Monday, June 24, 2013

A little story about Jack and Jill...

Once upon a time there was a couple (Jack and Jill) who’s marriage was failing.  They decided to have an open marriage in hopes of ending the cold war and finding their way back to being friends – an odd method for some, but many other methods had failed and it wasn’t all that odd for them.  Jill met a man (Kip) online who was also in an open marriage.  Jill liked him and that he was in a similar situation and they met.  It turned out that for Kip it was only open in theory until Jill, but he told his wife (Kelly) it was open in practice within a few weeks and after the initial shock she was completely open to the idea.

In fact, Kelly wanted to meet Jill.  They met and became fast friends.  Kelly hoped that Jack would want to have a similar relationship with her and that they could have a nice little group, though Jack was disinterested in any additional connections in his life at that time.  Kelly claimed to love Jill in her life, and in Kip’s life.  And for a while the three of them got along famously.  Jill really liked Kelly and enjoyed their friendship.  Eventually to Jill, it seemed that Kelly wasn’t really comfortable with Kip having this ongoing relationship with her so she offered to stop seeing Kip because she genuinely liked Kelly and was concerned Kelly wasn’t as comfortable with their intertwined relationship as she claimed she was.  Kelly repeatedly asked her not to leave.  Repeatedly told her she loved the new energy and freedom that Kip showed now that Jill was in his life.  Jack did enjoy meeting both Kip and Kelly and going out with them a couple of times but was utterly indifferent to Jill and Kip’s relationship; he wished her a good time each time she left to meet Kip.  Kip also sensed that Kelly wasn't comfortable with Jill in their lives and immediately offered to stop seeing Jill and Kelly was very angry that Kip would offer such a drastic option and insisted that she loved Jill in their lives and anything he was sensing was just her adjusting to everything.  Kelly said that to offer such a drastic option made Kelly feel as though Kip was trying to silence her.

Upon reflection, Jill believes she never would have suggested an open marriage if she wasn’t already done, in her mind, with her marriage to Jack, though she didn’t realize that at the time.  Jack and Jill did find their way back to being friends, but their marriage is over.  Jill is not exactly sure whether the same was true for Kip and Kelly.  Maybe Kip, too, felt his marriage was over, but hadn't yet come to terms with that, clearly Kip was looking for something that was missing; spice? connection?  Only Kip knows the answer to that.  And only Kelly knows the answer to why she so firmly encouraged the relationship between Kip and Jill. 

Jill only knows what she heard and saw from both Kelly and Kip.  Kelly embraced the openness of their marriage and found several new friends to spend time with; some also in open relationships.  Jill got mixed messages from both of them over time.  From Kelly she periodically got the feeling Kelly wasn’t always okay with their arrangement, but then Kelly would repeatedly assure Jill she was and she would consistently demonstrate how comfortable she was with their arrangement by working to ease Jill's worry and by finding additional ways for Kip and Jill to spend time alone together.  Sometimes Kelly would say their new arrangement was difficult to adjust to and other times she would talk about it being the best thing that ever happened to her.  Kip reported he got similar mixed messages from Kelly, though Jill doesn’t know if that’s true or not.

From Kip, Jill got a constant pull.  She had an intense immediate connection with him.  Over time Kip's struggle with his own marriage became more pronounced.  He talked about wanting a future with Jill more and more.  Jill fell in love with him and was open to the idea, but wasn't sure that was a viable option and certainly knew it was very premature to even think about. 

