I recently wrote a post called “Territorial Markers Aren’t a Great Proxy for Love.” In it, I talk about the time I was challenged because my husband shared a rainbow wine glass with a guest. Without my realizing it, those particular glasses had become emotionally linked to a romantic trip we’d taken together. They had, effectively, become a symbol for Us.
The discussion the piece generated was very interesting. One major theme that emerged was that it’s good for relationships to have special rituals, themes, and other ties that bind.
And even though that piece is primarily about working past insecurities that manifest in odd ways, I completely agree.
Because I totally have rituals with people; I just don’t require them to be exclusive to that relationship.
The Intimacy Blanket
A relationship isn’t just a collection of components. Relationships are a kind of intimacy blanket. There are an infinite number of ways to weave elements together.
Much in the same way that I can give two different weavers the same collection of fibers and they will still manage to produce two uniquely beautiful blankets, relationships can contain similar elements and still be strikingly different.
Even if you don’t say “Hey, hands off the red yarn! Only I can use the red yarn. I don’t want to see that yarn in that other blanket.”
Like most folks, I started out my poly life wanting exclusive elements to each relationship. But I don’t anymore.
It’s largely a nonissue with Skyspook, my husband. We’ve built a foundation of security where it’s easy for me to feel and know that I am special to him and he to me.
But it’s a more conscious and impactful choice when it comes to new partners. It might have been convenient recently when dealing with stress from my new boyfriend, feeling like I was lost in the crowd, to be able to ask him for Us Things. Place restrictions. Or perhaps to unilaterally declare things as Us Things on my own as a way of mentally testing and then proving his love for me and my unique place in his life. But I didn’t.
Because I’ve had it backfire so many times. I used to place all of my security and self-worth into vessels that were largely irrelevant. And when something happened to them (whether through chance or circumstance), I was devastated.
I’m not saying it was quick, easy, or painless to move from a mindset of “That’s Our Thing. That’s how I know we matter,” to one of “What we have is beautiful, and we matter regardless of anything else going on around us.”
But I have no regrets.
And it feels good to be happy instead of threatened if I see that same red yarn I’ve loved woven into another beautiful creation.
My book is out!