[Journal] Emotional navelgazing

Tonight Manthing asked me if he could catch up with a woman for coffee. For anyone who’s been around this blog for a little while (or anyone who has read my ‘about me’ section) knows that our relationship doesn’t exactly conform to your norms. We are in an open, polyamourous relationship and it works for us, we’re happy with it and that’s all that matters at the end of the day. In this post, I ask that you do not judge, try to convert or otherwise criticise my relationship mechanics because you do not agree with it. That’s not the point of this post

But tonight manthing asked me if he could catch up with a woman for coffee, and I was gripped by a sense of panic. After sitting down and talking about what was bothering me, I came to two conclusions.

The first, the idea that if he finds someone he likes, that he or she would reject me as his partner, she would make me feel unwelcome in her presence, she would throw my position physically, socially or financially in my face or she would otherwise disagree with the idea of sharing time with Manthing.

The other is that, in his adventures, he would find someone that made him happy, and while I’m entirely happy in my relationship with him, that I would fail to find connections with people outside our relationship and would end up jealous and unhappy.

During our talks, I realised that these issues, and many more, came down to one thing. My ex boyfriend and our ex girlfriend. The relationship I had with them has coloured my perception of the world so drastically that I hardly noticed until I stepped back and asked myself “Why?” Why am I upset? Why does this cause me distress?

In one relationship I was undervalued. I was cheated on multiple times. I had a partner that wanted a parent and a secretary. Someone who had no motivation of their own, no drive to improve themselves as a person and, rather than fighting, he simply shrugged and gave up and was happy with “I tried”. I did love him, but by the end it felt hollow and one-sided. I felt like slapping him and screaming at him to try and keep me, rather than rotting away like a corpse in a basement. I did love him, but by the end, all that was had been tainted by the bitterness and anger that I held against him for failing to walk beside me as I moved forwards in my life.

That left me with the impression that I had no value as a person. That I was expendable, replaceable at a moments notice. It told me that I wasn’t worth the effort of stepping away from the PC, that my happiness came second to someone else’s. It taught me that I was an idiot to trust people and that I would ultimately end up getting hurt.

After Manthing and I became an item, there were many challenges we had to face as a couple. The greatest is something I’m still fighting to this day – that I have an intrinsic value as a person, and that anyone that truly loves me will show me this every single day.

After some time, Manthing and I became involved with a girl. To this day I’m still madly in love with her, and I find my heart aching when I come across the photo of her sitting on the couch in my jumper. I miss the way she smelled and the softness of her hair and her skin. I miss her laugh, the way she could light up a room just by walking in, her stunning smile and I miss knowing her intimately, physically and otherwise. A few months ago I found a video she had made for us when we were together. She sang a beautiful song. I couldn’t watch more than a few seconds before I was in tears. But, while things were wonderful while they were good – she proved that there was very little in the world that made me happier than both her and Manthing being a part of my life at the same time – the note the relationship ended on… well, I would take broken bones over that heartache any day.

While there were many unaddressed issues of her own health and her lack of management thereof, what sealed fate was the fact that she commited the cardinal sin against someone with a chronic, uncontrollable illness and told me that she couldn’t cope with it. That it was getting to her. She told me that MY illness had become HER problem. I understand that, after a time, it can be wearing to see someone you care about face battles you can’t fight. I do. But what was said to me that evening was unforgivable, and it reinforced my greatest fear – that someone I had opened my heart to and truly loved with every part of my being, that they could cut me down where I stood by using my own personal hell against me. She had proven that, with my conditions, being in a relationship outside of Manthing simply wasn’t possible because my health was too much of a burden on others and that I would have been so much better off either never having revealed my Achilles heel, or even loved to begin with.

And so I find myself tonight sitting here and trying to make sense of the thoughts rushing around in my head. I listen to the way part of me desperately yearns to make meaningful connections with people, and I hear the other part of me that says “No, it’s too dangerous. You will only find hurt and loneliness” and I don’t know which one is more right than the other. The real question begging an answer is “Can I allow Manthing the chance to find happiness (alongside me) and am I willing to risk not finding it myself?”

Life is inherently one giant risk. We risk traveling through our mother’s body to the world. We risk our lives leaving the house. We risk our ego every time we speak to people. We risk being hurt when we give them more than a “hello”. What I ultimately need to decide is whether my happiness, and manthing’s is ultimately worth that risk. Because a part of me deep down inside still believes that it may be worth it. Not every time, but sometimes. And that sometimes can make all the difference.

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6 thoughts on “[Journal] Emotional navelgazing

  1. For reasons I can’t talk about, I have to say I admire you for putting this out there. It takes guts and a level of self awareness that most do not nurture or even possess. No judgement here whatsoever, Abi. I think you and Manthing are very lucky to have found one another to be able to share this kind of love.

    • Thank you, Tony. I had realised after a few talks manthing and I have had over the past few weeks – culminating in bumping into an ex while out shopping – that I had a lot (and still do) of unresolved feelings and emotions around past relationships, friendships and the way I interacted with other people. Had the blogging mood taken me a few weeks back I don’t think I would have had the courage to share what I did here, since this is such a raw and emotional issue for me. But I’m slowly in the process of realizing (yes, slowly :p) that sometimes being happy involves facing pain we’ve run from because, sooner or later, it’s going to find us anyway. I want this to be the first step towards making real changes in areas I’ve been to afraid to touch. I want healthy relationships and I want to feel that fantastic thundering love again without the little voice in the back of my head that says “Don’t open up, they can never live up to your expectations”. I think I could honestly write a whole post again from the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head since I wrote this one. I figure I just really need need to be honest with myself before anything else right now. Good thing will eventually follow.

      • I think that’s the thing that most people assume about polyamorous relationships… that the participants involved are just being selfish. Just wanting their cake and eating it too. If anything, I think the opposite must be true. Trying to make sure that all parties involved in your relationships are happy must need to be a big priority if the relationships are to work at all, yes?

      • Absolutely. People are still human and you do get those that are only in it for self gratification, but the whole idea is founded on the concept thar you can love more than one individual and, in doing so, there’s a two-way street of tending to needs, wants, conflict resolution and all sorts. God knows there can be enough of that in a mono relationship, so adding another person (either in serial or triad, for lack of a better term) just adds to that. Communication is essential and so is finding someone compatible with your relationship style. So it’s basically dating on expert mode :p

  2. I admire folks who can juggle poly relationships… it’s hard enough for a mono relationship to have good communication. When you bring in extra partners and metamours and all of that, well. I’m personally happiest in a monogamous relationship (though I did ask his position on poly before we got married), but I’ll never stop admiring folks who do their best to make open/poly work. What you’ve listed here seems like reasonable concerns and fears, and I can only presume that Manthing understands them.

    <3!

    • We’ve spoken at length about them and have some fantastic communication between us. There have been a few hard learned lessons to get to this point. One of the most incredible things about Manthing is that he’s been nothing but supportive and patient with me as I try to be with him. While we are standalone individuals with our own needs and desires, we’re also an incredible team with the most amazing compersion for each other. Because of my rocky history, when he hasn’t been on a date in a while, I just need some love and time to find that secure place inside me that remembers we’ve been together years now and that’s not going to change. But anxiety is a horrible beast and it doesn’t matter how many times someone can tell you that you are the air you breathe and their entire world, that seed of doubt can grow if left ignored. The stuff I mention in this post is just some of the issues that feed that ugly little whisper and I’m glad not only that I could find the words to start explaining my head, but that people like yourself have accepted what I’ve said without judgement. Thank you for listening ❤

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