Kathy, in her own words. I Love you, hon.
Hello. My name is Kathy, and I am not an alcoholic.
Oh, wait…I’m supposed to be writing a blog. On the suggestion of my partner, my big guy, Ken, this is my very first ever attempt. Now...where do I start?
I suppose I should start with a few preliminaries. I’ve been on this earth now for almost 48 years. I’m short enough that if I were to sit on the ground, my feet would still dangle, according to my close friends (Chris, Ray and Ange – yes, I’m looking at you LOL ☺) I’m told my eyes and smile are my two best features, and that my wit and intelligence are razor sharp. That’s high praise from people whom I hold in high esteem, and I will admit to having had feelings of inadequacy compared to them.
You see, I feel like the life I’ve lived up until now has been, not necessarily pointless, but certainly not the one I would have chosen. But the problem is, is that I did choose some of the things that have led me to where I am now. Growing up, I was the typical kid, I believe. The oldest of three, I was a bit of a tomboy. My mother will say I loved wearing dresses, but I will disagree furiously. Spending lots of time growing up with my various first cousins, we spent a lot of time learning and doing on our own. The younger years, I can recall some bullying through public school, mainly for the horrendously thick Coke-bottom eyeglasses that I absolutely had to wear – that, and with the surname of “Morris” and the abundance of “Morris the Cat” television commercials in the 1970’s, led to endless rounds of teasing about how I liked my 9 Lives and Tender Vittles. Thanks to a few of those aforementioned male cousins, and the fact my natural tendencies led me to hit first, ask questions later, I had more or less sealed my fate as one who remained mostly friendless with the exception of a few, until the completion of grade six.
I met my BFF’s Chris and Ange in grade seven. 1982, as I recall. My parents moved us from the home we knew (formerly my grandfather’s general store – a minor story for another time) in the “don’t blink” village of Hatchley, to the thriving metropolis of Brownsville, west of Tillsonburg. New school should mean new friends, right? Not so easily at first. Moving took me away from the ones that I had grown up with since kindergarten, and that was not an easy transition for me. But, Chris and Ange and I – we clicked. Both ladies are intelligent and beautiful, Chris being tall and elegantly slender, and Ange a willowy sweetheart. And I’m forever grateful that we have held onto the bond that we formed back then.
Two years later, entering Grade 9, I met Ray and Dan, best friends themselves. Dan – I fell for, hard and fast. Never having had a boyfriend up to that point, I wasn’t really sure what to do with what I was feeling. I just knew that, to me, he was boyfriend material and I would do just about anything to make that happen. Ray, on the other hand, I knew I really liked as a very good friend. We were called the Three Musketeers by a few of the teachers, I seem to remember. Always hanging out together, always laughing and cracking the jokes, making others laugh, and getting into mischief – not severe enough to earn an office visit, but enough to irk those same teachers periodically. Fast forward a few years – Ray and Ange are engaged and married shortly after in 1989, and Dan and I followed the same path a year later.
I will offer a piece of advice to anybody who is in their late teens or early 20’s, and thinking marriage is the way to go. Don’t. Please don’t do it. Speaking from my own experience, Dan and I were too immature and young to have bound ourselves like that. We didn’t get to experience life first, before we started to work full time and then commit to a marriage that he admitted to me as having only entered because “we had spent all that money on the wedding.” The end of that relationship was a devastating blow, because I had invested 10 years of my life to that point in him. I had made him my life, and now, I had to figure out how to live my own.
I floundered for a while. I lived on my own in a dinky little apartment in the downtown core of Woodstock, before I had to admit defeat when I realized $7/hour on 35 hours per week just wasn’t enough to pay all the bills and actually still be able to eat. So, into my parent’s home I went, where I stayed for about another year. At that time, I was introduced to Jim, a slightly older man that my aunt thought I should meet – he would be perfect for me. She loved him, he already knew some of my extended family, so I thought, why not? It’s not like I had the guys beating down my door wanting to spend time with me.
So, we had our first date, coffee (tea for me) at Williams. We clicked. He was funny, and had lots of stories to tell. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say, we clicked well enough that we moved in together within 6 months, even though there were some red flags to which I should have been paying attention. He was fresh out of a 9 month marriage – I had already been separated for about a year and a half, with the divorce from Dan having been finalized a few days after our initial meeting. We had some good times. I won’t lie and say we didn’t. In 1999, we brought our daughter into the world. The apple of both our eyes, and she was definitely Daddy’s little girl.
