So far, so good!

BaggagePatrol - thanks for your thoughts on this. Yup I haven't quite figured this out yet. Am I just not able to admit to myself when I need some space that's mine? I guess I feel most boundaries are negotiable... And I generally tend to err on the side of being open / sharing if the other person wants in. Gotta be good reasons to push up against the door, and without personal experience (usually a bad experience) I don't have that conviction.

That said, I'm taking time to reflect on this before I decide whether or how I'm going to share this blog with my partners.

Had a really strong dream last night. Took me a while to come out of it emotionally. Wrote it up for my dream log so may as well just paste it here.
I'm sleeping wtih Carob. In the early morning I stroke his cock, go down on him and suck him til he's on the edge of cumming... then I stop. Say "sorry baby." "What?" "Sorry remember our deal, if you didn't finsh your CV you don't get to cum without Ella's permission." He's half-asleep, grumbling, tries to make some excuse but fails... giving up he turns to service me and we're part-way through making out when there's a shadow in the doorway. I look up and it's Kanthi (my dad's PA). He has some practical questions to ask me about something. I don't act like I have anything to hide. We talk for a bit, I answer his questions. When he leaves I go back to cuddling Carob. I think "well I guess Kanthi saw me with C, but whatever. I'm doing nothing I'm ashamed of." Spooning Carob, I go to sleep.

In the morning, I go downstairs. My diary is on the sofa and a thick section has been cut out of it. I look closer and it's the whole section of my diary from when Carob and I got together. My ma has cut it out and is keeping it as evidence of things between Carob and I. What? She's out of the house, but I immediately ring her phone to discuss it with her. It goes to answerphone. Maybe she's busy with something else, or maybe she's ignoring my call. I am outraged - that she would go through my personal belongings, and actually take pages out of my diary... She obviously wanted me to see what she had done. But she didn't wait to talk with me about it.

I'm really upset. I go back to the bedroom crying. Carob is still asleep... I wake him up. "Baby, ah..." I make a split second decision to leave the house... "we gotta go, we need to leave here, I can't be with my parents anymore. Will you come with me?" "Yes love" he replies. We're packing up our things. I just can't be fucked with this mindfuckery anymore. I need to cut loose. It's like we're eloping. I'm really upset. Emotionally I'm cutting myself off with my parents from this moment. Don't expect to ever see them again. I think of my online journal (at a poly forum) and I'm glad to have at least that. My physical diary was fairly tame. It did have some personal things in it, but light compared with my online journal. I am looking forward to updating my online journal about this shit, getting support from the poly community there. My ma doesn't know about that journal, I need to keep it as a safe place. There's some hard roads ahead.

I wake up from gut-wrenchingly sobbing in my dream and take a while to adjust that I'm in bed beside Sago, and things are okay between my parents and me. Still feel messed in the head over it. Was intense.

(Quote above from my own dream journal)

We are currently open to talking about our relationships with any friends, co-workers, family etc apart from Sago's parents and my parents. Don't want to deal with that right now. It's going to be hard, especially with my ma. Sago's parents easier than mine, but still hard because of cultural expectations. S and I are both first generation immigrants from South Asia and the disconnect between ourselves and our parents is tricky to negotiate, without hurt. We have loving families, that's for sure, but the cultural estrangement is a real part of the relationship. More so for me than for him, I think. His parents are fairly chilled. Mine are kind and generous but my mother can get a bit twisted over things. She is also strongly religious (Catholic). We have quite similar personalities in some ways and I love her dearly. Just, when we clash... oh boy. I tend to step back from her to avoid meltdowns. I'd rather be able to show love to her than cut myself off from her. Anyway, the dream was, wow. Full-on.

Just as I'd finished writing it up for my dream journal, Carob's ma messages me online to say hi. She doesn't do that very often. We mostly e-mail (infrequently) just to stay in touch, or to arrange to meet up when we have the chance. It was such perfect timing. I shared the dream with her, among other things we chatted about. In the past I've told her how difficult it is to negotiate things with my parents, and how hard it's going to be to tell them about poly stuff (if ever). I've also told her how nourishing it's been for me to have met her, and to be accepted by her and feel like I have that maternal connection even though I'm not able to talk about this stuff with my own mother.

Families mean a lot to me, and I suppose this dream is reminding me how this is definitely on my subconscious mind, even though I've put it aside as a thing to "deal with later" for now.
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Guess this is a kind of e-threesome :) All in a good cause (job seeking, which C really needs to do). May explain the first bit of my dream in my previous post too :p

me: got a favour to ask you... Carob... see, he promised me he'd finish his CV last night
Ella: yup
me: he promised he'd do this, otherwise he'd be in trouble
basically he's not allowed to orgasm til I get there unless you give him permission (thought you wouldn't mind helping out... )
I suggest (but it's up to you, of course) that you at least make him wait til he's finished his CV
Ella: Ohhh. You're rough.
But fair
me: I think that would be appropriate
Ella: Certainly, it would be worse for him to not have clear consequences
me: Yes. Indeed. I'm sure he'll appreciate you helping out. And I definitey appreciate your help :) Mm, one thing that I've found to be kind of fun (cos I mean, it's only fair you should get something out of this deal too) is making him wank himself to the edge and beg for it, all the while you yourself not really being sure if you'll let him cum or not... til the last moment
I generally find myself saying "no"
for some reason :p
but there's always that glimmer of hope in his eyes
so beautiful
Ella: :D
thanks for the pro tip
This should make up for last week
(which I think you know about)
me: no worries. I don't want to be presumptuous... but we do learn from each other's experiences
yeah I did hear about that ;)

(Carob didn't let E cum without permission last week.)
Hmm, so got an e-mail this morning from Ella - C just broke up with her.

