And with that, Season 2 of the Queer Joy Podcast comes to an end. Join Keely and Melisa as they recap the first half of the year in the season finale. Hear it all on this episode; where these two relationship therapists explore what it looks like to see joy in queer relationships.
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Keely: What I do hear similarly about what we're both talking about is that place of being " oh, if I really want to do this, I'm not gonna engage in dating or engage in looking for a partner or partners from a place of fear or from a place of need." Like, "oh, I just need somebody or that scarcity." It's coming from wanting it. Melisa: Yeah. Keely: and after doing other things with self. . Hello! Melisa: Hello. Welcome back to Queer Relationships, Queer Joy. Keely: Well for those that are tuning in the first time, I am one of your co-hosts, Keely C. Helmick. I'm a licensed professional counselor. Owner of Connective Therapy Collective. I'm a white, able bodied with an acute injury, still healing. Non-binary queer femme. I am currently practicing solo non-monogamy. Melisa: And I am Melisa DeSegiurant. I'm licensed as a professional counselor and a marriage and family therapist working at Connective Therapy collective. I am white, able bodied, bisexual, uh, polyamorous, solo poly. I am non-binary and gender fluid and I use she and they pronouns. So today is our last recording of Season Two. Crazy! The end of Season Two. We will be taking a little breather. Keely: Yes, we are gonna take a break, but you know, what's really fun about our break is when we come back, we're gonna have a party. Melisa: I'm so pumped about that. Keely: We're so gonna have a party. We don't have this official place yet, but we do know it's gonna take place in October. So definitely follow CTC on Facebook or on Instagram. Follow Melisa and I on Instagram, we will be blasting all of the information as soon as we find out. But in the meantime, let's have some fun conversation kind of going over the year or just wrapping it up. Wrapping it up. What things have gone well and what things, when I say gone well, maybe I'm talking about my, my personal life. What's going well, what's not so well. So, I have some fun updates of people we've talked about or that I've talked about in my life. I think maybe Melisa, you have some updates as well. Melisa: I don't know if they're gonna be fun, but I have updates. Keely: Yay. Melisa: Like where do we go this season? Both with the podcast. But I think that also mirrored where we went in our own lives. Keely: Well, yeah. And you and I kind of swapped. Melisa: Mm-hmm. We swapped, but then I went right back to where I usually land. I, I've noticed over this last week, there's a seasonal pattern that has happened so far since I've moved to Portland. So, where I'm I'm on the second cycle of this interesting pattern. Keely: Oh, okay. Well, do you wanna review where? I mean, in January we started with Robin and we were really focused on that self love. Melisa: That's where I think we, we started this whole season was the relationship with self and recognizing that that is something that is it, it needs to be happening and, and potentially should maybe be looked at even before we start to get into relationship with other people. But I, I think we've come out of the relationship with self, much more into the interpersonal dynamics and talking a lot more about community. And so maybe flipping that original narrative on its head that like let's do relationship with self and relationship with others at the same time. Keely: Yeah. Doing both and, and building that interdependence that way of connecting with others without that flavoring of codependency. Melisa: Yeah. Keely: Yeah. So then we, yeah, we did the interviews. We did Valentine's day or talking about slightly different Valentine's day. I wouldn't say necessarily anti Valentine's day, but we definitely had our own take. Melisa: Yep. Keely: And then going to some wonderful, beautiful interviews with couples. We had Pride. Melisa: We did a lot with like relationship with exes too. And boundaries with this was like a season of some, you know, running into exes and a lot of poly stuff this season. A lot of non-monogamy. Keely: Yeah. And I think, I think you're right, Melisa. Definitely, some of the topics reflected our own lives and also our own lives reflecting what's going on demographically, at least I can say in Portland, Oregon. You know, I definitely read and listen to things outside of Oregon. And I do think there's definitely non-monogamy and polyamory are definitely talked about quite a bit in circles. And is something that is being explored more or explored more openly. Melisa: Right. Keely: And then also a little bit dabbling and I I'm definitely looking forward to next season having some more discussion around like BDSM and kink. Melisa: Mm-hmm mm-hmm. Keely: Both within the queer community and then in the queer, non monogamy community and the non monogamy community in general, with BDSM and kink. Melisa: Yeah. There's so much more. There's so much more to cover. Keely: There's always things. Melisa: How do we wrap it up? Keely: I