When I started sleeping around–embracing my inner slut–I became free and enslaved all at once. I finally broke loose of the chains of religion, and monogamy, and societal expectations for what a mother and a wife and a woman should be like. I explored my fantasies. I had experiences I never thought I’d have outside of my dreams, or the pages of a good erotica novel. In many ways, I bloomed. I felt fully woman–fully me.
At the same time, I lost control. No longer keeping a tight lid on my sexuality and my desires and my insatiable libido led me through a spiral that was completely exhilarating, but down-right terrifying. I stopped being a slave to god, and found myself a slave to sex.
I would do just about anything for it. I would risk anything. Flip back through the pages of my experience, and you’ll see just how many ways I hurt myself. At some point, I went to a meeting for Sex Addicts Anonymous. I met with a man who’d been sober for many years, a man who’d lost his family to his sex addiction, and when I described for him what I was doing and why I was doing it, he said “It sounds like you’re getting high.”
And I was. I was getting high. My teeth weren’t falling out, I wasn’t cooking meth in my garage and I wasn’t wrecking my liver. I was getting high on the illicit thrill of clandestine meetings, of the possibility of getting caught, of satisfying my ever-growing hunger with the touch of total strangers.
I got hurt. Devastated. Broken by my need, again and again and again, until I finally said, “Enough.”
And that’s when I met my boyfriend. Papa Bear. We’ve been together for just about 3 and a half years now. For a long time, I felt like he saved me from myself. He met my need. He filled the space that my husband’s lack of sexual interest left. We went through a lot together–to hell and back, it sometimes felt. And I thought, this man will be enough for me, until the day they put me in the ground.
Yes, I fooled around with other people. We both did. Our relationship hasn’t been monogamous from the get-go, obviously–I am still married. But I never felt that need. I felt desire for others, and if it went there it went there, but I never felt like, “If I don’t have a random hook-up right now, I am going to go insane.”
So why, now, do I feel this way? It is my own fault, I suppose. I read precisely the wrong erotic novel–one about a woman who has completely anonymous sex, in disguise, with fake names, with a plethora of men. It jump-started that old need that I thought was dead and buried.
I got off while reading it–I got off a lot. But of course, it’s more complicated than that. It always is. Papa Bear was in a car accident a few months ago. He’s in pain. Being in constant pain is exhausting. While he still does his best to fuck me when he can, its of course, not the same. I know he won’t be in this kind of pain forever–he just needs to recover. Lots of physiotherapy and time off work. I completely understand, but it doesn’t mean I don’t wish he could spank me hard, or chase me around his apartment, or hold me down and pound me like he used to.
It’s temporary, and I would be a very shallow girl if I let this mild frustration rule me. But of course, it’s more complicated than that. It always is. At the core? I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what kind of partner I am–what kind of person. There is a lot I know about myself, but as for my capacity for long-term, passionate relationships, I haven’t got a clue. The Husband isn’t into sex. Whatever the reasons, he’s just not. And so I’ve spent the entirety of my adult life in a relationship that could only be more mismatched sexually if one of us were gay.
I wonder sometimes, if I’m capable of having a long-term relationship that keeps its flame. If I’m capable of sticking it out to the grave. I know that with The Husband, I continued to want him for many years, despite his frequent and heart-breaking rejection. I was still attracted to him. I still had feelings for him. I still thought he was sexy and wanted to jump his bones.
He unfortunately killed that by his inability to return my feelings, but still–they were there, and they lasted a good while. Now, with Papa Bear, I feel the spark starting to fade a bit. It scares me. I know a lot of it is his injury, and the stress he is under. I know all relationships go through slumps. But part of me wonders, what if its me? What if I’m broken? What if, no matter who I’m with, I’m incapable of maintaining that attraction?
I love that hunger. I love the mutual need and fireworks. It fills me up so much. I can’t really afford to travel or jump out of planes or see great bands or do a lot of the things that bring excitement to life. Sex, I can afford. I want it to stay exciting.
