Savage Love

Commit to Something

Comments

1
premier?

CTOFA - aw, shucks! that was a delightful letter and a nice reminder that not every older-younger relationship is creepy
2
Agreed. That was really sweet.
3
Thirdt!
4
Advice professionals often urge us to confront exes who did us wrong—many find closure in those confrontations

Aaaaaaand this is why I'm skeptical about "advice professionals." Most people are just going to respond to your angry confrontation with more anger. Instead of confronting a shitty ex, find your own closure (ugh, I hate that word), and let them recede into the past until they're a tiny fleck of shit in the rearview mirror.

As for the campsite rule: I am pleased to report that not only did someone obey the campsite rule for me, but I don't even have to "reach out" to him, because we've maintained a friendship for 18 years. In my mostly worse-than-average love/sex life, this person is a bright light, despite the age gap when we hooked up being sort of creepy according to many people's standards. (Yes, I was a legal adult.)
5
Seriously a rerun and 1 additional column for the weekly? No Monday sllotd? Everything OK Dan? What are you so busy with & can I help so you can get back to writing columns for me?
6
CTOFA did a real mitzvah.
7
LW1- looks like poly relationship is not for you, at least not at this point in your life. In the spirit of LW2 you should thank K for being so patient with you, because he really is, and move on.

It is my impression that poly-friendly folks are divided into two major groups: those who figured out that monogamy doesn't work for them, and those who have a very strong monogamous connection and are not threatened by their significant other and/or themselves having additional relationships.
8
CTOFA: Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. I'm glad that you got to reconnect before it was too late.
9
Yawn, re-runs.

I recently tried to look up the then-40-year-old bisexual man who helped 26-year-old me get over my divorce, in the most sensual way possible. I met him through the bi meetup group I joined in hopes of finally meeting a female partner (which also worked). He was part of my first triad and started me on my journey into the world of kink. Sadly, he doesn't appear to be on Facebook, or even LinkedIn. D, if you're out there, a toast of tea and sympathy to you.
10
CMD @7: All poly people have decided that monogamy doesn't work for them; that's what poly means. The word you're looking for is "primary." The two broad types of polys are "people who want a primary partner" and "people who don't want a primary partner." This is also known as hierarchical vs non-hierarchical polyamory, and like everything else, it exists on a spectrum: on one end you have the monogamish, people in long-term committed relationships who seek only casual sex with others, and on the other end, you have relationship anarchists, who are basically people who have multiple partners but make no commitments to anybody. In between are triads, people with a primary partner and secondary partner(s), solo polys, etc.
11
BDF
I suspect we're talking about the same thing, yet trust you on the terminology of the variations.
I hope you still trust me to find you the proper bra.
12
CMD @11: Exactly. It's like saying "I'm a vegetarian who eats fish" -- no, vegetarians don't eat fish, that's an oxymoron. I'm a pescetarian. One can't be both monogamous and non-monogamous. Those with the strong couple connection you describe have primary relationships, not monogamous ones.

The very first link I provided was to the specialist retailer that's already serving all of my small bra needs. But thank you for the thought!
13
I tried to contact a first lover. Her 'campground violation' was real enough, and I still can't frame the experience as 'good' or 'bad' in conventional terms. She pulled away from me just as we were getting to where we could be 'out' together. She MAY have thought she was 'helping' but the actual aftermath was disastrous.

When I finally found her, she'd died 3 weeks before. So I can't know what her intentions, regrets, relief etc. may have been.