Chatted w/ Carob. He hadn't been feeling the sparks (I knew this) but previous to today had been open to keep exploring. So the break up was and wasn't a surprise to me. He said it wasn't planned but felt like the right thing to do at the time. Thinks they'll make good friends.

Skyped w/ Ella. She's okay about things so far, feels like there's an emotional wave yet to break but... yeah. Apparently it was pretty amicable. They had brunch, she dropped him at work.

Talked a bit about what this means for us. I like her and would like to get to know her more. She feels the same about me. So... I guess it's a "triad becoming a V" situation. I don't think I would have sought out this relationship (with Ella) if it hadn't happened the way it did, but it's okay. I'm glad she's in my life, and open to seeing where this goes.

Will be slowly, but I think we're both okay with that. Kinda low-key too. Both of us seem to keep busy with various things. There's this guy Patrick that she has liked for some time. He likes her too but is just out of a messy relationship and isn't keen to rush into a new one. They've been hanging out platonically... maybe something will come of that.

Right now Ella's off drinking w/ friends. Sago is at work (I made porridge for us this morning with couscous added to the oats cos we ran out of oats... Was quite tasty actually! Like a mix of porridge & semolina pudding) I'm yet to start my day... canoodled briefly with Carob & Ella and processing things. Now back to a quite busy schedule (actually). Heaps to finish before I head off end next month.

No idea how things will change for Carob and Ella... There was some tension in their relationship (internal workings I won't go into here) that I think has been released by this.

I guess this is the interesting part of poly relationships, how they all influence each other, but in the end may simply boil down to dyads (how you relate to each person separately) and, ultimately, how you are with yourself. Not that a triad can't ever feel like a "basic unit" - I'm sure it can. I mean more that the strength of that unit can be increased by strong couples within the triad. Maybe. Maybe it makes poly-bonds less stable? This is strange relationship chemistry. So much more to explore :)

I love that friendship is prevailing here.

Haha, does this mean the four of us are a Y and I'm in the middle? With a kind of loose wheel of agape / attraction round the outside. How many spokes can we grow? :p (Jokes) I'm happy & calm. Hope Ella hangs together - sounds like she will.

Train wreck averted! (Perhaps)
Been busy with people visiting, including Ayla who is staying with us at the moment and may be here for a month. Had some good chats, including an interesting one last night about attraction. We both feel sexual attraction to each other but in a fluctuating way. I think it's at least partly because I'm guarded? Not sure. I really like our friendship and don't want to fuck things up.

A bit awkward last night when Patch was there too (Ayla's ex). I hadn't told Patch I had a crush on him but there was some strange tension the few times the three of us were together at the party. I felt it would be best to explain things upfront but now I'm second guessing my decision a bit. I told him that I did feel attracted to him but things weren't able to go anywhere cos of Ayla and Carob's feelings about it, so I'm not thinking about him in that way and not really into flirting. But maybe even naming the thing is no good.

I've been quite expressive of care towards him in a non-sexual way in the past but maybe that was okay when things were ambiguous as to how I felt about him. But now that I've said something, maybe I'm going to need to avoid him? I haven't had much experience of being in this situation. Maybe.

My head's a bit muddly at the moment. Had a bit of a mindmelt this morning, feeling like I was behaving badly to explore the grey areas of friendship and love and intimacy and sex and touch... I understand them to be mysteriously nebulous things with no obvious boundaries, but I know other people do value boundaries between these things. Maybe these boundaries are human-constructed but perhaps they are there to provide necessary structure and discipline to the infinite possibilities of relating... Maybe without these norms things are unbounded and chaotic in a bad way.

Things good between Ella and me, a low simmer.

Had some lovely sleeps with Sago, intertwined bodies.

Carob and I grazed against each other the other day. We were talking (about some serious things at some points, more on that later) as well as playing, and he suddently felt it was all too much... I maybe should have been gentler. But all of a sudden he snapped, said: fuck it, need space, I'm going to bed. I felt the hurt of that. Would have appreciated a flag up to warn me what he was feeling like. But yeah, this occured almost 100% because dealing with shit long-distance is hard.

I took some time to process my feelings, then wrote him an e-mail apologising for my end. He wrote back apologising for his reaction. We realised we hadn't Skyped for a while too (recently having reverted to text-based chat, without meaning to.) Skype date yesterday (managed to steal time even with two people staying here - the other person apart from Ayla is actually Carob's ex! From several years ago. They dated for about three years.) Very much better now.

Scooting to see a band I like play for free at a local cafe, whee! A date with myself. Love those
Band was good, closed my eyes and let the music untangle me with its fingers.

