Non-Monogamy Challenge Day 17

17. How do you define “intimacy”? Is sex required for it to be a ‘real relationship’?

Intimacy is very much tied into deep passionate conversations and copious touch for me.  If we don’t have one or the other, it simply will not work out in the long run – I’ve tried it and the connection always felt lacking.  I am the introvert who loves long deep individual conversations running late into the night about things that matter to me and to them – soliciting opinions, asking questions that get to the root of the idea.  And building on them.  Over a prolonged period these kinds of conversations can really be a turn on – especially if we can talk and touch at the same time.  Mmmmm…

Sex is not required for a relationship to be “real”, though it certainly does help (me) sometimes.  Yes, it can be a benchmark for a relationship, but it is, by far, not the only one noteworthy or worthwhile.  That is one of the things I love about poly – we can build real relationships with people and they can take whatever form they take, without pressure to do or be anything more than what they are. I have and have had in the past, loving relationships that did not or currently do not contain sex.  I have had sexual relationships that did not contain anything beyond platonic love.


A Contemplation…

For some reason I am full of everything today – love, sadness, joy, grief, and philosophy, to say the least.  But I am remembering a time, a celebration of a time-person.  I occasionally like to gather my thoughts on an event, a relationship, a book, a substance, and see what I can actually remember.  What actually stuck in my mind – what my brain deemed important enough to go into long-term storage.

CN: depression, grief, alcohol use (in excess), marijuana use (illegal still), throwing up

For today, a funeral.  Well, I’m not sure if it counts as a funeral if there is no body (only ashes) and the emphasis is on joy and remembrance, rather than sorrow.  For my passed/past beloved Minx – for whom the memories are fading too fast and the feelings all I have left.  It is hard when all that is left is feelings – there is nothing solid to back them up, no reason, so what is the point?  But they exist.

I remember feeling sad.  The sad that exists in a functional way.  I can see and hear and do, but everything is tinged with sadness.  There is no hope for it, just pushing through, gaining joy in each day until the sadness is no longer mentally overwhelming, but just a set of feelings, just memories filling a void.  That is recovery.  At this point, I am not even sure I was starting that journey.  I had forced myself to exist in the world for awhile, so I didn’t have to contend with the profound grief that came with living in my own head.

I do not remember what I wore that day, only that it was colorful – couldn’t do black for someone that joyous and full of life.  Probably purple because she loved that color.

I remember bringing two bottles of wine and finishing one whole one and about eighty percent of the second, along with at least some beer and most of a mixed drink.  I do not even remember if they were good, just that they were white wines and intoxicating (I had not figured out how my body could do red wine yet (I was on the way, but I only drank full portions of whites).

I remember food, a huge spread of it, a potluck.  I remember trying to keep it organized (for the love of god V, do something useful, don’t just stand around at an event – says my mother in my head).  I remember it was divided up by whether it contained meat, animal products, or gluten.  I don’t remember what I brought, though I think I made it myself.

I remember going on a walk with Musician.  We had been broken up for close on 2 years at this point, but he felt for me.  We took a walk around the property and just talked.  It was talking in that odd way that exes on decent terms can do – I knew you well, once upon a time we were intimate, but now, now we can talk of, now we can do some reconciliation.  Heal what can be done from the past, instead of trying on the immense boulder of pain that is the present grief.  So walk we did, over rocks, through the forest, and talk we did: about the current pain, past pain, and what to do.  I can’t say it was cathartic, but it was good for that time.

I remember being in a barn and vaping pot.  I didn’t actually care what kind, just a bit of distraction.  So I did.  One of the very few times that the pot and alcohol mixed poorly for me and amplified each other’s effects.  I think most of that was due to quantity of alcohol and the effects of the overwhelming emotions present.

I remember many memorializg speeches.  Heck, I remember giving one and thinking about how bad it was, compared to others.  I remember karaoke at the end of things, as the sun was setting.  I know I got up there and my memory seems to say that I did passably well, but I doubt it, given the quantity of substances I had already consumed at that point.

