The Other Side of the Open Door

Me again. I have been home about 18 hours and life as a fully open couple isn’t much different than life was when we were just halfway open. It’s weird, but we each slept on the same side of the bed we used to, Axel still liked the gray towel and I still liked the white one, and the applewood wood bacon that comes straight from God, via Costco, tasted the same amazing way too. Who’d have thought that, huh?

There are still those feelings that will pop in just a minute or two every couple of hours and they have to be dealt with, but they don’t worry me anymore like they did a few days ago because now, now that “it” happened, I know that it’s not anything that is going to cause any trouble, but it was enough that I thought I should write about it anyway.

However, first, breaking news, I spotted the couple, who I have decided to just call them Kevin and Kevin, a bit ago when Axel and I were at a street fair that has encompassed my neighborhood today. I said “spotted” like I was on a hunt of some sort and in reality, it was via Axel tapping me on the shoulder and saying “there they are, THERE” as he pointed toward a group of gay men in tank tops all with perfect hair despite the fact that there are literally 75,000 people in a two block area and that it’s 90 something degrees today (I looked like a horse that needed to be put down by then). We knew they were going to be there but they were with family from out of town, so Axel and the Kevins had already discussed that if we saw each other, great, but if not, we would not force a meeting in front of strangers (translation: Axel knows I am short tempered and pissy when hot and in crowds, so he didn’t want to risk me being an inadvertent ass to his boyfriends), though we did offer to let them park in our driveway. Anyway, there they were. In living flesh. Luckily for me in my dead looking horse state, they were way across the street holding nephews or borrowed children or something, so we didn’t have that sweaty hot greeting. They did not see us, but I saw them and, though cute, I found some strange satisfaction in realizing I was in better shape than they were. Petty I know, but I own it. But, from just watching them and having heard about them, they seem to be two really good chaps and, for Axel, I hope this works out as well as it has with me and my boyfriend.

All of that out of the way, I wanted to go back to my two posts this week about my side of the open door and discuss discussing the other side of open. When I started writing those posts, they were from my gut and were quite cathartic in many ways, so I am very glad that I wrote them as they helped me deal with things and also helped both Axel and Thumper see more into why I was acting like I was or more about how I saw things (btw, I asked Axel to read each of those as I do when something is there I feel he should see). What I didn’t realize when I started that is that I was essentially writing from a perspective of an open couple that many people don’t get to see. This means that I talked about the negotiations, the hurt feelings, and the actual, real life, somewhat stark realization that you are not all that your partner needs.

Ferns, my Australian girlfriend, left a comment on the first of the two posts that said:

I don’t see that many non-monogamous folks talk all that honestly about these complicated feelings. In fact what I mostly see is that everything is ‘great!’ and ‘fine!’ until suddenly it’s a big mess of jealousy and hurt and serious consequences and there is no insight into how that came about.

As usual, she was spot on, so that made me feel better about having laid it all out there then, and even now and over the next few weeks as this continues to evolve. I will continue to do that because it is what it is, and I refuse to just tell you that all is shiny and wonderful while still not 100 percent sure in my mind that it is.

Having said that, I would say that last week when I wrote the posts, I was at a 65 percent “I really am okay with this” place on post one and an 80 percent or so place when I wrote post number two. Today, as I sit here and type, I am likely at a 97 or even 98 percent place in my head and now find myself looking forward to what is going to evolve and how the Kevins are going to fit into Axel’s life primarily but into mine as well. I say that now through a bit more negotiation and thought in my head and was really moved by Thumper’s post yesterday but especially by this paragraph:

I never thought about openness with Belle because early on my feelings for her were such that I didn’t want anyone else. Saw no point in anyone else. There was no room inside me for anyone else. Now that’s changed. Luckily, we still have a connection and I still want her and need her in my life, but we’re both fundamentally different.

When I read that, I realized one immediate thing and one not so immediate thing. The first is that some of what I was grappling with the last week was a feeling that Axel and I had “let each other down” in a sense by NOT being everything each other needed. Rational Drew realized that one can’t be all to everyone and that this is indeed okay and he’s proud to be married to someone that understands that too, but irrational Drew felt slightly ashamed, slightly embarrassed, and slightly angry that he could not be it all for Axel (though it was perfectly fine that Axel couldn’t be it all for him). These thoughts had nothing to do with the Kevins or with Thumper, but they were the catalysts that fueled them, and I know now that those were the “things” I mentioned last week that I just could not put the right words on the screen to describe the actual sensation, most likely because I was in a place that was too raw for me to have completely silenced irrational Drew. I refuse to say Thumper used magic words, but what he did was cause the “moment” where the realization met reality and I am very happy to have that past me now because, it is, indeed changed from when we first partnered, while in our 20’s, and this open state is really some intense growth that has taken place for both of us as a couple and most likely was and is needed for our long term survival as a duo.

