We went on a cabin trip. I’d never been on one and had been looking forward to the infamous “cabin trip secrets”/ “what happened here, stays here” experience. We both were looking forward to it. Being the sleaze ball I was , I had only considered what I could take from the weekend, not what I could learn or be given. Additionally, considering it was branded as a “health and wellness yoga retreat”, at no point prior to our arrival at the cabin did I actually consider learning, doing well, or being healthy. My intention was to go have fun, however, it manifested itself, but hoping for sex.
At some point after the introductions I found myself naked in the hot tub with several other women, relaxed, hopeful, and “on track” with my intentions. Not once in those first few hours had it crossed my mind that my partner, who is much like myself, had the same intentions. Me, “Mr. Equality”, Mr. “women are the same as men and have autonomous sexual rights”, had failed to acknowledge and/or recognize my partners sexual autonomy, mostly because of my own attention and intentions. Because of my error in thought and heart, I was hurt. As I was sharing a private moment with a new friend, my partner was sharing a more intense private moment elsewhere. These moments were the catalyst for our weekend quickfire evolution. Thinking back on it all, as I previously stated, I had no intention to learn anything, but I learned everything that I didn’t want to learn and I am appreciative.
6 Hours Removed
As Andre 3000 would say, “the morning after…” She and I had “the” conversation. “Was it good? Where were you last night? Awwww cool. I’m happy for you.” E’er ting was irie. But, having been “that” guy before, I knew what was next to come. It’s a get away. When you are there and you connect with someone, the general assumption is that you will continue to connect, and even have public displays of affection. I thought I was ready for that. After all, we are polyamorous. We discussed that it was okay. But I was indeed, not okay.
12 Hours Removed
I didn’t sleep at all the night prior. Maybe a wink or two here or there. My moment had consisted of talking all night with my connectee. It was very intimate. Probably more so than sex would have been. Although we’d connected, we weren’t intimate. So, no public displays of affection on our behalf. Meanwhile, she and he were like a newly married couple. Holding hands, rubbing on one another, etc. I was conflicted, angry, and yet calm. The lack of sleep had split my brain straight down the middle. I could hear two separate and distinct voices continuously arguing in my head. They were much louder than the outside world. I couldn’t think straight. What I did know for sure is that she was enjoying him. Her smile told me so. I remember that smile. “She used to smile at us like that”, was the only thing the two voices in my head would agree on. We have been disagreeing a lot lately. We’d even had a disagreement about this very trip. But now I was regretting my presence.
I walked over to the table in the bar in my head where Id, and Su Perego were having this argument.
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!! BOTH OF YOU!!! Let me just have a few moments of silence. Please! I’m begging you.”
They stopped arguing for a moment to mock me. “Get a load of this guy…” They laughed my plea off and continued just as vehemently at each other as if I’d never said anything.
“Oh yea?!?! I know how to shut you mother fuckers up…” ***cut scene to me fumbling with a split open cigar as if I had Parkinson’s, desperately trying to fold end over end around it’s substituted contents, sealing the ends with my tears and spit.***
18 hours Removed
The worst part of the entirety of the situation is that I do not understand why I am upset. I’m happy for her. Her smile, is my smile. But my smile is truant outwardly and inwardly. The 2 mile hike was nice. I reconnected with my talking buddy. She, and the rest of the retreat are painstakingly aware of my internal conflict. She offers her words of wisdom. They are nice as well. The Jeep back to the cabin becomes my captive cauldron of emotions. She is set between me and him and they are still neck deep in new relationship energy. In addition, my new found fear of one car narrow hills, unsafe driving, and getting lost in the mountains of Georgia amongst mostly Trump supporter signs and confederate flags has exacerbated any and every anxiety that I’ve ever had. I’m close to a panic attack, which I’ve only had one other time in my life. My head is bowed firmly against the passengers side back seat. At all moments I am either meditating, crying, sleep, all of the above, or some variable combination. Every so often I look up and to my left to see their hands interlocked or his hand on her thigh, or her hand on his thigh, or both, or a variable combination. This continues for what seems like a brief lifetime. I am told that in reality we were lost for only 2 hours.
24 Hours Removed
We made it back to the cabin long before the other group, lending the space and opportunity for her, him, and me to have a conversation that, in retrospect, probably could have been had prior to. Regardless, I do not own her, and her sexuality is autonomous. My consent is not needed. This we’ve agreed on many times prior to the cabin trip. Id, and Su are dead silent at the table at the bar in my head. We’ve all had a healthy sip of double distilled, 110 proof tequila, which, on a totally unrelated side note I’d recommend to any tequila lover. Even though it’s probably on the fringes of what is truly defined as “tequila”. We are all just happy to be back at the cabin. He leads the conversation with “So… Polyamorous relationship huh????” We delve into definitions, reintroductions, explanations of modes of operations, hypothetical situations, and all things of the manner. The conversation goes well. I am at peace for the moment. I feel a strong urge to give her what she has given me too many times to count. An opportunity to enjoy both of us at the same time. We share a moment.
30 Hours Removed
The other group is back. I’m drunk and still at peace, but in pieces. Id and Su Perego aren’t arguing anymore, but they are not friends like they once were either. Just sitting at the table making commentary. Still much louder than anything going on in the outside world. It’s time for group meditation and such again. We do. Afterward, most of us are mellowed out. I didn’t partake. He is laid at our feet below the couch, seemingly in and out of consciousness. He looks up and makes eye contact with her, calls her name, and makes a formal request for her to lay by his side. I am un-bothered. They start up at the table at the bar in my head again though.
