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  #81  
Old 04-03-2013, 04:48 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I have a couple of things to add.

First - I'm experiencing a new (for me) set of emotions. On the one hand, I'm kind of depressed. All the illness, major negative changes in those closest to me and the death of 3 of them during the course of last year. Plus a myriad of serious illnesses among the family of those closest to me and now the death of a very old family friend have combined and now I am kind of depressed. Sometimes I have bad days and just want to cry - last week it was a whole week.

I miss those who are gone terribly and I feel enormous anxiety about losing those who are left.

At the same time, I don't think I've ever been happier. My life is going exactly the way I want it to. I'm surrounded by good friends, have a supportive family, a partner that I love and C is there just being his happy, loving self. Work is just the way I want it.

On the days when I'm not feeling down, I am filled with happiness and love.

Interesting to feel both ways so close to each other.

IP
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  #82  
Old 04-03-2013, 05:13 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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The second thing I have on my mind is love. I have been thinking recently about how I tend to view romantic relationships as a barrier to connections with others and as something that lessens the amount of love in many people's lives. (when I say romantic, I mean an emotionally significant relationships that involves sex - for me, no sex = no romance).

I know too that this feeling is grounded very much in my experience of being in a romantic relationship for 10 years during which time I found myself isolating myself more and more from my friends until I reached the end of it and felt I had nobody to turn to for help. Very lonely time.

Also - experiences with friends. A friend and one of her friends have a very strained friendship now because one of them started a romantic relationship and the other one felt left out and jealous and couldn't deal well with those feelings. I have had more than one close friendship become distant or dissolve altogether because the friend became romantically involved. I understand, of course, why this happens and I am absolutely supportive of it. I want my friends to be happy and if being happy means spending less time with me because they are in love then I wholeheartedly support them.

Then there are the difficulties over friendships with previous sexual partners. It seems to me that people struggle. Friendships can be lost because a new partner can't deal with worry they feel about their partner once being in a sexual relationship with a friend.

Or existing friends can struggle with meeting new partners because they've long had a crush on their friend or have slept with them and hoped it might turn into something more and now their friend has a partner. These ones I struggle with if I happen to be the new partner. I don't wish to be a barrier to anybody's friendships and I hate it if I ever find myself in a position where my presence hurts somebody else - in the past I've felt bad for days over that sort of thing.

Anyway - it may be that I am hyper sensitive to these things as a result of my experiences but those sorts of situations were partly what kept me out of romantic relationships for so long. I don't like the isolating tendencies that come along with romance.

I know that I can't control other people's behavior so if friends want to stop seeing me because they have a romantic partner, that's their choice. I might be hurt and miss them but I want them to be happy so I am okay with dealing with that sort of hurt.

I can control my own behavior and I chose for a long time to make sure that there wasn't a romantic partner in my life taking me away and also that my presence in somebody else's life wasn't taking them away or causing pain to people in their life.

I also make sure that now that I am in a romantic relationship that I continue to make time for my friends and family. I'm lucky I was so passionately and committedly single for so long that there is nobody in my life who is hurt just by the fact of me being in a romantic relationship now. Nobody pines over me and I have no feelings of guilt to deal with there.

This remains a real difficulty of mine with polyamorous relationships. As I see romantic relationships as likely to act as a barrier to love and friendship, I can only think that adding more romance into a situation is likely to make that worse. More chances to become distant from family and friends, to be a source of pain in a complete stranger's life, to end up losing friendships altogether if one of your partners finds another partner who isn't okay with what has gone on.

I turn it over in my mind sometimes and look for other ways of thinking about it. I'm not anxious about it - there is no panic to get over it. I'm very happy to know that I can manage one romantic relationship without it being a significant barrier to experiencing lots of love and if that's all I ever manage, I'll remain very happy.

Still - I think that being open to more romantic love one day would be a nice thing to experience so I do examine my feelings on this matter sometimes and see if there is a way of changing them.

IP
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  #83  
Old 04-10-2013, 07:32 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I have been out for a run this morning and have been reflecting on my utter luck in my upbringing and in those close to me.

I grew up being very close to a close knit community. One of the things I very much appreciate about them is their utter refusal to define and exclude people based on their sexuality, gender, approach to relationships or even their continued joining in with the interests of the community.