Would I have been better off pretending that I had 'closure?'
14
That was a lovely story, CTOFA, and it sounds like both you and your first lover are considerate people.
Thanks, Dan, for running that letter.
I am a big believer in telling people who have had a positive impact on your life how much you have benefitted and how grateful you are when you can. I contacted an old boyfriend once, years afterwards, left a voicemail telling him how I treasured the experience of having once had him in my life, and how, despite the fact that relationship's end had left me heartbroken for years, I was ultimately glad it had happened. He called back a couple of months later and told me how much that message had meant to him, and how I was the love of his life. We never spoke again; six months later, he died unexpectedly. It comforts me enormously to have had the chance to let him know how I felt and to have heard how he felt.
15
@4: The reaction of the other party isn't the point. You confront the other party so that you've told them how you feel about it, instead of you holding all of that in yourself. Whether they react well or not doesn't change that you've let them know what they did was wrong, hopefully helping you move on, whether they accept it or apologize for it or not.
16
@15: I have to assume that the kind of person who requires a confrontation years after the fact is going to react so badly that it might not be without its own scars for the person who needs to achieve closure. Maybe letting someone who wronged you know that they wronged you brings its own satisfaction, but if the person turns on you, or denies it, or lashes out, or claims no memory, or turns the tables, or (fill in the blank of any number of ways an asshat might react to being called out for being an asshat), it might not really be worth it.
What about the old "write a letter but don't send it" technique?
17
When I was very young, I had an ex write me a letter about a year after we broke up. He was in rehab then and it was part of his 12 steps (or however many) to write people he'd wronged in the past and own his mistakes, etc. I was on his list. The letter was really bizarre, and aside from owning up to some hurtful (but not traumatically damaging) things that he'd done, he spent a lot of time talking about his personal journey and his relationship with god, and he ended with some poetry. I was young and insensitive enough at that time to share the letter with a friend. By then, I had no feelings either way for the dude- wished him well as any stranger and all that, meant no harm. But it was a really odd letter and now I know it was probably cruel to share it and laugh about it, but at the time I was young and just could not get over how weird the letter was. Anyway, as you might expect of young people, my friend told a friend about it who told my ex that we'd been laughing at him. A few weeks later, he got out of rehab and showed up where I was working (thank goodness he didn't know where I lived) to tell me how much the ridicule he'd heard about had hurt him and how he realizes what an awful selfish person I am and how I'm going to hell. I didn't say anything in response because I was at work and didn't want to cause a scene, and besides, I did feel a little guilty for being insensitive. Mostly though, I just wanted to say whatever dude needed to hear to go away and never come back- so that mixture of disinterest and support. You're fine man, go on now.

This is what I think of any time someone tells me they want to contact an ex for closure- either to admit fault or to tell the other person how they hurt you. It seems messy.
18
I know I'm in the minority these days, but for my money, the best and only real way to get "closure" (if such a thing exists) is to let go of whatever it is and move on, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Confrontations don't close things. They open things.
19
@18: Yeah, I completely agree. I never can stay angry, even when I've been wronged. I seem always to have the ability to step back and see things from a different angle and that mitigates anger. Plus, I just don't seem to have the grudge gene.

I have learned that you can't make someone love you, and I've found myself in the position of not being attracted enough to someone to stay in a romantic relationship with him, even though if I could have willed myself to feel more attracted, I would have. So I guess I understand both those sides. Also, I am extremely lucky in that I have never been really done wrong by--no one has stolen from me, or emotionally, verbally, or physically abused me or cost me a job or . . . I don't know what it would take for me to stay angry at someone.

Which is not to say, I haven't been angry and haven't needed to work through that anger on my own at times. But the anger dissipates pretty quickly, generally within weeks. The hurt may last longer, but I don't see the point in contacting someone months or years later to say, "I wanted you to love me more and you never did." For one thing, that seems obvious. Very few breakups are 100% mutual. Someone is always broken up with and someone always does the breaking. Both parties are pretty clear about who is who. For another thing, what would be the point?
20
BELOVED ~ Already commented to death as a LOTD.

CTOFA ~ Good advice for any relationship regardless of the age differential. I am happy to have been able to remain friends with a handful of former lovers some of whom I occasionally still see IRL, some of whom are Facebook friends. These are women who meant something to me and to sever all ties forever never felt right. Thanks to the advent of the Internet its easy to follow their lives without being intrusive, one of (maybe the) best things the computer age has wrought.

Polyphemus@13 Would I have been better off pretending that I had 'closure?' ~ In my experience, "closure" is really more of a state of mind that you can decide to adopt, no need to pretend. After a devastating betrayal breakup with one of my first loves I was finally able to find peace after the years had provided distance and experience and the realization that we were both really young and people make choices, some bad, some good, and then have to live with them. My life turned out fine after the pain (maybe even because of it). We're friends now. Why waste Karma being bitter? As the Joker said, "I believe, whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you...'stranger' "
21
I miss Maakies!
22
@BiDanFan: I know this is so last week, but I responded to your comments late in [Cross Dressers].
23
@ CTOFA (LW2): What a lovely and deeply touching story! It's wonderful that you were able to reconnect with your older mentor later in his life, and that you touched his life, however much later, as well. He's got a lot to be proud of, especially for what he has taught you, and all your accomplishments for good. Kudos!
24
@23: I stand corrected. @CTOFA: ....reconnect with your first lover as well as your mentor (because he taught you so much). Truly a beautiful story, and thank you for sharing it with us.
25
I truly wish I was blessed with a Tommy Ladd.
26
Beloved sounds unprepared for Poly, although it sounds like BF shoved her into the deep end to teach her how to swim. It's probably bound for failure. But you're young and you don't mind if your man fucks another girl right before fucking you, so I'll assume there's a market for your affections, wide enough that I'm sure someone(s) who's willing to show you the amount of affection that you desire.
27
Biggie @15: I agree with Nocute. If someone was abusive, confronting them will probably not lead them to break down and apologise, as in your fantasies. It will probably lead to fresh abuse. I agree that writing a letter but not sending it, or a similar tactic like having your therapist stand in for the abuser or perhaps venting at a photo of them. If they've died, you can vent all you want at their grave.
28
what is going on with SL, again with the poly question.
It is a fascinating subject, how people deal with multiple relationships at once. I'm too much of an introvert to have wanted such relationship complexity for myself.
How does one deal with jealousy? How much talking goes on about the relationship(s) each day/ week? Do all parties meet up for dinners, etc.. sex? Does every poly group make their own rules and are they constantly evolving, sort of planning on the run? And what of children?
A working poly group must be a great environment to raise kids. More adults to love them.
Letter two is very sweet. Such good karma for the older man, who treated this man well when he was a young. I've resolved stuff with my mother from the past, not so much with men. The ones I picked were not developed enough to own their faults, so best I sort stuff without their input. I did phone the love of my life, another life, years later and asked him why he hadn't asked me to marry him. His response was, I didn't know you wanted me too.. of course he knew, but. I was way too difficult and I see his point.
29
@LavaGirl - some polyamorous groups live together, sure, and may raise children together in multi-adult households.

