Renaissance Ramblings


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I'm not altogether sure why I'm starting this, except that I do better when I write things out. I'm a writer; it's what I do. I've done it for a very long time, in different ways and places. So I suppose this might as well be one of them.

The beginning is always the best place to start. But where do you place it?

If we want to start with mine, well, it is a long story and one I find not generally understood by most people. We may come around to it eventually, though. In short, however, early childhood was hellish and has left me with huge issues which scar me to this day.

Put it that way, though, and I think most people are going to assume that my home life was terrible. It wasn't. It was frustrating at times, but home was overall a good and safe place. School was my dark hell. I don't think I gained much out of it, education-wise, but I came out of it with PTSD, trust issues, issues with any and all authority, low self-esteem, clinical depression, paranoia, and probably mild schizophrenia. (And I'm probably forgetting a few things in the list. Some are officially diagnosed, others self-determined).

However, I got out of it alive, as did those around me, which is more than many can say. I'm trying not to regret that.

I was recruited at age 12 to a library-based youth book club. I joined the following year because you had to be 13 to join. At age 14, I recruited a slightly older mentor from the group. He helped me polish my writing skills, and introduced me to many things, including Dr. Who and the local BBSes. I still consider him my beta reader/editor. He's a mathematician now, by the way.

The BBSes are where I first met Jai. He was sysop of one board and co-sysop of another. He had the screen name I wanted, and that led to our first chat on his BBS. A great many more followed.

We found a compatibility of the mind. We didn't always agree on topics, but we rarely argued. We connected deeply, even before we met in person. (So, yes, short version "We met online".) It's entirely possible we might never have met in person, except that our local BBS culture had summer BBQs with volleyball games at parks. (Also Halloween parties and movie nights). Given my issues with people, I probably would've skipped those entirely, but I think he may have talked me into giving it a try.

For reasons relating back to school hell, had we met in person first, I'm quite sure I'd have rebuffed him -- not for any rational reason, mind you, but he fits a physical type I have difficult associations with. Not all passions are positive, but they're often powerful in their influence, nonetheless.

He became my friend, my trusted confidant, my peacetime ally. I told him everything, or thought I did. On recent check-in, though, apparently I failed to tell him about my suicidal tendencies. Part of it comes from straight depression, part of it from other things, both of which he did know of, so perhaps I assumed.

Alternately, perhaps it didn't seem appropriate to divulge under the circumstances, or just didn't come up under same circumstances. His girlfriend, Star, came to live with my family for a while, to attend in-town school. She'd tried to commit suicide in her previous living situation (which wasn't her family, by the way). For clarification, I should mention that Jai was homeschooled (though not, apparently, his whole life), as was his girlfriend. He asked me if I could help; I asked my mom; she agreed. I think everybody met everybody before full agreement was made.

So mentioning my suicidal tendencies may have seemed terribly inappropriate at the time, and I may have assumed he knew since then.

And you'd think trusting one suicidal girl to another would be sheerest folly. But I knew where she was coming from, and I think it helped some. We became friends, too.

Then I fell in love with her. First love. Which is bad enough, by itself, but this was also the first emotion I'd felt in some years -- I'd thought they'd died within me. It was fire on a dark winter night.

They were together... so I did nothing, said nothing, just roiled with the feeling. Then they broke up. Well, they'd done that before and gotten back together again, so I waited until I was sure it was a permanent breakup. then I made my feelings known to her. She returned them, at least tentatively.

Our relationship developed for a while. Then, the day I felt sure and happy that she loved me... she went to his house and never came back. Never called. Silence.

Did I call? I think I did, and I think Jai's mother shut me out. I had my mother call, and she conveyed a message from his mother: to never contact them again.

It near broke me. It was a very dark day.

Eventually I pulled myself together, and tried to respect what I'd been told. I didn't call. I didn't email. I avoided his BBS. But some connections are hard to break, and I think I was back on his BB in about two weeks time. He immediately broke into chat with "Where have you been? What's wrong?"

So we talked. We did argue, as I recall, about who had more claim on the girlfriend. That was fairly futile, and ultimately boiled down to it being her choice. The "never contact us in any way again" came from his mother, not from him or the girlfriend, and I believe he spoke to his mother about it subsequently.

Fences were mended. Friendship renewed on both their parts. Not a bad ending, as such things can go in adolescence drama. But it was not an introduction to love I'd recommend to anyone.

Initially I identified as lesbian. Later I identified as bisexual. Then I had the attention of two boys (also from the BBSes, mostly). Call them Bishop and Adric. I couldn't decide, and didn't really want to, I think. I proposed a triad. Or perhaps it was a V, since while I wanted everyone to love each other as a group, neither guy was going to do anything sexual/romantic together.

There wasn't much to draw on as a young poly. The adult boards on the available BBS networks were largely closed to me, wherein I might have learned something about such things. There was fiction, of course. Hard to miss it in SF/F. Heinlein is prominent. But he doesn't ever tell you the difficult bits of managing multiple relationships. Others were "And in the future you can marry any sentient being you want, in any combination, and some planets have elaborate extended families... but this is just colorful background, so back to the story...."

So we stumbled along until we broke up. Given that neither guy wanted to be in a triad/V. it was inevitable. It felt fairly natural to me, though, for all that it was probably doomed from the beginning. Later I dated them both of them separately, which worked out better relationshipwise, but these also broke up eventually.

Jai and Star were around for this, too. We talked boyfriend/girlfriend/ship issues.

Because of Jai and Star, I was eventually able to escape the school system entirely. I spent two winters, from 16 to 18, in a three room treehouse, in a local intentional community, where Star's family was based. It was a good place, a good time. A particular stupid personal decision, probably based on loneliness and insecurity, led me away from it and back into my family home.

I should mention that Star became pregnant at 15, when Jai was 17, and they got married.

Home led me to community college, because I needed something to do and it pleased my mother. I got my AAS, covering most core subjects, with a slight emphasis on psychology.

