(Re)opening up is hard - and that's okay, right?


Hi Everyone,

After a little less than a week of having registered onto the forum (and months of browsing) I wanted to talk a little bit about my current situation and ask for some advice/opinions. Once things have settled down a bit I think it would do me good to blog a little bit about how it's all going in the Life Stories and Blogs section, but for the moment it's all a bit aAaAaaAAah, so I think I'd rather start here!

For some context, here is my intro post, although I might repeat myself a bit here just to explain what's going on. Apologies in advance if it's a bit long.

I'm a 28 year-old bisexual, non binary trans person who struggles with mental health issues (anxiety, insecurities, fear of abandonment, black and white thinking and some other fun stuff that can be explained by a BPD diagnosis I received a decade ago). However, I was officially discharged by my psychiatrist a year ago and am no longer on medication, except for anti-anxiety meds, because I have improved tremendously during these past years of hard work. I continue to go to therapy every two weeks, and I am very self-aware of my negative patterns and mostly succeed in breaking them. Basically I am pretty stable, but I am very sensitive and have to make a massive effort with life in general and can be triggered.

I have a girlfriend whom I live with that I'll name Alicia on here. She is also 28, bisexual and she's a trans woman. We have been dating for about 7-8 years and have lived together since the beginning, because basically we hooked up when we were flatmates during uni. I was dating several other people at the time, openly practicing poly in a consensual way for everyone involved. But it was a bit of a poly-in-theory deal!

I had several LDRs (as in, living in another country) which were mostly satellite-type relationships, a platonic relationship with one of the loves of my life (whom I still love dearly), and so never really experienced the reality of having the person I was in love with actively engage with others. I know that I can love several people simultaneously, and I understood that others could too, but I was very insecure and mentally unwell at the time, so after two years of hooking up with my partner (who wasn't my partner at the time, just my flatmate that I was falling in love with lol) I asked for A) Our relationship to be named as such, and B) For it to be closed, because I was being a hypocrite, wanting to be able to make out with random people at parties and stuff, but freaking out and irrationally scared that she would dump me when she did the same.

That was around 2018 (when we were 22-23). With the years, we got better, both mentally and in our relationship in general. (She also has some mental issues, btw: heavy ADHD traits, albeit undiagnosed, and depressive tendencies. I don't want to be scapegoated as the crazy one here just because I've been diagnosed. lol) We moved to another city, became less codependent and got a lot better at communicating, etc.

Eventually, we started talking about opening up again and doing ENM properly this time, and have been discussing it for the past 2 years. I am more reluctant, although I know that I can love more than one person simultaneously, and that she can too. (I don't think I have the time and energy to pursue another relationship myself, but that is irrelevant bc poly is not tit for tat.)

We have been monogamous nesting partners for a very long time, and although I completely understand and support the theory, I know that it will be a process to unlearn the monogamous tendencies ingrained in my brain, in the same way that I had to deal with internalised homophobia/biphobia when recognising myself as queer, and with internalised transphobia and having to break with the ever-present binary-gendered system when recognising myself as non binary and choosing to go on hormones, etc.

She is very excited about it, very looking forward to it, and I completely understand, because (and this is very important to understand her perspective), although she's made out with a bunch of people, and for the past few years we've been 100% okay with making out with whoever we want at parties and stuff (mostly our fellow hot queer friends), I am the only person she has ever dated or had sex with (!). Also, when we began dating, she didn't know she was a trans woman, and didn't start living as a woman until like 4-5 years ago. So she is, in a way, living her second (or true) adolescence.

Apart from the fact that I think ENM is the relationship model that works best for me, because I've always had lovers that were friends, and friends that were lovers, and I find monogamy personally restrictive, a big reason I want us to do this is because I think it would be really cool for her to have the opportunity to explore her sexuality and identity with other people as herself.

