Last One Picked

I was recently told that if I’m going to write about the good stuff, I have to write about the bad stuff too. So I’m taking the advice. Because the goal of this site is for people to read it and get an idea of the lifestyle, or to see their problems and feelings are also experienced by other people. So here are all the problems and feelings.
I am, as I have previously mentioned, dating a married man. Everyone is poly. Everyone knows about each other. He and I started seeing each other after his wife had already been dating someone for a couple of months. So she was (is) busy pretty regularly. Which meant that we had a lot of time available to spend together. Which was great. Sure, we’re poly, there are other partners involved, but if you see each other every other night, you can forget about the fact that there are restrictions on your time together.
In previous relationships, I would have been fine had the wife not been dating anyone, because wanting to spend this much time with someone was pretty unimaginable for me. But, I’ve decided to embrace whatever feelings I have and try not to panic or run away from them. And save for a few freak-outs, I’ve done pretty well. I’m fine with the fact that I miss him two minutes after he leaves my house. And I’m fine (or getting closer to it) with admitting that I’m really into this. He is also really into it, and if we’re both on the same page, I can deal.
One of the eventualities of any relationship, specifically a polyamorous relationship, is someone needing to cancel plans. So of course I had thought about him needing to stay home with his wife for some reason or another. And I knew that it was a logical decision. That is a relationship that needs nurturing just like any other, if not more because the poly thing is so new for them.
Despite having thought this out and recognizing that it is the healthiest option for everyone involved, I was very ill-prepared to actually deal with it. We had plans to hang out when she went to the boyfriends, and her plans fell through. She was in a good mood and they were having a productive conversation, so he decided to stay home with her instead of coming over to me.
And as much as I can logically convince myself that it’s fine, it’s not. It’s awful
Which is so, so hypocritical of me. I was frustrated with her for being upset the first night he came over here and she was home alone. After all, she’d been doing it to him for months. And so here I am, cancelled on, and possibly handling it worse than she did.
Remember how I’m trying hard not to panic or think too hard about all the emotions involved in a new relationship? That all went right the fuck out the window.
I’m way too invested. Clearly I need to step way back out of this and never have any feelings for another person ever again. Because this is where feelings lead you. To feeling a bit discarded and wanting to write sad poems about how hard life is.
Woah there Hannah, maybe you’re overreacting just a bit.
Of course I am. Overreacting a ton. And I know that, but it also doesn’t stop me from feeling all of these things. No one has ever said that emotions are strict adherents of logic. So I made a bubble bath and pouted for a while, and then met people to get out of the house. Then I was better. Still not happy, but much more reasonable.
It’s okay to want to spend a good night with your wife. It’s okay to focus on one relationship. Even if you don’t always. If that’s what’s needed in the moment, you get to make that decision. But it’s also okay to be upset and sad about it when you’re on the other end. You can’t always control your feelings, but you get to control how you act on them.
So in case anyone ever tries to tell you that they think polyamory is the easy way out, be sure they know they’re wrong.

Keeping Quiet

This is a thing that I am not very good at.

I have opinions. A lot of them. And I tend to make my opinions known. It’s something that I am aware of and am trying to take more notice of. I don’t want to be “that guy” that always voices their unwanted opinion. And I think that I am not “that guy,” at least not with most people.

It’s much easier to keep my thoughts to myself when I am with people whose decisions don’t really affect me. Friend making a bad decision for a guy? Or letting their boss walk all over them? I don’t really care. They can do whatever they think is the best decision for them. But if the situations are the same and the person is my partner, you bet I’m not keeping my mouth shut. I’m going to point out how horrible the guy is. Or the boss. And question if the whole thing is even worth it. And question her decisions.

I’m sure that this is horribly annoying for her, or it was in the beginning and now she’s just learned to tune me out. But this all works for us in particular, because she accepts that I am a nosey partner. She is also confident enough in her own choices that she can take my opinions with a grain (or a cup) of salt and use them to help her address situations while still making her own decisions.

