Last Valentine’s Day I wrote a post about love. Love is Worth the Risk
I figured maybe I would make it a tradition and get another blog post up on Valentine’s Day- about Love, about the same man, Dex, about whom part of that other post was written. You see for the better part of the past year, Dex was my person. My love. The man I “jumped into love” with despite knowing the risks. (He is very monogamous, I am utterly polyamorous.) He is also the man I spent the past six months trying to get over. Partly trying to figure out what a friendship could look like between us, and then when he met someone else who was NOT ok with our friendship, trying to learn how to get over him, stop crying about not having him in my life, and determined to “move on.”
He is also a man I am dating again. Pretty much starting right where we left off. Except, we are both making an attempt to incorporate some of the things we knew we got wrong last time. Except, the biggest thing, the monogamy- polyamory dichotomy is still there, and we’re not talking about it.
Yes- you read that right. Me, the woman who loves to talk about relationships, with my partners and anyone else who will listen. Who, in the previous iteration of this relationship, knew in order to help us get past the initial stages of this mono-polyam thing we had to talk about it, a lot. So we did. But then we reached a place, where we were pretty set. We decided it was ok to use the words boyfriend and girlfriend (for lack of better words to mean a certain level of commitment between two grown adults.) But his idea of what those words entail and mine were always worlds apart.
The immediate understanding was clear and workable, but the long-term implications were vastly different. They still are. So, we’re not talking about it. We’re not defining our relationship now we’re back together. I knew then and I know now, I can be in “this” relationship indefinitely. Just like it is, with depth and growth but not necessarily traditional trajectory. I am solo-poly. I don’t have a desire (actually at this point I’d even call it complete disinterest) to live with someone else and/or entwine my life with them completely.
I love spending a few evenings a week with him, sometimes stopping by on a weekend he has his son for dinner and to hang out with them. But I am not comfortable with more time than that. I need time for myself. I need time to pursue my friendships. I need time for dating other people. He actually likes that about me when he stops to think about it. He loves that he has time for those things for himself without me being upset or needing that time for me. Except he doesn’t date other people, only maybe he will if we don’t actually define our relationship this time- which is why we are not talking about it.
I know we’re going to have to talk about it soon. We risk our hearts in an even bigger way if we don’t. We will. The other night after laughing and talking and joking and kissing and fucking, he asked me, very loudly, “Why can’t you just be with ME and marry me already!” (sigh) I immediately came back with, “Why can you just date other people and be in an open- relationship with me already!?” We just looked at one another, laughed, and said at the same time, “We’re not talking about this!” And continued on with our super fun date.
Here’s the thing. This break-up, back in the fall, was really difficult for me. Like really difficult. It felt even more difficult than breaking up my marriage. I cried way more than I expected, for longer than I expected. I think it’s because we broke up while we still really cared for each other. We never stopped being in love. We never stopped enjoying each other’s company. But knowing our ultimate relationship goals were so opposite, we knew pretty much from the beginning that this would not be a forever relationship. But we also were fairly secure, (and right) that we would not ruin this lovely thing when we did part ways, we would care for each other’s hearts.
There were other things wrong with our relationship of course. Some sprouted from the basic division of how we feel about relationship structures, some were not. Some were sex-related. I mean who doesn’t have “stuff” crop up in an almost year-long relationship. I think partly because we knew it probably wouldn’t keep going forever, we didn’t stop to course correct when we should have.
He is a lot more “traditional” than me in so many ways, and in the bedroom was no exception. But also his expectations of me in the bedroom because of my “sexual nature” may have been off more than I understood until we had a pretty good discussion when we broke up. Conversations we should have while we were dating, we just didn’t. Of course, communication is always key, isn’t it? Already, we have been trying to course correct a few of those things. It’s only been 2.5 weeks, but we have both done a few things that show that we heard each other and want to make that part of our relationship better, at least for now.
He has even been more open to talking to me about my date friend, “Review Bae.” He asked me how it was going with him, and he even asked me when I was going to see him again and didn’t get all in his feels about it right there. He did not agree to see me the day after my date with him, but he did set a plan to see me two days after. (Previously- he would pull away if I was seeing someone else and put lots of distance between my dates with other men and him, and as we progressed he would actively avoid even talking about it because it was too much for him.) The fact that he is actively asking about it, feels like a good thing for where we are right now.
All of this being with him again has been so fun!! Not only the sex but he literally makes me FEEL when I am with him. Feel happy, joy, peace, safety. I laugh and laugh with him. I can talk to him about everything. I can be ME with him, oddly, even though who I am is frequently at odds with who he wishes I could be. He still makes me feel secure in his love and in his arms, even when we do not agree on these things. We wouldn’t seem to be a match on paper, we’re opposite in so many ways. But it works.
Our friends and family agree. My friends are literally happy and excited that he and I are back together. “This makes me so happy!” “Aw, yay! I’m so glad!” “You two have such a clear connection, this is no surprise.” I’ve already seen his two best friends and they were both happy to see me. “I knew you’d be back.” “Some people are just good for someone. You are good for him in a lot of ways”
Honestly, I don’t know. I am writing this sort of as a historical record, a journal of what’s going on in my relationships. I don’t want to break up with him again. I feel like I just barely had gotten used to being without him when we started again. He even had a relationship in between us, which he only broke up with her officially the same weekend we started to hang out again. All of this and when my phone rings every afternoon when he’s on his way home from work, the smile on my face is huge and I love hearing his voice.
Before long, the other shoe is going to drop. We’re going to have to talk about it. We run the risk of hurting each other even more if we don’t. But I know from experience, asking him to define our relationship, and coming up with “girlfriend/boyfriend” was a BAD idea. Even though the way we interact would be described that way by anyone looking at our relationship from the outside, those words have so much power for him. They look so specific to him. So “relationship escalator” that we have to move through this in some other way, and the only way we’ll honestly be able to do that, is to talk about.
But for now? We’re not talking about it.
Some more posts that give you an idea of how I see the world of relationships: