“Comparisons are odious.”
It all started when a friend reached out to me, asking if we could hang out soon.
I smiled, popped open my Google calendar, saw that Spooky had scheduled a zoo visit one morning with Sika, a long-term friend of ours he’s cuddled with at our parties and has been texting back and forth for ages. She’s an amazing girl — sweet, funny, kinky, smart. We consider each other sisters, and I regularly bemoan her heterosexuality. Not that it’s for me to decide, but she’s precisely the kind of girl I think is good for Spooky, friend, play partner, or otherwise. Honestly, she’s kind of my dream metamour.
It looked from the calendar like it was a one-on-one thing, but since Spooky had just a week or so ago scheduled group hangage with Kyrla and Brat without putting it on the calendar, I started to question whether it was something I was expected to attend, and maybe he’d just neglected to send me an invite. After all, Sika has a long-term partner herself, and we’re always talking informally about having a game night or doing something else as a group sometime.
I sent a quick message to Spooky: “ahh you and Sika are going to the zoo?”
Fuuuuuuck, I thought reflexively. That sounds so bad. He’s gonna think he’s in trouble or something, that he should have asked or that you’re jealous. Too late to take that back. We’ll see what he says.
I panicked for 8 minutes before sending another message to try to soften the first one and put it in context: “just looking at my calendar trying to schedule stuff and wanted to know if it’s just you guys or a group friend thing.”
I took a break and went for a walk to Pokemon Go and clear my head.
When I got back, I saw he had responded, “I was going to talk to you about it this afternoon 🙂 Was probably just going to be me and her, if that’s alright.”
If that’s ALRIGHT? I thought. If that’s ALRIGHT? WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN? He doesn’t need to ask me permission for anything per our agreement. Why is he asking that? DOES HE THINK I’M JEALOUS OR SOMETHING?
I rolled my eyes at myself, my reaction, and sighed. Gotta love PMS. It amplifies even the smallest ripples in the pond, threatening to transform them into tidal waves. “Yup, you should have fun,” I wrote back carefully.
I thought about the two of them walking around enjoying the animals. They’d be so cute together. Spooky and I have memberships so we go all the time, but we had gone there last summer with a girl we were dating together, and it was so fun to see the zoo through her eyes. To her, it was like going to an amusement park. I could see Sika reacting similarly and being adorable. Plus, Spooky and I had just been this past weekend, and it was an INSANELY good place to catch Pokemon.
And then it hit me. FUCK. Pokemon Go. They were going to catch Pokemon without me. Spooky would probably outlevel me by a mile. This might even mean that we would run into different monsters on our walks together because of the varying CP. Shit. Goddamn.
“The zoo was awesome, you’ll probably catch a lot with Sika if you guys decide to hunt,” I wrote. “Maybe I’ll go on my day off by myself.”
I explained my own plans, musing on what my friend could have she wanted to talk about.
“Maybe people are reaching out since we’ve been trying to be a bit more sociable,” Spooky wrote.
In that moment, I thought of how happy he’s been, smiling while texting and chatting in the evenings. It seems like it’s been doing a lot of good for him to connect with people.
Except it felt like when it comes to me, he’s been moodier. It hasn’t been World War 3 but then again it hasn’t been completely smooth seas either. We’ve had a couple of fights lately. Spook had said he’s letting some insecurities and bad scripts from women in his past (mom, exes, etc) bubble up to the surface so he can work on them, and it’s possible that’s in the picture emotionally.
Still, the fact that he’s getting irritable with me while he’s getting to know others… it makes me nervous that I’m a bad friend. The contrast. The comparison.
And if there’s anything in life I want to be to a person I’m deeply in love with, it’s to be a good friend.
So I cognitively death spiraled for a bit before mostly recovering and working up the nerve to tell Spooky about my concern about something insidious in our partnership. We ended up having a really nice talk, and he was very reassuring and stressed that it’s not that there’s anything wrong with me or with us, it’s more that he’s practicing working on things he wants to change about himself with me, and that’s where the friction lies. And if anything, that’s because I am so significant to him, because we’re established, and because he feels safe to do that work with me.
I do blame PMS for this death spiral. While my hormones didn’t invent this situation, it did turn the emotional volume up to a level where I couldn’t easily ignore it. In general, I tend to be more of a “wait and see” person when it comes to emotional discomfort. I pick and time my battles carefully. So many things fade without incident that it seems silly to go on the warpath every time I feel uncomfortable. It’s important to look for patterns and to have time to reflect, analyze, and unpack. The last thing I ever want to do is raise a big fuss about every little thing or cause unnecessary, unproductive drama.
It did help to know going in that I’m hormonal, because even though my PMS was screaming that it was the end of the world, I was able to reassure myself that it really wasn’t and that the volume was artificially elevated. I’m glad that I track this. Spooky admitted sheepishly that any time I’m extra upset about something, he will reference the calendar and see where I am in my cycle. And as much as it’s kind of embarrassing, in another way I’m glad. Because I think if I were unaware of it that it would be easy to jump to conclusions, to catastrophize, to take that heightened discomfort as a sure sign that things had gone WAY TOO FAR in an unprecedented way…
And knowing this about myself, it makes me sort of wonder how much of this is going on with other people. Or put another way, how much poly drama is a product of simple PMS?
This is kind of dangerous territory, I admit, and I’m almost offended myself as I write this. “You’re just hormonal” is right up there with “don’t be so dramatic” and “you’re so sensitive” as common ways to dismiss unpopular opinions voiced by women in all sorts of contexts, personal, professional, otherwise.
Still, I imagine it happens. And I’d give anything to look back on old poly conflicts that I remember so well that predated my tracking such things and see how everything lines up.