Nice to know that even if I don't any longer join in with them much that they are there when I need them. And that it doesn't matter to them if I'm single, in a monogamous relationship or in several relationships at once. They will be accepting of me however I conduct my romantic life.

IP
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  #84  
Old 04-24-2013, 07:54 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I have been thinking again. :-)

I very often wonder about the roots of feelings and coping strategies and what these mean for people as adults and for their relationships. Of course, I can only talk for myself.

I am oldest of 3 children in my family. I was 18 months old when my younger brother was born I don't remember this but I'm told that he was a very demanding baby and as I tended to be quiet, placid and contented, I was left to amuse myself more often than my mum would have liked while she took care of the ongoing demands of my brother.

Of course, my mum loved me then and continues to love me now. The addition of my brother and then my sister into the family took no love from me at all. But they took time and attention and support from me of course they did. My parents only had so many hours in the day and dad was out working for much of the time we were growing up.

Habits were formed then that are life long. I learnt not to ask for anything because the demands of the louder children in the family would be heard first. My mum learnt that I could cope with life without much input from her. This carries on. It's become a habit for us. I don't ask mum for emotional or time related support and mum assumes that I can cope with anything.

We get on very well together and I don't at all resent what happened. In my mum's shoes I would quite probably have done exactly the same thing. And habits form whether we want them to or not. So while I might find it upsetting to hear from my mum that she will not be able to provide any support for me going through the death of a dog who was sick for a long time or that she won't be coming to my graduation, I understand why we are where we are. I have lots of support anyway and so it's not such a big deal for me.

There have been good and bad things in this. The bad for me is that I grew up never quite feeling good enough. I was sensitive (still am to an extent) about being left out. I felt that I couldn't ask for help. A lot of the time I felt lonely and unimportant.

The good is that I learned how to share, how to forgive and how important it is to be sensitive to the feelings of others. I also learned how to be independent, how to do what I feel is right for me, how to find new social groups if I need them.

I feel recently that this learning has shaped in some ways my attitude toward romantic relationships. I think certainly that it made me suspicious of relationships that are commonly thought of as being something you can depend on. The notion of an individual who will always be there for you isn't something I trust it didn't happen with my parents and I would feel very uneasy about thinking it would happen with a romantic partner. I say to partners that I hope they will be in my life for a long time and that I hope our wants for the future coincide for years to come. I also say to them that if that doesn't happen, I will support them as a friend in whatever they need to do next.

When my ex and I split up after 10 years together I was thrilled that he found a new partner very quickly afterward. What he had wanted was to get married and have a child and I wouldn't do those things with him. In the end, when it was becoming apparent that what we wanted out of life was incompatible, I told him that we should split up. The last thing I wanted was for him to be on his own and so I was thrilled for him when he met somebody else a few months later. He is now married to her and they have a child together which is wonderful.

Then for years I didn't want to be romantically involved with anybody. I wasn't up for a relationship and so I didn't allow those sorts of connections to develop I was worried about hurting people if I couldn't invest in them fully. I'm sensitive to that sort of thing and hate to hurt people I think partly because of spending so much of my childhood feeling like I wasn't good enough.

Now I find that these feelings hold me back lots from suggesting to my SO that we have an open relationship. I had no choice as a child about my siblings coming along and my parents had no idea about helping older siblings cope with the arrival of younger ones. We all just kind of got on with it as best we could. As an adult, I have a choice. I see how much it sucked to share time and I see the compromises that had to be made.

I also know how hard it is to balance time between more than one important person. I did it with 3 dogs for years spent all my spare time and energy helping them to feel loved and making sure I spent time with them as individuals and as a group in positive ways (stuff that my parents had no idea about and that just didn't happen in my family). I loved that time and I loved all of the dogs but it was tiring and I was never completely free from guilt at any time.

So much as I know perfectly well that both my SO and I are capable of loving more than one person, I don't feel right now that I want to. I don't want to deal with my SO's time being divided between me and other romantic partners I know very well that good can come out of it but so can lots of irritation and ongoing annoyance. Plus there is the risk of metamours being hurt or not feeling like they are getting enough time.

Equally, I don't right now want to deal with the ongoing guilt and juggling of my own time. Or the work of trying to make sure that all romantic partners are getting enough of the right kind of time with me. That stuff is hard work and I'm pretty much not up for it right now.

