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More Than Two 4.5

What makes me feel cherished, loved and secure?

In no particular order:

Having regular scheduled get togethers with my partners (the more entangled/involved the relationship, the more likely I am to want this to actually be on a given day that is ours.  With my more casual partner, we just see each other when we can, with the understanding that we want to keep doing that, but we’re both fairly busy people.)

Random touch – reach for me when we’re out walking,  give me a hug, cuddle up next to me on the couch, put your head in my lap

Random communication – reach out to me when you’re thinking about me, even if it’s just to check in or share something that you think I would like.

Occasional gifts – whether it be a physical object, time, or service, just giving of yourself to me occasionally makes me feel really loved and cherished

Active/communicative listening – when I say something or share a story, a problem, or a bit of advice, acknowledging that (even if it isn’t anything you’re interested in).  I’m not asking for right away, just at some point.

Tiny celebrations – celebrating the little anniversaries, the little victories in life with me makes me feel like I am important to you

Integration – The one thing that makes me feel the most secure in my relationships is working towards integrating me and our relationship into your everyday life.  There are a number of forms this could take: introducing me to your other partners, introducing me to your friends, taking me to events that matter to you, introducing me to your partners, inviting me to events with my partners, including me in pictures that you keep around, you spending time in my living space and you spending time in mine, opening up lines of communication for me (if/when needed – not a matter of depending on that in the long-term, just mostly as an introductory measure), and spending time with our cule as a group, just as examples.

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More Than Two 4.4

What do I bring to the table for others?

Questions like this require me to promote myself a bit and I am not very good at that, but let me try.

Passion:  If something or someone strikes my fancy, I tend to get very into it/them. I will, at least for awhile, talk to the moon and stars about it/them.  I don’t do things half-heartedly.  This has resulted in a near encyclopedic knowledge of some weird subjects.

Cooking skills:  I am a pretty decent cook/baker.  Tell me your dietary preferences/restrictions and I can make something you’ll probably really enjoy.

Humor:  I have a dry, British sense of humor.  It can verge on dark and sometimes morbid, but I can laugh about it.

Research skills: Tell me what you want to know and I can find it for you.  I am really good at using the resources at my disposal and forming the right questions and keywords to find out basically whatever I want to know.

Emotional awareness: I have a decent understanding of how my emotions manifest in my head and in my body, so I can tell you how something makes me feel.

Loyalty: I am very loyal to my partners.  I will tell you if I think something is a bad idea.  I will support you and your endeavors, even if I disagree with them.  I will talk about your charms to the people I care about.

Openness: I don’t believe in hiding the people I date, from each other or from other people I care about.  The only places I’m closeted are at work (even so, I have a picture of me and my partners at my desk and would be honest if anyone ever asked me about it) and to my extended family (working on that in therapy right now – it is my plan to change that within the next year or so).

Gah, that’s all I can think of for now.  Maybe will edit to add some later.

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More Than Two 4.2

What do I consider essential, indispensable elements of a relationship?

Trust: I need to be able to depend on you to follow through with your words and actions.  I need to know that I can count on you.

Honesty: I need you to tell me the truth.  Sometimes even if you think it will hurt me.  I am not made of china – the only way I can improve myself is to know what I can improve.  This doesn’t mean you have to be mean about it – diplomacy is a valuable skill.

Communication:  I need to know that you will communicate with me about things that come up.  If our plans need to change, if there is a boundary somewhere that has come up, if you don’t want to do something with me, if you’re having a feeling about something and want my help addressing it, I want to know so we can work it out together.

Emotional Labor:  I need to know that I can ask you to take on some things that I can’t handle, for whatever reason.  This doesn’t mean I need you to take on all of my emotional burdens or some of them all of the time – I have a therapist I can talk to things about and I have mechanisms in my own brain for dealing with my emotions.

Desire for Personal Growth:  I need to know that you are working to deal with your own issues and not just letting them stagnate until they become capital P Problems.  I will most certainly help, if you would like help with them or would like someone to run an idea by.  But I cannot and will not do your growth for you.

Affection: I need you to want my company or communication every once in awhile.  I want you to look fondly on me and speak kindly of me.  This tends to grow over time, so I don’t expect it from the get go.

Acknowledgement:  I need to know that I matter to you, that I have a place in your life.  I prefer that I am acknowledged to those people who matter in your life.  I will not be a dirty little secret.  I’ve been there before.  This is not something I can do.

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More Than Two 4.1

Why do I have romantic relationships? What do I get out of them?

I have romantic relationships to fulfil my desire for romance.  More, I have them because romantic relationships tend to have an emotional intimacy that I crave.  Not to say that I don’t get emotional intimacy from non-romantic relationships – I have, and I do.  But in this case I have someone to build a story with, to build something with.

I have a certain metaphor that I like to use that explains a lot of how I view love.  I’ll give a short(ish) synopsis.

Love As A Home

When I start a relationship with someone we start building a metaphorical house together, starting with the foundations – what do we want our relationship to be, at the moment or moments we start it?  What concepts resonate with us so much that we want to incorporate them into our relationship?  Where do we have space to grow, in the context of the relationship?

