I Still Can’t Marry My Partner

Read some important thoughts on the impact of the changes to marriage laws in America :

I Still Can’t Marry My Partner.

Hint: Its not simple, its not THE answer and perhaps its not the most important issue…

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Timing – scheduling & biological clocks

Tonight I am thinking about planning.
As I try to juggle the google calendar to make sure that W & B get an equitable division of my time each week that fits around all of our various commitments and work on what holidays we can arrange I am acutely aware of the drawbacks of my ‘lifestyle choice’. Both W & B are permanently compromising even more than most people to make this work and sometimes that is really hard.
How should I decide what will make them feel valued? What about individual emotional crises or changeover periods? How much do I take control and how much input can they have to the overall schedule so that they both feel involved and yet don’t tread on each others toes or feel embarassed about asking for stuff?

It makes me worry about how much more complicated it will be if I get a full time job.. a brand new set of negotiations and compromises and perhaps more fragile feelings. I know that we can manage because actually each of us are committed not only to each other but to making sure that as little pain as possible is involved. I know that sometimes I worry too much and that everyone has bad days or needs that they aren’t sure how to communicate straight away but that we can manage.

And this leads me to my other topic…
Children
More and more I notice how much W is tempted and terrified by the idea of kids, I know that B would secretly like children but feels that soon he will be too old and that there is no way the hurdles can be negotiated.
I am torn. I feel more like I could build a family with both of them than I ever knew was possible – that whilst children frighten me, it wouldn’t be a chore to watch my wife be the mother she should be or my boy giving that extra part of himself, maybe just maybe they would enough to make me good enough to be a parent.
But will time run out before the worries and troubles can be overcome. How is it possible to give W the family she craves which doesn’t make her, B or me feel alienated?
And if we did how would I possibly manage my calendar?

 

On Spending Christmas Alone

I have two beautiful partners and a wonderful family but this year I am spending Christmas at home with my dog and some beer.

I have spent all but 2 Christmases in my memory with my parents [one with the in-laws and one with my wife in our new house]. With the exception of the year my sister was in hospital, these have been stereotypical and near idyllic – think plenty of food and booze, stockings, everybody pitching in with the cooking, lazy evenings, open fires and board games… Its amazing and almost what I would want regardless.
That said, I have fantasised about the kind of christmas my chosen family and I could have if we had the option and the peace. The delight of just having our family together; of making our own time special. One day I will work my backside off to make their holiday dreams come true (together, separately or both) but I don’t know yet when that will be.
This year, however, I will pretend to be a bachelor. For the first and maybe the only time in my life I am spending christmas without expectations or traditional trappings. I have plans… insofar as I have food and alcohol to consume and a dog to walk. On the other hand, there will be very few of the things typically associated with the christmas festival (with the notable exception of the required phone calls) and no need to socialise or pay attention to the world. Despite both job and relationship configuration I am by nature a shy introverted individual and I need to recharge. After a year of trying to get my thesis finished and juggling my obligations the idea of being completely alone and commitment free if both exhilarating and terrifying.
I am looking forward to both sleeping and crying .. ridiculous though it sounds the release is needed and I think this will work.

On the other hand I can’t wait to have my loves back safe home and serve up a pile of pigs in blankets!

Grounding

When stress and work constraints get the better of you it is easy to let family time slip away.

Today I was reminded how much difference it makes just to sit down and eat together.
My wife made a beautiful sunday dinner – it was nothing short of a gift for B & I, warming, homely and thoughtful (not to mention damn tasty). I hope that she felt good to be able to share that with us.
I take for granted the moments we sit and laugh together and I shouldn’t. Stopping to eat together or watch trashy tv has always been a way to escape even when our relationships were at their rockiest and no matter how painful and personal the process is we are closer for it. I think on balance I am glad for separate spaces (extra cleaning but better escape clauses) but sharing is good.
Thankyou my loves

Aliens and Crazy Talk – Kids part 5

Lets return to some life musings..
So after talking about the problems of biology with regard to how we could all connect to a child – there are a few more biological issues that worry me.

