Posts Tagged ‘Polyamory’

Not poly after all?

I would consider myself and my relationships polyamorous.  Others, however, apparently would not.  They would say that I am improperly defining the word and thus diluting its power.

Alan at Poly in the Media writes:

We risk losing our defining word, one that refers to something different: the radical subset of non-monogamy that’s open to good heart connections all around among three or more people. Even if those connections are merely good will and caring behavior among friendly acquaintances.

The problem is this:  While C and E fall in the “good heart connections all around” category, W and I most definitely do not.  We’ve never met, and she is still looking for an exclusive relationship with E (which he doesn’t really want, but I think he’s afraid that actually telling her that will lead her to end things).  While I am more than open to having a “friendly acquaintanceship” with her, she is not.   So I guess that makes this NOT POLY.

Why, then, do I want to claim the poly label?  Because it is truly the best fit both for my relationship and for me individually.  I suppose I could grab the “openly non-monogamous,” but that implies more sex and less relationship than I currently enjoy and strive to maintain.  And poly by the above definition is what I want to have.  It’s just not exactly what I have at the moment.

What’s a girl to do? I work very hard to have the most open, connected, mutually-caring relationships I can.  But it is not appropriate for me to dictate the terms of someone else’s relationships.  That would not be in the spirit of poly at all.  Therefore, I cannot control how my metamour interacts with me under the terms of a relationship I am not part of.  Strict poly ethics would say that, if I cannot have friendly, open relations with my partner’s partner, I should call it off.  That that is not poly at best, cheating at worst, and cheating is not to be tolerated.  I don’t like it and would like it to be different, but I am not about to throw away a relationship that is good in most every other way for the sake of strict adherence to a definition.

Poly ethics are like any ethics. (I’ve been reading a variety of ethical writings for class recently.)  Too much righteousness is obnoxious and unrealistic.  The world is full of imperfect people, imperfect relationships.  If it didn’t, there would be no need for ethics in the first place.  Intent has to count for something in a world of openness and freedom, because in such a world, a person can choose not to interact.

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Normal life doesn’t prepare you for this…

E texted me a few days ago at 12:30 AM from his vacation with W.  (He pretty much never texts after, say, 10.)  Seems some previously simmering issues came to a head, and they are “taking a break.”*  Now, this vacation is a plane ride away from here, and they weren’t coming back till today, and for various reasons, neither of them could leave early.  So I’m not exactly sure how you “take a break” from your relationship while on a vacation with the person, but there it is.

But now I’m trying to figure out how to be supportive of him while he deals with the potential ending of what was a really important relationship to him but which was always threatening to me.  (She was never really OK with him having other relationships.)

And there’s also the reality that, if they don’t get back together, I will be his only relationship for the first time.  I’m not gonna lie, it’s kind of an exciting possibility for me.  I’ve wished for more of his time for as long as we’ve been together.  (Part of the limit of time was due to my schedule and circumstance, but a large part of it was due to his commitments to W.)  Basically, this may be a chance for us to renegotiate our relationship.  Or, truthfully, negotiate it in the first place, as we’ve never truly outlined what we are and what we expect from each other.

But all that means I’m not in the least committed to him staying with W, and I’m not fully comfortable with that.  Most of me wants him to make the decision that’s best for him, but there’s a petty little part that really wants that decision to to be to stay split from W.

I’ll be seeing him tomorrow.  We’ll see how it goes.

 

*I had to have a friend explain the concept of “taking a break” from a relationship.  She said it was breaking up when you’re too much of a coward to actually call it off.  This sounds about right.

Adorable…

E called while I was out with C and a friend.  We chatted for a few minutes about his work, the (lack of) contents of his fridge, traded I-love-yous, and said good bye.   After I hung up, I got twin “aww” looks from C and my friend.

E and I have only recently reached the I-Love-you stage, just since right before I left for the summer. (Love me, put up with me running away for 2 months a year to play in the woods.)  It’s been interesting to see how our emotional involvement has increased over the past couple months, even with very limited contact.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that, I suppose.  It gave us both a chance to see how different life is without each other, and he’s been very open about how I am a very needed positive factor in his life.  And I rather feel the same way.  It’s all rather…sweet.  We’ve reached that point.  I like it.

