Restructuring

Yes, I know I promised a post weeks ago.  I just didn’t have it in me to make one.  So much has happened now, I’m not truly sure where to even begin.

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Oh the Humanity! (How dare I be human!)

I don’t like admitting that I’m not all I want to be cracked up to be. I don’t like admitting that I have faults. I know they’re there, mind you, I just don’t like naming them and admitting them. I really don’t like admitting to having a faulty thought process. My mind is my most valuable possession. If it’s not working properly, or as required of me, I tend to begin to feel as if my entire being is flawed and that there is nothing worthwhile here. Yes, I am aware that this pattern is a flaw as well. Right now, I’m not liking myself much at all. I’m working on it, but damned if this was an unexpected repair job to pull on myself. I feel rather like a moron for even needing it. I hate the very word jealousy. It’s a pointless thing, you see. As I’ve said before, as other polyamorists have said before, it’s an umbrella term used to cover a lot of other emotions, thoughts and unmet/unspoken needs. I have been absolutely devoured with jealousy this past few weeks. Part of it is at least understandable, if somewhat unfounded. Most of it isn’t founded in anything but old insecurities and wounds that are popping up for me. A fair amount of it is that I had some very certain ideas of how all this was going to happen and how it would look and function; and damn it all but J and T are humans with their own thoughts, desires and ideas about how things should be. Their ideas and needs and so on have made a mess of my pretty little mantelpiece family photo! How rude and inconsiderate of them! (Right?) So, what am I being jealous about? T and J, I apologize, I know I haven’t talked to you about this very plainly. I’m a bit embarrassed and ashamed of myself for even feeling this way. I need a cute kitten picture that screams “Do Not Like!” Lately I’ve been very jealous about time. It has seemed that J spends his evenings with T actually being with her, enjoying her being with him. When he and I have time together, he falls asleep. This has been going on for about a month. So in this case, the jealousy isn’t totally unfounded, but it is there. As I know that jealousy is that umbrella term, the real responses there are that I find that when this happens, I feel unimportant and uninteresting to J. I don’t “blame” T for it, but I find myself envying her for being “more interesting” and “more fun” to be around. Then I go sit alone while they have their time and stare into space and let myself sink lower and lower until I am close to tears. When J falls asleep the instant we’re alone, I find myself becoming agitated and unhappy and even angry at times. I feel “cheated” and I’ve realized that the refrain in my mind in this situation is “again.” It whispers at me, “He’s not going to spend time with you, again,” or “He’s all energetic about seeing her, again.” Any number of configurations that seem designed to make me unhappy about the situation and that keep my mind dwelling on the things I’m not getting. I realized how bad it was getting when J spent the evening with me yesterday. We both ended up staying up until well past midnight. Most of the evening we just stretched out on my bed watching a movie. (J has been sick lately.) J rested his hand on me, occasionally kissed my shoulder, held me close to him, and all I could do was fight with myself because my mind wanted to stay focused on how he wasn’t touching me and how much time we don’t get together. I was right there, with J feeling so sick he really didn’t want to do much and still reaching out and being affectionate with me, and I couldn’t keep my mind off of all the reasons to be unhappy! That’s when I realized I needed to stop and just be honest with myself. This morning, T tells me that she and J had already talked about the sleeping schedule for the weekend. Before she could say anything I felt that sinking feeling drawing me back down into the dark and lonely places. I knew that it was the weekend and he’d be with her “again” and I’d have to figure out what to do with myself and let go of the idea of him being with me again until Monday. Bearing in mind, this isn’t some sort of “pattern” that has been established. In