AskMiriam

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Archive for the tag “Vancouver”

On Not Caring What Others Think

Ben is now with me in Vancouver and we’re quite happy about that. It’s nice for us to get to be domestic together again. Aside from that, I’ve unfortunately had to deal with some family nonsense. Last weekend, Ben and I went to visit my grandmother, who has moved to BC from Quebec. She moved to the same city as 2 other family members of mine, whose identity I will keep secret. Until recently, she was living with them and that was difficult at times because one of them can be a rather taciturn individual. I will call that individual R and use the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’ in order to keep the gender a secret. R discovered my blog about 8 months ago and sent me a very disgruntled email. I had written about my interest in doing a PhD in order to study polyamory more in-depth. R wrote to me saying that I might as well do a PhD in being a couch potato because that would make just as much sense. R also wrote that I was disgracing the family because I use my name on the blog – forget the fact that I don’t use our last name, so people who don’t know me personally can’t trace my family through my blog. I sent R a rather diplomatic email back, but never heard back. I don’t really care what R thinks because we’re not close, but I was concerned because my grandmother was living with R and R definitely shared how they felt with my grandmother. When I visited my grandmother 2 years ago, I had tried to explain poly to her, but she didn’t really get it. After the nonsense with R, I was very happily surprised when my sister actually stood up for me and explained to my grandmother that I wasn’t cheating on Ben. When Ben and I actually saw my grandmother last weekend, she said she doesn’t care about how I live my life; she’ll always love me. Before going to see her, I sent a cordial email to R saying that Ben and I would be visiting that city and I asked R if they would like to meet Ben. R wrote back saying, not interested. I’m disappointed that R doesn’t really want to be involved in my life, but ultimately, it doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is the fact that another family member of mine isn’t talking to me and I’m close to them. I will call that family member S and use the pronouns they and them. S is someone I’ve grown very close to over the last few years. S is actually the only person in my family to have met the American, who got me into poly. I thought the 2 of them would get along, so I introduced them when the American visited me and that did go well. In terms of more recent events, S was going to contribute money to the wedding, but has decided not to because they think Ben and I shouldn’t be getting married right now due to our unstable financial situation. S also thinks that I should not be doing a PhD; I should focus on making myself employable in Canada. The irony is, one reason why I want to study in the US is because that will make me more employable in Canada. Universities tend to like it when you’ve studied in a different country because they want to have different perspectives contributing to the field. Also, PhDs in the US tend to be funded and there are people I want to work with there. I would very seriously consider doing my PhD at UBC because I really like Vancouver and I don’t have a huge desire to move yet again, but I need to know that it would lead to employment afterward and that I would be funded. Regardless, the situation with S is difficult because we are close. I care about what S thinks, but I’m not going to modify my life to suit S’s concerns. There is a part of me that thinks that S is afraid of being abandoned. They don’t like the fact that I keep moving and would prefer if I was in Toronto. The truth is, Toronto doesn’t feel like my home anymore.

In general, I think society often expects that women are going to adjust their lives to suit others around them. Women follow their partners to other countries because their partner has found a job there. Women give up a career they love to raise children while their partner continues working. Women may even modify their reactions to suit their partners. As a feminist, I refuse to change my life significantly to suit someone else unless I feel comfortable with it. I like pleasing people, but I also want to please myself. I was talking to a slightly older friend who told me that all of this gets easier with age. Women are respected more and taken more seriously as we get more grey hair. Thankfully, I’ve already started getting those…

If you have any relationship questions, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca  Thank you as always for reading! I hope to blog more regularly from now on.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Apologies for taking so long to write a new blog. I returned to Canada on June 30 and things have been either busy or I felt jetlagged. I’ve also been debating what it is I would write about. I settled on writing about the above quote from a mindfulness expert – something to make my mother proud, I suppose.

For myself, the above quote rings true. I have changed my location many times over the course of my life. I really don’t mean to toot my own horn here because I do feel fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to live in England, Japan, briefly in Germany, and finally in China. I spent most of my life living in Toronto, Canada and since I was a teenager, I wanted to at least try living somewhere else. I pictured myself in Europe, but I have to say that living in England wasn’t really my cup of tea. Germany was pretty good, but I was only there for 4 months and I’m not sure if I got the most accurate picture. Japan was very interesting, but I couldn’t see myself living there long term. And well, China is just China – it’s not an easy country to live in at all, from my own perspective. I feel lucky because living in different places has allowed me to adopt different personas, in a way. Each country has its own culture and it can be fun to adopt parts of that culture for oneself. Also, the experiences we have in different places shape us. In terms of this last trip, I feel like I learned to put up with less bullshit. I also learned that my health is very important. The issue now is, will I take those lessons and apply them to my life in Canada? I definitely intend to, but the end result may be different. Being back in Canada, I don’t necessarily feel any pressure on my health. I feel lucky to be back breathing fairly clean air and drinking water right out of the tap. I’m also back to cycling nearly everywhere and eating healthier food. I have to remind myself that there are still health issues I may have to deal with and those should be dealt with promptly. Thankfully, good healthcare is easily accessible here in Canada, at least for now.

