Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory

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I have to stop looking at quotes.  Good grief, you wouldn’t think it would be so difficult to Google a few interesting and profound quotes for my presentations, but HOLY HELL, the sugary sweet, two hearts-one soul, perfect love, LOVE is the answer to all life’s questions….   ugh.  I have to stop.

My mother came over today.  She looked around, and she said (quietly so as not to embarrass me, I think), “This is the cleanest I’ve ever seen your house.  I like it.”  I wasn’t sure what to say.  I’m sure she also saw my Day Of The Dead altar, which still stands with it’s sugar skulls, and it’s iconic crucifix flanked by pillar candles.  I’m not sure she recognized the ceramic bride and groom that she and I picked out together twenty-two years ago to sit on top of my wedding cake, and which now represents the broken marriage I tried so hard to fix for so many years.  There it sat, on my altar, as my mother praised my clean house, and I found myself wordless.

“Thank you,” I finally said, but those were the wrong words.  They were the only words I had, however, and I gave them to her, because in the end, she did and she does her best, and I suppose that is all any of us can say.  I know that she loves me.  Special Man laughed when I told him many months ago, about the birthday party I had when I was ten, that nobody came to, except for my mother who stood at the end of our big table and took pictures of me, alone, in a party dress.  I smiled for the camera, and she was being a good mother, taking pictures of her oldest daughter.  She was trying.

I wish I knew where those pictures were.

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Almost every day since my last post, I’ve had something that I’ve thought, “I should write about this.”  And each day, other things have taken priority.  I should have taken notes.

In about twenty-four hours, SM and I are leaving for Ohio.  I am facilitating two classes on Saturday, for a small poly conference.  I decline to say “teaching”.  Somehow, that sounds like I’ve got all the answers, and I’m some kind of expert, which I am decidedly not.  I am looking forward to this experience, though to be honest, my presentations are not quite done.  I suspect that no matter how extensively I prepare, I will leave feeling like I had to wing it.  I refuse to write a script.

I have a lot to do, between packing and finishing up these classes.  It’s a calm panic I’m feeling.  Mostly I’m happy to be doing something outside of my comfort zone.  I always feel good and happy afterwards.

My daughter, who is seven, had downloaded an app onto my e-reader that was called “Fashion Icon”.  I’m thinking dress up, paper doll type game, so I was particularly surprised when her interactive game allowed her to flirt, have a drink with a boy/man, and “lose confidence” when she was deemed not as fashionable as a competitor.  I hated it.  If you flirted with a boy you passed on the street, your other boyfriend would dump you, because, she explained, “You can only have one boyfriend at a time.”  And never mind if she wanted a girlfriend.  Everyone in Fashion Icon city is straight.  And monogamous.  And horribly insecure.

Also, chocolate apparently was the solution for a lack of confidence.  Now that’s a good message.  Let’s self-medicate with food.




Over the weekend, Special Man and I were in a Dollar Store picking up party supplies, for a “Day of the Dead” themed event I hosted in my home on Saturday night.  I’m not sure how we got on the subject of compersion, of all things, as we walked down the medicine aisle, but he stopped me in my tracks as he said, somewhat loudly, that he was of the opinion that swingers are way better at compersion than polys. (I don’t even know if polys is a word, but I’m making it up if it isn’t.)  I think his exact words were, “To tell you the truth, I think swingers are the ones who have the compersion thing down.”

He kept walking, assuming I was following, and I stood, in the middle of The Dollar Tree, thinking.  And I had a poly epiphany, right there.  Of course, swingers think they’ve got compersion down.  Their focus is so very finite and well defined.  It’s sex.  Usually together, often in the same room, and they go home together.  Every rule and guideline that swingers enforce, is in place to protect The Relationship.  Because sex is just sex.  I get it.

We polys have blown this concept up to embody the entirety of a relationship that doesn’t include us.  Not just sex, not just orgasms, not just bodies on bodies.  Emotions and time and fights and life and inside jokes and a history…and we are supposed to feel compersive about all of it.  The vision I have going in my brain right now, is that of a smiling, glowing Stepford Wife.    That’s what I feel I’m being asked to achieve,  when I read about how compersion is the highest poly state we should be striving for.

