavior is likely to produce negative emotional consequences, and they proceed with X behavior, why could it be considered surprising or controlling when the expected emotional response ensues? If one knows the triggers they have and shares those with their partners, is that trying to control their behavior, or to save them (and you!) from having to work through some challenge at a point in time that might not be optimal? The reverse is also true, and people don't seem to get so worked up when you share information with them on how to help you feel happy!
Are we, as poly folk, just "supposed" to not have boundaries at all, if they infringe on anyone elses actions? Why is it ok have a condom use rule to manage physical safety issues, but not to have rules that manage emotional safety?
Timing is everything, so the saying goes, and that seems to have truth to it. Situations that would be easily handled under optimal circumstances can be explosive if someone is feeling neglected, disregarded or unheard in their concerns. Is it your responsibility as a partner to try to suss out when it's a good time to push into challenging territory, or to back away from something when it may produce more incendiary responses than you want to deal with? There are times when you don't get to choose your emotional ground, so I value it when any of my partners or metamours lets me know they are feeling on shaky ground, which gives me an opportunity to take corrective action and not run into emotional landmines.
Control isn't a word I'm terribly at ease with. It implies ownership of another to me, or taking a parenting role. At the same time, separating action and consequence from relationships seems unrealistic. Is "suck it up" really a philosophy that can work within poly relationships? Choosing partner(s) that attempt to meet your needs and consider your feelings as well as their own is high on the list of things that I feel responsible to myself for. Still, there are going to be times where needs diverge. How do you make "requests" and have them stick without someone feeling like they are being controlled?
This post has lots of questions and rambling in it, so forgive me the stream of consciousness. I find it very encouraging to be at the point of asking those questions without a lot of heat, or feeling vested in the answers that may come out of them. These concepts are at a core level, and will require some additional work and assimilation on my part. All input is welcome!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Once again, I find myself in the position of wanting to do a post primarily to bump a picture down further from the top. lol Actually, I enjoy the visual interest that S provides when he does these pictures, but that last one was a doozie!
So today, I had a date with B, more solo time than I have had before. S and I have been dating her for a couple months now, but things have really been picking up in the past month. He and she have had more time to put into it, so I was starting to feel a bit behind the relationship curve and asked for some time for just the feminine energy today. It was really lovely to feel and see that warm intimacy and hot intensity flow, as well as the easy conversational tone and sexy kink. S joined up for part of the time, and that dynamic with the three of us is also pretty exceptional! It's really good to be in a place of feeling like stretching a little isn't going to tear me, although I'm pretty wiped from running a bunch of domme energy today. Sleep will be welcome...
PG is out this evening with K and that connection seems to be growing nicely as well! The scheduling is getting a bit heinous with all of us wanting time out and about with others, but I'm excited that the new home is feeling good and there's a lot of positive family vibe that is continuing to grow, as well as seeing all of us change in ways that are allowed by the environment we're creating.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
It's become apparent to me over the years that there are so very many forms of communication these days that finding the one that fits for two or more people can be very complex at times, and can limit whether you connect with a specific person. Example: Let's say you meet a lovely new prospective partner at an event, you talk face to face, really enjoy the interaction and decide to try to stay in touch and build on that initial attraction moving forward. Do you use email? Phone? Chat? Blackberry? If your favorite forms of communication don't match up well, it can kill the potential relationship, due to lack of nurturance and contact.
This can also be seen in schedule compatibility. Frankly, at this point, if you aren't schedule compatible, even if I'm really attracted to you, I'm not going to do much with it. It is horribly frustrating to be hashing out a potential date and be looking a month down the road when the stars align perfectly to allow such an event to happen! Where is the sweet spot? The overlap points in schedule, communication styles and motivation HAS to be there to make it happen.
Motivation style is something I see primarily as an issue with other women. Typically, for women the dynamic is skewed to allow us to be passive, or allow the men to come to us, that when we're dating another woman, few of us are comfortable pursuing, or at least making equal efforts, to initiate dates and set things up. If no one is chasing, no one gets anywhere!
Finding that zone where you and one or more other people have enough stylistic commonalities to make a viable relationship start can be a bit daunting. The best I have come up with is to be clear with yourself as to what YOU are willing to do, what steps you are going to take, and what level of effort is outside your capacity to provide. If you don't know what you won't do, you can't convey that clearly to potential dating partners and no one's expectations will be in line with the realities of life.
If we lived in a utopian sort of world where sheerly being attracted to someone would make it a good idea to date them, life would be sweet. However, we live in a world of schedules, roles and responsibilities, where the fact that someone lives 90 minutes away can be a dealbreaker, where not returning phone calls in kind can sour the interest of another, and where one person can't drive the whole boat on their own.
Stylistic differences are an important facet to consider when looking at new people, and are something to put thought into before you dive into a relationship that has a very limited lifespan with no room to grow.
Communication, communication, communication. It's the three C's of polyamory. You hear it all the bloody time about how important it is, how vital that you do it, and do it well. You think you're doing pretty well, feel good about how much you've learned, you are able to impart your needs and your wants and boundaries. Or so you think...
