After I cried and wailed and was generally a basket case over Yummy Mummy, Papa Bear agreed to slow things down with her. The next day, after the fog lifted, he was still struggling. I told him he didn’t have to slow things down with her if he didn’t want to, and he said “I have to. Otherwise I’ll lose you.”
I said I just didn’t understand why he had to see her. He had been seeing another woman (a 24 year old British lawyer with good hair), and had just started seeing a young blonde who likes cosplay. Why did he have to see Yummy Mummy? She was too intense and it was too serious and I couldn’t handle it.
He replied “I’m not going to be her boyfriend. We both know that can’t happen because she needs a boyfriend that’s monogamous. I had just hoped, that after 3 years I could have the chance to be her lover for a little while. But you mean the world to me and I’m not going to throw that away just for some sex. Even sex with someone I care about.”
I realized then that he wasn’t just being a playboy. I mean, he is a playboy–and I think after 20 years of being married to someone who made him feel unattractive and stupid, that it helps him to know there’s lots of women out there who would want to be with him–but with Yummy Mummy it was different.
He really cared about her, and would be truly sad if he had to end it because I couldn’t handle it. So I told him he shouldn’t break it off with her. He is clearly poly, even if maybe I’m not as poly as I used to think I was. And the only way to know if we can work long term is to try this for real. If I can’t allow him to follow his heart, then we’ll never be happy.
Papa Bear promised he’d think about what I said, and he thanked me for being brave. Then, the story goes, the next time he talked to Yummy Mummy, they both said at the same time “I think we should just be friends.”
When I asked him about it, he said that he’d kind of had a fantasy of what it would be like to be with her, but in reality it wasn’t like that at all. That it was just weird because they’d always been so close, but when they were together the chemistry was off. That he loves her very deeply, but he is not in love with her, the way he is with me.
The next time they got together she said “I don’t know why, but I’m really relieved we decided to just be friends.” I guess it didn’t feel quite right to her either.
Part of me feels guilty for saying anything. I feel like maybe if I’d kept my mouth shut, it either would have ended on its own, or it would have continued, but at least I’d know I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
But Papa Bear says I am a thinker. That I think things through to the end, and sometimes to death, and if I wasn’t there to make him realize he needs to think about things, it would be very easy for him to just jump in head-first without considering important factors–such as whether or not he wants to be a step-dad to four young kids (answer: he doesn’t.)
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if he had started a relationship with her. I really like her and we get along great, so I think that personality-wise, it could have been awesome. But Papa Bear says that it would have been a disaster just because of everything she is going through right now. It would have put a ton of strain on both me and him, as well as on our relationship. He said he didn’t think he’d be relieved to end it with her, but that is definitely how he felt when they decided they just wanted to be friends.
Now you’d think that after that, everything would be okay–but it wasn’t. It’s hard. Things changed. I think before, I thought that I had to be poly because my husband isn’t sexual and I need to have sex. And at one point, I desperately wanted the connection that comes from a group of people who all care about each other. (I really wanted a poly family, but as of right now it’s too scary to think about. I can’t handle the thought of being rejected by another one of Papa Bear’s lovers, the way his wife rejected me. It’s too soul-destroying. I’m not saying I’d never try it again, but whoever she is, she would have to be really special. )
Now, though, I am questioning everything. Because if I’m honest with myself, deep down inside, I thought Papa Bear and I only continued to be poly because I’m still married. That as long as I was married, we’d stay poly. But if my marriage ever ended, it would just be him and me.
But through these brutally difficult discussions, he made it clear that being polyamorous is who he is. He’d say that he would be willing to give that up for me, he loves me that much, but I could never allow that. You can sacrifice things for the people you love, sure. But you should never have to sacrifice parts of yourself.
So, what could I do? I didn’t want to break up with him–I love him. And even if I did break up with him, I would still need another relationship because I cannot go the remaining decade until my kids are grown up without sex. So I’d end up right back here with whoever else I ended up sleeping with–unless I didn’t care about him. And while just having a fuck buddy seems much, much simpler, it also seems hollow. I don’t want to lose what I have with Papa Bear and replace it with something meaningless.
I still enjoy the occasional one-night-stand or whatever, but when I’m with Papa Bear, we touch each others’ hearts. I need that, and more to the point, I feel like I need him.
