What, Why, and how I feel about it.

I have so many posts floating around in my head, but there’s one in particular that I think I have to write, largely because I don’t want to write it.  I’m not sure that makes sense, but here I go.  In a conversation with a friend who is new to polyamory a few days ago, I realized something about myself, and I need to work out if I can communicate it and process it.

We talked about how she’s transitioning from the world of being a swinger to the world of polyamory. The men she is interested have been swingers and the two she is interested in are both interested in seeing her exclusively, or as the exclusive other partner that isn’t her husband, anyway.  That part is really not important, but she was talking about how she is completely overcome with NRE for one of the guys but doesn’t feel as strongly for the other one, but he is sweet, kind, generous, fun and she is attracted to him and would like to date him too because of these comforting characteristics. (This really smacks of the difference in the way I felt about D and the way I feel about L).   

We were talking about the “exclusivity” thing and she asked me how I would deal with things if one of my partners had asked that of me when I was still married and I immediately said it wouldn’t be an option I would consider.  She said, “what if D had asked you?”, because she knew how overcome with NRE I was for him for our whole relationship.  She knew how deeply in love with him I was.  My response was the same: “I wouldn’t even consider it, but part of what I loved, appreciated, and respected most about D was that he would never have asked something like that of me.”

Then she said something about how completely I loved him and I said that the truth, as hard as it is to admit it, is that if he contacted me tomorrow and asked to date me again, I would say yes in a heartbeat.  It wouldn’t even be something I’d have to think about.  

For the last few days, I’ve been mulling this revelation over.  Part of it is how it “looks”; how people would react if I admitted it aloud; what they would think.  The other part is me analyzing the why of all things; trying to understand why I feel the way I do, despite my ability to look objectively at the way things ended.  The final part is trying to decide if it’s OK that I feel this way.

I’m not generally prone to caring about what other people think, but there’s something that triggers me when I think about how someone would feel about the fact that I would be willing to take D back after the intensity of the heartbreak.  In particular, the way the people who care about me most would feel. If they would feel less important or less loved because of my willingness to forgive D.  If they would be disappointed to hear that I feel that way.  If they would be concerned that I still have feelings and am pining after D.  I would argue that I’m not.  I think about him often, but it’s not with wanting or sadness, it’s just factual – I’m cognizant of what a great relationship it was and the memories I have are good ones, and if I’m completely honest, I just really miss him.  

That being said, I saw this article a couple weeks ago that resonated with me.  In fact, that seems to be a theme lately, articles that resonate so strongly with me that it feels like I was hit with a brick to the head.  This excerpt from this article, in particular, triggers the most powerful response from me every time I read it:

“…here’s another thing they won’t tell you about finding the love of your life: not ending up with them doesn’t disqualify their significance.

Some people can love you more in a year than others could love you in fifty. Some people can teach you more within a single day than others could teach you over the entire course of a lifetime.

Some people come into our lives only for a particular period of time, but make an impact that no one else can ever quite match or replace.

And who are we to call those people anything but the loves of our lives?

Who are we to downplay their significance, to rewrite their memories, to alter the ways in which they changed us for the better, simply because our paths diverged? Who are we to decide that we desperately need to replace them – to find a bigger, better, stronger, more passionate love that we can hold onto for a lifetime?

Maybe we just ought to be grateful that we got to meet these people at all.

That we got to love them. That we got to learn from them. That we got to have our lives expand and flourish as a result of having known them.

Meeting and letting go of the love of your life doesn’t have to be your life’s single greatest tragedy.

If you let it, it can be your greatest blessing.”

What this article did was make me realize that it was OK to no longer be with the great love of my life, while still thinking of him as my great love.  This really falls into the second thing I’ve been mulling over – the “why”.  I think that the reason I’d take him back is because he’s the great love of my life.  I’ve never been that completely in love with someone.  So much so that I was completely blindsided by our break up.  That makes it sound like I wasn’t aware of obvious problems, but the thing was, there were none.  I’ve been over it every possible way and there wasn’t a single thing that could have indicated to me that there were issues.  He’s that person I most loved in my life, and so for that reason, if he asked for me back, I would take him back immediately.  It’s in my nature to forgive, but that’s at odds with the fact that  I do not usually give people a second chance when they have hurt me.  Forgetting isn’t my nature.  In this, I’m different.  I wish I could understand the why of that. I guess love is just that strong an intrinsic motivator and remembering the incredible experience that dating D was is far more important than colouring it with negativity and rewriting history. 

Finally, I’m still trying to decide how I feel about the fact that I’d take D back.  I feel like I’ve done a damn good job of moving on from that heartbreak.  I’ve cried and processed and let go of my anger, hurt, and resentment.  I’ve hugged him, chatted with him, and didn’t feel anything but the same type of happiness I’d feel with seeing a good friend I hadn’t seen in awhile.  There was no hurt, sadness, anger, or even love that made itself known.  I wish I could be a person who could say “but he didn’t value me, so I hate him and never want to see him again”, because that anger would bring me so much comfort.  Anger is a great substitute when the truth makes us feel weak.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t hold on to that resentment.   Once I realized that he, as someone I loved, was making a decision so he could be happy, I had to let go of all that and just understand and accept.  

