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.
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).
Ok. I’ve got it. I have no close friends and no real family to speak of. I have my husband but as amazing as he is, I try not to lean on him too much because he has a lot of his own demons to deal with. His lows can cause me to spiral, and mine can do the same to him, so we’re careful with each other.
My two best friends live on the other side of the country and I haven’t seen them in two years. Even when I lived back home we were in different cities and saw each other a few times a year tops. I miss them so much and I’m so lonely.
I don’t share much with work friends because most people wouldn’t get the poly thing so I leave them at arms length. When I spend enough time with them to realize they’d judge my life if I told them, I stop hanging out with them.
I tried to form a poly family and that was a disaster. It led to so much heartache for all of us that I really seriously doubt ever wanting to attempt something like that again.
Then there’s Boss Man and he has been close to me since the beginning. We right away felt like we could be open with and trust each other. Yes there was a sexual attraction and a really strong connection that isn’t quite “in love” and isn’t quite friendship but something else unnamable. And I was lonely and sad and I asked him to fuck me.
Whatever was between us caught fire and exploded and expanded and took on a life of its own. And since then we have been trying to make sense of it.
Maybe we’re in love or maybe we’re soul mates or maybe we’re just sexy friends or maybe we’re best friends or maybe we hate each other. Maybe he’s using me for sex or maybe I’m using him for sex or maybe we’re just both unimaginably fucked up and can’t help self destructing together.
Today I finally talked to him about it. I told him I felt like I had no real friends, and he was not my friend. That he’d only spend time with me if he wanted sex and that he keeps blowing me off when we make plans to hang out.
He told me he feels like I only want sex, or that if we hang out together we’ll end up back at his place fucking and be back to square one.
I told him the way things are is making me feel used, and that is would really prefer to just be his friend but I feel like sex is the only way to get him to spend time with me.
So. No more sex. No more kissing or ass grabbing or dirty texts. Not because we feel guilty or because we don’t want to get fired or because we have no future. Not because of external situations. Because we want to be in each other’s lives and fucking just screwed it up.
The view from Papa Bear’s high rise is magnificent. I love sitting in this comfy lounge chair, watching the sun come up, watching the sun go down, watching the city lights at night, or the mist rising over the skyline in mid-morning.
I love our quiet time. I love drinking my coffee while he makes bacon, or just snuggling together and enjoying the fact that we have nowhere to be and nothing to do.
I love our little happy place at the top of the world.
I couldn’t breathe. I literally could not breathe. It wasn’t warm out anymore, but I rolled down my window and tried desperately to get my lungs to inflate. I started to dry-sob. I felt like I might puke. I asked Papa Bear to open the other windows, and when that didn’t work, to open the moon roof.
We were on the highway and I just needed him to pull over so I could get out of the car. “Can you find a gas station?” I gasped. He said, with a look of absolute panic on his face, that he would pull over as soon as he found one.
It was clear he hadn’t the slightest idea what to do.
When he finally found a place to stop, I got out of the car, told him to stay where he was, and ran inside for a pack of cigarettes. I have been trying very hard not to smoke, but this was an emergency. I sat outside the car, on the curb, and smoked one, and then another, and slowly my heart-rate returned to normal.
I walked slowly towards the car, got in, and then said “So you’re a dom now?”
Papa Bear is my “Daddy”, as we refer to it in kink circles. But he could never really do the dom thing. He helps me be disciplined in areas of my life that I need it, and he takes care of me and nurtures my inner baby girl. But he has made it clear from the start–even when The Ex-Wifey discovered she was a submissive and wanted him to beat her–that he is not dominant in that way. We actually took almost 6 months off from our Daddy/Baby Girl relationship when things were bad with The Wifey, and had just started dipping our toes back into him being my Daddy again. So all I could think was “But he will dom Nerd Girl. For HER, he’s a dom!?”
“No,” he said. “I’m not a dom now.”
