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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Swinging, Polyamory, and Open Relationships: Approaching Fellow Individuals in Non Monogamy

When online dating, I have to filter through all sorts of people.  Although there are many who are just  blatantly disrespectful and rude, I find that the people in the “lifestyle” can be the most judgmental.  I cringe when I see an opening message, that starts with, “hey, I’m in the lifestyle too.  How long have you been swinging for?”  Why does something like this make me unhappy?  Because, I then foolishly feel compelled to engage into an annoying and usually pointless discussion whereby I explain that open relationships, swinging and polyamory are not all the same thing.  I mean, if they were, we wouldn’t need different names for them right?  And yet this is a seriously difficult concept for many people in the lifestyle to grasp. 

It seems that they are so excited to find someone in a non monogamous lifestyle, and then ironically revert to this monogamous notion that all people in this spectrum are looking for the same thing.  A profile stating multiple anything, like partners or sex or love and those blinders go on.  They forget that even within this spectrum we are all individuals.  We all have our own relationship norms.  And the label I choose to use, currently open, is my choice.  It is not for a stranger to tell me what my partner and I are, or are not.  And what’s more, we are growing and changing ourselves.  So perhaps the titles and labels we started out using may outgrow us.  Again though, this is our choice, and I will update my profiles accordingly when I am ready or feel the need.  Not at the whim or at the unsolicited advice of a stranger.

Maybe you are wondering, just how bad or annoying could these conversations really be, right?  Am I just making mountains out of mole hills and the like?  Well, let me put it this way, I almost rarely block or delete users who are monogamous.  But I have about a 50 percent rate of blocking the so called non monogamous.  The messages start accusatory, then quickly escalate into un-solicited sexual advances, towards name calling and slander because I am not interested in them.  There is often very little flirting, just a full on attitude of “well you’re a slut and I’m a slut, so lets go fuck”.  Conversations are at a minimum, and it feels like the non monogamous on dating sites are in a breeding Zoo.  Just because you are of a similar stripe then you must procreate on demand.  It’s a harsh reality of the current scene and as a result I have taken a huge step back in looking for new partners. 

It would be easier of course for me to just block these users, however I cannot help trying to re-educate them.  I want to explain that we are not all created equal.  And that within this spectrum of non-monogamy there exists an abundance of different scenarios and relationship types.  That non-monogamy  does not always equal slut.  In fact, I often feel that I am more selective now because I take into account not just my wants, but those of my partner.  I no longer wish to explain myself to people who fall within the non monogamous umbrella and pass judgement, but I know that I will probably continue on doing so.  And I feel somewhat responsible for protecting other females from the same crap I deal with.  

There is one other thing stands out for me as confusing when faced with critical non-monogamists online and that is in the reverting back to the black and white mentality.  My reasoning behind this is that polyamory is not a definition that exists naturally in our society.  It is one, along with compersion, that exists within a world found through research, nearly exclusively.  Quite often, an individual or couple begins trying to find ways to help them deal with urges that seem unnatural from a monogamous founded society.  We seek blogs, podcasts, and every book we can to help us understand that these dispositions are not merely urges to cheat.  We then educate ourselves to discover that the possibility does exists to have a loving relationship outside of monogamy.  So it doesn’t sit well with me, that persons who seek education into non-monogamy would therefore bring with them the bigotry of their former selves.  Or to go right back into a cookie cutter mold of one size must fit all, after spending the energy to gain insight into all these other lifestyles.  Or did I just stumble right upon the very issue of internet research.  Are these individuals researching until they find something that hits home and stopping right there?  Do they find a meme, or blog that strikes one chord and then closing their minds to any further digging due to sheer laziness?  

In summary, my PSA is this, if you’re out there, exploring new partners and ways of existing in non monogamy, please stop trying to apply your labels onto strangers.  Break free of the black and white, because this world has a spectrum of colour as vast as in the world of monogamy.  Leave judgement where it belongs, in the past.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Ashley Madison: A Few Gray Areas

It should be noted that I do not condone lying or cheating.  I promote healthy dialogue, and share with my readers my own open relationship through some of its ups and downs.  And with that in mind here are a few things that I feel many have missed while sharpening those pitchforks and throwing harsh words at the long list of individuals being outed through the Ashley Madison Hack. I will attempt to share a few case studies that I earnestly hope come with critical thinking and reflection as the reality is people are committing suicide over this outing of privacy.

