Atheism: definitions

I while back, I wrote this blog post about how I viewed the distinction between agnosticism and atheism, and offering a definition of atheism that I thought stood up to scrutiny in the world of discourse about such things. And despite some argument from some, I still hold that the best definition of atheist is someone who lacks beliefs in any gods.

Then just today I watched this video, whch makes many of the same points, and does so in a very tight little presentation.

It is a new video in a great series by Evid3nc3, all of which I highly recommend to theists everywhere.  He does a great job of charting his course from being a Christian with questions and becoming an atheist.

Being ‘just friends’ with lovers

I am still in love with a woman I went to college with.  Erin. I have not seen her in around 5 years, maybe 6.  We dated for 2 years in college, and it was with her, and another, that I discovered polyamory.  After some time of being apart from her and my feelings not dissipating, I knew I could never just be friends.  I loved her a way that made just being platonic impossible without great tension and frustration.  It’s easier that I’m not around her, because being in her presence was intoxicating.

I had to be her lover because that’s how I love her.

Some other exes since then I am friends with.  I still love them, but it is different.  I still am attracted to them, I would like to be with them sexually if it were desirable for both of us and it would not deleteriously affect other people, but I am capable of being friends with them, being aound them, without it being unbearable. The way I love them survived not being their lover, even if I would prefer it.  Although with at least one more, Jacque, that preference is close to overwhelming when I’m around her.  I suppose there is a continuum here.

But there are just some people that, for reasons of body chemistry, pheromones, or whatever that make it simply impossible to just be friends with them.  Being around such people is intoxicating and frustrating if you are not currently their lover.  I’ve only experienced this a few times in my life, and one of those times is now.

Just recently I wrote about New Relationship Energy.  This girl…she has an affect on me that is just out of this world.  I didn’t think it would be possible to have so much sexual tension, so raw and powerful.  I have never wanted anyone the way I want her when I’m around her.  To not be her lover is unbearable.  It is just too much.  The way I lust for her is akin to great art; to not be her lover is akin to Beethoven not composing music, a great chef not loving food, or a fat kid not to love cake (anyone else just love that lyric, or do you not get the reference?).  The attraction is simply unbelievable.

And we have never had sex.  We both want it, but for her a relationship is necessary for that to happen.  It’s much more conservative of a position than I am used to, but I just can’t help the way I feel.  When you love someone you just love them, balls to bones.

Now, it’s true that when I first met her the attraction was overwhelming and obvious to everyone–and two-way.  At first it was purely physical.  But as I got to know her, I saw more layers.  She’s intelligent, curious, dedicated, and just lovely in so many ways.  She’s also frustrating in many others, but I love how she makes me feel.  I have recently started to fall in love with her.  I have never told her this (she does not really read this blog, I don’t think, buit if she does then the cat is out….).

I asked her, just recently, to be my girlfriend.  Ginny is all for it, as she likes her too.  At first, it looked like it was inevitable, and a few days went by with the question hanging in the air.  The tension was building, I just couldn’t take it.  She needed time, I needed her, and she needed to think about it.  It is the polyamory, mostly, that is holding her back, although she and Ginny get along very well.

But then two days ago she said the answer was no.  Why? She was not convinced that I cared about her more than physically, and she was scared that if she allowed the relationship to form I would just lose interest.  I only feel this way because I want her so badly (I do), and that once I have it I’ll lose interest.  There is more to it than that, but it is complicated, and the details are not the point.

The point is that I have been telling her that I want more than just the sex, and that if she didn’t want to be in a relationship with me, I would still want to be close with her, to be friends. I really care about her.  But the point is not that I’d be willing to just be friends, it’s whether that is possible.  I could not just be friends with someone I feel this way about, could I?  Does it not betray how I genuinely feel?  I want to be her lover because that’s how I love her.

Yes, I’m willing to just be friends, but the fact is that it would be torture.  The passion I have for her is overwhelming, and this comes across as a bad thing because as a man I am obviously just after the sex, right?  A man who can’t just be your friend does not really care, right? No, I don’t think that’s always true.  Sometimes the attraction is just too intense.  To repress it, ignore it, or otherwise pretend it does not exist is inauthentic, in bad faith, and simply a lie.

I love this girl.  My sexual passion for her is not a sign that I don’t care about her or that I only care about one thing; it is part of how I love her.  I hope she will see that, eventually, because being around her is both intoxicating and frustrating.  I want so much just to love her as she is comfortable to be loved, but when the attraction is this powerful, it is difficult.

Sexual chemistry like this only comes along rarely.  I want to savor every drop and continue to get to know her, to love her, in many ways.  Love is a multi-layered cake, and the icing on top is hot, passionate, intense sex.

