Tug of War?

We are officially not in the land of new relationships and it’s complicated sometimes.  Sometimes we do it very well and sometimes we fumble a bit and work to figure it out.  Traveler and I had a little fritzy-bit, nothing huge, but just a thing between the two of us and something we worked out.  And then another totally unrelated one a little after.  It seems simple at first, but it’s actually not.  I just wanna share how sometimes the answer isn’t a simple thing with one person right and one person wrong.

I was a little nervous about some new social engagements and Traveler very sweetly said he’d go to a couple of the things with me, one of which was Monday and one of which was coming up next weekend.  Then when we were planning our week this week he remembered and said that he’d come with me and said he’d like to come stay the night with me after.  I reminded him that Quinky Girl would be going too, and that was awesome.  We’d all go and he and he and I would come home together after. Cool.  I have to admit it’s nice to get to get the one he comes home with after a nice night where we all hung out.  It’s not a date but just a normal night and I get to have that too.  Kinda awesome and rad that such things aren’t just the domain of Traveler’s one partner.

That morning he asked me to pick up something for him for the potluck when I ran to the store.  He said to run it by Quinky to be sure we didn’t mess up whatever her plan was.  Excellent.  Good idea.  But I forgot to run it by her until the last minute and she was rushing out to get her things done and wasn’t able to coordinate with me.  She thought we’d all just all do our own thing but she didn’t know because I’d fucked up and not told her that Traveler had asked me to get stuff for him.  She and Traveler had worked out something after Traveler and I working out our thing that morning, but I didn’t know what.

Had she just told him what she was bringing and he still expected me to pick up what he’d asked me to, or had he talked about what he’d asked me to pick up and she was getting it now?  Or were they just doing something different?.  She was driving and couldn’t answer.  I was at the store and needed to make a decision.  Do I buy the stuff he thought he might want me to get but wasnt sure about or not?  I asked him.  He was at work and didn’t answer.  Shit.  I waited and the store and tried a little more but wasn’t able to reach anyone.  Okay.. no big deal.  I’d just buy what he’d asked me to and if we had too much or the wrong thing it’s not a big deal. Shrug.

Then he pops up and we make a plan.  He’ll be at my house by 645 to drop off his car and we’ll go back to his house to get Quinky since her dish would take a little more time.  Great.  I ran home and heated my meatballs fast.  I get ready super fast and end up waiting.  Around the time he’s supposed to be at my house he pops up again and says that Quinky’s dish is baking but will take a little longer and they’ll be ready at 730.  Um. Okay.  I ask “are you not coming here to drop off your car anymore?”  No answer.  Does he need to watch the oven?

He could still come here to drop off his car since the mushrooms will need almost an hour.  It’s 6:39 and he’s saying they’ll be done around 7:30.  I ask if he and Quinky are caravanning here then on the way to the potluck because he said he’d take the bridge and I live by it.  Are they dropping off his car later?  No answer.  I’m a little annoyed.  What happened to our plan?  Why is he not telling me anything?  I guess the plan changed.

I sat there waiting some more.

Two people made out of boxes engage in a tug of war.  From http://www.heritageradiott.com

Two people made out of boxes engage in a tug of war. From http://www.heritageradiott.com

I had bought meatballs I could heat quickly because he said he’d be here.  I had rushed to meet him on time.  What the hell?

He answers after another half hour, not answering any of my questions and saying only “We have 20 minutes left to go on the mushrooms.  What is your time looking like?”.  Okay.  Now I’m getting mad.  I’ve been sitting here waiting and he won’t answer me.  Guess he just didn’t feel like coming here?  I ask him more things and get no responses.

At 7:21 he tells me to just come to his house.  What?  Why?  He said he had to drive past my place to go the bridge.  I ask “to clarify.. do you want me to come there now?” No answer.  “Do you want to get your car later?”  This makes no sense and he’s communicating not at all.

What had happened?  Why did he decide just not to come here?  Why was he not answering?  I was pissed.  I was thinking things like “well.. guess you just didn’t wanna come here and figured plans with me didn’t fucking matter”.  “Guess I don’t need to know the plan if you told Quinky?”  “Guess I don’t need info or input.”  I was pissed and telling myself things that don’t help. I was thinking maybe he wasn’t answering because he didn’t want to just admit he didn’t want to come here.  I was figuring that Quinky had come home and suggested something else so whatever he’d said we were doing was out the window.  Honestly it’s a thing he does sometimes and it drives me crazy.

More logistics were bandied about and I gave up and told him to meet me at the event.  I felt stupid sitting there for a fucking hour with him changing plans and refusing to tell me.

I got to the event still hopping mad but decided to have fun and enjoy hanging with him and Quinky Girl and our new friends.  I had a great time and talked to really cool people and set it aside.

