Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the tag “alone time”

Into Trouple

The word ‘Trouple’ was coined by Eve when she was here last week and I really like it, so I’ve decided to name this post Into Trouple. As many of you know, Eve visited Ben and I last week. Last weekend, I went to Beijing and by the time I arrived home on Sunday evening, Eve was there. It’s a bit odd walking into your apartment when your fiance’s girlfriend is there, but anyway, Eve and I had a nice hug and we all had dinner together. The first night was slightly awkward given that Eve and I were meeting for the first time. I was in a horny mood that night since I had been away for several days, so Ben and I asked Eve if she would be okay with seeing us have sex and she said yes. She said that it only made her feel a bit uncomfortable, so we felt thankful for that. I did feel a bit attracted to Eve that first night, but I didn’t want to do anything that would make her feel uncomfortable, so we all went to sleep.

First I will talk about the positive and surprising things that happened and then, the negative things. On Monday, Ben and I went to teach and Eve observed Ben’s classes. Later on, the 3 of us and some other friends, including Alex, went to the Chinese equivalent of karaoke, KTV. We all had a pretty good time, though Eve felt a bit left out. Afterward, we had dinner with Alex and then went home. Awhile ago, Ben and I bought an ebike and the 3 of us attempted to ride home on that, which was successful, but not something we would do again. After getting home, the 3 of us were cuddling. Eve told me how much she liked cuddling and I told her the same. I was very surprised when she started putting her hands under my clothes. What surprised me even more was how turned on I felt. She asked me if I wanted her to kiss me and I said yes. I’m always impressed at how forthright she is and I was even more impressed by her kissing skills. As the week progressed, we would wake up every morning and usually what happened was that Ben would go to the bathroom or get a drink of water and Eve and I started cuddling and kissing. Ben would return to the bed and we would have a threesome; Ben would go down on me and Eve would kiss me and suck on my breasts. Then the 2 of them would have sex. I told Eve that of all the women I’ve been with sexually, she turns me on the most. On the night before Eve left, she and Ben gave me the most intense orgasm of my life and I told both of them that. Eve and I also had a good time together when we were not being sexual. The 2 of us had 2 meals together and had good conversations. There were a couple of moments during the visit where I could tell we were thinking similar things at the same time. Overall, we got along very well, as I had expected. I was most nervous for her in this new situation, but I think she dealt with everything well. She mentioned that she does not consider herself a possessive person, so this scenario is fine for her. Finally, she and Ben said I love you to each other, which made all of us happy. Many people would ask me, doesn’t that make you jealous. At this point in my poly life, I have loved 2 people at the same time and it’s an incredible feeling. It makes you appreciate the people for who they are. It also brings a certain stability to the relationship, which makes things more regular for me. If Ben was just to have casual sex, for example, I wouldn’t be able to predict when that might happen, so a regular relationship is nice.

For the negative things: There were times last week when I did feel left out. It can be difficult when your partner has a new relationship and you feel like you are the one looking in. This situation is new for all of us; Ben hasn’t had a serious relationship since he and I got together, so I haven’t really had to share him that much. The new relationship energy can be daunting because it can make one feel insecure and wonder whether you give your partner enough. That being said, both Ben and Eve were concerned about me feeling left out and I think they did their best to include me; the threesomes certainly didn’t hurt. I also wanted to give them alone time, since they don’t get to see each other very much and I live with Ben all the time. Eve also said to me at one point, don’t fall in love with me, it would be too complicated. This is after we had been physical a couple of times. I told her that I will normally develop feelings for people if I’m physical with them enough times. She said that she enjoyed kissing and cuddling with me, but she still identifies as straight. I fully respect that and I don’t want to cause her any discomfort because she’s an important person in my life, but I was a bit taken aback when she said that. Anyway, if I was going to have a female partner, she would be different from Eve. Ben and Eve are both very similar to each other, as they both identify as INTJ on the Myers Briggs scale (Introverted-Intuitive-Thinking-Judging). Ben and I think in some similar ways and Eve and Ben think similarly in other ways. I would want to be with someone who’s a bit more similar to me – extroverted and artistic. I have often been the artistic person who spends time with science geeks and it would be nice to find someone who’s more similar to me in those ways.

On Saturday in the early hours, Ben and Eve went to the airport. They had to leave our apartment just after 5am because Eve’s flight left at 8. I left with them to make sure they were able to catch a taxi. They did make it to the airport and as I expected, I had trouble getting back to sleep. My mind conjured up many different things, including a general feeling of insecurity. I know that Ben would never leave me and I know that Eve cares about me, but the irrational part of me was saying, Eve is better for Ben; they will stay together and Ben and I won’t. Eve excites Ben and I don’t, so why should I bother. Of course, I know now that I was being irrational. Ben came home and reassured me that he’s not going anywhere. We are both committed to each other for life. The more pertinent question in fact is what will happen with Ben and Eve. We will see her in Vietnam at the end of June before we go back to Canada, but so much after that is unknown. Once Ben and I return to Canada, money will probably be an issue and we may not be able to come back to Vietnam in the near future. Eve will apply to school in North America, but there’s no guarantee that she’ll get accepted and she’ll need a scholarship to attend. Even until the end of June, we may not be able to talk to Eve much because she’s working in another city and will be living with her co-workers. Many of them know about her foreign boyfriend, but not about the polyamory. There are many unknowns at the moment, so we’ll see where it all goes. As Ben said, there is no question of ‘if’ they will be together; the question is ‘how.’

