Catfish Extract


New member
Time for a new start.


I'm done with this, and once again rebeginning. Letting a new story unfold itself in a new thread.

It starts like this...

Rocked by jealousy, despair and utter dissatisfaction, I've recently made some of the best decisions of my life. I've removed myself from the situation in question (if only by a few blocks) and and consciously (but somehow still unwittingly) begun the golden task of rebuilding my existence. The possibilities really are limitless. All it takes is intention. And lots of support.

I have found that for all my faults and fundamental flaws, I have managed one saving grace. I have always been able to identify an authentic person. And I have surrounded myself with them. They are, as are all who continue to breathe, just as flawed and perfect as I am. And together we have accomplished great things. My band-mates, my brothers, my parents, my hiking buddies, my great big chosen family, you, dear reader, and most importantly... most significantly... Rarechild and Charlie. We are passionate, honest HUMAN BEINGS who love each other very much.

You should know that the fresh, light-hearted air of this new beginning is not without a twinge of sadness. In a way, I am saying goodbye to my home. I am walking away from the comfort I've known for many years. But this place is no good for me. With the company I keep, a much nicer place is definitely in order. Somewhere quiet. More natural.

So, Yes...

Charlie... Thank you. I genuinely feel like you have my back. Always have. I'm pretty sure everyone you've ever met has felt that same incredible integrity from you.

And Rarechild... It's true. You are beautiful. But more than that... much are the most genuine human being I have ever shared space with. I would be a fool to ever give you up.

I'll be home again soon.
Happy 4 U !!!

I've recently gotten back into woodworking. I enjoy the detail work. It's about patience. The trick to getting through the details of any project (metaphor alert!) is keeping the end result in mind. Seeing the finished product in advance. Knowing how it will be shaped, step by step, from one form to another. Every progressive step, a necessity to the one that follows. Sanding things smooth. Repeatedly measuring. Cutting mindfully. Patience. Let the binder set. Let the finish cure. Remembering that the object began as imagination. And can only become real through thoughtful action, orchestrated intent.

Experienced hands do not exist without a road-map of scars from well meant mishaps.

In high school, I jammed my thumb into a table saw blade and had to go to the emergency room where my Mom was a nurse at the time. She lovingly scolded me as she tended to my mangled digit. I remember the concerned look on her face and the adamant tone of her voice. But that's not why I'm careful with power tools now. I'm careful because that shit hurt.

My shop teacher knew. He had scars too. He didn't say a single disparaging word. He simply took me to the hospital and turned me over to my mother. The next day, I was back in the shop working with a little fear to guide me. He smiled at me and knew I had learned a valuable lesson.

They never tell you that fear can be good. It can save your life. It only becomes troublesome when it begins to detract from happiness. One can become trapped, even paralyzed by it. Or one can see that there is potential danger and respond accordingly.

So, now for a few specifics...

I have sealed myself in a cage of fear for months. When this experiment in openness began, I was not afraid of losing RC. We were very connected, very happy to be giving each other this gift. Mistakes were made in our initial attempts with K and we both retreated into each other, licking our wounds and celebrating that we had survived in tact. Truth is, I resented her mistakes and denied my own. It took me a while to see how I botched that experience and left both RC and K out on a limb without making my own voice heard in a meaningful way.

Time passed... and then came Charlie. A beautiful dude with miles and miles of charm, talent, kindness and compassion. And I still was not afraid. I knew how RC treasured their friendship and I also knew that she would love him like no one before her. But I felt secure in our commitment.

The fear came when I realized that I was no longer the main focus of RC's life. She was.

After their love had been solidified and began to grow in earnest, I saw that she no longer needed me to feel fulfilled and happy. In fact, I had operated under that false assumption for years. Now I began to feel left out and could feel the fear of losing my love growing like a cancer. So much so that I found myself more suited to self pity than joy in the fact that my wife was the happiest I've ever seen her. And her happiness was not solely attributable to her new relationship, but because she was finally living freely. Loving without apology. She felt great. And I felt pitiful.

And as pitiful people tend to make horrible partners, we began to fall apart. My jealousy and general negativity became pervasive. All my relationships began to suffer. Especially the ones I held most dear. My best friend moved away and I found myself with little in the way of solid comfort. He was my sounding board and the one person who I could count on to listen with complete objectivity.
Months of this. Months.