I know I can have that. I can have it without even hurting Papa Bear. He still mentions friends of his who’d like to fuck me, and we had a great time awhile back when his best friend came to visit and Papa Bear watched him get me off, over and over. But I don’t want to need it–and I don’t want to wake up one day and think, “I’m done here. I need to go where the thrill is.”
My fear is this: that I am incapable of sustaining satisfaction in a long-term relationship. That maybe, as I not-so-long-ago accused Papa Bear of, I will always be looking for the next high, or the next lay, or the next rush. I don’t just miss the sex, either. I miss playing the game. I miss flirting. Getting to know someone. The little touches that show we’re interested. The look on his face that says he wants to devour me, and the look in my eye that tells him I want him to.
Maybe, more than anything else, I miss the fear. The adrenaline. The unknown.
Things I don’t miss:
-being stood up
-showing up to meet a man who’s profile photo is much more attractive than he is, and may, in fact, not actually be him at all
-disconcertingly small dicks
-men who last two minutes or can’t get hard
-being treated like a prostitute instead of the slutty woman that I am
-men who want more from me than I can give them
-fear of STDs
-total loss of control over my life
-very very very bad decisions
-complete and total heartbreak
Very clearly, I cannot go back to that life. Honestly, I’m not even very motivated to try. I’m too damn tired. But sometimes I think–that’s why I want to do it. To get some life back into me. This horrible winter is killing me slowly. The routine of work, kids, housework, boyfriend on the weekend–all the stuff of being a grown up–is killing me slowly. Other people would plan a vacation or join a rock climbing gym. But I’m poor. And so, I just want my body woken up. I want it broken and ridden and bruised and filled with blinding pleasure.
Fear–oh god–is just, absolutely euphoric, when combined with pleasure.
Should I? Could I? Just once? Just once in awhile? Every six months, or three months, or four weeks? Could I dress up and plant myself at a bar and go home with a stranger? Or open up my old hook-up sites and write nothing in my profile but “Down to Fuck?”
Jesus Christ, am I down to fuck.
I can see how it looks that way. And I’ve honestly searched myself and tried to figure out if that is, in fact, true. His ex would say yes, that’s exactly what I did. She would say “I told you so.”
But of course, that isn’t actually what happened. What happened is that I fell in love with a man who is polyamorous, and we tried to build a poly family. When his wife kicked me out of their family, I was so completely broken that almost two years later I still cry when I think about it. And this situation terrified me out of ever wanting to be in a situation like that again.
Meanwhile, Papa Bear feels that things only imploded because he and The Wifey were never really compatible to begin with. And as long as he chooses women he’s compatible with in the future (the defining characteristic of women he goes for now is “chill”), there should never again be a situation where feelings are hurt, ultimatums are thrown down, rights are violated and everyone gets their hearts broken.
But I need to make sure that I am not violating HIS rights. That I am now not throwing ultimatums down. This is a weird example, but it reminds me of this episode of Big Love (I puffy pink heart that show). Bill’s First Wife tells him that she agreed to polygamy because it was important to him, but that he has already added two new wives and she will never accept a fourth. Bill wants to be open to the possibility of as many wives as he happens to fall in love with and thinks would be a good fit for their family, but Barb says “Fuck no. I have two sister-wives, and there will be NO MORE.”
What is the difference between stating your own boundaries, and violating another person’s freedom? For me, I feel like Barb, even though Papa Bear isn’t in any other serious relationships right now. It’s weird because I do this crazy thing where I project into the future, and it causes me all kinds of misery (more on that at another time.)
I know, know, know that it is impossible to see my future, but I can’t help trying to picture it. And polyamory is instability–at least if your loop remains open (ie, you are continually willing to bring in new partners). So I want to be extra clear when I say, that when I told Papa Bear that if he and I were to ever build a future based on us I’d need him to stop adding in other women, I meant I cannot live a life that is constantly at risk of being capsized by another polyamory related disaster.
That when I get to the good years–the years where I am no longer beaten down and exhausted by all of my daily responsibilities, the years when I can do what I want–that my life and the people I share it with need to be stable. If he has another girlfriend and we all love each other then great. If not, I would strongly prefer that he stop the merry-go-round and be happy with what he has.