Said bye bye to Carob's ex (Enid). Was good to spend time with her, hadn't really done much of that before one-on-one as we usually hang out in groups. Experiencing for myself the self-confidence, intelligence, wit, cultural knowledge and compassion that Carob would have been attracted to. Feeling like she was easily flustered, could need time-out without much warning. Wanting to connect but not wanting to ruffle her. Playing the host and explorer at once. Keeping my torchlight soft.

We made a story together while watching a movie that was part of her PhD thesis. I typed and she drew. It felt like a new thing, judder bars, not-so-natural but worth it. Creating together with a very creative person is a tricky dynamic to get right, but one I find very rewarding.

Later, we were talking about monogamy. Enid said she finds poly stories amusing because she's definitely not that way inclined. She wondered if there was an element of seeking complications - as in, maybe I just am attracted to making things more difficult in my relationships. That made me a bit defensive at first (especially cos it really doesn't feel like that) but it also sparked some reflection. I guess at a fundamental level, I need good reasons not to go somewhere rather than impetus to go there. My default state is - venturing further is allowed.

Ate late-night dumplings with Sago. Unpacked some of what I'd been feeling in the previous post re: Patch & Ayla. My emotions also somewhat triggered by conversation with E above (i.e. that I was seeking complications). Sago said "you're a really good person. You show a lot of love to people. Don't feel bad about yourself." I didn't think I needed to hear that, but it was so so good to be affirmed. I love him so much, so glad we are living our lives together.

Sent a couple of texts to Patch. A bit more context - while I'd been talking with him about my attraction to him I may have kissed him a couple of times on the neck. Well, I did. It was, ah, expressions of affection and we had been drinking a bit, but it wasn't the drinking. I am a physically affectionate person and it wasn't out of character for me. But given the point of the conversation (explaining unexplained tension, and describing boundaries) I suspected it may have been too much too much.

Also, the times that Patch and I have hung out recently have been in the middle of the night. It's just when I had time, and also I'm sometimes up at night (I occasionally do a radio show from 2-6am, for example). Anyway, Ayla had told me "Patch said you'd been around late night a few times." which made me realise he may have taken the timing to be suggestive of me wanting more from him. Ah! Mind noddles, basically. Anyway, the texts:

Hey man. Hope my candour wasn't too full on. Sorry if I crossed any lines. I have faith that good-willed folks can communicate through most thing so here's hopin

My motivation to catch up and hang out with you hasn't been with the hope or aim of hooking up with you. Just yesterday I wanted to explain any odd vibes. Cool, cya

In the evening he replied:

All good. Woke up today at 3. Big night, awesome times. Don't worry good to chill out

Sweet :)

Ayla knew I was feeling a bit weird this morning, so she kept in touch and asked if I was doing okay. At some point I may chat with her about this but I didn't need to talk, just needed time out myself to process.

Patch and Ayla caught up yesterday, must have been great to re-connect because it's been a while since they've seen each other. They had gone out for six or more years I think. I knew them when they were together (how I met Patch).

Sago and I were sleeping by the time Ayla got home. I assumed she'd be staying over with P. Was surprised to hear her pottering in the kitchen this morning. I'm keeping a bit of emotional distance, don't really want to put myself into whatever they've got between them. I said to Ayla a few nights back how I feel inclined to be a (friendly, loved and loving) third wheel sometimes. I don't want (or have time for!) a serious relationship with either of them but being sexual in a way that makes sense in our current friendship dynamics could be...

... what?

Pleasurable? Rewarding? "Worth it"? Another experience?

There are so many places I don't strictly need to go but I'm curious to embark on a treasure hunts. Staying in the safety of my hut often feels like the easier option, but also the wrong one.

That said, I know when I need to touch home base, to take time out. My adventurousness relies on me being aware of and respecting those needs. Right now I am content to be relaxed and welcoming. First time I've shared living space with Ayla (though I'd lived with her sister for a couple of years! Have been catching myself calling her by her sister's name a few times, whoops.) Liking learning the shape of that. She might be crashing here for 3-4 more weeks while she finds her feet in the city. Chances like this (to spend quality time with people) are very precious to me.
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Carob just had a first interview by phone for a job in the city I'm living in now! He's decided to move here regardless of whether he gets the job. (As in, keep looking for other jobs here, and shift over when he's got one) This is really good news. Here's hoping they like his CV and he gets a second interview. Regardless, I'm amped.

Sago's contract runs out early next year but I'm planning to find work here once I'm back from my travels (end Sept / early Oct) so we can probably make this all work. This isn't a permanent move for any of us (we wanna ultimately be based in our home town) but it means... no more long-distance!

And, yeah, looking pretty likely that I'll come back from my adventures to both the boys living here :) And it'll be spring! (southern hemisphere) All good things...

I'll still have other things taking me back to my home town, so will get a chance to see Ella too (even if C moves here. Actually, not "if"... when. When! YEAH!) In fact she's planning on being here for Christmas. At this stage unsure of our holiday plans (we may be going back to our home city for Christmas; Sago's folks live there) so may swap countries, d'oh.

Light at the end of the gloom tunnel though. Phew.
Funny night last night. Went out to do the laundry, and was planning on visiting my cousin (who lives near laundromat) while washing was turnin, but she was out. So I had a beer at a local pub instead. Turns out the performer was a local poly person, so there were people there from the poly things I've been to. Nice to bump into local friends!

