I’ve been dating Catch for 3 months now and I’m still enjoying his company. His flaws have begun to show through, and this past Friday, he realized that being polyamorous with me had a different meaning for him, as a straight man, than it does for me.
In an odd way, my “otherness” allows me more freedom in this way of living. Being a cis-gendered and white affords me the privilege of blending in. As a cis female, I am not expected to be open to (taboo!) things such as open relationships, so being poly actually makes me more desirable. Bisexuality means that I’m accepted in both straight and lesbian circles. Being relatively attractive by conventional standards means I have even more choice. I rarely have to seek people out, and when I do, I’m not often turned away.
Catch went to a pub we enjoy for a lesbian dance party night. One of his best friends is a lesbian and he fancied a good beer, so he said he’d end up there that night. Although he started out with making new friends, it ended up being a rough night. He was feeling othered by the lesbian who glared at him all evening and when he asked the server out, she turned him down. Meanwhile, I danced with friends, snagged a number from a woman who was admiring me at the next table over, and reconnected with the woman I recognized from a summer party (I’d made out with her drunkenly, but we never exchanged information). It hurt him that “I could do whatever I wanted” and he couldn’t.
Now, this was all terrible timing on his part (especially as he’s previously confessed that he enjoys being naive to the darker things in life). Going to a lesbian dance night with your poly, bi girlfriend and then hitting on the ONLY person in the entire city who sees us as a couple on a regular basis? He found out the hard way that 1) she’s straight and 2) not everyone is okay with dating someone in an open relationship. He got upset and left. I went to his house and comforted him as we talked about it.
This is the kind of event that reminds me that choosing a poly life is not actually easier than a traditional relationship. You have to balance the feelings of anyone involved with you. I’m constantly gauging whether Catch is still okay with everything. It’s also a balance of several worlds for me – professional and personal, with endless sub-branches and overlaps in each network. Being well known in my city is a burden to keeping my personal life quiet, but needed in my professional life.
Catch has a few things to sort out on his own – the reality of what poly means for him and how he will negotiate it is one thing. He is also at a stage where he is realizing that I’m still around, and I’m still not going anywhere. He is used to abandonment or breakups by this stage. He cares more than he knows how to comprehend. He doesn’t know how to deal with it and has become quieter and more moody.
When he tells me that he loves me now, I don’t know how to react. The initial flame, for me, is already turning into a burning ember – only flaring every so often, like it did when he fell asleep by my side last night. I think about him but don’t desire to be with him all the time. I see his flaws. I get annoyed with his habits, like the way he slurps liquids or when he gets tired and refuses to admit it.
I have such a problem with “love” and what it is supposed to mean. I feel like it’s leaking away from me and I don’t know if I care or not. Perhaps I’m in emotional burn-out. I don’t desire sex as much, and I’m losing my grasp on my other relationships. For now, I’ll just let it be.