The Best Life Yet

I was just thinking about how I really care about a lot of the people on here, even though I don't know them in real life. When I don't hear from them for a while, I worry about them. And when they are struggling, I feel for them. And when they are happy, I'm happy for them. I've never really had internet-only friends before, but I kinda feel like I do for the first time!

I have...think I've been doing that since about 2003-2004ish. GWAR people, at first, mostly. Then I started traveling to those events and met a lot of them in person. And I was on forums from about 2010 or so, just talking about a variety of things...and I met my first forum buddy in person last week. That was cool. My semi-extroverted draw to the concept of "community" or "tribe" tends to get me interacting with folks online. It can be hard to find good "tribe" in person sometimes. Easier if you're all into something. These Leather people are all about it. Wish I'd known about them 20 years ago. My life would have been very different.
I know what you mean, Reverie. Even though I never really went down the road of poly, I stumbled across this place and just stayed. First it was mostly curiosity, but then I started caring about the people here. I was very happy to see Starlight post again, and I'm wondering how Claire is doing.

I've never really felt the need to start a blog for whatever reason. I still feel like a part of the community, though.
I know what you mean, Reverie. Even though I never really went down the road of poly, I stumbled across this place and just stayed. First it was mostly curiosity, but then I started caring about the people here. I was very happy to see Starlight post again, and I'm wondering how Claire is doing.

I've never really felt the need to start a blog for whatever reason. I still feel like a part of the community, though.

Oh, you know who really touched me deep around here? FeatherFool. I wonder how she's doing... She hasn't been around in months. Her blog, even thinking about what she went through makes my eyes tear up, still.

I love the people and perspectives here. I'm even rather fond of the somewhat acerbic Ravenscroft. It's why I've stuck around even though I don't feel like I'm legit poly anymore least not in the sexual sense.
It's why I've stuck around even though I don't feel like I'm legit poly anymore least not in the sexual sense.

Yeah, I've tossed around the question in my mind of what I would do if I find myself no longer living a non-monogamous lifestyle, as I have considered. Would I still belong here, etc.?

This is actually the longest-running journal I've kept in years; I journaled daily between the ages of 12–22, but then kind of fell off of it and, try as I might, couldn't seem to kickstart it again. I did a bit of MySpace blogging and Wordpress blogging on and off from 2006–2011, but I could never really get into a regular writing habit again. It was way more sporadic than this. I've wondered if it might make sense to close the chapter here at that point and move on to an off-site blog now that the habit is established, linking it in my sig for anyone who is curious. I'm still not quite sure what I'd do . . .

I have noticed though, from reading older blogs, that it does not seem uncommon for people to segue back out of poly after a while, for whatever reason—for it to end up having been one chapter among many in their lives. It makes sense to me that there are people (such as quite possibly myself) for whom poly is not ultimately for them. Some people can look at the concept instantly and say, "Nope, not for me!" either out of closed-mindedness or self-knowledge, but it makes sense to me that there are others who are open-minded to more alternative ways of living, and appreciate the ideas and ideals so much that it takes a serious try-on period to discover the same.
Last night was incredible. The Geminids! Ah!

I biked over to Dustin's after work. OMG, I had so much crap strapped to my bike, haha. Once the weather cools down, it is a true challenge to get three days' worth of clothes onto a bicycle with laptop and the book I'm reading and everything else. My backpack and purse that I tie both on there regularly were stuffed, and I also had a plastic grocery bag strapped on with a bungee. But taking the car was not an option because I couldn't leave Rider car-less that entire time.

So I get to Dustin's and he's just waking up from a post-fishing-trip nap. He was soooo excited telling me his fishing stories, haha. It was very cute to behold. I love his slight accent and how it comes out more when he's animated.

He also sent me some info on some debt consolidation stuff he'd done a while back. When I'd told him that I was considering going back East for a while depending on how things shake out, and that the main reason was to try to haul myself out of debt, he'd told me he'd done this thing a some years ago that had really helped him. He couldn't remember the details, so he'd reached out to the ex who had turned him onto it, and he'd forwarded me her response. I actually found it cute to see all their little pleasantries in the email—how have you been, how's the fam, nephews are getting big, etc. It was like a little window into the friendly relationship he still has with someone who was once very important to him, and I like to see that.

After I'd looked that stuff over, we were both hungry, so we sat down to a light dinner of leftover shrimp+broth from the other night paired with toasted baguette and some of the cheese he'd brought me back from his trip. It was delicious!

A friend called him during dinner, worried about their mutual friend's recent depressive-sounding Facebook posts. I could tell just from Dustin's half of the conversation who and what they were talking about before he reported it to me after getting off of the phone.