My feelings my change in time. Or my SO's may he may decide that he absolutely has to be in an open relationship. He has been for years and years and he very much feels that it is the right way to be living. Of course, if that happens, he has my utter support. He should live the life that he wants to.

I have been thinking for some time that so much of my life has been shaped by my childhood feelings of not being good enough and the things I've learned in order to deal with those feelings and get rid of them.

I know that I'm good enough now and I'm confident that I'm loved and included by a large number of people. I also know that it sucks to feel not good enough and I am incredibly wary of setting up situations where I might accidentally make somebody else feel that way.

IP
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  #85  
Old 04-27-2013, 08:04 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Reading about people treat each other badly on here is making me feel sad so here is a funny.

My very conservative sis believes that couples should consist of a man and a woman and that they are each other's boyfriend/girlfriend until they get married. Children should not be had out of wedlock. To her this is the right way of going about thing.

She still misses my ex who I broke up with 9 years ago and she still wants him in her life. I told her that I'd had an e-mail from him and that he sent her his love. She expressed her anger to me that he and I are not together any more and then suggested that I ask him to move back to the UK and go out with both him and my SO. That way she could have them both in her life regularly and everything would be fine. Made me laugh lots that the only person who's ever pressured me to be in a poly relationship is my sis.

Other good stuff. I had some excellent fun teaching yesterday, am doing more today and then will be heading out for a night of fun and chats with my SO and a few others.

Ahhhh - that feels better.
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  #86  
Old 05-07-2013, 06:34 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I find I have things to write about the positives that I got out of my early childhood. I wrote a bit above about the struggles and habits that developed from our family structure.

The very strong positives that my parents gave all of us was a love of people. As kids and teenagers we were encouraged to talk to people we didn't know, to get know folk and to spend time with people who were living very different lives from the ones we were living.

My mum, in particular, was welcoming to everybody and growing up, we had several additional siblings who were welcomed in.

For years, my sis had another family - she used to spend weekends and some holidays with them and they used to come on holiday with all of us regularly too.

Acceptance, an ability to not feel territorial about those we love and a joy at meeting new people are all skills that my parents gave us. These are things to be celebrated, I think.

IP
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  #87  
Old 05-09-2013, 01:49 PM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I have been thinking lots about multiple loves recently as I sort through my feelings about my old love who died last year and about the deaths among my friends and the family of friends this year.

In the past, I have added new dogs to the household infrequently. Infrequently because of a lack of time and money not because of a lack of desire. In the past, I very much enjoyed the process of searching for and then settling in a new dog - learning about them and helping the dogs already in the household come to love and appreciate the newcomer.

Not now. Now C is the only dog in my household. I have made changes in our lifestyle to allow him to spend more time with other dogs and for me to spend more time with people who have dogs. I don't want him to miss out on the company of his own kind.

At the same time, I have no energy or desire for another dog. I find myself worrying too much about upsetting C, about him not getting along with the other dog, about a myriad of things that can and do go wrong in multi dog households. I find myself doubting my energy and commitment to working through these issues.

I enjoy it just being C and me. My time is not divided among the needs of multiple dogs which means that I have the time, energy and money to alter my lifestyle to suit C's needs. C seems content and I'm happy for the time being for it be just me and him. Feels weird in a way because I had always been committed to living with more than one dog and have always desired more canine love.

For the moment, I'm resting. I think this may be a reaction to grief and I hold the possibility in my mind that we may meet a dog who would be perfect for our household and that my mind could be changed.

I wonder too if that happens will it result in a shift in my attitude toward romantic relationships?

IP
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  #88  
Old 05-15-2013, 07:02 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I was at a fascinating talk on Monday night which has got me thinking on a number of areas. That plus a couple of recent conversations has gotten me thinking about gender roles in romantic relationships.

The specific area I want to talk about now where I cause myself problems is that I seem to have internalised a view that says it is my job as a woman to hold things together, to make sure that I provide the glue to keep the relationship going. It's something I see reflected back at me all the time from all around. Women tend to do most of the child care, have jobs that are easier to be flexible with, are described as the centre of families etc etc.

I believe in none of that and yet I've realised that I have developed a habit in my relationship that very much reflects the above. I haven't been doing some of my interests as much so as to keep more time for my SO - mostly because he is very busy and he doesn't like to make plans in advance so I've been in the habit of keeping time spare just in case he finds himself free. (because his things are bound to be more important than my things - I can hear my mum in my head telling me that!)

