Change in all the areas of my life...

I so understand the fear of saying the words "I love you" to a partner. My OSO and I have dated, on and off, for the last 7 years (about 2 years in the beginning, a 2 or 3 year break, and about 2 years this time, with it going from FWB to a more emotionally entangled D/s relationship last summer). I told him once that I loved him the first time we dated. This time, we have chatted in instant messenger about how we feel about each other, but I just barely actually said the words "I love you" in person again about 2 months ago. Which is so incredibly different than I usually am. I tell my children I love them every day, usually multiple times per day. I tell my husband I love him at least once every time I see him. My last boyfriend I told him daily that I loved him, by text if we weren't together, verbally if we were.

I'm wondering if some of what is influencing my hesitancy to verbally say I love you to my other partner is also affecting your ability to say it to AnotherArtist (I see a lot of simularities between what I've gone through and what you post about when I read your blog). My husband and I have been struggling in our relationship for a few years, I have a hard time feeling connected enough to be intimate either physically or emotionally with him because of those struggles, which have affected my opinion of myself as a loveable person. In addition, my last boyfriend and I had a relationship that immediately felt very connected, very intimate, incredibly passionate relationship, which, admittedly was the cause of some of the issues my husband and I have had to work through. When that boyfriend broke up with me, it was another ding in how I viewed myself and how loveable I am.

So when my other partner and I started getting more serious last summer, there were a lot of internal issues I had to deal with that I didn't have to when we were mostly friends. I dealt with anxiety that moving our relationship to a more romantic one would cause him to discover he hated me. I was afraid to let myself trust that he cared about me, because it felt like I was exposing myself to vulnerability in a way that hadn't gone well for me for a while. I would find myself shaking and on the verge of tears because my partner would do something fairly innocent that triggered my fears built around the loss of my husband's affection and the total loss of my boyfriend. I had (and still have) trouble with allowing myself to be vulnerable with my other partner. That, combined with a fear of overwhelming my partner emotionally (he has his own issues with love too) has lead me to not telling him often that I love him.

If I remember correctly, you and Knight have been struggling with issues in your relationship. And in your last relationship you often felt like you weren't important to Dinoactivist (sorry if I got the nickname wrong, if I remember correctly you felt like you didn't measure up somehow a lot of the time. And Hipster boy seemed like a passionate, amazing relationship for you that crashed and burned badly. I can see all those things leading to anxiety about telling someone you love them, because they have affected how you view love and romantic relationships and your ability to allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable (my experiences definately affect my ability to be emotionally vulnerable). I could be totally off base, but I thought I'd share my experiences and viewpoint in case it would help you define and explain what's happening with you.

I'm glad you had such a good weekend away!
@Hannahfluke: Thank you for sharing - our stories do sound very much alike in some ways. And yeah, HB scarred me in really terrible ways - in a very real sense I had never had my heart broken as an adult, and it broke some very fundamental parts of me, in terms of trusting romantic relationships. I mean, I wouldn't be who I am now if those parts hadn't broken - look up the Japanese term of kintsugi and I truly believe that that's what happened when that relationship died, but it still hurt like hell.

But that lack of trust makes it very difficult, especially with people who I'm not sure *want* romance in the first place? :confused:

Definitely one of those situations where knowing all the why's and how's doesn't seem to help change my emotions/reactions.
Yeah, I wish that knowing why I react this way made it easier to change my emotions/reactions also. I make sure and tell my partner when I react to something he does in a way that has very little to do with anything he's done and everything to do with my past relationship or my marriage that it isn't anything he's done and that I do realize it's a bit of an over the top reaction.

I actually talked with my therapist about this last year, before my relationship changed from FWB, because I had gone on a first date with someone I really liked and was having panic attacks about the idea of letting someone get romantically intimate (mostly the emotional part of it) with me again. Unfortunately he mostly said that I had to get through it be experiencing the emotions and seeing that being vulnerable and letting someone close didn’t have to end up with me being hurt. Nothing came of that first date, because the man is incredibly busy and I decided not to pursue it, because not getting any time (or often responses to my texts) was not helping the anxiety I was having anyway. But my therapist's advice of taking it as slow as I needed to and telling the other person what I was feeling and how it would possibly affect them, did help me ride out the emotional roller-coaster of the change from FWB to D/s.
So... what I said about {kink con} being about Artist and not about Knight was apparently not as ok with Knight as I thought it was. Not that he's upset at me, exactly, so much as that he's feeling very abandoned right now and I'm not sure how to fix it. We talked a lot over the weekend and it felt... like I know more and the more I know the less I know what to do about it.

