Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~Fence~

I have some conflict with my metamours, both partners of Special Man Friend.

I understand that I am the common denominator, and that I am responsible for me and for my lack of conflict resolution skills.

But I am feeling pretty solitary right now.

It’s hard to know what to do; what action to take. It’s hard to know exactly what I want, and then to hold that up to what I think I am obligated to do, it’s very noisy in my brain.  The debate goes back and forth.

Reason:  Someone needs to mend that bridge.  

Emotion:  Fuck that.  They wrecked the bridge too.  Why do I have to fix it?

Reason:  You’re an adult.  Do something adult-ish.  

Emotion:  I don’t know what to do!  Why do I have to do everything?  

Reason: Relationships take effort.  

Emotion:  Yeah, well I don’t care.  I didn’t ask to be in a relationship with them.

Reason:  Well you are.  And you did.

Emotion: Did not.

Reason: ……….

Emotion:  Polyamory is dumb. 

Reason: No it isn’t.

Emotion:  Yes it is and I hate everyone.

Reason:  ………

Emotion:  Wah. I don’t know what to do. 

Reason:  You should just think more. Thinking more is always a good idea.  Thinking is the best!

Emotion:  I’m sick of thinking about it.

Reason:  Then do something.

Emotion:  ………….

Reason:  …………..

Emotion:  I’m taking a nap.

 

 

 

 

 


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~Really~

I really don’t get people sometimes.

I spent my morning supporting a family through a patient’s death.  All I can really say, is that as a hospice nurse, my perspective is constantly being refocused.  There are big things happening to people, everywhere, all the time, and we don’t even realize it.  Today someone’s father died.  Someone lost a child, a mother, a friend.  There is so much going on in the world, and most of us get to be oblivious.

After I left this family, I went to Sonic.  I needed to sit in my car and decompress.  I ordered a diet cherry lime-aid and I planned to space out on Facebook for a few minutes before heading to my office to do paperwork.

Well.

I moderate a small local poly discussion group on Facebook, with CC.  We have 80 people or so, and it’s had some slow growth, but it’s been a solid little group.  Yesterday someone posted that she was having her first poly “date” tonight.  She was excited and engaged.  It was adorable.

Today someone posted that her husband was going out with someone “repulsive” and so unattractive that it was gross.  “Gross”!  (I can’t even imagine someone saying this!)   Do you see where this is going? The girl from last night was going out with the husband of the girl who posted today.  I was appalled.

I came late in the conversation, apparently it had gotten heated and very ugly, and while the group rallied, people were upset and defensive, and the thread was deleted, I think by the original poster.

People act like this?  I just don’t get it.  At this point, I want to delete this person from the group…but maybe that’s not the right thing.  From what I understand, yes, she did know that the girl her husband was going out with was in the group, which pretty much makes her post a passive aggressive personal attack, and that makes me sick.

Yes, the excited girl from last night canceled the date, and I don’t blame her.  I certainly wouldn’t want to engage with someone when the potential metamour is either that jealous, insecure, or just plain mean.

The end.


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~Late~

Ten minutes after yesterday’s early morning post, Special Man Friend sent me a text.

Come back to bed.

I was downstairs on the couch, he was upstairs in my room; he felt so far away.  I climbed back into bed, he curled around me, and I had to wonder if he had somehow read my words already.  We didn’t really talk for a few minutes, and even then, it was just him, whispering that no matter what else is going on, no matter the bad days that come and go, that he loves me and that hasn’t changed.

Our Valentine’s Day plan was to take a drive to some small outlying town, wander the second hand shops, have coffee.  What ended up happening was breakfast at a very busy little place in town, where our ticket got lost and the food took forever, and the Relationship Maintenance talk, that we planned on scheduling later in the week, happened spontaneously, though both of us tried to avoid it.

I love him, and he loves me.  I think the bottom line in this relationship, as well as in most relationships, is the Ideal vs. Reality. It’s about expectations and expectation management.