Since returning to Canada, Ben’s mother and my parents all met for brunch. I think it went fairly well. Mainly, we all wanted to meet to discuss the wedding next year. It’s shaping up to be a very inexpensive wedding, which we’re all happy about. Ben and I have also discussed having another ceremony on the west coast of Canada before we have the wedding in Ontario in the summer. There are a few reasons to have a ceremony on the west coast: first, it would be beautiful. My grandmother is now living in Victoria, BC and I would really like her to attend. Finally, we could get legally married there, at Victoria City Hall for example. We didn’t necessarily want to get legally married in the past, but it may have some benefits in the future. I would like to do my PhD in the US starting next year and if Ben wanted to come with me, it may be made easier by the fact that we’re legally married. If he didn’t come with me, legal marriage would be one way for us to show that we intend to stay together despite the distance. There is always the possibility of Ben having a child with someone else, since I don’t want children. I’ve expressed that I might feel left out in that kind of situation, so the legal marriage would be a way for Ben and I to have another tie. This is a conversation we will continue having, especially since we have lots of time until the wedding. Personally, I don’t necessarily want the government knowing that we had a ceremony. Also, if we did decide to have a triad, for example, the third person may feel excluded. I’ve thought about trying to lobby for multiparty marriage, which would allow 3 or more people to get married. I still want to keep that door open. For the moment, I’m touched that Ben has offered that he’d like to be legally married to me.

If you have any relationship questions, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca  2 days from now, I will be moving to Vancouver. I look forward to whatever awaits me there. The Vancouver polyamory scene looks quite promising…

The Week that Was: A Mega Diary

This blog will cover the period from November 21-28, during which time many things happened. It all started with, of course, a threesome sleepover. The previous weekend, Ben and I met a woman who will be known as Amy. Ben had had contact with her online and after he and I returned from a trip, she invited us over to her place. Hers is a slightly complicated situation because she has a son and she and her husband are in the process of divorcing. However, her son doesn’t know that. With that in mind, imagine Ben and I walking into the apartment she shares with her son and her inviting us into her bedroom. She told me that she has never done anything with a woman, but she was definitely making eyes at me. I also thought she was attractive and Ben was attracted to her as well. She kissed both of us and also watched us make out on her second bed. She didn’t want to do anything further because she was on her period and her son was around.

Fast forward to November 21st when she came over to our place. She had told Ben in advance that she wanted to sleep over and we were all fine with that. She’s a pretty small woman and she fit fine in the bed with us. I was very happy that she was affectionate with both of us and very inclusive of me, despite being more attracted to Ben. She is definitely a very sexual woman and enjoyed riding both Ben and I. At one point very early on the 22nd, she told me that she wanted me to teach her how to please me. She fingered me and it felt good. I went down on her and she really liked that; she comes very easily. Of course, I have mixed feelings about being someone’s teacher. I would rather find a woman who already knows her way around another woman. And speaking of that, on the day that Amy left our place, I went to a lesbian bar with an American woman I met from OkCupid who has become a friend. It was interesting to see a lesbian bar in China. Unfortunately, my Mandarin isn’t great at the moment, so I couldn’t talk to anyone. The woman I was with has been in China for about 2 years and could translate a bit. She told the others that I was bi and I was happy to know that they didn’t think I was some type of fence sitter. She also told a couple about my polyamory and one said she thought that was cool.

The day after that, a Sunday, I ended up having quite the email exchange with a certain influential person in my life who lives in New York City. For those of you who don’t know, he basically led me into poly. I had emailed him a few days before and mentioned that I’m now teaching at a university in China. He then said that he’s coming to China during his winter break. I asked him if he’d want to see me and he said he did, but his preference was for us to meet as more than friends, which surprised me because I ended the romantic part of our relationship last year. The truth is, we have never been less than friends, but I have no desire to have sex with him. When I visited him in New York 2 years ago, I actually told him that I was less than impressed with his sexual skills, which upset him. He then visited me in January last year in Toronto and we had a fairly good time, but then contact dropped off, which upset me. Last April, I told him online I didn’t want to have a romantic relationship with him anymore and he took that harshly. Mainly, I want to see him now because I feel like I need to make amends for doing that; I certainly don’t believe in ending a relationship via chat, especially with a person who has been so important to me. He said recently that he didn’t think I was into being with him, though I confessed to him 2.5 years ago that I had been obsessed with him and that I wanted him to be present when I had the abortion. After I graduated from my Master’s, I looked for jobs all over the world, including in New York so I could be near him. I’ve written poem after poem about him.  Now, I want to tell him that when we saw each other in New York and Toronto, it didn’t really feel real; it’s as if I had dreamt it. I also felt that he didn’t want me to get close to him. Last winter, many important things happened that he never told me about. I also never got a chance to meet his primary partner despite going to the city she lives in and requesting her contact information from him. Truthfully, I have always admired him. His intellectual, artistic prowess, and his worldliness was what attracted me initially and that still holds true today.

Finally, Ben and I had a lot of discussion about our future last week. He received an email from a friend who found gold on Vancouver Island and told Ben that they should explore further, perhaps open a mine. Ben had talked about doing something like that once we returned to Canada, so this is very timely. However, we hadn’t envisioned going back next year and these plans might change that. I personally don’t feel ready to return home – I still want to see more of the world and experience that with Ben. However, I would be open to living in Vancouver and seeing what it’s like to live on the west coast of Canada. It all really comes down to finding a job. Our jobs right now are pretty good, but we’d like to live in a different place and most likely outside of China. We’ll see what happens…

If you have any questions about any sort of relationship, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca  Thanks as always for reading!

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