Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~Downfall~

You are my sweetest downfall.

I loved you first, I loved you first.

Beneath the sheets of paper, lies my truth.

 

This song is all kinds of beautiful and sad.   There’s a brokenness about it that I have always loved, and the words shift and change sometimes, and I will find myself reflecting on relationships and sacrifice, and yes, I know that’s a little heavy, but I’ve been in a mindful place of late.

 

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~Grace~

“Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence.”
~The Little Prince

I’ve misplaced my grace. 

I’m angry about a lot of things.  I don’t like it but I can’t simply will it away.  All at once I’ve reached some kind of crossroads; I can’t be quiet anymore about anything. I’m raw and upset about things a week old, a month old, twenty-five years old. I suspect the trigger is the recent turn of events with my ex-husband, who moved out of state last week and will be marrying again (his third time) in a few days.  Suddenly I’m processing events, decisions; feelings. Goddamn motherfucking feelings. 

I started seeing a new therapist a few weeks ago. I was struggling with the previous guy, who I had been seeing very off and on since my ex-husband and I had started seeing him in a last ditch effort (on my part) to work through a very broken marriage. Old Therapist also has seen multiple siblings and my father over the years, and it felt sometimes like I couldn’t shake off the role or persona of my life, and just be my stripped down self. This new one is completely open and objective with me. It’s just what I needed. And I think some of her comments have allowed me to start to purge.

Not that I’m really happy about that. I feel like I can’t stop it, and I wish I could just push it back down again and go numb.

But I am a big girl. I can only trust that I will come out the other side of this a bigger and happier girl. 


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~Year~

One year ago today, I posted my first writing on Poly Nirvana, titled “Perfect Poly”. I actually had written it a year before that, out of frustration with the larger poly community and this feeling of not fitting in anywhere; of not being evolved enough to feel true compersion, or mature enough to not ever be jealous. Or lonely. Or sad. Or any of those feelings that we are all trying so hard to get away from, and that everyone talks about, all the time.

I received this message this week, and I’m posting with permission from the darling friend who wrote it.  I’m sharing it because it resonated with me, and I’m also sharing my response.

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Hi Ginger,

I have something that I’ve been struggling with and I was hoping that I could get your perspective. I hope you don’t mind. It has to do with polyamory, metamours, jealousy, hurt, and my reaction to hurt.

I’m trying to get some different perspectives–not because I don’t trust people around me, but I’m really just hoping to cast a wide net and hope that something works for me, because I’m really struggling. I really respect your thoughts, from reading a lot of your writing… and I’d appreciate your input.

So here are the basics: A person with whom I am in a relationship (going on three years) has a new(ish) partner, and I’ve been struggling with this new(ish) partner from the beginning (about a year and a half). I’ve reached a lot of peace about the situation, but sometimes I just feel so HURT when I know that they’re together. I’m working through that. What I’m really really struggling with is a desire to hurt my partner back in some way with a mean or jealous comment, by withdrawing, by screaming or yelling. I know that something is being triggered within me and I know that I need to figure that out, but that desire to hurt, to hit back in some way, is really upsetting me.

Do you have any thoughts on this, or experiential learning that you’ve done that you could share? 

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My response:

So when I first read your message, I was immediately like, “Oh , I so know exactly what that feels like.” The problem is, that I don’t always know how to best deal with it, in a healthy way, except to recognize it, accept it, and possibly verbalize it, which it seems like you’ve done.

There’s a knee-jerk reaction that we have sometimes, that is a defense mechanism when we are feeling vulnerable. We do it as children when we lash out, and we do it as adults. When I’ m feeling insecure, I find myself saying something that I know will make him worry about the stability of our relationship. It’s not nice, and I didn’t realize that I was doing it for a long time, and it didn’t happen very often, but once I recognized it, I was able to at least be a grown up and choose to simply tell him instead that I needed him to tell me…whatever…I needed to hear. Once I said it out loud, it lost it’s power, and I could see it for what it was. “Tell me you’re not going to dump me for the 24 year old stripper with awesome legs that you just met because my legs are thick and meaty and I’m an old lady”. Usually he just looks at me and says the right things, which I knew anyway, but I just have to process it out in the open.

