I still Haven’t Updated My Relationship Status on Facebook

The labels “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” carry so much weight in terms of societal expectations, that I find them difficult to use in conversations describing my romantic life. In many cases, we enter a relationship, receiving those labels, and are met with a list of demands that we must follow in order to be deemed worthy of that title.

  • You must not talk to these specific people
  • You must give yourself fully to me
  • You are responsible for my happiness
  • If I am unhappy, you are responsible for fixing that
  • You must have sex with me an appropriate amount of times a week, or else that means you don’t love me/find me attractive
  • If you give me an opinion that I don’t like, regardless of how it’s delivered, rather than looking at myself, I expect you to take back what you said and/or make me feel better about it

As the relationship progresses, the list of demands inevitably grows until it becomes a job to maintain the connection. You are no longer with them because you are happy, but instead, you feel like you need to make them happy because in turn this will make you happy. It becomes a nasty, toxic cycle of self sacrificing to pull them out of their own mental health ditch. Your “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” should be your best friend, but, would we really treat our friends like this? Or ask them to jump through hoops to create happiness for us?

MC, whom I’ve known for years, has an “intimate friendship” with my nesting partner, and with myself. One of the things I like about the dynamic is that my NP and I are not engaging romantically/sexually with MC solely as a unit. We all hang out together and watch Netflix, we go out on dates as a triad, but we are all seeing each other individually as well. When we originally discussed boundaries of the relationship, MC said she would be uncomfortable with the “girlfriend” label and would prefer, that if there were a label, it would be “intimate friendship” (Or “Nomadic Lover” as my NP lovingly phrased it).

From the outside looking in, without any prior knowledge, she may be mistakenly mislabeled as mine and/or my partner’s girlfriend. We spend time together, we are romantic, we are intimate, we don’t have a problem with PDA and we all go on dates. The “boyfriend/girlfriend” label has a certain feeling of possessiveness depending on who you talk to, so I can fully understand why she made that boundary clear in the beginning. At the same time, even without that specific label, that doesn’t mean that MC is any less important to myself or to my NP, just as I’m sure we don’t mean any less to her. We all love and care about each other just as much as if the girlfriend/boyfriend labels were in place.

That discussion and the progression of our relationship dynamic really made me think: what is the difference between my relationship with MC, MC’s relationship with my NP and my NP’s relationship with me?

Is there really a difference between “friends with benefits” and a relationship?

From my perspective, and in my personal situations, I don’t see a huge difference between the two. My NP and I spent a while as FWB because I refused to enter a relationship out of fear; a fear that I realize now was about the perceived expectations that came along with the “girlfriend” label. When we made our relationship an “official” commitment, nothing changed. We still have wildly in depth conversations, we cuddle and watch movies, I still kick his ass when we play video games together (though, he might tell you different) and we still get to live our own lives doing whatever the hell we want (within reason, of course). To this day, neither of us have set our facebook relationship status to “in a relationship” because frankly, it doesn’t matter. Much like labels, that declaration isn’t for us, it’s for other people.

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You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

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Relationship Hierarchy – Answering the Question: “Which partner is your favourite?”

Featured photo: Lena Headly playing Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Meeting my nesting partner and deciding to dive into my first polyamorous relationship happened at the same time. Given the amount of terms, definitions and information, I had only begun to scratch the surface before we dubbed each other our “Primary Partners”. It only made sense: we spent our time primarily together. It felt as though it became even more apparent when we became nesting partners, and shared the majority of our day-to-day responsibilities as well as financial decisions. It wasn’t until I heard questions like “Well which one is your favourite?”, and I had researched a bit more, that I realized that our relationship doesn’t exactly fall into what others would consider a “Polyamorous Hierarchy”.

What is “Hierarchical Polyamory”?

Before I further get into my situation and personal experiences, I want to explore what exactly defines polyamorous hierarchy; what makes a “Primary” a primary. Is it based on the amount of time spent together? Or is it something more? In hierarchical polyamorous relationships, from what I have gathered, there is pecking order of importance for partners involved. A “Primary” relationship is classified as the most important one, putting it above any other relationship type whether it be sexual, intimate or platonic. Secondary relationships would be deemed the less important sexual and romantic ones. Wearing the ‘primary’ crown gives the individual more power than any of their metamours, including but not limited to, the ability to veto and/or give restrictions on any secondary relationships.

