The Best Life Yet

Another follow-up on my post about Rider and the younger chick: when he returned from his trip, he said he'd thought about it on the ride home, and he could finally identify WHY he'd initially set that boundary for himself. When I met him, one of the girls he'd been seeing in addition to Claire was 24 or 25, and that had ended badly. He was only interested in a casual dating slash FWB type of arrangement with her, but she fell head over heels for him, and eventually the situation just exploded. He had sort of set an artificial floor to his dating age based on that. And he came to realize while spending time with this newer girl that she is totally unlike the other girl (who truly was a bit crazy). So it's good that he is capable of that level of introspection and also to put it into words.

In other news, I am currently in Hometown, where I am in my mom's spare room and still reeling from last night's rendezvous with Jake, my high school friend turned lover. He has declared himself to be absolutely smitten with me, after not really liking anyone for a long time. I really like him too! He's very smart, educated, sweet, kind, and cute. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I am also smitten at this point, but I am definitely operating at a high interest level. I'll be seeing him again tomorrow night after my mom goes to bed.

Before I left, I had a long talk with Rider about Claire. I really felt like I finally had my thoughts in order well enough to explain how I felt about everything. The thing I'd been ruminating on was that comment she made about not wanting to get to hang out with him just because I was gone—like she valued the same commodity (his time) less when it wasn't costing me anything. It made me feel like she clearly views me and her as antagonists and in competition. I explained that to him, and explained that I am done looking out for her. He's gotten a lot better about it himself, so he can just handle it all on his own.

He took that all very well, and for the first time ever, he admitted that if she keeps the dramatics and explosions up, he would consider breaking up with her. He was clear that it's nowhere near that point, but it makes me feel better to know that he does have a limit there, and it's not going to be an ever-escalating nightmare. I had worried that his sense of duty toward her was so great that their breakup was just totally off the table, no matter how shitty she was to him and to me. Just knowing that there is a limit makes the whole thing much more bearable.

I've also still been hanging out with Caleb. We had a really great night together on Tuesday, with fantastically explosive sex shortly after I arrived at his place. We couldn't keep our hands to ourselves for even long enough to pour a glass of beer. He's still in firm FWB territory with me: all sex, no romantic spark. And that's OK.

Other interesting things that have happened include my learning of the possibility of Sam visiting for Halloween, and Oona confessing that for the past four years, she has considered herself "basically my girlfriend" even though she is less bi than I am and historically monogamous. I think she really might be starting to turn the corner on the mono thing, but only time will tell. She also expressed interest in playing with me and Rider again when we are all in the same place at the same time again. I know she is not into Rider romantically (at least, not yet...), and I also know that he is far from her "type" (she likes them dark-haired, fit, and mainstream-stylish, and Rider is a natural strawberry blonde with a cute little beer belly and kind of a flamboyant anti-fashion style that I find very compelling). But I know that she likes him very much as a person, likes his height, his voice, and his, uh, size, and also likes to make me happy. Nothing makes me happier than having two of my favorite people at once. :)

Also, I finally had a GOOD conversation with my mom about poly. She's moved on from being offended and judgey to just kind of puzzled as to how anyone can "not want to be in a settled thing with only one person." She knows about Rider and about Jake (she remembers Jake from my high school days and was friends with Jake's grandmother before she passed). I reminded her that I have ALWAYS struggled with monogamy, since I was old enough to be interested in people romantically. She says she remembers, and that my father was like that (which I knew), and I think she is beginning to just accept that I was naturally born this way. I know in the end, she only wants for me to be happy.
Frig, after Saturday night, I am officially obsessed with Jake. I keep creeping through his social media pictures instead of working. Those eyes. Procrasturbation much?

After Thursday night, I was very interested but not yet obsessed, and then the moment I touched him Saturday night, it's like whatever had been simmering ramped up to a full boil. I just wanted nothing more than to be so close to him. We had an insanely hot night and it was the most difficult thing to leave in the morning to go back to my mom's, knowing that I won't see him in person again until January.

He told me that he's madly in love with me, that—after twenty years of crushing and being long-distance pen pals and seeing each other only when we both came home for the holidays at the same time, and then getting to make out with me for the first time since high school when I visited in July, and then keeping up a regular correspondence since then—he thinks I'm gorgeous and intelligent and funny and kind and it feels so right for him to fall so hard for me after knowing each other so long, even if the recent events have been kind of a whirlwind. He wanted to make sure he wasn't scaring me by saying all of that, but I was feeling it too.

One of the things that had made me a little reserved about him over the summer was knowing that he hasn't really had a girlfriend in a long time, and thus not being sure how romantically entangled he lets himself get with his partners. I was worried about falling too hard for him after so many years of anticipation, and then getting my heart broken. As it turns out, he is just really super picky romantically, like I am. He said he hasn't really liked a girl in a while. Makes me feel special. ;)

I love that he's exactly the same size as me. We're the same height, give or take a fraction of an inch, have the same size hands, and seem to have similar waist measurements. I can wear all his clothes! Oona thinks it's weird that I don't mind dating short guys, but I don't, not at all. It's kinda nice to feel an evenness and sameness and have all our limbs be the same size.

It was really sad when I had to leave Hometown, but at least I got to look forward to seeing Rider when I got here. He had put makeup on for me and was looking sexy as hell. I wanted to climb him like a tree all night. We stopped somewhere for a couple of drinks, then went back to his place and had literally the best sex I've ever had in my life. I didn't think anything could feel that good. Completely mind-blowing. And we're going to put my new canopy bed together tonight and do it all again!

I've been distracted all day, unable to work for anticipating tonight and remembering last night with Rider and the past weekend with Jake. They couldn't be more different or more perfect. I don't understand how two totally different humans can each be utter perfection, but it's apparently possible.

Rider spent all weekend except for last night with Claire—three nights in a row for her. They apparently also had a really good time. Only one thing made me roll my eyes out of my head, which was that Claire was apparently saying that their Thursday nights together don't really "count" because they attend a weekly dinner party at a friends' place. They totally go together and go home together afterward, so of course it counts. Just because there is a stretch of time where they are in the company of other humans doesn't make it not time they are spending together. She is just so greedy. I let it go, though. She just makes herself look bad when she says stuff like that.

I suppose I should stop writing and go back to obsessing over Jake, I mean, working. :p
Can I just say that I love Rider and my poly life?!?

Last night, Rider came over and put together my sweet new bed for me while I made us dinner. We then put said bed to very devious purposes, and he slept with me in it for the first time he's slept here since I moved in a couple of weeks ago.

We had all of these really great conversations about how awesome he thinks Jake is, and how happy for me he is that I've been able to connect with him at long last. I could not have encountered a better partner for me than Rider if I had designed him myself—his capability for compersion surpasses even mine. He is perfection, even in things that most people might view as flaws. I love every cell, every expression, every breath.

Jake is reconsidering his move to Opposite Coast in a year, depending on what my plans turn out to be. We've been messaging all day, and he just told me that every friend and coworker who saw us together—people who have known him for years—said that he seemed to be happier than they've ever seen him, and that he is a fool if he doesn't do what he can to make sure we can be together. The thought of him makes me feel giddy and hopeful.

I've also been flirting with Caleb all day, feeling super ramped up with desire for him in anticipation of our date on Thursday. My first true fuckbuddy in my entire life, and it's going swimmingly.

I'm going to be Skyping with Moss later, and I always love to see his gorgeous face. Every time I see him on the screen, I desperately want to cuddle him, but alas, it will have to wait for his 40th party in March, when I am flying out.

Whether or not Sam is able to make it here for Halloween, Rider and I are definitely going to visit him next month. While I know he may not be down for sexytimes, I'm looking forward to just being near him.

And on the lady front, one of my favorite female play partners, Reina, will be coming to my town to visit her family for Thanksgiving, so I will get to spend some time with her. Also, I have a date scheduled on Friday with Allie, the girl who kissed me on my birthday.