I met Liam there. Another friend introduced us. He was annoying. But persistent. He was recently out of the military, and out of his previous marriage, and primarily there for a social life. He was running a novelty telegram business. He was funny. He pursued me; he pursued the friend that introduced him to me. He pursued pretty much anything female that breathed on her own, and didn't do too badly in his pursuits.

I squashed his green fedora many times. At one point I told him to go away, leave me alone, and never talk to me again. He did... for a while. Then previously mentioned friend persuaded me to talk to him again. Friendship developed over time.

I didn't expect or want anything more. But when I went away to the SF Bay Area for a four year college, he gave me a place to stay over the summer. That was interesting, as he took it as a challenge to learn how to cook chicken properly. Lots of overcooked dry chicken, or burnt outside, raw inside chicken that summer. But he did do it right by the end of the summer.

My second year in college, things went downhill quickly. The depression kicked into high gear. I hied myself off to the school counselor. That was an exercise in futility. She didn't interact. It was like dropping rocks in a still pond. Then I found myself exceedingly fatigued. Sleeping probably 23 hours of 24, it seemed like. Quite literally unable to keep my eyes open. Staying awake half an hour after sleeping for four or eight hours was the most I could manage. When I was awake, I was felt... a lot like I did in my early school years. But the environment was different, the season was different, none of my triggers were present.

I contacted my mentor, who happily was only a short distance away in his own college. He came out, we talked. He eventually got me back to the school counseling system, to someone a bit higher up, I think. Ultimately, I was admitted to the psych ward for suicidal desires.


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In the psych ward, they run a physical on you on admittance. Height, weight, vital signs, blood tests. My platelets came back at 7. The second time they ran their blood test, they came in at 9. Then they ran a bone marrow test. They concluded it was ITP Much was explained, except to why it occurred. Random throw of the genetic dice, apparently.

Post-psych-ward, though I tried and they were understanding, I couldn't rally back enough to satisfy the demands of college, so they threw me out. With assorted help I made my way back to Spokane. Liam again gave me a place to stay. A room of my own, which included a cat. He was with someone else. We were just friends.

Quite unexpectly I developed feelings for him. Was not going to act on them while he was with someone else. When they broke up, I hesitated even then. But eventually we did get together.

Initially it was mostly delightfully physical. Deeper feelings eventually ensued. Eventually marriage was proposed, and then later performed.

It took approximately 6 years from first meeting to marriage. Liam was very determined. I put a poly clause in our marriage agreement, as I've mentioned before, mostly I still felt naturally poly even if opportunities to practice it were few and far between. And probably also partly because he did have a history as a womanizer, and if he was going to go outside the marriage, I'd rather know about it in honesty and openness.

Jai was around, via email, during some of the college years. But communication tapered off as life got ahead of us. The Internet overtook the local BBSes, as well as WWIVnet, Fidonet, and even mostly Usenet. Star contacted me now and again, and we'd talk some. I saw them together as a family, oh, probably 13-14 years ago. I saw Star last when she had her then-youngest and I'd had my oldest child; they are a month or two apart in age. At that time, she and Jai were separated, were maybe going to get back together, maybe not.

I don't know. When I was single, and they were married with children, there was a certain natural degree of growing apart. Time and distance exarcerbated this, I think. Things seemed more awkward every time we got together, and I felt out of place and/or unwanted. So I withdrew of my own accord, over time.

Couldn't quite make a complete break of it, though -- I'd run periodic searches to see if I could find out where they were, what they were up to, etc. Star had a distinctive maiden name, so she's easiest to track. Jai has a pretty common name, however, and became near impossible to find.

I hesitate to speculate on their marriage. I'm not entirely sure how much choice either had in it, once she was pregnant and decided to keep the baby. Though her mother was a liberal hippie, her father embraced and practiced fairly conservative Mormonism. His parents may also have been a mixed marriage of conservative/liberal values. I'm fairly sure parental pressures were applied. On the other hand, she was his first love, too, and this was their first child, if rather sooner than may have been desired.

I know their dating life prior to then had many break ups and getting back togethers, like many teenagers. They had fidelity issues then, with both actual and imagined cheating. Possibly on both sides. My impression is that this carried through into their married life.

But at any rate, they managed to stay together for a long time, approximately 17 years if I've read things correctly. Jai describes their divorce as amicable, but also says they're not really friends anymore. Jai contacted me via Facebook in 2009, and in review, a large part of our private messages consist "Let's get together sometime", followed by not scheduling, or scheduling failures. Life... kept getting in the way.

My marriage to Liam has been interesting. We tried adding a third person to our marriage once, another old friend of mine, but we moved way too quickly to the "moving in" stage, I think. It exploded disastrously. We've sort of kind of got a relationship going with the friend who initially introduced us, but that's been stymied by her ongoing attachment to her sick mother. We've shared sex with friends, and while that's worked for Liam, it's definitely lacked for me. We settled into a monogamous pattern.

That lacked, too, but it was comfortable. Safe. Frighteningly normal. Then about a year and a half ago, on Boxing Day, Liam had two strokes in 24 hours. He spent five weeks in the hospital recovering, one of it in the ICU. They were rightside strokes, so the left half of his body was affected. He is doing remarkably well, walking and talking and managing most life skills with limited assistance.

Not much luck in the sex department, though. That's never gotten back to normal since the strokes, mainly due to nonfunctionality. I have found I miss it, though I'd generally say I could take it or leave it.

Liam and I discussed, from time to time, me choosing someone else outside the marriage to fulfill my sexual desires. And it may be I was looking in the wrong places -- Ashley Madison seemed logical, but it's designed for cheating affairs, which makes it hard to buy the line "My wife knows and doesn't care" or some variant thereof. Craiglist drops down to the lowest common denominator, and most could be eliminated on grammar/spelling errors. And really, "just sex" didn't appeal. Somehow I missed OKC completely....

So it had been about a year since I'd had sex, when Jai and I met in person. I expected to feel the old attraction, and found it made me nervous. Simply because of the emotional factor, I tried to make my feelings clear to Liam before that first meetup. Because he should know that this was someone I had heavy emotional ties to.