So, I decided. I would go back. I would go back to when we first started dating, when we said we couldn’t promise each other forever, but that we love each other “right now.” I would revert to my submissive ways, and instead of fearing his other women would take his time and attention away from me, I would simply go to him when he called for me. I could not be upset when he already had plans with someone else if I never asked to see him. I would not wait for him and I would not figure him into my future plans. If I wanted to go to Europe, then I’d save up for it myself, and if he asked to come along then maybe I’d let him. No more thinking that everything had to be “us.” I decided to pretend there was no “us.” Just him, and me, and this thing between us that may not last after all.
You’ll ask, how did that go? Not well, as it turns out.
More to come.
So I mentioned life being fucked up. And yes, it is fucked up. Now let me tell you why.
Its no secret that my sexual relationship with The Husband is at best, uninspired, and at worst, non-existent.
That’s the reason I became non-monogamous in the first place–because after a years of not having my needs met, I was done. We came to this arrangement because if I didn’t start getting laid, our marriage would have ended anyway.
A couple months ago, I had a talk with him. It wasn’t one of our usual screaming matches about him not being into me. It was more just an inquiry. I asked him, “Do you not like sex?” And he doesn’t.
He said that realization didn’t click until the moment I asked. And honestly I was flabbergasted. How the HELL had he not realized this before? How can this possibly be the very first time he ever thought about this? We’d fought like cats and dogs. We’d both totally lost our self-esteem. We redefined our entire marriage around this problem and he’d never stop to ask himself if he likes sex???? What the actual fuck???
I asked him to explain, and he said he often enjoys it, but during almost every encounter there’s a moment of panic or a feeling that he really doesn’t like, and that makes it hard to enjoy the rest of it.
He said he never realized because he thought that everyone likes sex. It just never crossed his mind that the reason we had these problems was because he didn’t.
I let some time pass. But I couldn’t help thinking “This marriage is probably dead.”
(Stay Tuned for Part 2).
Papa Bear and The Wifey are discussing having separate bedrooms.
Later we’ll discuss why this gives me a heart attack.
On Valentines Day a friend posted the following on Facebook:
“For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”(Carl Sagan)
It took my breath away. Not because it is another quote on the importance of love–but because it is a quote by a scientist/philosopher who seeks to know, and yet understands that we are utterly meaningless. Our entire lives are being lived out on a fraction of the universe so tiny that frankly, we should be afraid. We should cling to each other and understand that at any point, anything at all could wipe us away. We spend our existence running around as though everything we are doing is so important, in spite of–or maybe to distract ourselves from–the ridiculous vastness of the universe, and our absolute inability to have any impact on it whatsoever. The vastness is terrifying. The vastness is overwhelming. The quote states that it is bearable only through love, and that touched me.
I realized, though, in reading it again and again, that I do not believe that to be the case–not for me. I am envious of those who can say that love is what makes the world go round, or all you need is love, or even, that the vastness of the universe is only bearable through our ability to hold onto each other as tight as we can. But. . .I’m not feeling it. I feel a desire to feel it. I want to live for my connections to others. I want to have so much love for the people around me that it fills me up and erases my ability to truly be concerned with anything else. I want to fall asleep at night thanking the randomness of the universe for bringing my family (related and chosen) into my life. And yet. . .I just do not think this this way.
Love is responsibility.
Love is pain.
Love is waking up every half an hour through the night because a tiny person is calling for you and you can’t let them cry.
Love is picking up the phone and calling your mom even though talking to her breaks your heart.
It is making compromises in your marriage that you would have never thought possible.
Love is bending over wracked with sobs at someone’s cruel words or inability to understand.
Love is the dull ache that will always remain with the memory of the one that got away.
Love is sitting by someone’s beside and knowing they are gone and that there isn’t anything you can do about it.
Love…according to me…isn’t what makes this vastness bearable. It’s what makes it unbearable. How can we accept our helplessness, our total inability to control anything, the absolute chaos around us, when in the midst of all of this, is someone we love?
Does it make life more bearable, or simply add to the pain?
I am all over the place lately. One moment I am happy, the next I am angry, the next I feel like there is an elephant standing on my chest, cutting off my air supply.