Such good conversations. Bought beer and a pickled egg for someone, which precipitated much more beer. I chatted with a morose-looking dude who was sitting by himself at the end of the bar. Turns out we had plenty to talk about. Three hours later, the bar had closed around us (chairs up everywhere, lights even dimmer than before) and it was him, myself and the bartender (also a colleague of Sago's, in his other job!) drinking a final Guinness. Bliss.

Got ready to walk my laundry home (by this stage, it's 2am. I had left the house at 8 intending to be home by 10! Ha) and turns out the guy I've been chatting to lives round the corner from me. This is a bit surprising because the block of shops with this pub/laundromat is not the closest to where I live. I'd travelled a bit further so I could get a chance to see my cousin.

Anyway, I wander homewards with aforementioned Dude. At the junction between his place and mine, I ask if I can give him a goodbye kiss. This turns into me with fogged up glasses (so geeky), then us jumping a fence into an abandoned lot - tall, cold grass - and making out some more. (Got a cut in the palm of my hand jumping out, later. Battlewounds!)

He wanted me to come back to his place, but I said I had things to do the next day and didn't want a late start. He promised me that he could kick me out by 4am. At this point, we looked at the time and it was already 4am... So. It was farewell, but we exchanged numbers and maybe will meet up in the next couple of weeks.

Ayla was out last night too, and she came back mid-morning with tales of an unexpected threesome with two of her friends. Ah. Hilarious. Neither of us feel we actively seek these kinds of connections out... and yet they seem to happen. I know it's not unusual for some people, but I feel it's less common if you're ambivalent? Or at least, not out looking to score? I dunno.

Had an effulgence of non-specific happiness this afternoon. I called Sago at work to say hi, gush love, then rang Carob for the same and then rang Ella, just because.

Ella's a physicist, so was fun to touch base with her re: the particle news. She's crushing on her office mate at the mo too, so we chatted a bit about that.

Carob sent his CV in for this job, and they invited him to formally apply (which he's doing now). Just helped him edit his cover letter and supporting documents. Sago looked over it and said it looked good. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for your comment Mya :) Yeah, pretty stoked. S said it seems like he's made the whole family move over here. Indeed.
Performed poetry and music at a gig last night. Sago said my singing has really improved, and he enjoyed the songs more than the poems! I have been performing poetry (not really 'spoken word' / slam poetry style, but still a performative style) for a while but only recently singing my own songs in public. Was a boost.

Ayla came to the gig too. We drank a bit of wine and then I went with her to an electronica party (my first). I had lulls of boredom with the music, which happens I guess when you're dancing to similar rhythms for hours :) Maybe it's different if you're high, which I wasn't. It was an indoors party. I think I'd like outdoors ones better, too.

Ayla spent a bit of time texting Patch and this other guy she's recently hooked up with. I didn't feel jealous, and I know if I told her this was bothering me, she'd stop. I love her communication style, it's quite similar to mine (doing your best not to hurt people, but also taking people at their face value). She was trying to figure what to do with the rest of her night, after the party. She said she'd either be heading to Patch's or this other guy's.

We made out a bit at the party, including (at my whim) behind one of the curtains. One of the club's security rumbled over and told us off! Apparently we looked suspicious like we were up to mischief, and this is a bad look. Hehe. Many hours later, I walked past the curtains again and there were people making out behind each one so I felt in good company.

At one point, Ayla said that Patch was coming over to the party too. When he turned up, I said hi... but felt really awkward. I felt like giving them space. I had told this to Ayla earlier, that I'm not sure how to navigate those dynamics right now.

She said "is it because you want to jump his bones?"

And I said, actually it's not. It's because I feel a connection with him that (if there were no restrictions) could grow a particular way. I guess I just recognise an attraction and possibility on that level. But it's not a possibility that I need to explore. And Ayla being uncomfortable with that (and also Carob) means that I'm not going to go there. I'm happy just chilling out.

However, since she's been back, she's been processing a lot of her relationship with Patch. Also I think processing her jealousy around the idea of Patch & I possibly hooking up. I feel like she's grown my feelings for Patch into this drive which she's holding me back from (in fact she isn't). I've been finding it hard to express my actual position, which is - haha, I guess I don't know what that is!

Obviously I need to tease that out for myself.

I like Patch and Ayla, they are really good people. I love that they are in my life and I care a lot about them.

At the moment, I feel like there's internal dynamics between the two of them which I want to keep my distance from. They've had a history, and I feel them in a really good place to forgive each other for ways they hurt each other when they were dating way back when. As I mentioned earlier in my blog, they'd dated for many years. For a while after the break, they weren't friends... but now they're getting to be close again. It's beautiful to watch, but I suppose in a state of flux. Maybe it's the first time since the break-up where they've been on good terms, and also open to emotional / physical intimacy.

With this going on between them, I don't feel like inserting myself in a deep way. Definitely not keen to feed or voice desires. Needs, yes. But desires, no. When I catch up with them individually, I find it easier to speak plainly and chill out. But both at once? I feel like I'm falling into the clockwork (in a bad way). Maybe catching up the three of us for a frank chat on point would adjust things. But, not sure whether making time for that makes it more of an issue. It's not like "we need to talk". It's more "we could talk, and that could make things clearer, and the immediate future more fruitful."

