Thursday, August 20, 2015

Poly isn't my dirty little secret anymore.

It's been over three years since we opened our marriage.  Over three years since I began seeing my boyfriend.  It hasn't always been easy, but I maintain that it has always been worth the hassle.  A few months ago, I decided to jump off the cliff and post to Facebook about being poly.  My husband and I changed our relationship status to "in an open relationship." The post got a fair amount of likes and comments, especially from my supportive friends.  No one said anything negative on the post or to my face.  No one's really asked me about it.  I don't know for sure if my conservative family members have not noticed the change or have decided not to say anything.  (After all, the attention would just encourage my desire to shock and outrage...  *eyeroll*  ...because I live my life for them.)

Since I had already told everyone close to me, beyond the immediate outpouring of support, my life has changed very little.  I can't assume that people know what it means when I say I am poly. I was at a party recently with my boyfriend where I mentioned my wedding in conversation with someone I didn't know previously.  I realized that I would have to clarify that I was not married to the man I was at the party with, which I did, drunkly and awkwardly.  Going to a party as a couple was nice.  We took advantage of the make-out room and got charged up for going back to his apartment.  Knowing that I have eliminated all risks associated with being discovered is freeing.

I still can't mention my boyfriend in casual conversation and know that people know what I mean.  Still, I can now live like I have nothing to hide.  I've been able to meet with my boyfriend and his family at places near me and not feel concerned about people I know seeing me and having suspicions.  It's pretty clear that I have nothing to hide when it's right out on Facebook.  Let them worry and wring their hands about whether or not they need to disclose something.  In the wake of the Ashley Madison hack, it's soothing to know that some violation of privacy won't make my relationship(s) fall apart.

In the beginning, I relished the moment of sharing my lurid secret life.  It's still exciting at times and leads to interesting conversations, but more often it leads to uncomfortable conversations and me feeling like I have to over-explain.  I'm also hesitant to turn conversations toward me.  I wish people would ask more questions, I guess.  In some ways it feels so normal, but having multiple lovers keeps life exciting in obvious ways.

I still haven't figured out how to date girls, but life always needs some challenges, huh?  

Monday, August 18, 2014

On Little Freedoms that Poly Makes Possible

I work the night shift, which leaves me awake late into the night even on my nights off.  It also makes it difficult to be active and maintain any sort of regular exercise routine.  I enjoy physical activity, but I don't take well to routines.  I'm not the type of person that can make a habit of going to the gym or using an elliptical or anything of that nature.

I am the sort of person that likes little adventures.  I like the night.  I like riding my bicycle and I like exploring.  Riding around on a bicycle alone in the wee hours of the morning as a lone woman is risky behavior, if you ask some.  My husband is uneasy about it.  I feel relatively safe while sticking to main roads and areas that are well lit and well travelled.  I don't believe in not doing things because something bad might happen.

Tonight, I texted a friend.  This friend is someone I have slept with in the relatively recent past.  I asked him if he wanted to go for a bike ride.  A bit later, around 1am, he responded and said yes! I met him at his house and we explored a new leg of the bike trail network that winds through our city.  It was dark.  There was almost no traffic.  It was quite.  The trail follows a creek and some small ponds.  It had rained earlier tonight and it was hazy.  We couldn't see very far ahead of us on the trail.  We stopped at a quiet and secluded section of the trail and made out for a bit.   Then sat and talked for a while before riding back home and to our separate lives.

It was a small adventure and a bit of freedom that wouldn't have been possible before we became poly.  Making out with someone under the moon on a dark and hazy stretch of trail...  These are moments that make life fun.  The things I dreamed of when I was a horny teenager aching for adventure when I closed my eyes and imagined what it would be like to make out with boys.  Being poly makes me feel young.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Pang of Jealousy, Quickly Reasoned Away

For obvious reasons, I haven't written in a while.  There's not a whole lot to write about.  I'm in two stable long term relationships.  I work at least full time, often picking up extra shifts, and I have a child who is now nearly 9 months old. Things aren't all that exciting.  My husband isn't dating out of choice.  I'm not dating (as in anyone new) out of respect for his wishes and a lack of time.  My husband is a stay at home dad.

My dates with David (the clues are here, I'm tired of the code names) are simple.  I drive out to see him.  We eat.  Sometimes with his wife and sometimes not.  We hang out until his child goes to sleep.  We have sex.  It's easy.  It's comfortable.  It's fun.  Sometimes I miss going out, but due to the limitations of geography, it's difficult for us to go out and have sex.  I prefer to include sex in our dates.  I recently noticed potential plans to go out with someone else on his calendar and felt a small pang of the green eyed monster.  I thought, "Hey!  I'd like to do that! Why not me?"  Then all the obvious reasons struck me along with all of the great things I have in this relationship.