So...other than intermittent metamour drama with Claire, I can complain about absolutely nothing in my poly life right now. All of my partners are kind, well behaved, and attentive toward me. I feel peaceful and satisfied in so many ways: emotionally, sexually, intellectually, varietally (if that was not a word meaning "plenty of variety," it is now). While it does suck that some of my loves are thousands of miles away, that may not be the case forever, and in the meantime, I will take what I can get. I am supremely lucky to have each of them. And even my family is starting to warm up and allow me to live my life openly and on my own terms.
Looking at my travel schedule for the next five months, I can officially say it: poly-saturation is here. Between College Town with Rider and Sam in November and over New Year's, flying up to see Jake again in December and maybe January, a romantic retreat for my anniversary with Rider in February, and Moss's birthday on Opposite Coast at the end of March, I am booked up, blissful, and broke. Yup, unlimited love, but limited time and money. I can't complain.
The past few days have been kind of a clusterfuck. I found out my car can't be fixed, and I'll need to scrap it. I've been super busy with work, plus I'm going on a business trip starting at ridiculous o'clock tomorrow morning, so I've been actively dreading that. My being out of town from early Sunday morning to late Tuesday night coupled with Rider's being out of town with Claire this weekend means that there will be a much larger stretch of time than usual that I won't get to see him, and I just miss him so much already.

I am the one who originally pushed for Rider to take her out of town during the period of time that I'll be gone a lot, but now that it has come to pass, I am feeling a bit of envy. He and I have gone lots of places together, but we're always visiting someone, and it has never been a romantic weekend just the two of us. It sounds so nice. They are visiting the same town where he and I have our anniversary trip in February planned, and it feels a little weird to me that we had that plan made first but she gets to go there with him first. I feel a bit like I've been "scooped."

I did not want to complain to him about it though, because it feels kind of silly, and I have no desire to make him feel bad about doing something nice for her. I'm trying to silver-lining it by telling myself that he'll have been able to scope out all the good stuff for when we go there. I'm also trying not to focus on the idea that his memories of being there with her are sure to be activated and distract him a little while we're there together, when I'd hoped that I'd be the only thing on his mind that weekend.

Thursday's date with Caleb went sort of shittily. As I think I have mentioned, he's pretty Aspie, and he is prone to kind of verbally obsessing over things without realizing that he's alienating people. Since I have a bit of that myself (though I try to operate at a high level of self-awareness, and I have learned my people skills pretty well, though they don't come naturally), I usually am very patient with him. However, he also has this river of anger that flows deep within him that comes from often being left out of things and difficulty at making human connections.

I made the mistake (and it was a big mistake—I should have known better) of asking him about why my friend Reina might have beef with him, because she'd made a weird comment that seemed out of left field to me. She's going to be visiting from out of town, and I'd posted on social media that she and her fiancé and Rider and I should do a "reunion" of a night that we all had together in May, where we went to a bar and had sort of a makeout pile. She immediately commented on it that she would love to, but I can't bring Caleb. I didn't even know the two of them knew each other, and I'd never mentioned him to her before (though she's seen me posting things about/with him), so it seemed very strange to me. So I asked Caleb about it, and he apparently did not know that she did not want him around, and it stirred up this whole hornet's nest.

I guess her fiancé, Ramsey, and Caleb used to be friends, and according to Caleb, she "pussy-whipped" him into not hanging out with him anymore because he rubbed her the wrong way. So on our date, for the first couple of hours, he spent half the time ranting and saying really mean things about Reina, and the other half of the time messaging with other girls. I called him out on both of those things, and he mostly stopped, but it soured the mood. Added to that, he was really broke and I had to pay for everything, and I'm not very flush with cash myself right now. I've paid for him a couple of times before, and I think he just kind of expected it this time, which sucks. I'm not sure that I'm going to continue seeing him when I get back from my spate of travel. I have a lot of patience, but I think he found the end of it.

So yesterday, coming on the heels of the bad date with Caleb and staring down five days without Rider, I was in a pretty funky mood, despite my planned date with Allie. Rider, as always, came through to cheer me up a bit. He cut out of work an hour early to spend some QT with me before Claire came to pick him up for their trip. That made me feel a lot better, and by the time Allie texted me, I was considerably cheered. But then things got worse again.

Allie wanted to know if I minded if we hung out with her brother since his plans had gotten canceled at the last minute, and though I had been hoping for a sexy interlude, I understand that sometimes family comes first, so I told her it was cool. She said that a perk was that he could be our DD so we could drink more than we otherwise could have. Her brother started out OK, but at one point, he disappeared, and he then texted her that he "didn't want to see her kissing girls." She found him and talked him down a little, but he was still visibly riled and being hostile and weird, so it was a very awkward ride home. She apologize profusely for subjecting me to his homophobia, and we have another date (this one with Rider) scheduled in a couple weeks, but it was for sure a shitty ending to what could have been a great night.

Today, I am going to hang out with one of my platonic friends: my ex's sister-in-law, Georgia. My ex and I are not on speaking terms (his choice), but Georgia and I bonded over the course of that four-year relationship, and we hang out whether Ex likes it or not. He tried to force her to stop being my friend (yes, he can be a controlling person), but she was not having it. Georgia and I see each other about once every six weeks, and it's always a refreshing gab session with wine and cheese and giggles. I have to make it an early night because I have so much to do before I leave for my business trip, and I have been procrastinating by posting here. :p

I've been messaging with Jake like mad. I am completely head over heels for him. I wonder if we (or at least I) have a limited amount of NRE at any given time, because despite still being crazy in love with Rider, with a bond that deepens every day, some of the fiery chemical intensity seems to have waned on that end and been redirected toward Jake. To be clear, I love Rider MORE every day, and not less, but maybe you know what I mean—that blinding flash of heat that accompanies every thought or received message. Is it possible to short-circuit NRE with the addition of new partners? I'm used to the NRE in my relationships lasting about two years, so a waning at eight months seems unusual. Who knows—maybe it will come roaring back.

Rider is still my favorite. Jake is awesome and all, but Rider and I are more compatible than anything else in the universe. We have pretty close to exactly the same taste in music, fashion, idea of what a good time is, sex, pets, etc. We have very similar beliefs and outlooks on life. All of it lines up perfectly, with just enough differences to keep things interesting.

Jake is...well...the punk rock scene we grew up in together, he never left it. So while there is a certain intersection in our tastes and outlooks, he is a lot more radical in many things than I am. And he lives a life of compassion that I would find it hard to live up to: outspoken feminism, anti-classism, veganism, devoting his life to social work, etc. It's awesome, but it is a little intimidating. I feel sometimes like I have to be on my best behavior. But he's dead sexy, one of the smartest people I've ever known, funny, caring, playful, and giving. And I know that feeling of needing to be on my best behavior comes from me, not from him—he's never shown any sign of passing judgment on me or being snobby. I guess it's a good thing that he makes me want to be a better person by his example.

Rider is like that too. He doesn't have a wicked bone in his body—I've never heard him express a single vengeful, catty, spiteful, or nasty thing in the year and a half that I've known him. He is pure goodness and light, through and through. It makes me aspire to be better, to work through and address my own dark spots. I am really lucky to have those two.
I don't have much time for posting, since I have to start getting ready for Halloween! But I figured I'd do a short update.

So, as of Tuesday, Rider and I have officially weathered our first fight. The backstory is that while I was away on my business trip, I developed a yeast infection, and I didn't expect to be healed enough to play together until Thursday, which I told him. I was due to return from my trip on Tuesday, and I am leaving on another trip this Sunday. Sam is coming in from out of town tonight and staying through the weekend. This meant that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were the only potential nights for Rider and I to be alone together.

He'd previously told me that since I'm going to be out of town so much in the next few weeks, I could have whatever days I wanted when I was in town. He had even specifically told me that I could have Thursday, which is usually Claire's day, since they'd had 60 hours together over the weekend.

Well, he decided to rescind that offer, and told me he should probably actually spend Thursday with Claire, since he was spending Halloween with me and Sam. I got hopping, steaming mad with him, because I'd already told him that that was the only day we'd be able to have sex, and if we didn't have sex that day, that would mean it would be two whole weeks that we wouldn't have had sex. It seemed terribly thoughtless, and it made me feel like he didn't care whether we fucked or not. Which is, of course, not true, but I was sleep-deprived, and ill, and had been missing him for days already, and envious of his weekend getaway with Claire, and...I was just really low, and hearing that felt like a kick while I was down.

