Living Truthfully Within

I've had so much work to do the last week and some.

I've been doing two jobs right now. I just finished a clients painting today and dropping it by.And my normal 8 hours monday through friday as well.

I'm getting kind of nervous because In a few weeks we get told if we are moving to permanent employees.

In the meantime, time to go drop off this xmas painting. I'm so glad I got this out of the way.

Also some sad news, I badly misunderstood my therapist, so we won't even be able to be friends afterwards :( So sad abotu this. Oh well. I think she was avoiding talking about it directly before because she is trying to drag out my end of closure sessions.
Merry xmas everyone!
My fafsa letter came through email for approval for applying for new funding! I'm SO EXCITED! I might be starting school as soon as January the 9th!!!
Arbor and I had a fabulous xmas if quiet.
I spoke to my children online/phone, and we also stopped by the neighbors/renters/friends who we each did gifts for.
Jared got me a promise ring, as promised. Pictures soon. :)
I am sad I work tomorrow but happy my full time work will be over soon.
I will be transitioning out of full time work for full time education and part time work again, as of the 9th.
Wish me luck!
Thank good ness Arbor has a good full time job now.
Everything is lining up nicely. :)
I temporarily lost access to my account last year with the big change over to new forums + me forgetting my password and needing resetting + my facebook original email I used here being hacked!
So much has happened but I'll just put it down in bulletin points:

Me and Arbor are still together and going strong. He works full time locally nights at a gas station near by and just recently got a pay raise / promotion.
My kiddos are good but both busy with school and life.

Back in January I had started a new education course for art- but the school it was goign through actually went under! And so, that got dropped, and I was pretty devastated as that was my only option for that particular course.

At the same time I got diagnosed with BRCA1 gene, and so I quit the job I was working (I was in and out of ER at the time, and it took 8 months for the doctors to level out my hormons so I stopped continously bleeding vaginally.) The er visits were because of this, I was clotting every 30 mins and getting anemic.

So Arbor took care of me.

In July we got a new renter in to cover the cost of my income decreasing- she's a lovely lady who's been through similar stuff re hormones, weight loss, breast surgery etc. I will call her Pumpkin. She has a real obsession with halloween and decorates and dresses in orange and pumpkins a LOT. :)
She is very sweet.

My other tribe members and renters are still here and going strong, they passed hte 1.5 years together, and 1 year living here. All payment issues are now sorted as they are both working full time, and I worked on my boundaries.
Arbor also regularly pays me rent now too, so I am doing ok financially and have new work lined up for November.

With the diagnosis back in January, I closed our relationship, because I knew i'd be working on health stuff for a good long while- I just had the preventative double masectomy in August. So it's been about 8 weeks exactly now. I'm almost completely healed except rebuilding strength. Except that when they wheeled me into surgery my blood sugar was about 308 or something, and so they told my pre-diabetes had turned into full blown diabetes and I proceeded to find out in the worst way possible.

I decided to go aesthetically flat instead of get fake breasts or use potentially not great cells in my stomach fat and longer healing by chopping and using that. I went through a little spell of depression over the summer about the surgery, and my new shape, and honestly, how long it took me to heal. I was done with relying on visual art as an income. So I packed up my art business, told all my clients, and started looking at some more practical ways to earn and move forward. Arbor has been hugely supportive during this entire time and really there for me. I have been extremely lucky to have him in my life, bumps and all, we are now finally sailing smooth.

One of those was returning to education for something else, only I haven't figured out what. For now I'm doing min wage call center job, and I think I will simply turn the assets I have (renters and this house) into more assets. So I'm feeling out accounting, management, business stuff in order to get into expanding on what I already do. I've learnt a lot about how to manage people and situations while being a landlady and healthy boundaries since my confrontation last year with my narc-mom who I am no longer in contact with.

My life is actually pretty peaceful and I am lucky to have the friends and tribe I do. They rely on me and I'm going to do the best I can to keep this ship afloat. So I'm hoping to refinance either in 2024 or 2025 and buy a plot of land near by, put electric, septic tank, cement pads, 1-2 mini homes and the rest rented out as spaces for snow birds/caravans, mobile homes. Basically. I've already got the chops to do this from my record here. I know how to vet people, I know how to delegate, I know how to believe in myself now and stand up for myself kindly but firmly. People don't walk over my boundaries anymore and most importantly I know when to stop so I don't do the go go go bust cycle of burn out anymore.

Outside of dealing with health stuff, life is good. I am learning how to handle the diabetes, I eat keto, but also I got covid a bit ago and it fucked up my sense of smell and taste and let me tell you, its much easier to stick to a bland and calorie controlled/macro controlled life style when you cant smell or taste ANYTHING.

The closest I get to it is capsasian, the heat feeling of it rather than the taste as such, and salt. I can taste salt. I REALLY hope it comes back, but in the mean time I went from meeting Arbor in 2022 at 255, to now being 219. I'm also working with a gi doctor about doing the gastric sleeve. I figure I already have 1 more brca1 surgery coming up might as well get the most use out of my state healthcare before I lose it next year and get the stomach sleeve too. Then I won't be bouncing back up and down. So far keto is pretty similar to how I did paleo in the past, only slightly different meats and fats and I can tolerate milk if i don't eat wheat.

So cooking is a wash now, I have no idea if anything tastes good, or is balanced with flavors, etc, I mean its ok with Arbor because his smell taste is not great anyway from cigarettes, but it sucks for me because I miss cooking and food :(

But I'm mostly past this covid crazy, and they pushed my surgery back from the 5th of October to 28th of November because contagion / symptoms.

