“Show me how you do that trick
The one that makes me scream” she said
“The one that makes me laugh” she said
And threw her arms around my neck
“Show me how you do it and I promise you
I promise that I’ll run away with you
I’ll run away with you”
Spinning on that dizzy edge
I kissed her face and kissed her head
And dreamed of all the different ways I had
To make her glow
“Why are you so far away?” she said
“Why won’t you ever know that I’m in love with you?
That I’m in love with you?”
The Cure, Just Like Heaven
Over the last year, my honey and I have been on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I have talked before about our efforts to learn to communicate openly and honestly. I have talked about how my old love coming back into my life has spawned a lot of these efforts, for both of us in different ways. And I have talked about where we have come out: exploring polyamory and the possibilities that may hold for us.
One of the things that has been hardest for my honey has been reconciling the idea that if I still have these feelings for Eddie, this must represent some need (or needs) that I have that my honey is unable to meet. He has felt threatened by this: more so in the past, but parts of that insecurity still remain. Meanwhile, I have had difficulty trying to express what Eddie does offer that I am seeking, partially because I felt like exploring this may deepen that sense of threat. In recent months, we have made breakthroughs on much of this: he has come to be more confident of my love for him, and more confident in himself, and he has also explored his own needs beyond our immediate relationship. Even more, I think at some point he stopped looking for a reason to feel threatened and began looking for reasons to feel secure. I think that makes all the difference.
Meanwhile, we have talked a lot, recently, about his relationship with Laura. There have been a number of occasions where I have been a bit distraught over interactions they have that I perceive as being outside the scope of what I can give to this relationship. Issues that I have tried to deal with between the two of us over the years with only minimal success: yet she comes along and suddenly he is wanting to do things that I couldn’t drag out of him no matte how hard I tried. There have been a few moments that were really difficult for me.
But it all comes full circle, does it not? One of the overt and primary reasons we have decided to pursue polyamory is my assertion, my strong belief, that no one person can be everything that we need. Each relationship is subtly different, drawing out different pieces of our personalities and potential. I can be sad that there are parts of my honey that I will never see, or I can be jealous that they are parts of him that she sees and I never will, or I can recognize that no matter how hard I try, that will always be the case simply because of who we each are. Once I get to that point, I can relish the idea that perhaps, through my relationship with her, I can gain some tiny glimpse of those other parts of him, or at the very least, embrace the knowledge that he can be a more complete person simply be exploring those other parts of himself through his relationship with her. Possibly, in an ideal world, he even brings some of those neglected parts of his personality forward enough that one day I will see them myself.
In fact, on a purely practical level, that last thought is a good part of what drives us. If she brings out the pro-active, be involved, get things done parts of his persona (which I have never been able to do), perhaps in time he begins behaving more proactive and involved in our household, as well. That is only one of many traits that we know he possesses, but that are buried from the years of interactions between us. It is hard, after fifteen years, to suddenly behave differently with your partner – no matter how much we talk about things we would like to see in one another or ourselves. But a new relationship has no established boundaries. There is the potential for exploration, without baggage, that an old relationship simply does not offer.
As time passes, I see this actually happening for him, more and more. I have seen it in myself, as a result of my interaction with Eddie, but it has been very slight in many ways because the Long Distance Relationship has significant limitations. (Although, one could say that this entire process was spawned by Eddie, so there is that.) This gives me a lot of hope: regardless of how these two relationships turn out for us in the long run, the experience of the relationship will be with us forever. As will the subtle modifications of our behavior that is the necessary result of those experiences.
What I find most interesting about it, really, is that I have found myself threatened by these same things that he saw as threatening about Eddie in the first place. All while both recognizing, and not, that it was exactly the thing we say we are looking for. Human psychology – gotta love it! But it is not an altogether bad thing that I have needed some time to wrap my head around all this. Coming out the other side of this process, I find myself much more empathetic to the things my honey was feeling all those months ago, and I see that these subtle shades of gray will probably always be with us – or at least they will be with us until (and if) we reach our goal situation. And that’s okay. We both appreciate the opportunity to indulge in a little self-reflection, and we both are dedicated to working together to find our way through this maze. As long as both those things are true, all of our efforts will, at least, lead us to become stronger, more adaptable and more well rounded individuals. And that has got to be a good thing.
(Originally Posted March 2, 2007)