Tag Archives: polyamory

ventestempestas:

We are not interchangeable. I could never replace you. Yes, I want to be part of their day to day life. I want to deeply know them. But I want those things from you too.

I want to intertwine our lives. I want to build my life with all of you. I love each of you deeply and intensely and in completely different ways. I love being surprised by each of you but more than that I find comfort in the knowing. In the not being surprised.

I like that we can talk without words, even a little bit. I like that I don’t need either of you to translate for me every time something happens.

I like being comfortable. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be very slowly moving past being the new shiny thing. Because the more that wears off, the more I know you and you know me, the less I’m scared that it will crash down around me.

I love you more than words can say and I want nothing more than to kiss away your worries. I can’t do that so instead I’ll just keep holding your hand and whispering these words over and over and over.

(via PolyLove Girl’s Blog)

I do not understand the above sentiments. I don’t understand how it is possible to feel them. I don’t understand how someone can want to build one’s life with multiple people. I don’t understand how to be comfortable existing within such a structure, how to have only parts of a whole and feel fulfilled. I want these things from you “too” feels inherently like a lessening, a devaluing, and accessorizing to me; I don’t want to be an accessory in anyone’s life. I don’t and cannot understand loving multiple people romantically in different ways as a person who has only experienced romantic love once, and rarely experiences romantic attraction. I do not understand how the above sentiments are desirable to have or to have expressed to you. I do not understand.

I read Franklin Veaux’s The Game Changer: A Memoir of Disruptive Love yesterday, and one of the points he kept coming back to was that a fundamental problem in his 18-year relationship with his monogamish wife was that his wife “genuinely wanted to learn how to be more comfortable with polyamory. But she did not really understand the implications of her decision, because she did not, ultimately, understand [his] ideas about family. Celeste and [he] were deadlocked; try as [he] might, [he] did not (and still [doesn’t]) understand monogamy, and she did not understand polyamory. It’s difficult to trust someone you don’t understand.” (180).

I have read a lot of books about non-monogamy, alternative relationships, and polyamory, and this was the first that made me feel like this is definitely not for me and I have no parts trying to find a way to make it otherwise. I don’t know whether to believe it. I don’t know where the lines are between cowardice and bravery, between hopefulness and delusion, between trying our hardest and masochism, between being defeatist and recognizing the truth, between flexibility and being a doormat, between what I want and what I need. I feel overwhelmed by concepts I don’t understand.

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Kimchi Cuddles #531

JJ’s “painting” often feels like it is harming me deeply, like it is a thing he is doing TO ME even though I know it is a thing he is doing FOR HIMSELF. I’m sharing this comic because I never want to tell him to stop “painting.” I have been questioning why it hurts and trying to explore that for a long time now, and I’m not done yet. He has tossed around the idea of giving up painting to avoid hurting me, but that feels like too much to allow him to sacrifice. It might end with me deciding I can’t be with a painter.  Only time will tell. But we’re committed to figuring it out, hence poly-things re-taking-over the blog.

If my relationship changes, is that okay? Can I accommodate change, even unexpected change or change I don’t like?

It depends on the change. Is the change changing so that I have more, or changing so that I have less? Our relationship has changed substantially over the past two and a half-ish years, but generally speaking it has been changing such that it is a bigger part of my life. Changes that I don’t like are generally changes that mean I get less of the things that make my relationship a Relationship, which isn’t really okay for me. I suspect that a sustained/semi-permanent change that feels like it detracts from what I have with JJ would make me question whether I can stay in our relationship happily. I told him the other day that that would feel like a settling, which is the feeling we’ve always been trying to avoid. Then I said that “going back to actively sharing him, feeling like my time with him is limited by someone else’s time with him, feels like it would be a settling, because now I know what the other side is like.” I don’t want being with him to feel like a settling, and he doesn’t want it to either.

Am I flexible in what I’m looking for?

