Friday, February 17, 2012

On being alone

I realized while driving in the car the other day that Alanis Morissette's song “You Oughta Know” is at least partially responsible for the way I approach relationships. This song is about a girl who is hurt so badly by a lover leaving her that she confronts the man and his new girlfriend at dinner to explain to him how much she hates him and just how badly he hurt her and fucked with her head (the fact that the man in question is Uncle Joey from Full House fucks with my head on a whole other level). I knew as soon as I heard this song that I never wanted to be that girl.

Actually, I knew that long before that song came out because I grew up surrounded by girls whose world ends when a relationship ends. I think at the heart of this disorder is the inability to be alone, and, as a result of that, a tendency to place far too much of yourself in the relationship and too much responsibility for your own happiness on the other person.

My parents divorced when I was 10 or so, and as the children stayed with my father my mother went off to marry a man who was, well, not so nice to her, but seemed very interested in being nice to her daughters. She stayed with this man for years not because she loved him, and I don’t think just because she was afraid of him, but because she did not want to be alone. She did not get the courage to leave until she met her third husband who, thankfully, turned out to be a pretty decent guy.

Then there is my older sister who got married at 18 to another not-so-nice man, then left him to marry yet another, then finally left him to marry her own decent guy. I watched countless aunts and cousins cry over men and lose all sense of self-worth when their relationships ended. None of these women were capable of being alone, and even as a young girl I just did not understand how they could function.

I love being in a relationship. I am completely in love right now and certainly do not see that changing any time soon, but I don’t believe that one and one make one, or that I am incomplete without a partner. I am prepared if this relationship should end. I don’t mean that I want it to end, or that I expect it to end, or that I wouldn’t be crushed for a time if it did end. It just means that there is a part of me that acts as a shield to make sure that if it does end I will not go all Morissette on anyone’s ass.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Expanding web

Recently my poly web expanded as I started dating someone who has been a part of my family for quite some time on a friendship-love level. We have known for awhile, almost from the time we have known each other, that we wanted to date, and we always kind of assumed that we would, but life, relationships, and circumstances kept giving us reasons to not go forward.

In the last few weeks the two of us—separately and simultaneously—came to the same decision: if we didn’t go forward and explore our possible romance soon we would forever be in friend territory, and this is something that neither of us want.

Well, let me explain. We would both be happy to be friends for the rest of our lives, and if this whole romantic love thing doesn’t work out the plan is to remain friends—but we feel as if there is a deeper attraction here and we want to explore it.

So, we decided to go for it. The first step was talking to all of the people in our separate poly groups to see if they had any misgivings. She and I both have primary relationships and we do not want to risk those relationships. Everyone has known all along that she and I want to date, but the abstract idea of “maybe someday” is much different than the reality of “next Tuesday.” Thankfully for us, all involved gave the go ahead and the first date of Indian food and bingo was planned (unconventional, sure—but fun as hell!). 

While this was happening my two existing partners both started exploring possible outside relationships--which I am quite sure I will be writing more about in the coming weeks.

I don’t know where it all will go yet, but I am hopeful, and excited, and ready for this next phase.