Tag: Max

on being friends

Last night Max and I met up for our first date after our break up.  It was a very strange thing to do I guess.  We met at a reading group and then went for dinner at an Afghan restaurant.  Over dinner he told me that one of the women he has been dating, who refused to kiss him at their last date occupies his thoughts most evenings before he goes to sleep – he had initially resolved not to call her but gave in out of weakness and sent her a text message at the weekend.  She responded twice but not again.  It seems that he is still obsessing over her, now imagining that she’s the one who got away.

He was telling me that he didn’t seem to be having any luck with dating but then he receives two emails that evening.  I sense that he may be thinking meeting up with me might be a mistake and wanting to go home to answer his emails and so we part in a friendly fashion, not shaking hands but a firm hug and kiss on the cheek. And then I drove home.  I need more time to get over him and seeing him in a platonic way left me thinking that I am very good at deceiving myself and him.  This morning I sent him the following email –

Hi Max

Thank you for a very pleasant evening although I sensed that your thoughts were on other things/women.   I think though that it’s probably in my own best interest to stop seeing you for a while.  I have let myself lose my head/heart a little in the last few months.  But as there is no future in it I should just say goodbye.  It was a tad over-optimistic to think I can see you without letting how I really feel get in the way – maybe 6 months from now 🙂

I hope things work out for you and you manage to find the right person in the end.

Best wishes

Amy x

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Life after sex

I was having a busy week saying no to new people and goodbye to some old dates.  Normally Max and I would exchange notes but since our break-up some time back there had been no texting or emailing never mind late night chats.  After a week I felt slightly better getting back in touch with him and we resumed some email back and forth:

Dear Max

It’s only been a week since we agreed to quit sleeping with each other but feels like more.  Stella’s had awkward sex twice in the interim and just as we predicted, her dates with Marc did not end well.  I miss our chats and wonder how your dating is going.

Amy x

Hi Amy

I’ve been intending to email you hello. Stella really is struggling and I don’t think she’s even exaggerating much, though she is worrying an awful lot and ruining it by her anxiety and did go to bed with someone she doesn’t seem to share a great deal in common with. No dating from me, though I can’t keep away from trying. 

Incidentally I found out this week that at work we have a piece of equipment for feeling what the prostate is like.  I’ve not tried or seen it.

Not sure where we go from here but it’s good to be in touch. How is your dating?

M x

Hi Max

Sorry to hear you’re not doing any dating although it’s good that you’re still trying.  I have been saying goodbye to a few more people – Henry, Bill, and Jules – my dating experiment now over, book – novella length practically finished.  I’m closer to finding out what it is I want from my dates I think.  

Where we go from here – staying friends has always been something I’ve felt we could do.  Is this something you’d like?  what would you like?

Amy x

Hi Amy

That’s a lot of goodbyes. Congratulations on nearly finishing the book and dating experiment. What do you reckon you want from dates, what’s your tentative conclusion…?

Lets meet up and  see what happens, where it leads us…I never know what happens after sex….

Nothing much happening here, getting my bike fixed, getting ready for a presentation at an important event and enjoying results of a cooking spree on Sunday 🙂

M x

Hi Max

Good luck with the event and presentation – what is it?

Book is really finished now! I’m quite pleased with it – around 45,500 words!  You feature quite a bit in it … although I don’t think anyone can make the connection.  Had to come home early to catch a swarm.  Fingers crossed they’ve all gone in the box.  Putting the finishing touches to book meant I missed dusk when I meant to go down to check on them.  It’ll have to be tomorrow.

My conclusion is that sex is easy, love is trickier and I am obsessed with endings.  Ellie made a date with someone last Saturday, met them on Sunday evening and now regrets agreeing to a second date.  Aargh!

Yes let’s meet up – what should we do – forage? walk dog? tea and cake? shim sham? film? a board game? 

I’m going on holiday from mid Aug to middish Sep and also having another reunion at the end of August with some of my old schoolmates, this time we’re spending a long weekend on an island resort!

Amy x

There was a silence after that – he was busy with his presentation and event? he didn’t want to be too spontaneous with the emailing? perhaps there isn’t the incentive to email someone you know you’re not going to have sex with anymore.  I suspect the last reason is the more accurate take.

