The Journey of JaneQSmythe

JaneQSmythe

Active member
I joined this forum formally on January 18th 2012 after lurking and reading for a few weeks. Due to recent events in my life I have found that I was looking for the conversation and advice of a community of poly-people (and the people who love them) – and am glad to find you all here conversing and advising away cheerfully!

I posted my Personal Summary:
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showpost.php?p=122042&postcount=230

I posted an Introduction:
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20575
(and really appreciate the welcome I received there!)

Now I find that I want to share more and tell my “Life Story” - luckily for me you have a forum for that as well!

**********

(For reference I thought it might be helpful to include a list of the current cast of players in this not-very-dramatic drama – in subsequent posts I will pseudonym walk-on characters as needed...)


Dramatis Personae:

(Disclaimer: my interpretation of people's sexual orientation, poly/mono orientation, relationship status etc. is MY subjective interpretation based on their behaviors in my presence, stories and observations of others – I may be DEAD WRONG...)

MrsS (Me) – poly bi female, wife to MrS, gf to Dude, LDR FWB to VV and MsJ

MrS – straight (but not narrow) male, probably mono, husband to MrsS, close (best?) friend to Dude, friends with VV and MsJ

Dude – hetero male, probably poly, bf to MrsS, close (best?) friend to MrS, ex-bf to CrazyGirl, off-and-on sex buddies with Nan. MrS and Dude were friends for 1-2 years before I was introduced to Dude.

VV – bisexual female, poly?, swinging?, primary type relationship with fiance. We've been FWB almost since we met (19 years ago?), she was friends (without benefits) with MrS for a few years before that.

MsJ – bisexual female, primary type relationship with husband, 2 kids. Married to MrS's best friend from HS for 7-8 years. We've been FWB for, maybe, 4-5 years.

CrazyGirl – straight (potentially bi-curious?) female, Dude's ex-girlfriend, stated goal is to be married and “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen”

Nan – female, off-and-on sex buddies with Dude (when his relationship status allows for it)
 
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JaneQSmythe

Active member
Dear Reader

Thank you for your interest in my personal journey!

My purpose in writing this blog is to set down, in an orderly fashion, the events and ideas that have led me to where I am today. I actually sat down and wrote an outline of the topics that I want to address with notes on items to cover in each sub-section (unsurprisingly, neither MrS nor Dude were surprised to learn I had written an outline - “Of course you did.”). My plan is to start with a series of posts covering my/our personal history – where I was in my life, how I interacted with people, how people responded. In the second section I plan to review the hurdles we faced, the major arguments we had, the mistakes that were made and their resolutions.

I am a person who finds it easier to communicate via the written word where I can take hours editing and re-editing until I find the flow of ideas that best conveys my intent. I may spend a seemingly inordinate amount of time finding the exact word or phrase that conveys my meaning precisely. The act of doing so, in turn, gives me personal insight into my actions and reactions to the topic or event I am addressing. I expect and hope the process of writing this blog will be an enlightening one for myself, and if my journey happens to provide a glimmer of insight to anyone here (even if it is only that you find that you disagree with me vehemently) then so much the better (“value-added” bloggingness).

My request to you, Dear Reader:
I realize that this is a public forum and that I have no right to expect others to abide by my preferences, however, as my intent is to bring myself up-to-date in my thought processes, I would appreciate it if comments during the initial phase be limited to your immediate reactions to my posts and links to helpful resources and posts where you (or others) have dealt with similar issues. Once I have completed the “formal” (i.e. planned) portion of this blog I intend to convert to a more “journal” style blog where I discuss day-to-day issues in my journey as they arise or write about poly- or relationship-related topics that stem from conversations I have had, both in person and online, and how they relate to me and my general “philosophy of life.” At which point I hope you will join in with suggestions and vignettes.

In the meantime, if there is a conversation that you would like to have about something I have said in my personal history posts I would be grateful if you would post in my “Intro” thread (link above) or, if it sparks a topic of conversation of general interest, we can start a thread in the relevant section of the forum that I can link back to here.

JaneQSmythe

PS. That sounds so formal! My purpose in this request is to help me stay on track and get everything down. I am easily sidetracked by interesting conversations (and quite verbose about it, to boot). I think I owe it to myself (and my boys) to take the time to wrap my head around my own thoughts. Think of this as the counseling/therapy that I do so badly (I once spent an entire session talking about Heinlein rather than my feelings - an interesting conversation, but I already KNOW what I think about HIM - and he's DEAD for crying out loud - THAT relationship isn't going anywhere any time soon :))
 
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nycindie

New member
Hi Jane, you have no need to worry in the Blogs section. Debates aren't allowed here. There are a different set of guidelines for the "Life stories and blogs" forum, and if someone posts something to your blog that you don't want to remain there, this is the only forum where you can request someone else's posts be removed from your thread. This is from the User Guidelines:
•Respect the Blogs

The "Life Stories & Blogs" board exists for members to chronicle their journeys. It's a place for personal narratives about relationships. While discussion of what's posted is expected, those threads are not a place for open debate--they are personal chronicles. If you read something there that you just have to debate, start a discussion about that topic on the General board. If you try to argue on somebody's personal story thread, the post can be removed at the request of the member who started the thread.

So, rest easy, blog away, and... welcome!
 

NovemberRain

New member
*my* first reaction to your initial posts?

You're freakin' adorable! :D You go grrrl.
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
The pre-beginning: before MrS – the High School Years

Many of my views of sex and relationships have been shaped, I believe, by reading Heinlein since the age of 12. Growing up my family did not have a strong body modesty taboo and I believe this has something to do with my comfortableness with my own body and its sexuality. I started masturbating at 12, I “lost” my virginity at 16. (I apologize for the quotes but per Heinlein = “ ...But don't talk about 'losing' anything, when in fact you will be achieving your birthright, that supreme status of functioning female that your biological inheritance makes possible.”)

