Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shifting perspectives


When PG and I first opened up our relationship we had a lot of ideas what that would look like. Amazingly enough, what it actually looks like 8 years later bears very little resemblance to what we thought it might before actually starting to implement things. We started out with the idea that we'd be swingers, to keep all that emotional juice for our relationship. It became apparent pretty quickly that all sex and no love wasn't terribly satisfactory to either of us, so we started down the path towards polyamory, which we had no concept of at that time.

There have been many shifts from what we thought we wanted to what actually works for us at a given point in time. Long distance to local, FWB to secondaries, dates to overnights, closely defined roles to non-hierarchical stuff, to living with S. One thought that is currently on the conscious level is the concept of commitment. Does love or caring without shared commitment work at this point? How does that fit in with a less hierarchical view of polyamory? What type of commitment or accountability from a partner serves the relationship without becoming controlling?

For me, I have a strong preference for more solid and transparent relationships. Amorphous and more independent connections don't tend to be strongly emotional with me. To have a deep sense of intimacy, I find it necessary to share a level of transparency and a sense of the importance of the connection with my partner. Things that might lead to that feeling might include: having a scheduled date night, talking regularly to touch bases and share general life experiences, being introduced to their friends and/or family as someone that is important in their life, and not initiating the vast majority of plans or affectionate contact.

When ones perspective shifts so often, how do you maintain a sense of continuity with your on-going relationships? By sharing consistently what you are thinking about, feeling, by growing together, rather than within the vacuum of your own mind, by being aware that changing circumstances may alter the landscape significantly and by being prepared to make course corrections before things become problems or issues.

There are times where shifts might lead to a change in relationship status, with something strengthening or weakening the bonds that you share. Some people try to avoid change, but status quo isn't something that really exists, so trying to maintain it as a safety mechanism (if we don't change, we won't grow apart) doesn't work. Positioning yourself to embrace change, to ride the wave to the new perspective, will save a lot of time spent rolling across the floor of the ocean gasping for breath and wondering which way is up.

Change can be scary or exhilarating, it can move you in directions you would never have imagined going on your own. My experiences in life have led to to believe that the changes that I wouldn't have chosen are the ones that have taken me to the most amazing places; in work, in love, and in family life. Life and love look much different than they did 15, 10 or 5 years ago, but I am ever more appreciative of the new spaces that have opened up for me by being available to step forward into the light of a new day and breathe deeply of the fresh air.

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