My First Collaborative Blog!! (part 3)

As someone who identifies as Polyamorous, how did you build a framework for the relationship you have with your Significant Other and future relationships?

When I met my partner (whom I refer to as “DW” or, “Darling Wife” elsewhere in the blog) we both already identified as polyamorous. Within any non-monogamous relationship, there is a need for in-depth conversations about what the parties envision, and what boundaries and expectations exist. In most open relationships, the rules early on are rather limited. As time goes on, and trust builds, the rules almost always relax. It can sometimes be a bumpy process, and there are bound to be hurt feelings at points, as everyone figures out how it all works.

My personal belief, and the way my relationship works, is that open, honest, and complete communication is really the only factor in success or failure. Rules may provide a temporary sense of security, but ultimately, I think that those who are ultimately able to make non-monogamy work flip from being worried that non-monogamy will drive them apart, to seeing it as a source of enrichment and happiness. For me, I want anyone I have a relationship to have as many of their needs met as possible. I welcome anyone that can make my partner happy.

Much of this is covered this post

https://serialnonconformist.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/by-request-ii-polyamory/

There is a common misconception about Polyamory being just about having sex with whomever you’d like. How do you describe Polyamory to peole who think this? What is Polyamory to you?

Well, first off, there definitely is a form of non-monogamy that is exclusively about sexual non-monogamy: swinging. But even at that, swingers typically have very specific rules and expectations. There are two issues I take with this argument (and it’s a very typical argument) the first is that polyamory is merely an alibi for wanting to have sex with everyone in your zip code. The second is that there is some quantity of sexual partners at which someone becomes “a bad person.” If a potential partner told me they’d had one thousand sexual partners, and had clean sexual health, the only thing I might be inclined to worry about was that they might find me somewhat pedestrian. Slut Shaming = BAD. Moving on….

For me, polyamory is about the freedom to be honest about one’s feelings. I have a deep and abiding love for my friends, sometimes romantic love develops from that. I don’t have to try to pretend I’m not falling for someone. Likewise, if I have a crush or sexual attraction to someone I meet, I can be honest about that too.

Everyone has feelings of attraction to people other than their spouse. For many people, the wise thing to do is to repress that. I don’t disagree with this notion at all. I think most people are probably better off remaining monogamous. No matter what anthropology tells us about past cultures, current American culture is built on an expectation of monogamy. We are socialized to accept only this. Stepping outside of convention takes tremendous courage and conviction. In this way, polyamory is not dissimilar to being a part of the LGBTQIA community. You become a target for traditionalists immediately. In addition to the courage to face detractors, poly relationships take a lot of work! It’s really not for most people.

Do you come across any predujice in the dating world? If so, does that predjudice tend to come more from men or women?

Polyamory is not a relationship model most dating candidates are interested in, but I don’t see this as any more problematic than not wanting to date someone younger, or taller than oneself. People are completely entitled to know, express, and act on their wants for a relationship. I have had a few people write to me about my “immorality” but it’s been a long time since the last one of those.

I think that many people incorrectly assume that polyamory is a male-driven oppressive institution. While there are forms of non-monogamy which force multiple women to have relationships with a man of power, polyamory is entirely egalitarian and consensual. Polyamorous people seek to meet the needs they have for emotional enrichment in an open and honest way, that seeks to be fair to all involved.

What is the most beautiful part about being you?

Simply put, the best part of being me is that I get to! The ability for a person to  live with truth and congruity of self is a rare and wonderful thing. In many other places, and many other periods of time, I would be forced into a life that I wasn’t meant to live. I am very aware of the privilege of self.

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On Parenting and Family

I took Babykiddo to the park (read: Disneyland) Monday. As I sat on a stone ledge watching her play in a forest-themed playground that seems to be her favorite spot on the face of the earth, I felt the beginnings of fall weather starting to show themselves. Fall and winter are my recharging times. The world gets quiet and still, and I return to myself.

I contemplated the last two years. I thought about how, when I first brought her to this place, it was with DW. I thought about how we were still trying to be something more like a family then. A great sense of loss came over me as I mourned the dreams I had of creating a family unlike the one I’d grown up in; one in which the members listened to one another and cared deeply, without being controlling. I thought about how I wanted to model a healthy kind of love. Powerful love, capable of allowing everyone to thrive, and feel supported and safe. Having a child is a permanent thing. I can either find a way to stay with DW and give babykiddo one family, or I can force her to have two.

