The Best Life Yet

Reverie

Active member
This weekend. Holy shit. It was weird. A lot of good, a little bad, and just a ton going on.

Friday night, I had a chastity date with Rider. We went to our darkest neighborhood restaurant/bar and got nachos and margaritas. We miraculously got seats at the bar during happy hour, which meant that said margaritas and nachos were only $5 apiece. Plus I could fondle his cage surreptitiously under the bar since he was wearing a kilt.

Then we headed over to Trader Joe's where I wanted to pick up a couple more bottles of that good wine that Dustin and I had found. On the way, though, we passed by a place that was having an opening. It was a rock/crystal store downstairs and an art gallery upstairs. I wanted to check it out, so we walked around. I saw a shit-ton of labradorite, which is my favorite, but it was all horribly overpriced. But I still had fun fondling the rocks. I don't go in for the bullshit end of crystal things, but I really do like rocks in just a "neat science things" kinda way.

Trader Joe's was good and uneventful. They had the wine. I got a bottle to drink with Rider that night, and one to drink on my trip.

When we got back home, Rider and I hung out just smooching and talking. Then he played a recording of a cover song he'd made for me, and it made me feel super weird emotionally, and I kind of reacted in the wrong way probably. I think the lyrics made me feel oddly pressured and defensive, because they seemed so . . . kind of mono-centered . . . and it felt to me, whether true or not, like he wanted me to shift that mono-centered-ness onto him? And I can't do that right now, so I started saying this whole thing about how no one can really be anyone else's home—we each have to be our own home and other people are visitors—and Rider got really upset.

In hindsight, this is totally understandable, because we've always talked about each other in those terms, and here I was suddenly deviating from it. But I just felt so put on the spot, like in recording that and playing it for me, with lyrics like "you're my only home" and talking about "rather not roaming," that he was almost asking me for reciprocity in that in a way that I couldn't give him with Dustin in the picture. The truth is that Rider is *A* home base for me, a place of peace and respite, but at this point, he is not "my only home." And both of us have been talking for months about how much he actually wants to "roam." So I felt like shit and made verbal objections which made him feel like shit and we had to work it out.

We did work it out, though. And we ended up playing with the cats together and bonding and having strap-on sex, which is one of his favorites.

In the morning, I woke up earlier than my alarm, for some reason. I packed and showered. Rider made coffee. Dustin showed up exactly at 10:00 on the dot. While I grabbed my bags and our travel mugs of coffee, Dustin showed Rider the little tricks to his car, which we were leaving for him since we were taking the one that Rider and I share. I always love how Dustin makes an effort with Rider, reaching out first to shake his hand, or going in for a hug, or joking and making small talk.

Dustin and I piled into the car and hit the road. Traffic was not too bad, and we got to his buddy's place by like 12:40. We'd briefly popped by this property the last time we were in the desert—it's an art ranch with crazy sculptures everywhere and a performance space and airstream trailers. The dude had offered for us to stay in one of the airstreams.

He hosts crazy events there, though, because of the unique ambience and performance space, and it happened that he was having one that night. He said we'd be welcome to stick around for it and mill about, but we weren't really into the scene. (It was very pot-centric and neither of us are much into smoking.)

We opened our bottle of wine and shared it with the host and his partner. They were both super sweet. Dustin has known them both for years. The host dude is somewhere in his 60s, and his partner seemed maybe 10 years younger than that. That's about the age of my parents, so it was cool to hang with people who were still wild artist types at that age, given that my father has passed and my mother turned super religious as she got older.

After a glass of wine, we put our stuff in the airstream. It was tricked out in a style that exactly matched the outfit I'd picked for the next day: rainbow zebra print and purple velvet everywhere. There was a metal double bed with real springs and a heavy metal sofa and chair. It was all so cool!

Once we were set up, Dustin and I headed out to the wilderness, onto national park land. The rangers told us we'd pay our fee on the way out. We took some mushrooms and headed off the beaten path with our picnic lunch (which was all the food I'd mentioned in my previous post). We wandered for a good long while, deeper and deeper into the desert.

"We'll know the spot when we find it," Dustin said.

And then we did. We dubbed it "coyote canyon" because we could see a great many animal tracks in the sand, and some seemed to be those of coyotes. It was a sandy wash at the mouth of a little canyon that clearly turns into a river in flash flood situations, but the sky was totally clear of clouds, so we were safe.

The mushrooms started kicking in right after we laid our blanket down and started to eat. They miraculously did not inhibit our appetites.

After eating, Dustin and I lay down on the blanket, just kissing and looking into each other's eyes. I was amazed because every other time I've tripped with a partner, I've felt a heavy sadness like we were going to break up—some kind of heavy vibe that my own head lays on me. But in this moment, I felt only peace and rightness. We had one crazy moment where the breeze had been blowing softly over us, rustling the desert plants, and I whispered some kind of sweetness to Dustin, and as soon as the the words left my mouth, the breeze dead stopped for a full minute, plunging the canyon into complete silence. We both giggled nervously and remarked upon it.

I was intoxicated by the mushrooms, but I was even more intoxicated by just Dustin himself. The light-colored iris texture in the blue of his eyes, with that very slight orange ring around the pupil. The plumpness of his lips. The sparkling silver that is starting to come into the blonde of his hair near the temples and above his ears. The crinkled texture under the corners of his eyes. The way his facial hair is every possible color: black and brown and red and blonde and white.

After the first wave of the drugs came on and we'd settled into them, we decided to explore. At Dustin's encouragement, I ended up climbing waaaaay the fuck up on top of a big outcropping of rock. I was up so high that I could see all the way back to the car, and all the way into the next valley. It was magnificent. I love rock climbing, though I don't know the official techniques. I always just kind of wedge and spiderman my body into the places it needs to go to ascend.

Dustin never came all the way to the top, but he did meet me halfway on my descent on the other side. We climbed down together and decided to follow the canyon to see where it led. We finally found an old dry dam, obviously human made, and decided to turn back. We saw so many cool plants and weird little caves on the way. I even spotted some kind of tiny frog or toad! In the desert! It seemed so out of place.

When we got back to our picnic blanket, it was almost sunset, so we decided to pack up and head back. We hadn't taken very much of the mushrooms, so they had already worn off of me by the time we got back to the car, and I was fine to drive. We headed back to our airstream. On the way, we passed a car that had flipped up onto its side. The chick was talking to police and seemed unscathed, but we wondered how anyone could manage to flip a car on such an untroublesome desert road. The ranger station was closed as we left, so we never did have to pay the fee.

(continued . . . )
 
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Reverie

Active member
( . . . continued from previous)

When we reached the compound again, the event had started. Everything was covered in special colored lights and gourds. Everything was fancy. Our host had told us that people were paying $200 per person to get into this thing. They were serving martinis with pot leaf garnishes, and a chick was playing a flute and singing bowls on the main stage. There was live glass-blowing and artisanal pot-infused truffles circulating. The attendees all seemed rich and a little pretentious. We ate some more mushrooms and wandered about for a while. Then Dustin led me by the hand over to an unpopulated part of the property and pointed at a big, rocky hill in the background.

"I wonder what time the moon rises. Wouldn't it be great to watch it from up there?" he asked, kissing me almost between every word.

I checked my phone. "This says it rises at 6:42, and it's at 98.8% full! It's 6:46. It's probably coming up now but behind one of these mountains."

"We have to be quick then!" he exclaimed, dragging me back into the desert on foot. We carefully picked our way up the big hill in total darkness. No one fell, though there were a few stumbles. Finally we mounted the pinnacle rock, just as the glow started to crest the horizon. We sat on the edge, our feet dangling over the sheer cliff face.

