It’s Complicated

It’s always complicated. Isn’t it?

What is this thing between us? How many millions of ways do we ask this? Does he like me? What does she want? What is happening here? There really aren’t enough words and there are far too many.

 

  • friends with benefits
  • husband
  • friend
  • metamours
  • lovers
  • vixen
  • stag
  • cuckold
  • Dom
  • ex
  • boyfriend
  • unicorn
  • fuck buddy
  • paramour
  • sister wife
  • beau
  • fiance
  • significant other
  • bull
  • cuckquean
  • partner
  • primary
  • side chick
  • play partner
  • protector
  • swing circle
  • knight
  • special friend
  • anchor
  • secondary
  • great love
  • main squeeze
  • baby daddy
  • sugar daddy
  • Dom Daddy
  • baby mama
  • boytoy
  • little
  • my little secret
  • beard

Just scratching the surface really.

 

 

Coming Out Sideways

If you don’t deal with feelings they don’t come out the regular way and instead burst a hole to the side, creating a lot more wreckage.

I’ve heard people say they never get jealous and you know.. I don’t usually like to be so harsh.. but fuck you and your self righteous bullshit. I know, I know. I’ll probably get emails or messages about how “no.. I am a special and unique human being and I never get jealous. I might be insecure at times, or something far less stigmatized than jealousy, but I don’t get jealous”.

The people I have really known who say things like this tend to have a jealousy problem. It’s like people saying they hate drama. Drama creators are usually the people you hear vocally spewing about hating all these people with all this drama. They whip everyone around them into drama filled scenes and then moan about the drama, never owning that they draw it to themselves. You can’t stop being a drama llama if you think the drama is always everyone else. I know that I am the maker of most of the drama in my life, either directly or indirectly playing my part, and that’s the first stop toward unraveling drama.

Jealousy is much the same. I don’t care how evolved you are. You will feel jealous at times and if you own it, understand it and will look at it, you won’t stomp over the tender hearts of all in your midst as you passively aggressively exert your desire for control and relief from your jealousy.

We can plan out too, and think how okay things are, only to find these ugly little surprises. All of a sudden we’ll have this thought, or this fear, and that is okay if we can deal with it directly and maturely.

Most of the time I really love watching Traveler fuck a woman we are with. I love seeing his passion from another side. I love knowing how she feels. I love watching their pleasure. It’s hot. But of course I’ve had little moments. I will have more I am sure. Once when it happened I realized it was me pulling away and got back in there and helped. What is NOT okay would be bursting into tears and slamming the door as I storm out in an emotional explosion. It’s okay if later I need to curl up and ask for extra kisses or need to talk about my feelings with my partner or a friend.

In poly I see it often as people display their jealousy by getting territorial or reactive and emotional or withdrawn. Sometimes it involves a lot of insecurity, and sometimes people hide from their jealousy and say they are just a little insecure for a moment.  They do little meddling things to fuck with each other. They keep score. They try to exert control in the other relationship. They get petty. They try to make sure they are given better or best or more. They try to limit others, or sabotage even. I have seen it over and over. It’s corrosive when ignored and even more so when denied, and for what? Foolish pride?

Jealousy is not inherently bad. It can be used as a healthy signal for self-examination and a sign that there is a need to be met. I hate the bad rep jealousy gets because it isn’t all bad and it can be a really helpful and healthy reminder.

But I’m telling you… jealousy is a dirty bomb when allowed to explode. Get it out, or it’s coming out sideways.  Just sayin’

 

Disgruntled

Okay.. you guys have heard me bitch about this a million times, so I’ll TRY to keep this brief.

Sometimes things in open relationships chap my ass. I’m not the only one who gets a chapped ass, which I understand. The live in partner gets an ass chapping about all of their time being chore time. And the person with people pulling on their time gets a chapped ass because where is there “me time”, and how can they possibly please everyone? And the person at the disadvantage gets a chapped ass because they have to have all these little unfairnesses and the disadvantage sucks after a while. It’s life. The world is full of ways to get butt hurt. But dammit.. my ass is chapped now, so let’s look at a way to be a little less chappy, eh?

