The Best Life Yet

I also sometimes act as "girl translator"

"Girl translator"! I love that! I might have to steal it!

And yes, I have a TON going on, and I feel great about it. I just had an on-and-off IM conversation with Jake for about an hour, solidifying our plans for this fall (deciding on dates and such) and just kind of talking about what our lives are like.

We've been friends forever—it'll be 20 years next year—but it's always been that kind of eternal-but-sporadic friendship that is very active in spurts, then lays fallow for a while, then picks back up like no time even passed. We haven't been very in-touch about day-to-day sorts of matters. If I'm going to be connecting with him in a romantic/sexual way, I'd like to get a better sense of what he's up to these days. I feel like I know his soul and what makes it up, just from having known him for so long and having grown up with him, but I also know that there will always be surprising things added to the man that were not present in the boy, and that I might have missed in the 15 years that our friendship has been long-distance and sporadic.

We've agreed to be "internet pen pals" and keep each other in the loop. I'm pretty excited about all of this.
This has been a more-than-somewhat frustrating past week for me. First, there was Brandon delaying our date last Friday to the point that I canceled. Then, Saturday night, after a nice Skype-and-wine session with Moss, I was supposed to have a date night with Rider for the first time since Wednesday. The Universe had other plans.

I got hit by a car walking over to Rider's house, despite being in a crosswalk and obeying the light. The driver was a very elderly fellow who just hadn't seen me. So I spent a good portion of our "date night" in the ER, with thankfully only minor injuries, waiting to get released. The next few days were kind of a haze of muscle relaxers and laziness. Rider took good care of me, but I was experiencing a strange emotional apathy where I couldn't really feel ANYTHING. Not even true gratitude for his care. Just NOTHING. All of my boys were messaging me and paying attention to me, but it all meant nothing to me. I had no libido, no sparkle, no butterflies.

Brandon wanted to see me on Tuesday, but I was still exhausted from the healing process, and I also found myself just not giving a shit, so I turned him down. I dealt with some annoying financial issues, during which I experienced my first emotion in days: a brief surge of rage. Then it was back to the apathy again.

Luckily, that lasted only a few days. By Wednesday, my love for Rider had started to pick back up again, and we had a good night together. I started smiling to myself at Jake's messages again. By Thursday, I found myself making a Saturday lunch date with Arturo, finally messaging back a different internet guy (Gray), and even entertaining the idea of giving Brandon another chance.

I had convinced Rider that he needed to give Claire a whole weekend, since he and I have been traveling together a lot lately. It sucks for me, because when we are traveling, we are invariably staying with someone else and get to play together less than at home, so three weekends in a month of travel or all-Claire means a lot less sex for me than what I'd ideally prefer.

But I discovered something while talking to Rider as we were lazing about after my accident: Rider told me that he thinks that Claire thought, as they were starting their relationship back up again within a poly model, that they would be kind of primary to each other, and just each have their little flings on the side. And that's exactly how it was until he met me. Since he and I have gotten together, he's sort of allowed me to eclipse her a bit. And she's feeling secondary in a way that, for a long time, I thought SHE was doing on purpose, but apparently not. And that's not cool.

After we came back from my hometown last week, I guess she was expecting to have the whole next weekend (last weekend) with him. But he actually only gave her Friday night, and spent Saturday and Sunday with me. And when I told her he could have this weekend, at first he balked, saying he'd miss me too much to go four days (their usual Thursday, plus Fri-Sun) without seeing me. I pointed out to him that he would—and does!—jump at the chance to go someplace with me for that long, without any worry of missing her. And THAT'S why she feels secondary. She's looking for his actions that match up with his words, when he tells her she's not secondary, but she's only seeing actions that prove that she is.

So I "made" him give her the whole weekend. Even though I knew I'd be lonely and horny. And I drilled it into his head that if he keeps acting that way toward her, she won't stick around for long. Who would? I understand that he and I are deep in NRE, but I need for him to learn this lesson now, before he destabilizes our entire situation. Plus, I won't always be the "shiny new toy," and it's in my own best interest to make sure he knows how to temper himself, so that when I'm in her position, I'm not the one getting the short end of the stick.

And so that leaves me with no plans for four days in a row. So last night, I succumbed to the idea of seeing Brandon again. He messaged me around 10:45 p.m., asking what I'm doing later (we're both night owls). I told him I had no specific plans, and I was probably going to stay home and do chores. I didn't want to get wrapped up in another one of his wild goose chases—the hint of plans that never materialize. He asked me if I'd like to hang out, and I asked what time/place he has in mind, trying to pin him down to something solid. By 11:45, we have basically agreed that I could pick him up (his car died) and we could go downtown, where things stay open late, as long as I'm home and in bed by 4:00 a.m.

Let's just say that by the time we finally met up, it was nearly 3:00 (again with the late nights!), and we went to have a couple of beers. I started to have a good time with him, and we went back to my place and made out a little bit, but dawn started rolling around, and I refused to "reward" him with third-date sex for his bad behavior of making me wait AGAIN. He told me that he really likes me, and in return, I told him that I don't know how I feel—that I have fun when I'm actually with him, but that the waiting drives me crazy. It's kind of a shame, because I did want sex, but I absolutely refuse to have sex with someone who can't put me first enough to be even remotely on time for me.

He says he'll be better about it in the future. We'll see. I've decided that he is definitely not "boyfriend material," but a fun little fling never hurt anyone. In his case, though, punctuality will equal sexuality. I will accept nothing less.
In further attempts to distract myself from my Rider-free weekend, I acquiesced to an offer from a Peruvian man to go out late-night on Friday for Asian fusion food and beer. I vibed with him in a friends-only kind of way. We have a lot in common, and he was pretty good-looking, but for whatever reason, I felt zero chemistry with him. I plan to keep him as a friend, because he did seem like a cool dude.

I also (finally) met up with Arturo in person for our first date yesterday. Ehhhh...

So he's ridiculously handsome: tall, with perfect skin, clear, green eyes, tousled brown waves, straight teeth, etc. He's a bit too muscular for my usual tastes, but I'd be willing to forgive it. He seems intelligent, and he's got old-fashioned manners when it comes to opening doors, pulling out chairs, and that sort of thing. He complimented me a lot, and made a lot of eye contact with genuine smiles. After we had our late lunch, we decided to have a beer at a nearby sports bar and keep talking. I was liking him pretty well. Things were going fine.

AND THEN...he wants to, like, make out. In the middle of the sports bar. At like 6:30 p.m. Surrounded by televisions and families dining. And he thought *I* was weird, that I balked at that. I tolerated his kisses and kissed back for a moment, but I explained that I'm not really down to be kissing like that in the setting we were in—couldn't we take a nice walk or something? We ended up in his car, and I just...I was too weirded out by the whole thing. His lack of good judgment there had really turned me off. I was on the track to like him, and then he messed it all up by being too forward and in such a weird setting.

So that may be the end of that. He's a few years younger than I am (29 to my 32), so maybe his incompetence is due to that? Maybe he's just a little socially immature? I might send him a message and give him a chance to explain himself. If he responds in a way that I find to be pleasing, I may choose to overlook it. Just ugh, though.

Dating is hard. I've met all of the people in my pool at this point except Gray. I know I can't expect to find everything that I have with Rider with someone else, especially not right away. Still, there's something wrong with each of the people I try to see locally. Flakiness, lack of chemistry, too forward, poor judgment...I have no lack of handsome potential suitors, but it seems like few of them know how to treat a woman. All of these princes, turning back into frogs once I've kissed them.