It dawned on me that I'm now integrated enough into Dustin's life that I just know a lot of that stuff and can understand it in context—the friend being worried over was the friend that he works with every Tuesday all day and Sunday night, so he's a logical contact point for inquiring after the fellow's well-being. I'd also seen the Facebook posts in question and said to myself, "yikes." Dustin did not seem to be worried about the guy, but he texted him to check in just in case, saying that people are worried about him and asking whether they have any reason to be. Typical good friend stuff.

We had plans to pick up stuff to mull wine and then go watch the meteor shower. Dustin also wanted to try to buy some fancy soap for Eve for Christmas, but when we got down to the store, it was already closed, so we just went to the grocery for the mulling stuff.

As we walked around running errands, I was just feeling so lovey toward him. I'm not sure why, but it was kind of overwhelming, even. We were holding hands, and I was thinking super-cheesy stuff like how wonderful it feels to be walking through the world hand in hand with this particular creature, and I was involuntarily smiling in his direction, and he turned and saw me and giggled out loud, then kissed me.

We got the mulling spices, wine, and a cheesecloth, and returned home. Derek and Eve were Christmas shopping for the family on the computer, and Dustin decided to regale them with the fishing tales too, while I spiced the wine.

I'd gotten the idea to watch the meteor shower by seeing the topic trending on Facebook, haha. Dustin and I have these crazy-awesome travel mugs that I picked up a couple months ago, and they keep things cold/warm for hours. I've had iced coffee still have ice in it eight hours later. So I'd proposed that we fill them with hot, spiced wine and go out to the canyons to watch the show. Dustin was 100% on board and had been researching locations while I was at work.

We'd decided on one tentative location, but once we were in the car and on the road, he decided spur of the moment to change course.

"I bet it'll be darker up north than over by the water. Looks like the marine layer is coming in. Let's drive an hour north and see what it's like up there," he said. And so we did.

That was the best idea! We ended up finding a little winding road off the highway in the mountains and stopping at a pull-off. Other people had had the same idea; the road was sporadically littered with cars. We bundled into a pile of blankets in the grass and watched the sky and talked.

It was the best meteor shower I've ever seen! It was like, zoooom, zoooom, zoooom all over the place! There were two times when I even saw two at once!
We would gasp and exclaim every time we saw one. It never got old.

And the conversation was phenomenal too. We got into pretty interesting spiritual and philosophical shit, like ya do when staring into the sky. He said a lot of stuff that made sense to me, coming from a different direction and perspective than I've ever had. I began to see and understand some of the underpinnings of the places that we differ, even if I may still not be on the same page. It's good to understand.

After about two hours of stargazing, we both started to yawn and decided it was time to return. The drive back was uneventful and we crawled into bed and cuddled and talked some more, eventually getting sexy. The sex was good. We tried a new position that I'd never done before, where I'm on top of him but fully stretched to my entire length, with my legs on top of his all the way down and my arms holding my top part up while he uses his own arm strength to press my hips up at intervals. He actually does a fair number of similar things to that, where I'm on top but not really having to do any of the work because he's moving me or holding me up and moving under me. I like it.

His face while we were in that position looked like the most beautiful thing in the world to me. I cannot describe it. I saw 100 different things coexisting in his eyes at once: lust and passion and love, yes, but also wisdom and innocence and fury and peace and hope and desperation and so many other things. It felt like he was—or we together were, I'm not sure—flicking through an entire deck of experiences, catching little flashes of the different cards as they whisked by. It was something both intimate and infinite. I sometimes get that feeling with him, like the entire world lives within him somehow and I experience it through him when we come together—it's almost like the LSD thoughts of "we are all one" and "everything is everything" except it happens without drugs. I'm not sure what it is, really, but it makes for really great sex. :rolleyes:

When we were done, we cuddled, and I could feel the happy post-sex, high-on-NRE hormones just washing over me in waves. He snapped out the light, and I instantly slept like a baby. It was a good night.

Tonight I think we're just having dinner and then I'm accompanying him to his three-hour Christmas music rehearsal. I'll probably bring a book.

Rider had a good night last night too. He had fun at his poly meetup with Annie and Iris and Annie's partners and their mutual dude friend. He said he also met a handful of cool new people. He's got a date with Annie tonight that will be their first overnight. He said he might try to cook for her. As far as I know, he knows how to make only three things, so I asked him what, and he didn't know yet. I'm curious to see what it ends up being and to hear how it turns out.

Kind of an odd thing happened in communication with Rider and me yesterday, where he told me that Annie had been talking to him about a trip in the summertime to go to the city where Reina lives and then to a neighboring city, and that he knows it's awfully far in advance to be planning that, but he wanted to let me know. The weird thing about it is that he had proposed the exact same trip to me for the exact same time frame a couple of months ago, and I told him that time frame would probably not work because it'd be too close to another trip we're due to take for a friend's wedding. I'd told him I could probably do it later in the summer.

"So would the plan be that you'd do the same trip twice?" I asked. "Once early with her and then once later with me?"

