Being a geeky little polycule, sometimes the best gifts are simple, and sometimes you just have to embrace the madness. In the run up to Valentine’s Day I was browsing Etsy and found someone making little lego-style lightsabers for keyrings with accompanying tags that recreated the famous exchange between Han and Leia: “I love you.” “I know.”
Although there were options to buy multiples, the site would only make them available in pairs, so rather than just getting us one each I got two identical sets – and then as I gave them out, invited both Lady M and myr s to select one for their keys and I’d have the other.
As you can see, they both opted for the same piece and so now I have this double token to put a smile on my face. Simple things please me.
I was chatting about internal lives recently, especially where it comes to issues of attraction, and fantasy, as you do. Innuendo and sometimes not even single-entendres feature heavily in many of the conversations I have with partners and friends – so this always means keeping at least half an eye on boundaries.
You might think that this is particularly true with regard to some of my older colleagues, but as they spent some time trying to see if I was shockable I consider them fair game for as much veiled near-bone ribbing as possible. One of the great joys of getting older has been finding people generally not being particularly precious, or at least being more thick skinned. So while still remaining within the bounds of decency, the jokes and conversations and can and do get a little pointed.
So far so normal in general, but the real debate was around recognising the internalised tensions that some people have about recognising and owning attraction and boundaries. The conversation then meandered around the differences between ethical non-monogamy and cheating and how this informs mainstream representation of relationships in the media, such as the ubiquitous love triangle that always has polyam viewers wanting to throw things at the screen.
This belief that someone who is polyamorous will uncritically listen to and support someone in an affair is one of the major annoyances that I and my partners have encountered again and again.
Even with my hyperactive brain and ability to fall in love several times a day, I have no guilt over crushes and attractions – and I’m lucky enough in my dynamics that I can even mention them and it becomes a source of amusement or sometimes mutual quiet agreement where we fantasise out loud for a brief period before getting on with the day.
I long ago accepted that I have a filthy mind, and that fantasy is a strong element of my internal life. That’s just who I am. But breaking trust and hearts? Causing hurt? Why add to the cruelty of the world? It’s selfish and destructive.
It generally boils down to this: even if you can’t pin down where the line in the sand for your relationships is, you know when you’re crossing it. If you don’t know, then you need to have some sober conversations to check in and make sure you’ve agreed where those lines are.
I’ve been going to the same counsellor now for the best part of twenty years. Initially it was do deal with issues around trauma, depression, anxiety, and prolific self harm, but these days is as much a clear space to keep grounded and to work through and process life in general. Lady M has recently started seeing one too.
I mention this because we had a huge power cut a couple of evenings ago in our neighborhood. With our usual aplomb we both said ‘candles’, turned on the torches on our phones, and soon had enough light from various sources to relax on the sofa and have a quiet natter about life, the universe, and everything else our attention latched onto.
Lady M started recounting how she was talking about our polycule in session, and how supportive her counsellor had been. From various online discussions I’ve become aware of just how lucky we are to have found people who have not been judgemental, let alone supportive of how and who we love. Some of it seems in support of something that makes us happy, and some of it is recognition of the emotional labour and honesty required to make these – and indeed any – relationships flourish.
While all of us are out – and in general have had positive regard from co-workers and most of our families, it has still been hugely important to have these structured places to be able to talk in depth about each other and what’s going on in our collective and individual lives. Humour plays a huge part in how we talk about and to each other – and while it’s not my place to recount what Lady M says she talked about and the responses she got, I do want to share something from one of my recent sessions.
I’d been talking about myr s and their embracing of their non-binary journey and was asked how the changes made me feel. I said that the great advantage to my partners of my being bisexual was that I can put my hands in their pants and be very happy with whatever I found there. It took my counsellor a good couple of minutes to stop chuckling.
In a show of total disorganisation this year, we’re all working or in different places today, but its still a day that mixes humour, love, inappropriate comments, and a smidgen of soppiness thanks to technology and a degree of bloodymindedness. I managed to press a card into Lady M’s hand this morning as she scuttled out the door before dawn – and will have to wait a couple of weeks before I can do the same for myr s (but at least card and token presents have been arranged for both for as and when we get the time to stop and draw breath).