This has been learned over years though. I know that I don’t have to worry about my opinions affecting her decisions. And even if they did, if it’s something that could affect our relationship it needs to be talked about. I don’t know these things with other partners. In reality, I can pretty much assume the exact opposite. If I am in a new relationship with someone and I have a lot of opinions about how they are living their life, it’s pretty safe to assume that I should keep my mouth shut. Because it isn’t my place. Even if they are struggling with something and want my advice, it’s very dangerous territory.

Example: new boyfriend (who is married) wants my opinion on something that he and his wife are working on.

Sure, I could give him my honest opinion. But what if it isn’t very nice? Or not what he wants to hear? Or it’s based off of the one side of the situation that I’ve heard and he then makes a decision based on that when there was actually so much more going on and now my advice has affected their marriage. That’s probably the most likely. And that’s not something that I want to be a part of. Even though I am now also affected by the marriage, my opinions don’t need to be floating in his head the next time they have problems. And My words don’t need to come out of his mouth the next time they have a fight. Even though I believe all of this would happen unconsciously, it still puts a lot of unnecessary stress from a biased source into their relationship.

So even though it is incredibly hard for me, I try to stay as uninvolved as I can. Other relationships need space to grow and develop on their own, without other opinions shoving their nose into the middle of things.

What’s In a Name?

There are a lot of decisions to be made once you commit to the polyamorous lifestyle. Not least of which was how to share this information with people. It wasn’t ever a decision of whether to share this information with people. That isn’t in my personality. I’m loud and I’m not shy, so if you ask a question, you’ll get the answer even if you don’t actually want it. But the specific lifestyle that I am leading also does not lend itself to keeping it secret. I have a partner, that I’m not having sex with, but live with and share finances with and will have children with. I also have boyfriends. So not telling people would lead to me at family Christmas with kids, partner, boyfriend, and a lot of explaining. Easiest to get it out of the way now.
But easy is a very relative term. Most of my friends ask questions, but accept it. They may not understand and may not want it for them, but they don’t question it for me. I’ve always been the black sheep of most friend groups, so nothing comes as much of a surprise. My family is a different story. They prefer the term “best friend” to partner, no matter how often I try to explain the difference. And they _definitely_ prefer me to not talk about it at larger family gatherings.
But who cares? Why does it matter if they recognize that I have a partner instead of a best friend. Why should I try to pull my family members out of their one track mindset of what a relationship is supposed to look like? In the grand scheme of how I’m going to live my life, it doesn’t matter if my mother calls her my partner, I’m still going to. But when looking at how I interact with my family, it matters to me a lot. 
I am very close with my family and don’t like having topics that must be avoided (other than politics). Especially when it involves my day-to-day life. I want to to go home and talk about what’s going on in my life without them getting uncomfortable or throwing each other looks while I’m talking. I don’t care if they don’t agree with it for themselves, but I want them to see how well it is working for me. It’s not pleasant to say something and have my mom immediately turn to my brother and make sure he knows that he doesn’t have to do everything that I do
So that’s why I continue to bring it up. With everyone. Family or not. Because the more people are aware that there are other options out there, the more they are willing to ask questions and maybe try new things. And if it becomes more normalized, I won’t have to worry about the weird looks my family gives me. Or maybe I will. But someone else’s parents might be a little more open to the idea. And that makes it worth it. 