Goodbye Max

This morning we said goodbye – instead of letting the relationship limp to the end we bravely agreed to quash the sexual side of things, settling instead on remaining friends.   Yes, it may be difficult but possible, if we only met in future on neutral ground and didn’t share a bed, perhaps not seeing each other for a bit until some time had passed.  We both set out the terms and smiled unflinchingly at each other.  We were having breakfast together, he must’ve have been feeling quite all right as he managed two helpings of coco pops whilst I had green tea.   We held each other’s hands for a little while, acknowledging the finality.   By then we were both a lot more composed.  When we woke in the morning things had been just a little different.  I was already aware that the end was approaching over the last fortnight.  Still, we’d had a really enjoyable date the day before – going on a foraging walk, taking a turn off the beaten path, crossing a brook a number of times before going home to prepare dinner together and playing some Scrabble where M was sorely beaten (a second time).   We had both been exhausted when we went to bed.  We awoke almost at the same time just before eight o’clock.

It began with tentative kisses but the doubt was at the back of my mind and like an itch that must be scratched or a hangnail asking to be picked I asked a question and the answer was a hint that this might be the beginning of the end.  So, lying in bed companionably the goodbye kisses became more passionate and the surge of emotions caused tears to well up and I had to get out of bed to clear my head.  It wasn’t totally unexpected but all the same I’d had that little cry.  He was quite a sweet man but not suitable for the long haul I’d known.  He said I’d had a near miss and we began the discussion which led inevitably to the end.  It felt mature and considerate – we were two very nice people who didn’t want to hurt each other.

The sun was up and the sky a beautiful blue that morning and I felt the incongruity of this civilised break up.  Please tell me a joke, I pleaded.  When I’d blown my nose in the bathroom and composed myself I went back to bed and we held each other.  I knew that letting M glimpse this vulnerability in me was going to excite feelings of tenderness in him.  Still, my pride would not let me be pitied and I demanded a dignified break-up.   We considered the opposite scenario – if he’d declared undying love I would’ve had the burden of gently letting him down, so however broken-hearted I might have felt, it came as a relief that this relationship had run its course.

The men I’ve picked over the last year have been commitment-phobes, either already in primary relationships themselves or never lived with anyone (like Max) or only been in very short, light liaisons.   The cycle of beginnings and endings continue and I take comfort with each heartbreak that I was right to be wary because there are no fairytale endings in real life.

On relationships

Back in November/December last year when I was still hopeful of meeting the One, when the idea of polyamory was as alien as living on Mars, I recorded this in my diary:-

The fact is that dating many is really quite fun.  I can’t see myself settling down with any of these new dates or anyone for that matter.   It’s possible that I might find romance and love again but there’s no one at the moment who fulfils all my requirements.  Until then I dally and tarry with the ones who might do just for now.

With these I meet up, chat and share the odd evening together.   Of course it’s always fun going on dates and I allow, even indulge myself a fantasy that he might be the one as I prepare to see any one of my current beaux.  I still hedge my bets and don’t quite end things with 2 others and there is a possible 3rd in the wings as this is the time of year when everyone has already made plans, myself included of how we’re to spend the holidays – so as of the present I’ve yet to meet the next one.

My current favourite is a small bespectacled bald nerdy fellow who makes me laugh but seems the most emotionally balanced and kisses really well.  He doesn’t rush things, said that he would prefer not to enter into a physical relationship from the outset for fear that it clouded our reasoning and would rather that we take our time getting to know each other.  We have agreed to be honest about our intentions and he knows that I am keeping my options open and dating others.  He has said that he, on the other hand cannot juggle more than one relationship at a time and is not seeing anyone else.  I too am sceptical about the fate of this relationship because he does not have a good track record – the longest he has ever been with anyone was only 4 months!  But he admitted to being a late starter.

The one who is energetic has moved things up a gear and suggested a more intimate dating activity involving a massage.  I am not so naive to believe that a massage is all that it is.  I don’t feel ready to indulge beyond a massage myself and it will surely be a test of how much I like him enough to go further.