know. Well, I'll say for myself, I can definitely give, I mean, when I'm thinking about what was going on in January, I was coming off of a hiatus of not dating. After I found out about the person I was dating. And then, I mean, the year literally started with a bang for me, finding out that she was married. Melisa: Mm mm-hmm. Keely: So then that went into a bunch of dating and this was the first year that I'd ever identified and kind and dabbled into this idea of solo non-monogamy. Melisa: Mm-hmm. Keely: And being single and solo and just all of those explorations. And so, now where I'm at... I'm like, okay, the update. Melisa: Drum roll. Keely: Drum roll, please. I, the person who I've been casually dating, who's been the most consistent person, but casually dating, not their primary person officially left for their six month contract. They're in a different state. I was almost gonna name this state. I'm like, no, no, no, I shouldn't do that. They're in a different state on a six month contract and we did a breakup thing, but not. Like did a, did a relationship transition moment. Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. Keely: And really just decided that for them to be long distance like that, and the way our relationship was set up in Portland, it just didn't seem like the best choice to label it as dating or have that extra commitment. So that was, that was emotional. I spent Pride with an ex who shall not be named DC kind of popped her head back in. We're not dating again. but her and I are talking and I'm having fun. Like listening to all of the lesbian drama from DC. That's fun. Melisa: Got the inside scoop. Keely: I do. At least I love like the, yeah. It's, it's fun. It's totally fun. So we're in a place and then a couple and one other person that had kind of got in and out, we have transitioned to and are in a very friend place. Melisa: Mm-hmm. Keely: And I have a funny story and I just, I was trying to decide whether to talk about it or not , but I decided I keep going back and forth, but whether to start dating again. Melisa: Mm-hmm mm-hmm. Keely: I ventured out and had one date. Went fine. It was fun. Cute. Whatever. Melisa: The fact that you said fine and whatever, like no disrespect to that person. But it, it sounds kind of underwhelming. Keely: It's just like, it was good, but I was like, nope, I'm not feeling I'm not feeling it. I just wasn't. And I trust my gut. And you and I have talked about this before. How do we explain as therapists, as humans, that thing that's either there it's not, and you can't. Well, this person is very honest and just that I didn't, you know, I responded and said, "I didn't really feel it, but thank you for the cute date." And they asked me for feedback. Melisa: Mm that's a, that's an interesting topic. Keely: How do I feel about dating feedback from one date? Melisa: Mm. Yeah. Well, I certainly understand why people ask and want to know, you know, like what was your experience of me? What happened? Or, you know, potentially there's own personal reasons. I think it's up to you whether or not you give it. Keely: I've had, I've enjoyed of course, because my personality and being a relationship therapist, I really was curious what other people thought. Melisa: Mm-hmm. Keely: And I've gotten everything from similar to what you said, Melisa, like yeah. You know, good for them. Someone was like, oh, heck no, they don't get your emotional energy for that. And I don't have a definitive- I did respond, but honestly, I didn't have feedback because I was just going with what my body and where I was at. And so- Melisa: it was about your gut feeling, not about something that they did or said. Keely: Yeah. And I legit said, I was like, I think, not to sound really cliche, but it feels like it it's me, not you thing. Like, it literally just feels like it's me, not you. And it also made me think about, and maybe this, we keep wanting to do this. I still haven't done it of having someone help me update. My, if I, so, so I'm not dating right now. I, I tried that one I was just like, I'm gonna back off again. And I feel like a lot of people experience the same thing when I talk to others. Kind of like in out like going in, oh, I'm gonna back out again. But I also have a really busy summer of things that I planned. And so I don't want to feel the pressure of organizing my life around other things when I enjoy there's lots of fun on at work, a lot of stuff with my family and a lot of stuff, fun stuff for me, but I do think that I'm curious if part of it, the piece that I will own is like, am I being honest enough? Or am I presenting well in my profile? Melisa: Yeah, sure. And is it congruent with what you're wanting and what you're, what I'm actually for? Keely: Yeah. Yeah. Do we actually know what I'm looking for? Melisa: Right. Keely: Oh God. It's conversation and they, the, you know. Melisa: What was it, like, what's the intention? Relationship intentions? Keely: Yes. Oh no. Melisa: Yeah. It's tricky one. So going back to that comment about feedback really quickly. Yeah. I wanna just name because I think initially the, the response that I could imagine having would be like, oh, that's super