We didn’t end up making it out of town. We did end up feeling good about each other and where we are, right now, today.  And I think that’s a pretty good Valentine’s Day.


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~Early~

It’s six in the morning.

I can’t sleep.  Special Man Friend is asleep upstairs, in my bed.  I feel so far away from him, but I can’t tell him that.  He’s got his own demons, and he’s holding them very close to the vest.  (What an interesting phrase that is…)

I don’t know what to do or say.  I want to make him talk.  He’s told me in the past, that when he gets like this, which isn’t very often, that he just needs me to be okay on my own, and not take it personally that he’s shut me out.

I hate it.

My mind goes everywhere. I know that he is spread so thin, that something is going to have to go, soon.  I’m afraid it’s going to be his emotional well-being.  My deepest fear is that it’s going to be me.

I’m not perfect.  But I work really hard to be a good partner.

Mrs. A read my whole blog.  It didn’t go over well.

How do I write and continue to grow in my poly if I’m gagged?  This has been my place for self expression.   I don’t have anyone to talk to, except SMF and CC, and there’s issues with being completely open with each of them, because of their relationship to each other.  I’ve gotten the feeling lately that I’ve over shared with CC, and that puts her in a strange position.  We both have issues surrounding Mrs. A, but peeling away the layers of that situation is proving to be difficult.  Yes. I would have some processing and adjusting to do with any new girl he started to get close to.  That’s the nature of this kind of relationship configuration.

But I have some real and valid concerns.  Even if they are only valid to me.

Special Man goes back and forth.  He says he respects how I feel, but then I feel that he is impatient and has different expectations.

I have this sick feeling that he just thinks I’m doing bad poly.

But he would be wrong about that.

I told Mrs. A that she should not read my blog if it was going to bother her.  I suppose I should tell Special Man Friend the same thing.  He and I need to talk, about a lot of things.  But he’s asleep and I’m awake.  And I don’t know how far away from me he will be when he wakes.

This has been a challenging week.  At the beginning of the week, we both said we needed to have a relationship maintenance talk as soon as we could.  Between work, and scheduling, last night is the first opportunity we have had to be together, and he was not ready to talk.  I can’t go another week.

I was so looking forward to Valentine’s Day this year. I think I want a do-over.


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~Flight~

Wendover, Nevada.

Oh my goodness: A thirty eight minute flight on a plane which was filled with excited and chatty senior citizens.  Special Man Friend found a dirt cheap weekend package, and apparently it’s very popular with the over 65 crowd.  It’s been a good giggle. (I know I’m no spring chicken.  But come on!  I’ve got fifteen years until I’m even sixty!)

We are here until tomorrow.  It’s been good for me I think.  Mostly the sleep.  SMF played poker last night, and I slept from 8:30 on.

Wait.  Maybe I am ready to be part of the Senior’s Fun Tour.  Darn.

SMF saw Mrs. A several times in the last week.  It was hard for me.  I hate that it’s hard for me.  I am trying to be gentle with myself. I have been able to relax more about his weekly date with her.  But midway through his third time seeing her in a week, I just had reached some kind of critical mass.  It doesn’t matter how secure I am in the fact that he loves me.  It doesn’t matter how reassuring he is.  It doesn’t matter how many self-love techniques I use, or poly books I read.

I am a poly girl, with a mono- minded heart. I work hard to be happy.  I am loved, and I know that SMF will be there for me, whatever I need.  But man, it’s hard sometimes. I  am not sure how to navigate this specific issue. In three and a half years with him, I haven’t ever had to deal with him having three dates with someone else in a single week.  It sounds silly when I type it out, but it is not silly. I am a good person with real feelings.  I have to forgive myself for struggling, because the last thing I need is to be mad at myself for having feelings.

So do I suck it up and deal?  Do I ask him to slow down a little for my sanity?  Do I just wait and see if it happens again?  I think this week may have been a fluke, but I was completely blindsided by the intensity of my discomfort.  CC is out of town, and there has been so much going on the last few weeks, that date nights have been moved around and his time with Mrs. A has been inconsistent.  I tell myself that he has consistently been there for me, and I am not losing time with him.

