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).