My New Boyfriend

A gravelled garden, white text on a bpack banner reads "my new boyfriend"

Quite unintentionally I’ve found myself verging into another, quasi-relationship lately. With my neighbour, Martin.

It all started about a week ago, when Hugo evaded me and got out to greet Martin. Hugo isn’t aggressive by any means – quite the opposite – but he is a bouncy boy and that’s not for everyone. For that reason, I try be courteous and not to let him greet anyone who doesn’t know him and/or who isn’t ready to greet him. It’s safer for him, too.

As it stands then Martin knows Hugo and actually quite likes our little scamp, especially after the passing of his own dog. Be that as it may, it’s out of principle that I make no exceptions to our rule.

I caught Hugo by the collar, lifted him up with my hand under his belly and tucked my arm under him to carry him back inside. As I did, he let out a protesting growl at his not being allowed to go make friends, a bit like a child being called back inside by his mother after dusk. It’s classic Small Dog Sydrome from my darling Jack Russell, and by now I’m more than familiar with it and how to respond to it – be fair, but be firm.

“yeah, yeah. Grr to you too” I reply coolly, I think nothing more of it. Despite the noise then Hugo has never once tried to bite me – he will give us a darn good telling off, though!

As I turn back inside with the dog, Martin is giggling behind me.

“That’s tickled me” he says, grinning as he walks past. I look at him quizzically.

“What has?”

“That” he says, “grr to you too. It’s bad mind you, you shouldn’t have to do it, but it’s funny too. I’ve never heard that one before.”

“Oh, sorry” I say, “I forget you’re not used to my sense of humour.”

And so just like that, my neighbour is now another seemingly smitten on my quick-witted ass.

On Sunday I stepped out to lay down more gravel grids, and after two, Martin stopped me for a chat. He’s been having some relationship issues he tells me, and he wants my advice, as a woman.

So I spare him a chat – a good, long, honest chat.

“See? This is what I need” he says, pulling up a chair and sitting down to listen to me talk. He watches me, studies me even, listening to my every word. For a brief moment I feel like a teacher teaching a student, but eventually it becomes more of a like-for-like situation; me advising him on “Andrea”, and he advising me with Will.

I admit to Martin that I will probably always love Will in some way, just as he admits to me that he loves Andrea, but we agee that loving someone doesn’t mean that two people need to be together. It sucks, sure, but that’s the truth. We also discuss the issues Will had with my polyamory and Martin understands why we didn’t work, as someone who has dabbled with polyamory himself. He understands why I’m so hurt and frustrated with someone who held my polyamory against me too, as a reason to give up on us.

I did come to accept it soon enough though, so I am proud of myself for not lowering my worth and begging him. I realised there are others who love and accept me completely.

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I like to think of these conversations as a sort of intelligence gathering, a way to understand men when men don’t want to/won’t talk to you. I mean some do, obviously, but why did others reach out just to vanish again? Why this? Why that? Martin can’t give me answers, also obviously, but he can give me some insights, and sometimes they do help.

Martin also says he’s like the devil at one point and I roll my eyes.

“What is it with men thinking they’re like the devil?” I ask. “You’re the third now. So long as you don’t paint yourself red, I guess, we’re cool” I say with a wink.

By now Martin is my new “boyfriend”, but it’s said in a sardonic way that, to a point, we’re all in on anyway. Basically the two of us have always been able to talk without too much of a problem, and when a guy and a girl can spend enough time together (and go into one another’s homes occasionally), people start assuming things – they already do, and they have done for a long time. Especially when the two of us stay up until heaven knows what hour chatting on the doorstep, or sat around a bonfire, sipping cider and talking under the stars. To us we[‘re just neighbours of a similar age who have formed a friendship, but to everyone else we’re dating,

So this is our way of laughing at the speculations made about us. We like one another, sure, but we don’t ”ike like’ one another. We’re friends, and we’ve both said as much.

Martin is disabled and kinky too, and he is Dominant. He knows what I do for work as well, and he shares my sex-and-kink-positive mentality. We’ve discussed Fifty Shades of Grey before and how, whilst it might not be a great example for the BDSM community, it hasn’t been all bad either. It got people talking about kink – their kinks, specifically – which we both agree is good progress.

He, however, is also not a Dominant that I would choose to engage with. When someone openly admits that they can act out of anger in the bedroom then to me, they are also admitting that they are not a safe person for me to play with. I don’t play with dangerous people, even if I, ironically, am considered a dangerous woman. I’m dangerous alright, I’m just not dangerous in the same way 😉

On Monday I moved some of the new gravel onto the back garden. I planned to only move two bucketfuls each day unil it’s all done, but with thanks to some makeshift sack trucks (really the frame of an old two-wheel shopping trolley) kindly given to me by my mother, I managed to move six. Martin had watched me work while he worked too.

“I think that’s me for today” I say, resting my shovel against the wall. I coiuld do more, sure, but I do have other things to do as well.

“That’s fair, you’ve done well love” Martin says. I blush.

“Thankyou” I smile.

“If you want, if you leave the gate open and I get bored, I’ll move some more through for you” he says.

“If you’re sure” I say, “don’t break yourself for me, though.”

“I won’t” he replies.

While Martin works, and for the first time in a long time, I was able to rest. I can’t deny that it felt good to not have to stress and, for the first time in a while, to accept help. To feel cared for.and valued again.

I do feel like my life has changed a little bit, because with Martin and myself getting closer and Matt and Martin getting frindlier too, I know that I won’t get away with so much anymore. I had my sights on cutting the hedges myself but, now that I’ve talked about outsourcing the work – and just once! – Martin is keen to climb up a stepladder and help out. I want to argue and say I’ll do it, but instead the New Me gives the Old Me a kick up the ass and instead I say “if you’re sure? That would be great, thankyou”. I am learning to accept help and support again, and to learn that not everyone is undependable.

Or maybe, just maybe, until now it’s not been that I believed that I don’t deserve help. Maybe, and until now, I’ve simply been too damn busy trying to save the world to be able sit down and really think about it.

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