I’ve been trying to be, to make concessions and space for JJ to have things outside of our partnership. Sometimes I think I more don’t want to be stiff and rigid and inflexible than I’m actually not those things. I want to bend but not to the point that it hurts, and definitely not to the point where I break. It’s hard to see myself as flexible in what I’m looking for as an individual because as an individual, dating has generally been a disappointing experience. I don’t want to do it. I haven’t historically gotten much out of it and I don’t feel interested in doing it. So swapping some other romantic partner in for the time he spends or would spend with others doesn’t feel achievable or desirable, which then makes being with him while he has outside partners feel like agreeing to not have my relationship wants/needs met. I suppose maybe it’s most fair to say that I’ve been flexible with regard to how satisfied I need to be for the relationship to be worth it, or how much hurt is tolerable, but JJ doesn’t want to be hurting me by living how he wants to live.

What configurations am I open to? Am I looking for a specific configuration because I am afraid that others might be more scary or more threatening?

I want a partnership to build and design my life around. A cohabiting life partner. A person that wants to be part of a larger whole with me and go through life that way. I want to sleep in the same bed with the same person every night and go through our morning routine together every morning. JJ asked me if that means just that person, and that that person has to want to only build and design around me.  I want to be able to say no, but it’s hard to envision a future where he’s building multiple relationships and I’m only building us without feeling like I’m getting the short end of the stick, like I’m giving more than I’m getting back, like everything is unfairly uneven. I want reciprocity and I don’t know how that can exist if we’re building unevenly. I don’t want to give my whole self and only get half of someone in return. That feels unsustainable. That seems incapable of fulfilment and peace and comfort. That feels inherently not okay. Fear and a sense of being threatened aren’t absent in my lack of interest in such configurations, but it goes deeper than that.

I can imagine having occasional sexual partners outside of that life partnership though. Not really people i see regularly and build a meaningful relationship with, but people with whom I have a rapport and great sex, perhaps sex that is different from that I experience with my partner. I don’t really know how to build those relationships without dating, though, and I really want to have to do as little of that as possible going forward. I don’t really know *how* to be open to developing a new romantic connection through typical dating while I’m in a relationship. The thought process I was going through around LS and what it would be like if romance was a possibility for that relationship still interests me though; what would happen if I had a close friendship with someone I was attracted to and whose orientations lined up with mine and who was open to polyamory (a whole lot of ifs) that seemed like it could be something more?

How do I define commitment? Is it possible for me to commit to more than one person at a time, and if so, what would those commitments look like?

This is a hard one for me. I’m trying to think about when I first felt like my relationship with JJ was a thing I was committed to. I remember talking to KS before JJ and I had said we loved one another but when I was realizing that I loved him, and saying that being with him had already caused me to need to rethink what intimacy and commitment look like. I think that commitment involves being willing to push through situations and emotions and experiences that are difficult or unpleasant or even hurtful to a degree in favor of trying to find satisfactory solutions to all parties. I think it involves being able to say I want to be with you right now, and I expect that that will not change tomorrow or otherwise in the immediate future; I associate it with planning and being able to be counted on to exist in one another’s lives. I think of commitment as having decided you’re not playing around with the relationship you’re in, that it is “serious” and “going somewhere” and is a thing to be prioritized and built upon and around. The day I realized that this relationship as it stood wasn’t working for me and wanted to work with JJ to figure out a way that it could, that I wanted to voice my concerns and put in work to make things feel better, rather than just peacing out because it wasn’t what I wanted, is the day that I first felt committed to us as an idea. I don’t think I could have gotten to the point of saying “I love you” without feeling committed.

I think that with a lot of communication between all involved parties and agreement and structure, it is possible to commit to multiple people at a time, but I am not sure that such agreements on JJ’s part with myself and someone else could reliably meet my intimate needs from a romantic relationship. The knowledge that he wants to commit himself to more than one person is one that inspires anxiety and fear in me; I wish I knew what it was like to have the feelings I have for him fully reciprocated.