We could see and hear all of our host's neighbors. A couple dogs barked. Someone drove a noisy four-wheeler up a dirt road. A wedding party fired up, with the DJ playing "Love Shack" so loud that it overpowered every other sound in the valley. The moon rose.

It rose directly between two peaks, not totally full, but so close. It came up slow and orange, with the craters clearly defined. Dustin and I kissed, stared at the moon, stared at the sky, kissed some more. The wedding party below became more frenzied, with the DJ making announcements for the parent-child dances and to sign the guest book before leaving. People were cheering and becoming audibly more drunk. The wind picked up, making us shiver. We clung close to each other. A couple of meteors shot across the sky.

It seemed so crazy to me that we were up on that rock cliff celebrating our love in our own way, in silence and wonderment, while other people celebrated their love with raucous abandon down below, filling the entire valley with their joy. I had this feeling of . . . like . . . so . . . Dustin has said a lot of things about marriage. He's said he doesn't understand why people do it. But then he's said he wishes he was married to me instead of my being married to Rider. He's said it's not actually something that he cares about doing. But then he's said that if we ever had a kid, he'd wish he could do it for the stability.

The feeling I had was like none of that even mattered. Like being up there with him, so wide open to him and the universe under the moonlight, we were bonded together in a way that words and laws and labels couldn't even touch. Like I can't be married to him legally, but we are something to each other—something unstoppable and timeless and perfect.

I looked at his moonlit face, and the cold wind blew our hair around, and there we were, on the edge of a cliff on top of a big hill in the middle of the desert, with life and parties and dogs happening all around us, with meteors streaking the sky, and it was him who had brought me to this perfect moment. It was him who had the idea to come to the desert. It was him who'd forged a close enough friendship with this amazing eccentric artist fellow that the dude welcomed us into his compound. It was him who sourced the mushrooms and fed them to me with his own hand. It was him who had asked the time of the moonrise and led me up the crazy hill. It was him who swung his legs over the cliff and pulled me close. It was him, staring at me with sincerity and love, with the moon sparkling in his eyes, as we sat on top of the world. I cannot even describe the absolute perfection.

Eventually we started to get cold and hungry, though. The moon had traveled high enough into the sky that it was smaller and whiter. The drugs had again worn off. We carefully descended and sneaked over to my car, dodging the pot party so we could head into town and grab a bite.

The trip into town was pretty uneventful. We had a round of drinks and split a veggie burger. We shot the shit. We texted with our friends a bit since town had phone service. Then we went "home."

When we got back, we dropped the molly he'd brought and circulated through the party a bit. He ran into a chick he knew from his farming days—she used to organize the farmer's market he sold at, and now she was doing culinary direction for these crazy events. We invited her into the airstream and hung out for a bit on the couches.

Eventually the party wrapped up and the molly kicked in. Dustin and I ended up hanging out after hours with our host and the glassblower dudes, taking tequila shots and chasing them with sparkling wine. I was feeling fine, swaying and spinning and dancing to no music. When our host went to bed, we retired to our trailer and had a massage-trading party of two, listening through my phone speaker to the playlist he'd made and continuing to sip Prosecco. He gives amazing massages, and I was so relaxed that I don't even remember falling asleep.

We woke to the sunlight streaming into the windows on all sides. Dustin initiated sex, and somehow I came from missionary again. (!!!) I guess that is a thing now. I had no idea. Dustin took a lot longer and actually ended up rocking the whole trailer, which gave me the giggles. I hope our host was on the other end of the compound at that point!

We cleaned up and headed back out into the world. We'd decided to visit hot springs on our way back home, and we offered for our host and his partner to accompany us, our treat, but they asked for a rain check.

We went to my favorite restaurant in town and split a brunch. It was very good! Then we wandered through a used book store and found a bunch of stuff we wanted. Dustin picked two Steinbecks he'd never heard of and . . . something else. I picked a Camus I'd never read and a Dostoevsky I'd been intending to read again. We popped into an old West-themed bar for a bloody mary and perched on a picnic table out back, people-watching and talking about books.

As I sipped and stared at him, I was marveling again at all the perfection. When else in my life have I been with someone who will split a meal with me, wander through a used bookstore with me, actually knowing who the authors are and having opinions and wanting books, and then suggest drinking a cocktail in the sunlight? I really do have so much fun with him.

When we finished our drinks, we headed to the hot springs. On the way there, I saw a cloud rainbow, which I have never seen before. It was basically a spot way up in the cloud where the sunlight was making a rainbow. Pretty cool!

The hot springs was great. We went through the pools twice and finished in the sauna. My skin is still so soft from the mineral water. Then we drove back, had more fantastic sex, and took a nap. And then he brought me home, retrieving his car.

When I got home, Rider seemed weird. He says he was just tired, having accidentally fallen asleep while waiting for me to come home. He said he'd had a wonderful weekend, so I wasn't sure what was wrong. He said that falling asleep had made him irritable, and he didn't even want to tell me about his weekend, so we just went to bed, where I am typing this from. I'd been anticipating some of that transitional weirdness, but I didn't even get that since Rider was unwilling to connect at all. I guess we'll trade stories tomorrow.

All in all, it was a crazy-amazing weekend. It felt like a week's vacation somehow, even though it was the normal amount of weekend days. I sometimes forget how much nature recharges me, but it really does. I need to go more often.
 
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Reverie

Active member
Yesterday was all right. I woke up with some vague UTI-ish feelings, probably due to dehydration and a ton of vigorous camper sex after which I was too lazy to pee after because the bathroom was all the way in the main house.

Because I'm not spending the night with Dustin till Wednesday, he had Sunday, last night, and tonight that he's sleeping alone, so the plan was that I'd do a brief pop-by after work just to break up the block of time that we're missing each other. Rider had been fine with the idea.

When I got there, Dustin had surprised me with a bottle of wine and some savory treats. I wasn't much for the wine due to the UTI stuff, so I had only a few sips, but the treats were good. We put on a cooking and foraging show that we both really like and watched that while we snacked. Then he showed me a stack of books he'd pulled from his shelf for me to read, thinking I'd like them. That was pretty exciting. And then we just cuddled and made out a little till it was time for me to go home. I'd arrived just before 6:00 and stayed till only 7:15, but we made the most of it.

I stopped on the way home and got my cranberry arsenal to fend off the baddies, and also to get some kitty food.

When I got home, Rider had also surprised me—chocolate stout and bread and cheese. He was playing guitar, though, and didn't stop when I came through the door. I put my stuff down and waited for him to be finished with the song, take the guitar off, and kiss me, but he didn't. So I walked over to him and kissed him while he was still holding it. I sat down and waited for him to be done. When he didn't stop, I picked up one of the books I'd bought in the desert and started reading, occasionally glancing at him to see if he seemed to be at a stopping point.

I'd been thinking we were going to hang out when I got home because, all day over IM, he'd been talking about how he was "excited about reconnecting with me." But he seemed super distracted. Finally, kind of weirded out, I said, "Hey, do you want to hang out with me?"

And he'd said that he thought I was in the middle of something and wanted to be left alone. I told him I'd only picked the book up because he was in the middle of something and I'd been waiting for him to be done.

So he took off the guitar again, put some music on, and we cobbled the snack together. We sat down to eat it, and I said, "So, tell me about your weekend!"

And Rider said, between bites, "I just want to eat right now. Maybe later?"

I said, "OK," and we without speaking anymore.

