Wants, Needs, and Poly

July 21st, 2012

I am a woman of many desires. I have a lot of interests, a lot of curiosity, and never enough time and energy to do it all. I enjoy the outdoors: hiking, camping, stargazing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking. I enjoy computers: programming, web design, internet browsing, WoW. I enjoy writing: blogs, stories, journals, articles, novels. I enjoy reading: fantasy, erotica, motivational, entrepreneurship, health, fiction. I enjoy movies and television: crime, drama, scifi, fantasy, action, cartoons, some anime. I enjoy kink: bondage, corporal, electricity, fire, wax, suspension, body manipulation, power exchange, service, and more. I enjoy sex: intercourse, masturbation, oral, vibrators, dildos, hugging, kissing, licking, biting, massage. I enjoy learning about everything.

But there is only so much time in the days, days in the weeks, weeks in the year. So I don’t get to do everything I enjoy. I have to work, I have responsibilities, and I have to eat, and sleep and take care of myself. The same goes for my partners.

That’s what is great about Poly. I have many wants and needs, but I can’t do everything I enjoy myself, so I know that one person cannot fulfill all my wants and needs either. I live in a wonderful kink community, within my community, I have a poly family. Within this poly family there are many individuals, each of whom adds to my life in the way he or she is able. I do not expect any one of them to fulfill my every want or need. And if a member leaves my poly family, I don’t expect the others to fulfill the wants and needs that one was carrying. Sometimes someone can and does, but to expect them to take on more than they were already doing is unfair. Each person gives me what they are able, and in return, I give them what I am able.

And this changes sometimes. On both sides of the equation. People and relationships grow and change all the time. What one is able to give and receive can change, as well. Time, affection, attention. And as we can see from the divorce rate, even love changes. It is unrealistic to expect relationships to be constant, or even consistent. The only way to manage this is through communication. Keep talking. Keep being honest with yourself and your partners. If you notice a change that has not been communicated, ask. Maybe they didn’t realize it was happening. Find out if it was intentional, or caused by exterior forces. Do not assume the worst. Ask first.

Just because one person cannot fulfill all your wants and needs, doesn’t mean you can’t ask for what you want or need. It means accepting no as an answer. When you love someone, you want to give them everything. But that is not always possible. Being able to accept no, being able to be happy with the yes’s they can give, is very important to maintaining a healthy relationship. If you constantly focus on what you’re not getting, you will never be satisfied with what you have.

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The Only Constant is Change

June 7th, 2012

Lots of stuff on my mind today. I’ll break it up into two short posts and one long post.

First things first. I now have all my ebooks up on the Erotica Collections Page. And they are all available in print over at HP Magcloud. I’ll be doing an anthology of all of them soon, as well.

I sent an email to my best friend this week entitled: The only constant is change. Things are changing in my world again, and not all of it is mine to tell. So, I’ll stick to what is. Schedules have been rearranged and I’m back to my old night with him. I always liked the reasoning for having had that night. Go home with him after playing at practice. And I agree, that some nights, having to go home to an empty bed has been quite hard. So, that will be nice to have again.

It also means a night to myself once a week (and one for himself, too). Which I haven’t had in quite some time. I’m told this is bad(that I haven’t had one). I know I’m not taking care of myself as well as I should be. Sure, I have tons of time alone during the week, when I’m not working on a day. But I generally spend that time on the computer and/or in front of the TV. And while this is fun, and productive, it’s not especially healthy, or care-taking. So, my plan, as of now, is to spend time taking care of myself. To spend time walking around in parks out of doors. To take a few bubble baths. To find somewhere I can go stargazing. To relax, unplug and unwind.

I saw a meme the other day about things not to say to an artist. One of them was about how nice it must be not to have to work. I admit, I’m far more lazy than most artists, and with all the stress and crazy going on in my life, writing has been far harder than it ought to be, and I’m doing far less that I want to be. So, I’m hoping to find my center again, and get the creative juices flowing more easily. As well as, have more energy to put into my relationships, and life in general.