On the way home I asked him about it.  “What had happened?  Why did you just not come drop off your car?  Why hadn’t you answered me or told me the plan had changed?  What had occurred?  Why had the plan changed?  I knew why.  Quinky Girl had probably come home and made a suggestion for things not knowing he’d just told me something different, and rather than tell her what we’d discussed or tell me that he’d like to change it, he’d just sort of ducked out of saying anything and went with the new plan.  He said “I needed to help with the mushrooms”.  I asked why he didn’t tell me that, or why he didn’t come drop off his car while they were baking.  He just repeated “I was helping with the mushrooms”.  Okay.  “Why didn’t you answer me when they were in the oven baking?”

I said “You told me you wanted to come over and drop off your car and that we’d go get Quinky and I told you I’d hurry to make that work.  Why didn’t you just tell me you wanted to do something else?”.  He looked upset.  I was still feeling super resentful to AGAIN be just negated.  Why does he do that?  Why does he make it Traveler and Quinky over here and SeattlePolyChick over there on the outside?  I hate it.  I was bringing all kinds of feelings to our exchange.  I was piling things on.  I became aware that I was piling on little building resentments I hadn’t known I was collecting and making it all MEAN something.  That’s a killer.  I took a breath and thought “This man loves me and I love him.  Why is talking to me so fucking hard about this simple stuff?  Why does he have to make it all weird?

Oh.  My resentment drained with my compassion.  This is Traveler.  This was not some on-purpose thing to put me in my place or to treat me poorly. He loves me.  We talked more openly because I had suddenly made it safer to talk to me.  I was trying to find a solution now, not punish him for “again throwing me over for Quinky”.  He admitted that he’s having  hard time because he’s not sure how to act sometimes.  He’s never had two large partnerships at the same time like this before.  He’s been open forever but mostly casual and in love once but not really partnered.  He didn’t know how to navigate it sometimes.  He wasn’t sure what to do when things like this happened.  I forget this some times because in soooo many ways he’s so fucking good at it but this is a hard place to be.  Yes we all love each other, and no we don’t all always agree.  This man I love is also a fallible human being and he’s not sure yet how to have two full partners.

I could have my righteous anger and make a federal case to make my building resentment at these slights feel justified, or I could actually work with him to find a better way to navigate things.  I know it sounds simple.. but it’s not.  How do you do what your partners are asking you to do when what they are asking conflicts?  Even in tiny things.

Well.. you tell “Partner S” what “Partner T” and you planned and consult them.  You might like doing whatever your partner asks you to do, but you might at least inform them of what is up with you and the other partner.  If there are changes with “Partner T”, you go back to “Partner S” and tell them about the changes or consult them too.  We don’t want to disappoint our parnters, and the best way to avoid doing so isn’t doing whatever the partner you are with asks and avoiding telling the other partner because you can’t stand being disappointing.  I realized it wasn’t a primary/secondary thing, which is what I felt it had been and what I resented and been so angered by.  It was a Traveler always wanting to be a great partner thing and feeling a little paralyzed.  He had been asked to help or decided his partner needed his help and he hadn’t want to be a dick to his other partner when he’d just made a plan with her, so he’d avoided answering my questions.. which ironically is kinda a dick thing to do.  The solution is working with both of your partners.  And the solution for me as one of those partners is to communicate and be okay with changes and not read into and resent because of the fears and pains in my head.  We BOTH brought things to the table and then we both had decisions to make in our fight.

I could have stuck to my guns, fighting the injustice and my frustration.  He could have denied he’d done anything wrong and tried to shame me into backing down.  I could have beat him up.  He could have acted like I was crazy.  Or.. I could try to see where he was coming from and why this is hard and tried to help him trouble shoot it.  And he could be honest about what’s a struggle here for him and also work to find solutions.

He admitted ‘s not clear to him how to have two full partners and how to navigate all the nooks and crannies of that.  I’ll admit my heart too skipped a beat at that.  “Two full partners….”  He just put that out there and said it and I hadn’t realized that was the struggle.  It’s not clear to me sometimes how to have a partner who lives with his other partner that I also love.  And it’s not always clear (even with her experience I’m sure) how Quinky Girl should share her partner and love her parnter’s partner either.  After the blissful new love and after the polite times we find the things about our partners that we deeply love and things that drive us crazy.  And if we’re lucky, we find a way to communicate and love and live with and grow and forgive.  I don’t love it all the time, but I’m happy that we seem to be good at trying to untangle this shit together.  It just might work Rabbit. It just might work.


  1. Oy. Tell me about it! Living together makes things no better – there is still confusion, some resentment and the occasional feeling of getting it wrong most of the time. I think Jack – in the same place as Traveler – bears the brunt of this. When he can’t make us both happy…he sort of retreats into no communication and no decision making.


  2. He didn’t want to be a dick. So instead, he was a dick. o_O

    I’m sure there are women out there who are guilty of the same behavior, but I gotta say… My life experience has taught me that this is very much a Man Thing. And it doesn’t matter if the man in question is friend or lover or brother. “Oh shit!” he thinks, “She wants ANSWERS. Whatever shall I do…?!” Answer: NOTHING! Because avoidance fixes everything, yo.

    *rolling my eyes*


    . . . we find the things about our partners that we deeply love and things that drive us crazy . . .

    I figure the former isn’t “real” without the latter. They call it crazy love for a reason, I suppose. 😉


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