Despite that, I still just expected to touch base with an old friend. Despite the connection, my firm impression was that Jai had never felt attraction toward me. I felt attracted to him at one point in time, in our young days, and shoved it firmly down, because speaking of it would've only complicated things. I wasn't going to tax him with my feelings; then he was firmly coupled, and I wasn't going to interfere with that.

We caught up, as best one can with 10 or so of history to fill in. I was surprised by my own attraction, after all this time. I was rather more surprised by the apparent return of interest. Indeed, I was pretty sure I was misreading things entirely. I learned he'd dated heavily but not successfully for three years post-divorce, and had been celibate for the past five. He'd developed a friend network, but his birth family had dwindled down to a much older sister and a few nieces. Two of his children were now grown, and his youngest was now a teenager.

We also talked books, TV, music, politics. We discussed the past. It startled me to hear him run a list of our youthful relationship configurations and have "you and me" in there, because there hadn't ever been such a thing to my mind. A close and deep friendship, certainly, but no other 'ship by any stretch.

Our second date/meeting was interesting. Oh, more shared information. But the energy had most definitely changed. I thought it was still mostly me, but we kept coming back to and sliding away from the relationship topic. Eventually we addressed it directly, and clarified feelings some. He kissed me by the end of it, and I kissed him back. It felt very good.

And now I think I'll close for now, as it's two in the morning and I'm bound to lose what little coherency this ramble has if I keep going.


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I found myself off balance and feeling vulnerable. My equilibrium was upset. I told Jai this via FB PM, and then... nothing. I can interpret silences in person passably well, because there is body language to work from. On-line silence is harder.

So first I waited, and then I asked, and he told me that his silence was just that, no need to read more into it. Life/work happening. There was some further conversation, but not much. Really things got very quiet for the next month.

My emotions roiled and boiled. Ups and downs. Really, I thought these things only happened when you were actively involved in a relationship with someone, interpretating or misinterpretation their words and actions. But no, apparently, they can happen on their own.

I did talk with Liam, and it helped. He's always been much more in touch with his emotions than I am. And you'd think he'd've been jealous of the intensity of my emotion toward someone else, but apparently not. He knows my feelings, understands them, and accepts them. At times, I think, better than I do. It did feel weird talking to my husband about it.

About a month later, Jai and I had a third date. What we wanted was the primary topic of conversation. What we resolved is that we both want to follow this through to the end. What that end will be cannot be predicted. As this was never a possibility I imagined, I didn't and don't have any possible scenarios to work from. It's unknown. It's more than a bit scary that way.

But if I pull back and gain a bit of objectivity, the ends of most relationships are unknown. They may last lifelong or end within months, weeks, or days. Death happens, sometimes with warning beforehand and sometimes unpredictably. Relationships may open, and they may close. There's no way to be sure how something will proceed. You can only make the choice to proceed.

We also discussed communication: the need for it, and our different styles. I ramble. I find my thoughts with a keyboard a lot. Sometimes strong emotion spills over to poetry; other times it drives fiction. There's nothing quite like the old BBSes, but there are still electronic communities out there, like this one, where one can share thoughts and receive feedback, and I keep seeking them out. I'm perfectly comfortable writing on FB, publicly or through PMs, especially now that I've found it's not limited to short sound bites but one can make posts of length. (Twitter, now, I don't like. It's designed for sound bites, not conversation).

If I write to Jai, and he doesn't write back quickly, I've found myself worrying that I've upset him, or overwhelmed him. But talking to him, that's not generally the case. He may be slow to reply, for a number of reasons. Technical ones: his computer died, and he prefers to reply to me through the web. (To avoid spelling errors, auto correct mistakes, things like that). His phone died. His web access is spotty. On a personal level, he likes to take time when replying to me, so consequently his replies may not come fast. But he will respond.

So we got on the same page there. If he doesn't get back to me within a few hours or even a few days, not to worry. He's trying not to take a month before getting back to me, now, and that helps a lot. He's fine if I write to him a lot with my thoughts. Knowing that also helps.

He's trying to take on a mobile lifestyle, and he hoped to be out of Spokane by the end of this summer. With that future in mind, communication matters more. We've done the separated by time and distance thing with no communication. It's not been a good thing, I think. We agreed that we'd keep in touch, even if travel might make it difficult at times.

Much talk. He and I are both thinkers, even overthinkers. Eventually, however, we did get around to having sex. It was awkward but not unpleasant; we were exploring each other.

From then things wrapped up and he took me home. He and Liam talked socially for a bit before Jai went back home.

Our last date we talked emotions. I feel intensely for him and have conveyed this to him. Jai is not sure he can return these feelings. He cares for me, but is not sure he can return my feelings in kind. He's not sure he can feel them for anyone, and attributes that as to why he hasn't had any relationships in the past five years. It's a wall.

I know that you cannot make another person feel things for you, no matter how much you may feel for them. I also know about locking feelings away because they've ended up hurting you in the past. Walls may fall, and feelings show up unexpectedly, but they cannot be forced from the outside.

He's concerned about this being unfair to me. He doesn't want our relationship to just be about the sex, or a FWB situation. I've referred to him as my boyfriend, and he seems fine with the term.

So, no, I haven't told him "I love you". I feel that way, certainly. But I don't think he's ready to hear it, and it would only make him very uncomfortable if I did. There's few more awkward situations than someone saying "I love you" and not being able to honestly answer "I love you too". I've been there.

Perhaps he cannot return my feelings. Perhaps just not now, perhaps never. But there's still care and concern, trust, loyalty; these are not inconsequential. Strip away limerance and NRE, and I think these may be the foundation of lasting love, whether one calls it that or not. Lose them, break them, and relationships shatter.

The small bit of jealousy Liam admits to is that he fears that he'll be replaced by Jai. It's not unreasonable, however one looks at it. Jai is younger than him, and whole in body. Liam has, in the course of our marriage, abused my trust and loyalty -- generally for a good cause or with the intent to help someone, but nonetheless... his actions eroded some of my trust, and even years after the fact it's hard to get past at times. Jai hasn't, though in all fairness he hasn't had the opportunity over the last several years.