I feel like this relationship structure is very mono-centric in the sense that it delegates that level of importance to one partner over the other(s). While it may work well for some, I feel as though it has the potential to open a doorway for a toxic power struggle, depending on the individuals involved. It removes a certain level of autonomy and freedom from their partner, and puts a limit on the amount of love that can be given/received.

This can often be somewhat unfair to those considered the “secondary” relationship. Perhaps details of the relationship can’t be posted on social media, or there is specific times that they are unable to plan dates because the primary expects their needs to be met first and foremost.

Are you saying there are other relationship structures?

The more I analyzed our relationship, the more I realized that we follow more of a “non-hierarchical”/”relationship anarchy” model. While I often times will give my opinion on situations surrounding my nesting partner’s other relationships, and I will remove myself if I feel as though my daughter or I could be affected directly, he is free to handle his relationships how he sees fit and maintain connections that make him happy. The definition of these specific labels allow for more autonomy and freedom which in turn, makes our time together not forced. He spends time with me not because he needs to but because he wants to.

But what if your needs aren’t being fully met?

If I feel like my needs aren’t being met, that is not his responsibility. I’m a grown ass adult, capable of caring for myself and I have other avenues I can take to handle that. If he felt responsible for meeting my needs all the time, it would be suffocating. Our relationship would feel forced or as though our job was to satisfy each other. We often times joke that our relationship is nothing more than “best friend roommates that have sex/are intimate”, which when you think about it, it isn’t really a joke. The reality of our situation is that we expect nothing more than respect, honesty, and understanding from each other in terms of our relationship. Obviously, like roommates, we expect equal share on the housework, bills and adult responsibilities. What we do with our alone time is up to us and if we collectively choose to spend it together, then that’s what we do.

When you think about it, there’s somewhat of a social hierarchy that everyone sort of has that deems a level of importance each person has in your life; a natural pecking order. For me personally, I come first. If I don’t ensure my own needs are met, I can’t be the type of partner/friend/mother I want to be for those I care about. Followed very closely to myself on that list is my daughter, then my partners, my best friends, friends and then my acquaintances. I wouldn’t put any of my partners first in how much I care about them because I love them for different reasons; the time I spend with any of them is enjoyable and fulfilling in their own way.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

The Picture That Jealousy Paints Doesn’t Usually Match the Reality of the Situation

“You’ve always enjoyed the chase,” I say to my partner while we’re getting ready for work this morning. “but then again, so have I.”

“You’re right,” he confirms, “That’s part of what I worried about when we started dating. That the chase would be over. We would no longer be keeping our relationship secret and you would lose interest”

“I get that, I panicked about that too. What I think works with us is that we’re able to get the best of both worlds. We have relationships outside of each other where the chase is still relevant, but the comfort of a long term partnership.”

“But I still feel like the chase is happening with you,” he counters.

“Yes I agree,” I follow up, “and I’m wondering if that’s because subconsciously we’re trying to… assert our dominance in the relationship? Like there’s enough comfort in our relationship being solid, but not too much comfort where we just kick our feet up and say ‘whelp, this is it’.”

“Exactly, and in past relationships, once we hit the point of comfort, it was ‘here are your rules, you can’t talk to these people, you can’t do these things, you have to spend a certain amount of time with me’. With you, there’s no hidden agenda. You don’t stop me from living my life.” he explains.

**

This conversation played over and over again in the forefront of my mind when my partner tells me that his best friend from high school was planning to come and visit. They had a friendship that was more than platonic but they never dated. Whenever he spoke of her, my mind drew the conclusion that she was the one that got away. The ultimate chase that could lead to a far superior happily ever after for him.

The jealousy with her was always there, but never enough for me to let that anxiety get too overwhelming. She lives across the country and the last time they had seen each other was when they went to Japan two years ago, a year before we started dating. They would speak on a somewhat regular basis via Facebook and he would never hide that fact.

I would express the jealousy and envy I had in regards to his relationship with her, here and there, but assured him that I respected the friendship and supported it, which wasn’t a lie. I would ask questions about her and listen intently to stories about high school, their trip to Japan as well as the dynamic they had, and found solace in the fact that she lived further away.

In an effort to show my support for their friendship, a few months ago I had inquired to him about whether or not she would be interested in coming to visit, allowing them to catch up as well as giving me the peace of mind of getting to know her. As I had mentioned in my article about where my jealousy comes from, I felt that if I had that opportunity to meet her, and she was able to acknowledge the relationship I had with my partner, the lingering jealousy would dissipate and allow me to put more energy into supporting this friendship that made him happy. I would be able to experience compersion instead of inadequacy.