Once Patch got to the party, I said hi and had a bit of a cuddle and then I moved away from them and danced in a different spot. When I looked for them later, I couldn't find them. Went for a long walk (intended to walk home, actually, but 20 mins into the walk - and it's freakin cold these days! - realised I was walking in the wrong direction. So walked back) then went to check in on the party again. A mutual friend at the door said that Patch and Ayla had headed off. Ah well.

I felt a twinge, actually a quick flame, of anger towards them. They had left at some point earlier without checking in on me. Ayla knew it was my first time at a party like this, and also that I didn't have a cellphone. I had told her, if she's catching up with Patch, I'd be keen to hang with them for a bit (if that would be cool), and then when they'd like space I'd cruise home. Maybe they tried to find me but couldn't (though I was on the dance floor the whole time, which wasn't that big).

I know I'm a big girl and they knew I'd figure things out and be okay. I figured they were together so I didn't have to worry about them. I'm quite okay with being independent... I guess I just felt the switch (Ayla hanging out with me, to Ayla hanging out with Patch). To some extent I did it to myself by assuming they'd want space from me, distancing myself at the dance.

I suppose I'm not sure how much I want to make an effort to navigate this shit. Obviously will tend to anything that's affecting our friendships... but beyond that? Hmm. My thoughts last night (walking by myself) were that Patch & Ayla's dynamics didn't feel a safe place for me to be vulnerable in. It's strange cos they are very caring people. I think it's just a function of their own explorations at the moment, that together they're trees in the wind, rather than unmoving branches. No can climb. (Maybe I can be a windy tree alongside though! Ha)

Ayla stayed over last night with Patch. I couldn't sleep long, danced too hard. Chilling out in Ayla's bed (sofa bed in the lounge) while Sago sleeps in. He had a good night himself - was awake watching Alien movies when I got home at 4am! So cute.
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Ayla came home in the arvo. She and Patch had been out back at the party smoking. Must have not seen them in the shadows, whoops. Figured there would be something like that but couldn't work it out by myself.

Ah, I have plenty to get sorted before I travel (under three weeks now). Not like I have time to deal with the complexities of this. Surely over-thinking things anyway... Well. It's more that I find all of this very interesting. That's one thing Carob and I have in common - a consuming passion for vivisecting social phenomena.

Anyway, Ayla's probably gonna be still in this city by the time I get back from holiday. And the timing may be better then, to examine things, cos she and Patch would've had some solid time to figure how things are rolling between them.

K, settling down to watch a movie in bed with Sago. Cosy!
Ah, I have plenty to get sorted before I travel (under three weeks now). Not like I have time to deal with the complexities of this. Surely over-thinking things anyway... Well. It's more that I find all of this very interesting. That's one thing Carob and I have in common - a consuming passion for vivisecting social phenomena.
That's the thing! I do this kind of thing a lot with Mya. It's not the case that everything is so complex that it needs to be analysed - it's more that it's fun to examine aspects and whys and all of that. :p

I actually came across 'spoken word' recently and quite liked it (a friend sent me a link to a video). Actually found it very engaging in comparison to written poetry (which I'm also not too familiar with).
I've been relatively slow off the mark considering STDs properly.

In retrospect, I've been unrealistically trusting of people letting me know of any STDs they may have, let alone knowing their status in the first place.

That said, this hasn't been a significant risk for me til recently. Although I've been open to sex with other people in principle, since Sago and I got together we've mostly been practically monogamous. Apart from a couple of forays, we hadn't hooked up with anyone else until me and Carob, three years' back.

Last year was when things started to fan out a bit. At that point, I should have confronted the STD issue explicitly, but I didn't. For some reason, it wasn't til Carob and Ella got together (and I was hearing of Ella's other partners) I thought - wait on. We should discuss this properly. (Stupid, I know.) Long-distance was a factor here too (Carob started dating Ella after I left town); maybe it would have crossed my mind earlier if not for the long-distance.

Anyway, I did a bit of research at the time (earlier this year) and found this really good resource about STDs and Poly:

I've been meaning to post about it but hadn't got around to it.

After reading the articles, and some other things, I decided to get smarter about this stuff. I chatted separately with Sago and Carob and figured we could do regular tests spaced out so that between the three of us we get tested every four months. I 'locked in' a firmer consciousness of my own boundaries with any new partners. I know Sago is very conservative in his own practices. Carob and I are a bit more relaxed. But neither of us want to be dumb, and have a commitment to informed best practice.

Anyway, I got tested first - about a month ago. Was all good. Carob's up next, later this year. We felt we'd dodged some bullets by not dealing with this aspect earlier, but glad we were on the right track now. Still more to discuss perhaps re: clear agreements on how restrictive we each should be about any new partners (at the moment, as before, there's a basic expectation of safer sex, but what that means for each of us is up to us.)

Well. All this is somewhat unrelated background to an issue that came up this weekend. Carob calls me with some really bad news. He sounded freaked out (in fact, his opening words were - "Bub, I just think I did the stupidest thing of my whole life"), and tells me he had a slip up with someone the night before, who's HIV+. Based on what happened, it's very low risk of infection for him but it's still exposure and we'll need to treat it as serious til he's clear. Tests at 28 days, 3 months and again at 6 months (though 95% of cases show up in the first test, at 28 days). And of course treating our sexual encounters as +/- til then. Fuuuuck. A diagnosis would be life changing.