"Oh, hm. I hadn't thought about that," he confessed. "She'd just been talking about it and it sounded super cool. I didn't remember that we'd planned to do that too. I'm not sure I should do the same trip twice in one summer. But maybe. I know I've been talking about showing you around [Reina's city] forever, and I'd still love to. Nothing's set in stone with her though. I could tell her it won't work and I'm sure there'd be no hard feelings."

"Well, don't tell her no right now on my behalf," I said. "It's not even technically winter yet. Summer's more than half a year away. Let's chill on making the way-far-out travel plans for now. Let's just get to 2018."

I think it's great for him that he has met someone who likes him enough to want to plan trips with him, and who thinks enough alike to him to literally suggest the same trip as the one he'd suggested to me. I do want to go visit that city, and Rider would be a great person to show me around because he used to live there briefly, long ago. But I do feel weird that he legit forgot that we'd had that conversation until I reminded him. You'd think that the convo with her would jog a memory of the convo with me. But you'd be wrong. :cool:
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Oh, and the other piece of news from today! I found out that my brother's wife is pregnant and is due a few days before my sister is! It's funny because their last babies were born within a week of each other too. They must be on the same schedule. Oh, it's gonna be so CUTE next holiday season when there are four of them. Baby cuddle pile! LOL
Part of a family

I want to be part of the family. Child chronic illness and unschooling her have literally stopped our life. I keep up with so many of you. Hope you all don’t mind. My mono husband Jay is hanging in. My ex boyfriend Hunter, contacted me. It was a bad wind I ignored.
Oh, and the other piece of news from today! I found out that my brother's wife is pregnant and is due a few days before my sister is! It's funny because their last babies were born within a week of each other too. They must be on the same schedule. Oh, it's gonna be so CUTE next holiday season when there are four of them. Baby cuddle pile! LOL

Very exciting news! I have a new nephew on the way, too.
Last night had the dubious honor of being the first non-sick time that Dustin and I hung out and did not have sex. I assume we'll make up for it tonight, haha.

His rehearsal was canceled, and a friend had given him a ticket to see a band that he'd liked in high school, so he asked if I'd be willing to go with him if he got me a ticket too. I wasn't familiar with the band, but I was game.

The band didn't start till 9:45, so we had plenty of time for dinner, etc. We grocery shopped and then I made hummus and baba ghanouj, and we ate it with whole-wheat pita and white wine. After dinner, we just sat around talking, cuddling, and listening to music. Our conversation is always so good.

At one point, I kissed his belly, and he said it's too fat and he wants to get in the habit of doing 15 sit-ups and 15 push-ups every day. He asked if I'd do it with him, and I said sure, but I can't do push-ups very well. I did exactly one. LOL. And I'm sore from it today. But I can totally smoke him at any ab-work. :cool: He showed me this thing he knew from karate where you do sit-ups with a buddy by hooking your feet to their feet and then both doing them.

Around 9:00, we left for the venue. The show was all right. The band didn't do much for me; it was mostly just fun being there with him. I'd actually never been to a concert with him before, so it was nice seeing what he's like in that circumstance. He likes moving from place to place to get different vantage points, and he likes standing behind me and putting his arms around my waist. :)

Toward the end of the show, we found a room on the roof with lots of soft couches, and we had a nice little makeout session up there. I was kind of playing with my own psyche while we were doing it, seeing how present to each moment and sensation I could make myself. Moment. Moment. Moment. Moment. Just drinking him in the entire time. It was rad. I don't know what compelled me to do that—it was just a random idea I had—but it was really cool.

After the show, he wanted to stop and get something else to drink, so we got a tiny bottle of rum and I made spiced cider back at the house. We never even finished it, though. He asked that I lay down with him on the couch to cuddle, and we both passed right out. Eventually we moved to the bed, but I must have been sleepwalking because I don't remember it.

He was so cute this morning that I could scarcely make myself leave to go to work. I get soooooo envious of him sometimes in the morning. He has only one full day of work, where he goes to help his friend do work around his greenhouse for about 12 hours each Tuesday, and then he has gigs usually 2–4 nights a week that last for maybe three hours apiece. This week, it's only 2 nights. All the rest of his time is his own, and I cannot even imagine what that's like.

Rider also has the day off. He had his first overnight with Annie and it went well. She had to leave early to go to work. He said he ended up making tacos, which is the main thing he knows how to make. He turned up in pics with new nail polish on, which is the sort of thing that used to give me pangs, but I felt nothing. I think that, for me, the opposite of jealousy is not compersion, but apathy. Although I am genuinely happy for him that he has someone to occupy his time and is not feeling so lonely anymore.

