Here's an update....
I had a birthday yesterday. It was a very special one to me. Sure, birthday's are special but when I remember where I was last year at this time I realize how far I have come and just how much happened this year.
Last year at this time I was sitting in the airport in Toronto Ontario on my way to Halifax Nova Scotia to visit Mono and his family. I had a martini and a poutine and had a glimpse of things to come as I sat there completely alone and content with my own company.
Mono had been there a week already and already we were deeply in trouble in our relationship. I remember a visit of much silence between us and a ton of culture shock for me. I remember our only connection at the time to be one of massive amounts of sex. That didn't let up all year.
My relationship with Mono has been based on sex at times before and continues to be our biggest connection. Mono is my only in this way. I have fulfilled my sexual bucket list and I settle in for now to a wonderful sex life and solid connection to this man I put my sanity on the line for. I am content with that. Others are my only in other ways and I am also content with that. Together they all add to my life and I add to theirs. Its simple, uncluttered and I am satisfied.
Previous to this visit Mono and I had been struggling and I wasn't entirely paying attention. I was more consumed with my other loves and a busy life of poly community, burlesque and work to notice. I just assumed that the day to day was enough, that somehow we were all doing fine. This proved to be disastrously not true. We were talking but it was surface level talking. It revolved around a lot of deep rooted self doubt, lack of self worth and some salt and pepperings of denial of what was really going on for us. Add a lack of honesty to ourselves and each other about our real inner feelings and then a lack of being open to go to that place of dreaded analysis about our relationship and we ended up with this past year of sorting that out. Me and many people together.
Unravelling feelings and self discovery were what this year was based on. Details about who did what and what transpired are not what is important, it's where we got and how we got there through the amount we journeyed personally and all of us together that matter. Many people, many relationships and much personal investigation.
The first step was to face that I knew nothing of what was really going on for Mono and likely no one else I was dating at the time. The realization that things were not what they seemed and that there was an illusion of everything being okay was a great shock to me. It seemed simple at the time but there was complication underneath that was not brought to the surface until one huge climax this past spring.
I have since pieced together a story of what was going on for people in my life. I have come to the conclusion that nothing is ever what it seems and that I better damn well be ready to take my leave the moment I discover that. Even if its temporary. My emotional safety is what is most important and to have that I need to be able to physically leave or ask someone to leave. Creating a situation where that is possible is difficult, but I feel a sense of safety and freedom now that I feel I have some options.
It's become important to go over my own plans often and not rely on others for anything other than rent paid, agreed upon responsibilities carried through and I don't assume there is a future with them. What once was a feeling that I am grateful to those I live with and spend time with has become more of a feeling of expecting their gratitude at what I give to them in return also. This new struck balance has opened the door to loving and giving again for me, to myself and others equally. This is what I am grateful for now. I have the knowledge of how to do that better and what the signs are when I am not.
I imagined a poly family life and worked towards that for years. My poly family was close I thought, but for me there was a leak somewhere when the day to day meant that honesty and openness to change became stifled by duty to each other. Duty to keep the status quo even if the fit wasn't good any more. I doubt I will ever attempt a poly family again as the seed of doubt has now been planted. Still, for many years I was happy in my illusion of what I had.
I remember the dream I once had when I was about to marry PN. I had a dream that I would be part of creating a large chosen family with kids and adults alike blending and supporting one another. Complete childlike trust and naively blind devotion to that dream set my course as a younger person. I have become wise and realistic. I thought I had that and did for a time but then things shifted and the plates wobbled, eventually the plates fell and it became evident that there is no bigger mess than a lot of plates falling. If I had kept my life simple with less responsibility to the relationships I had and with more attention to my own destiny on my own then I might not of lived through the life lesson I learned this year.
It was a year of managing to create a solid family environment out of a mess of many relationships and I did it for LB. I know many families that have split up because those plates fell for the members. Divorce, separation, affairs... they seem to be around me everywhere. This was no different. The difference was that I worked hard and badgered others work hard to create a result that meant we could carry on with each other even if everything had changed. I did it, we did it. The change is upon us all now and we are all better off.
How did we all manage it? Polyamory; poly made me manage it. If it weren't for the philosophies I studied, debated, created and tried out here and elsewhere in the poly community I would not be where I am today. I would be alone, tossing my child back and froth from one house to the next, disappointed, betrayed, untrusting, damaged for life possibly and feeling as if love was never going to be unattainable again because it is never real.
Poly philosophy changed my life. I will never be able to shake what I have learned and will never be monogamous in the way that the mainstream culture I live in does monogamy. I've tried it now. After 20 years of being poly and most of my adult relationship life I can honestly say that when I tried to follow other rules I simply could not. I am not monogamous.
I doubt that I ever again will let myself become involved with "lifestyle" poly as a result of my experiences again. Lifestyle poly seems to be more about transcribing mono ideals onto many relationships, not living with a poly philosophy of relationships and connections with others. Love of many. For real. Not the giddy NRE love, but lasting long term devotion to that love, offered to many but coming from the same place in my heart.
I am not willing to have other partners in the same way as most poly people do either. I find that poly people shift the monogamous rule book to suit more than one love relationship more often than not. There is really no need to define or describe what it is. Its mine and I share it with others that own and share their love also.
The term partner does not fit for me, nor does friendship, nor does any term used in monogamous or poly relationships. Each relationship comes with an agreement that is between me and that person now more that ever. I don't title it anything so that no rule can be applied to it from outside of me/us.
I write my own policies and procedures manual for my relationships and when I hand that over to another like a gift of promise of who I am, I do it with confidence and without compromise. It becomes evident quickly how connected and close I am able to come to another by this process now and that is helpful in determining whether or not I should invest for their sake and mine. To invest in a relationship with me of any kind is intense, completely honest and means pushing one another beyond what we are when we meet. Without that there is no point in carrying on after a time. I expect the same from them back again now. It generally means we will fight often, make up just as often and reach levels of connection that few do. I scare people shitless most of the time I'm sure.
I feel as if I have come full circle some how now. I'm washed clean. The world is mine again and I am in control over myself and where I am going. The words seem small in comparison to how I feel. I've said them before as a token of where I would like to be, but now I say them standing firm on my ground and rooted.
Here's to a new year in my life. May it be a time of rest and reflection... of making plans and carrying them out... of enjoying my accomplishments and creating new goals.