Last couple of days have been very rough. C feeling intense fear, guilt. We've been chatting a lot. I am so happy I'll be seeing him soon, just 2 1/2 weeks from now. Small mercies.

Praying we can dodge just one more bullet. Re-assessing how risky we are with other people. I guess being non-monogamous sexually is a risk in itself. Yada yada. Other people (like link above, and heaps on swinger sites too, and prolly elsewhere on this forum) have written about this in depth. This is just my own experience of making judgment calls.

I value sex with my current partners too much to get it wrong. I'm considering being even more stringent with new sexual partners, even maybe not kissing (!) Feels a bit paranoid to me, but it doesn't hurt to check where my boundaries are and why. Since it's going to be a long wait before C is fully cleared (six months), it is something positive to do in the meantime.

Thought of a food analogy today. How I eat food prepared by other people expecting that they wouldn't serve me anything that is dangerous for me. I had til recently unconciously thought of sexual partners like that too. But since turning my mind to this (earlier this year), I have realised my naivety - esp considering many people who have an STD don't even realise they've picked up one.

I wasn't allowed to go to sex ed at school (my ma wrote a letter excusing me due to religious reasons.) I wonder if I would've been so slow on addressing this if I had more info about this growing up. Not really exonerating though, I feel there's enough attention on the topic of STDs that I should have known better.

Mm. Well. Fingers crossed for Carob. No matter what happens, we're going to be even less likely to take a disease-free status for granted from now on. If you're the praying kind (of any tradition), prayers would be really welcome right now.

Finally, I know some people may feel critical of anyone ever having a relaxed approach to this topic. All perspectives are appreciated but please be respectful and gentle.
Strained, stretched, butter spread too thinly... Carob's been fairly mindfucked. He's got sick, convinced it's early symptoms of infection. Very likely not, but it's triggering a cycle of worrying. He hasn't been able to sleep much, and big bills this month means he's also really poor. I suggested going to the doctor to get something to help with sleep or anxiety, and he said he will if he needs to but is concerned with if he can afford it.

Couple of days ago he went to see an AIDS counsellor - really good idea. It calmed him down quite a bit and he has a plan to get tested again when I'm there later this month. That will be 80% chance of accurate result.

This morning got up early to help Sago with a presentation he's doing today. Two hours later, there's a message from C asking if I can Skype. I finish up as quickly as I can and talk to him. He's crying, scared. Worried that if he's positive and I leave again that he won't be able to handle it. Aah... shit, dude.

Need to hold you right now. Wish I had money to help you out. You're slipping and I can't help much at all :/ I told him it's almost certain the result won't be positive, but if it is and he needs me to stay then I will. I said in general, whatever you need, if it's something I can give you then I'll do it.

As for me, I dunno. Need to get a whole heap done before I head away. When I keep busy I'm mostly okay. But my heart's going out to him, bleeding out.

I'm sleeping better than he is, but restless dreams, going round the cogs of this stress. In the morning I feel churned out of my subconscious.

Can't talk about anything I need right now, not to C at least, perspective all out of whack.

Sago and Ayla have been awesome. Ayla's very good friends with Carob and has been chatting with him quite a bit. She's found some useful links, like the free counselling and testing service.

Sago's been gentle with me, wrote a really sweet & kind e-mail to C, and is simply being his regular all-round awesome self.

In another city, there's apparently a better test available that shows up accurate results much sooner. If this is true, C may ask his ma to pay for him to go to get that. I reckon his mental health is really on balance right now, so if that's an option for him to get what he needs, then I hope it works out.
Scraped bottom yesterday, found the contact of a poly-friendly counsellor in town, felt like I really needed to talk myself out... Then thought, ah, don't think we can afford that. Reflected for a bit and decided one way to destress myself would be to really focus on the non-Carob things that were looming (my to do list).

Sought Ella's help with one of them - so glad I did! Was really helpful and good to chat. She doesn't know about things with C at the moment but yeah, in some ways that made it easier to unwind.

I suggested to Carob to find someone in our home city that he trusted, who could be there for him in person, hugs and such - he suggested maybe Enid (his ex-gf who was visiting here last month). Sweet. He and her had a coffee date this morning. Glad he's getting different perspectives on this.

Meant to Skype with C last night but ended up hanging out with Sago and his work friends til late. Needed the release.

Ah nice! Just heard from Carob that he hung out last night with another mutual friend of ours (one who is house- and cat-sitting for Sago and me at the moment)... Excellent. This definitely makes the distance less awful. He had his first good meal and sleep since the weekend too, and is feeling much better. Relief.
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Carob's up and down, what a mindfuck, sometimes holding it together, sometimes spaghetti on the floor.

See him in ten days, woo.

Had a bit of an awkward negotiation with Ella over Skype. She doesn't know what's being going on for C recently. I arrive there on Thurs, and she heads off herself (away for a month study overseas) early Sat morning. Initially I was thinking I'd see her on Thurs and stay with Carob from Fri onwards. But given current situation, really need to spend the night with C on Thurs. End of the rope. Is not ideal to spend the night with Ella on Friday (given she's flying out very early the next day, would have been lovelier to sleep in etc) but yeah. Situation gnarly. Just gonna have to be that way.

