The Icebreaker

icebreakerI was lying on my belly, cheek pressed to the hardwood, waiting, hoping to catch a glimpse of her shoes through the crack under the door. I’d promised to confine myself to the spare bedroom until she was gone.

She was over an hour late, but that didn’t bother us. The suspense only made the whole thing more exhilarating. Neither of us had ever done anything like this before.

I’d cleaned our bedroom, washed the sheets and lit candles for them. Brad had showered and I could smell his cologne. He’d told me she’d be here in five minutes – she’d lost her keys and been pulled over for speeding.

Finally, I heard the knock on the front door, muffled hellos, quick shuffling down the hall, and the shutting of our creaky bedroom door. That was it. Surely, I’d hear her moaning and the rhythmic slamming of the bed against the wall in a minute or two.

“Is he going to take his time with gentle kisses and caresses, or throw her down violently onto the bed?” I wondered. I hoped for the latter.

But I could hardly hear anything through our two closed doors and all the white noise I’d put on to make her think I was sleeping. We’d asked her if I could watch, but she said no – not this time anyway. Not until she’d gotten to know us better and determined whether she was comfortable with it.

I stood up slowly and carefully, to prevent the floor from creaking, and inched the door open little by little, until the gap was big enough for me to stick my head out. Their words were indecipherable, but I could tell they were talking.

After a couple of minutes it got quiet, except for what sounded like kissing. Whatever it was, it didn’t last long before the crinkling and tearing of papery foil.

“This is it!” I thought.

I slowly made my way out into the hallway, like a cat, prepared to fall back into the spare room in case they decided to come out for some reason.

I still couldn’t make out what was going on. I thought I heard the bed moving, but none of the moaning or screams of ecstasy I was hoping for. They must be keeping it quiet for my sake, I thought.

I waited and waited for the climax, but even that, they kept quiet.

After a while, they started talking again. They talked and talked and talked, but I couldn’t make out anything they were saying other than the word “she” a lot, which indicated they must be talking about me.

“What on earth could they be talking about for so long?” The monologue in my head continued. “Is he falling in love with her? Why are they laughing? Do they have a connection? Chemistry? Is he going to want to see her again?”

I’d anticipated this being a purely physical connection, for experiment’s sake. But the long, drawn-out conversation indicated an emotional connection I was unprepared for.

“I better get going,” I finally heard her say, unexpectedly.

I threw my body back into my room and awkwardly slammed the door – unnecessarily, as it took her about five more minutes to get dressed.

Zippers zipped. Bedroom door creaked back opened. Heels clunked back down the hallway. I cracked my door back open just in time to catch a peek at her going out the front door.

She looked much classier – from the back anyway – than I had imagined. Cute skinny jeans and a nice knit red sweater, wedge-healed brown leather boots with woolly stuff sticking out of the top, her freshly cut, dark hair bouncing in loose curls on her back. I wished I could’ve seen her face.

I waited for the door to close, then scurried out to find Brad. He was gone. I could see her car was still out front, running and with the lights on.

After a few minutes, Brad came back inside. They’d been in her car having a cigarette.

“So?? How was it?” I tried to sound nonchalant.

“Good – umm – it was great actually,” he answered, looking down and trying to hide his grin.

“Great!? Really!? That’s good!” I said with half-forced, half-authentic excitement and happiness for him. I pressed him to tell me all the details.

Apparently the night started with a little chat about how bizarre she thought it was that I was in the room across the hall and reassurances that I wouldn’t come bursting in with a baseball bat. After the sex, they talked, cuddled, kissed, and shared abbreviated life stories and family photos.

Brad said she seemed really sweet, and she seemed to like him too. He tried to explain polyamory to her, but she didn’t get it. She especially didn’t understand why I’d been pushing for it, saying she tends to be pretty possessive of her men. Nonetheless, she was intrigued and said next time I could watch.

After Brad briefed me, I sat on our bed, candles still burning, awkwardly, not knowing what to say, not knowing how I felt. I’d planned to have no regrets, and I had none. I knew ultimately, it would only make us closer. It was just weird in that moment, not knowing how soon I should touch him, whether I should blow out the candles, whether we should move to the couch. Her energy seemed to linger in the room.

I’d been reading and watching everything I could get my hands on about polyamory over the last several months. Most of the literature deals with jealousy – what it really is and how to deal with it.

Most of the experts agree jealousy stems from the fear of abandonment. It is different from envy, which is wishing you had what someone else has or were experiencing what they were experiencing.

Jealousy tricks you into thinking you don’t want your partner to enjoy himself. But, when you get to the root of it, you realize what you really don’t want is to be abandoned, rejected, replaced or unloved. Once you realize none of those fears are true – that he’s not leaving, his pleasure with her is not a rejection of me, I am irreplaceable and loved more now, not less – the desire to prohibit your partner’s pleasure ceases.

The only fear I had left to conquer in my mind was the fear of being left out, excluded. It’s a fear I’ve had my whole life. I’ve always felt I was on the outside looking in at all the fun throughout my life, not knowing how to get in on the action.

I didn’t think I’d get the chance to face and conquer that fear right off the bat on our journey into polyamory, but I did. Watching, without partaking in the fun would’ve been hard enough, but listening, and leaving the images to my imagination, was so much harder.

But I just sat quietly and welcomed the emotions – the envy, fear and insecurity. I assured Brad that anger and disgust were not among the emotions I was experiencing. I let the feelings flood and allowed myself to fully feel them for a few minutes, and then they passed. Then, I was able to crawl up into my spot on Brad’s chest. He assured me she did not cuddle in the same place or the same way. I put my hand on his heart and took several deep breaths. Then he got into his spot on my chest, while I scratched his head to sleep. All was well again. I felt loved, secure and unafraid.

Please proceed to The Backstory.


  1. […] After his first couple of encounters, he was afraid to show me that light – as afraid as I was to show him mine after I first started connecting with Ben. While the first two women were strictly no-strings-attached sex, I had hopes that he would connect with the third woman, Erin, on more levels. She is smart, beautiful, sassy, sarcastic, witty and passionate about a lot of the same issues I am. He was glowing after his first date with her, but had almost a pained expression after his second. I knew he’d had a great time with her, but somehow I think his conditioning left him feeling guilty about it. He said he felt weird about spending the night with her, especially with me in the next room. […]

  2. […] me the chance to face that fear several times this year. I’ve faced my fear of exclusion from just across the hallway while Brad had sex with another woman, and once with only a thin wall between us. I faced my fear […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *