Friday, June 15, 2012


I run a discussion group which meets once a month to discuss ethical non-monogamy, and I have been thinking lately about what that actually means, and how hard it is to live up to sometimes. This was brought on by a temptation that I faced recently which would have been unethical in several different ways—none of which mattered in the moment. I would have gone ahead and fucked the person I wanted to fuck if we had been in any kind of position to make it happen, and in the weeks since this meeting I have had to fight every single day to keep myself from putting us in that position.

A large part of me can’t but feel hypocritical, but I keep trying to remind myself that I am human and more than capable of making mistakes.

I also have to keep reminding myself that no matter how much I want this person, and no matter how amazing the sex would be and feel, to be non-ethical would feel much worse.

But—if we find ourselves in that position again, I, well, I just don’t know.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Settling down

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a varied, and often complicated, romantic history. I have been fielding a lot of questions recently—due largely to the OK Cupid experiment—about what exactly I am looking for now—here is that answer:

I don’t know.

Okay, that is far too simplistic, but it is true--mostly. Recently I have started to realize that maybe, just maybe, I am ready to settle down a bit. But what in the hell does that mean?

It means I want a primary relationship. I want a man, or possibly a woman, who is single and who understands ethical non-monogamy.

I want someone who can accept that I will most likely already be in relationships of various types when we get together. One of my sexual/play relationships just ended—or at least got put on hold when he moved across the country—so currently I have one occasional play/sexual partner, and one potential sexual partner—I have no idea how those relationships will evolve, or what new relationships I may get involved in. What I do know is that I will probably not be open to the idea of dropping all current relationships for someone, though I would certainly put things on hold if it looked like there was some serious potential that needed proper concentration and attention.

I want someone who understands that I do not sit still well, and that occasionally I go to work and get asked questions like “how would you like to spend two months in Siberia?” The answer, by the way, to questions like that will always be yes.

I want someone who is open to kink—if not participating in it, then at least realizing that I will be participating with others.

I want someone who is interested in building something amazing, but who realizes that we will not complete each other.

I want someone to wake up next to, to watch, and mock, television with, to cook for, to do all of those sappy little relationship things with (yes, I am a romantic at heart—shhhhh).

The thing is, though, that I do not NEED any of that—and I like that. I have never had a problem being alone, and I do not need a relationship to validate my life. When, and if, I find the person with whom I want to settle down, it will be bullshit free.

That is what I want.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Anger and letting go

I don’t process negativity well, and I have some pretty major control issues, so anger is close to impossible for me to let in because it is both extreme negativity and a loss of control. Thankfully, this isn’t generally a problem because I have few reasons for genuine anger in my life. But, well, sometimes life gets messy--especially when relationships are ending.

Any break-up comes with negativity—with J and L I had anger to work through, but I did not allow myself to immediately feel that anger, or any negativity, really, beyond sadness. My focus in the days and weeks after was on maintaining the relationships on a friendship level and making sure that the other two people involved were in a good place. To do this I had to put much of my own shit aside.

Unfortunately, what happens when I try and bury my own feelings is that eventually they come out in a way that allows for little control, so I risk burning the bridges that I was so carefully protecting.

A few weeks ago I was dealing with some fairly heavy stuff in my life—my planned two months in Siberia got postponed until September (after I had already quit my job and dropped my classes), and I once again had a bit of a breast scare, so I spent a week being poked, and prodded, and photographed. All of this acted as a catalyst for the anger toward L that I had been keeping in check for the last few weeks.

I could have eventually worked through it on my own, and I did try to avoid her because I knew it was there and what it could do, but she pushed and I lost it—I just sort of blew up and let it all come out.
I don’t like that I went there. I don’t like that I created a situation for which I felt I had to apologize. I don’t like that there will always now be this dark spot on the relationship. But, it was just so damn cathartic. This had to happen—I recognize that. I needed to let go of this relationship, and I couldn’t do that as long as this anger was a part of me.

Now, it is time to move on.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ok Cupid Experiment

So—I recently tried this Ok Cupid thing. Quite a few of my friends use it, so I was aware of its existence, but I didn’t take the plunge myself until I was sitting around at 2:00 a.m. and drinking wine with a friend not long after the last break-up. He suggested it—mostly so he could see what my answers to the questions would be—and I was feeling just silly enough to go for it.

Here is my experience in the first few weeks:

First, those questions are addicting. I think I have answered about 600 of them--it became somewhat like a video game as I worked to get my match percentage higher. Right now there is a guy in Oregon who is a 99.85% match (call me!).

I have been contacted by quite a few people (I would say it is probably about an 80/20 male/female ratio), and for the most part they have been positive.

Of course there have been a few less-than-promising emails (little tip—do not send a message to a woman you don’t know and open with “hello, princess”), but there have also been some great conversations, and a few pleasant hours spent over dinner and window shopping, and a couple of possible somethings.