Sooo, mostly this is a positive thing, its just that I've been in myself, but at the same time trying to get better as socializing and being around people and accepting things as they happen, rolling with life's punches and getting back up and fighting!
Thinking back to my toxic relationships:

Pre-contemplation (Not ready to leave):
Values the relationship toxicity more than leaving it. Over valuing the relationship instead of looking at the relationship as a whole. “I'm not worth of finding someone else” etc, or self belief of finding anything else. You undervalue the consequences and over value the small things that are there (bread crumbs). Emotional Leech. I just want to be heard, I’m not ready to stop the drug, and I want someone to listen. I feel like that myself right now, or for the last year. I’m constantly having that denial desperate addicted state about Jared trying to convince myself it’s still GOOD for me. When it’s not. It’s just not. When you look at the cost of leaving and over empathize the cost of leaving over the cost of staying. Leaving will be easier than staying with him- the cost of staying increases for me and I’ve been ignoring it. Defend the bad relationship vehemently.

Contemplation (becomes more 50/50 of the ready to leave/not ready to leave): I think I moved into this one. Instead of being so defensive and more open to see emotional expansion. Seeing the good and bad more equally. More able to conceptualize it, even if not ready to take action yet. Acknowledge me that the bad relationship. I’m willing to listen and the relationship isn't everything anymore. Pain is still driving you, and you’re starting to reach your boiling point- pain of staying is worse than the pain of leaving.

Preparation stage (I’m making my exit plan but not yet ready to leave): Ok, I’m ready to leave. I still won’t be ready to act, but I’m about a month or two away from leaving the relationship. Man the person just screwed me over one last time. I’m planning my exit and how I’m going to do this. Now the benefits are greater than the toxicity. Initiating the changes, self motivated. It’s a mixture of mourning and be painful to leave. It’s also an emotional preparation. There’s no going back at this point. This is time they detox from the person, disengage and get help in counseling. But its too late, at this point. You don’t realize it, but the decisions have already been made. Starting to see how unhealthy that relationship. Sometimes involves a LOT of anger. How much they lost, how much they regret, and angry and frustrated. Almost goes back to Pre-contemplation but about, voicing how bad it was, and all the stuff they denied. That becomes a motivator to leave.

Action stage: Identity starts to change, pros outweigh the cons of leaving, you’ve broken up and you’re on your own. And about the gratitude of their individual identity again. But also being grateful for the new version of me. And also can still have the anger after leaving, and still grieving, (This happened with me and Rcky for awhile - years and sometimes even now. Still). They still haven't fully identified with the healthier version of me with out the drug of Rocky.

Maintenance: Being an individual far out weighs being with the relationship, or the community you had them, its now focused on who you want to be how you want to be healthy. Really mourning the past, grief and anger cycle and you regret- a year past or so. Relapse prevention- this is all based on the cycle of drugs but treating the relationship as a drug, which I did a LOT with Rocky, and again with Ariel.

Both people were great people, but it was toxic FOR ME because they wanted something different than I wanted, and I denied their reality, and my needs, and my wants, to continue being with them, so desperate to have any love. Denying what they were telling me to my face and hoping I would be "good enough" was pretty toxic on my end too.

I don't want to do that anymore. I am in the pre-contemplation with my current relationship because I found out they lied recently about some pretty serious stuff (Not cheating but about mental health stuff, and what happened at work that impacted me in my own social life later because of his work drama.) So, I think I need MORE time single to get more healthy. Because I was doing a lot of incremental change, and then Arbor swept in and helped me, but I can't be loyal to him long term- and this is better than what I was with, with Rocky, but does not meet my values for honesty, and doing the mental health work.

I re-signed up to therapy to continue the work.

1 year anniversary of my grandma at beginning of October. Every time I think of my grandma I think about her wish for me to be independent. She didn't just mean financially, she meant my deep hurt to be loved that tied me to people who didn't want me, or who would use me as a way to dump their toxicity on me.

I feel like I weaned myself off crack (Rocky) and moved on to heroine, instead of just getting clean first. I spent time single, but I havent been single long enough right now. I'm not ready for any relationship. I want to be on my own.
After vacillating back and forth, I decided to stay with Arbor - for now- and we are in separate rooms now. Or more accurately he's on the couch until March. He has until then to get a start on sobriety (weed) and on mental health stuff. I get he has anxiety, but I've done nothing but love him unconditionally and maybe that's the issue. So far he's managed 2 months without weed and offered to do a pee test. There's been some lost trust but I don't know how comfortable I feel with a dynamic of supervisor. Either he is or he isnt, but on the other hand this isn't a preference on my part its my literal life in my hands, so maybe I will go ahead and do regular pee tests. I'm not forcing him in anyway other than keeping boundaries on our romantic relationship. We make pretty decent friends and partners in every other way. He's doing a LOT more to help out with money (picked up a second job) and now helps out around the house regularly. So, we'll see if that keeps up.

My renters are moving out in January. We came to a mutual agreement that the relationship wasn't working long term because of their lack of consistent payments and I realized they were using mental health as an excuse to exploit me. Not to mention either ambulances or police were showing up monthly, sometimes bi-weekly for mental health stuff, and it was involving me, so that was getting pretty messy and annoying while I was healing from multiple surgeries. The final straw was that they found out I used to be poly, and the husband accused me of sleeping with his partner, which was frankly ridiculous AND so insulting, I didn't even bother to reply to it. I just walked away and then I politely yet firmly gave them notice of end of their month to month lease. I hope they can put two and two together. Crazypants that for many people poly=cheater.

When I was proudly promiscuous and poly, I still was NEVER a cheater. I'll always wait for everyone's consent, and never force myself on another. UGH, I'm still insulted by that, but then I consider the source, and well, mental health stuff, not my issue much longer. Hopefully it won't escalate to court and eviction, but I will do the steps if necessary. Just sad it abruptly ended this way.

Oh speaking of surgeries, I had my second surgery and it was a success. I Am now a 38 year old surgical menopausal woman. Which is fun. None of the advice forums ever mentioned that I have less bull shit tolerance without ovaries. But that's how I feel. Like, I just give no fucks a lot of the time. My healing with it physically is going well too, back to work soon! Also, my mental health is actually stabilizing as far as I can tell and I'm hoping that my depression was mostly hormonally based. Seeing as it was a very sudden onset during pregnancy, perhaps I removed the depression issue for me.

