Buy the ticket, take the ride.

MeeraReed

Active member
I think you've mentioned in other posts that you make significantly more money than Bird. (And that Daisy makes about the same that you make). Is that a factor, to Bird?
 

Inaniel

Active member
I think you've mentioned in other posts that you make significantly more money than Bird. (And that Daisy makes about the same that you make). Is that a factor, to Bird?

Yes to the income difference. The three of us have a tenants In common contract in place, I believe I have a good idea of where Bird and Daisy stand on financial issues.

Disolving the marriage contract would be a good opportunity for the three of us to re-negotiate a tenants in common agreement that better describes our arrangement. The hard part for Bird and I will be getting past the initial emotional reaction to the topic. I am confident Bird and I can agree to an equitable solution that satisfies self-interests.

I've spent a lot of time pondering the "choose your partner every day" philosophy vs the sheer weight of living under capitalism... and frankly I don't have any good answers.

I don’t have any good answers either... We have to live with our decisions for better or worse. I think I can come up with something better (for my unique self and situation). I could be wrong. I could go down in flames. It’s never stopped me from rolling the dice before...
 

Inaniel

Active member
No sleep when Bird is sad.
Guilt breeds in a restless mind.
Lawyers are the salt upon a scorched earth.
 

Inaniel

Active member
It was particularly cold the other night; I was comfortable nestled in my bed when I felt Bird come into my room and lay down next to me. She timidly asked me if I had any cuddles for her, and I said that I happen to have a few… We had a conversation that left me feeling delightfully euphoric… I am grateful to share such a connection with Bird. I think we are at a place where we both feel heard, and we can continue to forge a cohabitation contract in leu of the marriage contract.

For the sake of due diligence, we have reached out to attorneys, and reviewed all of the paperwork required by the State. I have identified several health-insurance plans for Bird with commensurate benefits, and verified that Bird can remain a beneficiary on my life insurance and retirement in the event of my untimely demise…

Bird and have I agreed to an uncontested dissolution of the marriage contract, that will likely be filed jointly without legal representation. I am happy, and yet, I still find myself trying to justify it. I do not know if it is guilt, or dread, or regret… I feel so many things about this topic.

Guilt because Bird and I perceive the marriage contract differently.
Dread because of the potential familial fallout.
Regret that I consented to enter the marriage contract to begin with.

I am reading a book called “Marriage, A History” … I thought that it would add fuel to my fiery criticism of the institution but perhaps it is having the opposite effect… From what I have gathered so far, in the book, from the attorney, and the legal forms; it is quite clear to me; marriage is about one thing. Money… People say it is about love, a union under god, or a thousand otherwise intangible things. But when the gavel comes down, money is all.

I understand that entangled romantic partnerships are just as much a business agreement as they are anything else.. Boiling the concept of marriage down to a financial contract is surprisingly comforting to me; because it takes all shame out of the term “divorce”..

As children, Bird and I were both taught that “divorce” is a dirty word... In my household it was simply religious snootiness and self-righteousness. It was different for Bird though. For Bird, it means being separated from her sister. It means standing in front of a judge as a 7yr old little girl and choosing which household she will grow up in. It means having a stepmother that loathed her biological mother, it means a family in conflict and a failure to reconcile. For Bird, the reaction is visceral.

I can free myself of any guilt I feel about the word; but I cannot do the same for Bird. This is the crux of our conflict. When we sat down and talked about how to navigate the process Bird only had one condition; that if our daughter must appear in court, Bird would not agree to it. It serves to illustrate the difference in the way we see this issue. We have found success by respectfully acknowledging our dichotomous views prior to each conversation and limiting our conversations to 30min a day.

Bird asked me how far I will take my rejection of the institution. If I would oppose our daughter being married and reject the tradition. Good question... If the traditional marriage is what makes our daughter happy, I believe I can support her and follow tradition, for her. Am I being hypocritical? I feel like I can want for my daughter what she wants for herself even if I want something fundamentally different for myself… I am not fundamentally opposed to marriage; even though I never wanted it for myself, I do not judge other people for getting married. My most negative feelings came from the inclination of others to push the institution onto me and attempt to force it into my life.

If I can offer one criticism though… As far as business contracts go, terms are typically spelled out very specifically, ownership shares are well defined before you sign. Marriage contracts on the other hand are typically signed first, and the terms of the contract settled upon dissolution of the contract. If feels fundamentally backwards… If marriage is reduced to a financial contract, it is a poor one in my opinion.