The experience with his recent intimate friendship, the woman that didn’t acknowledge my presence in his life, still festered when he told me recently that his long time friend was interested in coming to visit in the next month or so. On top of all that, I was sick for the first time this year, and hormones were running rampant from PMS. The feelings of inferiority lingered and snowballed, thinking about the past they had, the ‘firsts’ they shared and my inability to compare to this woman who I had only heard stories about. I formulated a picture of her in my head of someone who had no interest in meeting me, and my partner taking off for the whole weekend to make up for lost time with the high school crush he spoke so fondly of.

**

It was a perfect storm of nagging anxiety and hormones that caused me to break down. I very rarely allow feelings of jealousy to cause me to lose my cool, but this day was an exception. When he would bring up that he had conversations with her, I never heard any discussions involving me, and I had it in my head that he didn’t discuss me out of fear of pushing her away. That his life outside of his friendship with her would hinder their dynamic and I was only an obstacle. That there was a chase, and I was the hurdle that could bring the whole thing down. I pictured her as someone who would come to visit and lay claim to my partner; that their history would trump anything I had with him. I would be a 3rd wheel to the stories they shared and I would be ‘the new partner’ who didn’t know him anywhere close to the level she did.

I lost it. I was passive aggressive and angry. I pushed him away because that was my defense mechanism out of fear of getting hurt. I had been rejected so many times by family and past relationships that I couldn’t handle the idea of being rejected by my partner, or his best friend. His defenses rose because of his experience with past relationships that had rules in place claiming that he wasn’t able to speak to her, as well as other important women in his life. It was a difficult few days of poor communication (thanks Mercury) and us having our guard up from our own past trauma.

We came to a potential solution where he would speak to her about his boundaries as well as mine. I was still slightly on edge, expecting him to put it off out of the fears I assumed he had. He assured me that, if she did respond poorly to boundaries being laid out, that it would be on her, although he knew that it wouldn’t come to that.

I know I can be stubborn sometimes but, I’ll admit, he was right. He was right about the whole thing. He laid out the boundaries and she explained her fears and anxieties which, low and behold, they were the same as mine. She didn’t want to be a 3rd wheel to our stories about his more recent life. She didn’t want to insert herself into our relationship, just as I didn’t want to do the same to their friendship, which caused us to never reach out to each other. In fact, she was worried that if she maintained the extent of intimacy with my partner that she had in the past, or attempted to become too involved in our relationship, I wouldn’t allow him to maintain that dynamic with her.

My partner was right about another thing too: her and I get along great. This shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did thanks to the fantasy of her I had created in my brain. I felt as though she was far more his type than I was and that, with their history, I would never be able to match her. However, much like any relationship, we offer different things that simultaneously meet my partner’s needs. At the same time, we share a lot of similarities that allowed us to form a friendship of our own in a matter of days. Similarities that, as my partner has pointed out, all the important women in his life share.

We have been able to communicate boundaries with each other as well as boundaries in terms of my relationship with my partner. The anxiety I felt towards her has dissolved completely and, while a healthy amount of jealousy is still present, I know that I’m able to discuss these feelings with her and she will acknowledge and understand them. The tension that was present in her relationship with my partner seemed to have also dissolved, allowing them to pick up where they left off before him and I started dating.

As I’ve discussed before, jealousy happens. How we handle those feelings is the deciding factor in whether its healthy or toxic. Sometimes, we handle jealousy in a very unhealthy way and it can be hard to control when other factors are involved. I’ve spent the last few days beating myself up over it but the more I write, the more I realize that this ‘perfect storm’ needed to happen to fix a friendship while also creating a new one.

**

If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

The Wound from Cutting out a Toxic Parent Never Truly Heals

“I think she is killing herself to please you. She worships the ground you walk on. She didn’t do this for herself.” – Meredith Grey

I had never really watched Grey’s Anatomy until recently. I caught the odd episode here and there, back when it was on the air, but that’s about it. I saw it on Netflix while I was looking for a new background show a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try.

The quote above came from the episode I was watching today. There it was: the trigger. All the feelings that I’m able to suppress, for sometimes months at a time, came rushing back. I was thinking about my mother whom I cut off for good (for the 4th time) about a year ago. I’m more confident that this time around, it actually is for good, but that doesn’t stop me from having days where I yearn for the maternal relationship I haven’t had since I was 9.

