The Notebook of JaneQSmythe


Well-known member
Well, my original plan was to bring my blog The Journey of JaneQSmythe up to the present before I started writing about other random poly-related topics as they burst into my head but...apparently I have changed my mind (fickle woman!:rolleyes: - discipline was never my forte:p). Over the past few weeks I have been tempted several times to hi-jack my own blog to post about random events/topics. SO, I have decided to yield to temptation (which is, after all, one of my favorite hobbies:D) and start a second blog for random thoughts/essays/rants.

So, new plan. Now presenting “The Notebook of JaneQSmythe” - an informal, unstructured collection of my musings, thoughts, and experiences. To those of you who have been kind enough to follow my “Journey” blog to this point – I thank you! It is not my intention to abandon it – I do want to continue to chronicle my journey in an orderly fashion there – but it is more autobiographical than philosophical in nature and my attentions are currently divided – and thus, so is my bloggingness.


NOTE: On this blog comments are welcome:). If you would like to have an extended conversation or debate on what I have written that you think would be of general interest then feel free to start a thread in the relevant sub-forum and quote or link here. If you would like to have a private conversation, feel free to PM me.
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Polymath and Boundaries

One of the misunderstandings between Dude and I occurred with reference to a boundary that MrS and I had agreed to and “informed” him of. This was fairly early in my relationship with Dude (4 months or so). For those of you who are unaware of the backstory – we had foregone contraceptives in the past because I desired a baby, the agreement was that if I got pregnant by Dude (who had no desire to be a “father”) then the baby would be mine and MrS's regardless of the state of my relationship with Dude. MrS and I, as a couple, had decided that we were ok with this and Dude had agreed. (I posted a bit more about this here.)

At the time of this “misunderstanding”, we had just experienced our second miscarriage (of which Dude was likely the biological father) and I had a conversation with MrS that I was considering a contraceptive implant for a variety of reasons but that I was having a hard time coming to terms with the idea of never having a baby and I wasn't quite there yet. I was thinking of getting the 3 month shot while preparing myself for the longer-term (3 year) contraceptive. MrS supported my decision – he was of the opinion that he didn't think he wanted to experience the roller-coaster of emotion of pregnancy and failure again, that he was ok with a childless future and understood that I needed a little time to process and “sit-with” this before I took the plunge. With all of this being said, he asked that Dude and I use barrier protection for sex until I was protected by another form of hormonal contraception or we came to the decision that we were ready to cope with another pregnancy (and its potential loss) – I agreed that this was a good idea. We told Dude of our discussion, and he agreed (although he doesn't like condoms).

So one night Dude and I are trying to have sex but he was having difficulty maintaining an erection under the combination of the influence of alcohol and the decreased sensitivity due to the condom. He asked if he could forego the condom until a little further into the process. I said “no” – MrS and I had agreed, condoms until I had hormonal contraception or we were supportive of another pregnancy. Dude was confident in his ability to judge when he was in danger of ejaculation. Whether or not I “believed” Dude was, I felt, irrelevant to the conversation, the current boundary was “no sex without a condom.” (For the record: I had no real doubt as to his control, but I know that pre-ejaculatory fluid can contain viable sperm so the risk of pregnancy is low but not nil – and reducible with the use of condoms.) He asked if it would be ok if it was ok with MrS and promptly jumped up to ask him – I got REALLY pissed off...then Dude didn't seem to understand WHY I was so peeved.

Sex now being “off the table” (I am SOOOOO not horny when pissed off) we sat down to discuss. My position was that jumping up to ask MrS if it was ok to break a boundary was very disrespectful to me when I had already given an answer of “no.” Dude thought that, since it was MrS who proposed the boundary, then it was up to him (MrS) to decide if the boundary could be breached. I felt that the boundary had been discussed and agreed to by MrS and I as a couple (the couple that would be raising any child that resulted from a breach of contraception) and that the boundary could only be rescinded by us together as a couple – Dude had agreed to the boundary and was therefore responsible to BOTH of us to abide by it. Regardless of whether MrS said “yes” or “no” to Dude's question of whether MrS would be ok with Dude and I having penetration without ejaculation without a condom was not relevant as I had already said “no” (by the way, not that it matters, but MrS said “no” as well).

