Keep your eyes on your own cake!

A long time ago, when we first opened up, I was reading everything I could get my hands on about polyamory and open relationships. I read “Sex at Dawn” and “Opening Up” and “The Ethical Slut”, the gold standards of poly/open/swinger lit. I spent oodles of time at Polyamory.org, reading the message boards. I went to munches and meetups and potlucks. Back then, I heard this analogy that jealousy is kinda like cake.

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See, jealousy is kinda like cake. Let’s say you are a big fat delectable chocolate cake with the yummiest icing ever. If I have a piece of cake, and I’m happy with my piece of cake, it’s big enough and has the right amount of icing and whatnot, I don’t care what happens to the rest of the cake. You can cut it into 7 slices or 2. I don’t care. I have my cake and I’m happy. This is how I learned to share. It’s a good analogy.

But.. I gotta add something. I gotta try to keep my eyes on my plate. And I gotta be sure I don’t give someone a nice piece of cake and then parade around in front of them with ever better pieces of cake.

See.. things went really well for a really long time. I was excited when Hubby began seeing RollerGirl. I was excited that they were having great sex. I even had great sex with them as we all dated and became close. I was thrilled that she was a dynamo. I had twinges from time to time, as they fell in love and when he did certain obsessive things like drive an hour and a half to get a hug from her to then drive home.

I was good with Traveler dating his other girl, and his wife, dammit.. his other girl needs a name. Um….Peaches. I was good with Traveler’s wife and his gal Peaches. He wasn’t descriptive, but I knew that they had a sexual relationship at first and it sounded fun.  Yay. I was even happy with Great Date dating a very attractive exotic young thing. Sure.. I had twinges, but really nothing too huge or unmanageable. I was mostly happy for him too. I’m pretty sure I never cried or was very upset.

Then.. I started looking at my plate, and their plate and my plate.. and sometimes I didn’t like the comparison. Hubby stopped having sex with me when we stopped having sex with RollerGirl together after a threesome where he got jealous. At first I didn’t worry. I was NOT hurting for sex, and our relationship was still good. Then things began to shift. Hubby began talking to me about all these promises he wanted to make RollerGirl to see only her. That chapped my ass something fierce. I did not expect to open up my marriage so my Hubby would be a new monogamous relationship with his girlfriend. I mean.. if they just weren’t dating others then that’s fine. But they were talking about it every week and getting more and more intense. It became impossible for them to date anyone else if they wanted to. Later he told me a few times he was just so consumed with her that there was no room left, even for me. I’m not totally sure how it happened, but she had all of the cake.

ImageI started to wonder what she had that I didn’t. He would come home with descriptions of things they had done, many of them things he made fun of me for suggesting. He’d gleefully talk about how amazing their sex life is or how he’d cuddled her for so long. And I’d look at my empty crummy plate.

ImageThen, I looked at Peach’s plate, and this past week at Great Date’s new gal’s plate.

Great Date began dating this woman.. hmm.. PolyV. She’s lovely, smart, funny, and has been poly a while. She lives about 10 minutes from him, and is into a ridiculous amount of the same stuff as he is, like way more even that he and I, I think. They went out.. and then again a few days later.. and then she invited him to come work from home with her all day. Then there was a snafu and she was bringing him morning coffee and snuggling him before I came over for my date. They were making plans to work together and date and have lunches. I freaked.

I dated Great Date for a couple of months before I was able to see him more than once a week. I just started having two dates a week a few months ago, and we are 8 months in. We JUST began talking about seeing each other other times in the week, for dinners and polycule events.  Great Date and I talked a lot about how important it was that we had moved slowly and how much he planned to do the same with his new girls, but I was utterly thrown off guard by how things were actually happening. What happened to controlling for New Relationship Energy and infatuation? Why was I getting excited after 9 months of dating to have more than two times seeing him a week and she got that in week one?

My cake, which I had previously celebrated and loved, looked really really paltry all of a sudden. My brain whispered that PolyV was getting such access because she’s better. I would now watch Great Date do everything I ever wanted, with PolyV. I wasn’t thinking about the trip we had planned for next weekend, or how much I loved him and he loved me. I wasn’t thinking about our amazing connection or ridiculously hot sex, or our dreams for our future. I was watching all of that disappear. All of a sudden he would be seeing her for like 2 dates a week and coffees and lunches or quick dinners. So much for me seeing him more. What happened to taking it slow? What happened to all the talks we had about how he’d build his new relationships much like we built ours? (In his defense I am not sure we were talking about the same thing in those conversations.)

