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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~Girls~

An interesting thing happened when I wasn’t paying attention.

I started getting butterflies in my stomach over a girl.  Or three.

Girl One:  My sweet long distance friend who has always made me a little giddy, from the first time I read her writing, and eventually was able to spend time with in person.  (That sounds a little stalkerish when I put it like that, but it’s been a fantastic friendship.)  Special Man and I are heading to Seattle for a real mini-vacation next week, and I can’t wait to see her and talk and laugh and actually be in each other’s personal space…and the thought of getting to cuddle and smooch and see where that may lead, makes me smile every single day.

Girl Two:  A sparkly girl who took me by surprise and I found myself daydreaming about what it might be like to date a girl.  How it might feel to be romantically and emotionaly invloved with a woman. Then an interesting thing happened…She and Special Man Friend started to chat and she and her partner and SMF and CC did a few things together, and now tonight, he’s out on a date with my sparkly little girl crush.  I was mad for a few minutes.  Okay, I was mad for a few days.  I felt like he had stolen her or something.  I’m not mad any more, and I feel kind of silly about it, but I’m not daydreaming about her anymore.

Girl Three:  This is more complicated.  She and her partner are fun, friendly and just downright nice.  She is smart and honest and I just want to kiss her face off. He is funny and fun and thinks I’m pretty. I have had some frank and awkward conversations with each of them individually, trying to sort through their wants, and their agreements and boundaries with each other. I don’t.want to play by any rules that I wasn’t part of creating.  I’m not a unicorn. I also don’t want to get vested and then get hurt.  Even as I say that, I  realize that there is no guarantee, no matter who I date or become attached to. And,  I’m already vested.  I really like both of them.

Yet, I am starting to date two individuals who are partnered.  And it’s completely new and scary.  It’s scary for me, and it’s added a layer of uncertainty with Special Man Friend.  I think he’s happy when I am happy, I really do.  But he is nervous, I believe.

I am too.


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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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~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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~Me~

I have a job interview in the morning.

Hospice.

It’s a completely new area for me.  I’ve been in labor and delivery for almost nine years, and the idea of doing something new is terrifying and exciting.  I don’t know if this is something that will work for me, but I am happy to have something new to consider.  I can’t wait for tomorrow. It feels like…something good.

Tonight I took the kids out to dinner, and we invited CC and Special Man to join us, and it was good and fun, and the word I keep coming back to: easy.  “Easy” seems to be my new gold standard.  Maybe it’s because so many things have been hard lately, I am acutely aware of how happy I feel when things are NOT hard.

DInner was easy.  We ate and laughed.  The kids were not perfect, the food was fun, (cotton candy at a Chinese buffet…why yes!)  Everyone was happy.

It wasn’t until we got home that Leo fell apart.  It’s been weeks of outbursts, and meltdowns, tears and arguments.  It’s so uncharacteristic, and such a drastic difference, that I’m at a loss as to how to handle it.  I’m frustrated, he’s frustrated.  He’s eleven, he’s missed a lot of school, had a major surgery, and his father died.  My heart hurts for him. It’s been a struggle for me, and I’m a grown-up, so how is a child supposed to figure it out?

I’m making an appointment for him to see my counselor, and he had some blood drawn today, to make sure his labs are good post surgery, just in case there’s something physical going on too.  I’m doing everything I can think of.

Being a parent is hard, ya’ll.


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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.