Before this most recent relationship crisis, I was gone from the blog for a pretty long time. A lot of shit happened and I’m not sure I want to talk about the bad and the ugly, but here’s a bit of an update:
Boss Man: Boss Man is no longer my Boss Man. He’s no longer my boss because I finally found a new job (!!!) and he’s no longer my man because I kind of ended everything. Leaving my job was long overdue and I found something with much more room for advancement, better benefits, and steady pay increases. Professionally, I’m much happier. Personally, not seeing Boss Man every day has really helped me. For awhile we continued to talk daily, and saw each other occasionally (sometimes we fooled around, sometimes we didn’t) but then something happened. He started to have problems with his girlfriend, Tinder Girl, and suddenly it was like I was his therapist. I wanted to be there for him and I was, pretty much 24/7. In the middle of the night. All day. When I was hanging out with my family, or on a date with Papa Bear, he was texting me. I started to tell him when I was busy but he just kept texting, over and over and over, asking for advice on him and Tinder Girl, talking about how miserable he was, sending sad song lyrics, talking about wishing he and I could be together.
It got to be too much. I finally broke when my mom was visiting. It was beyond stressful having my uber-religious, mentally ill mother in my home, judging me day and night, but he continued to hammer away at me with his own problems.
I found out my husband doesn’t just have a low sex-drive, but actually doesn’t like sex (something I don’t think we can ever really work through), and he continued to spam me with messages.
I felt like things with Papa Bear were falling apart, and as I was dealing with it, he continued to text me.
Finally, I just told him I was too stressed out to help him with his relationship problems at the moment. I tried to be nice, but honestly I was kind of angry. He had never been there for me the way that I was there for him those weeks and months, and I know he never would be, because (as he readily admits) he is selfish.
He continued to text, and I just started to ignore him, and eventually he stopped altogether. Its been maybe a week or two since I’ve heard from him, and I’m not sad. I think not seeing him every day allowed me the space I need to get over our ill-advised, mess of a relationship, finally.
We moved! Yay! I bitched many, many times on here about hating my crappy apartment, and finally this spring we found a town house to move into. My kids have their own bedrooms, we have a yard, I have a basement, my own laundry room, a little garden. I could not be happier about that 🙂 When The Husband and I had just about given up on ever finding anywhere affordable, in the right part of town, Papa Bear just kept at it. He sent me links to rentals and even made phone calls and took me on viewing appointments. He was awesome, and I am so grateful for him. He helped us find our house.
Next, barring any other urgent happenings, I’ll talk about sex. I know you’ve all been wondering!
I tried to be cool. I tried to be chill. I tried to just accept what I had now, with no expectations for the future. I’d been trying to quit drinking, but every time I thought about Papa Bear and his inability to not fuck millions of girls, I wanted a drink. Or 5. And so the Friday night before our third anniversary I went over to his place, as usual. I told him I wasn’t going to quit drinking right now after all. If I was going to pretend everything was fine and I didn’t care, I’d need to numb.
Drink in hand, I asked him if he knew where the Isle of Skye was.
He responded with an enthusiastic “Yeah, I’ve been there.”
“Of course,” I laughed bitterly. Because he’s been everywhere. The Isle of Skye. Wales, London, Rome, Crete. Thailand, the Maritimes, Haida Gwaii. But never with me.
This has been a sore point between us for awhile, because when he was married, he traveled with his wife, but since he and I have been together we’ve only done road trips. He knows how wanderlust-y I am and keeps talking about us going somewhere awesome together, but it never happens.
I tell him about my plan to start aggressively saving to go away, again. I have some money in an account, but I tell him that I’ve done some research (angrily, as I’d accepted the fact that we were never going to go anywhere since I wasn’t his wife and if he couldn’t afford to take me now he wasn’t going to be able to once he had another girlfriend), and I’d found lots of cheap trips that I could save for within a year.
I said the words “By myself,” a lot.
“There’s a lot of places I can afford to go by myself.”
“I think that’s a place that would be safe to travel by myself.”
“I wouldn’t be comfortable driving to the port by myself, so I’d take a greyhound then ferry to the island.”