Looking around at the activities and entanglements of my fellow students I knew that I was not interested in the drama and hassles I saw inherent in high-school romances. I had things to DO with my life. I didn't want to waste time with petty romances and waiting for some boy to call for a date (Blech!). The concept of “love” I was fairly ambivalent about, I wasn't really sure it existed (to be fair, this is a concept that is still troublesome to me). It seemed me that “love” was something that horny people convinced themselves they were “in” to justify the fact that they wanted to have sex with someone. Since I was perfectly happy accepting that there were plenty of people that I was sexually attracted to, the whole “love” aspect seemed an unnecessary complication.

When I decided to become sexually active at the age of 16 it was with careful consideration of what I wanted. For my first sexual experience I chose a friend of mine, call him PianoBoy, who also happened to be the first boy to kiss me (at the age of 12) – for some reason the symmetry of this pleased me. We were friends, we hung out, we had several interests in common, we fooled around intermittently and I would get turned on. I knew that he had slept with, and was sleeping with, a number of girls but never had a “girlfriend”. For a year or two he had been periodically asking “So, when are you going to have sex with me?” and my answer was “Wait until I'm sixteen.” A few weeks after I turned sixteen he asked the same question and my answer was: “Pick me up at 3 on Saturday, bring condoms. But, I have to be home by 7 because I'm going to the Homecoming Dance with some guy.” He did, and we did, and it was fun! (The dance, however, was boring as...well, hell would have been more exciting...not my sort of thing at all – had only agreed to go as a favor to a friend.)

So, having decided that sex was something that I wanted to experience more of – I called Planned Parenthood and got on the pill. Not that I actually ever disclosed this, intentionally, to any of my prospective sex partners – let them think that the condom was their only defense against potential fatherhood and I figured they would be that much more careful. I'm a “suspenders-AND-a-belt” kind of girl – an unintended pregnancy would have interfered with my plans (although I had a back-up plan, of sorts, for that as well – my aunt was having trouble getting pregnant, I was going to a.) run away, b.) call her and offer to have the baby for her to adopt, c.) come home and apologize to my parents.)

From that point on I chose my potential sexual partners from a.) friends that I was sexually attracted to that I thought were “emotionally mature” enough not to presume on our friendship for more than FWB and b.) random boys that I met that I was sexually attracted to that seemed to me to be amenable to my NSA approach to sex. (Girls had not yet hit my consciousness in regards to the range of possible sexual partners...although I had the usual “crushes” in this regard – just not registering on my “sexual attraction” radar.) To back this up I had developed a list of “rules” in my own mind to avoid possible emotional entanglement: a.) no virgins (in my observations, people had a tendency to become 'attached' to their first sexual partner) b.) 'The Rule of 3' – I wouldn't have sex with someone more then three times (in my observations, people had a tendency to become 'attached' to people they had sex with on a regular basis) – in actuality this turned into a 'Rule of 2' – I'm a bit of a hoarder, so I would “save” one sexual encounter with a good partner 'in-case-of-emergency' c.) at any sign of 'attachment' sexual contact stops – say I misread you and after the first sexual encounter you get all “mushy” or start calling me for no reason, or act jealous when I am flirting with others – yup, done.

Contrary to what you may think this actually worked out quite well for me for a few years. The few misunderstandings were cleared up by my friends having a conversation with the boy in question (“It's not that she doesn't want YOU for a boyfriend...she doesn't want a boyfriend at ALL. That's just how she is....”) So I never had to confront the “feelings” side of sex in any significant way...

… and then there is the 'Story of MrS'...
 

Arrowbound

New member
Growing up my family did not have a strong body modesty taboo and I believe this has something to do with my comfortableness with my own body and its sexuality.

Looking around at the activities and entanglements of my fellow students I knew that I was not interested in the drama and hassles I saw inherent in high-school romances. I had things to DO with my life. I didn't want to waste time with petty romances and waiting for some boy to call for a date (Blech!).

When I decided to become sexually active at the age of 16 it was with careful consideration of what I wanted.

To back this up I had developed a list of “rules” in my own mind to avoid possible emotional entanglement: a.) no virgins (in my observations, people had a tendency to become 'attached' to their first sexual partner) b.) 'The Rule of 3' – I wouldn't have sex with someone more then three times (in my observations, people had a tendency to become 'attached' to people they had sex with on a regular basis) – in actuality this turned into a 'Rule of 2' – I'm a bit of a hoarder, so I would “save” one sexual encounter with a good partner 'in-case-of-emergency' c.) at any sign of 'attachment' sexual contact stops – say I misread you and after the first sexual encounter you get all “mushy” or start calling me for no reason, or act jealous when I am flirting with others – yup, done.

You just posted my mindset from 17 - 20. I can't wait for more posts already, lol.

:D
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
The Beginning – Meeting MrS

My senior year of HS my friend, PonyGirl, and I used to hang out on weekends at a house that some of our friends had in the city. One weekend a mutual friend (Rube) brought two new guys to the house while they were home on spring break – MrS and JB. I had my eye on MrS but PonyGirl beat me to him. By the end of the evening MrS and PonyGirl had a little thing going and JB had asked me out.

JB and I got along really well in terms of interesting conversations and shared interests but he got knocked off my 'potential sex partner' list due to my “No Virgins” rule so we became friends instead. Over the next few months new friendships developed and a group of us – Me, PonyGirl, JB, MrS, Rube and SweetPea (MrS's ex-girlfriend/now FWB) and a few others - would hang out together regularly. Rube and I developed a FWB relationship, MrS and PonyGirl were seeing/sleeping with each other (he was of the understanding that this was a FWB scenario – she never said anything to the contrary). MrS was also sleeping with SweetPea (he was clear with her that this was a FWB-and-no-further situation, she voiced understanding but was still hoping they could get back together). Confused yet?


