And yet: A poly/kink meditation

Driving home from a partner’s house recently, I relished the ability my brain has to work through things while I’m traveling. At the time, one of the things I was dealing with was remnants of jealousy and insecurity regarding a metamour. My brain kept eating me alive and I did everything I could think of to deal with it up until that point: smile through it, put it aside, pack it up, ignore it, poke it gently with a stick, kick it in the neck. Y’know, the usual.

But when I get in a car or on a train and there’s a long trip or, at the very least, 30 minutes or more on a highway, I go into parsing mode. Meeting things head on, feeling my way through them, exploring ways to actually deal with them rather than constantly pushing myself into survival mode.

And a nifty thing happened while I was letting my brain ramble and unwind. It went something like this:

Anxious, scared brain: This metamour is younger and into things you’re not.

Suddenly, another voice joins in, soft but solid, of a new friend with whom I had been marveling recently about all the good/interesting things that were happening in our lives that we never expected to. The phrase they used was “and yet.” Two simple words to ground you and bring you back to the fact that those good things were happening.

So my anxious, scared brain goes: This metamour is younger and into things you’re not.

Soft, solid voice answers: And yet, your partner still wants you, too.

Anxious, scared brain goes into tizzy and tries to hurl something scarier at this new voice: Yeah, well, that metamour is closer geographically than I am.

Soft, solid voice replies again: And yet, your partner still wants you.

Anxious, scared voice is freaking the fuck out, thinking it’s about to be put out of a job and goes for broke: This metamour is thinner, and more attractive, sees your partner more and your partner wants said metamour more than you.

Soft, solid voice bitch-slaps back with a simple: And yet. It doesn’t matter, ultimately, about “more” or “less”. Bottom line. No getting around it. It may’ve taken some time but there is a part of you that knows this to be true now. Your partner finds you attractive and still wants you.

Anxious, scared brain will not be defeated and decides to go for completely batshit low blow and shouts: YOUR PARTNER IS GOING TO LEAVE YOU FOR METAMOUR. YEAH! “AND YET” THAT, MOTHERFUCKER.

Soft, solid voice smiles and says completely calmly: And yet. My partner has not left me yet. Our relationship isn’t based on a relationship escalator, and while I would love for it to go on for a long time, the success of it is not measured in longevity. It’s measured in, to quote Rent, love. You know poly means that your partner can care about, play with, date, have sex with, love, be with, whatever-the-fuck-you-wanna-call-it with other people and it does not mean you’re getting left behind. They are NOT mutually exclusive. They coexist. You coexist. You wrote a fucking piece about it here and everything! Your partners care about you for you and their other partners for who they are and the wondrous variety of it all is what makes it so goddamned beautiful and awesome now shut the fuck up and let’s sing some showtunes!!!

Wow. That soft, solid voice apparently grabbed a megaphone and some spirit somewhere along the highway because, daaaaammmmn. Anxious, scared brain walked away in a huff, promising to come back with better ammunition. I turned on Hamilton and sang along to “That Would Be Enough”.

***

About a half an hour later, anxious, scared brain gets back online and wants to go again.

ASB: You know that new person you like? There’s no way they could like you, too.

SSV: And yet. Have you talked to them about it? Have you asked how they felt? Do you know that for certain?

ASB: No…but…screams and stomps off I WILL FIND SOMETHING!

SSV: And yet. I will likely refute it.

***

I sing more Hamilton. Put on some Fleetwood Mac because I’m suddenly feeling more mellow and relaxed. Replay some of the happier moments from my time with my partner. Just about then, that jackass ASB struts up.

ASB: You’re a terrible submissive. You can’t be a director and a /s and a switch. They don’t go together. What’s wrong with you?

(Wow. What a smug asshole my brain can be sometimes. What the fuck? C’mon, SSV, don’t fail me now…)

SSV: And yet. I am all those things. At different times. With different people and situations.

ASB: You’re not submissive enough for your Sir. You’re not good enough. You’re too old and out of practice.