I wanted to stop and debate this right then with him, and I’m not sure why.  It may be that it struck me as so kind of, well, smug.  And he can be smug, because he and CC have a significant swinging history, and I’m pretty sure he identifies as a swinger, just as much (if not more) than he does as polyamorous.  While my style of poly includes a lot of self analysis, and processing, both internally and outloud, he is more of a matter-of-fact, black and white, just don’t dwell on it, kind of guy.  If he gets a jealous thought or twinge, he tells me he “just doesn’t think about it.”  He doesn’t dwell.  He waits for it to pass.

Now, lest you think he is perfect: He is not.  These “not dwelling” moments tend to pile up, and then come out all at once, at least with me.  I’m not sure how this dynamic works between him and CC.  Their relationship is in a much different place than ours is after their fourteen-ish years, compared to our two-ish years.  He does get a little jealous sometimes, and I usually don’t hear about it until it is really bothering him.  I, on the other hand, will spill it immediately.  I process out loud, and I know that can be hard on him.  Just as his style can be hard on me, as I can feel blindsided if he’s been acting fine and then all of a sudden, absolutely isn’t.

So this has gotten off on a tangent. Sometimes I’m not sure what I’m going to vomit out onto a blog post, and I guess this is one of those times.  My original thought, was that I was annoyed that Special Man was declaring the swinger team the winner of the compersion trophy.  It’s been a challenge, having a relationship with someone who has both a swinger mentality, and a polyamorous side, and who can compartmentalize each so effectively.  In the beginning I was so confused.  I understood the swinger concepts, of sex being fun, and just something you can do with people you like, or people you’ve just met. But he and I have connected sex, loving sex, hot sex; sometimes it’s emotional, sometimes it’s fun and recreational.  But love is what makes it so good for me.  Was it “just sex” for him?  Where did I fall, into which compartment?  Swinger sex or poly sex, or was there even a difference?

Sidenote: Man, he’s so going to love this post.

Now, I know there are all kinds of non-monogamy.   This isn’t a swinging vs. polyamory debate, but I find they tend to exist in the same realm, and here I sit, from my little poly viewpoint, wondering why compersion is so elusive to so many in Polyland, but the swingers have that shit down.  And I think it comes down to degrees.  If I see SM flirt with another woman, it’s cute, but it has big implications…full blown, impactful, relationship implications.  On the other hand, if we were in a strictly swinging context, the implications would be so limited, to that night, to those hours, to the activity of sex and flirting, that I would think that compersion in context, would just be simpler.

This all just leads me back to my opinion that compersion, as I understand it,  is kind of overrated.  I’m still working from a place of pleasant neutrality and acceptance, when he is interested in spending time with someone else.  Some days, that’s the best I can do.  Some days, I’m a jealous, scared little girl. My poly is imperfect.  But it doesn’t mean it isn’t GOOD.

~Compersion, Thou Art A Harsh Mistress~ 



This morning I had a small explosion of page views on a post from about six months ago, titled “Five Things Your Metamour Wants You To Know”.  I was surprised, but the internet is unpredictable, and I was happy to see it pop up again, as it is the inspiration for one of the sessions I’m presenting at Beyond The Love in two weeks.  I’ve been just a little worried about this one, as my personal story with metamour relations has not been a blissful fairytale, but we both keep trying, and I think that speaks volumes.

Poly is hard.  I ran across a discussion online that started with an article debating whether or not Polyamory was a choice or rather, an orientation.  And seriously, all I could think was “Who cares?”  Maybe I’m not academic enough in my poly.  All the talk of anthropological analysis, and how our ancient ancestors were wired, and whether or not the animal kingdom embraces patriarchal fidelity or how biological reproductive drives fuel sociological relationship structures… I don’t care.  I.  just.  Don’t.  Care.

What I care about is mindfulness.  Self-awareness.  Making good choices, for me, whether or not there are ancient natural biological urges to be monogamous or non-monogamous.  Maybe the intellectual dissection of polyamory is interesting and important, but I am so present-focused on being in my relationship, that I get weary of the constant back and forth.

I received an email today with the subject header, POLYAMOROUS POLITICAL ACTIVISM CONCLAVE FEB 23 2014: BERKLEY, CALIF.

I’ll be skipping that one.