Let me back up though, because I want to write about last Friday so I can remember it, first. I've written, often, about the chemistry between Artist and I - I thought it would be lessening by now, almost 18 months in... but it just keeps getting stronger. Well, on Fridays Artist works from home... which somehow led to a few VERY sexy text messages before our already planned date Friday evening... which led to literally being fucked against the wall and over the couch arm when I walked in the door at his house, without saying more than a couple words. And then the rest of the evening passed in a blur of kisses and skin punctuated by dinner and drinks and wandering around downtown, talking of everything and nothing but with an astonishing level of emotional intimacy... then back to his place for more sex, this time slow and involving half the impact toys in the toybag, leaving bruises for days that made me smile every time I notice them. Then falling asleep almost in his arms (which I usually don't do, I sleep sprawled out and not touching anyone) and waking up to... even more sex, and coffee made for me just the way I like it.

(Spork, if you're reading this, I'm having the same problem you mentioned in talking about Zen as to "just how detailed should I be, especially given not a kink board".)

It could have only been more perfect if one of us said those three words, but ::sigh:: I can't figure out the right timing.

So the weekend sort of wobbled off into unexpected directions from there. When I got home Knight was really cranky - not me, per se, mostly at the kid and at the people who were supposed to fix the windshield of one of our cars and canceled for stupid reasons. But me coming in blissed out as fuck and wanting to talk about it vs him being pretty unhappy was kind of like running into a brick wall I didn't even see was there. And while neither of us were exactly pissed at each other - after all, both our reactions were perfectly understandable - it was yet another of those discordant moments, which only got compounded by some scheduling wonkiness for the afternoon. Then we ended up using our "evening out with kiddo at childcare" for the week to have dinner with friends instead of go out together, which was on the one hand lovely and yet...

Sunday was more of the same, in some ways - went for a tattoo consultation which ALSO turned out to be a "thing that made Knight feel abandoned" - for a while we had talked about getting the tattoo I got together (it's something that's meaningful from a hobby/community we share(d? - more on that later)), but I thought he didn't want to get it anymore so I decided to get it on a group tattoo expedition some other friends were doing. Which was lovely and bonding with them and yet... anyway after the consult Knight and I spent the afternoon at the Y trying to teach the Small Person to play tennis and swim, and we were all pretty tired by evening. But I thought we were going to spend time together that evening, to make up for not having a "date night" the night before, and while financially we couldn't really do ANOTHER sitter/out night I was still looking forward to it. But through a series of miscommunications, we both ended up thinking the other person wasn't interested in that.

I called him on that, around 9:00 or so, and we talked, a lot, again (so very very tired of these conversations, and so is he). This was a little more useful than many of these conversations tend to be, though - I pointed out that he tended to talk a lot about what we should *do* together and not about wanting to spend time with me, which ended up leading to me not wanting to do whatever the thing was and him feeling like I was rejecting him when I was just rejecting the activity (or conversely with me feeling like he just wanted to do a thing and didn't care whether it was with me or not). So that was useful.

The other part of the conversation was more difficult. I've written so very very much about how I don't feel like he's attracted to me - so meanwhile he just called the question on me of whether I'm actually attracted to him. I wish I had a better answer to that. He's right - for all the times I've complained about him not touching me the way I saw him touch Sunshine, his words to me about how I was "hanging on Artist" at the kink con and barely touching him were ... truthful. I don't want them to be, but they are. (Part of that, I think, was exacerbated by Artist not feeling entirely 100% comfortable with touching me around Knight, in a not wanting to step on toes sort of way, but one that made me feel needier and... yeah.)