This, to me, revealed a bit of the “couple” ("dyad" if you prefer) dynamic that Dude had been missing and that MrS and I had assumed.. If either MrS or I (or Dude or I, for that matter) requests a “couple” boundary that we each agree to – once it is agreed upon then each member of the couple has the same stake in the boundary regardless of who suggested it. It was a decision that “we” made – neither member of the couple can agree to its negation without consulting with the other.

This is different than a “personal” boundary that other partners have agreed to until it is rescinded by the person who requested it. As an example: For us this would be the “anal sex boundary”. MrS has requested that I not have anal sex with Dude if I won't have anal sex with him. I have a personal boundary: anal sex is a complete turn-off for me, I won't do it. MrS can change his boundary without consulting me (i.e. he could decide that he would be ok with me having anal sex with Dude and not him – which would only come into play if my personal boundary also changed). I can change my boundary without consulting MrS – I could have a sea-change and decide I am ok with anal sex (in which case MrS's boundary would come into play – I could decide to have anal sex with MrS only or with both MrS and Dude but not Dude only – unless MrS also changed his boundary).

I understand that this might be a bit confusing but I think it also lends itself to some interesting communications. Some things I see as “couple” decisions – things that are decided within the multiple dyads that our V consists of. MrS and I get to decide what is ok within the confines of our relationship. Dude and I get to decide what is ok within the confines of our relationship. Actually, MrS and Dude get to decide what is ok with the confines their relationship as well – as best friends and metamours. Additionally we three together get to decide what is ok within the confines of our Vee - things that we all have agreed to or feel as axiomatic – for instance, keeping all members of the Vee “in the loop” if one of us is developing a romantic/sexual relationship outside of the Vee (hasn't happened yet – more on this later) OR condoms with anyone other than the three of us (safer sex/contraception agreement). Underlying all of this – each of us individually gets to decide what is ok for each of us individually. So for a given decision we have to pass through the “filters” of – is it ok for me personally?, is it ok for the relevant dyads?, and is it ok for the Vee as a whole?

Polymath is hard, eh?
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On Being "Out" ... and Introversion

I'm going to emulate the esteemable GalaGirl here and discuss something that I posted in another thread:

I am reading that you feel that you were not "really" doing poly if you feel the need to keep it a secret. I, personally, consider myself "fully" poly even though we are not "out" to the world at large - and won't be, at least until I retire, due to my profession (morality clauses and whatnot).

I can't say that this particularly bothers me - there are many areas of my life that I keep "private" from the world at large. But then again, I am a generally private person - I do not develop social friendships with coworkers, for instance. I tend to divide people into three spheres - professional/public, family/acquaintances, chosen family/close friends.

How I present/interact with Dude (or my female FWB for that matter) depends on which "sphere" I am in. In a professional/public context - he is my husband's best friend who I am also close to. I might tell a story about a meal he cooked for us, we might be seen eating or shopping together (with no PDA), I will introduce him as "our friend" if I run into people while we are out.

In a family/acquaintance context - people know that he lives with us but not that we are "together", I might tell a story about how he answered the door in his underwear, I will refer to him as "our roommate".

In a chosen family/close friends context - people know he is my "boyfriend", I might tell a story about a funny thing that happened during sex, or talk about how our feelings have evolved over time.

These levels feel natural to me. I don't think "everyone in my life" - from my boss to the maillady - has a right to know my personal business. My family is great - but they are related to me by accident of birth, not by choice. Acquaintances may be nice people - I interact with them around certain activities or talk with them on limited topics. Just because family/acquaintances share some aspects of my life, doesn't mean that they have to share ALL of them. Chosen family and close friends are the only people who, I think, are entitled to the "real me" - otherwise they aren't chosen family/close friends - these people love ME. They might not agree with me but they get the whole ME.

After posting this, it occurred to me that this probably has more to do with personality type than with anything poly-specific. As an INTJ, I don't seek out "casual" friendships, in fact, I avoid them as being emotionally draining. If I am going to expend the emotional energy to allow someone into my life, then I have decided that they are worth letting ALL THE WAY in, because I care about them.