weird. No, like why would somebody ask? Right. I think a lot of people might have that kind of reaction. Yeah. The reason I didn't is because I can imagine several of my clients who are not neurotypical asking a question like that. Keely: Very good point. Melisa: Because they're not understanding how they're being perceived. And actually even with just anxiety in general, there's something called reality testing where we might encourage people to check in with others to see if their assumptions about themselves are correct. Like, how am I coming off? Is this really a thing? Usually, I guess when I'm talking about the reality testing, I'm thinking often with like social anxiety. I'm usually encouraging people to ask really close friends where there is a rapport and it's not a first date. So that's the piece that makes it maybe a little different or uncomfortable. Keely: Yeah. Melisa: But that's also why I kind of come from this like, oh, well, that's interesting. Yeah. There are reasons people might want feedback. And again, it's not your job to provide it, but just wanted to like throw that out there because for some folks, that feedback is really helpful for them to learn. How do I interact the next time I try and got on a first date. Keely: I think that's a really good point. Thank you for saying, Melisa. Melisa: Yeah. Keely: A really good point. Melisa: Not sure if that's even the scenario here, but that's kind of why my mind is open to all sorts of responses to social interactions these days, especially coming outta COVID. It's like, we're trying to relearn how to human together in a whole new way. Keely: Yeah. And, and honestly, that's why, because I do recognize we're just, we're coming out of this and trying to figure out this together. And so I did wanna give more clear feedback and I was just like, Oh, I wish I had. And that's what I said in my response. I wish I had more to say, right. I wish I had something and I just didn't have that. So that's, that's where the honesty and, and I did thank them for being upfront and honest, and I appreciated, you know, I appreciated that. Melisa: You gave authentic feedback. . Keely: Yeah, it just wasn't- Melisa: You didn't have any notes for them and that's valid. You don't need to- Keely: The Virgo in me wanted to do problem solving. I wanna be like, oh, help this person problem solve. I'm a Virgo, but yeah. Hey, it's Cardinal. You're behind the scenes, buddy. If you're listening to this, then I am so grateful for you. Thanks for an awesome season too. If there's anything you want to see in season three, let us know by emailing us at media Connective therapy, Collective dot com or messaging us on Instagram at Connective therapy, Collective all one word. Cardinal: We've got some exciting developments in the works, but we want to build around what you want to hear. All right. Back to the show. Keely: Well, what do you Melisa wanna recap or update or all, all the above? Melisa: I can get more clear on this pattern that I have noted. I'm laughing, cuz I'm just like, this is so like me. Like I very much have rhythms and patterns and cycles in my life which a lot of that is intentionally built in that's part of how I do self care. That's part of how I access spirituality. So yes, very cyclical. Seasonally oriented person. Keely: Yeah. Melisa: So I've had similarly, actually a bunch of relationship transitions. Some that were specifically verbalized. Somebody I had been, it had been kind of ambiguous what we were, but more than just a friendship. And we finally named this is just a friendship. Yeah. And I shouldn't say just cuz we've done so much work to like get rid of the hierarchy. So not just a friendship, but naming it as a friendship and therefore creating some boundaries around our physical touch and intimacy mm-hmm to match. So that feels good. My partner in California, Is. More of a transition that's happened without a relationship check-in or conversation. They have a lot going on in their life. A lot of health concerns right now, and contact is just not really possible. Yeah, and I think we're both understanding of that and still kind of love each other. And maybe we'll have a, a check-in later where we name specifically what we're expecting right now. I don't feel like either one of us needs that or has the bandwidth, but I do recognize that as a, a transition from where I started the year. Keely: Yeah. Melisa: And I also do have one current relationship. It, it's not a monogamous relationship. It's a poly, I'm in a solo poly position, but I've, I've gotten rid of my dating profiles. I shut it down. Keely: Oh yeah. Melisa: I'm laughing because this is a thing that I did last year, right around my birthday, which is the end of July. Leo power. You know, my dating last year, I started dating in the spring early spring, like win actually winter, like February and dated through the spring. And then petered out kind of ended June. And by July I just shut it down and went real internal to do a lot of self work, basically through all of winter . So I'm not like sentencing myself to that. If I get some inclination that I really want to be meeting new people, I will do that. But