Yesterday, Rider and I had to do a bit of negotiating for the next-week schedule. Dustin wanted Monday and Wednesday, since those are his days off, and I'd already promised him Sunday, since it's Xmas eve and I'll be going home to Rider halfway through Xmas. The issue that needed negotiating is that Dustin is playing shows Thursday and Friday night, and I really want to at least pop in to both things.

I want to do the Thursday one because it's at a bar where he used to have a residency, and I've heard all kinds of legendary stories about it but have never seen him play there. Plus, it's a Xmas party, and it'll be the only one of those I get to go to this year. My work one is tomorrow, and I'm missing it because of my trip with Rider. And Rider's work one was canceled this year. I love a good excuse to dress up in something sparkly and do glittery makeup.

I want to do the Friday one because it's walking distance from my apartment, and he's never played in my neighborhood since we started dating. If any friend of mine were playing that close to my place, I'd want to make an appearance, and Dustin is no exception.

For both events, though, I really only want to stay a couple hours. I'd rather not be out past midnight on Thursday, and I know the venue where the Friday show is is a little pricey for refreshments, so I'd rather it not be my main hangout location for the evening. I had to negotiate with Rider that I'd leave and come back shortly both nights, even though they are technically Rider-nights. I promised him a fun date of some kind in the early evening on Thursday, and suggested that we posse up with friends on Friday, so I can just dip out for a bit and come back. I tried to sweeten the pot by saying they could even be his poly friends, since he's been wanting me to meet them. I'm still not really sure what the plan will be for that night, but I really do want to at least pop in to the show.

Tomorrow morning, Rider is picking me up from Dustin's, and we're going on our little road trip and hotel overnight. It should be fun.
All day, I've been missing Dustin more than I usually do during the work day. Which is absurd, considering that tonight is night six out of the past seven (and night three out of the past three) that we'll be spending together, and considering that I just saw him this morning.

He joked that it's because we didn't have sex last night, and we riffed on that for a moment—how I'm not carrying his DNA around in my body like I usually am, and how I didn't "steal his energy" for once. His instantly jumping to that made me realize that I'm not the only one who took note of the strange occasion of it not happening.

Who knows, maybe he's right.

Unrelatedly, he cleaned his freezer out today and discovered that he still had some of his brother's mahi catch left in there, so I think we'll be making mahi-and-potato chowder tonight. And then I'm not sure what we'll do. I'm open to pretty much whatever, as long as it doesn't go too late since I have to be up early tomorrow . . .
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Hi, Season. So, I've read this a couple of times and cannot seem to figure out how you're thinking it might apply to my situation. I've come up with two possibilities and the reasons why they don't, to me, seem to fit with what I've posted here, but maybe you can clarify and let me know where I might be misunderstanding

Possibility 1:

The analogy is that Dustin said rude and aggressive things because I'd kind of steamrolled over him in some way with a suggestion or proposal for a situation and then not listened to him when he told me it wasn't working for him.

I'm not sure how this possibility might apply because the trigger for him was not a big "here's how we're going to do things" kind of conversation, but rather an email in which I described how I feel the pieces of my life shifting into a different place and how I feel my romantic energy shifting almost entirely onto him, but there's a heaviness and a sadness to it for me. There was no "this is how we're going to do things" kind of thing, no call to action, and I wasn't really intending anything to come of it other than for him to know the landscape of my emotions and mind at the time.

He tells me he became angry because of the timing; it was bad timing for him to have to think about my other relationship at all, even if the content was that it seems to be waning. I didn't realize that he felt that way, so I misstepped there.

I suppose that if I stretch, the fact that I'm in another relationship at all could be interpreted as a "this is how we're going to do things" but I'm not sure that's what you meant.

Possibility 2:

The analogy is that the processing conversation after he'd said the rude and aggressive things is where I wasn't listening to him and there is further trouble to come to me down the line as a result of it.

I'm not sure how this possibility could apply because we were actually pretty collaborative in discussion here. I told him that it was hurtful and felt disrespectful to me when he told me he "could give two shits" about the stuff I'd written, and that I could "f-off if I was upset," and that I was "lost as a person" because I am in a situation and making choices that he would not have chosen if he were me. And he told me that those language choices and lashing out like that was how he expresses anger. And I asked him to work on it because it hurts me enough that it was damaging our connection. And he said that he would. We both acknowledged that maybe this is a way in which we are not compatible and may have to part ways if we can't find something that works.

So, I guess that maybe it'd be helpful for me if you could just provide clarification about where/how you meant for your situation to apply in analogy to mine, because I thought about it a while and just couldn't feel certain in any interpretation.

Actually it was a general comment based on the fact you seem to have conversations with your partners, reach a conclusion and then later, they "backtrack" or you find that you had different understandings of the conversation. This was what first alerted me to my issue with listening and the "one way" conversations I was having.
Actually it was a general comment based on the fact you seem to have conversations with your partners, reach a conclusion and then later, they "backtrack" or you find that you had different understandings of the conversation. This was what first alerted me to my issue with listening and the "one way" conversations I was having.