But not all. We think of our network as interconnected couples. Some of the couples are married. Some of the couples own property together. Some of the couples like traveling together. Some of the couples mostly meet for crazy sex. Some couples have children together. Those who have children determine who meets their children, just as someone dating after divorce gives thought to which dates will eventually meet the children. Everyone is entitled to be in more than one couple, though not everyone currently is in more than one.

And there's nothing stopping us from forming triads or quads -- it just hasn't happened that way.
30
@15 biggie & @16 nocutename: I have been working on moving on. My ongoing PTSD therapy, music, and taking drives in my sweet little VW are a big help. I agree with both of you on some points. Finding closure is so important because one can truly be free from some otherwise nasty, counterproductive shit. I guess my only question is, in regarding those who have done me wrong (I'm willing to forgive and let it go), what about those who might only be offering atonement just so that their own consciences would be free of guilt and more that they'll feel better?
Of course, I have a terrible track record of reading too deeply into things, possibly an acquired self-defense mechanism over time against bullies, my older sibs, and others from my past.
Right now, that's the only problem I'm having with those who hurt and / or wronged me. They're from my past; I have put them in the past, released and let them go. But a few still keep surfacing back up, like vomit in a stopped up toilet about to overflow. What to do when someone you've chosen to let go from your life just plain WON'T let go of you?
31
@27 BiDanFan: Agreed--so true! This is why I am so glad to live at least one county away from my controlling, manipulative sisters, whose graves I do intend to vent upon when the time comes and should I outlive them. The only people remaining among my closest living relatives that I would pay respect to are my oldest niece and nephew and great-nephew.
By the way, thank you for your recent email. I hope my response clarified things. No malice or hard feelings were ever intended.
32
Thanks Erica @29, for responding. In your grouping, do all the partners meet and get to know each other, is there gossip in the group about the others? Not sure I'd like that. Hard to police, could be a rule though. Face to face talk and no gossip about group members to other group members. Unless there is some sort of danger.
And jealousy, especially for you after being monogamous for a long while. Jealousy is the one that would blind me, I think. Have to sit and let that burn thru me.

U
33
That U wasn't intended.
34
Grizelda, re the family issues. It's sad, I know, to let go of blood. If the relationship doesn't let you be who you are and in your power, it's got to go. Stay in touch with your neices and nephews, If they treat you well, they are blood too. Feel the sadness, and move on. Other people other connections.
35
@LW2 - Why is someone chopping onions in here?

Thank you for sharing your lovely story, and you sound like a wonderful person. Bravo.
36
BELOVED - How can I find a way to create more opportunities for sexy-time and not ruin it with anxiety attacks?
You cannot make someone lust after you, or love you. You can dress in clothing that shows off your boobs and ass, you can treat him with kindness and respect, but he still may not want to fuck or commit to you. I think that you feel love for K (I think a few months is the typical time frame for love feelings to start to develop, Dan's response was very off imo) and so conclude that he's a good man to commit to. But that's not how love or our other instincts work. You probably know that it's not healthy to ingest everything that smells good (leave that sweet smelling antifreeze alone please).. Also it's not healthy to commit to everyone you feel love for, or fuck everyone you feel lust for. I hope that you want to be more than an animal acting on instinct, and instead consider whether that instinct is reasonable, whether you're eating, fucking or committing. When you eat something that you are allergic to, or that is toxic to humans, you will feel pain. When you commit to someone who is wrong for you, or fuck someone with STDs or bad technique, you will feel pain. It sounds like your anxiety has increased since committing to K (and " it's been quite painful"). Because he's not able to meet your relationship needs. Even though he seems lovely sometimes, please consider the evidence that being committed to K is toxic to you, and stop poisoning yourself. Start searching for other attractive people, be nice to other attractive people, fuck other attractive people, until you find someone you can fuck and commit to without causing yourself major problems.

