When your partner doesn't believe in boundaries, poly is hard.
Have been emailing with the XGF, and we're going to be meeting up before she heads back to her home city for the summer (is here for school). I ache with hope that it's a step forwards instead of a step backwards.
I've come to a lot of self realizations over the past week or so, in this comfortable emotional space that I've re-found after such a tumultuous beginning to the year. Done a lot of self inventory and reflecting, taking a lot of responsibility and really integrating the things that I've learned about myself from this whole experience.
In my every day life I am ridiculously logical, and this serves me well; I'm productive and efficient, my business is always evolving, I'm always pushing both myself and others to be our very best. The tendencies to be really organized and productive give my life a structure and rhythm that makes it successful. In general I have this really positive feeling about life. I feel excited, satisfied, motivated and ready for the future, very in love and passionate about what I do - in some ways, it's not that different than NRE when I jump into a new project/problem. I tackle problems with a "can do" attitude, and rapidly move towards solutions without thinking twice about it - it's a great quality.... except for when you try to apply it to emotions and people.
Here are these tendencies to grabbing onto good feelings/ideas and running with them. Of forcing life open to manifest the crazy ideas that I have, and more often than not, succeeding - fundraising ideas, business ideas, community ideas - I'm the kind of person that will find out who the heads are at, say, a television station. I will present to them in a unique way, and secure filming and free air time for local community initiatives that I believe in. I don't follow normal channels, and I'm not afraid of life saying no to me - when it does, I just find another way to manifest the idea that I have in my head - say, write an article for a paper and mail it in, and watch the same organization get publicity that way. It's shocking how rarely I get said no to, and it makes me really believe in my own ability to make a difference and follow my heart.
In relationships, things are totally different, but because I get similar feelings (NRE is kind of similar to how in love I feel with life a lot of the time) in them, I start behaving as I would in life. I start moving things forward, start trying to manifest what I want, and because I'm enthusiastic and it's fun I can successfully drag people along with me as I trailblaze ahead with my ideals.
This is not healthy. This has landed me in fuckloads of trouble in my life, and destroyed a lot of relationships as I hack my way through time like a woman on a mission. I seem to be unable to allow things to unfold at a reasonable pace, and then when the inevitable clarity following NRE happens, I realize that I have totally overstepped all internal boundaries in myself.
Truth telling. It's the only way to grow. The only way to expel darkness inside of yourself is to shine light on it. I think about things like: having a friend in need move in with me, throwing caution to the wind, and then the ensuing unhappiness that developed from us having totally different lifestyles/levels of tidiness/routines and having to try to live in the same space. I think about getting married when I was younger - moving through the steps with rapidity and ending up a year into my marriage to a man who was totally unsuitable to me.
And so now, I guess I need to go back to square one inside of myself. To develop boundaries, and really get clear about pacing in relationships. To find a new way of being, whether it's with the XGF, or a new GF, or a quad, or whatever. If my pacing is off, then I stand to repeat this pattern again and again.
I think about E. and I, and how different my approach to relationship was with him, and how wonderful it has been because of that. It's not that we've had this idealistic bond; we've scrapped it up like gladiators, and gone head to head more times that I could bother keeping track of. But I've had boundaries right from the beginning - vowed that I wasn't going to make the same mistakes that I had in the past, and I didn't. I did things differently, and that gives me a lot of faith that I can spill this new way of being into secondary relationship and friendships, which is where I have been relatively boundary-less in the past.
There is so much power in being able to see your own patterns. Allows you to blow them up and create something new. And I'm so ready for that growth.
It's not that I hold myself accountable for more than my one third share of responsibility for why our relationship went so sideways. It's that I know that things are going to be different for me in the future.
Last night E. and I are talking before bed - touching on what it would be like to date someone else again. We've talked about boundaries here and there in the past, and it hasn't gone all that well. Last night I found out why. E. seems to have a fundamental belief inside of him that there should be no boundaries in life. What the hell am I supposed to do with that? If he's only going to agree to boundaries to make me happy, and doesn't see the importance of having boundaries in relationships/life at large, then how the hell are we ever going to be successful in poly together?
I partly call bullshit on this though. I think it's been a cop out over the years, remnants of being a member of the vanguard, and all of that. It's held him back in his life; to not believe in society's rules means that you can never master them and hold success in your hands. I'm a political l'il monkey too, but I see the wisdom in, say, keeping my money in a bank (something he largely hadn't done before meeting me, for example).
In the same breath, I know that in order for us to be succeed in poly, we will have to believe in some kind of a structure, or some level of boundaries as a unit. I'm unwilling to move forward with him again until I know that he has done whatever work he needs to do to get clear about this; will not go through what I went through with our XGF again (him transgressing boundaries at will because he didn't see the point in them, etc.)
It makes a lot of sense to me though, and does help me have a great deal of compassion for him. How hellish it must be to not be able to respect boundaries in other people! To agree that you won't do X, as X will hurt your loved one, and then doing X anyways and having your relationship explode in your face. Doesn't sound like much fun for me.
Sometimes it's so hard to leave behind outdated ways of being that no longer serve you. I have faith in us, but know what I will, and won't tolerate moving forward, that's for sure.
It's still such a touchy topic for me though, as the wounds are just healing up nicely. To go from a conversation of "What are your internal boundaries?" to "My ideal is to have no boundaries at all." when I'm so fuckin' gunshy was NOT good for me, and I was pretty upset and stopped the conversation. Oh more processing and work, how are you? It's not jealousy that interferes with my ability to be poly with E., it's the knowledge that he doesn't respect any boundaries that we agree upon on a fundamental level. More. Work. Needed.