Feelings are hard. I read a sentence in a blog recently…

“I think the poly world puts too high of a premium on being un-feeling ever-compersive robots, but reality is that we all handle things differently.” (Link here.)

And THAT screamed at me, I’ve been feeling that one for a long time. At the risk of sounding like a know it all, read this…   “Perfect Poly”

And remember, my sweet friend… It’s what you do with your feelings that matters. If you recognize that you want to lash out, and you consciously choose to DO IT anyway because it feels good and satisfying to hurt your partner for just a minute, then you’re giving up. If you feel your feelings and choose to handle them the best way you know how, and explore ways to handle them even better, then you are doing good poly, good relationships, and good human being-ness.

(It’s early, and I have a headache, and I suspect that this is somewhat rambling and scattered, but sometimes a stream of consciousness thought process works… Maybe…)

~Ginger

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Thank you. It does make sense and it helps, and I appreciate the words of your blog entry from a year ago. I get into these moments (sometimes week-long moments) when everything seems like it’s crashing in and like I can’t stand the hurt and the confusion a moment longer–like I’m going to have to change something in my relationship or do something drastic like scream and yell, and then I kind of snap and say, “Um…this kind of misery is not part of my relationship. I have created this in my head.” And then I take a step back and I look at the big picture, and I realize I’m making decisions about the direction of my relationship (without my partner) and I’m deciding what’s in their head for them, rather than keeping myself open and vulnerable. Oh, god, the vulnerability of not assuming where something is going or what’s in someone’s head, and leaving myself open to “what will be.” And even though I have those moments when I feel fearful and hurt, and I want to say something hurtful or something that would damage the relationship, I know that in the long run it’s not the choice I want to make. I’ll probably never be the 100% secure and compersive partner because I seek out relationships that push me to grow as a person, and growing is painful and it can be confusing. I just have to remember to not get lost, right?

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I think I wanted to share this on the blog, because it always makes me feel better when I know that other people struggle with the same things I do.   And it’s inspiring to me when I see others trying to be good and kind and thoughtful in their choices.  It inspires me to try to do the same.  I not perfect, and I don’t do perfect poly.  I’m just a girl who is trying to find her way, along with everyone else.

Happy anniversary, little blog.


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~So~

My ex-husband is getting married. In two weeks. I found out about this a week ago.

Being formerly LDS, and married in the LDS temple, where “eternal marriage” is considered the most holy of ordinances, I received a letter from the church asking me my feelings about him being “sealed” to another woman.

“Hallelujah”, I thought.

“I have no issue with him remarrying,” I wrote.

Of course this has brought up questions from the kids about marriage, and relatiohships, and when I’ll be getting married again. Because that’s what you do, when you’re old and single. Get married. My daughter, Georgia, says I should just say, “Man, I wish someone would propose to me”, and then Special Man will marry me. It’s been a rough week. Not only do I get to process some residual feelings from my failed marriage, but I get to deal with some of those mononormative knee-jerk reactions that I still carry. Marriage is romantic and dreamy. Weddings are exciting, and everyone is full of hope for the future, and love for each other. Weddings validate. It doesn’t matter that my children have yet to meet this new wife of their father, or that this wedding is happening extremely fast for any sane person’s taste. They are still validated because marriage is the ultimate stamp of respectability and acceptance.

I have a stable relationship of two and a half years. A wedding would not make it any more stable or loving, but it’s hard to get away from those societal norms. To be perfectly honest, I think Special Man and I would be terrible domestic partners. Seriously. (I’ve told him this before, and he disagrees, but I think he knows I’m right.) Still, the dress and the doves and the declarations of love…what little girl hasn’t been told that this is the ultimate accomplishment of her young life? And the fantasy still makes me sigh a little, though I’m a realist and I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever marry again.

A romantic commitment ceremony in the woods, however, might be another story.

A few nights ago we had birthday cake for SMF with the kids. It was good, and comfortable. I wouldn’t want to trade my alternative relationship configuration for another automatic marriage. I couldn’t.