I keep blaming "not wanting Knight" on "not feeling wanted". But he probably puts more effort into trying to seduce me / make me feel wanted than I do him, so it's pretty unfair that I'm the one complaining about this. So that's a thing. And this is shallow as fuck but... he's gained a lot of weight in the past few years and it bothers me. So that's a thing too. (Some of it is from stress and eating badly, which I don't blame him for as a lot of it is my fault, but I feel like more of it is from drinking too much and that IS a problem.) And the stress is - from what he's said - making him far less motivated about wanting sex, and when we do have sex it's... "nice". I mean, it's not like I don't come, it's not like it's *bad*, and it has been amazing in the past but right now it's... well. It's certainly not the crazy almost-make-me-pass-out type of thing where I lose track of how many orgasms I even have that I'm having with Artist, even on "off" evenings. I don't really know WHY that is. Maybe it's just that we're too predictable with each other, more likely it's just our domestic resentments pile up too much.

If it's the domesticity I don't know what to do about that. I *know* that I'm a terrible life partner in a lot of ways. I'm working on it.

Reading back it's astonishing how repetitive this blog is getting - it more or less boils down to "fabulous sex with Artist, conflict with Knight", over and over and over. :: punches wall in frustration ::

{continued in next entry}
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So then Monday was my birthday, and I went and got my tattoo (it's amazingly gorgeous), and I also discovered that being a masochist makes tattoos fairly much not a big deal - sort of a pity as I thought the endorphin rush might be interesting but it *really* didn't hurt terribly much at all, much to the confusion of the vanilla friends I was with.

And while I was gone Knight went and bought steaks and a birthday cake for me - which was especially noteworthy given that I was had been wanting steak for my birthday dinner for days and hadn't mentioned it to him. I *know* he loves me. In his way. And I love him, but I don't know how to express that in a way he can see - we're both fucking shouting into the abyss sometimes, I think.

We ended up having sort of tipsy conversation about our shared hobby long into the evening, because of politics that were happening in the group and some things that my tattoo symbolized. Which also led to some revelations about that hobby and how it interacted with our life/relationship. I'm not sure how to write about this while preserving anonymity; given that my location is already known from other things I've said, adding too many details here will pretty much completely identify me (and while I'm out as poly etc on other boards, this is the only place I write quite this frankly about things). And yet without these details this part of the entry will make no sense what so ever. Gah. Here goes nothing.

So when I say "shared hobby", what I actually mean is that Knight and I were/are part of a community/subculture that on the surface is about researching a specific time period, but also has LARP aspects and even... almost-religious aspects, a devotion to certain shared ideals of honor and, well, very Victorian chivalric romance. This was very much our *life* for over a decade, and for the last 3 years we were active in it we shared a major leadership role. The tattoo I got reflected that. But the organization is only sort of child friendly, and so we haven't been particularly involved for the past 3-4 years, though we still have close friends that are extremely so. The other reason we haven't been active is because Knight, ironically, doesn't want to participate in the martial art side of the game anymore, having decided that the risk/reward ratio there may not be worth it with all the stuff coming out now about concussions. The problem is that I had bought into the romantic story about "you fight for your consort" and every time he said that (or every time he wasn't that into fighting back when we were playing) I heard "I don't love you enough for this." It's more than a bit unhealthy. And I suppose now that I have realized that it IS unhealthy, I can work on not feeling that way anymore, but it may take some time. It was also the "shared thing we did", all the time, so without that we've lost one of the major things we have together.

At this point our Small Person is old enough we could start playing again, maybe, but Knight is unsure that he *wants* to do so (for reasons I understand and agree with - the community draws some amazing people but also some complete assholes and I don't know how much I want to deal with the assholes). But when he doesn't want to play anymore, I also end up hearing "I don't want to go back to this point in our life where we were happy and far more into each other" - like, my favorite picture of us together, ever, is a candid shot that I didn't realize was being taken of me randomly kissing him in between fights at a tournament.

You'd think that at almost twenty years in, I could actually just relax and believe he loves me, without wanting him to slay foes or otherwise make grand gestures to prove it. I'm not sure I know how to relax that much. I wonder if it has something to do with being adopted at 2 - I don't remember my birth mother, but I can't believe that had no effect on me at all, no matter how little we bonded. And my adopted mother constantly wanted me to jump through hoops to prove I loved her or that I was grateful for being adopted at all, maybe that's where I get that. Fuck her. (You're not supposed to say that about dead people, but I'm so so angry sometimes at some of the things she instilled in me...)