We are pretty disentangled, despite living together. (We have mutual friends, but also separate friend groups; shared hobbies, but also different hobbies; we have our own bedrooms, although we often sleep in the same bed; we like spending time together, but also doing our own thing.)
(quoting myself from the intro post)

So!!! That's all the context! What's happening now? Well, it's not something we're just talking about anymore, it is actually happening! She's dating someone else! And I am struggling! As I knew I would, and as I believe is natural. I'll go into detail in another post, because I feel like this is so so long already. Thanks for reading so far, if you have. x
Part 2, from poly-in-theory to poly-in-practice!

During the past couple of years that we've been talking about this, I've been doing lots of (re)reading. I bought (and read) Polysecure like a year after it came out, I read a bunch of blogs, I checked out some podcasts (Making Polyamory Work, Multiamory), and mostly tried to find info that was realistic and compassionate towards poly people like myself, who struggle with insecurities, trauma and fear of abandonment. Although I'm glad some people don't feel jealousy, and it's all compersion and KTP and dating each other, that's just not realistic for me lmao.

We spoke about what kind of poly we'd like to practice. I said that, despite all those prior things I mentioned, I didn't want to do parallel poly or be in a don't ask/don't tell situation. That is something I would not be comfortable with. Although I don't think metas need to be besties, or that they should be forced to get along, ideally I'd like to have at least a cordial relationship with the people my partner(s) are dating.

We spoke about some other hypothetical things, like how we wouldn't do hierarchical poly, but that we had to be aware that as nesting partners and having been together for so long, there was going to be a transition period, during which we would start with what is called couples' privilege and eventually, hopefully, not so much, but being realistic. We agreed that we don't think veto power is okay, and that, in any case, if one of us wanted to date someone the other person considered unacceptable for some reason, it would be just like if one of us had a friend who is an abuser or a fascist or something, where we could just go, "Uhhh... why are you hanging out with this person? What the fuck?"

I said that, at least in the beginning, I wanted a boundary to be no sex with other people in the house. I know technically this is a rule, and not a boundary, although I could phrase it like, "I will not be in a relationship with you if you have sex with people in the house." But basically, it's just a request. The reasoning is that I am not psychologically prepared for that, because there is only one double bed in the house and it's in my room, because our flat is pretty small, because we live with my brother also (30 years old, autistic, mostly just chills in his room playing videogames), and also because so much of our relationship is based, well, on us living together. She agreed to my request, and we also spoke about other sex-related things (barriers, etc).

Cut to reality! Here's a bit of a timeline:

August 2023, Chloe, a (poly) mutual friend, invites us to have lunch with her and some other friends at her house. Among them was Jess. (Late 20s? I just realised idk how old she is. Similar to us, I think.) She is poly trans woman who lives in another city. There's a bunch of people there, including half of Chloe's polycule. (She is very KTP and sexually open. We actually had an awkward moment a few years previously, where she proposed a foursome to Alicia and me when we were monogamous).

We have lunch, we play cards, it's fun. Then we go out at night because it's fiestas in my city. We meet up with them the next night also, and Alicia makes out with Jess (and with a bunch of other people, she just loves kissing people lol), and tells me afterwards. All's cool.

Jess goes back to her city (about half the country away). She messages Alicia saying she had a great time and that she "caught feelings." Alicia tells me, because she thought it seemed a bit intense. I was like, "Maybe she just means a crush. Don't freak out about it! But you should explore this, if you're interested." They start texting each other more and more frequently. I have never ever snooped into anyone's phone or shit like that, but I just see it happening randomly when we're chilling on the sofa with the cats, or whatever. Alicia and I don't really talk about it.

One day in September Alicia tells me, "Hey, just so you know, I'm doing a videocall with Jess this evening." I'm like, "Oh okay!" But then I realise I am not okay. I feel anxious and uncomfortable. Why?

I think about it, and the next day I speak with Alicia and I tell her I was annoyed when she told me about the call, and that I couldn't figure out why until I realised that it's because I felt out of the loop. I ask her about Jess. "What's going on? Are you guys getting to know each other? What are your intentions? What's happening?"

She says she doesn't really know. She likes her, but she's just seeing how it goes. I say, "Cool, I just want us to communicate properly so that I don't feel like you're doing stuff behind my back." She says she's going to make the effort to be transparent and communicate more openly.