But there’s still part of me that is uncomfortable.  I think I’m afraid.  Afraid that he doesn’t have room for all three of us, and that I will get the proverbial boot. Afraid that she is cuter, funner (funner is totally a word), thinner, newer, smiley-er, easier, simpler, sexier… happier.     And who wouldn’t want to be around someone who was happy.

Things have been really heavy lately.  Special Man has not once, batted an eye about taking on what he can in an effort to support me, and to support my kids. He is my best friend, and my biggest supporter. The bulk of my life falls on me, and he knows that.  But when he steals me away for a cup of coffee, or lets me cry while he holds me, or takes the kids to the library he gives me the chance to breathe.  The chance to regroup.  The chance to find some peace again.  He honors his commitment to me.

That’s what my logic tells me.  I wish my little emotional heart would listen to my amazingly logical brain.  Damn heart.

I’m sitting on the fringes of a noisy, smokey casino, with a very bad cup of coffee, while he upstairs in our room, stealing a nap for an hour.  (The biggest shock to my system on this little trip has been the smoke filled casinos. In Idaho, you can’t smoke in public places unless you’re in a designated smoking area, so this level of second hand smoke is making me nuts!)

Tomorrow we head home.  I feel good.  I had a doctor’s appointment a few days ago (a follow up for my cancer history)  and she found a few things in my bloodwork that we are hopeful will be able to be corrected with changes in medication and , supplements and I’m making a six week recovery plan to deal with the physical and emotional aftermath of the last few months.

I feel positive.  I’m looking forward.


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~Review~

I haven’t been able to eat today.

I’ve tried. My brain says eat. But I feel sick. Sick with that dread feeling, when there’s so much spilt milk that you are certain you will never be able to clean it up. There will always be another spot, another drop, another puddle.

In the Mormon church, there’s this scripture, about how there “needs be opposition in all things.” It’s used to comfort people in hard times, but also to make people feel superior when bad things happen. I think when I was a girl, I mixed up the scripture with Newton’s law, the one about “equal and opposite reactions.” If you get really good things in life, then you have to get really bad things too. That’s balance. That’s life.

The problem with this theory, is that there is no real balance. The starving, dying children of the world, do not have anything equal, but good, to counteract the fact that they are dying in multitudes. I suppose you could balance out the starving masses with the obese video- game playing children of the world who have plenty to eat, but I doubt that’s what God, or Newton had in mind.

I had a really, truly, to the core, rough year. It could have been worse, I am very aware. I had three children, each with a rare cancer syndrome (which they were gifted by me), undergo major surgery; all three within eight weeks of each other. As sole emotional, as well as financial caregiver, I am utterly exhausted. I keep telling myself to be grateful that nobody died. To be thankful that nobody needed long courses of chemo or radiation. I’ve reprimanded myself for emotions that range from feeling sorry for myself, to downright anger. My emotional reserves are depleted, and yet, the emotional demands on me remain the same. I’m still the mom. I’m still the grown up. I still cannot escape.

I am not really coping as well as I expected.

Add to the mix, a very intense relationship that almost ended, and several strong friendships that ended very badly, and it all makes for a very bitter girl, who is tired, and simply cannot lift her head up to see over the walls she has built in order to protect herself.

I sat in the hospital, in the dead of night, so angry at one friend in particular, because I loved her with all my heart, and she should have been there for me, and she should have been there for my children. I know her heart, and I feel the loss of her every day, and I know my kids miss her too.

Everyone leaves. Everyone changes.

This is the lesson I’ve learned this year. People can be mean. And people includes me.

For 1209 days, I have been loved by a man who is just as broken as I am, though I may have finally built my walls high enough to keep him out too. This beautiful man, with eyes the color of root beer, looked at me last night and told me he wasn’t sure we should be together. The light was fading from his eyes.

