The Best Life Yet

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
If you mean in general, I would say that he drinks almost every day, though not every day to the point of drunkenness. Plenty of nights, we share a bottle of wine with/after dinner and then have a nightcap later on. It's usually when he's playing shows and the house is giving him a lot of free booze that he gets totally wasted. And, again, it depends on the friends he's with. Certain friends inspire more mellow nights, and certain friends inspire recklessness.

My comment was meant in general. Not just this instance, but Dustin's communication style is the same as the alcoholic I used to know and love. I came to see that it's not about how drunk someone is or is not, but about how this person learned to handle intimacy in general, about how he navigated love relationships and about how I hooked into all of that. There's a definite pattern among most regular-to-problematic alcohol/substance/drug users. I also don't say this to judge, but to point you toward better understanding the larger framework that is perhaps in play here.
 
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Reverie

Active member
Reverie, you are one smart cookie, but I do have a question. Doesn't it kind of make you a little hesitant that Dustin is SO MUCH into you? This "love at first sight," and how you are the only woman he has ever truly loved, and that the other women were just "auditions." Yes, we are all unique snowflakes, but haven't you felt even a little bit concerned about the fact that this man has treated a number of women pretty badly? Don't you ever wonder you could wind up to be one of them? Who is to say he hasn't said those exact things to THEM?

I have just experienced a number of failed relationships in the past. It's always the ones who proclaim that I am the ONLY woman for them and they just feel so much for me who turn ice cold in the blink of the eye at best, or cruel at worst.

Hm, I just saw this post, probably because I was writing the others.

I am not sure about the "audition" thing in terms of actual relationships—he has told me that he did grow to truly love the others, but that it took time and effort, and they didn't end up being right for him in the end. He told me he still loves all of them on some level, and always will, and if any of them really needed something and asked him for it, he'd do what he could to provide it. But he doesn't try to actively be their friends because he feels like it would complicate things and he doesn't want to meddle in their now-happy lives with their husbands. The "audition" thing was more about the little short-term things he had going on that he terminated quickly.

He's still Facebook friends with all but one of them, anyway, and friendly with some of their their family members, and some of them with his, so I don't think he could have been outright abusive or anything like that. Once in a while, one of them will comment or post on his stuff. There's not an animosity there.

We actually did the "curious about each other's exes" Facebook tour shortly before he left for vacation—there were a couple of days of day-to-day chronology I didn't get to update because I was processing other stuff on here. He remembered them fondly but just said that there was always something that wasn't quite right. He also admitted to being too cowardly to break up with them when he realized that, instead becoming intolerable until they'd do the deed.

When people say, "Oh, all my exes were crazy" and have burned all those bridges and aren't even passing friendly with any of them, that's when my ears perk up for trouble. But he doesn't do that.

The cheating. Yeah, that's bad. But I have also done it, so I feel like I can't stand there in my glass house, you know? I feel like, in his situation, being in a touring rock band and then a house band in a big city full of pretty women, I probably would have done the same thing. Not that it's a good thing. Just that I can understand it and empathize with it.

I asked him why he even bothered to have a girlfriend instead of just being a single dude if he was just going to cheat, and he said he wanted some sense of stability, some kind of dependable love to say goodnight to. He admitted outright that he wanted to have his cake and eat it too. I also understand that urge, though I cannot commend it. In a way, it is (though lacking the honesty) close to what brought me to poly when I started it—that desire to find something lasting and stable while still being able to mess around.

But, to answer your main question, sure, I've thought about stuff like, "Does he pour it on this thick with everyone?" and "Is he going to end up cheating on me once the shine wears off?" and "Just like me, all of his relationships have lasted about three years—what if we both get bored with each other and it just fizzles out?" and "I'd like to pick the brains of some of these exes and find out if he's always had an attitude problem when drunk or if it's a new development." etc., etc., etc.

There was also a moment when I was listening to his love-song lyrics on his very first album ever, and I was like, jeez, it definitely sounds like he was so into these people, and I got a little jealous of the past, which is ridiculous, but then I remembered all the times—so many times—that I've been madly in love and said the same shit to so many people, and I was just like, "Well, if nothing else, we're a lot alike in that."

Oona long ago said something so similar about me as this statement: "It's always the ones who proclaim that I am the ONLY woman for them and they just feel so much for me who turn ice cold in the blink of the eye..."

She said I always will fall so hard for a guy, and they become the only person in the world to me, and they bask in the light of my super-intense love that is like something she doesn't see other people do, and they get used to it and think it's always going to be like that. But then something will happen to make me done, and when I'm done, I'm just done. I can shut it off like a faucet and let go super easily, barely even lingering in mourning of something that had once been the most important thing in the world to me.

