Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Amusing Interaction: Sometimes I Forget That I'm Weird

I went to a kids and baby consignment sale last weekend with my good friend.  The sale was organized by a mommy club of sorts.  This local group of moms also organizes play dates and date nights and other things to do with their group.  I asked some questions while checking out. 

Now, our situation is that I am the primary earner in our household.  I am also so not programed to stay home with a baby.  Therefore, we've long discussed that if one of us was to be a stay at home parent, it would be Hubby.  Seriously, he is way more suited for the task anyway.  This group had "and More" in their group name, so I made the silly assumption that "and More" might include dads.

"Do you have any Dad's in the group?" I asked three women at the checkout.  The first two stumbled and stuttered and looked at me like I have three heads.  I went on, "because if any of us stay home with the baby, it will probably be my husband."  Finally the one seated responded.

"He'd probably be the only one.  We don't really have any dads in the group." She replied, the only one unfazed by the the apparent socially disrupting question I just asked. She smiled, even.

"Oh, well, he'd probably really like that!" I said and laughed.  The two standing ladies laughed nervously, which sounded really strange against my genuine giggles.

Moral of the story: People are really uncomfortable if you admit your husband likes being around other women.  This has always been the case.  Most of Hubby's friends are female and always have been.  I have never taken issue with this and I've never had a problem with him spending time with female friends without me.  I forgot that this is weird.

Alternate moral of the story: Mommy groups are likely to be too conventional for me.  They are probably also very cliquey, according to reports from other moms. 

Additional moral of the story: Being a stay at home dad still has a stigma attached to it that Hubby will likely have to deal with if that's how we go about things.  This is annoying.  However, I'm certain that he will also see a benefit when it comes to dating.  My dad, as a single father with full custody, got tons of action while I was growing up.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This Message Makes Me Want to Commit Immature and Hurtful Acts

I have previously mentioned Gathering, my former friend of 10 years who divorced us when he couldn't wrap his head around poly.  Not only could he not wrap his head around it, but he took it as a great moral insult to himself and the institution of marriage.  When I casually dated Hulk, a mutual friend, a few times, he decided that he could no longer be our friend.  Well, my friend anyway.  He's never really stopped talking to Hulk.  I guess his behavior is forgivable.  I'm a foul temptress who attempted to seduce him.  He's the hapless man following his penis.  Grrr...

I recently attempted to reconnect with Gathering.  I know he's had some life changes including getting his own place for the first time.  I messaged him and offered some kitchen items that I was no longer needing.  He replied kindly.  I replied and suggested that we be friends again.  Holy shit that was apparently the wrong thing to do.  I got back a long long message detailing why he can't do that. 

Essentially, he states that he cannot be our friend.  He wouldn't go out of his way to avoid us if he saw us somewhere.  In fact, he knows that he is likely to run into us at a local gaming con next month.  Those encounters will have to be dealt with, but he cannot be our friend.  What follows is the meat of the message which reveals that apparently he had issues with our friendship before poly was a twinkle in our eyes. 

I cannot at this time find it in myself to go back to how things were. Everything is still too fresh and hurting. It is not only the issues I have (which we have went into ad nauseum) it is also a series of awkward and upsetting times I have seen you or Hubby over this year. They have made me too upset, too hurt, and reached meltdown point multiple times. And I cannot deal with a pursuit of another such scenario. I apologize for the melodrama, but I have spent too many days, nights, and weekends being so upset over our friendship that it isn't healthy for me to go forward and give it another shot. All of those things still happened. I still felt sick to my stomach due to our interactions, I still stressed myself out to point of breakdown over all of it, and I still got so upset that I completely lost it. I have had enough big changes in my life recently that I don't need to do anything hasty nor potentially self-damaging, and I'm afraid that our friendship (you, me, and Hubby) has become a damaging affair over this past year or so.

The fact that our friendship was causing him emotional turmoil long before poly broke it, is enlightening.  How the hell could I have fixed that?  There were numerous occasions where Gathering was obviously faking an illness and excused himself from our social affairs, but I had no idea that his anxiety was directed towards Hubby and I specifically and I have no idea why.  Still don't and I probably never will.  How can I, if he won't tell me?

He goes on to tell me that he knows it's hypocritical for him to continue to talk to Hulk.

I should also state now for sheer sake of information and sharing that I have talked to Hulk some recently over text, dealing almost exclusively in Magic the Gathering along with a little chit chat. Now while it could very understandably be seen as hypocritical of me that I am giving that friendship another try, and I don’t blame you if you do as there is some hypocrisy, it also stands that there has only been one awkward and weird situation with him, while there were many others with the two of you. It also helps that when I will see him this Friday night, it will be at a tournament. If things end up awkward there are another 20 – 40 people to talk to, XXXX will also be there, which always helps, and we can always default talk about Magic instead of anything serious. I just wanted to disclose that now. I really don’t wish to argue, I don’t wish to add emotional turmoil in your life, especially now that you are pregnant. I just had to let it be said, there is a double standard there, and even still it may fail amazingly so.