He asked if I still wanted him to go with me.
I said “Sure, if you want.” The unspoken message was clear: I give up. Do what you want. I’m going to live my life with or without you.
Then, working a pretty good buzz, I wondered aloud if I should join Tinder. “You know,” I said, “I only lasted about 30 seconds on there last time, but that was because I was afraid of people I know seeing my profile. Now that I’m trying to care less about what other people think, I think I’ll go ahead and join.”
And I did. Right then. I joined Tinder and immediately started swiping, completely missing the fact that I was swiping the wrong way on all the men I liked until Papa Bear showed me how to do it right.
I was kind of being a bitch. I didn’t even want to meet anyone on Tinder. Papa Bear had told me during one of our last discussions on him being way more actively poly than he is (me, preferring not to look for other partners but to be open to more love if it comes along) that he didn’t want me to feel like he was always looking, and would shut down his dating profiles. He told me he’d shut down his OkCupid, but he still had Tinder (though he was only getting men because he’d switched it to BFF mode) and I didn’t know what other apps he was using. Still, he’d made an effort, and I was kind of telling him it didn’t matter anymore. Once again, I don’t care.
He kept assuring me he wanted to be with me. Telling me the reason he hasn’t traveled with me is because he’d put the trips with his wife on his credit card and was trying to be more responsible and pay off his debt before we went away. That he wasn’t looking for other women anymore and he didn’t know what else he could do to prove that even if I didn’t care, he did.
And I just started to blubber. “Do you remember,” I asked him, “When you were still with The Wifey, and you said that if you broke up with her you’d be heart-broken, but at least you’d know you’d had a great life together and you’d always be grateful for that?”
“Yes,” he said, confused.
“Well, I don’t know if you and I are going to be able to stay together. I love you, but we might not be able to make it happen,” I sniffled. “And if we can’t, I just want to know that you and I had a great life together, while we were together. That’s why I don’t want to travel with you in a few years, I want to travel with you now. That’s why I get frustrated when we don’t go more places and do more things. Because I want to be able to look back and say, at least we had that. And if you find another serious girlfriend, that’s never going to happen because you won’t be able to afford it. So I don’t know what to do, except give up on ever having a life with you.”
“I don’t need another girlfriend,” he said, on the verge of tears.
“Yes, you do! You keep saying ‘it’s who I am, it’s who I am.’ You’ll never be happy with just me. I used to think that when we could be together all the time, you wouldn’t need anyone else. But that’s obviously not true. I’ll never be enough for you.”
He told me that I am enough. That I am more than enough. That I am everything. That his being polyamorous doesn’t say anything about whether I am enough. How could something about him, define me? “Furthermore, I’ve told you over and over that I’m not looking for another girlfriend. I don’t have the emotional energy. I’m not dating any of the women I’m seeing. I just like sex.”
“I’m sorry, then how is that who you are? How is that polyamory? You keep saying you’re polyamorous and it’s who you are, but I don’t get how that jives with having a constant stream of meaningless sex with women you barely know.”
He didn’t have a great answer for that. He knows he can love more than one woman at a time, but he doesn’t need to, and right now he doesn’t want to. It’s an ego boost knowing other people want him, but he admits he shouldn’t be ruled by his ego.
“Look,” I said. “I am not monogamous either. But the difference between us is that I don’t have to be with more than one person at a time to be happy. If looking for other women, or being with other women, is something you will always, always want–and not just a lifestyle you can choose to engage in or to not engage in, depending on the circumstances–then I just can’t imagine a future with you. In a decade, my kids are going to be grown up, and I am going to leave. I have spent my entire life settling for relationships that weren’t right, just because I loved the person, or because my life made it so that was the right thing to do. I’m not going to do that forever. Every day is a fight and when I’m done raising my kids, I’m done fighting. I’m done with the stress of being paired with the wrong person. I’m done with stress, period. Even if it means I move to Greece and live alone forever, at least I won’t be crying. At least I’ll have peace. At least I’ll be free.”
“But can I come? Like we talked about?”
