Dating Magazine

Shifting Sands

By Polysingleish @PolySingleish

Shifting SandsBreakups are one of the strangest things to do. Even more so in the poly world.

The last time I broke up with someone- as in, I was the person saying ‘I don’t want this romantic relationship anymore’- it took me at least five years to get to that point. And even then I hyperventilated about it for weeks.

As a human being, I don’t like cutting off the flow of love. I feel like it is one of the most unnatural things to do.
Unloving is painful because you’re not supposed to un-love. So, I think we shouldn’t un-love. I would rather that we redefine, or to be more accurate, we change the parameters within which we are exploring a connection.

I went to dinner with Emma tonight. I took her to one of my favorite restaurants; the food is phenomenal and there is almost always live music. I figured that the conversation I knew had to happen would be better with full bellies and positive ambiance. It has actually been over a month since we had seen one another. Between my need to inwardly process a whole bunch of stuff that was getting triggered for me in the relationship between us, and the saturation of our respective schedules, we had been holding off on having the discussion that we had tonight.

I’m actually glad we weren’t able to have it sooner. I don’t think it was until the last few days I actually got clear on what was going on for me.

It is never about placing responsibility on someone else for being triggered on something, at least, for me it isn’t. I can’t blame someone else for saying something that upset me unintentionally any more than I can blame a pigeon for pooping on my jacket. Shit happens. It is how I react to the shit that interests me the most. And so I have spent the last few weeks examining how I react to a lot of different things in my world.

Online communication is fraught with problems, most notably the potential to project onto the other person an idea of who you think they are. Observing how online communication triggers me is one of the greatest sources of insight for me in how I relate to the world around me on a scale of authenticity vs projections. In the communications that Emma and I have shared on line, we acknowledged in our conversation tonight, there’s been a lot of projecting, on both sides.

In addition I have been experiencing another, separate phenomena: as much as I am attracted to women, I find myself right now unmotivated to pursue romantic or intimate relationships one on one with women. This became clear to me at a party a few weeks ago where, quite unexpectedly, I found myself with women quite literally throwing themselves at me and saying “You can do whatever you want to me.”
Wow, I thought, I have had fantasies about this for years, and right now, I just want to pat them on the head and say ‘That’s sweet dear,’ and walk away! A clear sign, perhaps, that I’m feeling more hetero-flexible than bisexual right now.

Another thing I have been contemplating is how we tend to approach relationships- both we as a society, we as a community of poly-minded folks, and me as an individual. I don’t think we approach friendships with the attitude of “you will be my life-long best friend”, since adolescent experiences often teach us that such an expectation is unrealistic and restrictive. So why do we so often approach relationships with the “you will be in my life forever” attitude?

Having said that, I think every single lover I have ever had continues to live in my emotional life in some way. Each ex, even the ones who have been abusive, inconsiderate, have spread rumors and slut shamed me- I still experience love for them. I don’t know how I could not do so, when so much of our hearts and souls and vulnerabilities have been so openly shared. There are some I communicate with fairly often. There are some with whom I have formed much stronger friendships as a result of our relationships. And there are those I almost never interact with- and I still think of them fondly and send them my love and wishes for all sorts of wonderful things to happen to them.

Breaking up in monogamy world often meant, for me, a long awkward period of anger, dislike, and no communication- with a possible happy reconnection on social media several months/years down the line. Breaking up in the polyamorous world is not so straight forward. Everyone is interconnected, somehow. And, there is such an openness and positivity that the nasty bitchiness that is often associated with breakups just has no place. I learned from my relationship with Noel that ‘breaking up’ in a poly relationship is more about shifting gears than anything else. And in the state of perpetual openness that I am seeking to cultivate, this makes perfect sense.

So, more or less amicably, Emma and I agreed to explore our connection as a friendship for now. I know that some time apart will help us return to a stronger friendship down the line, and I admit that I feel some trepidation at not knowing what that will look like. She is an amazing human being, and one I will always hold close in my heart, with a lot of gratitude for what we have shared and what our relationship has taught me. I have a lot of affection for her.

And in the mean time, I am left to ask myself some interesting questions:

Why do I seek relationships?
Why do I choose to be in relationships?
What are my needs in relationships?

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