Then something happens like last night, where S was out at B's for a date and forgot to let me know he planned on being out all night, home before kids were up. All of those criteria were fine, excepting the part where I didn't know about it ahead of time. So I wake up at unholy-early-o'clock and panic a bit because he's not home, figuring he fell asleep over there and just didn't wake up. Called him and he's on the way home, chipper and perky with NRE. (sigh)
The good parts are that I didn't blow up, and he didn't try to duck out on an apology, and we sorted it all out pretty quickly. The thing is when you're living so close all the time, there are often things that you think you've talked about that haven't actually been verbalized. The "virtual conversation" you had in your head. I think a pre-date briefing will be helpful in the future from/for each of us. Where are you going? Who with? Planning to be back by? Any childcare considerations? Just a quick verbal check-in to make sure that everyone is on the same page in advance. I'll have to remember this as I start getting out more again, whenever that happens!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Moving into this new week, it seems a time for community! We had Sunday dinner with PG's other partner and her kids, and that was another good interaction to our credit. Last night it was off to the poly discussion group! The distribution was a few new to poly types, a returning poly, our little pod and S and myself's new dating partner, and the couple that hosts the group, who we've known about a year now.
PG likes the newbie dynamic and being able to lend our experiences out to others. I appreciate being able to go back and find some of the nuances of the basics that can always use review. S is very up on participating within the community and being a part of a large dynamic. This particular meeting was helpful to me in being able to look at some of the things that have been going on since the move and seeing how far we've come already in that journey. Looking at things and understanding that socks and terms of endearment are good issues to be navigating!
One of the other participants at the meeting is beginning a long-distance relationship right now, which sort of resonated with me. Prior to my relationship with S getting off the ground, my previous poly partner of 6 years was long distance. We are still friendly with each other, but haven't visited in person for over a year now. It was very hard on him (and me) when I decided to move past that relationship, and the distance thing was a factor. Still, you can't look at a 6 year relationship that changed you positively in perpetuity to be a mistake. I learned a lot from that connection, and would never want to give that time back or spend it another way. Listening to the person at the meeting talk about the challenges of connecting via email, chat, cam and phone, it was a flashback for all those evenings sitting by the glow of the monitor and enjoying some very focused and deliberate conversation that you really took the time to choose to have. Looking back, I realize that having the local community to lean into has really made this year possible, but there are things that I miss about that relationship...
Monday, September 15, 2008
Last weekend was a big lovetribe event that we all attended. It was sort of odd, as the majority of our metamours and their other connections were also present, and other than S and I, no one was going "together" to the party. Welcome to big incestuous ball that is the local poly community! In the past couple of years, it seems as though we've gotten a toe into most of the local circles, directly or indirectly.
My goal for myself for the evening was to be open, whatever form that took. I sort of thought that I would end up making some new connections and likely follow them to consumation, but was still feeling a little wiggly around the edges about exposing myself to outside energy. A complicating factor for the evening was that I had committed to be an "angel", or party monitor for a portion of the evening, so was also a bit distracted from being fully present for myself.
PG brought someone along for the evening, although they weren't there as a couple, so that was a little bit of an odd dynamic. His long-term partner, G, was also there, along with her other connection.
It seemed a night for trying to get things back on track and into connection, working on resolving damaged trust and just allowing things to move in new directions. My big step for the evening, which turned out to be a smaller one than I had intended, was to kiss someone new to me on that level, although I've had a good amount of exposure to them previously in more casual context. ;) It was a lovely kiss, and I was interested to see where that might lead, but it turned out that all the party duties on both our parts tossed a lot of interference in that dynamic. Fortunately, there's always another opportunity in the future to pursue that more fully. I think...
S and I had a very enjoyable time playing together, and I'm such a big exhibitionist that the whole party environment works really well for me! Fortunately, he likes to show off my responses, so that leads to a really fun dynamic for both us and the voyeuristic types in the crowd. ;)
One of my favorite features at this event was the sybian. I had a nice ride early on in the evening, which amped me up pretty well. This also lead to the last event of the evening for me, which was an extended ride with PG driving the machine for me. That was the first time we've done much play together at a party in a while, so that dynamic was really great! He likes to push me and I was definitely getting a "can you take it?" vibe, which juices me up really well. All in, with the various opportunities for the evening, I'm pretty sure I maxxed out on orgasms well into the triple digit range. A VERY good night!
More important though, was the way that G and I (my metamour with PG) were able to interact in a warm and loving fashion, beginning the process of healing the rift after the split they went through early this summer. She was also over yesterday for a family lunch and we had good comfortable conversation and interaction. Being able to stack a few really solid good blocks of interaction on top of each other is helpful for me in moving towards rebuilding trust and positive feeling about their relationship. That will take time, but this was a move in a good direction! Add on top of that the way both PG and S were so very loving and supportive and fun around this event, and I would definitely give it a high rating for the "great weekend" category!