 

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Everything Changes, Everything Stays the Same

April 26th, 2012

A good number of changes currently happening in my poly life and in the community I’m a part of. A new space has been acquired by some community leaders and a lot of groups are moving their meetings there. This includes my weekly Wednesday group. We are moving away from the space we have occupied for three years now, to a new place, a new space. And with high hopes that it will work for us and allow us to reach even more people.

I have also stepped down from being the little d with toy, back to a more comfortable s. I had a great time last year, learning and experiencing new things in this role. But this year, with a lot of upheaval in my life, it just didn’t feel comfortable anymore. We are examining our dynamic and determining how best to continue. It will take a bit of adjustment, but I think we’ll all come out happy in the end.

We said our fond farewell to our usual Wednesday night space in the best way we knew how. With friends, family, food and screams. He lined us up, his toy, myself and the engineer and tore into our thighs and chests. We started with the big dragon tail, then the little, then a nice blue rubber ball on a flexible rod, and ended with a round of the flyswatter, by their vote. I voted for more dragon tail because it’s not a fear response for me like the flyswatter, but it was just too much sting for them to want another round. We followed up with water and cuddles.

Final SymphonyHis toy called the noise the four of us made a strange symphony so I named this picture: Final Symphony.  Such lovely bruising and delightful kiss marks.

New and busy times lay ahead. I am grateful for what we’ve had and look forward to what is coming.

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What’s Going On?

March 8th, 2012

So, my blogs lately have been a lot of nonsense, Modern Dungeon Quarterly and the occasional story. Life has been chaotic. Relationships have been chaotic. And I just didn’t want to put it down clearly. I haven’t even been journaling. I’ve meant to, but every time, I find something else to do. Something that won’t make me look at the words on the page. Won’t force me to stare at my thoughts laid bare. Bottling is unhealthy, I know this. I don’t usually do it. But with everything that’s been going on over the last few months, it seemed like my only option in some cases. Bottle it up until other things are sorted, and then let it out in a controlled manner. Wait til they sort things out, then tell her how I feel. Wait til I’m calmer, then tell her why it hurt. Wait til he’s had a few sessions, and then, with the doc there to help us both, say how I’ve been feeling.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

 

Ready. Set. Go.

New relationships bring whirlwinds with them. Change, adjustment, and new energy. Adding a new relationship to a poly group will forever change that group. Now, that doesn’t have to be in a negative way. Change is neither a positive nor a negative force, it just is. Things spin for awhile, as everyone readjusts, as schedules are resorted, as priorities are reframed. In my life, let’s add in almost everyone in the group entering into new job situations, and new class schedules. And things still aren’t settled because class schedules change every quarter. And toy is still working on getting a different job. Let’s also add in bits of drama, miscommunication, misunderstanding, and two people leaving the group. Stress levels rolling like ocean waves. Storms coming and going. Clashes of personality and sensibilities.

Everything changes. But if you can ride out those waves, weather those storms, and navigate the difficulties, you come out the other side stronger than ever. And, if it’s meant to be, so do your relationships. Not every relationship survives. Not every relationship is meant to last forever. But they all add to our lives, to our selves and to our strength. It takes a lot to rebuild after a storm, whether the tornadoes to our south, or emotional explosions that send everyone spinning. Sometimes you have to remove all the debris, foundation and all, and start again from scratch. Sometimes the remains can be salvaged. And sometimes it just takes a little patching up. Regardless, it takes work.

We are in the midst of that work, trying to see what we’ve been left with. What parts are still useable, what parts have to be made anew, and what parts just don’t fit anymore. Both sides of my poly life are in this situation right now. And while I am hopeful, I am not confident that everything will turn out the way we might wish.

Hubby and I have entered a second round of counseling, this time with a professional. Cheating, broken rules, broken promises, and on top if it all, Lies. We tried a community counselor, but when things blew up a second time, he suggested we were beyond his ken. Hubby went alone a few times to sort out some things and now we are going together. We have a lot of work to do.

Doc has four areas he works with in his couples sections and it seems to me, we have trouble in at least three of them. First is work ethic in relation to the marriage. Putting in the work to have a good marriage, and in this case, to fix the marriage. Are we committed to fixing it? Are we willing to do the work? Our friend kind of asked us a similar thing. Were we there because we wanted to fix things, or because it was our last shot? I told him I wanted to fix things, I wanted to keep the marriage. This time, it kinda feels more like a last shot. I love my hubby, obviously, but I feel so broken, that I’m not as confident it can be fixed. Do I want to fix it? Yes. Do I think it can be? Hopeful, but not confident.

