Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


2 Comments

~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.


2 Comments

~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.


2 Comments

~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.)


Leave a comment

~Strange~

Tomorrow morning is our monthly poly potluck.  It’s a community thing, and it ranges from a handful of people, to around twenty people, depending on the month.  I don’t always attend, as I generally work Sunday nights, and I like to be home with the kids and then I sleep in the afternoon.  This month I’m off, and I’m going.

I got a message from Mrs. A, asking me, that if she decided to go would I go as well, or would I stay home.

(Ugh. I don’t want to do this.)

She and I haven’t spoken or had even a polite kind of resolution to The Episode. I know it’s going to have to happen.  I hate conflict.  It makes my stomach hurt.  I told her no, I probably wouldn’t go if she decided to go, since we hadn’t hadn’t talked yet.  I can’t do the awkward, stilted, not-conversation tomorrow.

My counselor asked me, would I consider a thirty day “respite” period, wherein I give myself permission to not make any decisions about how to move forward, as I’ve been pretty focused on what on earth I was going to DO, what was best, what was reasonable, what was both kind to her and still mindful of my own boundaries.

I told her, Yes, I was going. She told me, she would not.

I don’t like this one bit. But I don’t know what else to do.

I am exhausted, I have not caught up from my few nights in the hospital with Leo. Last night was date night. Special Man and I had a quick dinner close to my house, and wandered an awesome toy store for a little bit before coming home and watching a movie with my kids.  It was perfect.  We climbed into my bed, and did little: random small talk, internet. I curled up and slept, he did not.

It was wonderful.

He woke me after a couple of hours, and made love to me.  It was warm and comfortable, and when it was over, it wasn’t over.  I cried.

He’s used to it, these tears that belong to him.

I cried because I was safe.  I cried because I was happy.  I cried because I have so much more than I ever expected, and I cried because still, I want more.

And I cried, because I know, it will come.

In the morning, I woke early and left him in my bed while I had coffee and worked on the computer.  He sent me a message.  You should come upstairs and kiss me.  

So I did.  This time there were no tears.


Leave a comment

~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.

IMG_0434


8 Comments

~Intersection~

This is where my real relationship and my blog writings intersect.  Everything I write is true.  All of it.

It is not, however, the entirety of my relationships.  I cannot write enough to adequately represent the fullness of my life and the love that is between me and Special Man Friend.  I self-edit, I pick and choose how I portray myself and the people I love. I try to maintain most of my anonymity.  How open can I be without possibly hurting someone I care about?  My metamour, CC and I have an amazingly complicated relationship.  It’s not something I can work out in this public forum.  I blog from a place of openness, but I never forget that by putting my life out there, other people risk exposure and examination and even criticism.

This is for Special Man.  He is very special.  He is important and loved.  He is also kind of annoying, really really likes to be right, and his ankle makes this cracking and grinding sound which makes me cringe when he chooses to point it out to me.  He’s often late, and he doesn’t plan ahead very well.  As a mother with a large family, that drives me batty.  He mispronounces words sometimes, and I don’t correct him, which takes a lot of self-control.  When we argue, he likes to be right.  (He loves to be right.)  He’s a coffee snob and an intellectual know-it-fucking-all, which is maddening, because he usually does know (it all.)  He’s stubborn, opinionated and, well, can get kind of self-righteous.

I’m a real person.  I’m writing about real poly.  And some days, it bites.  It’s not all flirty fun and first dates and shared Google calendars.  I get lonely.  I think about walking away.  It gets complicated.  I’m not an easy person to be with.  My brain is constantly processing and rethinking things.  I don’t think I get everything I need, and worse,  I don’t think I even know what I need exactly.

We try to be there for each other.  Most of the time we do okay.  Sometimes, we don’t and life gets messy and frustrating.

(I hear I can be pretty fabulous in the sack though, so at least there’s that.)


16 Comments

~Hurt~

Conflict is painful.

Everyone thinks they are right.  Nobody wants to be wrong.  If you can get to a point that you can even admit that maybe you were wrong, you certainly weren’t that wrong, and there was a very good reason for what you did, or what you said, or how you acted.

I can’t stand it.

It makes my stomach hurt.  It makes my eyes ache and my brain noisy.  I can’t sleep.

There’s a rift among my little poly constellation.  I’m involved, and I’m not.  I feel like everything is spiraling wildly off into space and nothing will ever be the same.  We don’t exist in a vacuum.  All our individual relationships, romantic or otherwise, make up this larger creature that becomes maimed when conflict finds parts of it.  I’m trying so hard to know what to do, what to say.  Right now I’m frozen, as I watch my people move farther and farther away from one another.

One of my favorite things about poly is the idea that we can be close to our partners, and our metamours, and their partners.  There’s a secret part of me that would have fit right into a commune in the 1960’s.  I adore the concept of the extended poly network.  The chosen family.  The clan.

I can’t talk about all of it.  But it is heavy on my mind, and my heart hurts.  I can’t take sides, except for my own.  I can’t talk to any of my people.  It’s a lonely place to be.  Events are being cancelled because this person can’t be around that person, or these people are mad at those other ones.  I’m stuck in the midst of it.  And I want out.

People aren’t disposable.  People shouldn’t be disposable.