Looking back I do laugh at myself – the late starter bolted at the beginning of the year but has recently got in touch.  When I think of him I am reminded of wary animals in the wild that edge cautiously and circle whatever temptation may be on offer, ready to flee at the slightest threat.  The massage with the adventurer rapidly turned into something more intimate and it was I who fled the scene.

Last week Jan and I attempted to plan a holiday together but the dates have now been moved into the summer due to our separate domestic arrangements.  We made a loose date over the bank holiday weekend to continue discussions.    Max and I in the meantime have slowed down our dates to once a week and spend less time texting or emailing each other – the novelty of getting to know one another has worn off and perhaps the drifting away has begun.  Most of my relationships seem to follow this pattern – a heady start, cooling off and drifting apart followed by a re-acquaintance and friendship.  Where’s the elusive One?  It’s almost sine qua non that he must accept my continued friendships with past lovers.  Lars has an open relationship with his partner where they encourage each other to meet new people all the time.  Our relationship is purely sexual and I believe his partner does not feel threatened or jealous by it.  What is jealousy but a fear that someone else would take our place?  I used to have to coach myself against this negative emotion – it requires a great deal of self-belief and confidence in ourselves and our partners to overcome it – in any event, it’s a useless feeling and I’m less affected by it now even though it still lurks.

Max forgiven, but only just

I woke up the next morning to the following email from Max.

Hello

I have it in my diary for Thursday at 6.30, but I’ve got a meeting at 8 I must dash off to after.

Still on for Thurs?

xx

Ok, so it was my mistake … but a date of such limited length of time?  No, thank you.  He was slightly redeemed but now that I have tasted that small nub of disappointment I was not inclined to be drawn in again and busied myself elsewhere – at the apiary, the allotment, catching up on reading and chatting to the others of course.  Max and I re scheduled our date for Sunday; initially when it was suggested, I hadn’t been free, but then Goran called to postpone our Sunday date.

Can all these relationships survive the long haul?

Dates with the Physicist, and Max falls out of Favour

I’m really not very good at picking up signals and nuances.  For example, there’s this scientist, Liam I was seeing towards the end of last autumn.  He had said he didn’t want to rush into things, but what happened instead was that we began by kissing at the end of the first date and then arranged a second where he took me back to his place after dinner and the next thing I knew he was slipping on a condom and I was lying in an unmistakably compromising position on his bed.

Several dates went by which ended in a similar fashion and then he began cancelling dates on me.  I took the hint and we clarified the situation in an adult, mature and twenty-first century manner – via text messaging.  We established that he felt rushed and was unhappy about all this meaningless copulation.  He also said that he preferred being one of a few rather than the only one – which at the time, he had been as my relationship with R had just ended.   He also said that he’d rather just hang out than have sex.  I took that to be his way of telling me that he didn’t have the time for an exclusive relationship.  No matter, I’d got used to dating all kinds of unavailable men by then and so I returned to the dating site and met a few more.  Occasionally Liam would send me an invitation to see a film or show at the theatre followed by dinner.  We didn’t venture anywhere near a bed or condom and kissing was restricted to dry pecks on cheeks.  And then there was a long hiatus when even this platonic way of hanging out stopped altogether.

In a moment of weakness about three weeks ago, probably when someone else had bailed on me at the last minute, I sent him a text inviting him out.  It was quite a successful date in terms of the choice of film – Wild Tales which kept us both at the edge of our seat along with many moments of sheer absurdity.  When the film ended we went for a light meal and he seemed fairly interested in all my polyamorous adventures.  Over this he offered to cook for me and experiment further in bed – he was sufficiently sheepish about this turnaround to apologise for it and proffer his acceptance without question and in advance what he expected would be my immediate rejection of this audacious proposition.

Now, despite having had a rather large glass of red wine at the cinema and another with my meal I was sufficiently sober to remember the plus factors about Liam – his stamina, proportionate length and girth of essential parts, unimpeachable manners and sensibilities vis a vis the supply and use of prophylactics and sensuous application of lips and digits.  At the same time I also recalled his diffidence.   So I rather nervously said yes and we made a date two weeks ahead.

In the run up I checked that he was still happy about our date and he sent me the following message:

Yes, I’m definitely still on for Monday. I really don’t mind what we do. If you want to go out somewhere or just hang out, that’s fine with me. It will just be nice to have an evening together.