I don't know if I'd say "ice cold," exactly, because I try to always remain friends and be nice, but I've been told it feels that way from the point of view of the one losing the intense heat of my attention.

I always feel like there is a reason for my sudden change, though, even if it's not visible till later with extended hindsight. And it's usually an improvement of some kind—my getting to know myself better or see somewhat more clearly what I want.

So, I don't know. Sure, I'm afraid of that being done to me. But I'm also kind of equally afraid of it happening the other way. Dustin and I are always saying to each other that we hope we don't get tired of each other. And one of the sweetest things he ever said to me is that since I change as often as he does, maybe we never will.
 
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Reverie

Active member
My comment was meant in general. Not just this instance, but Dustin's communication style is the same as the alcoholic I used to know and love. I came to see that it's not about how drunk someone is or is not, but about how this person learned to handle intimacy in general, about how he navigated love relationships and about how I hooked into all of that. There's a definite pattern among most regular-to-problematic alcohol/substance/drug users. I also don't say this to judge, but to point you toward better understanding the larger framework that is perhaps in play here.

So, what happened, if you don't mind my asking? Was the reason it ended that he didn't want to learn how to improve?

I definitely don't take any of this as judgment. I greatly appreciate your (and everyone here's) thoughtful input on my situation.
 

Reverie

Active member
One other very telling thing is that it left you asking "WTF did I say/do…" If you could have stepped back for a minute you might have been able to say "I didn't do anything wrong, there's absolutely no reason for someone to treat me this way"

I understand that he's struggling with his feelings about your relationship however that's not a reason to lash out at someone, eventually telling them that unless the emotional support you need is regarding a situation he approves of, then you should look elsewhere for support and if you don't like that, then you can fuck off out of the relationship. Certainly we all have our bad days however it's not the first time he's been nasty because he's struggling with his feelings about the situation. At 6 months in, it's not even really a new situation for him anymore, he's just refusing to change how he deals with things when he has a big sad. New situation or not, both of you have a role in making your relationship an emotionally safe space and by doing this, he's dropping the ball on that. I understand people not necessarily wanting to hear details about other relationships but what you shared was about you, about what you're struggling with and his reaction to that was pretty hostile.

I totally agree with all of this. I plan to have a serious conversation with him about it at some point when he gets back. Maybe not the first night, but I don't plan to let it go more than a few days.

If you can, try to step back from looking at the particulars of the situation and try to take a more general view. Imagine if one of your friends told you this about a new partner "He's so wonderful in so many ways, we have so much in common the only problem is sometimes he struggles with his feelings, gets drunk/tired and lashes out at me." Obviously you've mentioned this behavior as problematic for you however it also seems like you see it as very context based. When we are struggling in a relationship with someone we really love it can be really tempting to say "our situation is less than ideal, that must be what's causing it" but when is life ever not a mix of complex competing factors? I don't think it's impossible to change however if he does want to change it will have to start with him saying "I'm not ok with treating somebody I love this way, this is not the person I want to be." Granted the love he feels for you may be the catalyst that pushes him down that track but in the end he'll have to do it for himself.

I definitely agree with all of this as well. I've been trying very hard, actually, to tease apart whether this situation truly brings out more intense negative emotions and reactions in him than pretty much anything, or, basically, if it weren't that, would it just be something else—would the "top-level" gripe at any given time get the same treatment? I'm not sure yet how to tell, but it's something that is on my radar.

And, yeah, I know that the change has to come from within, for sure. If change is to be made, it can't just be me saying "don't treat me that way"; it has to be him truly seeing that it hurts me and deciding that he doesn't want to be someone who hurts people.

I felt the need to add that I hope my directness isn't mistaken for being judgmental.

Don't worry—I'm not taking it that way at all! I appreciate your candor.
 
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FallenAngelina

Well-known member
So, what happened, if you don't mind my asking? Was the reason it ended that he didn't want to learn how to improve?

He did give therapy a shot, but I had been working diligently to improve my own ways of navigating intimacy and after a year and a half, I more or less lost interest in the cycles of ups and downs with him. Another man stepped forward, a good friend with whom sexual/romantic feelings had been developing, and this friend suddenly was much more appealing to me as a partner. I had no interest in doing poly with both. Basically, the more I got my sh*t together, the first guy became less and less emotionally attractive to me while my friend became more and more appealing.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
A bit of unsolicited advice for Rider, actually: given how anti-children he is, and how active he’s getting on the poly scene, if he has insurance it’ll probably cover a vasectomy. Being childless might lead to a little static from the doc when he gets it, but not insurmountable - Artist had his done in his early 20’s and while we still use protection in general, the lack of fear of any possibility of pregnancy is utterly freeing. Honestly if Knight and I had more sex I’d encourage him more to get his done...
 