Case Study #1 - A husband and wife found each other through a shared kink, sex with strangers.  As both are high earning members of society they do their best to keep this kink between themselves and the discreet partners that they have.  They each have a paid account whereby they are able to fulfill their fantasies with full disclosure to the partners they find and more importantly to maintain the spice that fuels their own relationship.  As a result of this hack, their privacy has now been invaded and they both risk losing their careers.  They made a choice to marry, provide support for each others kink, and do so in the privacy of their own lives.  Their choice to have accounts did not affect their careers, enhanced their own relationship and now they face the scrutiny of their peers and strangers. 

Case Study #2 - A man is in a sexless marriage with a woman who is raising their beautiful daughter.  He grew up in a broken home, and made a vow not to ever divorce on account of the childhood he had.  The man has wants and needs.  Through this website he has been able to fill a physical need with woman who are in similar situations.  He has been a member of the site for over 7 years and not once has it had any negative effect on the family.  There is no emotional connections being made, just simple physical acts that allow him to raise his daughter and maintain his marriage.  All that is now at an end.  He is losing his wife, and custody of his daughter.  She will now be raised in a broken home.    
Case Study #3 - This powerful article which is a first hand account of why a woman signed up for Ashley Madison

I am not naive that there are thousands upon thousands of users that are lying and cheating to their partners on this site, after all, the tagline, "have an affair" is in plain site.  I simply am putting these few examples out there to acknowledge that not all users all "evil".  Nor are the families who now are being forced to make decisions based on societal influences.  He who is without sin, and all the jazz.  Do not support internet terrorism.  

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Insecurities in my Past, Rainbows in my Future

Although it is impossible to typecast all the people in my past that I have closed the door on, one commonality that stands out is insecurity.  Now, I am not sure how my friends and family perceived me when I was a teenager or in my early 20’s.  I cannot even really guess because the people that I thought were closest to me, turned out to be a little crazy.  Also, at that stage in the game, as with most people, I was still trying to figure out who I was.  So relying on the crazy family members around me, to shape who I wanted to be as a person left me with a few interesting scars.  I am no longer mad at them, and I don’t break down into tears anymore at the damage that they caused my developing emotional self.  Instead, I try and give them as little thought as possible.  I have accepted what I perceived they did to me, and, well, that’s all I can do. 

What is really interesting to me now though, is that strange feeling that maybe, as result of my family, I was surrounding myself with insecure people because that is who I understood.  I identified with their misgivings about their selves, and bodies, and all other elements that go into achieving real insecurities and I found a way to channel that negative energy into myself.  To be clear, I created a feedback loop, where I would provide positive enforcement for these people, including my immediate family which would pick me up and give them temporary relief.  So in my mind, I was providing a need for them, and they provided positive thanks from me, and thus I was momentarily happy. This enabled me to tolerate my family for much longer than I should have.   

The downside of course is that I would crash hard.  When bad things would happen in my life, there was no one strong or stable enough to be able to support me.  At the time, my then boyfriend was just as insecure as the rest of them.  He was a self defeatist, and thus I just could not handle bad things happening to me because there was no one to help me break the cycle or support me in recognizing what was actually going on.  It is amazing that I did not turn to drugs for an escape here and there.  Haha!

But why am I sharing this with you all?  Why am I bringing up something that is super negative after I have mentioned that I recognize this and try to not give it any thought at all?  Because in light of figuring this out, and believing that I had conquered the demon of my past, one my closest childhood friends and family member turned out to be right in this category. But the great thing?  I figured it out all on my own and put a stop to it.  I changed my feedback loop the instant I saw what was going on. 