Every time RC went to spend the weekend with Charlie, I fell into despair a couple days before she left and didn't return to near normalcy for a few days after she had returned. Then she would make plans to see him again and the whole miserable cycle would repeat.

Therapy helped. It gave me tools to keep me from going over the edge, but nothing could really pull me back from it. I even met a couple lovely people on OKC who I connected with and found amazingly supportive and understanding, but I was... How do you say... Inconsolable.

That brings us to this post. Wherein I finally drew a line in the sand. And glad I am that I found the resolve to say no more. But it's not that I would have no more of RC and Charlie. I was finally confronting the fear. I would no longer live that nightmare of despair and longing. I was now committed to taking my life back.

You see, she and I are what the kids these days call "co-dependent". And she has found a love based on giving freely and cherishing one another rather than seeking... well... anything. Which has illuminated the destructive nature of our ill-conceived dependency on one another and made us reassess our relationship.

Now, had I not been riddled with fear and jealousy, this may have been an easy transition to make. But this is not the case. We love and respect each other immensely. And we are creative problem solvers. So we have decided to take some time apart, as we have in the past, to reestablish ourselves as individuals. This, as necessary and brilliant as it is, has been difficult for me. I'm still feeling like an exposed nerve at times and while this is a move to heal ourselves and our relationship, it smacks of fears confirmed. But that's what fear does. It searches for proof to justify its existence. And it usually finds it.

Luckily, my connection with RC and my love of myself are much more powerful than the fear.

Tonight, the whole gang will be in the same place at the same time, celebrating as we do, the vast array of relationships we find ourselves in daily. And dancing. We will be dancing. Bet.
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Reading this brought tiny tears of joy and affection to my eyes, a big smile to my mouth, and gentle awe to my heart. I treasure you and your family and all the great gifts you bring to this poor, poor world. Hug them and kiss them for me. And give one to yourself. Thanks!
Thank you for the kind words, River. All of them.
It's Charlie's birthday. Rarechild and I are going through the hardest trials we have ever faced. Nothing has gone to plan this last year and there have been many, many irrevocable changes in all our lives.

So much has happened, I don't know where to begin.

I'll start with the separation.

I have become a jealous guy. It's ruled my days since the realization that I no longer won by default in Rarechild's eyes. That was the game changer. It has also been somewhat of a blessing. More on that in a bit. So I got jealous. A lot. It came on unexpectedly, inexplicably and regularly. It ebbed and flowed but continuously remained, making fear the driving force in our home. She could not share her life with me because I would not accept it. I would fall inward, focusing on the greatness of her new love and the dissipation of our intimacy. Just writing that nearly brings me to tears. So I had to move out. First for two weeks. Then back for a short time and out again near the end of July. I stayed with some lovely friends with a house a few blocks away from ours. It felt like staying in a hotel. Or maybe a halfway house. Lovely, but not much privacy. There were also a slew of guests, mostly traveling musicians, coming and going the entire two months I was there. Which was great, but again... privacy.

In August, Rarechild went to see Charlie every week. Usually from Saturday through the following Wednesday. Coming back to work three days then return to Charlie's. He had a job where she could make some decent money and she was saving up for a place of her own. When she showed me her calendar to tell me of this plan, I was nearly unable to respond. But I knew it was going to happen and I would have to find a way to get through it. And I did. At the end of the month I went down with her for a special event Charlie was featured in and I got to see a little of their world. It was hard, but beautiful. The next day, after the three of us slept on the floor in his small apartment, they woke up before dawn to leave for Charlie's brother's wedding. Also a hard one for me, but I got through it. While driving home, I had some wonderful moments of clear love for the two of them together.

September was relatively easy. Charlie came to visit a couple times and I had out of town gigs every weekend. The last weekend, we all went to a wonderful music festival held in Northern Michigan. It's my favorite event of the year. Magical, that place. Again, I got through it, but found very little in the way respite from jealousy. Upon returning home, I began to sink a bit.
I moved in with another friend a couple weeks ago. When I arrived here, in this dank, seventies, finished basement, it really sunk in that we were separated because I couldn't handle her relationship with Charlie. That we had become unhealthy for each other. That the two of them have had more moments of fully being in love together in the last year than she and I have. It hit me hard that my marriage would never, ever be the same again, and that I was really angry about that. Angry about a great many things, really, but this was where my sword was pointed.