Oh, and then of course we had somewhat tired/hungover sex the next morning. ::sigh:: at least we had it, but I don't know which is worse for our relationship - mediocre sex or no sex?
Yeah, I smiled when I saw it.

I wanna be like, "And then he did THIS and ohmygod THAT and for HOURS and then he said..." And I'm like uh...maybe...not.

For me though, not just because this isn't a kink board (I think I could probably get away with it, as some posters go into some pretty explicit detail and I'm good at diplomatic phrasing solutions) BUT because I've pointed out my blog to all of my partners and a few of my friends, as a window into my life and thoughts and feelings. In fact, it's a tool for me to feel like I'm being transparent with them, even when it's hard for me to speak words about certain subjects.

So...I feel that I am already gushy enough about Zen. I'm very sensitive to the idea that I'm hurting feelings maybe, by being inordinately intense about him at this point. I have no idea how long it will last, nor where it will lead. My quad...I adore them. I pray that we will always and forever be at LEAST friends (because the friendship we share is more important than anything) and I've no reason to think that cannot be. I console myself knowing that it's a big ol' community and if they needed a woman who was more engaged than I, they could likely find one. And are free to. I think I'm just overly sensitive to feelings of competition and insecurity, because my marriage was thick with that, I'm always on guard against it.

Oh and also, totally totally feel you on the whole "my blog is repetitive" thing. I feel that way, too. It's ok. Ultimately...your blog is for YOU. If the thought you need to put into words on screen, is one you've said with different words before, it doesn't matter. You do it. That is "chewing on an idea" and it can go on for as long as it needs to. :)
Artist came over last night to keep me company since both our spouses are traveling. I have to admit I was a bit in my head all night, though I'm not sure he knew it. The thing is, nothing we did last night was THAT date-like - I mean, ok, splitting a bottle of wine on a weeknight is perhaps ill advised but otherwise? I cooked dinner, we hung out with my kid a bit (who adores him, as a side note, another just-a-little-terrifying thing), kid went to bed and we watched a couple episodes of game of thrones then had sex and went to sleep.

All terribly domestic. Nothing I can't / don't do with Knight. But what he said was right - I don't touch Knight the same way I do Artist. And despite what I was telling myself, I DO initiate a lot more of that contact than I had thought (that was the in my head part, that I was spending too much mental energy monitoring that).

Do I even know how to touch Knight like that? And why don't I crave it the way I do Artist?
It occurs to me that if I was stereotypically French, I'd have a lot fewer problems with the idea of having a domestic partner and a lover, and I'd angst less about whether or not there was passion with the former and angst less about not integrating the latter into my life more.

I'm not.
OK, so I put up a picture of the tattoo in question. It's *very* identifying so I put it in an album and added everyone I could think of that I'd talked to on here as a contact - - if I missed someone, comment and I'll add you to the list, I just don't want this blog linked too much with "real life me", for reasons... ;-)
Wow!! That IS stunning!

Yeah, I find the tattoo thing tricky, too, and how much linkage to allow between various profiles, real life, etc. I usually default to "all out" because I find it easier. But I'm sensitive about nude photos that are very identifiable, and I do my best to at least not combine explicit with identifiable. And I try to make sure pics on my fetlife have friend-only settings...

Tricky tricky...

As a fellow masochist, I usually sit pretty well for ink, too. I have tattoos up my ribs on both sides, and a large one on my thigh. Some of the more tender parts of the body (areas of ribs, over the hip bone, breast tissue, etc) I had to deliberately zone myself into a hyper-focused headspace to stay calm and still. I have to be careful, because a symptom of subspace for me is trembling. It's no good to get the shakes when you're getting a tattoo...
Yeah, I keep the nudes on fet to mostly-faceless - there are face pictures there, but I'm clothed. At least it's not in the same image, I suppose.
I've been thinking about mindfulness and relationships a lot for the past few weeks, and how I haven't put enough into my relationship with TheKnight.

I'm not very good at seeing the things that he has put into the relationship that just happen to not be exactly the things I think I want - the things I get elsewhere. And I don't notice the things that are sexy about him (there are many!), I notice the things that have gotten worse over the years... I don't notice so very many things.

I'm trying to notice.