  1. Don’t put shit on the calendar for other people without asking them. You don’t own your partners and they are managing their own time, hopefully. (Exception.. if you have children and the children need their parents, then it’s perfectly normal to put that right on the calendar without asking and tell your co-parent what you scheduled so they are aware.)
  2. Don’t have to have the most. Especially don’t have to have the most all the time. I’m not saying you can’t HAVE the most.. but don’t HAVE TO HAVE the most all the time. It’s sucks.
  3. Other people are humans and are worthwhile and just as important as you. We might all have different kinds of relationships and different responsibilities and levels of commitment, and things might not be “fair”, but all the humans in these systems matter and should have consideration.
  4. Don’t cancel on one person for another. I mean it. Really really really try to NEVER cancel on a partner, especially for another.
  5. Don’t eat into your partner’s time with their other plans. Save your talks and snuggles and fights and catching up for your days. A quick message or text isn’t a huge deal, but let them have their time if they have time with others. Don’t make them leave later so you can catch up or leave their plans early if you don’t actually really and truly need them.Everyone’s time is important.
  6. Don’t lie. It comes out a lot and is hurtful in all situations, but when your commitment is trust, rather than sexual fidelity, and you break that, it’s damaging and hurtful to a higher degree. Don’t lie.
  7. Keep your agreements. If they don’t work for some reason then talk about that, but if you have an agreement, honor it until you change it with whoever you have the agreement with.  Seriously.. things change and are different in the moment sometimes and you need to renegotiate. But until you do renegotiate, keep your agreements.
  8. Be in the moment, enjoying the person you are with. Don’t be at a club having sex with one person with your head on a swivel for what else there is. Don’t be all cagey to make plans in case better things come up later. Don’t make people your fall back positions. People aren’t filler. Even if you are only with a person for a very specific casual sex act and will never see them again, honor the time you have together and BE THERE.

That’s good enough for the moment I guess… but what would you add? Any good ways to avoid chapping asses?

Starting the NEW blog

 

Some years ago we started asking ourselves questions. Does monogamy actually work for us? What does it mean if we want to touch other people? Have sex with other people? Have relationships or even love for more than one person?  Would having an orgasm with someone somehow erase what I have with this other person? Would it really?

Could I have sex with others?  Could people I care about have sex with others and we’d still be us?  What if I loved more than one person? At the time I was married, and swinging appealed to me. I had wanted to be a swinger pretty much since I’d learned about what it was. My husband at the time and I discussed it. He was interested at first, but quickly realized he would rather have relationships with others, and we learned about and became poly. And well.. I’m not going to lie. For a lot of reasons, not all of them polyamory, my marriage exploded.

But I was here and I was still poly. I had the capacity and interest in relationships with more than one person at a time. And over the years I had these polyamorous relationships. The most people I was ever dating at once was four, and I do not recommend it. It’s exhausting and basically I was always disappointing somebody.

I read and read and blogged and blogged and lived and talked and tried, and found that hierarchies weren’t for me. I didn’t like primaries and secondaries and never did. Even my husband and I when we first opened up felt that this wouldn’t work for us.  This doesn’t mean that my existing relationships and long term loves don’t have priority with me or that they don’t matter. I am very into honoring commitments and the investment of love and time and experience.  But I liked anyone I dated to be a whole person and to not be arbitrarily forever limited, no matter what, because someone met someone first. This is long and hard to explain. We’ll come back to it.

So.. I’ve been polyamorous for 5 years. And over the years I’ve had occasion to explore, my sexuality, life and all kinds of things. I’ve discovered I’m still interested in swinging and joined a club. I’ve also discovered I’m kinky, and explored that a little bit too. And over time I just kinda discovered that I didnt’ need and didn’t fit super neatly into any tiny box.

Like most humans, I’m complicated. I’m guessing so are you.

So finding myself at need to create a new blog for a variety of reasons I thought about the next chapter. What did I want to write? It wasn’t going to be just a blog on polyamory. And it wasn’t a blog just on swinging. Or a blog even just on dating.