I'm learning to speak up despite feeling like I'm just being needy and grasping again
It is a strength to learn to make reasonable requests confidently. Being unable to support yourself physically and emotionally without the help of others is "neediness", generally recognized as a physical or mental disability. You seem to be suffering from "codependence". Confidence, however, comes from success. If you want more confidence in life, strive for successes in your career, abandon those careers that don't pay enough or don't make you happy enough in favor of better prospects. If you want more confidence in your relationships, strive for successful happy relationships, if you can't treat each other with respect and meet each other's basic relationship needs, again abandon ship. You don't even need to leave your relationships to do this, in your situation... just start dating others, searching for better prospects, as Dan said... stop deciding to "make it work" with K by committing long term to K. You can't control the lust or love. You can control your actions (fucking, joining dating sites) and plans (to include K in your future plans or not).

This is my first "trio rodeo" and I really want to make it work
One healthy person cannot make a fight, or a relationship. Both require the consent and effort of at least 2 people.. remember that scene in Fight Club when the priest consented to fight after most people just walked by the offensive guy? You can commit to K and fuck him and treat him like a god but that doesn't mean he's gonna commit to you or treat you well. It's really up to you, the kind of people you choose to be intimate with. No one else can make you fuck or commit to a better guy than K.

And if you are afraid that K is the only person you can feel love for, well, 99% of older people you survey will say you can love again, because they've fallen in love multiple times... do you think you are really so different from most humans? "There are other fish in the sea."

I also thought that the commentary to SLLOTD calming a boner were really off. If someone needs help to feed themselves, drive themselves around, or take "no sex" for an answer, they're disabled and need further help to reach "adulthood", not someone to cut up their hotdogs, chauffeur them around and wear more clothes at home.
37
Philo, I agree, hearing 'no sex' needs to be respected. Recognising one is arousing the other, and have no intention of playing, is sending out double messages.
38
LavaGirl @32 - I've met the people my partners are dating, but I haven't met everyone my partners' partners are dating. As for gossip, generally people mind their own business. But there's no specific rule against telling one partner about problems you're having with another partner. It's not always wise, but banning seeking a beloved one's perspective would work to isolate people, and that's also not wise.

As for jealousy, yes, it happens. So does grumpiness, and laziness, and selfishness, and other human emotions and failings. Turns out such things aren't usually fatal. Minding one's own business helps a lot -- and making time for small daily pleasures to fill up one's stores of joy.
39
@34 LavaGirl: I just had a pleasant surprise today, regarding blood relatives. I spoke to my brother for the first time in months. Having no other options than to seek his advice on copyright laws / infringement (it's a long story so I'll spare you, Dan, and everyone else here on SL. You can email me for more details). Despite his busy schedule my brother listened, and offered sound advice. It was good for me to talk to him, however briefly.
I guess we four grown children are dealing with the loss of our parents in our own ways. In some cases, keeping a distance really helps the healing process. If only I could communicate as openly with my sisters as I can with my brother. But I need to take care of myself, and do what works best, sanest, and healthiest.
Now, if I can just manage to stay on top of my VA approved online course through the Berklee School of Music, I'll be ahead of the game.
40
Lava @37: Summed it up in one perfect sentence. You go!

I think of poly as master's-degree level relationshipping. It is not just "yay, I get to fuck as many people as I want." Every single one of those people has feelings, and when you're involved with two people, you don't double the potential for misunderstandings and drama, you square them. Relationship skills like communication, listening, compromise, and patience become even more important when you're balancing more than one partner's needs. Jealousy happens -- to some more than others. Long-term poly relationships do become like a network; the poly folk I know with solid relationships are friends with their metamours (their lover's lovers). I find this is the best possible tool for warding off jealousy -- seeing that they're a cool and interesting person worth spending time with, and also the goodwill that develops when they're nice to me.

Discussing Lover A with Lover B can be tricky; if Lover B is insecure about your relationship, they might not be able to give unbiased advice on what to do about Lover A. But if you get lucky (like me), Lover B can both give a sympathetic ear and really good advice (after all, who knows me better than they do?), and be on hand to offer sympathy shags when the other relationship ends.