When he picked me up from the airport, we talked about it, and I felt pretty bad for being so angry, because before he even knew I was angry (I couldn't process it while on my trip or I'd cry at work), he had picked me up the probiotics that I needed from the store, and he had also surprised me by putting my new bike together. I could tell he was just trying to do his best, and he is such a sweet man; he'd just made an honest misstep in the process of trying not to piss Claire off.

We made up quickly, and two good things came out of the fight: 1) we wrote a song, and 2) I devised a scheduling solution that hopefully will benefit all three of us.

Part of the problem was that he was never getting any alone time. By his own admission, he wants to spend every available minute with me. But then he has to make time for Claire too, and try to make it close to equal for the sake of fairness. So he'd push the limits of how much he could see me, and then to correct and even it out, he'd fill all the remaining time with her. His nights to himself were much too few and far between, and he confided in me that his blood pressure started to rise every time the topic of scheduling came up.

So I "forced" him to implement a schedule that included time for himself. He has one standing platonic "man-date" with a couple of guy friends on Tuesday, and I divided the remaining six days of the week three ways: one set weekday night and set weekend 24-hour period for each of me (W, F) and Claire (Th, Sa), and then Sunday and Monday nights for himself. It's a bit of a bummer for me, because that means that every week, there will be a four-day stretch where I don't see him. But it's for his mental health and for the greater good.

He was already extremely relieved and feeling better by the time we finished discussing it, and apparently Claire took it really well too. I was expecting her to balk, based on past experiences, but she was apparently really happy. I told Oona that one of the following three things was probably the case:

1) She's misunderstood and thinks that because she's getting Saturday night and Sunday day, it will likely also bleed into Sunday night. Also for Saturday night, she'd been previously accustomed to starting in the afternoon, and now it won't be until 8:30 (our 24-hour periods are 8:30-8:30, and I don't think he specified that to her, for fear of sounding "creepy").

2) She was perceiving me as getting the lion's share before, and with equality built into the system, she feels like I am losing (always seems to be a plus for her) while she is staying the same.

3) She maybe finally grew the fuck up a little.

I'm kind of betting on 1 or 2, but I guess we'll see. If it's 1, there are going to be problems down the line, and the reason for them will be the perpetual poor communication between Rider and Claire.

So that's that for our first argument, and it's also hopefully the end of the scheduling debacles.

The thing I am most excited about right now is...SAM SHOULD BE HERE IN LESS THAN TWO HOURS!!! I feel like a little kid about to go trick-or-treating! I have no idea what will happen—I never do with him—but I get to see him and hug him and talk to him and smell him and at the very least, touch his fuzzy arm. We're going to go to the yearly local Halloween street party together. I can't wait to walk between my two lovely giants. <3 <3 <3

Rider was scheming for ways to try to ramp up the sexuality, but I told him that I don't want to pounce on Sam when he is still vulnerable from grieving and hasn't seen us since his mom died. I just want to be a warm, comforting presence for him and give him love and affection. If more happens, I'll welcome it, but I'm certainly not going to force the matter. I care about him so much that I'd rather slowly let things unfold over a matter of months or even years than rush things and make him feel uncomfortable. Still, my heart is racing. I love being in the middle of a best friend sandwich, even if nothing sexual happens.
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Wow, this past weekend was more amazing than I ever could've hoped. Sam arrived Friday night, and he and Rider and I all went to the Halloween street party and then out to watch a band in a bar.

I started off a bit peeved that Rider was at first trying to say that we shouldn't go to the street party, because he found out that Claire wanted to go there with her other friends. But we'd had those plans made for weeks, and I refused to not go to a huge event just because we might run into her. The solution that Rider landed on was to just make sure that his costume anonymized him enough that she would not recognize him. I don't know if I fully approve of the deception, but it did seem the best way for everyone to get what they wanted without drama.

The street party was fabulous. I had such a great time wandering around with Rider and Sam. The bar was fun too. We went back to Rider's house and I cooked us all some food, but the Rider ended up getting sick because he'd had too much to drink. I took care of him for a while and put him to bed making sure he was okay. While he was asleep and snoring, Sam and I had a chance to spend some alone time together. We were just sitting on the couch kind of leaning together, and suddenly he turned and kissed me! It was the last thing I was expecting.

Last we'd left it, he was not quite comfortable with the entire thing. I guess he had a change of heart, because we were full on making out, with him starting it. When he reached down my pants, I was again pleasantly surprised. We ended up having sex there on the couch. Sam is the only person that Rider has given me permission to go unprotected with, because they've been friends for so long and he trusts him implicitly. I have to say it felt very nice.

I fell asleep on him, and since he's a really tall guy, we both woke up a few hours later sort of uncomfortable on the couch. At that point I excused myself and retreated to bed with Rider and slept in with him a while, before waking up and having amazing sex with him too, then going to pick up breakfast for myself and the boys.

When I got back with breakfast and coffee, they were watching football on the couch, and I sat between them, and Rider suggested that I lay my head in Sam's lap while Rider painted my toenails. Sam rested his arm across my rib cage, and I was just more snug and happy than I've ever been. The whole rest of the day was like that—calm, casual affection.

We had tickets to go see another musical performance that night, and the whole time I was leaning on one or both of them, sometimes with an arm around each of them at the same time. At times, Rider (a.k.a. Mr. Popular) wandered off to speak to some of his many friends, while Sam and I got to be "couply" wallflowers together. Other times, Sam wanted to go stand near the entrance, so Rider and I stood alone together and watched the show.

When we got back from the show, we all spooned on the futon for a little while, with me in the middle, before I had to go catch a plane for my next business trip and bid them both farewell. That 30-hour period was pure magic. I love them both so much! I didn't get much sleep, I don't think anything has ever been as worth it. :)

Today I just set up my conference stuff, had a meal, and messaged with Sam a little and Jake a lot. I also had a 3 1/2 hour phone conversation with Oona, apprising her of everything that has happened. Rider and Sam and Claire were all supposed to go to a Day of the Dead celebration today. I am curious to see how that all turned out.

Rider had also mentioned something about them maybe getting together with Allie, my kissing buddy with the homophobic brother. I know Rider has a major crush on her, so he may be trying to see about a threesome with her and Claire. Normally I would probably feel envy about Rider perhaps getting to play with her without me before with me, but I am still flying so high from everything that happened with Sam that nothing can faze me. If it does happen, it won't be until after Sam heads home.

Rider and I are going to visit Sam in less than two weeks. I am so looking forward to reliving that feeling again—the feeling of being between the two of them and loving them both so much.
Despite the fact that I am alone on a business trip in a totally new city, and I won't be able to see Rider for another two days, I am still walking on air. I keep reflecting on how well things went with Rider and Sam, and almost believing that it is too good to be true. Rider is my very heart. He is the person I'm closest to in this entire world. He's my perfect partner and I can't even imagine another person being better fitted to me than he is.

And Sam is his best friend in this world. They've been together for 20 years, since they were both 18 and in college, away from home the first time. They have their similarities and their differences, but they are always smooth like icing together—no snags, no troubles. And I love them both.

I love Rider more, of course. He was there first, and he is my magic man. But I totally love Sam too. His gentle blue eyes, his adorable half-smile, his intoxicating scent, his strong, fuzzy form. Remembering Friday night and our passion, my entire innards contract in bliss and in hopeful anticipation of the next time. Whenever that will be.

Rider and I are visiting Sam in College Town in less than two weeks, but things are likely to be complicated. I'm not sure how many people are converging on the location, but I do know that at least one other old friend of theirs from the college days is also visiting, and I don't know how much they are going to want him to know. He's a happily mono-married man (Rider actually performed his wedding ceremony), and I've never met him, so I don't know how open-minded he is to poly. Will he be uncomfortable if I am obviously being affectionate and lovey with TWO of his oldest friends at once? Will he be the kind of person who views poly as threatening to monogamy and be standoffish because of that?