When we were done eating and the food was put away, we sat near each other on the couch, just looking at each other and blinking. Occasionally I took a tiny sip of stout. I kept waiting for him to tell me about his weekend, but I didn't want to ask him again because it had actually been the third time I'd asked since I'd gotten back. I, myself, couldn't think of much to say. I didn't want to talk about my weekend first because I didn't want to blabber on about Dustin before having some other real conversation with Rider.

So we stared and blinked and didn't say anything. A cat climbed up onto each of our chests, and we cooed about the cats, and then we fell asleep, legs intertwined, lying at opposite ends of the couch. We slept for nearly three hours. I woke up for a little while and texted with Dustin while Rider kept sleeping. I took a photo of Rider and cats and my legs in a big pile. Then I fell asleep again.

When I woke up, it was after midnight. Rider was prepping himself salads for the work week, which is something that I usually do for him if I have time. He asked if I'd be willing to give him a hand with touching himself when we went to bed. I said sure. So we did that and then went back to sleep. I slept solidly for another 6.5 hours or so, having crazy dreams all night and cuddling Rider hard.

I feel a little weird about how detached Rider has been the past couple nights—first when I just got home from my trip, and again last night when we were supposed to be actually hanging out and just fell asleep instead of even chatting.

Tonight he has happy hour with some people. He'd been trying to schedule HH with a friend from work, and also one with a friend who was visiting from out of town, but his schedule this week is so busy that he ended up seeing if they both wanted to hang out at once, and I guess they did. I'm burned out on meeting new people and I'm also not drinking much till I feel my infection has cleared, so I opted out.

Tomorrow Rider has a poly meetup, and then Thursday he has a dinner date. Friday we supposed to hang out but he might cut out for a couple hours to do the jam party with his new guy friend, since he wants to go but I'm not interested. Saturday he has another poly meetup, and then an outing planned with a squad of both his fan club friends and also a few of his new poly friends. I think we actually get to have some uninterrupted time again Sunday.

For the first time in a long while, I've had to schedule my own schedule around Rider's busy schedule instead of Dustin's. I'm going to do tomorrow and Thursday with Dustin (though Thursday will be interrupted by his rehearsal). Then I'm just going to chill at home and read in between Rider moments on Friday, while he's at his jam session. Val canceled on me for the plant work on Saturday, so I'm going to try to do a different plant thing, a volunteer opportunity where they teach you stuff in exchange for trash pickup and weeding. Then, after that, I'm going to go to Dustin's, but he has to play that night. Then Sunday I have to come home and meet the pet-sitter in the afternoon in preparation for my trip back East. And I'll have the evening with Rider.

So, truly, for the rest of the week I have only one uninterrupted night with each of my guys: Wednesday with Dustin and Sunday with Rider. That's kind of a bummer, but it is what it is. Errrbody so busy! Except, for once, me. I'm just going with the flow of what they're up to.
 

Reverie

Active member
Rider ended up staying at his "happy hour outing" till after 10:00 last night. Happy hourS, I guess. It was fine by me because I ended up avalanched under work and didn't even leave the office till after 8:00. Then I went to Trader Joe's, got some more cranberry juice and some lunch supplies. I tried to go to the pet store to get the kind of cat litter I like, but they were sold out. So I went home and just continued working.

When Rider got home, he seemed pretty chipper and happy. Since his spirits seemed improved, I decided to ask him if anything had been wrong the past couple of nights since he'd seemed pretty detached, and he said no and seemed surprised that I thought he'd been detached.

He said, "It sucks, though, nights like tonight when I could have hung out with you but then I didn't. I don't get to see you enough."

When I pointed out to him that it was his own calendar that was packed with non-me activities for five nights in a row when I didn't have anything scheduled and he could choose to do otherwise, he grumbled something about not getting to see me enough because I have a boyfriend. I gently reminded him that I'd scheduled my Dustin stuff around Rider's own schedule this week, even though it meant having crappy days with Dustin when he has to play or rehearse those nights. Rider thanked me for that, but still said, "It does suck, though."

I made a conscious effort not to be exasperated and went back to my work, putting my feet on him affectionately because I know he likes that. He dozed for a bit, then got up and took a shower, asking me if I'd like to do sex things when he got out. I said that I would, though I still didn't want anything done to me till I felt a little more healed up.

I ended up giving him a handjob that he seemed very much to enjoy. I was considering a blowjob but my lips felt too salty from eating too many sunflower seeds while working, haha, so I decided maybe next time.

After that, I was supposed to go right back to work, but I cuddled up to Rider. I asked him (again) if he wanted to tell me about his weekend, and he said, "Right now? Let's just afterglow." And we fell asleep for a little while. I really do love cuddling with him. I was talking about my lack of desire on my other thread over in the Corner and . . . even though I'm not feeling sexual desire, I feel happy and good about cuddling. I like the warm-creature feelings of having a person I care about curled up with me, like puppies in a box.

Eventually, I woke up and resumed working. I missed a goodnight text from Dustin, so I wrote him back. I ended up working till after 3:00, but I finally got done what I needed done and went to sleep.

It occurred to me after Rider shot me down to hear about his weekend for the fourth time that we haven't had more than a perfunctory conversation in a while. It's been band stuff, pet stuff, chore stuff, schedule/planning stuff, and that's about it. We do still say affectionate things, like, "I love you" and "I can't wait to see you," but that's about it. Any attempts I've made at digging a little deeper have been shut down.

It used to be that we would go off on our separate adventures and come home and regale each other with tales. I'm still willing to do that, but I can't seem to drag anything out of him. I don't think he's hiding anything, per se, and I know what his plans were, so I know what he probably did, but it's really unlike him to not want to tell me his story. And I've kind of gotten a vibe like he doesn't want to hear mine either.

He was supposed to go to a poly meetup on Saturday afternoon, then go to the goth club with that chick he's been flirting with and her partner. I saw he was tagged in a photo on Facebook, so he went. But beyond that, I know nothing.

I just feel really weird about it. Like, Rider is my best friend and has been for years. I tell him stuff I don't even tell Oona. And vice versa.

And suddenly we are living these separate lives, which is OK, but he doesn't even seem to want to talk to me about it. I'm happy for him that he's making tons of new friends and has tons of new interests and is a member of multiple music and poly groups now. I know that a wide circle and a feeling of community is important to him in a way that it is not to me, and I'm thrilled that he's finally found that in our home city. He's found fan-club friends and wrestling friends and friends to jam with and friends who like to go to the goth club that is always too crowded for me to enjoy, and now he's getting really interested in the poly community and queer/non-binary issues in a way he wasn't before—at least, I gather that from the names of the meetups he's attending.

And I'm off doing my thing with Dustin three nights a week, deep-diving into food and literature and nature and having debates (because there's a lot philosophically that we disagree on).

Rider does invite me out to the stuff he does, but . . . while I like their music, I'm not a superfan of the fan-club band . . . and I've never been able to get into the wrestling . . . and I never really care about jamming in groups other than our own band . . . and that goth club is always too crowded . . . and I really just don't have space in my life for any new partners or even platonic friends (I neglect the ones I have!) so going to meetups to meet new people is the opposite of what I need. There are so many more "me-things" I'd rather be spending that time on.

But even if I don't want to go along with him to the three-to-six things he's got scheduled every week lately, I still want to hear about them and feel close to him. And I like sharing that stuff with him, too!

He might not want to go along to the cool plant volunteer opportunity I found for Saturday morning, but I'll tell him about it and show him the pictures when I'm done. I really wanted to tell him about all the cool stuff I saw with Dustin in the desert, too, but he really seems not to want to trade weekend stories.