I envy Rider his solid connection with both me and Claire. I want to get to that point. I know that four months—or however long it's been—isn't that long to be looking for a connection and not finding one. Still, I've been on dates now with six guys (seven, if you count the meetup I went to so I could meet Alex and his fiancée, before she knocked things back to platonic), and there's only been ONE that I've felt like I could really like: Brandon. And he drives me insane with his flakiness, which I refuse to rationalize into being OK.

Maybe I should just chill on the local dating for a while, and take comfort in my long-distance connections with Moss and Jake. And we're going to visit Sam next weekend. I'm not 100% certain that we'll hook up again, but I really like him. Even though he lives four hours away. Why are all the good ones so far?

The thing is, I really do want someone steady to keep me company and go out with on the nights when Rider is with Claire. Not all the nights—I do like my own company and have hobbies to pursue—but some of them. Especially when it's a whole weekend like this.

Rider did end up having a couple of hours to Skype with me last night, when Claire got called into work. She does professional domme work, and sometimes gets called to come in to her dungeon spur-of-the-moment. It felt a little strange video-chatting with him while he was in her bed with her dog, since usually she keeps her life so separate from mine, but the weirdness only lasted a moment. Seeing him and not being able to touch him was so bittersweet, especially knowing that he was right down the street.

Anyway, enough of this complaining ramble about the foibles of dudes. It'll happen eventually. I think I'm just going to chill on the looking for a while. Maybe something will fall into my lap, the way Rider did.
It's been almost two weeks since my last post! Busy-busy! Mostly, everything is the same.

My connection with Rider is still phenomenal. The day after my last post, we had the most incredible evening. It was the night after the "supermoon" and there was also a meteor shower starting, and we live in an area with nice beaches, so we went down to the beach and had an incredibly romantic night of kissing and chatting and gazing at the stars...there was also much hot sexytimes before and after.

Brandon has been late and/or canceled on me a couple more times. The lateness was inexcusable, but the cancellation was valid. I'm giving him one solid chance to make it up to me next week, then it's to the curb with him for good, I don't care how good of a kisser he is.

I guess the biggest news is mostly that Rider and I went to go visit Sam last weekend. I swear, I am halfway in love with that man. I didn't get to have sex with him again though. It seems that in the interval of time between our last hookup and last weekend, he'd been doing some thinking, and he'd decided that he felt weird about having sex with his best friend's girl, even if Rider expressly encouraged it.

I think Sam thinks that, Rider being new to poly, it might just be a phase that he'll move on from and then he'll change his mind about it being OK and it might do something to sully their 20-year friendship. Rider is adamant that that is not the case. He swears that poly is permanent for him now, and that there is nothing on earth that could damage his friendship with Sam.

However, even if he was not down to have sex with me, we did kiss a whole bunch and cuddle and I even spent the night in his bed one night instead of in the guest bed with Rider (after giving Rider a special treat to see him off...). The memory of those kisses sends shivers through me and makes my heart race. Rider says it only makes sense that I'd fall for Sam, since he loves him (non-sexually) himself, and thinks he's the best guy ever. He went so far as to say that back when Rider and I were still platonic, and before I ever met Sam, Rider actually thought that there would be romantic potential for me and Sam. Like, he'd sort of mentally "matched" me with Sam before he matched me with himself.

Another thing is that when I was in bed with Sam, and we were just sort of rolling around and cuddling and kissing and talking about the whole situation, he sighed and said that it "does feel good to feel loved." I think he's kind of a lonely guy—no current dating prospects that I've heard about, and only a loose connection of friends in the town where he lives. He lives all alone in a big house with one outdoor cat, and his family lives in far-flung other areas of the country, and his mom is very sick. I guess Rider is the closest person he has.

So he seemed so conflicted: on the one hand, he was actively caressing and cuddling me back. On the other hand, he was putting the brakes on more happening, and not feeling 100% certain that he wasn't damaging something with pretty much the only person he has. I can see how he feels that way, but hopefully, it will become clear in time that Rider truly feels the way he claims to.

Historically, Sam has definitely been mono. I don't know if he has poly in him. I'm only just learning about him, having spent four weekends in his presence ever, in the five months since I met him. Of course I go off on these daydreaming jags, picturing Rider and Sam and I all living happily ever after. We always have so much fun together. We play music together, and I cook for the boys, and we drink and carouse and cuddle and watch things. It's so idyllic.

I realize that's probably only because our visitation is a vacation for some or the other of us, though. Day to day, it would be different. Rider and Sam were roommates back in the day, and they loved living together. But that doesn't mean that a true domestic scene wouldn't have it's problems. Still, it's a fun and thrilling daydream.

On other fronts, I've been keeping up a regular, rather risqué correspondence with Jake. He's been traveling on the Opposite Coast, with a sojourn into another country as well. I've been keeping him well entertained. And Moss is coming to visit me in two weeks. We're going to have a blast. I'm super excited about it.
So, I finally, finally, FINALLY got an actual date with Brandon during non-vampire hours. He wasn't even late! In fact, he cleared his entire day's schedule to make sure he'd be on time. We had a blast, and I was able to in good conscience have sex with him, which I'd been putting off until he could manage not to be so flaky. I'm quite attracted to him, and I'd wanted him for weeks, and it was good! He's the first "new" person that I've been with one-on-one in this poly adventure. Everyone else has either been a group situation with Rider there, or they have been old partners (Moss and Oona) who I knew long before I ever met Rider.

There was only one small hitch, which was that the condom spilled while Brandon was pulling out—I was surprised, because I'd thought that dudes in their 30s had mastered condoms!—and so now I have to wait until I get tested before I'll let Rider go down on me again. Not that I don't trust Brandon, exactly...he did say he was tested recently...but I've only hung out with him a handful of times, and I'd hate to be the vector that allows Claire to contract gonorrhea or something through Rider performing oral on both of us. Protected PIV is fine, but I don't want any weird fluid danger coming through.

I've upgraded Brandon to actually being my steady casual dating partner, though. We're talking about figuring out a recurring day of the week for him, and he says he likes me more and more. He'd never even really considered poly before meeting me, so he's having a bit of a learning curve with the scheduling thing, but so far, he's not struggling with any kind of jealousy. I totally get butterflies when I think about him, and I'm excited that this might actually be going somewhere.

Because of my "promotion" of Brandon, I've pretty much left off seeing anyone else locally except, of course, Rider. I don't have a lot of time for continuing to meet new people, and I haven't liked anyone else that I've met nearly as much as I've liked Brandon, so I've decided just to let him and Rider have whatever days work for them, and the rest of them I'll spend alone or with platonic friends.

Moss is coming to visit me on Friday! We're going to have so much fun! I'll report back about how it goes. We've been Skyping pretty much weekly, and I love his face so much. I can't wait to see it in person!

Sam had briefly entertained the idea of visiting this past weekend, but it didn't end up working out. It was probably for the best, since Rider had promised Sunday and Monday of the three-day weekend to Claire, and Claire likes hanging out with Rider + friends less than I do. Plus, I probably would have perished from jealousy. As silly as it sounds, after the past few times of hanging out with the luscious BFF combo that is Rider + Sam, after kissing and sleeping next to them both...I feel almost an ownership of them together that I don't think I could ever feel for a single partner again. I'm not at all a jealous person when it comes to one person, and I know that it isn't sane/right/fair/whatever, but it's how I feel. I'll have to unpack and deal with that eventually, but I'm secretly glad that it wasn't this past weekend.

