Thursday, October 1, 2009

See it coming...


Here's another little twist in relationship style stuff for your edification: Planned or organic dates/relationship growth? I have a pretty strong desire for structure and predictability in my surroundings, including the relationships that surround me. This is pretty directly at odds with S's more organic take of enjoying the mystery and seeing where each moment/connection takes him. Yeah, when I see it in print I feel really boring and dull.


The thing is that when I don't know where something is going, I can't prepare for it. If I'm not prepared, the chances of having a less controlled response go up. Since I prefer to seem like a reasoned person who has their poop in a pile, the whole "go with the flow" thing just tweaks with my approach.


When we watch a movie or show, it often happens that I'll pick up the twist or upcoming plot before it actually gets there. This sort of amazes and annoys S, since he's engaged in allowing things to unfold, where I like to figure out where the writer is going with the plot as it unfolds. In that same way, I tend to look ahead, seeing the direction of something on a relationship level, and make predictions about several possible courses of action that I may need to be prepared to execute. This helps me feel more safe. It's a coping mechanism. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much, sometimes it can leave those around me feeling like I'm trying to drive their relationship with someone else (read:controlling them, or worse yet, doubting _our_ relationship/them) instead of taking care of myself.


How does this look? Well, one of my major sticking points is wanting to know how late my partner is going to be out on a date. It's probably less stressful for me to have someone out all night and know that ahead of time, than trolling in at 3 or 4am, because I've typically been waking up waiting for them to get in for hours at that point. This can run contrary to the desire to just see where things go, and if it feels comfortable to stay over or not.


Another point I struggle with is wanting to know the general outline of what's being planned for a date, particularly early on in the relationship when things are less well defined and there isn't much of a track record to draw off of/feel comfortable with. This is exactly what excites S! "What might happen? The possibilities are endless!" In the mean time, I'm mulling, "Are they going to have sex? I wish they would... Are they falling in love? The anticipation is just killing me. I just want to KNOW." This would be another example of "things that remind me of how silly I'm being" when I see it in print.


So, how do these two different desires co-exist? What I've found to be most helpful so far is to ask questions if I'm curious about something, if possible, to get to know my metamour so that I don't fill in blanks with erroneous information (thank you, N, for being willing!), to share a preference if it feels important to me, and to take an informed "no" from my partner to those requests, hopefully with some grace, rather than martyring in self-righteous "I'm so poly I can take anything my partner wants to dish out." silence.


Organic or planned is rather similar to the disclosure or non-disclosure of information question. There IS middle ground to be found where one person gives a little more than they are naturally inclined to, and another takes a little less than their fears suggest they need. Here's to finding the balance and trusting in oneself and one's partner(s)!

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