I have, in pretty much every relationship I’ve had, been either living with the other person, or (at university) been sleeping with them pretty much every night. I think that has caused me some problems in the few relationships I’ve had that didn’t fit this model.

I was a late starter, relationship wise. But when I did finally get a steady girlfriend (call her E), the relationship lasted over a year. Not bad for someone I met in the queue to open a bank account in my first day of university. With E, we had a pretty intense relationship in which we spent almost every night together during the term, and had a few empty weeks missing each other over the holidays.

This was a pattern I was to repeat though my years at university.

When Caitlin and I got together, due to circumstances, she moved straight in with me, and we can’t have spent more than a handful of nights apart since. This has left me, I feel with a slightly different view of relationships to lots of people. As we were thrust together so suddenly, and while very much desired, also quite unexpectedly, we had to cope with all the stresses of living together, with none of the being able to retreat to our own houses for some space.

We really wanted it to work, and so we talked through all the problems and arguments; something that aides us today as we embark on our open relationship.

So, back to the subject. Amy, our girlfriend, does not live that close, and can’t visit nearly as often as we’d all like. So for the first time in my life, I’m having to have a relationship at a distance. Its been very enlightening, and has made me think lots about how I view trust and jealousy.

I, of course, trust Caitlin. We’ve shared so much that it really couldn’t be otherwise. With Amy, though, I’ve had to accept that I’m not there all the time, and have to trust her.

I do, by the way!

Its something that probably comes naturally to most people, but is not something I’ve had to deal with up to now. Amy also has her own life to lead, distinct from Caitlin and mine.

This physical distance also means that contact is quite different to the time I spend with Caitlin. When Amy is with us, the time is finite, and feelings and touches something to savour, as there will be a gap before they can be repeated. It makes for very interesting times.

I’m very happy.

Complete or Finished

So somebody tweeted this morning:

Difference between complete and finished? If you’ve a beautiful girlfriend life is complete, wife finds out, you’re finished.

If I had been strictly monogamous my response would probably have been ‘if your wife is the beautiful girlfriend then you’re complete’. With my rather more polyamorous head on I went for ‘if your wife is involved too then you’re complete’. But either way, I felt it necessary to question that humour.

While at a word play level I can appreciate the funny side of this joke, at another it roused a level of annoyance within me for that typical casting of the wife as the bad guy.

Too often, I see the wife cast as a monster, lurking in the shadows, preventing the ‘poor’ husband from enjoying himself. And when a husband is portrayed as being able to have fun it is only by defiantly ‘disobeying’ her. As if the couple is incapable of reaching an adult agreement together, or being honest, and instead behave in a parent/child manner (and I don’t mean in a role play sense).

The only figure more terrible than the wife, is of course, her mother!

Somehow the beautiful loving girlfriend, becomes resented when she becomes a wife.

But why should it be so. Of course some of this is portrayed in jokes like the one mentioned, but often those stereotypes are replayed and reinforced by men talking about their own wives. Are so many people unhappily married that they would denigrate their partner publicly that way. I can’t help but wonder, do the wives know how their husband talks about them?

Sometimes I dislike being described as a wife, precisely because I am afraid that the listener will hear those stereotypes, rather than the cherished person that being Perrin’s wife means I am.

I wonder, do so few people have an adult relationship with their partner, or are they all really so embarrassed to admit that it is a partnership that they have to hide their feelings behind insults.

Either way, if you love your wife, if she is your love, and your lover and your friend, as she should be, stand up for her today. Tell someone how special she is. Make her the princess and not the monster.

And yes, I know the same is sometimes true in reverse, it’s not defensible either way.

How lucky I am

In the last few months, we’ve been getting to know a few people from around the internet, that I’d like to count as friends. They are like minded, intelligent, sensual people, who enjoy sex, a bit of kink — above all, nice people to know.

Most of them have partners who do not appreciate these qualities in them. To feel fulfilled, they have to be secretive, to deny who they truly are, to be with the one they love.  They sometimes have to go behind their partner’s back. I really don’t judge them for this, I’ve (nearly) been there myself.

It had not been so very long since I was getting my fulfilment from a computer screen, my wife’s sex drive suppressed by contraception (the irony of this is not lost on me!)

We managed to get through that together, more by luck than anything else.

I guess, what I want to say, is how I feel really lucky to be here, with a person I’m deeply in love with. We can share our feelings about ourselves, and others. It’s a position I really appreciate.