Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~(untitled)~

When I write, I generally start with a title.  Often it’s just a single word, chosen carefully to capture the boiled down essence of what I want to put out into the world, on that.

Today I have no title.  No message.  No common theme.

Everything is messy.  Half my life is packed into boxes.  I don’t have a concrete move date yet, I just know it will be by the 24th of June.  I’m excited to move, I’ve been purging material things, and it almost feels like emotional things might be following.

I think I am realizing that I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who has three “Big R” Relationships.  I can’t remember where I heard the phrases “Big R” and “little r” as a way to describe the different levels of entanglement in polyamorous (or other) relationships, but I kind of like the terms.

Special Man Friend has been seeing Montana since last August.  They have quietly moved  into Big R territory.  CC and SMF  are a Big R.  SMF and I are a Big R.

SMF has said that he wishes I wouldn’t compare relationships.  Fair enough.  But I am not happy, and when I look around to see why not, I see that my relationship is not meeting my needs. My wants and expectations are not aligned with what he can give me. With what he chooses to give me.

Ok, so one of the core poly tenets is that if your needs aren’t being met, it’s ok, even desirable to fill those needs somewhere else, whether that comes from another relationship, or from within, and from your relationship with yourself.

I cannot dictate Special Man’s relationships.  I can only choose feels good and right, for me,  within my own dynamic.  I told SMF today that the only thing I can think to do, if I don’t want to be one of three BIG R’s, is to renegotiate my relationship with him to a little r.  

I don’t know what that looks like exactly.

I just know that I want to be happy and, and I want him to be happy too.  I’ve been compromising for so long, that it feels like I’m settling, and this makes me sad because I know this has been a long held fear of his.  I want to be with him.  But not like this.

 

 

 


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~Needs~

Today I asked Special Man Friend not to pursue anything with someone who is really making me uncomfortable.  I went back and forth about it.  Was it a veto?  Was it unreasonable?  Was I just being a big poly baby?

I decided that asking for something was definitely not a veto.  I didn’t demand.  I didn’t mandate.  I didn’t say, “You may not see her.”  I made a request.

I asked.

It was through text, as a good portion of our relationship takes place while we are apart.  This is what I said.

“I am uncomfortable with Madam X right now.  Knock yourself out with Librarian tonight, but please don’t move forward with Madam X right now.  I’m asking.”

Special Man Friend gets some serious Gold Poly Stars tonight.  He wasn’t defensive.  He listened and he said, “I will make a point not to.” He asked me if something had instigated this, and I told him we could talk about it later, and it was done.

“Thank you for listening to me,” I said.  Or texted, rather.

 

I didn’t feel like I was doing bad poly, in fact, I felt like I was doing freaking  AWESOME poly.  I communicated and he responded. I didn’t stew or agonize. I. Just. Asked.

Would I have felt the same, if he had said: No?  And that he wanted to see Madam X regardless of how I felt?  Is it his response that makes me feel like, Hey, this is good poly right here… or is it the fact that I asked for what I wanted without beating myself up about it…?

I feel good tonight.  I feel polycompetent.

Ha.

 


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~The 200~

Our Poly Network continues to grow.  We planned a night out to celebrate our 200th member, and by the time the night rolled around we were at 240.  In Boise.  It’s what I’ve wanted for such a long time.  Community is such an amazing resource.

CC and Special Man Friend were in Texas for a funeral on the day of our celebration, and it just happened to be SMF’s birthday as well.  It was a fun night, though I did miss him.  I felt comfortable and I felt happy.  I connected with friends, and I met some new faces.  I kissed a girl in the restroom.  I kissed another girl on the balcony.  I was consensually groped by a friend, very sweetly.  I gave a friend a ride home, and fooled around a little with him too.

SMF worries that I have more fun when he isn’t around, because I’m being stifled by him.  At least this is what I think he is saying.  Honestly I think that when we are together, we are TOGETHER, and it’s everyone else who is stifled.  People were more flirty and more forward, which really doesn’t happen when I’m holding Special Man’s hand, as we are often together in the poly community.  It seems so obvious, but I really hadn’t thought about it like that before.  It was fun to be on my own.

I think that makes him feel bad, but I also know that he knows what that feels like, to enjoy the lightness and excitement of new people or connections, because we’ve talked about exactly that before.  I think I’ve got an internal push and pull going…I almost feel as if I should apologize for having a good time withough him, when he had to be at a funeral on his birthday because his wife’s uncle passed away.

I know this is an emotional impulse.  We both know that being open to others, and choosing our experiences, is important and valuable to us.

I still struggle with feelings of posession.

 


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~Jealousy~

Oh, jealousy.

I was driving to pick up Georgia from a friends house this afternoon, and Pandora spit out Natalie Merchant singing Jealousy.

The whole song is comparison and sadness. I really wish I understood jealousy better.  I’ve read the idea that jealousy is a manifestation of fear, or insecurity, or grief.  I want to dissect it. I want to understand it. I want to be over it already. 