“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering who your next girlfriend is going to be, and what’s going to happen, and if its all going to be okay. I’m going to get tired. I’m going to be too old for this. I don’t want my whole life to be a house of cards that can crash down at any moment because we keep adding unknown elements. At some point, I want to know what my future is going to look like and who its going to be with, even if the answer to that is no one.”
He admits its hard for him to feel restricted, but maybe he needs to stop trying to recapture his 20’s. That he knows he will not have the energy for multiple women forever, and that when he looks at his future, all he sees is me.
I still don’t believe him, so as I drink and cry, he goes back inside and comes out with a red velvet ring box, shaped like a heart. I stare at it, stunned. He flips it open and inside is a ring. A sparkly, diamond ring. And all I can think is that the gold and the diamonds are arranged into the infinity symbol–which a lot of people think of as the symbol for polyamory, because love is infinite.
He holds out the ring and talks about how he loves me and wants to be with me forever. How no matter who he is with, it’s never been as good as when he’s with me. How we connect on so many levels and he truly believes we were made for each other. How sleeping with other women is just sex, but with me, from the very first time, he was shaken to his core and thought “holy fuck, what just happened?” That he’s never had that kind of connection with anyone else, and he’s never been so deeply in love with anyone else, and I need to believe him.
I burst into fresh tears, as the truth of the matter, the question that has been at the core of all of this, finally crystallizes in my mind.
“What happens when that’s not true anymore?” I ask, my voice breaking. “What happens when the next girl or the next girl or the next does touch you that way? What happens when you meet someone you click with more than me? What happens then?” I bawl.
And he gets it. He finally gets it.
I don’t take the ring. It doesn’t fit and the infinity symbol freaks me out and the timing is wrong. He puts it away and tells me he will get me a better one, one he hopes I will wear for the rest of my life.
And we compromise. We have twelve years until we can run away together. For the next twelve years, we can experiment and be as non-monogamous as we want. But when we are finally able to be together the way that we want to, the way that we were meant to, it is just him and me. Of course, if he falls in love with someone else before then that would complicate things. Who knows, I may like her enough to want to bring her with us. Or he may decide to stay here with her. But what I really needed to know is that someday my life will stabilize. That I will have my person (or people) and won’t need to deal with more.
Regardless, I know what I’m doing and I believe he wants to do it with me. Somehow I feel that all-elusive peace, which is all I really wanted to begin with.
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.
When Papa Bear and I met, he was casually dating another woman, who we’ll call the Yummy Mummy. She got really busy at the advent of their relationship (got married, got pregnant, marriage issues and started attending therapy) so they decided to just be friends.
For three years they talked and hung out, and I met her a few times, and instantly had a rapport with her, too. And then she her new husband and their family moved across the country, where things proceeded to get really, really tough for her.
This summer she came home to stay with her parents for awhile and brought the four kids with her. And she realized that her marriage is abusive and she doesn’t want to go back.
Though she and Papa Bear decided to be “just friends”, their relationship has always been sexually charged, and he loves her. So when she came back, for what we thought was a visit, they hooked up. And then she decided to stay.
This made me really scared and uncomfortable, for a lot of reasons. Knowing what I know about her situation, I think staying is the right choice for her, for sure. But suddenly, somewhere along the line between my boyfriend texting her during our dates, and buying her diapers and formula because her no-good crazy-ass husband wouldn’t let her have any money, alarm bells started going off in my head.
And then one Saturday Papa Bear told me he was spending the day with Yummy Mummy, so I asked if we could get together later, and he invited me to hang out with them. But then he came back saying she’d like a couple hours alone with him, but I could come by after that. So instead of all of us hanging out together like she’d been saying she wanted to ever since she got back into town, I told him that since he’d spent the day with her and her family at a festival, and was spending part of the evening alone with her, and since she needed alone time with MY BOYFRIEND, then I’d rather him come get me and have me over after she was done with him. Because at that point I needed alone time with him too, to talk about what the mother of fuck was going on.
Was I jealous? Yes, for sure. Jealousy is something I have always struggled with and probably always will, but it wasn’t just that. It was the fact that while pretending to each other and everyone else that they were “just sexy friends”, it became clear to me that they were actually in a pretty serious relationship. Like I woke up one morning and found out that I had another metamour and didn’t have ANY time to emotionally prepare for that.