I hope not; I tend to think that anyone who is cool enough to be good friends with Rider and Sam will understand. But I also know that I am the new and unknown element in the situation. I worry that whatever "cred" I might have had being introduced as a serious person in Rider's life might be second-guessed if/when it comes to light that I am also involved with Sam. And I'm not sure how much Sam wants people to know. I know Rider is very open about our poly thing, but I don't know if at this early stage in my situation with Sam if he even wants anyone to know.

So the upcoming trip might be an exercise in restraint and discretion. I might barely get to touch Sam at all, and have to play up the role of Rider's devoted girlfriend. Which is not untrue—I AM his girlfriend, and I am unquestioningly devoted to him—but it's also not the WHOLE truth when it leads to mono-normative assumptions.

I just keep on and keep on thinking about Sam. We texted a little more today. I already miss him. I wish I'd been slightly less intoxicated when we had our interlude on Friday. I remember plenty, but I want to swim in ALL the details. I want 24 hours alone with him, to kiss and roll around and fuck in a proper bed. I want to run my fingers through his chest hair and stroke his head and hear him sigh and watch his pleasure. I *know* it will happen some day. And I'm not even feeling impatient about it, exactly. I already got more than I ever expected or hoped for. It's just a beautiful fantasy that I'm enjoying entertaining. One day...

In other news, it's only 40 days until I get to see Jake again. As I expected, some of the longing has faded off for the time being. I think it is a self-preservation method devised by my emotions. I told him as much a couple of weeks back: some of the intensity is certain to fade so that we preserve ourselves in the interim between seeing each other. But I have no doubt that everything will come roaring to life again the moment we see each other.

After going on nine months in my poly situation with Rider, almost doubling the duration of my one earlier attempt at poly some years ago, I no longer have any doubt that poly is right for me. Sure, I'd never felt naturally monogamous, but it wasn't until this relationship and this set of unique real-world experiences that I was 100% sure that it could work for me. But now, I am SO sure.

My all-encompassing, utterly unsurpassable connection with Rider. My comfortable, history-laden, all-knowing connection with Moss. My years-in-the-making, brightly burning, intellectual-and-lusty connection with Jake. My shy, delicate, slowly unfolding, new-yet-ancient-feeling connection with Sam. My soul-sister, sometime-lover, BFF&E&E connection with Oona. These are my loves, the people who make my world turn. They each give me something different, something perfect, something necessary.

Yes, I could still use a local "bonus" companion. Now that I'm pretty sure the Caleb situation is dissolving, that is something I could maybe use. But otherwise, my life is pretty full. My main stumbling blocks so far in poly have been a) distance, because all of my loves except Rider are anywhere from a four-hour car ride to a five-hour plane ride away; b) metamour woes, in that Claire is a difficult human, even by Rider's own admission; and c) scheduling problems, which hopefully I have worked out just recently.

Which is not to say that other, smaller issues have sometimes not raised their heads. Have I felt jealous or envious from time to time? Sure. But nothing I couldn't conquer. Have I sometimes had physical problems related to poly? Yes, indeed I tend to get more frequent UTIs and yeast infections with new/multiple partners. But I've always been able to treat them naturally and to little detriment to my long-term health. Do I occasionally miss things about monogamy? Absolutely! I miss the intense bundled-in-and-one-on-one stage of NRE that I'd gotten used to experiencing with a partner—that solid stage where you're inseparable. I miss regularly unprotected sex and not having to test super-frequently. And I miss being able to assume things about a schedule. But those three things alone pale in comparison to even one thing: leaning my head on Sam's chest while Rider holds my hand. It is all worth it. I am living the life I am supposed to lead. <3
I just thought of something that makes perfect sense:

So, throughout my life, I've had various talents and things I excelled at during various stages of my life. But I've long said that none of these things have felt like "my calling"; when asked what I felt like my calling is, I had to answer (with a bit of chagrin, because it sounds so trite) that I was put on this earth to love. Passion has always been my passion. I love making a lover feel loved, and I love making the lives of the people in my life more beautiful. It's what I "geek out" on.

Oona, ever the women's studies aficionado, has sometimes seen this as weak of me, or thought that I have an addiction to love, or chastised me for thinking too much about others and too little about myself. But the truth is that I have plenty of my own stuff going on in my life (career, hobbies, friends, pets) and STILL, to love is my favorite part. It's the thing that lights me up.

I've tried to join and participate in other forums before—academic ones when I was in grad school, advice ones when I was feeling either lost or helpful, hobby-related ones—but none of them ever "took." And this one has! And the reason it has is because the topic at hand is my longtime favorite: I'm writing about my love life.

I've been a total poly geek. I've read all the books (well, except I haven't gotten my hands on More Than Two yet); I'm a devoted listener and reader of poly-friendly Dan Savage; and I greatly enjoy discussing the nuances of our relationship(s) with Rider. So it makes complete sense that I keep writing here and lurking on other people's blogs! (I don't spend much time in the advice area, because I feel like I haven't been doing this long enough to be able to advise anyone. Also a lot of the times, the posts make me kinda sad.)

So, yeah. I'm here. I'm loving it. And I plan to stay. :)
On the topic of more frequent UTIs, if I don't go to the bathroom within minutes of the end of sex, I get one. Yes, it's a pain in the butt to get up and go (the worst was when I was at a festival) but I've learned that if I don't, or if I wait too long, I will have a UTI in the next 24 hours. I have talked to other women about it and most of them have the same issue. So if you aren't already doing this, it sounds like it'd be a good habit to start. I wish I knew what to do about the yeast infections, because I have that issue too.
Thanks for the info, Hannah. I actually already knew that trick, and sometimes I seriously mean to but just pass out right after. And damned if it doesn't happen in every instance of that. It's my own fault.

Luckily, I am always able to kick both conditions on my own. The CVS-brand cranberry tablets for some reason work so much better than any other kind I've ever tried. I pop 3–4 in the morning, and another 3–4 at night, and after a day or two, I'm fine again.

For yeast infections, I keep boric acid and some of the fancy refrigerated probiotics from Whole Foods (generally Fem Dophilus) on hand and insert both for a couple of days. The boric acid regulates the pH, and the probiotics outcompete the yeast. Woo! Vagina science! (Vagience?)

So yeah, on the whole, both are minor irritations that I manage to resolve in only a day or two. The yeast treatment MAY also work prophylactically, but I've never tried it, since that problem crops up less commonly for me.
Well, now. Today has been interesting and eye-opening. During the slow part of my conference, I was chatting with Rider, and he mentioned that Claire had asked to see him tonight. If you've read my earlier posts, you know that recently Rider and I implemented a new scheduling arrangement to try to afford him some much-needed free time and also to thwart scheduling disputes. Supposedly, Claire agreed enthusiastically with these changes, but I had been suspicious of that.

And I was right to be suspicious, but not for the reason that I originally thought!

As it turns out, this one was wholly Rider's fault. When I called bullshit on her (from my perspective at the time) ballsiness for intruding on his requested alone time, he rather sheepishly admitted that he had never framed it that way to her. He had framed the whole thing as if she "gets" Thursdays and Saturday nights, bleeding into Sundays, but he had not expressed to her that she was also pretty much LIMITED to those, because he intended to take Sunday night, Monday, and often Tuesday to himself. He'd presented it to her almost as though it was a gift to her, rather than as something he was TAKING for himself! It was a (perhaps not even intentional, but nonetheless not excusable) form of a lie of omission, which kept a tenuous peace between them when there might otherwise have been a little conflict.

I was flabbergasted! I had no idea the communication between them was so...poor. I mean, I knew they had issues, but the way that he tiptoes around any potential perceived issues and the way that he feels like he has to frame things to seem positive to her were just so totally alien to me. I'm used to him being frank, unguarded, and mature. Here, he seemed to be displaying weakness, fear, and a propensity to overly people-please and/or hide reality to avoid conflict.

