Wednesday, March 6, 2013

have I come out to you?

I am definitely a lesbian. I have definitely been a lesbian my whole life, but I didn't know it until quite recently. I officially “came out” to myself in the beginning of 2012, after the last few months of 2011 left me in a state of depression I hadn't seen the likes of in over a decade. I was distancing myself from my girlfriend Gabriel. I was floundering to save my marriage, which I feared was unsalvageable. I spent months internalizing, trying to figure out what, exactly, was wrong with me. Why wasn't I having sex with my husband? More importantly, why didn't I miss it?

Any attempts to rekindle the passion in our relationship died before the embers could even catch. I even gave him the task of learning how to get me off without using his penis—something which could have been fun, experimental, a way for him to learn new things. But he neglected the prompt, finally trying once half-heartedly, and went right back to expecting sex to be the same old routine it had been before. I didn't want to admit it, but the nagging thought kept returning to me: it isn't the sex I was missing, but the closeness. I still wanted to be close to Ark, but I was just not interested in his genitals at all. Sex fizzles out in a lot of marriages (so I'm told by television and magazines), but this didn't feel like the “normal” decline of sexual activity. I was still a highly sexual being. I was just a highly sexual being who was no longer turned on at the prospect of heterosexual sex.

Sex with Gabriel was a different story. Sex with a woman is something entirely different. One of the last times I saw Gabriel, we had sex on the couch while my boy Kiba sat on the floor in front of us and played video games. With a woman, my sex drive is on seventh gear.

Was it just because my relationship with Gabriel was newer? Was it because the sex was explosive, unpredictable, experimental?

It soon came to me that a large part of my unhappiness was being caused by Gabriel's dependence on me. I needed her to back off. In short, I realized that I could not give her everything she needed in a relationship, and have everything I needed to be a happy person. I had to end it. She could not grow, clinging to me, and I could not breathe.

With my sexual outlet gone, my lack of sex with Ark became more obvious to me. I wondered why I didn't miss it. I still loved every other aspect of our relationship. The illusion of our marriage crumbling proved to be false—a landmine in my mind planted during my depression. Ark loved me just as much as ever, and was continuing to evolve in our polyamorous relationship in ways that I was still apparently too wounded to see. He had opened up, and was finally willing to embrace our relationship as it was, but I was too busy looking at the pieces from the past and trying to fit them all together. I love my husband, but I still needed further introspection.

I guess I realized it slowly. The puzzle of my sexuality came together in achingly tiny bits. And the first time I thought to myself, “Maybe I'm a lesbian,” I thought it jokingly. But the more I thought about it, the clearer it became, and the more sense my life made up to that point.

I was never interested in sex. The way other girls looked at boys and would fawn over them, “Ooh, Johnny is so cute! Look at that ass!” It didn't make any sense to me. I dated boys who I came to love, but my love had nothing to do with sex. The first time I saw a penis, I was repulsed by it. My experiences with oral sex were awkward and uncomfortable. When I finally lost my virginity at eighteen, the part I enjoyed was the closeness to the person I loved. It was a special moment, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I figured maybe sex and penises and ejaculate was just something I'd get used to. I figured everyone felt the same way at first—grossed out, squicked by cum, totally grossed out at the idea of putting a penis in your mouth. Only, I never really got used to it. I just accepted it as part of a normal life.

I think that's basically the root of everything here: I grew up assuming I was heterosexual. I mean, everyone else I knew was straight, or at the very least bi-curious, so why wouldn't I be straight? I knew, and later admitted to my sister, that I liked girls. My first long-term, real crush was on a female friend of mine from elementary school. Then, later, in high school, I harbored a crush on a girl from England. Aging into adulthood, I began to amass a collection of Penthouse and Playboy, and probably hundreds of pictures of sexy girls of all sorts on my computer. Girls were a mystery to me. My relationships were years-long and with men, one basically starting right after the other (with overlapping, in one instance).