I'm definitely able to think clearer more often, without tears and anger, or desire, clouding my judgements. I still feel all that, but with much less intensity. And for me the intensity always felt like it was bigger than my whole body. Sometimes bigger than even 5 people could safely manage.

As for my other relationships.

Pumpkin is good, steady loose friendship but I keep mostly to myself to not repeat the same mistakes of the other renters. I over involved myself with the other two and so, when their mental health went wonky, I really have no else but myself to blame to think I could be close friends. Outer circle friends maybe, but easier as acquaintances, the friendly wave across the yard type, not the "How are you?" And actually MEAN it. Now I know how others felt about me when my mental health was wonky in England. Oh well, that's life- you learn, you get older, and suddenly it makes more sense.

I don't have a huge social circle yet outside of this network, my job is mostly right now being a gig worker so I rarely see anyone outside of Arbor and Pumpkin.

But I am glad I've been able to work again. and now that I have my own car and income, and I've brought my credit score up since my mother trashed it summer 2022, It's taken me a year but I'm now over 600 credit score and climbing. I know that's low to a lot of people but when I moved back in 2017 I had a non existent score. Then, I had no income for almost 4.5 years except for a brief stint at going out on my own, and i thought my only credit was my old uni bills, and this house. When I finally found out about my mothers betrayal, I started monitoring my credit closely. Even though they weren't added to my score on my end they still affected my score because they were reported as late etc. So I went from non-existent to around 400 almost immediately. so I've managed to go over 200 points in a year which was no easy feat. I've paid off all the debt she generated, and put in a federal report against her for identity theft and went no-contact.

Now i'm close to having a better situation here. New renters in January, which I'm going to do a better job of checking backgrounds / credit scores, etc., and then I am getting solar panels that come with a new roof, that will change my bill ratio a HUGE amount and I can move all the gas appliances to electric because the solar amount won't change price like the electric bill does. It will take about 3 years to pay off the car, and Arbor co-signed with me, and he's paying me rent regularly now, since August breakdown, so I feel like provided he can get a handle on his mental health stuff/weed addiction, then we can work out.

Either way, I am super strong and capable and I got this.

Man the only way to get ahead in life is assets. And not people assets. Credit assets. As in money coming in not based on the amount of time I have in a day but passively, always.

Speaking of which I am still getting passive income from my writing so I'm going to continue to pursue it as a side hussle, but mostly for fun!

Welp that's my report. And i'm going to be ok.
So, it's now January!

Arbor and I are on an upswing. Pee test came back negative for weed....he's successfully clean and got an app, and coach to go through the process...I suggested AA but he's not into that scene and cant see the overlap for weed thought I'm sure there's separate groups.

He's got possible job hiring for full time at a new job, we'll see in the next few weeks, after much much job hunting. Hes been juggling two parttime jobs since august which is a pain because he really does need 1 stable one for a bit for insurance since he makes too much for state.

AND I finally reopened the relationship- as in I feel ready to pursue a second romantic relationship in the next few months, mostly by just joining queer/poly events. Arbor is enthusiastically onboard in this as we're already at an impasse naturally and worked so hard on our communication the last 6 months, I feel like the end of our "time apart" will lead to us together but with me being poly and us continuing to just have separate rooms so we don't start going back towards co-dependence.

Now that I have my own car and he has his, and he is doing therapy, and I'm doing therapy, I feel like this is good timing. Our finances are good, our relationship is heading towards stability....

Also what really shifted my standpoint was that I was really inspired by one of my co-workers from a new job(older lady near retirement), she is so proudly out and wonderful, it was so inspiring to me. I can't even begin to explain why it was a hugely profound experience: only that we spent hours talking and exchanged info, and now I feel like, a piece that I walled off inside myself, that queer female part of me is demanding release.

Maybe it won't fit with Arbor long term, maybe it will, but regardless my covid era fears have subsided, I'm no longer grieving or pining after Rocky, I have mourned my kids and embraced my freedom from my toxic past(mother) and I am now the queen of my future. I have no one I am obligated to that isn't through my own adult choice. I am still committed lovingly to Arbor...he understands that I am currently and always will be a free agent. I'm also learning to leave my thoughts/opinions/etc at the table that isn't my issues with him, and go "that's all your stuff to deal with arbor".

Like seriously he does his own dishes, his own laundry now, his own room cleaning, I don't have to worry about any of that anymore and it's so freeing. I never should have any way unless we were reciprocal. But he's grown a lot and changed in the last 6 months, him without weed is a very different person and now I just wait to see if it sticks. He does not hold my heart the way Rocky did, and for that I'm actually grateful, because that all consuming love makes you do crazy things! And yet, he's grown on me, his grit and effort the last six months has rekindled my respect that I had lost, and that goes a long way towards love.

Oh also x-mas was fantastic, Pumpkin, Arbor and I decorated the whole house, lots of twinkling lights and everything we did stockings and really had a great time, played darts and games, watched some movies, I drank for the first time in ages.

I'm also thinking that 2025 i'm booking an olivia cruise now that my finances are in a better place and I can finally start SAVING.

I just feel this siren call out there that is telling me, now is my time to find a woman. One of the main reasons I stopped being poly is because of how much I sucked at finding a woman, but also how much interest I got from men, but now, i'm not even going to broadcast im poly to men or do any dating apps that include men at all. nope i'm going to go to queer female only events without Arbor, on my own time and be consistent locally and then build up a relationship with a woman, and whatever happens happens. I liked how I did it in england where I had a home base I brought people to, since my home base mostly has renters i'm also going to build myself a tiny home on a trailer - which has multiple purposes, i'll be able to travel and camp and stuff in my area, go to work without a 1.5 hr drive home one way, and have somewhere I can build something with a woman seperate of Arbor. I don't want to bring that relationship home to him, I will keep it separate, not secret, i'm happy for them to meet up and stuff, but I have some, conservative renters on site with kids, and I wouldn't bring a date to my business, I need my rent and relationships to be largely separate.

So, I have to figure out a queer space for me, ergo, tiny home. I ALSO don't want any woman I approach to think that a man has anything to do with it, so, no unicorn hunting for me.

