Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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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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~Hi~

I’ve got holiday burnout.

(What?  Already?)

Yep.

I think my enthusiasm tank was running low after Georgia’s surgery, which I haven’t written much about.  There were complications.  She’s fine.  Mostly.

Yesterday we had our “official” Christmas dinner.  We did it early. I am working the Christmas holiday this year, which means I work 12 hours on Christmas Eve, and 12 hours on the night of Christmas Day.  And that’s really okay.  It’s my turn, and I’m fortunate, being in healthcare, that I only work every third Christmas.  Anyway, Special Man and CC came for dinner and movies.  I had a puzzle for the kids.  Rabies kitten the kids had named it, for the whipped cream froth on the kitten’s mouth (from drinking hot chocolate, while wearing a Santa hat, of course).

It really was peaceful. Low key.  Nobody had to entertain anyone.

I am working on my own peace. I’m starting to feel like the crotchety old lady who is always yelling at the youngsters to “get off her lawn!”  Everyone kind of annoys me.  It’s not a pleasant state to be in.  Friends, family, strangers.  I want them all to go away;to go live their small lives away from mine.  People are loud, and stupid.  They say stupid things and make stupid choices with their stupid faces.

So do I, I suppose.

This will pass.  I’m being nice to myself.  I’m managing expectations for a quiet low-key Christmas with the kids.  Mostly though, I’ll be asleep on Christmas day.

And that’s okay.

My poly has settled into something that doesn’t feel like Poly with a capital P any more.  It’s just life.  It just IS.  It’s a good place to be.


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~Reviewed~

In the middle of the summer, I was contacted with a offer of an advanced copy of a new book on polyamory, and a request to review it on my blog.  The book has since been released, and at least once a week, my partner pokes me and says, “Hey, did you write your review yet?”

No, I haven’t.  I’ve never reviewed a book before, and I keep thinking that there’s some dry, intellectual, and boring format that Official Book Reviews are supposed to follow, and I’ve been putting it off.  And putting it off.  So, this morning, as I sit in my favorite coffee shop, I’ve decided to write my own kind of review.

When I first started to learn about polyamory,  I was very interested to read about different experiences with open relationships.  I didn’t know anyone else “like me”, a single person doing polyamory. I started reading the standard, recommended poly books, and quickly realized that the bulk of information out there was for couples. Even chapters that referred to “secondary” relationships, seemed more about how to manage primary couplehood, in spite of “outside” relationships, rather than how to just be a good person, with healthy and whole relationships. I felt outside. I was the outside relationship; all the books said so. This ultimately sparked my own involvement in the larger poly community, my writing, my discussion group, my love and desire for community.

I didn’t want to like “More Than Two”, by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert.  I’ll admit it.  I’m a tough customer, and I think that comes from having to muddle through a lot of popular polyamorous muck in order to arrive at my own vision of happy and healthy relationships. (I believe I’m an optimistic cynic, however, so there is that.)

This book is a fantastic resource for anyone looking for a thoughtful, reasonable approach to polyamory, no matter who you are.

(That’s it. That’s my review.)

The things I look for in healthy poly relationships, are the things I look for in any human relationship. Polyamory doesn’t excuse anyone from being a good and kind human being.  Healthy relationships, whether with lovers, friends, co-workers, or family, include such things as responsibility, boundaries, communication, nurturing, and self-care.  “More Than Two”, offers a realistic and rational approach to being a whole person, who is mindful of self, and of others.

~finis 

(Have you read “More Than Two”?  What did you think?  Comments welcome!)


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~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.


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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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~Forward~

I’m really excited about a lot of things.  I’m also nervous, because I’ve decided to take some risks which put the possibility of failure on my figurative, full to overflowing, plate .  Still, it’s a fantastic feeling to have plans and ideas to look ahead to.

I’ve cut one shift every other week at the hospital, so that I can move forward with my plan to supplement my income with my photography. I know I’m on a steep learning curve, but I love it, and I’ve gotten some wonderful feedback on my work.  I plan to cut another shift in the near future, so that I’ll be working two twelve-hour shifts per week, instead of my current schedule of three shifts one week, and two shifts the next.  Honestly, I never thought I’d attempt to have my own business, but I’d never found the right outlet before, either.

This is it.  I know it.

In addition, I am making plans to attend two poly conferences, with an eye towards presenting.  I loved my time at Beyond the Love last year.  It is a challenge for me, living in a very small conservative area, in a very conservative state, to have the face to face community that I think can be so important to any group of people who are “outside” of the box.  Much of my learning and socialization and feeling of community within PolyLand, comes, for me, from online and long distance interaction.  I am not sure exactly where I’d be without my online community,my friends, my discussion groups, my blog.  The things I assimilate and integrate into the way I practice relationships, and the way I function in my relationships are very much influenced by the things and people and writings I have access to through the internet.

I think this is an amazing thing.

So, I want to give back to this bigger community.  I want to contribute too.

The last thing I’m looking forward to, is opening my heart to the possibility of another significant relationship.  It’s time.  Special Man and I are very solid now, months after The Great Failed Breakup of 2014. I have been closed off, and, well, downright scared.

I’m not scared any more.

I am however, skeptical that I will find anyone local that I connect with.  I am careful, cautious, and slow to love. And I’m really okay with that.  It does mean that finding kindred partners is a challenge, especially when you factor in the previously mentioned very small conservative location of my existence.

Oh well.  The first step is opening your heart to all the possibilities.

So, bring it. 


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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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~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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~Time~

I’m in the mountains this week.  It’s green and lovely, and I can hear myself think.

My main thought last week:  Poly is hard, y’all.

This week?

Relationships are hard.

Special Man and I broke up.  Nothing is ever all good, or all bad.  No person, no relationship.  But poly is especially hard.  Especially when we are taught that good poly means that all your needs do not need to be met by a single relationship, and that it’s okay to take the good from a relationship and look elsewhere for your other needs.

But I wasn’t doing that.

I made a huge space in my life for SMF.  And he tried to fill it, within the parameters of the smaller space he had for me in his life.  But I found myself always settling.  Adjusting.  Making due.

It was painful for me.  And painful for him.  I thought that we were working towards a similar vision of poly, but I realized about a month ago that I was wrong.  He is a good man.  I love him, madly.  But we want different things.

The question now is, can we maintain any kind of relationship, any level of contact, where I can make space for another person, or people, and still remain involved with this man who has taught me so much about myself and about the world?

I’m honestly not sure.  How do you make a relationship … less?  You can allocate less time.  You can mandate less contact.  But emotional and mental space?  That’s the tricky bitch.  He wants to find a way that we can stay in each other’s lives.  And I’m not so sure.

I’m not dating anyone else.  I’m not involved with anyone else.  I’m choosing to be alone, rather than make SMF a default partner.  I want to be healthy, and happy, and open to possibilities.  Open to new connections.  And I didn’t allow myself that, three years into this poly relationship.  I made him my priority, instead of myself.  And our dynamic developed to the point where he expected to be my priority, and I don’t think it was healthy for either one of us.  There was a lot of hurt, a lot of expectation that went unmet.

It’s nobody’s fault, and it’s both of our faults.