We both agree that one of the issues of living together, but having very different work schedules (she works 8am-6pm, I work 3pm-8pm) is that we do spend time together and talk, but sometimes we assume we've already told the other person something when we haven't, or that we're too tired to have Serious Conversations. I also say that I think it's important that we start doing stuff together purposefully and intentionally, like plans for dates outside of the house. During all these years, we've only gone on trips together a couple of times, and it'd be nice to do some more things, that we only do sometimes, e.g., going to the cinema, eating out instead of getting takeaways, going on walks, etc.

October. I am at a protest with a friend when I bump into Chloe. I'm already a bit overwhelmed and dissociating, because there are so many people there, and because the situation is heartbreaking. So when she comes over, I'm a bit spaced out. We say hi to each other. I tell her there's probably going to be another protest next weekend, and she's like, "Oh, I'll ask Jess if she wants to come. How are you feeling about Jess coming over next weekend, by the way?"

I had no idea. I say so. Chloe's face drops and she's like, "Oh my god, did I fuck up? I'm so sorry." I tell her it's not her responsibility that Alicia is shit at communicating lol. I text Alicia about it (she's away for the weekend touring). She's super apologetic about it and says she could've sworn she told me about it, but it must've slipped her mind. I'm so mentally detached by that time, I go into full-on, "I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed" mode.

Annnd... I've got to stop there for now, cuz I have to make some lunch and go to work. Sorry for the fucking novel. This is indeed turning out to be a blog, but I just feel the need to over-explain everything and give context before I ask for advice. 😅

Spoiler alert: our communication is so much better now. Alicia has apologised, improved and made amends, but all of this is important to understand why this is so difficult for me atm. It started in such an anxiety-inducing way. (Although it was going to be difficult anyway! Relationships are hard. Harder if you're crazy in the head, and harder still if there are more than two people involved, but that's okay!)

Tl;dr our current issue is that Alicia feels I shouldn't be struggling so much, but I am. More will be explained. Thanks again for this space to ramble!
Hello Espoir,

Thanks for sharing your story so far, I hope we can be helpful to you with advice and feedback and whatnot. It sounds like you had some communication issues, but those have mostly been corrected by now. Although, I kind of get the idea you're still struggling? Try to describe the nature of your struggles. Are you afraid? If so, what scares you the most? I know you're planning to post some more, so I won't interrupt much just yet. Yes, it's okay that reopening is hard!

Kevin T.
Hm, I`m a bit concerned, because I feel that you are not ready for this kind of relationship, and you are actually suffering. I think that you should put in a balance if this change is good for your emotional stability right now.

Years ago, I opened a relationship when I was not ready, just because my partner wanted to and I thought it was fair, but things started turning the wrong way and I end up in a depressive episode for months.

Years later, I've been able to be poly (with someone else) and it all feels genuine, natural and comfortable. I know this is none of my business, but perhaps you should wait, or go slower with this stuff.
Since your posts are so long, I could move this to the blog section, and when you're ready to ask specific questions, you could start a new thread in the Relationships section, with a link to this thread. Let me know if that makes sense.

Thank you, everyone. I apologise for the length of the posts. I didn't realise I was going to over-explain myself so much, but it's true that I mostly made this account so I could have a space to process my feelings, other than speaking to friends, therapy and journalling, and I am mostly just rambling about what's happening without asking for any specific advice. I agree that I should move this to blogs, but I don't know how to do so. Maybe a mod could do it for me. Magdlyn, would you be able to? I'm not entirely sure if you were offering to do so. Thank you!

Also, I'm sorry for leaving this hanging. It's my first week back at work + classes + everything and it's all very overwhelming, not a lot of free time, I'm afraid.

