Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It’s driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I’m beginning to find that I
Should be the one behind the wheel
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
I’ll be there
Well, I have been gone for a while, but now that I am back, I suppose it is time for me to come clean.
The last thing I told y’all before killing my old blog was that I was headed out of town to visit Eddie and see what sort of future we might be able to make — a polyamorous style future, to be specific.
Instead, I discovered the last pieces of what I have been looking for over this last year. And that has led to, well, a complete lifestyle change in the past month. I guess I better start at the beginning, neh?
Almost a year ago, I reconnected with my old, first love. Not only my first love, but for many years one of my very best friends. Because of the nature of our relationship back when, this contact triggered a series of mental events: I began looking at my life with a critical eye, reconsidering my path and what I want from life. Thinking long and hard about WHOIAM and, more importantly, who I want to be. I got nostalgic and thoughtful and eventually disturbed by the person I had become over the intervening years. I decided that I was not getting what I wanted out of my long term relationship and the only question left to me was to decide when and how I was going to do something about that.
Instead, my SO took an unprecedented action: he stepped up and opened himself up to me, exposing his vulnerabilities and his love for me. We started down a long path of discovering what honest and open communication can do, what it can create, and explored what our lives might look like if we together found a new path.
This went on for months. Soul searching, soul wrenching self analysis, discussions that extended far into the night, often accompanied by very intense emotional releases and re-alignments. Over that time, I came to think that perhaps he and I could make a better future together. I also continued to have doubts of various sorts. Some of those doubts were brought up and discussed, often to extreme ends. Others felt to me like fear or self doubt and so I shoved them away.
One of the most intense doubts, however, revolved around love. After fifteen years of separation, I found that I still carried extremely intense feelings for Eddie. At various points over these months, I let him know that those feelings were there, and at first, we avoided the direct discussion, while assuring ourselves that however we might feel about one another, practical concerns made any deep exploration of those feelings unrealistic. He has a life and a lifestyle and relationships focused on where he lives, and I have the same where I live and between us spans a thousand miles.
Nonetheless, my SO and I continued to explore my feelings and desires and other aspects of our life. Eventually, Eddie came forward to tell me that his feelings for me were equally deep and that sent me spiraling once more. And it impacted the conversations with my SO significantly. When all was said and done, we decided that one way we might approach our issues was by expanding our lifestyle.
I have always been polyamorous by nature. In other words, I find no conflict in the idea of loving more than one person. And I have always believed, in a philosophical sense, that there is no reason that humans cannot live with multiple loves: that much of our jealousy and insecurity is founded in our culture rather than our DNA. I had never really thought about trying to pursue such a lifestyle, but if it had fallen into my lap I would not have thought twice about the implications.
After all the discussions with my SO, he began to see and embrace this idea I held. In fact, he told me that he had somewhat known this of me all along. He even wondered if this was part of why he was drawn to me. However, for all that, Eddie was extremely threatening to him. It seems he may have thought of him even more that I had over our fifteen years together. He called him his ‘nemesis.’ Perhaps he, of all people, was the only one that really understood the depth of my feelings for Eddie. Or perhaps, it is simply that my he represented many specific character traits that my SO consciously refuted in himself.
In any case, we finally came to the conclusion that we would explore this whole poly concept and figure out whether it would work for us, and more importantly perhaps, whether bringing other people into our lives might fill some of the empty spaces we could not fill for one another. The theory was that no two individuals could ever perfectly provide for all of their partners wants and needs, so by adding additional individuals, we might find effective and successful overlapping experiences and relationships.
We decided that if we were going to do this, that only an organic approach could really be successful: in other words, we would not go out trolling for pick-ups or other similar behavior. Rather, we would merely open our hearts and minds to the possibilities and see what happened. What happened was that an ongoing flirtation in my SO’s life turned into a full blown relationship a mere week after we made this decision.