Firstly, there are the  problems inherent in passing on one’s genes.
I guess despite the desire to magically concieve a child with my beautiful wife I would be terrified of her passing on her family’s medical history and worried that if she carried a child it would destroy her slightly fragile health. In terms of my own family medical history, I know of no genetic illness or life-long problems and heart disease and cancer are so common anyway they are statistically not worth mentioning and yet add a flicker of fear for the future of any hypothetical child – if only the fear that they could lose a parent young.
These are perhaps the smallest worries though and the rest are more to do with my capability to deal with pregnancy and motherhood.

Mostly I’m afraid of the crazy.
Depression isn’t pretty and I worry that I could get worse with extra added hormones and no meds. I don’t know what the stats are but I do know that the chance of post-partum depression is much higher  in people with a history of mental illness, as is the risk of psychosis.
I am afraid that I would take a significant swing for the worse and I worry about the repurcussions for the people I love. Logic tells me that the strength of my support network, my efforts at self-management and the care of the NHS would mitigate those things but my internal critic and basic sense of horror assume that I will be unable to relate to a child, be vicious, uncaring, thoughtless, reckless, hurtful. That everything about me will be unfit.

I am not really helping myself by those tiny nagging fears left over from childhood that tell me that a child growing in my body is like an alien feeding on my insides and eating up my sanity. But no one accused me of being rational on the topic.

Anniversaries, Sharing and feeling like a fraud

In case I haven’t mentioned.. this summer I went on holiday with both W & B (and very nice it was too). This is a bit of a change from the last couple of years where I have had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks with B while W visits the smother; going away for our anniversary and separately going away with W for ours.
I find myself torn – I adore exploring places and spending time away from daily life with my loves, I would spend more time with both of them together if I could; but on the other hand each of them deserve time on their own, time especially for them. I know that W particularly needs the sense of things that are unique to us as a couple and I know that B especially values nights he & I spend together since they are rare.
So how do I make each of our anniveraries special, make everyone feel appreciated, and still get to enjoy time together?

On the subject of anniversaries…- anyone ever feel like they are gilding the lily? I celebrate a minimum of 3/year. W & I celebrate our 1st handfasting (Oct 31st – will be 10yrs this one coming) And our legal commitment (May 1st3yrs just gone). And of course I try to celebrate a date with B too; we chose Aug 21st as an arbitrary we-started-our-relationship-on-this-day date (though it would be fair to say any time in the fortnight before or after that might be a plausible suggestion) and this year makes 4. I also tease him that our ‘wedding’ date is my birthday the following year on the basis it was the date his former fiancee wanted to get married and I rescued him from that foolishness…
Thats a lot of special days for each other and time for hols. But how can you ask your friends to shell out for cards on that many dates or even remember?

So if anniversaries feel like an unnecessary encumberance for one’s mono/straight friends how about the fact that I can’t help feeling like a fraud for not being available. [Incidentally, I do understand that these ideas are not related for most people]. Point being: How is it possible for me to whinge about lack of ‘poly’ awareness when I don’t fall into general categories of being open to more relationships? I know that poly doesn’t have to mean sleeping around – but most blogs and websites are dedicated to those looking for more partners. I have to say that though I knew (and admitted) I couldn’t commit to exclusivity  I never looked for anyone. I never meant to fall in love with either one of my partners (in fact in both cases I was avoiding commitment for various reasons) and I can’t imagine having time or energy for anyone else. In that sense I don’t feel ‘poly’: I’m not about openness any more than anything else and I am not defined sexually by the fact I happen to love 2 people (or that they are 2 different genders) – I don’t have a lovestyle, I just love these people. I’m not bisexual or polyamorous – I am in love with W & B, I am w/b-sexual.

Its not true of course there is enough of me to have a political rant, to say we should be allowed to make a family and stand up for just being us. But that dont feel internet.
So Happy Anniversary B my love and good luck to all of us and I hope being an example is enough.

