Polyversary Number 2

With May’s arrival, Viktor and I celebrated our second polyversary with a quiet night at home (of course, it is still a pandemic after all) and a rope scene (our first in months). While it is hard to believe that another full year has passed, I’m not going to lie – this was a tough year.

Last May found me in high spirits ticking off a long list of amazing accomplishments from our first year in an open marriage. I was thrilled with how much our marriage had been strengthened and with how far I had traversed in my sexual awakening, overcoming so much sexual shutdown and shame. Viktor and I were in a fabulous place and we were poised for another great year.

Well, it wasn’t the year that either of us anticipated, that’s for certain. And, although I don’t relish the pain and suffering that I (and we) endured, I am not sure that I would change anything.

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Love, Lust and Potential Loss in the Time of Coronavirus

So here we are going into week six of social distancing. Like everyone else, we have had our share of good days and bad days, neutral days and a few “I am so fucking over this” days. Through it all, we have continued to nurture various relationships, including our own. And, while in some cases this is easier done than in others, we are committed to building connections in their various forms and functions.

Along these lines, my relationship with Alex continues to blossom. We text each other multiple times a day, often sexy texts, sometimes silly ones and always communication that bring us closer together. It has been amazing to see how we are building a deep emotional connection, while sustaining the intense chemistry we first felt at our initial meeting – all through technology. We have weekly video chats that include physical intimacy that, while virtual, is also very real and authentic. I have struggled with trying to name, define or quantify our relationship, but have given up, realizing that labels do not matter; what we know that we feel for each other does.

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Experiencing Intimacy at a Distance

As I shared in my last post, I have been embracing old and new technologies to build connection during social distancing. While the reality of the world generally sucks right now, it has been amazing to truly connect with people – getting to know them better, learning how they cope during difficult times and simply knowing that they are there for you, sending love and support from afar.

Along these lines, Alex and I have continued to deepen our connection as we progress in our beautiful courtship. We have cemented our emotional bond more firmly through exquisite texts and poetry, while concurrently fanning the flames of desire with our “lust letters” to one another. It is quite heady and deliciously arousing! I am pleasantly surprised by how close I feel to him and how much he turns me on from/despite the distance and lack of in-person contact.

With March behind us, we are just shy of a month since our initial meeting, but it has indeed been an intense month with much more activity and interaction than would have normally occurred during this same time period under usual circumstances. Of course, these are anything but usual circumstances. We are happily reaping the benefits of the slower pace of work and life and really enjoying the opportunity to deeply connect with one another.

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Love, Lust and Connection in the Time of Coronavirus

So the world has been closed until further notice. These are unprecedented times and we have no way of knowing when (if?) the world will return to its regularly scheduled programming. Until then, we must find new ways of doing, behaving and communicating. Thankfully, we have the benefit of technology to assist with some of this, although I am finding that a return to low/no tech is also a welcome change.

On the technological side, earlier in the week, I was able to have an in-depth video chat with Justina to discuss our mutual concerns and otherwise share our feelings with one another. While we obviously approach our relationships with Viktor differently, we both have his best interests at heart and the more she and I can come together and talk, the easier it is/will be.

We also obviously have different perspectives and opinions on dating and poly life, so it was helpful to be able to explain to her why I am feeling the way I have been feeling. I think it was a beneficial experience for both of us and while I do still have wobbly moments, I am feeling better about things, taking it one day at a time and trying not to worry about what things might look like with her in our lives 6 months, a year or five years from now.

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Men Behaving Badly

I am not quite sure why this has been such a difficult post to write even though I came up with the title months ago. Perhaps I am trying to distance myself from these painful experiences, but, in the end, I do think it is a good idea to fully process what happened through writing so I can more easily move on.

First off, I realize that my dating experiences echo what a lot of other women are going through. I am not alone in being brushed off and ignored, but yet I feel it so viscerally – it feels like an abandonment and I don’t understand the behavior.

I truly can’t fathom why it seems to be so difficult for people (in this case, men) to simply state their truth: I have changed my mind/I am no longer interested in pursuing this/etc. While I might not be thrilled to receive such a message, it is much better than no message at all. And, it is certainly better than being ignored.

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The Alchemy of Emotion

It’s amazing to think about how much has happened in just a few weeks! In late September, I was hit hard by Viktor’s revelation that he was in love with his new girlfriend, Justina. I took some time to recover from the shock, further bolstered by our wonderful weekend away in celebration of our 23rd wedding anniversary. I thought all was fine…until it wasn’t. From there, it was a deep dive into depression, with many crying jags, endless discussions and an emotional rollercoaster that truly threw me for a loop.

Eventually, I knew it was time to pick myself up and dust myself off, knowing that this painful place wasn’t where I wanted to be. I hated the selfish nature of what I was feeling and was very conscious about not derailing Viktor and Justina’s relationship. Yes, I was struggling with jealousy, envy, shame and doubt, but I knew that I needed to allow these emotions to move through my body if I was ever going to heal and move past them.
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I Love You! (or am I In Love With You?)

Jeannie recently posted “Emotional Rollercoasters and Shame Spirals: When Compersion Isn’t Enough” – It’s a very important part of our story and currently very raw and challenging. Yet, somehow, I’ve never felt closer to her; never more sure of our commitment and our bond. She’s struggling right now, having feelings or being discarded and used, and all I want to do is help alleviate those feelings. While I can provide a lot of emotional support, only Jeannie can process her emotions. Thankfully, because of our trust and communication, she hasn’t held back and has been asking me difficult questions. I may not want to hear them at first, but answering them has been so incredible helpful.

Before diving into the “love/in love” matter, I want to point out that there are at least two distinct things sending Jeannie down this shame spiral:

  • Disappointment in the lack of commitment from her partners (feeling used and discarded)
  • Dealing with my new found love for my girlfriend, Justina (jealousy and the painful potential that I might discard her)

I feel strongly that Jeannie was already concerned about the first point, but in reality it’s the second one that triggered the deep, dark, negative feelings she’s processing right now. And I get it, I’m sure I’d feel the same if she came home tomorrow and told me she’s in love with another. For this post, though, I’m separating the two and discussing only the topic within my control – my feelings toward Justina.

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Attachment Theory

Months ago, Jon sent me a link to a dating article from Ask Men magazine. My first reaction to the article was that it was focused on Millennials who were unwilling to commit and thus didn’t apply to us because 1) we had both committed to our spouses and 2) neither of us is a Millennial. I probed him further and he explained that he wanted to know if I thought there was a concern about either of us becoming attached to our relationship, revealing that he and his previous play partner had said (and meant) I love you to one another.

I re-read the article, which provided guidance on how to keep things casual in a relationship, suggesting you limit the frequency you see one another and avoid romantic dates. Perhaps it was good advice, but I wondered… Which has greater influence on us: candlelight or cuddling?

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