Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Green-Eyed Monster

I have a confession to make… it’s an uncomfortable one, and it’s been a humbling lesson for me to learn.

I get jealous.

Sometimes, I get very jealous.

I had thought, because it wasn’t something I have dealt with in a long time, that I was past that problem, that it was something I had outgrown. Poly folk love to talk about jealousy, who feels it, who doesn’t. Who deals with it well, who deals with it badly. And what happens when things implode because of one person being jealous of another.

Now, here is something neat. Mr Awesome, because of his nifty brain wiring (he has Aspberger’s) actually doesn’t feel jealousy. I don’t think he is actually capable of it. And a neat thing about living with someone on the spectrum is that you start to pick up certain traits of theirs… Actually I guess that is a truth no matter who you are living with. After all, we have all seen those couples who have been together so long that they start to look like each other and pick up all sorts of habits from the other partner.


I’ve always, proudly, told people that I don’t get jealous. Because people always ask, when they find out that you are poly, how do you deal with the jealousy. And I would tell them about Mr Awesome’s awesome brain, and how he doesn’t really feel it, and how I don’t really get jealous either, because there isn’t something that another lover could offer him that would nullify or take away from what he and I have. No one, no matter how pretty, or kinky, or smart, can give him what I have given him – more than a decade and a half of friendship, love, experiences, and the family and home we have built.

And I found myself getting jealous of the time he spent with Velah. I found myself feeling possessive and a little left behind. They share a martial arts hobby, and I found myself jealous of that time. Not that he and I don’t have awesome things that we do together, not even that I am all that interested in learning Bartitsu, but it was something that was theirs, and it was a little hard to watch.  And it’s something I’m doing well with, now, even though it was hard at first. Which brings me back to the question of, how does a poly person deal with the jealousy?

People assume that jealousy is automatically an unhealthy emotion, but that isn’t true. Jealousy is simply an emotion. Our reaction to it is what makes it healthy or unhealthy… I suppose any emotion is that way, really.

I could curl up into a ball, be sad and hurt and lonely when they are out. I could resent the time they  have together. I could throw fits and make it hard for him to go see her, either through making plans of my own or through emotional manipulation. But these are unhealthy reactions, and I’m a better person than that.

I could – and do – choose an alternative.

I find out why I feel the way I do. Do I feel jealous of the time they are spending because I need more time with Mr Awesome? Or is all good on that front, and I need more time with another lover, or time to myself to do some shopping or other personal maintenance. Am I feeling taken advantage of, like I am the partner who is home with the kids the bulk of the time, and I need a break? Or is there something else, unrelated to the situation, that is presenting itself as a jealous reaction to their happiness and shared time. I try to take the time, either through journaling or quiet thoughtful time, to find out where my emotions are, and find my center. Often, my jealous feelings stem from an unmet need, and when I can figure out what that need is, and how to meet it, I feel better.

The absolute worst feeder for bad feelings, for me, is idleness. I am an active person, I need to remain active and learning and doing or I spiral back toward depression. That bitch won’t get the best of me, so I do what I can to mitigate that. So, I’ve figured out why I’m jealous of the time he is taking away, and I still have those emotions to deal with, so now what? If what I am feeling is a sense of stagnation, that’s a great time for me to get out a crazy complicated project and lose myself in it… learn a new stitch, work at a zentangle piece, or worry through some writing that has been in the back of my brain. If what I am feeling is loneliness, I see if Wash is up for a chat, or if Moredena is available for an evening. If what I am needing is more time with Mr Awesome, I try to articulate that, by telling him that I think his time with another lover is great, but I miss him and we need a date night, or a family weekend, or both.

Another thing that complicates this is the fact that we have kids. I try very hard to communicate with them at their level, and tell them something like, “Mom is having a bad day today. I’m tired, and a little grumpy. So I need a little extra help for all of us to have a good day… let’s work hard to get our chores and homework done, and then maybe we’ll get into jammies early and I’ll make popcorn and we’ll watch a movie.” Usually once we’ve gotten through the evening routines and have moved on to the fun part of our time, I’m feeling better, and so are they. And these nights end up being some of the best memories I have of being a mom, and I know it is time the kids love.

It is my hope, in writing some of this out, that I can maybe help someone else navigate these complicated feelings. And, as always, I would love to hear any thoughts or ideas on dealing with jealousy… please feel free to leave them in the comments below.


Something New

Hey all… It’s been a busy couple of weeks here, with getting the kids back to school and soccer schedules and all. Ive still been writing though, and I wanted to let you in on a little secret. I’m starting a book.

It’s always been a daft little dream of mine to see my name on a shelf at Powells… Maybe I can make it come true.

I hesitate to call this a “romance” but it is a romantic story. It starts with the events of 9-11. Being myself, it is a romantic story with a poly twist, and I am interested to see where my characters go with it.

So, I present to you, chapter one, or at least a little bit of it. It may be a bit triggery for some people, as it talks in detail about the morning of 9-11.

Chapter one

I woke that morning with a sense that something had shifted. Before I stumbled downstairs and kissed my wife good morning, before I drank my coffee with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer chattering at me from the East Coast, before selecting a simple broomstick skirt and lightweight cotton blouse, before everything.

I could hear, through my open bedroom window, the sounds of someone crying next door. Loud, gulping sobs. And the sounds of TVs and radios all over the neighborhood, turned up too loud.

I woke up thinking “something has happened”.