I really do have actual feelings for Sam. Less than I have for Rider, but more than I have for Brandon. The situation, as previously mentioned, is so complicated, though. And it's the most bizarre thing to me that my feelings for Sam amplify my feelings for Rider, and my feelings for Rider amplify my feelings for Sam...when we're all together, I feel like I could just about die of happiness. I feel...home.

And Rider is just the best thing ever. I fall more and more deeply in love with him every day. Some of the obsessive part of the NRE has worn off a bit, thankfully, so I can actually concentrate on my job instead of flipping through his Facebook pictures drooling, haha. But when we're apart, I still miss him fiercely, and when we're together, I feel blissful and right. Six months in, and I'm learning new things to adore about him all the time. As far as I'm concerned, he's the best person on the planet.

He tells me that Claire is beginning to relax a bit on her DADT policy, to where she doesn't stiffen and get weird if someone mentions my name, and to where she tentatively mentions some of the people she herself has been with. One tiny step on the path to all of us just being friendly and happy and cool with each other. I'm such a hippie—as far as I'm concerned, I'd love for us all to be able to party together: me, Rider, Claire, Brandon, whomever Claire is seeing, whichever combination of other characters might be in town...but I know that I'm weird and that my way isn't for everyone.

In two and a half weeks, I'll be taking the Greyhound over to Rider and Sam's College Town to intercept Rider on the last leg of a long-planned road trip vacation of his. I'll meet up with him and Sam, spend the weekend with them, and then Rider will drive me home. As usual, I won't know what to expect from Sam, but just the notion of getting a sliver of time in his warm, furry arms makes me willing to take almost any bus anywhere. Plus, I love College Town. It's beautiful there. I've been exchanging sporadic instant messages with Sam, and he seems to be as excited about our going there as we are (in his own subdued, introvert way). There is even a tiny chance that I'll precede Rider there, and get some alone getting-to-know-you time with Sam. I wouldn't pounce on him—I've decided to let the boys take the lead there from here on out—but it would be nice to get in a one-on-one chat or two. <3
Today is the day that Moss arrives! He's staying until Monday. He and Rider finally get to meet each other! We'll be going to a party on Saturday, where the two of them will meet for the first time, and then we're going to hang out just the three of us on Sunday, so the boys can bond over their shared interest in football, about which I give zero fucks. Moss and I also have big plans to visit a brewery and take in some of the local touristy attractions that I haven't made time to see since I moved here about a year and a half ago. I can't wait to kiss his face!

Last night, I got to briefly see Brandon. We sat on the beach for a couple of hours calling out cloud shapes, and we saw a shooting star. There was, of course, a lot of kissing. I also found out that he's almost as big a fan of my favorite singer as I am! He went to see her on her last tour, just like I did! I sometimes meet people who really like her older music, but almost none of them know her more recent work, since she peaked in popularity some time ago. It made me really happy that we have that in common. I'm also feeling more and more attracted to him. I've been attracted to him pretty much from the outset, but there's a level of romance to it now that really draws me in. The more that I get to know him, and the closer I feel to him, the more my attraction grows. I'm more of a "love-r" than simply a lover, if you know what I mean.

I had a bit of serious frustration earlier this week on the metamour front. I've been itching to move out of my tiny efficiency apartment with no kitchen, and rent prices around here are such that a studio or one bedroom with a kitchen is out of my price range while living solo, so I've had my ear to the ground for a roommate. I saw someone on Facebook post a room that sounded PERFECT for me, in a house with a couple that I met through Rider, but when I brought it up to Rider, he told me that since those people are better friends with Claire, I probably shouldn't inquire, because she'd give him hell about it.

I got really angry! The idea that her desire to pretend that I don't exist could limit the type of connections (friendships, roommate situations, etc.) with people other than her, or to even affect where I live, which affects my finances and quality of all rubbed me the wrong way. She's lived here since high school, and I just moved here last year. Most of the people I've met here, I've met either through the friend I met Rider through, or through Rider himself, so nearly everyone I know knows her and is friendly with her to varying degrees. I'm pretty shy, and I don't just strike up random, independent friendships very easily; most people I form bonds with are friends of friends. So if I have her as a limiting factor in my life, instead of as an ally, that really cramps my style.

Rider says he think she'd feel like I was trying to "push her out" of her group of friends if I moved in with people she hangs out with. That's so silly to me! I have no desire to replace her in the lives of her friends. There's room in our "friends scene" for everyone. It's not my fault that she was here first and already knows everyone. I started meeting these people before Rider and I even started dating. Hell, the girl whose place it is where the room is for rent—we have 38 friends in common, including 10 people I met before I even started hanging out with Rider as friends, much less dating him.

I dunno. It just feels really unfair to me—that her possibly being inconvenienced by having to be reminded that I exist, if/when she visits these friends (certainly no more than a handful of hours a week, if that) . . . somehow outweighs all the benefits I'd get from being in a better and cheaper living situation, when I work from home so I'm constantly in my home. It all just feels very high school to me. So your friend has a roommate that you prefer not to interact with? Suck it up and be civil, like an adult! I always feel like it's one step forward, two steps back with her.

I tried for a moment to give her the benefit of the doubt, saying to Rider that instead of assuming, he could just ASK her how she felt about it. He said that he's 90% sure that even asking her would upset her. To me, that just speaks of immaturity—to get upset when someone simply asks you how you feel about something. I don't know how people do poly without communicating! But I dropped the matter, figuring that if that's how things are, then I guess it falls on me to be the mature one who sucks it up and deals.

I mean, when it comes down to it, poly is still worth it, and of course, Rider is worth it. These momentarily frustrating issues that come up are a small price to pay for having both love AND freedom. But this is my blog, so I can vent here.

And Rider did manage to point me in the direction of another friend of his, Anna, whom Claire doesn't like because Anna and Rider used to sleep together, who is looking to move out of her place, so Anna and I are going to apartment hunt together. I'd met her before and thought she was really sweet.

Other than minor metamour woes, things are great with Rider. We've started going to the gym together, since all my dresses are getting tight across the chest, and Rider wants to get rid of his beer belly. It's a lot cheaper to work out than to buy a whole new wardrobe! Going to the gym with him, I'm finding that I like exercise for the first time in my life. It's insanely hot to watch him sweating and watch his muscles flex when he's on the weight machines! It makes me totally forget the pain that I am enduring myself. I think having him as a willing gym buddy is going to be amazing for my health. ;)

Our sex life just keeps getting more and more adventurous and fantastic. He's hands-down the best lover I've ever had (and I've had, er, more than a few). I get so riled up even just looking at him, and kissing him is the most electrical thing ever.

I never knew it was even possible to have what we have. I find myself thinking extremely long-term things about him. I don't believe in mystical things like "the one" and "soul mates," but when I'm with him, I understand why other people do. Everything clicks into place, like I was waiting for him and didn't know it. He tells me he feels exactly the same way. I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have found such love, and to have found it with such a wonderful person.
I'm the luckiest girl in the world...

Actually, I am the luckiest girl in the world:D...but I'm glad you feel that way too:).

Aside from Rider feeding into Claire's high school pettiness, he sounds like a great guy. Hopefully you and Anna manage to find a place that suits you - good luck with the apt hunt!
Actually, I am the luckiest girl in the world:D...but I'm glad you feel that way too:).

Aside from Rider feeding into Claire's high school pettiness, he sounds like a great guy. Hopefully you and Anna manage to find a place that suits you - good luck with the apt hunt!

OK, I can change it to ONE OF the luckiest girlS in the world. ;)

And Rider really is a great guy. And I understand that he doesn't want to rock the boat with Claire—he's a very non-boat-rocking kind of guy—especially since she was in his life first and all. It's all working out for the best, though! You'll see what I mean in my next post! :D
I know it's only been a week since I last posted, but so much has happened! And it's been a mixed bag, for sure, though I'm feeling hopeful about the future.