Going back to anarchy baby because if I have to stay in this house for 4 more years with everyone expecting stuff of me i will go stir crazy. And the place is almost paid off, so its not long now- just gotta stay the course and figure out how to keep my sanity in the mean time. I am happy to turn this primarily into an investment property and have it all renters and move out entirely, but I gotta get the place paid off first, sooo...that means having my tiny home made is the next step in-between.

I got plans for 2024, no health crazy stuff, surgeries done, felling good, no fear of pregnancy, relationship stable how it is, and great new work!
Mid February-

Pumpkin is moving out, but I can't be sad for her because she found a great little place that will be perfect for her, She said she just needed her own space and was ready. It wasn't without its little dramas from her, but she's always been a little over dramatic and I'm fine with that. I'm glad she's found a place of her own again and able to reinvest in a proper home and not a room, and settle down. I probably won't get to spend a lot of time with her though because she'll be far away from me now.

People come into your life for a reason, season, or lifetime... is that how the quote goes?

She was a season. And it was good.

Got new renters in next door after Jeff and Jane, and now they are on their way out--- I need to screen better because yeesh that is a mess that's going to be a bit longer in mopping up...., it made Jeff and Jane look stable. Can't say much there, but hopefully it goes smoothly and no eviction.

I am proud of my boundary enforcement though and prioritizing my happiness / mental health / time. The whole reason I'm renting is to get a bit of free time to pursue other things, like employment I WANT not need!, fun, socializing, art, writing again!

I also restarted therapy, too, with a different therapist. I did this back in October/November right before my second surgery, but then the health stuff happened so I decided to wait to really give it a go, and only just started this week. I like the lady, and she's a good fit- if a little difficult for me to get used to. Julia, my previous therapist, was very laid back and let me take lead. This one pushes back and redirects me back to the issues I'm avoiding. I really enjoy that and I'm seeing some surprising initial insights. Early days but I like it!

This month has had SO many expenses however. Septic tank pumped: 600. Car got hit by tree. 1000 deductible. with a 2 week rental just nicked my hatchback frame/handle and had to get total body work on the entire back of the car. What a nightmare!

All the extra income I've made has basically gone out of the window. I temporarily started a job as an adult home carer but they messed up my w4 taxes and over taxed me. When I asked them about this crap they were shady/dodged the info, so I quit and for some reason 2 weeks later I have gotten two extra checks...looks like it adds up to the missing w4s! Crazy since I was supposedly only paid weekly...(seriously I was doing 40 hr weeks and got 300 p/w- even if we take into account 25% for state and federal that is still way off and my income bracket isn't for the 50% yet...YET).

So now, I called in a favor, and lined up with a different job that will be through a temp to permanent agency, that will help me get a career job (Cable company with good benefits and doing the IT stuff I was already learning in community college so I'm excited!) So to recap for income: in UK on disability, no income potential. In USA, no income while taking care of my grandma, except a few odd jobs here and there and my artwork. Then started doing artwork more seriously in 2022/2023, but that still was only about 10k per year. If that. Then in 2022, I got full time work plus rented this place out, and turned my life around. 2023 I had the health stuff that took me off work for a bit but even with that I still cleared 30k. This year I am looking at close to 50k now that Arbors job is full time (thank goodness his current work has given him more stable hours!!) AND I get the rental income AND I do the gig work/w2/writing. All of it is starting to come together, late in the game but I'm doing it!!

I have solar panels being installed soon, my credit score continues to creep up, (now at 608-610) depending on which score you're looking at.
And soon I will have lowered most of my costs of living because my new renters all pay towards the gas and electric separate of the rental price. :) I'm really starting to learn the ropes of how to do this. So basically I only pay a fourth going forward. And these skills make me feel so great about myself. Sadly, I'm still hunting down random things in "my name" but was my mothers doing, like the security and thermostat on site, but I finally moved those over this week. I think I may have locked it all down now. One last one was a Wells Fargo account in both mine and my grandmas name she took over but kept me on but changed the cards. My god this has to be so illegal and yet I haven't been able to properly prosecute her, I've only been able to get a protection order but it doesn't do much against identity theft. Ah well, one day I wont live here, she's only a few miles down the road from me, and then I'll be able to wash my hands of her and her meddling. I might even sell the property one day.

As far as anything else...well a few friends from UK reached out this last month, Irishcoffee, and the other a long time female friend- lets call her Sonya.

Irishcoffee was a lot of good fun and rejuvenated me.

Sonya though... was traumatic and heartbreaking, I found out she is late stage cancer and not willing to get treatment. I need to find a way to get back there, and yet my priorities are here. I so badly want to see her, and to visit my kids, who are now much change, and so much loss, and so much i've gained. It's a very bitter mixed bag.

I take it all one day at a time and breathe.

We also took in two adult teens, it started as a temporary, on our couch thing,(in January) but turned into renting them a room when one became free.

We'll call them Ollie and Mimi.

Ollie met Arbor at his first job out here (A rescue place for animals 2 years ago), and they randomly saw each other at Arbors new work.

Ollie as a customer and Arbor striking up conversation.

Arbor found out they were living out of their car in the freezing rain, and so he asked me if we could take them in.

One thing led to another and now we have kind of adopted them to be perfectly honest. It's actually a lot of fun. I get to see Arbor how he would treat my kids, and he's so gentle and kind with them both. I really personally adore Mimi, and I'm helping her get her license(which is terrifying but also so healing for me) so she can get work and they can rotate their car. I'm percolating plans of training Mimi to manage this place long term if it works out- when Arbor and I move off site and invest in other places. They are both responsible, hardworking, young people and our home is already a warmer, place with them in it.

It honestly feels a little like fate intervened with all my bad situations ironing out to a good one. So, I definitely consider them tribe material, early days but many positives already. We have been playing monopoly or cards every few nights and that feeling of kinship I had with my grandma and my own kids feels like it just found its spot to get warm. It's so great to have the noise and silliness and young people energy around.

