Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Letter to My Past: You Were a Poet.

     You and I knew each other first as friends, as is not entirely uncommon for me.  In the beginning we were, what, seventeen? It was nearly half a life ago.  I found you inspiring.  You encouraged me to be more creative, more open, happier.  Of course I was drawn to that.

     I was also drawn to the security that I perceived was inherent in my relationship with my first husband.  I hadn't had a lot of security in my teen years, and I didn't think anything of his emotional bullying, since that was what I was accustomed to.  I also, of course, thought that I was so grown up at eighteen.

     When things between you and me shifted, I remember a lot of happiness mixed in with the guilt and confusion.  I knew that I shouldn't have kept letting it progress... but I wanted to follow that happiness.  I wanted things to work out.  I don't remember how long we managed to carry on our secret affair, but I do remember that I held out hope up until the bitter end that everything could work out happily and honestly.

     One of the things that has always stuck in my mind from that bitter end was that you were really the only one who stood up for me.  When First Husband said that I had to choose between the two of you, you were the only one who said I shouldn't have to.  That the loving action would be to not make me choose... but to let me be happy. 

     Of course, it was only several years later that I learned of, then finally embraced polyamory.  I have a feeling that if we had been aware at the time that this is a thing people do, everything would have turned out so much differently.  But as it was, I had to make a choice between the freedom you were offering me, and the security that he was.  I literally did not know how you and I would get by.  We had no money, nowhere else to live, no real prospects for the future.  I was purely driven by fear.

     I have thought about you on occasion throughout the years, but lately you've been on my mind constantly.  Several days ago, I drove by the place where we had that conversation.  On a wall, in the rain, I told you of my choice... and I could see that you lost a certain amount of respect for me in that moment.  I didn't blame you for that, as I certainly wasn't proud of myself.  Of course, it wasn't the last time we saw each other... You grew bitter, and I couldn't blame you for that, either. 

     I've looked you up a few times over the years, and as far as I know you live about an hour and a half from me.  I wonder if you ever recovered from your bitterness, or if it merely served to sharpen your words.  I wonder if you still think of me, and if so, do you remember the good at all? Mostly, I wonder if you would be proud of me now.  If you would recognize that I have made the other choice many times since you knew me.  I wonder if we would recognize each other if we passed on the street.  I wonder if the years have been good to you... I hope they have been.  Better than I was.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Well... that was fast.

     So Zeno broke up with me.

     I'm not particularly ready to talk about it.  But having to change this, and my OKCupid profile, and deal with all of the little reminders... it's not fun.  I'm not handling it well.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Economy of Affection.

     There is a saying which is pretty prevalent in the poly community: "Love is infinite, but time and energy are not."

     I don't actually buy that.  I don't believe that love is infinite.  Sure, I can love all humans in a general, theoretical, sense.  But to actually be capable of loving all humans the way I love my partners? I don't think that is a real possibility.  And really, even if I accepted that it theoretically was possible, there is no practical application for that theory.  So as far as practice, and reality, love is not infinite.

     Love takes time.  It takes energy.  Each relationship has its own needs, as far as time and energy, but it is necessary to invest some amount of both to maintain a relationship.  Sure, I can spend time with someone I haven't seen in months or years, and we can still have a good connection.  But chances are, we spent a lot of time and energy building that relationship previously, and built that connection which was able to stand time apart. 

     For me personally, romantic love wanes as I spend less time and energy with someone.  Quality Time and Physical Touch are the Love Languages I speak best, so I require more presence than someone who values, say, Receiving Gifts and Words of Affirmation.  So... since I require time in a person's presence to feel love, and I can't possibly spend that kind of time with infinite people, love is not infinite.  Since I'm sure that assuring that love is not infinite will offend someone, we can pretend that I think it's just not infinite for me.  :)

     So, having accepted this theory for myself, we then come to the practical application of "How much love can I reasonably experience?" Which I'd prefer to have some idea of before it actually becomes an issue, because a miscalculation can conceivably result in a reduced amount of affection on all fronts.  And as I value maintaining the relationships already in my care, I do not wish to create a starvation economy by overextending myself.

      If I take into account the things I have to do, like work, and the time I need to have free to do whatever I want, in addition to my relationships and the time and energy they take from me... then I can possibly support one more relationship.  This relationship would have to fit into my existing life, and into theirs as well.  The idea of "the right person" hasn't disappeared for me with polyamory, it's just that the parameters of what that means have changed.

     I'm not closed to new possibilities, I'm just open with caveats.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Post 63: An Open Letter to My Future Partners.

     I want you to know that, while I do not prescribe to the "rules and regulations" version of polyamory, there are some basic guidelines I follow.  Both for you, and for me.  I will not tell you how to behave, but I will be free to react to your actions as I see fit.

     I will expect the same from you.

     When we decide to engage in a relationship together, I will do my best to keep you apprised of my life, and particularly changes which will have a direct or indirect effect on you.  I will not wait until some arbitrary amount of time has passed, or a particular level of interaction.  When I decide to be in a relationship, I decide to share my life.

     I will expect the same from you.

     I will work in our relationship for mutual benefit, until there is no mutual benefit left.  I will also not abandon our relationship the moment there is a perception that the mutual benefit has ended.  I will work further to fix issues that are fixable, for as long as it makes sense to do so.

     I will expect the same from you.

     Your happiness will be important to me.  I will aim to do what I can to ensure both your happiness and my own.  Sometimes that will be more difficult than others, and sometimes we will deal with difficult emotional content.  Sometimes it will be difficult to reach a resolution which will ensure happiness.  In such cases, I will make an effort to make the best of things, even if that means temporarily giving up some of my wants.  I will not subsume my own needs for yours, but I will put in a good effort to make things work.

     I will expect the same from you.

     I also value fun.  I value silly things, and I value naked enjoyment of the stuff relationships have to offer.  I will not try to impress you, I will not pretend to be someone I'm not to attract you.

     I will expect the same from you.

     Relationships cannot grow, or be stable, without a certain amount of time spent together.  That time will vary for each relationship, and I will make every effort to figure out what the time needs are for our relationship, and to make sure that time happens.

     I will expect the same from you.

     I will engage in honest communication, and make my best effort to use kind language.  I may not always be as sensitive as I could be, but I will not intend to harm with my words.

     I will expect the same from you. 

     In my opinion, it is not reasonable to tell someone that they must not pursue a new relationship, in theory or reality.  But I will do my best to consider your wants and needs, and whether I can continue to contribute to our relationship before I begin a new one.  I will prefer to ensure that our relationship is in a stable place before I do things that will most likely put strain on it.  I will also do my best to honestly evaluate whether I can pursue a new relationship and still be capable of caring for myself.  I cannot promise that things will not change, but I can promise that I will do my best to ensure that you continue to feel valued.

     I will expect the same from you.

     Regardless of the extent of our interaction, whether we've just met, or have spent months or years together.  Whether we see each other on occasion, or a regular basis.  Whatever the scope of our relationship, I will treat you like a valuable human being.  I will not make you "earn" the right to be treated as one.

     I will expect the same from you.