“Then what the hell?? Why the hell did you nod when she asked if you would go down the dom road with her!?”
“It was awkward. She said it in front of you guys and I didn’t want to be like ‘Um, hold up, no’. I figured I’d sort it out with her next time we talk. And I kind of thought she was just asking if its okay that she’s a submissive, not that she wants me to be her dom.”
“Well, no,” I said. “That’s not how she put it. She asked you to ‘go down that road’ with her. She obviously thinks you’re her dom now.”
He said he had no intention of being her dom, or anyone else’s. “I had fun with her,” he said, “but flogging her did nothing for me. I wasn’t even a little bit turned on, even though she was buck ass naked and moaning like crazy. It’s not my thing.”
“Then why does she need a special name for you? Why does she now, after one night, need you to have a Dom title?”
“That freaked me out too,” he said. “She should just call me my name. I don’t want a title with anyone but you.”
I calmed down by a fraction of a decibel.
“What else upset you?” he asked.
“Well, you didn’t use a condom,” I said. “You said you would use a condom with anyone else, and you didn’t. So I guess you’ll need to buy some to use with me, since you want to be fluid-bonded with her now.”
He apologized profusely. He said it was idiotic. That he put the condom on, and it came off, and then he didn’t grab another one. He said there was no excuse. He promised it wouldn’t happen again.
But I couldn’t stop shaking and my teeth kept chattering.
“What else?” he asked.
“She wants to come spend nights at your house so she doesn’t have to go home from work? You just moved out! We literally just got to a place where we don’t need to wait til your wife is out to see each other, and you said I could come over after work, or spend the night and go to work from your place in the morning, and now she thinks she should be doing that? I have been waiting this entire relationship to get to have that kind of time with you, and after one night, she gets to reap the benefits of all our pain and all the hard decisions we’ve made, and now I have to check with you to find out if Nerd Girl is coming over before I can!?”
“No,” he said. “I told her when we chatted last week, that I am not looking for another girlfriend, and that’s still true. I have been waiting so long for us to be able to have to space to just be together. I love how easy it has been since I moved out, and how happy we have been, and I have no intention of suddenly having another woman staying over at my place all the time.”
“She already wants to see you on Friday. That’s the only night I can stay over when we don’t have to rush because of everyone’s work schedule. You said I could spend Friday night. Why does she think she is spending Friday night?”
“I have no idea,”he said. “She had already asked me about my schedule when we were in bed. I told her that the only night I have free this week is Friday, and that I usually spend Fridays with you.”
“Then why did she say that?”
“I don’t know,” he said, looking truly confused. “But her intensity is freaking me out.”
“Do you want to spend Friday night with her?” I asked quietly. “I’m not going to pull rank and say you can’t if that’s what you want to do.”
“No,” he said emphatically. “I’m not going to say I would never go out with anyone else on a Friday night, but right now you and I need that time. And I want to spend it with you. I don’t want to give it up. And I just met her. I don’t know her. ”
“Yet,” I said.
“Look,” he told me. “The first time you and I were together, something amazing happened between us. We clicked and we connected in so many ways. I knew you were my soul mate, even if I couldn’t put it into words. Even before we met, even when we were just chatting on OkCupid and texting, I felt like I knew you. I don’t feel that way about her. And even though you and I might start dating other people eventually, I have no desire to do that right now. We need space and time to figure out how to just be together. You are my world.”
We were driving now, but I asked him to pull over. I said I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know whether I should go home and be by myself, or go with him. I didn’t know whether we should try to talk this out, or just move on from it.
We got out of the car. He said he still wanted to talk. And in the distance, I spotted blue and green colours dancing across the sky. On our second date, we’d tried to find them, but couldn’t. That was the night he was talking about–the night we ended up on top of each other in the backseat, with our souls fused.
“Do you want to go see the Northern Lights?” I asked.
“Really?” he said, looking relieved and grateful.