It’s an odd model to follow, though. Not that it’s without precedent. But a family in which her parents are not in love (or even pretending to be in love) with one another is strange to me.

What may be the most sad for me is that DW may actually be making some progress in therapy now. After years of literally begging her to work out her issues, now that it’s too late, she may have found a way forward.

I regret having to wonder whether she had ever been in love with me, or had instead loved the fact that she could show off her strong, sexy “husband.” With so many people before and since seeing me as a woman, how was it that she saw a man.

An interesting dichotomy exists between the science-minded evidence-requiring part of DW, and her emotional being, which seems stubbornly opposed to observing and considering evidence. I think her early life taught her to insulate herself from the world of feelings. The feelings around her were often hostile ones, so it certainly makes sense as a coping tool. Many maladaptive behaviors begin as coping tools, though, and the challenge is to recognize the point at which we no longer need them.

Whatever the case, DW will never be in love with me. This means Babykiddo will not have the family that I wanted for her. I realize now, that I only wanted to be a parent in a great family. I don’t want this family. I don’t want Babykiddo to have to live like this. My deepest (and most shameful) wish is that I had never made these enormous errors in judgement, and that I didn’t have to raise Babykiddo in a family I can’t simply be proud of. She will be maladjusted in ways I could have and should have seen. It is enough to mess up our children through routine daily mistakes. I am not trying to model perfection. But it would have been nice to model something I could at least stand behind.

I don’t believe DW to be a bad parent. On good days, I do not believe myself to be a bad parent. But we are not good parents together, and there was nothing in the evidence I had to suggest we ever could be.

I guess I stubbornly believed lies too.

My First Collaborative Blog!! (part 2)

This installment of my interview response blog has the added benefit of me having a buzz. It probably bears saying, that my perspective should not be seen as speaking for every person’s experiences.

Do you feel that with the openness of polyamory, a definition of your gender “status” isn’t an issue when dating?

I feel like both polyamory and transgenderism limit my options in terms of whom I can date. With each niche thing a person finds themselves a part of, more and more options are closed to them. In my case, I would say that my demographic narrowing runs in this order from most to least profound.
Lesbian, transgender, poly, scheduling conflicts,distance, being a parent, falling in love too easily, no college degree or career, age difference is too great, not vegan enough, too curvy, and not religiously or politically aligned (though being an atheistic liberal does yield many more open doors than other possible configurations.)

It is likely that people being accepting of one minority status are, perhaps, more likely to accept others, but there is also the notion that a person can have too many caveats to be a good candidate. I think I generally fall into that category.

How do you deal with what is essentially a loss of privacy, when people expect you to discuss topics like your genitalia?

In a general sense, I see myself as being in a position to educate others about transgender people. It is certainly a conflict with what might otherwise be my privacy, or even my dignity. I know, though, that plenty of people have (often ill-informed) questions, and I would rather be the one to field them than to A: let the questions go to transpeople who are less inclined to be probed in this way, or B: let the questions remain unanswered, contributing to ongoing issues with an ignorant general population.

In terms of dating, questions of anatomy and surgical status would seem to center around two issues. The first one is “Can I actually see this person as the gender they intend to present?” The second is “Do I feel able to sexually gratify this person?” I sincerely hope that I live to see a day when the first question is really a non-issue for almost everyone. As a culture, we are learning about what gender actually is, and that will change the dialogue that transgender people get to have about their lives, especially where romantic relationships are concerned.

In terms of wondering how sex will work with a transgender person, everyone should be having a discussion of sexual likes and dislikes with a potential or current partner. There is certainly a way to handle this sensitively, without making someone feel that they are odd. If any of you find yourselves preparing to engage in such a conversation with a transgender person, be cognizant of the idea that people typically prefer to feel accepted as what they seem to be. It is certainly not necessary to remind someone of their status… believe me, they know.

In simpler terms, it’s better to say “Please tell me how you like to be touched.” than it is to say “What am I supposed to do with your (name of mis-asigned genitals of one kind or another)?”