Second, is the all important communication. Doc addresses this in a couple ways. First, is what he calls Face Value communication. That is take what the other person says at face value. If I say, could you take out the trash on your way out the door, that’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying, you’re lazy and you never do your part. I’m just asking you to take out the trash. Second is communicating to problem resolution. Not just saying what’s wrong, or what’s bad, but being able to come to resolutions that work for both parties. And lastly, nurturing communication. Being able to support and nurture each other.

Third, the one I think we actually manage, is having fun together. Enjoying each other’s company. When we’re not angry, stressed or depressed. I think we do a fairly good job of having fun together. Watching shows and movies we like. Playing games together. Having good food and times with friends. Though this last is a little more difficult, depending on the venue. I’m an odd bird when it comes to being social, and he has a difficult time in some of our circles here.

Fourth, always a tricky one for us, physical intimacy. I think with our run at counseling with our friend we tried jumping right to this one before fixing the others first. I mean, we were working on communication and such, but doing it all at once might have not been the best idea. Or maybe it was. But currently, this one will be last. I need trust back before I can even consider this step. And right now, it’s long gone.

So, a lot of work to do. A lot of hard work, to find our way back to our path together. We have help, so maybe we’ll make it. But it’s going to be a long road. If we make it through this, though, we can do anything.

 

 

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What’ve You Got To Lose?

December 1st, 2011

A journal entry from earlier this week:

The longer you’ve been around, the more you have to lose. As wife, before girlfriends exist, you have everything. All the love, time, attention, interest. Then comes girlfriend, and love multiplies, but time and attention are divided, and if you’re lucky, interest gets multiplied by the extra energy. Sometimes, though, NRE can make it feel like she gets more and you get less. It can take time to rebalance.

The cycle continues for girlfriend. You get all you can until second girlfriend arrives. Then, by the needs of reality, time and attention are further divided, love is multiplied, and interest fluctuates, hopefully ending up in the positive direction. As more partners are added, balance gets harder to maintain, and needs and wants are weighed more carefully.

One ripple causes waves throughout, and if it starts as a wave, storms can appear. Tidal pools of spiraling emotions, pulling everyone down until someone catches a life-preserver and pulls the rest back up.

So, how do you survive the divisions? By enjoying that which is multiplied. By believing the benefits outweigh the cost. By being heard, even when you don’t get everything you want. By being gracious, compassionate, compersive and by compromising. Life is a state of constant change, you have to keep up and ask for the love and support you need to do so.

 

This is relevant in two, completely opposite directions in my life right now. One, hubby is down to just me. This makes the time he has to spend with me greater, though my availability has not truly changed. It may, if needed, or as schedules naturally morph over time and situation. But he and I must find a new balance, as he will be home for time I’ve previously spent alone, and he may find a desire for more of my time than he currently has.

Two, he is up to a wife and four girlfriends, and his wife is changing to day shifts next week. For a while now, most of the time divided by him, has been time she is usually at work. Now, though, it won’t be, and I imagine she is feeling the sting sharper for the amount of time she now has available and the huge chunks of it already scheduled with us. So, we look for balance, not only of time between the five of us, but of place, to give her space in her home.

We don’t have answers for any of this, yet. But we are all committed to making it work. For the love we all share, and the community we are creating together, makes us all stronger and better, and fills our lives with incredible joy.

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Broken Not Fragile

September 22nd, 2011

One of the first times I answered “the heath question” before playing with someone, that’s what I said. I’m not fragile, but I am broken. I have RA, so I have fussy joints. Hubby has a badly injured back. He has had surgery twice in the last two years. Toy has a myriad of problems, treatable and mysterious. And we all get injured, ill or just plain exhausted. So, what then? What do you do when your play partner, your loved one, is not feeling up to snuff?