The second realization involves jealousy and the understanding that the jealousy I was, and still slightly am, feeling isn’t the fact that “Kevin is doing my man”, but it’s the excitement that Axel suddenly has in his world. He has that “young and stupid in lust” look and talk and I’m not the one causing that or being involved in that, so I think that is where the fourth wheel comment came from. And, at the same time, while not to the extent that Axel had, Thumper also had/has a renewed “energy” about Frodo and, god dammit, I couldn’t relate to that either. It was a double whammy of bad timing. However, as I realized yesterday again, it wasn’t (and isn’t) about the people at all, just the energy surrounding the activity and I had inadvertently let my ego be pretty wildly deflated by the Kevins and the Frodo and, in retrospect it was silly, but a human reaction so I also own that. I was honest with both Thump and Axel about this last night and simply told them that I was in a deflated place and asked them to keep that in mind and that if there is anything they could do to help me boost it, I would be appreciative. I know that is like saying “I am about to come out in a pretty dress so make sure you tell me how amazing and thin I look in it”, but, as I have told you, these two are alike in how they notice and react to things, so I just decided to put it out there instead of waiting to see if it went away or what. Oh, and before the comments start, yes, I know my ego will come back on its own and yes, I know I have plenty to have a boosted ego about, but this is just one of those inside the relationship and friendship moments that the outside world cannot affect.

Of course, turn about is fair play, and I absolutely see that a year ago I was giddy over meeting the rabbit and he was me too. Axel had his ego bruised during that period too, and while I knew it then, now I really know it, so I am going to be doing some reverse ego mending too. He got through it and I certainly will, but in this case, both sides of the door look the same and they are a nasty color that does not go with anything else in our home. So, like the ugly figurine his mother once gave us for Christmas, it wont be allowed to last long in this house at all.

Now, from the door itself, which I assume would be my home with Axel, all is well in the House of Drew tonight and it’s just going to get better (also because Kershaw pitches tonight too).

6 thoughts on “The Other Side of the Open Door

  1. I had to laugh at your reference to “my Australian girlfriend”: I’m totally 100% in (as if that was ever a question…) :).

    I think part of the challenge of writing about this stuff is, as you say, that it’s ‘in the moment’, and that moment passes (sometimes as soon as you hit ‘publish’), but it’s then out there in public and more ‘real’ for it (plus your readers want to help and be supportive, which can be unfairly irrelevant when you’re past it already).

    I am really appreciative of the detail you are sharing. As a fiercely possessive monogamist, when I read it, I try to imagine how or if I could ever navigate it.

    I love how you acknowledge that now that you are on the other side of your partners interacting with others with all that NRE (with both Thumper and Axel), you suddenly have an understanding of Axel’s mindset that you *couldn’t* truly have before no matter how empathetic you are. That’s happened to me in different circumstances and it’s only THEN that I realise how crap I really was at being truly supportive with it.

    I’m hoping that Kevin isn’t really likeable and the other Kevin isn’t an arsehole because that’s going to make talking about them really difficult :P.

    Ferns

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Ferns, you indeed are my Australian girlfriend. I mean, you did kiss me and all. Sheez.

      As always your comment is appreciated, thoughtful, and you are right about the not being able to understand until you have been there part.

      As for the Kevins, I see your point, but I hope I adore them at least enough to be able to understand Axel’s motivation toward them and that they are good guys who will care for him, just the same as I have tried to make sure Belle knew that about me. Though, good guys or not, we can still talk about them 🙂 (maybe just in DM though)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Drew, I just left the following on Denying Thumper. You will see the comment in whole there, but whilst you are going through this, know others do to, your world feels funny, and you are not weak for not being everything to your husband. I felt that too, but it does get better. To thumper I said:

    “Specifically, and I will cross so comment here, I am in an open relationship too and what Drew writes about this week is something that moved me to tears from memories because this shit is so real and painful, even when you are so okay with that. I’d ask you how you’d feel if Belle was getting action and you’ll likely say you welcomed it, because I did and Drew did, but when it happens, fuck it hurts. I hope those in Drew’s life who are aware of these things realize this and reach out because that part about him asking you and Axel to boost his ego was not like him at all. But, when my wife took her first lover, who I met and sent to her, I had never felt so low, even when I had been with men for years and set this up.”

    I got that to a point that it made my stomach hurt again. As for the ego, Axel and Thumper are bright and will hopefully see, but go find yourself something to be proud of, a fuck, a lift, a post and be proud. You will get through this and just know the public needs what you are writing.

    Like

    1. Andrew, thank you for the comment and sharing your feelings. I don’t want to discount your feelings at all or my own, I guess, AND it was tougher than I expected, but I was able to always temper it because it was right and I owed Axel that freedom, even when I tried my best to make his new relationship about me.

      As for the ego, yeah, that smarts and still does for a variety of things regarding my relationships, but I’m a big boy and it will come back raring. Thank you though and, GREAT name 🙂

      Like

  3. Thanks for sharing your feelings. We know that these things are going to work out in the end, but while you’re in the middle, they can be intense and confusing.
    Sorry about your game last night. As good as he is, Kershaw can be beaten.

    Like

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