Captain's Log

LoveBunny

Active member
Thank you @HisPet and @LittleWords (and everyone else who sometimes responds) it is very nice to know I'm not trying to navigate this all alone.

The day before Valentine's day I got a message from a woman I once loved. We haven't talked in 25 years beyond an occasional comment on each other's stuff on social media.

This was our polycule in the early 90's: It started when I was 20, in Manhattan. I was dating Jimmy when we both met Sonya through another girl, who I was sleeping with also. A triad quickly formed between Me, Jimmy and Sonya, we became inseparable. Eventually, I fell in love with Sonya, Sonya fell in love with Jimmy and he fell in love back. Sonya and I also slept with Jimmy's twin brother, and I slept with the twin's girlfriend too. This lasted close to 3 years? I left Sonya and Jimmy just before they got engaged. It was a heartbreaking decision, but whereas we started out as a fairly "even" triad, I was very unhappy as a secondary to their primary relationship.

Of course, we didn't have a language for what we were doing back then, before forums, before everybody had read Ethical Slut. We didn't have a name for it.

Anyway, Sonya wanted to send me pics of us she'd scanned, and that she wanted to tell me that even though I was only in their lives a couple of years, she and Jimmy have so many wonderful memories of me that they cherished and she wanted to thank me. I responded with honest regret that I'd cut them out of my lives so quickly and thoroughly at the time.

It was intense, and the pictures....god, we were all so young and gorgeous. I was easily able to summon up the memories.

Sonya was my first grown-up, deeply sexual love affair, and that relationship colored so much about how I feel about love, polyamory, and my own sexuality. Watching her fall in love with a man, in a way she simply could not love me, while I was literally in the bed with the both....it was a kind of pain and pleasure hard to describe. I was, what 23? One day, I instinctively went "no contact" (before it was a thing) in an effort to preserve my sanity.

It took me years to stop ruminating about Sonya, and oh boy, did I personalize that "rejection." Back then, I didn't know to talk back to negative thoughts like that, and I let them have me. The years following that triad were some of the darkest of my life.

But in the present, I'm middle-aged and in love again. Valentine's day with Sunny was perfect, I'm all hearts and flowers and fluttery butterflies about it right now. It feels easy. How much of my unease with poly is because I fear I'll be the one left out of love? Again?
 

LoveBunny

Active member
The day or so before my period, I'm always over-sensitive, easily triggered, emotional, and irritable. Anything wrong in my relationship with Sunny surfaces. We repeat a discussion (is it an argument if voices aren't raised?) going in circles...feelings get hurt. It's easy to forget that we go weeks at a time without discord. We do nothing but have fun and make love and talk deep for days straight.

I haven't heard from Braun in a minute, I'm losing interest, I just can't maintain a connection on Snapchat and videocalls. Letting it go for now. Talking to a nice-looking guy in an open relationship here on vacation without his partner. It's exactly the sort of thing Sunny and I decided was allowed. I'm thinking of meeting him for a drink (outside dining) and seeing if there's sparks. If there were, would I go back to his hotel room? I'm terrified to pull the trigger for many reasons. Covid. STI. Violence.

And will something between Sunny and I change if my sex is no longer just for him? Will it change his feeling for me? Will it change mine for him?? Won't it pull me away from him for at least a minute? And why am I so scared of that? If I say, "Hey, I'm going on a date with this guy. Maybe more if I feel it. Mainly, I'm doing it to to see how I feel about doing it. I'm also doing it so you see how you feel about me doing it. So I won't be able to see you tonight, Sunny," does Sunny get to say the same thing to me one day? How will I feel when he says "I'm not coming over tonight because I have a date with a chick just here for the weekend?" Wouldn't I rather be with Sunny than guy on vacation? Would Sunny rather be with me than weekend chick? Should I take it personally that he might choose variety, something new, over another night with me knowing he will have many more nights with me? But this is what we've agreed to. Take it for a ride, LoveBunny, or don't.


