On the surface of things I’ve always understood on a level how sustaining a poly relationship works. In practice my theory seems like if it was not a bull’s eye, then there would be little brushing needed to get to the target in the middle.
Being non monogamous for me didn’t = being poly to me. Over the years I’ve tried to explain how I feel about things by saying that I was willing to share my sex but not my love. While that was accurate, and in some ways still is, it is an overly simple declaration that does not reflect the complexity of the current state of the union.
I am going to have to start using synonyms for that word – complex.
If I sat down and explained the layers of this it would confuse not just you constant reader but me as well. This is not something that should be working – period.
Historically I’ve had little issue with the physical expression of attraction and love. Sex is just not that serious. It is really good when you do it well, and it is even better when you and your partner are connected and in synch, but the big picture about relationships is that while many require sex as a component, when built properly they can (and do) exist without intercourse.
I’ve insisted over time that I will not allow my relationships be defined by the sex I am having or not having. I’ve never extended my explanation past fucking. In part its because fucking doesn’t matter – yet it really does matter just not more than love.
or compatibility, or humor, or similar values, or respect, or honesty, or transparency.
Having sex with more than one person – simple.
Navigating troubled waters of selfishness, jealousy, and your general territorial pissings is not as simple as sex.
My position about not being able to share my love while being able share my sex came from the inability to understand love in its purest form, without condition. It is not impossible to love unconditionally… it is difficult. Difficult does not = impossible. Sharing the passion and the connection and the intensity I shared with the people I’ve loved in the past seemed like something I did not want to do.
I’ve treated it like a zero sum game that if I allowed any of that go to someone else then I would lose out. I never considered that like plasma, your heart can always contribute to the process of making more, if your heart is healthy.
I can’t say that my heart has always been healthy. It is healthier today than it was yesterday. Hopefully it will be healthier tomorrow than today.
Hopefully I can take my healthy heart and use it to jump start something I’ve needed for longer than I’ve been willing to admit – reciprocity.
The ability to share not just my sex but also my love is best described as compersion.
Described in poly writings as the opposite of jealousy, compersion is the empathy extended to someone you love, with whom you have an intimate relationship, and the enjoyment of their happiness with that relationship understanding that it does not compromise your happiness with that partner.
I’ve always looked at it as a challenge. If I want you to be happy that I have to leave you alone with that other person and deny myself the happiness you give to me. Sharing more than just the sex didn’t seem attractive to me. It seemed like too much of a risk. That I was not possibly lovable enough to allow someone to be with anyone but me because well then I might lose them.
I’ve suffered enough losses over the years and fuck giving life the opportunity to make me lose something or someone who makes me happy.
I didn’t allow for the possibility that if I let love go, love would come back to me, and bring a friend who loved me too.
I didn’t allow for the possibility that more than one person would/could be so important to me that letting them go was unthinkable and that my compromise of “letting them have a different relationship” allowed love to blossom in the concrete of my broken heart and spirit.
I also never expected to find what I found when I did eventually consider the possibilities.
I had opportunity to separate myself from two people who love one another and also love me. I felt they needed the time I gave them to each other as “their time”. What I realize is that I needed “their time” as my time. I needed those moments alone, knowing that those two were using their alone time to strengthen their connection, to strengthen my connection also. As individuals I care deeply for them both. As a unit, whatever we are by definition, I care for them both. As a girl who is navigating these particular kinky waters for the first time and trying desperately not to fuck it up I needed to step away to look at myself and be sure that being presented with what I thought I was okay with….. I needed to see that I was really okay with it.
I’ve before been accepting of a principle in theory yet when presented with the reality of that principle I called bullshit and ran.
This time I had no desire to run, no threat to my delicate sensibilities that I would lose, instead I knew I was winning like Charlie Sheen.
When I returned to the room, our collective commitment felt stronger. Time will tell if I am right, but my gut almost always is right, which is why I’ve ignored it in the past when I’ve wanted something.
I won’t lie and say there isn’t jealousy. I will simply say that my jealousy isn’t desiring or requiring me to keep those who I care about to myself and only myself. It instead makes me want to go deeper with them, and have them go deeper with each other, so that we all collectively and separately experience the happiness that we bring to one another.
I am a better person with them. They are better people because of who they love. I want us to be better people together, and that means giving them the space they need to be with the other relationships that fulfill them. Compersion is my happiness that they have these relationships that aren’t with me. I am not tolerating the existence of these other connections I am thankful for them because they make my people happy.
Looks like this old bitch can still learn a new trick.