My current circle of chosen family/close friends consists of 9 people (and, by association, 4 spouses that I would not otherwise be friends with). (I have mentioned all of these people in my other blog on this site.) I can think of possibly 6 other people who have been as close to me during my adult life (say, the last 20 years) that, for various reasons (generally time, children/marriage, and geography), I am no longer as close to. With one exception, should any of these people re-surface in my life I envision that we would simply pick up where we left off (the exception is someone who I found out had been systematically lying to me and I broke off our friendship because of it - the only "break-up" I have ever experienced.)

There are, maybe, another 10-14 people that are aware of our poly arrangement by virtue of being close friends with people in my "inner circle" - which is okay with me. #1) Because I actually trust the judgement of my friends - they would never want to hurt me, and #2.) these other people are geographically, and otherwise, distant from my other two "spheres" (the professional and family ones) and therefore not viewed by me as being "threatening".

If I no longer felt the need to be "in the closet" (as both a poly and a bisexual) due to professional considerations, the next "hump" would be the effect of being "out" on my (and my husband's) immediate family (Dude's family would not come into play, as he is already not speaking with them for other reasons - although I think he would like to be able to be involved with his nephews). Interestingly, I think that our parents would be personally fine with it, once they had time to adjust - their immediate concern would be the effect on my career, on our marriage, and on our relations with extended famly. Our sisters would probably come to term on their own behalf, but I think that their husbands would be appalled - and that, therefore, our relationships with our nieces/nephews would be constrained. My relations with my extended family would probably be decimated...this wouldn't bother me personally, but it WOULD upset my father a great deal.

Taking all of the above into consideration, the only reason that I can see for "coming out" publicly would be so that I could become some sort of "poly activist" - I would have to weigh my desire to do so against the effect that it would have on my/our parents/extended families. (Once my career is no longer at stake, I don't give two shits what "the world at large" thinks of me.)

Luckily for me, my two boys understand and concur with my analysis. We are not at odds about this. I have encouraged Dude to share and seek support from friends (many of whom we have yet to meet) if he wants to. Apparently he has chosen well. He tells me that the few people that he has discussed this with have been of the mindset of "As long as you are happy...." MrS's/my mutual friends were tentatively okay with it as they puzzled it out and realized that #1.) no one was being manipulated/abused and #2.) this did not necessarily change our relationships with them (i.e. no one else was expected to by poly just because we were).

Actually, my biggest fear comes from what happens when Dude decides to start dating again (he's been pretty caught up with his NRE for me/us and hasn't seen anyone new since he moved in.) He says that anyone he dates would have to be okay with him continuing to see me (although the shape of our relationship might/will change) - but I worry about what happens when they argue and she threatens to "out" us. (I hope this is paranoia talking - his last GF, CrazyGirl, is seriously nuts, knows that we are somehow 'involved', partially blames me for their last break-up, and STILL hasn't tried to ruin our lives...)

Enough rambling for now...

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As an INTJ, I don't seek out "casual" friendships, in fact, I avoid them as being emotionally draining. If I am going to expend the emotional energy to allow someone into my life, then I have decided that they are worth letting ALL THE WAY in, because I care about them.

OMG. I never thought about relating it to myers-briggs.

Depending if I am in a people liking mood or a NOT people liking mood? When I take it I am either Lisa Simpson (INFJ) or Mr Burns. (INTJ)

I suspect is an "I" thing. Now I have to go think about that. Thanks for the new HeadThink! I'll have to chase that new Shiny around in my head now. :)

Taking all of the above into consideration, the only reason that I can see for "coming out" publicly would be so that I could become some sort of "poly activist" - I would have to weigh my desire to do so against the effect that it would have on my/our parents/extended families. (Once my career is no longer at stake, I don't give two shits what "the world at large" thinks of me.)
I similarly have no big desire to be out publicly, but right now I HATE that I am lying to my parents and my children. I keep telling myself, "Once we live together and there's solid evidence that my marriage and my kids are FINE, then telling my mom will be worth the upset that will occur. I can wait, it's okay, there's no rush." But it kills me that I can't talk to her about TGIB at the level I would like to, and I wonder if I'm doing something similar to a cheater where I'm telling myself excuses in order to make things "easier". I know I will tell her eventually, because once my kids are old enough to explain things to I won't lie to them, and I won't put them in a position to have to lie to their grandparents, but I still struggle with timing- is waiting going to make it worse in the long run? Am I trying too hard to justify not telling her now?