Things were simultaneously amazing and terrible. My primary relationship was quickly becoming the love of my life and my biggest heartbreak.

[…]

I started studying poly like it was my job. I thought if I could just figure it out logically, I could feel it and do it emotionally,  but it seemed like the harder I tried to wrap my head around it, the worse it felt for me. I tried so hard to be what he wanted, to convince us both I was onboard. I wasn’t. I continued to ignore all the red flags, the gut feeling that this would break me, break us.

Cautionary Poly: Gemma

Oh my god these are feels I know. These are feels I know sooooooooooo well.

How important is transparency to me? If I have more than one lover, am I happy with them knowing about each other? If they have other lovers, am I happy knowing them?

This depends on the seriousness of the relationships to me. I have on all of my dating profiles that I am in a romantic relationship and open to partners in addition to that. Currently they say that I’m monogamishly dating a poly person (just like this blog does). So, it’s important to me to be transparent with new people. At which point I tell JJ that I am interacting with someone new isn’t super important to me; I’m fine deferring to what he’d prefer. It is only important to me that JJ meet any other partners of mine when those partners feel established in some sense, because unlike him, most of the people that I go out with do not turn into partners in any significant sense of the word.

Regarding his other lovers, as they have all been very significant to his life, it is important to me that I meet them. I do not like that I never met the person his most recent outside relationship was with, and I think that that factored into making me less attuned to her needs/interests/feelings and aware of their relationship as a Relationship. It is an absolute requirement that we know about each other. I do not need us to be friends or hang out or all spend time together with any sort of regularity. In fact, I would in some ways prefer being spared group interaction, because I don’t really know what kind of relationship I’m supposed to develop with the partner of my partner. If there is some magical unexpected future in which the existence of such a person doesn’t make me uncomfortable, then maybe we could try to establish some sort of cordial/friendly relationship, but this seems unlikely to me. I strive to always be respectful of his other relationships, though, and to not unduly stress my preferences/feelings over his freedom within those relationships.

How important is my desire for multiple romantic relationships?

I don’t have a desire for multiple romantic relationships. I want to have a multitude of close emotional relationships, yes. Of course. I’ve always wanted that and I’ve always had it. They have just overwhelmingly been platonic. My friends have always been the most intimate relationships in my life, the people I get most of my comfort, support, companionship, advice, joy, love, acceptance, fun, etc. from. I do not feel as though I am restricting myself by not turning these relationships into romantic relationships (for the close friendships in which sexual/romantic orientations would allow that to be possible). I have enjoyed practicing sexual non-monogamy in the past, though this has generally started out from a place of trying to fill the gaps in my life caused by my romantic partner having other romantic partners. Having a range of sexual experiences has been pleasant, but also does not feel like a pressing desire. I enjoy the freedom to capitalize on a moment to explore a sexual possibility with someone, but don’t wish to seek out others for the purpose of having sex with them.

Have I ever felt romantic love for more than one person at the same time?

No. I have only ever felt romantic love for JJ. I have felt platonic love for multiple people simultaneously, and I have felt romantic love for one person and platonic love for multiple people simultaneously. I have felt romantic love for someone and sexual attraction to/sexual attraction for someone else at the same time. I have felt romantic love and a spark with someone that could be a romantic interest at the same time. It can be hard for me to know whether my interest in getting to know a person is romantic or platonic at first. ‘This person is interesting and I enjoy spending time with them and I would like to get to know them better’ doesn’t fall clearly into one camp or the other for me, and feeling physical attraction/sexual desire doesn’t really help either, because I have learned that I can have a regular sexually fulfilling relationship with someone I care about and still not feel romantically enamored with them. I feel as though I have felt sustained romantic attraction very infrequently in life; I’m not sure to what degree this is an inherent aspect of who I am as a human and to what degree it is learned in reaction to the fact that it has almost never been reciprocated when I feel it.