I have thought about taking some time off from the whole alternative scene, to figure out exactly what I am looking for, but I feel like the only way to know what I want and need is trial and error. I wonder if I have it in me? Do I have it in me to continue to meet people, experiment with them, form relationships, and move on when it doesn’t work out? What is worse–a series of short term pseudo-relationships (which is all I have had so far), or several that last a long time, break my heart in the end, but have actually been substantial?
If I feel like I cannot handle the pain/stress/drama of polyamory/open marriage, then the sensible thing would be for me to put it on the back-burner for awhile. Yet I can’t see myself doing that, for the simple reason that I am so lonely. I feel like I am suffocating. My husband is emotionally and sexually unavailable. He has major, major intimacy issues. He is angry much of the time, about our life and the fact that it has pretty much gone the opposite of what he wanted. And being around him for too long makes me feel like I am drowning and need to come up for air. I am miserable in my marriage. But there is nothing to be done about that. We barely have enough money to support one household, let alone two. We recently talked about separating, but it is just not possible. We are still quite fond of each other and love each other in a very specific way, but we were never right for each other. It isn’t anyone’s fault and it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with either one of us, we are just not a match. But as I said before, there is no solution for that at this time. We have two very young kids, very little money and next to no support. And we are both looking for work all over the country–if we separated, we would not move together, and what would happen to the children? Having the kids being raised in two homes would be hard enough on them without having one of their parents in another part of the country altogether. Especially when they are so young, and especially because, honestly, neither of us could handle them both full time without help. We have no one besides each other. Does it make a whole lot of sense for one of us to move across the country for the other one’s job (whoever happens to get hired first, wherever they happen to get hired), when we should never have got married in the first place? Maybe not objectively, but even if we are not meant to be romantic partners for one another, we are a family and at this point it is best for us to stick together.
In just the short while that I have been without other partners, I feel like I am sinking. Yet I don’t just want any partner, I want the right partner. How can I find that without putting myself out there? I want someone who is willing to commit to me, to consider whatever we would have to be a real relationship, regardless of the fact that I am married. Someone who is also attached, so they do not feel like they are being short-changed by not having me as their full-time lover. Someone who is NOT cheating on their spouse or girlfriend, but is ethically non-monogamous, and would be interested in becoming a real part of my life and family, instead of considering me a vice, or their dirty little secret.
Sir is away again. His grandmother is dying and he had to fly out today to say good-bye and attend services. I at least had the sensitivity to ask how he was handling it. Once he told me that he was fine–she had lived to 95, and they were going to celebrate her life–I allowed myself to feel disappointment. He will only be gone for 5 days this time, a far cry from the month he was gone before, but I seriously want to cry. We were supposed to attend a kinky event at a club on Friday night. There was even talk of me staying the night for the first time. This is his first weekend without his kids since he’s been back, and now we don’t get that time together.
I feel like all we have had since he has been home are little snippets of time. I want more. Next weekend we are supposed to be attending a party or two together, but I am not overly hopeful. He gets his kids back Friday afternoon, and any number of things could happen that could cause him to cancel.
I haz a sad.
I know this is just the nature of the beast, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.
And I hate the way I feel. I am trying to staunch the flow of emptiness that is spreading, and I loathe my inability to define what is happening in me. I am not daft enough to think it is love. It is too nuanced and ambivalent to be infatuation. Lust seems closer to the mark, but not quite accurate. Maybe it is submission–is this how it feels to belong to someone?
All I know is, its unsettling. I am not a fan. Part of me wants to lean into it, and nuzzle deep inside the moments when I am with him and everything seems right. The rest of me wants out–now. It would be a loss, but then it would be over and I would feel normal again. I wanted something more. A real relationship, an extension of my family, a true connection–but I was not ready for the way this would complicate my emotional life. Will it be better when he comes back and things settle down?
Unlikely. Regardless of whether or not he’s in town, he has his kids every other week and it becomes hard for us to see each other regularly with our respective work schedules. If I was legitimately his girlfriend, then eventually (once the divorce was final and some time had passed), I would be able to meet his kids, and them being there would no longer automatically mean us not being together. But since he tossed out that dirty word–affair–it seems like I will remain cut off from this part of his life for the duration. And he cannot be in mine, at least not now, because it is too soon and because he is not properly poly.