Bearing in mind how the last time we had sex ended I took this to mean that he now had cold feet.   We went to see Force Majeure instead.  Over dinner, perhaps prompted by how less than perfect the meal was (the soup was quite salty and the mozzarella salad did not contain basil) he again reiterated his previous offer.  I intimated my surprise and told him that I thought he had changed his mind from his last email.  He said that he had merely wanted to give me the option of backing out of it.   So I said yes again and this time, at the end of the date he finally kissed me on the lips.  But who knows what’ll happen in two weeks’ time…

Meanwhile, on my way home I noticed that Max had tried to call.  It gave me a warm glow to see that missed call notification on my phone.  He had also sent me a couple of email messages to which I briefly replied.  When he rang back again I was already tucked up in bed.  So it felt warm and cosy and I settled down to have an already familiar chat routine with this man I’m still determined not to be silly over.

We exchanged news about our day as we usually did and I told him about my busy weekend and date with Liam.  As we were saying goodbye I reminded him about our impending date this Friday.  There was a slight awkwardness when Max apologised for having forgotten about it and said he had made an arrangement he couldn’t back out of.  There was no mistaking my disappointment although I put on a brave front.  If there was anything that could cure my propensity to be silly over someone then Max had certainly succeeded.   I went to sleep feeling let down and comforted myself by detailing all the things I found irritating about him.

Lars fills a gap

Max and I were watching Blue is the warmest colour on netflix, on my laptop.  Suddenly there was a little ping and a tiny rectangle slid into view in the top right hand corner of the screen.  It was a message from Lars – Just got back from Belgium.  Feeling frisky xxLxX.  Just as well I believed in an honest and open relationship or it could have been an awkward moment.  Max took it with remarkable sangfroid.  The next day I replied to L’s message and suggested that I might be able to see him midweek, but that it might have to be another midnight tryst.

Suddenly though a previously arranged date was cancelled as  R bailed on me at the last minute pleading a head cold.  It was fairly timely just as Lars had put out his feelers to meet up.  I told him about the change in plans and he offered to cook for me again.   I went round with a bottle of Sancerre as he was making the finishing touches to a Flemish dish involving white asparagus. Mm one of my favourite vegetables.  He served it with mash and we talked mainly about the upcoming election.  He said he couldn’t imagine living in a borough which might return a Tory candidate. Not being British he did not have the right to vote but it was clear where his politics lay.

Lars lived in an unpretentious flat in an ex council house block built in the 70s. It was all concrete and grey angularity. Inside though he had decorated it with African masks and artwork by friends.  There was a red hued almost life size portrait of a woman with her back to the viewer, her face half turned in profile. It was soft and drew you in with her demure glance. It hung in his small square dining room which opened out onto a bleak balcony with a view of a car park. In the next room Lars had his modular bed like sofa against a picture window with the same aspect as the balcony. Next to this window was an inky sketch of a fairly monstrous figure, the head bound in a misshapen head gear and triangular flaps at its arms hiding the hands. When Lars told me it was by the same painter responsible for the soft figure in red I couldn’t believe it at all.

After the meal he brought out  an inhaling device which he filled with ganja.   We talked about his travel plans and his encouraging his  partner who was moving abroad, to find someone else there.  They would continue to see each other but obviously, with the distance, the regularity would be reduced.   When I told him about Max reading his text message he said something similar had happened when he received a message from me two weekends ago and he had been with his partner.  We both congratulated each other on our openness but I did feel slightly embarrassed that his partner had read my message.  We had moved to the sofa by then and the inevitable happened.  Later, at past midnight I kissed him goodbye and drove home.   In a few hours the polling stations would be open. And I will be going to Max’s later in the evening where he was holding a small party with his friends to receive some of the results.

of the ‘L’ word and other related stuff

I hadn’t heard from Max since our date on Tuesday evening. We were at a comedic rendition of Leonard Cohen songs by Arthur Smith – if it was possible to get laughs out of the morose, maudlin and moody numbers on dementia and heartache, Arthur and his Smithereens certainly managed it, interspersed with stories about Arthur’s mother and his dog. During the show M had his arm around my shoulders, his hand occasionally stroking the back of my neck.  It felt friendly, familiar and comforting.  He was eating a praline bar of chocolate with a glass of water and I had two glasses of an Argentinian Malbec.  Earlier we had met in St James’ Square and walked through the Waterstones’ in Piccadilly, up to Soho, spotting Saul Campbell en route (it was actually Max who recognised him), and stopping for a bite to eat at a Thai cafe called Rosa’s.  It was  simple delicious fare and I remember the glass teapot my lemongrass tea came in.