Hetero poly probably results in a lot less group sex than bi poly. I have managed to sexually combine more than one of my (or their) relationships, but generally this has only happened when the relationships involved have been established for a few years. Observing my hetero-poly friends (or, with the folks I know, male-hetero, female-functionally-hetero poly; I don't know why the significant percentage of bi women don't date each other more often), it becomes a close-knit social group.

Rules? The main three are: Be safe; be honest; be considerate. It's the third one that's tricky. "Do unto others as you would have done to yourself" doesn't always work because the way you would like to be treated isn't always the way they would like to be treated, so you need to communicate rather than assume. And sometimes these preferences are not compatible. If you prefer "don't ask, don't tell" and I want full disclosure, or if you leave planning until the last minute and my schedule is busy, things may not work out even if we both identify as poly. In other words, yes, the fine points of rules and agreements are worked out by the people in each relationship.

I have no personal experience with cohabiting or child-raising poly arrangements. Most cohabiting poly couples I know each have their own bedroom; some have a "no other partners in our bed/under our roof" rule, but others -- including one former metamour of mine -- are happy to hang out and socialise with their partners' dates and then each go to their own room at bedtime.

It is, indeed, complicated! :)
41
Philo, I agree, hearing 'no sex' needs to be respected. Recognising one is arousing the other, and have no intention of playing, is sending out double messages.
I agree that double messages, lying, gaslighting, breaking agreements are signs of bad character. But recognizing that someone is aroused by you and telling them that you have no intention of playing isn't sending mixed signals... that's good behavior... when you are arousing someone by dancing, dress, or simply being an attractive person, it's healthier to simply pass on the advance instead of stop dancing, leave the club, start wearing heavier clothes, less make up, walk a different route to work or school, scar up your face, to make it easier for them to control their arousal... And continuing to fondle someone after "no" is sexual assault.. even worse than bad behavior, it's illegal even among spouses these days. So it was weird that you and others held the woman responsible here and gave a pass on the guy's lack of self control. I'd rather not think that he's got the heart of a rapist, or she's got the heart of a gaslighter. I think that he's having trouble overriding the feeling that "less clothes means sex is ok" even though she's telling him that "less clothes means I'm relaxing at home". Lots of kinda slow people insist that their feelings are correct despite other evidence. Dan's advice was sound... when his boner pops up after his wife says no, he has the responsibility to take care of his arousal on his own like he hopefully learned to as a single person. If she gets in the mood later and he's already spent, that's her problem she needs to learn to deal with.

I'd tell him to go to strip clubs and practice learning to "keep his hands to himself" with fully naked people moving erotically. The concept is the same, but he's more liable to face at least some mild consequences there.. there's probably enough supervision that he'd get kicked out instead of charges pressed, and there would be no mixed messages that "it's ok to touch just a little more after she said no". I think it's likely this is the harmful mixed signal that wifey has been sending the last couple years, a pattern of falsely withdrawing consent could easily lead to this confusion about consent, and it's an unfortunately common flaw in women.

I was so sad to read your commentary Lava. Why do you think that wearing underwear at home is making a sexual advance? If your lover was completely naked and you were touching and they said "no"... and you felt like you couldn't control yourself and kept it up... until they asked if they should stay out later or wear bulkier clothes if you couldn't control yourself.. you would say ok that's perfect? Wtf? This argument that she is responsible for his actions... this victim blaming... the cliche "she was asking for it because she was wearing a miniskirt".. I've heard this from a lot of assholes, but I thought you were better than that.

If she were writing in, I'd tell her that she was coddling and preserving his lack of sexual self control by offering to put on more clothes. She would be well advised to train her husband to respect "no sex" for an answer... better late than never. When he makes sexual advances and she is certain she doesn't want sex, and a simple no doesn't work.. Stand up, hold his hand(s), give him a quick peck, and go out to a friend's or a coffee shop.. Kindly, not angrily, tell him that she understands he needs some private time. Maybe pick out a few clothes that she ONLY wears when she's horny, so he's less likely to feel that all light clothing means a green light for sex. Reward good behavior, kindly but firmly reject bad behavior... He can learn to take a no and take care of himself like other adults. If not.. maybe he is really too disabled to date or marry... that would also account for the huge age/experience gap. She just started being able to go to watering holes last year.. she has just begun her sexual life.. if insisting on basic respect simply doesn't work with this guy... it's ok to call this a mistake and move on too..