I talked to Great Date about all of this, and it was so hard, being so vulnerable and telling him what I was feeling. I felt like crying with him or showing my ass would only drive him further into PolyV’s close and wonderful arms. But I trusted him.

He was reassuring and helpful. I really just need a little slow down, a little time to adjust to this new person and this draw on him, and he agreed sweetly to temporarily limit seeing her to twice a week, just to slow down a teeny bit and allow me to work on my shit and only for a few weeks. I don’t want to waste this time, so I’ve been processing like a mad-woman. I want to be sure I use the time wisely.

The fact is that he will see her more often that me, and almost right away. She will not have to build things slowly with him as I did. I was wrong to assume she would. Great Date is in a different place today that he was when we got together. I still think it’s unwise to see each other too much too early on, but I can’t run and don’t want to run Great Date’s relationships. I had a chance to talk to PolyV and we hit it off. She’s a lovely person and I’m really grateful he’s dating a smart poly gal.

PolyV and I didn’t talk about the slowdown, except to have me thank her for being cool about it. I am coming to terms. It’s one of those cases where reality isn’t going to match my expectations and where I don’t get to or even want to have deciding factor on how things will play out. Great Date deserves a chance to prove he isn’t Hubby and conduct his affairs however he sees fit. Nothing he’s ever done indicates he’s anything like Hubby or that he will cast me aside as Hubby did. I want it not to be the case that Hubby’s actions affect me, but they just do. I’m working on it and making progress. It’s still hard, and it will be. I don’t like being so vulnerable, but I have to take this chance. I need to give Great Date the room and support to build whatever he will with PolyV. There are some poly folk who would say I should be happy for him if he WAS so happy with her that he no longer needed or wanted me, and you know.. I’d like to kick those poly folk in the shins. I do want Great Date’s happiness and it does make me happy, but I deserve and am allowed to want my happiness too.

We’re figuring it out, through work and compromise and extending trust. It’s fucking hard! But it’s also so damn worth it. Now, if I could just go back to my lovely lovely piece of cake….I’m trying to keep my eyes on my piece of cake.

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8 Comments

  1. Good analogy! But I think the thing that helps avoid this ‘cake watching’ thing is accepting the fact that everyone has cake and that the quantity/quality of the others’ cakes aren’t all that important. I think that because a lot of us are conditioned to want the best and the most of something, we overlook the simple fact that, yeah, I have some cake, too; it might not be the best or the biggest… but I have cake… and there are a great many people who do not and cannot have cake.

    Absolutely loved this one… but did it have to be chocolate cake?

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    • Oh man.. I replied to you and it was lost and I didn’t notice. I thought you made a really good point about this. It is good to appreciate having your connection and relationship at all. This quantifying thing is silly. It’s not a race. I don’t have to be first or best. I can appreciate the unique relationship I have with the people I am relating to.
      And about the chocolate.. do you prefer another flavor? Because our cake can be whatever we make it, right? Our blogging relationship here can be like… um.. pineapple upside-down cake? Or Ben and Jerry’s Icecream. MMM.

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      • If you were to stick with the cake analogy – and the chocolate notwithstanding – don’t look at the end result – the finished cake – but pay attention to what the ingredients are that goes into making the cake in the first place. It is a formula – baking is a precise thing to do with measurements and the like – so if you get it right, the cake turns out perfect; get the formula wrong at any step in its creation and you have a shitty cake – and that includes getting the icing on it as well.

        So, in this, quality ingredients along with careful and precise measurements and stuff produces the cake that YOU want to have… and if someone wants some of your cake, sure, why not, because you’ve baked a cake that was meant to be shared and if you are sharing it, isn’t everyone eating the same cake?

        And I happen to like pineapple upside down cake AND Ben and Jerry’s ice cream… so we’re good, right? I’m just one of those people who ain’t all that fond of chocolate cake…

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  2. This post does an excellent job showing some of the difficult parts of polyamorous relationships. Some of our fears, unfounded or not. Poly is hard. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your struggles with the rest of us.

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  3. Pingback: Your Ex | Primal Night's

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