Of course things could develop. Of course it could change. He could change his views, we could become so important to one another that we push through the discomfort and do what we need to do to really have something. Or he could start dating someone else, someone single, leaving even less time for me.
I guess we will have to talk (again). Maybe I will be so overwhelmed with these feelings when he gets back that it will all just come out. Or maybe I will want to savor him for a little while before bringing all of this up. He has said things that have contradicted each other. And of course now, with him gone, I am going into over-analyzing mode, picking his words apart and re-arranging them to see what they might mean. What did it mean when he said he was struggling to commit emotionally because his last girlfriend was also married and he was devastated when she left? What did he mean when he said he wanted to be in love? Do these things preclude me? Or is he already getting close, and looking for reassurance? It is likely the former. And that is probably best. But I do not know how I am ever going to get what I want–with him or with anyone else–when I am afraid of the walls coming down and the potential for pain to rush in.
Sir and I had a lovely reunion today. We fucked each other silly, cuddled, took a shower, and then I helped him cook. In the kitchen, while I chopped veggies and he chastised me for my improper usage of different knives then showed me how to do it right, we had a long chat. It actually felt like more of a Q&A, in which I grilled him, hoping to figure out exactly what is going on between us. It was a drawn out conversation, but I’ll condense my questions and his answers. Maybe having them in type will help me make sense of what we discussed, because despite hours of conversation, I am still not completely clear on where we stand.
Question: What are you looking for in a partner?
Answer: Someone who is younger, has no kids or no kids under the age of 10, isn’t a party girl (he likes to go out and have a good time but he doesn’t drink or do drugs), and is reasonably fit.*
Question: What about in terms of personality?
Answer: A perfect lady, and a total slut. . .exactly like you.
Question: How would you classify our relationship?
Answer: We are having an affair. (Ouch.) Does it bother you that I said that?
Question: So, you have said you are looking for a life partner, but you are not monogamous, and yet you don’t believe in fucking around…?
Answer: I believe in fucking around as long as it is not behind the person’s back. So with us, if I met someone, I would tell her that I am non-traditional and that I have another girl, and would ask if she’d like to meet you.
Question: What does that mean, “I’m your girl”?
Answer: We are together, but you can’t be my partner because you’re married.
Question: How do you think another woman is going to react to knowing there is already someone in your life who you want to keep?
Answer: Not well.**
Question: So then maybe the two of you would swing?
Answer: Nope. I’m not a swinger.
Question: Am I your submissive? (We had got onto the subject of collaring and how he views it the same as a wedding ring. Therefore, for someone to truly be someone else’s submissive, they would also have to be partners, in his view).
Answer: Sort of. We would be under the category of It’s Complicated.
Question: So what does that mean?
Answer: It means that you are married, so you can never truly be mine. I am also afraid to completely dominate you because of The Incident. I have to have total confidence in my ability to do what I want to you without crossing any lines, and I don’t have that confidence. And honestly, people have gone to jail for taking it too far with a submissive. Every time I am about to dominate you it scares me and I pull back.
Question: Do you think that maybe I’m a little crazy?
Answer: No. You are one of the most sensible girls I’ve met.
Question: Then why do you feel like, if I have given you carte blanche to do what you want to me outside of my hard limits, I would turn around and call the cops? Do you not think I know what I want?
Answer: It’s not about what you want. It’s not about you at all. It’s about trusting myself and knowing I am not going to go too far again. I can’t seem to get past that fear.
Question: You know what they say about facing your fears?
Answer: I just need to get over it. And you need to piss me off, you never do anything wrong.
At this point I picked up a slice of rutabaga and threw it on the floor. He laughed and hugged me and told me it was going to take more than that. Then he promised we would get past it.
So. . .shall I go brat? I really need a spanking!
P.S. For those of you who were concerned about the fact that I wasn’t mentioned on his FetLife profile, he told me today that I am now listed under his relationships–without me even bringing it up or having to ask. Yay.
*He added that none of these are deal breakers if he is in love, but this is what he is looking for.
**I wanted to ask what he would do if he found someone he thought he could make it work with but who wasn’t okay with me being in his life, but I’m not sure I want to know the answer. Regardless, he says he is not monogamous and will not be, so I guess any woman he is with would have to share him one way or another.