Epiphanies and Pokemon evolution...no wait. Wrong show. Love is not finite.
Personal blog #3
Personal blog #2: Meeting the Beast
Personal blog #1: A World Outside the Picture:
Sometimes, looking at the changes in my thought process from BP (Before Poly) and comparing them to how I think now is truly a strange process. I know, ya’ll hear me muse about it a lot (or you will…depending on what order I decide to post these blogs in) but it can’t be emphasized enough. I truly, utterly, unequivocally feel like a different person. Even the way I approach analyzing other relationships from an outsider’s view at times.
And, you know, have you ever had a moment what you had just a single thought, a single epiphany where in that moment you felt yourself… evolve? (Fine, fine. We all thought it. Pokémon style) Where you knew from that moment on that nothing was going to be the same, that no matter what (for better or for worse) things were just different? They are rare, special moments in life, sometimes made even more absurd when juxtaposed to the purely mundane activities we’re involved in when the thought decides to go traipsing in and fucking with our whole world view.
I can’t be the only person to ever experience this. If anything this journey has taught me, is that the only thing special about me is that I thought I was unique. Humans can have wonderfully similar paths to tread, even when hiked in different shoes, and many have very similar coping mechanisms that I thought was unique to me only.
So, take that moment when you had your sunlit epiphany that changed everything in your life and hold onto that moment. What did you smell? What were you doing? Who were you around? All of it, no matter how many years it happened..it’s all wrapped up into that thought until it becomes the armor that protects it.
I was standing, doing dishes. My husband and I had been in our new direction of our relationship for a few months by then. At the time, we had someone we spoke to online. He was a mutual friend who understood what we were struggling with and was willing to talk to both of us, both as a group and individually. He was long distance, so I personally did not feel the pressure and/or (fear?) of a physical contact yet. We were testing waters, with constant communication on how I felt, how my husband felt, with the conversations that we were having with our friend. It helped, in some ways, that we’d known him only surface level prior to this and he initially had not been close to us. It allowed space for our relationship with him to grow in whatever direction it needed to, without any preconceived notions.
I was still struggling with what I wanted, with what I needed. I’m going to be perfectly honest….I was still in the slight resentment stage with my husband, of not understanding why I myself would not be enough to sustain our relationship. I was in utter denial of my own sexual preferences and relationship preferences up to this point—honestly, deep down I may have resented him for being able to discuss his attraction to the same sex while I was still trying so hard to keep my attractions clamped down and rooted—but my husband continually let me set the pace of whatever we decided this relationship would do and would go.
I would read his messages to our friend. Not because I didn’t trust him…but because both he and I agreed that that would be the best way to decide what I was comfortable with. No one could know a mistake was being made unless it was communicated. So, his phone and his computer was always open (and vice-versa) so that if I felt things were moving too quickly, or he (or our friend) said something that made me uncomfortable I could quickly discuss this and why and we could take a different direction. And our friend knew we were doing this, that basically whatever was said amongst all of us was for an audience of three. He was okay with it.
We were new. We wanted to do this right.
Imagine my surprise that I was….okay…..with the messages. Sometimes more than okay. Sometimes, I would feel these little flutters of happiness, something I’d been afraid was long past gone, at reading flirty texts my husband had sent to someone that was not me.
So, was the resentment that still rested beneath my itchy skin at my husband, or was it at me? I was tortured because I did not know. I was caught in this tangled and poisoned web of what I wanted, what I was hiding, what I was terrified people would discover, what was expected of us, and what I was enjoying.
And in all of this, I’ve been struggling and talking and crying to my closest friend. They had been in polyamorous relationships before and have one of the kindest, most open soul I have ever encountered. In them, I found a person that I could speak to and not find judging eyes staring back at me. They heard the ugly, the confused….and for that I will always love them for it.
So, here I am doing the dishes. Thinking about my friend. Thinking about my husband. Thinking about our mutual friend and how I hadn’t messaged him today because…I was just not up to it at that point. I had so many conflicting emotions.
Then, the thought came and struck me at the back of the head. It was so sudden, I literally leaned forward. My breath snatched in my chest, I’d realized what was wrong.
I loved my friend, and while I did not love the friend that my husband and I were messaging together, I was also beginning to care deeply for him.
And I still loved my husband.
My world was not falling apart. I was not eaten up with jealousy and fear of my husband leaving me, and I was not jumping ship to run away from my husband, like society and the media had always told me would happen. If anything, creating these new relationships in my life had forced my husband and I to communicate in ways we never had before, and made us closer than ever. I can never emphasize this enough.
My epiphany is:
Love is not a finite resource.
When you love someone, that does not lessen the love you hold for another, nor does it cheapen the bonds you two hold. I think the reason that we as a society are so caught up on the idea of romantic relationships (or close friendships for that matter— my ‘best’ friend, etc etc) as a coupling is because we utterly underestimate the power of love, and the capacity we as individuals have to love.
How many times do you hear the parents of multiple children say “I only love this son, or I love this son the most?” (In a healthy relationship?). Yes, I realize those are different kinds of love, but English is actually one of the few languages that uses a single word to describe an intensely complex emotion. There are so many ways to work with a polyamorous relationship, or a monogamous relationship, and none of these ways (as long as they are healthy) are wrong. They just need to work.
Often, we look at someone, and how they love a person and automatically become competitive. Love becomes a commodity, something to be won and coveted. A trophy. A war. Someone must win. And someone must lose. And this is perpetuated again and again and again in media. How many love triangles do we see play out? How many nice guys and/or assholes ‘get the girl’. Looking through it with new eyes, with this new light, I see so much untouched potential. We take something infinite, something beautiful and ever expanding, as the concept of love—and we smash it down into something as banal as a simple line. Love this person over here or this person over there.
Honestly? It’s a bit unhealthy to see that as the only option. It can be an option, but for some of us, it just doesn’t work out that way. But, our loves are no less than those that are monogamous, and no less deep.
And that’s what I’ve had the greatest struggle with in the past and even now. The few people who know we are poly automatically assume that my husband and I don’t...love each other as deeply as monogamous couples do. They assume our poly lifestyle is simply an excuse to fuck who we want unapologetically. They cannot understand that I’m actually not lying when I say, “my husband is staying at our boyfriend’s house tonight” and I’m legitimately secure and happy. (And vice versa—believe it or not!). Yes, I care so very deeply for our boyfriend of nearly three years, and yes I love my husband as my other half. And yes. These emotions can exist in one heart without competition and without conflict, no matter how foreign that idea may seem.
So for us, for now, and maybe for always (and if it’s for always….honestly, that’s okay with me), our love is not a finite resource that can only be shared between my husband and I. Yes, our love for each other is different than the love for our friends, and for our significant others that we choose to spend our lives with, but love within itself is infinite and complex enough to be able to handle that.