Monday, July 25, 2011

polyanna cowgirl*

Every once in a while I encounter a situation in which I am trying to explain my romantic life to someone (or moreso, to explain why I've chosen a path that's a bit different from the traditional ones of monogamy or marriage, or at the very least, serial monogamy.) It's a weird place to be and sometimes it's hard to explain it without sounding like I'm just some sort of commitment-phobe (of course I also say this is why I've never gotten a tattoo). I recently stumbled on this article, which probably lays it out very well, at least the circumstances if not the reasons.

The reasons themselves are sort of layered and overlapping, alot of it rooted in just being, by nature, sort of an introverted loner who likes to spend (needs to spend) a good amount of time alone, for both my sanity and my creative energies. While I get a great amount of happiness from the people I have been involved with over the years (well, most of them, however intense the relationship), I start to get that weird smothered feeling if I feel them encroaching too much on my time or space, no matter how fond I might be of spending time with them otherwise. Luckily I'm usually pretty honest about this from the get go. I've tended toward longish entanglements in the past, all of which move along various scales of intensity and involvement, as well as various levels of emotional drama and involvement (the R fiasco, for example trotted alongside a pretty functional entanglement with someone else it's entire duration, which continues currently. Or moreso the drama of the former was soothed a little by the relative stability of the other.) I never know what to call these things, they are maybe something less than "relationships" but more than "friendships" obviously (I usually jokingly divide my friends up into camps--work friends, poetry friends, art friends, sexy friends.)

About 10 years ago, I would have been entirely too insecure and jealous to accept the possibilty of my lovers having other lovers (even committed poly partners aware of the situation ), but in the intervening years, I've let go of alot of those feelings, or at least tried to examine them and not let them rule me. A friend (yes, sometimes a sexy friend though not as much recently) probably put it best when he proposed the implausibility of one person being absolutely everything to another, and if not, then you had two choices, either give up on those things, those needs your partner cannot meet, OR accept other people into your life as well, whether they be relationships with a sexual element or even without.

I think somehow, it was all a little freeing, that lack of pressure. I think from early on, we're told to expect relationships to follow a strictly linear trajectory, but I've learned to see them more as circles, sometimes self-contained, sometimes overlapping. And in those circles, there seems to be more room for breathing, more room to move. I've also always hated the idea of serial monagamy, of trading one person for another, of effectively removing that person from your life simply because there is someone else more interesting at the moment. Relationships, no matter how committed or emotionally intense, go through cycles. Even platonic friendhsips go through cycles. So many people bolt on the low point when otherwise there might be reasons to stay together. It's also amazingly nice to be relieved (mostly) of the jealousies and insecurities that typically plague monogamous relationships.

I think, too, that these days it's more about spending time with people, enjoying that time, no matter what it entails, whether sexy friends or strictly platonic ones, and not to be always moving toward some blurry point on the horizon, or all those things the fairytales or Hollywood say we should.

*incidently this was a term I was hesitant to embrace for awhile, "poly" which seemed to have more to do with couples and shared partnerships rather than a more open interpretation. I'm not sure I like labels of any kind, but that teminology comes closest to where my head is at these days...

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