Our meal ended, we had a little time to squander and took our time to get to the theatre.  We passed several sex shops but didn’t find anything which might suit us.  On the way to catch the tube back after the show, we entered one which belonged to the husband of a woman I used to play tennis with.  Max told me that he had been there a long time ago.  We talked quite frankly about our past experiences with pornography and he told me that pages of favourite magazines he used to wank over would get stuck together thus necessitating buying more.  With the advent of online pornography freely supplied by everyone globally he had hardly needed to get anymore – we wondered who would still come to the shop to buy from the vast array on display.

After that we got on the tube and returned to mine. We talked about this and that and chatted quite easily as was the pattern now until he asked me to marry him. His actual words were – will you marry me?  I didn’t reply because I thought I had misheard him.  It had come at the tail end of an anecdote as though to illustrate a point.  And then he went on to say something else and the moment was forgotten and I didn’t have to say anything about it. Later I might have mentioned or tried to steer the conversation back to that but not quite managed it. I had also failed to remember the context in which it was uttered.  No doubt it was meant in jest.  He too claimed to have forgotten the entire incident and said that my non-response was an indication that I was trying to frame an acceptable refusal which had been so devastating that he had erased the whole thing from his memory.

After he left the next day I heard very little from him, compared to the previous week when we had texted, emailed or called each other up all through the day right up to bedtime – a tad obsessive.  And then the almost silence of the past two or three days.  This morning though, he rang me at nearly midday.  After exchanging pleasantries very briefly he came straight to the point.  His tone was accusatory – he said that I had used the ‘L’ word.  I was appalled and disbelieving.  When was that?  Was he sure?  And when?  And it took him until this morning to realise this?  All these questions I hurled at him as my line of defence.  But truly I couldn’t remember uttering the offensive term.   What did I actually say?

You said … um … you told me that you could see yourself falling in love with me. 

Is that all?  That’s not so bad is it? 

To a commitment phobe like me, those are alarming words.  He insisted.

You did ask me to marry you. Even if you promptly forgot you had proposed.  Even I failed to see how reminding him of that was relevant or helpful to the situation.

So we were both being out of character … 

Eventually we managed to assure ourselves that neither of us was expecting an exclusive relationship with each other and despite the fact that I was growing quite fond of him, I didn’t expect him to stop dating other women just as I wouldn’t expect him to object to my other lovers.  In any event we agreed that it was quite a good thing that we put the brakes on and slowed down the momentum of obsessive contact with each other.

We also talked about holding grudges – Max claimed that he had an unhealthy ability to hang on to slights but agreed that letting go of them could be seen as taking the moral high ground and taking that view might encourage him to relinquish habits which have grown out of rancour.  We then made finer arrangements vis a vis our impending dates next week – in one of them he had also invited one of his old friends and his date.

A pattern is emerging now where I seem to be sharing my time consistently and fairly with four of my favourite men – Max, Jan, Lars and Goran.  This week I have dates with two past lovers – R and Liam.  There will be a lot to catch up on! Lars had also suggested a date next week but I’m not sure how I can fit him in.  It might have to be another midnight tryst.

Post Easter shuffling – who remains in the inner circle

I have now struck Darren off my shag portfolio.  That is my only option after getting the following email from him this morning:

Hey Amy

Some disturbing news.
Hope you are good. Sorry for not being in touch but had a few personal issues. 
I have a bad feeling that I may have caught something when we were together and worse that I may have passed it to my wife. I may be overreacting but best to be safe than sure. After our time together I began to feel a bit of an itch in my penis and ignored it at first. It then continued so thought I best get some antibiotics from online thinking it could have been a thrush sort of thing.  This seems to have done job but my wife has had tonsillitis like symptoms for several weeks that are not going away. Looking online this ‘may be’ gonorrhea like symptoms. I am obviously very anxious in case this is the problem. 