Wow.  These are some serious social anxiety issues we are talking about.  Yes.  This is hypocrisy for sure.  I also don't think it's fair to count up the awkward and weird situations with me and Hubby when we were not aware of them.  How many were there?  How many of Gathering's stomachaches were real and how many were because we made him feel weird and awkward?  Who knows?  Only him, I suppose.  Which makes this friendship and it's loss totally out of my control.

I had also hoped many times that interactions with you and Hubby would get better each time and they failed, even after very good, healthy and fun conversations through text or Facebook. So it will be the litmus test on Friday. Anyways I have rambled on WAY to much about this aside…

Whoa.  Hard to change my behavior to save a friendship when I didn't even know that I was doing something hurtful.  This is both the most hurtful part of the message, but also the most vindicating.  He was expecting things to get better by not talking about them and was disappointed when nothing changed when he never aired his feelings.  This friendship was doomed.  There was nothing I could do.  Choosing to become poly had little to do with it ending. 

What he doesn't know about this upcoming con, is that it's not only likely that Hubby and I will be there, but also that my boyfriend and his family will be there.  Right now, in my hurt and hormonal little brain, the thought of making out with NMB where Gathering can see is a very satisfying, but a very immature and inappropriate response.  I'm sure I'll be over it by then.  That said, this con is somewhere that we can potentially be more public with our affections and I don't intend to hold back to spare the feelings of someone who no longer wishes to have me in his life.  It's not like he'll say anything, anyway.  (Ouch)

That said, last year at this gaming con, Gathering was totally in his element. We borrowed games, learned them quickly and played.  He was our master of ceremonies, our leader of the gaming table.  We had much fun that afternoon.  I miss his company, truly, but he no longer sees me as an acceptable friend and I don't even know for sure why.  Therefore, I must move on. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pregnant and Poly

Hubby and I are about to have some huge changes in our life.  About 3 weeks ago, my period was late by a few days.  I didn't think much of it as they are irregular and I was bloated and crampy and felt about ready to start.  I was also mildly nauseous, exhausted, had increased genital sensitivity and lubrication, and my breasts were more tender than they usually are.  Still, with 2 years of negative pregnancy tests behind me, I wasn't too eager to see another expensive disappointment stick.  In fact, when I took the test it was a sort of afterthought, I had to stop the stream and count on having enough urine left from my first pee to take the test.  The positive line showed up right away, but I didn't believe it.  I stared for a moment then handed it to Hubby, who was standing right next to me in the bathroom.  (Yes, we pee in front of each other.  We find that it neither adds nor detracts from the "romance" of our marriage.  It does make having one bathroom less inconvenient.)

"Um, this stick says I'm pregnant."  I said.  He looked at it, handed it back to me and walked out of the bathroom without saying anything.

Last Friday, we had our first appointment with the most awesome OG/GYN that there is.  We got to see our baby on the ultrasound.  It looked like a peanut, but the peanut had a heartbeat.  This means that from this point on, the risk of miscarriage is extremely low.  Things are looking good that an actual real life baby is in our future.

I've received two questions from the people that we've announced the pregnancy to that know about our open relationship/poly secret life.

Q. Is it Hubby's?
 A. Yes.  Since we require protection with all other partners and there have been no slip ups or breakages, I can be certain that the baby belongs to my husband.  This was an awkward thing I wished to avoid when becoming open and therefore fluid bonding with another partner was never on the table for me.

Q. So, will you continue to be...?
A. Open? Also, yes.  In fact, it's more important to me now than ever before that we work things out and continue our poly life.  Having families often makes people feel isolated and limits their adult interaction.  I want to minimize that as much as possible.  What better way than to maintain romantic relationships outside of the marriage.  Hubby is concerned with losing his freedom, why take another thing away that lets him feel free.

That said, I will not be pursuing any new relationships while I am pregnant.  Any hope I had at getting involved in the local BDSM scene is also on hold, even if Hubby's comfort level with it increases. (Who's going to tie up and pretend to abuse a pregnant woman?) I will maintain and enjoy my relationship with NMB, who is happy for us.  NMB's wife is very excited to get to be around a baby.  It adds a different dimension of support and interest that is nice.  Also, even though it's clearly a decent thing to do and he knew that this was a possibility, I can't help but be touched by the fact that NMB is totally fine with the pregnancy.  For someone who seemed to have a history of casual, no commitment simple relationships, sticking with me through something as complicated as the incubation and creation of a child seems big.  It feels good.  It is realistic to assume that I will see less of him as the pregnancy becomes more annoying and when the baby arrives, but knowing that he'll be there is a damn good feeling.  I can also look to the two of them for advice on parenting, meaning I will have extra support as a new mom.

Hubby is pursuing new relationships and maintaining one casual one.  I hope that he can find someone that he feels a strong connection with.  He feared that pregnancy would cause me to want to turn our relationship inward and that I wouldn't want him dating anymore if I got pregnant.  I am finally able to prove him wrong.  Here I am, hormones and all, encouraging him to date. 