my gut is telling me we're gonna be shutting it down until next spring with the exception of my one standing relationship. So there's, there's a change from last year. Maybe I won't be like complete alone isolation, but there's just another layer of healing and growing that I am ready to do. And for me again, just in the season of my life, I, I do that growth pretty much alone. So I'm very excited about that. I've come back to relationship with self . Keely: Yay. Melisa: After many fun weeks of dating and similarly, actually Keely, I have like a lot of events planned for myself this summer. Keely: Yeah. Melisa: And you know, I have local friends too, and most of these events are things I don't even want friends at. I really want to be by myself doing these things. Keely: Yeah. Totally. Yeah. I, I think that's a really good piece. And the theme, what I do hear similarly about what we're both talking about is that place of being. Oh, if I really want to do this, then I'm gonna do it, but I'm not gonna do it. I'm not gonna engage in dating or engage in looking for a partner or partners from a place of fear or from a place of need. Like, oh, I just need somebody or that scarcity. It's coming from wanting it. Melisa: Yeah. Keely: And, and after doing other things with self. . Yeah, that's so important because some of the feedback I actually got from some of these relationships that did transition to friendship was just, it didn't seem that I was super like available, which was good feedback to get cuz I didn't know that's what I was putting out there. Melisa: But then when I reflect I'm like, oh yeah, I'm not actually, I'm not. Yeah. Like I, I like to be liked. I like to be wanted. That feels good. I like some NRE and new potential and I'm really not looking for a primary partner right now. Definitely. And because of my, I guess you could chalk it up to my demi-ness or what, whatnot. I'm not into casual sexual relationships either. So it's a very specific thing that I would be looking for. And I don't have a bandwidth to have a lot of partners, so yeah. Yeah. Basically what that all amounts to is I'm not super available right now. So maybe I, maybe it's not time for me to be dating. Keely: Yeah, it's interesting. The availability piece because then, like the term comes up a lot of like, are you emotionally available? That was one of the things that DC was talking about. Melisa: Mm-hmm Keely: Is that she had this affair recently and the person was younger and she just recognized that, like this person's not emotionally available. Melisa: Mm-hmm mm-hmm . Keely: And so how do you name? You have to have that self-awareness to have that. Yeah. I mean, that's what I've been really talking about a lot. Recognizing at home with my two kids, my friends, myself, business is, am I available for all these things? Yeah. And or am I just like physically there, but am I really present and engaged? And I think that that's another piece that makes dating challenging right now because people are scrambling. People are in like survival mode. I mean, I don't wanna go too much into it cause we all know, but oh my goodness. The fucking prices. Melisa: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Keely: So people are just adjusting. And I think that when we think about community and when we can redefine and restructure and have these connections and relationships that don't have such a heavy weight of need embedded in it. Yeah. And we can have these connections to have support and navigate and enjoy what summer and the rest of the year has to offer us. I think there's a lot of pressure on relationships. Melisa: Mm-hmm mm-hmm . Keely: And so when we can have, we can see the value of non-romantic relationships we can, when we can see the value in non-sexual relationships. Melisa: Yeah, yeah. Keely: And spread out. Melisa: And then there may be an ebb and flow. I was just, I spent like Saturday with a friend and we, you know, hang out every couple weeks, maybe at least once a month kind of thing. And we were even talking about just lack of capacity to develop more friendships in a deep, meaningful way right now. And that's a real thing for people, you know? And, and I, I feel that even with some of my clients mixed with- god, I don't wanna say it, but like end of summer, gosh, that makes me so uncomfortable. Cause I feel like summer just started. But there's already this like, who am I gonna nestle down with next season thing that I'm hearing from some people, if these petitioning- Keely: Are we already talking about this? Melisa: I think it's just because breakups seem to be happening or like fling seem to be fizzling out. And so then it's panic of like, what does that mean? But I also don't have the energy to date right now. You know. Keely: Your pride fling already fizzled away. Melisa: Yeah. And again, I like, I can really empathetically bear witness to that. I don't have that same fear, like nestling down by myself in winter is like my, that makes me very excited. So I, I recognize that not everyone, not everyone feels that, but I've already heard it from a few people. Keely: Well, it sounds like we have some foreshadowing of things to come that