Some Backstory: the prior relationships of MrS


SweetPea was MrS's junior and high school girlfriend. They were together for 5 years or so and went through some serious shit together. When they were leaving to go to separate colleges, MrS says “I love you and will always be your friend but we aren't going to be seeing a lot of each other, and I think we should be free to see other people.” She says “NO! I love you and don't want to be with anyone else. We can do it.” He says “OK.” AND....she cheats on him. (Actually she had cheated on him before that too – not sure when he actually knew about that)

After MrS and SweetPea break up he starts dating NYGirl at college. They are together for about 2 years and then she is going to be going to a different campus for a year. MrS says “I love you but we aren't going to see much of each other, and I think we should be free to see other people. In a year, when we are on the same campus again, we can see if we want to be exclusive.” She says “NO! I love you and don't want to be with anyone else. We can do it.” He says “OK” AND...she cheats on him.

So, at the time I am meeting / friending/ flirting with him he is rather burned on relationships and being pursued by 3 girls who all appear to be on board with some friendly NSA FWB type sex. (Poor MrS;))​


For the first time in my life I found myself playing “games” try to get a boy interested in me (Ick!). For example, I usually drove when all of us friends would go out (my car could hold 7) - at the end of the evening I would feign fatigue and ask MrS to take over the driving and drop everyone off and then I would just have to drive home from his house. I'm thinking – alone in a car, at night, way out in the country...NOPE – the guy never made a move (...maybe if I had ever learned to bat my eyelashes?) At the time my usual method of chasing men was “letting them chase me while I ran very slowly” (to quote Mama Maureen in Heinlein's To Sail Beyond the Sunset). Apparently MrS's method of seduction is to sit around having interesting conversations and looking sexy until some sweet young thing drags him bodily off into the bushes. [MrS makes no attempt whatsoever to deny this – says that it has always worked out pretty well, why change a system that works just fine?]

Passive seduction techniques + Passive seduction techniques = No sex with MrS for Jane.

It turned out that Rube, MrS, and I would all be attending the same college campus in the fall so I pretty much decided that I would have my chance at him then. I (apparently) made no secret of this intention – which led JB to make a bet with MrS that I would trip him within 3 days of getting to school (it only took 2). [When I tease MrS about this bet he says: “If I won I got paid, if I lost I got laid – where's the downside?”]

Anyway (got a little ahead of myself there) – don't think that I spent that summer just lusting after MrS and not getting anywhere – there were some of my prior partners that hadn't quite used up their 3 times yet, I met new people to play with when I went up to college for a pre-freshman summer session, AND... I discovered girls! And threesomes! [Actually I tease MrS that these developments were all his “fault”] ...but I'll save that for the next post...
 
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JaneQSmythe

Active member
The Beginning - A Threesome Tangent

Mid-way through that first summer SweetPea approaches me with a proposition (and a sweet smile on her luscious little rosebud mouth and an adorable dimple and a sparkly glow in her eyes and ...wait...where was I?) She thinks that MrS would enjoy a threesome with some hot girl-on-girl action and she knows I am attracted to him and she thinks I'm cute and would I consider being a third? Hell YES! BUT – I have never done this before so I might be awkward, yadda-yadda, we set a date (it was to be a surprise present). I also told her that for our “first time” I didn't feel comfortable having sex with him so if she wouldn't mind taking care of the sex-with-him part...?

Now you may ask yourself why, if I am so eager to get in his pants, I don't take advantage of it at this opportunity? A few reasons – two new sex partners, my first girl, my first threesome – all at the same time! - I was afraid I would get overwhelmed and suffer “performance anxiety” (and he would think I'm lousy in bed). ALSO, I really like SweetPea, she's sweet and friendly and fun and nice and sexy, her “problem” is the fact that she can't keep her pants on...something that I can totally identify with. Look – I don't approve of her cheating on MrS while they were together – but I viewed that as an issue between the two of them – if SHE had known herself well enough to admit at that time that she wasn't wired for monogamy things could have turned out a lot differently. (Actually, I think years later that she and her first husband ended up being swingers – we went to the wedding but then they moved out of state and we didn't see her more than a few times after that).

So anyway, I like SweetPea and I know that she is hoping that the current FWB situation with MrS will evolve into them getting back together, in fact, I think that she is hoping that this threesome will aid in this (“See what a cool, sexy, girl I am? See what I can do for you? Don't you want to get back together with me?”). I am afraid that if I have sex with him in front of her and they don't get back together (which I didn't think they would – he was really hurt by her cheating) then she is going to want to blame me, which would mess up our budding friendship (and our potential FWBship? If it turns out that we like this girl-on-girl thing as much as I suspect we are going to) and just complicate the whole situation (I can't stand drama...) Also, this being her first time with the girl-on-girl bit, I am afraid that if she sees me having sex with him and has a negative emotional reaction, she will not have a good time, she will associate it with the girl-on-girl activity and won't invite me back!

(You may at this point suspect that I have a tendency to over-analyze things...you would be correct.)

So, the date came and we showed up at MrS's house while his parents were at work and informed him of our intentions and he was appropriately enthused (I believe “Woohoo!” and “That's hot!” sprang to mind). So with some blushing awkwardness, a few false starts, and LOTS of giggling we embarked on our little adventure. Initially we turned to MrS for some direction (“OK, you nibble her there, now you kiss her there, now you touch me there...”) - after a bit we relaxed and bit and figured out our own dynamic and then drew him into it. We had made it to the naked and kissing and cuddling stage...When MrS's Dad pulls into the driveway – home from work several hours early! Chaos! We all dive off the bed so as to be below the level of the windowsill, SweetPea crawls to the closet, I scramble to the bathroom, MrS is trying to sort out our clothes and toss them in the right directions while getting his own pants on. By the time Dad makes it up to the house MrS and SweetPea are sitting in the kitchen talking, and I am just coming out of the bathroom...La-La-La – nothing interesting happening here...

God that was freaking hilarious!

