Coming Out Sideways

If you don’t deal with feelings they don’t come out the regular way and instead burst a hole to the side, creating a lot more wreckage.

I’ve heard people say they never get jealous and you know.. I don’t usually like to be so harsh.. but fuck you and your self righteous bullshit. I know, I know. I’ll probably get emails or messages about how “no.. I am a special and unique human being and I never get jealous. I might be insecure at times, or something far less stigmatized than jealousy, but I don’t get jealous”.

The people I have really known who say things like this tend to have a jealousy problem. It’s like people saying they hate drama. Drama creators are usually the people you hear vocally spewing about hating all these people with all this drama. They whip everyone around them into drama filled scenes and then moan about the drama, never owning that they draw it to themselves. You can’t stop being a drama llama if you think the drama is always everyone else. I know that I am the maker of most of the drama in my life, either directly or indirectly playing my part, and that’s the first stop toward unraveling drama.

Jealousy is much the same. I don’t care how evolved you are. You will feel jealous at times and if you own it, understand it and will look at it, you won’t stomp over the tender hearts of all in your midst as you passively aggressively exert your desire for control and relief from your jealousy.

We can plan out too, and think how okay things are, only to find these ugly little surprises. All of a sudden we’ll have this thought, or this fear, and that is okay if we can deal with it directly and maturely.

Most of the time I really love watching Traveler fuck a woman we are with. I love seeing his passion from another side. I love knowing how she feels. I love watching their pleasure. It’s hot. But of course I’ve had little moments. I will have more I am sure. Once when it happened I realized it was me pulling away and got back in there and helped. What is NOT okay would be bursting into tears and slamming the door as I storm out in an emotional explosion. It’s okay if later I need to curl up and ask for extra kisses or need to talk about my feelings with my partner or a friend.

In poly I see it often as people display their jealousy by getting territorial or reactive and emotional or withdrawn. Sometimes it involves a lot of insecurity, and sometimes people hide from their jealousy and say they are just a little insecure for a moment.  They do little meddling things to fuck with each other. They keep score. They try to exert control in the other relationship. They get petty. They try to make sure they are given better or best or more. They try to limit others, or sabotage even. I have seen it over and over. It’s corrosive when ignored and even more so when denied, and for what? Foolish pride?

Jealousy is not inherently bad. It can be used as a healthy signal for self-examination and a sign that there is a need to be met. I hate the bad rep jealousy gets because it isn’t all bad and it can be a really helpful and healthy reminder.

But I’m telling you… jealousy is a dirty bomb when allowed to explode. Get it out, or it’s coming out sideways.  Just sayin’

 

Veto the Veto

Veto power doesn’t really work. I know a lot of us start out wanting to have some kinda failsafe, some kind of pilot eject button for if things get scary or hard or threaten us. A lot of us start out with a veto.  We say we’ll dip our toes in the pool of poly dating, and if things get hairy or go horribly awry, we’ll pull the rip cord and close up shop or cut off an undesirable partner.  Problem is.. we’re dealing with humans here.

I get it. I do. I get being scared. I get wanting to protect a great relationship to a person you love. I really do understand this. When I opened up with my husband of 11 years I wanted a safety valve too. I wanted to know that if we dated other people we’d be okay. I want to know now while Traveler and I date others that we’ll be okay. But you know… love is risky.

I say love is risky not to warn people against poly or something. I say love is risky because it just is. I think there are ways to protect a relationship as you add others to a point. I think we can make agreements and prioritize making sure we get time with our existing partners and nurture those relationships, no matter how crazy in love we get with a new shiny thing. I think existing partnerships can work to make sure they don’t take each other for granted, and set date nights, and keep pursuing interests and hobbies and choose to keep a space for the people that have stood by us.  I think we can take special care to nurture our connection. I think we can communicate well and often. I think we can do many many many good things as we find and fall in love with new partners.

But I don’t think cutting off new partners is a great idea.