Kevin and Woolfy, I am definitely struggling, but I truly believe I am capable of doing this, and that these are just growing pains. But one of the reasons I wanted to write about this on the forum is precisely to have feedback from others with an outside perspective who might think, "Well, it doesn't come off that way. It seems like you're lying to yourself. Are you sure you can do this?" because it's something that has come up with my partner, as well. So that's basically what I'm trying to figure out: are these growing pains which are just part of the adjustment period, or am I actually kidding myself? lol

Speaking with my therapist, we talked about how it's natural for it to be painful in the sense that it is a transition period, and although it can bring many positive things, I do have to go through a grieving period, in a sense. As in, grieving our relationship up until now, because it is no longer going to be the same.

Are you afraid? If so, what scares you the most?
I am afraid, but I am aware that my fears are born out of mono-normative ideals, as well as my fear of abandonment. But I also know that being exclusively cerebral about it doesn't really help. I can't rationalise away my fears (which are typical things, like "Oh, I'm going to be replaced!" basically), although it does help. I need to make the jump from understanding things mentally to internalising them emotionally, if that makes sense.

I can substitute the thought: "My partner dating someone else means she could replace me with that person," with: "My partner chooses to date someone else, and still chooses to stay with me also." I know that adults cannot be "abandoned," that if my partner and I were to break up, if she left me, I would survive, and that we could break up being monogamous, anyway, etc.

But what I need is to process these things emotionally, so what I'm asking of my partner, for example, is to understand that what I need is for Things To Happen, and then to see that Everything Is Okay.
- Jess comes to visit, they hang out, they go on a couple of dates, etc. I survive.
- Alicia goes to visit Jess in her city, and spends some days with her at her house. (This has already happened. We had another communication issue about it lol because she told me like 2 weeks in advance again, and I need tiiiiime). I was anxious about it before it happened. Then she went, she came back, and it was fine.

perhaps you should wait, or go slower with this stuff.
Initially I wanted to wait longer, but after having talked about opening up for two years already, I was worried that I was just stalling and not actually ever going to try. So my premise is that, yeah, I'm going to try, but it's going to be painful. Eventually it will stop hurting, and if it doesn't, I'll have to see what I do about it (break up with my girlfriend, probably, since she really does want this).

I 100% agree about going slower though, and that is something I have requested Alicia to try to do, to please go a bit slower. This is the reason I was over-explaining the timeline lol. I wanted to convey how fast it all seems to be happening for me, as in, from theory to practice in three months. But I don't know if I'm being unreasonable, or lying to myself, just because I need things to slow down.

Alicia doesn't seem to understand that this is a major life shift, and that I'm still not 100% at ease and chill with her dating someone else. It's been less than 5 months now since they met, and I think it's "normal" (whatever that means lol) that it's still taking me some time to adapt. Do you guys agree, or should I have my shit together by now? 😅

Thank you so much again, everyone, and sorry for writing so much.

I moved this to the Blog section. Usually this is a "no feedback" zone. Especially, it's a place for no harsh criticism. You can certainly ask for feedback and get it here, though.

To answer your final question, there is no specific timeline that is common or healthy for adapting to your partner dating others. It's a huge shift, and could easily take a year, or much more, to get used to.

There is no reason to apologize for writing long posts. That happens all the time here. We aren't a "short content" kinda place. Often people come here having bottled these things up for years or decades, and it all comes spilling out, since we are a safe and respectful place in which to share.
Hi Espoir,

You said one of your fears was that you were going to be replaced. I want to say, what if that happened? What if you were replaced? What would that look like, and what would you do? Sometimes if we visualize our worst-case scenarios, they lose some of their power over us.

I don't expect you to "have your shit together by now." First of all, everyone is different, you are unique, and that is okay. Secondly, transitioning from monogamy to poly/open is a huge change, and it is likely to take a long time to adjust to it. I think it's best for you to sit with your feelings, and give yourself some time.

Don't feel bad about writing long posts. You need to get this out. Also, you need advice (and feedback) that is based on the complete picture of what is going on, not just a brief summary. You aren't the first person to do long posts (I have done many long posts myself), and you won't be the last. Not a problem.