I’ve finally figured it out. It doesn’t matter if I’m poly or not poly. Not one bit. It only matters that I can accept the love and happiness that he gives me, for what it is, without fear of the pain and uncertainty of what might come with it. Will probably come with it. Because for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. You take the good with the bad.

Because this man makes me happy. He sees good in me. I’m a better person, because he holds up a mirror and doesn’t let me look away. In the mirror I see a scared girl, who can almost always hold everything together, until she can’t. And he isn’t afraid to tell me that I’m starting to drown, and he can’t come with me.

“If you give up,”  he said, “if you drown, I can’t let you drown me along with you. So please, swim for your life.”

So I’m treading water, and trying to decide which direction to go.

I don’t know what to do, I said.

“Breathe,” he told me.

I’m breathing. It’s all I can do.


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/poly/not poly/

One of my most pleasurable tasks in school, was diagramming sentences.

(What can I say, I was an odd child.)

The compound predicates and the gerund phrases. The modifiers and the prepositions. Adverbs. Interjections. Subjects and verbs.

Every word, analyzed and mapped out. Organized. Every single word had a place. It was perfect.

It was a task that suited my brain; my need to understand the way things fit, in relationship to all the other things. It was logical. I could figure things out, put things together. There were rules and standards. There was always a right answer and a wrong answer.

It all made such glorious sense. It might have been the last thing that truly made perfect sense to me.

Fast forward to me, all grown up.

Nothing really makes sense, and you can forget about logic. Politics, taxes, war. Religion. Crime, hate, mental illness, world hunger. Cancer. Teenagers.

I want things to make sense to me. Everything. All the things. I can accept things that I understand.

I want polyamory to be more logical. I want black and white simplicity. I confess, I miss mono-normativity. Or, rather, I miss the acting without thinking.

I miss auto-pilot.

I don’t know if being poly or mono is an orientation, or a learned social construct, or maybe it’s a choice. I’ve heard arguments for each. I don’t know whether or not jealousy is really just fear and insecuritym but I can sure deconstruct and reframe my own feelings. I’ve got all the new language down: compersion, polycule, metamour.

I’m in a poly relationship. But I don’t think that necessarily makes me poly. In fact, I’m not sure I am poly. I can do poly. I can communicate, self-analyze, be kind. But I could do all that and be monogamous too. So where does this leave me?

I’m a small circle person. I like intimacy. I like the known quantity. First dates are absolutely the antithesis of the know quantity. New relationships are kind of part of polyamory, and, truth be told, I’m not a fan.

Is poly something you are, or is poly something you do?

In the end, what I worry about is that maybe the answer doesn’t matter. If poly is something that you are…then maybe I’m just Not Poly. And that would be a real bitch, considering how enmeshed I am in poly: I write a blog, I moderate groups, I’ve presented classes. It would be like coming out again (except I suspect if I “came out monogamous”, my mother would weep with joy). If poly is something that you do… well now, that’s another beast all together. If poly is something that you DO… what if I just don’t really want to do it any more?

My love, my heart, My special Man Friend will read this, and though these thoughts of mine will be familiar to him, he will probably feel kind of sick. Maybe angry. Certainly worried. I’m not sure. But I do know I love him, and I have for a long time, and I am not ready to be without him.

But that’s not really fair, is it.

All I AM sure of is that I don’t know how to map this out. Nothing is clear to me right now, except that I am missing something, and I feel like I’m looking at apples and oranges, and I want both, but I can only choose one.

Someone draw me a diagram.


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~Meh~

I have three or four drafts working for blog posts. Some deep thinking kind of stuff.  But it’s not coming together.  I want to write, but I can’t find my words.

In the morning I start my prep day for Thanksgiving.  I can’t wait.  I’m excited to have a house full of people.  I’m excited to have Special Man and CC here, their son, and Special Man’s sister is coming and bringing a friend.  My kids will be here, and I hope it’s fun and loud, and that the house smells good and that my teenagers don’t fight with each other.

Or with me.

I’ve had a bit of a rough patch the last few days.  I had a revelation.  And I don’t like it one bit.