Emotional Burnout

I am, as a general rule, not a person that experiences many emotions. I stay at a pretty level “meh” most of the time. Meh happy, meh sad, just meh. Which isn’t a problem for me. I’m fine. I would even go so far as to say that it has helped me in some situations because I don’t have emotional investment in something and can look at it more logically.
However, it also kind of prevents me from actually forming most relationships. At least the same way other people form them. And in all honesty, that hasn’t been an issue for me for the most part either. I haven’t actively missed or wished for feelings. But, my relationships haven’t gone super well either. They end. Or they are based on sex. And I don’t feel emotional attachment.
And that hasn’t been working for me. So when I recently started dating someone and getting a little overwhelmed by feelings, I decided to dive in. Because at this point, why not? And it’s been great. Albeit, it’s been two weeks. So you know. Honeymoon period and all that jazz. But it’s also affecting other parts of my life. I’m happier in general with all my relationships and grateful for the people in my life and not as upset with my fruitless job hunt.
Which is all fine and dandy when I’m occupied with people or things that need to get done. But then when I’m not, I feel listless, and a little bit blank. And while I haven’t ruled out that it’s all hormonal, I think it has to do with this new influx of emotions. Like I’m a balloon that was fine staying unused, but now that it’s been filled up, it must stay filled up or become a void that makes blah days even blah-er.
So that’s where I’m at. Not a bad thing, because I like the happy, but I’m working on dealing with the empty.

Practice People

I have been trying to work on me for a while. This is a pretty broad area to explore, considering my problems range from spending too much time on Netflix, commitment, and eating the center of food and toppings off of pizza before putting the rest back in the fridge. I’m not working on the food part though. It’s part of my charm.
Some of the interpersonal things, which I am focusing on, mean working on them with people. Working on social anxiety requires me to be socially anxious around people. Dealing with commitment issues means that I have commitment issues in relationships. Which is where I’ve stumbled onto this idea of practice people.
I don’t think that it’s a necessarily good concept. I’m not campaigning for people to go out and find guinea pigs, but it is a reality. Recently, I told current boyfriend to tell me if I’m ever a normal girlfriend, so I can work to fix that. But it made me think about the last boyfriend, and how he definitely would have called me a normal girlfriend. Which I was. Part of me wants to text him and apologize for using him to become better at relationships. But sometimes, things take practice. And that means practice people. 
Now I’m curious about all the other practice people in my life. I’m sure there are tons that I’m not thinking of. I know that you could argue that everyone is a practice person because we’re constantly evolving, blah, blah, blah. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I want the concrete examples of “this is how I specifically grew from one person to the next and this is how they helped me to do so.” Not that them helping is something they are aware of. But you learn what works and what doesn’t and what you want to search for next time.
Basically, I’m grateful and also a little bit guilty for all my practice people, while also realizing that there will be always be more.

Proof of Concept

I spend a lot of time thinking about various “what if” outcomes. Sometimes this ends in me having arguments over situations that have yet to or will never happen. More often, this ends in me making assumptions about what future me would do, given specific circumstances. Mostly, these circumstances never come about and I don’t know if I have a good grasp on my personality. But sometimes, I get the chance to prove that I’m not full of shit when I boldly proclaim how I would react.

You talk to a lot of exes. How would you feel if your boyfriend was talking to his exes. 
You’re still on various dating sites and messaging people. What if your boyfriend was doing that?

Go for it. Talk to whoever you want. Flirt if you want. Send dick pics.

It’s not about who you sleep with, it’s about who you come home to.

I think that I may have mentioned this idea before. And I’m not saying that I want my boyfriend to go out and sleep with whoever he wants to. But the idea applies. As long as you’re coming home to me, and not taking time away from us, talk to whoever you want. About whatever you want. Everyone needs an outlet.

You talk a pretty big game, but how do you know that’s how you would actually feel?

First of all, imaginary asshole antagonist, doesn’t everyone talk a pretty big game? Isn’t that what life is? It isn’t as if we’ve experienced even a small part of everything there is to experience.

Second of all, I don’t. I don’t know that’s how I would actually feel. I just have to take what I know about myself and apply it to the unknown.

So when life hands up one of my imaginary scenarios and I am proved right, I feel vindicated. To myself and my imaginary asshole. There isn’t anyone else to flaunt it to, but that doesn’t take away the sweet taste of victory.

I recently received a message on Instagram from a chick, calling my boyfriend by the wrong name, and claiming that he had been cheating on me for two years. Which is, coincidentally longer than I’ve known him. She had some legitimate evidence that she probably knew him. And when asked, he said that he knew her because she had added him and started up conversation a couple of years ago. But she lives across the country. They just talk on Facebook every few months.

