Thursday, December 26, 2013

Past Judgment, Present Love

In spite of all I've forgotten, the memory swims up from the murky depths of my mind.

I'm sitting, hand clapped over my mouth, blocking a shocked gasp for air. "How could anyone call having multiple partners love?... They're so wrong!"

Oh, yes, I scorned those distant strangers whose eyes I had never seen, whose hearts I had never heard.

I--in my rotting marriage, coated with whitewash--felt proud to be better than those people.

I sneered.
I groaned.
I assumed.
I judged.

And then I went on with my miserable life without another thought for why or how they could live such different relationships than my own. After all, I assumed they couldn't possibly be doing better than me ... and I was distracted by my own destructive marriage, which wasn't nearly as exclusive as I assumed ... for either of us.


Today, it is perspective-changing to realize I deeply love and trust someone who is non-exclusive in all of his relationships.  I love him, so I must seriously consider how our relationship will develop in light of that knowledge.

There is a foundation-shaking irony in searching for an understandable description that fits his lifestyle, finding a polyamorous relationship blog; then realizing that these fascinating people are teaching me much that is worth knowing.

Seriously, this is the best article on consent I've ever read.

I desperately needed this information when I was a teen.

Above all, I have realized that Nick's respect for my individuality, personal honesty, and trusting transparency are more reassuring to me than promises of exclusivity or "elevating me above all others."

In contrast, I see that it was dishonesty, secrecy, and destructive relational habits that ended my marriage. X and I could have worked through his cheating if we had even a portion of friendship to fall back on. The relationship was broken long ago, before it began, really. I sometimes wonder what I thought I had in the beginning, aside from an emotional filler for my desperate desire not to be alone.

Nearly every friendship I've ever had has been deeper and more honest than my marriage.


Yet, after a great deal of thought, I know I'm not presently capable of remaining emotionally healthy in a half-polyamorous relationship, not even with Nick. I'm not letting go of my dear friend, but there is a clear line in our relationship we have agreed not to cross for the sake of remaining close.

I can be his best friend and support him through his relationships ... but I can't be involved sexually and honestly accept who he is without falling apart myself ... at least not unless I change a great deal more than I can imagine myself changing right now.

There is too much destruction and instability in my past to even begin facing sex without guarantees of stability and privacy, never mind my personal preference ... which is clearly monogamy.

It's not surprising.

There are many lifestyles I know I couldn't survive with my personality, skills, and internal perspectives on life. Polyamorous relationships have joined that list, right after cross-fit training and a vegan diet.

I'll be researching the various ways people build relationships, though. This research has made me aware of how little I know of the many ways that relationships work, and how different people have different needs. As usual, "Everybody is like this, so anyone who is different is messed up," turns out to be a false premise.

I'm also more "abnormal" than I realized.

I love new variations on perspectives I once took for granted, even when it's sometimes a little painful to find myself standing in a different place than I expected because of these realizations.  Interesting. Creative. It's fascinating how different and beautiful people can be.