  1. Veto sucks because you are choosing for your partner what they can have in their lives and who they can love to suit your selfish jealousy, fear and insecurity. This is a shitty thing to do to someone you love.
  2. You are saying you know better than your partner. Think about this. Do you really think your partner is a dummy? An oaf? A less-than-complete-adult who cannot decide things for themselves?  If so, why are you committed to a relationship with this person?!?!?
  3. Is it possible that your partner has feelings and thoughts and reasons that you don’t necessarily share? Is it possible THEY are having some need met or growing in some way that they are drawn to that you don’t necessarily share?  I’d think long and hard about yourself if you think you are some “better judge” for your partner than they are for themselves. I have to admit I cringe when people say they know their partner better than their partner knows themselves. Or worse… that they know what is best for their partner.  I gotta call bullshit here.  There is ZERO chance you know more about your partner than they do about themselves. You know what you have experienced with your partner and what they told you and what you’ve observed. You don’t know the innermost workings of your partner better than they know themselves. What an ego.
  4. You might break your partner’s heart.  If they love someone and you cut it off, you are hurting them.
  5. If you and your partner actually respect each other and share your thoughts and observations with each other, isn’t it better to let your partner hear your thoughts and input and decide for themselves? If you have a healthy relationship, why wouldn’t you listen to your partner’s input and respect their thoughts? Traveler doesn’t need a veto, because if he leveled with me about a partner I would listen to and respect his input as the intelligent and capable man I know him to be. We do sometimes see things that people in the rush of new love don’t see. This is truth. But that can be a reason to share your insights with your partner so that they make the best decisions possible for themselves.  Right?  Even if it’s not on your time schedule?
  6. There is a reason your partner was drawn to this person. And there is a reason they want this relationship. You cutting that off doesn’t actually answer that.  Sometimes our partners need to learn a painful lesson and sometimes our job is to support them in doing so.
  7. The person you are vetoing is a human being. They matter too. Or they should. Human beings aren’t put here to spice up your marriage or your life. They have feelings and thoughts and they matter.  If you are upset or jealous or hurt, the answer isn’t to run ramshackle over other humans. It’s to figure out what you need and want in your relationship. The answer to “I’m insecure” isn’t “dump that other bitch”.
  8. Breaking my partner’s heart and demanding control over them doesn’t actually make our connection more secure.
  9. Punishing your partner for doing something bad by calling in your veto card to punish them doesn’t make your relationship better.
  10. Did you really think it was okay to weigh in on relationships you aren’t even a member of?  Our relationship will be hurt if I hurt my partner. If they choose to honor my veto, they may resent me. At the very least they know that *I* broke their heart. If they choose not to honor the veto, now what?  I don’t have a magic wand that lets me make the people I love only want the things I want them to have.

So.. what do I do if my partner is with someone I don’t want to accept or can’t accept?

I share my thoughts with my partner and let them make decisions for themselves. I can stay with them and help them pick up the pieces when they learn this lesson. Or I can choose not to be with my partner if I can’t trust their decisions or deal with the results of them living as they choose to live. I can choose for myself what I am willing to experience.  But I can’t really choose for you. Even if I have a veto and FEEL like I can choose for you, I can’t. And that’s why veto’s don’t work.

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Goldilocks

Goldilocks painting by Jasmine Beckett-Griffith

Goldilocks painting by Jasmine Beckett-Griffith

I’ve said many times I wish I were the ever-graceful and unaffected Grace Kelly.  I’m not particularly emotional at the moment, but it’s a thing with me that I get embarrassed of my emotion.  Wait, no.  I get embarrassed of my *messy* emotions.

I’m perfectly happy that I feel boundless love.  I am tickled that a great number of things delight me. I’m passionate.  I love deeply.  I’m fiercely loyal.  I’m tenacious and determined and empathetic.  I can go there with a friend.  I can take a lover there.  All of these emotions I adore.

But it’s the messy stuff.  I’m ashamed I have insecurities.  I’m embarrassed when I cry.  I can’t stand being irrational or out of sorts or brooding.  I despise that I burn over offenses and that I have to address and let go of things when others seem perfectly capable of stuffing them down forever.  I hate my messy emotions.

I was talking about this with Quinky Girl.  She is a human who gets twinges, but by and large she is unaffected by some things that make me rail.  I deeply envy that.  I would be the same way if I could and I can’t.  I HATE to talk about the little things that bother me.  But if I don’t they become big things and come out sideways.  I hate that too.  Other polys say “Oh I didn’t need to talk about that.  I just let it go”.  And I feel much much worse.  It’s like they are jabbing me right in my eye with that.  I’d prefer not to have awkward moments but I can’t be any other way.  I don’t wanna make shit weird.  I don’t wanna have a little chat.  I hate confrontation and awkwardness.  I wanna just flip my hand, brush my hair off my shoulder and say “I never did mind the little things”.  But I simply don’t work that way. Continue reading