Differences in Speed
One of the most difficult parts of polyamory is negotiating the details and boundaries in multiple relationship dynamics because it means dealing with feelings of selfishness.
For some people that comes out in them being selfish and trying to make rules/boundaries that inhibit the other partners relationships with OSO's.
For other people that comes out in them being afraid of being selfish and not making rules/boundaries pertinent to their partners OSO's, that are necessary for their own well-being within the dynamic of their relationship.
It's difficult when you are in a deep, meaningful, forever relationship with someone who is your opposite in this area. Like Maca and I.
Maca tends to be the type of person whose “auto-pilot” response is to be selfish and “overprotect” himself with rules that inhibit the other partners’ relationship with their OSO.
I tend to be the type of person whose “auto-pilot” response is to worry about being too selfish. So I don’t make rules/boundaries that I need.
Both of these extremes are dangerous.
In Maca’s case, if he lets those tendencies have control he risks ruining his relationship because he’s hurting his loved one by putting them in a cage that doesn’t allow for them to be “real” or have “security” with their OSO.
In my case, if I let those tendencies have control I run the risk of hurting myself and thus ruining my relationship because I’ve put myself in a cage that doesn’t allow for me to be “real” or have “security” in my relationship with my SO or my OSO.
But-it's generally resolvable if you are conscious of your tendencies and you take control of them, manage them so to speak. However, it’s not at all easy.
This is where I find myself this week..... again.
Where I find my difficulty regarding this is a little more... under the surface, subtle maybe than the clear-cut examples I’ve explained above.
I am a person who other people see as an "open door". But, it's a facade. The truth is, simply put, that I don't consider the same things personal/private that "normal" people do. Many of the things that the average person would deem very personal and private; I don't give a damn about other people knowing about me.
People THINK I’m an “open door” because they know things about me that would be personal and private TO THEM. But those things aren’t personal to me, therefore them knowing those things isn’t significant to me. Furthermore, the large majority of people never consider that there could be another “level” of depth behind what they do know, because they think that what they know is SO personal already. Except, in my case those things aren’t so personal to me and there is a whole other level of depth and privacy that they simply don’t know anything about.
There are many things that I deem quite personal and private. Those things, I simply don't share with people. Damn near ANY people. There are less than a handful of people who I am ACTUALLY open with and all of them have been significant players in my life for over ten years. Everyone else has only gotten so far in, and “so far” isn’t very far at all.
Additionally, there are SO FEW people who know those deeper levels of me and those people who do know are all quiet, passive, reserved types of people.
Therefore, the things that they know about me don’t “slip out”. They aren’t the type of people to talk. It’s not just that they don’t gossip, they don’t tend to talk much at all and when they do, it’s almost always about whatever topic the other person has brought up, so you damn near never hear anything from them that you don’t already know.
The only major “exceptions” to this are if you are talking about parenting, electronics or The Arts. On those topics one or more of them will fill your head with random trivia for hours.
But, if you are looking for someone to help you get to know me, or get “in” with the family or even if you are trying to get to know them, the few people who are close enough to me that they COULD give you the pertinent information; simply won’t.
I visualize it like a tree trunk. If you cut the tree off and you look at the trunk it has rings growing ever smaller in it. For me, the TRUEST “LR” is in that center ring. Most people only make it a few rings in towards that center.
The few people, who have made it close to the center ring, have put many, many years into our relationships. People who are only around for a year or two, they never make it that far.
I have several deep, meaningful relationships. Those relationships are forever relationships. Not to be confused with "forever" relationships.
The large majority of people today have one or two "forever" relationships. Meaning that they hope those relationships will last forever. But, generally they don't have any forever relationships outside of their parents, siblings and children.
Not I. My forever relationships aren’t built on the hope that they will last forever. They’re built on the complete and irrevocable knowledge that they will last forever.
"Mimi" (who I generally refer to as my sister), isn't my sister in any biological or legal sense of the word. We share no parents; our parents aren't even friends with each other. She wasn't adopted or anything like that either.
She did move in with our family when she and I were teens. But, it wasn't a legal thing. We were best friends and it just worked out that way. We've been friends for 23 years now.
At some point she became "just family". Once you're family, you are just family forever.
But that doesn't happen over night.
It doesn't happen in a couple days.
It doesn't happen in a week or two.
It doesn't happen in a month or two.
As a rule of thumb, it takes years; many years.
Our family is generally pretty friendly and we will welcome most anyone in the door for a visit. But, to become “just family”, you have to put due time in. Most people don’t have the perseverance or the diligence to do that. Most people have lives of their own and they eventually wander away, but “eventually” comes long before they become “just family”.
Where this comes into play this week is that true friendship and/or romance comes after you become “just family”.
I'd known GG for two years before we went past a simple friendship into a sexual realm. By the time we had sex, he was already “just family”. He’d already been accepted as family not only by me, but also by my brother, Mimi, my daughter (only child at that time) and my parents.
For me, building a friendship comes long before dating.
I don't find a lover and then make a friendship with them. I find someone interesting and take time to find out if they are worthy of being a true friend.
Then if they manage to make it to “true friend” status, they have the chance to become family and if they are accepted as family they have a chance at being a lover.
I also don't move fast through these steps.
I don’t rush the building of a friendship.
If I were a ship, I’d be a tugboat, not a speedboat.
As things come up and opportunities present themselves to spend time together with someone new, I will get to know them a little at a time. I don’t try hard to create these opportunities; I let the moments arrive as they will.
If I have to be in an area of town where they are, I’ll ask if they want to go do something while I’m there.
If a holiday is coming up, I’ll invite them over to the group get-together.
If they show up and I have things I have to do, I’ll let them “run along” with me on my errands.
In these moments, I watch them. I watch how they treat other people, how they treat themselves, how they treat me, how they talk, what they prioritize in their lives. I compare what I see them do, with what I hear them say. What things that they say matter to them, the things they say they feel or want in life, the things that they say they prioritize.
Then, if what I see and what I hear are compatible I will take the chance to start letting them know parts of me that matter to me. Not the MOST important things mind you, but things that actually do matter to me. Instead of just the things that might matter to them, but don’t really matter to me.
By this point in the relationship building process;
They likely ALREADY know I’m afraid of water, but I’ve never put myself in a situation of having to be vulnerable to them in water.
They likely ALREADY know that my kids are my top priority, they may have even spent time with the kids, but they aren’t on the emergency pick up lists.
They likely ALREADY know I write, but they haven’t read my unfinished books.
They likely ALREADY know music is my lifeline-but they don’t know which songs have the deepest and most special meaning to me.
It’s also likely that by the time I actually start opening up some of the deeper, closer circles of myself to them; they already think that we are friends. They already think they know me very well. But, they don’t.
They know my public persona very well. They might even know my first or second level private persona well.
But, they don’t know “LR” yet.
"Love As Thou Wilt"