I want to write about love and attachment and expectations.
I've been processing those a lot since starting poly and even before that. I've reached a point lately where it feels quite easy for me to love without linking much expectation into it. It feels like loving without expectation is the most suitable approach for me towards relationships. In no way do I do that perfectly, but it is becoming easier.
To clarify what I'm talking about, I'll give you an example. A few years back I had sex with a friend of mine whom I liked a lot. It was a one time thing, but our friendship kept on deepening after that. I would have been open to having sex again, but my friend was not; and that made me feel somewhat sad and a bit rejected, but at no point did I let that affect our friendship. I have then made my peace with the fact that our relationship won't have that sexual side, and I no longer feel sad about that.
Now, I know that text talks about sex, but there is more to the picture. Had the feelings been mutual, I think I would have wanted a relationship (and the poly discussion with Alec would have come some years earlier). But they weren't, and when I talk about making peace with that, I also talk about letting go of attachment to an outcome. My feelings for my friend have not gone away, but they don't demand reciprocity. I do like to know that I am liked and cared for, but I do think our feelings are on different levels. I am fine with that, and allow our relationship be what it is.
Another instance where I've thought about these things is my friendship with Ally (who Mya mentioned in an earlier post). I have begun to realise that my desire to have sex with a person comes from a connection. It doesn't have to be deep enough that I would class it love, but qualitatively it is no different. I need to like and care for the person to want to have sex with them. Liking and caring for a person are also the components that love consists of, for me. So these things can confuse me a bit sometimes. Anyway, I wasn't going to go into the definition of love again. So where was I?
Yes, connection. Lately, I've felt like I would like to deepen my connection with Ally. It's not a pressing need, but I feel like it would be nice to become closer than we are now. Also, I've felt like I would be open to having sex with her, if the situation came up, and she was open to it. I've discussed the possibility quite a lot with Mya, and talking about it with her has helped me to figure out where I stand with it. She feels that if she was in my position, she would definitely not want to actually have sex because of the risks: the emotions may deepen into love, and thus it would hurt that there can't be a partnership (which there can't be between me and Ally for many reasons, the most obvious of which have to do with geography and neither of us having the practical or emotional availability for an additional relationship at least any time soon). I can understand her point of view, since that's really what culture tells us will inevitably happen if emotions are involved: that if you can't be in a relationship with a person you love, it will cause you unreasonable amounts of hurt. And I think that's how it works for some people. But I don't think that's inevitable for everybody.
If I were to have sex with Ally, it is likely that my feelings would deepen. I would probably feel closer and more connected to her. However, that wouldn't change anything respective to our circumstances, so even if that did cause me to desire a relationship with her, it wouldn't be possible. I don't deny there isn't a slight chance that it would hurt not being able to become more. But I highly doubt it would be in any way unbearable. That's just how life is, you can't always get everything you want. I can live with whatever feelings there are, and they don't dictate my actions.
Now then, it seems that I am pretty close to loving without expectation in general. But today I started thinking about my partnerships, and I feel that my approach is somewhat different there. I mean, I feel pretty unattached in terms of what a partnership must look like. I am open to LDR, open to my partners having children with other people (was even when in mono relationship, which is a hell of a lot less common than in poly circles). Basically, as long as my partner treats me with respect and love, our relationship is a (not THE but A) priority to them, and we are reasonably compatible, I'm good.
However, while I haven't let NRE effect my behaviour and judgement in my everyday life, it has ganged up with general exitement about poly, and as a result I feel quite attached to our happy N-shaped poly tangle, and to being in a poly relationship. And while, fortunately, I'm no longer teen enough to get engaged after a month of dating like I did with Alec, I can't help that in my mind I am really committed to Mya, and have been for many months. I'm not scared of commitment in any way, and I guess I've been lucky with her, just as I turned out to be with Alec, in that it looks like we really are compatible as partners. Yet, I feel that there is an issue here, but it's hard to pin it down. There is definitely a desire in me to share my life with Mya. But I also feel like the combination of NRE, New Poly Exitement, and strive for equality has put me on a conveyorbelt, on which I move towards the goal that is not so much decided on as it is a given from the beginning.
I don't know if that makes sense? Example. I feel like I really want to get (non-officially) married to Mya in the future. Now, what if I wasn't sure about it? Yet, I am already (officially) married to Alec. So it can't be that I oppose marriage in gereral. Thus, if I didn't want to marry Mya, that would signify (to me, her, and everybody else) that I care for her less than I do for Alec.
I feel that there is not much better advice than "let relationships be what they are". Yet I feel like because of our starting point, me and Mya have restricted room to figure out what it is our relationship is, and that some end points are more acceptable than others.