Standard Operating Procedure

When I was in the Army we had these written manuals for almost everything.  They were called SOP’s or Standard Operating Procedures.  They are the things that explain how everything runs.  Writing an SOP means asking yourself about all kinds of conditions and practices and really defining what you know and what you’ve learned to be the best way to do things.  You often revise them, especially if you learn something.  And I realized I have an SOP of sorts for dating.  I’m not new at this anymore and I’ve worked out a few things for me.

SOP circuit
It’s not that I think people would ever need to jump through hoops to date me.  It’s that I’ve just asked myself a lot of questions and I have found some answers now.  Part of that is being an adult for a while.  Part of that is being poly for a while.  Part of that is bitter experience and part of it is reading other’s wisdom, talking to people about what works for them, and thinking about things.  I’ve published 578 blog posts.  I’ve also written 48 drafts that I kept and trashed 3 blogs and made about 10 blog posts private.  That in no way makes me an expert on bupkiss, but it does mean I’ve been thinking.

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A Million Years Ago

shrek far far away

From Shrek- The Far Far Away Sign

A million years ago….

  1. I kissed you in the vacant lot and ran home breathless.
  2. I broke your heart because I wasn’t ready.
  3. I thought this was what relationships were and I didn’t know this was rare and special.  We danced all night.  We made love and when I called it that I didn’t giggle.  We said shit like “soulmates” and “forever” and I didn’t doubt for a second they were real.  Nobody had ever loved like we loved.  We sang songs to each other.  We took baths together and sat there until we were pruny.  You fucked her.  And you lied.  I felt worse about the lie because it meant we weren’t what I thought we were.  I walked away hurt and insecure.  I spent a decade feeling the image of you in an Indian blanket in our cold apartment, silent, as I dropped the key into your lap.
  4. I got her note. She was gone.  She needed to be with him.  She had a family back home. Wouldn’t I please understand?
  5. I fucked him at some party, the entire time wondering if the pool table took quarters… “mmmmhmm.. yes.. oh baby”.. does that pool table take quarters?  What is the mechanism to drop the balls if it doesn’t take quarters?
  6. I wondered if she’d ever love me back.
  7. I wanted to break it off but his dad had just died.  So I cheated. A lot. I felt more and more sick and when I broke up with him I thought I was doing him a favor.
  8. I couldn’t sleep with him because it would have been too real.
  9. She played with me next to my bed and I thought she liked me, but we never talked again.
  10. I liked him and he liked her and she liked someone else.
  11. He was a lot worse than I thought.  He was a lot worse.  He left a scar on my back from the event that changed my life.  He committed suicide years later, after hurting a lot more girls, and eventually going to prison.  He got out and killed himself.  I felt relieved that he wouldn’t hurt more girls and ashamed I’d been silent and hurt those girls.
  12. I waited a long time to touch him because I wanted to do things differently and when I finally touched him it just didn’t work and we couldn’t make it work so I broke his heart.
  13. He was my friend.  He was deeply honest and really flawed and fucked like a demon.  We talked about EVERYTHING with utter and complete honesty that wasn’t brutal because we bore no brutality.  It was the most comfortable I’d ever been with my body in his pure love of it.  You’re supposed to learn to love your body but I loved mine because he did.  We kept the lines really straight and loved each other for years, around and in between all the others, coming home.  We’ll never be lovers again, but I still consider him a friend.
  14. He left me for groupies and I met the women he’d cheated on me with when her boyfriend was cheating with me and I didn’t know it.  She and I were great friends for years.
  15. I loved him for his letters and got swept up in them and the things he created in them.  It was too late when I’d realized my mistake and I spent a long time trying to stick to my mistake.  When I could no longer be faithful and couldn’t be unfaithful, I left.  I like seeing his happy pics on Facebook.
  16. I never thought it would happen again, but it did.  I met him at Starbucks.  We shared a humor and a passion and loved each other through a million challenges and rewards.  We wrote love poems and songs and gave each other gifts of 100 kisses on post-its and notes hidden in lunches and suitcases and pockets.  For years I knew great love and great passion.  He was my best friend and I was his.  And we grew and grew and grew.  I wish I made him dinner more.  I’ve only learned that these past few years and I wish I’d learned it with him.  Some of the greatest and the worst days of my life were spent with him, and the love we had carried us through them.  With the end I wondered if I’d imagined it, but my box of letters tells me I didn’t. The passion never died until finally, that last year it did.  He told me she was too much and there was nothing left.  He wrote a poem based on a speaker we’d heard together when we were first dating, and redid it at times over the years to delight me. He used it again with the next women, which did not delight me. I don’t understand what happened really.  I make up theories and live with them and discard them because I’ll never know why.  I’m trying to accept that but it sits uneasily without ever having had my closure.  I read the things he said, to me, and later to others, the lies. He was intentionally cruel and admitted it.  And I’ll never understand.  That is not the man I loved. He replaced me and then replaced her.  He lied a lot to them too, and I’ll never understand it.  This is not the man I loved.  He is not the person I loved for so long and so well.
  17. In the midst of all of that I fell for him.  He seemed sweet and honest and clear, a relief in troubled times.  I loved his dazzling mind and the force of his love.  I fell hard and had a hard time letting go when the mask fell.  But I did.
  18. I fell for him so slowly and so well, my love sneaking in on quiet cat feet.  It took a long long time to know him and I’ll always be learning.  His kisses stayed dizzying, and his arms became home.  I love our adventures and our quiet nights and that we can get lost in each other doing absolutely nothing.  And then he told her he’d leave me if she asked him to.  I’m still not totally sure why it changed either, but suddenly all the things we were talking about for our future were different.  All of the little plans we were playing with were off the table.  He didn’t want what he said he wanted anymore.  Or he wanted it differently.  I wondered if I got this love wrong, if it wasn’t what it seemed.  I didn’t get it wrong.  It’s just complicated to live with all of our commitments and honor and complexities of life and history and it’s hard to navigate for women with a past.  There are a lot of moving parts.  It’s beautiful and hard sometimes, but he’s worth it.  Eventually it came that he would not trade me for the wishes of anyone on Earth, and I know it in my marrow.  He’s part of the family I’m making.  I sometimes miss the surety of when I was a girl, or think maybe other ways might be easier.  But then reality reminds me that relationships are always complicated.  Grown up love is complex and beautiful and long-awaited and deep… if you’re lucky.

