Houses and Hearts of Love

At the end of my emotional rollercoaster ride and my five first dates, I was exhausted. However, Justina, Viktor and I were scheduled to go to the House of Love party on Friday night. And, while I was a little nervous, I was very much looking forward to our first foray into the world as a polycule.

Our evening became a little more complicated when Gigi not only started dating Dan (who is now my employer as well as my friend), but also decided that they, too, would attend the House of Love party. We agreed to pre-game with them as is our usual plan with Gigi pre-House of Yes events.

In addition, friends Lane and Nolan who I had met on Feeld, but befriended instead, had taken me up on my invite and were excited, but anxious, to be there. Plus, my friend K, who had had an unhappy experience at the previous House of Love party, was giving it another go. So, there would be a big group of us there together.

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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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Emotional Rollercoasters and Shame Spirals: When Compersion Isn’t Enough

When Viktor first told me that he was in love with Justina, it hit me hard. It took me several weeks to process the intense emotions that were unleashed. I was very confused as to what I was specifically feeling and struggled to determine if I truly felt compersion for my partner despite saying that I did.

It hurt… a lot, and I wanted to make sense of everything so I could understand and move forward. Heal. On top of all of this, I was grappling with the loss of Sam. We had initially been texting three to four times a day with the added intensity of our sexting, which then dwindled to an occasional text every few days. What was up?

I missed the interaction with Sam, not just the fun, flirty, sexual innuendo (and the more overt conversations), but also the contact and friendship. Of course, I created all sorts of scenarios to explain Sam’s telephonic absence and tried in vain to stop thinking about him. I felt the loss acutely, which felt even more painful in light of Justina and Viktor’s budding romance. I felt so alone.

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Miami, Baby!

For our (23rd!!!) anniversary, we had originally planned to visit Turkey. But life got in the way and we needed to cancel those plans, so Jeannie decided that we should take the weekend to party in South Beach. Despite having lived in the Fort Lauderdale area for several years, I really never spent time in South Beach and Jeannie had been there for several Mama Gena weekends, so she knew her way around pretty well. We both agreed that South Beach has terrific sexy energy, and sexy people, so this would be the perfect backdrop to our celebration weekend.

Leading up to our anniversary, sooooooo much had happened that both Jeannie and I found ourselves with heads spinning and a little disconnected. Just a sampling of recent changes:

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Shit Just Got Real

After my date with Frank, I arrived home to find Viktor still awake. I filled him in on my evening and we talked about various topics. Eventually, we started discussing Justina. I was happy to hear about how well things were progressing with Viktor and Justina and was excited for their new relationship until…

In a somewhat casual, off-handed way, Viktor revealed that he was in love with Justina. I felt like I had just been punched in the gut. It was such a visceral response. Wait, what? You just started dating two weeks ago and you are already in love with her? It hurt like hell and I began to cry. A steady trail of tears began to fall down my face; I felt fear and sadness and a host of other unnamed emotions.

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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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Reflections on Polyamorous Dating

Over the past two months, I have been busy meeting people and dating. There has been a lot of movement and, consequently, numerous learning experiences, but I also wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the things that have come up for me during this period of time.

First, I want to address Viktor’s recent post to the topic of compersion, in which he questioned his jealousy with respect to my flurry of dating activity. I am convinced that he truly is experiencing compersion and that his jealousy is related, not to my being with another person, but rather, with what I have. In the same way that one might be jealous of someone having a fabulous car, a great vacation or even a cupcake. I can be jealous that you have a cupcake (because cupcakes are delicious, duh 😉) and not be at all jealous that you are sharing the cupcake with so and so or such and such. Accordingly, I want Viktor to have the same dating opportunities that I’ve had so that he can have his own cupcakes. But, as has been discussed, this is much more challenging for men than it seems to be for women in this lifestyle.

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Head Games

Sometimes my ability to truly be “in the moment” and appreciative can be waning. Other times I’ll allow my mind to wander into dangerous territory based on one small moment. In these moments I’ll start playing head games with myself. And I’m so “good” at it that I’ll even know what I’m doing without the ability to stop it. I might even start hearing Head Games by Foreigner, yet I still can’t stop it!

Head games are a great way to let the jealousy monster take over and, admittedly, I’m much better at avoiding this today than I was in my youth. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have those moments anymore. And, today, they can be more destructive than ever.

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