It recently occurred to me that, while I have made mention of Jessica (and Rachel) in my blog in various parts, I’ve never come out and entirely told the entire story of our relationships in one place. Because of some things that happened recently that I want to write about, I realized that it would be a good idea to give them each their own entry that describes the breadth of what has gone on in the relationship so far. I’ve decided to start with Jessica because our relationship is a little bit more “nearly completely over”. With both Jessica and Rachel though, those relationships are somewhat on-going. As developments…develop, I’ll probably blog about them separately, but link back to these posts as needed.
So, Jessica first!
I first saw Jessica about eight years ago at a party thrown by a mutual friend. I feel a bit conflicted and weird saying it, but I mildly disliked her on sight. There was something ephemeral about her attitude…I can’t put it into words…but it bothered me. I remember that it bothered me in a “I don’t think our personalities would jive well” kind of way, not a “I think you’re a bad person” kind of way.
As I got to know (and become good friends with) a number of people who were at that party, I got to know a bit about Jessica second-hand. My friend Jo out rightly didn’t like Jessica. They went to school together, and Jessica was extremely mean, sarcastic and nasty to Jo, both to her face and behind her back. That said, Jo was the first to admit that she had barely spoken to Jessica in years; maybe she was better.
Another friend, Anna Marie, openly detested Jessica. The thing about Anna Marie, much as I like her, is that she has a kind of alpha-person vibe that was very much like Jessica’s vibe. I could see them not liking each other because their alpha-personalities each took up too much space for the other. Also, Anna Marie snarked a lot about Jessica, and would snark on how snarky Jessica was, which just sounded…a bit absurd. So I really took Anna Marie’s feeling with a few large shakers of salt.
A number of other friends ranged in liking Jessica to not being wild about her, but not particularly disliking her. They didn’t really have enough in common with her to be friends really, but they got along fine at social gathers that mutual friends held.
So, for my first few years of knowing (or at least knowing of) Jessica, we really didn’t speak at all. I steered clear of her. This was fairly easy, as the majority of the friends I made in this larger grouping of connected people were not Jessica’s friends.
Later though, after Anna Marie got married and moved to New York City with her new husband (who got offered a position in a firm there around the time that he and Anna Marie had the marriage talk), and Jo moved several towns away, I ended up getting closer to other people within that friend group, people who were still around. And those people were closer friends with Jessica. One of those people was Rachel. Spending time with Rachel (and then later moving in with Rachel) were definitely the gateways to getting to know Jessica. Rachel prefers very small gatherings over large parties (her idea of the perfect party size is six people or less), so I first saw more of Jessica at brunches and dinners that Rachel hosted. Then when Rachel and I decided to move in together, I saw Jessica a lot in my own home.
The person who Jessica initially appeared to be was very moral, very self-aware, and very dedicated to self-improvement. She openly talked about being a shitty person when she was younger. She talked about how she was going to therapy to work on the parts of her that were raw and angry and lashed out at others. She was a passionate person, but that passion seemed to be tempered with compassion and a desire to see the best in people, bring out the best in people. As I got to know her, I did mention occasionally to Jo and Anna Marie that Jessica seemed a changed person from the person that they knew. I didn’t want to push either of them into spending time with someone who they didn’t like, but I did want them to be aware that Jessica seemed to take ownership of previous bad behavior and was dedicated to treating people far better than she had when she was younger.
As Rachel and I grew closer, and decided to give polyamory a try, Rachel also revealed to me that she felt as though Jessica was her soul mate. I knew that they were very good friends, though I’d had no idea of the depth of their feelings until after Rachel and I decided to be partners. Given that everything that I had seen and experienced about Jessica for myself, it seemed like a good idea to now actively get to know her better, as we were going to be metamours. On top of that, I also found Jessica physically attractive (on top of emotionally and intellectually attractive). Jessica felt the same way about me, so we decided to start dating and see where it went.
The first few months, we just…dated. Made out, explored each others bodies a TON, flirted, enjoyed NRE, talked a TON. Got to know each other, our likes and dislikes. Had fun together. Started forging a bond. Got excited by the possibilities of each other. I felt myself beginning to fall in love. I saw a beautiful poly family forming around all these wonderful bonds and I was so excited by the possibilities.
During those wonderful times, we both had some particular (and aligned) feelings on where we saw things going. As we spend time together, we saw that we could potentially become very close friends, and partners, and possibly lovers. We weren’t sure what level of commitment we’d have to each other, and we both felt that the physical lover part of things would be on again/off again, as it would be more of an “icing on the cake” thing rather than our main attraction to each other, which was kindred souls, both devoted to the idea of having a happy, stable, loving polyamorous family; to the idea of pursuing mental and emotional self-growth, and applying that growth to our careers; and to being good, loving people who gave more than we took, and took good care of those around us.
This first part (from getting to know Jessica socially to seeing what kind of relationship we could have between us) happened over a period of two years. Jessica and I got to know each other over about two years before Rachel and I had a talk about being poly together. As I had been getting to know Jessica for several years, and saw only compassionate, wonderful, self-aware behavior from her, I felt really good going into this, and like I was making a really good choice. That wonderful, loving polyamorous family I dreamed of seemed more and more possible, and Jessica would be a key part of it.
However, once Jessica and I had those first few months of NRE delight and then talked and realized that we were aligned on our desires and (I think most importantly) expressed a commitment to being together for the long haul, things went straight downhill.
This will pick up in Part 2.