Here is a hang-up which I do not have a good answer for: I do not know how to tell you to get really specific with your informed consent and also not rub somebody’s face in their gender dysphoria. (the feeling of unhappiness with one’s assigned gender) For me, I prefer that someone not use anatomical terms, or their corresponding slangs. Some alternatives might include asking “May I touch you?” while running your fingers just beneath your partner’s waistband, or underneath their hemline. You can also use phrases like “Touch you all over,” “Touch you here.” Touch is easily replaced by taste when appropriate 😉  I can go on… “I want to please you.” “I want you to cum for me.” …See, there’s lots of ways to not say “cock” and “pussy.” -I should keyword those and see if my readership increases 😉

What are some common misconceptions about transpeople that you’d like to set straight.

I think some things get covered in my post “Serialnonconformist’s Transgender Media Stylebook.”
Outside of those, I think it’s important to simply trust a person to know who and what they are. If someone tells you a name or pronoun preference that is unexpected based on your preconceived notions, trust them to be the expert.

I included a couple of links that parallel this debunking theme at the end of this post.

Outside of its definition in the dictionary, what does the word “gender” mean to you?

I think what’s important to remember about gender is that it is a societal construct that varies by culture and over time. Gender is not experienced by the body, as it is entirely a matter of the “self” that is only observable within the mind of the individual. How a person wants to be identified and treated is informed by this truth of self. The ignorant often ask why, if saying one is a toaster doesn’t make it so, how can saying one is anything other than the sex they were assigned at birth be so? This is really just a variant on the homosexuality=bestiality=incest=objectophilia argument.

The truth is, as far as one can tell (and there is compelling and solid research on this) there are brains configured for life as a female, and those configured for life as a male… and, presumably, brains for which neither gender is a fit. As it happens, these brain systems develop separately from reproductive anatomy in-utero. Occasionally these processes disagree on which sort of person is being developed, and a transgender individual is the result. Thinking of a transgender person as being physically malformed is probably as close as I can get to explaining the reality of it. So, we can think of a transgender person as being someone who, through accident of birth, inhabits a body which is incongruous with their identity.

Here are the links I promised:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/nov/03/what-not-to-ask-a-transsexual

I love you all

MWAH!

My First Collaborative Blog!! (part 1)

Alright, my loves, I have a real treat today. A reader of mine, who is also a long-time friend IRL agreed to collaborate on a series of blogs, and be the voice of an outside viewpoint.

With that, I’d like to thank my contributor and her husband for creating a really thoughtful dialogue.

Here we go!

 

Is the dating style of a person who identifies as transgender different from a person who identifies as cisgender? How so?

I’m not sure that I would say that there’s a difference in dating style. There are definitely some hurdles and considerations which transpeople face in all parts of life. Dating brings many of these differences into focus. One major issue is the question of whether to share one’s trans* status, and if so, at what point? Another thing to consider is that most of the population (gay or straight) have difficulty envisioning themselves in a relationship with a transperson. I think this happens because transwomen are not seen as being ‘real women,’ and transmen are not seen as ‘real men.’ As that’s the case, this challenges people’s concept of their own sexuality.

What struggles are unique to transwomen in the dating world?

To elaborate on my earlier point, I think the people we seek to date often have a definition problem in accepting a transwoman as being truly female. Cisgender, straight men are taught by their peers that looking at, or touching a penis is disgusting and shameful and DEFINITELY means one is gay (which is seen as basically the worst thing a guy could ever be.) Much of how men experience male privilege requires the convention of heteronormativity. In this way, a cisgender, straight man is known to be dominant over a cisgender, straight woman. In my experience with male socialization, having a penis is central the experience of what being a man is. And men tend to hold the idea that sensitivity, compassion, and other ‘feminine’ expressions of emotion must literally mean that one’s penis is physically smaller than it should be. Now, obviously most or all of this programming is based on truly absurd ideas, but it is still deeply engrained in the psyche of those who are socialized to be male.

With all of this in mind, it may become more apparent what a transwoman identifying as straight or bisexual/pansexual is up against in trying to find a man to date.

As it happens, I identify as a lesbian, and that has many of the same challenges, just flipped upside-down. Women are also given to conflating ‘man’ with ‘penis.’ In this way, the penis becomes the literal symbol of male privilege and oppression. So, if I want to date a lesbian, I do so knowing that I bear the damning mark of the patriarchy. As a vehement feminist myself, it is emotionally complicated to walk the earth bearing any such symbol.

As a transwoman, what is your biggest fear when going on your first date.