The question I'd like to ask you, Lava... are you responsible for how you act on your anger or horniness? Or does your anger justify hurting others, does your horniness justify groping and humping on others? If I shoot a woman who kicked me in the stomach because that made me furious... am I still responsible even though she clearly instigated my anger? The law is clear. You seem to disagree with the law in my country.
42
What a horror in Virginia.

Grizelda, good one. See, you spoke your truth to him and he heard you and adjusted. If people hear you, then the relationship can continue.
Take note here, Philo. I'll read your post after, got the general gist. This is not about anything but two people, one man and one woman, trying to make a go of it. Marriage.
I read nothing about the guy jumping her, I read his self punishing words. He wants this to work, with his desirable young wife, he's still who he is as well. A man. A heterosexual man. Now you can spurt all the should be's you want, not the issue HERE. If a woman goes out there, shoulders squared, to be in the heterosexual world, then she's saying she wants to work and have sex with, the other team. I'm just stating how I believe this young woman could enhance her MARRIAGE, and take account of how a member of the other team, her HUSBAND, operates.

Thanks Erica and Fan, for the insights. Jesus. Amazing, emotionally to me. Way too many people to take care of in those stories. I'd never relax. Sounds interesting.
43
Philo, this is not about a woman being out in the world, it's about a woman being in a marriage. Compromise is the name of that game.
Re going out dancing, arousing others. That's a tough one. In my life, having gone thru minor incidents with creepy men, and having children and being home a lot, I've not much tested the waters, not trusted the men. Yes, it's a shit. I agree. If I was a young woman, single, going out, being free, I'd learn self defence, have some mace in my purse.
44
Then Philo, that's your suggestion. Valid as any other. However this couple work thru this issue, it doesn't need to be lesson to the man time attitude, love is the basis of a good marriage. Yes, lessons must be given at times, from both parties, when an issue has to be faced. A marriage, you know that state people in my country are still fighting to experience for themselves, is no longer boyfriend and girlfriend. The man writing this letter is aware of the issues, he's no sexual thug. She has a good man there, and helping him not be unnecessarily aroused, is looking after him and their marriage. Keeping it chugging along.
45
Even at my age Philo, if my sexual partner was lying around in a snug pair of boxers, I'd find it hard to keep my hands off. So inviting.
46
@42 LavaGirl: It truly is horrifying in Virginia as well as in the White House. I wish that weren't so.

I think my brother was, in our recent long distance conversation, and still is more able to hear me because he has known our sisters for nearly 8 years longer than I have, grew up with them, thus his distance of 1,200 miles (when not further) away.
So weird, though. What happened yesterday before noon (I just caught my brother at his studio before he was about to dash off) reminded me, by answering on the second ring, "Yell-o?" of when I had first ever called my brother for advice--not really for help, but a "you can do it" pep talk as I was in a situation I couldn't just quit, but had to endure: U.S. Navy bootcamp, 28 years and two months ago, in Orlando, Florida, 3,000 miles away from everyone and everything I ever knew and loved. It was the first Sunday in June of that year, and I was seven weeks shy of 25, alone and scared. The first four weeks of basic training had come and gone, and my company commanders, evaluating everyone's progress in our female company, still had me marked at all zeros (out of a perfect 4.0, like a GPA in school). Would I never make it?
Sunday mornings before the CCs showed up at our unit at 1 pm (1300 hours military) were wonderful. I could sleep in a little, go to chow, go to chapel, write letters home, read the important part of the local paper---the horoscopes and funnies!---and also go to the NEX store where all the pay phones were way back when, and call home.
I called four numbers of my closest relatives in Washington State. Multiple rings, and nothing (this was prior to when anyone in our family acquired answering machines, cell phone iPads, laptops, or smartphones). Houston, I thought, we have a problem. O-kaaaay. California. My brother had been married just over three years, and my newborn nephew was five weeks old then. My brother answered on the second ring: "Yell-o?" I was just so glad to finally be connected to a family member I could actually talk to I burst into tears. My brother listened, and surprised me with "Well, I can't come and get you." Then I surprised him back: "No. That would be too easy. How do I make it through this?" That earned me a long pause.
Yell-o. Kid sis was growing up.
47
BiDanFan @40 "the poly folk I know with solid relationships are friends with their metamours (their lover's lovers)."

It's great when that happens, but I think those expectations can be destructive for people building new polyamorous relationships. No one should feel pressured to be friends with their metamours just because that would make things convenient for their mutual partner.
48
Wow, Erica @47. I didn't dispute your experience of poly because it isn't identical to mine.