When I was home for the summer after freshman year of college, a young man who lived next door to my parents caught lust for me. He'd been a senior when I was a freshman in high school, we didn't know each other then. But I'd come back from the city with an edgy new look, and suddenly he was in front of my house talking to me. One night (then many nights after) he climbed up onto our roof then sneaked into my window at night. I barely knew him, but he was a great looking guy, very popular in our high school. He crawled into my window and into bed with me as if I'd invited him. We'd barely ever spoke a word.

This is weird and I don't know how to say this. I felt frozen. Not with fear, but like I did not think I had any right to say no. I can't say if I wanted him or not. He wasn't my first (maybe third or fourth?) I just, like, let it happen. I was attracted to him physically, yes, and my body responded to him, my first O with a partner, in fact. He wasn't rough. He just didn't seek consent, and I only gave it by not fighting. I remember thinking about my parents asleep downstairs, feeling in some way as if they failed to protect me. Of course, I was technically a grown woman by then (18? 19?) And it's not as if he hurt me.

I'm struggling with that same feeling of not being protected in polyamory. It's not logical. Sunny isn't making me sleep with other men. I am a grown woman and Sunny isn't truly my Daddy. I seem to remember reading that women need to bypass their reptilian fear response with strange men before they have any chance of getting off. It's easier for men to get off during a one-off because they're less likely to think they're in physical danger. I know it's ok to just meet a man in a public place and flirt I don't have to do anything with him after. I'm not as shy about saying no as I was at 19. As I said, not logical. I just wanted to try to name the icky feeling, thank you for listening polyworld.
 

LoveBunny

Active member
A moment of profound loneliness yesterday. I was waiting for Sunny to come over, and he butt-dialed me. I knew he was at his exwife's house for his teenaged son's birthday, and I picked up the phone and caught a bit of Sunny interacting with ex and his little girl (I didn't hear the boy but assume he was there too.) They were laughing and teasing him about something. I felt very outside looking in, and even worse when I asked later who was at the party, and Sunny said "Just the family, me, my daughter and my wife....oops, I mean, ex-wife."

He has a happy family. I'm not and probably never will be a part of it. Not even sure I'd want to be. I don't have an affinity for kids and his ex sounds like a handful. But I felt very lonely and excluded sitting there all by myself, making my dinner for one because Sunny was eating with his family. Not that I belonged there in any way, I've only met the kids once. It just hit me, again, how few close connections I have of my own.

Sunny and I talked a bit about the stuff that was on my mind in the last post. He seems not too keen on one-on-one encounters, doesn't plan on taking time away from me to make them happen. He's more interested in us doing stuff together with other couples. He said no need to even tell each other about one-offs unless a condom breaks or something. He said I could bring him along as a bodyguard if it would make me feel safer, but of course, I can't do that. I figure I'll meet the vacationing guy for a drink if scheduling allows, but it's not something I'm going to go out of my way to make happen.
 

LoveBunny

Active member
Sunny and I were kinda cruising along, neither of us dating others (that Braun guy I was talking to fizzled out.) I bought a car which took pressure off Sunny to provide transportation between our houses. We've been talking to a couple online we'll meet when they come to town later this year. I'd admitted to Sunny during one conversation I really would prefer that he NOT have other lovers outside of our swinging activities together--not that we've actually swung yet.... He considered it, then last night he told me with tears in his eyes that he wants my blessing to seek a female FWB of his own. In fact, he insisted, at some point in our relationship, he WOULD have "something on the side," I could count on it.

I knew it was coming, I could feel it, the uncomfortable fact that he feels a NEED to seek out other partners, even when I give him abundant sex, love, validation and attention. I even put my own profile back on OKC to look for women for myself before he said anything.