“You should lay with her as well.”
“Nooo let them have their moment. You’re good right?!?!? Don’t interrupt.”
“But I want to…”
Hey…cut it, you two. Fuck it. I’ll just sit here.
36 Hours Removed
We are preparing to leave. Check out time is at 11am. We join hands for the last circle. They are holding hands in the circle. At some point, he turns to her shoulder and kisses it softly. Me, Id, and Su all exclaim aloud internally in unison. “Ahhhhh what the fuck?!?!? Now he’s just doing too damn much…” The circle presses on. We say our goodbyes, pictures are taken, hugs are given, numbers are exchanged. We are on the way home.
42 Hours Removed
We are back to what I know to be comfortable. Just she and I. Id and Su are friends again, and the bar in my head closes up shop. Discussion, discussion, discussion, realization, apology, revelation, discussion, discussion, realization, apology, apology, realization, discussion, revelation, apology, evolution. We arrive home and begin to process the weekend while unwinding. Discussion, apology, appreciation, revelation, revelation, appreciation, apology, discussion, etc.
I love you
I love you too
48 Hours Removed
We touch each other and it feels like the first time all over again. It’s magic. Palpable static between us. She smiles. I touch her again, she smiles, and again. The smiles keep coming. I walk into the bar in my mind again. Id and Su are sharing a laugh and drinks at the bar. Poking fun at each other lovingly.
Naawwwww you started it.
No, you did.
You’re just mad that you didn’t get any.
That may be true but you made the situation worse haha hahaha.
They turn to me and acknowledge my presence.
Sup braaaa? Almost didn’t recognize ya. You look…different. Different good, though, not different bad. You have this like… new look and funky aura around you. Looks good on you man.
Yea… you look really good man.
You two are no worse for wear yourselves. Next rounds on me.
I’d been baptized by fire and born again hard.
Conclusion and Summary of Revelations
I tell people all the time that knowledge and wisdom are close cousins but very separate things. I’d had the knowledge of sexual autonomy, non- possessive relationship configurations, and the like. I’d even preached the gospel. I genuinely believed it deep down in my spirit. But what I lacked was wisdom. And this particular experience turned my knowledge into wisdom. It’s a part of me now. I’ve had to face and address it. It still stands as truth. In our cycles of discussions, apologies, revelations, and vocalizing appreciation I discovered that I’d subjected her to the exact experience I’d just had at the cabin, multiples over during the course of our relationship. Shit…at this point she had been baptized in water, fire, earth, wind and born again harder than I can only aspire to be one day. Upon this realization the apology faucet burst in my mouth and took a while to cut off. I discovered that I had been so focused on adding others to our relationship that she was headed down the path of departure. I continuously thanked her for her patience. I discovered that I’d been ignoring her love language, touch, even though I am a self-proclaimed “touchy-feely” person. I emulated what he’d done for/to her. When I began to give her that again, I discovered that I’d been starving myself of something I enjoyed as well for no reason. We can’t keep our hands off of each other now. I discovered that somewhere down the line I’d began to take her for granted. Still don’t know how that happened. I discovered that I didn’t trust her for whatever reason. A problem easily fixed by a re-framing of my perception and a cutting off of my projections onto her from past relation-shits. All in all a great weekend.
In one of our discussions in trying to explain where I was in processing the weekend I told her this story:
I remember back in college while pledging there was a time when the paddling had started. A few nights of this went by, and on one night in particular after a session with the big brothers, my line brother yelled at me to stop babying my ass. “You keep sitting on soft stuff, and your ass is going to stay soft”. He said this to me as he plopped down Indian style on a long, thick piece of wood. I didn’t understand, but he was the “ace” of the line. I followed suit as I was supposed to do. As I sat down on the wood next to him as tenderly and as gently as I could muster, the shooting pain through my sore buttocks overcame me all at once and I cried out aloud. “Stop being a Lil bitch” my ace laughed. We sat there most of the rest of the night rocking back and forth, reveling in the pain while studying fraternity information and doing regular school homework. After a few nights more of this, there was no more pain when I sat down. I could walk and navigate everything quite easily as if I wasn’t being beaten every night. I became the “rock” of the line. Whatever beating my other two line brothers could not take, I stood in for them mightily, never flinching. So much so, that the big brothers became listless and disinterested in beating us because they could not break me, no matter what they used to beat me.
In this fashion, the detailed aforementioned weekend was my first beating. I was not prepared. However, no sound advice, podcast, poly book, or facebook group discussion thread could have prepared me for the actual experience. You just have to do it. Right now, and forever after, I will be sitting on the wooden plank. Preparing my emotions for the next beating. Dealing with the soreness and hurt. Knowing that it’s for the best. In understanding it all, the hetero-nominative society that we live in indoctrinated us so deeply at birth with ideas heavily associating love with ownership, that I don’t even blame myself for my reaction. I do, however, own my reactions and acknowledge that I am working to change that about myself. I also acknowledge that the administer of the beating is me onto myself, because of my hetero-normative indoctrination, and that at any point I can stop beating myself up. I just have to decide to. I can say that I have stopped, but I won’t truly know until the next time she decides to interact with another male partner.
I will forever be grateful for my experiences at that cabin. I am thankful for the brother that she had her experience with as well for showing me how to love my partner again, and saving our relationship from an untimely death. May my experience and words guide you and prepare you in your relationship journey, Poly and monogamous alike. Peace.
© Stephen R. Freshley and wordbending, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephen R. Freshley and Word Bending a secret but not so secret blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.