One thing I’ve learned from the multiple attempts at separating myself from that psychologically abusive relationship is that, the pain never really goes away. Even though these days are becoming less frequent, when you lack a parental relationship, you tend to still wonder the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘whys’. Social media posts about how people could never live without their mom make me wince. TV shows where you watch the psychological effects destroy the sons and daughters of absent parents cause feelings of empathy to surface because you know what that’s like. Three years ago these things would make me pick up my phone and reach out to her because “it might be different this time. Maybe she’ll realize.” but this time around I won’t be drinking the koolaid.

Sometimes all it takes is a little karaoke and dancing in the kitchen

My go-to when these triggers happen is to drown myself in misery. I listen to the music that got me through my teenage years. I watch shows like Shameless and Jessica Jones so I can relate to the characters and continue to grieve over the maternal relationship I lost at a young age.

Today was different though. My partner and I came home and cleaned, alternating what music we played while we did so. During one of his songs, knowing full well what kind of day I was having, he grabbed me and danced with me in the kitchen. When The Black Parade (my song) came on, I ran into the living room and sang passionately (horribly) into my daughter’s LOL karaoke machine.

The pain never goes away, but coming to terms with that knowledge makes it easier to cope. Being aware that triggers will happen and bad days are normal reassures me that I made the right choice to sever that relationship. I would rather have a bad day from time to time, than be living my life striving to be someone I’m not, for a maternal relationship that I’ll never have.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Safe Words and Their Importance (Even Outside of the Bedroom)

Pushing soft limits in a BDSM style relationship can be fun for both the dom and sub involved, but they’re called limits for a reason. When I relinquish power and hand the reigns to my dom, I trust that he’s familiar with when to push, and when to stop. This isn’t always the case if we’re trying something new, and the words “no” and “stop” are used as the dom’s fuel to keep going. This is where ‘safe words’ come in. If I find that I’m in ‘bad’ pain or if I’m generally uncomfortable, I have two safe words I can call out that mean different things. The dom’s goal is to push limits without having their sub call out the safe word(s) but that line can be crossed easily depending on everyone’s mental state as well as other factors.

Let’s move on to something else

“Yellow.” I muffle into the pillow. My arms are cuffed behind my back and my shoulder injury is acting up. Knowing full well how bad my shoulders can be, my partner quickly frees my hands and we move onto a different position.

The word yellow is my ‘warning’ safe word. What’s happening at that exact moment is making me uncomfortable either physically or mentally and, while I’d like to continue having sex, I want to stop doing that specific thing. Yellow allows me to call this out without taking away from the moment or breaking the scene.

Sunstone

My ‘stop everything’ safeword is Sunstone, taken from our mutually loved graphic novel by Stjepan Šejić. This safe word is rarely used, but there if I need it. This is called out when I no longer want to continue due to physical pain, mental tribulation or of I just really don’t want to keep going.

So why are safewords important?

There was one instance when we were having sex that I had a flashback to a not-so fantastic experience that I had in the past. I should have used Sunstone then, but I didn’t. I let it go on much longer than I should have, and I brushed it off like it was nothing. I was in ‘sub space’ and my mind was set on making my dom happy. We had a long talk afterwards because, as much as I trust my dom to not break boundaries, he needs to be able to trust me to use my safeword if I need to stop.

Maintaining the mutual trust will keep the experience enjoyable for everyone. If I don’t call out my safewords when needed, my dom will constantly question if he’s going too far or if I’m actually getting off on what he’s doing.

If safe words are called out at all, we take the time to discuss them further during the ‘debriefing’ period. We’re able to talk about things and decide whether situations were avoidable or what we could do differently the next time around.

Even outside of the bedroom?

Yes, even outside of the bedroom. While our power exchange relationship isn’t 24/7, he will use his dom voice and demand tasks be done. These tasks can range from adult responsibility that I’m procrastinating on, to him telling me to stop biting my nails, to putting a plate of cake on the floor for me to get down on my hands and knees and eat. Some days, I’m really not in the mental state to handle this OR I strictly need love and affection. My safe words are in place for those specific instances and helps keep our relationship enjoyable and respectful.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Flirting with women is easier when your partner is a good wingman

Photo credit: Destinymoon

You would think that, as a woman, I would be well versed in the ways of smooth talking and flirting with other females. Well I’m here to tell you how incredibly untrue that assumption is.

