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Pride Month: Day 10

What does marriage mean to you?

I answered this question during the 30 day challenge I did in December, here is my answer:

Marriage is a bonding together of at least two people because they feel they can make a life together.

It is likely something that I will never have – to be honest, I am less disappointed with that idea than I used to be. I like the idea of committing to someone like that – with poly it doesn’t have to be just one person and it doesn’t have to be forever (though for me, long-term is preferable – I love the comfort of long-term relationships).

To expand on this – marriage does not necessarily need to be romantic or sexual, but I think that the choice to remain together, choosing each day to be with each other, for whatever reason(s), is important. But that’s important in any long-standing relationship and is not limited to marriage.

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Parents & Love Languages

I was just thinking about this earlier today and I think I figured out some things about how my family works.  Now, these are just guesses, based on behavior, but it was an interesting brain exercise.

Mom:

I think my mom’s primary love language (at least with us kids) is Quality Time.  She got super unhappy with my sister and I for not scheduling something for Mother’s Day this year – just anything that involves us spending time with her.  She seems to love to talk to us one-on-one, even if it just is for coffee, lunch, or shopping. 

It does also explain why I have run into some issues with her regarding how we express love to each other, why I didn’t think that she was a primary love giving figure in my early life – because to her, spending time with me was showing affection, whereas I much would have preferred being told that I was cared for (Words of Affirmation is more prominent as my Love Language in my relationships with my family – both origin and choice – than Touch).  I think she could tell that that was not working for me as I got older and more invested that time with my sister (for whom Quality Time is a bigger thing).  As I got into my late teen years, she became more involved in my life again, giving more time, and I started to realize that this was how she was showing her love.

It does still cause some strife with us – since it is not one of my major love languages, I have some issues understanding why it is such a big deal to her to spend time with me, and why it is such a big deal to her if I can’t.  I try to give it to her, without understanding why it is so important, but since my priorities are in different places, I don’t always know when I’m going to cause a tense situation with regards to time.  This is something I am trying to understand.

Dad:
I think my dad’s primary love language is Acts of Service.  He takes care of things around the house, makes meals, helps us kids with our car problems, and runs errands for my mom, just because.

Since I grew up with my dad as my primary figure (as my mom got along better with my sister), I understand Acts of Service far better as a love language than Quality Time. To some extent I think I give Acts of Service as a Love Language because of this, because some of the ways I give love are the same as my dad did growing up – making meals, taking up emotional labor, doing research for people, and helping with various tech issues.  Even if they are not my favorite things to do, I do them so other people can have a little less burden on their lives because of what I do.

My mom wants my dad to care more about me and my sister spending time with him for Father’s Day, but I don’t think he wants to.  He’s never made a big deal out of it, but is willing to schedule things (and take on emotional labor) for my mom for Mother’s Day and regular date nights because he knows they matter to her.
Me:

I wonder how much neither of my parents speaking my primary family love language affected me growing up.  And I wonder how much of my primary family love language is because of how I grew up and how my parents expressed theirs.  Food for thought.

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More Than Two 5.3

What does “commitment” mean to me, and why?

I think I covered this fairly thoroughly in my last post, but as a refresher:

I define commitment as dedication to sustaining and continuing the relationship (even if it needs to change nature or substance over time).

I used to say that I was bad at commitment, mostly when I was thinking in the monogamous sense, that commitment meant staying with one and only one partner and not letting my thoughts stray.  Obviously, at a certain point in time I had to revise this because this definition simply does not work for polyamory.

When I think of commitment, I think of my parents.  My parents have been married (monogamously) for let me see… 31 years.  They love each other and have worked through their share of problems, both with each other and with raising my sister and I.  And even now that my sister and I are full-grown adults out of the house, they are committed to each other, to giving each other space to be exactly who they are, even though that was more limited when my sister and I were still living at home.

I also think of my uncle and aunt.  They have been divorced for somewhere between 15 and 20 years now, but they were committed to raising my cousins in a healthy environment.  They were committed to finding peace with each other, even after growing apart, partially for the sake of my cousins, but partially for their own good.  They have been each other’s fans for a long time now.  Their relationship changed drastically, but they still worked to sustain and continue their relationship as human beings.

I have these models of longevity in commitment in my life, which may explain why I prefer longer term relationships, even if we end up transitioning to friends or acquaintances after we decide to no longer be together.  It also may be why some of the longest friendships I’ve had in my adult life have been with my former metamours; just because we no longer had a shared partner, did not mean that we weren’t committed to each other.

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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 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.

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November Write 29

When I was a kid, I was lauded for being the mature kid in the room.  The one that the adults could hold conversations with and expect to fulfill my end of cleaning and social etiquette.  I was told that my parents raised me so well, and aren’t they so proud of me.  Well, they were.  I was held to a higher standard with regards to these kinds of things than other kids my age.  It really wore on me.  It made me stand out from the other people my age, which could really make me feel very lonely.

As an adult, this has manifested slightly differently (just the other side of the same coin).  I am constantly the youngest person in the room, youngest in the relationship.  I am still the one the older people flock to probably for the same reasons.  Sometimes its a shot in the arm, sometimes in the back of the head.  When people talk about people not being mature before 25, 30, 40, pick your number I am always the uncomfortable person in the corner that they forget is under that age.  So, do I bring it up, or let it drop?

It does beg the question: why do I always end up with the older people when I date?  Is it something about me that appeals to them,, or something about them that appeals to me?  Probably both, like with so many other things on my life?  I know I like having someone I can talk to comfortably, who has life experience and so many stories to go with that.  I don’t know what they see in me, but I’m willing to take it.  As long as they don’t make fun of me for being younger, or not getting some cultural references, I’m good.