Being with Jai, talking with him, it does indeed cause me to evaluate my marriage with new eyes. So Liam and I are working on things now that need to be addressed. If they can't be worked through successfully, it's entirely possible the marriage may end. But Liam also knows now that if it does, it's not because I'm leaving him for someone else, but because we couldn't fix certain things in the marriage.

The idea of leaving Liam for Jai doesn't process well in my mind. Jai is out of a marriage with three children; he's hit a point in his life where he's not obliged to take care of someone else, and it's not something he got to experience earlier, due to the earliness of his marriage. He needs time to explore this, not fall into a new marriage with three children.

I'd rather not end the marriage with Liam. We've been together a long time, and been through many things. But some things need to change.

anyway.... back to fourth date with Jai. I find it interesting to note that we consistently keep a six inch gap between us when sitting next to each other. We don't cross it, or close it. It's a combination of interpreting each other's boundaries, I think, hesitating to enter each other's personal space even when it's very much desired. We're socially awkward people, not necessarily sure of reading signals correctly or how to act on them.

I think we need to give each other permission to freely cross those six inches with touch, and speak up if we feel uncomfortable by subsequent actions. It's on my list of things to talk about when we talk in person next.

But we do, near the end of the date, get to sex. It's definitely better the second time around.

Sex with Jai feels different than sex with anyone. It's not necessarily mind-blowing orgasmic; it's satisfying in that regards. There's an element of hunger there, but one can attribute that to our bouts with celibacy. It feels at times like we're trying to get under each other's skins. I find myself feeling more whole with him than I ever have with anyone -- and I find that thought passably disturbing, because I feel one needs to be whole and complete by oneself.

Then things wrapped up and he took me home again.


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And this brings up to the present. There hasn't been a fifth date yet. There's been regular FB conversation. About once a week I get updated on what's going on with him, though generally I have to initiate it.

Jai's given up his apartment and is now couch-surfing with friends. His work situation has been sporadic; presently he's working from home. His youngest daughter is also with him for the summer. His cell phone died recently, and I'm not sure if he's been able to replace it; my impression is that he's borrowing friends' computers and Internet. Trying to work and do things with his child understandably consume his time.

I'm not sure he'll be heading out by the end of the summer; finances don't seem to be cooperating. He's discussed sharing a house with friends of his for a year. What will happen, remains to be seen.

When his daughter returns to his ex-wife, I think we'll find a time and place to get together. His time with her is limited and I don't want to interfere. Also, I grew up with my parents divorced, subsequently dating and remarrying. Dealing with boyfriends/girlfriends can be awkward, even in mono situations.

The limerence is wearing off some with the passage of time, and I find it a relief. I do not like its emotional storms, triggered at times by absolutely nothing. I do think letting it run its course this time was a good idea, rather than shoving it down to the depths. It's caused me to examine my own wants, needs, and insecurities.

I want, if at all possible, to keep the marriage Liam and I have built together. There may be cracks in it but it's fairly solid. It's a choice I made and I want to keep it. However, some things do need to be changed. We're working on those. I feel there's a reasonable chance of success. But again, one cannot predict the future.

I want this relationship with Jai. It's also not ideal. I want more time with him, to talk, to have sex, to just hang out... whatever. We've got years to catch up on. However you define it, the old bond is still there and strong. I used to tell him everything, and I think he did the same. Now I hesitate. Things are the same, and yet they're different. Part of it is adding this new dimension to our relationship; part of it is simply the accumulated time and distance that got between us. There's much to catch up on, and I think it's not all been good for either of us, and we have no desire to risk diminishing ourselves in the other's eyes. Over time this will probably change.

Emotionally, I see Jai and Liam as co-primaries. My idealistic heart wants to find a big house (not in Spokane!) and move everyone in together. And who knows? It may be possible, if everyone can get comfortable enough with each other. But that's a ways in the future, if ever. Liam wants to be friends with Jai. Jai... seems reluctant to return his overtures.

That, I speculate, may be another mono/poly divide, though it might just be a paramour/metamour thing. Jai is basically monogamous. Liam is not. I am probably not. I think Jai finds talking with his girlfriend's husband a bit awkward, and he is surprised by how accepting Liam is. I think he expected more possessiveness and jealousy.

Liam, interestingly enough, has asked me "Should I be jealous? Would you like that?" Apparently some women see jealousy as a sign of affection. I don't.

Our children are mostly being kept out of our polyship. I do mean to tell my oldest at some point, but we're recently past the sexual safety discussion so I think it needs to wait a bit. He doesn't need to know everything -- and probably doesn't want to -- but I think he should be aware that Jai is more than a friend. From there he can determine how he wants to deal with Jai.

Again, I grew up with parents divorced. Each remarried at least twice (pretty sure more in my father's case). Each had live-in boy/girlfriends. I formed real resentments for those who tried to take on parental roles. I found genuine affection for those who dealt with me as a person, not a child, and who let me decide if I wanted to be friends or not. Given that, it seems the best choice to offer my children with anyone I'm with. It's what I've tried to offer Liam's children from his other marriage.

Jai is free to determine whether he wants me to interact with his children. There is the ex-wife factor, and that's also... interesting. I friended her on FB not long after Jai contacted me there. We've not been in contact outside of reading status updates, but it's been nice to know what Star's been up to. She remarried about two years ago and had a child with her new husband.

Then, within the last month or so, she's unfriended me. Not blocked, just unfriended. She's free to do so, I just wonder why. I can only guess it may have occurred because she heard of the new relationship with Jai and I. (though it may be I touched on other, unrelated topics in my status updates that made her uncomfortable, come to think of it). If so, I find it curious, since they've been divorced for almost a decade, and she's developed a new relationship of her own. Then again... there's the past history between the three of us which may make this uncomfortable for her, whereas it might not had he hooked up with someone completely new. Who knows? I'm not planning on asking.

I speculate; I analyze; I overthink. I'm often right in my conclusions but sometimes wrong. Life would be much easier if my brain would shut down better. Putting things down helps quiet down the endless circles of thought. So I will probably continue to guess at motivations of people whose mind I'm not in, though I will ask them for more info/confirmation/denial where possible. It's not always an option, though.