On Friday, I picked Moss up from the airport. I'd last seen him back in June, when we decided to go from friend/exes back to being romantically involved, albeit long distance. We were together for about three years, and married for nearly two of those, back in the day. We never let our connection falter, though, even through our divorce and seeing other people. And there always had remained a sexual tension there (our breakup had everything to do with my youth and his untreated mental health issues, and nothing to do with a lack of love or attraction).

Now that we've know each other for nearly eight years, there is a comfort there that I haven't yet experienced in previous (and subsequent!) romantic relationships. He knows me very well, and it's a relief to know that he loves me with all my foibles revealed. That level of comfort also means that the raw passion is somewhat dulled compared to the fiery blaze of NRE-fueled desire that I feel with Rider, but it's a different—not necessarily inferior—thing.

We spent the weekend mostly out on the town, with my showing him what my city has to offer, but we also got plenty of one-on-one time in my bed. ;)

My favorite part was probably watching Moss and Rider interact. Moss had confided in me that he feared that it would be awkward: his meeting my new boyfriend who was "letting" me have sex with him. But they got on famously, as I knew they would. They both love sports and music, they're both intelligent, and they both have ME in common. Hehehe.

They got to hang out both at a friend's birthday party, and the following day at Rider's house, because he and Moss had planned to watch the football season start together. I made food and mixed cocktails for them, even leaving them alone to go to the store at one point. They were acting like old buddies, and each individually expressed glowing praise of the other the next time I spoke to them alone. Yay!

If the Moss + Rider adorability combo was my favorite part of the weekend, the nadir was the car accident. Saturday night, heading home from an evening out, my dumb ass misjudged the gap while making a left turn and nearly got Moss killed. My poor little car that I've had for 14 years is probably done for (I had to get a rental for the rest of our outings), and Moss got a knot on the noggin from hitting the window, though he is thankfully fine. It was my first at-fault accident since 2001, and luckily I don't drive drunk, or I could have been in big trouble, since it was that time of night. I'm bummed about the car, though.

I managed to recover my wits after that, though I was shaken up, and the rest of the week progressed pretty normally. Rider managed to catch a cold and pass it to me, amazingly. I haven't been sick in three years! This must be a particularly virulent strain of cold, because Brandon has it too, and he says he also rarely falls ill.

Thursday, Anna (Rider's friend) and I went to go look at an apartment. We're signing the lease on Saturday. It's so perfect! It has a little tiny yard where we can plant an herb garden, a great kitchen, a huge living area, and best of's literally TWO BLOCKS from Rider's place. Anna's boyfriend also lives just down the street. I foresee a lot of double-date mini-parties in our future. This makes me so much less bitter about the Claire-roommate-veto thing I was bitching about in my last post. That place also seemed great, but it was farther from Rider, rather than closer, so maybe the stick up her ass was a blessing in disguise!

Anna and I are both super-stoked. She seems like a real sweetie. She and Rider dated briefly last year before he and Claire got back together, but they both felt that they weren't a love-match, despite an ongoing physical attraction, so they called it off. Anna is mono, and she's currently dating a guy that she's madly in love with, also mono. She said that if she was single, she'd be down to play with us, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. I'm not particularly attracted to her at the moment anyway. Not that she's not pretty—she totally is!—but I'm really selective, and the mojo hasn't sparkled at me there. I suppose if she became single again, I'd go there on Rider's behalf, though, since I know he still is attracted to her. I can't wait to get to know her better, regardless. She's one of those wacky, mega-creative types who seems to bring color to any situation.

And then back to a more somber note:

Today, Rider left on his vacation roadtrip, but a serious wrench got thrown in his gears. He was supposed to be spending the first leg of his journey visiting friends in a city about five hours away, then going to see his mom, then going to visit Sam in their College Town, where Sam still lives. I was supposed to be joining them in College Town via Greyhound bus for the last portion of the trip, then carpooling back home with Rider. But tragedy struck.

I messaged Sam today to confirm that he would be able to pick me up from the bus station on Thursday, and he told me that he was actually having to fly to his hometown tomorrow because his mother, who has been ill for sometime, was given a poor prognosis. I felt really bad for him, and I relayed the news to Rider, and the three of us were sort of chatting in a circle. Coincidentally, within the hour of our starting to chat, he got the call that she died. Before he had even had a chance to make it home.

My heart went out to him so hard. I literally cried for him. I lost my father too young some years back, so I know what it's like. And Sam is SUCH a good, sweet, sensitive person. I just wanted so badly to hug him while he cried, but the best I could do was offer to be an ear any time he wanted to call. Rider and I decided that I would put a care package together for him and his brother and ship it to them in their hometown—just some of their favorite treats and a silly little card to cheer them up a bit.

I really care deeply for Sam, given the limited number of days we've spent together. It's almost like my love for him "stands on the shoulders" (to co-opt a quote) of Rider's love for him. I feel like I somehow fit like a Tetris piece into a snug spot in their longtime friendship, and that we are all bonded together. It sounds really silly. But I love them both, and I love Sam far more than I ought to, all things considered. I know, logically, that what I feel for someone in a connection that new ought to just be lust and crushy interest, but somehow Rider's 20-year friendship with him makes it different. It makes it feel logical and ancient instead of new and irrational. I just really hope he's OK, and I really, really wish I could hold him and make him feel better. Hopefully, the package will be some small step in that direction.

With Rider gone this weekend, I was hoping that I'd actually be able to spend some time with Brandon. But dang, he's so busy all the time. He had made "maybe" noises about both Thursday night AND Friday night (tonight), but neither had panned out, and he had previously mentioned having plans on Saturday. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever see him again. Only halfway kidding. He messages me and says sweet things, but then we somehow never manage to get together.

Every day, I think again about cutting him loose. I'm getting too attached. I miss him when I don't see him, and I feel a dull ache in my chest when "maybe" fades into "no"...and yet, I tell myself that it's not like I'm super-available to him either. Even though Rider and I aren't technically primary to each other, Rider is definitely primary to me. He sees me and Claire as sort of co-primary. But he's definitely my number one. At this point, anyway, I can't imagine putting anyone in front of him. So Brandon gets the "leavings" of my schedule. So why should I expect any less from him? I shouldn't. But it still stings when he can't make time for me. Mo' menz, mo' problemz...
It's only the full Day One of Rider's road trip, and I already miss him like crazy. We've been messaging a little bit, and he wishes so much that I could be with him, that I could have swapped our canceled next weekend for this weekend, but it wasn't in the cards. For one, I had to sign a lease with Anna today. For two, my monthly Girls' Night Out is scheduled for tonight.

My GNO is something that I organized through Facebook; it's a group that I made where the people I invite can also invite whomever they want, and once a month, a small group (usually 4–8 women) goes out for food, drinks and various shenanigans. It's been a rotating cast each month (tonight will be #5) and all of the women who have attended one have talked about how refreshing it is to a) meet new chick friends, since the group is not necessarily people who know each other; b) have a safe woman-oriented conversational space where we can talk about things like street harassment and hysterectomies; and c) just plain-old cut loose knowing that there's safety in numbers and people who have your back.

I'm not usually much of an outgoing/organizer type, but at one point I realized that as a hetero-romantic (though bisexual) poly female, I was spending FAR too much time in the company of only dudes, and I missed female company. GNO was my solution to that problem. The funny part is that now the ladies in the group all view me as an outgoing leader type, which is not me at all. But hey, maybe I'm growing in that direction a little bit? My psychology-trained best friend has always said she thinks I have Asperger's, though I've never been formally diagnosed, and it's true that for the VAST majority of my life, I've had trouble with social interactions, but lately, I feel like I've learned by repetition a lot of the skills that I need to function, and things are clicking into place. Yay for evolution.