And I sometimes find myself nagging my SO or getting upset with him for not getting back to me quickly. I might ask him on Monday what he wants to do at the weekend. And then he'll let me know on Saturday afternoon. Rather than just organising my own stuff, I've been keeping time free and then getting annoyed with him if he doesn't also find free time.

Yuck - I hate that shit and find it worrying that it has been so easy for me to subconsciously slip into that role and habit after being back in a romantic relationship for just a few years. How awful - I'm kind of pissed off with myself.

Having said that - I do want to be in a close, romantic relationship with somebody I share lots of time with and lots of day to day stuff. Just being around each other while doing our own thing is grand. I just don't want it to be my sole responsibility to keep that together.

So - having realised what has been going on, I have decided that what I'm going to do is pick up on the interests that I haven't been so involved in recently and do them more regularly.

Also, that I'm not going to wait around for my SO to let me know when he can fit in time for us. If he doesn't get back to me in good time and I plan something else - that's too bad for us.

I have let him know that I worry about us not spending enough quality time together and that his tendency to want to arrange things as late as possible can make time together more difficult (unless I wait around which I'm going to make a conscious effort not to do).

I have also let him know that I'll revisit my feelings on our relationship in a few months - I'm thinking September. It may be by then that I find we are making more of an equal effort at finding time and being close with each other. Or I may find that I feel we've drifted into being more like friends than partners - in which case, we may need to think about making some changes in how we think and talk about our relationship.

I have told him that I'm not going to chase him or get upset with him if there isn't time for us any longer - he needs to make his own choices and we need to see where we are in a few months.

My SO is very committed to our relationship so I'm thinking that it should be okay.

IP
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  #89  
Old 05-15-2013, 10:17 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Thanks for posting & keeping up with this blog. I really enjoy your perspective. I liked what you had to say about having multiple dogs vs. having an "only" dog, and how you can think about multiple romantic relationships with humans in a similar way.

It reminded me of how I'm always surprised when people who lose a dog (when the dog dies, I mean) go out and get a new dog right away. I'm not like that--I need a long time to grieve for the old dog without "replacing" it. Yet, people who get a new dog quickly aren't really wrong nor are they doing something bad--they have love to give to a new dog, and having the new dog helps them recover from their sadness over the old dog. Maybe I dwell on things too much and grieve too much.

Similarly, a friend of mine experienced being left suddenly by his live-in boyfriend last year. The boyfriend just packed up and moved out while my friend was away on a work trip. Didn't even say good-bye. Now, if that happened to me I would have curled up and grieved for like a year.

But my friend got right back into dating--and not casual dating, but dating with the specific intent to find another serious live-in partner. It seemed strange to me, like he just wanted to replace his ex-boyfriend with another boyfriend. Yet, my friend knew exactly what he wanted and was happy with the choices he was making. His sadness over missing his ex did not seem to last very long. He "moved on."

I sort of hate the phrase "move on." I guess because I do what I need to do in the way I need to do it, which feels to me like moving on, like entering a new phase in my life, but to other people it looks like I am stuck and still grieving. I guess because I am very slow to "move on" from things that make me grieve.

I'm not sure if I'm wrong or if I just do things my own way and that works for me.

Thank you for your thought-provoking posts. Good luck with the developments in your relationship with your SO!
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  #90  
Old 05-16-2013, 12:39 AM
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Somegeezer Somegeezer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post
It reminded me of how I'm always surprised when people who lose a dog (when the dog dies, I mean) go out and get a new dog right away. I'm not like that--I need a long time to grieve for the old dog without "replacing" it. Yet, people who get a new dog quickly aren't really wrong nor are they doing something bad--they have love to give to a new dog, and having the new dog helps them recover from their sadness over the old dog. Maybe I dwell on things too much and grieve too much.
Very sorry if this is a silly thing to say on your personal blog, IP...

But to reply to Meera, I am dreading the day my cat dies.
Although more dog person than cat person, I've had her since I was a kid. Always love having her curl up and fall asleep on me. But it's saddening to think about. >__<

Could not imagine just going and replacing someone who has been in your life for so long, and having made such a close bond with. So some do, and it is who they are. I just don't personally understand it.

I'm still feeling shitty from my first closely bonded relationship with a human.

Yay me, putting a downer on things! How do I fix that?
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