Life is good right now.
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All of it is starting to come together, late in the game but I'm doing it!!

I feel this and I'm really thrilled for you!
UGH found another bank account opened unauthorized...BUT FOR MY CHILD WHEN SHE WAS 4 YEARS OLD!....wasn't me. I was in uk then. I found it cleaning out the shed of my mothers things....what a nightmare. I think I may have sorted it but I called up my oldest and explained and they were devastated that they might have RUINED credit coming to the USA. I'm starting to put together evidence for a civil suit. We'll see how far it goes.

On other news, almost all renters moved out now, and I'm going to a LGBTQIA event on friday...a vday one..i'm really excited...:) Got a whole outfit planned and cant wait for some good vibes, and socializing.
I got a new job on the opposite side of town...thinking of renting a place for mon-fridays and partially moving out - like rent a small room near the office for the 2 weeks I go in, then I have a place to work "from home", and not bring work home.

I love the idea of hybrid remote work, but I don't know how to do that with two teens, 4 renters and a partner all on one acre right now. Oh, and 5 cats if you count the two communal ones. Yikes. Not to mention I'd have to use my bedroom and it's currently being occupied by Arbor half the week when he works nights he has to sleep during days.

But! I saw a small room for rent for around 200, and my commute is almost 2 hrs so that ends up being cheaper per month than GAS! Also when I start dating again and socializing more it would be awesome to be downtown for that. Where I currently live is so freaking remote that I can't go out a lot unless I plan to work gig work for an hr. or two to cover the cost of gas.

Then, maybe, I could have occasional weekend women dates and a place to take them to as well....

While Arbor's recovery is going on its also a good idea to have a "this is how I will handle this" plan for when he relapses too, recovery usually isn't one quick shot, and although he made it 4 months sober he did relapse a lot over the space of Jan/Feb and I was unaware until Ollie and Mimi brought it to my attention.

So, sadly, I'm looking at disentanglement plans to handle relapses in future. I don't want to punish him for making progress, but I absolutely will break up with him over repeated lying to me ABOUT the process...I can't afford not to.

No access to me and my car makes sense. (He has his own car, phone, and would continue to be able to live in my home- but I'm not planning on entangling him further in my assets/money at this point).

And if I needed to I could rent out the room we currently live in and break up, but its early days, and he IS trying. I honestly first was in shock, then anger and sadness, and now i'm like...well what do I want to do next?

I'm not going to be overseeing how he works on his weed addiction though, mostly because I've been there done with with my ex-husbands abuse, and that failed....

But also because clearly I'm still co-dependent, and the only way to stop and improve MY recovery requires me to let go and see what he does. I also might now qualify for group sessions for being co-dependent so I will sign up for that.

As it stands, I can't even socialize with people, or drink around him or do anything that would trigger him in this crucial phase, so instead of punishing myself for something that he is working on, and something he did to himself to be punished.....

I'm putting it in a separate box where I can be a little more of a free agent going forward.

I can go socialize, I can go drink and dance, I can go to game nights, its not me who needs to worry about the next hit or whatever... its not me who needs to be punished for his lies, and I don't need to cater to someone lying to me.

Although, at least the room thing will that will change in two weeks: Ollie and Mimi are working on a part of the property to fix up (a tiny home) and instead of them paying rent they are doing the labor/having a stable place with the understanding it goes towards my property assets. I figured this would show me if Mimi has the chops for management long term and be a great resume builder to do a different type of entry level work. Right now they aren't in school, and aren't working and don't know what they want, so I said why not provide yourself some stability first- then figure it out while you do that. Without stability its hard to address anything else.

I'm not doing what I did with Rocky again and trying to fix Arbor, Arbor can fix himself and adjust to whatever consequences I choose to put in place for my safety and mental health around this.

I don't deserve to be lied to about something so serious to my practical wellbeing.

The sad thing is, I found out on the day our ring came back from being resized.

So, while he made serious promises to me, and bought me freaking jewelry about it, he was also going behind my back and lying to me about weed, and exposing me to physical danger.

I really need some more time to process all this because...seriously...why? Why sabotage his own self? :( We were doing so good, no big arguments, ironed out most issues, having regular date nights, finances in a good place, saving money for a trip, my health was in a good it makes me question Arbor...why??
Well after denial, anger, came depression.

I ruminated about something really important last night. I am such a pushover to what the greater good wants. And I'm so fucking sick of it.

I told Arbor I'm poly, as an identity not just a choice, whether I was single or with others or anything else, being monogamous just *doesn't work for me* long term.

He thinks it stems from lack of trust.

I said no, I have plenty of trust, trusted you to sort out weed, trusted you to be honest. No, what I need it for is my own emotional capacity. I want to be out there meeting people and being around people and being tied to Arbor doesn't allow for that to happen because the guy is constantly by my side when he isn't working. And he doesn't like it when I am not by his. It's very low key controlling but from a victim mentality. And I didn't see it till now.

Its funny how NOW he has the work I could do education and be supported, but now I DON'T trust him, now I *do* have issues. I call gaslighting on that. And my grant opportunity is gone, I didn't have the health or time to pursue it because Arbor I think doesn't want me to succeed without him. He doesn't want me to be poly, he doesn't want me to date other people. Well, right now, he doesn't get a lot of say in what I do since he fucked around with my trust and found out.

I fired my therapist too. I truly only signed up so I could do couples counselling with Arbor and that didn't happen.

So...I think I want to go back to being single. Surely that's better than being lied to about something that could kill me?

And I need to have the teens move out for the same reason. They are heavily into pot, and its too much of a risk factor.
I need to either live off the property or vet people more.

We picked up the ring, I tried to wear it, and it fits, but I am having the same rash I had with the gold wedding band with my ex husband. I don't think I want marriage or relationship with Arbor or escalation. I need allies, yes, friends, yes, but a relationship right now? Probably not, or at least not an unhealthy one.

I have been working so hard on healthy boundaries lately. I state what I need, and what I can control instead of trying to coerce others to my way of thinking. Or hoping and silently suffering.