We married in 2003. We lived life as best we could, but it was hard, always financially strained, living opposite lives during the week due to our conflicting work schedules. And, without realizing what was happening, a slow but subtle shift to what was a loving relationship, to one that seemed more loveless as time went on. There are far too many details to explain sufficiently what happened here, so that may have to be another blog on its’ own. The brief summary is that, in 2014, Jim suffered a medical incident which led to the final dissolution of the marriage. The incident resulted in disability status for him, an almost 2 year period of no work (but thank heavens, there was disability pay through his work), and a definite erosion of who he was. I watched in bewilderment as the man I loved and thought I knew, became a man that nobody knew. I cannot say that I may not have precipitated some of the marital issues we encountered then. I had become a caregiver, to both him and our daughter. I was parenting two. I was working full time outside the home, and then during “family time”, I was responsible for most of the daily home life operations. I was tired, angry and upset with the situation, and frustrated that my husband, 7 years older than I, was reverting back to more and more of a petulant teenager state. I had one teenager already, thank you. I didn’t need another to contend with.
He made the decision on November 11th, 2015 that changed all three of our lives. He moved out of the house.
I was a total basketcase. I will freely admit that. But I loved Jim, and again, as with Dan in the very early stages of dating, I would do just about anything to repair my marriage and hopefully bring him back within the fold. Counselling. Trying to show and express to him how much I cared, how much I loved him. I cringe now, thinking about what I did to try and keep him with me. I even took him back for a weekend to try and reconcile. That weekend was the final nail in the coffin. I can’t bring myself to detail precisely what happened, but you may use your imagination when I say that some of his last words to me included, and I kid you not, “any p*ssy would have done.”
Next phase of life – abandonment. Mediation. Trying to settle financial affairs, such as the vehicle purchased only 4 months before the walkout date in November. My daughter to care for, a house to run and prepare to put on the market. Finding a new place to live. So much loneliness, so much activity, and yet so much inertia.
I put myself out there, on a dating site – Plenty of Fish. There’s a first time for everything, right? You know, you really haven’t lived until you set up your profile in the evening over a couple of glasses of wine, go to sleep, wake up slightly hung over and check your account to find that, in your Top Matches, practically at the top of the list, is your own brother. EWWWWWWWWW…… bleach the eyeballs now! Sorry Mike, I love you, but I don’t love you THAT way.
That was almost the end right there of my time on POF, but I shook that off, and after reviewing lots of mostly disturbing messages and photos (ick), I found one guy that I thought I would like to meet. So, I did meet him. No names here, because not everybody in my inner circle knows about him, but after about 2 months, I decided that his lifestyle choices did not align with mine, nor would I want my daughter or friends to be exposed to his proclivities.
Another brief search, and I found Buck. Again, I felt a click. Lots of common interests, father of 3, hard worker, and a no nonsense approach to family values. We started to see each other. He worked long hours through the week, so there was rarely time to see him then, but lots of text communication. No difference there, really, compared to the situation with Jim. Weekends became “our time”. Over the course of the next several months, a few red flags surfaced. Hint, hint, Kathy…but again, I either chose to ignore them or to sweep them aside. There were a few explosive arguments. Every time one of those occurred, I was made to feel as if somehow I had instigated the issue, and belittled for attempting to offer opposing views or opinions. A trip away would hopefully bring enlightenment, and one was booked to Cuba. For the most part, that trip was a good time. Other times, over the course of the relationship, several incidents occurred that made me fear for my peace of mind, if not my own personal safety.
Have you ever gone along with something in a relationship, because that was the expected thing to do? Well, I was fast becoming aware of that during the course of that relationship with Buck. Things started to feel out of my control. Weekends were always “our time”, to the point where I felt as if I couldn’t ask for “me” time. Not a single woman, obviously, but still a woman who should be able to assert herself and say, no, not this weekend, I have things to do and I need some alone time. I grew increasingly frustrated over the course of the relationship, seeing a life shaping up that I didn’t know if I necessarily wanted. I should have put a stop to it earlier, but change is hard, you know.