I was not happy. When I finally got to Papa Bear’s house, late into the evening, I told him how I felt and how scared I was. Not just that I was upset that they weren’t being honest with anyone (or even admitting to themselves) what their relationship actually was, but that I didn’t understand where this could go, or why he would even date her. It’s not that she’s not great, but she is monogamous. She says she will never be in another polyamorous relationship again–the only reason she was doing it to begin with was because her husband isn’t monogamous.
While it’s true that there’s no future with her (unless of course he decided to leave me for her and shut down the poly thing), there was also the glaring issue of her being a newly-singled mother of four living with her parents, no transportation, and no job. Without trying to be bitchy, that isn’t the easiest position to be in when someone is looking for a partner. I’m not saying she isn’t going to find anyone to settle down with, but those things, plus some other issues I’m just not comfortable writing about here, made me feel like whatever it is they were doing was going to end up being long-term. Because he’s dated monogamous girls before (since leaving the Ex-Wifey–I haven’t written about any of them yet) and they were always clear they were leaving when they found someone monogamous to date. And he had fun with them in the short term and was fine with that.
But it could take years for someone with all of those issues to find the right monogamous man (hell, it can take years for ANYONE to find the right person), and it just stressed me out that the time I get to spend with Papa Bear is so limited and now here’s this woman who is dependent on him for diapers and rides to church.
Other problem: Back when Papa Bear and I first started dating, I told him that the first anniversary of my abortion was coming up, and that I would probably be pretty fucked up that night and would need support. Which he later relayed back to me by way of saying “Yummy Mummy said the anniversary of her abortion is coming up this weekend and she’ll need support.”
“Her too!?” I said, kind of surprised.
To which he kind of got all stuttery and weird, and it took a couple minutes to figure out that he had actually MIXED US UP. He wasn’t even dating her anymore at the time, and he mixed us up. HE MIXED US UP.
I didn’t get mad, but I’ve never forgotten that. He said “You two are just so similar.” I don’t even think he apologized.
So I have always felt, however crazy it might be, that Yummy Mummy and I are interchangeable. That we are “so similar” that he could literally be with her instead of me and not even care. That the only reason he’s with me instead, is because she got pregnant and had babies and moved away. And now she’s back.
She even looks like me. We are the same ethnicity, the same body-type, we’re pretty much the same goddamn age (read: almost inappropriately young for Papa Bear), we both wear glasses, we both have tattoos.
When I was busy freaking out, and Papa Bear was busy trying to calm me, I told him I don’t even know if I’m really polyamorous either. And it’s true. I have said before that I don’t know if I would have ever chosen this lifestyle if I had married a man who actually wanted to have sex with me.
Sex for me is a need, and masturbating doesn’t cut it. I need to connect to another person that way. Adults need to play too. Sex is play. I need that kind of play to feel human.
It was either polyamory or divorce, honestly, because I just couldn’t live like that anymore. So, okay. I became polyamorous. But is that really even ME? Is it who I am? How can I know when it was merely a solution to a problem?
And yet, I know I have the capacity to love multiple people at once. I know I don’t ever again want to be in a position where I am falling in love with someone and I feel guilty, or like I have to hide it or break it off or run away. The thing is…I already am in love. I am so, so, so in love with Papa Bear and I feel like we are really happy together. But as soon as he starts seeing someone else I feel threatened. And when I don’t get to watch them fall in love, because they’ve been IN love this entire time and never told me, how do I handle waking up one day and suddenly, without warning, knowing he loves someone else just as much as he loves me?
That makes me not want to be polyamorous. It makes me want to be monogamous. Because the fairy tale is still there, somewhere inside me. It’s continuing to die its slow death, but it’s still there, making me wish I had the kind of love where we never even wanted to look at anyone else. The kind of love where we already feel SO LUCKY that we never have to go out and search for more. The kind of love that involves romantic feelings and staring at your partner because they’re so beautiful and having a sex life that maybe ebbs and flows but you know, is still satisfying, and certainly, actually fucking EXISTS.