I am finding that there are a great many intelligent, fun, geeky, attractive, and slightly odd men in the Cleveland area (who knew?).

It also turns out that quite a few of the people I have already played with and/or fucked are listed as my possible matches, so I guess my choices have been validated. lol

The bottom line is that I my experience has been pleasant enough that I will happily continue to log in and answer questions, and emails, and see where it all leads.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Okay then

Last week my blog post was all about my current relationship, how much I love it, and how much I did not want it to change. That night we broke up.

Well played, Universe, well played.

So, this week I am at a bit of a loss in terms of what to write. This is my 3rd break-up in less than a year (fourth if you consider that I just broke up with a couple). And it is the second time in two months that I am going through this. I am a wee bit tired, and slightly shell-shocked. I figure it is time to take stock a bit.

I am not someone who hopes to forget past relationships or remove those people from my life. If I have loved someone I do not see how it would be possible for them to no longer be a part of my world. I am still friends with the ex from 7 months ago, still very good friends with the ex from 2 months ago, and the relationship with the two most recent exes is working on becoming whatever kind of friendship it is going to become—but for the moment, anyway, I will still be a bridesmaid in their wedding.

This basically means that at the end of all of this I have four people in my life who have shared time, and space, and energy, and love with me. I have four people who have seen behind the curtain and gotten to really know me.  I have four people who have taught me a ridiculously varied number of things, and who will, I am sure, continue to teach me for years to come—and I have four people who are a permanent part of my ever-expanding poly web.

I can live with that.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jealousy and change

I have been poly for a very long time, and I have always prided myself on my general lack of jealousy--I have had many bouts of envy, but not so much jealousy. Recently, however, I found out that I do indeed have a jealous bone in my body. This does not make me happy.

I found this out when J told me that he is speaking to another woman. It is very early in the relationship--they are old friends who have just started texting/flirting--but when he told me, I had a very powerful that seriously fucked with my head. It took me about 30 minutes to work out my actual issue, but weeks to process it.

What I realized is that my jealousy in this case is rooted in the fear of change. I really love my current relationship. I enjoy what we have, and the time we spend together, and I would like it to continue for the foreseeable future, so when J told me that he was in the early stages of texting/flirting with someone I saw a change that I was not ready for about to happen. I worried that he--well, both he and L--would meet another woman and not want me anymore. I worried that someone younger, less crazy, more available, more whatever would end us, and that even if she didn’t, she would still end what we are currently—things would change.

I don't want to be that person. I know that J and L love me. I know that they aren't looking to replace me. I know that keeping them from exploring other relationships won't make my relationship stronger or more secure.

The funny thing, at least to me, is that I am a woman who thrives on change. My life changes on a regular basis, and I am very good at adapting to changing circumstances--but for some reason I am less flexible in my relationships.

I am polyamorous, and have recently embraced my bisexuality fully, so it is not as if I need, or could even deal with, a static relationship. But I need time to process and enjoy whatever relationship I am in before that relationship starts changing.

My whole life is crazy, so I tend to look at my relationship(s) as my anchor. This is the area when I really need stability--not unchanging stability--but stability. For me that stability is only possible if I have time to process and adapt, and to work out my feelings before change happens. Sadly, instead of just voicing that need when faced with possible change, I went to an angry place that brought unnecessary negativity into my relationship, at least for a time.

This will most likely happen again until I get a full grip on my jealousy/change issues, but at least now I am aware of their existence and have therefore taken away some of their power.

Friday, February 17, 2012

On being alone

I realized while driving in the car the other day that Alanis Morissette's song “You Oughta Know” is at least partially responsible for the way I approach relationships. This song is about a girl who is hurt so badly by a lover leaving her that she confronts the man and his new girlfriend at dinner to explain to him how much she hates him and just how badly he hurt her and fucked with her head (the fact that the man in question is Uncle Joey from Full House fucks with my head on a whole other level). I knew as soon as I heard this song that I never wanted to be that girl.

Actually, I knew that long before that song came out because I grew up surrounded by girls whose world ends when a relationship ends. I think at the heart of this disorder is the inability to be alone, and, as a result of that, a tendency to place far too much of yourself in the relationship and too much responsibility for your own happiness on the other person.

My parents divorced when I was 10 or so, and as the children stayed with my father my mother went off to marry a man who was, well, not so nice to her, but seemed very interested in being nice to her daughters. She stayed with this man for years not because she loved him, and I don’t think just because she was afraid of him, but because she did not want to be alone. She did not get the courage to leave until she met her third husband who, thankfully, turned out to be a pretty decent guy.

Then there is my older sister who got married at 18 to another not-so-nice man, then left him to marry yet another, then finally left him to marry her own decent guy. I watched countless aunts and cousins cry over men and lose all sense of self-worth when their relationships ended. None of these women were capable of being alone, and even as a young girl I just did not understand how they could function.