I didn't grow up in the kind of household where you'd be afraid to be gay. I always knew that if I brought home a girlfriend, Mom would be happy because I was happy. My sister didn't care what I did, either. I just never even considered it, when I was younger. And now, at 26 and married to a man I wasn't willing to lose, I was considering it.

I was terrified.

One of the good “rules of poly” I've seen is that if you're afraid to tell your partner something, that means you need to tell them. I'd been brutally honest and open with Ark up to this point, and now was not a good time to start changing that.

I came out as a lesbian and polyamorous to my family (and the general world) around the same time. I kind of cheated—I deleted my Facebook account and made a new one. At first, I sent out friend requests only to people who already knew or people who I felt were ready for the news. My profile picture was this bright yellow square with the words "nobody knows I'm a lesbian."

My “interested in” said “women.”

My “relationship status” said “in an open relationship.”

I was able to list my partners under my “family,” due to a recent update, which was nice but I'm still waiting to be able to list them all under my relationships, like you can on Fetlife.

I never censored myself on this new profile; I was 100% myself. I was coming out as Blue, the polyamorous panromantic lesbian married to a man, who I intended on keeping, and yes, we were happy and we made the choices we wanted to make for our relationship. I was unapologetic. I even posted links to my personal blog as it was updated, and family members read it. Some even reached out to me about its contents. I have nothing to hide. I am not ashamed of what I am.

Slowly, the rest of my family was added to my friend list. I guess it was a half-assed way of coming out, but I didn't feel the need to really make a big deal out of it. I didn't need to stand before all of them with my poly triad-sometimes-quad-sometimes-pentad (is that a word? it is now.) and tell them to accept us all or lose me. It isn't that dramatic. My family will probably only come in contact with our long-term, committed partnerships, and even then, it will/has been in (mostly) slow and comfortable increments for all of us.

I've been pretty blessed in my family's acceptance of us. I was terrified for a while there and—let's face it—kind of bitter about the “friends” we did lose along the way. You see so many stories about people being disowned by their own parents after coming out of the closet. Do you think it was more for my family to handle, because Ark and I stayed together, or easier because of it?

There are a lot of resources out there for being the “straight spouse” (and a lot of them say that “it's hard to get support during this time”). Don't think I'm downplaying Ark's pain in this. I think we had plenty of time leading up to it—I discussed my fears and feelings with him thoroughly, probably too thoroughly, so when I finally did say, “I think I'm a lesbian,” his reaction was something like, “Well, yeah, I kinda figured.” But we have the kind of relationship and understanding of each other where he realizes that my sexuality is through no fault or shortcoming of his own—it isn't his fault he's a man, and I love him no less for it.

What I didn't find was a lot of information on couples where one of them comes out gay—but they stay together. This view is usually speculated upon as something that's difficult, unfair; it's said that the gay partner usually was cheating with someone of the same sex, or hiding their sexuality. This wasn't true in my case and I refuse to believe I'm the only one out there who's been honest the whole time. My sexuality wasn't just a self-discovery, it was a discovery for both of us. The decisions we made, we made together, as a couple, for the well-being of our relationship both as a couple and as individuals.

In some relationships, it seems, this is an unavoidable end. But for me and Ark, it was a new beginning—to a stronger, unique relationship. Sure, folks look askance at us. They ask probing questions. They don't believe us when we say, yes, we're okay. Nobody has to take sides. He and I are in this together. 'Till death do we part.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Moving In, Moving On

In October, we were forced to leave our apartment and seek a different housing situation. This was a huge disruption to our life as it was (we expected to have until December, the natural 'end' of our lease) but fortunately, we were already looking for a new place to live... a place that would be big enough for Ark and I, plus Dawn.

I've spoken before of wanting to live in a poly household—and now, basically, that is what we have. I can float between bedrooms (I don't have my own room at this point). We share the expenses and chores of keeping a house. Our cats mingle (for the most part). And best of all, both of my full-time loves are in the same place as me. “Home” is the same place for all of us.