we'll be talking about next season. Melisa: Mm-hmm. Keely: In the meantime, as always Melisa, what is your Queer Joy of the week? Melisa: Yay. I I'm very excited about this Queer Joy, cuz it's just, it makes me, it's really, really meaningful to me. I have kind of my closest group of friends, I would say I've, I've named them before from undergrad and five of us together. And we've developed over COVID a birthday tradition of all like essentially group grouping together to pick out gifts for everybody. So there's these texts going on to like figure out whose, you know, birthday is coming up and what their gift is, but three of us have July birthdays. So there was recently a lot of conversation about everything. And most of us are turning 36 this year and realize that we're now at the age where we have known each other for half of our lives. Keely: Aw. Melisa: And that, like, I was like crying yesterday. That is so meaningful to me. And these people have witnessed the most, I mean, the most amazing parts of my growth, like from being an adolescent into an, you know, like all of that, my coming out. So much. So it, that's just a really cool thing. And I'm really lucky to have such close friendships and, and to feel still so supported and held even though none of us are living in the same state. Absolutely amazing. And now I'm reframing birthdays for a couple years. I haven't been the person who's been like, upset about getting older. That's not a, I, I don't know. I don't feel negatively about that at least recently, but now it's even better cuz every year I'm putting like another year, like next year it's gonna be more than half my life, you know? Like they're adding onto the, the relationship history that I, I just love it. So that's my Queer Joy. Keely: Oh, that's adorable. I love it. Yeah. Yeah. Well, my Queer Joy is going to a Thorns game. So I don't know. I think I mentioned this in, but maybe not. Recap real quick. Was at Pride, ran into a dear old friend, her and her wife and they had four tickets. And so right at the bar, during Pride, they're like, oh my gosh, you never- don't ask for tickets. Here. You and your daughter, here's four tickets. And within five minutes, I had free tickets front row to Thorns game. So this past weekend, I got to bring my 10 year old who plays soccer and her friend to the Thorns game fun. And I mean, Thorns games are just gay, queer, lesbian as fuck. Like just couples holding hands everywhere, just so gay. So amazing. So queer. And though I will say it's very lesbian. like, I know we've talked about like it's very lesbian. Anyway. Yeah. But to get to be around, I ran into an old, old, old friend that I'd known for many years that we're now casual acquaintances now, but I saw her with a, I think new girlfriend and then just watching all these soccer, like women's soccer players. Hello. And then getting to see my child, like get so into the game. And there's just something about getting to watch women's sports with my child who's female, because I know when I was growing up, I'm AFAB and there was no representation of, of people other than men when I was her age. There wasn't at least the sports that I enjoyed. I mean, there's definitely Olympics, but like as far as like, and you know, WNBA, that wasn't out yet. Mm-hmm. So it's so awesome to see her getting into this and having representation that she can look on the soccer field and see images that are like her. Like get to see people playing this sport that she plays and like this huge crowd and real. So it was, it was so awesome. Melisa: Incredible. Keely: Yeah. And she definitely has some of my spirit in her cuz she's just like every single thing. She's like, no, wait, oh, oh, oh, sports broadcaster. She's like naming every little thing that happens throughout the whole game. Really adorable. Well, with our wrap up today, really wanna encourage people. Thank you. First of all, I wanna thank everybody as I'm sure, Melisa. We both just wanna thank everyone for listening and supporting us. I know that I really appreciate and love when I hear back from people. Any kind of feedback. Constructive feedback is good as well. Not just positive and wanna really encourage people to ask us anything. But especially if you have a topic or if you're listening to this and you are part of a couple or you have a relationship and you wanna come on and talk about it, please let us know. We are building our guest list and our interviews for next season, but we'd love to hear from you all and otherwise, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much and have a queer and wonderful month. Cardinal: thanks for listening to queer relationships, queer Joy, A podcast by the Connective Therapy Collective. Hosted by Keely C hemic and Melisa DeSegiurant with audio edited by Mars Gasper produced by me. Cardinal marking intro music is by bad snacks. If this episode made you smile or think, tell us about it. If you hated it, tell us about that. Review us on iTunes or Spotify, or send us an email at media Connective therapy, Collective dot com for more queer joy. Visit our website at www dot Connective therapy. Collective dot com. Love you by, um, love ya. Bye.