Monday, 2 December 2019

What Makes Relationships Work?

I've been doing a lot of reading lately on Emotional Intelligence and various marriage advice books as I find it is really interesting to learn from all the different perspectives. And on that note, I do spend time reading on many relationship forums, from ones designed for newly engaged couples or honeymooners, to Fetlife, to forums on various forms of consensual or nonconsensual nonmonogamy. It's very interesting seeing the wide variety of ways that people manage their relationships, how they express their wants and needs, and even what their wants and needs actually are. I think that regardless of whether or not the concepts that I see fit into what I want in my relationships, there is always something to be learned from other perspectives, even if it's only so that we stop and think about our response and reexamine why we feel the way that we do.

If you're curious, the books I've been reading lately are Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, which I think is really a fabulous in-depth look at how our brains process emotion and how we can change our emotional responses. I've also been reading How to Be an Adult in Relationships by David Richo, which I found slightly less useful as it comes at things from a very Eastern perspective and that doesn't really resonate with me. However, I found the concepts useful and worth discussing, it was just more effort to parse the material and take what worked for me and leave the rest. The third book I've been reading is Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, which I found intriguing as it opened by basically refuting standard practice in marriage counseling and shifting perspective to a new take on things. I'd also highly recommend The Polyamory Toolkit by Dan & Dawn Williams, who are great authors and they share a variety of perspectives about personal growth and emotional management that you may find useful whether your relationship is poly or not.

I like learning about new things, and I love playing with ideas, if you haven't learned that about me yet. While I'd like to think that I'm very emotionally literate and have become more so over the years since I believe that consensual nonmonogamy requires an additional level of communication in relationships. I also believe that there is always more to learn and the biggest mistake you can make is thinking that you know it all. Especially when it comes to people- we are all so different, and learning about the different perspectives people have helps me widen my frame of reference.

What sparked all this internal processing was that Charles and Henry both have very different communication styles and different ways of relating. Henry and I are very much in sync, and Charles and I are still learning each other. Sometimes it feels like we are speaking different languages! Fortunately, I think it helps that I do try to spend time drilling down and figuring out what the actual issues are that bother me, and I think I am better than average at expressing those things. I suspect that makes it easier for us to work through issues as we learn to communicate in ways that are more easily heard by our partner.

I always tell people that communication is so important, but I wonder sometimes if they and their partner both have similar ideas as to what the other person wants from them when they communicate something. Personally, when I express a feeling to my partner, I am not looking for a quick fix. In fact, I find it pretty arrogant when someone thinks they can solve my issue right off the bat, as though I don't have perspective on my own situation. Generally, what I'm looking for is validation- you don't have to agree with my thoughts or feelings, but a simple mirroring back that shows me that you've heard and understood what I've said is absolutely priceless. It says to me that even if the topic doesn't matter, that I matter to the listener.

Not everyone processes things the way Henry and I do. In one of those books I mentioned above, one of the featured couples dealt with frustration by him turning on ESPN or she would go shopping. I honestly can't understand how they can be happy together if they don't actually work out their issues, but what is important in this context is that they are both happy with how they manage issues- neither one of them is secretly (or not-so-secretly) frustrated and bitter about the lack of active resolution. So while I would be miserably unhappy in that type of arrangement, they found a way to make it work for them. This is one of the reasons why I continue to trumpet that the lack of universality is one of the best features in relationships- there is no right or wrong as long as there is informed consent. People should structure their relationships to suit the people involved and not worry about what's "normal".

So it's been interesting when Charles and I have been dealing with issues in how we communicate. His way of managing things isn't wrong; it's just different from what I am used to, and he isn't used to doing things the way that I do. I'm really glad that we have the tools to build on this because our relationship is pretty amazing and he makes me so happy- I don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater! But communication is very important to me, so if we couldn't find a positive way to resolve things, it would likely have ended our relationship.

I also don't think he's used to dealing with someone who is as passionate as I am, in general. I joke that I live my life with the dial set to eleven; I feel my feelings in a magnified sort of way, which is beyond wonderful when things are going well and rather rough when they are not. I generally manage my emotions fairly well, and I have to admit that sharing my NRE with him has been pretty wonderful too.