Spork

Active member
I'm not knocked up, thank fuck. My monthly frenemy is just being a jerk, I guess.

That is really good news. It's funny like I want to write something like "congrats!" but isn't that what people normally say when you ARE pregnant? lol! Well still. At least in terms of situational factors and timing and all, I'm very glad.

I had an unexpected pregnancy crop up immediately after I got my tubes tied...my doc told me I could resume sex and trust to the efficacy of the operation "as soon as I was ready" but probably a minimum of 2 weeks. Well, it was during my first period following the tubal, and I'm guessing I must have still had a "round in the chamber" so to speak. And this was with that weird "Worm King" fling guy, it would have been 100% unacceptable to have his baby. I was considering the abortion pill, even though I do have some heavy moral issues about abortion (only insofar as my own choices are concerned though, I am pro choice in general.) But then I miscarried anyhow. It was probably not a viable pregnancy, my doc told me. So, good. Non issue. But it was still stressful as hell for a couple of weeks there.

So I'm glad you don't have to deal with all the stress and expense right now.
 

Refusnik

New member
A bit of unsolicited advice for Rider, actually: given how anti-children he is, and how active he’s getting on the poly scene, if he has insurance it’ll probably cover a vasectomy. Being childless might lead to a little static from the doc when he gets it, but not insurmountable - Artist had his done in his early 20’s and while we still use protection in general, the lack of fear of any possibility of pregnancy is utterly freeing. Honestly if Knight and I had more sex I’d encourage him more to get his done...

I agree wholeheartedly with this advice! I had mine in my 20s and think it was an excellent choice. It was painless, quick and has brought an enormous amount of peace of mind to both me and my partners through the years.
 

Reverie

Active member
A bit of unsolicited advice for Rider, actually: given how anti-children he is, and how active he’s getting on the poly scene, if he has insurance it’ll probably cover a vasectomy. Being childless might lead to a little static from the doc when he gets it, but not insurmountable - Artist had his done in his early 20’s and while we still use protection in general, the lack of fear of any possibility of pregnancy is utterly freeing. Honestly if Knight and I had more sex I’d encourage him more to get his done...

I agree wholeheartedly with this advice! I had mine in my 20s and think it was an excellent choice. It was painless, quick and has brought an enormous amount of peace of mind to both me and my partners through the years.

He's actually planning to get it done when he gets his tax return back next year, probably February or March, so that's good. He really is probably the most anti-children person I know. The other two really, really anti-kid people I know will at least occasionally put a Facebook "like" on our friends' cute kid pictures every once in a while just because the parents seem so happy. Rider hides those posts so as not to see them in his feed ever again. It's like the sight of babies actively offends him. Not sure what a baby ever did to him . . .
 

Reverie

Active member
I have come down with a cold. Presumably I caught Dustin's before he left. I kinda knew it was coming because I already decided I'd rather get sick than not be very intimate with him before he was gone for a week. #worthit

Also, as the test predicted, my real period showed up this morning with a great and mighty sploosh, like it had been holding back just to upset me and now was relieved at being done with the prank.

Last night, Rider and I spend most of the night bogged down in serious conversations after the negative test result. I really don't have time to go into the details of them here. What I did want to share, though, was an epiphany I just had, which is very hard to put into words, but I will try. It's also something I should have probably noticed sooner, a very long time ago, but I didn't. I really just had a total level up about being able to step back and perceive my own filter on the world, that makes any sense.

So, I've explained before how the steps in my deciding I DID NOT want to have kids came about:

- I was on the fence but leaning "yes" for a while.
- I had started dating Rider, who was a hard "no."
- When I asked him at the beginning, Rider said that since we're poly, if I found I had to go do that, I could do it with someone else, but it would necessarily change our relationship so that we couldn't be primary to one another anymore.
- I found my relationship with Rider so fulfilling that I couldn't imagine loving anyone else enough to "demote" our relationship to non-primary, and I couldn't imagine throwing a good thing away for a "maybe" out there somewhere, plus there were a million reasons NOT to do it, so I started to lean "no."
- I pondered a long time more on the million reasons, and I finally decided on a hard "no." This allowed Rider and I to decide to embark upon an engagement, and, ultimately, a marriage.
- I felt mostly only relief after that, thinking of all the hard shit I'd have to do and tough decisions I'd have to make if I were a parent that I no longer had to worry about. There was the occasional pang that bubbled up from my subconscious about stuff like passing things on to my kids that I'd always kind of assumed, but I considered it to be habit and detritus.

But here's something interesting. Every time Rider would say to me, "I want to do all the things with you," my brain would say, "except babies." And I would often correct him aloud—"well, almost all the things." To me, it seemed natural that it did that because, after all, Rider didn't want babies . . . and neither did I, right? So we would do all the things except babies.

