November 4, 2009

openthehatchSome days feel longer than others. Yesterday felt like a weight that crushed all my feelings out. I used the f* word a lot. I expressed my most selfish, unenlightened feelings. I tried to reach for the most gallant in me and couldn’t reconcile it with the aching wound.

Things I want: a time machine; fewer emotional conversations; a faster process

Things I don’t want to want that I want: to be okay with her hurting or feel bad too

Things I need: to feel safe with you; to re-center; to celebrate all that we are

Things I feel: afraid; angry; sad; hopefully; safe; caring; tired

Things I remember: that you love me; that I love you; that in the end this is just a moment, among the others.


The Monogamy Mindset

October 23, 2009

readytobereborn2So even though I said in my blog title these confessions are from a “poly” woman, I mostly use that as a shorthand for convenience. I don’t really identity as polyamorous. It’s not “who I am”. It’s “what I want”, in terms of my relationship style, which means I am “in an open relationship”.

People who identify as “monogamous” have a strong attachment to the importance of sex and romance being an exclusive act. People who identify as “polyamorous” have a strong attachment to the importance of sex and romance being shared in appropriate times and ways, as defined by the people involved in the experience. However, I think someone can identify as monogamous and still be in an open relationship.

In a monogamous relationship, the evidence of your commitment is often encapsulated in what you don’t do — have sex or romantic connections outside your couple. Most couples have a variety of ways they show their love and commitment, but when someone breaks this larger agreement, it sends them spinning. There are people who identify as polyamorous who have this “monogamy” mindset — these couples behave like monogamous couples with hall passes for sex. They structure complex agreements to handle the intricacies of this behavior, but in the end, the way in which you behave with other people is a huge part of the evidence of your commitment.

For me, an open relationship is about having the freedom to fully pursue your personal growth with a lifelong partner to support, encourage, comfort, share, and delight with you. It can include the expression of romantic and physical connection with other people, but the larger purpose is to create an environment of opportunity. So someone can have a sexually monogamous desire and practice while still engaging a relationship structure that creates opportunities for independent growth and expression.

In this type of relationship the importance and specialness of the commitment rests less in behaviors with other people and primarily in behaviors towards the other partner.  Because my partner and I are in an open relationship that includes sex and romance with other people, we have some structures around that. Less specific rules about external activities and more rules that indicate respect for our relationship. And ultimately they are rules that easily apply to how we handle money, free time, employment, parenting, etc ..

1. No surprises (we should be connecting both regularly and openly enough that anything about to happen should have been well telegraphed)
2. No decisions in the moment (they can make it harder to remember anything beyond what you want right now)
3. Don’t make decisions for your partner (if they say they want something a certain way, believe them. and don’t engage in behavior that can affect them without their consent and knowledge)
4. Be sure you are meeting the needs of your family and your ongoing commitments first, before you start making new commitments
5. Manage risk responsibly and with awareness of your partner and how it will affect them.

Hearts and Guts.

October 21, 2009

anatomyI don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. Right now my guts are out there though. An acquaintance of mine has an open wound in his side — very thin flesh covers and protects his most vulnerable internal organs. He wears layers of protection and walks with awareness that any random, accidental movement could bring him down and possibly end his life. I guess emotional damage isn’t nearly as dramatic. My life isn’t going to end because I am really, really sad about some things. I do feel like I have this layer of cellophane between me and everything else. It’s part roller coaster, part marathon. These ups and down happen and I want to just curl into a ball. And I have a life that requires I pace myself and I keep on going. Which is most likely a good thing– I think being able to indulge ourselves in our bouts of self-pity is rarely a good thing.

What your risk reveals what you  value.

You spent me without counting the cost. 

I want things, too. I just keep choosing to be here and now. 

I worry that you are so used to being the star and the focus that you think you somehow are entitled. That I don’t have a choice. That you can treat me with disregard and say it’s the nature of our relationship. We are in an open relationship, which means we get the freedom to explore opportunities and delights. It doesn’t mean you get the freedom to ignore me or devalue who I am to you when it’s convenient.