I’m feeling lonelier than I have in a long while. I do tend to go through waves of wanting to be single and wanting to be attached (regardless of my actual relationship status at any given time) and I guess this is my “goddammit I want to be coupled up” phase.
In my wanderings about on the internet I’ve read a bunch of things about polyamory, including the idea that for all the evangelizing some poly people do about having found a new and revolutionary approach to relationships, a lot of poly relationships seem to be built on the shoulders of monogamy – these people are not really thinking outside the box as much as they believe they are. A whole lot of poly people are operating on the basis of “I’m in a relationship and it’s my primary relationship and NOBODY ELSE CAN EVER BE AS IMPORTANT so although we’re allowed to date others, they will be LESSER and there will be RULES to keep them that way.” A whole lot of others are in a two-person relationship but want a third person to make a triad and nobody’s allowed to date outside of this little polycule – so, monogamy but with more people. And if these arrangements work best for those involved, more power to ’em…although I suspect for many it’s just that they grew up indoctrinated into the cult of monogamy and now neo-monogamy is the furthest their brain has been able to stray from that. Same basic pair-bonding mentality, different execution.
The poly concept that resonates with me is relationship anarchy, where there are no enforced hierarchies or rules. Everyone just allows their relationships to form organically, and treats each one as a discrete unit – no overarching rules by one metamour that affect another. Because there’s a really huge difference to me between a partner saying “I can’t stay the night again;[other partner] has been feeling neglected lately so I promised her we’d watch movies together tonight” vs. “[Other partner] says I’m not allowed to spend two consecutive nights with someone, so I have to go.”
Which is not to say that I’ll never have a “primary” partner again; if I eventually have a person I feel more strongly about and see more often than I do anyone else, I’d call that primary. But I won’t have any rules about what we can or can’t do with other people and I won’t presume that my relationship with him is better than any of the others – just different.
The one thing I miss about monogamy and hierarchic poly, though, is the feeling of having a designated Person.
When you’re in a monogamous relationship, or a hierarchic poly one, your [primary] partner is your designated Person. That’s just how it works. If I’m having a crisis or need help moving or whatever else, my Person knows it’s his job to come assist. There is no question about this at all. I take precedence over his friends, his other partners (if any) – pretty much everyone. And everyone pretty much accepts this.
Doing poly as I am now, everything is uncertain. I am not the main priority of anyone I’m seeing. My occasional partner The Puppy, for instance, has a long-term girlfriend; they don’t have any big “rules” about their relationship as far as I know, but still. If I were having a huge emotional crisis and needed comfort, and called The Puppy while he happened to be watching a movie with his girlfriend…I honestly don’t know who would take precedence. Kinda seems like it could go either way.
And even if I fell head-over-heels for someone and it was mutual, no rules means no safety net. Not that rules work to keep a relationship intact, anyway, which is why I’ve eschewed them. But I do miss that placebo/security blanket a bit and I do miss having someone who outright says that I’m the most important.and have first dibs on their time. It’s hard letting go of the illusion of security, which is why so many people, y’know…don’t.
tl;dr I miss feeling like I have a partner who’s committed to me, and on some level I guess I worry that I’ll never have that again because I’ve willfully turned my back on a bunch of the things people do to show commitment.
And I’m still upset that The Pedant – who by his own admission doesn’t feel feelings like other people, and who‘s always been a die-hard open relationship person – bailed on me because he fell for someone else. He is the actual last person I ever thought would do that – fall for someone or become monogamous for any reason. When things started going fairly well between us again I expected him to be the most stable romantic/sexual relationship in my life for the foreseeable future but alas, no.
Having a rich web of casual relationships sustained me to a certain point (and maybe still could!), but I’m down to just The Puppy now; the various other people I’ve been kinda/sorta seeing seem to have drifted. Even paypet is barely talking to me anymore; he did finally respond to my last text message about renegotiating our terms, saying “let’s discuss it tomorrow” and I said okay but the “tomorrow” in question was yesterday and he didn’t even poke his face into the messaging app all day. Dead silence.
I could look for more people but I’m just tired of it. Now feels like a time to give up on dating for a while and recharge, lonely though I may feel.