Once we have this laid out (no matter if it changes, just the initial layout) we can start building.  

Do we want to have a sexual relationship of some sort?  We build one room for that.  

Do we want to do kink together?  If so, what kind, in what roles, etc.?  We build a room for that.

Do we want to go out on dates?  If so, how often do we have space for? We build a room for that.

Do we want to spend time just cuddling?  We build a room for that.

Do we want to travel together?  We build a room for that (maybe on wheels?).

Do we want to give each other big hugs?  Room for that.

Do we want to nerd out about Doctor Who, music, politics, cats, whatever?  Room for that.

And so on, and so forth.  For each thing, we build rooms.  If we agree that it is a big thing to both of us, we build a big room.  If it’s a thing that we agree that is not a big thing for us right now, we build a smaller room.  The idea being that this gives room to change and grow as the relationship changes and grows – we can remodel and resize rooms as we see fit.  It encourages purposeful communication – do we agree on these things?  Do we agree on what size we want the room to be?

If we don’t agree, then what can we build that may work for now?  Because we can revisit it until we find consensus, or find a space that works for the both of us, even if it isn’t ideal for either.

Also, my house with someone doesn’t interfere with their houses with other people.  We have our own space to develop our homes and they will all look different and will all be unique (because all relationships are).

In long term relationships, like with older houses, we need to be sure to keep up “maintenance”.  We need to keep having these conversations, keep up with each other as things change in our lives.  We can’t just let it go, and hope for the best for too long.

End

The main point being – I love building these houses with people.  I like the romance rooms.  That’s why I have romantic relationships.

To clarify – this metaphor does not just apply to romantic relationship, even though that is the context that I developed this metaphor from, back when I didn’t have a great idea how to contextualize my non-romantic but still meaningful relationships.  I do want to come back to this idea of non-romantic houses, but this post is already quite long, so I’m going to leave it be for now.

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More Than Two 2.8

What happens if I connect with someone in a way that differs from how I want my poly relationship to look? What message does that send to someone who doesn’t fit neatly into my dreams?

I’m not actually sure what this question is asking, but let me take a stab at it anyways.

One of the things I have been coming to terms with recently (through therapy and in my life as it goes) is that each relationship is different and it is ok to treat that relationship differently because of that. Not to say that it is ok to treat any relationship poorly or to neglect it – simply that I will interact with each person in my life differently because the people themselves are different.

But it can be hard to see other relationships and compare, especially if you think yours comes out “worse” in the comparison. It can even be heartbreaking. I feel like this is especially true in relationships where there is some degree of entanglement, whether these be between partners, metamours, friends, or family. It can be really hard to remember than comparison can truly be the thief of joy.

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More Than Two 2.7

Am I focusing on an idealized fantasy more than on making organic connections with real people?

Generally, no.

But I would be lying if I said that I haven’t fallen into this trap, focusing on the fantasy of what I’d like a particular relationship to be, rather than what it actually can be. I do engage in this kind of wishful thinking on occasion. Grounding myself on these occasions can be difficult, but I’ve found that reaching out and actually connecting with the person, asking tough questions about what can be with us, can be helpful.

With Grey Sky, I found myself falling into a fantasy: because I was ready to go out and socialize again, maybe I could find an involved relationship with someone who could give of their time as freely as Minx did. So I went into that relationship with a fantasy of what I wanted from a new partner. And like fantasies generally do, some of it came true, which usually makes it worse – the disappointments seem much more intense in light of the bits that did come to fruition. But I got a reality check after a couple months – this could not be what I wanted. Then I had to look hard at what was important for me in an emotionally involved romantic relationship – what I needed, rather than what would be nice. Eventually, I had to let the dream die completely – even the bits that had gone according to the fantasy. Because it could not be.

So, coming into my relationships with Diplomat, and then Lola, I had a better idea of what I needed, so I could relax and converse and let things flow. And they did.

I am working on integrating this into my non-romantic relationships, but there is still some work to be done.

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More Than Two 2.4

If my relationship changes, is that okay?  (Rephrased: If my relationships change, is that okay?)

I don’t know.

On one level, I recognize that relationships change every day. Each word you say, every time you do or don’t do something, the relationship changes in at least a minute way. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, sometimes in a completely neutral way (though I think true neutrality in change in relationships – not a combination of better and worse in varying amounts, but actual neutrality – is not super common).

On another level – change is fucking scary. Especially for someone with my sensitivity and neurodivergence. Change is disruptive to my existence and that can throw everything off. Sometimes things need to be disrupted to become better though.

I feel like my relationships are all changing right now and it more than worries me regularly. I’m trying to find some sort of anchor of solidness, something I can hang my hat on (to mix metaphors). And I’m having some issues with that, especially because my relationship with the idea of what I want to do with my life is changing as well. Some things are finding solidness and a comfortable space – my gender identity being one of them – but more than that, I’m scared of the changes that may be coming. I’m scared of shaking up my own life, of disrupting what is comfortable.