As time has gone on, I can only continue to marvel at the fortune I stumbled upon when I clicked on his profile and he decided to write me.  I'm not trying to inflate his ego when I write that, the two of us together make for a really great secondary relationship.  It might sound boring...  eating, watching stuff, fucking and cuddling...  but it's not.  It is comforting and fun.  So what that I don't get to go out with him right now.  I have a sub-one-year-old child, I don't get to go out, period.  I will again in the future.  What we have is so much more awesome than going out.

While I will occasionally think back on things we did in the past, I know that those things will come around again and in the meantime, I get some things I value more than spending money and drinking in public.  I stand by my statement that I prefer to fuck and cuddle than go out.  I can go out with my girl friends.  I can go out with my coworkers.  I can't get the Fuck and Cuddle treatment anywhere else, not with the Satisfaction Guarantee I have with David.  I get all of that with no conflict...  Sheesh.  The next time my brain tries to make me feel bad about any of this, I'm poking it hard with a sharp stick.  "Behave in there brain!  What's wrong with you!"

Friday, November 15, 2013

Do you really need to discuss these things before marriage? I don't think so....

This HuffPo article lists 35 things that you "absolutely must agree upon before marriage."  Some of the things listed are "Coke or Pepsi?" and "Cold pizza: yes or no?"

Do people get divorced over pizza and soda?  Or about how the toilet paper hangs off the roll?  Do relationships fall apart at the seams because one person likes roller coasters and the other doesn't?  Should breakfast for dinner be a deal breaker?  This list is preposterous.  If you are considering marrying someone, their preference for mayo or miracle whip probably shouldn't factor into it.  There is room for both in the fridge, really.  I don't have any studies to back this up, but I'm pretty sure sandwich condiment preferences don't predict successful relationships.

What is important is how you talk about these 35 things.  If you are considering marrying someone who refuses to have mayo in the house and demands that you learn to love miracle whip, that should be a deal breaker.  If you can't handle the remote being misplaced once in while, you should probably live alone, forever.  Maybe the point is to have practice conversations about little things that don't matter to gear up for the big ones.  I see some pretty glaring omissions.   I guess if you can have a serious conversation about the toothpaste cap then you can graduate to discussing things like shared bank accounts and kids.  That must be the author's intent....  nope?  Well, damn.  First of all, no one will agree on all of these things.  Second, if these things haunt your marriage, you are probably doomed and someone should speak instead of forever holding their peace.

Here are is a short and incomplete list of serious things I think you should talk about before marriage.

  • Kids, duh.  
  • Where to live
  • Will anyone stay home?  Who will work?
  • Money and debt. 
  • To share a bank account or not? 
  • If you don't like roller coasters, can I go ride them with my friends?  Me time and privacy.  Will you be allowed unlimited access to each other's Facebook or will you allow each other some privacy?
  • Religion and it's place or absence in your lives. 
  • Sex.  Make a yes/no/maybe list or at least a verbal one.
  • Marriage counseling.  Agree in advance to go if things get tough in the future. 
  • Whatever is important to you, not what some silly article says you should talk about. 

(I can't for the life of me figure out why it matters if my spouse likes cold pizza and I don't.  It's pizza.  He can eat it cold and I can eat it hot.  Modern kitchen appliances allow for great possibilities in this area.)  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Poly: Year One Analysis Part Two

I've already posted a retrospective of our first year experience.  Here I will discuss what I learned from what we did right.

We Approached It With Enthusiasm for Ourselves and Each Other
Truly, we had the best intentions for each other from the beginning.  I didn't want him held back from life experiences because of me.  We both wanted freedom and each other.  We both wanted to make sure the other one was comfortable with things before moving forward.  We were excited, maybe a little too excited, by the new possibilities that lay before us.  We had fun discussing things before we ventured forth.  The sex we had was always great, but the new level of openness between us allowed a new excitement and new experiences between each other.

Telling Our Friends and Some Family Created a Support Network
We weren't alone.  Having our closest friends and select family members in on the secret meant we could go to them when we needed to air things.  I love sharing stories.  If I had to keep all the NRE to myself at the beginning of things between me and NMB, I would have exploded!  At least sharing it with my friends kept my poor husband from bearing the full load of things.  When things went sour, people who knew about the open relationship also knew that we had gotten good experiences out of it. I could discuss the problems we were having without having to disclose the open relationship and having people immediately blame everything on poly.  "No, wait!  It's really what we both want, it's just gotten away from us!"