I told her I needed a break. Which seems redundant, given the physical separation, but I needed some time away from seeing her to get my head straight without the distraction of paralyzing jealousy at the mere sight of a blanket thrown over a chair. We went a good week seeing each other only once, briefly. In that time I began to imagine my life without her in a real way. I had imagined it before, but it never seemed so close or possible. I took my wedding ring off for a few days. Every time I went to fidget with it and it wasn't there I felt a strange mixture of deep sadness and relief. I was walking alone for the first time in seven years. Without the constant reminder that the woman I had dedicated my entire life to was passionately in love with another man, one who is an incredible person and whom I have relentlessly compared myself to with disastrous results. But I was also walking without the great love of my life. The person I admire and cherish for every fiber of her soul more than any other person I have ever known. The woman I intend to build a family with. My best friend.

We had reached the same melting point that gave birth to this poly way of living; genuinely reevaluating our compatibility given all the changes in our lives. Separating our life into two beautiful thirds.

That brings us to the present. They hadn't seen each other for some time and it's Charlie's birthday. When Rarechild told me that they would be seeing each other this weekend I sank into the fear for a while and steadily watched it fall away. I've had some moments of genuine dispare and some moments of surprising joy while she's been gone. I have spent some great time with friends over the last few days, eating well, playing cards, making music, seeing movies, talking late into the night... it's been a good experience for me to live so fully in her absence. There have been twinges of panic, but I have chased them off with diligent work and clever distraction. There was a moment last night, as I drove away from a recording session with a phenomenal group of musicians and friends, where I felt such love and happiness for the two of them. I was so proud of myself for not only getting to this point a year later, still in love and willing to work, but also for being a down-right awesome husband. One who values his partner's happiness so much that he is willing to go to hell and back for it. I have found that the going to hell part is supremely easy. It's the coming back that's takes such a toll.

I miss my wife very much.

I still want this to work.

Something tells me we're half way there.
Catfish, reading this makes me remember why I wanted to try polyamory. I dreamed of having what you have. And I am struggling mightily now, on the other side of it. Thank you so much for putting into words what you are going through. It helped me. You truly know what Love is. Thanks for sharing. My heart goes out to you.
Catfish, you're doing great. I enjoyed our chat this week and I know you will find a place of satisfaction and equilibrium with everything that you're dealing with, because you are willing to look at it and not hide out. You have my support and friendship.
Thanks for sharing this journey with us my friend. You're an amazing man who's spirit has always touched me beyond the limits of this forum.

Stay strong
I'm done here. You are all great. Slightly crazy, but great.
Gawd loss hurts in matters of loving, whether it be the loss of a familiar pattern of loving or whatever it may be.

I'm with you in this feeling of hurt and loss, friend. As you shall see when you read my upcoming blog post.

I wish us both--and all others--the very best.
A Slight Return

Upon revisiting this forum after some time away, my mistakes are painfully obvious, as well as my love.

I live in California now. I have been holed up in paradise for 16 months, learning, working and soaking in sunshine. In 19 days, I will be returning home.

Rarechild and I ended our marriage in November of 2011. We will be legally divorced in November of this year. We have agreed to hold contact until then so that we may both heal.

Charlie and I haven't spoken in a very, very long time.

Over the course of the last week, I have poured over mountains of text; records of events that were amazingly contradictory to my memory.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

I am very grateful for the journals, blogs, emails and art that have chronicled my relationship with Rarechild. The perspective I have gained through re-learning my past has broken free my heart again. Compassion is the key to healing.

The path to my present state, metaphorically and physically, has been a long journey through many phases of grief. The ones we love most will inevitably lead us to face our deepest emotions.

I mark the important moments of my life with music. This one captures my heart's memory well.

Kalamazoo Gospel
Hey Catfish - I tried reaching you a few times & didn't hear back, and then got tangled up in my own issues and tough stuff. So I'm glad you posted. I miss our conversations. Glad to read that you're coming through the other end of the grieving process for your marriage - you know that I know it isn't easy. I wish you well - email me anytime.