Kevin T.
Thank you, Mags and Kevin. It's really good to know that it's okay to write so much, since doing so helps me process my thoughts and feelings. Typing stuff out isn't just an emotional outlet, but allows me to organise my ideas a little, as well.

The worst-case scenario exercise is something I've had in mind, but hadn't really got round to doing properly yet. Essentially, it would be very painful, but I know I would survive. On my first poly attempt, one of my partners, who was monogamous (doing mono-poly with me), with whom I was in a LDR, broke up with me because he met and fell in love with someone else who lived closer to him. I felt "replaced," "abandoned," and it was excruciatingly painful, and because I was Very Mentally Unwell I did some stupid things. But I survived. And in fact, eight years later we are still friends, and whenever I go to Berlin we hang out.

Now, ideally, if this does happen with my current partner, I wouldn't have such an unhealthy way of coping with the pain, I would be able to reach out to my circle and take care of myself. If we ended up not being able to speak to each other ever again, or something, it would be tragic. But the point is I would survive. That's my mantra anyway. lol, thanks, Glora Gaynor.

It helps me to know that there isn't a "correct" timeline, heh. Although I do think that if a lot of time passes (as in, more than a year) and I'm still struggling with a capital S, it would be the fairest thing to do for myself and for Alicia to break up. I'm feeling optimistic, though.

We had a long conversation today about our relationship, and poly, how we're feeling about it, our needs, our struggles... I realised a lot of what I thought was jealousy is actually envy, and that it's not about Alicia and Jess's relationship (which is none of my business anyway), but about things I feel that should be addressed in ours. Since we live together, we spend a lot of quantity time, but because we work all day and are super busy in the weekends (she's in a band, so she has rehearsals, recordings and gigs, and I'm in a grassroots queer collective and always have meetings/protests/etc.), we don't really go on dates or do anything special because we're too exhausted. So when we do hang out at home, we're just chilling on the sofa watching something on the laptop.

She's only gone to visit Jess once, and vice versa, but when they've hung out they've done stuff like go to game nights, go on walks, go for coffees, go for dinner, whatever, little things I've always wanted to do with Alicia and I've always told her I'd like to do, but neither of us ever makes the effort. So we were talking about that, quantity time vs. quality time. At first she was annoyed, because we literally live together and she barely gets to see Jess, but I was eventually able to explain properly what I meant - that I thought it was great she did that stuff with Jess, but it was a reminder of the fact that I'd like us to do those sort of things, as well. So we agreed that we're gonna make an effort to clear our schedules and make spending quality, conscious time together out of the domestic day-to-day a priority.

I also talked about how I needed her to understand that this opening up was a massive deal for me, that it was a whole life-changing process, a big shift blah blah, and she said she understood, but that she didn't personally see it as such a big deal. At first this made me feel a bit shocked, but then we spoke about it more and she explained that when we started dating she was already in the mindset that she wasn't going to be the only person in my life, because I was dating other people at the time. And then I realised (and I explicitly recognised and said this) that in the same way many people poly-bomb, I had mono-bombed her, and that I now understood what she meant with this not being a big change, because we had been open from the start, and closed afterwards.

She asked me about what I was getting from this, what my reasons were for doing poly again. I talked about how I miss blurring that friend/lover divide and having more intimacy and closeness with different people in my life, and that despite not actively looking to date some else rn, I also think this can be good for our relationship, because it can help bring up important things to talk about, like the need to have quality time thing, and that it's also good for my personal growth and mental health to continue to learn distress-tolerance strategies and how to sit with discomfort and with my emotions, to spend more time with other people, etc.

We spoke about a bunch of other stuff, but I'm exhausted (had my uncle's funeral yesterday...) and don't have the spoons to get into it, but generally it went well, I think. Towards the end, I said I wanted to talk about safe sex and said that I'd like Jess to get tested so they can have sex without barriers if they want, since Alicia had said that penetration would obviously be with condoms, but that she didn't want to use barriers for oral. I am a regular blood donor, so I know that I am STI-free (that, and I've only had sex with Alicia for the past 6 years or so, and she's only ever had sex with me). But Jess has several sexual partners, so I consider it something important to do. Alicia seemed a bit uncomfortable about it, but I think it's because she feels it might be awkward to have that conversation, and because they haven't really spoken about it yet. But it's a no-brainer for me, and not a ludicrous request, imho.

