When a Kiss is Just a Kiss

For 20+ years of monogamy, Jeannie was the only person that I kissed intimately. Right now, that’s kind of hard to imagine. See, I love kissing. For me, kissing is a simple, yet intimate act. It doesn’t require a lot of thought, or preparation, or protection. It’s fun and frisky and brings two people close together. And, don’t get me wrong – I love kissing Jeannie! And I could go back to just kissing her, no problem. Yet I do really enjoy kissing new partners and I’d rather not give that up.

What I’ve learned in the last year and a half of engaging with different partners is all but simple. Simply put, kissing is, well, complicated! If there is one given about kissing new partners it’s that there are no givens. I’ve learned that a kiss means so many different things to so many different people. And my not knowing that earlier really tripped me up a few times. It’s gotten better, but I’m still learning.

Here are my observations. (Warning – generalizations below based simply on my own experience. There no intention to stereotype here.)

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Five First Dates

I am admittedly single minded when I have something I want and often approach things with a “to do” list mentality. Accordingly, ever since I decided that I wanted a boyfriend (and even more so in the wake of Justina’s arrival), I have been actively pursuing this goal. Yet, unlike “Buy bread” or “Pick up dry cleaning,” it is not so easily checked off one’s list.

My most recent pursuit centered on scheduling five first dates within one week, with the expectation that at least one would work out. My further thought was to schedule as many dates as possible and to schedule them close together so I could more clearly compare and contrast each one. I thought that their proximity to one another would provide clarity in knowing who/what I wanted. In the end, it was an exercise in futility and frustration. Honestly, it was too much, too soon and too tiring.

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The Story My Mind Is Telling Me…

Both Jeannie and Justina continue push me to ponder and challenge everything. They are both being so incredibly honest and vulnerable, and asking requiring that I do the same. I want this, and I like this, and I like the results. However, it’s a terribly uncomfortable place – honesty. Only over the last year or so has Jeannie been this honest and direct with me. Jeannie and I have always been honest, that’s not in question. But like most couples, we didn’t take the initiative to address some topics early on, instead waiting until there was discomfort. Together we’ve been exercising a new muscle, but there are several decades of habits to “unlearn” so this isn’t an easy process.

Meanwhile, I meet Justina, and, to some extent, this is her natural state. (That’s oversimplifying it, but accurate for the purposes of this post.) She feeds on honest, open feedback and provides the same without shame. I welcome this, but it’s the first new relationship I’ve ever had where I can share so openly!

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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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Diligently Seeking Someone

Several months ago, I declared that I wanted a Boyfriend (yes, with a capital “B”) and, as I say of Viktor and myself, we never do anything by halves. So, needless to say, it has been an intensive, whirlwind two months. And, of course, while I am in search of said “Boyfriend,” I am still enjoying time with my existing set of men.

Early on in August, I finally made it to one of the monthly Polycocktails events, which was great. Viktor (who had been once before) and I went together and we met lots of lovely people, including Frank and his girlfriend, Dee. A few weeks later, Viktor and I had dinner with Frank and Dee, which was a wonderful opportunity to get to know them better, especially as we had spent more time at the mixer with Frank than Dee. Then, more recently, I met up with Frank on his own and am feeling into what I do or don’t want from him. I’m not sure there is sufficient chemistry on my part, but I think he is a really cool guy.

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Relationship Energy: New and Old

There was a point awhile back when I was worried that Jeannie was getting caught up in our new lifestyle in unhealthy ways. She had several active play partners, she was texting endlessly, and would be on dating apps until the wee hours looking for more. I shared my observation, but in the spirit of our openness, I made no attempts to change her behavior. That’s up to her, not me.

Jeannie readily admitted that she was getting very caught up in all the attention. After all, one of her top turns-ons is being the center of attention! And even though it felt like she had no time left for me, she did! It took some time to find the right balance, but suddenly she’d be getting turned on by a goodnight text and would turn to me in such a state of arousal, leading to some very hot sex.

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Passive Participant

Last night included another new experience, as the polyamorous lifestyle so often does. Jeannie had a dinner date with Matt in the neighborhood and was planning to bring him to our apartment after dinner for a little tryst. We’d discussed the idea of Jeannie using the guest room while I am home, but it hadn’t quite happened yet.

“I very much enjoy performing for an audience!”

I had already met Matt, in our apartment, but after he and Jeannie were done for the night. It was very much like meeting anyone else, but with the knowledge that this person and my wife we naked and sweaty and screaming together just a little earlier. What I didn’t know, that I’d learn at the end of last night, was the Matt really enjoys an audience.

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