I remember getting ready to leave, as I knew I had to head home soon, and only then noticing that I wasn’t the drunken person there – that was Raven.  I knew how much I had consumed and if what he told me at that point in time was anywhere near a perfect recollection of what he actually had consumed, then he was far more gone that me.  I remember a passing thought about us being the two people who had earned the right to be drunk (like at a wake, but a more lively one).

I asked Trydaen to drive because I was majorly incapacitated.  We made it to a couple hundred feet outside the property gates when I asked him to pull over.  And we were there for several hours as I proceeded to empty the contents of my stomach in an unfortunately forceful way.  Then we managed to make it to the outlet mall (about a ten minute drive) where we had to pull over again for a bit more than an hour.  I remember feeling physically and emotionally very ill indeed, with a hangover the next morning that was almost as bad.

I remember those last details very vividly.  They are the basis for my more moderate attitude towards alcohol today – because I never wanted to be the cause of me feeling that fucking miserable again.  And I haven’t, in the more than 3 years since.

In written form this seems like a lot of memories.  But really, it all feels so small, so insignificant, in comparison to the scale of the feels present.

These days I am better.  This grief has impacted my life and my brain permanently, there’s no way around it.  But I have felt so much joy in this last year or so, and joy in learning how to interact with my grief in the time prior, that I am through a great majority of the pain and working to be through even more – not to forget, in fact the contrary, but to be fully present for my partners and not find them in comparison, but simply, as them.

The future looks so bright from here and I am so amazed at the potential it has for me.

I love, am loved, was loved, have loved, and that, that is joy.


Non-Monogamy Challenge Day 16

16. Describe the best and worst interaction with a partner’s partner.

Best: Spending time with Star when she was recovering from surgery.  For the first time, we spent hours talking about life and the deep stuff and I came out of the discussion feeling like my emotional intelligence had been brought up a notch.  Plus we had edibles (and at least I got stoned) and watched Stardust together until the dark hours.

Worst:  More really, the most awkward.  So for awhile I thought that I could handle anything high much more coolly and suavely that when sober.  Yeah, not so much.

Sometime very early on in the time I was dating Diplomat (After about a month?  I can’t remember too clearly because we had to shuffle it around a bit.) we had a get to know you brunch: Diplomat, June, Trydaen, and me.  I was super nervous, like over the fucking top nervous (when I get super nervous or anxious I actually get nauseated, yeah, not fun at all) – this was clearly someone Very Important and I really had to not fuck it up.  So I decided to have an edible beforehand, just to smooth out nerves and help with the nausea.

And by the time they arrived, I was definitely feeling it.  And I started to regret it soon after.  Mostly because I felt ridiculously doped up and I was a horrible conversationalist.  Yeah, that’s not a great way to make a good first impression on anyone at all.  Afterwards, I felt like I had had a terrible lapse of judgment.  I told myself, “Well, oh fuck.  You boogered that opportunity up.  Better hope you get something resembling another chance.”

I was very clear to Diplomat about what was going on after the fact and he relayed it on.  But mistakes is mistakes is mistakes.  Learning opportunities all.


Non-Monogamy Challenge Day 15

15. What type of relationship, if any, do you have with your partners’ partners?

Well, this question is easy enough to answer at this junction, as I only have one partner who actually does have other partners.  Well, according to my chart I technically also have Kat and her husband, but yeah…not sure that’s ever going to be a thing.

So, from that branch, there’s June, Star, and La (gosh, I wish I could think of a better nickname for her – anyone who knows her, I am totally open to suggestions).

In general, I adore them.  They are very definitely part of my chosen family and I feel blessed every day knowing them.  I am generally concerned about being the youngest person in the group and having issues relating because of that, but I am not sure, given time, how much of an issue that will be.

June: At this point, we are just sorta getting to know each other.  We mostly get along and I do find June a fantastic conversationalist.  June has a lovely sense of humor and is sort of a mystery to me, which is intriguing.  I am looking forward to getting to know June better over time.

Star:  I sort of knew Star off and on for several years before we became metas.  We talked in passing at various different kinds of gatherings over that time.  So I was glad for the opportunity to get to know her better when I started dating Diplomat. It is very nice having another Old Poly Fogey (copyright pending – well, not really) to talk things over that worry me and to celebrate with.  I enjoy her company, honesty, her enthusiasm for life, and her persistence in the face of mental and physical illness.