SSV: And yet. Sir says he is pleased by me more often than not and when he’s not, corrects and/or punishes me to his liking accordingly. It is not my job to second guess what he says he is pleased by. It is my job to trust his word and actions.

ASB: People won’t respect you for being a switch, especially in public.

SSV: And yet. I played in public on the right side of the slash in a place where I was in charge of a portion of the event recently and have so far seen no diminishing respect from colleagues, friends, partners, or anyone else. If anything, I’ve gotten many compliments on how happy I was that day as I went (what felt like) fairly seamlessly from the right side of the slash to the left as appropriate to the scenes I was having.

ASB, muttering under its breath: Fuck you and the “and yet” you rode in on…

SSV: And yet…that sounds like fun.

ASB explodes in a POOF

***

So. For the rest of the car ride, I just kept throwing “and yet” at all the insecurities that popped up and lo and behold, it’s been slamming them down right and left. I’ve even done some kneeling meditations on it and it’s held up strong. I don’t expect it to combat everything…

And yet I’m glad for what it’s doing right now.

Comparisons: The Poly Pitfall of Doom

You know one of the quickest ways to tank your self esteem as a poly person? Start comparing yourself to any of your metamours or things your partner(s) are doing with other partners.

And yet, I’ve fallen into that trap waaaaaay more times than I care to count. Today alone.

Just kidding. That was yesterday. Today it’s only happened a little.

It sucks. Because reason tells me that I know better than this. All I’ve read and written and experienced tells me, for the most part, better than this.

And yet, there are times when I can’t see past it. Past the fear, the panic, the “are they better than me?” Sexier? Kinkier? More flexible? And if they are, the root of it….am I going to be left behind?

This is probably the pit my brain tosses myself into headlong most frequently. Therapists and I have theorized about an abandonment complex based on things from my past when I was younger and people who were supposed to care about me dropped off the face of the earth when I was younger. In the span of about four years, my mother disappeared, my sister went off to college, my aunt and uncle, whom I used to see every other weekend along with my cousins who were like my little brothers, stopped seeing me and calling me, my grandfather stopped contacting me. Hell, even the guitar teacher I had just…stopped. This was from was from when I was eight until I was twelve. And yeah, I spent many years obsessing, wondering, afraid. What did I do wrong? What could I have done better? What could I have done to have made them stay?

The answer(s)? Nothing. Nothing. And nothing.

I know this now, after many years have passed and conversations have happened.

But on the other hand, people have told me I’m “too much”. I think too much, feel too much, laugh too loudly, get into hobbies too deeply, am too dramatic. So I’ve retreated sometimes. I’ve been worried about what I say, what I do, if it’s too much. If I’m too much.

Conversely, my brain also tells me I’m not enough. I’m not enough to for people to want…anything from. Not sexy enough, or attractive enough, or kinky enough, or interesting enough, or competent enough, or intelligent enough, or witty enough. I fight feeling like I’m failing at everything….my job, relationships, writing, life. It’s hard to see the things I’ve done right while the things I’ve done wrong scream at me.

Add metamours into this mix and sometimes, my brain sometimes goes haywire.

Here’s the thing. I actively chose and continue to choose to be in open relationships. After over 15 years, I know this is how I’m wired. It just makes sense to me to love more than one person. And that love can come in many different shapes and forms. I err more towards relationship anarchy style of poly these day, in that I do not want to tell my partners what they can or can’t do with other people and I don’t ever want anyone to tell me what I can and can’t do with other people. And most times, I love hearing fun stories of scenes that other partners have done, or fun experiences. I can usually do compersion like a mofo.

And yet. That pesky “and yet” slams me upside the heart and I’m gone.

I’ll think of a metamour, especially a new one (because new ones are waaaay harder to process than existing ones, most times), and go….fuuuuuuuucccckkkkk. They’re hot. Which, for some reason, suddenly means I’m not. They’re into things I’m not. Which suddenly, for some reason, means that I’m less valuable or interesting. They see said partner more than I do. Which suddenly diminishes the time I spend with that partner. All of the things I am and do and are interested in suddenly, in my stupid, stupid brain, are warring to be both not good enough and too much. Because that’s a thing that my brain can magically maintain.

