Fourteen, fifteen months later. Wow, how time has flied. Sometimes like an eagle, sometimes like a wounded duck!
Another day, perhaps, for the details of the story, but today is time for a summary. There is a common theme of "being OK" in this post, and it is repeated a lot....it's intentional and you have been duly warned
I've been doing a lot of introspection, and a lot less looking around at what the world has to offer. Basically, what have these experiences given to us, and were they worth it? Short answer is a lot, and I think so.
We have learned a lot, about ourselves and each other, and how we interact as a married couple. We learned at different paces, using different methods and communicating in different styles. The differences caused great frustations and sometimes forced emotional problem solving, and sometimes forced outright conflict. But we learned.
What did I learn?
I learned how to breakdown my fears, to see what things actually were worthy of fear, concern, thought and time. It was facscinating to learn that those things not worthy of fear, concern, thought and time.....well, they disappeared. I learned why I felt those components of jealousy, and was amazed to learn that sex was very far down the list of activity that triggered jealousy. (I also learned it was very high on the list the created arousal, but again, thats a different story).
So....as these triggers kept dwindling, what was the common theme of what's left?
It condenses into one simple question: "Is she ok?"
Before I explain, I want to clarify that this is not all about her. I have needs, wants, desires, kinks, experiences to explore and activities to which to give my time and interest. I am willing and able to express these, and to negotiate for the things I want. Yet, I have this overriding concern for that simple question: "Is she ok?"
I am not asking for her exuberant giddiness about everything I do, nor am I asking for her to constantly feed my need for her reaction. I am merely seeking the feeling, within myself, that she is ok, happy, content, and not hurt, wounded, concerned, and unable to express those things to me.
What the fuck am I talking about? Fair question, and she asks me that when I start getting to wordy. I never answer it right the first time, and if I repeat it a different way, it causes a great deal of unease with her. So, let's make it short and simple, and maybe I won't have to repeat myself!
Is she ok?
Is she ok emotionally?
--With her own relationships, and with how I am living MY life.
Is she ok physically?
--Is she conducting her dates safely, exploring in a way that won't leave her vulnerable to unintended consquences of exploring sexual and emotional relationships? Is she physically stressed about how I am living MY life, yet unable to communicate that to me?
Is she ok with how she plays?
Is she ok with how I play?
Is she ok with how we play?
Is she ok with what we have done in the past?
Is she ok with me being wordy?
Is she ok with me researching, reading, blogging and learning?
Is she ok with US?
Is she ok with herself?
Is she ok?
Polyamory provides lots of opportunity to feel not ok about lots of these things, but we learn from them, and I feel that I continue to learn about what makes me feel not OK about experiences she has, interest she may show, and even not OK about the differences
in attractions and interest levels themselves.
I've learned that I'm OK when she goes out, dates, chats, and talks about her relationships. I enjoy talking about how she feels and what she thinks is right for her. I miss her when she isn't with me, and once again, I always wonder.....is she ok? It's a great feeling to know, after, that she is ok.
I've learned that I have a hard time enjoying going out, dating, chatting, and even talking about this stuff because I don't get the feeling that she is ok. I try to get her to share with me how she is feeling because I need to know that she is ok with it. That usually backfires.
Maybe she is ok......she has a hard time communicating it. Our communication styles are different, and her processing time is measured in days, sometimes weeks depending on the subject. That's an awfully long time for me to wonder if she is ok.
Yes, she is with me, yes, she loves me and tells me often, yes, we are happy. I rarely fear for the foundation of our love and marriage. But I wonder, very often, is she ok? She is seldom negative, and almost all of her critiquing comments are accurate and constructive. But in the absence of any positives, the negatives are all I see.
I spend most of my polyamory processing time wondering what negatives she will find, and how to avoid them. I wonder what positives she has found. I asked.... She took a little time (ok, a week) and was able to list a number of positive experiences and learning points that she had found from HER own and our shared experiences. That was wonderful and welcome. I feel that she is ok with her own journey and sexuality. That is a recent and huge weight taken off my back.....although I wonder why I was carrying that weight?
Probably because I need to know she is ok.
Now, I just carry the weight of wondering if she is ok with me; the things I have done; the way I have done this. I look at all the things I have learned to be OK with, and wonder if she has learned to be OK, or is she simply tolerating the pain and there is nothing good, no learning, no progress. She would probably tell me; "Hey, I'm still here, I love you and that's enough because I wouldn't feel like this if I wasn't ok" And that may be as far as she is capable of going.
I feel like I have to settle for that, as I can't force her to say more. I constantly search for ways that I can feel that she is ok.....with me and who I am.
It's nice to realize that her being OK is probably THE root cause of my concerns about everything poly and beyond. My feeling that she is OK with herself, with me and with us is the driving force behind my own happiness. If that feeling doesn't exist, I question why I do the things I do.
So, it's nice to realize, but harder to solve.....but I am solving pieces and parts and working on those things under my control; and trying to decide how to live with not knowing that she is ok with what I've done, what I'm doing, and the things I want to do. The work continues.........