I have traditionally used polyamory for a few reasons: when I was very young, it was to honor my bisexuality and experiment. Later, it became a way to make up for not getting enough attention or sex in my primary relationships, or as a way to not invest fully in a particular relationship. Once, it was a "soft landing" out of a bad marriage. I understand, intellectually, that Sunny can have different reasons than mine for desiring multiple relationships, but it still FEELS as if I'm being told that I'll need to look elsewhere to get my needs met.

I feel crushed and exhausted by the hours of conversation that followed. We just cannot seem to agree on a game plan probably because we're playing with 2 different decks of cards. He's securely attached (with a touch of fearful-avoidance,) experiences compersion and likes more autonomy. I'm anxiously-attached, experience jealousy, and like more togetherness. We're also absolutely gaga about each other and compatible in a thousand small ways.

I feel myself checking out, feeling like it's just not worth it to invest so much emotionally in a man who will not be coming home to me every night when that's something I really want (what if, he says, just goes missing some afternoons? I admit that sounds less stressful.) Sunny insists I'm who he wants as his primary and someday-nesting partner, and he doesn't want to give up on us, doesn't want to break up. He asked if we could try a time limit on his not dating alone while I got more comfortable with the idea, or (he was sobbing when he asked this) if he could at least be with me while I looked for someone to be my "soft landing." This was all desperation talking, I know, and I hated it.

I can see what a bold, strong, empowering move it would be for me to end things, how I should just know there's more fish in the sea and I'll be fine alone, better off with someone whose relationship style is more compatible, yadda yadda. I would give him the gift of freedom, and me freedom from this particular brand of angst.

I cannot seem to do it at the moment. Love and hope keep getting in my way.
 
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LoveBunny

Active member
I'm holding back, being withholding, sometimes with Sunny. Not in major ways, but I catch myself doing it in small ones.

I'm afraid of getting hurt in his quest for poly life, and it makes me cold. We'd talked about taking a vacation together in a few months, but now I'm wavering, because I don't know if I want to bond deeper. I find myself stepping back from the idea of us moving in together, even though cohabitation is something I really want. I'm afraid I'll feel trapped, or he will.

Though he sees I thrive when it's just us, he confesses he felt happier when he had a secondary. His joy was purely selfish, as neither me or his secondary was truly happy with the situation, but I get it. I've been there, enjoying my lover while my husband suffered. I'm certainly just as selfish wanting Sunny not to be with anyone else because it makes me feel more secure.

There's only a couple ways I could see this working. If his dating others gives me negative pings, I need to have a shit-ton of positive pings from him (or someone else?) to mitigate it. My internal "bucket," which is still half-empty from a neglectful childhood, past romantic rejections, etc., will not tolerate much drain. I don't mind doing a certain amount of emotional work/self-help to clean my side of the street, but hell if I'm going to do it alone just so he can go get some strange. But what if my need turns out to be bottomless, and no matter how much he gives me, I still feel it's not enough? How much work is too much for Sunny to do to keep me feeling safe and satisfied?

The other way it could work relies on making things "even." Like if I had an awesome girlfriend of my own I might not mind him seeing other women. I don't really want to date men, the idea makes me tired. If I happened to click with some guy I got to know in real life enough to catch feelings, ok, but I can't seem to muster interest in it. Maybe I'm not monogamish at all, but polysaturated with Sunny, and only the right woman could make me interested in polyamory. But of course, this approach is unrealistic. Sunny may well find a woman he jives with and I may not.

He's constantly telling me how much he loves me lately, and sexually we keep getting better and better. He wonders if he actually had my support to date others he might find he doesn't need to. I wonder if he told me he'd be monogamous for me I would insist he doesn't need to. We each want the other to choose the relationship above our individual desires, yet neither of us do. It's true water seeks its own level, so we're both being selfish and digging our heels in. He likened it to us circling each other looking for where there's give in the other's walls.

He insists he just wants something easy and casual with another woman, maybe because I'm challenging and require a lot of attention. But if I stop being slightly difficult, will he slack off on courting me? Not that I'm doing it consciously to be manipulative. I'm just not an easy person, I think, not for anyone, not just because I have attachment issues, but because I'm smart, sensitive and willful.

