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.

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

Productive day despite ourselves!

Today started off oddly.  For starters, I was up before dawn.  Then we didn’t go to church.  Ok, off to get breakfast and then J was going to take some time alone.  He hasn’t been doing this, so it was no biggie for me to understand that he needed that time.  Then we were going to take a hike and then off to the picnic.

The way it went instead, I had to tell J that he was going to take time for himself instead of putting his needs on the back burner again, then T ended up talking with me, and then J came out and joined us and we ended up having a very impromptu family meeting.  T and J got to talk about a few things that weren’t quite meshing up in their relationship, and then J and I talked as well.  Somehow I ended up bursting into tears, but at least it was brought out. 

In the end, T and J both agreed to scheduling a week at a time so that we all get to do the things we wanted to do.  We don’t have a schedule yet, but we will be making one for the coming week very soon.  I’m hoping that it does everything it has done in the past and we can all start feeling better soon.

Then T and I talked for a while, just girls talking, while J went to take his own time and the conversation turned to far lighter things and rapidly disintegrated into she and I making absolutely outrageous jokes at one another.  That lifted my spirits a great deal.  Then we all snuggled up for a few minutes before heading off to the picnic.

The picnic was lots of fun.  Our poly friends had just taken a vacation and had pictures to show, and we all talked a bit about this and that.  It was, all in all relaxing.  Well, aside from the part where I saw a snake in the rafters of our picnic shelter and someone went to take a picture of it just as it literally jumped after a mouse and we all scrambled for safety on the benches not knowing what kind of snake it was or if it was poisonous or not.  Said mouse ran for its life and escaped.  Said snake made his way angrily across the picnic shelter and into the brush around us.  We all had a good laugh, but we kept some watchful eyes on the rafters after that.

Now, T and J are studying for the GRE together and I’m staying quietly out of the way.  I am tired after being up so early today.  I do have some things on my mind, but I’m trying to just let those things sort themselves out with time.  In short, my relationship with J took some nasty hits getting all this started, and I’m still not feeling settled.  *deep breath*  It has only been one month.  Patience and time.  *deep breath*  Such easy advice and so hard to give to yourself, isn’t it?

I realized today that I’m actually very nervous about T and J going forward to grad school.  Will they still want me around if I can’t keep up with them in the academic field?  What about the things I want to do, things J promised me I would get to do, but now, I don’t know if those promises still hold.  I am, in short, afraid of being left behind with my own dreams unfulfilled.

Are those fears based in reality?  I don’t know.  I know that today, despite such a good day, I am feeling very uncertain and afraid.  I wish I didn’t, but, there it is.  I wish I knew how to talk about these things with them clearly.