I even debated getting something for Lady J, our metamour, and do have a suitable card of admiration that steers away from smushiness that I’m still debating filling out. I have after all been accorded the accolade of being one of the few humans she can tolerate, so it seems churlish not to throw something her way if only to make her roll her eyes at a dreadful joke.
One of the things I’ve learned to embrace over the years is that love takes many forms, and even on a day concerned with romantic love there’s no reason not to celebrate and acknowledge the various connections that have significance should I want to. That said, I am glad that my counselling session due today has been rescheduled to Monday evening – because with the best will in the world, and no matter how much I love my counsellor, tonight is not a night where I necessarily want to be doing a lot of emotional labour.
Instead I intend to close the doors when I get home and largely switch my brains off. There may even be cuddles on the sofa and a bottle of wine. One of the benefits of being a slushy and soppy polycule is that we actively work on being present and there for each other all the time – which includes giving each other space as much as showering each other with tokens of admiration. In some ways it takes away some of the sense of pressure of any individual day – but there’s no harm in indulging the opportunity to ham it up every now and then.
What do you mean it’s only Wednesday? An awful lot seems to have somehow got crammed in already and yet we’re still not yet quite done with Hump Day?
Today we had flakily working systems and people on both sides of the desk being grumpy – which I suppose is still better than yesterday’s experience of nothing working at all.
Closer to home we had the car in the garage for a service that lasted three days and I’m pretty sure must have involved the sacrifice of a junior engineer from all the mess left over.
It’s going to be one of those weeks, isn’t it? And yet there’s been some good stuff. It hasn’t been universally horrible. I got featured again today by Over40Cosplay on Instagram and Facebook, and I took a photo on the way home that I quite like:
I’ve also had a quiet evening of watching Mock The Week from four years ago and enjoying the relative innocence of those times, so I suppose that’s been a good remedy for a week where everything has just felt far more complicated than it has otherwise needed to be.
In other news I’ve pretty much got everything sorted for Valentine’s Day. It’s generally an expensive, or at least complex, set of weeks these days as we navigate VDay, then my birthday, then my anniversary with Lady M, and then my collaring anniversary with myr s. Schedules being what they are I won’t get to catch up with myr s this month, but I do get to cherish Lady M. Next month will just be a complex dance of us all taking weekends in turn and arranging general catch-ups where we can.
At least we’ve finally got round to setting up a shared Google Calendar and now we just have to get into the habit of using and consulting it. These are skills and practices that I had not considered before polyamory. It’s just as well I manage timetables and rotas on a daily basis..!
There will be a couple of small changes to how I refer to one of my partners on this blog – and indeed in day to day life – as they continue to evolve and become more comfortable in their expression of who they are. As a loving partner it is no great effort to support and acknowledge them and the smile on their face as I do makes the world a brighter place.
I’ve previously mentioned how lady s had been more comfortable in talking about their gender identity following bouts of dysphoria, and they’re now far happier to use more gender-neutral terms to describe themselves and interact with the wider world. A change of forename and middle name has begun, while still retaining their surname to keep life simpler for the cub. A mix of feminine and neutral pronouns is now being used as well – and so for the purposes of this blog I will start using the latter. It intersects nicely with our existing dynamic. A change of title has also been agreed.
The graphic above is a list I found of a variety of gender-neutral titles used around the world (which of course also appealed to the word-magpie writer that I am, collecting elements I can weave into my fiction). Some of them were familiar, and some of them were new to me – and this formed part of the discussions around how to proceed from here.
Myr stood out in the end for a couple of reasons. One was the sheer geekiness of it being a Game of Thrones reference: the city of Myr being referenced in several ways through the books and tv series. The other reason again referred back to our dynamic – though mainly in an ironic and tongue in cheek way.
So that leads me back to myr s – who remains the same loving and amazing person they ever were, but now comfortable to begin expressing themselves in a more genuine and comfortable way. Love you.
I don’t know if it’s the tail end of a bug or something but I seem to be very tired again as a consistent base-level status. Fortunately it’s almost the weekend, and in this instance that’s three days off. I’ve just got to get past an early start to oversee an asbestos audit of one of the buildings I manage. Who knew being a library manager could be so exciting?
