journal entries

except when it does

In retrospect, it seems so obvious. Of course it’s hard to date while you’re falling for someone else. Of course you should work on that new relationship, get it to a stable place, before dating around, otherwise the foundation will probably be too shaky.

In making that other date, I think I was attempting to not acknowledge how much I’ve already fallen, how much I want to keep falling, how much she matters already. “Nah, it’s just a casual thing,” I was telling myself. “I should keep dating, keep seeing other people, this can’t really work, what can we do.”

“Nothing.” My friend, the Musician, said to me. “It’s impossible. There is no possible way for it to work. Except when it does.” The Musician and her girlfriend spent fifteen months at the beginning of their relationship apart, in different states and then in different countries. And somehow, they made it happen. She & I are probably the most romantic people I know, kings of the big gestures in love.

The people around me are laughing when I tell them my predicament. I kind of want them to say, this can’t work, just give up now, forget it, get real, but they don’t. They get it, like the Musician. Cody‘s girlfriend is also long distance, and about to move to his city to be with him. Dylan is beginning to practice dating more than one person at once (is that public knowledge? I can edit this out if you don’t want me to say that). Molly, my fluffer femme spy, reminds me that she is also an IT department of polyamory. And I haven’t even started tapping the resources of Eileen & Maymay & Rona and other sexbloggers who date multiple people and still manage to love and commit.

Y’all are seriously rooting for us, aren’tcha? It’s kind of strange to feel so supported in this. Maybe you’re sick of the smutty Sugarbutch gallavanting? Or perhaps you’re mirroring my own enthusiasm? Maybe you’ve been following my heartbreak and loss and know how happy I was when I was in love, and just want to see me happy again? Perhaps some of you still believe that One True Love thing and want to see me settled and happy.

Sugarbutch will die when you’re all in love and monogamous, you know that, right? more than a few friends have said this to me. But I don’t think it will die – I still want to write smut. Perhaps it’ll be less dating, but there better well still be sex in my life.

“It just keeps working, until it doesn’t work,” The Musician said. It’s like that quote from Death, part of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, where she comes for a little baby and the baby says, “That’s it? That’s all I get?” and Death responds, “You get what everyone gets. You get a lifetime.”

I like a lifetime as a unit of measure. Same with a relationship. That’s what we get, DD & I … how long we can make it work, and how we’ll make it work, is definitely still To Be Figured Out.

“Will the grand gestures be worth it?” The Musician asks. “Who knows? I won’t know if all these huge gestures, flying across the country for my girlfriend, were worth it, until I’m on my deathbed saying, ‘holy shit, I’m dying, and you’re still here.'”

“Yeah, you’re right. And at the same time, I don’t regret the grand gestures in the relationships I had that have ended. And as much as I’m sad about the endings, or unhappy with how things ended, I don’t regret giving everything I could give, in them, at the time.”

“You’re such a romantic.”

“Yeah. But at the same time, what would I do if she was here? Is it only safe because she’s far away? Would things be totally different? Would I run?”

When I stop to think about it, I’m terrified. Second-guessing myself and my feelings, uncertain, unconvinced, unclear. I still feel so messed up from the two major breakups in my recent past, so particularly fucked by the manipulations of the unholy bitch that I have been trying to unlearn and unbelieve about myself. Somewhere in there I still don’t believe I’d be any good for someone in this state of flux. Too many unknown variables, too much changing.

But, on the other hand, I am closer to being who I want to become than I’ve ever been, and that is saying something. I’m refining, distilling, settling into a version of myself that is sustainable, solid but flexible, just good.

“Are you kidding!” The Musician says. “We’re alike, you & me. You squeeze your heart out in every direction you can find. You want her. You aren’t poly. You want the big love. You want to fall. And clearly, you want to fall for her.

I still don’t have any idea how to make this work, but I think it’s beginning to sink in, a little deeper, to those inner layers, and clearly I have some new, revised choices to make.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

15 thoughts on “except when it does”

  1. Jan says:

    Focus your attention where your heart is, Sinclair. That is what will bring you happiness (and hot sex).

    Why be distracted?


  2. that's about the size of it: it works except when it doesn't and you can't except when you can. this post is fantastic, a perfect study in

    and i'm so excited for you! …even though part of me does honestly want to say "no! not long distance, it hurts too much!" but that reaction is based on my own experience which isn't (of course) the same, and during which i was pretty out of my depth. far more important, though, is that, well, i get it. (so whatever i say, i even might do it again if i were falling)

    what i mean is – i am so rooting for y'all!

  3. tesoro says:

    Stop over-thinking it (says she of the over-thinking): how often does the world give us a grand love affairs? Grab it, run with it, enjoy the ride – the future will take care of itself. Good luck!