So how do we handle this? We both read the books, and we're putting emphasis on remembering that our partner speaks our language with a slight foreign accent. So when we need a certain kind of response, we mention that before we get into the thought or feeling we want to share. If I'm upset about something, I ask him to restate back what I've said so that I can be sure he understands me, and then I share the thought or feeling. If he needs something from me, I recognize that he may not be able to share it right away and that I will hold space for him to find his words. Together, we can take this as an opportunity to deepen our connection simply by prioritizing it.

Poor guy has been sick this week and my life has been beyond busy with family and work stuff, so we haven't seen each other or talked beyond a few texts in the last week. I am hoping to see him for our regular date night tomorrow but it'll depend on how he's feeling- I don't really want to get sick either, let alone Henry or Kiddo. I'm looking forward to seeing him again soon, though.

I haven't gotten as much quality time with Henry either since there's been so much going on. He's got a giant work project on deadline plus he's getting snipped on Friday so that's taking up a lot of his time and energy! Isn't real life fun? Who would have thought that with two lovely men in my life that I'd still be missing sex and cuddles right now?

Monday, 18 November 2019

Birthday #1

This weekend just went by way too quickly!

Friday was a wonderful date night with Henry. We enjoyed getting a little buzzy and then spent the next four hours having amazing sex. It's so good when we build in that intentional space for us to really connect with each other. The grass is greener where it's watered, right? We were still a little tired Saturday morning, but no rest for the wicked as it was my birthday party!

My actual birthday isn't till next week, but schedule worked best for today. If anyone would like to send me a little something-something as a birthday present, my Amazon wishlist has some new items on it, and I really appreciate you thinking of me!

My birthday party was laid back and fun, just an open house kind of thing with some friends, good food, drinks, music, and hot tubbing. Charles slept over after the party. I know I had written previously about being worried about Henry missing out on special occasions, but we felt that we were able to strike a good balance since he got that very busy Friday night, and he asked for NYE this year, which is more than reasonable. I am still not really sure where that leaves Charles but we will figure something out, since he's planning to spend the holiday with us anyway, assuming nothing drastically bad happens. We usually have a pretty low key party, but it's always nice to have both my partners there with all my friends and everything is just normal. My neighbours dropped by as well, which is always. The woman knows that we're open/poly even though she doesn't get it- she finds it really weird. Which I find weird since they cheat on each other all the time! (her partner actually has a child the same age as their three-year-old with his sort of ex-wife that he never legally divorced). But the idea of it being open and ethical, and Henry and Charles being friends, doesn't make sense to her. It takes all kinds... but I just can't support cheating as an acceptable option when they are perfectly aware they could negotiate something they would both be happier with.

I wound up getting less sleep than I wanted, but that's a thing that happens. My birthday cake was delicious and I had a lovely time with my friends.

Charles likes certain kinds of embarrassment, so I enjoyed watching him flush a little bit when my friends who stayed over were arguing over breakfast the next morning, and I announced that Charles had already had his. Henry is entirely unflappable so it's nice to have a partner who does enjoy that tinge of erotic shame. And my friends don't mind playing along, so this doesn't qualify as tapping the tank- we don't play those sorts of games in front of nonconsenting people.

Henry and I agreed not to do gifts this year but to find some sort of experience we'd like to do and put money towards that instead. We haven't figured one out yet, but I'm sure we'll come up with something.

We're considering going to a swingers' weekend event in February, but those sorts of things get expensive. I think it would be fun to go to something like that, though. I just wish that the swing community was less heteronormative and couple-centric. I saw that their icebreaker is "couples speed dating". So there's an automatic presumption that everyone is there as a heterosexual couple, even though it's marketed as an event open to the poly and queer communities. They're saying couples and single women only, so I guess I couldn't bring both Charles and Henry if I wanted to. Neither of them is single, but under the event definitions, I can only be in a couple with one of them. I'm not impressed, but you can't change norms in one day.

