What’s love got to do with it

I’m feeling contemplative today. The other night, after unpacking from the weekend and doing my Sinful Sunday post, I laid in bed and thought about my life: where it was, what I had wanted; where it is, what I want now. I wrote this to Vipelr:

“I’m trying to figure out the life I want and it’s not always the life I have and I wonder if I just settle for the life I have because I know I can’t have the life I want.”

I’m trying to figure out if I really feel that way – that I am settling for what I can have, because I can’t have what I really want – or if that is just something I a) have told myself for so long that it’s become “true” in my head, even if it really isn’t; and b) the thing I think when I am 3 glasses of wine into a night alone and suddenly feeling sorry for myself – even if I was happy with my life only hours before.

I was out at dinner with the daughter last night. “Things are going really well right now,” I said to her over chips and salsa.

She shook her head and said, “It’s sad that there has to be a ‘right now’ disclaimer on that, Ma. It’s like me with [boyfriend]. All it ever is is good “right now” because after five years I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop and things to be shitty between us again; because that shoe always does drop. ‘Right now’ never lasts.”

I realized she had interpreted what I said to be in reference to my relationships (and I was terribly pained to hear her say that about her own.) In small part, she was correct. Although I have not written here in detail about the past 18 months or so of poly-relationship stressors, (my side is not the only one, and I would not want to present things only as I see them, without the others involved able to refute my version of things) she and I are close enough that she knows how difficult, at times, things have been. But I wasn’t speaking only of relationships. I was talking about how I feel about…well, about my life in general. About who I am and what I am doing. “Right now” doesn’t mean I expect it to fall apart or for that inevitable shoe to drop. “Right now” means that this moment, this time in my life, this place where I am emotionally and psychologically, is good. Really good. I’m well aware that it could all go south tomorrow – but here and now, life is good.

So how does that fit with my earlier comment to V? Which is it? Am I settling for a life that is “less than”? Am I fooling myself that this is enough?

I think sometimes I think that because I still have this mono-normative, Disney-esque happily-ever-after tape playing in the back of my mind. Two-by-two, married-with-children, white-picket-fence is what it’s supposed to be, right? What we’re all supposed to want? And although I definitely do not want that particular model of happily-ever-after, perhaps there is a part of me that wants some version of that.

Sometimes, on those nights when I am alone with those 3 glasses of wine, I think I want some version of that with V.

That’s scary to write here. Not the least because it could be horribly and incorrectly misconstrued. I do not want the life that his wife has. I do not want to be with V alone, and I (don’t think) I’d even want to live with him. What I do want is to share more of my life with him, and to share more of his life. What I am settling for is two nights (and the occasional half day) with him. That’s where the settling comes in. And that is what makes my heart hurt on those nights when I am alone and would just like to…I don’t know. Flirt-text with him a little. Hear his voice tell me good night rather than read it. Maybe cuddle up with him on the couch before heading home. Or meet him out for a glass of wine. Or fall asleep talking to him on the phone. I don’t want just 2/7th’s (if that’s a thing.) But I don’t know how to get there or what that would even look like.

Is being poly only and always settling for partial relationships? Or is that “partial relationships” idea merely a construct of our mono-normative culture that I can’t seem to shake?

I mean, the reality of my life is that I truly enjoy my freedom. I (for the most part) thoroughly enjoy my time on my own. Aside from the restrictions that I consent to in my D/s relationship, I like being able to decide what I am going to do when, and how I’m going to do it (or not.) I like not having the responsibility for another person.

But. This is I how feel now. I’m in the prime of my life, able to take care of myself in all ways, with a good job, inexpensive housing, good medical insurance. But I’m not in my 30’s anymore. What happens when I grow older? Will I still enjoy my nights alone? Will I not want someone to truly share my life, not just pieces of it? Won’t I want/need a more integrated life with a true partner? That’s something I will never have with V. And, to be honest, it is not something I want with Ad, if some things in his life don’t change drastically (although, realistically, that is probably exactly what will happen.) But what are my options?

  1. Maintain the status quo, but with the plan being to somehow convince/train Adam to be a partner that I not only like and love, but that I can live with; or
  2. Start actively looking for a partner to replace either Adam’s or V’s role in my life (or both), which would mean probably breaking up with one or both of them.

I don’t much like either option. :-(

So, knowing this, am I just settling for less than I want, in order to have some part of what I want? Or is what I have truly good enough for now and in the future?

And what exactly does “love” with in with this?

 

Comments

  1. Floss

    I have had so many variations on these thoughts since I started exploring non-monogamy and alternative relationship models. Many of them I have resolved happily in my mind, some still come into view again once in a while. One of the resources that really helped me re-frame my thoughts and see that I actually had more than I thought I did was More Than Two, I know it’s often a redundant thing to recommend to already poly identifying people. But on the of chance you haven’t read it, I do thoroughly recommend it x

    Reply
  2. Marie Rebelle

    There is a lot for you to consider here, and I can understand that you come to a point where you review what you have and then wonder “is this it?”. How to continue? That’s a tough one, I think. The only advice I can give you is to stay close to yourself, do what YOU want to do, because after all, it IS your life.

    Rebel xox

    Reply
  3. May More

    Oh my goodness – u have really put it across well and I don’t bloody know. Settling is a word that maybe should take out of the equation. – do what feels good, what makes you happy ;-)

    Reply
  4. Molly

    I think Rebel’s advice jumps out at me, stay close to yourself and true to you, it is after all your life and you must follow the path that feels right for you

    Mollyx

    Reply
  5. Lord Raven

    in the dark of night alone we face our deepest wants and desires, especially when we face them alone.
    Being poly is a beautiful thing, it’s definitely not for everyone, but for those of us who are luck enough to enjoy it and find what is being sought it is far from just settling.

    Reply
  6. Ria Restrepo

    There’s certainly a lot to consider here. I think we’ve all been there, wondering if we’re on the right path, if we’re really following our bliss. I know I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but more often than not, I tend to go with my gut feeling on things–as cliche as that is. lol

    Reply
  7. Mrs Fever

    I’m just wondering why the only options you’ve listed are “settle and deal” & “replace one of them.”

    I get that building relationships is a lot of work, so if building something new with someone new is not at all an option, I can understand that.

    But really… Why NOT seek someone new? Someone who *is* the kind of match you would like, for now and to build a future with? A nesting partner. (Which is what you seem to be saying you want, eventually.) And why not add that person to the life you already live, without the caveat of ‘replacing’ someone you already love?

    If you’ll bear with a visual analogy for a moment:

    Your life is a glass jar, filled with various odd-shaped baubles. Sea-shell shaped family members and marble responsibilities, letter-block hobbies and five-pronged starfish lovers. Those pieces that you fill your life with are not interlocking puzzle pieces, nor do they have to be; they abutt one another and occasionally rattle about and there is space between the outline of each.

    But if, pouring over the existing objects of your affection/time, you fill that jar with sand… If you allow those cracks to be filled, to mesh with all the contents of your glass jar and seal up the spaces in between…

    That, to me, is what you seem to be expressing a need for. Someone who can be the sand in your jar.

    You don’t have to remove the current people or things that fill your life. You just need someone to fill the spaces in between.

    :)

    Reply

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