Besides which, you didn't contradict me. "Poly folk in solid relationships" are a different thing to "people building new polyamorous relationships," yes? "Friendship" and "pressure" are mutually exclusive, yes? If the point you're trying to make is "meeting the metamour shouldn't be forced and shouldn't happen in the first week," then I'll agree. If you think that meeting the metamour is exclusively for the "convenience" of the shared partner, I couldn't disagree more. It's to build goodwill among the network of people, thereby reducing the potential for jealousy and drama.

Yes, sometimes meeting the wrong metamour in the wrong way can be destructive. Thanks for reopening a wound.
49
BiDanFan @48 -- I was agreeing with you and supporting your experiences. It's great when people are friends with their metamours. As you say, I didn't contradict you. So I'm not sure why you start off with "Wow."

The point I'm trying to make is that expecting people to become friends with someone just because they have a mutual partner is common but (in my opinion) foolish.

How did that become anything about "meeting the metamour," when I was talking about expecting metamours to become friends?

I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience and that my post reopened a wound.

50
Erica @49 -- thanks for clarifying. The "wow" was your seeming to equate my post, which was about what tends to happen in successful long-term poly networks, with "pressure," and relating it exclusively to the "convenience" of the mutual partner. Your post seemed to me to be talking about someone pressuring a new partner, or an existing partner in a recently opened relationship, to meet the other partners before they were ready.

I can now read it a different way, thanks to your follow-up. Sure, sometimes people have not much in common besides a partner -- and those people may never become "friends," but they should expect to at least be on cordial speaking terms. If two people really don't like each other, though, that is often a sign that at least one of them lacks long-term compatibility with the common partner.
51
I read nothing about the guy jumping her
Do you not remember the situation he was writing about? "I couldn't keep my hands off of her but she wasn't in the mood and it started a fight"

A guy who feels that he can't keep his hands to himself has a problem. Maybe I have the wrong idea about the fight, and she just started yelling instead of saying, "seriously I'm not in the mood" and getting ignored. The only certain bad behavior is that he's not taking responsibility for his actions, he says he feels out of control of his actions, that's a sign of a mental health issue. She's now offering to wear heavier clothes because of this fight... it seems she's afraid to relax the same way after work because she's so disturbed by his lack of self control. I don't think that's good for the marriage. Maybe putting on heavier clothes while he's working on his own problem, learning to keep his hands to himself, as a temporary band aid. But coddling his flaws isn't her responsibility, and I think it harms marriages in the long term. I think resentments build up unless they're being addressed.

And I would put more effort into preserving my relationship with a decade long boyfriend, or a lifelong friend, than a year long husband, I don't think there's something special about the marriage here. I didn't really understand your point, why she should change and ignore his lack of self control... "because marriage"? No I dont' get it.

And now I got to go to the hospital they think my friend has liver failure. I'd like to drop this since I don't think you're disagreeing with any of my points you're just insisting the woman should change because marriage? If you want to back up that opinion with some reasoning, you don't have to write to me to do it...
52
Jesus, Philo. Not keeping his hands off her is jumping her? I thought from your post you were implying rape.
I'm disagreeing with the aggression with which you deliver. The lack of attempting to empathise. I just see you following some political agenda in your head. And because commitment, which marriage is, and yes, because commitment.
53
Sorry to hear about your friend Philo. If you felt so strongly about this question, why didn't you comment on the thread. No, he hasn't got a mental health issue any more than she has a prick teasing issue. It's a marriage, there is a problem, they need to work it out.
54
How the fuck did being a grown-up become so goddam scary?
55
Ok Lava, you win. Sexual assault is no big deal unless there's penetration, and it's a woman's duty to change because divorcing is evil.
56
One has got to get married before one can get divorced. And someone will need to want to marry one first and vice versa.
Win? You reduce complex dynamics between a young married couple, and it's tedious to continue discussing it with you.
57
@55 Philophile: "Sexual assault is no big deal unless there's penetration, and it's a woman's duty to change because divorce is evil." I disagree! I know this comment thread is between you and @LavaGirl but just the opposite proved true for me. I don't know if that was what you meant, but for me, divorce from a toxic marriage was my only wise, life-saving choice. I was damn lucky that both my parents were still alive and physically as well as financially able to bail me out of a bad marriage, and help me start life anew in the right direction.
58
I think the world is spinning a bit too fast for Grizelda these days.
59
Grizelda, I'm sure the abuse/ assault you suffered warranted a divorce. Philo labelling this man's behaviour as assault is a big stretch. Then she has to feed that chip on her shoulder.
60
I'm a little late to this party, but I have two cents to add about polyamory. I'm a gay woman, and I live with my girlfriend and her boyfriend. He and I are friends, and do social things together without my GF. He has another girlfriend who occasionally spends the night--I call these evenings 'family dinners' because the four of us are all together.