I’ve mastered the art of flirting with men. I’m able to confidently walk up, drop a few smooth lines, and score myself a number with little to no concern. Even if I get rejected, I’m able to brush it of without being hard on myself. Women on the other hand cause me to trip over my words, avoid eye contact and sometimes, end my attempt with the ever-so-suave finger guns. Even if I’m able to muster up the courage to approach her and drop a sincere compliment without butchering the delivery, 90% of the time they thank me as if they don’t think what I said was of a flirtatious nature.

“How do you do it?” I ask my partner, throwing my hands in defeat. He giggles because he thinks it’s cute how awkward I get. He then answers my question with another question:

“Well what kind of things do you like that I do?”

I’ve seen him flirt with girls first hand. I’ve watched him use his charm, with what seems like no effort, that makes some women (including myself) just absolutely melt. The thing with him is that he’s not persistent, he’s not pushy nor does he drop some cheesy pick up line. He has confidence that I would kill for.

“Okay that’s fair,” I answer “but how do you know when they’re actually into you? Like when do you know when to… turn up the flirting?”.

He laughs again. “I’ve never really thought about it but, I guess one of the things I usually do is move a bit closer and if they pull away, I stop completely, but if they don’t move away or they move closer, that’s when I know.”

It was so obvious. There’s nothing that I hate more than trying to give clear social cues and having the other party not pick them up. If someone who I am clearly not interested in tries to move closer, I will make a point of moving away from them. Unfortunately not a lot of men will pick up on that which leaves me stuck, frantically looking for an excuse to get out of there. Body language is one of the most clear ways to observe whether or not someone is interested or feeling safe.

Having a partner that is not only supportive of my sexuality, but who doesn’t use it as a way to score himself a threesome is a huge plus. He genuinely wants to see me happy and will go out of his way to give me a pep talk, or help me verbally dissect a situation or conversation that I’m reading completely wrong. Over the last year or so, my confidence towards flirting with women has improved dramatically and maybe one day, with his help, I’ll be as confident with women as I am with men.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Where exactly does my jealousy come from?

It wasn’t until fairly recently that I was able to pinpoint the exact reason for my jealousy when it came to my partner being with other women. I always sort of narrowed it down to my overwhelming inferiority complex that I’ve battled with since teenagehood.

She’s prettier than me, she’s cooler, she has a less hectic schedule, she’s better in bed, etc. I think that the women in his life are able to offer far more than I can causing my insecurities to surface.

I never really questioned that assumption until I was trying to communicate about my jealousy towards one specific person that my partner had an intimate friendship with. What made her so different than other women he’s formed these sorts of relationships with? Why did she make me feel so insecure and unhappy with myself when I felt nothing but compersion for the other women in his life? He began asking me questions to help me dissect those feelings when the answer eventually came out: she hardly acknowledged my existence.

From that point on it all made sense. I wasn’t completely off base when I assumed it was because I felt inferior, but the deeper reason behind that was the lack of respect that I felt I was getting. Any plans that I had attempted to make to even just meet her never lead to anything, nor was I acknowledged by her when in public with my partner.

We were always conditioned to see jealousy and envy in black and white:

“My partner is giving affection and time to someone else, therefore that I am jealous”.

However, it goes a bit deeper than that.

“I feel jealous because someone my partner is interested in might be better than me.”

And sometimes, depending on the situation, that can be broken down even further. In my case:

“I’m jealous because the person my partner is interested in thinks they’re better than me.”

There have been partners/women of interest that I have genuinely found either better looking or more enthralling than me, and I have felt nothing but happiness and excitement for him. It was more a feeling of wanting to high five him than it was questioning my own worth. The difference with these women is that they respect me, my boundaries, and the relationship my partner has with me.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Being bisexual is just a phase

Featured image credit: Vashito

“Mom, I have something to tell you.” I anxiously brush the hair out of my face, unsure of the direction this conversation will go.

She doesn’t even look at me when she says “What?”

I take a deep breath.

“I like girls” I said. She looks at me with a doubtful expression.

“So you’re gay?”

“Well, no not exactly. I like boys too. I’m bisexual” I reply. She laughs and continues cooking dinner. “I’m serious.” I clarify, even though I thought it was pretty clear that I wasn’t joking.