There were some hard times through there – mostly related to me digging out old repressed feelings and issues. So it was difficult, but productive, too. Unfortunately, the relationship he found was very intense, but also very unstable. It could have been glorious, but instead it was…. painful. For him, for her, and for me. I still think there may possibly be some kind of future for them, but maybe that is just my optimistic approach to life.
In the meantime, I found an opportunity to go and see Eddie. Circumstances aligned just so for me to make it happen. My SO found he still had some issues to deal with so we spent a lot of time working through those before my trip. I thought that he had gotten to a pretty healthy place before I left, but perhaps I was projecting more than I should have. We agreed that while I was gone, we would not hold each other to any particular obligations: each of us could call at will, and each of us could take those calls, or return them later, or not as seemed appropriate at the time.
As things turned out, I ended up getting on a plane not knowing exactly what I would find when I got there – Eddie had been incommunicado for a week and I wasn’t sure what was going on with him. At the same time, another old and dear friend living in the same city had called me up – so we decided I would just go and if Eddie never appeared, at least I would get a nice visit with an old friend.
In fact, when I got off the plane, I had two messages from him and he called again before I retrieved my luggage. He had a few obligations to attend to, but we made plans to meet up after dinner and see where things went from there.
I had a fun evening with my old friend and his lover, then met up with Eddie, had a couple drinks and then headed back to my hotel for the evening. We sat and talked until almost dawn. Then woke the next day to hang out and talk again until 4am when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. It was a really good thing – I had been afraid that we wouldn’t really talk, but that turned out to not be a problem. Some time that night, he asked me if I would leave my SO for him. I didn’t say anything for a moment and he said ‘well, there’s my answer’. I looked at him and told him I did not know what I would do if it came to that.
The next morning, I asked him what he would do if the answer to that question was yes. He didn’t say anything for a few moments and then said that he did not know, either. (He is currently ‘engaged’) It occurred to me then, and again now, that this was the only answer he could give me that would have been ‘right’ – because it was honest and un-framed.
That day we went to breakfast, then he had things to do so I spent the afternoon with my old friend, then went back to the hotel for a decent nights sleep. Unfortunately, I also spent a couple of intense hours on the phone with my SO, as he was feeling ‘out of the loop’ and he felt like I was not telling him what was going on and so forth. I indulged him, knowing that if he was feeling that way it needed to be addressed, regardless of whether it fit the ‘rules’ we had established or not.
The next morning, Eddie came and picked me up at the hotel and we headed out to meet his girlfriend for lunch. She’s a sweet girl. I understand why he loves her, after spending time with her. But I also do not think that they will ever have a life together that looks like what he wants for himself.
We lost track of time and suddenly realized that it was far too late for me to make it to the airport on time with public transit. This meant I ended up staying another two days before I could get on another flight. The next day, I tried to catch a standby flight home. About mid afternoon, I talked with Eddie and told him that it was quite clear to me that we each had to do our own thing, and once we figured out what that was, well, then someday we would talk. He told me that spending all of that time with both me and his girlfriend at the same time clarified things in his mind – and we would talk. Soon. That he was already mentally composing an email exploring his thoughts and he would write it out for me as soon as he was able.
I spent the entire day at the airport, only to find that the flight was overbooked and there was no way for me to get home. So Eddie and I spent that evening sitting in the cocktail lounge at yet another hotel and talking once more.
When I finally arrived home the next day, I was literally on the brink of exhaustion. My brain was running over things said and done over the previous several days: both with my old love and with my SO. I was physically drained. I was confused. And my SO had no patience left to wait for me to tell him what happened. So I got something to eat and sat down and told him the story of my weekend. I hoped that it would be clear to him that he had, in fact, already heard almost all of it. That this would settle his doubts and concerns, and then I could take some time to process the experiences for myself.
Instead, he decided that I was holding out on him and/or lying to him about what occurred. Things deteriorated from there.
(Originally Written April 2007)