I’m lucky.

shrek and fiona in love

Shrek and Fiona ride off into the sunset. From the movie Shrek and found at http://basementrejects.com/

 

I'm Actually a Romantic

I have a cold, so maybe this is the meds talking.. but I have to confess that I’m a romantic.  Don’t fucking laugh.  I’m serious.

Even a poly girl.. shit.. maybe especially a poly girl is prone to this.  My heart is huge.  My heart is wide.

Even a poly girl.. shit.. maybe especially a poly girl is prone to this.  My heart is huge.  My heart is wide.

Traveler and I are deeply, madly, passionately in love with each other.  It took 8 billion years, but he says it all the time.  I’ve always been a mush who says it.  Such proclamations don’t come easy to him.  He told me 72,000 ways that he loved me and I finally heard it.  But I needed him to TELL me.  I need the words.  And they came.  They come more easily now.  I need him to say, out loud, what he feels and he does.

And yet, I’ll admit, I have a yearning.  It isn’t because of a lack.  It’s not because Traveler doesn’t go there or isn’t enough.  It’s because of me.

I want more.

I want to find my other love.  I want to watch TV curled up with her, or go to the library on Saturdays with him.  I want to be too lazy on a rainy afternoon together.  I want to hit the art show.  I want to say mushy mushy things to each other with our limbs entertwined.  I want all of it.  Traveler is mine.  He is fully and completely mine even if he isn’t mine alone.  And I am his.  I am utterly and totally his.  But I have this wide wide heart.  I have this well of love that constantly fills, and I want more.

cuddling girls

girls snuggling found at polyvore.com

Even after all these years in open relationships that still feels subversive.  How can I be so greedy?  How can I have this.. THIS!.. and ever want more.  Am I unsatisfied? No.  If the other loves never came I have to admit that would be perfectly okay.  I have my life.  I have my life with Traveler.  And it’s everything.   I told him the other day when we were laying on the couch just laughing and holding each other that I’ve never been loved like this.  I’ve never had a love that held me like that.  He holds me in a way that makes me feel like I am filling.  I am flooded with all the good hormones and I feel myself glow.