There was a day a few months ago, when Special Man was talking about a date he’d had with Montana and how I would have hated it because they talked and talked about congressional law.  He was almost giddy with it.  And I was pleased that he was happy and excited and that she was interesting and different than I was, and in that moment, I wasn’t jealous.

I think I was actually compersive.  And I want more.

I want friends and lovers and partners and I want good mushy feelings and I want more of that content feeling.  It’s a shift for me, but seriously, I want that ideal.  I don’t know if it’s unrealistic to want this as I’ve long held the opinion that compersion is a myth. But I’m different.  Maybe it’s okay to dream big.

I am rambling tonight.  Time for sleep.  But first….

Here’s my three-years-ago take on compersion:

https://polynirvana.com/2013/03/16/compersion-thou-art-a-harsh-mistress/

And Natalie Merchant, my favorite:

 

Goodnight.

 


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~Hearts~

We ate steak, at 4:15 in the afternoon, two days before Valentine’s Day. When you’re polyamorous, you have to be flexible; creative.  It only bothers me on Christmas, this holiday flexibility, but even then, not as much as in the beginning of my experience with polyamory.  I gave him a stack of books, individually wrapped, chosen on a late afternoon trip to the bookstore.  I wandered the aisles, running my hand along the spines, pausing on the shelves that held stories about things that he loved.  I chose a book about puppies.  A novel with a deep sea fishing theme.  A coffee table book that showcased Idaho, a compilation of cult movie classics.  A hardbound book all about wind and weather, with beautiful pictures and scientific explanations.

It felt good, to know someone that well.  It didn’t feel boring, or old.  It felt comfortable and stable.  I had tickets to a showing of “Say Anything” at The Egyptian on that night, the night that wasn’t Valentine’s Day.  I planned ahead, I wanted to do something fun.

I didn’t print the tickets soon enough, technology kind of screwed me.  We missed the movie.

We ended up having an intense conversation about our functioning parameters as a poly contellation…about comfort levels, and discretion.  Special Man asked me if I wanted things to be different.

I said yes.

We are more compartmentalized than I would ideally like to be.  It’s just what we developed into over the years.  Early on, there were many struggles, things between CC and myself that I never expected we could come back from.  We have a comfortable relationship now, which still feels a little…polite.  We are both cautious with each other, and I feel an underlying tentativeness when we are all three together.  While it is not distressing, it is there. Still, there is an comfortable ease that is not unfriendly.

Do I wish it was different?  Yes.  And that was hard for SMF to hear, and understand.

Polyamory is hard.  That doesn’t mean it’s not also good. I think he gets that.  I hope he gets that.

Later that night, we stopped by a bar where our local poly group was getting together for karaoke.  Montana was there alone, and as I watched Special Man Friend talking with her, I realized that this compartmentalization has been the norm so long that I haven’t had enough exposure to seeing him at ease and enjoying another partner.   I felt a little awkward and out of place.

Which really only proved my point.  To myself.

 

 

 

 


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~Progression~

Montana is great.  She really is.

The other night my two youngest were hanging out in my room before they went to bed, and out of the blue, Georgia says, “Is SMF dating anyone else besides you and CC?”

It’s been four years, and while there have been other partners here and there, none have been involved with my children as another partner of Special Man, besides CC. “Yes. He’s dating Montana. Remember her? She’s been to poly potluck a couple of times.”

“Wait,” Leo said, with his hands up.  He paused, I paused, and I thought ok, here comes a big philosophical question about polyamory…or sex…or feelings…I’m ready… bring it!

He looked at me and said, “I’m not being rude (oh-oh) … but does she have cancer?”

Well that threw me.

“No.. why?”

“Her hair is really, really short.”

“Ah. Well, yes, she keeps her hair very short.  She likes it like that.”

“Oh. ok.”

And that was that.

We moved on to brushing teeth and saying goodnight. It was a complete non-issue.  Polyamory is just something we do.

It was a nice moment.


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~Atlanta~

I did it.

I flew to Atlanta, presented two classes at Atlanta Poly Weekend, and flew home.  I did not get lost, I did not miss any flights.  I navigated an entire three days of high level social interaction, on my own.  I knew a handful of people, and that made a huge difference.  My friend Amul was very much my saving grace, and I hope he knows it.  He picked me up from the airport, and delivered me to the conference hotel, even though he had plans that night with other friends.  He graciously extended an open invitation to me to join them, but I needed to prepare for my classes, and some alone time in a hotel room sounded perfect.

I forgot a few important things, first, my camera, which was disappointing because I love doing portraits, and a poly con would be an awesome place for some divine people shots.  And the second thing I forgot, was my hair product.  Now, don’t laugh. A curly haired girl in Atlanta with no hair product… I almost cried!  But I learned a wonderful thing.