Moving in together was both kind of a big deal, and not. Dawn still has her own separate space, so if she wants to be alone, she can be. But at the same time, moving in with someone you've been dating for less than a year is risky, and even though I was thrilled to have her with me every day, I was worried that she would feel too crowded and decide it wasn't a good living situation for her. I was also worried that Ark, having to face my relationship with Dawn every day, and my sleeping in a different bed more often, would revert back to his angry, jealous self from the early days of our poly explorations.

Fortunately, it seems like we got all of the good with none of the bad. We all coexist here happily. It's—quite literally, for me—a dream come true.

The year ended with a few other surprises. I kind of “came out” to most of my family, primarily by friending them on Facebook and not hiding anything (kind of a pussy way to come out, but it was quiet and subtle, and I like that). Dawn came with Ark and I to visit my grandmother and to visit Ark's parents. I actually introduced her to my father-in-law, saying, “This is my girlfriend.” It may not sound like much, but for me, it took a lot of balls (figuratively speaking, of course). I'm lucky and blessed that none of this blew up in our faces!

I even brought Dawn to my cousin's wedding, as my date. I kissed her and held her hand and we danced, surrounded by my family, probably people who, before that point, weren't quite certain what exactly was going on. I'm not entirely sure all of them know what's going on at all, but they'll figure it out.

It seems, though, that the people who do know that Dawn and I are 'together' have accepted it and have accepted her as part of the family. This is an amazing relief on my part and a huge joy to Dawn. (Upon meeting my aunt for the first time, and sitting around listening to us all talk, Dawn exclaimed, “Your family are all geeks!”) I have always felt warm and safe cocooned in my family's presence, and I feared that these changes would push them away. I'm so glad that it hasn't.

It hasn't been all roses, of course. While Ark, Dawn and I are finally living in happiness, people on the outside of our relationship have their doubts. Though Ark says he and I are doing great and we're happy, there are some people who just won't believe him. Some have been my family members, and some have even expressed that they think my sexual orientation is just a phase that I'll outgrow. (Really, to me, it feels as though heterosexuality is something I've outgrown.) I'm going to keep smiling, going to keep doing what I'm doing though—my relationships are my responsibility and my business, and what other people think isn't important. I know Ark is happy because I make sure he's happy. Isn't that what love's all about?

this blog entry will also be submitted to Life on the Swingset
I apologize for the long delay in updates! In our move, apparently I damaged my netbook, so have been unable to write. I just got it back though, and so naturally one of the first things I wanted to do would be to tell you all the good news! :) 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Satisfaction Brought It Back

Let's talk about sex, baby.

I mean, how important it is to you in a relationship? How important is it to monogamous people? Polyamorous people? What is the optimal amount of sex you'd like to be having? What do you do when that need is not fulfilled?

I'll admit it. Sex is pretty important to me. And that makes my relationships kinda tough.

Let me start with my primary relationship: Ark. At the beginning of the relationship, the sex was great: frequent, exploratory, enthusiastic. As we settled in, the sex died down of course, but it still happened often and still retained passion. After we moved away from home and began to experience the real world as a couple (later married), there were moments where the sex simply wasn't happening, but all it would take was for me to bring it up and we'd be having sex again. It wasn't that neither of us wanted it, but that we were too busy or too stressed or too tired to consider it. I felt, and often feel like, I am the only one missing it and craving it back in my life.

But, now, here's a different problem. As sexless time progressed and I explored other avenues, and I wrote in my personal journal and I dug deeper into myself, I came to a few startling revelations. The biggest one being that even though I was still in love with my husband and wanted to be with him, I had no desire for traditional heterosexual sex. What I mean by that is that I just wasn't interested in having his penis in me, and for a while just the thought of it was disturbing and I didn't want to touch it or look at it (though this stemmed from something else entirely). Physically distancing myself from Ark sexually bothered me. I love the intimacy, I love the closeness. Though I no longer crave or enjoy sexual intercourse, I still crave that. I want manual stimulation, oral stimulation, kissing, touching, feeling a warm body against mine, making me feel loved, making me feel sexy.