We Started With Rules, But We Renegotiated Many of Them Quickly and Easily
We started out discussing things like "No sex with others in our bed" and "No anal sex with others".  When these things became impractical, we renegotiated quickly and easily.  We kept communication open instead of holding fast to our rules.  Rules are a sensitive subject and one of those things experienced poly folk often criticize new poly folk for, but this is one area where we handled things the right way, I think.  Rules can be a tool to create comfort and build trust in the lifestyle.  Poly Man Whore had a post a while back stating that rules were proof that you didn't trust your partner.  Maybe so, but it also takes time to build trust in the poly lifestyle and learn the skills to make it work.  Rules can help protect you while you get there if you don't cling to them too desperately.

Initially, Our Communication Improved
As I previously touched on, we were all about sharing in the beginning.  We talked about a lot of what-ifs.  We shared sexual fantasies that we hadn't been completely open about.  We had always been fairly open about who we found attractive, but now we could be really honest without fear of hurting each other's feelings.  I could say to my husband, "I'd like to fuck that guy."  I'm ashamed to admit that I used to have some jealousy issues with him looking at porn.  Not that I had ever told him he couldn't, but it was something I didn't like to think about due to insecurity on my part.  This was quickly resolved when we started exploring being open.  A year later, we watch porn together and I'm mostly unfazed when he sleeps with someone new.  I found my compersion and I want him to have good experiences.

Meeting the Local Poly Group
This was one of the first things I did before we actually opened.  I looked up locals in nearby Big City and I went to a small social event at someone's house.  Meeting some people in the real world that make this happen gave me the confidence to move forward and give it all a try.  Without having had that experience, I would have been much slower to make moves.  After getting a good sample size of poly people who were nerdy, intelligent, interesting, well-educated, grounded and stable, I started to feel like it was possible to make it work in a way that I could live with.  (Side note: I'm glad I found the one poly group that I did first.  I went to one meeting of another group and the best way I can describe it is that it felt "cultish".  I may have walked away with a different opinion.  That group and it's vibe might work for other people, but it did not work for me.)

The Internet Was a Fantastic Resource
I read a lot.  When I was having a particularly difficult time with jealousy in the beginning, I did some Google searching and found More Than Two.  I can't recommend it enough as a free and comprehensive resource.  It's full of helpful tools.  The Internet lead me to the aforementioned local poly group.  The Internet gave us OkCupid and my boyfriend.  I continue to listen to the Savage Lovecast and learn more about other people's monogomish lifestyles.  I posted on r/polyamory when things got bad and reached out for the support of experienced poly people who like to write about it.  I used it to find the local poly group.  The books we read, The Ethical Slut and Opening Up were great, but the Internet gave us a searchable limitless database of other's experiences and lessons-learned.  Many people have noted that widespread access to the Internet has likely contributed to the growth of polyamory.  If I had not been exposed to the idea, I never would have come to it on my own.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Adventures in Public Breastfeeding: The Graduation

I've been slacking on my blog.  I promise I will publish a birth story at the very least and catch up on all my half written posts, but first I am inspired to tell this story. 

This past evening I attended my brother's junior high graduation.  I brought along my kid.  In the 3 weeks since he has been born, I've practiced public breastfeeding in a variety of locations including  a nursing school graduation, an outdoor market and several restaurants.  I know the law in my state states that I can breastfeed my child any place that I am authorized to be, the only exception being churches who are allowed to make their own rules.  Since you aren't likely to find me in a church, that means I can whip it out anywhere and feed my kid.  Incidental exposure of my nipple is irrelevant, according to the law.   

That said, I did feel slightly uncomfortable when my son started crying at the graduation.  I was seated in the middle of the room, right by the center aisle.  I elected to first calm him and then offer him the boob so as to attract less attention to myself while I got him to latch.  My plan was working.  Kiddo settled down and I exposed my breast momentarily while he latched.  My mom was sitting next to me and reached over to try to cover me.  

"I don't need a cover." I said.  Unfortunately, this may be the one time I did, as I looked up to see my friend's kid pointing his camera at me.  He had run down the center aisle in the middle of the ceremony to do this.  Now, this kid is autism spectrum, so his behavior can be more easily forgiven than a typical 14 year old.  It took me a moment to realize what he was doing and why the people around us were laughing.  I laughed too, but I also let my friend know what had happened.  

Now, some people might argue that this is exactly why women shouldn't breastfeed in public.  Here we have an impressionable young man who was witness to my *gasp* breasts in a public setting.  At a graduation, for cryin out loud!  A gymnasium filled with impressionable young minds! 

This is incorrect thinking.  I did nothing wrong.  I fed my baby.  The young man was the one in the wrong.  Photographing my exposed breast without my consent was completely inappropriate.  Likely, up until this point, all of his experience with breasts was through photos or videos on the Internet.  Of course it seemed appropriate to photograph this boob.  Since breastfeeding isn't something we see very often, he didn't know that this was different from the boobs he's experienced in the past. 