Thank you as always for reading. If you have a relationship question, email me at

Absence Makes the Heart Grow

As many of you know, Ben and I are currently in Vietnam. For the past 2 weekends, we have opted to take separate vacations. Some people express surprise that we do this and some tell us that we have a healthier approach to our relationship than others do. Since we have left for Asia, we haven’t had much in the way of alone time. Especially here in Vietnam, we are together nearly all the time. We live in the same room and we even teach together. This causes a certain amount of friction at times, both in a good way and in a bad way. We are both independent people and have different interests, so separate vacations make sense. On the 6th, I went to an island called Cat Ba because I wanted to relax on the beach. I also met some people and flirted; that felt good. Of course, I happened to flirt with a French guy who was in a monogamous relationship, but hey, you never know until you try. In much of Asia, I think poly is a non-starter – flirting with expats and tourists seems like the way to go. Even if it doesn’t result in anything, I still enjoy it. Ben also got to flirt in a very small town that he accidentally found himself in. He was meaning to go to a town with a gem market to find a stone for my engagement ring and ended up in a town with a very similar name. At the very least, it makes for an interesting story. This weekend, I went to a beautiful area called Ninh Binh with lots of limestone cliffs and temples and Ben did make it to the gem market.

Until we left for Asia, Ben and I had a long distance relationship. The times that we were together felt special and were concentrated with good discussion and plenty of sex. We’ve come to a point now where things have become more domestic and dare I say, a bit boring. Because it’s been so hot, it’s hard to go out all the time and we find ourselves getting into arguments because we’re in each other’s faces constantly. Though we are fairly similar people, we have gotten into discussions about our differences and that can be hard.

At this point, time apart actually feels precious. We get the chance to miss each other. We come back home and can tell each other stories about the weekend or we can phone each other when we’re away and say, here’s a cool thing I did. When you’re in a serious relationship, I think it’s important to maintain your identity as a separate person. Some amount of interdependence is good, but if you’re with each other all the time, things can get difficult and you won’t realize how good you have it. Thankfully, after Ben and I had an argument about our different approaches to our lack of alone time, we taught our students about love. Our students shared stories about people they had been involved with, which were so nice to hear. I also got to hear Ben talk about why he wants to be with me for the rest of our lives. I have to say, I feel like a very lucky woman.

If you have any questions, email me at

What Makes a Relationship Work?

Lately, Ben and I have gotten on each other’s nerves. Many of you know that this trip to Korea has been a bit hellish and it seems like things have finally come to a head. Over the weekend, Ben and I were walking around Seoul and he felt the need to take out some of his aggression on a flight of stairs by stomping very hard down them. This caught me off guard and I asked him what was wrong. He said, “you know how you’ve been remarking that I’ve handled everything here very well? In fact, it has taken a toll on me.” I wasn’t sure what to say, but I felt upset. I want to know everything Ben is feeling and he hadn’t been telling me everything. Of course, that’s partly because he wasn’t fully aware of it himself. We all know the common saying, ignorance is bliss. However, in the context of a relationship, this isn’t really true, especially for a person like me. I want to be in the know and as my mother says, one of my best qualities is the fact that I can’t ignore things.

All of this led to Ben and I having a conversation about our relationship given everything that’s happened. We feel better that things have calmed down slightly and Ben apologized for taking some of his aggression out on me. We also talked a bit about what makes a relationship work and I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject here. First, there is attraction. We meet someone and we think, I want to be with this person. For myself, I need to be with someone who’s smart. We need to be able to have stimulating conversation otherwise I won’t be interested at all. I’m usually not so concerned about what they look like because I’m attracted to different body types; they just need to have good character and a good heart. I will say I have a penchant for taller people with glasses and blue/green eyes, but I have dated others that look different from that. Second, communication. We need to keep each other in the loop about what we’re feeling and what we’re doing. This is especially important in the context of polyamory because we may have other partners and I like knowing what’s going on with the other relationships. Ben and I are both pretty direct communicators, so that part of our relationship works quite well. We usually say what we mean and mean what we say.

Third, I think sex helps make a relationship work. I like to have sex fairly frequently and it should be fun for both people. Ben and I have had some problems in that department lately because we haven’t had our own space. We’ve been staying in hostels and with others and some people have had objections to us having sex, even when we were very surreptitious about it. One girl at the hostel we were staying at heard us having sex and cried for hours. She never approached us to voice her concerns, so we’re not really sure why she was crying. Of course, we are in a pretty conservative country and I realize people here aren’t used to hearing people have sex, but I don’t want to change my practices, even in these surroundings.