I expressed to him my concern about this. How I suddenly felt like more of the problem that I perceived to be from her might actually originate from him than I had believed. How his willingness to mildly deceive in order to smooth the path was a little distasteful and sure to lead to problems down the road. How they didn't even have the relationship that either of them might deserve to have if they couldn't stand to be frank with each other.

Personally, I kind of require that my partners are open, honest people. Not only with me, but in their dealings with other people as well. Dishonesty is a form of cowardice, and it too easily becomes habit if not guarded against. If someone gets used to dishonesty with their other partners, it is not too far a stretch to imagine that might eventually bleed onto me. I don't THINK he'd ever lie to me, but would he bend the truth a little, if he feared me being upset, and if he'd seen it work in other circumstances with other people? The heart wants to say no, but life experience wants to say maybe.

I want to be with the kind of person for whom openness, frankness, and honesty is a default mode—the only option except for in circumstances of extremity and duress. Dealing with your girlfriend's stink-eye for as long as it takes to resolve an issue is neither extremity nor duress. And so I laid it out for him. I kind of got on my soapbox a little.

To be clear, I was never angry with him. Just puzzled and shocked. Why, if he wants a relationship with this woman, does he not want to be CLOSE to her? To give her the honest truth and let them fully know each other from a place of laid-open reality? I understand her DADT (though I can't ever imagine wanting such a thing myself), but this was nothing to do with that. This was him failing to assert his OWN needs and his OWN personal boundaries—the fact that he was feeling stressed, burned out, and tense over the state of his weekly schedule; the fact that he was unhappy in that way and felt comforted by the idea of change. If I were her, I'd WANT to know these things. And if I were him, I'd want to tell them. The fact that he didn't even want to talk to her about it, with as long as they've known each other, was bizarre and troubling to me.

So, I told him how I saw it. And he told me that I am right. He does need to live his life in a more authentic way with everyone he is connected to. Even if it takes him out of his comfort zone. I would say that I don't understand where these impulses to over-please and to hide come from...except I totally do. Up until recently, I was the same way. I wanted to be all things to all people that mattered to me. I wanted to be everything they wanted to be, instead of just being me.

But then Oona helped teach me about finding my authentic self. About honesty. About being assertive and identifying and pursuing my own needs.

That's what Rider needs to do. If he needs alone time, he needs to be willing to tell everyone in his life that, Claire included.

Gathering from this whole conversation the way that he coddles her and handles her with kid gloves, I now understand a little bit better their dynamic. Why she acts so immature. Why their connection is so inconsistent. Sure, a lot of it still is her, and her own need to grow. But a lot of it is also him, and how he doesn't set/enforce healthy boundaries with her.

I told him that I am probationally rescinding my dislike of her, now that I see his role in all of this more clearly. I will give her another chance to behave like a reasonable human once he has behaved more reasonably with her, himself. While plenty is her fault, enough of their perpetual debacles are HIS fault that I have to wipe the slate clean and re-evaluate her role in our polyship under the new light.

They're supposed to have a heart-to-heart on Thursday. We shall see where this all goes...
Tonight is the night that Rider is supposed to be having his serious conversation with Claire about the scheduling stuff and also about generally improving their communication and boundaries. I'm eager to get the report back tomorrow on how it went.

I unexpectedly had the best afternoon with Rider, because he was cut from jury duty and came over to my house around 1:30, bearing three beers. I work from home (excepting business trips), and I have a little leeway with my hours, so I happily decided to shirk work until Claire got off of work and Rider went to see her. We cuddled and talked and did fun naked things and napped and cuddled some more and talked some more and giggled. We sipped cheap beer, splitting the third between the two of us, and listened to music, and planned for the future and reminisced. It had been a long time since we'd had a solid stretch of daytime alone to do the naked-for-hours-in-bed hangout thing. Probably since the summer. It felt soooo amazing and I feel soooo connected to him after that. I really am madly in love with him.

Last night was one of our scheduled nights, and we went out to a concert with our platonic friend, Henry. Henry does graphics for a lot of bands and can usually get us a free ticket to stuff, so that we then split the price of the remaining one and get a cheap, fun night out. Plus, he's a sweet dude and a lot of fun to hang out with! Also present at the show, boyfriend in tow, was the hairdresser that Rider has a major crush on. I'd heard that their relationship is mono and rocky, but they seemed all right to me. Though I wasn't really attracted to him, the dude wasn't terrible looking, so I'd be willing to take one for the team if they ever wanted to swap—get Rider a chance to have some fun with his crush. Seems unlikely, but it's hard for me not to assess circumstances when I know Rider is interested in someone.

One thing I didn't really mention on here from a couple of days ago was that I've started talking to Brandon again. I know, I know. But I had all these dreams about him a couple of weeks ago, and he messaged me saying that he missed me, and the truth is that I kinda missed him a little too. I don't know WHY, since he was mostly ever just a pain in the ass with his flakiness and condom mishaps. I liked cuddling and kissing him though. Maybe it is, in part, because the scheduling adjustment with Rider means that on an average week, I will now be spending five nights alone, especially since I haven't really been hanging with Caleb anymore.

Anyway, so I had made plans to see Brandon tonight, for the first time in the six weeks since I'd dropped him. Hahaha, he flaked. Again. Work stuff. I wasn't even mad. In fact, I'd decided I was perfectly fine with a quiet night in since my roommate, Anna, is out of town and I have the house to myself. He swears he'll make it up to me. We'll see. I'm not holding my breath.

Instead of hanging with Brandon, I Skyped with Moss for a bit, played with my cat, and took care of some administrative life shit that I'd been putting off for a while. I am so ready to have my life stop feeling like it is in a blender and about to just explode out of the top at any moment. I used to get annoyed by those people who don't have their shit together and seem to just attract one disaster after another. For the past couple of months, it seems like I have BEEN one of them. Now that I'm settled into my new place, I should hopefully be able to upright some of the many things that were knocked down recently.

Tomorrow, Rider and I have a couple of things on the books. The first is a triple date with some platonic friends of ours. The second is drinks and probably naughty playtime with Allie. I'm REALLY looking forward to that one. Unfortunately, my period decided to come almost a week early, so what she and I can do together is limited, but I can at least play with her and watch Rider with her—both exciting. I know he's wanted her for a long time, and I'm glad to be able to facilitate that for him. Plus I really want to see her naked, myself. The thought of her kisses thrills me.

Today I also had pleasant online exchanges with Jake and Sam. I miss them both. But I get to see Sam on November 14th, when Rider and I travel to College Town. And I get to see Jake on December 13th, when I travel to Hometown. Jake and I confirmed with my mother that we are going to cook her dinner one of the nights that I am there. My mother has been really great about the poly thing ever since our discussion. We've had an email exchange in which I expressed my appreciation that she has decided to be kind and welcoming, and it just went really well. She loves me and wants me to be happy.

After all my talk of polysaturation a couple of weeks ago, my frustration with and subsequent demoting of Caleb has opened up a spot again. I'm not 100% opposed to still hooking up with Caleb sometimes, because the sex WAS really good, but he's not going to be my "regular" anymore. I can only handle him in small doses. I think when Rider and I get back from College Town, I'm going to message that guy whose eyes look like Sam's. His name is Shane. I had texted him for a while, but then I had to cancel on him twice, and I felt really bad, but it was unavoidable. I told him I was about to be really busy, but that I did want to meet him eventually. I think two weeks from now will be that point in time. I'm not sure if it will go anywhere, but he does seem like a cool guy. And I definitely will need a part-time local connection of some sort. Two times a week is not enough sex for me, and Brandon can't be depended on for anything.
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So Rider's convo with Claire went well and pretty uneventfully. I guess he pretty much only went over the scheduling stuff, which she was fine with, but the convo itself was a small step toward resolving some of their boundary and communication issues. I guess, according to him, he'd been afraid to handle communication with her in a direct and frank manner because he was skittish about having broken her heart some years ago during the first iteration of their relationship. I don't really see the correlation between the two—to me, it seems that heartbreak is MORE not LESS likely to happen in the absence of clear communication—but if that's what his reason is, who am I to argue? Everything has been quiet on that front since then.