OK, thanks for clarifying.
My life is a mess right now. Within the past 48 hours, I've almost broken up with both Rider and Dustin, totally separately, for totally different reasons. I cried on my bike ride to work yesterday, after watching Rider sleep for a while before I left. I was an hour late to work today because I was fighting and then making up with Dustin.

They've both, separately, told me that they are anxious messes on the nights that I'm not around lately, no matter how many or few of those nights there are. Rider guzzles beer, smokes pot, gobbles Advil PM, and still finds that he can't sleep when he's alone. Dustin tries to drown his troubles in friends, vodka, and cocaine to forget that I'm sleeping next to someone else. I feel like both of them are probably too dependent on me and on my presence for their happiness.

I feel the stress of being pulled in two directions, and I'm vaguely worried about the future of my living situation, but I'm otherwise starting to feel kind of hollow and resigned. I feel like I can't give these guys what they want from me right now.

I feel like I really fucked up somehow. Like my diminishing sex drive for Rider is kind of a "normal me thing" since stuff like that has happened to me before, but my diminished romantic feelings are at least in part related to Dustin being a thing. It doesn't seem like that should be true, but I worry that it is. I've been working to understand how or why that would be possible. I feel like I could have coasted along in complacency with Rider for some much-longer period of time if I hadn't met and fallen for Dustin.

But I felt like I was doing the right thing at the time. The "this will allow me to give Rider poly" thing. The "oh, I finally have my chance to actually have a second partner" thing.

I realized something yesterday when I was writing an email to myself, trying to put my feelings into words: with everyone else I've ever been with, I've always kind of bent myself into some kind of shape to try to see if I could fit into their world and meet their needs. With Dustin, I don't. It's only partially actually a Dustin-specific thing, which is the part where we match up enough already that it works pretty well without any kind of bending. I think that it's mostly a me thing, in that I've just evolved past trying to be anything that I'm not in order to keep someone I'm interested in.

I think I learned all of this along the way in poly, while trying to date people and still be with Rider. Without any pressure placed on me by loneliness, I could reject people frequently for whatever reasons I wanted to, and I did. I got good at figuring out what I do and don't like in a partner, and that it's OK to have silly deal-breakers if they are important to me for whatever reason. I think that, actually, setting the boundary with Jasper that we could not have sex if he didn't want to actually be my friend was probably the first time that I really exercised a rejection of someone I was really attracted to, since I am so rarely attracted to people. It taught me that I could—that I didn't have to blindly follow lust, rare though it was, into a situation that didn't feel great to me.

And so, while going on dates with like a gazillion new people from 2014–2016, I got a really good idea of who I am and what I don't like. Dustin was just the first one who was a mutual HELL YES from day one and for months—every step of the way, he did many things that were uncannily perfect for me, and it felt like he was tailor-made for me in some way, but really, to a large degree, I had tailored the experience for myself, by now being able to recognize someone who had the things I was looking for.

The sad thing is that Rider doesn't have that advantage. Through a close friendship, I fell in love with him for his kindness and his humor and our artistic creations together. And once in love with him, I discovered that he was good at the physical aspects of sex and fell madly in lust with him too. The lust and the friendship did a pretty good job of filling the gaps in our interests for a long time, until the lust wore off. And it isn't his fault at all—I tried to like sexual topping and football and video games. I genuinely did like endless going to happy hours, till we mostly ran out of other stuff to talk about at them. I never really tried to like watching wrestling, but I was content to write here or to read a book while he watched it.

Well before I even met Dustin, I was starting to go solo hiking instead of hanging out with Rider and his fan-club friends. Or hanging down at the beach alone instead of fixing Rider food while he watched football. Or just staying in and reading instead of biking down to meet him for happy hour. And when I met Dustin, and he also likes hiking and the beach and sitting around reading, I don't think I realized it at the time, but there were weather conditions ripe for the perfect storm.

I think the real trouble started when I began to feel a time crunch. Suddenly, these two sets of person+activities started actively competing. I don't mean on purpose, like the dudes were competing, but I mean like space-in-my-schedule-wise. If I have limited numbers of free hours in a day to do anything of my choosing, it seems naturally compelling to want to do the things that I like more than the things that are so-so to me. And if the person who likes to do the same things as me and is not only willing to do them with me, but also shows genuine enthusiasm that is contagious for them—if that is also the person who is "supposed to" be getting less time, that creates a problem.

Suddenly, it started to feel like never-enough-time with Dustin because how on earth are we going to fit all of these things that we want to do together into our schedule if we are limited to two, then three nights per week? Sometimes it feels like even seven days still wouldn't be enough, with work also to be done and sleep to be gotten.