Genetics and Connections – Kids Part 4

Biology….
Its a formidable enemy.

How do I reconcile the fact that no matter how much I love W we can’t create a child with the fact that I want any child I have to be hers?
The truth in my heart that tells me her love is stronger than any biology cannot silence the fear that the connection won’t be right.
I don’t think there is any way for a couple unable to conceive to express to those for whom it happens naturally the frustration and disappointment that sheer passion and love alone is not enough to create life – and yet I am reassured that whatever decision we make it is genuine, thoughtful, mutual and truly loving in a way other families never quite grasp.

This is of course more complicated because I would choose to conceive with B if possible and create a wider and more complex family through our intimacy. But of course I am terrified of the potential jealousy that raises – I don’t believe biology trumps upbringing but of course if it didn’t matter why would I choose to conceive naturally at all?

The answer I think lies first in a fear that I would fail to bond with something not of my own flesh (see part 5) but also that I think that, beyond the fact that W could not harm any child ever, there is a true grace in her that would see something created out of love as genuinely worth cultivating. Also practically speaking sex is cheaper than IVF and she finds pregnancy hot..
As for B, how prepared is he to allow his flesh and blood to be adopted and raised by W (the law doesn’t allow for 3 parents – & I am not prepared for W to only be registered as a guardian)? Well, surprisingly ready – not only because he has agreed to give up legal claim, with the caveat not just of access but of input and hopefully honesty but also because I am constantly (and unwittingly) reminded of the respect he has for W’s approaches. I forsee arguments and uncertainty but I think that ultimately he would feel his connection is guaranteed by me in a way that cannot be sanctioned by biology or law.

It is strange but reassuring to feel so emotional about a simple biological possibility..

Lesbians don’t have Babies: Kids-part 1

Once ‘married with kids’ stopped being the only idea of adulthood I knew (c. 7yrs old) it stopped being the kind of adulthood that would ever happen to me.
Pretty early on, way back before I gave a damn about sexuality I was sure that I’d never be a housewife and not much after that I knew I’d never be like my mum.

[Insert stuff and things – to be considered later(?)]

I was 15 before I ever heard of being bisexual (no I don’t know why it took so long – yes I even read porn mags without twigging..) and so for many years I believed I had to choose. Boobs or cock. Babies or dildos. Shaved head or shaved pussy.
I faked some interest in boys (I like older, macho, hairy Men – not footballers and Leo diCaprio) but could never commit and I just knew that only proper heteros got married and had children. Gay marriage was but a twinkle in an activists eye and besides which who would inflict that kind of lifestyle and bullying on any child. Even if I gave up my inclinations towards women, perhaps I would be too feminist, too career-oriented and selfish to dedicate my time to a child. A quasi-lesbian, semi-feminist? I would be a BAD mother.
Even without a commitment to a bisexual poly life, I had planned my funeral long before a wedding – no disney romance, no white lace and church for me and all in all the message was if you can’t be a good wife you can’t be a good mother – and queer folk ain’t good for marriage…

But married I am. and happy no less.
Lesbians with kids aren’t big news any more, whole functioning adults exist who not only grew up with gay parents but weren’t even in a media storm because of it.
I am 7 again and kids are back on the table and I don’t know how that feels.

Agricultural Nostalgia

Did I ever tell you that my honeymoon was to an agricultural show?
Yup, thats right I took my wife to a field full of pigs and sheep and tractors. It was glorious. (well except that she was up to her eyeballs in work…)And its a tradition I would love to make more solid.

There is something magical about creating and maintaining traditions as a couple, as a family. Traditions create a bond something shared and recognisable. It creates a connection to past and future – the ability to look back and compare and look forward with anticipation. It gives you rules to break. They can be especially important to ground you when life is hard or unsettled and to help recall things when seizures or time rob people of their memories.