Because it’s easier to beat myself up than to just understand that a new person does not automatically mean I lose.

Because a partner having NRE or wanting to see someone he hasn’t seen in months makes it feel like our communication is less/different and I feel like I’m kind of all alone. Add to the mix when life is crazy hella hectic and I’m at a touch and sex and play deficiency and suddenly everyone becomes competition. Suddenly, I’m afraid of losing everything.

Two of the best ways I’ve found to combat this are to talk and to focus solely on my relationship with my partner, not their relationship with anyone else. That latter one came from this gem of an article I read about a month ago called “Change your Cookbook: A monogamuggle’s guide to cookin’ with polyfolk”. (side note: I love that some of the best poly advice I’ve ever gotten comes from a monogamuggle. Also, I love the term “monogamuggle”.)

When it comes to talking, I’m finding that talking to partners is one thing. And that can be incredibly helpful. I mean, if you’re focusing on your relationship with your partner and you feel like they’ve been pulling back or things have changed, checking in with them is a good idea. But the best people I’ve found to talk to? The metamours themselves.

This used to scare the ever-lovin’ fuck out of me. Talk to the people that must be better than me? That might be taking my partner away? But…that seems impossible and painful. Like the bad kind of masochism. And that’s coming from an emotional masochist.

Funny thing, though? Metamours are fucking awesome. And when you start talking to the them, sometimes, you wind up having conversations with them and you find that you’re way more alike than you are different. You learn that they have similar hobbies, interests, and are really cool people. You also sometimes discover that they have similar insecurities or struggles and then you are gobsmacked but feel way less alone. They’re not trying to take everything away from you. They’re agenda is exactly the same as yours…to love, to have fun, and to enjoy time with the person you both care about. Because that makes sense, right? Isn’t that what this is all about?

And there’s time and space for all of these things to happen. And sometimes, you wind up wanting to hang out with them…like, without your partner! And sometimes you even are able to and suddenly you’ve made new friends and holy shit kitchen table poly can work.

This may or may not’ve happened to me a few times. And yet…each time it surprises me. But in that good way. Like, right. I don’t have to torture myself with horrible thoughts of being left and sad. The reality is way different than my fears and anxiety keep trying to tell me sometimes.

So those are two ways I’ve found to help quell the brain beasts. Does anyone else have any other advice on how to deal with this damn pitfall? I’d love to hear it, if so.

What did YOU bring ME?

Recently, I was getting to know a guy on Fetlife. He approached me respectfully and when I asked what brought him to my inbox, he said he liked my pics and my profile.

Okay. Cool.

I asked what he liked about my profile. He gave me a few items that were from my profile (and weren’t right next to each other, so there’s no c/p action going on) so it felt like knew he’d actually read it.

It was going fairly well, if not a little slowly.

Then this happened:

“What do you do for work? For fun? I know it probably says in your profile but I’m asking anyway lol.”

Duuuuude. Why? Why would you waste a message asking me something you admit to knowing you might could find the answer to and then throw an “lol” after it? Like, a lack of effort is funny to you? What the hell?

I’m tired of a lack of effort. I’m a service-oriented submissive to my core, part of which means I adore and feel personally fulfilled putting effort into the people I care about. But I’m also a switch. I know both sides of the slash, and I know damn well that both sides take effort.

Any relationship, whether we’re talking blood, friendly, romantic, sexual, kinky, aro, ace, or professional takes consistent effort from both sides. And effort is attractive as hell. There’s something intoxicating in knowing that someone chose to take time from their life to invest in yours. That they want to make time to let you know you’re important, attractive, intelligent, awesome, witty, etc.