But, of course, there is still Rider. Dear, beloved Rider who is still more or less the same creature that he's always been and who is, understandably, very confused and hurt that I wouldn't want to spend as much time with him as I've always spent, doing the same sorts of things that we've always done and been pretty happy.

It is me who has changed. I've grown more into myself through trial and error pre-Dustin, and really kind of flowered with Dustin because it suddenly became glaringly apparent how important shared interests, world-wise insight, and a certain type of almost cheesy romance are to me. I didn't know those things, and now I do.

Does that mean that Dustin is an ideal partner for me? No, it does not. I mentioned at the top of this post that I nearly broke up with him within the past 24 hours. He pulled some completely unacceptable underhanded communication tactic shit that came to light last night, like some real relationship guerilla warfare type of shit.

Basically, he answered one of my questions a few days ago with a trick answer to try to trap me into "admitting" something. It didn't work because there was nothing to admit, but the topic came up again last night and I referenced his earlier answer, and he confessed it had all been a ruse. Because it would have been so hard to just answer me honestly, and if he had a question to ask me, ask me directly? When I asked him why he did it that way and not directly, he said that he doesn't trust me and didn't think I'd be honest. When I asked him what I'd ever done to make him not trust me, he said it's hard to trust someone who's living a double life.

There is just so much wrong in all of that, that I cannot even begin to discuss it here, but I went into it all with him, all right. I told him on the spot, and then we went to bed because it was late, and then I woke up this morning still feeling grim about it, so I went into it again.

In the end, I think he finally understood why I was so upset, and why I don't want him pulling shit like that again, and he apologized. I chose to forgive him, fully and with make-up sex.

But my ears are still pricked up for more trouble now. If I find that I cannot trust that I can take the things that he says at face value, instead of them being part of some underhanded plot, and if I ongoingly feel like I cannot be believed for the things that I say, especially when I have given him no evidence of ever having lied, the relationship is doomed. I'm not sure why he'd choose to doom it in that way, but if he does, it's all on him. I've come to the table an honest, earnest, straightforward communicator. I'm an open book, and anything he wants to know, he could just ask and I'd tell him. He doesn't need to resort to chicanery to get the truth out of me.

The other day, Rider asked me, "So, what, you've basically outgrown me, and you're just going to give up?"

I answered honestly, "I'm not sure." It may be true of both of them.
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Holy shit! One of my FB friends just posted the exact thing that bridges the chasm between my and Dustin's views on men and women being friends. Behold!
Holy shit! One of my FB friends just posted the exact thing that bridges the chasm between my and Dustin's views on men and women being friends. Behold!

Yeah, I've had that cross my FB feed too, and it's so spot on, so very true.
I'm still feeling a mix of things.

I had a really good night with Rider last night. We were supposed to record some songs with Perry, but due to Rider’s lack of sleep and poor mental state, I suggested we postpone and have a quiet night. I’d gotten a surprise end-of-year bonus, so I offered to buy us delivery food, and suggested that we watch something and just chill out. For some reason I was craving a documentary. The one we picked had some moments that had us both cracking up. It was very nice to eat and just veg.

We cuddled a little and petted the cats together. At no point did Rider ask me for sex things, which made me feel so good. I've gotten into this weird mind cycle where I don't want to do them and I get anxious and dread that he'll ask and then he does ask and I feel guilty for not wanting to do them, so I do them and then the next time the dread is heightened even more, and so is the guilt because I know I should still be his main sexual outlet. It felt sooooo good to have that cycle broken by him not asking. I was really able to appreciate him for the things that I do love about him—being able to laugh together and cuddle in PJs.

He feels a lot better too, he said, just that I spent some time with him and we cuddled and didn't do any processing, and I took care of dinner after being so broke lately that I haven't really been able to do much of that.

There were a couple of little poly-type snags with him, in the past 24 hours, though. One is that the house was a disaster when I got home last night, and I didn't realize he was planning to have Annie over tonight, so I didn't remind him or help him clean or anything. He only mentioned it as we were getting out of bed this morning, and I looked around and was like, "Uh, well you'll stick to the cleaning and sheets rules, right?" (Basically the only rules I still have around him having other relationships is to not have guests over when the house is messy/dirty and to change the sheets and pillowcases before and after if they use our bed.)

And he looked at me like "oh, shit" and started rushing around trying to clean before he left for work. I had zero extra time before I had to leave, so I couldn’t help him, and I asked him wasn’t he coming home after work and could do it then, and he said he’d planned to meet Annie and her friend downtown near where he worked and have her with him after. He definitely half-assed the cleaning, which I understand because there wasn’t time, but I was not happy about it. It shouldn’t be up to me to keep track of when he’s having overnights or people over and to help him follow that very simple rule.

