Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Changes in line up


When S came aboard the poly train with us, it was a big change from how we'd been doing relationships outside of the dyad that PG and I have shared for over 14 years now. There had been this gradual and increasing scale in the ways that we expressed ourselves in relationships, however, as each new partner, on whatever level has entered the picture, I've found the level of complexity and logistics increases exponentially.

This isn't to say that I don't enjoy that depth and complexity, because I do. As much as I'm a stability junkie, having more people to value and relationships to nurture feels interesting and in pursuit of growth to me. The question is: How much of a difference does it make when you add a new person into an existing poly structure?

To some degree, that depends on the intensity of the relationship, the amount of time spent, how far advanced in their own understanding the person is, but some of it has got to be sheer numerical complexity!

The scheduling, for example. I am the lamest in the pod regarding the use of google calendar, which is the tool that we've chosen to try and coordinate the many independent, yet totally entwined, schedules that exist. It is a source of frustration to my pod members at times, since they'll put something up there and think I'm aware of it. For me though, I need actual verbal contact about stuff, and then add it to my paper calendar to make it real. My bad. I'm working on it!

How about trying to make sure that everyone is getting their needs met? This can be both a good and bad thing. Good: Chances are high that not everyone is going to have a crisis in a given week. Bad: Chances are high that illnesses will work their way through the entire system over a given week/month. My general expectation is that whoever is "healthy" emotionally or physically, steps up to help care for those who are not. The more people you have within your system, the higher the odds are that someone will be available to step in and handle things in the event of an emergency, and the higher the odds are that someone will need care at a given moment.

What about people getting lost in the shuffle? This seems to be a real concern, particularly if you have those in the circle that aren't as assertive (read: pushy) as I am about stating needs and wants. Those are skills that _need_ to increase as the pod gets bigger. It isn't the responsibility of those you are with to pull things out of you. You MUST be able to be a self-proponent, or fading into the background can happen.

These are some of the reasons that I consider carefully whether or not to become involved with new people. I want to give of myself to any connection, and there is only so much to go around. Changes in line up can make global shifts happen. There is more to track with each person that I become "responsible" to emotionally. So, if I seem to be approaching the idea of connecting with you with caution, take it as a sign of responsible relationship husbandry. ;)

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