The outcome of this situation is exactly what should have happened.  His mother was informed of his actions, she corrected his behavior and he apologized to me.  He has been educated on breastfeeding and appropriate camera use.  Again, please remember that he is autism spectrum and thus has a different understanding of social rules.  It does not come naturally for him to predict the correct social behavior.  

When I prepared myself for breastfeeding in public, I did not prepare myself for this occurrence.  However, I think I handled it well.  The important thing is that my child was able to eat and I wasn't hassled for feeding him in the most natural and simple way that there is.   

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Impressions of a Clothing Optional Party

I had hoped to go to a clothing optional party while I was pregnant.  I have not been to an event like this before, but I liked the idea of walking around naked with my pregnant body.  Honestly, I feel like I look better naked than with clothes on at this point.  Clothes inevitably make me look bigger than I am. They hang off my bump and make every dress or loose top look like a moo-moo.  At least when I'm naked, what you see is what you get.  I don't hate my body, I'm just kinda sick of the physical limitations that pregnancy has bestowed on me.  As we speak I am hoping to induce labor before the weekend.  I want my body back.  So, my chance to go to an event like this as a massively pregnant person was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  It happened that I made it to the night of the party without going into labor.  It also happened that I was feeling pretty good.  The husband had a date in Big City planned for the same night, so I didn't have to worry about driving home in the early stages of labor should that start.  I could just call him to pick me up.  My boyfriend had secured my invite.  I had no excuses.  Anxieties be damned.  It had to happen.  

Knowing that my name was on a list and having attended some kink events, I was expecting a certain level of scrutiny upon arriving.  I was quite surprised when I knocked and someone called out, "Come on in"  A towel blocked the window of the door, but I could see enough flesh around it that I knew I was in the right place.  I walked in and joined a roomful of mostly nude people milling about and talking.  Other than the lack of clothing, it was a typical party atmosphere with chatter a murmuring throughout the room.  No one stopped me and asked for my name.  No one questioned my reason for being there.  The first person to talk to me was someone I recognized from some poly meetings.  Unfortunately, when you are about as pregnant as one can be and you arrive at a clothing optional party the very first question you have is "Where is the bathroom?"  Once that was settled, I met the organizer of the party and figured out my next move...  exactly how does one get naked at a clothing optional party?  The party organizer confirmed that I was Brazen Bunny and that I had received the e-mail with the rules.  Although I had received the email, I had a moment of brief mental panic.  "Maybe I missed something...  there weren't nearly enough rules, were there?  Surely..."  Then I reminded myself that I have common sense and I did get the email.  After asking, I was directed to a room upstairs where I might put my stuff and shed my clothing.  

Again, having attended a few large kink events where I found myself under intense scrutiny, I was surprised at the welcoming and laid back nature of this event.  The rules were basically thus: 
1) Be sanitary.  Carry a towel like a good hitchhiker and place it between your naked bits and the furniture should you chance to come in contact with it.  
2) Respect your fellow person.  Don't be a dick.  Don't do anything to make anyone feel uncomfortable.  
You know what?  It worked.  Those simple rules were followed.  No one even touched my belly without asking.  It was a shockingly comfortable environment.  I emerged from an upstairs bedroom in only my purple cotton panties.  I joined the people that I knew and indulged in some food.  A typical party atmosphere with nudity commenced.  I met some new people, re-familiarized myself with some people I had met in the past and spent some time with my boyfriend and our line of poly relationships.  I ate some delicious candied bacon and a chocolate cupcake.  I stood in a group talking until I could stand no longer and we retired to the "cuddle pit" which was kind of the best place for a pregnant lady to be.  Here we relaxed as a group and cuddled and talked.  Turns out it's really easy to tell when a clothing optional party is winding down...  you see less and less naked people.

Impressions?  Well...  bodies are nice to look at and although I appreciated seeing some very attractive people, it definitely wasn't the focus of my attention.  Being in a room with so many body types, I found myself focusing on only the good features of everyone.  This is the opposite of what people often do when looking at pictures of attractive people.  They tend to downplay good features and point out what is fake versus real.  In a room full of real life naked people, you just sort of take it all in and bask in the available nice features to observe.  At least that's how my brain responded, but I get the feeling that most people there operated like that.  No one was there to make anyone else feel bad.  But overall, it was about a feeling of freedom and a general social environment.  One side effect of having no clothes on is that there were no distractions from the social event at hand.  You had food and your fellow party goers to talk to.  No one was checking their phone.  Eye contact?  When you are worried about your eyes resting too long on a bare breast or a nice looking butt, it becomes easy to look someone in the face while you are talking to them.  Social interactions change in a positive way when everyone is nude.  At least that's what I can tell from my first experience with such things.  I expect I'll gain more experience in the future.  I can proudly say that I have attended my first clothing-optional event as pregnant as one can be.  I had fun and walked away feeling good.  I can not say that attending threw me into labor.  This is too bad.