The other thing was that, OK, so Perry is having a small NYE party, and I'd previously asked Rider what he wanted the situation to be with that. Did he want to invite Annie or any of his other new people, should I invite Dustin, etc. And he'd kind of looked put out that I'd asked, and said he'd really prefer if that party could be a me+him thing. And I was fine with that, so I said OK, and I'm planning to duck out and give Dustin a New Year's kiss at some point and then return to the party. And he was fine with that. The matter was settled.

Except today, I got a Facebook notification that Constance had marked herself as a “maybe” going. Constance is a platonic friend, and I was pleasantly surprised that she might be there. But I knew she hadn’t been on the invitation list previously, so I got curious about who else might be new on there. I looked, and it was also Annie, Annie’s partner, and Iris.

So I asked Rider about it, whether we were actually to be inviting dates now, and should I ask Dustin, and he said he’d just totally forgotten that we’d even had that conversation, but now that I reminded him, he remembered. He said things are still at “just friends” with Iris, so he thinks it’s OK to have her there, but that he’d uninvite Annie and her partner.

I told him he didn’t have to do that—I didn’t want a repeat of Christmas 2014 but in reverse, where he offers something holiday-related to the newer partner and then pulls the rug out after they’re looking forward to it. I also didn’t want Annie to think it was my doing—I honestly don’t really care. But he insisted and said he’d explain it to her. And I guess, according to him, she was cool with it.

This is the kind of stuff that would be driving me insane if I was still super romantically wrapped up in Rider. As-is, it’s just a source of minor eye-rolling. I feel kinda sorry for Annie, though. I don’t know how bad her NRE is right now (though I presume it’s pretty strong if she was willing to give him a ride to work in hellish traffic the other day just to see him briefly), but I can easily imagine that she was looking forward to a NYE kiss from the new person she’s dating and is probably at least somewhat disappointed. Not really my business, though, so I butted out since Rider seemed adamant.

On the Dustin front, I'm supposed to spend this evening with him, and I am looking forward to it, but the longer I've spent out of his presence since the last debacle, the more ambivalent I'm feeling overall. I know that when we are together, it'll probably be amazing, because it almost always is, but overall, I have Doubts.

Like, while he did eventually concede that I was right that he shouldn't have lied to me or tried to "test" or "trick" me—and I think he did truly come to understand it—it chafes that he seems to think that anything toxic that he does is somehow excusable because of my "situation." Like my having another relationship is a Dustin-gets-out-of-jail-free card he can use as an excuse for behaving poorly.

His take on the whole thing seems to be something along the lines of (generalizing and paraphrasing) "How can I not occasionally snap and do toxic things? The entire situation is insane and I'm insane for staying in it, but I do it because I love you, but of course it makes me crazy enough to do stupid shit sometimes." This is basically the sort of explanation or excuse he eventually uses every time he does something unacceptable: that he hurts and it makes him do bad things.

And I'm just kinda over here like . . . well, shit, if the situation feels so toxic to you that it makes you act out in various different ways, and you won't do the leaving yourself, maybe I need to just be the person of resolve here and end it myself. But I hate the idea of it, so I really hope it does not come to that.

I just hate feeling wary. I know the wariness will wear off with enough water under the bridge and good behavior, but there's only so many times that it will, you know?
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Are you keeping in mind Gala Girl's " three strikes" rule? I know you are hoping he is a keeper but you could have at least an estimate of how many incidents is too many for you.

Are you keeping in mind Gala Girl's " three strikes" rule? I know you are hoping he is a keeper but you could have at least an estimate of how many incidents is too many for you.


Thanks for the tip. I'm not quite ready to put anything in quantitative terms—still in a very "wait and see" mindset, and I feel like setting a hard number on things would be counterproductive to my outlook. But I also know that I'll know when enough is enough, if you know what I mean. I'm definitely not someone who will tolerate bad behavior forever.
Last night with Dustin was wonderful, as expected. When I arrived (after getting slightly rained upon on the bicycle), he was having snacks and a martini with Eve and listening to Christmas music, so I joined them for a glass of wine. Then we decided to all go to the grocery together. Then I cooked while listening to a really cool Christmas list that a friend of mine had made for all his friends. Derek got home partway through, and we all sat down to dinner together. Dustin, Eve, and I shared a half-bottle of port that Dustin had bought. I helped Dustin wash dishes, and then we cuddled on the couch, chatting about possible futures.

Eventually, we retired to the bedroom for sexytimes, which were really fucking good. Dustin said I was like a wild animal and he's never seen me like that before—that it really turned him on. I was super, super turned on. He brings a passion out in me that I cannot even properly describe.

I dunno, guys. When things are good with Dustin, they are so impossibly, amazingly good. There are so very many things that I just totally love about him.

Like when I was opening my bottle of wine last night after getting to his place, and he and Eve were eating cheese and crackers, he kept going back and forth, bringing me tiny bites he'd prepared for me, and feeding them to me, then kissing me. And when we were on the way to the grocery store, he insisted on having me sit up front while he sat behind me, and he kept rubbing my shoulders from back there. He seems to always be thinking of things to do to make me feel loved and happy. There are just all of these tiny little bits of romance.