This concludes the present ramble. Undoubtedly I missed some things that might be useful to know. Probably I covered things that could've been skipped.


Well-known member
Thank you for sharing your story - I very much enjoyed reading it and your writing style is wonderful.

I find it interesting that our backgrounds/experiences are very different and yet we seem to have arrived in a similar place. Also, I see a lot of myself in what you right about Jai - a paucity of communication, a reluctance to face "feelings", the walls, etc. Reading these ramblings got me reminiscing about the early months of my relationship with Dude and the adjustments that MrS had to make (with surprising speed and grace, I might add).

Curious to see how things work out ... the future is never known, but it seems that you have a good set of skills to draw from.

Best Wishes, JaneQ


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Curious to see how things work out ... the future is never known, but it seems that you have a good set of skills to draw from.

Thank you. I'm working with what I have. Most times, it doesn't seem like nearly enough.


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Winging Things

In general news, central WA is on fire. On the plus side, cool weather and rain are helping with the fires; on the downside, lightning causes more fires and now there's also flash floods to deal with.

There's not a lot of change to speak of since the last post. Right at this moment, I'm feeling reasonably content.

I am seeing Liam stop and think about certain of his actions in our household that fall under "things that need to change". He doesn't always catch himself -- he tends to react, not act. But he is trying hard. He's also doing better at not getting defensive when I point out that he's doing/saying these things. I'm asking him to change things that were, in many ways, pounded (literally) into him from childhood. I know it's not easy. I've tried other methods to initiate these changes in the past, and they haven't worked; putting our marriage on the line seems to bring it home to him, which is unfortunate.

Having his strokes, however, seems in many ways to have changed his mind. He's feeling more gender-flexible, though I think that's mainly how he's processing getting in touch with all of his emotions. The brain is an odd creature, and we understand next to nothing about how it works (though we know a lot more than we used to). Three years ago, I'm not sure he could have handled the idea of me being with another man, not with a strong emotional attachment. Now, he seems fairly unperturbed. Occasionally flush with compersion. He perceives that this makes me happy, and that makes him happy. It's good. Just unexpected.

On the Jai front, I haven't heard from him privately in a week. And, I've realized, it's not bothering me. I'm aware of it, because I like contact with him and I want to know what's going on with him, what's going on in his head. I also know that if I send him a message asking, he'll tell me in reasonably good time. He's been consistent about that, and it's reassuring. He's going to a blues festival this weekend; barring some indication of upset, a status ping can wait until later. I would like to find out the chances of maybe having a coffee date some time before mid-August.

After mid-August, I hope to arrange for more extended time. It will probably have to be a motel room, unless he ends up house-sitting for a friend again (who is hopefully comfortable with him entertaining in their home!). Our home is an option, but not one I get the impression Jai would be comfortable with. (Twin six year olds underfoot don't help.) It's a prospect I've mentioned before and gotten no reaction. Part of why is financial, I think; his are spread thinly, and he is, I think, functioning in Male Dating Mode, wherein the guy is supposed to pick up the tab for things. (Not necessarily something I agree with, but it's common programming). Hopefully I can indicate that I can and will pay for this without throwing him off-kilter. There may be other discomforts with the idea of a motel room, but hopefully not.

Jai is planning on a road trip of indefinite length some time in the near future. It makes me a bit uncomfortable, even though I know it is something he needs to do. It's more time apart, more distance between us, and I want less of those things. It's worrisome; I think he'll be stopping and staying with friends along the way, but I'm not sure. The thought of him stranded without resources troubles me. It may prove unfounded and unnecessary, but currently it's there.

I am feeling reasonably confident that even if he goes fully mobile, now or later, that he'll find his way back to me. Probably, again, because he's making an effort to keep in contact now. I've suggested that perhaps this life choice doesn't have a place for me in it, and inquired if that's what he wants -- and it's not. He wants me in his life.

Ripple effects.... His going mobile makes me want to move, and Liam is in agreement with that. It can't happen until the funds are available to do it with, but those will hopefully come through in the next year or so. It gives me time to research and consider options. Right now we're looking at OR, possibly somewhere on the coast.

Coming from Spokane, Seattle is the nearest and logical option. And that's one of the problems with it. Most people who want to escape Spokane go to Seattle. So you're likely to run into people you might want to forget; you're not likely to escape the suffocating intertwinedness of Spokane-people, because they and you have just moved.

I like CA a lot. Things didn't work in college, but I loved being in the SF Bay Area. It's wet at times, but didn't get to extremes of hot or cold. It's diverse in so many ways. It's also hideously expensive to live in, though perhaps less so in the surrounding suburbs/towns like Stockton or Oakland.

Unfortunately, Jai hates CA. It's not a rational hatred, though one can point to the downsides of the state, or parts of it, easily enough. He spent the first five years of his life there (in Morro Bay, apparently)... and I really wonder what happened during that time. People forget or repress the early years; they still effect us.

Which brings us to OR. Portland is another expensive coastal city. It has Powell's, which is a draw (though I'm trying to keep my physical books down to a minimum). Outside of that, I find I know little to nothing. So, research. Any assistance would be appreciated.

We're not needing to be in a big city, but being within a reasonable driving distance to one is a plus. I need trees and mountains. (Arizona feels like an alien planet to me. Way too flat, with weird plant life). Jai and Liam are both drawn to the ocean -- to bodies of water in general, but particularly the ocean. So having that nearby is also an aim. I'm leaning heavily to somewhere on the OR coast.

Oh, yes. No way to tell what the future will hold, but if it can be managed, I see no harm in planning for a future for all together. Even if he never uses it, I want a place for Jai within the household. I'm picturing private space for everyone, if I can: separate rooms for the children as well as the adults. (Right now the boys share a room.) Multiple bathrooms. A six bedroom house anywhere seems impossibly expensive, but it's interesting what turns up if you're willing to look at commercial property. One could modify a triplex, or a small motel, to create communal space while still leaving lots of private space (and many bathrooms). If Jai doesn't ever come to live with us, or choose to stay there, then at worst we have a spare bedroom. If he does, then there's a separate space for him.