We did arrange an encore a few weeks later, when MrS's parents were out of town – warm August night, blankets outside, fire, cool breeze, starry sky and two naked teenage girls running around like woodland fairy nymphs. I like being naked outside and girls are fun! After we got tired of catching and kissing each other while MrS looked on and laughed, SweetPea and MrS had sex by the fire while I watched and kissed and petted them...that was a lovely evening.
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
The Beginning – The Relationship that Wasn't

So in the fall MrS and I go off to college. MrS's roomates are Rube, OrangeBoy, and 3 guys named John (not really but they did all have the same first name). OrangeBoy is only notable because down the road he cheated on his long-time girlfriend with my dormmate (and because his girlfriend happened to go to college with one of my best girl friends from HS she ended up finding out)...and for one other incident that will come out later in this tale. I moved into my dormroom, met my roommate, said goodbye to my parents and headed off to Rube and MrS's apartment to meet the rest of the boys. MrS resisted my sexual advances that first night (no worries, Rube “consoled” me on the couch).

Night number 2 MrS lost his bet with JB and...apparently my rules flew out the window. We blew through my “Rule of 3” in no time flat. Sorry to say we busted my suspenders-and-a-belt rule as well - if I can't be honest in my blog and admit my mistakes then I am not telling the whole story. (More on this later.)

I tease Dude that he is such a Uhaul lesbian, but essentially the same thing happened when I got together with MrS. That first semester I spent most nights with MrS, my dorm room was a place I kept my clothes and studied between classes or when MrS wasn't at the apartment (I did NOT have my own key). When PonyGirl or SweetPea would come up to visit I would visit with them during the day (and in the case of SweetPea we would play with MrS together - or with each other if he was off doing something else) but I would go back to my dormroom leaving him to them for the night (even though he said I didn't have to). Sometimes I would call one of the other boys I had on tap (unceremoniously referred to as “Dick-On-Call” by some of our friends).

At some point during this phase Rube said something to MrS that triggered one of my quotable quotes that gets repeated frequently in jest. Rube and the rest of the guys are hanging out having a general bitch-session and Rube says something to MrS about “...your girlfriend...”. MrS looks confused and I glance up from whatever book I have my nose in, look puzzled, and comment “MrS doesn't have a girlfriend! I would know...I'm here all the time.” Then I got all embarrassed because I realized that he meant ME...we 'set him straight.'

A few months passed and I found myself getting upset and agitated by things that would not have EVER bothered me in the past. I actually started keeping a journal around this time (something I don't generally do) to vent some of the confusing feelings I found myself having. One night we were at a party and my dormmate happened to be there with us and wanted to leave early. MrS offered to walk her back to the dorm. (ALL of the boys in our group of friends were incredibly attentive to making sure that we girls never had to walk across campus after dark alone – there were incidents all of the time on such a huge campus.) They ended up stopping at a pool hall and hanging out for a few hours – I actually got back to our dormroom before she did (Rube brought me home). When she got back to the room she disclosed that she was upset because she found herself attracted to MrS and had come the closest she had ever come to being tempted to cheat on her long time boyfriend. I said something vague like “Oh, really?” but inside I was seething with...?

Well, that is an interesting question. My journal entries from that time contain a lot of questions (”Am I developing FEELINGS for MrS?” “Am I feeling JEALOUS? - you don't even believe in that Jane” etc.) and express a lot of anger at myself for responses that I would have scoffed at had someone else been having them. At some point I talked about my conflict with a friend of mine (call her Gina). (Sidenote: Gina was my friend because we had independently picked PianoBoy to be our “first” for similar reasons – small world...). Basically, she said, after several weeks of hearing me whining that, if I didn't say something to MrS, then, as my friend, she would be compelled to. After protesting, I agreed that if I hadn't “said anything” by a certain point that she would press the issue.

After the allotted time Gina called me (at MrS's) and asked if we had had 'the conversation' yet. I admitted that we hadn't and she said that I needed to put him on the phone. I protested but complied. MrS takes the phone out in the hall while I have an anxiety induced meltdown in the bedroom. After a while (10 minutes? Seemed like hours on my end.) MrS comes to me and says “Is there something you need to talk to me about?” Oh, agony! I can't talk, I can't think, I can't breath. So I write something on a sheet of notebook paper, hand it to him and bury my head in the pillows. A minute passes...was that a chuckle? After an eternity passes he comes over to me and and lifts my head up ...he waits until I can't help but look him in the eyes and he says...”Yes.”

The burning question that I had asked? The question that had precipitated this whole juvenile charade?

Do you care for me, at all?” Turns out...he did.
 
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JaneQSmythe

Active member
The Beginning – OK we are in a “relationship”, what does that MEAN?

So, having determined that we did, in fact, “care for” each other – what does this mean exactly? After 6 mos of seeing each other practically every day (and sleeping together almost every night) I have finally acknowledged that I have 'feelings' for this guy, and (through a very junior- high-type intervention) have determined that he has feelings for me as well. Great. Now, what am I supposed to DO?

After the whole emotional upheaval of the “Do you care for me?” conversation I was exhausted and we spent the next few hours pursuing our normal routine – I studied in his room while he and his roommates hung out. That evening we were going to a party at another apartment (in the same complex) I wasn't sure how the conversation earlier in the day affected how we were “supposed” to interact now that we were a “couple”, so I determined that I would find out... We go to the party and I pursue my usual pattern of floating/flirting between the guys that I am friends with and chatting up the “likeliest” guy in the room. At some point in the process of chatting up my “prospect” I get the tap on the shoulder (which I have kind of been expecting...) from MrS - “We need to talk.” We go back to the apartment for a conversation about boundaries...which continued over a period of time.

After a lot of conversation (for us) it boils down to this: a.) he is fine with me having any relationship I want with other women – telling him or not telling him beforehand / including him not including him in any sex play (Ladies Choice), he is fine with me being flirty with our (male) friends including “physical” flirting (cuddling/lap sitting/light petting), he is fine with me hanging out with/being friends with/ verbally flirting with other boys that he doesn't know ...but he is NOT ok with me being romantically or sexually involved with other males. (The difference in the degree of flirting he is comfortable with – physical vs. verbal flirting - between friends of ours and people I meet on my own has to do with whether he trusts them to STOP when I say “enough.”)

