A Modern Woman on the Move

in hot pursuit of the great green light…

This Post Is A Thank You Letter

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The previous situation I wrote about in my last entry has been resolved because the partner clarified that they could no longer commit to the kind of polyamorous situation I was interested in.

There was an incredible lack of accountability on the partner’s end for dishonoring the agreements we’d made and the partner and their other partner were really upset with me for talking about what was making me unhappy (ugh, huge red flags) with other people. I broke off the relationship and the friendship doesn’t exist until that person is willing to understand all the boundaries that they crossed and take responsibility for that.

There are a lot more messed up details about the breaking off of the rather short love affair, of course, aspects of this person’s problem personality that became abundantly clear during this conflict, but I am not going to get into detailing them all because it would just be a waste of energy. It’s, thankfully, over.

And, honestly, I am really proud of myself for terminating the relationship as soon as I did, considering my track record on enabling people I fall in love with who have poor boundaries and problem behaviors. I think a large part of it was that it was so much easier to see what was problematic because I also had two other relationships going on that were sailing soooo much more smooooothly. In the wake of it, things with Matt and Marco have progressed remarkably. In all the time I have been seeing Matt, we haven’t had any serious disagreements. This is also true of Marco. Both of them seem to genuinely love every part of who I am, even the loud part that tells people sitting near us in a restaurant that they are saying racially insensitive things. Even asking that guy I broke up with in December to leave my best friend’s party because he was making me uncomfortable (seriously, he had only met my best friend 3 times before and then showed up at her party right after our breakup). And they were really nice and respectful about it, being supportive and solid, but also diplomatic toward him.

I keep joking about pinching myself to make sure I am not dreaming just because my relationship with each of them is so easy. There is then the fact that they get along so wonderfully that the three of us have often been spending 3 or 4 evenings a week together, just hanging out and having fun… Working on projects, going to shows (like my friend Michael’s awesome reading/show at Backspace), hitting up events (like the IPRC volunteer party or BFF Katy‘s holiday party or AmaZine Day), celebrating holidays together (my birthday or Christmas or NYE), traveling together (we took a roadtrip to the coast with my housemates and we’re going to Seattle for ECCC because  Matt’s tabling there), having potlucks or just making dinner.

It’s a challenging thing, learning how to have healthy relationships in our society. Hardships, difficulties, and unhealthy behaviors are romanticized in mainstream media. It’s even more challenging if you are poly, where healthy relationship models are almost impossible to come by…

In fact, I should take this opportunity to thank some people I know who have been healthy role models for me and probably don’t realize it (or won’t until I sent one of them a link to this). I know a few poly people who are married that have served as important influences on me, for both what to NOT do and for examples of what works… From their examples, I have grown to realize more and more over the years of what kind of poly relationships I want in my life.

One big influence that I have had is a friend who is a little bit older than me. That person is among two married couples who have been dating each other for something like 15 years and that person has kids with their spouse (the kids are teens now) and they all live together in a big house in SW Portland. They date outside that group, but seeing how they are able to balance freedom to love with commitment to each other and responsibility was a huge inspiration to me a couple years ago when I first met them. This is because it helped me feel more hopeful about the kinds of relationships I want. Committed poly relationships with solid people who date responsibly while also taking joy in the life they have built together.

Another big influence has been some nerdy, peripheral acquaintance-almost-friends I made 7 or 8 years ago. People I sometimes see at board game nights, or pie parties, or just randomly around Portland (because Portland is, like, totally small). One even shared a boss with me, I think, working in tech with a dad I nannied for a long while back). These people I always shared great conversations with when I did see them, but I never got into hanging out with regularly. Perhaps if I had, I would have a much better support network. But even knowing them peripherally, their kindness, and vaguely knowing they were some kind of non monogamy-practicing people.

It was validation that there were other younger, nerdy people who were thinking hard about what kind of relationships they were having and really trying them out while also seeming to get along well. It was a reminder that the relationships I was trying to have maybe weren’t hopeless.

That maybe there was a chance that there was some other nerd out there that I would click with and who would be really awesome toward me. That maybe there was someone, or even a few someones,  that would love me without telling me to be quieter. That would love me without asking me why I bothered to care so much about this or that. Or that would love me without implying I was weird because I wanted to have more than one romantic relationship. (Yeah, I guess I have dated some real jerks.)

I want to thank those people, those influences, for being out and active in communities together. Just by being out there, having their positive relationships, they help pave the way for people like me. Younger people, less experienced in poly, seeking guidance and seeking hope.

Now, when I say healthy, that doesn’t mean flawless. I am sure that none of these people have been perfect, but that they were out there, trying to be ethical to each other and trying to have the relationships that they really wanted.

And really, isn’t trying to be ethical while also being true to yourself the most healthy way you can be?

Now older and more experienced, I can imagine all that you might have had to go through to be out there, trying to be yourselves and trying to be known, because I was lucky enough to know you while figuring out similar things for myself. Now, I stand on more solid ground because you all gave me the idea that it was possible. It inspires me to keep being out there, being myself, caring for what I care for…

Thank you for being true to yourselves and for being so awesome.

So often I have thought, “Is what I want even possible?”

Trying non monogamy on and off for 8 years, being a gregarious, open person who actively dates, I have SO OFTEN had my relationships trivialized, dismissed, and demeaned.

In the worst situation I have been in, a couple years ago, I have even had a male friend of a partner excuse abusive behavior because of our polyamorous relationship when I sought advice on dealing with the stalking and abuse from a person who I thought was a friend to both that partner and myself. The context was me explaining to our mutual friend how that partner had shown up black-out drunk to a date that I was on with someone else (which he knew about because I had told him) and yelled about us to the whole bar, pursuing me outside and pushing me against a wall because he just wanted me to listen to him rant about how he understood that I needed to cheat because he was a cheater.  I was confused about everything, only three months into the mess, the partner had apologized profusely once sober, and I was debating taking him back. The friend excused the incident, saying, “Well, you know how hard it is for him to deal with the poly stuff.” I knew logically that it was awful and I should dump him, but I had gotten caught up with enabling. I had gotten caught up in wanting to be forgiving.

That’s just one really intense example out of years of well-meaning friends, not-so-well-meaning friends, acquaintances, employers, dates, lovers, and strangers making unsupportive remarks about my relationships and polyamory.

Like I said, it’s really challenging how to learn to have healthy relationships already, even if you’re just into monogamous relationships. A lot of media perpetuates really problematic views on how partners should treat each other, much less women. Doing anything slightly out of the norm can feel like navigating a tortuous labyrinth, blind-folded.

I am starting to feel like I have the blindfold off, I’ve disarmed the traps, and I made it through…

And I think I might be finally at the place where I am building a future with not just one partner, but two. It’s so wonderful.

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Written by lovemotionstory

January 1, 2013 at 1:57 am

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