So how do I feel right now?  I feel like this is still a new situation for me. I’ve never left a relationship still thinking the person I was with was an excellent human being, the best kind of person.  Or thinking that everything about the relationship, except for its ending, was incredible.  So, I guess I feel weird.  Like this is uncharted territory and I don’t know how to proceed in navigating the emotions I’m feeling.  

And why did I write this?  Because it’s part of my process. It’s part of being honest with myself, knowing my own boundaries, understanding my strengths and my weaknesses.  Apparently my strength is forgiveness and my weakness is D.

Truthfully, I wouldn’t change anything.

Because, “If I let it, it can be my biggest blessing.”

 

 

All the feelings

I’m deep in processing things that have happened over the last week. I should be working on some prep work for my full-time job, or perhaps some extracurricular work for my casual job, but I’m finding myself highly unmotivated on the work front.  I’ve worked a lot more days in my second job than I have in a long time in this last week. Four day shifts, that are 12.5 hours each.  Of course, instead of adulting and going home and sleeping in between, I did something every night.  Day one I spent the night at L’s, Day 2 I went for drinks with coworkers who also found themselves single this summer, and day 3 I went out with my new metamour, L’s other partner and we ended up at an event for our local poly group.  I got about four hours of sleep a night and although yesterday was Saturday, I crashed at 7:30 and got out of bed at 9 a.m. I feel like a new person today.

This week was full of feelings on my part.  Not bad ones, not good ones, but just feelings that I don’t really like to deal with.  The twisty bits are often indicative of a problem inside me.  Not a problem caused by others, but one that deals with me not processing something properly or being too reactive about something. It means I’ve had to turn inward a bit lately and think about what my feelings mean, what I really want, and where I want to go.  

The first was the twisty bits with A.  I had thought it was me feeling a little unimportant and unvalued because of some jokes he was making about our relationship and what it means to him.  When I spoke to him about it, he assured me he was committed to me and explained again that for him it was less about the words and more about the actions, again.  I say again, because we’ve had this talk, and when I think it through, every time, I’m reminded that, yes, he does make me a priority in his busy life.  We have our weekly dates and steal away for drinks or lunch when we can.  It’s pretty great.  So, I was thinking I’d got over the hurdle, when I was in the shower one day and realized that while I was not entirely unjustified in the feelings of being devalued, there was a pattern with me.  That is that every time we fall our of our usual routine, or see each other less or there is a period of time coming up where we will be apart for a long time, I have an attack of feelings.  

Having thought about this a little more, it actually makes a lot of sense.  If he’s showing me that he values me through his actions, through making me a priority and spending time with me, then when he isn’t there, my subconscious reaction is to feel less valued. Of course, understanding this is good, but it’s not enough to just understand it.  He’s shown me over and over and over that I’m important to him, and there’s really nothing healthy that can come out of my doubts.  

So what do we do?  

Fuck if I know!  But I think that in the periods of absence, I need just a little more of the things that aren’t being in the same room where we can touch each other.  Checking in and chatting, good mornings and good nights, those things.  Part of it is that where we used to chat all day long, now it’s a quip here and there and the only real substance comes when we are together in person.  Add to that the fact that his wife is a little sensitive to him texting with me when he’s with her, where she didn’t before, and the next thing I know, we’re hardly in contact. What this means is a bit of anxiety about him going away for a few weeks and not being able to talk to him.  I think I just need to deal with it, with the hope that since we can’t fill up on time together before he goes, we can fill up again when he returns.

The other feelings had to do with L.  He was home but didn’t answer the door when I was stopping by at his house to pick up a few things I left there on Thursday night.  He knew when I was coming, and didn’t pay attention to the time because he was hanging out with his other partner.  I felt pretty damn unimportant. After waiting 20 minutes, I headed home to my parents to sleep. I was quite pissed about travelling about an hour out of my way to not actually get the stuff I needed, which included my nipple ring that had fallen out and I was worried about how quickly it would grow in.  In the end, I just made it clear that I was unimpressed and that it was bad form on his part.  I explained myself, he apologized, and everything is OK.  But what I realized in all of that is that I like him a bit more than I thought.  I was trying to control things and like every other time I do that, my heart has other ideas.  I’m not in love with him, but I care deeply about him, so when he didn’t answer the door, I was more hurt than I normally would be, had it been a friend or acquaintance.  There’s not much to do with this information other than acknowledge that it exists, but sometimes that’s the best way to process and understand all the feelings.  

I’m going to miss A terribly when we are apart for three weeks.  I’m going to spend some of that time with L.  But I’m looking forward to September, a regular schedule, and some normal again.  With my men a part of all of it.