MY boundaries – who knew that I had any? Turns out I did. I was fine with him having any relationship he wants with other males (neither of us thought at the time that this would come into play – all of his prior sexual partners were female) but I did not really want to hear any details of “anal” sex/play. (Apparently I have an anti-fetish in this regard...). With regard to females I came up with a MMMNM rule – which stands for “Mucus Membranes Must Not Meet”. This is not a “safer sex” rule per se. Kissing, oral sex, and intromission are, to me, intimate acts that have the potential to lead to “attachment” (i.e. romantic involvement) and I wanted to know if his relationships with other girls were headed in this direction. I gave him a “free pass” right off the bat for SweetPea (who we were both into) but other than her I would like to be informed.

Before the poly police start screaming “OPP! OPP! Someone is being oppressed!” (This is said very tongue-in-cheek...:p) We were very young (me 18, him 20). This was my very first “relationship” ever and his third (according to his count), the first two ended by having his girlfriend cheating on him. The word “polyamory” had been coined a few years earlier but we didn't have the Internet back then and were playing it by ear (making up the 'rules' as we went along). To be perfectly fair, this worked (fairly well) for years and years...
 
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JaneQSmythe

Active member
The Middle – So THEN what happened? Some Bumps in the Road

As in any relationship we had our up-and-downs, arguments and resolutions. We were finding our balance points. Examples?

MrS was going back home for a concert (I had an exam to study for). This was to be the first time MrS was going to be with SweetPea since our “conversation.” My stated stance: “Of COURSE you are going to have sex with her. You love her. You share all this history. Blah, blah, blah...” He says “you are going to be upset”. I protest. Short story long: he goes home, he sleeps with her, he comes back...I am upset. Not with him, but with myself for having these jealous feelings (remember, I don't 'believe' in this jealousy crap). We talk, I tell him that I am not mad at him but myself for not responding in the rational fashion I expect, he says “I told you so” - which drives me insane! So, a few weeks later SweetPea swings through for a visit – it's great! her+me, him+her+ me – so I figure out that I am not so much jealous because she and him had fun, but that she and him had fun while I was back at the apartment missing him. I feel that I have come to a better place in understanding my own reaction and would be fine with him being with her again without me there. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to test my hypothesis, he never played with her again unless I was also there. “No, I learned my lesson.” Dammit!

A few months later - he actually does cheat on me...with PonyGirl! (A one-night stand one weekend when she is up visiting.) I don't find out for a while and when I do I am strangely unaffected. I know that he doesn't 'care ' for her and that it was 'just sex'. (Per him...”I don't know, I just wanted to see if I could.” - what?!?, be attractive to/attracted to other girls?!? ...could have told him THAT!) Soon after that I had my first slip, some intimate “outercourse” (with a male friend I knew from HS, that I never had sex with). I confessed, we shared our confusions, we got over it. In the meantime PonyGirl had expressed her frustration with MrS 'choosing' me by having sex with OrangeBoy when she was 'rejected' by MrS, (This is the same OrangeBoy that cheated on his girlfriend with my roommate, the same roommate that was tempted by MrS...small world.)

An interesting side note during this period. During our boundaries conversations with MrS I told him that he was as free to interact with men as I was with women (although there were certain aspects that I preferred not to hear about in detail). Neither of us thought this would come significantly into play.

One time when I was out of town MrS did go home with a guy from the bar (our roommates were a gay male couple so we went to Gay Night at one of the local bars regularly) and received some Oral Favours. I was amazed (and amused) at how many of our friends and acquaintances felt the need to inform me of this independently. (I expected it of our roommates – they care about me and wouldn't want to see me hurt if this was not OK. I got the feeling that some of the others just wanted to precipitate some drama to observe – they were disappointed.) MrS came to me a few days after I got home to discuss it – he was curious if it would be different to be with a guy and whether he was suppressing something of himself. (Turns out he wasn't – OK, learning curve – good to know.)
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
The Middle – VV is Fun!

In the meantime (don't expect me to remember an exact timeline 20 years after the fact) I had struck up a fun and close FWB relationship with VV. VV and MrS had been friends (without benefits) for a few years before I met her. Her reaction when she met me was “F***, here is someone in a position to hurt someone I care about (MrS),” my reaction when I met her was “F*** , this is the most sensual female I have ever met, how has MrS not been with her....?” VV and I quickly became friends (after she got over her initial defensiveness of her friend- she did not want to see him hurt again – the way that SweetPea and NYGirl had hurt him before). In this case friendship led to intimacy. VV is FUN!

VV and I had a blast flirting with all the boys, and hitting on the sexy girls in our circle of friends. She is brown and curvy and delicious, I was pale and slim with long blonde hair. “Chocolate and Vanilla” Ice Cream – who could resist? We conquered them all (metaphorically). Sometimes VV would go on to date the boy, sometimes the girl would become a FWB to one or both of us... all very fluid. At one point we were at “gay night” at the local bar, the thought crossed our minds that NYGirl would be fun to seduce (she was there that night). I consulted with MrS in this case since it would have involved his ex – he was against (“I'd rather you wouldn't.”) – he felt it would be “too weird” for us to sleep with his ex that he was no longer involved with (in any fashion other than she was still friends with one of his friends). OK. Plenty of fish in the sea....

Looking back on this period...how was I so lucky? I had a (first) boyfriend who forgave my occasional lapses in judgment. I had a girlFWB that was on my wavelength...I had the opportunity to explore who I WAS without judgment...only advice. How many people get that opportunity ?
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
The Middle - Marriage?

At some point during the college years I had a brief pregnancy scare. It was a false alarm. However, it did open up several new topics of conversation – a.) having babies and b.) marriage. On the subject of having babies – I'll discuss this more later but the upshot of the conversation at the time was that I had no intention of becoming a mother at that point, or taking time off from my education to bear a baby ...and MrS would have been supportive of any decision I would have made in this regard.

