Sit Down, Kids, We Need To Talk…

(Kyle) Hello, wonderful readers.  A lot of you have been following both this blog and Roxy’s for years now and you’ve given us a lot of love and support.  You’ve become part of our extended family, and as such, it’s important to keep you up to date on important news and changes in our lives, especially when it involves our torrid love affair.

It’s one of those times.  So, readers, come in here and sit down, we need to talk.

No, no, we’re not breaking up.  We know that’s the first thing that comes to mind, so we want to reassure you right up front:  Kyle and Roxy are still in love, still together in the long distance way, still keeping the flames alive.

But there have been some changes.  And that’s what this post is about.

Regular readers know that this has been a very hard year for Roxy.  It’s pretty much been a shitty mix of terrifying, disappointing, ugly, nerve-wracking and sad, with way too much time spent interfacing with the legal system and ending up with nothing to show for it but a lot of bills.  It has also meant that we haven’t been able to spend significant time together since February.  We had about an hour in the Costco parking lot, a stop-over on her drive to Canada with the weasels.  Life has been slamming us hard, keeping us apart, making us both sad and frustrated.  My reaction has been to basically hide all summer.

(Roxy) It’s been just absolutely all-consuming, and quite terrifying, which is part of the reason my blog disappeared in April.  Big, bad, horrible stuff with lawyers and judges and…yeah, not much to show for it but bills.  My schedule went from complicated to impossible, and we just couldn’t catch a break time-wise.  

I’ve been hiding from how sad I am and how much I miss her, trying hard to put on a positive front, not wanting to bring Roxy down any further.  I’ve been hiding from my needs, from what I’m not getting because my lover is so far away.  My lover and Sir.  And by needs, I mean sex and BDSM play.  To be fair, she’s been telling me for a while that I need to get out there in the world and get those needs met, but I’ve been dragging my heels because I didn’t want to hurt her, didn’t want to damage us.   We’ve said it before:  poly is hard.  Poly (the way we do it) takes hard work and lots of honest communication.

Since about March, I’ve been trying to gently nudge Kyle out  into the world to find his “bliss,” as it were.  700 miles is a long way for him to come to get his needs met on a regular basis, especially now that I’m watching the weasels by myself.  He was so  sweet, and so careful about my feelings, but I really wanted him to be happy and I could tell he was going more than a bit stir crazy.  Very gently, I started suggesting parties and contacts, and helping him sculpt an outline of what he was really looking for.  None of this was easy, of course, because neither of us wanted to hurt the other, despite all the complicated feelings trying to burst free.  Above all, our relationship is based in love and respect for one another, and an authentic desire to see the other happy, and I knew that Kyle wouldn’t be truly happy without someone close by who could love him when I couldn’t.   

 So, yeah, I finally agreed that I need to move forward on getting my needs met (moving forward, not moving on).  Earlier this year, that meant hooking up with a trans top for a BDSM play date and getting the stuffing beat out of me.  That’s another blog post I need to write for you guys.  I was still avoiding taking action about meeting my sexual needs, claiming that I wasn’t ready yet, or that I was taking my time… basically, I was nervous about a lot of things around opening myself to new sexual partners.  You all know how full my life already is, so anyone new coming in would need to be low-to-no-drama and be OK with my schedule and existing commitments.  In the face of that requirement, and with the  knowledge of some of my past attempts and failures, I was hiding behind the idea that it was, in fact, not possible to find a person who would fit that bill.  And, though this is contradictory to that last statement, I also believed that if I formulated my call in a very clear way and spoke it from intention, I would get an answer. Frankly, I wasn’t ready to get the answer yet, I wasn’t ready to do the work necessary to bring another person into this poly salad that is my life.  There was a lot of fear in me that I wouldn’t do it right and I’d end up hurting everyone in the process.

And here is where we point out that sometimes I can’t see what’s, or who’s, right in front of me and why it’s really good I have Roxy in my life to help me see things more clearly.

The ironic thing is, despite all of my nudging and our close communication and focus on needs, the big conversation came accidentally one day when we were talking about something else.  (Isn’t that always the way?)  But once the topic shifted, it all came pouring out of Kyle.  It was time, and there was someone in his life, a friend, who looked like she might be a really good fit – both for him and for us as a couple.  Before I started seeing Theo, Kyle and I talked a lot about what we needed as a couple for it to work.  Like Theo, this friend was familiar (and successful) with poly and showed great respect for us as a couple and for the complexities of poly mixed with gender mixed with distance mixed with my new restrictions and limitations mixed with deep love and strong feelings.

Honestly, reading that all back to myself,  it’s a wonder Kyle’s friend was brave enough to even consider it.

The friend we’re referring to is Neighbor Femme, who isn’t literally a neighbor, but lives in the same town I do.  The proximity makes getting together easier, though we both have challenging schedules.  She works a lot of nights, and has a lot of other friends.  I work during the day and my family fills my evenings.  We’re still figuring out where the overlap of free time is.  We both really like each other a lot, and we have a lot in common.  We’re both redheads with freckles.  We grew up in the same town and went to the same high school… though I was ahead of her by a few years.  We both grew up as farm kids.  She has a lot of experience and contacts in the PacNW kink world, and I want to get more involved in that community.  We laugh and tease and flirt a lot and appreciate each first as friends, which is a great basis for any relationship.  When I came to her and broached the subject of adding sex to our friendship, she was basically “I’ve been patiently waiting for you to bring this up.”