I think the biggest fear that is specific to my status is that I will not be seen by my date as I see myself. I have this experience more strongly when dating women who do not exclusively date other women. I worry sometimes that someone will see me as being both male and female and be attracted to me for that reason. Whether the difference is a positive or negative in the eyes of the person I’m dating, seeing me as different is painful.
Straight transwomen have even more difficulty with this, because there are a substantial number of men who fetishize transwomen.

What do you think about the forced responsibility most cisgender people tend to place on transgender people when it comes to making your “status” known.

I don’t know that I believe the cisgender population are actively thinking about our responsibility to be ‘out.’ Then again, we hear over and over justifications for violence against transpeople because the perpetrator(s)suddenly became aware of a transperson’s status. (If that’s news to you, You might find the film “Boys Don’t Cry” eye-opening.)

It’s a delicate subject. For pre-operative transsexuals, like me, it seems a given that a conversation will be necessary before any physical intimacy can happen. I guess I am part of the problem, really. I expect not to be treated as anything but a ‘real woman’ and yet, I have been disclosing my status on my dating profile, because I expect that it will be a deal-breaker for most people. My thoughts on this subject are moving, though. It may be that I start practicing what I preach and stop ‘warning’ people about me at some point.

In any event, the bottom line is this: I would love to live in a world that did not differentiate between transgender people and cisgender people, but that is not the world that exists at this time.

 

7 Habits

DW took an overview course in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” today.  My hope is that this will be a launching point for better conversation that actually gets us somewhere.

In other news, I’m kind of having one of those points in dating (or a lack of dating) where you just have to stand back and giggle.  Dating is so rich with great stories!  I love it for that.  …and, right now, that seems to be enough.

I have found my way back into not really remembering what ‘madly in love’ feels like, and it’s better this way, for now.  Being too close to those thoughts makes me do stupid things.

Also, I wrote a very short apology email to the lady I left in favor of DW.  She was unduly harmed in the process, and I continue to regret that.  I have apologized before, but it felt important to reiterate, now that the dust has settled.

Be well, my loves!

MUAH!

Two is the loneliest number

The departure of VL has me in a tough spot.  I have been awoken from my emotional numbness which had been a useful tool in coping with the shortcomings of my relationship with DW.  In this way, things are significantly worse to cope with than they had been before the arrival of VL.

Tonight was the flash point.  I need someone who understands me on a VL-like level, or I am going to really start to fight with my situation.

 

Be well, my loves!

MUAH!

Betting against

So, VL and I have been texting a little since Sunday’s very strange and abrupt end.  To touch on that briefly, she was called Sunday afternoon about a fire at her apartment building in which there was damage to her unit, and her belongings.  She later texted me that she had too much of her own life to deal with, and only had time for her ex.

Said ex had been in contact with her constantly throughout the weekend, escalating to the point where she threatened self-harm in order to get attention.

Obviously, there is never going to be a place for me, as long as this persists, so I am pinning my last shred of hope on the notion that they cannot possibly last.  If I’m right, it means that VL will have stuck up for herself, and stopped the madness…. If not, I wouldn’t want to try again anyway.

VL, of course, is taking strong exception.  After all, who would want to be told that someone hopes for the end of their relationship?  I get the sense, though, that VL has to hide under a rock to avoid hearing it.  Apparently, her friends see what I see.  There is an adage, “The universe can’t be wrong.” that I think applies.

It’s hard to bet against someone.  At a minimum, it seems to make one a crappy friend.  That being said, though… aren’t the best friends those that will tell you what you NEED to hear even when you don’t WANT to hear it?  I have always found that to be so.

So, that’s the plan, as it is for now.  Let the ex drive her crazy whilst staying WAY out of it… and, take it from there.

Interestingly, I have a date this coming Sunday, which sort of fell conveniently together.

It would be nice if VL and I found our way back to one another, but I am not going to play dead in the mean time.  Who knows, something far better might just pop up!

Oh!  …DW had a date last night.  Seems to have gone very well.  She is not sure whether it’s a friendly thing or romantic thing, but she likes him one way or the other.  🙂

Be well, my loves!

MUAH!!!!

Writhing

Sitting alone in the living room….. again.  The last three weeks would have had me up laughing and smiling over the phone or video conference with VL.  We were up until 6am like clockwork almost every night.

Tonight’s about crying…. that miserable, lonely-girl, woe-is-me sort of crying.

Tonight, it’s back to the loneliness of life as I knew it before.