At one point he basically said “If you HAD been pregnant, and if you HAD wanted to keep the baby, and if you HAD wanted me to marry you … then I would have done that, because I love you.” (Just checked with MrS – he concurs that was the general gist of the message.) Which leads us to the general topic of marriage...

Turns out we had very different viewpoints on the whole topic that were very much influenced by what we had seen modeled in our lives.

Since I had never intended to be in a “relationship” in the first place I never considered the possibility of me, myself, being married but had nothing against the concept itself. My parents were not the absolute best model for marriage – they were much better “parents” then they were “spouses” - but it seemed to me, at the time, that since they shared the same focus – raising the 3 of us children – they at least shared a common goal. I did have an even better model of marriage – my maternal grandparents. Married almost 50 years (at that point) they were still obviously very much “in love.” After raising 4 children they still had an almost gravitational attraction for each other – you could almost see an invisible rubber band drawing the two of them together. She washes the dishes – he dries, she cooks the potatoes – he mashes them (it bothers her arthritis), he goes for a motorcycle ride – she has a snack ready for when he gets home, she goes to the grocery store – he fixes the sink while she is gone, at night they sit next to each other holding hands and watching Jeapardy! ...seriously! One day during a girl-to-girl talk (a lot of which had to do with how much about menstruation, sex, and pregnancy no one ever talked about when she was a girl – and how confusing everything was) she disclosed that she still shaved her legs everyday so as to be sexy to Grandpa, who she still thinks is the handsomest boy in the world.

MrS's models had been very different. His parents had gotten divorced when he was about 8 years old. His father was only intermittently involved through his childhood. His mother got re-married when he was 13 or so to someone who tried but didn't have much interest in fatherhood. MrS and his step-dad had a relationship was rocky at times – but never awful (the topic of adoption was superficial addressed at one point – but no-one seemed to have much interest). The longest term relationship that he saw being successful was between his dad and his long-time live-in girlfriend (who also had kids his age from a prior marriage).

So MrS's perspective was basically - ok, if you are going to spend your lives together and love each other you can just DO it and there is no reason why you have to get all married about it with all the societal baggage that being married in our culture entails. My perspective was that getting married was a public announcement of an intention to approach life as a team. If you have come to a place where you are committed to spending your life with someone then that's an amazing thing, why would you not want to celebrate that commitment with all of the people in your life that you care about and who care about you?

As for society – there are some benefits to being married in terms of ease of some financial matters, taxes, acceptance in certain social situations etc. However, just because society states “Marriage means this and this and this” doesn't dictate what our marriage has to be...our marriage, should it happen, would be defined by us.

So, just over four years after meeting for the first time we have “The Wedding of Mr and Mrs S”
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
The Middle of the Middle - Wedding

(Sorry if this post seems somewhat stilted...I lost my original post and can never recapture it so well on my second try.)

I am a traditionalist at heart despite the fact that I have many “non-traditional” views. Anyone attending our wedding would not have sniffed a bit of anything out of the ordinary about it...unless they were looking.

I wrote our marriage ceremony myself - comparing many traditional ceremonies and picking and choosing bits that resonated with us. When it came to the vows - I picked out 10-12 that were things that I was willing to promise to and then had MrS pick the 5-6 that resonated with him. “Til death do us part” was in there...”Forsaking all others” was not.

At the end of the day...it was very much “us” - I have never been to a wedding I liked as much as ours.

After the fact many might have wondered what was different.. We had already merged our lives, our finances, etc. We lived in the same apartment, we had the same plans. For me, there was a subtle but comforting difference. Pre-marriage, when I was making plans for the future I would think in terms of “I am going to do this and that...and MrS will be there.” After the wedding my though processes went “We are going to do this and that.” Subtle.
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
The Rest of the Middle

We essentially had established a “One Penis Policy” - MrS had originally felt he would be threatened if I had more than flirty friendships with other boys. To be fair, he never expressed any jealousy when I would go out with male friends on a “purely friendly” basis - even if he knew they were interested in me for more than that. For years and years I was never interested in any of my male friends in anything more than a “pushing buttons” type of fashion. (Yes, I was a bitchy evil sexy girl, still am...enjoy it or get over it, it's who I was at the time, and I still enjoy playing the role.:p) I never really felt the need to re-address or re-negotiate the original boundary because I was perfectly satisfied with what I had and was not seriously “looking” for any more.

My tentative attempts to find another girl (besides VV) were mildly frustrating...I wrote about one of them here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showpost.php?p=122205&postcount=10

During this time period I remember having a conversation with a bi-curious (female) friend of mine along the lines of “What if you found a girl who was really into you but wasn't willing to be with you if you were with a man (MrS)?” My answer was that leaving MrS was not, and would never be, part of the deal.... and this would be understood from the beginning. My relationship with a girl could take any form that she felt comfortable with except one that dictated what my relationship with MrS could be. She would not need to meet him if she didn't want to. But she could never be a “secret” from him or demand a change my relationship with him (other than negotiating time management and other practical concerns). Anyone who has talked to me for 5 minutes knows that I am married and how important MrS is in my life...there is barely a significant story of my life that doesn't involve him in some way, so it's not as though it would come as a surprise.

As the years wore on...the boundaries softened. One night we were at a party and I found myself interested in an evolving sexual dynamic between me and Otter (boy) and JA (girl). I ran to MrS and said “I want to make out with Otter and JA...I think I am going to take my shirt off but I'm not going to have sex with either of them...although I might be tempted to go further with Otter...but I won't tonight, and we'll talk about it later if it's an issue for later.” MrS's reply was, “OK, but be careful because I think Otter is really into you, so don't imply you are offering further than you have decided to go.”

Turns out that Otter probably was interested...we flirted shamelessly on multiple occasions. I gave him back-rubs, he cooked for me. But either he was not THAT interested or he was intimidated by MrS...because it never came any closer to bumping up against any of our boundaries. So the OPP was not really challenged by Otter. (Even if MrS teased me about my “boyfriend”...)
 
