What is a Relationship to ME?

Lately (as in the last couple of months), I’ve had to try to evaluate and define what a relationship means to me. So far, this has been a very confusing task but I’m trying to keep an open mind. I know a lot of people who are in “alternative” relationships/lifestyles. Up until now, their lives have confused me. Mainly because I can barely get a traditional relationship to work for longer than a few years.

Up until now, I’ve wanted the marriage, the big family, the quiet life. Turns out… I seem to be the only one that still buys into the traditional meaning of marriage (that’s not to say anything other than I love the tradition of it, makes no difference to me WHO is married…). More often than not, I get the “Marriage is bullshit” stance from people. I genuinely am so damn sick of that argument.. “It’s just a piece of paper”… SO IS MONEY, BUT YOU STILL WORK FOR IT AND GIVE IT AWAY!

My past always returns in some way. Turns out, the most surprising person from my past has emerged like gang busters. Originally, it was to discuss some shared trauma from 30 years ago that we never really discussed or resolved in a healthy way. It wasn’t something I wanted to face, EVER, again but has turned out to be very healing as the process has evolved. What wasn’t planned was the instant attraction and feelings that can’t be overlooked but seem incredibly inappropriate in a traditional sense. They have been re-married for almost 25 years. Their wife knows about me, and they both are very open and honest with each other after going through a rocky piece years ago. They’ve learned how to discuss hard topics in a healthy way and resolve any issues before they become an obstacle.

I personally, have no idea what that’s like or how to navigate it. This is forcing me out of my comfort zone of being a hermit and choosing not to date or let anyone in for the foreseeable future. All of the secrets and scars have been revealed and there is this feeling of total acceptance that I get (that I also don’t know what to do with… someone who accepts me for all of my flaws. Unconditionally). It’s a sweet connection full of all of the things you could ask for. Granted, it’s from 1500 miles away… solely through phone calls and texts… so I struggle with the validity of all of it. What if I’m just making this all up in my head? What if a casual joke has created an opportunity that I should run with and see what happens.

The very conservative (only time you will hear me say that about myself) side of me keeps telling myself that this is a ridiculous notion. It will never work. That they can’t possibly understand what they are getting themselves into and that I need to keep this all at an arms length to avoid anyone getting hurt. But I also feel like they would never do a single thing to hurt me. It’s just not who they are.

There is some back story to this that was addressed briefly in my last blog regarding my mother driving us to Kentucky to get married when I was 17. No, I wasn’t pregnant at the time. He was older than me and my mother didn’t approve of some of the choices that we had made back then and decided that if we were going to make adult choices, we would suffer adult consequences. What it was really about is her lack of control over me any longer and she was going to have none of that. Our marriage was very brief (divorced by 18), and very tumultuous. WTH do you expect from a 17 yr old girl and a 22 yr old man? Today, he’d be strung up and part of the cancel culture, his life ruined, and on a sex offender list.

So many things needed to be discussed, remembered, and sorted out. That’s now done. But in the process, there seems to have been some feelings started that neither of us intended. Now what? His wife keeps pushing him to connect with me, to the point she has told him to visit me in Colorado if he needed that time with me. Not sure that’s the best idea. The last thing I want is for anyone to be hurt in this situation. She has been so patient with this and welcomed me into the family with open arms. Part of me doesn’t trust that, almost like there is a trap that the universe has set to see if I’ll fall into it.

I enjoy having them in my life and the joy that they bring that doesn’t appear to have any strings attached, expectations, or ill will. I adore both of them. This whole situation has helped me move past the grief around Jim, opened my heart back up to new love (or the possibility of it), and given me new people in my circle that bring no drama or nonsense.

BUT NOW WHAT? Jokes aside, what if this moves to a new phase in life that redefines love and relationships for me? I’ve heard of polyamory and it has always fascinated me.. Pretty sure I could live that lifestyle, but as much as they joke, could they? What would that look like? Who is moving across the country? I don’t want to leave Colorado for a Bible Belt state. All of our kids are basically grown.. we have no one to answer to except ourselves.

I guess we’ll see… No sudden movements for now.

EDITED:
Just to clarify, I’m completely satisfied with this being an emotionally fulfilling, non physical relationship that enriches all of our lives. I’m just trying to navigate it all and process through all of the feelings that are associated with this. Let’s face it, my decision making skills are sketchy at best sometimes, but they are my decisions. Good, bad, and ugly or half-witted… I own them all and the outcomes of those decisions. It’s my own fears and lack of self worth that keep me from moving from my current state of stagnant.

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