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?
- 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
- 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?