Maybe he's just having an off week . . .
 

Reverie

Active member
Just because I'm a compulsive communicator, I poked Rider one more time. He said this:

I think this is the worst week I've had at work since I've been working here. And it's only Wednesday.

Maybe if I get some free time, we can chat and I can tell you about my weekend. It was fun. I'm looking forward to hanging out with [goth club chick] again tomorrow for some one-on-one time. She wanted to check out that Japanese curry place we go.

I'm also possibly meeting a girl from OKC after work today at the retro bar. I'm trying to iron out the details, so it's a maybe right now. She's someone who isn't poly so most likely if anything, we would just be friends. But honestly, even that seems in doubt from the few back and forths we've had so far.

I need to follow up with the other girl that was chatting with me on OKC.

And, as of yesterday, there's now a third person that I've been talking to on there, about dystopian novels. Really cute girl. It's becoming hard to keep track of it all.

I'm sorry we haven't been talking enough this week. I'm fucking exhausted. But I do love you, and I want you to hear all of my stories.

So. The reason he hasn't been talking to me is because he's been talking to four other women. Which is fine. If that's where he needs to place his focus right now until he finds the balance he seeks, I am not going to complain about that. I've got plenty of other things vying for my attention and energy.
 

Reverie

Active member
I need a vent.

1. Rider finally told me about his weekend, and it turns out he made out with that chick on Saturday night. That does not bother me. What does bother me is that he waited five days and my all but prying the story of his weekend out of him (this was request #5) before telling me. When I told him that I had a problem with that and it made me feel weird, his response was literally this:

"Oh, I didn't realize that would be weird. I apologize if that makes you feel not good. To me, making out is not a very big deal. If I'd had sex with her, I feel like I would have felt compelled to tell you immediately. Still, I understand and apologize if that makes you upset."

Remember how I got upset that Dustin had kept fooling around with some chick from me for a day and a half and several hours into our hangout? Rider kept making out with someone from me for FIVE DAYS. We had three overnights together in that time, and he has another date with her TONIGHT. And he didn't think to mention it and didn't think I'd feel weird about that.

We have zero precedent for not telling each other more or less immediately after something happens, so I am completely at a loss for where his head is at.

2. I came up with some ideas for how to increase our feeling connected to each other as a result of my desire thread, and a lot of it came down to focusing together on things/activities that we have in common and making more of an attempt to engage emotionally and communicate when we're together. Rider thought this was a great idea and responded very positively.

As a result of our talking about this, we ended up in a convo about how I am aware of my NRE and work at redirecting my attention when I get distracted when I'm with him, to try to keep our connection focused. I admitted that it was sometimes a struggle because there are a lot of things that remind me of Dustin at this time, but that I try not to mention them in the moment to avoid unduly derailing our conversation. Rider asked me what I mean, so I told him a couple of things, like how when Rider suggested a couple of things that we might do, it made me think of how Dustin suggested that exact thing a few days ago—natural thought progression that I correct and move on from. I said it's pretty common for me because Dustin suggests a LOT of things all the time.

And Rider said it frustrates him that there are things that remind me of Dustin when I'm with him, and I told him the same thing also happens in reverse—I get reminded of him when with Dustin. Besides, some of that is just going to happen—there is going to be overlaps and reminders because I live in the same city with both of these guys, and there will be memories or suggestions of one or the other that spring to mind at a cue.

And Rider said, "Isn't there anything that can be just you and me that you can be 100% present for?"

And I said that other partners aside, it's hard for me to be 100% present at any give time with ANYONE in any situation. There's always 1% of my brain that is chattering away about that dog that just went by or something that happened at work or what I'm going to cook for dinner or a fight I had with Oona or whatever. Sometimes that 1% is a different dude because I love two dudes. We're poly.

I thought that explanation would help put it in perspective, but it made matters worse. He said that the other stuff I might be thinking about is "not what we're talking about right now," and this is where I started to get frustrated, feeling like he's trying to be the "thought police."

Like, seriously, I am ALMOST NEVER 100% focused on ANYTHING. I am even distractible (with any partner) during SEX—my mind might momentarily wander to the shopping list or did I set my alarm. I believe that it's unrealistic to expect 100% presence at all times from a partner. All I can do is notice that it's happening and redirect my attention.

And whether there's "anything that can just be [Rider] and me," that is untouched by any other partner and never brings anyone else to mind . . . I don't think there is. There's a lot of stuff I like to do, but I want to share that with whoever I'm with. He started talking about how even PLACES feel sullied to him, like we got married in the desert and since I've been to the desert with Dustin, now he feels like he doesn't want to even go there anymore.

I just . . . like . . . YES I will do the best I can to redirect my attention when I have been distracted. But NO I cannot completely control my thoughts, and just because something reminds me momentarily of another partner does not mean it's tainted or something. I can't totally compartmentalize my mind into a bubble where I think only of one partner when I'm with them. I can control what I SAY to whatever degree I choose to, but to expect me to keep THOUGHTS out of my head is just kind of a) insane and b) not very poly at all.

Ugh. Ugh-ugh-ugh.
 

Reverie

Active member
The anger has passed and now I just feel sad.

I'm sad that the person who used to tell me everything is now leaving important info out and doesn't think that's even weird. I'm sad that he doesn't recognize that he's special enough to me that my experience with him doing a thing is valuable to me even if I've done the same thing with someone else.

I'm sad that my desire for him is all but gone lately. I'm sad that there are directions I'm thinking of taking my life in that aren't compatible with where he wants his life to go. I'm sad that we have to sit there and brainstorm what our shared interests still are.

I'm sad that he seems more interested in connecting with me physically than emotionally. I'm sad that sometimes it seems impossible to get my true intention through to him—he's been interpreting things in the most negative way possible.

I'm sad that the past three nights we spent together involved mostly him or both of us just sleeping on the couch. I'm sad that I left my schedule mostly clear and he packed it with seven things to do that have nothing to do with me, after both of us said how good it would be to spend time together now that crazy October is over. I'm sad that he tells me he's all out of energy but hasn't canceled any of his plans to make some for me.

I'm sad that next week is going to be more of the same—we're likely getting only two nights together because he's got a concert scheduled and then is going to Florida for five days and I couldn't afford the extra days off.
 

Reverie

Active member
So I'm still at the office because Dustin had rehearsal tonight and offered me the options of coming with him, getting back to his house on my own, or staying and working late till he can pick me up. I originally really wanted to come with him and sit in on the rehearsal, but I had a ton of work, so I chose the Adult Option instead. I just got my backlog of work done, though, so now I have some free time to write.

Rider is off on his date. I should give this chick a name, I guess, because he's been hanging out with her for a few weeks now and they like each other and this is their first one-on-one date. I'll call her Annie. Rider and Annie met at a poly meetup that he's been going to for a little while now, and they went to a goth club the other night together with her long-term partner. I don't know anything about her other than that and that Rider told me she's 40.

I figured I'd use this welcome bit of downtime to post about less depressing stuff than I had earlier today.

I had a really good talk with Dustin last night. Here's how the night went down . . .

Dustin spent most of yesterday hiking with Percy. When he picked me up from work, he still had Percy with him. We all went to the grocery store together. I had a mind to make stuffed puff pastry to use up the last of the brie from our trip. Dustin picked a bottle of wine, and I got the veggies and pastry, then we went home.