Actually, my biggest fear comes from what happens when Dude decides to start dating again (he's been pretty caught up with his NRE for me/us and hasn't seen anyone new since he moved in.) He says that anyone he dates would have to be okay with him continuing to see me (although the shape of our relationship might/will change) - but I worry about what happens when they argue and she threatens to "out" us. (I hope this is paranoia talking - his last GF, CrazyGirl, is seriously nuts, knows that we are somehow 'involved', partially blames me for their last break-up, and STILL hasn't tried to ruin our lives...)

THIS. I've already had a conversation with TGIB about, "Please don't tell your unstable ex any more than she needs to know about me and my kids." She hasn't threatened his parental rights in a while, which is good, but I still worry about the damage she could do to me and my family if she chose to. Then you add in the possibility of someone new, and...yeah. Like you say, hopefully paranoia.
Amusing Anecdote

Taking a page from GalaGirl's "Conversations Already in Progress" I'm going to re-post bits of some of my other posts that it don't want to have to search for later.

From a post I made in Cleo's blog:

I'm just bopping along, enjoying life, doing stuff. Boys living life, enjoying selves, doing stuff...then someone will say some random thing and I will have a shift in perspective - and joltingly realize that what seems so "normal" to me (largely, I think, because of the time I spend here) would shock the living daylights out of many of the people that I interact with every day.

For instance, the other week at work a coworker asked if I had change for a $10. I happened to have 17 $1 bills in my purse (weird drive-thru change incident). I jokingly said to her as we swapped bills - "Good thing I still have these, I meant to give them to MrS for the next time he went to the strip club." She jokingly said "I was going to ask where you were working nights, that you had so many $1s." Then she did a double take - "Wait...your husband goes to strips clubs?...and you're OK with that?!"

Meanwhile, the boys go to strip clubs maybe a few times every couple of years as part of a night out with the guys (sometimes I go too ). What I say is "You know ... for the occasional bachelor party. And, no, I don't mind." While, in the back of my head, I'm thinking - "Well since he doesn't mind that my boyfriend lives with us and sleeps in our would be hard to begrudge him an occasional eyeful of pretty naked dancing ladies, now wouldn't it?"
Probably Mono

From a post in Eudora's "in Love with two Men, feel split at the seams" thread with regard to MrS and his "Probably Mono" status in my sig:

He does not have any lovers, although he is not against the idea per se. When we first got together (20 years ago now) and were working out how to be in a relationship together he did have several "Friends with Benefits" relationships with ex-girlfriends. (You can read the details in my "Journey" blog here) which kind of faded away as they pursued other relationships.

Other than that, he has not been involved with anyone other than peripherally (i.e. if one of my female Friends-With-Benefits that he was also friends with wanted to invite him to join us in a threesome). So for 20 years he has had the option of pursuing other women sexually or romantically and has never really taken advantage of it - which is why I list his status as "probably mono". And, yes, I think that this is likely related to his lower sex-drive (and generally passive seduction techniques - I wrote in my blog: "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.")

On the other hand, he does appreciate that he could pursue someone if the opportunity arose. That he is free to develop a relationship with any of his female friends to whatever depth they feel comfortable (for instance, he and the wife of one of our friend's will go out to movies together that her husband and I don't like, usually with dinner after - a non-romantic date if you will). That we can go to a party and he can flirt with women and maybe have a little cuddle/make-out session with my blessing (he sometimes needs a little encouragement because he doesn't always notice when someone is hitting on him - I usually have to point it out). That he can come home from a concert and tell me about the pretty hippy chicks he was dancing with/flirting with and talk about maybe finding one to bring home and introduce to me...someday.

