So far so… good enough?

This week has been odd for me.  Knowing that T and I are both dating J and we’re apparently going to give this poly thing another go is strange in some ways.  In some ways, it’s a weird sort of relief.  Almost like everything is ok, and realistically, it seems ok right now.  T isn’t having panic attacks, J is happier and more relaxed about everything.  Boundaries are being maintained.

I have this odd thing though.  I’m great in a crisis or a high-stress situation.  Afterwards, I fall apart.  All the emotional responses I didn’t allow myself come swarming through and there’s no control to them because I’ve stopped guarding them so tightly.

This week, I think I’ve had every emotion I held back on just smack me around like a tether ball.  I’ve had this feeling of being positive that J was going to leave me, all over again.  That despite his assurance right in front of me and T that he wasn’t going to do that and that he didn’t want to lose me.  I’ve felt disconnected and forgotten, because J and I have managed to have one night together this week, and little contact outside that night.  On my way to his place, J let me know that he was going to go see T before I arrived.  By the time I got there I was in tears from the anxiety that was just tearing through me.  I was terrified that T wouldn’t let us have the night together, that she’d upset J and he wouldn’t be able to calm down enough to enjoy our time, that he would still be tense and nervous because he has been for a while when I was there.

The fears were pointless.  T just wanted to see him for a minute before I got there.  No worry, no problem.  J was not only relaxed, but amazingly affectionate, more than he has been in a long time.  Turned out all my fear was rooted in the past.  That isn’t totally unreasonable, except that I was the one making it hard to relax because once he told me everything was fine, I started feeling nauseous because my nerves let go.  Way to go, self.

J is coming over to see me tomorrow and staying the night.  He may be staying Sunday as well, but we haven’t nailed that down just yet.  He’s constantly telling me he wants much more time with me, that once a week is just not enough for him.  He also said that our plans to move in together later this summer are still on.  So all my fears about losing him seem pretty pointless, too.

I ended up posting a lot about this emotional upheaval on a poly forum I frequent and got some great advice.  The parts that stuck out most to me are summed up as:

– Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, or to expect to be heard and have those needs met.
– Cut yourself some slack, but pay attention to your own mental processes.  The ones you’re in are formed in the past and will take you all back there.
– Find something else to do when you’re not with J.  Stop thinking about what he’s doing or whether he’s with T or not!

All in all, great advice, and a lot of understanding and supportiveness.  It helped and I got my head redirected.

I also talked to T.  Sunday I was around that neighborhood and she came out to meet me and we spent about two hours talking.  She told me she was terrified I’d think she was just biding time and waiting to “get her way” and take J away, but that wasn’t what she wanted to do at all.  She’s not positive that she can handle a poly relationship, but she’s trying again with that in mind.  It was a good talk, really.  It was a bit strained, which is to be expected I guess, after all that has happened.  The funny part of it was that as I was leaving I found out I had a flat tire.  I called T and she came back, took me to get a can of fix a flat (that tire was NOT coming off!)  Then she followed me home to be sure nothing went wrong on my way and we ended up hanging out at my place for another hour.  When I called her to ask her to come back and help me out, and when we were at my place, it was a much more natural interaction level, more like we used to be, and that was nice.  I haven’t heard from her since then, so I guess she’s been busy or something.  My first thought is “She doesn’t really want to talk to me.”  That’s a little silly though, I think.  I think that in reality we’re both kind of on edge right now and not wanting to step on one another’s toes.

So, it’s not “good” at this point, but it’s good enough.  We have a lot of distance to go for any of us to have it “good” again.  We’ve all been hurt and we’re all a bit guarded about the situation right now.  I think we’re all trying to do things differently this time, and we’re all taking advantage of not living together so we have time and space for ourselves.  To expect that everything will be “good” right this minute isn’t realistic.  I’ll take good enough, and everyone putting in effort to find stable ground with one another again.

On that note, maybe I need to invite T to hang out this weekend at some point, or just to meet up with me once a week to have coffee or something.  I don’t know that we’ll get back to being “best friends” again, but we can at least work on being comfortable around one another and achieving some sort of companionable level of interaction.  I’m the more outgoing in that respect, so rather than wait for her, I’ll drop the suggestion to her in the next few days and see what she says.

Who wants an update?

So, J and I got back together. We spent Valentine’s Day together. That was interesting, what with T calling non-stop and J leaving at one point in the middle of dinner to go out to tell her that he was through with her. That was really interesting as he’d told me they broke up before we got back together. Yeah, he lied. turned out, he lied, a lot.

It’s been a really bizarre couple of weeks. There have been emails between me and T. There have been fights on every front. There was basically a bomb going off and we were all getting nuked.

I emailed and asked T and J to meet with me today, at my place. I said that we needed to all talk.

J didn’t like that at all. In short, he’s been a real ass this last week. He woke up with me this morning, apologizing. We talked and finally he heard how afraid I’ve been, how hurt, how feeling left behind, and so on. I’d told him, but this time he heard.

The talk happened this afternoon. What a mess that was, sorting through. However, once it was done, we all felt better. Initially, T said that she had realized she was monogamous, and wasn’t willing to do anything but be friends with me and J anymore. I did suggest that we all hold off on making any decisions about anything right now, take a little time to think, because J had said that he wasn’t sure what he was thinking or feeling. T just wasn’t game to consider trying though. Given that it looked like things were over for the two of them, I gave them a few minutes to talk alone. Then J came out and asked me to rejoin them. When I did, T asked me what I’d meant when we were talking and I asked if she was sure she wasn’t poly, or if it was the situation, and what did I think it would look like if she and J and me and J were dating still.

We talked a little more, set up some ground rules, based on the past failures, threatened J with death, destruction and dismemberment if he doesn’t get on that learning curve like it’s the most important thing in the world, and we even talked about being aware of RRE (renewed relationship energy/make-up energy) and not hurting or leaving anyone out because of it. The biggest thing, I think, was that T and I agreed, no more venting about J to one another, ever, and J agreed no more venting to either of us about the other. Problems stay in the relationship that’s having them and the other person comes in to mediate ONLY if both parties ask it. Also, no one says anything to create a restriction on the other relationships. This is a trial period, it needs to be free to form or not. One of the things that came out during the conversation is that J isn’t really sure what he wants right now.

So, they’ve gone home now, and J is coming back to see me tomorrow. I’ve set them up to read Polyamory: A Roadmap for the Clueless and Hopeful, as first assignment. And we are all supposed to talk about it as it’s read. I’ve read the book. I hope they can get through it given my tendency to make notes in certain types of books.

We’ll see what happens. This is certainly a better place than we’ve been since before all this started last year. Right now, it’s clean. Everything is in the open. We each know where each other is, and isn’t. We have our ground rules. We have our boundaries. It could be just as bad as last time. It could still mean an end to both mine and T’s relationships with J. It could mean, for me, that J will decide he’s monogamous and wants to be with T. Whatever it means, we’re going to try to get there while keeping things clean, so that whatever comes out of it, we can get through it with a minimum of hurt. It’s a good place to be after the turmoil of the past year.

For an amusement point, when J and T were leaving, we did the group hug thing. J dropped his head down and went straight for buring his face in our chests. It made she and I laugh… a lot.

So help me though, once they left, all I could think was, “Dear gods, I can’t make this shit up!”