And fuck it's *hard* to keep focused on the good things when sometimes in the same breath I notice things that aren't - it's just the way my brain works. I see when he's trying to do the things I've asked for and yet what he's doing is so very much Not It, so the effort is there and makes me happy and ought to be amazing... and yet the actual effect just isn't what I wanted. (And even worse, there's a traitorous voice in my head that says "TheArtist does X without you ever having had to ask; and it's just _right_"... I know that voice is made of lies, of hormones, of the blindness of a newish relationship. And yet...)

And I'm realizing that I don't have to have blazing fire in order for TheKnight and I to be good together, that I may be blowing out the coals by trying to fan them to that level. I should be happy that I DO have blazing fire __anywhere__; this idea that I have to have everything in one place is stupid mono programming and I should be beyond thrilled I have the relationships I do, rather than sad that each of them isn't EVERYTHING.

Working on the re-NRE...
I was reading GirlFromTexlahoma's blog and these posts, unsurprisingly, made me think of AnotherArtist and I, and where we fell...

What the Zen thing looks/looked like: "Actively wanting to get together every opportunity, know one another's schedules, cannot keep hands and eyes off each other, sex about weekly or more, and would consider escalation. Live in one another's world."

What the quad thing looked like: "Making plans or letting others make plans to get together, but often feel others have Life that I don't know about. Cannot follow others' schedules well. Cuddles and flirts and enjoyable touch plentiful, but not magnetic clinging like we can't stop. Sex maybe once a month. Escalation not an option I would even consider. I visit their world."

There is no escalator for my relationship with my boyfriend; it's more of a sedate amble down a forest path. But that makes it no less valid or entangled than my escalator-based marriage.

AA and I... if I had to use Spork's description's, it'd look like this: "Cannot keep hands and eyes off each other. Makes plans to get together on weekly basis (at least) but don't know each other's schedules well in between. (Shared calendars but don't necessarily speak daily.) Sex whenever we see each other, usually multiple times. (About that magnetic thing...) Escalation ... fuck if I know. Feels like not an urgency, but a possibility? I'd love to see him more but not if it killed the magnetism.

Holy shit the magnetism. I don't think there are words for how compelling it is when we're around each other, whether it's just sex or kink or a combination. And we keep pushing each other's ... not boundaries, but, hmm, "I've never's".

It's almost a problem though - I keep telling myself that I should, at some point, talk about us (where he sees our relationship, where I do, that pesky part where I've fallen in love with him). But then I tell myself I don't want to do it when we're about to have sex (as I want to have a clear head) or right after (same reason, even more so)... which more or less makes it impossible any time we're together. I know this sounds like a humble brag, and maybe it is, but on the one hand it's such a huge part of our connection but on the other how the hell do you tell how you feel about someone as a person when you can't get past the hormonal haze for more than a few hours at a time, if that? How do you know where the forest path even GOES?

Meanwhile TheKnight and I are... sort of good, sort of not, still drifting towards companionate but I'm realizing that I have no control over that, all I can do is accept or not. And in truth... all my "you're not attracted to me" angst may just be transference - I don't have that magnetism with him anymore either. I mean, I'm open to us being intimate, I certainly find him attractive in many circumstances, but it's not... need. Not Pavlovian reflex at the very thought of his hands on my skin, or mine on his. And truthfully that *should* be ok - if love isn't a requirement for sex, why should sex be a requirement for love, when his arms will forever and always be home to me?

Feel free to humble brag, hey, it is YOUR blog!!

I'd suggest you make a date, maybe for light food or something, and talk. At one point I was feeling all kinds of weird and vulnerable and Zen and I really needed to talk. He suggested we go to a Mexican restaurant for fried ice cream. That was perfect...but he knows I love that stuff.

Make your date arrangements for a day and time outside of the restaurant's peak business volume hours, and ask for a booth that is away from other patrons if they don't mind. Actually, if you look at the little business profile that comes up on Google maps for restaurants, it often shows when their busiest times cool is that, now? Technology. :cool:

If it's a conversation you feel you need to have, then you should have it...even if you have to give it its own spot on the calendar, you know?

The me, I also envision those electric plasma globes, where you put your hand on the glass and the arcs go to your fingers...I feel that way to Zen's touch. Blows my mind. But I've asked myself, what if the intensity fades? Is there enough real compatibility to hold us together, how would life look with him, even if we're not constantly driven to shagging like rabbits?