In the last year, as I’ve become more and more “out” and open and honest with others, and with myself, I have found myself strongly triggered in certain situations.  I have spoken with my fabulous therapist about it, and she was surprised that I had never had any counseling to deal with the aftermath of my abusive marriage.  As a nurse, I can intellectually talk myself through some of these things, simply because I recognize what is happening.

I was sitting in my therapists waiting room one time, not long ago.  There was a couple’s session going on, and I’m not sure if the door was open, or the walls were thin, but I could hear much of what was being said by the male partner, who was speaking in a loud, agitated, voice.  The female partner would occasionally respond in softer tones, and was generally interrupted by the man.  I heard a lot of “you did” this and “you should have” that.  I was uncomfortable.  I started to get hot, and I felt my face start to tingle.  My heart was beating fast, my palms were sweaty, and I was fighting not to cry.

The odd thing about this whole experience, was that my mind was calm.  I was thinking, ‘What is wrong with me?  I don’t feel upset, but my body is absolutely freaking out.  This is kind of PTSD-like.  I don’t have PTSD.  This is so weird.”

Except I probably do have some PTSD.

I’m just starting to get into it with my therapist now.  SMF snapped at me last week about something silly.  In three years, I can honestly say, that he has shown anger to me only a scant handful of times.  It’s a good thing, because my reactions are becoming more intense.  I don’t want to be this person.

But I am.

When Mrs. A verbally attacked me, my head went quiet.  I remember thinking after, that I was surprised I wasn’t more upset. It was similar to when I was sitting in the waiting room, listening to the man and woman fighting. My heart was pounding, my stomach hurt, and I felt like throwing up, but inside I was thinking, “Huh, this kind of weird.”  She said a lot of mean and ugly things; things I just haven’t been able to move past.  And it’s really starting to affect me.  A few nights ago, I lashed out at SMF.  Every time I know he’s with her, I’ve been upset and hurt, because I felt (feel?) abandoned.  I mean, don’t the sacred rules of couplehood and loyalty and all that, demand that he stand by me?  Put his foot down?  Never talk to her again?

No.

I’ve got all these concepts swirling around in my head.  Where do obligation and autonomy meet?  Is SMF obligated to share the same boundary as I have?  What’s my obligation to Mrs. A as a metamour?  What’s my obligation to my larger poly “family” if he continues to see her?  Falls in love with her?  At this point, I cannot be around her.  I don’t feel safe.  I have to protect myself, and in doing so, I want to protect those around me, and that includes HIM.

But he doesn’t feel unsafe around her.  He simply doesn’t have the same boundary around her behavior that I do. And that is both okay, and not okay.  I’ve almost worked through this in my head.  Almost.

But not quite.

I sent her a message this week asking her to have coffee.  I did it because I was trying to Do Good Poly.  (This phrase, Doing Good Poly, is now my nemesis. I think it’s now become a normative set of  polyamorous expectations, and I hate it. More on that another day, though.)  I did it because I felt obligated to SMF.  I did it because I felt obligated even, to my own vision of a comfortable and close poly network.

The same day, the anticipation of having to make nice with her, simply because she’s seeing my partner, made me anxious and tearful and the now-familiar stomach ache came back. I sent her another message. I won’t be meeting with her.  I am protecting myself and holding my boundaries.  The end.

So now we come back around to Special Man. I sent him this message:

“I’ve been acting under an assumption that I was obligated to make things good with me and A. in the name of good poly, or for the good of our greater poly network. I think it’s something I put on myself, and it’s something that you have put on me in the past with CC and anticipate will put on me in the future with A. Ideally, I want to be friendly with your other partners and with Cc’s partners and with their other partners. I made a huge effort with A. even when I was uncomfortable out of obligation to you and *good poly*. My obligation ended when she made it clear to me that I have some serious and valid! boundaries around cultivating relationships with people whose mental illness causes them to be irrational, abusive, and out of control. And I have been feeling hurt that you don’t have the same boundaries and that isn’t fair to you. You don’t have the same boundaries. You’re OK with her. And that should be okay with me. I need to respect you and your choices while still taking care of myself. And you’ll have to respect my choices. Don’t ask me to hang out with her and don’t give me a hard time when I choose not to come to things, like poly potluck for example. I will not take your relationship with her as disloyalty to me, but you can’t take my purposeful distance from her as disloyalty to either you*or* to polyamory. I know I’m going to miss things and people and opportunities to spend time with you because of my choice, but it’s also because of your choice. And that’s just the way it is. I messaged her last night in a fit of obligation, to see if she wanted to have coffee. Maybe she already told you. But I was wrong. I don’t have to fix this, because I am trying to keep myself happy and healthy.”

Monogamy tells us how we are “supposed” to act and feel. Not being monogamous? Well, that’s a whole different ballgame.

Most of the time I don’t even feel like I’m playing ball, at all.


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~Tuesday~

I’ve reread last nights post.  Several times.  It’s probably the only time I’ve written in the heat of the moment like that.  It was reactionary, and emotional.  I thought about deleting it, especially as I’m still all worked up and wacky over it.

But I can’t delete it. Because it’s a real thing that happens to this real person trying to be all self-aware and mindful and crap, and sometimes I get blindsided.  Sometimes it’s an epic fail.  Sometimes I handle things completely wrong.  Sometimes I lose it.  And this, this imperfect poly is the whole reason I started writing.  So it stays.

Relationships can be tough. Not just poly relationships. All of them.  Familes, friends, lovers, partners. Polyamory doesn’t make me special, or my relationships easier, no matter how many articles and books and blogs I read. They are just hard sometimes. And sometimes, the harder I try to control and manage things, the faster things fall apart.  This is part of my personality, this wanting to be able to manage things.  I must manage ALL THE THINGS.

::facepalm::

So now I have this icky feeling that I’m difficult and needy and that now Special Man Friend (and everyone else) knows.

Someone give me some chocolate.

I texted with CC this morning for a few minutes, and she said all the right things, but think I may have overwhelmed her with my “I’m so needy, I don’t know how to do this, I need a pep talk” texts.

“It gets better,” she texted.  “You get to be needy sometimes, too.”

I’m really glad she’s my friend.


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~Fine~

Disclaimer:  This is the real poly that goes on in my imperfect life.  It is neither enlightened, nor glamorous, despite what you may think of my awesome poly skills.  You have been warned. 

Alright, poly peeps.

Let’s say, you’re having a crabby day.  And, in an effort to cheer you up, your partner sends you a picture of a kitten, which you dismiss with a “Nice try, I’m immune to cute animals.” text.  Then comes another kitten.  “Nope.” you type back.

So then, your partner, thinking that a cute picture of HIM will cheer you up, sends a picture you happen to have seen once, because his newest partner showed it to you before, in a gush of NRE.

But even if you hadn’t seen it before, HE should know, that you might not want to see a cutesie picture of him, in his new girlfriend’s sunglasses, making kissy smoochie faces at the camera, on a date with her, while she took the picture.  It’s a study in freaking New Relationship Energy, and you simply don’t need a picture of it.

And it’s moments like these, that seem so silly and small, that make me think, What the hell am I doing here?

Seriously, where’s all this compersion everyone else gets so excited about?  Where’s MY compersion?

Ok.  Deep breath.

Honestly, I know this has to be tied up in the layers of conflict that I have with Mrs. A. I don’t think he intended to be insensitive at all, though I am holding him to his subsequent insensitivity after I was explicit in what bothered me about that.

DO YOU HEAR ME, SPECIAL MAN FRIEND?

I know I really screwed this one up.  I keep thinking I can detach, and be over here all mindful and self-aware, and he can be over there managing his relationships, but it really does bother me that things are so complicated, and I can’t fix it.  And I’m worried and stressed and I should have gone with my gut and gone to bed early, before any of this happened.  I wish I could take it all back.

(But you still shouldn’t have sent that picture.)