When we were recovering from the event that put me off sex with him in the first place, I gave him a task: get me off without using his penis. It was something he'd never accomplished before, so I thought it would be a learning adventure for both of us. I even thought it would be something we'd both enjoy and would bring us closer together as lovers and partners.

Well, it didn't quite work out that way. It took a long time for Ark to make his attempt, and it wasn't without a fair amount of prodding. And once he did get me off, it seemed that he immediately wanted things to go back to “normal,” that we would just continue having the same old sex the same ways we'd been having it before—no change, nothing learned, no revelations. The moment where I expected to feel joyful and warm-and-fuzzy was more or less ruined by the expectation that, since he'd gotten me off, now it was “his turn.”

I've only been with one other man besides Ark, and sex with him was also very penis-centric. At the risk of sounding sexist, it seems to me that men are very orgasm oriented. And I don't mean oriented to their partner's orgasm—their own. Sex for them isn't sex if it doesn't include ejaculation. And maybe that's just because it's simpler for men to reach climax, so they take it for granted? The two women I've been with don't/didn't seem to be as focused on their own orgasm so much as mine. And I can honestly say that I am far more interested in getting them off than I am in getting off myself. Sex between women takes skill and practice; the same thing won't work every time.

I feel that maybe our decision more or less to not have sex at all was made in haste. If only I could convince him that sex doesn't need to include his or my orgasm; it doesn't have to include penis insertion; to redefine sex, to start from scratch. Does he remember how to turn me on? Do I know how to make him feel desirable? Does he even want to have sexual contact with me, or is the romantic aspect of our relationship enough for him?

Since we're polyamorous, I don't feel pressured to be satisfied with only one partner. I have the option of seeking out things I need or want from other people. But as I find my sexual appetite exceeds even my new girlfriend's, I kinda start to wonder if there's just something wrong with me? How do I view sex in a relationship and how much do I need it? Enough to seek out many more romantic and sexual partners? I hope not. I doubt I would have much issue finding people to have sex with (in fact I have one or two options already), but I don't really want to have to seek out a new partner every time the honeymoon stage is over and my motor's still running.

So, back to the root of things. How do I view sex? How much do I need it?

I already admitted that sex is important to me. I need it to feel connected with my partner. Long periods of time without sex makes me question the health of the relationship. It makes me wonder things like: Am I not attractive to them? Maybe I've put on weight? Am I too clingy/do I want too much attention? Maybe they don't like my technique? Maybe I'm boring? Maybe I ask too much? Is the magic gone? Is it over for them?

Yes, I really do think all those things. It doesn't take much for me to doubt and feel insufficient.

This feeling doesn't last forever, though—it goes away eventually, once I've reassured myself that most of this is all in my head. At that point, I have to trust that if there is something wrong in the relationship or something wrong with the way we have sex/I do things during sex, that my partner will tell me and I can fix it. I have to accept that they don't want sex as much as I do, or that they don't need it the same ways I do (to feel wanted/loved/needed/sexy). Sometimes I feel disappointment at this (am I the ONLY ONE with a sex drive?!) but again, it's something I get over.

But then, and this may be a defense mechanism, after I accept this and start to move on, my libido drops drastically. So much so that when my partners do want sex, I'm either completely disinterested or I am interested, but can't get my body to respond. It's already hard to get me aroused (the best way: let me get them off first) and hard to get me off. And if I'm really craving a particular kind of sex (slow/fast, manual/oral, rough/gentle, vanilla/kinky) and it isn't what I'm getting, all I can focus on is what I'm not getting right at that moment and I can't get into it. Or if I'm stressed or worried about something... well, I guess those are normal libido killers. Anyway, I digress. Mentally, in order to be happy and remain happy and to not cause stress in the relationship, I pull the emergency brakes on my sex drive.