It's interesting to me that both Jai and Liam both have a dream of living and traveling on a houseboat. That's something I'm exploring, too, but less seriously. You can't get away easily from someone in a houseboat, which reduces the sense of space no matter how large. (And it would have to be large to accommodate everyone). Everyone would have to be very comfortable with each other, and we're a long way from that. In a shared house, well, you can go for a walk or a drive if you need to get away for a while.

My thought processes are blurring, so it's time to close this.


New member
No, still not done with the emotional ups and downs.

Jai headed out of town today -- a bit earlier than I expected. That's the main bit, I think; I expected it, just not now. And he's not, from the sounds of it, in a good headspace at the moment, feeling unsure of himself and his future.

Nothing terrible will happen, barring the possible vehicle accident. I'm not sure of his itinerary, or if he has one in mind, but I know he'll be visiting friends in White Salmon and it's entirely possible he may be taking his daughter back to her mother by the end of this trip. I have sent an inquiry PM, and he'll most likely get back to me when he can.

Still I am filled with anxiety and impatience.

It's the newness of the relationship, I think. It's wanting more contact, in its varying forms. A desire to strengthen the connection.

It's frustrating when that's not happening. Rational brain understands the current circumstances and counsels patience and waiting. It leads me to occupy my time with my family and household, with writing, with keeping busy.

This is not rational thought. This is simple emotion. And possibly withdrawal -- a strong need for a dopamine hit. So maybe not over the limerence yet.

It's fairly basic insecurity, I think: that he will leave and we will lose contact again, perhaps permanently. That he will find someone else who suits him better, interests him more.

Which I could probably deal with, if he were also poly. But I do not think he is. If he finds someone else, this will more than likely end.

If one pulls out the rational mind and thinks, there's no sense in these concerns, at least not at the moment. We have, off and on, spent the last five years maintaining at least tentative contact, trying to get together (mostly as friends). Having finally gotten together and deciding to alter the nature of the connection in this manner, it's not likely he'd suddenly drop it (except for previously mentioned technical difficulties). This is something he wants, or it wouldn't be happening. He is maintaining contact, if not at the speed or verbosity I'd prefer.

Nor is it likely he's going to be pursuing someone else. We've made no commitments, no agreements. But if I'm his first relationship in five years and he is mono, the odds of him seeking someone else seem low. Not impossible -- because things happen in unpredictable and occasionally perverse ways -- but low.

Rational thought doesn't do much to quell emotional turmoil, though.

Not much can, I think, except to wait it out and discover that, perhaps, the negative possible outcomes do not occur.

It's not easy. It's one of my issues: to expect the worst, to expect that any happiness will snatched away. It comes from past experiences. Those are hard to overcome except by new experience. New experiences, however, are scary by virtue of being new and it's easy to sabotage them into replicating the old ones. Without thinking about it, without even being aware of it.

So, as best I can, I'm trying to work through and wait out the emotional storms. Thinking things through doesn't do a thing for them. But it still helps at some level.


New member

We are not without them.

In starting this with Jai, and discussing limits/rules/boundaries, Liam requested two rules.

1) Jai can't ask me to run away with him.
2) No having sex with Jai on a plane going to Seattle.

Pretty sure the 2nd isn't serious. Liam has a strong sense of humor. He spent a number of years running a novelty telegram business. He wore a black French maid outfit for a living. (and it was one of his most popular gigs). He's never quite got over the experience, though he's several years past it.

I'm pretty sure the first is. I think the likelihood of that particular boundary getting crossed is low, but I could be mistaken. Observation indicates that rules in poly -- as in many other things -- tend to get broken.

I think we determined these rules sometime during this annoyingly long period of Jai being unavailable, so I haven't had the chance to convey them to him. A message through FB doesn't seem the way to go about it. Rules and boundaries definitely seem like things to discuss in person.

Other things are more tacit understandings. Sex has been unprotected. When Liam was able to have sex, we were pretty much monogamous these last few years. He and I haven't been able to have sex since the strokes -- mechanical difficulties. Jai, prior to recent events, hadn't had sex in five years. Risk of STDs seems fairly minimal -- not impossible, but quite low. Same with risk of pregnancy -- I had my tubes tied six years ago, when I gave birth to the twins. Again, not impossible; I've heard numerous stories of people getting pregnant after a tubal ligation. But the odds of it happening are low.

None of us want any more children. I've had four -- my own, and one surrogate. Liam has had six -- three in our marriage, three in his previous one. Jai has three also, two grown, one minor. We're all pretty much done with desire for babies.

I feel we're tacitly closed at this time. Liam is deepening his emotional bonds with certain other friends, because he feels that need -- and I think it's a good thing. Having just begun this relationship, I don't think Jai is looking for another one. And I think either might be upset if I started looking for another relationship. It won't hurt to clarify this. Not that I particularly want to add another into the mix at this time. I do feel I'm at a saturation point: two relationships, three kids, two dogs, three cats.

We're also tacitly in the closet. I haven't changed my FB status. I have in-laws on my friends' lists. Questions would be asked. I wouldn't mind answering them -- I'm always up to using my life as an educational example -- but it would all undoubtedly filter back to my MIL and FIL. MIL is strongly Catholic, and raised her children that way (though it has worn off some in Liam's case, and in some of his siblings, too, I suspect). She's not at all understanding or tolerant of things outside the Christian-mono-hetero norm. Which still wouldn't matter much to me, or Liam, but she's our landlady, too. She could evict us if upset too much.

Jai, from what I can tell, has a fairly tolerant group of friends and not a lot of family to deal with. At this time, they're in his purview -- he can tell them what he wants.

I prefer not being closeted. I want to be open about everything -- to, at the very least, not need to hesitate about answering about questions that may arise. I'm not as gung-ho about being obviously out as I was in my youth. I think, in many cases, it's actually more effective for people to assume I conform to their norms, and then say "No, I don't" at an appropriate moment. Then they have to check their own assumptions, and hopefully revise them, perhaps discard them.