We came home to a sink full of dishes, so Dustin washed while I prepped the meal. Eve showed up soon after, and started making herself a cocktail. We chatted with her, all miraculously moving around each other in the small kitchen like a dance. Then she and Dustin sat and sipped pomegranate martinis while I finished the food.

On a lark, I'd copy/pasted the text to my OKC profile into a Word document for Dustin to read, figuring he'd get a kick out of it. He shook his head and said he hates how those sites make people have to sell themselves—internet dating is not for him. He was a bit judgmental about the part where I filled out the "most private thing I'm willing to admit" having "I like threesomes" as my answer. Not, he said, about liking threesomes, but about being willing to admit it to strangers. I'm an open book though, and I handled that with Eve and I teasing him pretty mercilessly about how judgmental he was being. :p

The pastries turned out GREAT. Eve joined us in eating them, and she liked them too. I think Dustin ate more of them than I've ever seen him eat of anything in one sitting. Maybe because of the hiking, or maybe because they were just that tasty. Derek came home and sat at the table and had some too.

Then we cleaned up and Dustin and I got in the shower. The fun of showering with him has not worn off yet. I finally felt well enough to have a glass of wine and some sex, so I sipped wine and Dustin gave me some amazing oral and then we rolled around fucking in a few different positions.

After sex, we were lying there all tangled up in each other, and he was telling me how he thought I was so perfect and how he wouldn't change a thing about me and how he really feels like we have something special.

"It is special," I said. And then he hugged me really closely and asked me why it sometimes feels like I am unsure about things, then.

I've actually had three running email drafts to myself for the past few weeks, with one listing things I want to talk to Rider about and how I want to say them, one listing things I know that I do and don't want out of life right now, and one listing things that I find worrisome about Dustin. (I didn't tell him about the list, though.)

The ideological stuff is mostly stuff I've already discussed here—that he has somewhat calcified and suboptimal viewpoints about "men" and "women" and that he can find it in himself to give racists a pass (despite not being racist himself). That and he doesn't really find politics a thing worth really fighting for; he'd rather just live life and enjoy it, which, as a pasty blonde dude, is easy for him to say and do.

So, since he asked, I told him.

I explained that as much as I do really love him, there are things that give me pause. I wouldn't change him, either—that's up to him to do if he wants to—but sometimes I worry. He asked what about, and I said first of all, as he knows, the drunken outburst thing is a problem. I can tell he's been working on that, though, and it has been getting better. But there is also the issue of our having some ideological differences that I don't know if they will drive us apart in the long run.

"Is that all it is?" he asked, and laughed a little. "Listen, I know we're coming from different viewpoints, but I don't believe anything solidly. I really don't. We talk and debate all the time, and you're always teaching me things. If something makes sense—if you can explain it to me in a way I can understand—then I do change my mind."

He hugged me really tightly.

"You're really smart," he said, "and I'm an idiot. I know that."

"You're not an idiot," I said.

"Well, maybe not an idiot," he said, "but I don't know a lot about stuff you do know about. I can only see what I've seen so far. I've got a lot of common sense, maybe, but not a lot of education. I always try to have proper grammar and stuff in my texts to you, but I know I don't even always get that right. You're always correcting me on stuff—facts!—that I believed but I was wrong about. So . . . listen . . . I do listen if you tell me stuff. And the way you see things matters to me. I trust you."

So. That gave me a bit of hope. It was a good conversation. After that, we cuddled and massaged and watched a bit of TV and then went to sleep.
 

Reverie

Active member
Last night was fine. Rider messaged me shortly before his date thanking me for talking with him and saying he actually felt a lot better. Maybe the stuff I said sank in. I actually didn't see the message for a while.

During our earlier conversation, Rider had asked me if I would talk to Dustin about carving out a few minutes during Dustin time to text with Rider, the way that I sometimes excuse myself for a few minutes during Rider nights to call Dustin. I told him of course—I'd actually offered that earlier when I negotiated the Dustin calls, but Rider hadn't thought he'd needed it. I guess now he does.

So I talked to Dustin about it in the car ride after he picked me up. He said it might make him jealous and upset sometimes, but he’d deal with it—that he feels that way sometimes anyway, so it wouldn’t be anything new. He said he understands that I’m married and there are certain things I might have to do. When I actually did it, he teased me a little bit, but he didn't seem upset.

We went to dinner at a BYOB Mediterranean place. Dustin picked up a bottle of Chardonnay on the way. We had two DELICIOUS eggplant dishes and this amazing, really salty garlic spread. We were kissing a lot in the restaurant, and I think we were both still kind of fired up from the morning, when we'd been kissing and not wanting to get out of bed.

We went back to his place and got naked. First he got me off with his mouth, then I gave him a footjob with coconut oil, then he was fucking me, and then I got on top and came. And then he came with me still on top (which I don't think had happened before). I got up to go clean up and when I got back, we started kissing again and he got hard again—only five minutes later. So I went down on him and he came again! The whole thing was probably only like half an hour. We laughed for the rest of the night at how we managed four orgasms between us in that short a time period.

Then we watched some TV and finished our wine, I did my Rider texting, and went to sleep.

I slept really well, but one weird thing happened—I was dreaming about being in a stadium, and suddenly Dustin said out loud and woke me up, "let me in the score box!" And I woke up and said "what?!" and he said that he'd been dreaming we were in a stadium too, and I was in the score box (whatever that was) and wouldn't let him in. Sometimes I have weird dream connections to people things. Stuff like that has happened once in a while with Rider, too.

(continued . . . )
 

Reverie

Active member
(. . . continued from previous)

I woke up to a message from Rider saying he'd had a lovely night, and he hoped mine had been good too, and he loves me and can't wait to see me. It made me feel better.

However, when I got him on IM, he told me he had something to talk to me about. He said that he'd had the STI chat with Annie, and she'd disclosed to him that she has HSV-1 genitally. She's on suppressive meds, and they would use condoms, but he still had to decide if that was a risk he was willing to take, and then I would have to decide if that's a risk that I'm willing to take.

He said that it also made him "reconsider our situation," and I asked him what he meant. It turns out that he was suddenly very, very upset that Dustin gets cold sores (which Rider has known since before I started sleeping with him). He kind of had a meltdown in which he said that I'm not considerate of his safety because I have unprotected sex with someone "who has an STI." And that it's unfair that I make him (Rider) wear condoms. And that I should make Dustin get on suppressive meds for his oral herpes. And that Rider and I don't have PIV enough anymore. And how every single thing that happens seems to push the two of us apart. And how it seems like I'm prioritizing Dustin. And how I'm "marginalizing" my sex life with Rider.

And I was just like, "Dude. Slow. Your. Roll."

And I tried to tease apart that we're dealing with several different issues here.

The first one, the new information that made this all explode, was that Annie has HSV-1 genitally. Maybe Rider didn't realize that was possible. I already knew it. I thought everyone knew it.

The second one, which is old news, is that Dustin has HSV-1 orally. It's not "an STI" in his case (not that it matters)—he got it from his parents as a kid. He's not on daily suppressive meds, but he's super careful around me when he's having an outbreak. He doesn't kiss me or share utensils, he takes a prescription antiviral when he feels it coming on, and he wears a special little piece of tape over it, too.

The third thing is that I don't use condoms with Dustin. This, to me, has nothing to do with oral HSV. It has everything to do with Dustin being tested and not sleeping with anyone else.

The fourth thing is that I do use condoms with Rider. This, to me, is about Rider actively working on sleeping with other people.

The fifth thing is that Rider is still dissatisfied with the amount of PIV sex we have. He recently told me that once per week would be enough as long as we did other stuff in between, so this is new information to me. I also told him that a few years into a relationship, I'm often only into PIV once per week, which he accepted at the time. It's not like I sold him a false dream.