fact, it has only happened a couple of times where J spent an entire weekend with T. When T told me that they’d decided that since Sunday is hers, she had suggested he stay with me tonight, I couldn’t even respond. I was taken so by surprise, and not because J or T are “mean” to me, but because I’ve allowed myself to sell myself the idea that J doesn’t really want to be with me and that T doesn’t care about my relationship with J. Oh, my mind is a beautiful thing, it really is. It convinced me of all that without any real evidence to support those thoughts. The realities are, J wants to be with me. He loves me and misses having time with me when we don’t get to have time together. Yes, he falls over in a pile of roughly J-shaped clothing when he’s with me rather often. This is because he trusts me to understand the stresses he’s been facing and to be supportive of him, because I always have been. If T weren’t part of the equation, I wouldn’t be so upset about this, and that’s always a good litmus test for a poly relationship when someone starts feeling insecure. “Would this be the case if it were just the two of us?” Honestly, if it were just the two of us, it might be worse. J confides deeply in me, and trusts me to be understanding of his needs and the state of his mind. He trusts me so much, he doesn’t even question it. If he needs to have a very quiet, stress-free time, then I should at least be secure enough by this stage to provide that and to enjoy the time I have instead of worrying about what I don’t have. I have been able, in the past couple of weeks, to get over the idea that T is out to hurt me or to push me aside. The problems that led to this jealousy thing happening weren’t T’s doing. They were J’s doing, and my own doing. That helps, and seeing T as an ally instead of a threat is an infinitely better way of living in this household. But what on earth is leaving me so bound up with the idea that J doesn’t want me? I mean, these thoughts cover everything from “He doesn’t love me” to “I’m too old and ugly for him now.” I’ve had to do a lot of thinking on this. The problem stem from, I am certain, my last ex. I barely survived that one. He was deeply passive-aggressive, and would withdraw affection and hold it hostage to get me to do what he wanted. When we parted, he was not kind about it at all. I had thought those wounds were pretty well healed, but I was not correct in that assessment of the damages. Feeling unwanted isn’t about J or T in this case; it’s about that ex and the many ways he convinced me I was not worthwhile. I feel like a complete noob right now. I should know better than to let things like this take me over. Sometimes I really dislike being human. So, reality stepping in: Yes, J and I have been struggling on the intimacy front. We’re working on it. I need to accept what is and stop worrying so much about what isn’t or what I think someone else is getting that I’m not. I need to appreciate the time we’re together and find the off switch for those voices that keep telling me all about what I’m not getting. I need to stop comparing what happens with T and what happens with me when we’re with J. Reality: I have been with J for years. He’s not going to be acting like a guy who just fell face first into love with me because he didn’t. That was years ago. If the situation were reversed, I’d be as love struck with a new metamour as he is, and that’s OK because it has no bearing on his feelings for me. I need to appreciate the peace and security that has come with a long-term relationship. I’ve always wanted this. I’ve always wanted someone who was “here to stay” and who I could be comfortable in the presence of. Someone I didn’t have to be “on queue” for but who I could just sit quietly in a room with if the mood so struck us. I have that with J. I need to stop letting myself sulk (and that’s what it is) over the fact that we got here, and let myself continue to enjoy this as I have for the past few years. (On a side note, T has made comments about feeling similarly because she and J aren’t there. We girls can’t win for losing sometimes, right? I find the viewpoint amusing, honestly.) I need to just relax and not kick myself so much. I’ve seen the problem and can handle it. I just don’t like being so petty and so dissatisfied when I know, rationally, that there’s no real reason for it.