And that's just stuff he does. There is so much more that is just how he is that are so good. The interests, the intellect, the way he moves and looks and laughs.

And then there are the so-very-many ways in which we are the same. Like, I never in my life thought I'd meet someone who, like me . . . was in a punk rock band as a teenager; grew up near the water doing things like crabbing; started having sex and taking psychedelics at 13; is the oldest of a litter of three children; slept on the top bunk with a same-sex sibling below; is passionate about organic, healthy food and rich food; is knowledgeable about wine; pretty much always picks out the same exact flavor or fragrance of things that I would; is well-read and likes many of the same kinds of books that I like; is prone to try on new lifestyles and change a lot; is fascinated with plants and ethnobotany; loves active outdoor activities; is turned on by the same stuff; and is a left-handed bass player and songwriter. And to top it all off, he happens to be a bit larger than me but not much, so that we are perfectly proportioned for pretty much anything physical that we have ever tried.

For someone like me, who very much values sameness in relationships (as opposed to some friends I have, such as Oona, who value difference), being with him is in many ways like winning the jackpot. We do have a few key differences, but they mostly just result in spirited debate. Mostly, the sameness more or less guarantees that if he has an idea of something to do or brings a thing home for us, I am going to like it, and vice versa. Our possibilities seem limitless.

It seems such a strange trick of fate that the universe would give me this beautiful, next-to-perfect person, and but then there is this dark side bundled into him. And the crazy part is, because we are indeed so similar, so much of it I understand. I, too, have partied way too fucking hard sometimes, to the point of being a shitty partner. I, too, have boiled with hatred out of feelings of jealousy and acted out in dramatic and petty ways. I, too, was once an indirect communicator who would try to sleuth (or even snoop) instead of asking things outright. I, too, used to lie sometimes when I felt like something would get me in trouble, or try to hide things I was ashamed of.

So many of the things about him that are problematic are historic bad behavior of my own that it's almost like he is who I would have been if I hadn't done a shit-ton of work on myself in the past six or so years and had instead continued to wallow in darkness and cowardice. So it's really super tempting, knowing how things went for me, to have faith that he can fix these things too—to believe that if I point things out and illuminate them, he can, with awareness and practice, improve.

And he kind of has? He doesn't seem to be making the exact same mistakes twice anymore. And when I called him out about that most recent issue, that it was fucked up, even though he was tired and grumpy and drunk, he did not become mean or unreasonable. He pushed back a little until he understood, but he did it respectfully and ended up apologizing. Even though a "bad thing" had happened, it was ultimately handled in a good way. He basically almost got an opportunity with the new bad thing to prove himself better on the last bad thing, if that makes sense.

But it does kind of leave me in the place of wondering what the next bad thing will be, like there is certain to be one given what I've seen so far.

It's so weird because in some ways he is so super zen about stuff, trusting in serendipity to take care of him, and living in the moment, and not sweating the small stuff. But there's this other side of him that is actually super anxious and troubled, not trusting that he can depend on my love or that I'm telling him the truth, and that side of him pins so much of his happiness on whether I am literally in his presence or not.

The more he grows to love me, the more that side comes out, and the more possessive and needy he gets. And the more possessive and needy he gets, the more weird behaviors surface. I'm not sure what I can do to reassure him.

He's always shown to be willing to work on the individual stuff, but I think the underlying issues are that 1) he just does not feel secure in a poly relationship, and 2) he's never had a relationship that included healthy communication habits, so he kinda has no idea what he's even doing. Aside from having been single for more time than most people, much of what he's told me about his previous relationships, even though he is still friendly with his exes, is about the unhealthy communication behavior on both sides. I know, for example, that he would cheat and lie. And I can see his unhealthy communication habits that still exist, and I don't imagine he was much different before.

And he's told me before that all the other chicks he's dated would bring up old, unrelated issues when they were arguing about something else, and would say one thing when they meant something else and expect him to guess what they really meant. He tried to say that "all chicks" do that, and I was like, no, just the poor communicators that you've dated. This came up because he's thought that I was trying to communicate hidden messages to him a couple of times, and I had to set him straight.

I cannot so much help him with #1 beyond just loving and providing reassurance. Security is something he has to work on himself. But I can try to help him with #2, up to a point, by setting good examples, pointing out things that I find problematic, and offering alternatives. I do feel that one thing that relationships are good for is helping each other learn and grow, and I have learned so much from him already. Maybe this is the way I can give back to him. Only up to a point, though. I know that if he takes too long to improve, there will come a point where I either feel less love for him, or I feel like I'm giving too much and am depleting myself. And then I'll have to walk away.