Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Emotional intensity


When I was a teenager, I remember having pretty intense emotional responses to things. If so-and-so didn't respond favorably to my interest, or, worse yet, asked my friend to go out, it was cause for several days worth of hand-wringing, crying and desolation. These days, it takes a bit more to put me into a serious funk, and I'd like to keep it that way. Seeking out intensity, regardless of the flavor, is one of the reasons I've often heard poly people characterized as "drama seeking" by those observing the community. There does seem to be a higher ratio of drama, but is that due to an attraction to excitement, or merely an increase in the possible outcomes with more people involved in a given dynamic? Either way, is it something that we want to work to avoid becoming embroiled in?


For me, the answer is a definite "Yes!". There is no value in drama for its own sake. The thrill of extreme negative emotion, while it certainly can get the blood pumping, isn't something to look for. If that's your passion, I'd suggest taking a look at BDSM, demolition, martial arts, etc, and find a more constructive outlet for those impulses.


That isn't to say that avoidance of conflict is the way to go either. Taking a hard look at the people you are considering as partners to see if they walk about in a cloud of self-made tumult is always advisable. Conflict has its place in any healthy relationship. There is no way that any two (or more) people are going to be in complete accord at all times on all things. Finding a way to express those differences without allowing things to expand into a really satisfying fight is a skill worth cultivating.


The other side of the fence, the extreme positive emotions, have their own pitfalls. I've spent a bit of time discussing some of the amazingly short-sighted and oblivious things I've done under the influence of NRE. It's an awareness level that I hope to bring to my next relationships. To really take a good step back from all the happy juice and see if I'm inadvertently screwing the pooch in a haze of endorphins.


Feel solid in your emotional states. Allow them to be a part of the decision-making process, but when a time comes that you find yourself treading water as fast as you can to keep your head above water, consider taking a step back from the intensity, and find a space to breathe and refocus. No one likes drama mongers, least of all those who are doing the mongering. ;)
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