And I was not left with any sort of hole as I was a few years back when I started closing doors to my immediate family. And I realize how incredible lucky I am right now.  My partner, my dearest friends, and all those that I am courting for new friends and maybe more are secure.  They are confident amazing individuals.  I do not feel that I am missing out by not being needed as a crutch for all the family that used me for so long.  Instead, I have filled any sort of lingering void with freaking awesome people.  The rainbow at the end of the storm is finally showing its bright colours.  

Look around in your own life.  Do you have that person who is constantly unable to support you?  The person that ignores you whenever you have a problem, and then gives you shit when you don’t reply instantly to their drama?  It embarrasses me to admit that 5 years ago, that is all my phone was filled with.  Those type of nuisance type messages and phone calls.  I called them family, and I felt indebted to them.  And now, they are all out of my life.  And I feel free.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Summary of Dating Our First Couple

I suppose after venting a bit in my last post, I should now be able to write, “Yay! We dated a couple”! In hindsight, it is pretty amazing that after just one bad date, and then a nervous first meeting with a married couple we were able to make a connection.  4 people actually all getting along well enough to socialize together as a group and as different pairings is quite a feat.  And to be able to maintain some semblance of fun for a few weeks here and there, it may be time to start focusing on the pride in that.  We did however hit some incredibly annoying rough patches that are hard to overlook.  But all in all, after a few months of dating, I don’t think any of us hate each other.  In fact there are even some real friendships that are being maintained.  That is impressive.  And it gives me real hope for the future.

There were many moments when I would throw my hands up and say that the stress was just not worth it.  And then, there were points where I could envision things developing, that would just not be possible without multiple stable couples.  The possibilities that I glimpsed through a date here, or a text there, fueled me to hold on a lot longer than I think I needed to.  That hope and glimmer viewed is what keeps me looking and searching for some other kick ass couple. 

The one on one date’s always went well.  The dating parties would come home energized and excited that connections were being made.  There was serious effort put into making this more than just sex.  This was not ever about just swinging.  E and I both want more than that.  My life does not revolve around random sexy times with other men.  I want to be able to call up a couple and all go out dancing or to a show, with the knowledge that something super fun could end the night.  Or just to be able to go out for a girls night, with someone that I had been intimate with, I don't know how to explain why but there is just something alluring and exciting about that prospect.  No restrictions, just being able to comfortably express my sexual and emotional wants with a few more people.  To be clear, E fulfills all my needs, this is simply about wants for me, and why I don't want to settle if things aren't working. 

Unfortunately there was so much room for miscommunication that I could see this dynamic falling apart right from the beginning.  E and I have worked on our communication and we are both comfortable asking for more or less information depending on the scenario.  We can openly discuss our feelings, and wants although it is not a nightly ritual or anything.  But when push comes to shove, we truly connect and are heard by the each other.  That being said it was difficult for me at times to deal with a couple that does not have the same level of communication.  You could ask the wife about a conversation she had with her husband the night before, and then the same thing of the husbands version and it seemed almost night and day.  Maybe they communicated more on body language and the amount of time the two had been together.  However coming into that, made me uncomfortable on more than one occasion.  Drama is not something I want to deal with.  And as E is quickly able to just ignore anything that bothers him, knowing it is not his problem, I for one found that very difficult to do.  I read into situations, and then would get concerned with how it will affect the bigger picture.  It is something I will accept help from E, to help me learn to brush off these emotions in future. 

With that being said though, watching how another couple interacts and communicates did have a certain level of fascination for me.  It was an intimacy that I don`t think many monogamous couples ever get to see in other couples.  We got to witness these interactions first hand, and show off how we interact.  It`s incredible to see two seemingly opposites work together to raise a beautiful family.  Almost awe inspiring, well, more so now that I have had a little time to digest. 