It was a half an hour before my alarm should go off, and I needed the extra rest. I pulled the comforter over my head, to try and block out the sounds, the news voices, the crying neighbor, the barking dogs. But the damage was done, I was irrevocably awake. Time to start my day.

I scrubbed my hands against my eyes and fumbled for my glasses so I could see to go downstairs. Pulling my skirt up over my lean muscled legs and hips, the sense of something off congealed into a ball of dread. The too-loud TV was in my living room. And I hear the words “planes” “New York” and “attack”. The crying person wasn’t a neighbor, it was my wife, Beth.

And then, then I knew, something had gone terribly wrong.

The downstairs smelled of coffee and Eggo waffles and Beth’s own scent of oil paint and vanilla body wash. She was already dressed for work in overalls and a tank top. It was supposed to be hot that day, and she was working on a mural in one of the new office buildings downtown. Her thick blonde hair fell like curtains around her red and tear-streaked face.

“Zoe, they’ve attacked New York. Zoe, it was the World Trade Center. So many people, someone flew a plane into the building, and so many people are dead or dying… Brian. Brian was supposed to be there today. He flew into New York yesterday.”

First Day


And just like that, my house is empty. Both kids in school and riding the school bus, and for the first time in 10 years, I don’t have someone under foot all the time.

I’m excited for Lil D… She’ll have some grand adventures, and some heartaches. She will make new friends, and her mind will grow and stretch just as her body has been doing these past 5 years. And I’m so proud of her… She was barely nervous and very excited and so thrilled to be on the us with her brother and the older neighbor kids.

I hope her teacher realizes what a special soul she is….

For my Dad


Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.


It’s been 14 years today, Dad, and I still miss you. I hope you are happy, where ever you are.

Can you see the kids, Dad, from your place up high? My son looks and act so much like you. You’d be so proud of Lil D. She starts kindergarten this year.

My marriage is still going strong, Dad. We might not be making it work according to your standards, but I think you still would be happy for us.

I try to take care of Mom, Dad, like you wanted me to. It has been neat to build a friendship with her, since you’ve been gone. But I know she misses you terribly, and I feel certain that it won’t be much longer before the two of you are together again.

I see you, every time I visit the ocean. I see you in my son’s smile, hear you in my daughter’s laugh. Little pieces of you are everywhere.

I still miss you, Dad, even though you didn’t go far…


I don’t even know where to begin this… and please forgive me for being all over the place tonight.

Superman died this week.

Ok, so he wasn’t really Superman, but to someone, he was. And he was obsessed with Superman. One of my clearest and earliest memories of him is his Superman belt buckle and matching Superman earring.

Four. That’s the number of losses in my circle in the last couple of years.

Mitch died of a broken heart. Literally. His stopped working. I hadn’t spoken to him in years, but I knew through the magic of Facebook that he was very ill. He was the first person I ever danced with. We were in the seventh grade and he was wearing a soft green sweatshirt. And his heart stopped working. He was the first person I knew that was my age that died.

Erica was my friend The Hag’s older sister. She died in a car wreck, last summer. I didn’t know her at all, but I went to her funeral to support The Hag. Because I had to. Because I’ve been through loss and I wanted to be a shoulder for an old friend.

Penny was Mr Awesome’s first long relationship after we opened back up. She died from a seizure. I’ve written about her before, in this post.

Slash was partnered to Penny from while she and Mr Awesome were dating until the day she died. I knew him from before that, when he was dating my co-worker’s step-daughter. He’s been on the periphery of my life for more than a decade.

Slash loved Penny with everything he had, and when she died, he kind of stopped, too. And this week, he decided to join her, and he shot himself.

My former co-worker messaged me last night to tell me. And while I can’t say I am surprised, I am still sad. I am sad that he never healed, that he never moved on. I’m sad for the loss and the waste.

And I hope that, somewhere, he is back with Penny and he has found his peace.

When you are poly, and the metamour of someone your spouse dated years ago, who has also passed, dies, how do you grieve?

How do you tell someone the odd depth of connection you have to this person? It was hard when Penny died, too, trying to explain to the people we weren’t out to why we were hurting so badly over someone we hadn’t seen in about a year. Telling my co-worker that there I knew some folks who knew Slash who would be interested in any information about a service seemed like a limpid half-truth. Telling the head Soccer Mom this morning that an old friend had died seemed like an injustice to the person he was and the place he held in our lives, as well as a complete cover-up of everything I am.

I’m realizing I have some thinking to do about these questions. And I don’t know what the answers will be – there is no Miss Manners for dealing with the tangled webs of relationships, lovers, friends, and everything in between that comes with living this lifestyle. All of this is new… coming out of the closet and when and to whom, outings as an uncertain triad to poly weddings, huge family photos, the “room mate” that is really a lover, and the grieving for former lovers and their partners. The hard truth is that the language does not yet exist to convey the emotions we feel about these people and experiences. How can we give voice to these emotions when the English language has not yet addressed the basic structure of the polyamory community? Indeed, at this point, we don’t really even have the groundwork laid for a community, because how polyamory looks and acts and feels varies so greatly from one person or family group to the next.

Big questions, rooted in heartache, and no answers for the foreseeable future.

Penny danced again on Monday night, in my dreams. She laughed and she smiled and she was happy. She was the girl I remembered, my friend, my husband’s lover.

I understand that Monday was the day Slash died, and maybe, in whatever existence comes after this one, she found her Superman again.