Which leads me to the idea of them having sex. It used to make me really anxious, but I don't really care so much right now, for some reason. I think I've just had some time to think about it and process it, and it's not so scary anymore. I also texted Jess last week or the week before (not about their sex life, obviously lmao) just to say Hey and to say sorry if she felt I'd been avoiding her, that this was all a bit hard for me, but I was sure it was going to get easier, and that I didn't want to force anything, but it would be cool to get to know each other a little better at some point; and she replied thanking me for the "thoughtful message" and just being pretty chill and kind in general, which was nice.

Anyway! That's my novel for today. I hope you've had a lovely weekend! (It's 21.30 in my time zone, so Monday is looming, unfortunately.)
Sounds like you had a productive conversation with Alicia, that is good to hear. Also you have thought through the worst-case scenario, and as a result it's perhaps a bit less scary. I think you just need some time to adjust to things, and to figure things out. You and Alicia should definitely arrange intentional dates with each other. Also, I think it's really good that you and Jess have been able to be cordial with each other, and it's hopeful that the two of you will get to know each other a little better.
Turns out Alicia wasn't just feeling uncomfortable about the asking for an STI panel, she was feeling extremely angry because although she felt it came from a reasonable place, she felt that I was controlling her and Jess's relationship. We talked about it, she was feeling really resentful and angry towards me, but simultaneously said she knew she was "being irrational;" it wasn't great. Although by the time we went to bed things had calmed down, I've spent all day wondering if I was being unreasonable.

I've done a bit of reading and podcast listening (lol) and have reached the conclusion that I was indeed overstepping, in the sense that it's not my place at all to ask my meta to get an STI panel, and it wouldn't be me asking, it would be Alicia, but it's fucked up if it's framed as "Hey, Espoir won't let us have unprotected oral sex until you do this." Ideally this would come from Alicia, out of worrying about her own health (and, in turn, mine), but if she doesn't feel like it's necessary, I think the logical and fairest thing for me to do is to just ask her to get tested after they have sex, and to use barriers with her until she gets the results.

I'm not happy with the idea of not being able to have barrier-free sex with my long-time partner that I've been sleeping with for the past 7-8 years, but I think it's important to recognise the difference between my boundaries regarding my relationship with Alicia, and Alicia and Jess's relationship, boundaries and agreements. It's not really any of my business that Jess has other sexual partners, but it is my business to do what I feel I need to do to have safer sex and look after my health. Does any of this make sense?
Yes, it makes sense. You have the right idea.

If Alicia refuses to ask Jess for an STI panel, you just have to decide what you will do in response to that problem. Perhaps you will start having protected sex (e.g., condoms) with Alicia, or, perhaps it will be a deal breaker for you. That is okay, safe sex is a highly personal topic, and you get to decide how much risk is okay for you. It is not unreasonable of you to ask, and I guess it's not unreasonable of Alicia to refuse. You just have to figure out what kind of boundary this is for you.
Turns out Alicia wasn't just feeling uncomfortable about the asking for an STI panel, she was feeling extremely angry because although she felt it came from a reasonable place, she felt that I was controlling her and Jess's relationship. We talked about it, she was feeling really resentful and angry towards me, but simultaneously said she knew she was "being irrational;" it wasn't great. Although by the time we went to bed things had calmed down, I've spent all day wondering if I was being unreasonable.

I've done a bit of reading and podcast listening (lol) and have reached the conclusion that I was indeed overstepping, in the sense that it's not my place at all to ask my meta to get an STI panel, and it wouldn't be me asking, it would be Alicia, but it's fucked up if it's framed as "Hey, Espoir won't let us have unprotected oral sex until you do this." Ideally this would come from Alicia, out of worrying about her own health (and, in turn, mine), but if she doesn't feel like it's necessary, I think the logical and fairest thing for me to do is to just ask her to get tested after they have sex, and to use barriers with her until she gets the results.