Where would Bird and I be if not for one another? Financially speaking, Bird quit two jobs to follow me around the country and was briefly unemployed. On the other hand, I paid for Bird’s school expenses and daycare while she completed her degree. It is difficult to reconcile all “what could have been” scenarios to arrive at a figure of monetary division. I can see how troublesome it is and why it is often litigated. Moving forward, I would like to have the terms of a contract spelled out before I live it out. A contract that can be changed based on unique life circumstances.

I am not fundamentally opposed to a financial contract in the least. Obviously, as I am currently under two… I support contracts that protect ones own investments… I think my anxiety comes from having two contracts of wildly different legal relevance and language. I created a contract with Bird, and later entered another contract as a triad with Daisy. Now our triad has become so financially enmeshed It feels chaotic having the two. If marriage contracts in this country were adaptable enough to encompass more than two individuals perhaps, I might feel differently, right now it seems more appropriate to reject the institution completely…

When Bird, Daisy, and I considered purchasing property, our first preference was two separate homes, either next door, in walking distance, or connected condominiums… We purchased a single property for a simple reason. Money.. In the city where we reside the median price of a home is about $550k. We found that purchasing a single large property in leu of two distinct properties was approximately 30-40% less expensive per square foot. The financial incentive enabled us to own a large property in the city for a cost of approximately 12.5% monthly income for each of us. While the median home is 7x the median annual household income, our property, in contrast, is less than 3x our annual household income. It is a considerable quality of life advantage. We do not live paycheck to paycheck like so many of our friends in this city.

It would be disingenuous to say that money was the only factor... Bird and Daisy have minimal conflicts and have rejected gender roles to at least the small degree where no one feels territorial over the kitchen (which is apparently a thing.?..) Regardless, the group also considered other factors in our fitness to cohabitate…

We agreed on a system of equal burden, for example if each paycheck is burdened 12.5%, (for simplicity’s sake) let us say that equates to me paying 40% of the mortgage, Daisy paying 40% of the mortgage, and Bird paying 20% of the mortgage. That would be each of our respective ownership shares of the asset. This has come to be known as “The Ratio” in our household. The ratio has been applied to a great many things over the years, typically pertaining to the house (such as home renovations). The Ratio has also extended to items such as furniture in common areas; we keep a list of what items are acquired at the ratio and when the asset is liquidated the proceeds of the sale will be split. If the asset is appreciating in nature, we benefit at the ratio, if the asset is depreciating in nature, we share the burden at the ratio. If the ratio needs to change due to a significant change in income, or unemployment we simply change the ratio, as a result, when the asset is liquidated the presiding ratio is that of the weighted average of the previous ratios, weighted by the length of time each ratio was active...

I like this arrangement... I find it a quite elegant... Confidently, I am inclined to say that we are capable of negotiating contracts for ourselves and marriage law can stay the hell out of our lives. Taken to a further extreme (theoretically speaking) a group of adults could co-own a property and the money saved could then be used to pay for home maintenance, cleaning, nannies ect… Such a household could potentially transcend provider frames and gender rolls completely… As housing prices reach for the stars, could such a model of autonomous cooperation become a popular form of relational cohabitation? Perhaps I am digressing…

Another nagging issue that needs fixing is the separation of finances. Before the triad, it was convenient to consolidate finances. We have meant to rectify this, but out of laziness and lack of priority it has not happened. As a result, Bird has a hard time justifying personal purchases because it is hard for her to account her for her own contribution to our bank account. It has also led to other purchasing problems; for example, if I want to make a frivolous purchase, and Daisy is interested in cost sharing; Bird gets roped into the purchase because Bird and I have intertwined finances.

Moving forward I would like Bird and I to agree on a how to split our savings/checking/investment accounts. This can be defined as part of the dissolution proceedings and codified by the judge. This will allow Bird to fund personal banking and brokerage accounts. The end benefit of financial separation is the ability to expand the already established Daisy:Bird:Inaniel ratio, with the addition of a Bird:Inaniel ratio, a Daisy:Inaniel ratio, and a Daisy:Bird ratio… This will allow greater freedom and flexibility for cooperative joint purchases.

I do not know why we kicked this stone down the road for so long... The only justification that comes to mind is money has not been an issue. We are comfortable within our means and desire, so in essence we want for nothing and money does not tend to be a point of contention, it feels plentiful. I have found it useful however, when negotiating about finances in general, to space the conversations out over time.
 
