And they all know about one another. [Buddy] and I high-fived about an impressive feat [booskie] and I accomplished the night before last weekend. [booskie] and I had a conversation about [New Guy] and how I am probably just going to use him for sex earlier this week.
…This whole situation is kind of fucking surreal. Idk if it can officially be called “polyamory” or whatever since I am only currently being emotionally intimate with [booskie], but whatever it is, I am learning so much. So much.
I am re-learning how to combine physical intimacy with emotional intimacy. After my last legit relationship ended, I sort of swore that off, saying that I was better having people I could talk to about my shit and people I could fuck and never should the two meet. I did not trust the person I became when I tried to do both of those things with one person; it was like too many eggs were in one basket and I would sell myself short in order to not drop it and lose them all. Then, after a sexual incident in February in which a series of ill-informed and ultimately bad decisions were made, I sort of swore off the random hookup as a thing I was okay with. But then that left me sort of in a tight spot, and #mamahasneeds, so I tried to start going on legit dates, but my individual endeavors in that arena were few, far between, and not particularly fruitful. But now I’m remembering what it’s like to steal kisses in the middle of mundane activities, and to talk about the problems in our lives with someone who occasionally holds me at night. I’m remembering what it’s like to be invested in a person I’m also sexual with, and I like it.
I am spending fully clothed recreational time with the people I’m having sex with for the first time since my very first sexual partner. Even if that time is just casually watching a movie, browsing a used book sale, making a quick grocery run, or enjoying the attentions of naked ladies at a strip club, this feels like progress. My relations are starting to look like some semblance of relationships again, and I forgot how nice it is to be with someone who has a good understanding of your body and what you like. But now that feels like the norm again, and I think I like that. In the words of my good friend RC, “being able to be clothed with someone is important.” For the stage of life I’m in now, I think he’s right.
I am not avoiding the “scary” conversations with my partners. We have talked about testing and protection. We have defined the relationships. I have been able to initiate emotionally risky talks about what I want, and have also been able to honestly answer my partners’ questions about what I’m looking for. I think that I’m doing a really good job of vocalizing my needs, especially for things like my time to be respected. I’ve even been able to assess problems, come up with a solution, talk with a partner about it, and implement that solution. I am also being a lot more open about what I like and want to try sexually than I’ve ever been before, which I’m sure is correlated with the having relations in the context of larger relationships bit. Being able to make it known that I am interested in X thing, or that my partner is interested in Y thing, and then actually making those things happen is super exhilarating. The last time a partner and I verbally declared that we were doing the “open and honest” thing, we were actually both already lying to one another, and continued to do so for about another 2 months in large and pretty horrible ways. That shit fucked me up. This time, it’s actually working, with all involves parties, and that is just incredibly refreshing.
I am learning to let my relationships find their own level. There are ways I want to spend time with one of my partners that I have no desire to do with the others. There are things I am comfortable with with one of the people I’m involved with that I’m not comfortable with with the others. This is perfectly acceptable to all involved parties. For example, [Booskie] always spends the night, but [Buddy] never has and probably never will. [Buddy] and I talk about recipes because we both like to cook, but I don’t think we’ll ever cook for each other. [New Guy] and I are meeting this weekend, but we’ve been texting for about a month, and in that time we revealed that we both love being woken up in the middle of the night for sexytimes, and so sleepovers are a thing that is on the table with him. Nothing feels forced or like I’m trying to fit into anyone’s box; each of these involvements is sitting at a level I’m comfortable with at the moment, and when one of them was at a level I was uncomfortable with, I was able to talk with him about it and find a level we were both happy with (see the above not avoiding scary conversations bit).
Most importantly, though, I think I’m learning that healthy relationships come in all shapes, sizes, levels of commitment, and number of involved partners. I’m learning about trust, respect, communication, and honesty. I’m learning how to prioritize the things that are important to me, how to value others’ time and make sure they’re valuing mine. I am learning that casual relationships don’t necessitate not caring about the people you’re with. I don’t know how long any of these involvements are going to last, but I know that I’m having a hell of a lot of fun, and learning a hell of a lot about myself, my desires, and how to be with people. I know that I’m looking forward to riding this thing on out.