I sent off the care package for Sam and his brother today. Damn, UPS shipping is expensive! I think it actually stands for Unlubed Penetration Service. I spent WAY more than I was intending to, but it's worth it if it brings even a modicum of warmth and comfort to Sam. Rider didn't get back to me in time to pitch in on the card message, so I just rambled for a while and signed for both of us. I'm still completely beset with the unquenchable desire to hug Sam and rub his back and stroke his hair to comfort him. I feel very protective of him, knowing how lonely he is in life, and that it just got worse.

OK, off to GNO...
GNO was fun. We ended up at a strip club, of all places. I hadn't been to one since like 2004 or 2005. It was at the urging of a girl, Emily, who was new to GNO. I'd only just met her that night, but I started to get an honest to goodness crush on her. That is SUPER rare for me. I'm almost 100% hetero-romantic, despite being bisexual; usually, I will have sex with a woman when I'm in the mood to have sex with a woman, not because I have actual feelings for someone in particular. It's only happened twice before that I've actually like-liked a girl. She's a bit young for me, though. She's 26 and I usually don't date below 28. Also, I know she has a boyfriend, but I'm not sure how open they are. She's fantastic, though: a gorgeous geeky programmer with a strong interest in things like the ren fair and sci-fi/fantasy books. Right up my alley. I guess we shall see what happens...

I miss Rider soooo bad right now. I am at his house looking after his pets for a bit and being at his place without him is very lonely-making. He apparently got to cuddle his friend's roommate during a movie last night! He's such a chick-magnet, LOL. Here I am being all lonely and waiting for him to get back, and he's off making new connections wherever he goes! I don't begrudge him that at all—I know how exciting that can be—but I do wish that I, too, were getting cuddles from someone.

Silly Brandon has been downright impossible to see still. We engaged in a bit of almost-risqué messaging last night, but because I had the girls over after the strip club and then one of them crashed at my place, we couldn't get together. Not that either of us were in any state to drive, and a cab would have been expensive. We messaged again in the morning, and I complained to him that sometimes I feel like he just pretends to like me, since he never makes time for me. I was feeling petulant. He called me silly and said that when he's done house-sitting so far away (it's about a 15–20-minute drive), it would be easier for us to get together. I'm not counting on it though.
Rider told me he's coming back from his trip a day early! I guess his mom's house is boring and the internet there is slow, and he'd rather be in his natural habitat. We sexted a bit earlier and I realized that part of the reason I've been so lonely and boy-crazy is that it's ovulation week. My body always craves not only sex but just attention and affection in general during that time period. And having Rider out of town has just been torture.

I did finally got to see Brandon, though briefly. It was only a lunch date, and a short one at that, but it was nice. I picked him up in Rider's car, and we went and grubbed and held hands and smiled a lot, and then we were going to go to a park for a little while before he had to go to work, but then Rider's car wouldn't start! Before he left for his trip, he warned me that that might happen, and bought a can of starter fluid and showed me how to use it. But it was barely even working! Brandon showed me how to pump the gas pedal to make it finally "take," but it took time, and it was so stressful that we didn't go to the park after all, lest we have to repeat the whole process again.

Instead, I parked in a shady spot near where he worked and we made out in the car a little bit with it running. Rider doesn't care that I had Brandon in his car, in case anyone was wondering. He likes to let me do whatever I want. He'd probably let me fuck people in his bed if it came right down to it. He's the sweetest and most tolerant human ever.

Despite my finally getting to see Brandon today, before I knew that was going to happen, I logged into my dating account for the first time in a while and messaged some people. I'm always on the verge of dropping Brandon, and I kinda want someone more reliable to hang out with. I messaged one guy who strongly resembles my celebrity crush (even though he hadn't logged in in months) and returned a message from a few months ago from a guy who has eyes that look so much like Sam's that I couldn't not message him.

I've been craving Sam so badly lately. All I have to do is think of him and my emotions get all in a tizzy. It doesn't help that I know he's hurting, nor that I was supposed to be seeing him in two days and now I am not. In my mind, I replay every detail of him, and I wish so hard that I could be petting his fuzzy form and just cuddling him. It might seem ridiculous that out of all of the people in the world, I've fallen for my boyfriend's best friend (who lives four hours away, at that), but it is what it is. I ache for my fantasy of us all living in the same place eventually. But I know it's probably just a fantasy.

And so I messaged that guy whose eyes looked like his. I know it won't be the same, but it was too tempting. This guy may turn out to be only a friend—he says that's really all he's looking for right now—but you never know. No guy ever REALLY seems to want to be "just friends" with me, so I assume that if I find an attraction there, there would eventually be more if I wanted there to be.

I dunno. It seems like I am just having quite a tough time finding someone nearby who will fit into my life in the way that I want them to. I wish I weren't so damned picky, attraction-wise, but I kind of can't help it. I like what I like, and chemistry means a lot to me, and I need to warm up to people before I even know how I feel about them. Plus, a guy needs to strike just the right balance of not being too forward (hello, trying to suck my face in the middle of a sports bar before the sun was down!) but also not being too elusive (hello, flaky-ass Brandon). I mean, not that Brandon's elusiveness has completely turned me off from him, but I am perpetually dissatisfied with him.

I vacillate between wanting to throw my hands up in the air and just be mostly functionally monogamous with Rider until lightning strikes with someone randomly OR to message every remotely cute dude in a 10-mile radius. Oona has been getting on my case lately, telling me that it doesn't have to always be "fair"...just because Rider has Claire, it doesn't necessarily mean that I *need* to have someone to balance it out. But dammit, I *want* that!

One really good thing about all of the bunk dating that I've been doing, though, is it always reminds me of what an absolute gem Rider is. Every time anyone else gives me any trouble, the next time I see Rider, I just collapse with relief into his arms, feeling completely at home. That is a definite perk of having an open model of poly and continuing to date: I will never, ever take Rider for granted when I have a rotating cast of not-quite-good-enoughs marching by.
I have a lot of stuff to update, but not the time to write it all out right now. I'm supposed to be working, but I just came here to vent about my metamour again, because I don't want to annoy my friends too much. I'm sooooo pissed off right now.

Next weekend is my birthday, and I had asked Rider well in advance for the whole weekend together. He just told me that he told her he wasn't going to be around and why, and she got upset with him over it. Fucking COME ON.

She's complaining that he didn't spend HER whole birthday weekend with HER. Well, guess fucking what?! She didn't ASK FOR IT like I did. Rider is not a mind-reader. He and I were just barely seeing each other then—we hadn't even had sex yet—we were still mostly just friends. It wasn't my fault that she didn't spend the whole weekend with him. He'd had Sam in town. It had nothing to do with me.

Plus, Rider spent TWO NIGHTS of this past weekend with her, even though he and I were originally supposed to have been out of town together all weekend, if Sam's mom hadn't died. He did this to make up for the fact that he's spending next weekend with me. So I get less than I had originally planned for this month, and SHE'S the one bitching about it? Seriously, chick, get your shit together. I have only one birthday a year, and you're going to ruin the energy by being a petulant child about the fact that you didn't get the exact same thing that I did?