Last night I sat down and wrote again for the first time the books I've been working on, you know the abandoned project from 2021/2?
And Arbor got so nervous and upset he started hovering near me. He didn't want me to write, he didn't want me to express this side of myself.

Have I traded one cage from my mother for another?

I think I have. And I think I'm done. I can't do this. I can't do this level of betrayal from him. He looked me in the eyes and promised me with that ring, not marriage but a commitment to honesty, to put the needs of *us* before him. And at the same time was doing weed around me which could have killed me. Not an exaggeration, just the plain and simple truth.

Once I have settled into this new job, I will ask the teens to leave, then I will put Arbor next door temporarily, as a room renter there, rent out the other room, and start my journey as a single person again. I will need time to heal and time to grieve, and time to be angry, and time to write. I may get lonely, and be isolated a bit for awhile, but I will have peace and freedom, and right now that is far more important to me than the ties of so-called-chosen family who lies and are selfish and who don't have my best interests at heart.

I feel bitter at this devastation. I never asked him to be perfect in his recovery process, I only asked him to be honest and tell me when he uses so I could keep myself safe.

I think that is a reasonable ask.

And since he cant meet it, I have no other choice but to prioritize my safety over my emotional desire to make things work with him, because despite it all dammit I still love him and I'm so pissed he blew up our entire future. If it had been one relapse, maybe I would have been ok with it, but 6 times in one month, while lying to my face. And after he already lied about the anti-anxiety meds in the past to my face...well now its a pattern of a chronic liar. And I can't live with that.
So life continues on!
I got settled renter situation, thats good.
I got accepted at a new job through a temp agency and its a guaranteed 40 hrs per week which I LOVE. I'm so thrilled. I'm learning it quickly, and they are excited to have me on-board. I'm hoping i'll be permanent within month two or three so I can finally come off my state healthcare and other benefits. It's very exciting :)

In other news...Arbor has been attending weekly sessions with a recovery coach for dependency, we are still dating but we are now in two different bedrooms again which is needed because I need my me time before he goes to work (is asleep) and I go to bed, the overlap is kinda hard otherwise. Like he wakes me when he comes home on my days off, and I wake him to go to bed, and then neither of us are getting good sleep. Plus I needed my room to be an at home hybrid office for the new job.

In the meantime, I said my condition for staying with Arbor and accepting his addictions was he accept me as poly. He could stay or go as he likes and still live here and make an exit plan if he wanted, but I wasn't going to stop being me for him. He said he was worried I'd find someone better than him. I said, I wouldn't leave him for another man, but i'd leave him for himself- no more lies.

So we've entered a temporary honeymoon phase where he is giving a lot of effort right now, towards therapy, towards us, basically all the stuff that is basic human adulting usually, and I accept he's an addict. We don't complain over his cigerettes anymore. Some battles just aren't important.
And I'm free to date others.

So, I chose to poke around a little, I connected with someone I thought was originally female on this forum, and is male, and that has evolved mostly to friends. I respect and like him but i'm not interested in long distance.

The other one was more unexpected...And we'll see what happens there.

Its a guy who works locally and I have conversed with on a pretty regular basis for the last six months. Its been strictly platonic and he knows my partner already, by proximity too, it being a small town area, and they get along well. So I gave him our phone number as friends about two weeks ago, we had him around for dinner, and we all hung out doing video games. :) It was a good time, and then he and I had sort of a date, more of a fwb hangout where Arbor dropped me off at his place and picked me up so we could drink together. We had a really good evening, and he's been really accepting of me being poly, he's not much of a texter which is fine more an in person person, but after all the texty/long distance/online only things in my past approaching this differently is great. Meeting in the wild is refreshing! I was drawn initially to his kindness, we had been locking eyes I guess, for awhile and there was definitely attraction.

The make out made my toes curl, and I may be a little twitterpated right now. But I've been a long hand at that and he's not looking for more than FWB at this time. Lets see, how to describe him, hmm tall, ex military, but also creative, owns his own home and car, no pets kids or attachments, and he's really handsome and kind. He's not into hard drugs, as far as i know, but there is signs he may be a functional alcoholic. So we'll see. It may also be age and loneliness- I've seen many men go down that right who are in their late 40s and live remotely. He's very socially awkward, and I like that, because despite my robust love of words, I am dang awkward at times too. In the middle of making out I adrubtly got up and left because I was so insecure about my non breasts, and he didnt mind at all. Arbor also was ok after a lot of reassurance and cuddles. There was no timelimit or any rules from Arbor, just my own, for his own sanity to start I said I wouldnt have sex the first tiem. Well for one, I dont want a ONS with this guy, and two, its all local community, going slow for all our owns protection is a good idea. It's not someone anyone is related to locally though or a work colleague of Arbors, so everything else seems ok. Not messy just near by and thats different for me. If I were to attend munches and things in the nearest cities I'd be looking at anywhere from 2 hr to 1 hr commutes one way to meet people and that's just too far for me right now, especially since my work, when I'm in person, is one hour away!

I don't think I'd like to do more than two dating people at this time, so, that kind of leaves finding a woman out of the picture right now. I haven't even met any females here that lean that way except 2 and both were about 15 years older than me and probably saw me as a child, no, I know they did. Which is too bad for them. Ah well, I'm still planning on going on that cruise eventually. I figure we can have most things in life but not all.

Right now?

I've got my own income, my own home, a car, a mostly ok nesting partner who is a work in progress and I love dearly and who loves me even if he is a hot mess. I was a hot mess at 33/34, and I came out ok in the end.

And now I have a potential LOCAL person who ticks most of my boxes for romance and maturity.

Not to mention my NP is willing to do this with me. They get along really well too, they probably talk more in text than I do lol. Already planning things to do as guy projects. So, I figure this is about as lucky as it gets and to ask for more is to ask for pain and heartache. How could I think this would be my future back a few years ago? I didn't think it was possible. And it is, and I'm very blessed.