In short my perspective has gained some direction in what I want out of the next couple we date.  I have gone from a position of just taking things day by day and allowing the situation to unfold as it may, to a much more defined prerogative.  I now know exactly what I want out of dating a couple.  I cannot say I knew that at the beginning.  I was na├»ve thinking that having an organic experience free from any tainting would be successful from start to finish.  People in a group dynamic need some clear and defined goals.  It is not enough to just all get along.  Expectations need to be set from the first few encounters.  And for my part, expectations need to be known, with of course the knowledge that dynamics will change based on how everyone gets along.  My laissez-faire mentality did not assist in making this process easy.  We lacked the ability to all communicate as a group, and have an understanding for how each person gets their opinions and wants across and then be able to laugh! And ultimately enjoy all being together. Dating couples is just not an easy feat!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Unhappiness in the Wake of Closure with our First Couple

For being such a personal blog I do keep anger at the minimum because often I sort out my anger and move on.  Rarely does it linger anymore.  I worked very hard on that, and with a very supportive man by my side I can see a real difference even within the last few years.  However, I find part me still feels some anger and resentment even with a few months of space.  I am not happy the way things worked out.  I am not pleased that I watched my partner put in so much effort while I felt like a cheerleader, rather than part of the main event.  I felt as if I was merely a bonus to one party at the expense of another’s efforts.  And these are not words that I like to have in writing.  I don’t want my anger to stick with me, to be thrown in my face at a later time, or worse published.  So I remain soft spoken and balanced with reflection in my tone. This post though, will go against that grain.

There is no resolution.  I made a decision as a result of being unhappy and feeling like I was a prize to be won in a game of chance rather than someone who was 3 dimensional and worthy of getting to know as a whole person.  There was no earning of trust, or developing bonds, likes and dislikes.  It was in fact purely sustaining the status quo, so that sex would result in a one on one intimate level.  I felt cheapened by the experience.  I hear often enough within the online community how much of a slut I am for seeking intimacy with more than one partner.  I have grown a thick shell as a result of these strangers passing judgement and hatred.  However to feel like an object or a prize by someone that I was trying to develop more with, really stung.  I truly felt that he was just going with the flow to please his partner and was putting in the requested level of effort only.  And I am angry.

To clarify, we were dating a couple for a few months.  I ended things with the man because I was unhappy.  I do not feel like swinging is a lifestyle that I connect with.  I want more than that.  I want a friend and someone that I can occasionally sleep with.  Have threesomes and foursomes with, but with friendship in place too.  I want to hang out with both parties in the couple and explore some sexual wants that I have while supported and adventuring with my partner.  In our first couple adventure this just did not happen.

One of the first mistakes I made in this was to allow the couple to know I had a blog.  I feel this may have hindered the getting to know each other phase.  It was remarked to me, that the man of the couple felt he already knew me as a result of my writing.  And unsurprisingly he had actually no idea who I was as a result.  This blog isn’t about developing me as a person.  It is sharing events and feelings that I feel are interesting.  It is showing a perspective in dating that I feel is unique.  It is not a diary.  These are not my memoirs.

To counteract this mistake, perhaps if I had written full posts, instead of ideas here and there while dating this couple, things might have ended differently.  I might have come to terms with my own desires earlier.  I might have found a way to get something specific out of the sinking ship rather than just walking away.  Instead I decided early on to just go day by day and try and make the most of things without putting too much effort.  I allowed myself to experience rather than lead.  I made a few requests at the beginning, they were all satisfied and then I stopped asking for things.  

I then stopped picking a direction.  This was my second mistake.  I did not take advantage of any situations right in front of me.  Instead I watched, waited, and just assumed that all parties were as invested as my partner and I.  It turns out I was wrong.  The story will come out, with more details and fun little intrigues along the way.  For now though, the first foray that I had dating a couple with my amazing partner is in its conclusion.  We experienced so much in just a few short months.   The posts will not be about amazing sexual escapades, and orgies, rather the experiences and troubleshooting that comes about when two people are brought into your inner circle.  But for now, I am feeling a little empty, solidified by the fact that when I ended things with the man, we are left with absolutely nothing to talk or text about.  We barely got to know each other.  And it is a mistake I will not let get so far in the future.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

One Less Stampede Cowgirl This Year

I have been to stampede nearly every year of my life.  I cannot guarantee I was there as infant as I couldn’t be asked to remember such things, but as far as my working memory goes, my record is perfect.  I have attended as a little tike, enjoying the parade and all the aspects children can see right on up to adulthood.  Whereby I took my experience to a more adult level, including bars, pub crawls, and every aspect of debauchery that are expected as a seasoned Calgarian.   I have written posts about our Stampede centennial and in celebration of the slut.  However this year, I am writing from afar. 