  4. georgia says:

    magnets don't have arms
    so when they're stuck together
    they dont' have to try and grasp each other to stay that way
    they can't even help it really

    so relax ~ just be honest with her and with yourself
    about where you are and what you want
    and if it's monogomy time, you'll know
    and if it's polyamory time, you'll know
    and it it's moving time, you'll know
    and if it's dinnertime, you'll know

    just be honest and respectful and u can't go wrong

  5. dylan says:

    "it works except when it doesn’t and you can’t except when you can"… that's a perfect saying. I think I need to remind myself of that more often.

    And no worries about mentioning my poly relationship. The more and more solid it becomes, the less and less I feel the need to keep it private. I think I only did this long because I was worried it was a passing fantasy and didn't want to look like a fool when it fell to pieces. I'm not worried about what I look like anymore.

    Sometimes we have to let go and let our heart lead our heads… this may be one of those times for you.

    P.S. I wish I had an IT department of polyamory. This shit is hard!! It needs trouble shooters and crisis managers. :)

  6. a middle-aged late-b says:

    fill your heart and
    don't turn away from the filling
    just to keep the idea of having options open also in your head
    if you're going too fast, slow down
    but give it your full presence
    love deserves that
    and, if this doesn't work out
    trust that this is a plentiful universe
    pussy abounding!
    ::: chuckle :::

    poly, eh
    it is hard as hell
    and i was never completely clear on
    just what the benefits were
    beyond More
    but w/o the depth
    for me, it was a way to hide
    from what i needed to deal with
    by pretending to be all enlightened and shit
    but that's me

  7. In keeping with the tech lingo, I think it would be wise to "back up" your current hard drive – to seal what you have learned over the past year in some way. Maybe you have already done that, I don't know.

  8. When I first started reading here it was b/c the "smut" was so hot but it was the romance and the conflicts that you dealt with and had the courage to write about that made this place so real.

    I was married when I first fell in love with my girl. My husband gave me the option of being with her while continuing to stay with him. That was an extremely hard decision b/c I was so scared to leave my entire life and b/c I loved him so much. But I never fell for anyone like I fell for her and I had no space in my heart for anyone else. I had no choice but to see it through. I was lucky that it worked out but even if it hadn't, I would still know that I made the right decision.

    You make the decisions as they come and deal with the now b/c that's all you have. Don't waste the moments you have worrying too much about the moments that have yet to arrive.

  9. bird says:

    i think you have to embrace love when it shows up. that's part of living your life as fully as possible. it doesn't mean you don't make good decisions while doing it or communicate thoroughly with each other. it just means you don't have to base everything on shitty things that happened in the past. learning from your mistakes and being able to still love is how you grow. you deserve to be happy, my friend. i'm thrilled for you.

  10. Shannon says:

    Your writing shifts when you're so emotionally charged. It's such a joy to experience… Whatever it is, don't stop.

  11. Robin says:

    If the heart is there, everything else will fall in place. It doesn't matter that you two are bi coastal. That is housekeeping issues that can be resolved over time. Take the time to explore and figure out if you are traveling the same road together. I am happy for you both.

  12. Essin' Em says:

    Wow….I've been MIA for a week or two, and look at all that I've missed.

    It sounds like you've found someone that has really turned you on, and I don't mean in the sexual sense (or just in the sexual sense). I mean has turned YOU on, your mind , your body, your spirit.

    Listen to yourself, listen to each other. Do what feels right. Try things…if they work, they work, if they don't try something else. J. was dating someone one else (a psycho staling trans guy who turned out to be completed nut job in the end) when we got together…and we tried that…it didn't work, but I think it was more because of the crazy other guy than because I wasn't able to be poly…but I don't know. I'll just have to see. Some people can be poly in some relationships, and not in others…it all depends. Don't limit yourself one way or another, by distance, or relationship style, or, or, or.

    Just breathe, relax, and smile. You're in like. Deep like at the very least. Have fun with it :)

  13. Terroni says:

    I, for one, don't think that Sugarbutch will die when you fall (even more) in love.

    You'll still have an audience with me. Because, as much as like your smut, I really like your non-smut (for lack of a better word), too. ;>

  14. linaria says:

    to back up terroni and green-eyed girl: we read, like anyone who reads anything, because you are a good writer. it's the writing we come for, not the situations. how many people have interesting situations that they simply cannot write about, for whatever reasons? and how many people that you read are in monogamous relationships–or no relationships of any kind? do you accord them less attention because they write about different situations? sugarbutch will only end when you stop writing, not because you change what you are writing about.

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