Communication could solve all of this. Maybe. I did talk about all of this with Ark, a long time ago, and we live now in this strange yet mostly comfortable sexless marriage. Is it fair to ask him to be the lover I want and need, to make love to me, but respect my wishes (sex without penile penetration)? Is it fair to ask more of my girlfriend? (I won't; we're too new, and I still have practically no idea what she wants/likes/needs.) Or should I seek satisfaction elsewhere?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Poly Dating

In my local community, Fetlife is a widely used social network. There are only a few people I talk to and consider friends who don't have a Fet account (and they're people I've known for years; they knew me when I was more vanilla), but don't think I won't talk them into getting one sooner or later. I distinctly remember coming across Fetlife for the first time. My reaction was something like, OH MY GOD, DOES THIS REALLY EXIST?! Yes, it does. It's Facebook, for kinky people. And poly people. And swingers and queers and supportive vanillas.

Fetlife seems to have a bad rap with some people, and that's okay. I know forum networks aren't for everybody (and gods know I hardly pay attention to it, most of the time) and as usual, there are assholes on the Internet. But for meeting people and attending informative events and exciting parties, Fet is where it's at (at least, for Richmond, Virginia).

Just in my area, there's a Pet & Animal Play group (“humanimals” as I've seen them called; this is not bestiality), Ageplay group (“littles,” “bigs,” “daddies,” etc), Polyamory groups, Gangbang groups, Personals, two separate BDSM groups (I'm a member of SHELTER, which is a more information-based, learning group), a Kinky Gamers group (I run that!), Kinky Book Club, Queer Kinksters, Artistic Kinksters, a group for pagan and the occult, educational groups, etc. I could go on and on. Basically anything you could want, there's a group, or you can make one yourself! It's a great way to meet like-minded individuals, especially if you're a touch antisocial, like me.

Right now, the Greater Richmond Polyamory group is really coming in handy. My husband's relationship with his sometimes-girlfriend Anita has never really come to fruition and though neither of us speak of it, I feel we both agree that there isn't really anything there. But for Ark, its been a trial to find people willing to date a married man, whether or not his wife is okay with it. In the past year, our sex life has diminished. Those of you who read my much earlier posts know that this was a difficult thing for us in the past, but we've grown over it now and it isn't a stress point anymore. I've learned things about myself that made me realize why I was coming to the same issues over and over (namely, I'm a lesbian), and we even discussed our bed death. It turns out we were both more worried that the other person was stressing more over not having sex than we were, so we agreed it was no longer an issue.

That doesn't mean I don't recognize that he wants, and needs, that kind of companionship and relationship with somebody. Since Ark is straight, this means he needs a girlfriend.

So there's a big poly mixer coming up, where several poly groups in the DC/MD/VA area will be getting together. I'm really hoping this is a good opportunity for Ark to meet someone closer who is more interested in him than his on-again-off-again girl. To be honest, we haven't been active in any poly group or community until about two weeks ago, and I'm really excited to meet other people who are non-monogamous. All of my partners thus far have been monogamous with me, and tolerant of my polyamorous ways. I went on one date with a guy who is non-monog but at this point, it hasn't gone much farther than that. I remember talking to him about monogamy and different kinds of relationships, and how relaxed it made me feel to know that, if we were to be in a relationship, I wouldn't be “the one,” but I would be “an important one,” which is how I want to feel.

This blog article requires some reader interaction. Are you a poly man (or of some sort of non-monogamous status) who is married or in a long-term committed relationship with a woman? Do you find it difficult to find women to date? Do you use any dating or social networks (OkCupid, Fetlife?) to find other poly groups to connect with, or to find dates? Do you think it's harder to find a date as a poly man, than if you were swinging with your wife or s/o (long term vs short term)?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Regress / Regret

I know I said I wouldn't blog about Gabriel anymore. Let this be the last one. I just have to get something off my chest—something happened; something strange and unsettling that I was really unprepared to handle.