It's been a pretty awesome weekend, it just went by too quickly! But I guess the good days do that.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Ethics & Growth in Nonmonogamy

So it's funny- I heard an expression once that said, first year forming, second year storming, third year norming. It's starting to make a lot of sense. I hadn't thought about it in past relationships but it might be so. At least for those that are looking at becoming long term things and not casual.

Charles and I have been spending more time lately doing relationship processing. I think it's more difficult in a nontraditional relationship because of the lack of relationship escalator. Think about it- when you're in a monogamous relationship, as you become more committed, there are societal steps that people tend to follow to escalate their commitment to each other. You "become exclusive", or move in together, or get married. What do you do when you want your relationship to be at that next level, so to speak, but don't have those societal trappings? It's interesting examining our attachment to these social constructs; is "just" a boyfriend meaning something less in terms of commitment? What is it that makes us feel more or less connected and secure in a relationship? I know this is getting into philosophy, but I find it very interesting and have been thinking about it quite a bit.

In the meantime, Charles and I have spent more time talking about how we're feeling about our relationship, our wants and needs, and learning each other at a more intimate level. We've been doing the dating thing all along, so it's not like this is a change, but the passage of time is allowing up to open up to each other further just like it would in a mono relationship. And sometimes that's going to mean that you butt heads a little. Charles and I definitely have different ways of processing emotional issues, and learning the best way to relate to each other is going to be a bit of a curve. But, we're both working at it and invested in making this work, so I am optimistic that we will continue to build our relationship while we navigate those speedbumps.

I also know he's been very badly used in the past by people who have claimed to be poly, or even people who swing and look for casual partners, unicorn hunters. I didn't realize the damage was quite as profound as it was. This is likely why I find myself reacting more intensely to comments that don't match with my personal ethics- because I see the carnage it can cause. Some of the stories he's told me? He's always had to be the one looking out for himself because no one else has put his wellbeing in a primary role- they've only taken care of themselves. He's always felt like he can't ask for what he needs, out of fear of upsetting the applecart with his partner and metamour. He's always had to worry about how his metamour (partner's partner) feels because they could pull the plug at any time.

Just THINK of how hard it would be to live like that. If what you really wanted was a romantic relationship and you said that, but you never had an equal say in how your relationship was run. That someone else could pull the rug out from under you at any time. That's what I think is so cruel in general about people who think spousal veto is a good idea. It forgets the humanity of the other person involved and literally treats them as disposable (let alone the damage that you do to your own relationship). So In a lot of ways, Charles tells me he hasn't had a relationship where he could feel comfortable just being himself and not feeling like he has to be on guard to protect himself, and he hasn't really been able to let that guard down because it's so firmly hardwired at this point. But he's been very clear that Henry and I have never treated him in this way, and he doesn't feel like he is treated as a secondary, or that he is disposable in any way. It takes a while to undo that programming, don't we all know. I'm sure all of us have some automatic responses that aren't the healthiest.

I remember when I was going through that heartbreak that I didn't write much about, when Patrick and I split up, how horrible it felt to feel disposable. I didn't share all the details because I was hurting, and because my ex-husband Mark was saying things that were what he felt was helpful but instead was the opposite. Mark told me that I didn't have any right to express wants and needs, because I was just the side piece. I should take what I got, enjoy the sex, and be happy with it. I shouldn't have any expectations of Patrick beyond what he wanted to give. You know what that made me feel like? Used kleenex. It's okay for people to have incompatible wants and needs- there's nothing wrong with that. But no one should ever feel like they have zero agency in their relationship. I knew that wasn't healthy for me, and although it took me a long time to process it, I eventually ended that relationship because I knew that it wasn't going to work for me. And I now had an appreciation for ways NOT to treat people.

I don't believe there is or should be universality in how relationships are run. I've said that many, many times. But I do think there are always some core things that need to be in place for a relationship to be healthy, and they include informed consent and individual agency. No one should feel like they have no option to ask for what they want in a relationship.