And you know, all of the everyday domestic stuff gives me a warm feeling thinking about doing it with and for him. Keeping our home nice to please him would please me. I just wrote a long yarn in my own blog about vacation dreams. Quiet days with sunlight streaming in, just relaxing together or playing board games or watching all sounds wonderful really. I think it could work.

But we have in common..."not an urgency, but a possibility." Absolutely that. It's a possibility and I'm interested in it, as such. But I'm not driven to do it and I don't feel that I'm lacking a required commitment from him or anything if we don't. Nothing like that.
If it's a conversation you feel you need to have, then you should have it...even if you have to give it its own spot on the calendar, you know?

Yeah, I know. I think I have it mentally pencilled in with a deadline for sometime next February. (No, that's not random, it'll be our 2 year anniversary and I'm hoping to arrange a weekend away.) It may happen organically before then, but at least the deadline is there.

Is there enough real compatibility to hold us together, how would life look with him, even if we're not constantly driven to shagging like rabbits?

::sigh:: I hope you don't have to find out, it's frustrating and sad, even with real compatibility.

Keeping our home nice to please him would please me.

I wish I could develop this mindset in myself. TheKnight's love language is acts of service, and I'm a lazy person with inattentive ADD. Our house is a wreck and he hates it and... ::sigh:: But I've talked about this on here before.

But we have in common..."not an urgency, but a possibility." Absolutely that. It's a possibility and I'm interested in it, as such. But I'm not driven to do it and I don't feel that I'm lacking a required commitment from him or anything if we don't. Nothing like that.

The funny thing is that when it was HipsterBoy, there *was* that urgency - we had several conversations about eventually having the whole quad move in together, and the logistics of that, blah blah blah. We were at least smart enough that all these conversations were on a "if this is still working in 5 years" level, and it all imploded before a year, but the intent was explicitly there. Partially it was a way to try and fix the logistics of it all (kids...) and partially it was that none of us had the mental vocabulary for non-escalator relationships yet.

And, too, I think we all *were* trying to live in each other's worlds more than I have with AnotherArtist (DinoActivist never wanted that with me, nor was it ever even a consideration with anyone else since.) Artist I've let in a lot, but I've been very slow about it, more considered, than I was with HipsterBoy. (I have GOT to start picking shorter nicknames to type... not that I've been adding anyone lately.)


Because I apparently can talk a damn good game about not caring whether TheKnight and I are sexual or not, and intellectually I can even believe it, but emotionally I can't, we had yet another fight about sex last night. Maybe it wasn't even a fight, I don't know, just me lashing out hurt and crying and him being like yeah, I have a problem.

It's not just me, supposedly. He says he feels like he has no sex drive at all - not with me, not really with Joan (though AFAIK they *do* have sex so there's that), this same sort of thing happened with Sunshine and even with Pink!Girl. Novelty fixes it, somewhat, or feeling like he's on a vacation even for a little while (thus if we have a date night that sometimes fixes it) but mostly... nada.

Not surprising - he internalizes stress, he drinks too much, he doesn't exercise and eats crap, and he's at least 40lbs overweight. Pretty much a perfect storm, at least per WebHypochondriac - from what he's said, the answers to every single one of these questions are yes, when it comes to me:
  1. Touching takes place only in the bedroom.
  2. Sex does not give you feelings of connection and sharing.
  3. One of you is always the initiator and the other feels pressured.
  4. You no longer look forward to sex.
  5. Sex is mechanical and routine.
  6. You almost never have sexual thoughts or fantasies about your spouse.
  7. You have sex once or twice a month at most.

Poly complicates that, because I suppose he does end up having sex with Joan too - more than me at this point, maybe, I don't know how often they actually have sex vs how often they see each other; I don't think they're quite as bunny-like in their relationship as Artist and I are. I don't initiate, truthfully, I just guilt him about not doing so, but I suppose the pressure is the same. And sometimes we do manage to break out of the routine/mechanical thing.

What complicates this even more is that we've *had* these issues literally for almost as long as we've been together. Even in high school, I was the higher desire partner, I remember us having fights where I was hitting on him and he wasn't getting it or wasn't into it. (And that was even worse at the time, because mono, because 17, because I hadn't figured out the difference between sex and love and was afraid I was losing him...)