A) Rider was a COMPLETE poly newbie back then. B) She didn't communicate what she wanted and expected him to read her mind. C) He was hanging out with a different friend that weekend and even though I was there for part of it, it had nothing to do with me. D) It was fucking six months ago, and he's gotten soooo much better since then about being able to anticipate her large part because of my coaching! E) This isn't some tit-for-tat game where just because she didn't get something, I shouldn't be able to have a similar thing.

I would never, ever, ever, try to interfere with her birthday plans by trying to make Rider feel bad for making them. It makes me feel like I am just completely and utterly unimportant to her—less than nothing. Where is her fucking empathy? It's three fucking days that mean something to me and nothing special to her. I am totally. over. her. bullshit.

This is the first time in this entire relationship that I've wished I could just completely have nothing to do with any of it anymore. Let her fucking have him, if she wants to be such a bitch about it.

But then, Rider. He is my very heart. And he isn't doing anything wrong. (Other than maybe associating with someone who is fucking immature.) I couldn't really leave him over someone else's actions.

Maaaan. Fuck her sideways, though. For real.
I'm feeling a lot better than I was last time I posted. Apparently, Claire spent the whole next day apologizing to Rider and saying that she realized she was being irrational and that it was unfair for her to still be giving him shit over something that happened six months ago that they had supposedly already settled. She didn't cause any more problems, and Rider and I had a fantastic weekend for my birthday.

After the outburst, she seems to have actually further relaxed a little bit than where she was even prior to that. Rider said that on Wednesday, she made a light-hearted comment about how his room is a hair-tie graveyard and she can always tell whose are whose, because she always uses black and I always use bright neon colors. It's true that out of all the things that I take over there and try to remove before she sees them, hair-ties are the thing that always ends up all over the place. Windowsills, bedside table, floor, bathroom...the things are everywhere, mine and hers. Such is life with long hair in a warm climate.

And Rider said that she texted him on Saturday and told him that she happened to be driving down his street on the way to visit another friend, and she saw us pulling out of his driveway together. There didn't seem to be any negativity attached to that. Just the fact that she can mention my existence without some sort of pissiness involved is in itself a kind of progress. We shall see. I won't allow my hopes to get up too high, since a couple of times in the past, it seemed like she was going to relax more and then she went right back to being selfish and immature again.

On other fronts, I am 100% done with Brandon. I haven't had "the conversation" with him again, but he still hasn't been making time for me, and the one time we did see each other, we ended up having sex, and the condom broke! That's two condom mishaps in two times of having sex! I think this time it was due to insufficient lube. He's a bit too large for me and also takes too long, and I found myself being kind of sore and bored.

To top it all off, we had originally made plans for my "birthday eve," and I think he completely forgot! I was feeling too indifferent to remind him, and I ended up just working late that night. He messaged me a couple of times on my actual birthday, not saying anything about it being my birthday, until I think he saw it on Facebook and started talking about it. I think once he realized that he'd fucked up, he started messaging me in a frenzy, but I was already out with my friends and not writing him back. He wanted to make sure I was "not upset"...and I wasn't. I felt completely meh. I think I just finally had enough of his shenanigans and my emotions became deadened. I will message him soon and tell him. He deserves at least that courtesy, since we'd been seeing each other for a couple of months.

I have started seeing someone else. Caleb is someone I originally met through Rider back in May, at one of the fetish events Rider took me to. He instantly had registered on my radar, because I am way into skinny dudes, but he was there with his girlfriend, and I assumed (correctly) that they were mono, and so I was just very polite and friendly. I met so many people at that event that I didn't necessarily expect ever to run into Caleb again, but Rider and I ran into him in a bar a couple of months ago, and he proceeded to talk our ears off for over an hour about how down in the dumps he still was that he and the girl had split up. Apparently it had happened the same weekend that I'd met him. She was cheating on him and he caught her and the relationship ended.

We or I have ended up running into him a few more times in the interim, and I felt kind of drawn to him. He's an odd duck—more than a little Aspie, totally still stuck on his ex, and given to long, rambling monologues about things. But he's cute, and sweet, and seems to have a genuinely kind heart. One night last weekend, when Rider was with Claire and I was feeling lonely, he offered to come and pick me up and take me out for beer. One thing led to the other, and I ended up back at his place, kissing him!

Since then, I've seen him a couple more times. He even came to my birthday celebration, returning early from a planned trip just to hang out with me! And he and Rider were totally buddy-buddy still, which was awesome. We haven't had sex yet (though there has been some low-level fooling around), but that will probably happen tonight. I have a highly sext-and-innuendo-fueled date scheduled with him later.

I don't really know what to call my connection with him. I know there's probably not any *romantic* potential there, since he's still so stuck on his ex that he seems basically obsessed. I'm not sure he has room in his heart for anyone else at the moment. But I like him, and I'm quite physically attracted to him. I have far more chemistry with him than I did with Brandon. Something about him sets me ablaze. I guess, for now, it's turning into sort of FWB? All I know is that it's wonderful to have someone around who actually makes time for me and seems to really want to hang out with me, unlike Brandon.

The last thing to report is that at the second bar we all went to on my birthday, I ended up kissing not only Rider and Caleb (separately), but also Allie, a girl I met through Rider who he has a crush on. I wanted to lure her home for a little threesome action, but she declined because of the time of the month. Rider and I did have a little three-way kiss with her, which was hellaciously hot. And later, she ended up kissing Caleb once too! ZOMG, so much sexy kissing! I love when affection and sexy feelings and playtime are distributed so widely. There is something about it that just makes me feel glowy and like all is right with the world.
You guys, I know I already posted once today, but I am getting more and more nervous about tonight's date with Caleb. We're going to try out some new (to me) kinky stuff that he's into, and it involves dressing up and...well...

OK, so, normally I am pretty confident about my body. I'm generally aware that in any given social group that I interact with, I am somewhere in the top tier of perceived physical beauty. I'm no supermodel or Hollywood actress, but in the "regular people" crowd, I don't do so bad. I'm not conceited about it or anything, and I don't rule out dating people of other body types, because I am attracted to personality most of all. I just...usually feel pretty hot and confident.

But I once heard Caleb make a comment about how he was happy that his ex had gained weight since they broke up and that made me feel like...he might judge me? Even though it was probably just out of bitterness and schadenfreude over what she did to him. I'm pretty sure she's at least five to eight pounds thinner than I am (not to mention eleven years younger); if he's judging HER, surely he doesn't find me that impressive.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not overweight by any means—my BMI is currently hovering just below 22—but I do have a few rolls 'round the middle when I sit down, and Caleb is so very skinny. Next to Rider, I feel like a tiny and delicate creature; next to Caleb, I feel so...solid.

I know that he wouldn't be hooking up with me if he weren't attracted to me, so there is that. But I'm a little premenstrually bloated, and I've been shirking the gym because I've had a nagging cough, and...

For a scene that is specifically going to be focused on his visual objectification of me (which I'd normally be totally cool with), I'm just worried that he's going to find me gross.

Where is this weird insecurity coming from? It's the PMS, isn't it...dammit. I'm just going to bring over some booze and allow it to lower my inhibitions some and make me forget that I currently feel like a keg-bellied whale. Being a female sucks sometimes.
Things are crazy-busy in my life (moving, continued car troubles, lots of extra work, my cold turning into a sinus infection) but things are pretty quiet on the relationship front. I was having kind of a panic attack about everything else in my life yesterday, and Rider showed up and made it all better. The moment I lay my eyes on him after not seeing him for a couple of days is a balm to my soul.