What I can’t figure out is if this kind of relationship is even possible. Is it a thing? Does there exist couples who have been together for 30 years and still make out like teenagers? As much as people will tell me it’s not realistic, I honestly, truly, don’t believe it. I believe it’s realistic if you want it to be. Staying in love may take work, but if you marry the right person, it can happen.
I didn’t marry the right person. That is no secret. He is a wonderful person but that doesn’t mean he’s right FOR ME. But if I were to leave, what would I have? A relationship with a man who I love so much and who tells me all the time that I am his life, but will never, ever be satisfied with just me. That hurts, and I think that’s where he and I differ in our poly.
I have everything I need in him. If I fall in love with someone else, or have a connection with them and want to follow it (as I did with Boss Man), then I can do that. But in him, it’s like he has relationship ADD. You know people who are always browsing? Why are you browsing? Aren’t you happy with what you have?
Breaks my heart ❤
Anyway, jeez, this post is completely incoherent. I spent yesterday throwing up and couldn’t get to bed til 2 AM.
And I need to go now, so, in my next post I will tell you what happened with Yummy Mummy, and we will continue to discuss my polyamory identity crisis.
My husband cannot meet my needs or fulfill me in this one specific, but highly important way. It’s so funny because I have SO MANY girlfriends who do not give a shit about sex. They are with someone who is kind of grumpy about the lack of sexual contact and it’s kind of just met with an eye-roll.
I can’t help raising an eyebrow, or feeling sorry for their husbands. It takes real effort for me to bite my tongue on this, because I know how their husbands feel and it’s shitty. The funny part though, is that any one of these women could have married a man like The Husband, and ridden happily into the sex-free sunset. Instead, their high-libido partners got paired with low libido women, and I’m a borderline nympho with a husband who hates sex. Who the hell is in charge of all this? Because they dropped the ball somewhere. Very funny, universe.
So. Is my marriage over? Not today. I actually have no idea what to do. A couple times over the past week or so, The Husband has put the moves on me. He said he is trying to be more affectionate, and I appreciate it, but I have to say there is nothing that is LESS of a turn on than having sex with someone you know doesn’t actually want to be having it.
What is there to do? I feel guilty for shooting him down, yet I can’t help but think, this is what you’ve done to me for ten years. And I actually wanted him. But now that desire is gone. It’s just been too long, and I don’t know if I can get it back. If he truly does not enjoy sex, how can I ever enjoy sleeping with him again? Part of me wishes he hadn’t told me.
I have a theory, and it’s not a theory I feel I can share with him at this point in his life. He is still struggling to find a career and hating himself for not being able to.
Anyway…wonder if he was abused as a child. He doesn’t remember much of his childhood, and that combined with the panic he feels during sex just makes me wonder. It’s entirely possible he’s just asexual, or that he has sensory processing issues (he also doesn’t like getting his hair cut or getting massages and lots of other touchy-type things).
His self esteem is too low for me to even think of leaving him right now, not to mention the fact that we can’t afford a split household. But I don’t even know if I want to leave him. I love him.
It’s just that I wanted more, you know? I didn’t just want a supportive, comfortable, friendly companion marriage, I wanted romance and sex and desire and love love.
I asked him awhile back (after he told me he didn’t like sex, but before his attempts at seduction) if he ever wanted to have sex again. It wasn’t an accusation, but a tearful inquiry. He told me he did, but that he mainly derives pleasure out of pleasuring me. That on him, it’s uncomfortable.
That’s not really the kind of sex life that I want. I don’t know what to do, but thankfully Papa Bear is paying for me to go to therapy so I can figure it out.
In the meantime, I’m having to think about what life would be like as a single mom, and I have no idea. Can I wait another 12 years for my kids to grow up to have the kind of relationship that I want?
I don’t even know what I want, and that’s the kicker. I’m polyamorous because of circumstances, but is that really who I am? And if not, what’s going to happen to me and Papa Bear?
Something happened a couple weeks ago that brought this question front and centre. Stay tuned.
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).