Ella didn't really understand, she asked why couldn't we go with the more convenient option of seeing her on Thurs (given I'm going to be in town for a week and can see C on any other night.) I didn't want to get into details, but pretty much told her that the way things were, it was a bit more delicate than mere convenience. Said that Carob's been going through a pretty rough patch...

She was sweet about it, but kinda unconvinced. Not sure how I can say any more. Maybe she'll find out later, and it will all make sense in retrospect.

Having some sweet cuddles with Sago. After I visit Carob & Ella, I'm going to be travelling for a couple of months more, so will be a while before I see him. Ah man, gonna miss this dude... But so amped to be travelling. Just heard that my friend managed to get hold of a Burning Man ticket for me too!


There's just one more thing. A few times, when Carob's been feeling really guttural, he's said "I might not be able to cope if the test comes out positive, and then you leave"... As I mentioned before, he pretty much asked me if I would stay, if he couldn't handle it without me. I've said "yes, I'll stay if you need me to" each time but I'm hoping like fuck that (a) he isn't positive (for many other reasons apart from this!) and (b) even if he is, he won't need me to stay.

It's selfish, I know, but I don't feel guilt about it. It's simply how I feel. I need to hit the road. And, yeah, it would be a real waste of money of everything I've spent so far. Plus, be a disappointment for friends. Doesn't bear thinking about.

I meant what I said. If he really needs me to stay, I will. Maybe this is my little gamble.

Ah. This is rough.

So busy before I go too. Gonna be shredded by the time I board that plane. Hey, what's new :)
Heading away in five days! Spending a week back home - staying with Carob, and seeing Ella a wee bit too. C took days off work for the whole time I'm there. I'm really touched. So far he's used up pretty much all his annual holidays to see me during this year (over Easter he came here, and now he's taking more time off when I'm there). I asked if he could manage one or two days off so we could take a long weekend away, but he actually got a whole week (five days) off. Man, I love that boy. Time is something precious you can spend on people, no matter how tight for cash you are.

Have a few major things to finish up before I go, gotta hunker down this weekend. Sago helped heaps last couple of days, talking to the bank and doing some immigration stuff that I needed to get done.

Had a bit of a twist with Ayla last night. I'd been avoiding seeing Patch since she's been here, but I caught up with him for a drink last night. I was feeling like I should ask her whether she'd be okay with that, but my thoughts on the matter were - I don't want to treat him like she's his gate-keeper, and I don't think she wants to be treated as that either. But my feelings were... ah, I don't want to make things harder for her. Give her things to process.

But. I did wanna see Patch. He's a bit of a recluse, doesn't always make an effort to hang with people. As a friend, I wanted to touch base and see how he was doing etc. So yeah, I did. Ayla was busy last night, so couldn't hang out with us, but I met up with her at home much later on. She said she felt a bit weird cos he hadn't replied to her earlier about catching up, but then he did make an effort to catch up with me. He often doesn't reply to messages, that's just how he rolls... but she felt hurt by that.

I said I was sorry to do something that made her have to deal with these emotions. She said - processing things is part of life, and I shouldn't feel guilt about this. Mm. I guess I just hate making her feel like she's the problem, like her emotions are getting in the way of other people's happiness. I told her that there's nothing I need her to process, or "get over", so that I can hook up with Patch or whatever. I would like to be friends with him, and if we can make that work (given that I've said that I'm attracted to him) that would be perfect.

That said... ha! Talking with Patch made me realise what it is about touch that I really like. I love, absolutely love, conversations. The feeling of someone combing through my mind with their words. But sometimes touch lets you adventure further with ideas... you can explore rockier territory cos you're holding each other physically. We traded good words as always, but I did want to run my hands over his skin. (I didn't, but yeah.)

I suppose I am inclined to be intimate when I feel the connection is there. Hmm. If I get enough stuff done, maybe will see if anyone's free late night to hang out and smoke shisha (there's a place that's central and open til 5) or some such thing. Could be a good chance to unwind with friends and also see Patch & Ayla together if they're into it. Ah, okay, gotta do enough stuff so I deserve a break :)
I'm so sorry to hear what you guys are going through right now. :( I'm hoping for the best!

Mya - thanks a lot for your reply. Felt really good actually. I didn't expect or ask for comforting messages from others on this forum but it was nice to read your words. Was feeling a bit dumb (but not as dumb as Carob was feeling!)

Also was a bit unsure about posting about our HIV scare here, given it's a publicly accessible forum, but it was (and still is) pretty intense at times dealing with it, and writing helps. Maybe I could have written it out to myself and kept it private (as I do sometimes) but I guess I felt like reaching out a bit too. And as it's part of our relationship story, seemed to fit here. Depending on result, this could be a massive part of our lives.

This has made me aware of how variable people are about STIs. Some people are very knowledgeable and have strict boundaries. But yeah, using condoms doesn't protect from everything so we take some risks even with condom use.

I have only recently had a couple of experiences with guys in a more casual-sex way and it surprised me that they both seemed to think of condoms as a birth control thing. They said "oh, aren't you on the pill?"