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~Knit~

Last week for date night, we stayed in and watched a movie with my kids, and a sweet friend Amy and her kids. Special Man brought over a projector, and we ate tacos and cupcakes and laughed and talked. It was a good night. SM had forgotten something at home, so he ran out for a little while, and when he returned he gave me a lovely pair of knitted slippers that CC MADE for me, with her own two little hands. My grandma taught me to crochet when I was ten, but the finesse and mastery of knitting has always eluded me. I knitted a sweater once, but it was a sad,sad sweater. The slippers were a gesture, I think. She wants me to know she’s still there, and wants things to be okay between us.

Metamour relationships are a sticky wicket. There are no rules, no guidelines, no accepted rules of etiquette, when attempting to establish parameters with your love’s other love, or loves. There are so many personalities, and circumstances, and preferences when it comes to navigating these unchartered relationships. CC and I have run the gamut over the last two and a half years. We have gone from active dislike, to an uncomfortable indifference and then to conscious cultivation of a relationship that I think we both felt we had to have. We tried having coffee, just the two of us every few weeks for a while. We had some good conversations, and even a few tears, but soon we swung back to a neutral discomfort that was pretty okay some days, and then very strained on others.

Special Man wants us to be friends, and I understand why. I know that it would be easier on him if CC and I were friendly. Even friends. And, in my fantasy vision of my ideal polyamory, I am comfortable, close to, even affectionate with metamours. Unfortunately this isn’t something you can order off of a menu, and have delivered to your relationship. She and I have different visions. I suppose it’s time for a check in conversation, she and I. She’s asked to go out to coffee in the last few months, and I haven’t wanted to. I made my peace, I figured, with the way things were, and sometimes the status quo gets so comfortable, that anything else feels tremendously hard.

However. The slippers were exactly what was needed. They were knitted, with intention, by a woman, for her husband’s girlfriend. That means something.

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~Drive~

It’s Special Man’s birthday this week.  CC is out of town on a business trip until the weekend, so there was talk of a mini-vacation, nothing spectacular, but the prospect of some uninterrupted time with him was intoxicating.  As this week neared, he realized he had too much going on at work to take two days off, and now, he won’t even be able to take one day off of work.  So we are piecing together a birthday celebration, and I’m a little wound up trying to coordinate the details.  Should I book a hotel near his work, or near my house?  We live on opposite sides of town…  I’m planning birthday cake with the kids tomorrow night, and the place I’d like to take him for breakfast is near me, but I’d like to surprise him with the park and the zoo on Friday, and that’s closer to him.  

Decisions are, and have always been, tough for me.  When I was a girl, I would go back and forth, debating with myself, what the “right” choice was in any situation, large or small.  Ordering food in a restaurant was painful.  I still, will generally order what I know I like, rather than take a chance on choosing wrong.  It’s my little perfectionist streak, I think.  My mother told me years ago, “It’s not always a right or wrong decision, sometimes it’s just one or the other.”  

Tonight we drove forty-five minutes to meet a lovely couple for dinner, and it was wonderful.  The food was okay; I asked SMF to order for me, and it’s always a relief when I don’t have to stress about what to choose.  The drive was nice.  Our friends are kind and interesting and funny.  I drank a martini, and we talked about all sorts of fun things.  It’s interesting to me, how I’ve managed to fall in with people who are Very Much Not Like Me, which happens to make me very happy.  I listened to the three of them geek out about D&D and WoW, and I smiled and nodded, but it’s not my thing.  And that’s okay.  I really did try to learn about D&D, and I played a few times, but it’s just not for me.  I do, however, love being around people who express unapologetic raw pleasure in, well, in almost anything. I love that there are so many different kinds of things out there in the world for people to get excited about!  

I’ve just learned that my ex-husband is getting remarried.  In three weeks. And that he’s moving out of the state.  I’m processing some things related to that, and the church, and my children, but right now it’s mostly all swirling in my head, and isn’t ready to be bled out into words quite yet.  

Life is messy.