And let me tell ya, I have less and less patience with people who don’t make some kind of effort. Because why should I stick around if I’m the only one doing the heavy lifting? Or, not even heavy lifting. If I’m the only one bringing something to the table at all, or 99% of the time? That’s too much for me. I want to know I matter. It’s taken me too damn long to get even close to thinking that I do matter, and now that I have…it’s not so easy to shut that off. And why the fuck should I?

Maybe people will tell me I’m a bad submissive or switch or I just don’t understand how to be Dominant. I probably won’t play well with those people because, damnit, after nearly 20 years in the scene, I have learned some things. At the very least, I’ve learned a fuckton about myself.

I spent way too much time living on crumbs. I need more than that. I need vibrant, evolving relationships that all parties are invested in. I welcome change and growth and learning from my partners, friends, family, colleagues. I crave to be challenged, surprised, delighted. I ask for constructive criticism in both my professional and my personal life.

In turn, I try to give do and give these things to the people I love and be responsive and attentive to the things they’re looking for. One of the best things in the world is when someone mentions something that they like or want and then, sometime in the future, doing or giving them that thing. I’ve seen people’s eyes light up because they can’t believe I remembered what they consider a throw away comment they made months ago. But it’s all…information that I store about people I care about. I mean, we do it if someone is allergic to something.

It’s hella important to remember that Jane will, y’know, die if she has shellfish so I’m not going to serve her shellfish. And to me, it’s a natural extension to think that if Jane mentioned one day that orange gatorade is the best aftercare drink for her, that if Jane and I play, I’m gonna do my best to have some orange gatorade at the ready. Things like that matter and they mean a lot to the person receiving them. I’ve been on both the giving and receiving end of that and it just…builds good things. I don’t understand why it’s difficult to pay attention and act accordingly to someone you’re interested in or someone you care about.

Another part of this, in my mind, comes up in the book that Jeff Mach wrote. There’s a section in Give: some explorations on submission called “What did you bring me?” which asks many questions of the theoretical submissive. The crux of this section is to challenge the submissive to think about what qualities they bring to the relationship beyond a body and their own fantasies. There are questions like:

  • What skills do you bring?
  • What knowledge?
  • What are you prepared to teach me?
  • Have you brought me a mind, the ability to make choices and judge circumstances?

For some people, this is revolutionary. Like, you mean a submissive or slave doesn’t exist to solely obey? In fact, Jeff wrote about that misconception yesterday in his post on Fetlife called “‘I ain’t payin’ you to think’: a fallacy of slavery”. And I’m glad for this type of post. I’m glad he asked the questions he did in his book. Hell, I’m glad he wrote the book.

But I’ve always had another thought when reading this section…

What will the Dom/Top/Master/other person bring to the relationship? I’ve spent years trying to understand, embrace, hone, expand, and articulate the skills, knowledge, interests, etc that I bring to a relationship and this email from this new guy hit me like a bucket of cold water. Like, not only did he say he likely knew where to find answers, but he couldn’t be bothered to check. Oh, and let’s throw an “lol” after.

No, I don’t find it funny that you don’t want to put the effort in to make real conversation. I don’t think it bodes well that you’re not going to pay attention to things that are already in front of you. And I sure as hell am not going to waste my time repeating what I’ve already taken time to say when you’re dismissing it with an “lol”. I’ve already listed some of the things I bring. What exactly are YOU bringing to ME in this regard, especially since you’re the one who approached me?

So far, not nearly enough.

It’s National “Don’t Be Nice To Me” Day

Title and idea shamelessly stolen (with encouragement!) from Ferrett Steinmetz.

Full text of his original post in case you don’t like clicking links:

Yesterday, I posted a sad status that said:

Feeling isolated and alone today. Nobody did anything wrong. I just woke up this morning wreathed in failure. #brainweasels

And I was beswarmed in kind comments. Something like twenty people replied, others sent kind messages, and still others texted me to send love. Which is all wonderful, and I appreciate that, but…

I’ve got a good support system. I have my bad days, but when I have them, I also have thousands of people on my social networks who are willing to sympathize.

Others don’t.