I don’t know what I’ll do if she wants to just be friends.  This chemistry is two-way, and while I admire her control over her desires, I wonder if she misses the beauty of this attraction we have.  Sex, after all, is beautiful.

So, here’s to being sex-positive, and to finding great lovers.

Here’s to a lovely girl requiting my love for her in all the ways that lovers love.

New Relationship Energy

I’ve been in a relationship for some time now with a wonderful woman called Ginny.  The circumstances of how our relationship started have to do with a heart-wrenching break up in January of this year and the right person at the right time and place.  Due to the timing of this meeting, it took a while to allow myself to grow closer to her, although closer I grew and I would not want to imagine life without her now. She will never fully understand how her presence in my life was essential for me through an awful time that still occasionally causes sleepless nights.

Because of the slow emotional growth that occurred between us and my emotional fragility in which it grew, there was not that intense emotional high that often punctuates the beginnings of a relationship.  I was emotionally cautious, having been hurt so badly so recently, and didn’t allow my emotions to flower in ways they had with previous lovers.  I had missed the high of the New Relationship Energy (NRE).

This is not to say that I don’t have intense feelings for her, only that they developed slowly, and thus settled deeper.  There is depth that may not have been created under more normal circumstances.  Well, normal is relative, right?

What I mean is the situation I am in now is relatively normal within polyamorous circumstances, but not so normal outside of that worldview.  You see, there is this girl (who I will leave nameless because I am not sure she would want to be identified)  that I have liked for quite a while now.  In fact, she was among the first people I met when I traveled to Atlanta last Summer to look for apartments for my ex and I to move into.  It just happened to be the weekend of Dragon*Con, so of course there was that too.

When we met, I was instantly attracted to her (and her to me), but I was not in a place to pursue a relationship with anyone else because my ex and I had decided to be exclusive for a while before opening up our relationship.  With us moving from Philadelphia to Atlanta and her constantly traveling for work, the amount of relationship tensions were going to be high so the arrangement seemed prudent.  I respected that arrangement in act and intention (not like it mattered in the long run) and kept a respectful distance between us despite the mutual attraction.

But once the ex abandoned me (after inviting me to move down here 3 months previous) I re-connected with her and re-initiated a friendship.  (You see, the ex didn’t approve of her at all, even as a friend, so…).  We have been talking over the last few months, spent some time together, and then this past weekend we spent a lot of time together.  She met my girlfriend, they liked each other, and I asked her is she wanted to be my girlfriend as well.  The answer is forthcoming (and it looks like she may say yes, but we shall see) but in either case the last couple of days have been filled with that high, that NRE, that I had not felt since the ex who I will not name (not out of any hatred or resentment on my part, but out of reverence for her wishes) and I first started spending time together. Ah, for the blissful days of innocence before the fall….

In any case, I’m experiencing NRE big-time, and I look forward to seeing her again (I will tonight).  I’m all giddy, tingly, and excited just thinking about it. I hope that she will say yes to my proposal, but even if she does not I will want to remain close with her because even if she does not want to be my lover, she’s gotta get with my friends…sorry.

So, what does this mean for Ginny? Well, she approves of my proposal and is happy for me being happy.  There are concerns about how it will effect our relationship, but we have talked (and will continue to talk) about any concerns she has. Open and honest communication is paramount in relationships, especially in arrangements like this.  If she accepts, it will change the dynamic of my relationship with Ginny to some degree.  The ideal is to add to the dynamic in ways that benefit everyone.  Whether that means a triad (three people in relationships with each-other), a “V” (me having separate relationships with both of them, ideally with them on friendly terms), or something in-between is yet to be seen.  But for now I will ride the NRE wave as long as it will last and try to allow it to settle into a relationship of genuine love, affection, and mutual growth.

The key is to not allow the NRE to take away from my existing relationship.  It is easy to get caught up in that NRE and to leave the other person feeling under-appreciated.  This is a difficult avenue to navigate, one that I have made mistakes with in the past, but I hope that I have learned sufficiently to not make those mistakes again.

And certainly this phenomenon is not unique to Polyamory.  How often have you noticed that early in an intense relationship you see your friends less, get less sleep, and otherwise get caught up with the intensity of it all?  Now imagine having this while another lover of yours sits aside watching you ride this wave.  While frubble or compersion might come into play (as it has for Ginny in the last couple of days), often some envy or jealousy might as well.  It is really important to be aware of this (even if it is with friends rather than other lovers), because those close to you will miss you while you ride that wave.

So, be aware that your NRE will affect others around you.  And if you can, try and spread some of those good feelings around; share some of that intensity with others so that they can get an idea of how good you feel.