*NOTE*: I, sluttyheart, am 'pretty lady' in K's writing.
Me, B, C...
Our Poly Garden
Have Some Peanut Butter with Your Jelly
When I talk to monogamous people I think the biggest thing they have a hard time wrapping their head around is jealousy. They can't even remotely image not being filled with sadness (or blinding rage depending on the way said person deals with being hurt) at even the thought of their partner being sexually involved with someone else. In monogamy it seems that commitment and dedication to love is placed upon the concept of not touching or even looking at another human-being in a sexual manor. Good old "I only have eyes for you" concept.
So when mono people hear that poly people are sexually open, they get all weirded out. Then I often hear, "I don't know how you do it. I would get jealous." This implies that poly people never feel jealousy. Truthfully, many of us feel it so little or for a few fortunate folks not at all. This typically comes from experience being poly. You learn to think and feel differently. You find yourself thinking, "Well, we are allowed to go on dates/ kiss/have sex with other people, so why am I feeling this way?" In my experience I have come to find that 'jealousy' mono or poly, typically has almost nothing to do with sex and everything to do with emotions and needs...or both. Feeling jealousy is not the problem. You're bound to feel that way at some point. What's important is how you handle that jealousy.
The other week I felt incredibly depressed and insecure in myself. I hated everything about me inside and out, and was just waiting for my partners to notice what a waste of human flesh I was and leave. Pretty Lady and B had a date, and I hated the idea. It made me cry. It made me hate myself more for crying. It made me hate myself even more knowing I wanted to be happy for them but couldn't. As a whole I felt like shit. I expressed my discomfort to them both. I let them know how I felt despite not liking how I felt and knowing it wouldn't stay that way. Pretty Lady offered to not go, but I assured her I wanted her to go. They both gave me comfort and support and most importantly love. Later when the two of them dropped me off and I watched B's car drive away my heart fluttered with joy for them. My feelings of jealousy had -nothing- to do with their date and everything to do with how I felt about myself at that time. For days I just had to sit it out and feel terrible, but I never held these feelings in. Then, by the time their date (the big event I was having issues with) came along, I was feeling my favorite feeling again, compersion.
So it's alright to feel jealousy or insecure. Reach out to your partners, with any luck they will give you the additional feelings and words you need to carry on.
It's been some time, and lots of things have changed. C and I have separated. What happened was his work schedule went crazy. He had outrageously long hours and we had no time for each other. This, in itself, was frustrating, but not really a core problem. What was the problem was that he never -made- time for our relationship. He could not even commit to a ten minute phone call daily or even a text message to inform me he was just going straight to bed. He would make promises to do these things, and then break them. Then once I pointed out that this was not acceptable, he would apologize and make more broken promises of change. Finally he gave up. He came over suddenly and said it was over. Originally I was devastated. How dare he. How fucking selfish of him to be the one admitting to being the problem and not caring enough to just try harder and make it work. I cried. A lot. I was full of rage. Often. Then I cycled between these feelings for a week or so.
Fast forward. There is a new partner in my life. I think I'll refer to him as B. He's wonderful for a lot of reasons and despite the newness of our relationship I am hopeful and feel a lot of trust toward him (something that is not particularly easy to gain from me). The other night I was sitting with Pretty Lady and suddenly my phone rang; it was B calling. It went something like:
Me: Oh, B is calling me. Hello?
Pretty Lady: And you didn't even have to ask him!
Me: (Laughs) yeah it's pretty awesome
Me: Oh, I used to have to beg and harass my ex to call me. Pretty lady was just making a comment on how I didn't have to ask you to call
B: Well yeah. Why wouldn't I call you? I really enjoy talking to you and miss you.
Just then something Pretty Lady had said to me in the past when I was having one of my bitch fests about C (this happened fairly often). C was not an ass hole. He was not abusive. The issues were fixable, so it made it difficult for me to believe I should let go. There was hope. Then Pretty Lady said, "Just because someone isn't a bad person doesn't mean they are right for you. If there isn't enough effort of compatibility you're wasting time on someone who is not deserving of your affections." It sounds so simple, but it's true. The truth was I didn't spend much time with C so it didn't seem like much of a waste. However now that I have met B I realize if I was still with C I would have less time to spend with all partners because there would be more partners to divide time by. Plus too much time spent with R and Pretty Lady while with C was spent with me venting and not enjoying their company due to emotional distress.
My relationship with C, in its four month span, taught me so much. I let go of my resentments and appreciate the lessons I have learned. Looking back I do not consider my relationship a failure. It was a relationship that started, lived and ended. For myself I tend to be such a loving and committed partner that I stop worrying about my own needs and wants because I don't want to be unfair to my partners needs and wants. This is unhealthy and not good for anyone in the relationship itself or other partners involved.
I'll end with this comic that really hits home for me and my current reflects on relationships considering the ending of C and the fast paced beginning of B and I.
"There are no discharges on the weekend, and there are 14 people ahead of me waiting for a bed. If I remain here it could take until Tuesday to get me into a bed. I got here (I think) at 4:00AM maybe sooner on Saturday night/Sunday morning. That's crazy. This room is enough to make me wig out. Once all the people start waking up I'm sure it will get even worse. If my sanity wasn't shaky before this place, it certainly is lost now. Still, even though Pretty Lady and R aren't here now I'm glad they were at the start. At one point I sat in the middle as R rested on one shoulder and Pretty Lady rested on the other. It was almost like snugs at home. Only we're at a hospital and I'm fucking crazy. It was good to feel that love in this place. That memory is my only faint grip on reality in this hellish room. "
--From my journal while in the ER.
I am now out of the hospital and back home. Looking back it's difficult to believe how close I was to death. It's even more difficult to comprehend just how far away from reality I felt. The one certainty that shines still and true even in those moments of darkness was the love for all of my partners. My desire to escape the pain of my illness was still not able to overtake me desire to not hurt them. All three of them were active parts in my healing. I feel closer to each of them after my experience.
C and I struggle with being open about our feelings, but now we are making strides in that. The love between R and I is probably the most impressive for me...I am normally so emotionally distant. It takes me a long time to open my heart fully to someone, but it's so easy with him. He also is able to pick up on my swings and moods so quickly. I guess I owe that to his long relationship with Pretty Lady who is also bipolar. Still, it feels like our love grows so rapidly.
Then there's Pretty Lady and I. I had been so incredibly worried that my crazy would drag her back down. She's been well for so long. More than I feared losing her because she wouldn't be able to take it I feared for her safety. Now, I have faith that she will be able to push through it. I still have strides to go in becoming well, but I believe that she can handle it. We will look out for each other and our stability. We can push the other to stay on track with being well because we understand what it's like to not be well. R can look out for us both too.
R and Pretty Lady bought me flowers on the day I got home. Inside there were three roses. Two pink and one white. I looked at those roses and thought of them as symbols of the three of us. Today I looked and saw the white rose has not fully bloomed yet. R is shy and our love still has room to grow. One pink rose is in perfect bloom with beautiful petals. This rose is Pretty Lady; she's simply beautiful and our love has really reached a new state of commitment and bliss. Then there is the other pink rose; me. This rose has bloomed too wide and already one petal is hardly holding on. I'm getting well, but my grip on sanity is precarious and just as the petal could fall at any moment.
What I have to remember is I am not like that rose. In a week or so the petals will fall and the rose will wilt, but I will not suffer from that fate. I have a safe home to be my soil. I have a hopeful path in school and work to be my rain (necessary but too much is dangerous). Most important of all I have the love of my poly family to be my sun light. So my petals may wilt from time to time, but with enough love and dedication I have faith I am going to bloom into a beautiful rose.