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More Than Two 1.6

How do I define commitment? Is it possible for me to commit to more than one person at a time, and if so, what would those commitments look like?

I guess I would define it like this:  two people give their informed consent to each other to start/continue a relationship with each other, with the intent of continuing with each other for whatever length of time they choose (including indefinitely).  This means that they will continue to keep each other in their own loops and choose to work on whatever comes up during this time period.  For me it is mostly about intention: I intend to continue the relationships I have currently in a loving and kind manner, and I believe that it is important for us to address anything that comes up and keep each other informed.  I keep choosing them every morning when I wake up and I hope they either keep choosing me or talk to me about whatever is going on if they don’t choose me. (And by choosing me, I don’t mean exclusively – I mean keeping me as an important part of their picture.)

It is definitely possible for me to commit to more than one person at a time.  Every morning, I give a minute or so to the idea of each of my partners and the picture we all form together.  Did anything change the previous day?  Is there anything we need to address (for me to keep choosing our relationship)?  Do I still like the idea of us together?  So, I just do this for more than one partner.

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More Than Two 1.5

How important is transparency to me? If I have more than one lover, am I happy with them knowing about each other? If they have other lovers, am I happy knowing them?

Transparency is critical to me.  It is important for me to be able to share my joys and sorrows in each relationship with my partners, and that requires at least knowing the others – I do not do well with these things on my own.

I am not only happy with them knowing each other, as well as knowing them myself, but I think that this makes everything run smoother.  I don’t need people to be best friends, nor do I need to be best friends with my metamours, but having a good relationship, with lines of communication open (when wanted/needed) is solidly in the need category.

Let’s put it this way.  Currently (and this is my preferred way of doing things, TBH) my polycule is part of my chosen family and I think, for the most part, we operate like a family.  We know about each other, we talk with each other, we choose to exist in each others’ presence on occasion (actually, much more often than my bio-family).  Each individual dyadic relationship within the family – between partners and metas – is different.  Being a family doesn’t mean that we don’t ever have issues with each other, miscommunicate, or fail each other.  For me, it means that I am happy and proud to be with them and that I consider it very worthwhile to improve our relationships overall (I can’t speak for anyone else in the group).

I do believe it is important to have our own private things, as long as they don’t do any harm to anyone else.  I think that this helps keep things interesting and helps each person retain a sense of themselves as an individual in the context of their relationships (not being completely enveloped by the whole).

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Tarot Card Spread

I’ve had this deck of cards for awhile and I finally came across the best chance to do my first past/present/future setup this morning – I thought about this birthday weekend with my polycule, about each one of them individually, what they bring to my life, what I value about having them in my life, and about our current relationship and the possible trajectories – then set out three stacks and drew a single card from each of them.


Past: The Master.  “The Master in Zen is not a master over others, but a master of himself.  His every gesture and his every word reflect his enlightened state.  He has no private goals, no desire that anything should be other than the way it is….In his eyes they find their own truth reflected, and in his silence they fall more easily into the silence of their own beings….  Together they create an energy field that supports each individual in finding [their] own light.”

Each of came to each other, to this weekend, with our own past, our own efforts to improve ourselves, our own inner and outer relationships.  We have been working on building relationships with each other, with building our group as a whole, building a space that we can each find ourselves with the help of others

Present: Ripeness (9 of Rainbows). “When this card appears in a reading it indicates that you are ready to share your inner riches, your ‘juice’.  All you need to do is relax right where you are, and be willing for it to happen.  This sharing our yourself, this expression of your creativity, can come in many ways….  No special preparation or effort on your part is required.  It is simply the right time.”

I am actually quite glad this showed up and where it showed up.  It means that it is time for me to grow myself, to grow and evolve my relationships (romantic, familial, and platonic) in amazing ways – I think this has been in the works for awhile, but I think I agree that now is the time.  I think it is also awesome because I have been growing my efforts to read, write, and learn code for awhile and I like the idea of this all coming to fruition.

Future: Totality (5 of Fire). “We may feel that there are too many things to do at once, but get bogged down in trying to do a bit here, a bit there, instead of taking one task at a time and getting on with it.  Or perhaps we think our task is ‘boring’ because we’ve forgotten that it’s not what you do but how you do it that matters.  Developing the knack of being total in responding to whatever comes, as it comes, is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.  Taking one step through life at a time, giving each step your complete attention and energy, can bring a wondrous new vitality and creativity to all you do.”  “When you are not total, whenever you are in the head – thinking, brooding, calculating, cunning, clever – you are not total.  Slowly, slowly slip out of those moments.  It is just an old habit.  Habits die hard.  But they die certainly – if one persists, they die.”
This coming after the Present gives a great bit of caution as well as some optimism.  The caution: to not try to build and grow everything in the second section all at the same time – to give myself time and space to do so with each person and not try to push things to go too far.  The optimism – this feels like my meditation and yoga may be paying off in reducing my stresses in relationships with people in the future and build upon what we already have, may be helping me continuing into the future in seeking peace, within myself and with other people.