As time went on, Jill believed that the issues that originally had Kip wanting an open marriage became more clear to him and he became more certain that he no longer wanted to be married to Kelly. Kelly also began to report that she didn't think she could stay married to Kip. Kip stated he loved both Kelly and Jill.  Kelly stated she loved both Kip and Jill. Jill was overwhelmed by the constant drama and wanted out and pulled away from them both. Jill urged Kip to discuss what he wanted with Kelly; to be open and honest with her. Kip was afraid of the fallout from those direct conversations and instead of being direct and dealing with what needed to be dealt with he hedged and hinted and swayed back and forth with Kelly. He pushed and pulled and pushed and pulled.  Jill remains confused by his behavior, she assumes Kelly does too. Jill does know that Kip was emotionally abused by his father and badly bullied throughout school – including by friends of Kelly (they went to high school together and Kelly told Jill that the worst of the bullies were people in the outskirts of her high school crowd) – and she assumes he was terrified of the conflict as his early years had taught him conflict always ended badly for him. Jill thinks it’s possible that Kelly’s association with the high school bullies may have played a part in his fear of painfully truthful conversation with her as well, but is not sure of that.  Kip did not handle the exit of his marriage well. He was not always fair or nice to Kelly.  Jill is not sure how Kelly was treating him during that time. 

Jill believes Kelly decided she couldn’t handle the push and pull Kip was giving her and decided she was going to leave their marriage, though Jill is not sure of this. Kelly never talked to Jill about any of this and Jill was surprised when she discovered that Kelly had unfriended Jill and blocked her on FB. Jill was sad about that, but certainly understood how she could be a reminder of a painful situation. Kip struggled with Kelly’s decision. He told Jill he was both relieved it was ending and sad he was losing such a good friend. Kelly moved out of state for the summer before moving into an apartment in the fall.  For several months his inconsistent behavior with Kelly also bled over to his relationship with Jill until she had enough and also left Kip. Jill and Jack remained good friends but decided to get a divorce.

After Jill had left and Kip had pulled Kelly back again there was a big tell-all conversation with Kip, Kelly, and Jill; where Kelly and Jill shared all the truths that Kip had hidden or lied about. It was quite an evening and forever referred to as ‘that night in the gazebo’. In a moment of insanity, Jill took Kip back at the end of that night after he’d looked Kelly in the eye and told her he didn’t want to continue in a marriage with her, that despite pulling her back, he wanted a relationship with Jill. Kelly still wanted to maintain a close friendship with Jill. Jill wasn't sure that was healthy for any of  them.

Jill was extremely cautious about this new chapter in their relationship. Their connection remained just as powerful – but she didn’t let him in as she had before. She also laid down several conditions that needed to be met in order for her to truly give it a try again; all of them for her own protection. The biggest and most important was for him to figure himself out. To understand what allowed him to behave the way he did. He readily agreed to her terms and worked hard to get centered and healthy. Jill believes you can’t truly offer yourself to someone else until you can be whole all by yourself. And she believes Kip did not believe in his own worth and that until he truly did, he would continue not to be the man he wanted to be.

Nearly a year after that night in the gazebo, Kip and Jill are still together and Kelly is still living in a near by city and his daughters report she is thriving.  With one big exception three months after that night, things between Jill and Kip have been good and calm and happy. It’s taken this long for Jill to begin to relax into Kip again. She sees the work he’s done. In the first few months after that night in the gazebo she watched him fall apart and start to put himself back together. It was gut-wrenching to watch as well as fascinating and impressive as hell. But it’s taken this long for her to realize she was still holding her breath in a lot of ways. Jill spends a great deal of time with Kip, but has still been keeping him at bay to some extent. For the last year, she treats her time with him as… something like “her other life”. As if she has two distinct lives; both real. But in no way connected. Both Jill and Kip have children and Jill was firm about not wanting to drag their children into an ongoing drama. She believed that if and when they were truly in a good and calm and happy place they could bring their children into the mix. For her – that really meant – truly mixing her two lives. It took this long –but finally she’s ready. She’s ready to breathe again.


♥ Drazil ♥ said...

So glad you got to this so glad. xoxo

Darlin1 said...

Only you know what is right......and I believe in you!!


speck said...

This is not the story of Jack and Jill that I know! lol JK

I don't have anything to add but growth & reflection is a good thing!