Friday, Rider and I had our triple date with platonic friends, then we had Allie over to my place. Now THAT was fun! She had been having a really bad day, and we offered her sympathetic ears and sipped beverages together, and we all got a little tipsy. We were sitting outside my place looking up at the moon and listening to music being piped through my window. I went in to pee at one point, and when I came out, the two of them were kissing. They immediately folded me into it, and from that point on, we were just a pile.

Allie is tall. Like, for a woman, she is really tall. I'm not sure exactly HOW tall, but I know that Rider is 6'3" or 6'4" and she is definitely at least as close to his height as she is to mine (5'3.75"). I felt so small next to the both of them, despite technically being textbook average. It was pretty cute to watch them in action. After some making out, we ended up in my bed, and we had a lot of fun.

The next morning, as Allie and I lay with our heads on Rider's chest, gazing into each other's eyes, I was thinking that maybe I could like her romantically rather than just sexually and in a friendly way. Maybe. It's extraordinarily rare that that happens to me. And I never fall like a ton of bricks for women the way that I do for men. I'm just going to take that one as it comes. Rider and I both definitely want to see her again, and I could definitely be good friends and FWB with her, if nothing else.

We went to brunch, and everything was cool and happy. She kissed us both goodbye. I like to watch her and Rider kiss. Ahh!

Sunday morning, I left for my business trip (the one I am still on, writing this from a hotel room). It was a total clusterfuck, in that I missed my flight and had to do some world-class scrambling to get to my destination on time. It was among the most stressful days of my life. Rider came to the rescue to the extent that he could, taking care of some stuff at my house that I didn't have time to get to. He is truly the best. I am really ready to be done having my life full of chaos now, but I somehow keep stumbling into trouble, my fault or not. (This one was definitely my fault.) I don't know what I would do if I didn't have such a super guy, but at the same time, I feel bad for how much I've been depending on him lately.

Things here on my business trip have been going pretty smoothly. I've done my work, IMed with Rider, Jake, Allie, and Sam, and I'll be leaving tomorrow afternoon to head home. Rider actually took his two scheduled alone-days this week, and he was unable to do sexytimes things with Claire this weekend because she was bleeding and uncomfortable, so he has asked me for late-night cuddles+ when I get back into town tomorrow night. We're both feeling kind of sex-starved (since Friday!), and Tuesday nights are kind of his toss-up night for late nights. During the early evening he goes to hang out with a dude friend platonically, but after that, sometimes he will come to visit me or Claire.

Friday, we are going to see Sam! I even took the day off work—a rarity! Sam and his brother are going to be just returning to College Town from transporting a bunch of their late mother's things. I have volunteered my and Rider's hands to help unload the truck, and I've also volunteered to help clean the house up before their other friends arrive (Rider and I will likely precede Sam and his brother), as well as to cook everyone dinner.

Sam and I have been in frequent (though not constant) contact since our recent hookup. He has not protested when I have told him that I miss him or that I want more cuddles, so it's looking like he might really be into me. I really, really hope so. My heart skips a beat thinking of him. I know that he's hours away, and that whatever relationship we can have is, at best, likely to be sporadic due to that distance and also to his extreme introversion. Still, every little morsel is delicious, and I will take what I can get.

In general relationship news, things just keep getting better between me and Rider. He told me today that he could look into my eyes forever and feel happy and at home—that it's the first time he's ever been able to think of "forever" with someone and not feel panic. He said that the way that I am with him, how I offer him complete freedom, and even more than that, I actually try to facilitate other encounters for him, completely dissolves whatever commitment issues he's felt in the past.

And it's true: I want him to have everything he wants in life. Our mutual freedom-granting benefits us both so much. We're learning how to build this thing where we have each other as a comforting home base—we are each other's favorite and each other's best friend and each other's deepest confidant—but at the same time, we build whatever connections we can find with others.

In addition to his long-standing relationship with Claire and his recent crush-consummation with Allie, he's been keeping up a long-distance correspondence with Kelly (his friend's young roommate I wrote about in earlier posts) that is starting to turn into real feelings, though he says they are at too different places in their lives for him to be a serious partner for her, never mind even the distance.

By his own admission, he doesn't really have time for more than occasional playtime with whoever might float by, but I'm happy for him when those occasions do occur. I guess maybe I might be wary if he tried to add another steady/serious girlfriend, but not out of any jealousy-based reason. My problem would be that I already get only two scheduled nights, and adding a third serious relationship would necessarily cut into that time—either that or lack of alone time would burn him out again. Luckily, he is not planning on doing that, though he has expressed interest in casual dating now that he has a couple of days of his own penciled in.

So I have no reason to ever want to limit his freedom. The constraints of time limit his freedom more than I ever would care to.

I'm still just mad for his kisses, for his touch. I think about him naked and get a thrill. I sit around fantasizing about kissing him—like, who DOES THAT? Who sits around just mooning over the idea of kissing their own boyfriend, for moments at a time? Haha, I'm a goofball.

I'm glad that at this point, we have gotten through our first fight, and a lot of good seems to have come out of it. I feel like it will probably be a very long time until the next one, and when it occurs, we'll be able to make good out of that one too.

On a tangent, typing about the scheduling thing just made me stop and consider what my own scheduling situation would be if all my guys were in the same city. Moss has expressed that his IDEAL relationship would involve seeing me once or twice a month. He's a very solitary person, by nature. Sam is also introverted and solitary, but I don't know if his preferences would be more or less than that kind of time commitment. Jake would definitely want a lot of me. At least two days a week, like Rider would have. For some reason, I could also picture Rider and Sam and I all living together. Even though Rider has said that he likes living alone. I guess because they were roommates for a long time, and because when we are together, things tend to feel pretty domestic. This is all just a mind exercise, because it's never going to happen, but it is an interesting thing to think about that hadn't really occurred to me before.
Rider and I are back from our visit to Sam's. It was a lot of fun! I got to meet Sam's brother and a bunch of their old college buddies. I cooked for everyone and we had a bonfire both nights and played music. I always love visiting College Town and especially spending time with Sam.

This topic actually came up between Rider and me earlier in the week and had caused a little bit of trouble. I had been thinking about how rough it can be on me that I have only two nights a week scheduled with anyone now (i.e., Rider), and as I turned that thought over in my head while talking to him, I just sort of blurted out that since I get only two nights with him, hypothetically, if things were going well when my lease is up next year, I could actually move to College Town and be closer to Sam, and still travel to see Rider two days in a row each week.

That hurt Rider's feelings, because he took it to mean that I wanted to see him less or to be farther from him. Of course, neither is actually the case; I had just been thinking that, logistically, I could see him just as much but also get to see Sam regularly. Rider pointed out that we are able to get "stolen moments" in together because we live so close, and we are able to watch each other's pets, and even just knowing that I am so close is a comfort to him. He said that he tried to do the several-hours long-distance thing before with an ex, and there are all sorts of unforeseen things that come up and seemingly conspire to keep people apart. And it wasn't even a real, serious idea that I'd thought much about; I was just kind of thinking out loud and that was a thought I'd had. So I felt really bad that I hurt him through a bit of out-loud brainstorming.

As much as I care for Sam (and I really do), Rider is without a doubt my number one. He is my steady, solid partner, when everyone else seems to be in a different sort of orbit.

Despite that one little glitch that happened before our trip, everything with Rider and Sam went really well over the weekend. Friday night, after everyone else had gone to bed, Sam and I stayed up for a while talking and being close to each other. There was some kissing and hand-holding, and he sat with his long, fuzzy arm draped about my shoulder. It feels so good to be wrapped up in him. We talked about how neither of us can find anyone else that we like in our own respective towns.

At one point Saturday night, when we were all sitting around the bonfire and Rider was playing guitar and singing, my eyes met Sam's and they just locked solid for a moment. His pretty blue eyes were all illuminated by firelight and we stared for a second, electricity zipping through me, before breaking our gaze and both turning back to watch Rider again. That night after everyone else had gone home or to bed, Rider, Sam, and I got together in the hot tub, and I gave them both massages. While I was rubbing Sam, Rider rubbed my feet, and we were all just in our underwear and happy and steamy.

Sunday, I cooked breakfast for Rider, Sam, and Sam's brother, then more friends came over again and Rider and Sam tossed a football around, then Rider picked up his guitar, and I my bass, and Sam got on the drums, and we ran through a bunch of cover songs. Being locked into a rhythm with the two of them, each of our bodies pulsing to the same beat, is such a sensual experience. We have such an insane synergy when we are all together. Eventually, though, Rider and I had to go. We pushed it off till the last possible moment. I wanted to kiss Sam goodbye, but there were still others present, so we played it off with a big hug. We've been messaging more today.

One funny thing that happened was that Rider had invited me to a concert in a town about four hours away that Kelly (the 25-year-old) had a stack of tickets for. I agreed to go with them—the two of them and a friend of Kelly's—because I was curious about the music and also about Kelly, but I was a little uneasy about how Rider would divide his time with both of us there. Rider mentioned the show this weekend in front of Sam, and Sam wanted to go too! looks as though Rider and I might be, in a way, double-dating...with each other and other people! He'll have me and Kelly, and I'll have him and Sam. Hehe, poly is weird. Good, but weird. :p

Tonight, I am off to meet Shane for the first time. Hopefully we hit it off. Ugh, it is so rare for me to like local people.
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Well, the date with Shane was a bust. I mean, he's a nice enough guy and everything, and I clicked with him on a friendship level, but the physical attraction was not there. Bummer.

After that, I started hitting the online dating site hard, sending messages out to a couple of people whom I had stopped communication with before, telling them I was too busy. I also tried reaching out to a couple of new people. I have a date with one of the new people tomorrow.

I caught another cold over the course of the week (I swear my immune system has been on vacation for the past three months), and so I did a lot of staying in and being lazy trying to recover in time for my and Anna's housewarming party last night.

I did briefly go with Anna to an art show for one of her friends, and I had the curious experience of having a MUCH younger man—I think he is only 20!—attach himself to me for most of the night. He was very, very cute, and I am almost NEVER attracted to younger guys, much less THAT young. He was thin and elfin and intelligent, and he had gorgeous eyes; in short, he was exactly the type of guy I would have dated 15 years ago. I told him I don't date people who were born in the '90s, LOL. We did become Facebook friends, though, and so rare for me, I felt a bit of the cougar straining to be unleashed. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Me. Attracted to a person not even of drinking age. WTF?!

At the party last night, one of my friends brought a very attractive fellow along, and he and I were eyeing each other all night. Rider had some good conversations with him and decided to wing-man me into getting some time alone with him. However, I was sorely disappointed with the quality of our interaction. We kissed a bit, but all he wanted to talk about were my looks. I found him to be very shallow, and I tried to take the conversation other places, but he kept bringing it back to the physical—a real turnoff. I was very frank with him about that, and he left soon after.

He messaged me today apologizing and saying that he'd been drunk and has been kicking himself all day for blowing things with me. He wants a second chance. The humility and grace he showed in doing that tempts me to actually give him one. We did a little chatting (thankfully finally about things other than my appearance), and I suppose I'll meet up with him eventually. He is ridiculously handsome, with more than a passing resemblance to a 30-something Johnny Depp. I am wary about him, because I feel like maybe his pouring the compliments on is a tactic that he uses to try to get girls into bed, but they don't work on me like that. I need substance of some sort. I joked to Rider that the guy should have pretended like I was a man, so I could have had the same stimulating conversation that the two of them had had, and maybe things would have gone better for him. We'll see. I have my spidey-senses tuned to "hypervigilant."

Rider and I had some good times this week, as usual. A few days ago, I came up with this great idea of using the app Wunderlist to share a list of kinky stuff that he wants to do. We already had a relationship bucket list on there, but this was an even more fun use of the app. He added a bunch of stuff to it and detailed with comments the specifics, and then I commented back with my own thoughts and questions about each thing. It was delightfully naughty, and today, we checked our first new item off! I love exploring with him sexually. He is the best lover on the planet, and I swear when he takes his pants off, I get all excited like a little kid on Christmas with a freshly unwrapped toy. Haha.

I'm still waiting to hear from Rider what Claire's plans are over Thanksgiving to know if our regular schedule is in place this week or what. I at least know that Rider and I will be sleeping in on Thanksgiving proper and then going to dinner at the house of the mother of the friend we met through. She kind of collects strays on the holidays. The friend is someone that Rider dated for three years a long time ago (like 10 years ago), and they have been good friends ever since, almost like siblings at this point. She was the first person I met here in my current city, and I have become friends with her parents as well. It was actually at her birthday party last year that I first met Rider. It should be a fun day—her mom is a riot.
Had a bit of a chat today with Rider about how out schedule implementation is going, and the consensus is that it's going really well. Claire hasn't started any drama in a while, I am less frustrated and exasperated because of that, and Rider is a lot less stressed and frazzled now that he gets some alone time and there is a protocol in place for how to move things around and still keep things fair.

I had been kind of waiting for things to blow up, first with our trip to visit Sam, then with the day-swap necessary for my housewarming party, then with Thanksgiving scheduling, but it hasn't so far. I guess the combination of the set schedule and also Rider being more direct and frank with her has knocked some of the hysterics out of Claire. Which is really good: now that I don't have to constantly hear about her making trouble, I find I don't think much about her at all.

Which is not to say that I trust her yet. There are still...things...that occasionally pop up. Like for example, she and Rider got into some day drinking the day of my long-planned party, so that he was already hung over upon arrival and had to coffee himself and find a second wind. I was disappointed in that, but it turned out not to be a huge deal, because he managed to overcome it and was still quite boisterous and high-energy in the end.

I know that it was Rider's choice and not her fault that it happened in the first place, but I am pretty sure that she tends to try to be a "bad influence" on him in that way, and I wonder if she doesn't get a little perverse pleasure in the idea of "ruining" him for my big night. I am maybe still judging her too harshly based on past actions, but I can't help but wonder. It's the sort of thing that, if it were me, I would have tried to be considerate about, and if it's not active malice, it is at least that she doesn't seem to care at all.

One other thing that Rider and I discussed is that he's been verbally tossing around the idea of trying to hook up locally outside of me and Claire, now that he has a little time to himself. He's expressed a bit of envy about me and my constantly dating and interacting with new people. It's ironic, because I'm only doing so because I *wish* I could find a solid second person like he has. Meeting and dating is more stressful than exciting for me. So I envy him his solid situation, and he envies me my wildcard state of flux. The grass is always greener, I guess.

I brought up to him the thing I'd been mulling over on the topic of his potentially dating: what happens if someone else starts to really like him? He's said himself that he doesn't have time for a third girlfriend (his long-distance thing with Kelly is as close as he plans to come), and up until a few weeks ago, he was struggling even to balance two. I asked him what he would do if he did indeed date and found the other person or himself being attached. He thought about it and at first, he said he didn't know.

That led us through this whole conversation that ended up with the solution that if he does date, with the intention of finding casual sex partners, he'll have to be clear with them from the outset that he's looking only for a FWB once-in-a-while thing, and that he's not available for a bf/gf-type romantic relationship. That was the solution he came up with on his own, in response to my posing the question and our talking through it, and I think it is the safest bet.

It will let people know of his intentions from the outset and will provide some small layer of protection against any new people getting hurt or Rider hurting anyone (himself included) in our existing polyship by upsetting our new, tenuously balanced equilibrium. While in theory the idea of having whatever connections one can find, on whatever level, with anyone else is great, I think in practice it would be difficult to impossible for Rider to add another day-to-day, week-to-week partner and still maintain the current quality of relationship that he has with me and with Claire.

So I was really glad that we talked about that, because now he has that tool—the no-relationship disclaimer—in his arsenal for if/when he goes out in the world seeking some new fun. I *absolutely* want him to have all of the fun he desires, and for him to experience all of the people and all of the things that he possibly can. And I think it will be a lot more possible for him if he has ways of doing that that don't put him in immediate danger of completely exploding his existing situation.