So I am declaring today “National ‘Don’t Be Nice To Me’ Day – and what I’d like you to do today is to reach out to someone who doesn’t necessarily have a great support network and tell them you’re thinking of them. Or reach out to someone who’s having a hard time and hasn’t, for whatever reason, been able to post online to get the support they deserve.

Basically, take the kindness you were willing to show to me yesterday and use that to surprise someone else with love. Don’t tell ’em why you did it, don’t explain what today is – just text them or @ them or DM them to tell them “Hey, you know what? I’m here for you.”

And if you feel like posting this elsewhere on your blog/social media/whatever, thus converting the latent kindness people feel for you into active kindness for other people? Awesome.

Because any excuse to be nice to someone else is a great excuse.

Don’t be nice to me today.

Be great to someone else.

I wholeheartedly support this idea. I have a pretty darn good support network looking after me and helping me. So any support you or kindness you were gonna throw my way, throw it to someone else today. Just love people, ‘kay? And show them that you love them. Effort and affection and support mean a lot.

As a great philosopher once said, “Be excellent to each other.”

Under Pressure

Moving. Load out tomorrow. Halfway across the country.

So many goodbyes. So many hellos. So much positive, forward momentum. I’m leaving under such better circumstances this time. I’m moving with my husband towards bright things. Relationships, friends, family, work, events, opportunities. But it’s also such a major change. I’m scared. The last three times I made this move (twice here, once back) were so…painful. Twice I was leaving painful things behind me and once I didn’t really want to move. Wasn’t ready. I am this time, but there’s still so much to do. There’s the packing and the cleaning, and the loading out and the driving 16 hours, the loading in, the unpacking. Pair that with the fact that presenter notifications for one of our events have to go out by Sunday. We leave Monday morning.

It doesn’t help that my stomach has been in knots all day and I can’t digest anything properly.

Lots of pressure. And I’m running into some surprising walls. Some not-me walls.

Because love’s such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And loves dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure

“Under Pressure” – Queen & David Bowie

Apparently, compersion has gone out the window and I’m reduced to a mess of insecurities,  viscerally ugly jealousy that I detest as I struggle to stop it, and Imposter Syndrome who’s brain is rapidly trying to convince me that I suck at my job, everyone I care about is happier with other partners, I’m going to somehow fuck up moving all our stuff 1000 miles away, and I’m going to wind up alone without any of the bright points of connection and love and play and everything else.

It came on so quickly and hard this afternoon after reading something that I know normally would’ve made me really happy. I wound up dropping to my knees, sobbing in physical pain. It’s the severe side of my anxiety disorder that I try to hide from the world. Thankfully, no one was home. I was able to cry it out and meditate a bit in a kneel.

This IS NOT ME. These emotions ARE NOT MINE. I feel like I’ve been hijacked. The only thing I can think of is that it’s technically envy, amplified the fuck up to 11. I’m stressed out, craving play, sensation, sex, to feel…good. Or to feel physical pain that helps me calm down and feel good. To connect with someone. To feel desired. I know my husband cares about me. But we’re both under pressure. It’s been close to a month since we’ve done…anything. I know other people care about me and have helped this week. But they’re all also over 1000 miles away.

I just want a release. So badly. So fucking badly. I don’t begrudge anyone anything. I just want some for myself. But right now…right now, I have more work to do. More packing. More emails. So much more to do before Monday…

Two great tastes that taste great together…

(Book review #7 – original post @ Cannonball Read 8)powercircuits-ravenkaldera

Warning: This book and review deal with power dynamics being carried out in real life adults that some might not be comfortable with, and may also contain some triggering words that have a very different meaning in the kink scene. Please note that everyone involved has agreed to be so; this book is about consensual power dynamics and conscious relationship style choices, not coercion. As the author states in the synopsis on the back of the book:

“Power Circuits is an alliance between two alternative lifestyles: polyamory, or multiple open and honest romantic relationships; and power dynamics, relationships that choose to be consciously and deliberately unequal in power.”