Fourth, alone time is very important. I love being with Ben, but this trip has been slightly suffocating because we are together almost all the time. Over the past little while, we have made efforts to have some alone time. I visited one of the baths in Seoul and had several hours to myself. I actually missed Ben during those hours, so that’s a good sign. We all know the old cliche, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think that is often true when we love someone.

Fifth, dependability. We need our partners to be there for us. I have definitely felt that way here in Korea with Ben. Even when we’re dealing with immigration, a lack of alone time, and the fact that it’s very hard to meet people here, we can be there for each other. We can laugh and cry at all of the crap that’s happened to us. Through a lot of my poly life, I have been a secondary partner. There are plenty of benefits to being a secondary partner, but I have often wanted someone to be there for me and someone who I can be there for. With Ben, I always get that.

Those are just some of my thoughts on what make a relationship work. There are plenty of other things and it can depend on the nature of your relationship. If you have more thoughts, email me at I always look forward to your questions!

The Importance of Laughter and other Notes on the Benefits of Poly

I have just returned from Montreal to Ben’s hometown in Eastern Ontario. My grandparents live in Montreal and we wanted to visit them for various reasons. My grandmother is planning to move to Victoria as soon as she can sell her condo. She’s giving away a lot of her things, so Ben and I went to stay with her and pack up dishes for myself, my mother, and my sister. I have never had the fortune to be in Montreal in July, which is when the Just for Laughs festival is on. I have seen Just for Laughs on TV many times and I’ve always wanted to go. Several weeks ago, I got a message on OkCupid from someone in Montreal and he seemed interesting. I told him we’d be coming into town and asked if he might want to go to Just for Laughs with Ben and I. Now, many of you know that I’ve had a penchant for getting involved with people with a certain name and the person in Montreal happened to have that name. A friend of mine said to me that the people I meet with that name have gotten better all the time, so I should meet him. That fellow got tickets for Ben, myself, and him to the festival. The show was very funny. Unfortunately, Ben and I both got colds just before Montreal and Ben’s was worse, so he didn’t come, but the fellow and I had a good time. I think the fellow is looking for direction in his life and I think I was able to help in that regard. I also definitely needed to laugh after spending time with my very sad grandmother, who lost her husband just over 2 months ago. Ben was able to spend some quality time with my grandmother, which I really appreciated. Just before Ben and I left Montreal, my grandmother and I had a very funny conversation that Ben walked in on. My grandmother is aware of the fact that I like women. She reminded me that I had told her about that 2 years ago. I told her that I still like women. Apparently 2 years ago I had said to her that sex with women is awkward. Ben walked in on this and we all laughed. My grandmother isn’t totally aware of my polyamory- I did talk to her about it last year and she didn’t seem to understand, so I thought it best not to talk about it this time. However, I have always been very close to her and I wish I could talk to her more about it.

Ben and I have spent a lot of time together over the last week, so I think it was good for us to be apart for a bit, thus I was happy to be at Just for Laughs and for him to be at home with my grandmother. I arrived in his hometown last Sunday and we’ve barely spent any time apart since then. We all need some amount of alone time and polyamory can allow for that. I will only realize that later because I’m an extrovert and I like being around people. Ben is a bit more of an introvert, so him having alone time when I’m out with someone else is sometimes a very good thing. If you’re a more extroverted poly person, you can plan to do things when your partner is out on a date and the distraction will be good. After all, we tick in different ways.

Another benefit of polyamory is the potential for more community. Last month I started seeing Tony and I’m happy to see that he texted Ben recently to say, if you ever need to talk, this line of communication is open. This is the kind of relationship I have always wanted. I have always tried my best to become friends with metamours (your partner’s partner/s), but I haven’t always seen that happen with my partners. If we can all support each other, jealousy will surely lessen and more friendships will develop. You also have the added benefit of being able to talk about your mutual partner and sort out any issues.

If you have any questions about relationships, send me an email to All posted questions are anonymous. Thanks as always for reading!

Wise Words: Tip of the Week

I’m back in Toronto and quite happy about that. The trip was great, but coming home is always fantastic. One important thing I’ve learned is that when it comes to relationships, spending quality time with your partner and with yourself is important. If you are poly and have lots of partners, it can be even more important to make sure that  you have time for yourself. This can be spent, of course, in any way you want. Meeting friends, cultivating a skill or just hanging out alone is important. That’s one reason why I like travelling alone. I can decide how I get to spend my day. If I want to be alone, I can be alone or if I want to meet people, I can do that. This was my first trip where I was with someone and I could date others and that was exciting! I met lots of great people on this trip and it made me think a lot about what kind of relationships I want. Someone on this trip said to me that the great thing about poly is that every relationship you create can take the course it was meant to take, whether it’s a friends with benefits situation  or something more serious. Now that I’ve returned, I feel tired but recharged. My partner and I met last night after not having seen each other for 3 weeks and it was great.

Please keep the questions coming! My email is 

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