As you are the only one I have been with for a long time (>year), do you think you might get your self tested asap for your own benefit and to let me know. If you have got something you want to get rid asap before it does any harm.

You can get a home test kit online.

Please let me know. I hope it is not the case.

My thoughts ran along the lines of – what a paranoid ass.  He had not had the decency to go and get confirmation but was quite content to try and cast blame for his own and his wife’s symptoms.  It was just as well that I’d already received the all clear from the STI clinic and I had the pleasure of letting him know that, as well as throwing in the added sting that he could not be certain of course whether his wife might have picked her own symptoms up from elsewhere and that they might both wish to go and get themselves tested to be sure.

Jan in the meantime is now someone I see as an old friend and we seem to have so much more fun out of bed that we inevitably end up too exhausted to do anything else other than sleep when we do share a bed.  Lars by comparison I only see purely for sex.  I worry that I am too vanilla by comparison but it could be that vanilla is what he enjoys with me after his extreme jaunts with Madame et filles.

Max and I continue testing our boundaries in bed and trying out new adventures outside.  In the middle of one romp his slaps continued up my body from my bottom and we both shocked ourselves by enjoying his slaps on my cheeks.  We talked about this later and agreed that it wasn’t something we were that keen on and it was something of the moment.  The refrain – where will it end – was raised once more – might we try pressure elsewhere in future, his hands on my throat, for example?

Goran meanwhile, has invited me to meet him at a hotel this week.  Whether we end up in bed and how satisfying that experience will be is something I’m sceptical about.

A Guest Post – written by Max

A date with STI

Doing something dangerous on a date, perhaps crossing a swaying rope bridge 100m over a gully, is an aphrodisiac.  So my plan to be tested with Amy for STIs at a clap clinic – what could be more scary – I hoped to be a bonding experience leading to good sex. And after all, I’d sodomised her, as we like to call it, and needed something even more taboo. But heading for the clinic at 10.30am, Amy said she felt dirty and she didn’t sound as if she meant turned on. I was beginning to wonder if I’d miscalculated.

What would we say to each other if the results came back positive for one of us? What recriminations would follow? Yes, reader, we talked about this, considering the permutations, but it was too miserable a path and we turned back.

After being asked about intravenous drug use and when I last had sex, we met up back in the waiting room sobered, a little relieved and maybe lightheaded and headed over nearby Hampstead Heath with our picnic.

We tried to identify trees. According to Amy, two with just burst leaves were horse chestnuts, and I teased her about that. We settled on a high spot surrounded by trees with limbs like outstretched fingers, the ground a bed of dry leaves and dotted with beech nuts ravished by the squirrels months before. Just as we spread our spread it rained and we endured a typical British picnic on what was billed as the warmest day of the year, before the sun came out again.

Amy was as usual wearing lovely clothes, this time a colourful floral patchwork skirt and a white top with embroidered flowers. She also flashed me her French knickers and asked if I liked them. I responded by touching the top of her thighs, under her skirt, knowing it forces her into a sharp intake of breath. I love hearing her excitement.  Food over, we cuddled up in our usual position, me spooning Amy – she prefers having her back to me! After a slow start my hands wandered more freely despite visits by dogs, their walkers and children. Amy surprised me by pulling open my trousers so I quickly pulled up her skirt at the arse leaving her legs and front decorously covered. A bit of spit for lubrication and some pushing against her pubic hairs and I was inside her and we moved against each other enjoying the thrill of being in the open air and with people around, the possibility of being caught.  Amy squeezed her legs together, the thing that turns her on most, and came.

With Amy’s car parking ticket valid for only 4 hours and my reputation for timekeeping to maintain, we had to leave but Amy’s need for a toilet took us back to my flat. My hopes to see her crouched pissing in the open will have to wait for another day and somewhere quieter than the heath but I mentioned it to seed the idea. I had the consolation of a more extended workout including attempted deep-throating and the freedom to spank her arse hard.  Plus the cuddles and stroking that I like, when I took the risk of reminding Amy that I want more of, which she obliged me with.

This was my second date involving STI testing and both ended well. We’ll find out in 8 days if the results involve recriminations or we have the character to behave well to each other but for today I am satisfied.