“Really,” I answered.
And so we did.
A couple weeks back, Papa Bear and I went on a double date with another poly couple. We had been meaning to get together with them for months and months, but with life being crazy, this was the first time we actually had a chance to hang out since meeting them at a poly event last November. We met for all-you-can-eat sushi, and sat and talked and got to know each other. It was a nice night, and Papa Bear and I were excited at the prospect of having some new poly friends.
After dinner we went and sat on the patio of a cafe and had coffee. When it got too cold to be outside anymore, we walked to our cars, exchanged hugs all around, ad said we’d have to get together again soon.
I asked Papa Bear if he liked the girlfriend (who we’ll call Nerd Girl). He said he thought she was cute and liked how nerdy she was, but he knew she wouldn’t be interested in him and he was cool with that. I didn’t disagree with him. She is 24 (a full 21 years younger than Papa Bear) and made a point of telling us that she is basically a lesbian and the only man she is into is her boyfriend.
He asked me if I’d like to fuck her.
“Possibly,” I said. “We’ll see.”
“Would you want to fuck him?” he asked.
“Maybe, but I think he might be a little young for me.” The boyfriend, who we’ll call The Sheriff, is 27 to my 31–and I usually go for older men.
I continued to chat with The Sheriff on Facebook messenger, as we had been doing semi-regularly since we first met. The conversation turned kind of sexy, and then I got drunk one night, causing the conversation to turn very sexy.
During that talk, he told me that Nerd Girl has a major crush on Papa Bear. I immediately texted him and told him, and we were both excited about the possibility of this leading to fun, sexy times.
The next weekend (just a week after Papa Bear moved into his own place), they invited us to a barbecue. We went in with no expectations, but hoping we might end up making out a little at the end of the night or something.
We all started drinking immediately, and there was a decent crowd. It wasn’t a ton of people, maybe 10-12. We spent most of the daylight hours getting to know Nerd Girl and The Sheriff and their friends, and it was fun. Then, after a few more drinks than was probably advisable, Nerd Girl asked me to go upstairs with her and help her change into a shorter dress.
I suddenly got the impression that it was going to turn into That Kind of Party. The dress was short–it was pretty much showing her ass cheeks! When I tried to help her figure out the strings on it, neither of us could get it, and we started giggling.
When we came back downstairs The Sheriff told us that he figured based on our giggles, that we were probably fucking. I assured him that no fucking had taken place! We moved the furniture around so that the kitchen table was in front of the sectional, and we could all comfortably sit and play Cards Against Humanity.
I ended up setting between The Sheriff and Papa Bear, and Nerd Girl ended up on Papa Bear’s other side. We hadn’t even made it through a full round of the game, before Nerd Girl took her dress off, got out a flogger, and started taking volunteers for who wanted to beat her.
Some of the guys happily obliged, and took turns leaving welts on her ass. I watched, until The Sheriff started kissing my ear. “You smell amazing,” he said, and when I turned to respond, our lips met. Within less than a minute his hand was up my dress, and he was massaging me through my panties, which were immediately soaked. We continued kissing and he rubbed me off until I came, and then he got up to go do something.
Papa Bear was still sitting beside me, and he took advantage of my flipped up dress, and stuck his face between my legs. It had been a long-standing fantasy of ours, for him to eat me out in a room full of people, so he definitely wasted no time and spared no effort. He made me come again, and then Nerd Girl came and sat beside me and we started making out. Papa Bear pushed his fingers into me, hitting my g-spot, and then started to lick her cooch. We both moaned loudly and continued making out. I found her nipple and pinched it between my fingers. She said I should do it harder, and I did, but I still don’t think it was hard enough for her. She is a self-confessed pain-slut. Papa Bear alternated between the two of us, always with his hand inside one and his tongue inside the other.