The sixth thing is that Rider views our sex life as "marginalized," which I think he loosely defines as a combo of #4 and #5? I needed to get more specifics from him here. He knows that I'm having struggles with desire, but he also knows that I'm willing to do sex things with him almost every time he asks. And I'm happy and enthusiastic about it when I do it, because I like making him happy.

The seventh thing is that Rider feels like I'm prioritizing Dustin. I *think* this is all about the condom thing? I definitely gave Rider time priority this week, though he chose not to take me up on it. Another thing I need to get more info about.

The eighth thing is that "everything that happens is pushing us apart" which, I don't know, sounds like some "universe is against me" sort of shit. I'm not sure what events he counts in this "everything happening," but if he counts his own choosing to date people who have STIs, and the consequences of that, that is literally wholly outside of my control.

We went around for a little while with my trying to get a straight definition out of him about what he meant by the marginalization and prioritization, and he just kept using vague terms like "sliding down the totem pole" before finally getting very distraught and saying that until I figure out the answer to the kid questions (which we hadn't been discussing at all) then he feels like nothing else is going to be OK.

We took a little breather, and then I thought of another approach. Here was our exchange:

Me: You defined “our sex life is marginalized” as the less PIV thing and the using condoms thing. Am I understanding that correctly?

Rider: There's been a general ramp-down in all sorts of sex. We almost never have PIV sex anymore, plus condoms have been implemented as standard despite me being currently clean and not sexually active. I'm not sure when the last time we had sex without some sort of negotiation was. The issue where you don't want to have PIV with me unless we have a day between because of the size issue is also a thing that I feel pretty weird about. That seems prioritized for Dustin all the time and not me.

Me: What do you mean “without negotiation”?

Rider: For example, I'm not sure when the last time we just had sex was without one of us saying "hey, do you feel like having sex tonight?" I get that we don't have the benefit of NRE now, but those sort of things are a difference between now and then, and it sucks.

Me: Isn’t that normal? I mean, sorry if this is TMI, but Dustin asks me “if I want to go in the bedroom” or “if it’s OK to touch me there right now” and that’s how THAT gets started, and we ARE in NRE.

Rider: Consent is cool. I just miss when we'd jump each other's bones, I guess?

Me: The passion and the asking for it are not really connected in my mind. I miss the passion too. But I don’t see the asking as a bad thing at all. I just feel like there are many mini-issues rolled into each medium-sized issue, I guess.

Like these are all separate issues:
- my waning passion/desire outside of NRE (historically leads to PIV maybe 1/week)
- our condom usage, especially that you have a new partner on the horizon
- my preferences around what I guess I will call “fit issues"
- sounds like you’d prefer more nonverbal forms of initiation/consent request?

The first one, I warned you from the start and I’m looking for active fixes for. That last one, this is the first I’m hearing about it. We can do more nonverbal stuff if you want.

Rider: I think there was one time when we were lying on the couch and you just started to touch me with your feet, and that was amazing ❤ I think that's the last one I can think of, but it made me feel really good.

Me: If you would prefer to just be grabbed sometimes, I can work on that.

Rider: I would love that.

Me: I think . . . like . . . if you could think of stuff like that, that you want and miss and need, and ask for it, instead of it coming out seven layers deep in a processing conversation as “where is all the sex without negotiation” which is, to me, vague in itself, we’d be in a lot better shape. Like, I want to help you, and give you what you need. But pretty much every time I ask you, you say “I’ll think about it” and then you rarely come out with specifics without me drilling down and discovering it for you.

Rider: I'll see what I can do and I'm sorry that's how that stuff comes out sometimes. I'm so scrambled, it's hard for me to even keep track of everything I'm feelings.

Me: I know that, to some degree, you have always been this way. I remember when I figured out the whole “speed bump” thing, for example [this was when I learned to stop him from spinning out by prefacing my feelings with "I am not expecting actions ..."]. But technically it is not my job to figure out what you want. It’s your job to figure that out and ask for it in specific, clear language. And it’s my job to figure out whether that is something I am willing and able do for you. I can’t keep doing both jobs. I need to figure my OWN shit out, you know?

Rider: OK I will try harder to figure my needs out. I'm really sorry that it's so hard sometimes. I wish it was simple. At core: love, attention, and affection.

And . . . whew. I'm exhausted. Sometimes I just feel like he and I are speaking completely different languages. I feel like I've been trying so hard and doing so much heavy lifting, and he can't even see it. And he feels neglected and his needs are going unmet but I can't help him if I don't know what they are and what would help. I sometimes feel like once per week I ask him what specific behaviors would make him feel better, and this texting thing and the grabbing him out of nowhere thing that he's just come out with in the past couple of days are the first time I've gotten anything out of him. I guess that's progress?

We're supposed to go to our favorite sushi place tonight, and then he'll decide if he actually wants to do his jam session. I hope the rest of the night goes well.
 

Refusnik

New member
I checked my phone. "This says it rises at 6:42, and it's at 98.8% full! It's 6:46. It's probably coming up now but behind one of these mountains."

"We have to be quick then!" he exclaimed, dragging me back into the desert on foot. We carefully picked our way up the big hill in total darkness. No one fell, though there were a few stumbles. Finally we mounted the pinnacle rock, just as the glow started to crest the horizon. We sat on the edge, our feet dangling over the sheer cliff face.

So last Saturday I also ate some mushrooms then climbed to one of the arches around here to watch the sunset and the moonrise over the desert. As usual, it was mindblowingly beautiful and left me with peaceful feeling of being part of the larger universe. There's something indescribably magic about moonrise in the desert. It's pretty awesome that he came up with the idea to take you out there and do that, particularly with everything going on your life it's nice to have moments like these where everything else drops away. He gets two thumbs up for great date ideas. :)
 

Reverie

Active member
So last Saturday I also ate some mushrooms then climbed to one of the arches around here to watch the sunset and the moonrise over the desert. As usual, it was mindblowingly beautiful and left me with peaceful feeling of being part of the larger universe. There's something indescribably magic about moonrise in the desert. It's pretty awesome that he came up with the idea to take you out there and do that, particularly with everything going on your life it's nice to have moments like these where everything else drops away. He gets two thumbs up for great date ideas. :)

OMG, yes. It was perfection and peacefulness. Cool that we were looking at the moon in the same way that night. :)
 

Reverie

Active member
Rider basically shredded me tonight. I don't think he meant to, but he did. It started off when we were halfway through our first roll at sushi, and I was happy to see him and lightheartedly chattering about life.

"The lady about the plant volunteer thing wrote me back. They're actually having a special event in the morning, and it sounds really interesting. It's a bigger thing than they usually do on Saturday. It'll be like 80 volunteers. I get to learn weeding and trail maintenance and how to plant things and water the plants in the nursery. They're even giving us a free lunch! I'll need to be there by 9:00, so I'll be leaving by 8:30," I told him.

"OK," he said, "you said it ends at noon, right? I have that poly meetup at 1:00 . . . "

"Yeah!" I said, "But don't worry. I won't even be taking the car after all, so you can have it as early as you want. Dustin decided he wanted to come with me and will give me a ride. I'll Venmo you because it needs gas in it and I know it's my turn, but we're all good."

And then I moved on to the next subject. I was holding his hand across the table, and loving the way his skin felt against mine.

"I'm soooo happy to be here with you right now," I said. I felt like when I saw him, the pressure of our fraught conversations had melted away. I tried to meet his eye and found him glowering.