Reconnecting

Tonight was a surprise night for me.  Not all the surprises were pleasant, but even that yielded a pleasant surprise or three.

I asked J last night if he’d be willing to spend tonight with me as I’ve only been with him two nights this week.  He told me that he wanted to spend tonight alone, to himself.  I planned on sleeping in the living room so he could play games as much as he liked without keeping me awake.  As it turned out, he didn’t spend time alone tonight and didn’t tell T that he wanted to, so they spent the evening together.  I was really sad about that, and felt pretty left out and confused all evening.  When he was ready for bed, it turned out that T had asked him to stay with her tonight, and he had agreed to.  It felt like a double smack in the face, to be honest.  First to be told that he didn’t want to be with me, that he wanted to be alone, and then to hear that he’d changed his plans and was going to be with T instead.

Honestly, I wanted to just sit down and cry about it.  I really felt rejected.  I felt worse than rejected, I felt jilted.

Instead, I removed myself from the situation.  I went outside, fought down the tears, and reminded myself that tomorrow, J is taking me out for lunch at “our place.” It was his idea to take me out, I didn’t ask him for it, he told me that he wanted to do this.  Whatever spurred the decisions he made tonight about not spending the night gaming, and about staying with T after telling me no, it is *not* a message that he doesn’t want me.  No, it wasn’t terribly considerate of him, but it wasn’t a commentary on what I’m worth to him, and I let that fact just sort of settle in on me.

When I went back in, he was already tucked into bed.  T was waiting as we had planned to take a walk and go to Starbucks together.  I admit that at first, I had to force it, but I put a smile on my face and off we went.  I’m so glad that I did.

T is great company, firstly.  While she doesn’t like to talk about the issues that J and I face, she isn’t without understanding, or compassion.  I really didn’t have to say much of anything, but she did mention that the confusion is uncomfortable for her as well.  Then we fought to change the topic, to talk about something other than J.

To say that we succeeded is to make a massive understatement.  We talked about what we want out of life, what leads to feeling fulfilled and proud of living.  We talked about why we each stay.  We talked about the discoveries she and I have both made about ourselves, as well.  I won’t share what she said, that will be up to her, but we’re staying for similar reasons.. we both recognize that we’re growing and learning here.

Among the things that I told her was that I’ve realized that I am still reacting to wounds that were left on me by an ex.  Among these are that any time J doesn’t reach for me, it means he doesn’t want me.  The reality is, that’s not the message J is giving.  J isn’t giving any message, honestly.  The ex though, he wielded my love for him and my desire to be near him like a weapon.  Any perceived offense and he would withdraw utterly, even to forbidding me to touch him.  By perceived offense, I mean things like… I cooked dinner but he didn’t want a full meal (and hadn’t told me so).  The slightest things would send him into this routine of witholding affection.  I realized I’ve been responding to J as if he were that ex, and I’ve been doing it a lot.  I hadn’t realized that the wounds were even still there, much less that they were causing me so much pain in the present, and I’ve been working on the healing for them.

The conversation went through the evening as a trip to have coffee turned into a trip to the bookstore where I found and bought her a bookmark for her birthday.  It’s a pretty thing, silver with ribbons and a quote about living life each day.  Amusingly, the conversation on the way home was about how much we both want to be free to just live life.  When I gave it to her at home, she was happily surprised at the gift and the coincidence of the conversation.

The sweetest moment of the evening came on the walk home though.  I stopped to smell a flowering tree.  I commented that the flowers smelled like vanilla.  T smelled some and agreed.  We stood there for a moment, just smelling the flowers.  Then I decided to pull off a cluster of them for her.  When I turned to give them to her, she was in the process of pulling flowers off the tree to give to me!

I feel much… safer.. now that she and I had a chance to talk and spend time together.  I feel like I still have a friend who cares for me.  I feel like I’m not the only one who feels afraid of everything blowing up, but who is willing to put in the work to give things a valid chance.  I feel that we’re hearing one another.

… and I can’t get over those flowers and the moment when we realized we were each picking flowers for the other.  That was possibly the sweetest and happiest moment in weeks between she and I.

Chaos, Uncertainty, and Mixed Signals

Things have been a bit of a wild ride this past several days.  In fact, it’s been rough for over a week now.  There are things happening that are at least good for me, and I’m hoping that they’ll eventually turn around and be good for all of us.

Long story

Good Things Happen, Too

As I was re-reading the last entry I realized that I’ve spent perhaps an undue amount of time speaking about the difficulties of a fledgling poly household.  There are benefits to having a poly household.  For starters, I don’t have to listen to music that J loves and I don’t like.  T likes that music though, so it gives them something to share and spares me for the most part!  (That’s meant to be funny, it’s ok to laugh.)

This past week has been perhaps our best yet.  There has been peace, for the most part, between us all.  It’s a grand thing to experience.

I think my favorite was last night when J took a nap and T stretched out on one side of him and read a book while I stretched out on the other side and napped with J.  It was just that comfortable and relaxed.  I really enjoyed having both of them there and the simple peace of us all being together and being content together.

