Questions about love and sex in the city of Iowa City can be sent to email@example.com. Questions may be edited for clarity and length, and may appear either in print or online.
My long-term partner and I recently opened up our relationship, though we’re taking it slow. Currently, I’m seeing this person who’s kind of a wall—we have nothing to talk about, but the sexual chemistry’s great. What should I do?
Signed, Newly Poly
Well, what shouldn’t you do? Seriously. I’m guessing, from your letter, that having a strong—and verbalized—emotional connection is something you’re used to in your long-term partnership, and is something that’s important to you. Calling the new person a “wall” interests me, because it seems like from your perception the dynamic is coming from a quality in them, not you. I think this is important to keep in sight: You are still being your connective-word-self, just coming up against a mysterious blockade. To be honest, if you don’t know how to walk through walls, I don’t know either. If we met up for tea and I had my tarot cards with me we could maybe find a gate somewhere, but I think, actually, there’s virtue in letting this wall remain their wall-self.
Spontaneous honesty is a moving target.
As long as you think you’ve adequately expressed yourself—what you want from your activities—I think you can carry on as you like. You can keep having this erotic connection, you can keep trying to get them to offer up a doorway or at least a window or you can decide to walk away from this wall. You can also go with how you’re feeling in the moment and let the ultimate direction meet you when it meets you. I’m tempted to suggest this is an opportunity to do some self-reflection about what you want from your activity partners, but, like, it doesn’t have to be. Long-term partnership is a built thing that requires intention, though explicit consciousness of such varies with each partnership. The sort of dating you’re describing draws on a different skillset: Being a decent, honest person on the spot. Decency is either messy or far too safe and clean; spontaneous honesty is a moving target. Let both be fodder for the self-reflection you’d be doing anyway, but no more than that.
I drew a tarot card for your “wall”—The Queen of Wands, who embodies the captivating and energetic qualities of the fire element. She’s attractive in the most active sense of that word, and she knows what she’s doing. Draw on her when you’re unsure. You’ve got this. xoxo, Kiki