Desperation

withering flower in winter
Image by Austin DeArmond / CC BY

July 9, 2010:

There is a placefor the singlepeople – and ho are they? who am I
I inventa person worthy of servitude – is there a line of pretenders

.txt file authored when drunk

*
I am proud of my life now, the way I manage my days, take care of my body. I am proud of the financial situation I’m currently in, the best I’ve ever been in. Even though because of my cross-country move and job switch, coupled with dramatic compensation changes across my industry,  I am currently making 50% of my previous salary, I am doing wonderfully money-wise, having separated from Seth, who had virtually no employment over the final 4 years of our marriage and whose spending habits were out of control – electronics and computer equipment, video games, entertainment, camera equipment, cigarettes, alcohol, restaurant dinners, junk food, toys. Skyspook and I manage our finances together, and even though my salary is limited, so are my debts – and because of that, we’re able to judiciously use what I do make to get ahead.

I am proud I am returning to school in the fall to finish my Bachelor’s degree, something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time but couldn’t feasibly manage with all the stress in my life.

I have learned through masochism and submission that I am extremely tough. My self-control and work ethic abound. I am proud of this.

I am proud of the life I’m building out here, my wonderful friends. I am proud of the open lines of communication and mutual love and respect that Skyspook and I have for one another.

*

What I’m not proud of is my desperation, the desperation that drove me out here, to make so many radical changes.

*

In the summer of 2010, I was on the brink of disaster. From the outside, I’m sure things looked great. I was, as always, a leader at work, training my peers, making huge amounts of money. I had lost over 100 pounds. Seth and I were practically poster children for polyamory in our small college town. Constantly on the defense about my lifestyle choices, I was his biggest advocate, reassuring everyone around me that we were more in love than ever, that he was a great catch.

In actuality, our sex life was virtually non-existent. The time we did spend talking together, he spent perseverating on his on-again, off-again secondary – not understanding why she wouldn’t sleep with him, progress into more intimate acts.

Seth had for years told me my love of romance, touching, conversation were needy and boring, something he couldn’t get behind and that I was wrong for wanting that sort of attention – that for asking for those things, I was indicating to him that I was rejecting him, that I didn’t want him. I told him that I did want him, apologized, adjusted my expectations.

When we did open our marriage, he told me that at last I could find someone to help me meet all my needs. I was pleased to have the freedom to explore sparks that I felt naturally. I focused on friendships, kept my expectations on meeting people, and if something developed, something developed.

Seth, however, was unhappy with my approach, pushed me to make more contacts on online dating – complained that as a married man he was too scary and intimidating to attract potential partners online. It meant so much to him to have the opportunity to make new connections, I was infinitely more approachable, couldn’t I just do this one thing for him?

I felt like bait, but I did it anyway. I went on a series of dates that left me feeling empty and like I was being insincere, laying a trap for perfectly nice people. I was emotionally exhausted and still starved for affection.

This was compounded by a pattern I kept getting caught in where I’d make friends, we’d feel love for one another, but the fact that I was married and in an open relationship would be too hard for them to deal with.

The cherry on the top was when I was contacted by a charming older polyamorous man from about 6 hours away (a sizable distance but not at all impossible if something developed), who quickly befriended me on OkCupid and charmed me. He was witty and quick in a very compatible way, and we traded beautifully written clever emails and chats back and forth, and I felt myself falling for him. But despite my hopes, he never got beyond the attraction phase with me. I never felt like more than just another potential notch in his bed post. He planned a trip that would bring him through my town, but I rejected his offer to meet up. Newly dumped by his primary, he was meeting a few dozen women on the way. It seemed like a rebound fucking frenzy to me, and though I’d crushed on him pretty badly, I felt faceless to him and his handling of me generic – where he was special to me. It was absolutely heartbreaking.

*

So when someone came into my life who was saying all the things I wanted to hear right off the bat, I leapt without looking. I couldn’t bear my loneliness a minute longer.

It should have been a bad sign that Rob (my ex-boyfriend in Cleveland) declared his love for me the first time we chatted online, after about 4 hours. It should have told me that he, too, was desperate.

And two desperate people have the worst kind of chance in thinking clearly while building a relationship.

*

And yet, here I am, happier than I’ve ever been, in a wonderful relationship – not the one I thought would change my life (Rob was Skyspook’s landlord and friend), but nonetheless, it’s ideal, as close to perfect as I’ve ever had.  I’ve certainly landed on my feet.

My adorable friend Sika said something the other day that completely encapsulated this experience for me: “Life rewards those who move in the direction of greatest courage.”

And there is nothing to thrum up your courage like desperation.

She said she’d heard it from the host of Polyamory Weekly podcast, who was quoting someone else, someone named “Tacit” apparently. No matter; Sika realized its value and imparted it onto me, so I’m giving her props.

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks for being open about the mixed results of polyamory. Sometimes we get into these blogs, and it’s all about the fantasy, which is great. But I think it’s good to keep in mind that there are also more complex emotions going on.

    1. You are very welcome. I’m kind of in an interesting situation in that though I’m in a sexually exclusive relationship at the moment, the two of us started out open and then closed up (sort of backwards from the way a lot of relationships I’ve seen, that go from closed to open), and something like three-quarters of my friends right now are poly. I’ve finally gotten just enough emotional distance from some of the not so great stuff that happened to be analytical about it – which was pretty much impossible when I was polyamorous – I spent so much time defending my lifestyle to people that it was very difficult to speak in anything but the most glowing of terms about it.

      That being said, I know some AWESOME polyamorous people in great relationships that are really making it work, totally living the dream. I even know a long-term stable triad.

      But far too often, I see people opening up their relationships and barely possessing the interpersonal skills to maintain ONE healthy romantic relationship, let alone several. Or in the case of many couples, the relationship opens because of unethical behavior, and they never really amend the patterns that were hurtful in the first place – and even with license to have sex with other people, there are so many underlying issues with honesty, communication, entitlement, manipulation, resentment, etc, that problems start manifesting in other ways, and it goes completely nuts. “Relationship broken; add more people.”

      And it’s tough because of the nature of the web, there’s always some drama going on in your extended circle – albeit often a degree or two away, if you’re lucky and choose wisely re: partners.

    1. Perhaps it would help to know that the writing in his blog predated the period that “Desperation” addresses by a year? When we took your class together, we hadn’t yet opened our marriage.

  2. I didn’t mean ‘strange’ in that your and his stories don’t match up or anything like that. I mean ‘strange’ to suddenly have new information, which requires the narrative-maker (me) to revise and refresh what had been settled.

    1. Interesting! It’s a bit like those novels where they tell the story in the form of two, three, or more novellas “written” by different characters! I’ve always been a big fan of those.

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