Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Life stories and blogs

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #71  
Old 06-02-2013, 06:22 PM
hyperskeptic's Avatar
hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 372
Default Travelin' Blues

Another click, as another little bit of understanding falls into place.

As I write this, two people I care about - Vix and Metis - are each on the road. Metis is on her way back from a city about 800 miles from here, while Vix is returning to that same city as part of her ongoing tour.

What seems to bother me about this is that they are both exposed to terrible risks - statistically, driving is one of the more dangerous things we do - beyond any possibility of my helping them, or even knowing for sure that they are safe and whole.

It makes me feel vulnerable, exposed to a risk of loss beyond my control; it seems to me this sense of vulnerability has been a significant part of the emotional turmoil I've experience during Vix's many long absences this past year or so.

There are other factors, of course, but I do think this is important.

I may have inherited from my parents and grandparents the tendency to worry about people who are traveling. Whenever we left their house, when I was a kid, my grandparents always insisted my parents call them as soon as they arrived home . . . on the other side of town.

I'm getting better at bracketing off this particular worry, not letting it occupy too much space in my thoughts; it's easier when I know people I care about have arrived somewhere relatively safe, even if it's far from me.

There are moments when it's especially difficult, though. When Vix and I parted a week ago, I was overwhelmed by a kind of desolation, an acute sense that I could too easily end up alone, just on some random mischance on the highway.

Fortunately, Vix and even Metis are willing to humor me on this, checking in from time to time to let me know their progress.
Reply With Quote
  #72  
Old 08-30-2013, 10:49 AM
hyperskeptic's Avatar
hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 372
Default Warmth

I don't have time to write much today - or, really, ever - but something good has been happening in my friendship with Metis.

In June, Vix and the girls went off to Europe for a couple of weeks, using Doc's house as home base. While they were away, I met up with Metis several times for lunch, or dinner, or a walk through old neighborhoods nearby.

Then, I went off to the UK for six weeks; Vix and the girls met me there, and we had a very fine time of it.

Digression: A few months ago, I agonized a bit about what would happen upon my return from the UK: Vix had come home early with the girls so they could start school, but she was planning to fly right back to Europe to attend some events with Doc.

As it turned out, we were able to meet up in the airport - I had just gotten through Customs, and Vix was waiting for her flight out - for about fifteen minutes.

Not a proper good-bye, but not so bad.

I'll write about it another time, but I seem to have handled that particular absence pretty well, and we've been easing back into life together since then - though she is leaving again this weekend for a week pursuing her avocation: she's going on tour!

Anyway, I've been seeing Metis often for coffee or lunch at work, and at various activities in which we both participate . . . and a subtle change has started to take place.

She has been taking the initiative in arranging for us to see one another and, when we've been together, it has seemed to me that her affection for me is growing. We have even planned some activities together months in advance!

In an online chat the other night, she confirmed that her feelings for me have been changing, especially over the past month.

I told her - with only a little hedging - that I love her dearly. I hedged because 'love' is a treacherous word, easily misunderstood. I wanted her to know that my affection for her does not involve any demand for or expectation of a particular kind of relationship; I don't want to rush anything, or even assume anything about the direction in which our friendship might go, because I really, really don't want to mess it up.

She didn't use the word, 'love', but wrote instead of fondness, and admiration, and warmth, and affection. I acknowledged that there has been a mismatch in our feelings for one another, but she replied that the mismatch is not as great as it was in the past.

I don't have a label to put on my relationship with Metis. It's certainly not a romance, in any conventional sense of the term. We aren't lovers, in any conventional sense, and may never be.

The best term I've come up with to describe it - in talking about it with Vix - is "warm friendship."

It seems to be getting warmer.
Reply With Quote
  #73  
Old 08-30-2013, 07:43 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 505
Default

Welcome back. Glad to hear things are going well.

Have you, or you and Vix, or you and Metis, looked ahead to if Metis's feelings for you continue to deepen? Is there a possibility of this becoming more than friends? More than lovers? Moving in together? Or would you go only so far as lovers, and if she wants more, tell her she knew the score (no pun intended) when she started to play...also no pun intended.
Reply With Quote
  #74  
Old 08-30-2013, 11:14 PM
hyperskeptic's Avatar
hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 372
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Have you, or you and Vix, or you and Metis, looked ahead to if Metis's feelings for you continue to deepen? Is there a possibility of this becoming more than friends? More than lovers? Moving in together? Or would you go only so far as lovers, and if she wants more, tell her she knew the score (no pun intended) when she started to play...also no pun intended.
I'm really not presupposing anything, at this point. Speaking only for myself, I'm open to all sorts of possibilities to be worked out by mindful and inclusive negotiation, by and by.

I don't know exactly what Vix would be up for but, knowing her as well as I do, I suspect unconventional arrangements of one sort or another are a real possibility.

I should say, in response to the phrasing at the end of your post, that I don't think we're "playing," in any sense of the term. This isn't a game; it's real life.