On the other hand, I don't know how to even discuss this with him without getting into hurtful comparisons between Knight and Artist. The comparisons ricochet around my head, whether I want them to or not, but I know I shouldn't voice them. But what the fuck do I do when my body, my intuition, is saying "Artist touches me like he loves me, Knight doesn't"? That's what it comes down to - it's Artist's hands all over me, Artist who kisses me passionately, Artist who kisses the tip of my nose just because it makes me giggle, Artist who suggests kinky things for us to do and then we make each other scream doing them, Artist who falls asleep with his hand still on my breast. And I know this is all fucking physical and not the reality of day in day out love, of having built a life together and knowing everything about each other and and and... and I should just be thankful to have both. But that doesn't make it any less confusing and hurtful.
In a weird mood today - this is a little bit of a vent just so I can quit turning shit around over and over in my head.

This weekend was... weird, somehow, and I'm not sure why. Just after I wrote my last entry here Knight and I took MiniMe (I think I'm going to start calling the five year old that, here, it suits as he is so much like me in so many ways...) to the state fair. Fun, or at least fun-adjacent, but tiring, especially after the late night we had the night before.

Spent much of Saturday cleaning the house, both because I wanted to make Knight happy and because Artist was staying over. Unfortunately, towards the end of the day MiniMe was bored and acting up, and then the logistics of Artist and I's date got wonky - we had an invitation to go to a Halloween party, and vague plans to have dinner first then put on costumes for the party. Knight was not really thrilled by those plans since they made MiniMe a bit more difficult to get to go to sleep, so there was some tension there - part of it, as it turns out, was that Joan is a massive introvert and doesn't like parties and so he's feeling a bit jealous that Artist and I keep doing social things with other people and he doesn't, and seeing Artist and I in our (rather cute couple-themed) costumes for the party didn't help with that.

The party was fun, so that was ok, but then Artist and I came back and had... hmm... good but not quite as face-melting as usual sex (it always seems like he or I or both are more inhibited when we're at my house, plus having had a bit to drink at the party) and slept too late to sneak in a morning quickie before MiniMe woke up and started looking for me. So there was a bit of disconnection there... and MiniMe was very frustrating all day... and finally Knight left for a date with Joan, carrying the toybag.

And on the one hand I get it and applaud it - he and I don't always connect on the kink side of things, and I certainly leave the house with the bag many nights, and they (Joan and Knight) get a lot fewer evenings at her home for Reasons Not Relevant To This Post. And yet. And yet. SOOO very hard to believe that the sexual drought between us is due to a lack of interest in sex in general and not a lack of interest in sex with me.

So there's that.

And now I'm sitting here alone (MiniMe is sleeping upstairs) and lonely (the two aren't really the same) and headache-y (perhaps I should eat).
Gah. I'm in such a terrible mood today. I should be working, I have shit to do, but it's just not happening.

Had a parent teacher conference with MiniMe's preschool yesterday - which... ::sigh:: he's a handful, we all know that, and quite possibly he isn't really a good fit for his school but he has less than a year left of preschool so changing now seems a terrible idea. So we'll fumble though, I suppose.

Problem is that Knight and I stopped for dinner/drinks after the conference, since we had a sitter anyway, and shit went downhill from there. I drank too much or ate too little or both, which would have been fine - we were flirting and having fun - but then when we went home and tried to put MiniMe to bed that went badly, and then Knight quit flirting because he was dealing with kid/ house stuff, I took it as a rejection and... cue yet another fight about attraction and being taken for granted and and and...

And today I'm not exactly hungover, but I'm tired and emotionally exhausted, so is he, and I just desperately want to be *wanted*, and even Artist is being distant (I mean, we have plans for Saturday, but I've barely texted him the past few days - I keep not having the energy to flirt, and I feel like if I don't start it he doesn't really either, though I suspect that's also that he's been busy because of work.)

I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to be in this relationship with Knight where I'm constantly feeling rejected - and I *know* that he's not actually rejecting me but it still feels like he is. I hate that I'm so hyper vigilant about rejection - hell, it shows up everywhere, I am on edge a little about Artist right now just because of the combination of absent communication and not-quite-as-connected-as-usual-evening and seeing two evenings in one week with his other girlfriend on his calendar.

I don't know where I'm going with this.

I'm tired of worrying so much about this.
Things are better, in most ways, today.