When C and I got home, my conversation with E came up.  She pulled me into a hug and said it was adorable.  And that she liked that I was happy.  She was genuinely pleased.  It made me love her even more (if that’s possible).

It is a good life I have.

Also:

This: http://www.afreesociety.org/critique-of-pure-relationships/

Feeling good, finally.

The past few months have been really hard.  Like, really, really, overwhelmingly hard.  School has asked more of me  than I could give and I’ve had to let some things slide that I didn’t want to.  I hate to do anything halfway, but have had to this quarter just to maintain sanity.  Finances have been extremely tight (and still are) with no relief in sight, and I’m not talking “can’t afford Starbucks” tight, but “can’t make my credit card payments” tight, and I’ve tried so hard over the past few years to get my credit into somewhat decent shape.  And my relationship with E has been rocky when I most needed it to be easy as it had been.  Thank all the powers of the multiverse that C and I have been doing really well, though I haven’t been able to spend nearly enough time with her.  I’ve been a giant ball of tension and stress since January.  It has not been pretty.

But Spring has come.  Not officially according to any calendar, but the birds agree with me and have been singing their little hearts out the past couple weeks.  Classes will be done this Friday and I will have survived them and even if I haven’t done everything in every class, I’ve done enough to pass.  C found a job and gets her first paycheck this week.  It’s not enough to take all the financial pressure off, but it helps.

And E and I are starting to feel better.  There are still questions I have for him, still things that need to be addressed.  But he said some things last night that allayed my fears of being unimportant to him, of just being a convenient warm body.  That he said them not in response to my request for reassurance but just in conversation makes me trust the truth in them.

I’ve also come to a clearer view of what our relationship can and should be, and what it shouldn’t be.  He will never be a partner in the way C is.  And that’s fine.  And I’m not just saying that to convince myself of the fact.  I see that I wouldn’t want that with him for a variety of reasons.  That doesn’t mean I don’t love and care for him, and certainly doesn’t diminish my attraction to him.  And this is why this open/poly thing is so beautiful: I don’t have to lose a dear lover just because we’ll never “settle down” together.

So, yes.  I’m feeling better.  It has been a dark winter, but the sun is lingering longer, the flowers have started to bloom, and trees are budding.  And despite the difficulty of the past few months, life is pretty damn beautiful.

How can I keep from singing?

It’s been an altogether lovely day. Sitting in church this morning, sharing mischievous glances with my lover’s girlfriend, I was filled with joy and love for the world.  C and I had a bit of a tiff, but made up over rummy, cuddles, and Twenty Questions, then made dinner for the family.  Now I’m home from a wonderful if too brief evening with E.  I need to come up with a cover story so I can stay the night with E sometime soon.  It’s hard to leave.  But knowing that C will be there when I get home is wonderful.

I’ve had one of the hymns we sang this morning in my head all day.  It’s one of my favorites.  Lyrics were originally by Robert Lowry, but have been UUized…

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the real though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing.
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

What though the tempest ’round me roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
What though the darkness ’round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love prevails in heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

Poly trust

One of the things I’m really liking right now as I embark on this whatever-it-is with E is that I have a level of trust in him that I wouldn’t with most people I barely knew, simply because he has what amounts to good references.  I see it this way: I know B pretty well at this point.  Enough to know that she has a ) good taste, b) good values, and c) good judgement.  I also know she wouldn’t put up with someone who wasn’t worthy.  Therefore, if E is a guy she loves and respects (which he is), then he must be a decent person.  As C said when I was going out with him the other night, “B likes him, so I’m not worried he’s a serial killer.”  B also values our friendship, which E knows, so he has extra incentive to not be a dick to me (not that I think he would anyway) since it might piss off his girlfriend.  Of course, it works the same way for me – I have to do right or risk losing the friendship with B (again, not that I would do that anyway).  It’s really an interesting dynamic, and one I’m enjoying.