(I mean, I think I see what you're getting at. It's just the choice of words that bugs me a little.)
Reply With Quote
  #75  
Old 08-31-2013, 03:40 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 505
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
I'm really not presupposing anything, at this point. Speaking only for myself, I'm open to all sorts of possibilities to be worked out by mindful and inclusive negotiation, by and by.

I don't know exactly what Vix would be up for but, knowing her as well as I do, I suspect unconventional arrangements of one sort or another are a real possibility.

I should say, in response to the phrasing at the end of your post, that I don't think we're "playing," in any sense of the term. This isn't a game; it's real life.

(I mean, I think I see what you're getting at. It's just the choice of words that bugs me a little.)
Of course, 'play' is used to mean many different things, by musicians, by swingers, by children, as an expression of not taking things seriously. I'm not sure which meaning you thought I meant.

If you care about Metis, you should know ahead of time what you really have to offer her, as her feelings for you grow, and not only what Vix is open to, but what about Metis herself? Maybe Vix is fine with having Metis move in with you and be a second wife, but maybe Metis isn't.

And there are others, besides Vix and Metis.

How would her parents or siblings or friends regard this situation? Is their opinion important to her? If your relationship with her becomes known on campus, are you ready to tell the world you have an open marriage, or will she be regarded as a home wrecker, and you as a cheater? Will you be taking her as your date to professional events (galas, banquets, Christmas parties, whatever) and if so, how will your colleagues treat you and/or her as a result? If this isn't an option, will she be expected to understand that she will be having a long term relationship with someone who needs to keep her at home under wraps, even if she does live with him? Will you be inviting her to visit your family and introducing her as your girlfriend?

I respectfully suggest these things should be known before her feelings continue to grow, exactly because this is not a game. What happens if you and she blithely assume Vix is open to unconventional arrangements, you fall deeply in love, start making plans to move her in and find out Vix is not quite as open as you thought?

Has Metis herself looked ahead to what she wants from life, from relationships, and what happens if she falls in love with someone who can't or won't offer her the marriage and home that people so often want with the person with whom they are in love?

I don't offer this as criticism, just questions.
Reply With Quote
  #76  
Old 08-31-2013, 03:59 AM
hyperskeptic's Avatar
hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 372
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Of course, 'play' is used to mean many different things, by musicians, by swingers, by children, as an expression of not taking things seriously. I'm not sure which meaning you thought I meant.

If you care about Metis, you should know ahead of time what you really have to offer her, as her feelings for you grow, and not only what Vix is open to, but what about Metis herself? Maybe Vix is fine with having Metis move in with you and be a second wife, but maybe Metis isn't.

And there are others, besides Vix and Metis.

How would her parents or siblings or friends regard this situation? Is their opinion important to her? If your relationship with her becomes known on campus, are you ready to tell the world you have an open marriage, or will she be regarded as a home wrecker, and you as a cheater? Will you be taking her as your date to professional events (galas, banquets, Christmas parties, whatever) and if so, how will your colleagues treat you and/or her as a result? If this isn't an option, will she be expected to understand that she will be having a long term relationship with someone who needs to keep her at home under wraps, even if she does live with him? Will you be inviting her to visit your family and introducing her as your girlfriend?

I respectfully suggest these things should be known before her feelings continue to grow, exactly because this is not a game. What happens if you and she blithely assume Vix is open to unconventional arrangements, you fall deeply in love, start making plans to move her in and find out Vix is not quite as open as you thought?

Has Metis herself looked ahead to what she wants from life, from relationships, and what happens if she falls in love with someone who can't or won't offer her the marriage and home that people so often want with the person with whom they are in love?

I don't offer this as criticism, just questions.
All of this is highly speculative. I suppose any of these questions may become relevant at some point . . . though it may be that none of them will ever be relevant.

For my own part, I am approaching my relationship with Metis - and, increasingly, my relationship with Vix - intentionally, with thoughtful consideration of contexts and consequences, due respect of the choices and the reasonable expectations of others, and a fair degree of self control.

Feelings are not imperatives, after all. I adore Metis - really - but that doesn't mean I must become her lover if the occasion arises. There may be good reason to hold back from being anything more than good friends.

I give Metis a lot of credit for intelligence, good sense, and imagination: she is as at least as capable of thinking things through as I am. I don't doubt we'd talk the whole thing half to death before we really changed anything about how we relate to one another.

And, really, all of that is beside the point of my post from earlier today. In a sense, it doesn't matter to me if the outward form of our relationship never changes.