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JaneQSmythe

Active member
So There We Are

So for years and years we are just living our lives. We get together with our local friends who are busy getting married and making babies: Rube and his wife MsJ (married – two kids), JB and his wife (married – one kid), MrClean and MrsClean (married – two kids). I am my usual self - flirting with everyone and pushing other people's boundaries and these friendships each find their own levels of comfort and closeness.

At some point I starting sleeping with MsJ (Rube's wife). Which was fine with me, MrS, and MsJ. Turns out Rube had a bit of a miff about it (even though I had slept with him, oh so many years ago – somehow he felt that because I later slept with MrS, then by my sleeping with MsJ, somehow he had slept with MrS...how homophobic can you get?). Then it turns out that MsJ had somehow mysteriously forgotten then I had slept with Rube two DECADES before...so there was unnecessary drama there (this has settled down now). I sleep with MsJ when she is in the mood and the opportunity arises otherwise we are friends (but not “best” friends). Rube refuses to flirt with me even though he is, surprisingly, ok with MrS and Dude petting his wife. (MsJ thinks this is because he has unrequited feelings toward me. I think it's because he cheated on her – which she knows – and doesn't trust himself anymore.)

JB's wife has no interest in girls at all (and limited interest in boys – I get the feeling that she is largely asexual) so that friendship contains no sexual element. She and I don't really have a lot in common and would not be friends if she weren't married to JB – but it's interesting to me to be able to talk to someone who has a completely different perspective from me on a number of topics. JB and I flirt verbally but a few years ago he requested a “no touching” rule because he felt guilty about being “tempted” to want more. JB and I will occasionally go out to cultural events or hang out and talk about geeky things while MrS and JB's wife watch football (which we have no interest in) or go to movies that they like that we don't.

MrsClean is the person that I feel I understand the least (she is also the “newest” person to our circle of friends - prior to Dude). The vibe and responses that I get from her when we are all together do not mesh with what MrClean reports she says and does when they are at home. MrS and I can't decide whether this is because her public and private personas are really that divergent or because MrClean is adding all sorts of interpretations (based on negative experiences in past relationships) of his own to her actions/statements. MrClean and I are flirting with verging on FWB ...but Not-Quite. (This has been complicated a bit by my becoming involved with Dude, I think that now that there is another guy in the picture he is having thoughts of “Why him and not me?”) This is some ongoing evolution and history here … which probably deserves its own post.

*****

A few other relationships that deserved to be recognized at this point:

Angel is my best friend. Straight. Married. Monogamous. We are not sexually interested in each other in any way but she is probably closer to me than anyone other than MrS. We met in grad school (15 years ago now?). One day we were in a small discussion group in an ethics class and left class talking, we walked the same way home and kept talking, I invited her in to my apartment and we kept talking until MrS came home from work 5-6 hours later. For the next 3 years we spent practically all of our free time at her place or mine studying or talking until MrS came home to feed me. Within the first week she probably knew more about me than anyone but MrS. She is the only person that I can talk to for hours on the phone (I HATE talking on the phone). She is teasingly (or not:rolleyes:) jealous of Dude because he gets to live with me and MrS and she only gets me one weekend a year (she and her husband live across the state now). When I was talking to her once years ago about polyamory and grey areas in terms of friends/sex/intimacy she said that if my FWB that I was less close to “counted” as poly then she certainly did too and she came to the conclusion that she was my “platonic girlfriend.” Her ideal would be for them to move in with us, merge our libraries (we are both bibliophiles) and keep house for me (her husband would not be ok with this, however).

SLL is another friend from grad school. Lesbian. Monogamous. SLL has the misfortune to fall for risk-taking thrill-seeking athletic highly-sexed bisexual women … who cheat on her with men. She is always calling me with questions about relationships, bisexuality, and polyamory. No matter how many times I explain that cheating is not poly (and that she actually has more “relationship” experience than I do) she keeps looking to me (and poly) for answers. We are not each others “type,” so there has never been a question of sexual tension between us. Aside from being sex-positive women who happen to work in the same field we don't actually have all that much in common. I find it interesting that we have been friends for so long (even to the point where we vacationed together without our SOs a few years ago) – but hearing about the drama that is always evolving in her life is soooo fascinating. Probably the fact that this is a LDR (even if the “R” is that of friends) is a plus here...I can only take SLL in limited doses.
 
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JaneQSmythe

Active member
The MrClean Incident

MrClean and I came quite close to getting in “trouble” on one occasion a few years ago. MrS was out for the night and MrClean came over to do something involving an upgrade to my computer (I am a complete Luddite and MrS is only marginally better, so our friends take care of our computer upkeep for us). Whatever it was took longer than expected – likely because we were drinking some heavy-hitting Belgian beers and attempting to not-quite seduce each other at the same time. I remember getting myself all worked up rubbing on/cuddling with him (clothes on, no kissing, breast but not genital fondling, some heavy breathing – my usual modus operandi when “pesting” my male friends). I went upstairs to masturbate leaving him on the couch downstairs to sober up (and take care of any of his needs with regards to sexual tension) before he drove home. After pleasuring myself I still couldn't fall asleep. I remember putting on my bathrobe over my undies and going back downstairs to “pest” him some more. I don't specifically recall going to bed a second time (my assumption is that I got myself worked up again and headed back upstairs for a second go-round with my favorite vibrator).

MrS came home that night/morning to find me sleeping in my underwear (I usually wear PJs) and MrClean gone but having left his pager/ID on the coffee table downstairs (? evidence of a "hasty retreat" ?). I wake up to a puzzled MrS asking me if I had sex with MrClean...hmm? “I don't think so, I didn't intend to... but I was pretty drunk, perhaps I should ask him?” (He said we didn't .)