I've been with him now for eight months, and the obsessive part of the NRE has calmed a bit. I still feel like I would spend nearly every minute with him if it were available to me, though. And I still feel like he is the real-world analogue of what a soul mate would be, if such things existed. I imagine that if we weren't poly and there were no one else's feelings to consider, I'd want to throw caution to the wind and run off to Vegas with him. LOL. Silly, childish dreams. But his kisses are heaven, and his heart is the sweetest I've ever known.

There has been no more trouble out of Claire. Rider has been being very good about making sure she gets her time lately—to the point where I've even felt a twinge of nervousness that the balance might tip the other way and *I* might end up being the one getting less. So far, though, he's been really good about keeping it even. She's apparently trying to set some foursome action up for them, which I know that Rider's never done before. That ought to be interesting.

I officially gave Brandon his walking papers. It was pretty cut and dry and uneventful. I just told him that I couldn't continue to see him in the same capacity that I had been seeing him, because it's hard to keep sparkly interest in someone who is so local and yet I see so little. I value closeness and time spent, and it was obvious to me that he couldn't give that to me. I had really started to like him at one point, to where my heart would feel bruised when he'd let me down. After enough of that, I'd just stopped feeling anything, and it was time to let him go. He messaged me back that he was "thinking of what to say to that" but that was three days ago, and I never heard back from him.

My first real date with Caleb went pretty well. As I think I mentioned previously, there is no long-term or romantic potential there, but we have good physical chemistry, and we had good sex that night. I actually had an orgasm, which for me is super rare the first time that I am with someone. I ended up passing out in his bed unexpectedly, contacts in and all, and it didn't feel too weird to sleep next to him, though he doesn't like to be touched while he sleeps, and I am an avid cuddler. He let me in on some of his even weirder kinks, and I had to decline participation in them. I'm EXTREMELY open-minded, but some of the stuff he's into is too far out there even for me. I'm not judging him or anything—people like what they like!—but I just can't go there personally.

This weekend I move, and Rider and his friend are helping me, after which he and I are going to a neighboring city to see a musical performance and ingest recreational substances with a different fun buddy of his. That ought to be a blast.

The following weekend, Rider and I are going out of town to stay with some friends of his about four hours away. I'm really looking forward to the escape from everyday life. Life has been rough lately, and I can use a break. It'll be nice to meet Rider's friends that I haven't met yet, including the girl he got to cuddle on his last trip there. He says he's keeping it to "platonic cuddling" with her, since she's apparently super-young, but I still take a special interest in anyone he feels so comfortable with as to be intimate with in that way. I feel like part of understanding him is understanding whom he's drawn to, and why.

And the weekend after that, I go back to my hometown and get to see Jake—who is my old high-school pal and new hometown hookup all at once! I am super excited for that.

Other than that, for once, I don't really have anyone new on the horizon. I'm supposed to meet up on Tuesday with the guy whose eyes look like Sam's. He's probably going to be just a friend, barring some freak occurrence of chemistry. And I'm supposed to go out to lunch on Thursday with Emily, my girl-crush, but that again is almost certainly platonic. I've kind of come to terms with the idea that it will be a while before I find another relationship that has all the elements in one, like I have with Rider. In the meantime, I will get sexy company from Caleb, platonic company from a host of friends, and long-distance romantic-style flirtations from Moss and Jake.
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I'm officially moved into my new place with my new roommate/friend Anna. After an initial stress-related freakout on her part (which I talked her down from), things are now going smoothly. She's a very sweet girl, if a bit high strung.

As always seems to happen lately, there was more trouble out of Claire almost as soon as I put my last post up saying that things were quiet. This time, it was that she had assumed that Rider would spend all of last weekend with her, to "make up" for having spent the previous weekend—my birthday weekend—with me. Nope. I'm not getting punished one weekend for getting something good the previous weekend. Rider gave her FOUR days last week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and when she blew up, they had plans for Sunday coming up, which they followed through with). What, she wanted Friday and Saturday too? Six days? Because I got one weekend?

Rider had promised to help me move Saturday morning, and then we had concert tickets that night. Because we had to be up at balls o'clock to get the truck on Saturday, we'd made plans to stay in together Friday night and go to sleep super early. He's not just going to "opt out" of my move or of an event that we've had tickets for since July because she's not happy. He eventually talked her down, but I really have reached a breaking point that I hoped I'd never get to: I officially dislike my metamour.

I think she's immature, selfish, jealous, drama-seeking, histrionic, and insecure. Rider himself has called her "difficult," but apparently she's worth it to him. Whatever. I honestly believe because of some things that he's said that he's mostly with her out of a sense of duty because he broke her heart once before and has promised himself that he won't do it again. I mean, I know he loves her, but I also know that she is the main source of any problems in his life. She sure is in mine, in that she spins him out into a ball of stress that affects our time together. I can see the cloud pass over his face when we are supposed to be relaxing, and when I ask him what's wrong, he's invariably thinking of something that is going wrong with her.

He tried to remind her that I was about to be out of town for four different trips (one family, three work) in the next month and that she was going to be seeing a lot of him. Her response? "I don't want the reason we hang out to be that she's out of town." Oh, come on. Poly reality = your partner's partner being gone means more time for you. You should be HAPPY about that, not sullen. If it were me, I'd be ecstatic.

I ended up having to cancel my tagging along on his trip to visit friends this weekend, because the combination of my sinus infection (which I FINALLY got meds for) and my move just wiped me out completely. It's a bummer, because I'd really been looking forward to it, but I just needed to wipe my social calendar clean for a week and focus on myself. That mean canceling a date with Caleb on Monday, canceling my usual phone call with Oona and Skype date with Moss on Tuesday, and canceling my Rider trip. I suggested that Rider invite Claire instead, so he did, but she was at first uninterested in going, and later, after considering, interested but too broke.

This is a recurring problem. I have a (still fairly low-paying) career job doing something that I like, and using the education I have completed. Rider also has a (fairly low-paying) career job that he likes using his degree. We're working class but stable and can afford the occasional splurge. Claire is a community-college dropout, which isn't a big deal in itself—some of the smartest people I've met don't have degrees—but she hasn't put much work into acquiring skills either and so she works a less-than-ideal combination of a call-center job and a handful of pro-domme gigs each week. Because she's always broke, she greatly envies us our ability to do fun stuff together that she can't afford.

This is decidedly Not My Problem, but she makes Rider feel terrible about it by making him feel like there's an imbalance. As if the quality of my life and his life should be held back to her own limits to keep things "fair." The fact of the matter is that she's younger than us (six years younger than me and eleven younger than Rider) and has not focused much on getting her life in order. She drinks a lot (I mean, I drink kind of a lot, but she takes it to a new level) and she smokes pot regularly. The thing that broke her and Rider up the first time back in 2009 was that he was paying nearly all of their rent, and the little bit he asked her to chip in, one month she blew it on marijuana and came to him empty-handed expecting him to cover it. He realized exactly how much she'd been mooching and had enough. I just feel like this is that same situation playing out again in variation. She sets a low bar for herself and expects other people to accommodate.

I don't know. I find myself secretly wishing she'd just blow up and leave and get it over with. This is the polar opposite of where I was a few months ago when I felt like her presence was a stabilizing and happy-making presence in our polyship, when I preferred the known (her) to the unknown (Rider and I both seeking). Now I really would prefer that he seek and find someone more stable, more communicative, more appreciative of him, and more emotionally mature. I'd rather weather his NRE with someone else for as long as it takes to stabilize than weather their drama-filled ORE forever. Of course, my preferences have no bearing on the matter. But I still feel that way. Rider currently has a massive crush on a peripheral friend of his who is exactly his age and is in a bad mono relationship that looks on the verge of exploding. I know she likes him because she drunk-texted him at 4 in the morning a few nights ago. Maybe if her situation changes and they can start seeing each other, the combined influence of two good partners (I really like what I know of her) will allow him to recognize a bad one and end it.

