Poly talk: accomplished!

Another board game cafe night with The Doll.  Between games he mentioned that he’d read a couple of the comments I’d made in the FetLife discussion groups and said “So I guess I should shave this off…?” (indicating his arm hair; I’d made some remark about not liking body hair on guys too much).  I said it was his body and I’d never dictate what he should do with it; he can do what he wants.  And he was like “I want to be attractive to you.”  Damn. 😀

And then I steeled myself and said “So, if you’ve been reading what I write on FetLife, you might have seen that I have kind of a nonmonogamous bent…?” [he nodded.]  “What are your thoughts?  Do you want to talk about that?  Do you have any questions or anything?”

The Doll said some stuff along the lines of “I’ve never done anything like that before and I think I might be able to deal with it in theory but I’m not really sure” and then got all embarrassed and said that he was babbling (I don’t think he was) and that maybe he should just shut up and let me talk.

Without him asking me questions, I wasn’t sure where to start.  So I told him that I only have limited poly experience; that Minx and I started out monogamous and opened up our relationship over time, and a few years before that I’d dated a guy in an open marriage (who just wanted one girlfriend).  So in both of those cases, I felt like I had a clear and stable role in a relationship pecking order – this is the first time I’ve tried to be poly without any kind of pre-existing framework, and it seems kind of scary, but I’m determined to try.

And I told The Doll how amazing it was the first time I kissed The Pedant and Minx was serenely happy for me, and I confessed that Minx never actually got around to seeing anyone else so I’ve never really had to deal with that (thanks to the open marriage guy, I learned to share; I just never got exposed to the uncertainty of a partner dating new people who might take time and attention away from me).  But I added that I’ve thought about this stuff a lot and I’m pretty sure I can handle it, albeit with the odd request for reassurance.  I explained my epiphany that what a partner does when I’m not around has no bearing on anything as long as I’m still getting what I want out of the relationship.

think I told him that if we communicate openly and honestly everything will probably be fine.  I meant to say that, anyway.  The Doll’s undivided attention was making me all stammery and self-conscious, though (boy, I’m really not used to dating guys who let me talk.  How sad).

Now my dilemma is: if stuff does in fact happen with anyone else, do I tell The Doll?  It seems like the thing to do, but when Minx and I were first dating (and trying to be poly, for like two weeks and then I panicked and put on the brakes) I offhandedly mentioned an upcoming date with The Latent Heterosexual and Minx’s body language became so awkward.  I realized at that moment that a person accustomed to monogamy really wouldn’t know how to react to something like that*; it would probably seem like I was rubbing his face in it or trying to incite jealousy or something.

And you’ll note that The Doll didn’t ask me whether I’m currently seeing anyone else – so either it didn’t occur to him that I might be, or he was a little overloaded on poly theory already and didn’t want to end up taking it into poly practice quite so soon.  Ignorance is bliss, etc., etc.

But see, if stuff happens with someone else and I don’t tell The Doll, I can just about guarantee that he’ll assume nothing’s going on and then if it comes out later he’ll feel all betrayed.  So how do I bring it up?

I ask because I want to do naked things with The Pedant.  In a way, I want to do naked things with The Pedant because I’m seeing The Doll.  The Pedant has kind of a “throwaway” feel to me that The Doll does not; I’m debating using The Pedant to work through the various sexual hangups and dysfunctions Minx gave me so that if/when The Doll and I get to a sexytimes place, I’m at the top of my game.**

When I say that The Doll doesn’t have a “throwaway” vibe, I don’t mean that I’m falling for him or anything.  I think what it is, is that he seems more vulnerable than The Pedant.  Less thick-skinned.  So I have to be careful.

Am I falling for The Doll?  No.  I want to fall for him (he’s cute and solicitous and affectionate and buys me gifts and lends me books and has expressed a desire to cook for me sometime!!!), and maybe I even will fall for him one day when I know him better and my wounds from Minx have healed, but right now I’m just enjoying the attention.

I find, however, that I’m alternately trying to push myself into liking him more than I do, and wondering whether I should bolt entirely.  It all boils down to a fear I have that one day down the line he’ll drop an “I love you” and I’ll freeze up and eventually go “…Um…thanks…!” – I’m wanting to try to force my hand one way or the other now to avoid a potentially awkward scene down the road.  But who says he’s falling for me?  He’s made no outright declarations that he thinks we’re in a relationship; his FetLife profile still says he’s single; yes, he’s invited me to a gathering at his friends’ place and offered to make me dinner sometime, but so what?  Neither of those things means we’re engaged.

Probably I’m just being paranoid.  I’m going to try not to think too far into the future and just enjoy the ride for now.

I’ll tell you this: his eagerness to please is kind of thrilling.  I’ve kinda lost my mojo lately and don’t have much confidence as a domme; The Doll seems like someone I could find my footing with, possibly in a pretty spectacular fashion.

Okay, one more question before I go to bed: do I need to tell The Doll where I think this is going before we have sex?  I mean would sleeping with him mislead him into thinking we’re in (or at least heading toward) a relationship?  On one hand, I’m feeling like he might not be more than friends with benefits material for me.  On the other hand, there’s a chance that could change, or even that sex with him would act as a tipping point and I’d find myself having feelings for him.  I’d like to try out the sex before making any big declaration about what it means, but I’m not sure that would be ethical.

*Personally my vote would be “Oh, okay.  Have fun!”

**Before you tell me how mean that is, can I just say: I bet I could outright tell The Pedant this plan and he’d say yes without taking offence.  He likes winning at sex (he claims he doesn’t have that attitude but when we trade sexual anecdotes, his smug “I won!” vibe permeates everything he says), so the challenge of helping me get through some issues would appeal to him.  I think the idea of being my first new fuck in three years would appeal to him, too.  Or he just wouldn’t give a shit that I was using him for practice because hey, sex.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Poly talk: accomplished!

  1. jnakabb

    In my complete lack of experience, I think you probably should tell him before sexytimes :
    to avoid unrealistic expectations as to where things are leading (fun)
    to communicate/inform sexual health (have other partners who are safe)
    as a part of raising the bar on consent (consenting to play with real me)

    Pump up that Mojo !

    • I have tentatively decided on a pre-sex (pre-naked, even) speech. Something like “Hey, so I enjoy your company and I like that our hangouts have a low-pressure, let’s-just-see-where-it-goes tone to them. I’d like to escalate the physical stuff but I want to make it clear that this doesn’t mean my headspace has changed – I still want to be low-pressure and let’s-just-see-where-it-goes, but with naked times. Is that cool?”

  2. I’d say you’ve already done most of the telling. You’ve already said you’re coming out of a major relationship and need time and space to process that, and now you’ve clarified your intent to be non-monogamous too. It sounds like a little ‘just so we’re clear this has to go slow / stay casual for now and I don’t know where it’s headed yet’ mention is all you need and you’re set.

    After all, it sounds from what you’re saying that you haven’t made your mind up yet, so why close off possibilities before you know for sure?

    I hope it all goes well.

    J.

  3. I agree with J.

    On the subject of whether to mention it when you’re seeing other people, I think you should just let it come up naturally in conversation. He should probably know if you are seeing someone else, for the reasons you mentioned, but he doesn’t necessarily need to know as soon as you’ve made the date with the other person. Maybe if he asks how your week/day/whatever went, you could mention casually that you had a nice date with someone, or something. If you treat it like it’s no big deal, that gives him the cue to react like it’s no big deal. And it gives him a chance to get used to the reality of poly before y’all get too invested in each other.

    • Maybe if he asks how your week/day/whatever went, you could mention casually that you had a nice date with someone, or something. If you treat it like it’s no big deal, that gives him the cue to react like it’s no big deal.

      Yes! That makes total sense. That’s where I went wrong with Minx back in the day, I guess – I mentioned a date with someone else out of the blue, for no apparent reason* or context, so he had no cues for how to react.

      * My reason was simply that I thought full disclosure was the ethical thing to do.

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