I'm no old hat at breaking up. I know that relationships end, but I haven't had very many relationships, to be honest. When I was thirteen I dated a boy for two years before he broke up with me through e-mail. (We're still friends even now!) I then dated Andrew until I was eighteen, even getting engaged, but that relationship ended badly after an unplanned and naive attempt at non-monogamy. Though the end of that relationship was agreed-upon, it was very messy. I turned all of my loving energy into my remaining partner at that time: Ark.

Ark and I opened our relationship after being together for five years, shortly after being married. So Gabriel-then-Kitten was my partner for two years before I ended it.

I needed space from her. I've had little to no contact or correspondence with her short of seeing her while she shops where I work, or her text messages. The space between us has allowed me to soften toward her and instead of thinking about the ways she frustrated me, I can now remember more fondly the reasons why I love her and why I loved being with her. So, my general feelings toward her are more hospitable now, with the distance between us. I'm happy to hear from her now and then to know how she's doing and big changes in her life (she just started a new job), but I'm only flirting with the idea of asking her to meet for ice cream or something small like that. I'm not sure I can handle it yet.

Well, I've written about this before, and though I'm hesitant to write about it again after so much time, but it came up and I couldn't shake it. Recently, Gabriel sent me a text that said, in her own way, that she was glad she knew how to get herself off. I didn't respond to this text, instead choosing to put the phone down and continue what I was doing. But in my mind, I couldn't let it go. I was imagining her doing the things I couldn't talk her into doing while we were together. I was wondering, do her claws leave scars on the sheets as they once left scars on me? Does she bite the pillow or her arm? Does she cry out when she's alone? Does her back arch, toes curl, body quake the way it did when I was making her come? Does she whisper for “more,” even though no one is there to indulge her?

I miss the sex. I almost texted it to her. That was it. It dawned on me suddenly and I was so unsettled by the realization that I had to stop what I was doing to let it process for a minute. I do miss it. All of it. From the slow, sleepy sex in the morning, to the rough sex that often left me battered and bruised and scratched and bleeding but still grinning from ear to ear. Being awakened with her crouched between my thighs—being shoved against the wall the instant I walk through the door—being pulled up by my hair after eating her out because she needed to kiss me, couldn't wait. The sex was one thing that was never wrong between us. It was always explosive, always passionate, always tender (yes, even at its most volatile). And I miss it. Is it okay to say that? Is it okay to feel that way?

I texted Andrew about it. (He's my go-to guy for personal reflection, because he knows me but tends to see me more objectively than Ark because we are no longer involved.) I said, I almost made a huge mistake. And I explained it to him. His response? He asked, “Aren't you and Dawn having sex?”

Well... yeah, we are.

My reply was that we do have sex, but that the sex is different, and we don't exactly have all the time in the world to do it, whereas when I would visit Gabriel we'd have all day and all night together. Dawn and I only get a few hours together alone, and both of us aren't always in the mood at the best time. You can't control your libido (and if you can, WHAT IS YOUR SECRET?!) and basically, the forces are against us! I expect that it will be easier for us once we're all living together (I know I haven't mentioned that yet! It's coming up, I swear!) and we can have privacy whenever we want or need it.

But my point is, my sexual relationship with Dawn is fine, and that is not why I'm suddenly missing the sex with Gabriel. I am satisfied with my sexual relationship with Dawn. I am much better at not expecting too much (sex-wise) from my partners than I used to be. I'm more excited to just be with Dawn, and am not so much focused on the sexual aspect of everything. Okay, so I'm still a horndog and I am always thinking about sex. But you'll just have to trust me that I'm much better than I used to be. Now, I place the responsibility for my sexual happiness and sanity on myself instead of on my partners.