Eventually I excused myself to get another drink, and then I padded down to the basement to use the bathroom. While I was down there I ran into The Sheriff, who grabbed me and kissed me and pushed me into the den. When Nerd Girl (his kinda-submissive) came down to ask his permission to fuck Papa Bear, my legs were wrapped around his head, so he just gave the go-ahead with a hand signal.
He fucked me hard. He pinned me to the couch. He choked me when my screams got too loud, which made me come harder. He fucked my face with his thick cock, until my make-up ran and my body shook and whimpers rose from my throat. He pulled my hair and I dug my nails into any part of him I could find.
When we went back upstairs and I tried to talk, I realized I’d lost my voice. Yes, I am a screamer. I went to the bedroom and watched Papa Bear flog Nerd Girl for awhile, and then, satisfied that they were having a good time, but feeling like a third wheel, I got up to head downstairs.
“Why are you leaving?” asked Papa Bear, with a big smile on his face. “Come over to the bed”
“I have to pee,” I said, which was true, but I didn’t go back. Instead I returned to the party.
Everyone except Papa Bear and Nerd Girl decided to go for a walk, so we stumbled, in various states of drunkenness, through the neighbourhood. The Sheriff held my hand and we chatted about movies and music, and then we all stopped for a drink, then returned to the house.
Nerd Girl and Papa Bear were still upstairs, but when they heard us they came down and joined us. I was just thinking it had been a really fun night, when Nerd Girl, who was sitting beside Papa Bear and kissing him over and over, started talking to him.
“I’m so glad you live so close to my work, because now I can come spend the night whenever I’m too tired to go home!”
“Yeah, we were fooling around and the next thing I knew we were fucking bareback!” she told her boyfriend with a giggle.
“Are you okay with going down the Dom road with me? Because I really don’t think I can be anything other than a submissive,” she asked Papa Bear.
“I’m going to have to figure out what to call you…” she said to him, gazing starry-eyed at his bewildered face.
“Now we can swap books!”
Then she called her boss to ask for her schedule, and squealed about the fact that she had the next Friday off. “I’m so glad I have this Friday off so we can spend the night together. Are you free Friday?”
And I watched her, like I was watching some kind of exotic creature I’d never before seen, either up close, or depicted on television. And I tried to keep the blood from rushing to my head as he told her he really had no idea what his schedule would be like but that he’s pretty busy.
And I hugged her good bye when they walked us to the car, and gave The Sheriff a good night kiss, and waited until the door closed and we were driving away, before I had a full-blown panic attack.
Papa Bear moved out.
He has been in his new apartment a week today.
He tells me he is so, incredibly happy. And he seems happy. He gets to wake up later in the morning because he doesn’t have to make coffee for the Ex-Wifey before he leaves for work. His commute is shorter and easier. And he is way closer to where I live.
Instead of getting home from work and dreading what he is going to be in trouble for now, or what he is going to have to do for the Ex-Wifey, he just comes home and does whatever he wants. He relaxes. Or takes a nap. Or puts together furniture in his underwear. Or walks around naked.
His apartment is nice. It’s small, but new. Hardwood floors and lots of windows, in a high rise downtown with a gym and a pool. He is excited to have my kids over to swim.
Still, sometimes, the immensity of what has happened overcomes him. Still he tells me, sometimes he wonders “What have I done?”
I understand. Who wouldn’t have those reservations? What kind of person would leave a 20+ year marriage without some second thoughts? When he feels that though, he reminds himself of how bad it was. And of everything he has gained. And the panic slowly fades.
He says I am the most important thing in the world to him. I think its because I support his freedom, and respect his autonomy. Also, of course, is our amazing, heart-stopping, intense connection that just continues to grow and grow.
We are both so relieved–if that’s an appropriate word to use. We just want to be together, without having to walk on egg shells, or wait for permission, or feel guilty. He tells me he is excited about our life together, and being able to define it without a bunch of constraints.
I agree. We are soul mates. And now we can stop pretending that that doesn’t matter.