Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sometimes Comparison is Actually a Paladin.

     There's a saying on the polyamory-focused forum I frequent: comparison is the thief of joy.  And it's true in many cases. Thinking "Person A rubs my feet so well, but Person B does not. I wish Person B would rub my feet more." can be harmful to happiness. We tend to do this a lot, it's one of the major plot points in many a Sad Housewife romance.  Sad Housewife meets Attractive and Attentive Guy, starts comparing all of the good things about AAAGuy against all of the annoying things that Boring Husband started doing (like not rinsing his spit out of the sink when he brushes his teeth) as he became comfortable and secure in their relationship.  Usually, of course, Tragedy Strikes! and Sad Housewife is forced to realize that Boring Husband was who she always really wanted.  If it's a super progressive story, they both realize that they need to put more effort into communicating, and you know, actually being active participants in their own relationship.

     Anyway, back to the lecture at hand... there's nothing wrong, though, with comparison when it's more similar to "Person A is really good at foot massages, but Person B gives excellent back rubs.  I'm so lucky to have access to both."  It's still a comparison, obviously, but doesn't have any of the negative connotation of the previous example, and acknowledges good things about both parties.

     The reason I started thinking about this was, to be honest, that I have occasionally worried that I might love one partner more than the other.  What I realized, though, is that I don't love one more than the other; I love them differently.

     If I were going to use metaphor (and OF COURSE I'm going to use metaphor!), I would compare my feelings to bodies of water.  My love for Thoth is a placid lake... I can float leisurely around in it, take in the scenery, and a nap if I want.  I don't have to worry about what's around the next bend, and I know where most of the snags are.  I can be confident that this is a safe place to spend my time.  I wasn't always so secure in it, but as time has gone on, I've learned that I can trust this relationship... even if it isn't always exactly exciting, and it's never going to be "perfect," I know I can rely on it.

     My love for Ptah is more like a mighty river.  There are long calm stretches where I can drift, but then BAM! Rapids or a waterfall appear.  I'm getting better at navigating them, and the river has grown a little wider and less swift, but it's still a river and not a lake.  It's a little more exciting, and I have to pay more attention lest I run into a boulder and capsize, but it's still a wonderful experience.  It's tested me and encouraged me to grow, and given me great rewards. 

     There's certainly nothing wrong with being affected differently by them.  They aren't the same person, have very different personalities (and yet a few big similarities), and probably see me very differently too.  That's one of the good and interesting things about knowing different people, let alone having romantic relationships with them.  I'm not sure why I was having such a had time accepting these differing feelings in myself, other than the fact that being unfair to either of the guys has been one of my biggest concerns.  I've seen and read so many of the mistakes other people have made... but the one that worried me the most was that I might find out I wasn't as poly as I thought I was.  I thought and dreamed about a situation like this for so long, that I was afraid I wouldn't be able to handle it in real life.  I didn't trust myself.

     Okay, I still don't trust myself sometimes.  I keep proving myself wrong, though, and not fucking everything up... so maybe eventually I'll really be able to believe that I can do this.  Just maybe I'll be able to be as kind to myself as I try to be with them, and as they are with me.  You know, someday.

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