This is the part where it gets hard to put into words. So, like, my epiphany today was that, for him, there was no "except babies" appended to that. It was a total null value. He might just as easily have thought "except murder" or "except run through a vat of dogshit" or "except get stung by jellyfish." For him, the list of "all the things" didn't need to have exceptions to it at all, because, for him, the baby-less, murder-less, dogshit-less, jellyfish-less list was, in itself, complete.

But for me, it was always, "except babies."

What else has my brain been silently appending, to anything and everything, that tell me more about my own filter on the world than I've ever stopped to listen to? Is it that easy—just stopping to listen?
 
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Reverie

Active member
He did give therapy a shot, but I had been working diligently to improve my own ways of navigating intimacy and after a year and a half, I more or less lost interest in the cycles of ups and downs with him. Another man stepped forward, a good friend with whom sexual/romantic feelings had been developing, and this friend suddenly was much more appealing to me as a partner. I had no interest in doing poly with both. Basically, the more I got my sh*t together, the first guy became less and less emotionally attractive to me while my friend became more and more appealing.

Thank you so much for sharing! :)
 
But for me, it was always, "except babies."

What else has my brain been silently appending, to anything and everything, that tell me more about my own filter on the world than I've ever stopped to listen to? Is it that easy—just stopping to listen?

Here's the thing, I'm not sure I would pay all that much attention to your silent "except babies" appending.

Having babies is not only expected by society, it is also a huge biological urge. Bringing up children is a long term commitment requiring significant changes in the body of their mother as well as her (and their father's) ongoing sacrificing of their own needs and wants for the child. Without strong promptings from their own bodies and everybody around them, people otherwise might not make those sacrifices.

It would be almost impossible for you to not be thinking "except babies". Especially you. Young women are subject to incredible pressure on the subject of babies. It is hard to get through a day without being reminded that fertility declines with age or that once a marriage has happened, babies should follow or that old assurance that life without children is empty and meaningless. Complete strangers feel often as if it is perfectly okay for them to question childless women about why they are childless.

You'd be very strange if you didn't have these thoughts. Stranger still if you didn't have doubts about the choices you are making. To not have children sets you aside from the vast majority of society and will impact on lots of parts of your life. To make matters worse, you can't change your mind in your 50s and start having children.

You are in a really tough position and I keep on reading and hoping that you find clarity.
 

Spork

Active member
Hey...I keep seeing news about the fires in California, you OK in that regard, Reverie? It looks scary as hell out there. I hope you aren't near any of that.
 

PinkPig

Well-known member
You have a lot of tough decisions to make, Reverie. FWIW, I think you're doing a remarkable job of trying not to let your NRE persuade your decision making.

I know the baby decision is a separate decision from your relationship with Dustin. And I know you're not interviewing for fathers...but I wanted to share my experience, in case it helps.

My ex-husband is an alcoholic. He's also highly creative, generally calm and pleasant, and extremely helpful. He's kind and patient and fun to be around. Except when he isn't. His communication style is much like you describe Dustin's. It is one thing to be on the receiving end of the anger and meanness when you're a rational adult who is capable of looking at the whole situation. It's entirely different when you're a small child. Now that they're all teens/young adults, I can see the impact their father's alcoholism (and my codependency) had on the way they relate with others, handle stress, and make decisions. It's taken much therapy to forgive myself for the effects on my children.
 
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Reverie

Active member
You'd be very strange if you didn't have these thoughts. Stranger still if you didn't have doubts about the choices you are making. To not have children sets you aside from the vast majority of society and will impact on lots of parts of your life. To make matters worse, you can't change your mind in your 50s and start having children.

You are in a really tough position and I keep on reading and hoping that you find clarity.

Thanks for this. Y'know, I wish the people around me thought the same way that you think about this. It seems largely unthinkable to people that I would be reconsidering this now, after marriage, and I've been almost shamed for it. And I know it's not ideal, for sure. I wish I would have had these weird feelings crop up even a few months sooner than they did. But I am where I am, and the only thing I can do is move forward; no use in expending energy on how the past could have been.
 

Reverie

Active member
Hey...I keep seeing news about the fires in California, you OK in that regard, Reverie? It looks scary as hell out there. I hope you aren't near any of that.

Yeah, I'm fine. The fires aren't really anywhere near me, thankfully. They are on the other side of the Valley from Oona, though, and her balconies are covered in soot. And there's one where the evacuation-readiness zone ends only a couple of blocks from Pete's mom's place, where I attended that fateful July 4th party where I got naked with Dustin for the first time.

That footage that is circulating on social media of what appears to be Armageddon? That used to be part of my commute back in 2001, and it's the exact stretch of highway I travel on when going to meet the dudes at Pete's mom's to get in the van. It's wild to see.
 
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