I wasn’t trying to rag on polyamory. I know people who have raised kids well in polyamorous families. People don’t fuck up their kids because of polyamory. But I’ve seen a lot of people do polyamory in shitty selfish ways that hurt their children.
As this guy mentions in his piece, hurting your kids can come from playing too much golf. It’s not about whatever activity/person takes you away.
Neither Noah nor I started dating by being gone for 2-5 hours a month. We started by having the time we were gone on dates being measured in days. We are obsessive selfish assholes. We can be obsessive selfish assholes who have to mostly focus on our nuclear family or we can be obsessive selfish assholes who build a network of people we make commitments to and then who gets the short end of the stick?
I do this with platonic friendships to a lesser degree… Noah doesn’t fall into platonic stuff the way I do. I fall in love with everyone. Noah tends to need more intimacy for that.
But we have these ambiguous relationships in our lives. Like Pam. She’s been one of my Most Important People for almost 20 years. When we met we were both dating the same boy. I had sex with her way long ago and there’s been group play since then. When I felt pathetic and inadequate because I was not up for sex during previous pregnancies… she and Noah had sex a few times. (She was in a dry spell of her own so it was reasonable timing for her to blow off some steam.) And she’s the person we both call when we are having problems communicating with one another.
That’s god damn complicated. Is it polyamory?
Part of the reason that Pam is a healthy person to have in my life is she encourages me to prioritize my needs in a way that frankly I need to be encouraged. She’s self absorbed and she thinks I should be too.
But she says that while having an intensely close relationship with a huge extended clan of people, all of whom she sacrifices for in one way or another. So she’s self absorbed… only she’s also incredibly generous and considerate and thoughtful. She’s a good example.
I feel like we have not had a lot of success with having folks who have a more ambiguous set of rules come in from Noah’s side. I’m not sure if this is my petty jealousy or if there is more than that.
In my defense I’m better friends with most of his ex’s than he is. There are the notable exception of a couple who hate both of us with a passion. That’s legit. It’s not that I’m rude or a problem with his ex’s. I invite them over. I chat. I send birthday presents and keep up with their children.
But we don’t have someone who is intensely important and a pillar of our relationship from his side and I feel like that is a complicated thing.
I feel like I alienate his friends. I feel like I am unacceptable in some major way. Part of it is how fucking judgmental I am.
But his friends say things like, “I couldn’t possibly be responsible for all of the kids while you eat dinner.” Then they go back in the restaurant and leave me outside to wrangle all six kids while every other grown up eats.
Yeah. I’m a judgy bitch who isn’t going to act like that is fucking ok. I’m going to act like if you are a father who wants group god damn outings you put on your big boy pants and you fucking figure out how to wrangle kids. You don’t expect to have a woman come fucking rescue you. This shit wasn’t easy for me to learn. I have an explosive personality. I have anger issues. I have impulse issues.
HOW COME I HAVE BECOME THE DEFAULT GROWN UP?!
To be fair this was years ago and at this point I’d kick Noah’s ass out of the restaurant and tell him to do it because he is more than capable.
But that one night was awkward.
I judge my friends and they tell me that I’m getting judgy and I back off. This dynamic works.
His friends… they just kind of avoid me.
Even when Noah does have friends I get along with it gets messy. I was working on being closer to one of his friends and then he told me that I was stealing his friend and now he couldn’t be close with the person. I stopped talking to them.
I don’t want it to be my fault Noah can’t have friends.
I spend a lot of time feeling hyper aware that Noah married beneath himself and he is getting a raw deal. I’m not easy to live with. I’m a needy fucker. I’m controlling. I’m moody. I’m bitchy.
And I feel this never ending wave of shame that this is how I am after getting a lot better.
I talked about being interested in finding a volunteer opportunity. I’ve been at a place for a while where it doesn’t seem safe or wise for me to introduce anything mandatory in my life that might impact my moods because the people in my house don’t want to deal with it.
I’m too much of a problem when I’m bouncing off people.
The homeschool group was awful for me. I did that for three years I think? It was so much driving (which hurts me physically) and I had to spend a lot of hours in careful performance mode because I was well aware that it was not a setting designed for my safety. I needed to just shut up most of the time. Or figure out how to be a helpful contributor while following everyone else’s rules of civility… that they won’t explain they will just get mad if I don’t understand.
It was fucking stressful.
Noah and I had an exchange in family therapy this week. We were talking about some behavior that a child was doing. He described it as not normal. I told him that one of the best things about my childhood and bouncing back and forth through a bunch of different environments is… I no longer think that I can judge what is “normal” based on what I’ve experienced. Unless you have done substantial research into developmental or cultural norms… you have no fucking idea what normal means. You know what you know.
It is hard for me to figure out what is important to say or not say or do or not do to fit in a crowd.
Part of the reason I’ve dropped most social groups (especially ones I ostensibly could bring my children to), beyond the fact that everything happens too late at night, is I know of too many rapists and I don’t feel safe in communities where protecting the fee fees of the rapists is more important than the many victims that are driven out of the community.
Jesus, I got off a home schooling mailing list because folks wouldn’t stop promoting the magic act of a dude who raped me.
It is hard for me that my child thinks that someone patting them on the bottom when they walk past in class is “sexual assault”.
I think to what was happening to me at their age. I had multiple people force their dicks into different holes in my body while I cried and begged them to stop.
Dude. Shut the fuck up.
But this is the only life they’ve ever had and they only know what they know and they are literally incapable of perspective.
That’s fucking hard to live with.
I neither want to invalidate their experiences nor encourage this god damn fragility. Life is too fucking hard to be broken by little shit.
Watching the hysteria my children feel at the stupidest of boundary violations… I think I understand why most people who have lives like mine die. People genuinely do have different capacities for suffering.
I think about the ways I run towards difficulties and the way I freeze up at terrible moments when I should be protecting myself.
I think about how my current problems are my fault because I refuse to conform and figure out how to fit in and be nice.
It hasn’t ever worked for me.
Part of my current problem is my unwillingness to act like my cunt matters so sometimes my problem is being too nice. Is it niceness? Is it a manifestation of what I perceive myself deserving?
Deserve. Deserve. Oh fuck deserve.
I think Pam is so important because she has chased me more than any other woman alive. She wants to know me and she’s willing to carry the burden of reaching out to me when I can’t reach out to anyone. She calls. She writes a personal journal that is nearly as detailed and fussy as this blog and she emails it to me so I can know her.
I want to know her. I want to know about every lunch date with every 2nd cousin twice removed.
Her sister is coming over on Tuesday. We are thrilled. Seeing her baby sister is always a treat.
I think my relationship with her is about as close to the anarchic relationship ideal as I can get. I don’t own her. We don’t have long-term messy entanglements. We show up because we want to as individual people on our own paths.
I watched Before Midnight. It was the third movie in a series. Before Sunset and Before Sunrise I think are the other two titles. I might be getting them out of order. Basically these three movies are a series of conversations in this couple’s life over an 18 year period. Each movie covers a conversation that takes place in 24 hours. The third movie is pretty damn bitter.
I know that some people divorce and go on to find happiness. I don’t think I would be one of them. I think I get one chance at happily ever after and no one promised me more good days than bad on that journey.
How do we balance our self absorption and our need for attachment?