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Inaniel

Active member
Another aspect of the marriage conflict, is the public perception of marriage and the risk of societal persecution… When I activate an online dating profile, I inevitably ask myself, what happens if someone from work views my profile? What if someone were to see Birds profile if she created one? Confrontation? Concealed judgement? Public judgement? Limits to upward mobility and opportunities?

Daisy is not inconvenienced with these scenarios for a simple reason, her relationship status (as far as her employer is concerned) is “single”.

I do not know what the fallout would look like, but here are three possible scenarios that make sense to me:

Married and publicly poly = normies think I am weirdo, possible public persecution.
Married and dating = normies think I am a dirty cheat, possible public persecution.
Divorced and dating = self-righteous opinions aside, normies can understand and relate.

I could be wrong. I could be coming from a place of fear and insecurity. Maybe I should not give so many fucks about what other people think…

It feels to me like society has a sense of entitlement to meddle in relationships once the title of “marriage” is claimed. In the show “Tiger King”, Doc Antle was outed as having “multiple wives”. Doc’s response to the public outcry was simply “I’m not married”; his response seems to have appeased the masses even though he clearly has a harem. If you do not claim marriage, does society not care? Or is it then too convoluted for society to understand and interpret, so they simply give up?

I have not settled into any explanations in this area. Only that marriage is a statement that opens you up to a great many societal assumptions, and society at large appears to have a sort of possessiveness over the institution... I suspect that rejection of the marriage title could empower one with a sort of plausible deniability for publicly perceived sexual exploits… But is that really empowerment? Should my goal be to hide from societies hostility? Perhaps that topic deserves a dedicated journal entry of it own…
 
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Inaniel

Active member
This condition of mine… The mind sort of vacillates between a nihilistic numbness and a sort of auspicious utopia… Call it my highs and lows… Younger in life, I attempted to combat the lows with sex, love, and drugs; catapulting me into the highs where I found beauty, inspiration, and peace. My adult life has been dedicated to attenuating my mood swings. If my highs do not feel quite so high, and my lows do not feel quite so low, I find myself living near a comfortable baseline. I then pat myself on the back because it means that I am succeeding in taming my own beast.

You may think ~ with my personality ~ I would be an NRE addict... Have you ever walked too close to the edge of a cliff and lost your balance? Or taken that extra hit of a drug that put you over the edge?… That is the best way I can describe my NRE experience with Daisy... My relationship with NRE is that of a hard-earned respect... However, to encompass what happened with Daisy, I first must talk about Brie…

Brie was my classmate in grad school. She was a mountaineer, fit, and tough... As it turned out, Brie was also an ex-druggie like me; it would lay the foundation of our bond. Bird was pregnant when my relationship with Brie began. I found myself positioned in the last year of my education, and a soon to be a father… I felt like I was at the cusp of adulthood, my future looked utterly boring. Internally, I think I was in crisis.. I was in the home stretch of turning my life around, and Brie was an intoxicating symbol of the past.

Brie and I were out of town for academics and the organization was hosting a pub crawl… I dared Brie to steal a bottle of whisky from behind the bar while no one was looking; surprisingly, she did it… We ran out of the bar laughing and within an hour found ourselves laying on a rooftop naked, ocean side, under the stars, and enjoying Brie’s procurement… The next day we went to a vineyard where Brie and I got wasted on Sauvignon blanc, we were lost in the grape vines wearing our best attire, and began throw grapes at each other, we proceeded to have passionate sex amongst the leaves as the sun set. The groundwork for the relationship was established; a sort of ethics-be-damned debauchery.

Brie confided in me that she did not love men, had in fact never loved any man, and maintained that she lacked the ability to love people. According to Brie, the only reason she pursued relationships was because she felt unsafe being alone. My relationship with Brie would be my first under the poly umbrella... Although Brie did not prefer the word Poly, as it insinuates love… The relationship included high levels of autonomy and was low in conflict. My only request of her was that she let me know when having unprotected sex with others so that we may take precautions.

Jealousy and insecurity were so minimal in this dynamic, it never warranted a discussion. We did experience NRE, to a degree… Brie eventually professed to love me. She began telling me sweet things, like no man had ever understood her as I do. Her rhetoric was a contradiction, and connecting with Brie on an emotional level was confusing. As if she responded to her own vulnerabilities by abruptly placing up walls... Maybe falling for a baby daddy (soon to be), was simply a mind fuck… I never pushed or pried; I accepted Brie and thought her a beautiful soul, I never wanted anything from her and internalized her conflicting signals with a sort of “love is complicated” dismissal..