“You can’t like both. This is just a phase, you’re doing it for attention. You’ll grow out of it.” I’m dumbfounded because I’m not sure how to reply other than explaining that it isn’t just a way to get attention.

“Does me liking girls bother you?” I ask. She stops what she’s doing to look at me.

“I don’t care if you are gay or straight. You can like girls or you can like boys. You can’t like both, that’s just greedy.”

**

I’ll never forget that conversation with my mom shortly after I met my first girlfriend. At the young, impressionable age of 14, you feel as though your parents know everything, especially when there’s emotional abuse and manipulation involved. I questioned my sexuality, maybe even doubted it, but all the signs were there. My heart would race whenever Megan would walk into the room, she made me smile so hard my cheeks hurt and those lips, those soft, incredible lips that I couldn’t get enough of. We spent most of our time getting into trouble together. We skipped school a lot to go to the mall or hang out downtown. We would end up in detention together passing notes. How could my mother be right? How could I feel the way I did about her, but also be attracted to men?

The seed my mother planted about me seeking attention spread, shaking my confidence and eventually caused the relationship to disintegrate.  From that point on I only every pursued men. Occasionally I would get drunk with some friends and it gave me the excuse to hit on and make out with girls I found attractive, but was too low on confidence to ever ask them out. Any attempt to do so without alcohol in my system was an awkward interaction of compliments and women taking them in a ‘no homo’ way while I was screaming “Full homo!” in my head.

It wasn’t until last year that I asked a woman that I had been crushing on for years if she’d be interested in coming to a Christmas party with me. I did so in a way where it wasn’t overly clear whether it was a date or a friend hangout, which looking back, I can understand why I did it. My confidence still wasn’t there and I wasn’t sure how to deal with rejection if she said no. We had so much fun that night and after a few drinks my anxiety started to wash away. I watched her light up while she enthusiastically spoke to people she hardly knew while we were outside smoking. That’s when I felt the pace of my heart start to pick up.  When the night began to come to a close and we were getting ready to leave, I leaned in and kissed her. This wasn’t the normal drunk, sloppy make-out session I’ve had with other drunk girls in the past. This was one of those soft, sincere kisses that make your heart warm and your brain stop.

We spoke about it a few days later and I discovered that the kiss wasn’t reciprocated due to the alcohol consumption: she felt the same way I did, so we made plans to see more of each other. The anxiety and nervousness was always kind of there whenever we would hang out; the words from my mom still plaguing the back of my brain without me consciously realizing it. Given the lack of experience I’ve had with women due to this, I found myself questioning everything I was doing. Am I being too much? Should I do more?  I realize now that I was putting a lot of pressure on myself as well as the relationship we had. When she spoke to me about labeling that relationship as an ‘intimate friendship’, I took it hard. I thought of it as a downgrade (which it is most definitely not at all but more on that later) and began blaming myself, my mother’s words ringing in my ears. This all happened shortly after my longest relationship had ended so I was still repairing some of my own internal damage which I had not taken into account.

We reconnected a few months ago and once again found ourselves kissing unexpectedly, only this time it was different. There was no questioning what I should or shouldn’t be doing. There was no wondering what she was thinking or forcing a relationship past what we had because I felt like that was something I had to do. We’re great friends that can have riveting conversations, an amazing time together and who are genuinely attracted to each other. Why would I ever want to push things further than that? The relationship label never defined or validated my sexuality. My feelings and attraction towards her, or any woman I’ve felt drawn to did. Being bisexual was never just a phase, a choice or a way to get attention. It’s part of who I am and I’ve finally been able to fully accept that.

 

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

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The Importance of Knowing Your Partner’s Love Language

From a young age we’re taught to treat others how we want to be treated. While this is true in the sense that we wouldn’t want harm or pain caused to us, so we shouldn’t cause these for other people, do we apply the same strategy when it comes to loving our partner? Do we show them affection the way we like to receive it so they know how much we care? I was always under the impression, when trying to convey my feelings to my partner, that doing things that I would want was the answer. It was only recently that I discovered that we all feel love in different ways. Love language isn’t universal; there are different languages that we all understand.

The five love languages

The five love languages and how they are defined is as follows:

Words of affirmation – Showing verbal appreciation for your partner

Gifts – Giving gifts as a sign that you’re thinking about your partner

Acts of Service – Doing things for your partner such as doing chores without asking, cooking them dinner etc

Quality time – Spending one on one time with your partner, talking with no electronic distractions

Physical Touch – Anything that involves physical contact, from holding hands to sex.