He told me our relationship has been the "greatest learning and growing experience of his life." I think it was meant as a compliment because of the deep conversations we have, and because I've made him read lots of articles, lol. But he also told me he'd be fine if was around a little less because I was dating someone else, and that makes me feel like he's just not that into me. I mean, I know that can't be the case, he's all over me when we're together, and we're together often, and he is committed to me in that he spends a certain amount of quality time with me, more than with anyone else in his life. I guess it's my invitation to be a little more independent, he's telling me he's not going anywhere.

Exhausted from work this week, just wanted to get out some stuff in my brain, thank you.
 

LoveBunny

Active member
I know I've said before, Sunny and I rarely argue, not in the way I think of a fight. We negotiate, discuss, and sometimes things get heated, but even if things sometimes veer a bit into harsh territory, we reel it back in pretty quick.

That being said, we are still not in joyful, harmonious agreement with where we want to live on the poly/mono spectrum. And on top of that, we're having friction because he refuses to get vaxxed. Let me start with that, it's the least emotional of the two issues I'm contending with relationship-wise.

No, he doesn't think it will put in a chip in him. He just doesn't trust Big Pharma or the Government and worries about some weird future side affect because the vax was "rushed through." I get it. I do. And we've all got so much conflicting info being thrown at us right now covid-wise. I wonder if, because of his ADHD, he maybe has trouble sorting through it all?

I would feel less anxious if he were vaxxed, but he feels more anxious about the shot than the virus itself. I've tried reasoning with him, pleading with him, and, I admit, I get sanctimonious. A few days ago, he finally agreed to get vaxxed, but now he's waffling and resentful that I pressured him. We started getting a little heated about it, but then I took a deep breath and suggested we try to find some reputable sources with FACTS on either side of the argument and sort through them together, and he seemed happy about that. But I'm frustrated that it's this hard.

If anyone who happens to be reading in the next few hours knows an especially convincing article or paper I can bring to the table, I'm all ears.

Now, the non-monogamy/poly issues are becoming pressing because we're starting to talk more concretely about moving in together. Financially and spiritually, it seems to make sense since we're at each other's house 5 nights a week anyway. Plus we have this awesome thing where he's good at the stuff I'm not and vice-versa. Our place would be neat (because of me) well kept-up (because of him,) we'd be self-sufficient (him,) and all bills paid on time with savings (me.) We make a good team whenever we do things together, be it road trips or making dinner or picking out a movie to watch. I really, really want a live-in partner, and he says he would like that too.

But....I'm very frightened I won't be happy in a poly relationship, and Sunny won't be content with a monogam-ish one, and we're having trouble agreeing on middle ground.

He's gone from telling me he wants a "secondary" to saying a "sidechick" or "FWB." I'm still not interested in spending less time with him or getting less energy from him so he can have time and space to pursue other women, even sexually, but I also believe him when he says he will NOT be monogamous. This is the price of admission to this relationship. But he must know that the amount of coming firstness I desire from my partner may not be compatible with carrying on ethical multiple relationships. We've had some disheartening discussions. Will this be the thing that ends us or a thing that will smooth at the edges with time and trust and growth?
 

breathemusic

Active member
I don't have an article to link, but if his biggest concern is the vax being rushed through, then he should do some research into how the vax was actually developed. COVID research has been going on for quite some time because there are other strains of COVID. The reason a vaccine could be developed so quickly is because similar research was already well underway and could be leveraged. Not because scientists were just winging it and threw something out there.
 

LoveBunny

Active member
Thank you Evie and breathemusic, you both made great points!

Sunny got the first shot today, so I guess I won. It was a sucky conversation though, like speaking to a religious person who is not operating with logic, but with "belief." When confronted with facts he couldn't argue his way out of, he admitted he just "felt it in his gut" that the vaccine is not necessary for him. This reminds me of why he voted Stein instead of Clinton, "I just felt like HC is not a good person." He hadn't really educated himself on either candidate, and just voted for the one that was the least "establishment."