La:  I met La at the same party I first met Star.  She was the first person I talked to there and she helped set me at ease, since I was so nervous about being at a party where I only potentially knew a few people.  We don’t talk often, but I appreciate her kind nature very much – and her pictures (especially of bunnies).  Distance makes getting together difficult, but I am glad she is in my life, in whatever role that ends up taking.

Thank you love, for bringing these wonderful people (back) into my life and giving me the opportunity to make fabulous connections.  I wouldn’t miss that chance for the world.


Non-Monogamy Challenge Day 14

14. How do you feel about non-monogamous people outing themselves?

Again out of order, but decided to actually use the question from Day 7.

I think this is entirely their call.  As long as they don’t out me without my permission, I don’t mind at all.  Who am I to dictate anyone else’s decisions?

With my partners, I do not like being hidden.  It makes me feel less valid.  Be honest and open, as much as you can, please. I will do the same.


Non-Monogamy Challenge Day 13

13. What does parenting mean to you?

Strictly, parenting is the raising of children by their parents, usually, but not limited to, two people.

I am currently in a place where I am not sure whether I ever want to be a biological parent – hence, barring medical emergency, I am keeping my reproductive organs, just tightly locked down.  Anyways, at this point in time, I don’t think it would be fair to try to bring kids into a world where TOWSNBN is president.

Do I want to parent?  Absolutely.  I don’t think I can be a full-time parent at this point in my life (can’t say much about the future), but I can be like grandparent: spoil them, maintain order, follow the general dictates of the parents, but in the end, go back to a house with peace and quiet.

I grew up with amazing parents – albeit super normal and a bit restrictive.  I would love to pass that on to kids.


Non-Monogamy Challenge Day 12

12. What do relationships mean to you?

Note: This is not the actual question that the challenge has for day 12. I apparently did day 12 on day 6 and since I don’t actually like the real question for day 6, I replaced it with my own.
When I say that I’m in a relationship with someone, I tend to use it as shorthand for being in a romantic and sexual partnership with someone.
But the thing is, relationship is such a general one – it just means the state of how you relate with an individual person (Merriam-Webster says: the state of being related or interrelated/the relation connecting or binding participants in a relationship/a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings/a romantic or passionate attachment). So I have relationships with my housemates, the resident cat and dog, the neighbors across the street, my metamours, my boss, etc…. Yeah, I think that’s the reason we tend to narrow it down to the last definition.
So I don’t usually say that I’m in a “relationship” with someone (versus “seeing someone” or “going on dates with someone”) until we’ve made a solid commitment to moving forward together. It could be something as simple as a statement of intent or choosing of title terms (like boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever).


Non-Monogamy Challenge Day 11

11. What is your living situation like? What would you like it to be?

Currently I live with my partner (Trydaen) and three other roommates (my ex-girlfriend – Butterfly, her current partner – Heinlein, and another ex of hers – Artist.  Trydaen is also her ex-partner.  So basically Butterfly is only living with people who are or have had sex with her).  There’s a bit of strife and conflict, but we mostly exist together peacefully.

The rent is paid through an LLC that was set up for this house and another house.  Most of the folks who live in the other house used to live in our house, but moved out shortly after Heinlein moved in (because of severe personality conflicts).  The LLC collects and pays rent and utilities.

The LLC is now also collecting money for a future recombined communal living house (Sans Heinlein – that was one of the only conditions – if Butterfly is still with him and wants to live with him at the point this becomes a reality, she will also be excluded.  That condition has been made clear to her.).  We are in the beginning stages of running the LLC and just starting to collect money for financing and building/renovating a house for us all to live in.  This plan is years down the line – we were aiming for five, but with finances the way they are, that’s probably underestimating things.

This plan required a lot of hard thinking on all our parts, with lots of questions.