And so here we are.  Having a child will add a new learning curve to our poly experience, but others have done it and we will too.  Being poly will add stress to our young family at times, but I also anticipate that having activities and adult relationships outside of each other and with the baby will be a huge advantage for us.  The adventure continues!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Things Got Rocky, But They Appear to Have Settled

I haven't been posting about our rough patch, because things were so personal and so difficult that I didn't want to add any additional threat by writing about them here.  There are a handful of people in the local community who know my real identity and I couldn't blog as freely as I would have otherwise.

Things seem to have settled and are truly on the upswing as of right now, but there was a lot of arguing and a lot of discussing, some careful negotiation and some refusing to back down.  What we argued about was remaining in an open, poly relationship.  What we have settled on is remaining in an open, poly relationship.

After numerous disappointments and let downs, Hubby was feeling pretty down about his prospects and having a hard time seeing the benefits of being poly when all he had thus far was emotional pain.  The pain of being dumped in addition to the pain of having to share me was really bringing him down.  He wanted to close.  I refused.  Thus began about 6 weeks of arguing about the future of our relationship and whether or not we would stay married.

What we have settled upon is remaining open.  I am content to just date NMB for the time being, until a time which he feels more comfortable.  He now has a consistent fun thing going on, but there is little emotion there.  He still really wants an emotional connection with another girl and is continuing to search for it.

I still feel like things are precarious, but I also feel like it is more important now to stick to my convictions and fight for the open relationship.  Monogamy does not make sense to me any more, on a fundamental level.  On a practical level, I will not give up my relationship with NMB.  Nope.  Not gonna do it.

Things have changed for us in the last few weeks and in the coming months/year will be changing even more.  I will write about this soon, but for now, I am just happy that I managed to squeeze out a post at all. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I watched Bridesmaids. Now I'm going to rant about it.

I've had this DVD on loan from a friend who insisted that I watch it.   It has sat around for weeks and weeks.  I'm sick with a cold and home alone so I popped it in the player.  It was kinda funny, sometimes...  but for the most part, it reinforced negative female stereotypes in way that just ticked me off. 

The movie opens with some very awkward sex scenes.  I'm sure this is supposed to be funny, but it just made me uncomfortable.  The main character, Annie, is fucking her FWB and it's hard to believe that she's having a good time from what you see.  Limbs flail around.  She makes requests that are ignored by her lover.  She wakes up before him in the morning and we see her sneaking back into bed after fixing her hair and makeup before crawling into bed.  Is this really what we want, ladies?  A relationship where the pressure to be pretty is so high that you have to sneak around to avoid being seen without your makeup on?

The sex negativity continues when she meets up with her friend, Lillian, for breakfast.  Her friend shames her for visiting the FWB and they laugh about their mutual distaste blow jobs.  It's funny because penises are gross, I think.  Some time after that, her friend becomes engaged and that's where the girl vs girl competition begins.  Annie is chosen as Lillian's Maid of Honor and is introduced to Helen, a new friend and member of the bridal party.  Helen is a character with some negative traits, but even from the beginning she isn't completely unlikeable.  She's kind and pleasant.  She's rich and Annie is broke, so you, know, we can't trust the upper class.  We see early hints that that her life isn't as pleasant as it looks from the outside when her step-children curse at her after she greets them.  It's obvious that both women are insecure.  The conflict arises over jealousy and who can prove to be Lillian's bestest BFF.  You know, because there can be only one.  At least that's what this movie believes and it's an absurd premise for a movie.

The conflict between the two of them ranges from giving speeches, making the best wedding plans, having better connections and planning the bridal shower.  The shower is where Annie reaches her limit and explodes.  Her life is in shambles and she's been shown up over and over again by Helen.  She screams at Helen and Lillian, destroys the decorations, loses her welcome to attend the wedding and leaves.

Eventually, Helen shows up on the day of the wedding to ask for Annie's help in searching for Lillian.  The conflict is resolved between them as they drive.  The conflict is resolved by Helen apologizing, admitting that she has a mostly unhappy life and crying a bit.  Annie takes pleasure in Helen's tears and the fact that she is an "ugly crier".  Then they start to respect each other.  THAT'S CONFLICT RESOLUTION BETWEEN GIRLS!?  They don't talk about anything.  They don't really respect each other.  Annie is just happy that Helen isn't as perfect as she thought.  The rest of the movie is sprinkled with jokes about Helen getting things about Lillian wrong and proving to be less of an awesome best friend despite spending a lot of money on everything.  So Annie wins the title of Lillian's BFF in the end because...  because... the main character has to win?  I really don't know.

The best part about this movie is the adorable Irish cop who is genuinely nice and is treated quite poorly by Annie.  She flirts with him, sleeps with him, gets mad when he does something really nice (I think she was mad because he couldn't read her mind, I dunno) and then never calls or texts.  There are also several scenes where she is intimidated by the happiness of others and even tries to bring people down from their happy moments of buying jewelry at her job.  This is supposed to be funny, but it makes her a very unlikeable character.  

The entire plot of this movie is based on jealousy and competition between women.  It would be bad enough if it was over a man, where it's unacceptable to share in our society, but it's over a female friend.  Having more than one female friend is totally acceptable, so why do they feel the need to fight over her.  This absurd premise combined with the overall poorly designed and unlikeable main character (Do women have to be bitchy to be funny?  No.) makes this movie difficult to enjoy.