This incident led to MrS and I having a conversation about my boundaries with MrClean. We both feel that he is, in fact, capable of cheating on his wife, and therefore cannot be trusted to stick to boundaries for the sake of his own relationship. As a result of this, the burden really falls on me to be the “boundary” enforcer (NOT my strong point when it comes to other people's boundaries – working on this). I should definitely NOT be drinking to the point of fuzziness when we are alone. MrS also expressed discomfort with being present and witnessing some of my interactions with MrClean – so he would prefer if I would tone it down when he is there. Subsequently I scaled way back on my physicality with MrClean across the board – still flirty, lap-sitting friends but nothing hot and heavy.

*****

Although I am physically attracted to MrClean I do have real issues with his communication with MrsClean and his interactions with women in general (protective in a patronizing way, avoiding conflict by sacrificing honesty, projecting additional meanings into things,etc...I don't see that, personally, in my friendship with him but listening to him it seems like that is the exception.)

For instance, MrClean (pre-MrsClean) used to travel a lot for work and was a regular customer at strip clubs when he was traveling – which was a problem for a previous girlfriend. I have personally heard MrsClean say that she has no issues with him going to the occasional strip club when the boys are out together. A few years before the incident above MrS and MrClean were traveling out of state together. One night MrClean suggested that they go to a strip club, but said that he wouldn't want MrsClean to find out because she would be upset. MrS's response was that if they had to keep it a secret then they shouldn't go.

MrS wouldn't agree to keep that a secret from me (he wouldn't feel the need to specifically tell me either – but if it came up in conversation he wouldn't remember not to say anything - I don't care if he goes to strip clubs) AND I am simply not capable of remembering to keep a secret (seriously – if it's a secret, don't tell me, it would never occur to me not to say something if it came up – I don't need those kinds of complications in my life.) - so they didn't go. So, would MrsClean really have been upset or was MrClean projecting someone else's response onto his wife? Does she really say things publicly that she recants privately? I don't know.
 
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JaneQSmythe

Active member
Communication (Sidetrack)

If you get the impression that I'm not impressed with the level of communication in our friends' marriages you would be correct. Dude thinks that MrS and I don't communicate which puzzles him because he also thinks that we are the happiest married people that he has ever known. I point out that just because he doesn't see us talking things to death all of the time doesn't mean we aren't communicating. After 20 years together the communication just takes the form of a short-hand of verbal and non-verbal signals and references to previous conversations.

To be fair, MrS and I never did seem have to engage in the hours of endless discussion that many people require to get on the same page – we share so many core philosophies that it has usually just been a matter of checking in occasionally to make sure we weren't making unwarranted assumptions. MrS and I are certainly happy to talk for hours on interesting topics (one of my favorite activities with my husband – he is a very interesting person) but they are rarely “working on our relationship” types of things. I often hear/read that relationships are hard and require a lot of “work” - but I don't see that, personally. Being with MrS is easy – we have our occasional blow-ups but in general I think we are both just low-maintenance. Being with Dude is fairly easy most of the time as well – I just need to remember that he seems to need very direct verbal feedback if something he says/does upsets me, and he doesn't have the years of experience of living with me to automagically know what I would think/feel about something..

(I wrote a bit about their different communication styles in a thread-jack on Black Unicorn's blog here:
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showpost.php?p=128836&postcount=244)
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
The Now – Enter Dude

MrS and Dude had been acquaintances then friends then closer friends for a couple years before I was introduced to Dude. (This is not an unusual pattern for MrS and I – I work long hours and am on call quite often and not very social to begin with, so MrS ends up going out, meeting people, and visiting with our friends much more than I do – a fiance of one of our friends upon meeting me for the first time remarked “So you DO exist!” having known MrS for a year or two and beginning to believe that I was a figment of his imagination :D.)

MrS and Dude met as they share the same avocation, which tended to put them in the same place at the same time for quite a while. They subsequently found that they had multiple other interests in common, and began hanging out to pursue these interests as well. MrS would meet up with Dude, they would hang out and do stuff. Occasionally MrS would crash at Dude's place if they had been drinking. (I like to be informed if MrS is not coming home at night so I don't panic if I wake up in the morning and he is not home – our usual pattern is that he calls or texts me around 11 pm to tell me to go to bed, let me know where he is, and whether he is coming home or crashing elsewhere.) Dude, at this point has not been over to our house other that to drop MrS off (MrS knows I don't like “strangers” in my space) and I have never even seen him.

Dude's situation: He had moved back to our area to take care of his grandmother. He was, at the time, involved with a woman he had been in a LTR/LDR relationship with for 3-4 years. At times they had lived together, at times he was on the road a lot for work. During the time when MrS and Dude were developing their friendship Dude's girlfriend (let's call her Flack) was living many states away. When I met Dude for the first time (this would be springtime 2 years ago) he was planning to go stay with her for some extended but undefined period of time (a month? 4-6 weeks? More?) and was looking for someone to adopt/take care of his snake (her living situation not being amenable to taking the snake with him). MrS suspected correctly that I would be interested and took me to Dude's house to meet Dude and said snake.

So, I put on a sexy little shirt and my most flattering jeans and go off to meet Dude and snake. (I feel more confident meeting new people if I feel sexy, and, if Dude and MrS are close friends then I want him to like me too :p.) We all hang out, drink good beer (we are all beer snobs), play with the snake and have a great time. MrS and I come home with the snake and a few days later Dude heads out of state to see Flack. Dude and I exchange a few snake related e-mails but otherwise we don't hear from him much while he is gone.

Summertime rolls around and Dude is back in town, having broken up with Flack while he was out of state. MrS and Dude continue to do their thing and Dude starts hanging out at our house more, sometimes crashing in the guest room if they are up late or drinking. I do my own thing or hang out with them watching movies or TV. Dude joins an on-line dating site, starts meeting up with a few women. I'm my usual flirty cuddly self :rolleyes:. Everyone is comfortable. All is good.
 
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NovemberRain

New member
yay! and now I am caught up reading your story (to here). I keep seeing it pop up (I read the forum by looking at 'New Posts'), and I've been saving it for when I had time to have a good read. Very satisfying, and I'm eagerly awaiting more. :D
 
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