So I think he likes the idea of the possibility of other relationships but feels no driving urge to "find someone" - he just kind of takes life as it comes.
Safety in Numbers

My reply in this thread got a little long and off-topic, so I thought I'd post the rest of it here:

If it were me I'd probably go the route of pursuing a friendship first - while making it completely obvious that I have a boyfriend and this friendship is not a secret - then flirting like mad. I wouldn't necessarily get into a deep discussion about relationships unless the conversation turned that way and wouldn't use the word polyamory at all unless until it was obvious that things were headed in the "relationship" direction (I'd use "non-exclusive" if I had to put it to words).

I hung out with lots of guys in college when I had a boyfriend (I generally find it easier to make friends with men) although I wasn't having sex with other guys at that point. Generally, I'd ask them if they wanted to join me for lunch or coffee or whatever, then I'd make a quick call to MrS and say "Hey, I won't be coming home until later, I'm having coffee with MrInteresting from English class that I was telling you about" - MrS would say "Cool, we all are going to be hanging out at the pool hall until 6 or so if you guys want to stop by." This let the guys know that there was a boyfriend in the picture and that it wasn't an issue without saying it in so many words.

Guys would occasionally ask "Doesn't your boyfriend mind that you are hanging out with another guy?" and my reply would be "Why would he? He's my boyfriend, not my owner. We don't need permission to hang out with our friends. He does worry about my safety on campus, however, so I like to let him know where I am, who I am with, and how I am planning on getting home - in case I need him to come get me. He does the same thing."

Additional details: MrS turned 21 a year and a half before me, so he and our roommates would go out to bars and whatnot - he'd tell me who all was going and which bars they thought they would go to. He'd usually check in at some point in the evening and let me know that they were all safe, if the plans had changed, and what time he thought they'd be getting home. Our roommates were gay and violence against gays was one concern - one of them had gotten beat up coming home alone one night - so we were all on board with the "traveling in groups" , "having a getting-home plan" and "running things by a non-drunk person in case this is a really bad idea" type of safety measures.

Holidays, Family, and Poly

There have been a few threads recently about how to handle the holidays. Just the other day one of my friends asked me how we handled our "third wheel" at Thanksgiving. We are not "out" to our immediate family but are easing them towards figuring it out for themselves (they are not the prying sort and may ask occasional vague questions but not press if they get vague answers).

With my husband's family: my MIL invited me and MrS to their house, the next day (after checking with Dude) MrS called his mom and asked if it was OK to bring our "roommate". The day went fine! During the course of dinner, it was brought up that we went to Dude's grandmother's house for Thanksgiving (as his best friend and his wife) the year before. She died earlier this year and I think Dude was genuinely glad to be included in MrS's family celebration this year while missing his Gram.

With my family (who Dude has met / eaten with on several occasions): Mom called to invite us to Thanksgiving weekend and SHE, after a few minutes, thought ON HER OWN to invite Dude as well. It came out, during our conversation, that Dude's birthday is only a few days before MrS's (which is a few days before Thanksgiving). When we showed up for dinner she had actually baked a double batch of cookies (MrS's traditional Birthday present) and had a tin ready for EACH of them.

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but my mother, without knowing the specifics of the situation, has assigned Dude the role of "adopted step son-in-law" (how awesomely inadvertently appropriate!).

Amusingly, to me, the people that seem to have the most questions / are the most bothered by a living situation that they don't understand are our brother-in-laws :eek:. (And even they have not asked anything directly or made any overt negative comments.)

I think MrS and I are just lucky. Our families allow for a LOT of privacy. Everyone is civil and nice. Nobody pries. Dude's family - well, they are not a problem because he is estranged from most of them (for reasons having nothing to do with poly). His Gram was the one he was closest to, now that she has passed he doesn't feel the need to associate any longer with people who don't add anything positive to his life.

WE are his family now and we are slowly integrating him into our immediate families. I don't feel the need to integrate him into my extended family at this point - I only see them once or twice a year and we aren't that close.

So far, so good.