I love being in a relationship. I am completely in love right now and certainly do not see that changing any time soon, but I don’t believe that one and one make one, or that I am incomplete without a partner. I am prepared if this relationship should end. I don’t mean that I want it to end, or that I expect it to end, or that I wouldn’t be crushed for a time if it did end. It just means that there is a part of me that acts as a shield to make sure that if it does end I will not go all Morissette on anyone’s ass.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Expanding web

Recently my poly web expanded as I started dating someone who has been a part of my family for quite some time on a friendship-love level. We have known for awhile, almost from the time we have known each other, that we wanted to date, and we always kind of assumed that we would, but life, relationships, and circumstances kept giving us reasons to not go forward.

In the last few weeks the two of us—separately and simultaneously—came to the same decision: if we didn’t go forward and explore our possible romance soon we would forever be in friend territory, and this is something that neither of us want.

Well, let me explain. We would both be happy to be friends for the rest of our lives, and if this whole romantic love thing doesn’t work out the plan is to remain friends—but we feel as if there is a deeper attraction here and we want to explore it.

So, we decided to go for it. The first step was talking to all of the people in our separate poly groups to see if they had any misgivings. She and I both have primary relationships and we do not want to risk those relationships. Everyone has known all along that she and I want to date, but the abstract idea of “maybe someday” is much different than the reality of “next Tuesday.” Thankfully for us, all involved gave the go ahead and the first date of Indian food and bingo was planned (unconventional, sure—but fun as hell!). 

While this was happening my two existing partners both started exploring possible outside relationships--which I am quite sure I will be writing more about in the coming weeks.

I don’t know where it all will go yet, but I am hopeful, and excited, and ready for this next phase.

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year

I am not really resolutions girl, but I do like the idea of a new year and a fresh start, and I believe in the importance of making necessary changes. I don't really make a list of those changes, but I like to start out the year with some guidelines that I hope to follow. This year I was fortunate to have come across two articles which pretty much did the work for me.

The first was from the love issue of Shambhala Sun (which I had picked up the day after a break-up without realizing that it was the love issue). There were many excellent pieces in the issue (if you have not checked out this magazine yet--do) but one small, half-page bit of writing stayed with me. In the article “Showing up for Your Life,” Pema Chodron talks about how important it is to fully experience pain and to work through it in order to grow and become more capable of dealing with it in the future:

On the path of meditation, you are training your mind and body to end up in the same place. To do that, you need the discipline of openness, which quite simply means showing up for your life. Showing up turns out to be very fertile, tender ground. You find that there is an increase in your curiosity, inquisitiveness, and interest in what’s actually going on. You discover a shaky, tender quality of vulnerability that threatens to overtake you. But if you take it in small bites, if you don’t have a plan of getting the shakiness over with once and for all, you may find it’s workable.  

I am someone who deals with emotions as they come up, mostly because I am incapable of patience and I have the need to talk about EVERYTHING, but I like the idea of consciously staying present.

The other article is simply called “10 Ways to Love Others.” Though there are indeed ten, the first eight are what really spoke to me:

1. Tell them about their brilliance. They likely can’t see it and they don’t know its immensity, but you can see it, and you can illuminate it for them.

2. Be authentic, and give others the gift of the real you and a real relationship. Ask your real questions. Share your real beliefs. Go for your real dreams. Tell your truth.

3. Don’t confuse “authenticity” with sharing every complaint, resentment, or petty reaction in the name of “being yourself.” Meditate, write, or do yoga to work through anxiety, resentment, and stress on your own so you don’t hand off those negative moods to everyone around you. Sure, share sadness, honest dilemmas, and fears, but be mindful: don’t pollute.

4. Listen, listen, listen. Don’t listen to determine if you agree or disagree. Listen to get to know what is true for the person in front of you. Get to know an inner landscape that is different from your own, and enjoy the journey. Remember that if, in any conversation, nothing piqued your curiosity and nothing surprised you, you weren’t really listening.

5. Don’t waste your time or energy thinking about how they need to be different.  Really. Chuck that whole thing. Their habits are their habits. Their personalities are their personalities. Let them be, and work on what you want to change about you—not what you think would be good to change about them.

6. Remember that you don’t have to understand their choices to respect or accept them.

7. Don’t conflate accepting with being a doormat or betraying yourself. Let them be who they are, entirely. Then, you decide what you need, in light of who they are. Do you need to make a direct request that they change their behavior in some way? Do you need to take care of yourself better? Do you need to set a boundary or to change the relationship? Take care of yourself well, without holding anyone else in contempt.

8. Give of yourself, but never sacrifice or compromise yourself. Stop if resentment is building and retool. Don’t do the martyr thing. It helps no one and nothing.

I know that I will fail in some degree in my quest to follow both of these articles (just today I totally fucked up # 3), but I also know that if I can put these principles into action that my relationships both with others and myself will just get better. If that is all I get out of 2012, I will be a happy girl.

10 Ways to Love Others
 Showing Up for Your Life