Nobody cares.  I had a great time, and my curly hair did too…

I met a new friend, who was interesting and funny, and ended up talking me through using the public transportation system in Atlanta to get myself to the airport for my return flight.  It seems silly, I mean I function in my every day life as a competent single woman, with all sorts of responsibilities and things I’m in charge of, but I was amazingly overwhelmed in Atlanta.  I’m truly a small town girl, and I didn’t even realize it until I wasn’t in the small town for a few days.

I led an amazing discussion on polyamory and mental health.  It was so very well received, and I am positive I got as much out of it as I put into it.  Such wonderful and self aware people and the discussion was just fantastic.

My cute new friend attended my solo poly discussion and stood out as very well spoken and thoughtful in his contributions to the conversation.  He sent me a text a few days ago, saying he was looking forward to reading my blog write up about the weekend…  He needs a name, so I’m naming him Texas.  Not particularly original, but it suits him.

I wish I had a hot and heavy encounter in an elevator to write about, but the truth is I fell asleep on his shoulder my last night in Atlanta, in the middle of a story he was telling me, and he gathered me and my things up and walked me back to the room I was sharing with Amul. I’m shy and he’s younger than me, and he’s very pretty.  The next day he made sure I made it onto the MARTA so I could make my flight home, and I found myself wishing I had another day to hang out and hear the rest of his story.

I have two potential dating partners here, not counting Special Man Friend, but I’m stuck or something.  I feel a little whiny and worn out, like a three year old who needs a nap.  “But I don’t wanna get to know new people.  I don’t WANNA date.”

Except that I really do want additional connections, and dating and newness, and everything that goes along with it, is the process.  I see SMF, and how energized he gets with new potential connections, and honestly I’m envious of the enjoyment he gets out of that great unknown.  Where he gets excited, I get a stomach ache.

I need a nap.   


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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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~Onward~

Sometimes a really horrible thing can quickly shift your focus.  Reorder your priorities.  Give you some clarity.

I’ve applied for a new job with a local hospice.  I’ve made some peace with Mrs. A.  I’m determined to love my people and let myself be loved.

I’m also not sleeping well.  I dream all night, every night, and while they are not classic nightmares with monsters and dark threats, they are very busy and stressful dreams that startle me awake with a pounding heart and a racing mind.  I dreamed I found a suicide note, taped inside a yellow freezer.  The note was black, the writing was white.  It was from my exhusband, and I have no idea what the words said.  But my mind keeps turning the dream over and over in my mind.  I am purging, processing.  It is exhausting.

On Thursday Special Man is taking me away for the weekend.  Just a border town, a big hotel casino. I have naps planned.  Naps and reading.  Food and sex and then, more naps.  People watching with a virgin drink in front of me.  I am so excited.

This past Sunday, Special Man and CC came for brunch.  We made it a Valentine’s theme, and yes, I know it’s still January, but I wanted to enjoy some red and pink paper crafts and do a little holiday decorating, and kids love themes, so I bought paper and glue and stickers and we cut and pasted and made a big mess after we ate waffles and strawberries with pink whipped cream.  It was great, it was easy, and it was enjoyable.  We plan to try and do brunch monthly, and I am looking forward to it.  Relationships take effort and nurturing.  I want the kids to be comfortable with all of us together, just as much as I want to be comfortable myself.

I feel something akin to separation anxiety from SMF this past week.  I tell myself it’s understandable, he says the same thing, considering the intensity of recent events.  I fear that I am clingy.  I fear that I will suffocate him with the sheer volume of need for him that I feel right now.

People leave.  People leave, and then life continues on.  I feel so…small.  That’s it.  I just feel small right now.


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~Footing~

Life is messy.  It just is.

I started writing my blog because I needed to think out loud.  I needed to organize my thoughts, in words, sentences; paragraphs.  Along the way people noticed, and that was good too. I got feedback and validation and support.  I heard from people who liked that I was so honest about the sometimes downright weirdness of polyamory.  As if I could be anything else.  I’m not an expert.  I’m not even very good at it.

I’m tired.  And there’s no sun in the sky.  There’s been an inversion that makes everything dim and gray.  Today I had all my lights on, my windows open AND my lightbox on, in an attempt to get some UV light.  I wanted to go to bed and just lay there.  Instead, I made my bed.  I got dressed and ran two small errands, and had my hair done.

I’m exhausted.

I fed the kids, I finished editing two photo shoots.  These are successes.  I should feel productive.  I should feel good. Instead the voice in my head keeps a running list of everything I didn’t get done.

I’m okay.  (There’s not an actual voice in my head, I’m just a little depressed, not hallucinatory.)

Things are very rocky with Special Man Friend and me.  But I don’t think I trust my judgement right now.

And writing that, just now, actually makes me feel a little better.  I don’t need to do, or decide, or figure anything out right now.  Not tonight.  Not tomorrow.  He’s not going anywhere.

Now if I can just remember not to go anywhere either.