We were talking about nothing really, just laughing and petting each other. There wasn’t any music on and the TV was off and we’d be laying there just talking for a long long time and neither one of us wanted out.  I’ve never had that.  I’ve never had the love that doesn’t pull away.  I’ve spent my life apologizing for being too affectionate.  I didn’t know how much that hurt.  I pulled away to sip my wine and he curled around me the second the glass touched down, unconsciously and not breaking the stride of his conversation.  And I lay curled against him smiling and laughing with him until it was getting really late and we needed to go to bed.

And

I have more to give.

The trick is to remain open but not to chase it.  But I’m calling it to me.  I am a greedy lover.  I want the whole thing again.  The first step is admitting it.

I’m a romantic.

Alright already

One of the things I have tried to do here is being unflinchingly honest.  I try to tell the truth, maybe ESPECIALLY, about the things that I feel might make me look bad.  I accidentally found this to be a part of my niche in writing a blog.  So here goes.

I’m lonely once in a while.  It’s hard to be here sometimes and I don’t like it.  The price of loving someone who loves someone else is that they need to spend time with them.  Traveler and Quinky Girl need nights together.  Duh.  Generally this is awesome. I like some alone time in my week.  I can count on one hand the times Traveler and I have spent more than 3 nights a week together, and I can tell you each one was bliss.

But this is a thing us single poly’s can have that our married and cohabitating partners don’t.  I didn’t understand this when I was married and I don’t think a lot of partnered poly’s do.  Not really.

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Domestic Bliss

domestic bliss handsOne of the things a non-nesting partner often doesn’t have access to is all the little domestic things.  And one of the things I love about dating people who aren’t strictly hierarchical, and someone who is my partner, is that I get some of that.  One of the reasons I’m always saying Quinky Girl is a such a great metamour is that she includes me and we can plan together and work together.  There’s a lot of reasons, but this is one. Continue reading

One Legged Man- Ass Kicking

colors are loaded into a palm of a hand for Holi

colors are loaded into a palm of a hand for Holi

Holy fuck-balls people.  I overbooked myself.  My loves are overbooked.  My calendar looks like a sidewalk after an Indian Holi celebration (where they throw all the colors).  Traveler and I haven’t had a regular weekend date in a month.  And I’m not even getting the short end of the stick!  He and Quinky Girl are in a similar boat for the most part.

But seriously.  We haven’t had anything like dinner, an evening, and breakfast in a month.  We spent some time together on Sunday and it was the first day we’ve had in a long long time where we were just together, and even that we spent it working.  It was so fucking nice just to sit on a couch with him.

We’re seeing each other, sometimes 3 days a week.  But it’s including a lot of parties, Burning Man events, yard work, potlucks, group things and all-together-get-togethers.  If we didn’t all eat breakfast together sometimes neither Quinky or I would eat a breakfast with him each week.  Often we are cramming a bagel in our mouths as we hit the road.  It’s crazy.   Continue reading

No Tit for Tatty

It’s easy to get panties in a bunch when we are titting-for-tatting or feeling we aren’t getting the whole story.  It’s easy to create a rivalry that doesn’t exist if we make it seem like the unfair or unpleasant things come from someone else.  People start to feel like “hey, wait a minute”.. and our brains work to create problems that don’t exist because we humans are good at finding explanations for our feelings.

Old hats in a black and white pic hang on a hat stand from https://k0nsl.org/blog/k1/uploads/2013/08/tit_for_tat_k0nsl.jpg

Old hats in a black and white pic hang on a hat stand from https://k0nsl.org

For example: If you tell me that you are going out with someone and you are excited and like this and that and expect this to happen, and you go and have a good time and roughly the things you said would happen happen, I feel safe and included and informed and like I’m on the inside.  I am informed and feel no need to guess or create explanations for my feelings of uncertainty.  I know the facts.  I’m good.

If however, you try to spare my feelings by saying you’re going out with this person but you don’t know really if you feel like it and this person isn’t really all that appealing and nothing is gonna happen, and then you go out and things happen and you clearly are pretty nuts about them, I get scared.  You’re managing me.  You’re trying to downplay what you are feeling or what you want and it doesn’t match what you are telling me.  This makes me feel I can’t trust you and I am on the outside.  I feel scared and not included.  My brain works to explain the gap between what I am being told and what I am observing.  I feel unsafe.

Soooo many times when I communicate poorly I do this.  Continue reading