He once asked me if I could be happy not being suspended by him for a whole year (at the time he was suspending me three nights a week), and suggested that such could be the case some day due to health. Now, I have not gone a full year between suspensions, but often it is months. And yes, I’m still quite happy with him. It isn’t about what we do together, but more about being together.

There is a lot of service in my submission to him, so taking care of him when he’s not feeling well comes naturally. I’m not really the maternal type, but fetching food, giving massages, just sitting and stroking his hair, all feel good to me. Hubby and I are making time to take care of each other more now, too. We plan out our date nights, but sometimes, one or both of us is feeling rough, and we just take care of one another in the same way.

Toy has a unique way of taking care of the sick. She likes to be the Get-Well Fairy and goes to the store and drops of little bags of whatever is needed or wanted. She likes to help people out, and even remembers to let us help her when she’s ill, too. She does ask for help when she really needs it, but sometimes we have to push past her reflexive “I got this, guys.”

So, this is all good and nice and happy. What about the parts I don’t do so well? This is two-fold for me. One, I don’t take care of myself. Two, I over-protect those I love. So, let’s take these in backwards order because the one leads into the other.

Over-protectiveness. If someone is not quite up to their full health, or feeling tired or sore, I assume the role of care taker. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it also means I don’t ask them for anything I might want. I feel that their health is more important and it would be selfish to ask for anything. This happens a lot on Wednesdays. If he comes in late from work and looking worn out or complaining of headache or pain, I won’t ask to play, even if it has been on my mind all day. I don’t want to push him if he’s not up to it, I don’t want him to feel bad for saying no, or make himself feel worse by saying yes. I’m taking away his ability to make that decision for himself by not asking. Bad me. There’s a bit more baggage around that one than just health issues, but that’s not today’s topic.

So, that also leads into not taking care of myself. Just because the desire mentioned above is a want instead of a need (I hesitate to call anything defined as play or sex a need), doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have it. Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ask for it. I don’t often ask for things I want, because, I tell myself, I don’t really Need them. I put those I care about first, my assumed responsibilities second, and myself third. It’s why I stopped Tai Chi and Yoga, it’s one of the reasons why I can’t get back into kneeling regularly. Those things all came to be “about me.” I’m doing them for myself, so they aren’t as important as the things I’m doing for others.* The only thing that over-rules that is exhaustion. I do veg on the couch when I’m too tired to do anything else, until I fall asleep. With taking on a second job recently, exhaustion is winning out more, and the second job is taking all the time usually reserved for “my things.” Only illness and injury slowed me down this week and did not provide for productive “me time,” and I took extra shifts to make up the missed days. So much to do, it’s hard to find the proper balance.

*As I reread this, I decided some extra discussion was, perhaps needed, to define how this ritual came to be “about me.” Roughly a year and a half ago, he asked me to kneel for him, to get up to thirty minutes a day and to reflect on our relationship during this time. Tai Chi and Yoga became part of this ritual to take care of myself, to be healthy for him. I wrote a post about this just a few weeks ago, about what I could do to reclaim this habit. However, the changes in our relationship, and the problems I had with the kneeling, and my efforts to overcome them, have cast this ritual in a different light. Yes, once upon a time, he asked me to do it. But it no longer feels like a part of our exchange. It is something I do to center myself, or to take care of myself. Not something I do for him. And so, when I fail to do it, it’s just one more thing I don’t do for myself because I don’t have or make the time after everything else I put first.

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Polyamory & Boundaries

July 29th, 2011

It’s been a long time since I posted my reflection on the first section of The Ethical Slut, but I finally made it back to Part Two. It’s been a busy week, so I didn’t manage to get a post done on time. I’ve divided the quotes up into four sections, here is the first set. The topic is Polyamory and Boundaries.

“One of the things people get out of multiple relationships is the chance to be all of their various selves. … Being different things to different lovers, we might find ourselves having different boundaries, limits and relationship styles in different circumstances.” (123) I’ve talked about this before, how I have different relationships, boundaries and dynamics with all of my partners. Poly, for me, is a chance to explore all the different sides of myself.

