Better Door Than a Window

white house iwth a green door and green window

Lately, I’ve been reading Franklin Veaux’s More Than Two, which along with The Ethical Slut is about the best reading  for an overview of polyamory and its attendant issues that one can do.

I’ve been a long-time reader of Veaux’s website as it came up as a resource on my very first Google searches of “polyamory” back in 2009 when Megan and Pete came out to our friend group as poly and introduced us all to the concept. That website (especially the FAQ and the primer on how to become a secure person) helped me to survive the early days.

Reading the book has been a much more intense experience. It’s very good. Some days, More than Two is too real for me. I’m working my way through slowly. It’s a good challenge, but I’m rationing it out to the speed I can really handle it and think appropriately on each section. Essentially, my struggle with the book is that it’s not leaving me space in my head to make excuses and keep from doing the work to grow.

I’ve hit a wall emotionally where I don’t believe my own shit anymore. This happens periodically.

I’m assured by those close to me that I’m very hard on myself, and I do just fine with poly matters. In fact, most of them say I’m quite good at it. A friend pointed out that I am happy for partners when they get something to feel good about even when it doesn’t benefit me (and can perhaps take away a little of what I have). I’ve cultivated a natural compersion response, and this has followed me into other realms. Professionally I’m like this. When someone else gets a perk, I don’t ask “Where’s mine?” I’m happy for them and if I want something for myself I advocate for that independently of what other people are or aren’t getting. This attitude has served me really well in the workplace – they’ve afforded me flexibility, a raise, a promotion because I work hard on my duties, advocate for myself when appropriate, and foster a positive workplace culture where I appreciate those around me and want good things for them. I want to be part of places where everyone shares and there’s plenty to go around. This applies to everywhere – in my work, with my friends, in my romantic relationships. My friend said this is the most important part of poly and that I’ve nailed it.

I hear similar from metamours and lovers, especially when considering the way Skyspook and I behave towards each other. There’s a lot of love, a lot of gratitude, a lot of appreciation, and a lot of trust. It’s really good to hear, and sometimes if I stop beating myself up for 5 seconds (a break in the self-critical action), I can even see what they mean.

I get hung up on the parts that are hard for me though. More than anything, I struggle with feelings that I’m in the way. I’m super dense about it – I have a hard time getting it through my head that I’m not a nuisance or a burden for Skyspook. I worry that I’m very annoying and that I’m hampering his happiness. As I’ve written recently, Skyspook tells me that I’m actually a boon when it comes to his dating life – that I’m funny and engaging and an asset to him in that regard.

It is helpful to be reminded by Skyspook that this isn’t solely a poly issue – I said similar during our long period of functional monogamy, that I felt like I was holding him back by being in his life. He also pointed out that even our kitchen is anxiety-provoking for me. It’s small and crowded, and we’re both avid cooks, but working in it together or even having one person put away the dishes while the other prepares dinner can be tricky. I find at parties where space is limited and there’s nowhere to stand that isn’t blocking something vital that my anxiety goes into overdrive and I have to escape to the outdoors.

In poly situations, this would manifest as the following being my personal hell: Skyspook takes another serious long-term partner that he is deeply in love with and moves her in with us. She dislikes me intensely but acts perfectly nice while Skyspook is around. When we’re alone, she is bitchy as fuck to me. When I try to tell Skyspook what she is saying, he doesn’t believe me and thinks I am only saying so because I am jealous and won’t own it.

I recently dreamt this hellish situation. I talked to Skyspook about it – who assured me that he would absolutely believe me if I told him such things were happening, as I hate to complain about people. I know this is true because we’ve had more minor instances like this in the past where I had to do something similar (give gentle warnings), and he believed me. He also could not conceive of being deeply in love with someone who wouldn’t get along with me (not that we’d have to be besties but just get along). He chiefly likes people with a sweetness and friendliness about them who tend to get on well with all sorts of people, and he and I are alike enough that we tend to gravitate towards the same women.

I did think about why this would hellacious for me. And it came to me. Of course. I’d be in the way in my own home.

Two different women this past year who approached Skyspook first then mentioned that they were interested in me as well – and it took multiple assurances by him (and them) that this was in fact true and that I wouldn’t be in the way to pursue things with them as well.

I know this feeling of being in the way is childhood stuff. And perhaps some baggage from my first marriage. Unfortunately, it gets randomly reinforced often enough by normal stuff – i.e., when I am actually in the way physically (again, parts of our house have bottlenecks and close quarters, especially the kitchen) or Skyspook has had a bad day and is getting annoyed easily because he’s coming home emotionally depleted – that it’s hard to shake this habit.

All that said, I have no idea where to go from here, what to do to make this better. This is my frontier.

Maybe something will come to me as life happens or this will be addressed in More Than Two as I go through the chapters. Here’s hoping.

 

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