I date other people, with varying degrees of emotional involvement. My GF usually meets them, and often thinks they're really good people. If she has a problem with one, she and I talk it out; I respect her opinion and her assessment of character. We've found that if my GF has a problem with her BF (my roommate), it's not a good idea for her to vent to me about it. If any of us are feeling jealous, it's usually an indicator that something is out of balance and warrants discussion. This is all through trial and error, sometimes difficult and painful talks.
61
Wow clashfan, that's epic.
I hope all you guys are keeping diaries of these experiences, they really show how malleable sexual/ romantic/ love relationships can be. We knew that, intellectually, because anthropologists wrote about the many variations of ' family' groupings. I loved reading about that stuff. No way could I put it into practice. Maybe with another husband and fewer kids, but I would not have had the time. And now, I'm past my fertile years, and that all sounds like it would bite into my reading and enjoying listening to music time.

Grizelda, just shut the world out. That's what I do.. I've been on rotation with The Travelling Wilburys, album.. Bobby Dylan's, 'Congratulations', makes me laugh each time I hear it. And Roy Orbison's voice. Or The Band's Last Waltz concert album. I listen to modern artists, none of them sustain me over time. And those guys became such good musicians. What you been listening to(o)?
62
@59 LavaGirl: The amazing thing was that he and I met in active military service, stationed across the same town; he had dated another gal in my division who knew about his abusive background; he assaulted me and I fled to safety on my base, suffered a breakdown from being under duress during wartime--and yet I stupidly married him anyway a year later.
@61 LavaGirl: Good advice. Actually, I am doing exactly that; when the world gets too insane, I block everything out and go sit and meditate in my sweet little VW. Otherwise, for my best therapy it's playing, listening to, or writing music, or--my favorite distraction--watching movies. The rapid fire ration of glaring headlines lately is killing me. At least I know to ignore Twitter.
63
@61 LavaGirl: I have been listening to different musicians on different days. It has been a bunch of stuff: classical, Baroque, some jazz, a lot of classic rock, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Beach Boys, Monkees (thus my blog name from the song), The Who, Eagles, et al.; Bonnie Raitt; sometimes I listen to Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra in loving memory of my beloved parents. Every so often I have listened to heavy metal--mainly, Metallica, and I have my brother to thank for his early Beatles / Led Zeppelin / CCR / Pink Floyd influence on me. Imagine my fellow grade schoolers reacting to my singing along to a passing car blaring Led Zeppelin while walking to the local grocery store for a candy bar after school. A majority of the girls, brought up on Disney and Mattel (Barbie & Ken) thought I came from another planet.
64
One of my sons is a Led Zeppelin fan, he was watching a DVD of their's over the weekend. He loves Jimmy, Nick Cave, Bob Marley, the boy from Seattle, Nivana, Kurt. Rage against the machine. Lots of other stuff, he's a drummer so his taste is wide.
Good range there Grizelda. Yes, the Beatles come into my story at intervals. Just got the latest Randy Newman CD, it's ok. Loved his early 70s work, he and Bobby Dylan had a big influence on me, after the Beatles. Ol Frankie, hearing his voice takes me way back. My granddaughter is over tonight, practicing her recorder. I've given her a few lessons on the piano.
65
Clashfan @60: Sounds like an amazing life you all have! :)
66
@57 Sorry Griz. It's a fast trick if you realize you disagree with someone and they can't explain themselves and can't drop it. Simply agree with the most absurd points, "sure you can continue to grope people after they say no, that has nothing to do with sexual assault". Take away the argument. Smile and nod until you can get the fuck out of there. Lava has nothing left to argue about, she can spew insults and make up whatever weird shit about me she likes, that's just something online strangers do sometimes. Anyway it's a quick fix for me but not very compassionate and I'm sorry it upset you.
67
Let me put it another way then, Philo, you present as if you have a chip on your shoulder.
68
LG and BDF: I feel wonderfully lucky and thankful for my life. Thank you for your kind words.
69
Jesus Philo, these two are a young married couple and you're calling sssault. Did she scream assault, if she did the LW didn't mention it.

Sounds like a good life clashfan.
70
Nobody is screaming assault, but you did accuse her of being a prick tease because she wants to be comfortable in her own gd house.
71
philo is implying it was sexual assault, and that he has a mental illness, that is when I said he has no more of a mental illness than she is a prick tease.
And, it is his house as well.
72

@66 Philophile: I wasn't upset. I just had sufficient reason to flee an abusive relationship.
'Nuff said.
@69 LavaGirl: Congrats on scoring this week's lucky number!
73
Thanks Grizelda, I didn't notice till I'd posted. Good fortune ahead you think?