Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~Sheriff~

So I drove five and a half hours last week, to Bend, Oregon for a date with a man I had never met in person.  This is not something I would typically do, but there were a few different reasons I wanted to do this.

The Sheriff and I connected through OKCupid.  He is smart and funny and he has a nice smile.  He has a good vocabulary, spells well, and I didn’t feel pressured that this long distance coffee date had expectations attached. (Truth be told, I knew we both had expectations, but I was comfortable, he was comfortable, there was just good mojo all around.)

Sheriff is from a tiny town more than nine hours away from me.  Tiny, like twenty thousand people.  When I heard this, I told him it sounded like the town of Mayberry, from the Andy Griffith Show, and that I was just going to have to nickname him Opie, or, alternatively, just Mayberry.  Apparently neither of these were masculine enough for him, and he requested (demanded) I at least give him Andy, after the Sheriff of Mayberry.  Yadda, yadda, yadda, Sheriff had a good ring to it, and this is often how my brain works.

I think we were both good from the moment we met.  It was comfortable conversation that we fell into, and an easy kind of rapport.  We had been intermittently chatting online, and by text for a couple of months, so it felt natural to be with him in person.

One of the reasons I chose to go on this far-away date with the Sheriff, has to do with my relationship with Special Man.  I think I need more of something, though more of what, exactly, I’m not sure.  I wanted to experiment, I wanted to explore some different options. I have a deep level of intimacy with and love for SMF.  It takes a lot of work to maintain that.  I miss him almost all the time.  Not curled-into-the-fetal-position miss him, but I often feel as if I’m waiting for the next time we can be together.  And really, between his work, my work, our family obligations and everything else that constitutes Real Life, I’m not sure how much more of myself there is left to give to yet another person, even an additional casual relationship.

I’ve heard the term, “poly-saturated” before, and I love it.  I like the idea that each of us, who identify as non-monogamous, may have a different level of poly- saturation.  While one person may easily integrate two significant relationships and one casual relationship, another person may be content with one significant and one casual. Of course there are any number of combinations and possibilities, and I want to find that balance between my needs and contentment, and my abilities to maintain my connections.

It was a good date, we stayed overnight in Bend, and I had a good time.  I was a little unsettled, being with someone new, but a preference for familiarity and stability is part of my fundamental personality.  However, all in all, it was a very low-key, easy experience.  There were many conscious pauses, where I took note of my feelings and and then filed them away for later processing.  When it came near time for me to head home, the Sheriff asked me if I could stay another day.

“Maybe,” I said as we walked to breakfast.

Part of me thought it might be fun.  Part of me was ambivalent.   The Sheriff was engaging, attentive, conversational, and complimentary.  But I missed Special Man.   I knew that he would not be comfortable with this change in plans, had I decided at the last minute to stay another night with a new man,  but in the end, I chose not to stay another night because I just couldn’t be comfortable with it.  It felt too new, too unfamiliar, and I didn’t feel like I had the energy for twenty-four more hours with a brand new person.  I needed to be back on familiar ground; my town, my bed, my children.

The unfortunate encounter between a tree and my car on the way home from Oregon, necessarily caused me to delay my thoughts about this date.  I like the Sheriff, and I may see him again.

But I’m still looking for something.


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~Encounter~

I went on a date.  A first date.  This was a big thing.  I absolutely hate first dates.  I feel scrutinized, awkward, and nervous.  My palms sweat and I can’t think of anything smart or witty enough to say.  Generally I just feel like I want to throw up.

This boy contacted me on OkCupid. He was polite and respectful. (More importantly, he wrote in complete sentences, punctuation included.) His profile was brief and neutral.  I decided to take a chance and I agreed to dinner, near my house, knowing next to nothing about him.

I should have backed out when he offered to cancel dinner so that we could “skip to the friends with benefits” part.  Sigh.

But no.  Off to dinner I went.

Let’s just say that when he actually said the words, “I’m going to go home and whack off thinking about you”, I was cured of first date anxiety forever.  I have lived through the worst first date I can imagine.  And I can’t stop laughing about it.

He offered to pay for dinner.  I let him.  He walked my to my car, and I shook his hand, from three feet away.  I expected that to be the end of it.  But apparently he thought it went well, and I had a “Good night beautiful, I can’t wait to see you again” text before I got home.

*facepalm*


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~Progress~

People who know me laugh when I say that I’m shy.

Apparently I fake being outgoing incredibly well.

After some thought, and acceptance of How I Am, vs Who I Should Be (according to who? Society? The media? The image in my head of how a grown-up lady is supposed to act and feel?) I have come to the following conclusion:

I am an introvert.

When I’m feeling good, emotionally, physically, whatever, I can push through the anxiety and navigate new people. I can be in a crowd, I can make the small talk. I may even find it pleasant to be in a social situation.

But it’s never, ever, easy. People scare me. New people, casual acquaintances, old friends… they all pretty much scare me. Or annoy me. Or bore me. .

So this past weekend, as I headed up into the mountains for a big group camping trip, with people I was fairly familiar with, I was nervous. Even apprehensive. I had verbalized to Mister, my self-defined functioning parameters. 1) Practice my small talk. 2) Withdraw if I needed to, and not feel guilty or “less-than” if I needed some quiet alone time. It was important for me to say these things out loud, not just for myself, but for him as well. He is an extrovert who loves talking to people. We have had issues in the past, wherein he has interpreted my quiet presence at the fringes of a group conversation, as being unengaged, uninterested, anti-social, even sulky. And for a long time, I tried to be what I thought he wanted me to be, and I felt like a failure most of the time.

But now I’m free. A free, happy, self-proclaimed introvert. Granted, I may be an extrovert-leaning introvert, but as with anything, things are rarely black and white, but rather a sliding scale of gray. I had a good weekend. I went in without expectation. And I had a good time! I talked, and visited, and rolled with whatever came my way, and when I needed to recharge, I withdrew, for an hour here or there, to my quiet loft room with the polka-dot sheets and the stripey quilt. (Yes, it was cabin camping, complete with my coffee maker and real bathrooms. So, maybe not exactly camping per se, but it was in the mountains. I had to drive on a long and winding dirt road to get there, and there was no cell service. That’s camping according to Ginger.)

I like me. I like who I am. I see room for improvement, but that will come.