As for me, the search continues. I will let you know how my date goes tonight...
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Oh, boy. So many things to report.

I guess the first one is my date the other night. The guy seemed REALLY smart, really nice, really REAL, and he was decent-looking enough that I could possibly see an attraction growing there. But here's where things get weird. After dinner, we wanted to keep hanging out, and he doesn't drink and drive—not even one drink—so he wanted to go to a hookah bar instead of a bar-bar. I looked it up online and found a place that does hookah and kava, and we headed there.

Once inside at a table, I look up, and I see—of all people—BRANDON! He was working there! He'd never told me he worked there, even once having me drop him off a few blocks away in a parking lot. I was utterly flabbergasted and could not speak or act normal for long enough that I had to apologize profusely to my date once I found my wits again. Brandon had always been very mysterious, but I was not expecting to run into him on my date. He pretended not to notice me. I say "pretended" because there was kind of no way he could have missed me.

The plot thickened as I realized that a girl sitting at the bar was someone I'd seen in a lot of Brandon's Facebook pics. He'd told me on our first date that he "used to" work in a kava bar, and that his most recent ex used to come in and sit at the bar keeping an eye on him, because she always thought he was cheating on her. Was he telling the present like it was the past?

When I got home, I looked more closely through his pics and clicked on her page as well. There was a hand on the waist here, an arm around the shoulders in a hot tub there...a photo of him with her going back to October 2013. Holy shit—he'd been cheating on this girl the whole time, sometimes with me?

I messaged him to let him know I'd seen him, and he kept up the charade that he hadn't seen me, telling me that I should have gone over to say hello, and then getting really flirtatious and risqué in the remainder of the conversation. I figured there was a shred of a chance that I'd been wrong, so I tolerated his flirting for a bit, figuring I'd find stuff out eventually. I did not flirt back.

On Friday, I saw pictures of her in his lap and him with her family at Thanksgiving, so I knew my instinct had been right on. I messaged him asking him point-blank if he had a girlfriend, and he said that he now did, but that it was very recent. I somehow doubt that it happened between his saying quite explicit things to me the night before and eating a holiday dinner with her family. What a creep! I am so done with him. I feel sorry for the girl, but it's none of my business. I was so right to drop him when I did.

The other news is that Rider stepped in it hardcore with Claire this week, and it led him to reconsider whether they even belong together anymore. She is so angry with him that she canceled their plans over the weekend and told him “we’ll talk next week.” She later tried to take that back and asked to talk to him sooner, but he told her he needed time to process stuff, so they are having a discussion tomorrow night.

Basically what had happened is that I'd been bugging him and bugging him about letting me know what he planned to do for Thanksgiving. If I wasn't spending it with him, I was going to look into volunteering at a soup kitchen or something, because I don't have many friends here that I am holiday-close with. Last weekend, he finally told me that he and I are going to spend Thanksgiving together, despite it being a Thursday, which is usually her night, and that he'd see her Tuesday instead, as she had offered to cook him dinner. He and I would go eat with the family of the friend who’d introduced us. I thought it was all settled and that he’d actually communicated this to her as well—hence my earlier post about no blowup happening.

As it turns out, he had never actually TOLD her that Tuesday was intended to be a swap-day for Thursday. She had asked him if he wanted to come to her friend's house with her for the Thanksgiving party her friend was throwing, and Rider had never given her an answer. He DID go see her on Tuesday but left her with the impression that it was a bonus day, not a substitute day. (Anyone who has been following my story knows that this type of communication failure between them is an ongoing problem.)

So it was the day before Thanksgiving, and she reminded him that he hadn’t given her an answer about her friend’s party, and he told her his plans, and all hell broke loose. I can’t blame her for being angry—I’d be pissed at his poor communication too! I never let stuff get to that point, though, because I stay on top of him about stuff (see the earlier part about my bugging and bugging him) because I know how he is with planning.

After her blowing up and then canceling their weekend plans, he came to me half-stressed and half-excited, telling me that I can see him all weekend, and he can now accompany me to the art show I’d been planning to attend alone. I was of course happy at getting so much time with him, but I was also mystified: so he pisses her off to the degree that she is barely speaking to him, and EXCITEMENT is one of his resulting emotions? Excitement at getting to see me overrides panic at the shitstorm he’s cause?

I told him where he had fucked up, and we had a huge discussion about it. His response was basically “I’ll either fix it and things will be OK…or I can’t and they won’t.” And his putting it like that—just putting the end of their relationship due to his own fuckup out there so plainly and matter-of-factly—made it seem to me like he didn’t even want to be with her anymore. So I asked him. He told me that even though there are a lot of things that he loves about her, he’s not sure anymore that he’s staying in the relationship for the right reasons. Something between them is unhealthy and broken, and they seem to make each other unhappy more than they should.

He says he had been putting off telling her because he was afraid of how she’d react, and that time had gotten away from him. I told him all that did was make the situation much worse. I guess something between them really is broken if he fears her reactions enough to put it off to the point where it is a near-guarantee that the reaction will be worse. I guess it’s possible that his Thanksgiving fuckup was maybe a subconscious form of sabotage? I know he’d never hurt her on purpose—he can be thoughtless sometimes but never intentionally cruel—but he does have a conflict-avoidance streak that I could see leading to accidental dump-instigation.

I have no clue. I’ve of course let him know that I will be there for him if he has to go through something difficult. Before we were ever lovers, we were best friends, and we still consider each other best friends. And I reminded him that even if the two of them break up, he and I are not going to default into monogamy—I’m still poly and still want to be open. He responded that he knows that and feels the same way. So…I guess we’re just going to have to see where things go?

All I know right now is that he and I had a lovely stretch of time together (from Wednesday afternoon until earlier tonight, with a brief interruption for both of us to work on Friday), visiting with a number of friends, having a great holiday, doing karaoke, seeing a movie, going to brunch, attending a football party, going to the art show, having another threesome with Allie, and having amazing sex every day. I feel a little weird that I had such a good time as a result of Claire's misery, but nothing that happened between them is my fault, so it seemed innocuous to take the time when it was offered (though I did first suggest that he "chase" her if that was maybe what she wanted). I suppose I'll find out tomorrow or Tuesday how things go.
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You guys, Rider is having his big convo with Claire right now—he got off of work about three hours ago and headed straight over there—and I am feeling so much anxiety on his behalf.

He was talking about it earlier today, and it sounds like he is going to try to salvage things. He wrote a literal list of things he needs to discuss with her and suggestions for things that they need to try to change if they want things to be healthy. If things go poorly, he is still willing to walk away, but he does love her and he wants to get to a healthy place with her.

I told him that I wish him luck in getting his points across clearly, and in catching Claire in a good mood—that I hope she is willing to listen and consider all that he has to say, and I hope it becomes clear to the both of them over the course of their conversation what needs to be done to keep them both happy and healthy.

He said he has "a good feeling about it" although he was quite nervous. He asked me if he could "call [me] for decompression" after it was over, and I told him of course.

So now I keep waiting for that phone to ring. I'm not going to text him and interrupt to make sure he's OK, as much as I want to. I know he'll be OK. Even if he has some rough moments, he'll be OK. But still, my anxiety spins up the longer I go without hearing from him. I'm prepared to be the calm, solid rock he needs once it actually rings, but it's the waiting. When you love someone so much, it's so hard to know that they are going through something tough.
What the actual fuck.

Rider "made things better" with Claire by canceling with me on Christmas so she could have the whole day instead of 50/50. After telling me NOT to buy a plane ticket home to be with my family because he wanted to see me over the holiday. After all of the hand-holding I did to help him through his rough patch with her. After as fucking worried about him as I was last night. He just throws me under the bus when it looks like he is going to lose her, because he was pretty sure that she was about to leave him over Thanksgiving.


I am alternating between speechlessness and torrents of black-mood ranting.

Seriously, I have no one else in this town and so I was GOING TO LEAVE and he ASKED ME TO STAY and then DITCHED ME.

This is not a relationship-extinction-level error, but it is damned close.


Why am I the one who is made to suffer for their poor communication?