When it became apparent that Neighbor Femme and I were definitely going to expand our friendship, we had to bring the other people in our lives up to speed.  She spoke to her others, I spoke to my wife and to Roxy.  This kind of transparency and honesty in communication is important to NF, and also to Roxy and me, which was one reason we thought this new connection could work for us.  Roxy wouldn’t have suggested her if it hadn’t already been clear that Neighbor Femme’s poly philosophy would mesh nicely with ours.

There is a notion with some people that being poly means fucking anyone, anywhere, when the mood strikes you, without regard to the other people in your lives.  That’s not how many of us do poly, it’s certainly not how Roxy and I do poly.  I’m a relationship kind of person, and the people in my life who are important to me, who I share my true, full life with, are people I love, whether there’s sex involved or not.  I am truly polyamorous, I am capable of and have a need for, many loves.  That’s not to say I can be in a lot of relationships that have the same level of need for my time and attention.  Better for me if I can have many deep friendships that operate on different orbital planes.  I feel that I’m getting better at this, at not just being able to find and cultivate these different relationships, but also acknowledge that I need them in order to be healthy and happy.

None of this changes how much I love and respect Kyle, even though I know we’ll be going through a sometimes-rough learning curve (again.)  Kyle went through it with Theo, I’ve been through it before with Kyle, and now we’ll go through it again, working out how much I want to hear and how much he wants to tell me.  We’ll discuss how to divide time and keep some things sacred for each of our relationships.  We’ll stretch the fabric between us until everything fits comfortably, without losing connection.  

Kyle and I “do” poly in very different ways, so we’ll need to walk slowly and talk a lot.  The most important thing for both of us will be the conversations and the checking in.  There will be a LOT of emotions, and sometimes they won’t be pretty or comfortable or feel fair or even honorable.  For both of us, the fear that we’re “breaking” the fairy tale will be (honestly, already is) profound, and we’ll need to work hard to create a new version of that fairy tale together.   It’s very important to remember that feelings are just feelings – they aren’t actions and they aren’t forever.  Having been on both sides now, I can honestly say that the guilt on the “doer” side can be much worse than the jealousy and fear on the “viewer” side, so I’m gonna do my best to support Kyle when I can, and step back when I really need to.

Not long ago, I quipped that I was “built for guilt”, I’m so good at heaping it on myself, either because I’m not being generous enough with my partners and enjoying their joy (compersion) or that I’m increasing my joy and thereby hurting my partners.  Sometimes, it doesn’t seem like I can get away from feeling guilty one way or another.

“I want you to be happy” is the easy part – “I want me to be happy” is frequently where we all hit a wall, whether because we seek it out too much…

or too little.

So many emotions, so much fear of hurting the other, so much fear of not getting what we need, of robbing the other of what they need.  I was afraid of breaking us by asking for changes I knew needed to happen, even when they were changes Roxy had been suggesting.  I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t make the changes.  That’s where a lot of the hiding came from, I didn’t want to face up to making this decision, and I didn’t want to keep living inside my shell, either.

Making a change like this requires so much courage and conviction, because, in the back of our minds, there’s a lot of fear of the dreaded butterfly effect.  Flapping newfound wings one day can lead to torrential rainstorms the next, and there’s no way to foresee or even prepare for the changes that surprise you.  Part of me wants to talk about breaking eggs and making omelettes, but most of me knows better.  Each of us has many, many shells, and the trick is knowing which ones are vital to your being, and which ones are holding you back.

In the past, some readers have expressed concern for how my wife is dealing with all my shenanigans, so I’ll take a little time to address that concern.  The short answer is:  she’s quite happy with this development.  My wife and I are different in how we approach poly, in fact, she calls our relationship an open marriage and doesn’t identify as poly.  That’s not a dodge, it’s an accurate description of how she approaches friendship, sex and relationships.  She describes her others as ‘friends with benefits’.  That’s her style, which is different from my style and this difference has been a source of conflict and consternation between us.  The addition of Neighbor Femme into my poly web was welcomed by my wife, in large part because she sees the relationship between me and NF as more like the ones she has with her others.  And no, I’m not the only one getting new action, my wife has been keeping things lively for herself as well.

Well, readers… that’s our big reveal.  If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here, or email me, or post to Roxy’s  blog, UncommonCuriosity… Oh, didn’t  you know?  UncommonCuriosity is once again gracing the blogosphere with Roxy’s wit and beauty.

Well, sweetheart?  Anything you’d like to add?  I love you, thank you for doing this with me and for being in my life.  You’re amazing and I’m a lucky guy.

I feel lucky, too, to be able to talk this out so carefully and lovingly.  The world turns, the seasons flow, one into another, and our lives change and grow.  Love is not in the change itself, but in the way we hold each other as we pass through it.  Thank you for holding me so well.

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