This past Friday, PG and I filed for divorce. I hadn't ever expected to be in that position, and it's been a long, drawn-out process of getting to the point of accepting that taking that step is the best for all concerned. After the past year of trying to salvage the relationship in a marital configuration though, even I am forced to admit that it is time to let that go.
One of the big challenges that has been repeatedly touched upon in all my other relationships and life functions is that the sorrow and loss that I feel regarding the ending of that chapter of my life. This can butt squarely up against the joy that I feel in those other connections and roles, and the fact that, in the base of my being, I am an optimist, and a happy person.
In most mono relationships, there isn't this same emotional overlap. When you break up with someone, you go through the stages of grief, loss, acceptance, and then move into a space of emotional intimacy with another. For me, there was never a thought of isolating myself from the people that I am close with already to go through this process. In other words, I wasn't going to dump anyone I was emotionally involved with to mourn the loss of the marriage with PG.
This has led to some interesting states of internal conflict at times, however. There have been days where I am thrilled to be spending time with D, and yet sad or angry with something happening with PG. Times where I've been more interested in venting or decompressing with JA, than in being emotionally present in our relationship.
Being my domestic partner, S has bore the brunt of these conflicting emotional states. We've had a number of conversations about my relative neediness and volatility, and how this impacts us as a couple, or as a triad with JA. I am very aware of bleed-over, and try to keep it minimized, but it has been impossible to maintain a totally firm boundary between the feelings I'm having in various relationships.
For me, it's been a tough thing to work with. I pride myself on being very stable, reasonable, predictable and dependable, and haven't been resonating much with any of those things in the past several months. While I don't think I've been a bad partner, I haven't been living up to my own expectations within relationships, and that hits me where I live. A well-known poly friend of mine has been known to say that for many poly people, their relationships are their hobbies. For me, that has certainly been the case. My relationships have taken me towards a deep level of self-examination, blogging, facilitating the discussion group, and spending most of my free time with my various loves. So, being emotionally compromised in one space and allowing it to ooze into other areas is something that I feel a sense of failure about.
Being too hard on myself? Probably, and I do try to cut myself some slack on that, as do my partners. Moving out of a 16 year relationship is a massive change, and it impacts many different spheres of my life. A goal for myself is to actually deal with the hard feelings I'm having, rather than sweeping them under the rug, and that means that some of that processing is going to find its' way into my relationships with others, since those can be triggering spaces. We all try to be conscious of where things are coming from, and redirect as needed to underlying causes. Remembering a time where there was more consistency in intimacy and feelings across different connections, I find myself impatient to get to the other side of this stage of conflicting emotions, and look towards the possibilities that lie farther along the horizon.