Brie and I parted ways at graduation, she tried on several occasions to meet up with me. However, I felt it was necessary for the sexual relationship to end. I grew tired of the hard and fast depravity of which was now an expectation of me, I moved on from those desires. If Brie were hurt, she did not make it known, though it would not be in her character to do so…

The year was now 2014. I was 30yrs old, I was a new father, and I had a new career... The tone of my life suddenly changed... The median age of my peers were now 15 years my senior, they were also more conservative and unpleasant. It dawned on me that I had been living in a bubble… As the “new guy”, I did not want to give anyone a reason to dislike me; so, I tried to assimilate... Maybe poly was just a childish experiment, I thought… Maybe it was time for me to grow up and revise my expectation of sexual freedom... If my lifestyle is going to affect my career, if management is going to be bias towards me, fuck it, I concede.. With that said, management were not bad people; In fact, one of my supervisors in particular stands out in my memory. She walked into my office and introduced herself on my first day of work; petite with a big smile, an endearing giggle, and blue eyes; “Hi Inaniel, my name is Daisy. Welcome aboard!”…
 
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Inaniel

Active member
I have done a lot of drugs. They all pale in comparison to emotional mindfuck of a trip that I experienced the night my daughter was born. People said my love for her would hit me like a ton of bricks the moment I saw her. That was not my experience. When I met our daughter for the first time; Bird embraced her with a familiarity that I simply lacked. All I could think about was was how the hell I was going to care for this little human once I got her home. I watched Bird labor for 18hrs that day, with no pain management. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. When the doctor handed the baby to Bird, I snapped a photograph in the fleeting moment that Bird drew the baby close. Bird’s eyebrows were furrowed, with a big smile on her face. I have never seen that specific expression on Bird’s face ever again. A picture is worth a thousand words…

I wondered if something was wrong with me. Why attachment to my child did not arrive at birth like everyone said it would. The way I see it now; Bird spent nine months connecting with the child before birth, and in a capacity that I cannot comprehend. Therefore, when the child arrived Bird already knew her; in contrast I was being introduced for the first time. My attachment for my daughter came with time, and when it did, it was a powerful combination of instincts. Maybe it was not like being hit by a ton of bricks; more like having a ton of brick slowly lowered upon me. Becoming a father to my daughter became, and still is, of the highest delights of my life.

In my last entry I made it sound like I was giving up poly for my career. However, it was more complicated. I had new baby that needed my attention. We were trying to save money to pay debts and buy a house. Bird began her educational pursuits. Even if I wanted to poly date, there was nowhere to fit it into my life.

Over the next 3 years, a multitude of variables came crashing down on my life with the sole intent of ruining my sex life. Free time for intimacy rare, but the devastating blow was Bird’s health problems. Abruptly, seemingly overnight; my sex life with Bird transitioned from multi-orgasmic squirting, oral, rough PIV and finger play; to essentially no vaginal contact at all. She developed sensitivity of the vagina so intense that she cringed at any vaginal stimulation. Bird happily engaged in acts of sexual intimacy that led to climax for myself; and although we still found a way to share intimacy it was not the same for me. Bird acted like our new sexual dynamic was perfectly suitable; after all I was getting my rocks off once a day so what did I have to complain about?

With the advantage of hindsight, and years of therapy, I now know that Bird was as devastated as I was. Her passive personality, and fear of abandonment tend to cause Bird to channel problems inward; so, she did not want to face it. When arguments did occur; Bird’s position was that everything would be fine, and it is just a phase. My position was that it is not fine, and she was not doing enough to figure out what was going on with her health. Bird would end the conversation by telling me to “go get it somewhere else”; as if sex were some sort of commodity to me…

I think I was grieving. I recall lying in bed at night, holding Bird’s hand, and fantasizing about eating her pussy as I drifted off to sleep. I wanted Bird so bad my mouth watered. When she gave me oral, I fantasized about her face when she had an orgasm, or rather, when she had her third orgasm, which was typically the plateau of her pleasure and intensity as she climbed the O-ladder. I was living in our past, and my inclination to be present and in the moment vanished. Eventually, after what felt like constant denials of my advances, I stopped initiating. Bird felt rejected, and so did I. Any act that led to vaginal stimulation became a source of anxiety; Bird did not always know when she could handle it, so we often had to stop. Before long we stopped trying.