For many families it is the rules of christmas or birthdays that are sacrosanct – my siblings and I, for example, are very attached to stockings and a fry-up, and a break in the middle of dinner for Dr Who; W’s family like to open one present each on christmas eve – but circumstances have not yet allowed us to create those kinds of rituals. Despite being with W for more than 10 years we have only spent 2 christmases together and one of those was with her parents. I have never spent a christmas with B who has worked every one we have been together – I guess I don’t expect to do that any time soon. I do perhaps hope my little family will find something unique.
I think that knowing christmas is a little out of my current league has pushed me to identify things we already do without noticing – to make a fuss about the good and to take an opportunity to revel in the connections. And this weekend has been perfect for that. So Thankyou Manx Loughtan and Thankyou Ninemaidens mead, Thankyou W and Thankyou B. Someday we will all go together and laugh and create a new ritual but everytime I will bring English sparkling wine and W & I will buy too much cheese and do something that is just for us.

Sex and Self-Esteem

In About Intimacy I wrote about the sense of loss and confusion felt by a friend of mine at the sexual dry spell she has been experiencing and I want to reprise some related issues in this post. I was especially inspired to further consider the points by This Blog Piece

As a young active sexual individual I both crave and enjoy sex on a physical level and on an emotional level. I don’t need sex to feel attractive or validated or loved….but it helps. This has nothing to do with my lovers or the attention they pay me or the affection they offer me.
It is all about how I feel I should be a good partner.
If (in my rather self-critical and paranoid head) I am to be a good wife then I should be sexually attractive and available.
I should be pleasing to their aesthetics in order to make them pleased – this applies to my general physique, weight hair-cut and to my dress and ‘beauty regime’.[I would note I have never had to contend with conflicting views of what is pleasing about my body -but I would definitely dress differently for a date with each of my loves]. In my head although failure to put effort in is not a major crime it has the potential to become so if it is persistent because it implies that I don’t care enough to make myself pleasing.   On the whole I dress to be comfortable and practical and maintain basic personal hygiene rather than indulge in active ‘beautification processes’ as sold by cosmetic industries and women’s magazines but occasionally I feel the need to present myself as someone they would be proud to be seen with. This I think is related to an occasional need to dress in such a way as to turn heads in order to boost my sense of self-esteem. But is there a subtle difference between a desire (need?) to be praised (for my looks), a desire to make my loved ones smile because I have done something for their pleasure and a fear that if I don’t look or act attractive I am somehow failing as a partner.

This leads to the sex issue.. I am anti sexual coercion of any but the pre-arranged bdsm variety and this explicitly includes guilt-tripping within a relationship or withholding favours in anger or as a means of control (again this is with the clear exception of good ol’ pre-negotiated play scenarios) and yet I routinely feel that I should have more sex with my partners.
The sense that is my duty as a woman and and as a wife to provide sexual pleasure is mystifying to me on an intellectual level – I am after all in a relationship configuration that specifically allows additional sexual contact (albeit with certain provisos) and I am not against masturbation or porn and therefore I am not the sole means of sexual gratification for my partners. I am aware of the fact that sexual desire is not a constant; neither the same from person to person nor individually from time period to time period and that it is appropriate to express my desire or lack of as I wish as long as I am not coercive or intimidating. I also aware that not doing so is in fact both demeaning and unpleasant for my partners since it is disrespectful of the intimacy of our relationship. I am as commented before regularly and happily sexually active.
Yet despite all of this in my head some days there is a nagging voice that tells me ‘I should’ and perhaps even ‘if you really loved him/her you would’ when my body is telling me that it doesn’t want to. This little voice believes that without regular sex my partners will not want me any more, that an absence of sex is a sign that love is fading and that without sex there is no intimacy- it is not what my intellect or even my heart tell me, it just the voice of fear. So what self-esteem demon is it that believes that my body and what I do with it is a key marker of my affection and my ability to be lovable? Is society really that prescriptive about what makes a ‘real’ relationship that I am frightened any failure to conform will render me worthless?