"I wish you wouldn't immediately talk about your next plans when we're hanging out," he said. "You're already talking about tomorrow, like you wish for tonight to be over." I was dumbfounded.

"I was just . . . excited. About my plant thing," I said, feeling crestfallen. "And wanting to let you know you didn't need to worry about a time crunch for the car. I thought you'd be happy about that. I'm totally enjoying tonight." Or, at least, I was, I thought.

My enthusiasm for our evening was momentarily squashed. I so often lately feel like I cannot say anything right. I don't know where the mines in the minefield lay.

We looked at each other and nibbled our food, then looked at each other, then looked away again. I've never had such long, awkward silences with someone I know so well. Then I heard something familiar over the restaurant speakers and tilted my ear up to listen.

"What?" he asked, seeing my listening.

"I heard something . . . " I said.

"I heard it too, but I can't place it," he said.

"It was part of 'Crystalised' [by the xx], I think," I said.

"Oh, yeah!" he said, and perked up. "We used to play that in our cover set! It must be a remix. I'm not even sure if I remember it anymore. What about . . " and he was off, monologuing about songs we used to play together. And suddenly, we were talking again, and he was animated, and I realized that if I want him to talk, I need to talk about music. That got us through dinner.

We decided to go to one more place and have a drink. This may have been a mistake. I literally don't even know how the wrong turn happened. I'm not drunk, and wasn't then, but I can't remember the wend of the conversation.

Somehow, we were sitting at a too-lit hip diner bar, and I was turning my face away from the bar and surreptitiously wiping tears off of my cheeks while fighting a feeling that felt like a fist around my throat.

He'd told me that the reason he didn't want to tell me about his weekend was that he didn't want to hear about mine. When I asked him why he'd never just said that, he shrugged. I said, "Aren't we supposed to be best friends who tell each other everything—who is this person who waits to tell me who he's kissed and conceals his reasons for reticence?"

And his answer was this: "I look at photos of you from a year ago and I don't even recognize you. Your smile was my light, and, as recently as the beginning of when you met Dustin, I could look at my wedding ring and know you had my back. I don't know that anymore."

"What do you mean?" I asked. "Of course I have your back. I'll always defend you and be there for you and protect you. That's always been the case. It was that way before we were even dating, and it's still that way now."

"How can you have my back if you might make a choice that pushes me out of your life?" he asked.

"I'm not pushing you out," I said. "If you leave, it's because you want to go. There's room in me for my love for you and all kinds of other love."

"You knew where I stand," he said. "You should have thought harder about it before you married me."

"But I haven't even decided yet!" I said. "Give me time. Give me . . . six months, if we need to put a name on it."

"We'll see if I last that long," he said. "You're violating my rights, you know."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"The 'Relationship Bill of Rights' in that book you gave me. I have a right to feel safe in this relationship, and I don't feel safe right now. I can't feel safe while I have this hanging over my head," he said.

"I . . . don't remember that part," I said. "But I can't imagine how me exploring part of myself, and being honest about it with you, is violating your rights somehow."

And I basically had a panic attack but kept it low-key. And he was sweet to me when he saw how much I was suffering, and we walked home, and he packed his stuff up to go to the jam, after making sure it was OK with me that he went.

After he left, I pulled up the More Than Two "Relationship Bill of Rights" and I didn't see anything in there that could even remotely connect to what he'd said—that my reconsidering my decision about motherhood could be violating his rights. Quite the contrary, in fact; there's a part in there about having the right, without shame, blame, or guilt, to grow and change.

I copied the link and pasted it into our IM box, attaching the message "Here's the Bill of Rights, as I found it. I don't see anything I'm violating?" and his response was "OMFG can this wait" . . .

Which, I hadn't meant for him to read it exactly then, but that was probably unclear. Still, the "OMFG" seemed . . . like . . . overkill exasperation?

I dunno. I really feel like I cannot do anything right with him right now. And I'm not sure what to do about it.
 
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SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
I think if you look back on the sequence of events objectively, you might see some of the problem and how it may go against some of what is suggested in that article.

1. You were in a poly relationship where Rider was having more success outside of the relationship than you were and you were unable to handle the "inequality" of him having fun, sexy connections with others whilst you were unable to obtain the same.

2. So, you gave Rider the choice of changing the potential of a relationship he had already started or breaking up with his nesting partner. He chose the former and him and Hannah decided to stop dating rather than agree to a temporary casual fling.

3. You set certain rules about sleeping away from the home and other things to keep relationships at a casual level but wanted to continually push these as your own relationships developed.

4. You met Dustin and pretty much wanted "full poly" back within a short time so you could bond with Dustin to the extent you both wanted, suggesting Rider go and pick up Hannah again after he had to give her the option of a temporary fling over the potential of a relationship or whatever worked for them. Meanwhile, you made Dustin your "boyfriend", spend it seems about 50% of your free time with him, fluid bonded, changed the outlook of your relationship with your new husband and your future within a few short months.

5. You then started to reconsider major life plans based on your new relationship. Life plans that probably led to Rider thinking you were compatible as nesting partners.

6. You now expect him to sit comfortably while you enjoy your rapidly deepening relationship with Dustin and decide whether you are fundamentally compatible with someone who recently married you with the expectation of a long, shared future.

I can see a good few of those "rules" or "standards" that this would violate and I am really not a fan of More Than Two to start with. I don't think you're wrong for feeling how you feel, changing your mind or even realizing that you were wrong about what you wanted. I do think you underplay how your feelings and desires impact on your husband though. It comes across as if you either are completely oblivious or don't care. You're asking him to essentially remain in a limbo for half a year whilst you decide whether your new marriage to him will continue along the trajectory that you signed up for. That's realistic and almost expected ten years into marriage, people change over a decade, but it hasn't even been ten months and his spouse is telling him that she may want kids when they agreed that it wouldn't be a part of their future. That's rough.

It sounds like he has reached the end of his tether and if you want to try and rectify any of this and give your marriage a chance, acknowledging that your actions would lead to a great deal of insecurity and uncertainty for many if not most people in your husband's position would be a start in my opinion. I don't think you can continue to brush it off with "but I asked him and he agreed". At some point it may become apparent that you should not have asked for it even if he said yes.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Reverie: You two seem to be navigating an extremely emotionally difficult situation, and imho quite well actually. "Overreactions" are going to happen on both sides. It's just a fact.
 

PinkPig

Well-known member
I wasn't surprised that Rider didn't want to hear about your weekend. Dustin has been a major game changer in your relationship in so many areas.....and while Dustin may not actually be the impetus for reconsidering your decision about childbearing, given the timing of it, I'm sure it could feel that way to Rider. His life with you has changed drastically in such a short period of time and his future is uncertain, it makes sense to me that he wouldn't want to hear about your time with Dustin.

I think there are just some things we don't need to share with our partners. And there are other things that are all about timing. Six months ago, you were in a good place together, sharing everything felt intimate. Now things have changed. Rider feels insecure in the relationship so sharing everything doesn't feel good. So don't share everything. He doesn't need to know that Dustin pops in your mind when you're together, what you and Dustin did last night, or that you're making out the grocery list in your head while you're having sex. I think sharing less could give you both some relief from all the processing.
 

Tinwen

Active member
To expand a little, I think it is very very healthy that Rider was able to share
the reason for his secrecy and how unsafe he is now feeling in the relationship with you. It was hard for you, but it was an important conversation.