Clarifying our understandings will be a good thing. I have doubts about the use of relationship rules, drawn in the sand. I've observed them in monogamous relationships which never brush on polyamory, and they seem to have a high failure rate there, too. I understand how they might serve to ameliorate insecurity, but it seems like at best it's a temporary fix. If you trust your partner to follow these agreed upon rules, then you trust your partner. If you trust your partner, though, why the need for rules? If you don't, they've probably already given reason to doubt them. IMHO.

Time to close this now.


New member
On the Liam side of the V, can't say I'm feeling positive about it at the moment.

We went through a near-divorce in 2007. Part of it was precipitated/encouraged by someone I considered an old friend but who, for her own various reasons, did want to "steal" me. Part of it was caused by a pattern of what I considered increasingly abusive behavior by Liam toward our child. (Only had one at the time). That behavior we came to consider a symptom of his then untreated diabetes, and indeed, getting that under control has helped a lot. We will try to come back to that. It's feeling very raw at the moment.

Anyway.... When we reconciled, he wanted me to not have any contact whatsoever with that friend. I ultimately agreed to. Then later he wanted to refriend her, with intent to basically spy on her. I tried that, then decided I couldn't do that; I could be friends with her, or not, but not deceive her. So closed that off.

The twins were born in mid-2008. During the course of their pregnancy, he asked me if we could have a friend of his, Teri, over for a few days. I forget why. A few days turned into six months, with a great many excuses along the way. My last trimester, then three months afterward. (And compared to many multiple pregnancies, it was easy: no bedrest required. Some anti-nausea medicine, and I went on a mostly liquid diet because food wouldn't stay down otherwise. But we got to 38 weeks.)

She didn't cook, didn't clean, didn't pay rent, wasn't working, didn't appear to be looking for work or another place to live. If she made a promise, she'd break it if it inconvenienced her. She can't/won't keep to a schedule; if she says she'll be there in five minutes, she might show up three hours later. She's an evangelistic Christian who, even to keep a job, won't stop proselytizing her religion. If you're talking to her on the phone, she wants you to do it somewhere away from everyone else; same if you're in person. She believes "God will provide", yet somehow "God" seems to be every man she gets involved with, whether he's a friend or more. She's a narcissistic taker who gives nothing back to anyone.

I didn't like her before then. I've come to despise her since that involuntary roommate situation. Every time I asked Liam to make her leave, one or both would come up with excuses for her not to. Ultimately, outside forces had to evict her.

I asked Liam to not see her again. Not to talk to her on the phone. No contact whatsoever. She drained him, she drained resources from our family, and she gave nothing back -- not even sincere friendship, IMHO. If there had been some mutual give/take, even if it was only between the two of them, probably I could've tolerated it. But there wasn't. Liam agreed, both to the restriction and to my assessment.

The twins turned six this year. Yesterday Teri showed up expecting to go to a lake with Liam and a friend they share. Apparently the friend indicated these plans to her, without consulting Liam.

This is not the first time. He has told her not to call, not to contact her. She calls and calls anyway. Eventually he answers. Then eventually they get together to talk in person. Or so the pattern has been. For approximately 5.5 years.

I've told him, and told him, that if she is in his life, I won't be. That I will take legal action, one way or another, if he won't break contact with her -- either a restraining order or a divorce. Possibly both. He says he understands, he says he values our marriage more than his friendship with her. But this line keeps getting crossed.

And I'm getting tired of giving chances, and waiting to see change. The pattern is that it will be violated, sooner or later.

Understand, if they were having sex, I'd be okay with it. If they were emotionally close, I'd be fine with it. If they were having sex and emotionally close, I'd be fine with that too. There's mutual exchange in those situations. That would fill up his well, so to speak. But she leaves him drained, and often angry and frustrated, when he interacts with her. I see no benefit to the friendship. I don't see why he won't make a clean break of it, and hold to it.

I spent last night mostly not talking to Liam, and rage-cleaning. The kitchen and bathroom are becoming sparkly. (Hot water and vinegar in the steam mop are pretty good at the job of taking off layers of dirt. Off-spec for the mop, but it does work, possibly better than the prescribed brand cleaner. It does leave the house smelling like a hot potato salad for a while.)

Liam claims no fault in this; he says it only happened because of what the other friend said. The other friend should, IMHO, be aware of the line drawn, too -- he should not even be suggesting plans with Liam that may also involve Teri. These are people Liam has been involved with; though I know and interact with them, they are or have been his friends, and I put it on him to make this line clear.

Liam did not even make a move to call Teri (for the nth time) and tell her to not call, not visit, etc, until I insisted in my anger. I do not have confidence that he will hold this line.

Lack of trust, lack of confidence... is destructive.

10 years ago, when I was carrying my surrogate baby, Liam was working at Goodwill. He met a person there who counterfeited identities and currencies. He then engaged with the Secret Service to bring this person in. He did not tell me because "They told him not to tell". This person was a chauvinistic white supremacist. He brought this person to our home on numerous occasions. Liam himself acted like a chauvinistic white supremacist at those times, and often for 2-3 days afterwards. This was not the man I married. I was gearing up to divorce him, post-pregnancy.

He told me almost immediately after the surrogate pregnancy was completed. It explained a lot. Possibly floating on post-pregnancy hormones, I forgave him to an extent. But you know, it still hurts. It put a big crack in our marriage. He endangered our family, doing that. He spent a year lying by omission. (Because when I'd ask what was going on, he'd say I'd find out later and it would all make sense. Which was true, but not a direct, true answer). I can keep a secret. If it's told in confidence, I don't spill, even if 'ships and circumstances alter. Liam, as my husband of then four years (with six years friendship behind that), ought to have known this. Had I known, I could've dealt with the situation. But he opted to follow orders rather than tell me.

Consistent trustworthy behavior can re-earn trust. But I feel he's really failing me here.

Going to close this now, so I can put the twins to bed. There's more to be articulated, and perhaps it will help to put it down.


New member
And of course Teri has to call and leave one of the few substantial voicemail messages she's ever made in response to the "do not contact" call I had Liam made.

Let's see if I can sum it up "You're a jealous witch, become a Christian and God will heal you, this is hurting you more than Liam or me, you have everything to be happy with, Liam and I are just friends, jealous, reap what you sow, blah blah blah". I'm pretty sure she was talking in tongues at a couple of points. Did the "I rebuke the evil spirits in the name of Jesus" thing.

