PQ 2.8 — What happens if I connect with someone in a way that differs from how I want my poly relationship to look? What message does that send to someone who doesn’t fit neatly into my dreams?
“I’ve been thinking,” I tell him. “That maybe when I get into town full time, I could take you to dinner.”
“I’d like that,” Skyspook replies.
“I’m really busy dating other people. I probably don’t have a lot of time for you. But you’re really cute. And I like you,” I add.
“Thank you,” he says. “You’re cute.”
And though I think I’m being awfully clear about it, he has no idea that I mean what I’m saying to him. He can’t read the cards I’m actually holding. He knows I’m funny but dramatic. Possibly a flake. So many people break their promises. And who knows what either of us will be doing in 6 months.
Besides, my love life is complicated. I’m married to someone he’s met only once. And dating a few of his long-time friends, including one who is also his landlord.
Skyspook is seeing 4 other girls casually. I know I will never have enough to give him to be satisfying for him in any serious capacity. Being his “Everything.” But I can easily envision being his “20 Percent.” Someone he sees every once in a while.
That is the gig I show up for.
Two years later, we live together. We’re married.
Joke’s on me, I suppose. On both of us.
Sidebar: Question Critique
I want to take a second and discuss how the 2-part nature of this question flows and its underlying assumptions:
- What happens if I connect with someone in a way that differs from how I want my poly relationship to look?
- What message does that send to someone who doesn’t fit neatly into my dreams?
Let’s Set Expectations — Hey, Be Careful with Expectations!
#1 presupposes that the person answering the question has a fleshed-out ideal picture of a poly relationship. It’s interesting because many lead-up questions to this point have also explored this theme, encouraging the reader to flesh out this picture, particularly in Chapter 1 and the first 2 questions of Chapter 2 (PQ 2.1 and 2.2).
However, at PQ 2.3, it seems that Veaux and Rickert are walking the reader back from this checklist. Warning about the perils of inflexibility and coming into partner selection with a set expectations. Kind of like “HEY! NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT’S ON YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST, LET’S HAVE A TALK ABOUT THE EVILS OF MATERIALISM.”
So the last few essays in this series, I’ve been up in my head like, “Yes, Dad. Keep the Christ in Christmas. Got it.”
Oh, that Follow-Up Question
There’s a vibe of defensiveness to #2 as a follow-up question, “What message does that send to someone who doesn’t fit neatly into my dreams?”
The presupposed answer to this seems to either be:
- “Yes, yes, I know, I’m an inflexible bastard, I’m gotta sit here and stew a while and maybe come around to your way of thinking,” (a la this title), or
- “What? Seriously, dude? I’m flexible. I promise.”
It does seem that the Chapter 2 questions in More than Two are geared more towards poly newbies and especially hierarchical unicorn hunters and ranchers, and if you happen to fall under that umbrella (arguably a majority of folks reading the book), they’ll work well.
Looking forward, the Chapter 3 questions are all about ethical decision-making. Those will be fun to answer. They should give me an opportunity to talk about some very difficult choices I’ve made.
This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions & answers, please see this indexed list.