Love, Sex and Relationships have always interested me and are fodder for an infinite stream of thought. It’s also a stream for profound connection and I’ve made so many friends here on this journey of ethical non-monogamy, of honest open relating. And it occurred to me this new little blog could be something else.

I could have blogs on all of these open sex and love and relationships, and could invite a friend to contribute here and there too. We could have interviews and podcasts and links. In non-monogamy, in so many ways we are all defining for ourselves what any of these words and labels mean, and how they fit us, if at all.  And we’re the architects of the connections we are creating. And that’s beautiful but it’s scary and difficult too. And I learn a lot from my friends, and hope you do too.

There’s a weird thing that happens when we start asking ourselves all of these questions. We find and create the love and sex and relationships we crave, and we walk off of the path that doing things the way we were told to creates.  I have found the blogger community so informative and supportive. Starting this new broader blog, I hope that continues.

However you got here and whatever brings you, welcome. I hope to hear from you in comments or emails or on facebook or twitter or any of the other places.

I’m so excited at this next chapter. Here’s to open love and sex and relationships. Here’s to new blogs.

– Thanks for reading!

Holly

He's Getting Remarried

Okay.. so.. I had the 5 year anniversary of my father passing, which was the same day as my old wedding anniversary to my now ex-husband.  If you are just joining this or don’t know the history, my ex and I were together for 13 years, married 11 of it and monogamous about 11 of it. We opened up and became poly, and he left me for his girlfriend that I had also been dating until he was too jealous of her and I to continue. He told me he couldn’t be poly, and then that he could, and again that he couldn’t. He began dating our old dog walker in secret while we were separated but talking about working it out.  We have been apart about 3 years now and are divorced.

third marriage

I did pretty well this anniversary and thought mostly of my father. I miss him, but it was somehow sweet this year to think of him, and not the aching pain of other times in my grief over him. It was good.

I messaged him and learned that he’d proposed to the dog walker and they were engaged. (He and the girl he left me for broke up in October of the year we separated and after we’d decided to divorce, and he’s monogamous with the dog walker since then).

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Veto the Veto

Veto power doesn’t really work. I know a lot of us start out wanting to have some kinda failsafe, some kind of pilot eject button for if things get scary or hard or threaten us. A lot of us start out with a veto.  We say we’ll dip our toes in the pool of poly dating, and if things get hairy or go horribly awry, we’ll pull the rip cord and close up shop or cut off an undesirable partner.  Problem is.. we’re dealing with humans here.

I get it. I do. I get being scared. I get wanting to protect a great relationship to a person you love. I really do understand this. When I opened up with my husband of 11 years I wanted a safety valve too. I wanted to know that if we dated other people we’d be okay. I want to know now while Traveler and I date others that we’ll be okay. But you know… love is risky.

I say love is risky not to warn people against poly or something. I say love is risky because it just is. I think there are ways to protect a relationship as you add others to a point. I think we can make agreements and prioritize making sure we get time with our existing partners and nurture those relationships, no matter how crazy in love we get with a new shiny thing. I think existing partnerships can work to make sure they don’t take each other for granted, and set date nights, and keep pursuing interests and hobbies and choose to keep a space for the people that have stood by us.  I think we can take special care to nurture our connection. I think we can communicate well and often. I think we can do many many many good things as we find and fall in love with new partners.

But I don’t think cutting off new partners is a great idea.