Tonight though, T made my heart just swell right up.  She mentioned that the odds were against the three of us having met, and against us being together, and yet, here we are.  I hadn’t really recognized it in that way.  I knew that the odds were against me and J being together.  I always knew that.  We lived half a continent apart from one another when we met.  I hadn’t really let it sink in that not only were J and I together, but we’d found a wonderful match for us in T, and not only were we in the same state, or even in the same town, but I was in the same home with her when we found her.  Sometimes, I do get a sense of destiny about all this, and I think it made me very happy to realize that I’m not the only one who understands how exceptional this entire adventure is.

I do have a lot of very high hopes for all of us, and for our future as a triad.  We even had a nice reminder last weekend about how well things work out for us when we all focus ourselves on achieving one common goal.  Things don’t move more easily when we do that, they simply open up and flow forward in the direction that we need them to.

I’ve been doing some reading lately from a book about shamanic practitioners from around the world.  Every one of them credits their loved ones with making it possible for them to work.  Their loved ones give them faith and strength to keep going when it seems like the tasks are just too much.  Being a shamanic practitioner myself, I understand the loneliness that comes from that working.  Yet, I find less and less loneliness and more and more understanding and encouragement from T and J.  I asked the gods early this year for a partner, someone who could withstand the trials I must face without interrupting them, but who could be at my side.  I even asked specifically for J, if it were possible and good for us.  The answer I was given was "Done and done."  I couldn’t understand why it was said twice, but now, I find myself wanting to go back and ask again if the answer was not for one partner, but for two.

I do know that while I was with an ex, he was saying that he sensed another woman to join with us, to be in a triad with us.  I also sensed her, and knew her hair type and color, that she would be recently separated and divorcing, and I even pointed in the direction in which she lived.  He and I thought it meant she was somewhere nearby, in a smaller, outlying town.  As it turns out, she was about 1000 miles away, and had no more idea that this was coming for her life than I did when we met.  How odd that he sensed my future though.

Whatever this is, whether divinely determined destiny, a freak chance, or a wonderful example of synchronicity, I am glad for both T and J and for all that they each bring into my life.  I hope, more than I think I’m ready to really admit, that this never ends for us.

When you’re the speedbump.

Being the speed bump is a position I wish no one ever had to be in.  In poly relationships, it seems that everyone will be the speed bump at some point.  There will be something happening that leaves you in the position of stopping everything and saying, "This isn’t working for me."  It happened to be me that was the speed bump this week.  I didn’t like it at all, but I think we managed to resolve things rather easily.

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Coming Out

We had a couple of J’s friends over for dinner last night to meet T.  All in all, it went very well.  I was happy to be able to introduce T as a part of our family, and even happier that his friends accepted her so readily.  There are other friends for her to meet, and we have talked of doing this, but all things in time I suppose. Overall, it was a very good evening, though I think it might have gone a bit late as we all promptly went to bed once our guests had left.

I spent the majority of the weekend just overcome with compersion.  No real jealousy at all, no feelings of being excluded or overlooked, just a simple happiness at seeing T and J together.  The feeling of being a family, of being at peace with my family, went a long way to help that I’m sure.  We’ve had some upheavals in the past week and were all feeling unsettled for the majority of it.  It was really nice to be able to see T and J snuggled up on the couch and just smile at them and be happy that they were looking so happy together.

T was supposed to be taking a trip in a couple of weeks but her plans seem to have fallen through.  So, given that she has the time off saved up, I’ve invited her to join J and I on a trip to see my family at Christmas.  My son will be home after having graduated AIT and I want to be there to see him.  I am really hoping she’ll come with us.  I don’t like the idea of leaving her behind during the holidays, for one thing, and for another, I want her to be able to meet my family and friends.  As most of them live in another state, it would require all of us to take a trip to visit them for this to happen.

I wish that this world were different than it is.  I wish that she and J could be together openly, whether I’m with them or not.  If not for the potential legal issues, I would be willing to start a campaign to bring government and social recognition to all polyamorous families.  I don’t understand why it is that if I see T as an equal partner in this household, the rest of the world can’t grant her the same standing.  It troubles me, often.