Cuddled and talked soberly with Knight the evening after I wrote my last entry. The most useful part of the conversation was that he started to understand the death spiral that our attraction to each other has become; how much I've pulled back because of his lack of interest / rejection. I have told him that I don't really initiate sex in an environment where I don't feel like I'm desired - what he hadn't realized was that that didn't mean that I never would, just that I needed to feel more safe than I have with him in a long time.

Well, safe isn't the right word. "Able to trust in his (general, not immediate in a particular moment) desire for me" is perhaps a better way of phrasing it. And he immediately got *better* - flirting with me the next morning, and surprisingly good (despite the fact that I was a bit inebriated, having hung out all evening with my mother inlaw) sex the next evening. The flirting, was, really, more important than the sex - that was, truthfully, exactly what I needed from him, and felt more voluntary than just having sex with me sometimes does.

(And yes, there are all sorts of intensely problematic with regard to consent / coercion from me dynamics going on in our relationship. We're working on it.)

And then, I think Artist was in the same "I want to connect more strongly" / "I miss you" mood I was in when we were planning our evening - or perhaps he just woke up thinking about me and acted accordingly, who knows? All I know is that I got sexy text messages all day yesterday, and when I showed up at his house, I was there for approximately 2 minutes before my clothes were off... and then I cooked him dinner wearing nothing but his t-shirt, there was even more sex while we waited for various things to cook/rest (truthfully we burned the chicken a bit. Oops... sorry not sorry...)

We're still dancing around the L word, and I think it is going to have to be me that says it. The thing about Artist is that first off, he's not really a word person - unsurprisingly, I suppose, given the nickname there - but the degree to which he completely under-describes things is astonishing, and secondly, he's half-Canadian. Which has led to a running inside joke between the two of us, when he describes, say, the kind of sex that you can't form words for a couple minutes afterwards as "nice", I laugh and say he's applying the Canadian filter. So to me there's only one way to interpret it when he wraps himself around me and says "I like you... Canadian like." Maybe you had to be there. But I'm still glowing.

(OK, I would still be glowing more strongly - Stardust style - but MiniMe was difficult today. Still...)
Wow. I didn't realize how long it had been since I had written here. I think I had gotten repetitive enough that I began to bore even myself, and then the election happened and I got quite distracted by politics. I still am, really, but I thought I'd update.

Things are actually... surprisingly good in my life, if I ignore the reality of the "real world" falling apart around us (and perhaps avoid watching too much Handmaid's tale, as that thing has me curled up in a ball on the couch with an extra glass of wine. Can't bear to watch but can't look away....)

I'm not sure what switch has flipped lately with TheKnight, but we're fighting less and connecting more. He's cut back on drinking, though we still get tipsy together more than we probably should (we're each others' bad idea bears sometimes...) - I've been honestly pondering whether I need to cut back on drinking for weight management reasons, and a few too many hangovers, but haven't really made a commitment to do so yet. Somehow I've come to a spot where I'm ok with the fact that our physical attraction has faded a bit, but we can still have good sex sometimes but if we go a week or two without, it's not earth shattering to me the way it was.

Artist and I are still amazing together - we _still_ haven't actually *said* I love you, I still have a few jealous/insecure moments about one of his other partners (weirdly, perhaps, it's his other gf, not his legal wife), but in all other ways I'm deliriously happy there. We're even going to go away for a weekend sometime this summer. Every so often I think our chemistry is leveling off, and then we have some sort of reconnecting moment and I realize it's not the case. 2.5 years in, now...

Perhaps the most unexpected thing right now is that Martial Artist and I are talking again lately. He lives in another city about 3 hours away now, and he's still trying to figure out how non monogamy figures into his relationship with his now-wife. And so I end up being one of his only poly confidantes, which feels a smidge unethical sometimes since he's also made it clear that he'd like to sleep with me again (and theoretically would be allowed to in their relationship). I'm torn on this - we had a good time and do have a closer friendship than we did back when we were seeing each other, so it could be an interesting FWB thing, and I admit we've been sexting a bit / video chatting, but at the same time, I just don't know whether I want an FWB or whether the chemistry would be there in person. He'll be in town this weekend so we're going to get a drink, theoretically just to talk, so we'll see how THAT goes.