I am missing my first Stampede to go on an international trip with my sweetheart.  And I wasn’t bothered by this until today.  I am really going to miss having a beer by 8 am with friends.  To the numerous stampede breakfasts, the midway, and general celebrations this city engages in.  Mostly though, I am going to miss the dress code!  I love dressing up in my best stampede wear.  I love the short shorts, the denim, the chaps, and the men in cowboy hats.  I love the tight jeans, the belt buckles and the general abundance of plaid.  Only for these 10 days can people from far and wide do plaid sexy.  And I love it!

For years I have said just how lucky Calgary is to be able to dress slutty twice a year.  Halloween and again during Stampede.  Sex is in the air and it is invigorating.  As someone who promotes sexually positive attitudes I am missing my Mecca.  The holy land of tight, and a little bit trashy, filled with a boozy hue in the air it is for me, true freedom.  I can make choices to drink, party, and flirt my little butt off.  Or to just dress the part and put myself on a little personal parade.  The choice is there, and unless there are some ladies who are giving a disgruntled tsk tsk, the environment is generally accepting. 

I face a lot controversy on a regular basis with my online dating profiles, and a bit in my personal life as a result of writing this blog.  Some days it can really be a struggle to keep my head held high.  But during these 10 days, I feel confident.  There is comraderey in the fact that so many are enaging in their own deviant behavior during these 10 days.  I get to hear stories from so many  about their previous Stampede adventures in all their scandalous glory.  Why?  Because we give each other a pass for these 10 days.  It is not just me, sharing my crazy life, but getting to hear from friends who allowed themselves to be crazy.  To get in touch with their inner slutty selves.  And more importantly to be a little proud of making their own memories. 

Stampede, I am missing you.  

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Fading Away from Me

Once upon a time, I was with a man who was so polarizing that by comparison I was kind and sweet.  When I ended things with him, I found that who I had become really stood out.  I was not comfortable being that strong minded without someone to have my back.  I felt isolated, and as a result of having that strong personality alone I consciously re-evaluated who I portrayed myself to be.  I changed a lot about myself.  I focused on taking a step back, not reacting immediately and using the excuse of just `sleeping on` every major decision I made, to slow down the rash judgementsI had found myself making.  

Now I find myself in yet another transitional period.  I am hearing far too often that I am really hard to read.  I don’t like that.  There is something alluring about being  mysterious, but that is not the term being used.  I went from being polarizing, to always ending up in the middle.  An ambiguous middle ground where I can flip flop and please anyone at anytime.  The reality is I am just not standing up for my thoughts and feelings.  

I know that I have come along way, and have appropriately re-calibrated my judgement from when I was an impulsive 20 something girl.  And yet, standing out on that ledge, just doesn’t seem second nature anymore.  I somehow, ended up, losing trust in myself.  Losing faith in my own core instincts.  I can’t promise that I will just get it back.  But with some hard work, and some leaps of faith I should be able to get back to that zone where I become fearless again.  Back to a place where I have complete assurance that my opinion matters even if people get pissed off. 

When I became single many years ago, I found myself alone.  Very few family members and only a handful of amazing friends.  I figured I had done something wrong to end up that way.  So I set about pussy whipping my polarizing tendencies and amassed a much broader circle of friends.  However the weird thing is, I now find myself almost alone again.  Yes, that is super hard to write.  The friends I have now are almost the same as who I had in my life before.  They have stuck with me through all my changes, and growth.  If they are going to leave me now, when I reacquaint myself with my opinions and my voice, there is nothing I can do to keep them in my life.  Nor will I. 

I have been through an annoying breakup recently and the people that matter, E namely and a few amazing friends who I doubt want to be named, stuck by me.  I trust myself.  I can do what I set my mind to.  And fuck the people who just don’t get me, or who won’t put the effort into getting to know the person I put before them.  I am more than just my body, I have a sharp sense of humor and well educated opinions.  Time to own who I am, because damn, I am amazing!