Instincts. Some are inherent and some are the byproduct of a learned situation. Its a method of measuring the nuances of opportunity and danger. A dog’s instincts will help it know that there are power in numbers. An animal’s instincts tell it when danger is near. My instincts were telling me I’m being lied to about the nature of my girlfriend’s life. I had been here before in a past relationship. If I took a deep breath in through the nose when I was on the phone with Kristen, I could smell it. The smell of bullshit. But not Kristen’s funny, quirky exaggerations that were endearing and characteristic. These were lies that had damages scattered in them. My instincts were telling me this, but my life with, love of, and time invested with Kristen kept me from embracing it.

Kristen was moving Lee in to the house and it was fast. I had to temper that against the fact that I moved in fast with Kristen. But when I moved in with her, nobody had to be carved out of her life. Who was this Lee chick? Not only is she making mandates of the love of my life, but now she has power and influence over my kid. Kristen made Lee the caretaker. At first an 8 pm bedtime didn’t seem too far off. It seemed reasonable. Then I couldn’t call at 8 pm anymore either. It was Lee’s time. She had that power over Kristen’s household. With this power came real concerns for me. And I had expressed this to Kristen.

Kristen was in a position to finally let her hair down and relieve herself for the moment from the heavy weight of single parenting. Some of these responsibilities she turned over to her abuser. Kristen was glad to have someone. I get it. She was exhausted. When I ask Kristen “why her?”, she said to just trust her and she wanted to “have her cake and eat it too.” The reality is that I wanted Kristen to have cake, to eat it, to be the center of the party, to be a reason to celebrate, to know I invited clowns and ponies and a fake unicorn, all her friends, decorations, party bags, all of it… All for her. But I wanted it as we agreed. As a trusted partner in a polyamorous relationship. Not like this. Not at mine or our expenses.

I tried to connect with Lee. I thought maybe I wasn’t giving the right effort in this. I emailed lots of heartfelt things about what Kristen meant to me and how I hoped we could connect and build a deep friendship. Lee let me know she had an abusive father so she didn’t trust men and limited her conversation to very small talk. Ok, empathy. I gave her the benefit of the doubt for Kristen. I said I would. I’ll take interpersonal relationship building at her pace. I’m in prison, I’ve got time to work with her. She emailed exactly 6 times. 6 stamps. The absolute basic package of stamps one can email on this prison’s email system. Then she shut down her account. She satisfied Kristen. She made it look like she was trying. Like hell she was. She wanted me out of Kristen’s life bad. At this point, Kristen seemed to struggle with it, but was letting it happen.

Rory Andes