Would I prefer a woman? Sure. Is it likely to happen for me? Probably not. And well that's ok.

I prefer honestly what I got over the risk of opening further, this provides exactly what I want: security with poly while not feeling pigeonholed to one person. I can always revisit later if either partners don't work for me or this situation doesn't work for me. But what I've learned the most about this in the past is that, 1) none of these men are experiments, they are humans with hearts and desires and so I must tread carefully, and 2) There is such a thing as compatibility for more than just what *I* want, there is the fact both men want security, and want community, so there's a level of kitchen table I wasn't prepared for because they are already in each others circles (loosely). So I must consider the greater good here too.

My actions have repercussions, and it seems to me that the man I've been on one date with now, is happy to be more if I can agree to security for him too. I certainly don't have the means or time to pursue a third so I've been thinking if I want to, and I told him I need more time to think about it since we're so new. This does seem to be the closest compromise for Arbor and me, he gets a type of security if I choose to date this guy only. and I get poly without the risk, but also not exactly what I wanted- Arbors ideal is monogamy. Mine is anarchy solo poly, so to stay together this is the closest compromise I can think of.

I am really happy with this situation and I feel I'm approaching it much more sensibly than I did in the past. Nothing has to be decided quickly and I'm still able to have male friends without it being romantic, because Poly allows for that. As well as existing comets or occasional random sexual situations that are one night stands, though I may have grown out of that phase somewhat now. I much prefer sex with someone I know and trust and eventually love, where the love and trust grows over time. If things continue with either person in my life, then I'll add names for them here. But right now, it's just too soon. :)
I had the best date night. Bring on the NRE!

....for the first time in YEARS, I had sex with someone while in a mostly stable NP ship. With the consent of my NP. I have no words. I am now poly saturated for the time being. No plans to meet anyone else. I'm very happy.

No name yet...but I'll think about it some.
In the meantime next week is an actual date night out of the house with a full overnight stay :D
Well this week has been interesting. I had a fantastic time interest who I shall name Jurian.

I dont know what to say about this because right now I thought things were going ok, but Arbor is struggling and I need to figure out if its possible to save the relationship while seeing Jurian 1 x per week. We'll see. The biggest complicating factor is probably Arbors involvement with Jurian, because he wants to be friends with him too, and he wants to know what I do when. and I'm not comfortable sharing details when Im with either partner. Sigh. I dont know what to do right now. I guess I'll go read some books.
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So last week's stuff with Arbor is now in a better place. I basically told him he doesnt get a say in what I do with Jurian outside of safer sex practices. We've had a lot, and I mean a lot of conversations. And although I have a bit of experience in solo poly it's quite a bit different with a nesting partner. Thankfully though Jurian is super chill and is very supportive of me ans arbor working things out.

Lol though he did ask outright if Arbor is gay. (He's not).

Jurian and i managed to successfully get back into sex after arbors adjustment.

And Arbor's been doing a fantastic job of respecting my boundaries now that I out my foot down. I basically read the smart girls guide to polyamory in one sitting then picked out things that I thought we could work on. I also did a lot of soothing for him before and after everything. I have not been openly comparing the two at all, but arbor is quick to jump yo that conclusion which is a lot more about him feeling inadequate generally. I've been trying to find ways to show him he's enough and I didn't do this decision out of spite because of weed/addiction. I told him doing this actually makes it possible for me to have the emotional energy to help him more which confused the heck out of him. But for me if I have a soft place to land with emotional intimacy then I can give the intensity to Arbor right now.

I was also proud he turned down jurian for weed, and explained his addiction. The last month with arbor has seen huge changes. I really think he's starting to see where his addiction was causing issues. And I have been doing al anon a few times per week virtually. It's been very helpful for me not doing the other side of the coin.

In the meantime Jurian had completely replaced my mental lingering ghosts from Rocky. Yup things with him are good, very very good. Tonight is our first proper overnight. We've spent days together and evenings but not overnight. I can't wait to see what its like to wake up next to Jurian in his massive king size bed. I am definitely smitten and trying my best to keep both worlds balanced.

Ideally if it works out with Jurian I'd like to be half the time at his place and half the time at mine with Arbor.
So the overnight stay happened...and I'm in a weird place about it.

It was very good on one hand, we cuddled and had sex and everything was good, BUT...the cat is out of the bag locally through not Arbor or Jurian or me but actually random people whispering things. And maybe a neighbor saw us? Someone asked Arbor at work yesterday if I was cheating on him. That led to Arbor telling me people at Jurian's work knew and probably his boss. Arbors boss definitely knows. I've been getting weird looks for a week at least, so it's probably been circulating for awhile.
I think it may have gotten around to Jurian actually and impacted our night together. He was a lot less emotionally touchy feely. That or he was having feelings/thoughts he didn't share outside of this, and it impacted our time. It's a lot harder at 4-5 meet ups to pretend its only just sex, eventually feelings are going to matter and light small talk won't be enough.

Time to see if this actually develops past FWB...the sex is still mind blowing and I adore it, but I want to know we can go do things and have lovely experiences too. He seems really resistant to going out and doing anything outside of sex and chilling at his place or mine, and i can't offer much at mine because the only "rules" arbor and I have because of space in our place and layout of house is not having sex with others there because it would be impossible to mute the sound. I don't want to do that to arbor OR myself lol.

But some small positives happened that maybe made me think I'm just over-analyzing this too much.

1 convo went like this: Me getting ready for morning:

Jurian: "I really am not a big boob person".
Me: "Big boobs generally, or boobs at all?"
Jurian: "No big boobs at all, those guys when you're younger who go, oh man look at her honkers- crap like that, never understood it."
Me: "Well, that's really not an issue here. lol"
Jurian: "Yeah I struck Jack-pot didn't I? lol"(he winks at me)
We both crack up.