I don't think this is the way a person should make a decision. One should look at facts and adjust their opinion accordingly. Trouble is, Sunny doesn't trust the facts he's given. Not from the govmt, the news, scientists, or experts. Last night I really felt the education/class gap between us. He says he's only vaxxing for me, as a way to prove he's "all in" with me. I appreciate that, and rewarded him with a morning bj and I'm thinking about something nice I can do for him tonight, pick up a special treat or something he needs for the house.

Ok, so I've finally understood why y'all go on about envy vs jealousy. I've realized a lot of my anxiety surrounding Sunny involves envy. I'm envious of his ability to score attractive women (I've had a few in my day, but not as many as I'd like.) I'm envious of his family living here, his successful business, his home-ownership. I envy his optimism and self-confidence and that he doesn't struggle with loneliness or depression. I get imposter syndrome, sure that at some point I won't be able to hold up my mask and he'll see me for the envious, needy creature, homeless and alone, I truly am. I can argue back with that voice plenty, but it's draining to try to argue oneself into a healthy place and sometimes I just want to stop trying.

My life will be better if I move in with Sonny. I'll feel less lonely, I'll have more money. He hopes I'll feel more secure, and perhaps I will. I would really prefer to work through this big ball of ambivalence surrounding nonmonogamy first. Can I handle this or fucking not???
 

LoveBunny

Active member
I just finished reading LIVING WITH LIMERENCE, will reread. I've seen this word in various forums and books, but just thought was an old-fashioned psychiatric term for what has been re-branded as NRE or love addiction. It helped me to look at limerence as a more specific psychological phenomena. Definitely, I am "a limerent"--someone prone to this state. Falling in love for me can feel like a mental disorder. I struggle to concentrate on anything else, and my beloved's behavior towards me far too greatly colors my moods.

Sunny is non-limerent, he doesn't experience falling in love this way. This is why he was able to still keep his focus on me even when he started seeing Mary-with-the-stripper-body, he didn't lose his mind in NRE, and why he is so much more chill about our relationship.

Historically, my limerence has been reserved for my relationships with women who were not in love with me. Sunny is the first man I can remember feeling this worked up over, and he's definitely the first person who seems to love me back that I've felt this limerent for.

According to the book, to trigger limerence, the beloved must at least show some interest, intermittent reinforcement is one way to create limerence but not the only way, and there must be obstacles to us being together. I suspect the fact that Sunny is poly leads me to feel he's unavailable/it's an obstacle. He definitely isn't using intermittent reinforcement and shows plenty of interest. The good news is limerence doesn't seem to last more than a few years. And if I look at it like a fleeting mental state, I can use some of the tools I've learned after breakups with narcissists and borderlines to free up mental space from worrying about if Sunny loves me or not.

Last night I dreamed that I had a cute girlfriend and I was fine with Sunny having a girlfriend and I was outing myself to my parents, who were fine with me having a boyfriend and a girlfriend. It was nice to feel good about the idea of poly, even if it was while I was asleep.

I haven't written here about my sort of romantic friendship with the woman I'll call Blue. She's in my circle of friends, pretty much straight, but one day a few years back, she asked me to dance with her during a performance piece, she was Bowie in Labyrinth and I was Sarah, and I went all sub on her and let her lead me into darkness and it was HOT! Ever since then, we've crossed little lines with each other. On my birthday this year we shared a passionate kiss (much to Sunny's delight.) I've told her straight out if she wanted me to be with her, or even her and her boyfriend, she could have me, but she hasn't taken me up on it, lol.

I've been thinking about something I wrote in my last entry here, how I'm envious of Sunny's "ability to score attractive women (I've had a few in my day, but not as many as I'd like.)" A far better use of my energy than feeling feeling envious would be to go out and try to score some attractive women myself. So yesterday I spruced up my dating profiles.
 
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