So I’ve been in the kink scene for just over eighteen years. Of those eighteen years, I’ve been polyamorous or involved in open relationships for about fifteen years. In the course of those fifteen years, I’ve read and written a lot about polyamory. I’ve also read and written (albeit less than poly) about kink stuff. Thing is, up until I found this book a few months ago on an Amazon search, I had never seen the two put together. Sure, some poly books touch on the overlap between the poly community and the kink scene, but never anything in depth that I remember. And yeah, some kink books go into threesome and multiple partners, but the subject of love seems to be mostly avoided. But this book…THIS book puts the two great tastes together in ONE book! And really well, I might add. It’s been a while since I brought a pencil with me as diligently while reading as I did with this book. It’s full of underlined passages, notes in the margin, and I even spent a few weeks using it for a series of writing prompts while exploring more about D/s & M/s relationships this summer.

One of the things I love about this book is how it’s organized. There’re about 100 pages of Part One: “Background and Basics” that I breezed through because the author’s style is so accessible and smooth. This section covers some basic definitions, why he decided to write this book (basically because, as I said above, no one ever had before), some common pitfalls, a rough outline of various intensity levels to power dynamics, a chapter on queer templates called “Polyamory and Power Dynamics in Nonheterosexual Communities”, and, of course, the ever present poly mantra of “communicate, communicate, communicate.” I was especially grateful that during all this explanation of terms, Kaldera had a very open perspective on power dynamics and throughout the book, in fact, is guided by the principle that the people in each relationship should work out what they want and not subscribe blindly to being a Dominant or submissive in a certain way. He write on page 19 that “there is also great variety in the levels of power dynamic between relationships with any given partner…many ongoing polyamorous families end up looking more like constellations than simple geometric forms.” But my favorite part is when he elaborated on it on page 54:

We don’t believe in saying that subs or slaves or masters or mistresses “ought” to have certain rights or limits. These are all negotiated in intensely personal ways between the people involved, and the only way to judge is if everyone involved says that they’re completely happy with the situation. Beyond that, it’s up to them. There is no one “right” way to do this. There’s only the ways that work to make everyone content with their choices, and the ways that make someone in the relationship miserable. That will be different for everyone.

Part Two: Essays from The Ones in Charge and that was where my pencil really had a field day. There was so much information in there! And different perspectives and relationship constructs…it made me so happy. One of the Masters talks about how he focuses on a “personal angle of self-improvement and overcoming internal conflict” and holds these guiding themes as his ideal:

…make the girl the best that she can be, along the lines of self-actualization described by psychologists Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. To that end, preserving elements of the girl’s ego is not only important, but core to what I wish to accomplish.

AND

My artistic urges revolve around the collaborative fusion of audience and artist, so the final creation is a gestalt of my will and the will of my slave or submissive, each one different.

That Master sums up his section by urging readers to “set out to find what is right and then build your own terms around it. Never let the words dictate the realities.” That’s what I strive for.

Another author in this section talks similarly about he views polyamory/non-monogamy:

My concept of non-monogamy is based on the firm conviction that we can’t control love, and so we’re much better off learning how to navigate our lack of control than investing in futile measures to clamp down. In other words: there is no such thing as forever, because you can’t possibly know today how you will feel in twenty years. There is no such thing as “the one” because we are all evolving and changing at every moment, and we all have infinite potential to meet others with whom we could share a few steps or many leagues on our journey.

Part Three: Essays from the Ones Who Surrender also saw a lot of my pencil, especially since it had a whole chapter based on being a cuckquean, which is not something that’s often written about – especially from a kink perspective. There are six different essays in this section (two more than the “Ones in Charge” section, which I find interesting in a good way) and besides the cuckquean one, my favorite was the one that talked about (and was titled) Being in a Leather Family. For a long time, I’ve been peripherally tied to the leather community through friends and work, but have never really explored it myself. This one essay made me want to dive in headfirst once I move back to the East coast this fall and to my home kink scene.