I have reservation about the "bill of rights", and your situation shows pretty clearly why. A lot of points on that list can conflict at times, like "to feel and communicate your emotions and needs" vs. "to set boundaries concerning your privacy needs", or in your case "to grow and change" vs. "to understand clearly any rules that will apply to your relationship before entering into it" (maybe there is no bullet point about feeling safe, but this one makes for the confusion pretty well).
But overall, scrap the bill of rights. Referring to an authority is hardly going to get you anywhere.

Rider has entered marriage with a certain set of agreed upon expectations (that's why you marry after all, to declare certain intention), and while I'm far from telling you not to grow, turning it all upside down is rough.

It's rough for both of you of course. It always is if there is an obvious clash of interest. Your interest is exploring and potentially having kids. Yet this would change everything that was, threatening to take away all that Rider liked about being your primary, potentially to break the relationship. His interest is in the relationship staying as it was, and to have a reliable (= predictable) partner (and to some extent that is reasonable, to ask integrity from your partners).

There's no right or wrong here, and no obvious solution. Both people's interests need to be respected, and both need to treat the other with as much consideration and goodwill as possible.
You're in conflict. As you clarify your stance and look for compromise, the ability not to overreact will come handy as well as the ability to take each others overreaction in stride and forgive them.
 

AutumnLeaves

New member
It sounds like he was fine hearing your next-day plans until you mentioned that they were with Dustin. Hearing about your Dustin stuff (plans, things that happened) doesn't make him feel safe and secure. Understandably so in my opinion, because the ground is shaking under him.

Didn't you recently tell Rider that you wanted him to be honest with you about how he felt? He's doing that now. And sure, it's difficult, but at least it's healthy. If you listen to him, you'll probably be able to reach a compromise where you're both happy.

He's telling you that he doesn't feel safe hearing about your other relationship stuff. He needs some space to get his footing. He seems to be very clear about what he needs: you in the present, enjoying your time with him, so that he can feel connected with you instead of threatened by your other relationship.

Sure, that was different in the past. But your other relationship right now is different! You seem willing to recognize that as it applies to you. Well, it applies to Rider, as well. This is probably the first time that hearing about your other relationship stuff makes him feel threatened rather than compersion. Telling him that he used to feel a different way in the past doesn't change that this is how he feels now.

You have to work from where you are, not where you were or where you wish you were.

I have straight up told Guitarist that I don't want to hear about his other relationships stuff. It isn't DADT because I know where he'll be and what he's doing and with whom. But hearing the details doesn't give me compersion. It makes me feel insecure, competitive, and inadequate. It's exactly the opposite of how I feel when he's present with Spice in my space. Seeing them together gives me compersion, hearing about it gives me insecure, who knows why.

His response? I'm his best friend and a lot of the time I'm the only person he feels that he can discuss poly with.

My response? Then he needs to get some poly friends. Because I literally can't hear it without getting very unhappy. And since he's stopped dumping details on me, I've been much happier.

Anyway, hope that helps!
 
Sounds really rough all round, Reverie.

For what it's worth, it sounds to me like you are handling things really well - all of you. You, Rider and Dustin.

Blow ups, hurt feelings and misunderstandings are - I think - understandable at this time. Especially from Rider. He's newly married and finds now that his wife want a full on poly relationship after having expressed serious doubts about the whole thing and having requested a mostly mono relationship. Not only that but she has met somebody who she's deeply in love with, having lots of excellent sex with and is building a life with. Not only that but he is experiencing less sex between his wife and him than previously - a gradual drop off in her desire seems to be an absolute lack of desire for him. And - now his wife is considering having children - something that was agreed to be totally off the table.

Anybody who wasn't upset, scared, confused and prone to mood swings under those circumstances would be somebody I'd be deeply worried about.

I hope that you can all work it out.
 

Reverie

Active member
Thanks, everyone, for your support, input, and perspective.

We seem to have (at least for the moment) turned things around. I decided when I woke up Saturday morning, before I even opened my eyes, that I was going to scrap the processing for the next little while and just focus on basically silently loving Rider till he felt loved enough to calm down and stabilize some.

I woke before my alarm and reached over and started touching him sexually. He was very happy and responsive and we had a good time before it was time for me to get up and start my day with the plant thing.

He had a good day with all his poly things, and we did a bit of texting before it got late. And then yesterday we had a date planned, and it was very nice. I kissed him a bunch as soon as I came through the door. He seemed surprised. We went up to a hilltop park and shared a snack and some sangria while watching the sunset. We swapped stories about our Saturday. And then we went grocery shopping for dinner supplies, took a walk around the neighborhood, watched some TV, and I made dinner.

One of the things I'd suggested to him as a way to stay better connected was for him to come into the kitchen while I cook so we can chat as I go along. In our last apartment, his desk was right near the kitchen so we just kind of did that naturally. In the current apartment, it's a lot farther away, so if I'm cooking and he's messing around on his computer, then we're not really interacting at all. He'd said he thought that was a good idea, and he even volunteered to help prep food. I got him washing veggies and peeling shrimp, and then when that stuff was done, he sat at the table and talked to me, and then we ate at the table like civilized people—something we hadn't done in a while.

We actually kind of cuddled while watching TV instead of sitting at opposite ends of the couch like we usually do. And then, when he asked, I agreed to PIV sex, and we had a decent amount of foreplay, which was nice. It was probably the best sex we've had in kind of a long time. I definitely felt more connected to him after a picnic date and him keeping me company while I cooked. There were small inklings of desire sparking up, which is heartening.

I don't know what will shake out in the long run, but I do know that with both of us making an effort to try to be closer, it seems to be working.

My Dustin part of the weekend was also very cool. He came with me to do my plant volunteering thing, and I learned a lot. I learned four new plants, and how to weed. Dustin also showed me how to crack fallen walnuts between two rocks. When we finished with our volunteer tasks, we walked pretty much straight up the side of a small mountain on a barely-a-trail. I was huffing and puffing, and I'm still sore from that. Usually I'm ahead of Dustin, but this time I could barely keep up!

Then we had a picnic date as well, though we were still filthy from the volunteer work. We went to my favorite fancy cheese shop and bought three kinds of cheese, a baguette, and a bottle of port, and went to the park by his house that we usually go to. Then we came home and took a bath together, trading sudsy massages. Great sex followed.

Eve and Derek came home, and I cooked dinner for everyone—a shrimp alfredo dish—and Dustin helped. When it was done, he said it was one of the top three pasta dishes he's ever had. I was pleased that everyone liked it. Then I made some pomegranate-thyme martinis, and Dustin and I drank them while we watched some TV. But we ended up getting distracted by making out and moved to the bedroom. We had more great (half-clothed) sex and then fell totally asleep, abandoning the show and our drinks, and sleeping with the top half of our clothes still on! I think all the morning's manual labor had us beat.

We ended up staying in bed till past noon. We had more sex (further cementing that I can now reliably come from missionary), cuddled, and he dozed while I read a book he is lending me, Siddhartha. He said that's his favorite book and he couldn't believe I hadn't read it. It's a short one, so I'm actually now already 70% through it. Then he took me home and my date with Rider started.

Tonight is a Dustin night. Rider had concert tickets, and they actually postponed the event yesterday, but I'd already made plans to see Dustin. Dustin is playing a show, but not till like 11:00 p.m., so I'll hang with him till it's time for him to split, and then just read and sleep at his place.

Tomorrow I was going to attend a free plant talk up in the Valley for a couple of hours, but I honestly don't think I can afford the gas money till I get paid on Wednesday, especially since it'd mean sitting in rush hour traffic. Instead, I will just stay home and hang with Rider. He's excited about that.
 
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