Nine years ago…Nov 15, 2010…I began the Stranded in Toronto site on WordPress.

It seems like eons ago.polyamory anxiety introversion

I recall sitting at the computer and debating the title, finally settling on Stranded as I simply missed my Rocky Mountains.

That’s right. They’re mine. You gonna make something of it?

I was listening to the song linked above by Billy Joel as I began writing this mess. A melancholy song about trying to evolve before it’s too late.

During that time, I did evolve.

I began to push myself outside my comfort zone…made easier by the fact I found an audience that fed my need for assurance and was single, giving me the ability to search without restraint as I needed.

I went so far out of my comfort zone, in fact, that I declared myself solo poly in the summer of 2011. There was no certainty that the title would fit nor that it would last, but I claimed it, and my inner introvert raised its Spockian eyebrow but let me try it.

The title did fit, however. In some instances, I played the part of what some in this lifestyle refers to as Bull.

For the uninitiated, a Bull is a single man that engages with married women, or Vixens, with their husband’s consent. Sometimes the husband, or the Stag, can join in (as was usually the case in my situations) or watch with the intent of either compersion or being cuckolded.

I’ve mentioned before that threesomes were much more fun being 40-something and mostly sober, compared to being 20-something and drunk. Maturity, I believe, breeds sensuality and confidence that simply add to this experience.

Then I met the beautiful @LaurasPond in early 2013 before eloping in the Spring of 2014 to begin our continuing journey together in an open marriage. It was a fantastic beginning where we fed each other’s confidence as our partnership grew.

I’ve spoken about our open relationship enough. And to reiterate, no one can tell you how an open relationship will work for you, only how it works for them.

This partnership is continuing, but there is a speed bump; one most would never consider.

Introversion, for me, has turned into a rubber band and over the last year and began a slow, painful snapping back process.

And it leaves a fucking big bruise.

Last month we attended the Polyamory Toronto annual speed dating event, and my introversion dragged my anxiety off the charts. The event was its usual fun, but this year’s venue was a poor choice for the amount of noise. I have a hard enough time hearing anyway, but then my anxiety piled on, leaving me in a room full of people and white noise.

This has happened before on occasion, but this was the strongest bout I’ve felt of it in more than a decade. It makes it hard to communicate when anytime someone speaks to me I jump as if shocked by their attention.

Further, for your consideration, is that Laura now has a boyfriend that she has been seeing for months. This is part of our chosen poly direction, and she is doing nothing wrong here.

She disagrees with me, but I see him as an alpha to my not-so-much. He fills the air with sound as I am quiet. On the times I do speak, he tries to find a way to fix the situation I state…which is rarely, if ever, the response I look for. He’s more extroverted than I am. He’s more tech-savvy than I am. He’s more a go-getter than I am. He’s in better shape than I am.

He’s not something I can compete with, nor want to. He gives her something different than I can and, right now, she needs that more than what she needs from me. She’s not leaving, but this is an evolution for her in her needs.

I’ve often thought of myself as a gatekeeper. Even before I declared myself as solo poly, I would meet people and introduce them to the concepts of ethical non-monogamy or some form of kink. They would be overjoyed at first, then finding someone else in the niche that interested them with more expertise than I have and move on. This was never something intentional and hurt when they would leave me as they evolved.

In a sense, that’s where I feel I am again thanks in large part to the feeling of devolving my introversion has brought about in me.

In this case, I helped build her confidence and encouraged her to see other people and explore, with or without me. That she has found one that she now chooses over me, should have been expected. She has found something that she needs and that she must be allowed to explore.

That it has taken away something I needed is on me, for expecting too much.

Now, I just have to find it elsewhere if the elastic lets go.

Sure, there are plenty of self-help books or gurus available to assist with how to deal with anxiety and introversion.

“If you’re looking for self-help, why read a book written by somebody else?” – George Carlin

Last night, even, I began listening to an audio version of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change“, by Stephen R. Covey. A chapter in so far and I can hear how well written it is, but I also sense it is like so many things I’ve read before. These all tend to be great sales techniques that simply mask the real issues.

I’m fucking tired of selling, especially when no one is buying.

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