I failed Bird during this time. I felt obligated to tell Bird that everything was fine; however in moments of grief I would contradict myself and profess my misery. At our worst, Bird would become very emotional; she would sob; telling me that she felt broken and like her body was turning on her, and that I was too. Not having sex was making me miserable. I began thinking something was wrong with me, that maybe I was a sex addict; so I sought the help of a therapist. We didn't vibe. As soon as he learned that I had multiple simultaneous sexual partners in the past I think his mind immediately said “yep you are a sex addict”. He seemed more interested in talking to me about my past “indiscretions” with non-monogamy, than my present situation. Although it was a net negative experience, I did gain insight in terms of how sex affects my mood and general happiness, and I can admit that I have sought sex as a sort of “fix” for emotional distress, which meets the definition of addictive behavior.

In the spirit of oversharing, I concluded the following about my sex drive:

>3 times a day, I feel delightfully drained at the end of the day.
3 times in a day, it’s a good day. Fully satisfied.
2 times in a day, I will usually have a hankering for a third, but satisfied.
< or = 1 time in a day, I crave more and will seek it out. My desire for sex begins affecting my mood.

Although Bird and I would engage in one-sided sexual intimacy about once a day, at our worst, we engaged in PIV sex about once every three months. In hindsight it is unclear of whether this was Bird’s physical limit, or a result of our emotional turmoil, and mutual feelings of rejection. I lost my confidence, gained 20lbs, and focused on parenting. Over time I would stop looking at Bird as a sexual partner, and I think Bird stopped feeling the sexual side of herself altogether.

As I began traveling for work, I pursued sex while on business trips. While it was validating, it did not satiate my ongoing need for sex. And it lacked the emotional connection that I enjoy in a budding sexual relationship. In fact, the sexual experiences were the least preferable of my lifetime. I think perhaps I would appreciate the novelty more, if not acting out of desperation…

Sex was beginning to take over my focus every single day and I craved something ongoing. By this time, Daisy and I were friendly. We bonded over several uncanny similarities in our respective childhood stories. Daisy is the offspring of a preacher; she grew up in a parsonage and her religion was the same little known Christian denomination of my family. Daisy and I grew up in proximity, even attending the same church camps, yet we never met as children. So removed was the culture we grew-up in, that our connection felt incredibly unique in a city far from home.

Unlike myself, Daisy followed the doctrine of the church until her mid-twenties. She married young and saved her virginity, never drank, and never did drugs. She lived her life by the book, the good book, at least in the cultural perspectives of her church. Not long after Daisy was married, she became interested in science and would complete her studies in a STEM field (much to her conservative parents’ discontent). While Daisy was away at University, her husband became entangled with another woman and he left Daisy; they divorced. This would be the catalyst for Daisy’s exit from the church, she felt rejected and judged by her own family and community for "failing as a wife". Daisy rebelled against the Church, and sought to de-program two decades of intense religious indoctrination.

I would come into Daisy’s life years later, but her lasting bitterness towards men and the church were still clear. Daisy is assertive, a characteristic that has served her well in a male dominated field. If intellectually challenged however, her assertiveness often turned to aggression. During our budding friendship, scientific debates regarding our work would often turn personal if she were on the losing side of the argument.

Daisy would regale me of her stories about drinking and having one-night stands; and in some ways, I envied her life. But there were also undertones of depression, regret, self-hatred, and guilt. I think I sensed a turbulence in her personal life but was not really paying attention. I had no attraction to Daisy during this time and never had intrusive sexual thoughts about her.

Daisy later went through somewhat of a transformation. I was still only a distant observer, and not involved in her personal life at all. However, in consideration of the changes she was making in her life, I found that I quite fancied her. Daisy began seeing a personal trainer, she started volunteering in her spare time, and decided to take a break from the dating marry-go-round and focus on herself. We grew close during this time and began going on runs together for exercise. I sensed the improvements in her mental health, and we lost weight and got fit together.

I recall a work-related assignment that would take Daisy and I out of town together. As we walked through the city together during our mid-day break, my desire for her came over me. I knew deep down that I should not make a move. I knew it was a mistake. However, against my good sense, I asked Daisy if she wanted to grab a drink with me. And to my utter relief; and simultaneous disappointment; she rejected me…

That evening, I laid in bed conflicted... When suddenly a notification chime rang from my phone; Daisy sent me a text message: “If I said yes, where would you take me?” That night Daisy and I found ourselves highly intoxicated at a little dive bar with a single pool table. As we began the game, I playfully teased her every time she missed a shot; and said I would be happy to give her lessons, for a fee. Daisy walked up to me and put one arm around me, she pushed her thigh between my legs, stared into my eyes and seductively said: “What forms of payment do you accept?”…
 
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