Anyways. I feel like to be naive about this is a taboo? Like, something shameful to admit? I feel like there's this social expectation to be perfect and to know what you're doing when you're having sex with other people... And definitely, being smart is good! For whatever reason I'm only now learning some important lessons. Should have thought of some of this stuff much earlier, yes. But also this seems like quite a personal thing, how you assess risk. Mm.

Well we have a test scheduled for the afternoon on Monday week. Something like 80% chance it'll show up then if it's going to be positive. Can't remember all the percentages. After that, another test at three months which will almost certainly be the correct result. And then finally six months for a full clearance. Carob wants to be cautious between us until the 6 month test, which I totally agree with.

It's good I'm going to be there with him for the first test. Then second test I'll actually be with him no matter where he is (looks very likely he's getting job! But still not confirmed... aaah... so excited!). I'll be there after 2 months, since we're sailing back into my home city (so can go with him if he's still there). But then a few days after that will be coming back here (so can go with him if he's moved here) So it's really perfect timing. Small blessings, eh?

My blood-type is B+, which I always thought of as my attitude towards life... Cheesy, yeah, but helps at times like this. (Though, not being stupid means you avoid those avoidable bad situations that require optimism to overcome! Ha)
Sitting on the deck at Carob's ma's place - 1hr drive out of town. We wanted to get away somewhere for our three year anniversary but too broke really :p His ma just bought this place after selling her old place in town. It's so beautiful out here. Plains and mountains all around me, a smear of clouds across a blue winter sky... Shorts and t-shirt weather, amazing.

Ella headed away yesterday. Spent a couple of nights with her. First time just the two of us... she's still quite rough from breakup with Carob. Interesting dynamics. Was kind of hard. I mean, I'm just getting to know her. I really like her, she's cute, smart, hilarious, sexy, so delicious, she has an electric ukelele. I have no problem with relating to her as a person, and I think there are many adventures we could have together.

But... I dunno if I have time / energy. We'll see. Sounds harsh, but that's how it is. In bed one time, she said "aaah, move back to this city." She's at uni here for at least another three years. Man. Carob's nearly nearly nearly got a job at our new city. I'm not heading back here for at least another year, I reckon. And, well, yeah. The thought of another long-distance, wrenching, missing kind of relationship really does not appeal.

On the other hand, I don't like the idea of trying to regulate my feelings towards her. Mm. So far, I haven't fallen too hard. I think it's because I know the context - it's gonna be long-distance for the foreseeable future. And, she's just figuring her stuff out (I'm the first girl she's been with)... She has other crushes. So far not dating anyone else, but she could do. And that person may prefer to be monogamous. In which case, I would like to stay friends and not hurt too much.

So I guess I've got my armour on a bit. Keeping me sane... And she knows this is how I'm feeling, so I don't feel like I'm acting poorly towards her. I spent as much time as I could with her before she left. Went to dinner with her folks (I was a "friend"). She came to dinner with a couple of close friends of Sago's & mine.

It feels good to consolidate circles of friends and family. It's making me aware of the areas that are still segregated, though, and I'm getting nervous about not having come out to Sago's family and my parents. I mean, we don't have to do this at all, but I think it would be preferable and - perhaps - necessary (depending on what happens if/when we have kids). Visited Sago's folks the other night. In the past I've felt like it wouldn't be so hard to tell them about being poly, but this time it struck me how much of a betrayal it would feel to them. I don't know whether it's my mood, or me losing my naivete about the situations, or whether it's because it's worse now (like, it would have been better if we'd told them earlier). Ah. Will discuss this more with Sago later. I know this is one of the only concerns of his, in terms of living this way openly. I share his concern... Another topic for another day.

For now, I'm chilling out in the sunshine. Carob's hanging with his bro playing computer games. We've had some rocky moments since I've been back, with him being absorbed in other things and kind of ignoring me. I had a bit of a sleep-deprived meltdown the evening I arrived... Needed more attention than he was giving me. I felt stupid because I knew he wanted to spend time with me, but felt like he didn't give a shit about me being there. Eventually talked it out, felt much better. I think it's a symptom of long-distance relationships... there's this adjustment period of wacky emotions when you see each other again. Probably heightened by the general stress of travelling - packing, sorting out other things to make time to see each other.

I love just hanging out in each other's company. Or doing different things in the same house. It's enough to me that I'm being acknowledged... So, even though Carob's been playing this computer game almost all day, he's come out and talked to me every now and then. And I got to sleep in (yay! Hardly ever manage that) while he talked geekery with his bro this morning. His ma just headed back into town. We're about to go for a walk with his bro.

Heading back ourselves tomorrow. Carob's test in the afternoon. Fingers crossed. Flying out a couple days after that. Me time, yay!

(For once I got cancellation insurance on what I've spent on my holiday so far... just in case test results not good... Here's hoping not.)
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Fu-uuuuck yeah. Sat with Carob while we waited for test results today, and it's all clear. What a mind bend. Test in two months, but pretty likely it's going to be fine. Deep breath...

Mm. Had a few celebratory drinks and rolled around in bed a bit. Feeling rather destressed now :) Was really good to be here for that. As if long-distance wasn't hard enough...

Ella wrote me, wondering if I was going to scale back from her, for fear that we'd frow to care too much for each other, and start missing each other... Well. No. I don't think I can do this (step back). But I'm going to go as slowly and sensibly as I can manage.