We were walking hand in hand, late Saturday night, looking for ice cream in downtown Grand Rapids. I looked up at him and beamed, “I’m really proud of you. I’m really proud of us.”
It’s been a year since I met my partner K. I was fairly new to the kink community. He was definitely new to the kink community. I remember the first time he put me up on St Andrew’s Cross. I was his first. He didn’t even have a bag of toys/tools back then. Now he is known statewide and when he goes to events, he keeps a full schedule of inflicting his sadism on willing masochists.
I remember when we hit something like the four month mark in our relationship and he said something about how I was his longest relationship. Funny, he was also my longest outside of the marriage that I was in for 18 years. Neither of us had really done polyamory before. We were walking into this new world together. We didn’t have a lot of rules. We still don’t. But he’s been conscious enough to put some rules on himself. For example, being that he doesn’t live in my city, he decided he wouldn’t date anyone in my city. He knew it would be hard for me. I don’t get to see him enough and the thought that he could see someone else in my area would have really hurt.
I spent a lot of time struggling with the poly part.
I remember when he had his first date since we started dating. Our friends can attest, I was a mess leading up to it. But I survived.
I remember when he asked me to join him and a few of his lady friends for a big date to the movies. My first response was that I didn’t want to be on a date with his harem. Thankfully one of the women reached out to me and I decided to join them. I’m glad I did. That was when I learned that meeting potential metamours (your partner’s partner) was actually the best way for them not to be so scary. I also learned how much I appreciate a metamour that makes me feel considered and seen.
I remember when we went to a party and he forgot to mention that he learned last minute that a woman he was seeing was going to be there. I had zero chance to prepare how I would deal. I ended up calling an emergency poly meetup at a local bar that Monday to deconstruct the situation and determine what I should have done.
I remember when I had to introduce my new partner, P, to K and how nervous I was. I didn’t know how I was suppose to give them both attention at the event we were attending. I wasn’t comfortable seeing my partner with other partners (at that time) and I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. But here I was in a poly event with both of them. Now we are at events together with the entire polycule (a term for our circle of partners) and it’s actually one of my favorite things. In fact, witnessing K fly into the arms of P at a recent event, as a greeting, was one of the best things I’ve witnessed in this poly life.
I remember when we struggled in our sex life and we broke up because of it. I sex-geeked-out and figured out that he was on the asexual spectrum. I was so excited to learn it wasn’t about me, his lack of interest, but more so excited that I might be able to help him understand why past relationships had also gone down the same path. I remember how much he missed me when we finally were able to reunite and renegotiate our relationship. That was a pivotal day in our relationship.
I remember after renegotiating our relationship, struggling to figure out what my time needs were. We went from prioritizing our time together to practically not making any effort. He may not be the best communicator from the standpoint of sharing what he’s thinking/feeling, but he is a good listener. I was able to tell him what I needed and he stepped up to make sure I got those needs met. We swung back to the middle and settled on making sure we had one overnight a month, in the very least.
Then it was a matter of feeling disconnected. Our BDSM relationship was struggling and I wasn’t surprised. A lot of what I do is dependent on my connection to my top or bottom. Our connection was hurting. Not having sex to validate a romantic relationship is something that takes getting used to. But it was solved with a simple conversation. I wasn’t sure where I fit in his life. He assured me that his feelings for me hadn’t changed, he still saw me as he always had. Just like that, the BDSM play returned to normal and I felt maybe even a deeper connection than I ever had.
Getting used to having a romantic relationship that doesn’t involve sex has been the biggest struggle but with the biggest reward. He loves me. Just me. It isn’t about the sex, though we are very intimate. He sees my beauty and it’s not attached to anything else. And him, I’m still in love with his face. His gentle eyes that even in his most sadistic place still dance with joy. His laugh that can go from jolly to psychotic. I look at him sometimes with so much appreciation that I get to live in his light. He represents so much joy in my life but more than that, he’s my anchor. He is consistent. He is constant. He is stable. He is home.
In a monogamous lifestyle, this relationship wouldn’t work. I would have never had this amazing opportunity for growth. That’s poly for me… growth and opportunity. I cry as I write this because I am just so thankful for all the love I have in my life. Without my time with K I wouldn’t be where I am today in my journey and he wouldn’t be where he is in his. I’m so thankful that a year ago he met me for dinner, this older woman, and didn’t hesitate when I asked at the end of our date, “How much time are you going to need to kiss me at my car?” Best question I ever asked.