I'm not happy with the idea of not being able to have barrier-free sex with my long-time partner that I've been sleeping with for the past 7-8 years, but I think it's important to recognise the difference between my boundaries regarding my relationship with Alicia, and Alicia and Jess's relationship, boundaries and agreements. It's not really any of my business that Jess has other sexual partners, but it is my business to do what I feel I need to do to have safer sex and look after my health. Does any of this make sense?
That's right. If your partner doesn't understand it's reasonable to protect her own sexual health, your health, and the health of every one of her partners, by either using protection on herself, or with her partners with penises for penetration, or by asking them to have STI labs done (ideally both), then you must be the one to use protection, or stop having penetrative sex with your penis-having partner.

In my case, I'd ask a person who wants to penetrate me (males, or non-op transwomen or non-binary people, that is), to both be tested for STIs AND to use protection with me (the vagina-having person). I wouldn't trust a new partner to just give me their negative test results and just have sex with no condoms right away. I like to get to know someone for at least a few months to trust they are the type to be using condoms with any other partners they have, or to be only having sex with me, or to only be having sex with others who are disease-free and not likely to be catching anything. Your negative test results are only as good as the last time you had sex.

Condoms break and slip off. Many people who have multiple partners, with a lot of turnover, get tested every three months, and still use condoms for penetration!

The only safe sex is masturbation. It's nothing to be casual about. This is an agreement most people who practice ENM make with their partners.
Hi everyone, it's been a while.

Thanks for your comments re: safe(r) sex. I did feel a bit surprised that Alicia wouldn't take this sort of thing into consideration when we spoke about this, regarding her own health, but that's her prerogative I suppose.

Today is the day that Alicia is going to spend the weekend with Jess (more than the weekend, actually, it's Thursday night atm and she's on the bus there right now, 4h journey, and then she's back on Sunday night). I'm not feeling particularly anxious or freaking out or anything which is good I guess, I'm mostly just annoyed because I've come down with a flu and I wanted to keep busy these days and meet some friends and do stuff but I'll probably just have to stay at home resting with my best friend ibuprofen.

Last time she went to visit her we had arranged specific things like, I wanted her to call me once a day, or how we were going to interact when she came back from the trip, but this time we haven't really spoken about it. So I don't know if I'm just going to be fine and if my brain has already decided it's no big deal, or if I'm suddenly going to freak out when she comes back, or during the days that she's away, thinking about them having sex, or whatever. But at the moment, I'm not really worried, I think because everything's been really smooth these past few weeks. We've made the effort of having "date nights" every Friday. We're changing some things around the house (throwing old furniture out and buying new stuff). And she's been very lovey-dovey, so I'm feeling pretty secure and loved and validated.

We'll see! For the moment, I really hope these headaches and muscle pains go away asap. 😭
Hi Espoir,

Thanks for that update. It sounds like things are looking up somewhat at the moment -- at least they do if I disregard that flu you've come down with. I hope it doesn't last too long, I know this was a really bad time for you to come down with it. Take care of yourself, and indulge yourself, as much as you can while Alicia is away. You do seem to have an improved relationship with her at the moment. Hang in there, and don't hesitate to vent here if you need to, and seek more advice here if you need it.

Kevin T.
Alicia's back tomorrow night and I'm a little bit nervous. I'm feeling better physically, although it's been a rough couple of days, but I finally had no fever or muscle pains today and was able to leave the bed, which was a plus. Just have this awful cough and a faint headache, but my mum came over (we drilled some holes and put up some stuff around the house) and bought me some cough medicine, which should help.

I spoke with Alicia on the phone briefly. She texted me, asking if I'd like her to call me and I was like, "Yes, please." So we had a little chat in the evening. She was at a bar with Jess and two of her friends, playing boardgames, and stepped out to give me a ring. I felt a little bit envious (not jealous) about the boardgame thing, but she actually said she's thinking about buying the game and that we could play together, because it also works with 2 players. So that was nice.

