AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the month “January, 2015”

A Streetcar Named Desire

I’m in Japan now and I’ve been staying this week in a city called Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku. I lived in Japan from 2008-2010 and never got the chance to travel to Shikoku, so I decided to come now. I also came here because I wanted to meet a certain woman. I had been in contact with her for awhile and she looked really cute and interesting. I will call her Ellen. Ellen and I met on Tuesday for lunch and ended up wandering around a park called Ritsurin. I found out from her that Ritsurin is rated as one of the top 5 gardens in Japan. It is quite beautiful and we had a nice time wandering around it. Ellen is a very relaxed person and is also from Canada. She was in a poly relationship for a couple of years and really enjoyed it. On Tuesday, I didn’t find myself that attracted to Ellen, which disappointed me. It often happens to me that I’m in contact with someone for awhile online and then when we meet in person, I’m not that interested in them. However, that would change on Wednesday when we went to a hot spring together and I got to see Ellen’s body. We continued to have good conversation and I was thinking that I at least wanted to cuddle with her.

We left the hot spring and came back into the centre of Takamatsu. Ellen told me that she knew about some second hand stores, which is really the only kind of shopping I like, so we wanted to go to them. Unfortunately, we found that they were closed. We got a little snack and then tried to decide what to do. I told Ellen she could come with me back to my hotel room and she declined. I had thought that she probably wasn’t that interested in me and I guess her feelings didn’t change when she saw me naked. I haven’t been in the greatest mood this week and of course, this didn’t help. I feel like I shouldn’t complain because I’m getting a free hotel room courtesy of a couchsurfer here whose family owns a hotel, but mainly, I do couchsurfing so I can meet people, not so I can stay in a hotel. The only contact I’ve had with the hosts is in the evening when I go to their home for dinner, eat with them, and then wash and dry dishes in silence in the presence of the woman. I was invited on Monday to have lunch with the man and he didn’t talk to me at the restaurant; there was a TV to our left and he wouldn’t stop watching it. Thankfully, on Wednesday evening, 2 more couchsurfers from Switzerland arrived and I got to hang out with them yesterday. We had a really good time on the island of Naoshima, where there is a lot of interesting art.

One of the reasons why I called this post, A Streetcar Named Desire, is because I told Ben on Wednesday that I haven’t felt desired by a person other than him for quite awhile. It’s nice that in China, we can spend time with Amy and have threesomes, but I don’t feel that she really desires me, nor I her. I have often felt that there are so few women I’m very attracted to and I wish there were more. It’s also difficult when I see Ben being so successful with women and I feel envious. It’s so easy to get a guy; as the old saying goes, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. I just wish that I could find a woman who desired me and who I desire. On this trip, I really wanted to make an effort to meet more women. 2 years ago, I took trains across the US for a month and didn’t have many experiences with women. This time, I wanted that to be different. I will be meeting more – we’ll see how it all goes…

Thank you as always for reading! Next week I go to Kobe and Tokyo and I hope for some sexy adventures there. I will update when something happens. If you have a question, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

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AskMiriam about Jealousy

Questions: How do you deal with the jealousy problem? If, for example, Amy had more interest in Ben and she wants to monopolize Ben’s time, how would you deal that?

Answer: Periodically, I get asked about jealousy and I don’t think it’s a topic I could write too much about. This particular question, however, involves 3 people: myself, Ben, and Amy, so it’s a bit more specialized. I am of the opinion that every relationship is unique. Amy cannot replace what Ben and I have and I cannot replace what Amy and Ben have. If Amy wanted to spend more time with Ben, I hope that she would tell me that. At the very least, Ben would tell me and we would talk about it. The same thing might happen if I met someone new and wanted to spend more time with them; I would tell Ben about it. Now, scheduling isn’t very romantic, but I think it’s nice when people decide in advance that they’ll spend certain nights together. Of course those nights could change, but perhaps they won’t. Most people require consistency in their lives and I often feel that I do as well, even though I also enjoy adventures.

This question also deals with the issue of insecurity. If Ben were to spend more time with Amy, would I feel insecure about myself or the relationship? The answer for me is, not really. I do consider myself lucky because I was raised with a healthy sense of self. A lot of women are taught to feel bad about themselves and have low self esteem as a result. No matter the gender, some people would also think they are being replaced by the new person. I think communication goes a long way toward remedying this. If we remind our partners how much they mean to us, that certainly helps. If we do something like have sex soon after our partner comes back from seeing their partner, that can sometimes help too. We can also develop feelings of compersion, meaning we are happy when our partner is with someone else. I personally still want to develop that more… These issues aren’t always easy and depending on our own personal situation, they can feel better or worse. It’s important to be kind to yourself and tell your partner what your needs are in this situation. As always, communicate, communicate, communicate. The person with the new partner should also be sensitive toward their existing partner(s)’ feelings.

