Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~Touch~

 

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I named him Leo, after Leo McGarry from West Wing.  He was born ten days before I started nursing school, and he’s an enthusiastic, energetic, creative, affectionate and loving kid.  This sucks.  I’d like to say, all’s well that ends well, but right now even my bones are exhausted, and Leo just told me I should take a shower.  I guess two days of stress and worry can make a momma bear a little frayed around the edges.

And stinky, apparently.

Yesterday was a long day, with surgery lasting just over three hours, and a long recovery period complicated by violent vomiting that would not stop.  He was given drug after drug, a fluid bolus, acupressure wrist bands that might help (they didn’t), more drugs, and, when a kind nurse told me she was trained in “therapeutic touch”, and offered to work on his energy, I said bring it.  (I wish I had a picture.)  She was a very kind woman, who didn’t bat an eye when he began to throw up during her healing session.

We tried more drugs.  Finally. Peace.

And then my important person was there  I had almost tried to let him off the hook earlier in the evening. He texted me right back.

::I need to be with you, kitten. I’ll be there in 30 minutes::

(He calls me kitten sometimes.  It’s my favorite.)

He apologized for getting upset when I told him I wasn’t happy he was leaving town this week.  “I wasn’t thinking,” he said.   He isn’t going anywhere.  And, in three weeks and six days, when it’s time for Georgia’s surgery, he’s taking a personal day at work so he can be with us.  And that is how I want my relationships to work.  Communicate, adjust and readjust, move forward.  I’m fortunate that I get to recognize these small milestones, because that’s how I see them, as important little relationship mile markers.   Look at us, I think sometimes.  We are really doing this.

Tonight CC and SMF were both here.  She sat and crocheted, he ordered sandwiches and managed the bedside table for Leo.  I sat on the floor, my arms wrapped around my knees and did not cry.  It was easy, this being together, and in my exhausted state I felt emotional, and raw, and grateful.


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~Boundary~

My ex-husband is mentally ill.

Not simply mentally ill.  He is utterly disabled.

It is something that I had to deal with for many years, as he deteriorated, and became more volatile and violent.  He was verbally and emotionally abusive to me and the kids, and sometimes physically abusive.  When I took the kids and left, I had absolutely no idea he would continue to deteriorate to where he is now, and  I would be here, six years later, about to say this:

My children’s father is now a ward of the state, and is currently at the state hospital in Blackfoot, Idaho.

It’s kind of bizarre.

It’s also heartbreaking, tragic, exhausting and emotional.  Especially because I see my oldest child exhibiting many of the same red flags, and it hurts my heart.  For a long time, I thought if I said the right things, did the right things, and walked on the right eggshells, that I could control, fix, or manage things.  I was horribly wrong about that.

As it happens, Mrs. A also deals with her own demons, and this weekend I witnessed some of the emotional instability that she struggles with.  I won’t get into details here, except to say that I took the brunt of it, with her venomous closing sentence to me being, “I’m happy that hurt you.”

I can’t.

I can’t be in that position.  It’s taken years for me to be able to stop internalizing the irrational actions of my ex and my child.  I took much of that on myself.  And in the end I was angry and resentful and hurt and so, so weary.

So it seems I have a boundary.  I won’t knowingly get close to someone who’s mental illness causes them to hurt me or those I love.  I am not insensitive.  I am not uncompassionate.  I can be kind and friendly, but I will protect myself and my heart.

I’d really like to veto this whole situation.  I can’t, and I won’t. But I am a mamma bear who is desperate not to see her people hurt.  But this is the difference, to me, between a rule and a boundary. My boundary is for me. I’m unwilling to make a rule…for him. I have to step back and let Special Man manage his relationship with her. I don’t really like it, this watchful waiting. But I love him, and that won’t stop because he chooses to have a relationship with someone I am not comfortable being close with myself.

I can’t decide if this makes me a bad person or not, but in the end I suppose it doesn’t matter.

I just can’t.


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~Birthday~

Last weekend I celebrated my birthday with my kids and Special Man and CC.  At least that was the plan.

We were preparing our Tiny Food (for our Tiny Food party), when my mother walked in. I heard her voice from the kitchen as she walked in.  “It’s my mother,” I whispered to SMF.  Now he’s met her, multiple times. I believe she liked him, until the day I told her he was in an open marriage.

“I had no idea he was so dysfunctional,” she told me. (Not sure what that says about me, thanks, Mom.)