So getting back to the here and now... Charles and I have some growing pains to do, where I've been expecting clear communication from him, and he's been having trouble giving that because of his baggage. It's not going to be an easy solve for either of us- I'll have to be patient with him, and he's going to have to put in the work to deal with some of that baggage. But at the end of the day, he's worth it to me. Our relationship is worth it to me. And Henry is supporting me through the turbulence, because he loves me and wants me to be happy. I've been a little on the emotionally drained side lately but I've been making sure to pour some of my energy into my marriage with Henry because he needs and deserves that. Never neglect one partner because of issues with another, and don't drop all the processing onto the other partner either. Henry has a reasonable idea of what's going on, but beyond the minimum, I'm not using him as my place to vent. I have friends for that. It's not fair to dump all the stress from one side of a V onto the other. I like letting the good parts spill over, but it's my job as the hinge to make sure that the more difficult parts don't spill over. It's not fair or reasonable to do. Henry has let me know if I need anything, to ask. He's a wonderful husband, and last night I rocked his world to show him how much I appreciate him :)

Tonight is date night with Charles, and hopefully we can spend some more time relaxing and focusing on each other and less of the processing. Working on things is good, but if you spend too much time working on things, you lose sight of why you're together and why you enjoy each other. And I do love and enjoy him very much.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Fisting video

Henry and I have been having some awesome times lately! One of the many, many, many things I enjoy about our marriage is the total comfort and openness we have with each other sexually. I never have to worry about asking him about an interest of mine, because even if he's not into it, it will always be safe to bring it up.

And of course, he does the same, and I appreciate that he's willing to share his adventurous side with me as well! The other day, he sent me this Anal Fisting Video  and asked me if we could try it sometime. Henry, if you haven't been following me for too long, loves anal play. It's his favourite way to have an orgasm, by far. I love making him happy and feeling good, so as long as I'm not too tired, I'm generally up for trying something new that interests him.

If it's not your cup of tea, that video is a demonstration of a two-handed nonsimultaneous anal stretching technique. Normally I like having one hand free when I play with his ass, so I can stroke his cock or whatever else needs done with a clean hand, but we can try new things! 

So, we set him up on our massage table on a wedge pillow with his ass in the air, and some good porn on the TV for him to enjoy while I slowly started working gloved fingers into him, alternating hands, and twisting and sliding inside him to open him up.

If you enjoy anal play, the techniques in this video really do work! Henry opened up relatively quickly, and we made it almost to a full hand before it started to get uncomfortable. I think it took about an hour of play before he was feeling all stretched out and needing to cum badly!

Experimentation is a lot of fun, especially with someone you love and trust. I will never understand the people who feel they can't express themselves sexually with their long time partners but instead can do it casually. The people that I want to truly see me and know me, are the ones that I love. The ones I trust to experiment with are the people I know have my back, and who also have my pleasure and happiness in mind. Sure, one night stands are fun, but they'll never be as exciting and sexually charged as fucking someone I can be totally free with.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Memories

I've been reading back over my blog and my personal journals, and it's been interesting watching my journey over the past decade. I'm glad that I do keep writing, because sometimes I read a note I've written and I don't remember that specific event occurring. My long term memory isn't great in general, and when things in the past become painful I think it's often even more difficult to remember all the details.

But there are so many little moments that I don't want to forget. The first time I met Henry, after us spending weeks chatting and Skyping online, where our first kiss threw sparks- literally! The amazing rush of endorphins I felt after the first play party we attended, where I was so drunk on our scene that I couldn't think of anyone else but him. The mix of love and anxiety and pride and desire when I offered him his collar for the first time, and we buckled it on. Henry loves me so much, and shows me that every single day. I try so hard to give him the same in return. The last thing I want is for our marriage to develop complacency. We have our scheduled date nights, and we still just enjoy hanging out together at other times anyway. I not only love him, but I genuinely like him- most of the time ;)  We joke that that's as good as it gets, right? You can't like anyone all of the time!

And I remember the look on his face as I walked down the aisle and said my vows to him. I remember him alternating between joking and serious. And I remember laughing as he slipped me some tongue in front of all our family and friends!

Sometimes he drives me nuts, but I look at the people around me and how things could be, and I am so grateful to have Henry in my life. He is an amazing person in general, husband, and parent, and I feel lucky every single day. I know that the one constant in life is that everything changes, but no matter what happens in the future, I never want to forget the love and intimacy and connection that I have with Henry.

