Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's not you

It's officially back-to-school time, which means I had to put on an actual bra for the first time in about 4 months. It's not that terrible until the end of the day when I have to get back in my car, which has been sitting in the humidity all day. Then autonomic reflexes kick in and I feel little drops of sweat trickling down my back and pooling underneath my tits.

We have 85% staff return to the classroom this year, which is pretty neat. In the past few days, we've been updating each other on our respective summers and things that are new with us. Which means I've had a chance to update everyone on how things with Frisbee and Now-hubby are going. I shared my favorite picture of my now incredibly freaky lifestyle, one I took just after getting home from Germany. It shows Frisbee sitting on the recliner watching television and Now-hubby on the couch with his laptop. I'm taking the photo from the third chair in the room, and my copy of one of the Dresden Files novels is in frame on the arm of the chair. 

We're really disgustingly boring most of the time. I can't speak for either Now-hubby or Frisbee, but the transition to being together 24/7 has been surprisingly easy and natural. Which is interesting for me, because first meeting and establishing relationships with Now-hubby and Frisbee was incredibly awkward for me.

I had a conversation a few days ago with one of my very good friends about whether or not we'd be cheaters if non-monogamy didn't exist. We both agreed, given the option, we'd probably have remained single and been slutty rather than serial monogamists or cheaters.

When I first met Now-hubby, that was the attitude that I was operating under - that I was going to pretty much live my life as a single slut. I had read The Ethical Slut, which had some advice about how to transition single sluthood into relationship sluthood, but nothing that really explained how I was supposed to overcome the incredible insecurity that a potential partner would be putting up with non-monogamy for my sake.  

There's inherent fear in establishing more "proper" relationships in a non-standard fashion, especially when you're starting out single. Having an established relationship and opening it up is a completely different experience.  If an established couple decides to date a third and things don't work out, the established couple is more likely to stay together while the third goes back off into singledom. There's that safety net already there within the couple: history, compatibility, and most important, the ability to close things back up again and re-enter exclusivity. It's sort of a two-against-one, no matter which participant winds up pulling the plug on things. This is different, again, than an established monogamous couple where one partner cheats and then leaves their partner for the person they cheated with. That's just a variation on serial monogamy. 

When I've had to end 1:1 relationships because the other person either didn't really understand what I meant by "poly" or wound up being squicked about it, there was the distinct realization that the relationship was ending because of something about me that I couldn't change. Not a disagreement about who's going to do the dishes or whether the two of us eventually wanted kids - those are typical relationship struggles that also exist with poly relationships. Breaking up because the relationship is openly oriented and one partner doesn't want that anymore hurts. Especially when you're the one who's insisting the relationship be open. Extra especially when there's time invested and significant feelings between the two people involved. It's time-honored self-doubt at it's best. Why can't that one aspect change so the two of you can set things up the way other people do?

It's my own mental insecurity that I'm still waiting for that shoe to drop with Now-hubby or Frisbee. For them to turn around and say, "you know what? This isn't really for me." Being all in the same place together somehow eases it for me - if I can evaluate it at all it's visual security transferring to mental security. Being able to see Frisbee and Now-hubby in the same physical space as me is very reassuring. Not in the way that I'm worried about what they're doing when we're apart. More in the way that I'm warmed by being able to be close and together with them more frequently now. 

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