I noticed something recently about how I make decisions. I don't think I'm following the poly handbook on this.
It's been a long time since I came to the conclusion that once I live in the same place with Mya, I would like to spend two nights a week with her. I've mentioned it here, and I've mentioned it to Alec, but that was a while back, and we expected that to happen later. However, now we are all three moving to Dream City (yay!!).
So, I got this feeling that I need to talk with Alec again, and tell him that once we've moved, I will want to spend two nights a week with Mya. Firstly, he needs the information and, secondly, I want to hear how he feels about it. Yet, I felt that whatever his feelings might be, this wouldn't be something I was prepared to negotiate.
That is something that got me thinking. In a poly situation, aren't you supposed to be willing to negotiate on things? To be willing to take everybody's feelings into account? Is there perhaps something wrong, am I being selfish, when I have already decided this and talked about it with Mya, without giving Alec the chance to voice his opinion? After all, it is a change and it affects him quite a bit.
But no. I did realise something here. While I really really want to have those two nights a week with Mya, that is not the reason why I am unwilling to negotiate. What I want is this concrete thing. What I need goes deeper than that. What I need in a relationship is autonomy, and that is not negotiable.
Alec and I had the talk.
me: "I was thinking, once we are in Dream City, I will be spending two nights a week with Mya."
me: "you have thoughts on that..?"
Alec: "What can I say? You'll do whatever you want to do."
Some part of me feels like I'm breaking some cultural relationship-code when I won't argue with that, telling him "oh no come on I want your opinion so we can make a compromiseee". Like I'm being selfish.
However, I want to be honest. And honestly, what he said is the truth in its purest form. I will, indeed, do what I want to do. That doesn't mean I will act on every whim I get, I mean what I actually
want, including all the aspects of my life. In there many things are present including my relationships with my partners.
I don't think I am being selfish. I think I am being true to myself, and that I have high expectations my partners. I expect them to, firstly, trust that I will make decisions which value and uphold the relationship with them. I will make time for them, because I want to do so and because the relationship is important to me. Secondly, if they feel like they are not getting what they want in their relationship with me, I expect them to do something. One option is for them to talk to me about it and see if we can find a solution that will make all happy. But if such cannot be found, and what I am choosing to do is causing them to be unhappy, they also have the responsibility to change things for themself, i.e. leave the relationship.
It doesn't come down to selfishness though my social conditioning regarding gender and romantic relationships would try to tell me so. It comes down to what I need in a relationship. I need autonomy. I need my partner to be both supportive of that autonomy and able to handle what it means for their life. If they need a relationship where decisions are made as a team, if they need a couple
relationship, our needs just aren't compatible, and they need to stay true to that as I will stay true to my need for autonomy.