My favorite parts were the ones that said “the role of Master and slave was more important than sex in its own way” and that “there are many, many kinds of love.” Because YES. This! But the best part, I think, and the part that really made me want to learn more about the leather community was this:

It’s part of the queerness that created the leather family – the part that says, “They’ll never accept me out there, because they don’t understand me, so I will create my own family designed around affirming my sexuality and my lifestyle.” That’s queerness, even when it’s a leather family full of straight people. That, not sex, is what binds us together.

The last section is called Families Speak and touches on parenting within this dynamic and contains an interview with a poly/power dynamic family and the Kaldera. This section contains probably my favorite anecdote. The family is talking about one of their contracts, because in these types of relationships, sometimes there are contracts that spell out what type of power is involved and what is expected of all parties. These can get very wordy, very over-the-top, and, in my opinion, a little dramatic. Sometimes. But this family has an ageplay dynamic that led them to do one of their contracts with much more levity and I think it’s perfect:

Our contract very much reflects who we are as people, because part of our dynamic and part of our personalities is that both of us are “littles”. So if you read our contract, that would shine through loud and clear. The title of the contract is “Da Rulz” and it says things like, “The dominant, he can haz the power.”

This pretty much encapsulates what I love about this book so much. It helps and encourages people to find what works for them, to be honest with their partners about what they want, and to always communicate, communicate, communicate. The author spends about a third of the book giving his experiences and input, but then opens the rest of it to people who are doing it and how. Also, none of the people shy away from talking about how many mistakes they made getting to where they are now and saying that these relationship styles are not for everyone. It’s not a proselytizing book in the slightest, but it is worth it’s weight in gold for people who are navigating these waters because it is part of who they are.

Hey, jealousy – part duex

Hello and welcome back. I still hate jealousy.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ve just come across an article/interview and new poly resource called Poly Pocket on Autostraddle described as “new series showcasing polyamorous and ethically non-monogamous relationships.” The article is called Making Relationships Up As We Go and contains this quote that just about sums up the root of my jealousy:

“The scary part of being poly is trusting that you’re worthy of love and worth sticking around for not because you’re the only person around but because you have inherent value just by being you.”

Boom.

That right there. I’ve only recently, like this year, have come to feel more secure in my worthiness. And when new people come on the scene for my partners, I have a mad rush of “Fuck; it’s an elimination round and I won’t survive because I’m not valuable enough.”

Which is a fucked up way of looking at things. I know, I know.

But the feeling is embedded deeper in me that I realize from my monogamous upbringing that monogamy and exclusivity are what protect you. Your worth comes from nabbing a man and then catering to him and that makes you worthy. That makes it justifiable to stake your claim on him. And he on you.

And even though I’ve spent more than a decade dismantling these ideas they still pop up. Less frequently, to be sure, but still. Enough that I have to make sure my Box of Non-Monogamy tricks is fully stocked with things like:

  • Affirmations. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggoneit, people like me. Thank you Stuart Smalley.
  • Ownership is for kink relationships. Otherwise, no one owns anyone else.
  • We each come with our own inherent value. It’s what makes open relationships so beautiful. I don’t have to sit through a movie I have no interest in or play video games that make me sick. My husband has partners that will do that with him and enjoy it. That doesn’t negate the value of us sharing Gilmore Girls, Inkmaster, and Drag Race or our love of geeky board and card games. And even when I have things in common with metamours, that doesn’t mean they do that fandom “better”. It means that partner now has at least two partners who like the same things they do.
  • Relationships end. This is the hard one to come to terms with sometimes. Longevity is not my primary measure of relationship success anymore. In fact, I’m trying to phase it out as a metric. Yes, it’s commendable to weather storms together, but sometimes…people need to part. Sometimes a relationship stops being good for us and we should move on. Embracing this is difficult. It means I don’t want to claim anyone or be claimed (again, unless we’re talking kink relationships. In that instance, being called “mine” by the right person is one of the hottest things ever.)

So these are the things I have to remember as I face the green-eyed monster. If anyone reading this has any other suggestions of things that work for them in their Box of Non-Monogamy tricks, please do leave a comment!