Love is in the Air
I wrote this post in a flurry the other week, all ready to put it out there proud as anything and then I got stuck, sidelined and waylaid by vulnerability.
I skipped Frankly Friday last week…I just…couldn’t…bring myself to share this yet. But I want to, I really do, so here I go…off the deep end and ever deeper. It’s lovely here, really, with lots to see and do and learn and reckon with.
I keep peeling off those layers of previous external scaffolding…revealing a very tender and full-of-feeling human. And sometimes it’s just more than I can face in a moment.
I’m here, sharing it with you, so you can see that it’s ok to be vulnerable. It’s ok to have two seemingly conflicting feelings at the same time. It’s ok to live outside of the box. There is space for all of it.
So here it goes.
I’m falling in love.
And not only that, but I’m falling in love with a polyamorous man (named Todd) who has another girlfriend.
And it's ok.
There is space for all of me.
There is space for all of Todd.
There is space for Frank.
There is space for Todd’s girlfriend. There is space for exploration and fun and figuring it out and getting it wrong and getting it right and whatever it is we need to communicate, there’s space for that too.
When Frank died, I decided I did not want to be one person’s everything ever again, nor did I want one person to be my everything. I wanted to fall in love again, but I did not imagine it would be 9 months after my husband died. I feel judgments coming from myself and I feel them coming from the collective sometimes too…it’s too soon, maybe I’m being disrespectful, what is wrong with me, I should honor Frank better, can I really handle Poly? And on and on…
And the answers keep coming up: Yes.
A resounding yes, actually.
This feels right.
The truth is: I am happy. And my happiness honors Frank because it honors me. It’s too soon for me to have been ready to look for love, but not too soon for it to have suddenly appeared and I was able to recognize it.
And it’s really, really, really lovely.
It is also so incredibly vulnerable to talk about. Because…it’s different…post-widowed love is different, polyamory is different, being neurodivergent is different and I get to talk about these things because there’s not a lot out there about post-widowhood love, particularly when you’re also neurodivergent and in a polyamorous relationship.
Woah, that’s a lot to unpack, isn’t it?
But really, it’s simple.
I’m open to the flow and for going with what feels right, and, currently, this is it.
I don’t really know how neurodivergency makes it different, but for me I think it gives it less of an emotional quality…more of an ability to not follow perceived rules and societal expectations. Plus, the way I’m falling is so on par with the neurodivergent love languages it’s ridiculous.
What I can also say is that it is very difficult. To allow myself to be in this space without guilt is a challenge. And the great thing is: I can see all the work Frank and I did together being directly applied. I see how my communication and vulnerability and self-acceptance are playing a part.
I can see how I’ve grown and changed and sometimes I marvel even at my own self. I did it, I’m doing it, and it’s being met with enthusiasm and acceptance.
To be in this space at all is a challenge. I have a new fear of abandonment. I have a new fear of loving and being loved and having it go away. I am scared to my core, and yet, I recognize that this feels good. This feels right. It feels open and healthy and delicious and I want it.
After my trip to Colorado I wanted to open myself to a relationship that could “meet me, not complete me.” And this feels like that. I don’t need to be any other than myself, and Todd meets me there, with no expectation for me to be anything other than who I authentically am. And the same is true for him…I meet him. He’s complete all on his own, and I celebrate the space he needs to be him, and I celebrate the space we share to be us. Two whole people coming together.
And I am so grateful.
Part of the gift s that Frank ripped the bandaid off revealing Cynthia. And he wanted me to pop out…but if I had, I believe he would have been a bit uncomfortable. We would have compromised. I moved too fast for him…our relationship was a constant negotiation of my quickness to his slowness. There were some very rich interactions there, lovely learning and shared space…but he had difficulty letting me move quick…he felt like he needed to be the same as me, and I felt I needed to make him feel secure and so I slowed and he quickened, and it worked. And it could have gone on working for years and years…we were learning communication, negotiation, the art of letting go and trusting. And it was work, but it was richly rewarding.
And then he died.
And I died too.
And in the past 9 months I’ve been finding myself, growing authentically into who I always was but couldn’t access.
And in this space, I met another human that sees me, that meets me, that I feel comfortable accessing all of me with. It’s kind of crazy. I am so grateful.
I am so grateful to Frank. To our journey, to the connection, we continue to have. For the space that is held for him in this new relationship. Todd is grateful for Frank too. We were, afterall, all friends before this part unfolded.
This whole experience is a little bit like Groundhog Day for me…Frank and I got together when he was 55, and Todd is 53. There’s some irony in this, I’ve been with a man all through his 20s and his 30s but I skipped being with a man in his 40s. I guess I passed go on that one…but there’s something so lovely and so dear about a man this age. It bothered Frank, our age difference, because I was 13 years younger, still so far behind where he was. But it didn’t bother me a bit. I got to see up close and personal his growing deeper into himself. The changing of the quality of his skin, how it became softer, more forgiving, as did his temperament. I loved the wrinkles around his ears, his hair growing in places it never had before…Todd is much closer in age to me, just five years older, which means I'm changing too. I believe I’ll get to experience Todd’s changes as well, while he is experiencing mine. I look forward to loving another human tenderly, up close and observant in the way that I am able to do. And I believe the same will be true for him…we get to take this precious time and honor it intentionally and with a deep remembering. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but it feels like something in my life is shifting open, wider to receive, built on previous experiences and past dreams…and it’s this great unfolding that I get to take slowly and with great reverence.
I truly feel that love makes us more beautiful as we get older…I have become more comfortable giving love and receiving it, it’s a perfect unfolding really. I was thinking of it like a flower, beautiful at literally every stage. The bud, the bloom, and after the leaves reach their fullest expression sometimes the color changes and sometimes the best most beautiful part of the flower happens at the end. I loved Frank at the end. I saw how he had finally opened himself to receive, and what joy and fulfillment that brought for him and also for me.
I see now how I can develop all kinds of love…love for someone to be their fullest expression of themself because that’s who they are…and if they are happy being them…that’s a perfect and beautiful thing. And if I can love me for me, that's a perfect and beautiful thing too.
There is no way I could’ve planned this life, these twists and turns. There is no way I would have traded any of my loves for any other of my loves. They have all been real, and wonderful and just what I needed at the time. And I am grateful. I am grateful for this life, I am grateful for my resilience. I am grateful for love.
And I just keep going with the flow because, honestly, resistance is futile.
Here's a picture of us from the other night...silly alien facial masks on, being goofy.