Saturday, August 24, 2013

Aftermath & New Beginnings

One of the hardest things about breaking up is the inevitable untangling of your online lives.  The Libertine and I were linked together on Twitter, Facebook, Fetlife, Google Calendar... you name it, we shared it.  During the first few days after we broke each other's hearts, I cut him out of all the obvious places:  I deleted him from my phone, unfollowed him on Twitter, etc.

But because of how intertwined our lives were, there's always just one more thing that I've forgotten about.  The Libertine was never a big Facebook user, so I neglected to unfriend him there for quite a while.  One morning I logged in to check on my family, and I noticed his picture was no longer smiling at me in the corner of the chat box.  He had unfriended me.

That hurt.

A breakup is like a million little deaths over and over and over.  Just when you think you're done, something else pops up and reminds you that this person you loved with your whole soul is no longer a part of your life.  So you get to experience that grief again and again.  I'm glad to say that each time this happens, the hurt is less.  Each time he and I talk for logistical reasons (hey, have you seen my <insert random object here>) it's a little bit easier on me.

One of the things helping me is leaning on the Mister and a pair of potentials.  The Mister is letting me heal, not pushing me to recommit to our marriage right away.  He lets me know that he loves me without getting in my face; he's giving me space and care right now.  He is supportive of my other burgeoning relationships, he likes both men and is once again talking to me about my relationships outside our vows.

The potential partners are even more careful.  Both men I have known for a long time.  Both men are more worried about my emotional health than they are about getting into my bed.  Both men have made it known that even should I choose not to date right now, they are staying in my life in some form because I am important to them.

I am so lucky that polyamory has given me such lovely people to lean on in times of crisis.  I am so lucky to know that I am loved, cared about, wanted, and appreciated.  I am so lucky that despite all of the horrible choices I have made in the past year, these people can see that I'm getting better; I'm a better person and a more careful partner than I have ever been.

I cannot wait to see where these relationships go.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lesson Learned: Hierarchies Suck

I am coming out of a relationship so intense, I don't know that I can really do justice to it.  It started strong, it ended painfully, and everything in the middle was a battle - just not a battle that was easy to see.  During that 18 months, I never considered any of my relationships to be in a hierarchy.  I was pretty vocal about thinking the hierarchy system was awful and demeaning to those "secondary" partners.  But I was operating as though each partner outside the intense one was secondary.

I'm not writing this to attack that primary partner.  I'm writing this to call myself out on being hypocritical, and naive, and just generally a terrible partner.

As I'm feeling out a potential new partner (and touching base with an old one), I'm realizing that I really do hate the hierarchy.  I need to be so much more cognizant of the way I treat all of my partners, and not allow one of them to dominate my resources and time.  I need to never ever allow a partner to demand that I make a change to the schedule, or to my roster, or to the way that I interact with another partner.  Those are decisions I need to make for myself.  If a partner has a concern about something, they need to discuss it with me and let me make up my own mind.  If the decision I come to isn't one that they like they need to respect it and evaluate their own level of involvement.  

It's a fine line to walk sometimes, not wanting to upset a partner while also making sure that your own needs are met and you are invested in each relationship to the degree at which you want to be.  Polyamory requires constant re-evaluation and negotiation with each of your partners, and everyone involved needs to be equally informed.

The old partner that I'm touching base with made a wonderful point to me the other day.  There were red flags for him in the time before we split up - concerns about the intense partner that he wishes now he had brought to my attention and talked through with me.  But at that time, he was afraid that even broaching the subject with me would create battle lines, a him vs. us situation, and he was too afraid to lose me to reach out.  In the end he lost me anyway.  The reality is, had he spoken with me about those things, he and I might have worked through the problem and not lost each other.  I might have grown up a little bit faster and saved myself a lot of heartache, too (probably not, but that's a whole other story).

I have asked him to please, in the future, always reach out.  Always tell me the things I need to hear but don't want to hear.  Always make me truly evaluate and question if something is too much, too little, or just enough.  It's natural to be worried that a partner will get angry, but trust that partner to work past the anger and listen to what you have to say.  

For myself, I am going forward with the knowledge that whether the partner in question is my husband or a man with a wife of his own, the relationship that we build is just as important to my emotional health as any other.  I may not see them every day, but I certainly talk to them every day, and the time that we do share is sometimes more dear to me since it can be so limited.  If I invite you into my life, you have the right to know whatever is going on in it, and to have your opinions about it heard.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Polyamory: Square One

So.  Stuff happened, almost none of it good, and here I am back at poly square one.

The Mister and I are putting ourselves back together, slowly.  It's been a long summer, filled with regrets and stupid mistakes and lots of learning the hard way.

But the end result of all of the bullshit is that I'm back at the beginning, asking myself what I want out of poly, what I want out of life, and where I'd like to go.  I don't know the answers to any of those questions, but I'm certainly taking my time looking for them.  

I am making connections again.  I am telling people close to me my story.  I am admitting things I'm not proud of (and that I won't admit here for the most part).  I am telling those that need to hear it that I'm sorry, and I'm owning my mistakes.  I am accepting that right now I'm a little bit broken.

I plan to be back here, telling the world what it's like to be poly and fuck it up, get it right, and really find what you need.