  • First and foremost – Do we/I think that we can tolerate living with the other people in the group for the remainder of our lives, no matter what changes happen in our relationships?  The general consensus seems to be yes.  This is a gigantic commitment, I think even larger than any individual relationship.  That’s the great thing about being part of a corporation – the corporation will live on, no matter what happens with the people within.
  • What kind of structure do we want?  What do we want/need in that structure?  What accommodations do we think we’ll need for when we get older/retire?  How do we make this house feel like home for all of us?
  • How do we resolve our disagreements about the LLC and about the house?  How do we maintain our consensus agreement (written into our official operating agreement – we’re all that serious about the idea of consensus being important)?  
  • How can people remove themselves from the LLC if they want to or if we need to remove someone for health or sanity reasons?  What do they get back from the LLC money-wise if they leave?
  • How do we want to handle membership in the house and LLC (may not necessarily be the same)?  How do we give power to those who have invested equity into the house to make decisions that affect their money without disenfranchising those who can’t or won’t invest, but still want to be part of the house/LLC?  How much money does a person have to invest in equity and how often, to remain an equity member?  How do we justly parcel out power and not just do so according to who put the most money in?
  • How will we handle guests, visitors, and outside partners?  What say, if any, will outside partners get in the house?

And so much more….

This house is my hope for the future.  I do not know what the state of my relationships with my current partners will be when this house is completed.  But this…this I can commit to for the rest of my life.


Non-Monogamy Challenge Day 10

10. Thoughts on PDA?

This one actually has changed since the last time I did this challenge, that I know for sure.

For a long time PDA made me slightly uncomfortable – I was okay with holding hands (heck, I found it rather intimate and still do) and pecks on cheeks and lips, but beyond that (cuddling, making out, pinning someone to a car with my hands and body in a show of mild dominance were all out.  Those were reserved for private spaces.  I could not, and still cannot explain why, other than “it just makes me uncomfortable”.

But something has changed in the last year.  After I came out of my period of grief recovery my life had changed.  My outlook on the world and love had changed, quite dramatically.  The big realization I had during that almost two year period of time was that I did not want to waste my life reserving myself, being private, being closed off to the world and waste what precious life I had left in the shadows.  I wanted to be fully me, with people who could accept and rejoice with me for that.

So when I went on my first date with Diplomat, I decided to me bold, to flirt with touch as well as words.  And damn, that worked out well.  I found someone else for whom touch is very important for connection.  Who wants to touch me.  And that isn’t just reserved for private spaces.

He is the first person for whom PDA beyond holding hands and pecks has felt comfortable and completely right.  And I rejoice in that.  Love, that brings me such joy. <83


Non-Monogamy Challenge Day 9

Day 9: What’s your view on group sex?

 In general?  Fun to watch – fabulous for voyuering.  Heck, even fun to be on the metaphorical sidelines of (I was actually physically in the middle of the action, but not actually getting any action – wasn’t really up for it that night.  Heck I have an acquaintance (who I basically only see at sex parties anymore) who called me an orgy facilitator for awhile, which was flattering to say the least.  Heck of a character that one…

I assume the question is meant to include threesomes, foursomes, and moresomes, as well as the standard six or more people group sex.  Now these I have participated in.  First time – the first time was a college FFM – yeah I know, so very stereotypical, but it was interesting in that it was spontaneous and none of us had had sex with each other before.  It was fun at the time, but I have to look on the whole thing with hindsight, knowing that things between a couple of us went super sour, gaining me the only person I refer to as an ex-friend.

There have been a few more since then, all pretty damn memorable, but they have all shaped my view on non-monogamy very distinctly.  Participating in threesomes and going to sex parties reminded me that yes, sometimes it is about the sex.  And that I should examine my views on the more sex-oriented types of non-monogamy.  Even though I identify as polyamorous, I always try to be very clear with new people that I’m seeing that yeah, sometimes I like to go to sex parties and watch and/or fuck.  It’s a thing for me, what can I say?

It is hilarious to me to think of my parents ever finding out about this particular part of my non-monogamy.  I don’t know if I would just be ordinary about it or try to keep it quiet.  Most of me wants to do the ordinary one, but part of me knows that unpredicted situations/surprises can freak me out something fierce and I’m likely to act awkwardly.  So, I guess we’ll see, if and when it comes out.