  1. Veto sucks because you are choosing for your partner what they can have in their lives and who they can love to suit your selfish jealousy, fear and insecurity. This is a shitty thing to do to someone you love.
  2. You are saying you know better than your partner. Think about this. Do you really think your partner is a dummy? An oaf? A less-than-complete-adult who cannot decide things for themselves?  If so, why are you committed to a relationship with this person?!?!?
  3. Is it possible that your partner has feelings and thoughts and reasons that you don’t necessarily share? Is it possible THEY are having some need met or growing in some way that they are drawn to that you don’t necessarily share?  I’d think long and hard about yourself if you think you are some “better judge” for your partner than they are for themselves. I have to admit I cringe when people say they know their partner better than their partner knows themselves. Or worse… that they know what is best for their partner.  I gotta call bullshit here.  There is ZERO chance you know more about your partner than they do about themselves. You know what you have experienced with your partner and what they told you and what you’ve observed. You don’t know the innermost workings of your partner better than they know themselves. What an ego.
  4. You might break your partner’s heart.  If they love someone and you cut it off, you are hurting them.
  5. If you and your partner actually respect each other and share your thoughts and observations with each other, isn’t it better to let your partner hear your thoughts and input and decide for themselves? If you have a healthy relationship, why wouldn’t you listen to your partner’s input and respect their thoughts? Traveler doesn’t need a veto, because if he leveled with me about a partner I would listen to and respect his input as the intelligent and capable man I know him to be. We do sometimes see things that people in the rush of new love don’t see. This is truth. But that can be a reason to share your insights with your partner so that they make the best decisions possible for themselves.  Right?  Even if it’s not on your time schedule?
  6. There is a reason your partner was drawn to this person. And there is a reason they want this relationship. You cutting that off doesn’t actually answer that.  Sometimes our partners need to learn a painful lesson and sometimes our job is to support them in doing so.
  7. The person you are vetoing is a human being. They matter too. Or they should. Human beings aren’t put here to spice up your marriage or your life. They have feelings and thoughts and they matter.  If you are upset or jealous or hurt, the answer isn’t to run ramshackle over other humans. It’s to figure out what you need and want in your relationship. The answer to “I’m insecure” isn’t “dump that other bitch”.
  8. Breaking my partner’s heart and demanding control over them doesn’t actually make our connection more secure.
  9. Punishing your partner for doing something bad by calling in your veto card to punish them doesn’t make your relationship better.
  10. Did you really think it was okay to weigh in on relationships you aren’t even a member of?  Our relationship will be hurt if I hurt my partner. If they choose to honor my veto, they may resent me. At the very least they know that *I* broke their heart. If they choose not to honor the veto, now what?  I don’t have a magic wand that lets me make the people I love only want the things I want them to have.

So.. what do I do if my partner is with someone I don’t want to accept or can’t accept?

I share my thoughts with my partner and let them make decisions for themselves. I can stay with them and help them pick up the pieces when they learn this lesson. Or I can choose not to be with my partner if I can’t trust their decisions or deal with the results of them living as they choose to live. I can choose for myself what I am willing to experience.  But I can’t really choose for you. Even if I have a veto and FEEL like I can choose for you, I can’t. And that’s why veto’s don’t work.

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They Can't Take That Away From Me

Man. I’m a nostalgic mf’er these last couple of days.  I made it past my old anniversary without thinking of it.  Part of it is that I’m not really paying attention to the date, what with being on summer break. Part of it is that I think it FINALLY settled. I don’t feel the strong hurt I felt around my divorce, and the way my ex acted. I don’t worry about him as much. I even sort of accept my daughters not being in my life.  It sucked. Of course it sucked. But it is what it is. It’s sad that it ended the way it did, and sad that my ex was that person.

But.. I’m okay, and I’ve been okay for a long time now. The wounds are old.  I’m not saying they’re perfect, but they don’t sting.  A few weeks ago I teared up in the kitchen with Quinky and Traveler. A song Evan loved came on and I hadn’t heard it since we’d parted and I teared up. I realized it was the first time in a long time that I’d teared up about him.  I teared up more maybe because it was a moment when I remembered how much we loved each other, dancing in the kitchen.  I don’t really think about him much, and I don’t think about how we were really at all these days.  I’ve fallen in love again, and I’m a lot happier most of the time.  I love my ex because it’s the way I am built. But it doesn’t hurt anymore.  It’s more just that I hope he’s happy.

I think it’s healthy sometimes when long deep loves change.  In monogamy we stay because of duty, and security, and comfort. In poly sometimes we don’t acknowledge a relationship that isn’t whole. It can hobble along indefinitely because nobody has to be EVERYTHING to anybody, but really because it can be a crutch for not looking at how we love and are loved by THIS one person and how it’s not a whole or functional relationship. Other people fill serious gaps. Continue reading