The affection and understanding that is developing between us is intensely sweet in its own right, and I'm grateful for her friendship as it is.
Reply With Quote
  #77  
Old 08-31-2013, 04:01 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 505
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
There may be good reason to hold back from being anything more than good friends.
My point, exactly.
Reply With Quote
  #78  
Old 08-31-2013, 12:35 PM
hyperskeptic's Avatar
hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 372
Default

Well, for the record, that's pretty much what I said, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
I told her - with only a little hedging - that I love her dearly. I hedged because 'love' is a treacherous word, easily misunderstood. I wanted her to know that my affection for her does not involve any demand for or expectation of a particular kind of relationship; I don't want to rush anything, or even assume anything about the direction in which our friendship might go, because I really, really don't want to mess it up.
Reply With Quote
  #79  
Old 09-01-2013, 02:43 AM
nycindie's Avatar
nycindie nycindie is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 6,763
Default

Hyperskeptic, I think you're doing so so well, and I see no need to try and figure everything out now in order to prepare for any sort of outcome - stay present. You both obviously appreciate and respect each other and are able to acknowledge your feelings for each other without needing to make that mean something or to make it have to go anywhere in particular. You're enjoying each other's company and deepening your friendship and becoming more intimate emotionally. Metis trusts you. It sounds beautiful to me, and I think that your calm and thoughtful approach sounds absolutely perfect and appropriate for all of you.
__________________
Hot chick in the city.

Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me. ~Bryan Ferry
"Love is that condition in which another person's happiness is essential to your own." ~Robert Heinlein

Last edited by nycindie; 09-01-2013 at 02:58 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #80  
Old 10-06-2013, 01:07 PM
hyperskeptic's Avatar
hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 372
Default Feelings and Expectations

Vix is away in Europe, again. It's her last long trip for a while, and her last trip to Europe before Doc moves back to the States. She'll be away for another two weeks.

Meanwhile, I've had the opportunity to spend some time with Metis this weekend. Friday night we went on a there-and-back road trip to an event in another state.

(My elder daughter is now mature enough to stay at home by herself for an evening, and my younger daughter was invited to stay over at a friend's house.)

The best thing about a road trip is that a car provides absolute privacy for conversation. Metis and I talked about all sorts of things: our respective families, past relationships, recent developments at work, ideas about human life in the world, happiness, music, and whatever else came across our path.

It was the longest uninterrupted conversation we've ever had.

We talked about feelings and expectations. I had told her before about my new-found trick of holding powerful feelings at arm's length to examine them, treating them as contingent empirical facts about myself rather than as universal truths or as imperatives imposed on me or on others.

This trick has been most useful in dealing with negative feelings - sorrow, regret, anger, despair. Several times in the past few months I've worked my way out of what would have become a deep funk by detaching from feelings in this way, not letting them dominate me or become me or set all my expectations for myself and the world.

When I start to despair and to really get down on myself I can say, in effect, "well, there I go again!"

I've written about all this here and, as I say, I'd even told Metis about it before. We talked about it in the car the other day because Metis has been struggling to do the same thing, though she frames it in Buddhist terms as non-attachment.

She has also seen friends struggle with this or, rather, entirely fail to struggle with it, letting their first reactions to particular situations dominate them rather than examining those reactions with a critical eye. So, a friend of hers felt utterly worthless and rejected because some guy she met in a bar stopped writing to her, when she could have examined that reaction, traced it back to the expectations women in our culture have had imposed on them regarding the forms and trajectories of relationships, and perhaps revised those expectations.

Talking with Metis, though, something in my thinking about feelings and expectations seemed not quite right: it seems to imply detachment from feelings, as though holding feelings at arm's length means I don't actually feel them any more.

Now, where negative feelings are concerned - envy, jealousy, spite, contempt, despair - that may be just as well.

(As an aside, I distinguish envy from jealousy like this: envy is wanting something someone else has; jealousy is wanting to hold on to something you have . . . or think you have.)

But what about positive feelings?

Those feelings - affection, love, joy, contentment - also need to be examined; they ought not to be treated as imperatives or as universal absolutes. At the same time, though, they have to be lived in and savored in order to be worth having, and perhaps in order for life to be worth living.

Let me acknowledge, then, that my time with Metis on our road trip and during the event in question was, from first to last, a delight. Being with her simply made me happy, and I am awash in affection for her.

I don't think it would be altogether healthy for me to detach from that affection, though it would be less healthy - for me and perhaps for Metis - if I let it dictate my actions. I can imagine all sorts of ways our relationship could develop from the warm friendship we have now, but it just wouldn't do to expect or demand any one of them on the basis of nothing more than my imagination and the strength of my feelings for her.

If I were to go that way, to let feelings become demands, I could see myself becoming grasping, whiny, envious, jealous, and otherwise obnoxious, in which case I really wouldn't be worthy of anyone else's affection.

I think I need to refine the technique of non-attachment, then. The trick is to be able to do two things at once: to feel what I feel, to be immersed in it and to savor it in all its intense immediacy, but at the same time to keep my expectations in check, to not let my affection become a demand, to make sure my actions toward Metis - and toward Vix, and our daughters, and our mutual friends - are governed by a clear-eyed view of things and a sense of my various responsibilities toward each of them.

This is a delicate balance, I think; it requires a lot of attention to my own state of mind and a refined sort of responsiveness to others.

In fact, maybe all of this is just another way of saying that the critical thing in having unconventional relationships is to be intentional about them - literally, to "hold them in mind" (in-tend) - to be deliberate.

I have to say, though, that this way of approaching feelings and expectations is itself intense, immediate and almost unutterably sweet.

Last edited by hyperskeptic; 10-06-2013 at 01:11 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:37 AM.