The times where I feel the most love are acts of service. When my partner tells me he’ll take out the garbage for me or cook me dinner. Words of affirmation come to a very close second. Being appreciated and told how much I mean to him makes me feel dizzying amounts of bliss. For all of my partners, including him, I would put extra effort into doing the same because I wanted them to feel the way I did. It wasn’t until recently that I learned that love language is not one size fits all.

When I asked my partner how he felt love, his answer surprised me: quality time and physical touch were his two primary love languages. All this time I went above and beyond in a language that he understands, but, doesn’t make him feel as loved as he could if I used his preferred language. Knowing what I know now, I can make him feel as loved as he makes me feel. I’m able to express my feelings by leaning into him more for closeness and pulling him in for extra kisses. Every time I run my fingers through his hair and kiss his forehead, I know that he can understand how I feel about him. I can put my phone down, crack open a bottle of wine and dedicate two or three hours to riveting conversation, because that is one of the languages he understands the most.

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You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

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What it’s Like to be an Empath Dating Another Empath

As an empath, you feel everything. It can be incredibly overwhelming sometimes. Not only am I carrying the weight of my emotions, which can be exhausting on its own, but if I’m not careful, I can easily stack on the emotions, and energy, of those around me. I find that it can be extremely difficult to maintain friendships because I have to be particular about who I spend my time with and when. High-energy friends, and those who need a lot of emotional maintenance, requires me to ensure I take more time to recharge after hanging out with them.

I was raised by a narcissist and have dated a few and I’ve read so many articles, during and after leaving those situations, on the damaging effects these relationships can have for empaths. I always fantasized about meeting someone that felt like I did; about how wonderful it must be to have someone understand my emotions and connect with me on that level. How phenomenal it would be to not feel like my empathy is being used against me. Finding another empath sounded like a dream scenario.

The pros of dating another empath

I’m not going to sit here and deny that I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever been in. There are so many upsides to dating an empath. When days are good, they’re great. When one of us is feeling down or stressed, we’re able to be understanding of each other, and help one another through it. “Arguments” are usually handled not by combating each other, but instead, working together against the problem.

We are constantly pushing each other to socialize, work on career advancement and practice self care. When my partner comes home from a night out with his best friend, or I excitedly show him what I did after two hours of learning code, we feed off of that positive energy. Success and happiness doesn’t create jealousy between us, it only pushes us further. It’s an upward spiral of bettering ourselves and it’s one of the most blissful feelings.

One of the things that I find absolutely adorable is that sympathy PMS will hit my partner hard. Yes, it’s a real thing. During ‘Shark Week’, everything makes me emotional. This weekend we were watching Overwatch animated shorts on YouTube, and I felt the tears stream down my cheeks as Tracer knelt down and told the two young boys that “the world needs more heroes”. My hormones were all over the place and honestly, I felt so silly. That was until I looked over to see my partner’s eyes full of tears too, feeling just as empathetic as I did.

The cons of dating another empath

There are downsides to this type of relationship though, especially when its been ingrained in us since birth to feel as though we’re responsible for other our partner’s emotions. When one of us spirals, it’s easy for both of us to spiral hard. If boundaries aren’t discussed, it doesn’t take much to get pulled down. We’ve been together for over a year and we still have a difficult time drawing the line between doing whatever we can to help, and making sure that our own mental health is in check.

In times when my partner starts to slip, I feel it. I try to give him the support he has asked for during previous discussions. However, if the spiral continues longer than a few days, I have a difficult time letting go of the idea that I need to do something. My control issues begin to surface and I start doing everything in my power to fix things, even if they can’t be fixed. Even if there’s nothing to fix. I start to feel useless and like I’m not doing enough. I fixate on finding a solution until I stop thinking about myself. We then continue feeding off of each other’s emotions and energy, causing us to both spiral further.

How to make it work

What’s the solution here? Honestly, I know what it is but snapping ourselves out of that mentality isn’t easy. Communication, boundaries and trust. We both need to work on keeping the communication clear, by not holding back due to fear of overloading the other person. Boundaries need to be continuously discussed so that we know when to take time to recharge when we are feeling overloaded. Finally, trusting each other to voice when we are at our limit so that we can find other avenues of support when our partner doesn’t have the emotional capacity to help us.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!