“Forget about fairness.” (123) “Fairness does not mean equity.” (194) “We have to learn to give freedom to our partners if we’re going to get it for ourselves.” (174) For me, these quotes are about making agreements that work for everyone. In poly, not everyone is going to have the same boundaries or rules, things don’t have to be equal and fair, so long as everyone agrees. And it’s important to remember that sometimes, letting your partner have a little freedom will help them feel comfortable giving you a little freedom.

“You may believe that you have to take your share away from somebody else… if someone else gets something, that means there must be less of it for you.” (125) “Time is the biggest real-world limit we encounter in trying to live and love as we like.” (127) “This is not a contest, this is not a race, and no one is the prize.” (157) These quotes are around the ‘economics of starvation’ that many of us learn growing up. Dividing up time in poly is often the most difficult, it’s important to use your time wisely and well, because it is so limited just by life itself. And that goes for non-poly relationships, too. One of the easiest ways to counter starvation economics thinking, when one is being rational and not in the middle of an emotional freak out, is to remember that having more kids in a family doesn’t mean you love the first (or second, or third) less than the newest edition. Love and affection do not run out, they only grow.

“It is impossible for anyone to predict what depth of feeling may potentially exist in any sexual relationship.” (158) “Relationships change, people grow out of them, people change.” (166) “Remember that your soon-to-be-ex-partner is still the same terrific person you used to love. (171) These quotes are about the inevitable changes of people and relationships. You cannot predict when you will fall in love, or out of love. You cannot predict how long a relationship will last, or how it could change. Some relationships last lifetimes, some a few days. Sometimes people fall in love, get married, fall out of love, get divorced and then are the best of friends. Sometimes people never speak again after a relationship is over, sometimes they become play partners or close friends. Sometimes people don’t speak for a year or more after a break up, and then get married a few years down the line. Life is crazy, people and situations change. It can get a bit quantum sometimes – things defined by the way they are observed, even though they are in an ever-changing or undefinable state.

“To be an ethical slut, you need to have very good boundaries that are clear, strong flexible, and, above all, conscious.” (117) This quote is about being clear about yourself and your boundaries. You need to know your boundaries, discuss your boundaries and make sure everyone involved is clear and accepting of them. Some think that poly people have no standards, no boundaries, they just do whatever they want. But that’s not sustainable. You have to take care of yourself and your relationships, or neither will last.

 

 

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Day Twenty-Three – Changes

January 23rd, 2011

Since you first developed an interest in kink, have your interests/perspectives changed? How so?

One year after joining the local community I wrote this. I have grown in so many ways. When I first got into the community and people asked me what I was into, I’d respond with bondage, spanking and nipple pinching. Just look at the list I posted on Day Two. I have come so far, and am still moving forward. I have learned a lot about myself and what I can do, and what I like. When I first developed an interest, I thought I was weird and strange, and alone. But I have found acceptance, love and support. Those things have made all the difference.

My 30 Days of Kink

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Communication, Emotion & Insecurity

January 6th, 2011

I am woman, hear me roar?

So many things in that one little phrase and the way I typed it. I am woman – identity. Hear me – communication. Roar – emotions. Question mark – insecurity. I am secure in my identity, especially as a woman, but it is those other three things that trip me up. On a fairly consistent basis.

I am a writer, I communicate well through the written word. But that is almost always an impractical form of communication in the real world. I cannot write things down for my day job. I cannot sit with a notebook with my friends. I cannot use a whiteboard when I am talking to my loved ones. But, as I have posted over and over again on this blog, communication is of Utmost importance. In life, in poly and in kink. And in most of these cases, it needs be Verbal Communication.

Here is where the other two things come into play for me. Emotion and insecurity.

I am an emotional person and I am not entirely at peace with that. I cry when I’m upset or angry, and I am certainly not at peace with that. I have been working on both of these things. Accepting my emotional reactions, and letting them manifest through tears. I started to type there “when necessary” or “when appropriate,” but that is the trouble. I try to judge my emotions and bottle them if I think them too much. Now, it is a given that crying makes it harder for me to verbalize, and that is another reason I try to stifle it. However, that does nothing for communication. My emotional reaction, my tears, are part of communication. If I am upset, stifling the tears only stifles the communication of my reaction. If I hold it back, bottle it, and do not react, I am not honestly communicating how I feel.