As a note, I’m currently on holiday. Tomorrow I’m off to Japan and in mid February, I head to Taiwan. I hope to have some adventures while on the road. Stay tuned! If you have a question, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca Thank you as always for reading!

disAPPOINTMENT

Last weekend, I had a pretty annoying experience. For about a month, I had been in contact with an Italian guy who was going to spend 2 weeks in Beijing, which is only a few hours away by train from where I live. He told me he was going to arrive on January 3 and leave on January 17. He’s been in non-monogamous relationships before and he looked like an interesting guy, so I was definitely up for meeting him. The reason why he was coming to Beijing was to work on making the Hilton Hotel more environmentally friendly, which I really respected. I told him that I wouldn’t be able to come to Beijing because he’d be here during a very busy period where I had a lot of marking to do. He said he was happy to come to Zhengzhou, the city I live in. I told him that this past weekend would work out fine.

Fast forward to him arriving in China. We added each other on skype and I wanted to talk to him before he’d come to Zhengzhou. One night, I told him I could talk to him at a certain time and he didn’t come on. The next evening, I told him I was free and that I could be online, but he still didn’t come online. 2 days later, it was already Wednesday and I assumed he would be coming on Saturday. I asked him if he was still planning to come and he said yes. I informed him that I was only really free on Saturday night because I had to do marking on Saturday afternoon and we had a guest coming over on Sunday afternoon. I didn’t hear from him again until Saturday… at about 8pm, telling me that he’d be in Zhengzhou in 2 hours, despite the fact that I had sent him messages at 10am and 1pm telling him that I wanted to talk to him before he left for Zhengzhou. On Friday, Ben wasn’t feeling great, so I had to cover for one of his classes. At that point, I assumed that the Italian guy wasn’t coming. I have to say, I was quite horny at that time and was excited to have sex with someone else; Ben was excited for me too. I suppose I should have known that the Italian guy would stay at the Hilton Hotel, which isn’t that close to our place. Given his work, he probably got a discount. He didn’t arrive at the hotel until 10:30pm and that hotel is 20 kilometres away from our house; not a trivial distance to travel, especially given that we had company coming over the next day. In the end, I did not meet the Italian guy.

I have heard many people say that scheduling is one of the most difficult parts of being polyamorous. When you have several relationships, you need to make time for everyone. Plus, we have other things going on in our lives like work, alone time, and fun time. Given that the Italian guy was coming a fairly far distance to see me, I would think he would want to confirm beforehand that I would be able to see him at a certain hour. To me, this signifies a lack of respect for a person’s life. For me, but perhaps not for him, I actually wanted to get to know him a little bit. I was hoping we’d have dinner and have a real conversation. As a fellow blogger reminds us, it’s not (just) about the sex…

Some Words about Bias

Since there’s not much going on in my personal life at the moment, I wanted to talk about something academic: bias. I’m seriously considering applying for a PhD, which would start in 2016. I would like to study about polyamory because not many people in academia are and because I think it’s a phenomenon worth studying. Plus, I love researching love and sex. I found out about one professor who’s done some relevant research and sent him an email. His response seemed a bit odd. He said that research into polyamory is mostly done by people “in the lifestyle” and therefore, their research will not be objective. By this logic, should research about homosexual people be done only by heterosexual people? Should research into minorities not be done by minorities themselves? There is a dangerous history of all of this happening. I shared the professor’s email with my mother, who has a PhD, and she insisted that he was being encouraging and that in academia, you always have to defend your work. Ben asked my mother, does that mean that I (as in, me) would have to defend my own personal life? I would hope not, but you never know.

For those of us who are poly and especially those of us who write about it, we want people to know that it’s going on. My ex, who I was monogamous with for many years, told me that I have become a poly activist; I write this blog, I’ve started writing a book about poly, and I’ve talked at conferences about it. By all measures, I guess I am a poly activist and why shouldn’t I be? I have a vested interest in people knowing about polyamory and understanding it better. Polyamory is one of the driving forces in my life and I want to share that with others. This does not mean that I believe that poly is for everyone. I just read an article last night about an intentional community that embraces polyamory and for the people who moved there, they were encouraged to try it out. Many of those people had previously not been poly and they found it difficult. The author seemed to suggest that if and when people left this community, they would probably go back to being monogamous, if they had previously been monogamous. She argued that their polyamory was situational and they hadn’t really chosen to be poly at all. Polyamory isn’t the best fit for everyone and I’m fully aware of that. Bias does not have to interfere with logic.

I’m still not sure what to make of the professor’s email. My mother had found an article of his arguing that you can’t love more than 1 person at a time. Of course, he was interviewing people in monogamous relationships who had developed feelings for other people and they felt enormous guilt about their feelings. He stated in the article that more research needs to be done into polyamory, especially more definitive work. He could have started that himself… He said that I could myself write a book about it or at least a blog. Perhaps he found my blog, so he knows what my life is like. My impression is that his bias is against polyamory. We all have work to do to see what our bias is and understand how it affects our life.

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