This is that rap
In my previous post I said that Robert and I had opened our relationship, and we have moved into a relationship with Jim. While it is a deeply satisfying and evolving thing, I said it was not without issues, but that was not the rap. This is that rap, in part.
We have found it very nearly impossible to connect with the poly community. We've read a book or two, but haven't gotten access to any forums where we might discuss thoughts and feelings except where it seems they are swarming with, "I'm a journalist" or I'm a sociologist" posts. I don't really want to be a case study. So when I saw this forum, I decided I would post about our situation, and the story of us, so far. I wanted a place where I could discuss our issues, and perhaps not have to cut trails when others have been there before and made maps. I don't mind if he reads my stuff, but I was seeking a place to share, divulge, even if I get called on my shit.
I guess I've always been a free soul. Last night and this morning we had to work through some of those issues when Robert got notification of the post I made yesterday. His initial response was how could I post about our story without telling him first? I recoiled at this, bristling at what I perceived to be his idea that he owned my right to communicate about him. This ownership has been a big issue for us. When we first opened up, he felt that something (my time, my affection, sex, love) was being taken away from him. I felt that his view implied that I was empty handed. I didn't have anything to give him or anyone, that was my own, because the transfer was already complete. Nothing of mine, emotionally was mine to offer and give freely, because he already owned it. I couldn't say, "I give myself to you freely." I wasn't mine to give. I am reclaiming myself. He feels it as a loss. While the words "my friend" and "my sister" describe a relationship, the term "my wife" hurt me. Oh the time he let slip, "you are my wife, and this is my house" as if I was on his list of assets. Aaaack!
"Sharing" is a hard word to avoid. In the book Opening Up the author analogizes children learning to share their toys. In my mind, while one child may share his or her toy, and the non-owner is also sharing, I feel that I am the one sharing. I am sharing myself with those whom I choose. As much as I like Jack Straw, "We can share the women, we can share the wine," I am nobody's toy or property, but my own. I am the one sharing.
I am the boss of me. I hate when people say, "You don't have to do that for me" or even "You can't run down the street in blue paint naked." In fact I can. I can do anything I want, within the laws of physics, but I am the boss of me, and responsible for my actions and I must pay the consequences. I can run down the street naked, but I'll probably get arrested. I can jump off a house and break my legs. I can delve ahead in new relationships that hurt Robert, but I would be responsible for the mess I make. I am responsible to Robert (because I choose to be) not for Robert. It's a willing gift, not a debt.
Robert has a tender heart. Last night he found syntactic errors that confirmed all his fears about Jim and me. He leapt to conclusions. He questioned whether he was "just my anchor" and whether I could only have the relationship I have with Jim because of him and that I can always run back. Well of course I can. Is being my anchor bad? We talked a long time, I listened to his feelings, and we worked things through.
At first Robert would say he wanted the relationship I had with Jim. He had become disillusioned with someone he was seeing, and expressed that now if he didn't see her, he had nothing. I said no. It wasn't a dichotomy. There was what she thought she was, which was lost, what she is, still to be more fully revealed, and which he could take or leave, or nothing with her. Also on the table were unknown relationships. I told him that if he wanted the relationship I had with Jim, we would be having it, that he didn't share our taste for LOUD ACDC, going fast on the quads, rougher sex, and if he and I were having that relationship we wouldn't be having the complex intellectual stimulation and Old Relationship Energy that I find so satisfying. Still he is shy and I am lucky to have both my anchor and an old friendship that so readily blossomed into romantic consummated love. It will be difficult for him to get to the point I have with Jim, or compare our relationships, not that he should, since I have many long standing bonds with male friends. (No other such a latent romance. )
Another thing we talked about this morning was that one of the reasons my relationship with Jim is so easy is because it's mostly frosting, and as such would be ultimately nonsustaining. We don't let each other down because we don't depend, per se, on one another. Jim has never had to say to me, "We really couldn't afford that X," and I've never had to ask "Why didn't you stop and pick my prescription?" Mundane stuff, but reflective of commitment. Jim still apologizes when he calls for support, like when he got word last night that a friend had died. "I'm sorry to bother you...?"
I want to issue him a "Get out of Jail Free Card" which means that he is not without entitlement, a toy boat in our bathtub, at our mercy. Having accepted his place as "secondary" he has earned more. He needs to know that he can call me at any time, and I will drop things and run to him at least once. Not all the time. But when he needs me, please call, and don't apologize. Robert would go too. Robert has earned a bunch of those cards. I hate to think that Jim thinks he is expendable. Really I hate the hierarchical terminology and structure. Grandma used to say that a marriage isn't always 50:50. Sometimes it's 70:30, sometimes it's reversed. Here it can be 30:40:55? I think it adds up to more than 100. Well you get the point.
Cylinders are intrinsically stable under axial compression. Jim was a point. Robert and I, a line. Together we are a Vee. But Triangles are more stable than points, lines or Vees. If we can learn to trust and rely on one another for support, we are all better off. We can be a triangle, if they will build trust, in time and grow to a circle/cylinder, with cross supports. Here's where the structural-geometrical analogy fails: A web/mesh/honeycomb, if you will. I always knew that Robert liked Jim, and "why wouldn't Jim like me", Robert expressed, somewhat cynically, "he's taking a piece of my wife?" But today he used the words, "I love Jim", and it confirms that their relationship is growing, too. I kind of like when they gang up in me. I like the attention and I like that they bond that way.
In this century, with the traditional support of extended families changing, and many people our age having lost roots, our families spread out, evicted from homes, gone are 401ks and 10% of us unemployed, we need to explore alternative bonds, some of which are emotional, some logistical. It is an adventure.
Last edited by bonobosfemale; 03-09-2010 at 07:57 PM.
Reason: Grammatical errors