I’m going to spend a couple of days with lady s – our first catch up this year – and part of it is going to be spent supporting her as she continues to develop and firm up the expression of her non-binary feelings. She wants to have the option of dressing and presenting in a more masculine way as she deals with her gender dysphoria – but has expressed that she wants to continue using she/her pronouns. To that end I’ve offered to help her pick out some masculine cut clothing options while I’m there.
How do I feel about this? It’s an opportunity to go clothes shopping, and as we’re a fairly similar build it does give us both wardrobe options if either of us is visiting the other. More importantly I’m supporting my partner in a matter that has been causing considerable distress and in a way that will hopefully help them feel better.
I have however been told off for suggesting buying a squeaky toy to put in her boxer shorts. No matter what, the teasing and silliness continues..!
We’ve had a very lazy Sunday, Lady M and I. Mostly because it’s been a bit of a full on week again and colds are still trying to either linger or set in.
With all this feeling run-down it’s probably not too surprising that Lady M currently has some form of opportunistic inflammation of the joints on her wedding ring finger. This has made removing and replacing the rings while washing and so on really quite painful, so she has reluctantly not been wearing them while she treats the swelling with a topical cream.
This morning she told me that someone at work had noticed her bare ring finger and had in hushed and horrified tones asked if we had split up. On being reassured that this wasn’t the case, they then expressed that they had been worried that I had run off with lady s but we’re relieved everything was okay – especially when Lady M gave a robust rebuttal to that notion.
It did prompt me to, somewhat tongue in cheek, coin the word ‘monogonormals’ in response, but it is actually appreciated that her colleagues have such concern for Lady M’s well-being. Thank you. You’ll be relieved to know that Lady M did not disclose your identity to me.
The stereotype of polyamorous relationships having any more of a temporary shelf life than ones we are socialised to accept as ‘normal’ is one that can appear at any time. Accusations of being a commitment-phobe, or of being greedy are not uncommon for people with this relationship model.
My truth is that I love my partners and know that they love me too. I have as much of a crystal ball as the next person for knowing what the future brings; but as long as we carry on with talking and listening, reaching out and giving space, and evolving with our experiences then that’s a good strong basis to face the future with confidence and trust.
The other week I stayed with lady s for a few days. That’s not in itself odd as I’ve had more than a few weekends there over the last couple of years, but it was the first time that extended into the working week.
The original plan had been to get picked up by Lady M after work on the Wednesday, but she was decidedly unwell and so suggested grabbing a taxi home and charging it to the emergency credit card.
So with the help of my trusty app I did just that, absolutely making the day of a wonderfully garrulous driver who chatted away with me about life, the universe, and everything – after first getting his head round my answers to his questions.
You see, he asked where I was off to, and what I’d been doing, and got very confused for a moment when I mentioned one partner’s name and then another, and talked of the two houses as homes – but as I clarified the situation further and confirmed our relationships are all consensual and clearly communicated among us he nodded, grinned, said it sounded wonderful – and that was the end of any questions on that front. Instead we talked of driving, of families, ambitions, and the peculiarities of Christmas shopping.
It was heartening and a lovely surprise in many ways. It certainly reaffirmed my faith in people in that moment.
I’m visiting lady s for a few days as I had more leave to book this year than Lady M. After a long week, it’s been good to switch off. Lady M and I drove down on Sunday afternoon and dropped off presents for the household, then I stayed on – much to the cub’s bemusement.
The stress levels have been slowly dropping as we’ve watched films and YouTube clips. In between, we’ve been having a tidy up before Christmassing and generally taking it easy.
Tomorrow we’ll be seeing the cub at his school Christmas play, before Lady M returns and whisks me away so we can finish packing to go visit family next week.
Amusingly, Lady M had forgotten that I was going away at one point as she was hoping I might pick her up from drinking with colleagues this week – I mention this to forestall any visions you may have of Lady M somehow languishing like Rapunzel in her tower. One of our many strengths is that each of us are equally comfortable and in need of time alone as in being with each other (as wonderful as that is)