Yeah. Insulting my religion will so make me want to have you around. Assuming jealousy flatters yourself, but it's not accurate.

I know they're just friends. It has at times taken on the elements of an emotional affair, which she has completely missed when I've pointed it out to her. But again, if there were emotional give and take, I could deal. He has other female friends he's been pouring his heart out to lately. It helps him. One is a Christian of some sort, but not a pushy one. There's exchange in those friendships. There isn't in hers.

And there was a line drawn. A limit made. One that he agreed to. Having it continually broken is not acceptable.

I don't think Teri will ever get that. And that is another reason I don't want to have her around.

And Liam is still not getting that she feels free to break that boundary because he has continually allowed her to. He tells me "I don't want to see her, I don't want to talk to her, I don't want to ruin our marriage over this" but dammit, the pattern is that he will eventually talk to her, visit with her, whatever. The fact that she even called to leave a message indicates she sees the boundary as fluid, and that's not from how I deal with her.

No, I don't him to call and leave her a nasty message. I don't want him to call a mutual friend to convey a message to her. I don't want him to burn her car down. I want no contact..

We will, I suppose, see what Sept. 3rd will bring. Or December; I think the longest period he's managed no contact has been three months. I just can't take his word on this -- it hasn't held. For years.

Because his friend called her about the possible swimming thing, Liam doesn't to talk responsibility for this. If it were just that, it might be easier to forgive. But it's a pattern. And I'm not hearing him take any responsibility for that, either.

They both think it's me. And I'll own that, to a degree. I need this woman out of our shared lives. I have told him I need this, and why. He agreed. If he couldn't do it, he shouldn't have agreed. Even if he thought it was the only way to keep me, he shouldn't have agreed if he couldn't do it -- because continually breaking this agreement is likely to break us up. My patience, my forgiveness, only goes so far, for so long.

Talked about this with a friend, Jane -- who is, in fact, the friend who introduced us in college.

Her assessment is that this is an abusive marriage. The Teri thing is one thing. He also needs to know everything -- who calls, right when the phone is answered -- but he feels free to wander off or make plans without telling me. I get informed after the fact, or when I look around the house and discover no husband. He almost never calls me by name. Oh, he uses terms of endearment "darling", "sweetheart", things like that. Most often one of those paired with "wife". Thing is, I'm not just a wife. "Wife", when addressed to me, feels like an interchangeable part. And I am not. I am Kerry J. Renaissance. It's a name I chose, not just one I was given at birth. It's who I choose to be -- and not using it feels like a denial of my self. Not helped by the fact that he has, from time to time, teased me by using my birth name, though he knows full well why I changed my name.

His discipline of the children... is erratic. He makes hyperbolic threats that can't be fulfilled -- or if fulfilled, would be far out of proportion to the problem. And he wonders why the children don't take him seriously. He can't/won't keep to a system of warning the children before spanking action is taken, and he almost never engages them in a timeout. He doesn't help them process their upsets; he yells at them, particularly the boys, for crying. This only makes for more crying, and in the case of the oldest, I'm starting to see simmering anger. His language at them when he gets upset is more appropriate to what you'd use to a guy you're in a barfight with than with children you supposedly love.

And I've talked to him about all of this. How he treats the children is the primary problem putting a rift in our marriage right now. I've put divorce on the table. But this, too, is not the first time we've gone over this issue, and I have doubts he will choose to hold to it.

I wish it were otherwise. But he's got such a consistent pattern of failing to do what he agrees to.

Smallish example: I'm trying to write a book. The time I get to write it is late, when the kids go to bed. I've gotten out of writing practice, so skills are rusty. I'm not waiting on the Muse, but I need to be left alone with my thoughts. Preferably physically alone, but definitely mentally alone. I started listening to music with headphones to get into the headspace. These are not earbuds; these are highly visible over-the-ear headphones. I told him I needed to be left alone to write, physically if possible, but if he is going to be on the next computer beside me, I need him not to interrupt me with his music choices, cute cat video, latest news on Gaza or racism; tell me later or let me find it for myself, but leave me alone while writing. I came up with a nice phrase to remind him. "Headphones on, wife is gone".

I even made sure he had headphones so he could hear his stuff without intruding on me. Mostly he hasn't chosen to use them, though he's made more of an effort the last couple months. Still had and have a lot of interruptions on my limited writing time by him. The book is progressing a lot slower than it should, even with rusty skills. And he doesn't seem to get why I'm upset when he asks me about how it is doing. If you're not going to assist in the small way I need, don't ask.

Liam comes from an abusive family. His father physically and sexually abused all his children. Liam says he doesn't want to repeat the pattern. But I keep seeing it happen, just in a lesser manner: no one is getting beaten up, but spirits are getting beaten down. I've called him on it. He'll admit to it. He promises to change. He will do it for a while, and then he'll just... react, a lot like his dad would, I suspect. If he'd stop and think,, I think he could change his programming. But it's easier to revert.

So I am contemplating exit strategies. I don't like it. It's likely to get ugly and warlike. The near-divorce was; I've no reason not to expect another round of it, unless I can find a workaround. He's said if it comes down to it, he will keep his family out of it (unlike the last time), he will keep it between us and civilized.

But increasingly it feels like his word is dross. That he will say what he thinks will make me happy -- and then go do what he wants to do anyway.

That's not a relationship I can live with.

I need trust and truth and honesty from the people I interact with. I've ended friendships because people have displayed a pattern of lying -- and not to me, but to others. My word means something because I keep it. I endeavor to always speak truth. I haven't always been successful in doing so, but it's something I manage more often than not. Breaking a vow... hurts my sense of honor to a near unbearable point. Even one that has a socially acceptable way of discharging it.

Forgive me for dumping on the group. It helps, as I've said, to write. And finding people to talk to is hard. He poisoned the well a lot during the near-divorce in the debacle of 2007. I'm not sure who will believe me, and not take his side -- moreso since he's had the strokes, and can play the cripple card.