And Charles... it's been nearly 16 months now, and I still get wet when we kiss. He loves being oral just as much as I do, and our kisses are amazing together. I can feel how he feels at the moment, just like that song by Cher. I love how the passion or intensity or love or just raw burning need can come through as clearly as if he was naming it to me.

I still get those heady kicks of NRE at times when we're lying in each others' arms at night. I saw one of my Facebook statuses from over a year ago when I wrote "Golden days and silver nights," and remember that I was writing about Charles but didn't want to say publicly what I was so happy about, but that I wanted to remember it.

No matter what happens in my life... I've had love. Not all of it has lasted, and I guess that's pretty par for the course. But I'm the kind of woman who feels things just a little bigger than other people; higher highs and lower lows. And even the loves which ended have taught me something. And they have given me those wonderful moments I never want to forget.

Hmm. Reading this over sounds almost melancholy, like I think something is wrong or a bad thing is going to happen. I hope not. I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life- my love is magnified. And I've never had a second relationship quite like the one I'm having now with Charles. I've never had quite this much love, ever, and sometimes it gets overwhelming in a good way!

Here's to many more years of golden days and silver nights with my two wonderful men. Hope you'll raise a glass with me!

Monday, 7 October 2019

My Naughty Masseur

Well, that was one for the highlight reel. OMG.

I've noticed lately that my sex drive is back in a big way. I don't know if the Addyi is kicking in harder, I don't know if it's ovulation (which usually makes me crazy but not for this long), or if it's just a hormonal fluctuation, but I've been experiencing desire on the level of teenage boy. It's been a lot of fun. I'm not normally much of a masturbator since I prefer having a partner, but I've found myself getting out of bed at night to get off the past few days- it's been that intense. Once again, I'm sure it won't last too long... but I am going to enjoy every single moment of it!

Last night Charles came over, and me being me- the first thing I asked him was how tired he was, because I had needs :)  Fortunately, he said he thought that he would be up to the task!

I had a specific fantasy in mind that I wanted to enjoy, and Charles was happy to provide service. I do so love men who are eager to please! I told him that I wanted to enjoy a version on "naughty masseur". I wanted him to make me feel all relaxed and then start to get me all hot and bothered, excruciatingly slowly. And oh was he ever up to the task- for the next three hours!

He gave me a wonderful massage and I was feeling so relaxed... and then as things progressed, a little less relaxed. His fingers started to slip a little bit but never quite too far- just enough to make me want more. My pussy was leaking down my legs and the slightest brush against my labia made me moan. I don't know quite how long he spent getting me all worked up but it was that perfect blend of pleasure and frustration. When he started to rub his cock against my dripping cunt through his pretty pink panties, I couldn't believe how intense that felt just for outercourse! He still hadn't licked or touched inside my pussy yet and I was going crazy, I was so hot and wet and open. He told me I could have his cock when I asked for it and I told him NOW and I think I came the first time as soon as his cock eased all the way inside me. I don't think I've ever experienced that much pleasure just from having a cock inside me. It was so intense and amazing and intimate and out of this world. I could see he was trying to hold back his orgasm to give me the most pleasure, but then he told me that he was planning to clean up his mess afterwards and that set off another orgasm for me and I pulled him over the edge too.

And such a good boy... he did lick up every drop. My pussy was still so sensitive and when he slid fingers inside me I actually became nonverbal it was so intense. I was making lots of sounds but speaking and thinking just weren't possible- I was so in the moment. And I came and came and came and made a lovely big mess everywhere- thank goodness we'd planned ahead and put down a towel and a waterproof sheet. We were both so sweaty and exhausted that it was a while before we could get up and have a shower. My legs were total jello.

I didn't want to let go of him last night when we were cuddling. He gave me exactly what I wanted and I know how hard that is on your hands, to give me a massage and then all that buildup. And he (sadly) doesn't have a foot fetish but he knows that I do, so he made a point of spending lots of time massaging my feet, and kissing them and sucking my toes because he knew how much I'd enjoy it. So yeah... that was one hell of a night.