Later on:
Jurian: "are you using a vibrating toothbrush?"
Me "yep why?"(mouth full of toothpaste)
Jurian: "I heard women use that to get off with"
Me: (raising eyebrows, spit, talk) "Yeah, I wouldn't want to...I prefer mens hands and mouths"
Jurian: (gives me long look) yeah?
Me: "Yup, sex with you is really good."
Jurian: (raises one eyebrow and eyes the toothbrush)
Me: "Good is too simple a word, you're a 1000% better than a vibrating toothbrush."
Jurian: Mad cackling and big smiles. :)

Both guys go out of their way to make sure I feel great about my body, post surgery, but its especially validating with Jurian because he's never seen me any other way.

But I do have some small worries...I had to do a lot of initiating yesterday as he was pulled inside himself, whether that was comparison/jealousy/work issues/feeling more about us than he wanted to/feelings about his past...whatever the case is, I am hoping he comes to me and talks to me eventually and not just bottle it inside. Whether we are FWB or more, I still want to be there for him emotionally. Even if its only one sided for a bit because I get this is a weird situation and he mentioned in passing his ex a lot. However, I cant force that, so i'll just leave it and keep having small happy moments and great sex. Maybe it will go more, maybe not, but i'm going to enjoy the heck out of it until we reach whatever path he chooses. I've learnt since Rocky, you cannot make a person do anything, you have to want it both.

And that pivots nicely to Arbor,
We've had even more intense talks about his inadequacies, opening up about feelings, honesty, etc, and the talks are being followed by consistent actions which is awesome. I'm like coming home to small sweet things like our bed made, and fantastic sex, and breakfast in bed. So many things Arbor wasn't really invested in and now he's like all in. I made sure it wasn't in "reaction" to my new relationship, he said no and just realized through his therapist he wasn't giving US or ME the attention I deserved and was mostly making it about him.

He also...asked me to marry him!

So...uh that's a thing. No reply yet, yes I left him hanging, because I have complicated feelings about it. I've been burned before, but also, I need to see he is consistent with this new change AND on top of that on my end, I need to know i'm not riding NRE and saying something on the heels of feelings forming with someone else. So, lots of unpacking to do mentally.
Im seeing Jurian tomorrow. Fingers crossed its OK. We're going to work out, lol not with sexy time just with his exercise equipment and I want to lean into being there for him practically more. Maybe bring my art stuff over and sketch some plans for the Siding porch project he wants to do.

Arbor and I read bits and pieces of a poly book this weekend and I really got down to the nitty gritty of his issues around comparison and hopefully he can start the process of putting that demon to bed. We'll see. He seemed a lot more calm this weekend and handled my overnight really well. So, that's all good.

I also accidently left my phone at jurians, and we went to pick it up together yesterday and I was everyone really can handle being around each other and chilling. Even with the local busy bodies.

Seriously I don't even know many of these people but because jurian and Arbor know so many its just is what it is.

Everyone kind of look at me with either jealousy, curiosity, or blatantly flirt with arbor while I stand there to see how I react. I just shrug and tease Arbor. I have zero issues with him being with someone else. He's not all that interested in poly so we'll see. I feel very secure with him outside of his addictions. My biggest issue is his adhd time keeping skills. I could see that being an issue with women. Outside of that not too worried.

Dang though I'm so sore from the amount of sex I've been having recently. I'm not as young as I was and only recently realized Arbor isn't demi / ace...he just was hiding his desire because of my illnesses and chilvary??? So now we're making up for lost time and between him and jurian I'm litterally having sex like 1-2 times per day. (Which is more like 4-5 orgasms per day for me and thats freaking exhausting!) I really never thought I'd say this but today I feel entirely sexed out. Lol.

I took the day off today and said, no lol. Long hot bath and many naps. I'm still working 40-60 hrs per week so even 1 x per day is a lot.

Oh and I've finally gone under 200 because of all the extra cardio. I'm really like 100% better after surgeries now. Taken time but I'm good.

So blessed in life right now, despite the worries. All is good!
Jurian is making me dinner tonight and yesterday we did exercise stuff together. We also had a really real talk about different things. It was much needed as we were having a few text misunderstandings and cleared those up.

Arbor is still struggling a bit but not as much with Jurian just trying to wrap his head around poly. Poor dude is litterally terrified of all the women interested in him. (He has a few very aggressively purusing him). I told him he just has to say no, there's no reason if he feels uncomfortable to do something he's not sure about. I said this is the biggest thing about polyamory: consent! If you don't give your consent that's the end of it.

I've never seen him so out of sorts. He just said it's too much change, his work putting him on days, me and jurian, the renters stuff, and now all thse women. So I said well you don't need to worry about jurian it can stay parallel and the women you can talk to on *your* terms. That takes two changes out of tbe equation some. I'm not leaving him and I still love him so very much. We've made huge strides toward healthy lately, and his therapy he's still going to regularly.

He never presented this terrified to me though? So, I'm genuinely confused. Unless it's deeper trauma stuff related to the woman who sexually harassed him at work a year ago. (Yes that was a thing). Anyways...he was like can you keep them off me? And I'm like if a ring isn't working and your no isn't working I don't know what I could do that would fix it? Lol I'm not going to go drama on a girl unless she's harassing him and to me that seems like him just not being firm enough. There's gotta be some reluctance to confront in my mind. But who knows I'm really straight speaking I don't need games with men, I just tell them I like them or accept a no. After Rocky I'm never trying to convince a man of anything he isn't already a hell Yes to. That was so toxic for me and him.

Jurian dropped the L bomb yesterday but not at me. More in context of my feels. He said, "I think you're already in love with me."

And I sputtered and was No. I just really like you. I may have blushed.

Yeah I probably have feelings, but love? That would be in love with the idea of him not Who he is. We don't even know each other that well??? That flustered me for sure. And I'm so used to having to pick at Arbors brain that I'm not used to someone speaking so plainly to me. I like it.

So we spent the rest of the evening jamming to music. Omg he loves Dave mathews band so we had an album moment. It was good times.

We did some dancing, and then sat on his porch and watched the sun set. Then I went home and spent time with Arbor.

oh also this weekend is south west love fest and I think Arbor and I are going to go so he can meet people and educate himself on it. :)
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