Maybe her version is true. Maybe his is. More likely it’s probably a version of both. And that’s okay. Were they both calling it a relationship? I don’t care. If so, it was a long-distance relationship with someone they had never met, carried out online through messages and maybe pictures. And he was in bed with me.

I went through all of this in my head in a few minutes and realized that whatever was going on, it was okay. Just like I had always said it would be. But this was real life now. And I was right.

I am polyamorous. I have a partner that is not my boyfriend. I sometimes text exes. And sometimes I message people on dating sites about the parameters of a watch that could stop time. And that’s okay. Because I’m still coming home to my boyfriend.

What Is Love don’t hurt me…

But really, what is it? What are you expecting from it? Everyone has a different idea of what it means when you tell someone that you love them. In my mind, people believe that once you say “I love you,” you are now attached to that person. Through hellfire and brimstone. You are already entertaining the idea of marriage, even if it’s far off in the future. You are willing to go through a lot more shit for that person now that you officially love them. You’ll compromise for them (that word comes up a lot).

You want to move to LA to take a job, but they like Portland better. Well, you love them, so you have to figure out who wins, and who moves to LA. Because love means sacrifice. Sacrifice everything and everyone so long as you stay together.

At least that is my perception of love. Once people decide that they are in it, they have made this huge commitment that now takes precedent over most other things. Right? Why else would saying “I love you” be such a big deal?

I would say it a lot more often if I didn’t think that it was going to take on unnecessary weight. If telling your partner that you love them was just another form of describing emotion, strong emotion, I would be much more likely to say it. To me, loving someone does mean that I feel more strongly towards them than most other people. I am willing to put more effort into working through problems and devote more of my time to them. But I’m also going to break up if something better comes along for either of us. I won’t spend time agonizing over whether that new job is really worth moving away from a boyfriend. It is. Because it’s my career. And if the boyfriend is a good match for me, he wouldn’t ask that I stay. We’d make it work. Or we break up. And that’s okay.

I had always assumed that this was a different way to frame the idea of loving a partner. A selfish way to go about it that most people wouldn’t be on board with. I’m still not sure that it isn’t. But I was just talking to someone who challenged this beliefs. We were talking about what my boyfriend and I were going to do when he moves four states away (we’re staying together but opening the relationship), and she asked if I loved him. And I went through the whole spiel. Yes, depending on your definition. I would break up tomorrow if it were a better decision for both of us. Etc…

She is a self-identifying romantic. Just got engaged. Super happy. Love is great. Blah, blah, blah. So I’m waiting for a response about that not being love, or something similar. But she says that she thinks it’s a better definition of love than most people.

No, no, no. She must have misunderstood me. How can someone who is so romantic be on board with being ready to jump ship so easily?

She says that wanting what’s best for someone is the best indications that you love someone.

I say what if it’s what’s best for you and not that person? Isn’t that just selfish? At least that’s what I’ve gleaned from society and everyone around me saying to just wait for the right person and then I’ll understand.

She says that it’s healthy. Not selfish. That it’s easy to just give and give to someone and not car about yourself. You have to take care of you while also sharing the number one space with the other person. And sometimes that means recognizing when it’s time to cut the other person out of your life. Upon realizing that, it would be selfish to string the other person along.

And that sounds perfect. And reasonable. And maybe not quite how I look at relationships (I don’t share the number one space in my life, there’s only room for me on that seat). But it is also much more rational than what I believe that most people think about love.

So now I’m not sure what to think. Do most people see this? Do they think that it’s acceptable to look out for yourself first in the relationship, but then get so tangled up in feelings that it becomes too difficult to be rational? Or is it like I originally thought and I am still the outlier? And what does it say about me that I don’t get tangled up in the feelings part?

Basically I’m looking for a psychologist on the internet. Now taking applications.