Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Other Girlfriend

I would have never chosen to get in bed with this person whose hands and feet I'm trying awkwardly not to touch as they wrap around my lover, but here we are for the second time. The middle man appears to be experimenting with sleeping on his back for egalitarian reasons and I clamp my eyes shut in futile effort to quiet my brain. Once he drifts off and shifts, whose body will he pull close? This isn't the loneliest I've ever felt in a bed with two other people, but it's pretty damn close.

It's been about a year since Igor and I got together, and I feel it's generally the right time to assess how things are going. At the moment, I'm annoyed and frustrated. I feel pressured to play along, to put in the "work" to make this poly situation function, but I'm realizing that I just don't like what's happening. He can date whomever he wants, but I don't want to be in a relationship with her -- not the kind that involves the intimacy of brushing our teeth together, anyway. She's actually a lovely girl with whom I get along just fine, but I resent feeling consolidated into a single outing or a single bed. I resent that every decision we make together has to be run by her, but then again I am rarely consulted about my feelings. There are a lot of double standards happening, which are hard not to notice when we are both considered equal partners, and it drives me crazy.

It's hard to resist the thought that even while I was doting on him from abroad, he was replacing me. Since getting back, we haven't been as intimate as we once were and he's started doing things with her that used to be our activities. I hardly get to see him, and when I do, she requires periods of extra attention to "make up" for it. I feel like I'm living in her debt, this forced family member, and unfortunately because she affects every decision I make with Igor, she also affects the decision of whether I fight for him, fight to traverse the distance that has come between us in the time I was abroad, or let him slip away, breaking my own heart in the process. 

Conversation with him quickly fluctuated from one extreme to another. We talked about the possibility of cohabitation, which is something that we both admitted to wanting, but when he talked to Other Girlfriend about it, she expressed a familiar and irritating, if understandable, sentiment: "Hey, wait a minute! She maybe gets that? I want that too!" I let him know that if it's always going to be like this, an endless tug of war between two "primary" girlfriends, if we aren't going to move forward, get to spend time together or be sexually intimate, then it won't work for me in the long run. Companionship is a great thing, and we always have the best time together, but frankly I want more.
"But you have to appreciate that there's another person who is really important in my life whose feelings I have to consider!"
I appreciate it. I appreciate it so much that if the greatest I can hope for out of our relationship is a sexless triad living situation, I want to let him consider her feelings without having to consider mine. I love him so much, but it wouldn't be the worst thing to acknowledge that our poly styles are incompatible. The worst thing would be living in frustration because we won't admit that they are incompatible.

My mind wanders to Slater and his chillingly perverted smirk. Him and I talk on the phone frequently and one day we chatted about future plans: maybe we'd meet up in this country or that country, maybe he'd come to California, what kind of work could we find him and how would we live. I'm not sure what's real or what's a fairy tale but all the same, it's intoxicating to think about and I do miss him quite a lot. Maybe hearing it in my voice surprised him, but by the time I got off the phone with Slater, Igor was sulking.
"You left part of your heart in Istanbul..."
Maybe. A part. 
"...and I feel like you are punishing me because I don't believe in getting married and having kids."
Nope. Not punishing. But at this point I firmly acknowledge clear relationship goals including cohabitation, abundant recreation, and yes eventually down the line, procreation. Some people might think that having all that in an open relationship is too much to ask for, which is fine, but I don't want to date those people. I'm confident enough to lay it all out on the table, not to be difficult or punishing, but because I'd simply like my lovers and I to be on the same page. If he isn't interested in the kind of future that I'm after, he shouldn't be surprised when I choose to invest in a relationship with the potential I'm looking for, because all the polytard justification talk in the world couldn't make this corner of the bed less lonely.

But as I lie there, I try to tell myself to have faith. Give it more of a chance and don't make any rash decisions, rash decisions being my specialty. Play nice and stay positive. As the Shins sung, "you wanna fight for this love, but honey, you cannot wrestle a dove."

In a gesture of good will, I designed Other Girlfriend a cocktail. Mirroring the nature of our relationship, the drink is somewhat complicated and made with rare ingredients. It's a bit bitter and yet a bit sweet, musky, refined, and chock full of bourbon.

The OG
Rocks glass, fill with ice
2 oz. bourbon whiskey, stir to melt ice
Several dashes bitters - I use aromatic and orange bitters
1/2 oz. Firelit coffee liquer
1/4 oz. maple syrup, stir well
2 cherries, soaked in brandy

Flame an orange peel over your cocktail, rub around rim and drop into glass.
Add 1/2 oz. - 3 oz. of club soda, to taste.
Make a silent toast to your lover's lovers and suck it down, Cupcake.

Meet the charming fellows: Igor HERE and Slater HERE
Want more tough moments in polyamory? HERE YOU GO!
For something completely different, check out the post Bisexual Women and Cattle Fetish
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  1. "the greatest I can hope for out of our relationship is a sexless triad living situation"


    "he shouldn't be surprised when I choose to invest in a relationship with the potential I'm looking for"

    Is that a proposal, Charles Schwab?

    "chillingly perverted"

    you give me too much credit

  2. I give you exactly enough credit.

  3. I really enjoyed this. When I was younger I had gone the poly route with an ex. Not really the same experience or outcome, but a lot of the sentiments and feelings on my side were there. Thanks for your fantastic way with words.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. If you don't mind me asking, what was the outcome? I take it from your use of the past tense, you found that polyamory was not for you? Of course it might be too personal of a question -- please excuse my burning curiosity!

  4. The way you write is so raw and relatable, even though I've never been in a situation like yours. I really enjoy the honesty of your blog. Thank you for baring your soul this way.

    1. I'm glad that something of it resonated with you. Thank you for reading and thank you for your comment. I really appreciate the positive feedback!