I don't really have much clarity still as to why I miss it. I can only guess. I was in denial for a long time, growing up, maturing, getting older and more knowledgeable. I used to think, and I used to say, sex is not important to me. This isn't true. Sex is important to me. It is an integral part of my romance. I hunger for it, I crave it, I starve without it. It's possibly also true that if I don't get what I need from one source, I will seek out a different source. In part maybe that's where polyamory comes into play. As I discovered and admitted both to myself and to the world that I'm a lesbian, what was there left to keep Ark and I together? Why do we stay together? Because we love each other. Right now there's no sex in our relationship, but it works for us because he doesn't feel pressured to have sex when he doesn't feel like it, and I am free to seek stimulation elsewhere without feeling like I'm not good enough.

The best metaphor I can come up with for this situation is that this is kind of like gorging on a favorite food to the point of being sick of it, then staying away from it for a long time. You know what it tastes like and how it smells and how it feels in your mouth, and after a while, you start to crave it again. Maybe in a different way, maybe not so intensely, but it's something you know and something you love.

At this point, I just hope I retain the self-restraint I need to not go back.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

a closed door, an open window

So, something happened and I've been putting it off and putting it off—writing about it, I mean. I just couldn't find the words, or it sounded flimsy, or it was full of me making excuses... and I shouldn't have to make excuses.

I broke it off with Gabriel.

For reasons why, you could probably scan back through the past few entries and see the reasons. In short, I feel she needs more attention and more... well, more everything... than I can give her. Knowing one's own limits is important, and I knew she was beyond mine. Being with her was putting stress on my own boundaries and it took this long to figure it out.

Is the break-up clean? Is it easy? No.

I don't have to say any more on the subject, and I won't. Gabriel's chapter on this blog is over. My further musings on her will be kept to myself.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Warm Soup

I told myself I could go to Panera Bread and eat a delicious, delicious bread bowl filled with broccoli cheese soup, only if I brought my netbook and wrote a blog article. It worked brilliantly last time, so here I am again, fingering my keyboard and making words appear on the screen. It's hard to write a blog article when there isn't any real drama going on in my life. I originally started this blog to help other people who were starting in poly relationships. It evolved as I evolved, incorporating kink, gender and sexuality articles, and a spattering here and there of erotica, as I rediscovered my writing legs after being without a computer for over a year.

It ended up being more like a personal journal, in which I was detailing the trials and tribulations of starting a poly relationship in which one of the original couple was monogamous and had no desire to be otherwise. Ark agreed to let me see Gabriel because he knew I wouldn't be happy in a monogamous relationship. Looking back on this now, I wonder if my discomfort in a monogamous marriage with him was not because I'm inherently poly, but because I'm gay? Of course, this realization wouldn't come to me until almost two years later. And it would terrify me, shake my world up, make me go back and go back and go back and look at all the things that happened before. And rethink my every decision. Is that why I did this? Is that why I don't like this?

It all made sense, and clicked together, and I've settled. “I am what I am afraid of, so what am I afraid of?”

I shut down at the end of the year, so the last few 2011 months and the first few months of 2012 are empty. I've picked myself up again, and I feel a similar sensation of rebirth, which I felt several years ago as I came to grips with the death of my mother. (Or at least got a better handle on it.) I introduce myself to people as Blue—this is, to me, my coming out. I am Blue and this is me and who I am, and damn you if you don't like it.

My relationship with Gabriel has changed drastically. I did have that talk with her, and we seem to be okay, but I haven't seen her in person since. I'm starting to miss her, though; starting to miss the little things, and starting to miss the sexy things. I'd feel terrible if I went to see her, and we spent the whole time in bed reenacting all the wild ways we've fucked, and making up new ones. Well, maybe I wouldn't feel too terrible, but I feel like we need to reconnect on more than just a physical level. I do miss the next-day soreness, the late-night personal inspection of scratches and bruises, being able to count the teeth in the marks on my hips, my thighs, my shoulders. But I also miss, sometimes, her utter randomness, the eccentricity of her thought pattern; I miss watching her play with her cats, miss listening to her talk about totally irrelevant things and considering stopping her lips from moving my smothering them with mine. I do not miss the way she takes all of my attention (except during sex, which is when I am willing to give all of my attention), makes it impossible for me to concentrate on anything else; how, when I am discomfited, it's not important, but if she is in any sort of discomfort--needing to use the restroom, or a headache--it's gotta be the center of our attention, regardless of what we were doing previously. She is a projector to a serious degree—when she's unhappy, everyone around her will know.

Gabriel is very intense, and this intensity is both why I love her, and why I need to stay away from her for extended periods of time. When it's good, it's great. When she's smothering, it's terrible and I can't handle it. I need to be around people who need alone time, or even passive companionship, in order to remain content. This is why Ark and I work so well together (I believe I've said that before). I've made friends who fulfill this need—I can easily go to their house to visit them, and we spend the whole time watching TV or both of us doing separate things. We don't even need to talk to each other! Just that we are each there, nearby, suits our needs for socialization.

Speaking of friends fulfilling needs, my almost-relationship with Dawn seems to be going smoothly. What I write on this blog is revealing, often even to myself, and especially since I know Dawn will probably read this, I'm self-conscious about what to say about her. I'm going to do my best to be objective here; a particular challenge, since I know I'm probably still up to my elbows in NRE. Or, well, it could just be the excitement of learning another woman's body, of getting to explore her mind and gaining her trust. There is something inherently different about falling for her, and maybe I say this because Gabriel is so different from anyone else, that my love for her really is a different creature, a more passive creature. Dawn is the first woman I'm loving who is (or may be) loving me back, who is closer to... well, closer to normal? I can't talk about it here. Gabriel's past was horrific and it's her story to tell, but it has affected how she is immensely. She is not easy to be with, not easy to love, and for me, not easy to spend great amounts of time with. I tried, at first, but it was exhausting both physically and mentally. I've pulled back, and I feel great.

But I digress—back to Dawn.

Its hard to write about her without a cheesy grin over my face. I'm sitting in Panera still, so I'm pretty sure people are watching, wondering. How can I tell them how hard I'm falling? I think I've scraped my knees and there's bruises on my palms. I'm not obsessed—not anymore, anyway—the hard, fast puppy love stage for me is passed, and I'm moving into the warm, fuzzy, comfortable stage. I still crave her, still miss her, still want to feel her near me, hear her voice, make her laugh, but for me, these are constant things, not a part of NRE. When I felt the powerful Fuzzy Pink Stupids receding, at first, I panicked a little. The rule is to never make an important decision while under the influence of NRE. Did I make an important decision? Will I regret this? Will she? Suddenly I was doubtful of the whole thing. Did we move too fast?

Let me tell you something, casual readers: I do not regret. She doesn't regret (but may still be under the influence). I'm not doubtful, not of my feelings anyway, and while we may have moved fast, I feel that maybe it was exactly the right speed for us. I shouldn't worry and I shouldn't dwell on it. I am so in love with this girl, and the only one who can fuck it up is me. So I'm not gonna.

Best thing ever? I know I can have passive companionship with Dawn. Cause we've had it before. Because she's a friend first, and Ark's friend, and I'm happy to just be near her the way I'm just happy to be near him. She is not demanding. I know I can love her my way and she will be okay with that. I know I can be, just be, and she can just be, and we will be happy. And I am patient and happy to wait for her, to give me what she can give, and I'll be happy with whatever it is.

I wrote, a long time ago, about a happy poly moment; snuggling on the couch between lovers, under the blanket, watching a movie. I didn't have that moment for long after writing about it; things quickly crumbled, and we floundered for a long time. But I have it again. And I've had it often, and it seems to be here to stay. I want it to be easy to love in front of Ark, and I doubted I'd ever get back to that point. If things keep progressing the way they are, hopefully I won't ever have to stress about it again.

Now, there are too many people in Panera and I'm having trouble formulating coherent thoughts, so I'm gonna stop here. See you next time I eat a bread bowl.