I asked if she was having a good time and she said yes, that they've been hanging out and playing videogames and watching films and stuff. There was a moment when Jess interrupted for a second to say they were going to get drinks and to ask if Alicia wanted one too, and hearing her voice made me feel a little anxious, but I know it was irrational. Or maybe it wasn't irrational, now I'm typing it out I am realising the reason lol which is that hearing her made the fact that they're spending these days together real, if that makes sense. Not that I'd been in denial or pretending it wasn't happening or something, but I do have a bit of a lack of emotional permanence and some avoidant tendencies when I'm anxious, so despite knowing Alicia is staying with Jess in her city (and her home, and her bed, etc., etc.) it just feels like she's away from home but could be doing whatever.

Which is fine, in a sense. Like, I think it's good that I can just chill at home and not be thinking about How My Nesting Partner Is Away With Her Gf, but I don't want to push it out of my mind, or pretend it isn't happening, or stuff like that. It's like I'm getting anxious about the fact that I'm not anxious, if that makes sense? Lmao. Like, "Why aren't I freaking out? Why am I so chill? Am I in denial? Does this mean I will freak out eventually??" But maybe I won't, and it's fine.

I am a little bit nervous about when she comes back though, and what info I want to know or not. Evidently, I want no detailed information about sex whatsoever, but do I even want to know if they had sex? Do I have the right to know? Should I just assume it's happened? We spoke about how if/when they had sex (assuming it would be on this trip) Alicia would have to get an STI panel in 4 months, and until then we were having no barrier-free sex, not even oral. So maybe it will/should come up. Idk.

I'm having the typical insecurities like, "Ohh... What if she's so much better at sex than I am?" blah blah. Alicia and I don't even have that much sex anymore, anyway. It varies, really. It goes in phases, and we're okay with that. But I am feeling a little bit intimidated. (So unfair, really, when I've slept with like a billion people and she's only ever slept with me, until now. Let the poor girl have fun and experience things!!). Anyway!

Sorry for rambling. It's 1.40 am. I haven't left the house in three days. I feel like I could go on and on, but there's not much to do but wait, really.

I am wondering about specific things, like, how are we going to interact when she comes back? I don't really want to know or ask anything at all the first night. I just want to reconnect and watch something together and cuddle and we can talk the next day. But when we do talk about her trip, I want to be able to interact in a "normal," natural manner, like when she goes on a trip with friends or family or whatever, and ask about what she did and if she had fun. But idk how I'm going to react. And asking about sex, well... I don't know if I want to ask. I don't know how to handle that part exactly. I guess we'll see.
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On a completely different note, I was going through an old blog of mine because I'd just been lying in bed for like two days, bored and in pain, and was feeling nostalgic, and found this post:

otros tiempos.png

When I wrote this I was 20 years old and dating 4-5 people. (Four of which I am still friends with to this day! The other relationship ended horribly lol, and actually none of the two "real" ones lasted longer than a year, I think.) And it was actually a lot more chaotic and complicated than this text made it seem. haha But I miss this feeling, and I am looking forward to being able to date other people again, from a healthier place this time. No rush, though.
Hi Espoir,

I would vote for you to opt for less info when Alicia returns. You seem to think that maybe you're obligated to bombard yourself with the visual of Alicia being with Jess, and I see that as unnecessary. If you feel more up to more exposure in the future that's great, but now is not that time. You need to get used to poly a little at a time, not all at once. Yeah, for safer sex purposes you do need to know whether they had sex, but that's the extent of it.

Kevin T.
Thanks, Kevin! Yeah, it was never my intention to ask for details at all, and I definitely do not want to bombard myself with those images. heh. But I don't want to fall into a don't ask/don't tell dynamic. I am definitely going to take things suuuper slowly, though, and if anything, ask whether they had sex in the following days. But if I don't feel like it, I might not ask, and just assume they did. I'll see how I'm feeling..
Sounds good. Take it slow, and you can't go wrong if you assume they had sex, right? Alicia can volunteer the information if they didn't.