About six months ago I started working with a new therapist and a key topic on my mind was intersectionality and my personal identity. My lifestyle leads to a complicated list of possible labels, all of which are helpful in allowing others to get an idea of who I am, but also which limit the reality of how fluid we all are as adapting humans.
Ultimately my therapist helped me realize that I was a bit too stuck on the labels and instead I’m now embracing the idea of who I am without labels. Labels still come up, but I let them fill in rather than drive my story. I’m also seeing how my identity plays into representation for various groups (like queer, polyamorous, kinkster) and how I should represent these groups.
As this has become less about my identity and more about how I represent, an episode of the Curious Fox podcast really struck me and I’ll talk about this here.
Continue reading Intersectionality & Representation
Word selection and nuance are super important in managing open relationship communication. One simple example has been wrestling with the difference between jealousy and envy. Another, more recent revelation, has been the difference between equal and balanced.
One of the most important aspects in our open marriage is that neither Jeannie nor I are looking for partners to replace each other. Instead we’re looking for partners that supplement or compliment our relationship while fulfilling some individual needs or desires. For example, Jeannie likes some aspects of impact play, but not all the same ones that I enjoy. Therefore, my partnering with Justina to play with canes, for example, complimented my relationship with Jeannie. It allowed me to satisfy a craving I cannot satisfy with Jeannie while taking nothing away from Jeannie and me.
This, is balance. This is what open relationships should seek.
Continue reading Equal or Balanced
I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. However, I’m all about setting intentions and desires. Intentions can be a lot like resolutions, but they must be very achievable and I’ll only set a few. Desires can span from the achievable to the “out there” hopes and dreams. But if you don’t put desires out into the universe, how can it provide?!?
So here I go with my intentions and desires!
Continue reading 2021: Intentions and Desires
Almost two weeks ago, Jeannie asked me a pretty simple question. “What do you miss most, Justina the relationship or Justina the person?” I thought about it for a moment and responded pretty definitively “Justina the person.” I said this because what I miss most is having a friendship with her – a friendship that was based on the person that she is. Of course I miss the relationship, too. But at this point, I’m very clear that I don’t want the relationship that we had – I do want a friendship.
The next day we were eating lunch and watching Lucifer. A line in the show made me deeply emotional. The line was something like, “she loves me for who I was, not who I’ve become.” It was super weird that it made me emotional. But then I had my epiphany:
Justina was the first person to truly love me for who I’d become and I got lost in that love because I thought Jeannie was still loving me for who I once was.
Continue reading The Epiphany
While I fully understand the sentiment in the adage “if you love something, set it free” this is ultimately a terrible bit of life advice. It’s an oversimplification and likely to cause more heartache than not. While it’s true you should always be careful not to smother and kill something with your love, that’s just not how most of us love.
As I faced the need to break up with Justina, I didn’t think much about this adage. All I thought about was the pain and suffering we’d both have to go through in the wake of the breakup. Only through that pain, which is ongoing, have I finally given thought to the importance of Justina’s freedom.
This is a painful realization for me, and I still have a lot to process. But perhaps this will begin to bring me some inner peace.
Continue reading If You Love Something, Set It Free
When Jeannie and I took the plunge to open our marriage, we were pretty well versed in the risks. This is why we discussed this topic for about four years before finally taking action. I’ve also said since opening up that “getting through the challenges will only make us closer” many, many times. Generally, I’ve been right. Jeannie and I both still feel this way, too.
But what happens when the challenges mount and begin to break down your core trust and security? What happens when your struggles aren’t clear, and things continue to build up before you can make corrections? And what happens if you find yourself doubting, not just being open, but the core relationship with your spouse? Even letting the word divorce sneak into the conversation?
Whether COVID related or not, this is what has happened and it has resulted in us questioning everything. Read on for the story…
Continue reading The Risks
I know we’re all feeling this, but times are weird since The Great Pause. I have some great stories to share, some sexy updates that have been a terrific foil to COVID Times. But in reality, I can’t bring myself to tell these stories. I’ve been trying for a couple of weeks, but the words won’t come.
This is the “COVID Confusion”
The COVID Confusion is when thoughts and feelings are completely misaligned. And, frankly, this is what most days feel like lately. Some are better than others. In fact, some are truly great! But this confusion is terrifying and exhausting. It feels as if I can’t enjoy the good things in life. And sometimes, it numbs the bad things.
I don’t want to be numb. I fear that any numbness used to get through these uncertain times will carry into The After Times and that will not be good. I want to feel, and I want to feel it all. The joy, the pain, the euphoria, the depression. But it is so confusing and I’m not sure how to get through this.
That’s all for now – I just wanted to share this quick thought while noting that there are good things happening, too; they are just masked in all the COVID Confusion.
I enjoy flirting. I enjoy playful conversation and texts. I enjoy when a kiss is just a kiss. My point is that sex isn’t my endgame. If I meet a sexy person who is a potential partner, I relish in the chase; in the playfulness of each discussion and each encounter; in the not knowing where this might be going. By appreciating this person in this way, I’m never disappointed because whether we end up friends or lovers, I feel as though I’ve come out ahead.
This is not new for me, to some extent I’ve always behaved this way. Even when I was younger and sex was definitely meant to be the endgame, I was still happy if I made a new friend along that journey. The difference when I was younger was that I was not at all confident. So you can imagine how most flirtations ended.
There’s a fine line between confident and cocky
Continue reading Confidence & Courting
I was listening to Dan Savage and Tristan Taormino talk about the short term impact of COVID on poly relationships and it was super fucking depressing because they were really emphasizing the point that “poly is on hold” and may be for quite a long time. This was just a too sobering reminder of our reality right now. Not being poly right now isn’t so terrible, it’s all the things we can’t do or be piled onto one other – and this is just another nail in the coffin.
Of all the things I’ve been missing in isolation, it’s Justina that I miss the most. This makes perfect sense – aside from Jeannie (who I’m isolated with right now) Justina is the next most important person to me right now. But there’s more than just rational longing for something I crave at play here and it recently got more complicated for me.
Continue reading Polyamory and Sadness in Isolation
I recently tuned in to a conversation on kink and trauma with Somatic Witch. Kink and mental health is a fascinating topic; and a rabbit hole that I’ve begun to curiously, and cautiously, venture into. When Jeannie and I first took a D/s workshop with Om Rupani he discussed this early in the day. He said that BDSM, done correctly, can help participants work through past trauma – but also cautioned at the dangers within if done incorrectly. We took that workshop many years ago and hadn’t ever thought about this before, but it certainly made sense. Since that time we’ve both experienced this firsthand.
Much is said about subspace which is the altered mental state that a submissive or bottom can enter during a BDSM scene. In the conversation with Somatic Witch she said that one of the reasons a sub can heal previous trauma is because subspace is a space of mindfulness. I was initially a bit confused because I’ve tried to get Jeannie into subspace as a way for her to “get out of her head.” Yet mindfulness, to me, seems like being very much in your mind, or in your head. Yet the more I dug into this, the more sense it made despite the appearance of contradiction.
Continue reading Yoga, BDSM, Mindfulness, and Flow (Oh, My!)