I met an online friend part way during this period. You may know him. First name: Ken. Last name: Breadner. There’s clicking with people, and then there’s CLICKING. And boy, did we click. I found him to be witty, punny, empathetic, always willing to provide a listening ear and a helping hand where possible. I sensed a bit of a similar pattern in our younger upbringing and trials and tribulations, and we began to share stories and experiences. More and more, I found myself engaging with him in the virtual world. He soon became one of my biggest and staunchest supporters, and I don’t know exactly when it began, but feelings of friendship started to develop into something more. You see, I knew his wife, Eva, from before. She and I shared Chris as a friend, and even though my relationship with Eva wasn’t quite as well developed as with Chris, we still got along together very well. I don’t recall if initially it was Chris during one of her annual visits home who told me that Ken and Eva had opened their marriage, that they were polyamorous, or if it was Ken himself during our online discourse. Regardless, I was intrigued. I asked questions and observed. More and more, I started having feelings that were definitely more romantic and loving in nature, than just a “friendship” type of love. But…I also had similar, if distinctly different feelings for Buck.
The dilemma of having feelings for both men began in earnest. Most of my friends and family who know me well, know that I’ve always been an emotional seesaw – up one moment, down the next, and also prone to explosive bouts of anger and despair. Those feelings tempered over the last year or more, to the point it was brought up to me in a private discussion with one of my aforementioned close friends, that they had never seen me so happy and…gasp…stable. Go figure. Stable has never been a word associated to me lol. I appreciated the input, but I was really feeling anything but stable. I was warring with myself, because how could I possibly be feeling romantic and loving feelings for both? Isn’t that wrong? The further that the relationships both progressed, the more I felt as if I were drowning, because I knew, ultimately, that I would not end up with Buck. I may have felt a type of “love” for him, but I also knew I wasn’t the one for him. We were too far off on our ideologies and beliefs. I couldn’t communicate with him, as he was not open to emotional intimacy, nor was he an open minded person as I believe myself to be. But I also knew I was accustomed to the security, tentative as it was, that he provided. The vacations away, the dinners out, the buying of trinkets – mostly at his urging or doing, but not always funded by him alone. I have always believed that material things don’t matter – that time spent together matters more. And yet, I was finding myself resenting more and more the time we spent together. Because, I discovered I was denying myself. I would not speak up, for fear of angering him. I began to fall into what I now refer as the “doormat” stage of the relationship. And I eventually reached a point where I could deny myself no longer.
Two years can teach a person a lot about themselves. I could no longer deny that I believe I am polyamorous. That I can establish and maintain multiple committed relationships in my life. And I knew he could never, ever understand that. I made the hard decision at the end of the year to let him go, mainly for my sake, but with the hope that he could find the one person that would suit his needs far better than I.
Emergence. This is the next phase of my life. I liken myself to the butterfly, breaking free from the chrysalis and about to take my first soaring flight. I’m nervous about where this will lead me. Most of my family are unaware of this stage of my life, and only a handful know of what is about to commence.
For those who paid close attention to the opening paragraph, you did read that correctly. Ken is my partner, in love and life. Eva is wonderfully supportive of us both, and I love her dearly for it. I’ve never felt so exhilarated, so free, to be the person that I believe I am. No longer do I feel as if I’m living another’s life. I feel, for the first time, I’m living life the way I should have been all along. There are moments that I will never regret, for if I did, then I wouldn’t be the open, loving, person that I hope I am today. Lessons were learned along the way, and I hope to take what I’ve learned and move forward and give and receive abundant love. Because….isn’t that what life is all about?
Ken back. Thank you, hon, and again, I love you.
For those new to the concept of polyamory, and wondering what it's all about, I offer two links. The first is called More Than Two, a site maintained by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, who wrote a book by the same name that is very highly regarded in "poly" circles. I've linked to the FAQ; on that site, you will also find dozens of links to polyamory resources that will answer your questions better than I can.
The second -- if you want a more personal take -- is a link to a previous entry in this blog entitled I Could Never Do That. It is my most well-received blog on polyamory so far.
And for those concerned about Kathy's well-being...I recognize and respect your concerns. Suffice it to say that I love Kathy every bit as much as you do. My love for Eva, my wife of eighteen years now, does not diminish my love for Kathy one iota, nor is the reverse true. Kathy has been hurt in the past. Any hurt she receives in the future WILL NOT come from me.
This post first appeared on The Breadbin, please read the originial post: here