"You should friend Kathy Morris," said my beloved wife, Eva. "You'd like her". And so I did -- sometime in late February or early March of 2016.
I friended her. We didn't start talking right away, but when we did...the words wouldn't stop.
Nor, at least at first, would the drama.
I was on straight nights at the time, and I would chat with her before I went to bed. Maybe three days in, just as I was beginning to have that pleasant rush of recognition at her texts, she told me she was afraid she was about to be fired over something or other at work. I felt a rush of concern, and then tried to stomp it down -- Ken, you barely know this person, there's nothing you can do here except wait and give emotional support when the hammer falls -- and waited for the hammer to fall.
No hammer fell. She didn't even get a slap on the wrist.
This was a trait Kathy had when I first knew her. Any situation that was good would soon turn bad, she thought, and any situation that was bad would always stay that way and probably get worse. I used to be like that myself, so I could relate.
The more I talked to her, the more I could relate to her. Before Eva came into my life, I had felt just as stagnant, just as misunderstood, and I've long harboured a crushing fear of being judged and rejected, stemming from years of judgment and rejection in my youth. Eva had provided me a safe space to grow out of that. Eva's love was and is the kind of love that all love should aspire to be, and as my relationship with Kathy began to deepen, I resolved to model that kind of love to her.
She was in a relationship at the time, predating ours by months. It became clear that this was not a healthy relationship. The details of which shall of course remain private...you'll have to trust me on this, or ask her.
But it made things rather difficult. Because I was more and more in love with this woman by the day, and one of my ironclad rules was not to interfere in a committed monogamous relationship.
My very existence was interfering in that relationship. What I should have done was bow out. We even tried to, towards the end of May. "Let's go two months without contact," I suggested, already wondering how that could even be possible when we talked every day, often for hours at a time. "If we still feel this is worth exploring after two months, let's explore".
That time-out didn't last two months. It barely lasted two hours.
She came to meet me on August 16, 2016...as friends. We had dinner at Jack's, a local and delicious institution, We went for a walk in the park across from my house. The evening is seared on my memory, and yes, words like 'inevitable' did start to show up in our chats soon after.
It was a long, long time before she did break up with him...she was paralyzed by fear. Fear of the unknown, mostly, but also fear of him and a big heaping helping of fear of what people would say.
I get that last part. Oh, do I get it. Most people who weren't in her shoes would see her dumping a provider for a married man who doesn't even drive. The judgment would be brutal, of her and of I, and the only means I would have to overcome that judgment would be time. I told her all of this. Many times. I made it abundantly clear that polyamory is not an easy road for someone who is afraid of being judged.
I always positioned myself as an option, however inevitable that option grew to feel for both of us. Eventually, she chose to exercise that option.
We had our first night together three nights later. It was worth the wait.
Kathy's volatility gradually subsided. You'll always see flashes of it, because it's part of her character, but she's coming to realize that staying calm usually serves her better. I think she's a lot more even-keeled as a result. She's also learning not to let people walk all over her, and she's starting to learn the best lesson of all: that she can live according to her priorities, not mine or any other man's. I like to think I have been okay to and for her.
I'd like to think that maybe I've been okay to and for Jade, as well. Just as I model my love for Kathy on Eva's love for me, I model my love for Jade on the love my stepfather had for me. John is no longer in my life, having moved on (and I wish him nothing but happiness and health and prosperity), but I'm in Jade's. Not as a stepdad, by any means (though I do confess to wishing I could be). I'm just doing the best I can to be a person she can trust and lean on. Because I love her, too.
None of this is on me, not really. Kathy has grown on her own. So has Jade. All I have done is stand back and let her be herself--as I've told her, let her grow into the next grandest version of the greatest vision she ever had about who she is. On her time and on her terms. Same goes for Jade.
Kathy and I have had our ups and downs, I'm not going to lie. The ups: road trips to scenic lakeshores; minigolfing on a double date with Jade and Darien; lots of movies -- she particularly loved
The downs...well, a certain CPAP machine comes to mind...and I thought we were well and truly done back in February. As it turns out, reports of our death were greatly exaggerated. We're back and going strong and today we celebrate three years since we met. She's whisking me away to Paris for dinner!
...Paris, Ontario. Hey, I'd rather not go in Seine.
Happy anniversary hon. I love you. May love grant us many more.