Friday, July 26, 2013

A Girl-Crush, A Wall of Grief, and Gold Star Breakup




This’ll be a long post, but I appreciate the way the three things fit together so here goes.

Way back in May when I met Steampunk Guy and Steampunk Girl, I hit on them both but I kind of backpedaled, so there was confusion all around and awkwardness between me and her. When he asked me about it the day after our first couch-date, I gave my standard not-usually-attracted-to-non-Sweetie-girls-but-I-wouldn’t-rule-it-out answer.

But when (a little over a week ago) the day finally came for our first metamour coffee, I thought back to my intentions that first night and realized that my first thought on seeing them was “I want these two to do stuff to me.”

We were meeting right after I’d just had a job interview, so I was feeling all competent and happy. I changed into my favorite blue dress in a café bathroom and felt glowy as I drove out to the suburbs. She’s chosen a coffee shop on a little Christmas village of a street near where they live. When I saw her, there was just no question as to whether I’d been hitting on them both. She’sjustsopretty. She’d come right from work and was wearing a vintage white wrap dress with cap sleeves and pearls. She had on pretty white sandals with wedge heels. I imagine we looked like an adorable pair of ladies.

She took charge, which was helpful since I’d wondered how a submissive and a bottom would fare. She bought me a perfect iced latte and even though it was eight million degrees out, I was glad to stroll down the street with her.

I felt like I bonded with her immediately. We talked and talked and talked. She made me feel superwelcome in their life, even suggesting adding me to one of their Google calendars. (Swoon, I know. I just couldn’t picture him actually doing that.) Even though he’d made it clear that I was just borrowing him from her, she made me feel like we were actually sharing, smoothing over the things about him that don’t always make sense, finding lots of things in common about what else we’re looking for. We’re both really strong women who like to stay that way until it’s time to submit, and out in the world that presents us both the same vexations sometimes. I told her I’d love to be her wing girl when it’s time for dom-hunting.

And here’s where it gets really swoony: She was amenable to the three of us doing snuggly things. That just made my heart giggle. I felt my inner unicorn wanting to come out and romp around, and why shouldn’t it? Without the weird half-monogamy I’d been arbitrarily giving Sweetie, a whole new set of possibilities opened up, and I was giddy with the release.

After I hugged her goodbye and texted him a high five, I drove back into the city inspired as all getout. My smutty imagination and my friend-making heart were all fizzy with hopes and dreams and scenes.

But. She’d reiterated their semi-rule about not dating people who are midbreakup, and I did feel that hanging over me. That was a particularly optimistic day in divorcetown, but what if they decided it was too big of a risk? And trying to make my divorce seem adorable all the time seemed like a recipe for disaster. I couldn’t stand the idea of them joining the overlarge pile of friendships wrecked by my mismanaged love life—I want that to happen exactly no more times.

Then Sweetie and I took our trip up to my mom’s and my sister’s. We didn’t acknowledge it at first, but it would be our last trip together for a long while. It was kind of okay. We played with my niece and nephews, chatted with the family, set off bittersweet fireworks. I felt numb-to-anxious most of the time, and when I hugged my baby nephew, my recently-admitted family urge twisted up an ache in my belly.

But it was alright until it was almost time to leave. I was doing one of my favorite things in the world, playing Mario Kart with the kids (I play as Peach, obviously.) when I started to get a really bad headache. I went out to the porch to get away from the game, and while I was out there I checked my phone, and it was dead. I get really attached to things, even gadgets, and I hadn’t backed up my numbers or my favorite texts, so the broken phone just went ahead and opened up the grief floodgates.

I didn’t quite escape crying in front of the kids, but we got out of there and once we were driving away, the sobs came hard and fast and ugly. I realized that my family would never be the same, and I felt like such a bad person and a failure for breaking up the marriage.

With pauses for friend and job search stuff, the sobs came hard from Sunday to Wednesday. I felt like I was gonna die.

In retrospect it seems crazy that in that state I was trying to make plans with Steampunk Guy, but we did have a whole bunch to talk about. I kinda felt like he was already gone, but you know I’m generally open to goodbye sex. But because of where I am on his list of priorities, his plan-making style takes a lot of self-confidence to deal with. I’d generally find out the day before if he could fit me in, and that worked fine for the little spate when I was working 60-hour weeks and having four partners, but it wasn’t working now. In the process of trying to convince him to include me more, I realized I was negotiating for a thing that had already passed.

If I really had seen him as a treat, it would have worked, but once I realized I liked Steampunk Girl too, I wanted real relationships with both of them. I knew he didn’t have room for that, and I was in no state to navigate it anyway.

I’d hoped to have the conversation in person, but it was weighing on me so I wrote him a bye-for-now love letter. He wrote back kindly and understandingly. Being a reader and a listener, he’d noticed the difference between what I want and what he has to offer. Although I was feeling sad about having to let go of him/them for now, reading his replies made me feel like I’d unlost him, like the warmth of the connection between us was still real. I hope it comes around again, lord knows I’d still love to climb all over the two of them, maybe someday when I’m all happy and settled in. But for now I’m really proud that I put the friendships first and did what I needed to do to take care of myself. There’s a lot of power in admitting what I want and I’m glad that they both helped me see it so clearly.

“We are being awesome at this breakup.” I typed, “Two gold stars.”

“Two gold stars and a pony sticker. High five :)”


I told him he could go ahead and make that a sparkly unicorn sticker and that’s the story of my first breakup that ever ended in a high five. Compared to that mess of a breakup with The Man, this feels like a miracle, it feels like I’ve come so far. Thanks for getting me here, pals. I'm sad we're not snuggling, but I’ll be so happy to see you around town.

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