OKCupid Expansion

I did put up a profile on OKCupid. This stemmed from a conversation I was having with Dude about how it seemed to be the preferred site for polys and was free. We were curious about how the matching worked...he had "meh" results on other sites in the past (I've never used one before).

*****The results, ONE WEEK in.*****
First off -

I'd added absolutely NOTHING to the profile yet, no text, no pictures, nothing, when I got my first message:

Hey cutie **** here think u sound yummy wanna chat ,cum play? Wanna cum over tonight,hangout I'm in ***** area of (nearby city).


3 messages from the same guy - of the "You there lady?" variety - and then...

wow can i join yr stable of boys or just some interesting conversation i find you really interesting or mabey you can teach me a lil about polyamorous thankyou

I did respond ... he HAD apparently at least read my profile, after all...mainly to tell him that, based on his profile, we had essentially NOTHING in common.

I did receive a message from a bi-girl who thought I was "comfortable and self-aware" and mentioned several things about my profile - which gave me a warm fuzzy. She then asked for some advice about how to approach her boyfriend about "adding" another woman to their relationship. She seemed sincere, and I did write her back with some thoughts (largely generated by the type of advice I have seen / would give here). Haven't heard anything back but feel that the exchange was worthwhile if it gave her some "food for thought".

Eh...33 visitors and messages from 4 of them. I'm done tweaking my profile for a bit and going back to answering questions...So far the match % seems to be pretty good. I am finding a number of interesting profiles to look at and have sent off a few messages to people that the site matched me with or who visited my profile that looked interesting.

We'll see how this little adventure plays out.

It's interesting to read about your OKC adventure since I, too, just created a profile there a couple weeks ago and am trying to get the hang of it. I've already met two people and have dates planned with three other people. I never thought this would happen so fast! But the creepy guys.. Today I got a message "how often do u wash?". :rolleyes:
I've been chatting regularly with one guy on OKCupid, though not actually on OKCupid. He and I met there and I realized that he was the same guy Runic Wolf's ex was casually dating. We met him in October when he came to our October poly event. She and I are still close and we went to her house for her annual holiday dinner in early November where he and I talked some more. He's aware that I am only looking for friendship with males (I am saturated with male relationship energy), but am looking to date women. So far I haven't had a single reply to any of my messages to females. Though I've gotten views from couples looking for a third that just isn't what I want.
Though I've gotten views from couples looking for a third that just isn't what I want.

I've had a few views from "couples looking for a third" as well. Interesting to me is how LOW of a match % OKC gives us. I don't know if that is because my profile is based on ME and theirs is an amalgamation of two people, or if I am really that far from the "unicorn hunter" in terms of basic philosophy.

Sure, it would be awesome if someone I met really "clicked" with one or the other or both of my boys...but that is, by NO means, a requirement or an expectation. My expectation (which might be a requirement) is that said "potential" be respectful of my existing relationships - in the sense that they don't expect me to "break up" with someone in order to be with them.

MrS has always been fine with me conducting my relationships with women in whatever way I (and they) feel appropriate. (Actually, they don't actually have to meet him if they don't want to, as long as he knows that they know that he exists.) I haven't met anyone new since Dude came into the picture (he has now met all of my current FWBs), I suspect he will be a LOT more curious about meeting them than MrS (his personality - not his insecurity). I have spoken to him extensively that just because someone is bisexual doesn't mean that they are interested in EVERYONE (we had an example, early on in our adventure, where he assumed that two bi-women who were interested in him would therefore be interested in each other...NOT SO...I haven't written about this yet...perhaps I should catch my other blog up :rolleyes:)

A Curious Nephew

Kids are way more perceptive than we give them credit for.

Just today, we three were at my sister's house for our Christmas get-together. I was off playing with my 7 year old nephew and we were chatting about this and that that popped into his head. At one point in the conversation we we talking about how each of the people are related to each other - how I am his "aunt" and MrS's "wife" and his mom's "sister", so he comes out with "What about Dude?" to handle this. I say he is MrS's "friend" and our "roommate" and he comes out with: "I heard mom and dad talking and I thought, like maybe, you have two husbands. DO you have two husbands?" Yikes!

