This has been a year of trying things to see what fits. What improves situations. What makes things worse. I end the year with a lot of mixed feelings. I didn’t manage to love myself more.
After experimentation and months of talking… Noah has asked me to commit to never dating solo again. Polyamory is off the table. No, we won’t reevaluate that at year twenty. When I go out on dates Noah feels like he wants to die and that’s not ok. When Noah dates I feel relief that he has found someone better than me and it is ok for me to die.
Dating… doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Ok.
What does love mean then? Because we both have intense feelings of love for many people in this world. We both say “I love you” to people and mean it with our whole hearts.
Noah got to relearn this year that other people think that saying that means you want to Commit To A Relationship. I am lucky in that most of the folks I say it to accept it as a gift and don’t really think of it as meaning more than that. I get to be a comet in your life. Not a girlfriend.
I feel like my impulse to avoid women for casual sex was a good one right now. Both times Noah really reached out to women this year… they weren’t looking for casual. They wanted to be important. They deserve to be treated like they are important–no argument from me. But that doesn’t mean that we have it to give in the way they need to receive it.
I’m feeling pretty shitty about the way we hurt some folks this year. We needed to learn more about ourselves and that is a messy shitty process sometimes.
I find it fascinating that the men I reached out to have universally said, “Don’t worry about me. Fix your marriage. I’ll still be your friend in whatever capacity later.”
That hasn’t been the response of the women. I lost a friend. Noah learned that he isn’t going to be able to continue a friendship he wanted to continue.
That’s fair. It’s ok that there are consequences to our actions. We earned them.
But this is why I didn’t pursue women. I knew that what I was doing was messy and complicated and I didn’t know how it would end up. Thank you, lovely forgiving men.
I completely and totally understand why the women who were approached responded the way they did. I get it. I do. I think their reactions are understandable, fair, and appropriate.
Frankly the men involved could use with a little more self-protection mechanisms. Y’all deserve more consideration than I can give you.
We like having sex together with friends. It feels fun. It feels validating. It feels like having an adventure together. I think it is funny that my friends (whether conservative or liberal, Christian or atheist, monogamous or VERY POLY) and my therapist are all coming down hard on “Y’all are swingers and that’s ok.”
Many of you were not the sorts of people to say that sort of thing when I first met you. I’d like to believe I’ve had a positive impact on you. I love you.
I love my relationship anarchist friends with all my heart. I can’t live like you. I think it is cool that you make the life and love and relationship choices you make. Go you. But I have to make the choices that make me ok and that make Noah ok.
We started out completely open. We have rocked back and forth on the pendulum trying to figure out what works for us from completely closed to “I can’t follow rules right now”.
I feel like a serious asshole, but it really did take the second time Noah completely broke down sobbing hysterically on the floor before I got it. I can’t date. Never again. I can’t have a boyfriend. It will rip him apart and I can’t do that.
That is the deal. I needed to see that laid out plain as day.
We have friends who are happy to have sex with us together. If I need to individuate so badly (and I totally fucking do) maybe I need to do it in a way that respects this boundary for Noah.
I’m good at having sex with a friend and continuing to love them forever while having a 99.99% of the time platonic relationship. Even my platonic is effusively affectionate and supportive. I show up for my friends.
As long as everyone understands that if Noah needs me that is my first priority. Balancing my kids and Noah is weird sometimes. Early on when my children are infants they come first because triage of needs and all there is to a power struggle of importance. But frankly with six and eight year old children… Noah doesn’t have needs very often. When he does I tell the kids they have to wait. Yes, yes preservation of the species and all that…
Noah is the only person on this whole earth who is committed to taking care of me. I’m not fucking with that.
I’m a needy thing. I can’t guarantee that my kids will take care of me. Barring his death or incapacitation… Noah will take care of me until I die. That’s the deal. Noah isn’t the sort to wander off if it gets hard. Noah isn’t a quitter. I started out hard. There have been no misrepresentations here implying I might be easy in any way.
And he picks me over and over every day. Year after year. His intensity and commitment grow instead of diminishing.
I haven’t worn him out. Not in ten years of hard and shenanigans and fuckery.
I have a really good deal. It is a deal I want. It is a deal I like. It is a deal I appreciate.
There are limits within that deal.
It was really good and important to get to the point where Noah could actually admit out loud that he does not want polyamory at all, ever. That was important to hear. It’s important to document as a shift in what he wants. It’s important for my future behavior that I internalize what that means.
We aren’t looking for a unicorn. We aren’t looking to date. We are just the kind of friends who are fun to have sex with sometimes. Ok.
I need to internalize what that means. I need to figure out how to shift my behavior set so that I accurately signal what is on the table instead of leading people on.
We’ve hurt enough people this year. I hurt the Quiet One. We hurt our friend. I’m going to go ahead and be a shit and say that Noah hurt the out of state person.
Fuck. We did that. I’m sorry. There isn’t much I can do to fix any of it.
But I can move forward and try to figure out how to not do it again. You can’t always repair the damage you cause. Sometimes there are good reasons you can’t fix things with someone you have hurt or traumatized.
That doesn’t mean that you should pretend it didn’t happen. Acknowledge the pain you cause. Even if part of acknowledging it means stepping back and not inflicting your presence on people who don’t fucking want to deal with you.
That’s legit, yo.
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Thank you, Bailey.
Some people are in our lives so we can learn lessons. Sometimes that lesson is, “I’m an asshole who hurts people in ________ ways.” I feel really bad about the number of people who have been in my life to demonstrate to me that I am a disrespectful bully.
I’m sorry. I think I do better about that now than when I was younger. I’m still not perfect.
I’m not sure I will ever stop being a bully 100% of the time. That shit can be effective, yo. There are times in life when you need to be able to stand up and demand your way. Bullying behavior works very well. Like, when Noah was in the hospital and none of the nurses would take me seriously that he needed a non-Opioid medication. I had to all but throw a temper tantrum to get them to call a doctor and evaluate him. I don’t feel bad. I brought chocolates and apologized later.
They said they deal with worse all the time.
Life is funny.
Bullying is a complicated subject. We present it in school as “evil” and The Behavior To Avoid when the reality is that the world is full of bullying and being able to manage it is important. Sometimes bullying is not evil. A lot of really important stuff only gets done because there is a bully shoving everyone along.
It’s like manipulation. It gets a bad rap but I think there is some utility there.
I’m not sure I’ll be able to add anything else to this topic. Cheers.