On the brighter side of things, though, Rider and I are still getting along very well. I love him more every day. I just want to eat him alive when I am next to him. We were talking today about how amazing it is that our lust for one another has only increased as time has worn on. I just love the shit out of him. Every inch of his outer self and every corner of his inner self. Every little facial expression and catch phrase. He delights all of my senses: his appearance, his scent, his voice, his texture, his flavor.

And on non-Rider fronts, despite my canceled date with Caleb, we are still chatting and planning more hookups when I am totally well. This time next week, I will be in my hometown and in Jake's bed. I had a fun Google Chat with Sam yesterday, sharing cooking tips (oh, how it thrills me whenever I get a notification from him!). And I'm due to make up my missed Skype date with Moss this weekend. I also had lunch with my girl-crush, Emily, today.

Aaand I finally heard back from Brandon earlier this week. Apparently, my pulling the plug really hurt him! I had no idea, since he had seemed so distant and could never seem to make time for me. He says he's crazy about me, and that he was really starting to fall in love with me, and that my rejection stunned him. I was so surprised! He barely ever messaged me, barely ever hung out with me, and never really opened up to let me in—all the hallmarks of being "not that into me"; of course, there was that one crazy conversation where he was spinning out a story of a future, but that had seemed kind of out of nowhere to me. I felt really bad, and I actually cried when he told me that I'd hurt him. I guess there still were feelings for him in there somewhere after all. I told him that if he really likes me that much, we can keep in touch online until all my travel wraps up in a month, and play it by ear from there. I did really feel something for him at one point, romantically speaking, which is more than I can say about any of the other guys I've seen locally.

And in other news, Oona—staunchly mono Oona!—confessed to me that she may be finding herself in an "accidentally poly" situation. She's just started seeing two guys, and for the first time ever, she likes them both and is exploring where things go with both of them. She says she'd be perfectly happy to have them both, but she suspects they're not the kind to share. She didn't used to be either, so this is a very strange turn of events. The world is a weird place.
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Today it came to my attention that—after a year and a half of acquaintance and nearly eight months of dating—I might know Rider better than Rider knows Rider. He had told me a few weeks ago that he was going to keep things to "platonic cuddling" with his out-of-town friend's young roommate Kelly, and I had kind of inwardly cocked an eyebrow and thought, "mmm-hmmm, OK, whatever you say..." But I hadn't said anything to him about it because I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt of self-knowledge.

Last night, I was chatting online with Oona, and I told her that I just had a feeling that something was going to happen between them that night. And, of course, the first thing Rider did this morning was confirm my suspicions. They fooled around a bunch, and apparently the only thing that stopped them from having full sex was that she was on her period.

I don't mind any of this—despite my envy that he's getting affection when I am not, I'm happy for him that he IS able to get affection when I am too far away to give it to him. But I do find it vaguely troubling that he doesn't know his own mind well enough to know when he wants to be more than platonic with someone. It's not like a great deal of time has elapsed since the cuddling happened (less than a month) and it's not like they spent a lot of buildup time together on this trip (less than a day) before something happened. So not THAT MUCH could have changed.

Ultimately, he is completely free to do whatever he wants. And beyond that, he was very good about checking in with me ASAP and telling me everything and showering verbal affection on me. But I don't know what the mechanism is at work within him to at one point say "no, I draw a line, she's too young" and then just suddenly decide in the moment that that doesn't matter. I suspected that MIGHT happen, but I don't understand WHY. Maybe he just believed he could be stronger than he was in the face of aggressive temptation. Maybe he was speaking of the person he wished he was rather than the person he is.

Personally, I don't care how young the girls he sleeps with are (18+ of course), as long as they possess the emotional maturity to handle the situation. As long as she can enjoy her time with him without then being weird to me when I come to town next month and meet her, more power to the both of them. One of the things that I find most compelling about our open brand of poly is that it allows for getting swept away in the moment—a zero-missed-opportunity policy.

So I don't think it was a matter of him lying to ME. Lying to HIMSELF, maybe. Maybe he just didn't want to see himself as the older dude creepering on young chicks, but then she made a move and he realized that he was the prey and not the predator. Who knows? I intend to pick his brain a little later though. Finding out what makes him tick is one of my hobbies, and I think it will also help him come to know himself better. :D

If the situation arises, I personally won't be partaking, because I really DO have a thing about much younger people, and also, I've seen pictures of her and I don't find her particularly attractive to me. Rider finds a much broader swath of humanity attractive than I do, and while I'm willing to "take one for the team" for Rider if there's a girl he's interested in who he can't get on his own, he seems to be doing just fine for himself in this situation. ;)

Either way, I love that our relationship is such that each of us allows, encourages, facilitates, and even appreciates the other's adventures.
It could be that he had every intention of acting one way but when he got into the situation, he discovered that he felt differently than he thought he would. I've done that. The first date I had with my ex-boyfriend, I was convinced that I wouldn't have sex with him because I had just come out of a relationship that the only reason I was with the guy was because he accepted that I was incredibly physical and liked sex (unlike the guy I had attempted to date right before him, who had been incredibly sexual in our conversations and online and then treated me like I was a pariah for being physical on our first date {which was just sitting right next to him} and responding on our second when he pulled me onto his lap and started making out with me {though I think he twisted it around in his mind that it was all me}). I had oral sex with the guy that I really shouldn't have been in a relationship with on our first date. So I had convinced myself that I was going to wait and not have sex on the first date with the guy who later became my boyfriend and is now my ex, because I worried that I'd get myself into another situation where I was just using the person. I even told my husband that I was definitely NOT having sex on the first date with this new guy. Then I got to his place for coffee and after talking to him for an hour or two, we went down to his bedroom and one thing led to another and we had sex, several times and we ended up spending the night with each other. So it may be that Rider thought he would do one thing and then when he actually got into the situation, it turned out to feel and be different than what he thought it would be. Not that he even lied to himself, just that he hadn't expected to feel the way he did.
Thanks for the reply, Hannah. I see your point, but in your case, you're talking about a first-date situation where you can't possibly know how you are going to feel about the other person until you spend some real one-on-one time with them. I think Rider's situation is different: he'd spent time with this girl before, and so, logically, he should have known whether or not he wanted more from her than platonic friendship—that his mind "changed" over the course of merely a few hours tells me that it was something that he wanted (even if he didn't admit it to himself), he just needed for the circumstances to be right.

I talked to him about it last night, and he said that it was silly for him to ever have drawn that line between him and her in the first place. That looking back, he doesn't even know why it seemed like such a big deal; he just knows that his age and her age made it seem like a bad idea to him. At this point, it made sense for me to ask him exactly HOW young she is that he was so conflicted, and he said 25! That got a giggle out of me. That is not even an age-gap as large as the one in a two-year relationship I've previously been in, and 25 is not THAT young! I thought he was going to tell me she was 21 or 22 or something, barely drinking age and almost young enough to be his daughter.

We had a nice, good, long talk over videochat, and he said that from this point on, he will make a point of not making declarations of things that he is "not going to do" if in fact he would do them if the situation were right (in this case, her pursuing him). Then he thanked me profusely for being the kind of person who will call him out when he is being inconsistent and make him take a hard look at himself, his words, and his actions, because it is in these conversations that we learn to grow. I think it troubled him that he didn't know why he said it as much is it had troubled me that he didn't know he would do it. He's a genuinely good dude, and I am very lucky to have him. He gets home late tonight, and I can't wait to see him. :D