Now, we are not officially "out" as poly to our families. "Officially" they know that Dude has been living with us for 2 years, that we vacation together, they invite him to "family" functions (they know he is estranged from his own family), etc. These are not stupid people - I'm sure they "know", to some degree, what is going on. But we have not discussed it openly...and probably won't for some time, if ever ("not prying" is valued in my family, and we don't talk about "private/intimate" topics like sex). A note here, my sister and her husband are VERY religious, and their church is very small BUT gossip is very frowned upon.

So now I am faced with a dilemma. How do I answer this question in a way that a.) is honest (NOT lying to children is very important in my family) and b.) won't contradict any explanation for Dude's presence that my sister may provide to my nephew? What is a seven year old's concept of "husband" anyway?

My answer, to the question "DO you have two husbands?": "Hmmmm...not quite, but almost." (This seemed to satisfy him, and he moved on to other topics - namely Star Wars and Legos.) I feel like I should call my sister and let her know a.) his question and b.) my answer - so that she can take that into account if he brings up the subject with them. (I just have this mental picture of him announcing to his Sunday School class - when there is some story about a biblical character with multiple wives - that Aunt Jane has two husbands.)

BUT I don't actually want to have a conversation with my sister about our situation - I'm perfectly happy with the state of vague acceptance (a familial DADT if you will) that we have now. MrS says that I am over-thinking things and that it is perfectly ok to just let it slide and that my answer was vague enough that they can still re-frame my nephew's interpretation if needed.

Damn, kids...

I think it was vague enough. Don't overthink it.

So now I am faced with a dilemma. How do I answer this question in a way that a.) is honest (NOT lying to children is very important in my family) and b.) won't contradict any explanation for Dude's presence that my sister may provide to my nephew? What is a seven year old's concept of "husband" anyway?

If it comes up again, could say: "I am married to Mr S. I am not married to Dude. But we're roomies and all best friends." There. Legally married means one legal husband right now. It is honest and age appropriate, and if REPEATED by the child to someone else doesn't stir hooha anywhere that would come back on you.

A kid that age can have a concept of a "husband" and a "best friend" -- so its not using big words they don't have a handle on.

Since you are not "out" to your family and don't seem to be inclined to go there at this time, that could work "good enough for now" and when things change as the kid grows, you can adjust your responses then.

And for entertaining conversation, could ask the kid "Well, what do you think a husband is? What should a husband be able to do around the house?" just to know where his little brain is at at this age.

Or go safe with other conversation paths:

  • "Do you think one day you might get married? Would you have a big wedding cake or a small one? "
  • "Do you think one day you would have a roommate? Would you live in the city or the country?"
  • "Do you have good friends this year in school? Are they totally new or old friends from last year's class?"

Early elementary school is still very self centered -- they want your attention as THEIR audience so they can yammer at you about THEIR stuff. It's not so much about you too much.

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Thanks GG!

Thanks GG for the reply - I will certainly keep your post in mind if it comes up again (which I'm sure it will - that kid is SHARP - always pondering...) I'm glad that you agree with my husband that my ("OMG WTF") off-the-cuff answer was vague enough. I have spoken to my sister a few times since then and nothing has come up, so the waters seem still at the moment.

To be perfectly honest, I am proud of the way that my family has accepted Dude into our "inner circle" withOUT needing to define specifically his role. To be fair, this is not terribly different from how MrS got gradually included years ago - when we were living together but not "officially" engaged. In my family, you can speculate to your heart's content in private but making someone who is obviously "important" to someone you care about feel uncomfortable or unwanted is NOT DONE.

Love...and social functions.

Today, I was contemplating the fact that my husband loves me. I mean he really, really LOVES me. Apparently, he loves me in a way that is readily apparent to anyone who sees us together. People comment on it, which surprises me. See (those of you who have read my other blog know this already), my relationship with MrS was my first relationship, so in my subconscious this is how relationships are “supposed” to work. We talk to each other, we trust each other, we love each other, we want to please each other, we want each other to be happy – over time (20 years), we get better and better at each of these. Of COURSE we do – that's kind of the whole point!