I introduced her to CC.  “This is SMF’s WIFE.”  Mom was polite. Appropriate. Surprised. I could almost see the wheels turning in her head, as she debated how she would proceed. My mother considers herself a morally responsible person, who has a duty to make her moral position clear. To everyone.

I’m sure it killed her not to say anything. But she didn’t. Not even to me privately.

When she left she made a point to call CC by name and say goodbye and that it had been nice to meet her. They didn’t really interact, but I suppose that’s okay.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that after three years, I’m truly OUT.

And the world didn’t end.


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~Pout~

Sometimes I look around and wonder what on earth I was thinking.

Poly is hard, guys.

Special Man has a new interest. I suppose at this point he might refer to her as a girlfriend, though I’ve not heard him say it out loud.  I know she considers him a boyfriend. And I know I’m supposed to be happy and compersive.

But I’m not, exactly.

Oh I get fleeting touches of it, this elusive compersion. It’s nice to see that someone he likes, likes him back. I like that he is happy.  But mostly what I’m feeling is territorial. I’M supposed to be the girlfriend.

It’s all very decidedly UN-poly of me.  (Commence pouting.)

She’s a great person. No, she’s a fantastic person.  She’s beautiful. She is creative and artistic.  She is strong, energetic, enthusiastic, friendly, funny, and she has a great laugh.  Also she looks wonderful without makeup.  She likes animals.  (SMF loves animals.  I mostly just like a few, and tolerate the rest.)  And I KNOW it’s not supposed to be a competition, but humans are fickle creatures, and I’m a little insecure.

He will debate that he and I first met Mrs. A on the same day, but really, she was my friend first.  SMF and I met Mrs. A and Mr. A for coffee, after they contacted me online, and were interested in  dipping their toes in the kink community.  At that point they were monogamous. So add that to the list of Things That Make Ginger Nervous: people brand spanking new to poly.

I genuinely like and enjoy Mrs. A. She is kind and thoughtful, and I think she’s a wonderful addition to my poly network. I really do.  This too, scares me.  If I’m struggling with this new girl in spite of the fact that she’s considerate and loving and mindful of others, what does that make me?  (Add guilt to the pouting.)

Underlying this new relationship, is the attempted breakup with SMF at the beginning of the summer.  We spent a few months in limbo, trying to let go, but never quite being able to.  Then came a renegotiation and redefining of our relationship.

The pendulum has swung, and though I’m committed to my partner and my people, I’m having a little poly performance anxiety.

(End pout.)


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~Uno~

Special Man Friend and his wife came for cards and pizza.  It was the first time CC met my children.

I cleaned my kitchen and sent one of the boys to pick up pizza. I was really nervous.  When I came out to my kids as poly, I was genuinely surprised at the neutrality of their reactions.  The worst I got was, “Huh.  That’s kind of weird.” and the best was, “Hey, the important thing is that you are happy.”

But meeting Special Man’s wife?  I wanted it to happen. I want the big happy poly extended family.  It’s been a long time coming, this first meeting, and truthfully, there was a time I didn’t think it was possible that we would ever make this step.

Life is full of surprises.  We are constantly changing and evolving as human creatures, and I am so grateful for that.

The whole thing was uneventful.  My kids were polite, well mannered, accepting.  My 19 year old had told me in advance that he was supportive but uncomfortable, and wasn’t sure if he would stay and hang out, and I was happy that he was able to tell me that.  He did meet CC, and stayed for a few minutes, but soon retreated.  We ate dinner, and then played a few rounds of cutthroat Uno, and it was easy, and casual, and relaxed.

We are already planning Thanksgiving.  Things feel good.


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~Secret~

My ex-husband lives in a homeless shelter, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  In the six years since I took my children and left, he has deteriorated into a person I hardly recognize.

I started to read something today, about the #WhyIStayed stories trending on the interwebs.  These are the stories of abuse victims, and you can either Google or check out Twitter if you are interested.  I had to stop reading at one point, because some of the words hit so close to where I live.  My secret is that I stayed because I wasn’t strong enough to leave.  And it took me a long time to forgive myself for that.

Today I am strong.  I am independent.  I am also guarded, and slow to trust.  It affects me, every day, and it affects my relationships.  So be it.

Special Man and I are in a new, solid place with each other.  I’ve come out to my children;  my mother. My Meta CC is coming to meet the kids in a couple of days.  We have  pizza and Uno planned.  I am both optimistic, and terrified.  I want it all.  I want my big happy poly family fantasy.

But I’ve been disappointed before.

 


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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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