May. 9th, 2017

besubversive: (wink point gotcha)
So, I need to make an update of non-monogamy stuff and my feelings.

Speaking of feelings, I'm trying to figure out the best way to both honor my feelings (as opposed to suppressing them) AND keep my feelings from taking up so much space in a situation or conversation that they become the theme of the situation or conversation, instead of the thing that's happening or being discussed. Actually, I feel like I've made some important progress in this direction, especially when I realize that I feel two sets of seemingly opposed feelings. Having some positive and some negative initial feelings about something is a somewhat grounding experience, I think. Does that make sense? Seeing the good of something helps me more calmly consider the reasons that I also feel unhappy about it.

Anyway. I'm trying to figure out how far back I need to go to start this update. I just looked at previous entries for a point of reference.

So, okay. I was feeling stressed as fuck in February, because, to be totally honest, I was taxed to the max and had been since the previous summer. Quick recap time. I had felt rushed by Drew to jump back into poly life, he was kind of a dick about it and did not feel compelled to wait for me to be comfortable with it. October was Alone Month (good as an idea, not very fair in reality) and it caught us right as Drew and Treasure were falling in love. Also, we were broke. Drew was pouring most of his energy into the NRE (new relationship energy) that he was feeling with Treasure. He was asking me for several exceptions to boundaries we had set. We moved. Life improved. But THEN the election, the fallout with my dad, begrudgingly sharing my holidays with a metamour, Drew's request to do food projects with Treasure that would jeopardize our Sundays (after all our discussion, this never came to fruition), and lending Treasure money. Things stabilized a bit after that.

Spring came and seemed to balance things out. Drew had a lot of bad family news, though. I went through a very unhappy couple of weeks with Brian over how often we get to see each other, for how long, the fact that I am always hosting, and the ways that our relationship might change once I'm pregnant or have a kid. We came to agreements on some things and other things I was like, "Whoa. I can't control the future. Let's just deal with that when it's actually on the horizon, and not halfway around the world from now."

About a month ago, I told Drew that we should arrange another hangout between Treasure and him and me, because a roadblock to compersion was that I was only getting to experience Treasure as a net negative in my life. Less time with my husband, the cause of many challenges to my boundaries, etc. When we've hung out in the past, we've all had a lovely time and I leave with a lingering feeling of goodwill and a desire to invest in the success of their relationship. He agreed that this was a good idea.

And then some shit hit the fan.

JD and his girlfriend were visiting. We'd had a bunch of great times adventuring as a group of 3 or 4, depending on whether Drew had to work or not. Drew wasn't going to see Treasure while we had house guests (I'm not out to any family about being poly yet), but they were still texting each other. Sunday afternoon, we were driving back from Mt. Hood when Drew got really agitated after looking at his phone. It took a while for us to have enough privacy for him to tell me the deal, but basically Treasure had said, "I need to tell you something Tuesday." And, as I'm sure she suspected, Drew was not going to be able to handle the ambiguity for two whole days, so he badgered her to spill the tea via text. The tea was that Treasure had slept with someone on Friday. "But y'all are poly, so what the issue?" The issue is that they were in the middle of coming up with their own non-monogamy contract and had not set boundaries yet and a bit of mutual jealousy had kept them from actually giving the okay for them to engage with anyone not part of already established relationships. So, it was not really cheating, per se, but it was a betrayal. Drew was hurt and angry. I won't go into a lot of detail, but he became totally unable to participate in the rest of my brother's visit. And that, in turn, kept me from being present during the last day and a half of my brother's stay. I was constantly in my phone, checking on Drew, who was having a meltdown. So, rightly or not, I feel like Treasure stole from me.

We are all human and prone to mistakes, but I was mad as fuck that Treasure couldn't have waited a couple of days to get the okay to pursue this other person OR AT LEAST brought up the indiscretion at their scheduled Tuesday hang instead of hinting at it while she knew Drew wasn't available to come over and talk about it. I hadn't seen my brother for a year and a half, and I couldn't fully inhabit the last quarter of his trip. Also, this thing. I cheated on Drew when we were young. It took a long time for him to get over trust issues that caused for him. I wanted validation more than anything when I was a young queer, and I saw sex as a way to be seen and affirmed, and so I hurt a couple of people that I loved by betraying their trust to feel good about myself. And later, I grew up. Not that monogamy was growing up, but being able to honor the parameters and boundaries of a relationship, whatever they may be. So when we got married, I told Drew that I felt glad in the knowledge that he'd never be hurt in that way again. But I have no power over how other partners treat him, and that's a hard reality to deal with.

After JD left, Drew and Treasure talked. They finished their relationship contract and Treasure essentially said, "Okay, good, because I have a date tomorrow." Drew felt rushed into something he wasn't comfortable with (sound familiar?). Other questionable things were said and done. They decided to take a couple of weeks apart to sort out their feelings. Treasure spent most of it with this new person, and we spent some of it in Delaware. Between the loss of his cousin, the poor health of his brother, and the pain of his girlfriend's betrayal and continued involvement with the other party, Drew went through the wringer. But he came out of it on the other side with a LOT of perspective. Unexpectedly, Drew said to me, "I owe you many apologies. For many things. I'm sorry that it's taken going through this to realize that I neglected and hurt you, but I am going to make it up to you somehow."

WOW.

I don't think I was prepared for the relief of validation that came crashing down on me then. I feel like I've finally been given permission to speak of or even acknowledge hurt I've experienced over the last several months. Drew is recognizing the lack of balance in his life, and how he gave nearly everything to the instant gratification of NRE, instead of looking at the long game and giving equal attention to our relationship, his friendships, his career, and his physical health. We've had so much excellent conversation since that realization, and I see his new self-awareness being put into action. My main issue now is that it's much easier to forgive someone who has hurt you than it is to forgive someone who has hurt someone you love, even if your loved one has already reach the point of forgiveness.

I want to make it clear how unbiased I was during Drew's fallout with Treasure. He would tell me something he was upset about, and I'd make a point about how he might have contributed to the issue or how Treasure might have had a hard time being open about her feelings because he can be difficult to talk to. But then he would talk about things being his fault and I would draw attention to better ways that Treasure could have handled herself or reasons that her arguments were flimsy. I was playing devil's advocate for both devils, I guess. Now that their relationship is on the mend, though, I have periods where my heart is like, "Fuck this person. Why does she get to be in Drew's good graces again?" My brain meanwhile says, "I'm happy that they are able to reconcile. Things will be much better now. They both deserve happiness." And it seems more important than ever that we have some kind of positive group hangout, but I'm not very excited about it.

So, basically, my newest poly challenge is forgiving someone who has hurt my partner, even after my partner has already forgiven them. Oh life.

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