So what does he do that makes it so obvious to outsiders that he loves me, that I am so used to that I don't see what all the fuss is about? (To be clear, I know that he loves me, I am not in doubt about that. I just am so curious as to what other people are seeing.)

As an example, he takes me, at my request (which I make rarely, as I know he doesn't enjoy this sort of thing*), to an office Christmas party at one of my staff's houses. These are not people that he knows well (although he has met them in passing and they know of him through stories I have told) or would normally socialize with (although they are fine, nice people), this is not his sort of gathering (or mine, I am not a “networking” kind of girl). So what happens?

1.)I am chatting with various office folk (which is my “job” at this sort of social gathering). MrS refreshes my plate with various tidbits of food (that are my favorites, the man knows the food I like!) so I don't have to interrupt my conversations to stay fed.

2.)He joins my “team” playing Pictionary (not his thing at all) and good-naturedly takes his turn, engaging the rest of the team with bemused facial expressions when he can't draw worth a damn and rooting/cheering me on as I slay the opposition.

3.)He fetches me water as he refills my drink and has me rehydrate as he tells other spouses amusing work-related stories (all tasteful and appropriate) about being married to someone in my profession.

4.)As the night wears on (and I am getting tipsy) he gently points out as people are leaving, so I can make my farewells and not leave anyone out. As things wind down he escorts me around to make my final goodbyes to the remaining guests and our hosts as we gather our coats (he helps me into mine and helps me find my gloves).

5.)He tucks me into the passenger seat, makes sure I have my purse and belongings and my seatbelt is securely fastened and drives me home.

The next day various staff members comment on how much my husband obviously loves me, how do they know? The general gist that I get is that it hinges on the fact that he is “paying attention” to what my needs/wants are and helping me do what I am supposed to do at such functions – talk and socialize with my workmates. But, I have to say that I am somewhat bemused, OF COURSE he does these things! I “have” to go to this social thingy, he agrees to go with with me to support that, he supports me by helping me do a good “job” at the social thingy (I'm an introvert, this is “work” for me – having MrS there to smooth the path makes it less “work”). If he was just going to mope and withdraw because it wasn't his “thing” then what would be the point of agreeing to go in the first place?!


* I actually have made a “rule” about it – we can ask each other to attend two “social” functions a year that the other would rather decline if we feel the need for “spousal attendance.” Weddings, funerals, work functions, etc. I think limiting the number of times we drag each other to gatherings we would rather avoid a.) makes us (me) pick-and-choose the most important and b.) ensures that the “dragee” gives their best effort on those few occasions.

PS. We actually both have "fail-safe" type of excuses (work-related) we can use if asked why our spouse is not with us at such one is perfectly free to attend without the other if we are so inclined. I have no need to be 100% honest with people who have no business being so nosy...
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Love is a verb. It is actions done again and again over time. The statement 'I love you' is just the beginning. MrS clearly understands that. He has taken the time to understand you, and figure out how to support you. Then he does the little things it takes to actually be supportive. He walks the walk so to speak. And yes it would be obvious even to people who don't know the both of you well. Unfortunately it is less common than one would hope. I am amazed at how nasty or indifferently some people treat their supposed loved ones.
... MrS clearly understands that. He has taken the time to understand you, and figure out how to support you. Then he does the little things it takes to actually be supportive. He walks the walk so to speak. ...

I think that you are exactly right. A friend of ours once asked MrS how he always knows just what will make me happy, that he should write a "how to" book. MrS says Chapter One would be "Pay Attention." - not really paying attention to me personally (although sometimes I want that) but paying attention to what I like, what makes me uncomfortable, what relaxes me, what energizes me. For me, it isn't about big presents and flashy sweeping declarations of love - it's setting up the coffee pot before he goes to bed if I have an early day, noticing when I need cuddles and when I need quiet when I get home from work, bringing me tasty foods to try, etc. (To be fair, MrS says I'm "easy to please" - it doesn't take a lot to get me grinning at his thoughtfulness :p)

I am truly a "lucky girl"!