Remember what I was saying about my sex drive coming back? I woke up at 6am, horny as hell. So much for being sated lol... I just wanted him more. But poor guy had a busy day at work so I didn't wake him up. I told Henry that he's getting tapped in tonight, though. I need more...

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Thoughts on NRE

It's interesting that there has been a lot of discussion about NRE (new relationship energy) on some of my message boards, and somewhat coincidentally, I'm getting hit with a second wave of it now. And this really is breaking new ground for me- while I've experienced spillover NRE many times in the past, where my crazy happy loving feelings for a new partner spill back into my marriage, this is the first time that I've felt solidly NRE feelings for both my husband and another partner at the same time.

It's not really NRE anymore. I've been with Henry for more than 5 years now, and Charles for over a year. Technically it still could be plain old NRE with Charles, but it's a little different this time. I suspect this wave was triggered by the relationship issues we experienced, and how both my loves supported me through it.

Henry helped me when I was upset and emotional about having trouble communicating with Charles, and he made sure to step up the love and cuddles and care. It's things like this that show me that Henry is someone I will want in my life forever. He had so many ways he could have handled that. He could have been upset that my feelings in a different relationship were affecting ours; I was unhappy and I tend to withdraw both physically and emotionally when I'm upset. He could have told me that he didn't want to be my sounding board for my other relationship. He could have tried to encourage me to break up with Charles because he hates seeing me upset. He could have attempted to compare himself favorably to Charles, or pointed out that secondary relationships don't last, etc. Instead? He held me and told me how much he loves me, and just listened to me. He didn't try to fix anything unless I specifically asked for his opinion. And he gave me a massage and helped me relax and calm down. That truly is love.

And I think things kicked back up with Charles because of how our discussion shook out. It wasn't easy for either of us, and it would have been easy to get overwrought and not actually communicate what we needed to say. But we took steps to work on our communication, and we reconfirmed how much we mean to each other. I know he loves me, and I know this is real. The other night when he slept over, I was overwhelmed with the intensity of my feelings for him while we were holding each other.

Adjectives fail to describe how intense and incredible it is to experience that high of the brain chemicals that occur in NRE, but with the trust and security and experience that I've gotten in my relationships with these two men. I've had ERI (established relationship intimacy) before, but it's normally in conjunction with a pure NRE experience. This time... to have the ERI with both of them... to know that I am truly in love with both Henry and Charles and they are both in love with me... it's a height I've never explored before. I know that the intensity of the high isn't going to last very long, but I want to squeeze every drop of pleasure out of this because it's one of the most wonderful experiences I've ever had in my life.

And since I've been posting before about NRE management, I figure I'll say a few words about that here even though right now I want to keep the starry eyes and sunshine and rainbows. I made a point of it to let both of them know how I'm feeling right now, because I'm very likely going to be a bit out of character for a while. As an example, I literally called Henry out of his workshop to come back in the house because I wanted to play with his hair and smell him and tell him how much I love him. NRE lights up the human brain in the same centres as cocaine- it's literally like being on drugs. I've been sending Henry romantic texts and loving emails and telling him that I want to love him and fuck him and cuddle him and beat him and bite him and all those lovely things, all at the same time. He just laughs and tells me to go ahead any time I like. I know that I can let all my crazy out with Henry.

I told Charles what was happening because I know what I'm like during NRE. Too much is never enough. When he was here, I held him against me and left bite marks on his neck and growled in his ear that he was all mine, and all the things that I want to do to him. And he's been getting some of those kinds of texts from me, too. I got all giggly when he told me that he was going to be thinking about me all shift and that I had better be careful since he has a reputation at work to uphold!

But the best part of all this? Think of how you'd feel if your partner was like this with you. If you were getting lots of little reminders of how much they love you and how into you they are. Charles told me that he doesn't normally get giddy... but he's feeding off my NRE energy and that's kicking his back up again- and that's going to feed mine :) Sounds like a wonderful circle of happy, doesn't it? And Henry is getting all the love and cuddles and sex and connection that he wants, and I am seeing that sparkle in his eyes too. Everything goes in cycles, but I am going to enjoy every moment of this. I am so happy and in love that I can literally barely think of anything else.