I’ve been thinking about her.  I thought about how screwed up it was how it all went wrong (story to follow another time)   Her Ex, the reason she broke up with me, emailed me to crow over her coup.  I replied with an email, essentially taking a back-handed high road by forgiving her for being a manipulative bitch.

But, that dear girl, VL.  She never had the chance to tell me she loved me.  I suspect she would have.  But, I sure as hell did love her!  I was really exploring what exactly I had fallen in love with… was it hope?  novelty?  ….No, it was really just about her.  …and this is going to hurt… a lot.

Last night, I fell asleep beside her.  I felt her skin against mine.  Her hair tickled my nose.  I had everything I wanted.

Tonight, I stay awake…  I’m back on earth, loving DW the best way I know how: leaving her the hell alone.  …and, let me be clear, DW loves me.  She has been great through all of this.  But, she doesn’t want my skin against hers.  She doesn’t want my face in her hair.  It’s not her kind of love.  So, I love her in her way.  …and I languish.

The last hour or two has seen me playing the game with myself that has VL seeing the truth, and running back to me as fast as she can.  I do think she will soon tire of the Ex’s mind games, but I somehow don’t feel like that will bring her back to me.  By calling the Ex out on her drama, I have made myself the enemy.

I’m sure another chance to date is somewhere on the horizon, but nobody can ever be VL.  She was singularly unique.  …and, I will always wonder, “What if?”

In a strange way, I am glad it hurts this much.  It means I wasn’t making it up.  I was/am in love with her.  Perhaps it’s at least nice to know that my heart still is able to do that.  Perhaps someday somebody will want it.

I march on.

Goodnight, Vegas Longshot.  I love you.

Be well, my loves!

MUAH!

Interest rates

…this is a post begun April 25th…

 

This week finds me contemplating the idea of interest… in both forms of the word.

DW took a business trip from Friday to Tuesday.  In that time, I didn’t have much contact with her.  This wasn’t due to any lack of wanting that, in fact, I was really working not to be THAT girl and bothering her.  It made me consider the following point:  If one partner shows significantly less interest, it can be very hard to ask them for anything.  This goes hand-in-hand with the post about less interested parties.

The audacity… and perhaps, stupidity of hope

Well, my loves… I have gone and made a complete fool of myself.  I played my customary game of being far more attached than the other party, but this time I failed to notice the disparity.

SDB emailed me this evening and laid out that she had not had romantic intentions in meeting me.  Thus, at no point in all of my tripping all over myself whilst fawning over her did I have even the most remote cause to be doing so.

She explained that the difference seemed so broad that it was her wish to cease contact altogether, citing her fear that it might be hurtful.  I sent a cordial reply thanking her for the evening we had, and acknowledging her wish to cease contact.

So, I’m feeling completely embarrassed.  Mostly, though, it just hurts.  I gave this everything I had, and I just wonder how absolutely silly I must seem to her for having done so.

I wonder too, what the long-term effect of doing this over and over and over will be.  Is there a point at which I just decide that dreams are merely a youthful fallacy?  I hope not.  …That is, I think I hope not.  Becoming a pragmatist would likely hurt a lot less, but what’s the goal?  What would I ever be reaching for?  I have tried, and succeeded (out of necessity) in becoming at least reasonably self-sufficient in addressing my own emotional needs.  And, really, I hate it.

I want, perhaps most of all, to find that someone… that someone who will love me as hard as she can everyday.  I want to understand her implicitly and explicitly.  I want to give my heart to her without a second thought as to the safety of doing so.  I want her to be able to share my feelings literally and actually.  I KNOW this exists.  I have had it!

Yet, it is starting to seem more and more likely that I may not be so fortunate as to have it again.  The fact is, that finding someone to love a poly-trans-lesbian-married-incomeless-mom is probably just not feasible.  For, who could ever learn to love a beast?

I close this night defeated, but knowing that my naivety will stand me right back up to try to find love tomorrow.  Maybe it will be enough to know that someone out there might just want me, and maybe it won’t.  We are not, after all, guaranteed happiness… only the pursuit of it.

I will set about pursuing it more in the morning.  There is no rest for the lonely.

Am I stupid for having my heart broken by someone I met only once? …probably.  But I continue to want to be a dummy with a huge heart on my sleeve, and this is an expected outcome.

Do take care, my loves…. and, if you feel compelled to comment, please do so while showing respect for SDB… this is, after all, not her fault.

Be well

MUAH!