This leads into insecurity. Sometimes, I feel like I am overreacting, or that my reactions are wrong. I let myself feel like my reactions, wants or even needs are not as important or are inappropriate and therefore do not deserve being communicated. I worry that my words won’t come out right and won’t communicate what I really mean or am thinking. I worry that I’ll say the wrong thing and offend someone. This also leads to me not asking questions when I am not clear. I feel like I should be clear, or I should work it out myself, or I’ll upset them by questioning them because I should understand what they said. It’s a vicious cycle that needs breaking.

So, where does this put me?

Thanks to a conversation with him this week, I was at a breaking point. This time, however, it’s a breaking point where I have found the leverage for positive change. This time, I’m taking the peak emotions and using them to move forward instead of curling in on myself. Through meditation, writing and discussion with him. I am able to see these problems more clearly than ever before and create a path to growth.

One, I need to ask questions. I need to trust that people do allow for my crazy. And if I need it to get the question out, I can always say, hey, this sounds crazy, but… because sounding crazy in the moment, and getting it solved, even if it is hard, is far better than holding onto it. Because that can lead to assumptions and false stories that only eat away at me.

Two, I need to allow myself to react. I need to not judge my reactions because that only leads to bottling and unclear communication. Tears are not bad, they simply are a reaction. Obviously, if I’m crying, then something needs to be talked about. Not allowing that reaction out simply allows the problem to continue, perhaps unnoticed.

So, let’s try that first sentence again, with feeling, confidence and sincerity.

I am woman, hear me roar!

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When Things End

October 23rd, 2010

Written on Thursday.

What happens when a relationship stops growing? What happens when you can see no romantic future?

I name him Lover here because I love him. Because the romantic notion of extramarital affair, without all the lying and deception those words usually imply, seemed to fit our relationship. We love each other. We find time to be together, for play and for sex. We have dinner and go to movies. But we do not live together, we are not creating a family or a future together. Yes, we are creating our own futures. Yes, we help each other create those futures. But our futures are not intertwined with each other.

I have always felt an inequality of emotional attachment in our relationship. It has always bothered me on some level, but Lover has always said that it does not bother him. He accepts what I can offer him and is grateful for whatever that might be. He has accepted any and all changes to our relationship that I have brought to him. I almost said graciously there, but it hasn’t always been gracious or clean, but he has accepted them. Because he wants me to be happy and he wants me to have whatever I want to have, wherever I want to have it.

He and I have been “together” for over two years now. We started playing in July of 2008. When we starting dating, or having a relationship is a bit more fuzzy than that because of the confusion on my part. It happened, I say, some time in Spring of 2009 when I started having Sunday nights with him, though others say it started much sooner than that.

My life is in a state of turmoil and self examination right now. This week, my focus turned to my relationship with Lover. It started with a disagreement and some upset, and spiraled into a lot of upset and consideration of the relationship as a whole. None of the upset is relationship ending. We communicate better than that, when we put our hearts and minds to it. And this week, we did. I feel like we talked through all the upset and the trouble. But that does not negate my wondering if I’m peeling the nipple tape off slowly instead of ripping it off.

Lover asked me today, what if the next two years went like the last two? I responded that our first year was full of exploration and growth and excitement and that this past year, it has been moving backwards. That has been my doing, I accept that responsibility. I took things away from our relationship, imposed limits that were not there the first year. So, if I look forward, I see things continuing on that trend, our romantic relationship becoming less and less over time. If that’s what I see, then is it fair to keep dragging us both forward? I don’t think it is.

He is a wonderful friend and I have no intention of giving that up. But I do think it is time for me to step away romantically. He asked me this morning if I wanted to take a six month break. I think putting a time frame around something like that is silly. I think if we break up and two months down the line we decide it was a mistake, saying oh no, we have to wait six months is silly. I think if we break up and it works really well, having that six month time of, oh, we have to revisit it at such a date is equally silly.

And now I wait, and do not post this, because he and I have not finished our discussion. I left him this morning, saying I do not know what I want, and I need time to think about it. Now that I have thought about it, I need to return to him to finish the discussion. Then I will decide if this gets posted or not.

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