Growing up, I had the unfortunate experience of disliking most of my friends. I suppose this sounds highly peculiar, but if you had known the people that I spent most of my time with, you would understand.
As a kid I didn’t move around a lot. I lived in the same house from the time I started kindergarten to the time I graduated highschool, and my parents still live there today. The theater that my mom owns and operates on the first floor of the building is celebrating its 25th anniversary this very month! As such, I made a handful of friends who became my “best friends” at the young age of 5. The thing about being 5 is that you are so naïve about people and before you know it, you are attracting passive aggressive, manipulative awful people who help you have fun sometimes. You don’t know any better! Well, maybe that’s just me, but that is what always happened. And when you make friends that young in your area, and you all happen to be pretty smart, well, long story short I didn’t get rid of these people until I was 18-19 and bitter.
I spent most of my formative years, I enjoyed finding excuses to not have to spend time with these people outside of school. I had convinced myself that I was an introvert because being around them sapped my energy. The very thought of bumping into them on the street left a nervous lump in my stomach. Whenever I see a “buddy comedy” or any movie about a group of young friends who spend all their time together, I have a lot of trouble relating. I feel a sense of loss for all that time I spent trying to keep these people happy while I was so unhappy myself. I was too worried of judgment and repercussions to ever really be honest, to ever really get mad and show it, to ever say “Why do we even hang out? We don’t actually like each other, do we?” In turn, my parents were pretty much my real best friends and I spent a lot of time at home with them, avoiding phone calls and amusing myself with various projects. I spent a lot of time in my room, coming out to visit my parents at various points. They were almost always there, so I wasn’t ever really by myself.
Did I mention before that I was miserable for most of the time before I was in my 20’s?
The result of all this was that for all that time, I never missed anyone. I was generally relieved when life circumstances made it so that I didn’t have to deal with someone anymore. I remember when a close friend of mine decided to transfer to a different highschool. People with healthy relationships would have been sad about this, but I was relieved. When people drifted out of my life, I didn’t particularly care. To me it felt like a burden on me was being lifted.
A lot of this had to do with the feeling that I was generally pretending most of the time. As a teenager, I often felt like a shell of myself amongst my peers. I can’t say for sure what I was hiding (I don’t think it was all conscious) but comparing myself today with me then, I can definitely say that I was holding back. I would say that the only friend who really had any concept of who I was and what I was about was Peter (note: He is the only person from then who has a significant place in my life), and we have often laughed about how much we hid from each other about our problems back then.
In highschool, I got my first long term boyfriend. We dated for 4 and a half years. During most of that time, I didn’t have to miss him because I could spend as much time with him as I wanted. At 19, we moved in together and by the time he went away for a while and I should have been missing him…well, the relationship was falling apart and I was cheating on him and it was all a mess.
When I started dating Wes, we got close really fast and spent most of our free time together. We moved in together after 9 months of dating and we’ve been lucky enough to spend very little time apart in the 8 years we’ve been together. The times when we were apart though introduced me to something I was unfamiliar with: Missing someone.
During a lot of this time too, though, I was/still am/always will be working on my own issues. They were more severe when Wes and I got together and when you are riddled with insecurities and other emotional problems, you tend to be a bit self absorbed. I missed Wes when we were apart, but it was often coupled with various other issues. I needed Wes’ help all the time to get through things and when I was alone, his absence magnified my inability to cope effectively with things.
Aaaaaaand then we decided to become polyamorous. As I have mentioned, this decision led to me kicking my efforts to improve myself into high gear. Happiness was the goal and to achieve it, a lot of shit had to be dealt with. And when I successfully worked through so much crap I found something amazing. I was more in love with, more committed to Wes than ever before. When we are apart my missing of him is pure. Wes is one of the people who brings out the best in me. I don’t have to hide when he’s around. He inspires me to be myself and being without him leaves me without a source of activation energy. I can maintain, but as time without him progresses, I will inevitably move toward lump-hood, feeling as though a piece of me is missing.
Yeah, yeah, get out your barf bags. You’re going to need them.
So, I didn’t particularly expect to find a connection like that with anyone else. But I realize that mental and emotional work that I did to accept and embrace Wes’ polyamory (I didn’t know if I would ever personally participate) changed my perspective on it in general and, well, it changed my heart. Basically, I had a Grinch experience where my heart grew to an enormous size and it felt like I had an infinite capacity to love and care for people.
And then I gave back Christmas and sat down to some mighty fine roast beast in Whoville. Or something.
So, I married Wes and then we asked to move in with us because Wes and I agreed that the house was so much better with her living in it than otherwise, and then I started dating Shaun, and a little while after that, Ginny and before I knew it I was the happiest creature on the planet. I was surrounded by so much love and felt like I had the ability to give so much of myself because of it.
And now I have myself a strange double edged sword. It is wonderful and beautiful and sometimes painful and sad. I miss all of them when I am apart from them. The business trip I went on recently was awful for various reasons, but the worst of it was that I was away from home for two entire days, alone, without these people who honestly make me feel whole.
Yes, yes, I see you’ve filled your barf bags. There’s a trashcan over there. NO! Don’t use the waste paper basket! Can’t you see it’s full of holes? Ugh. You can’t find good, responsible, puking audience members these days.
As I mentioned on my other blog , I slipped into dazes while traveling home (which took me forever due to my connection and layovers) and when I would emerge from a plane, I kept expecting to see them all there. When I would awake from my loneliness induced haze, I realized that this is always what I want, all things being equal. I always want them all there. A couple of days without them doesn’t ever seem right.
Of course, what I want in my delirious hazes isn’t always realistic, so in the mean time, I miss them. And while the feeling of missing people you adore isn’t what I would call pleasant, it seems to me that it is a kind of fantastic unpleasantness. For a person that spent so many years hoping that everyone I was close to would disappear, I would say that having people I don’t want to live without, even for a couple of days, is a vast improvement.
I write these things about polyamory so that those who question us might better understand why it’s worth it to us. One thing I hear a lot is, “Ugh, I can barely maintain one relationship…more than one would be impossible!” I was afraid of that too. But I found that there was nothing to be afraid of here. Yes, poly means that there are more people for me to miss and when I am having some general emotional problems (as I have over the last few weeks) it can be intense, but I miss them because they are awesome why would I trade having requited love for an existence without it, just to spare me that less than pleasant feeling.
Anyway, that’s my lovey dovey post for the week. Just be happy I spared you a picture of a Danielle Steel novel or something to illustrate the Depth of my Feelings.
I guess I should call the janitor. Yeesh!
One thought on “Fonder Hearts”
My brother was in a poly relationship for a long time. It wasn’t a very healthy one though because the primary was very demanding and didn’t give a lot back to her partners. She eventually lost my brother because she’d done nothing but take advantage of him for years and he finally decided enough was enough. He’s now in a monogamous relationship and seems to be quite happy.
Ever since my brother started his poly relationship I’d been curious about it, so I started reading a lot about it. Your 2nd to last full paragraph is something that has struck me quite often when thinking if I could be poly myself. My marriage ended badly and since then, it’s been around 10, I’ve been celebate and unable to stop my fear from ruining whatever non-friendship relationships I might try to start.
The thing that strikes me about polyamory is that when you have more than one person to love, you have more than one person to share joys and sorrows with. It seems as if it would be easier to love and care for others, the more people there are to share and amplify that love. Though maybe I’m just thinking of an idealic relationship where nothing bad ever happens.
And don’t worry about the lovey dovey. I’m not a Danielle Steel fan, but I’ve been known to knock out a few romances in my time. It’s awesome to see real life romance for once. 🙂
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