Sunday, April 12, 2009

That which survives... not always the same.


I've been thinking lately about my friend s1m0n. A lot of people reading this blog don't have any of the back history. So, here's the nutshell.

We met each other on a local multi-phone-line BBS called Foundation Earth around 1992. I had just recently moved back in to live with my parents from a stint away in college. BBS's were an important social networking node for me as I had no local friends in the city where my parents retired. We played role-playing games (RPGs) both online and in person. (Back in the day when an online RPG meant either just writing text stories or playing on a MUD -- we were the text-writing sorts.)

Back then, s1m0n was known more for his creativity than his business acumen. Although, sometimes distracted by rules ("Read the docs!") or character nuance ("Newton's hair is not blue!"), s1m0n was (and still is) one of the best storytellers I know when he puts his mind to it. Couple that with a flair for drawing and I totally thought he was going to write comic books or go down a much more creative path.

But ya know, we all change. While he was always a very motivated person, within the first few years that I knew him, he kicked his ambition into high gear. His priorities shifted and he began to devote more of his energy into both business development and computers. He became a father -- anyone who has gone through that knows that certainly shifts your priorities even further. (As I'm also a father, I totally understand.)

Over the period from 1997 to 2007, s1m0n and I saw each other less and less -- to the lowest point which was seeing each other once or twice a year even though we lived in the same city. His last wife's "no friends" insecurity mandate was most of the reason for the last few years of that.

Then in 2007, he and my wife developed a deeper bond and suddenly he was slammed back into my life in a full time capacity unprecedented in our relationship. I was seeing him all the time, but doubts abounded. How much of his desire to be here was my wife and how much was his friendship with me? Without crawling into his brain, I doubt there's a way to really evaluate that, but I came to accept the situation as a positive one.

So, how are things now? Well, although I see him on a daily basis now, I'm not sure just how close we are. I guess it fluxuates. Most of the time, I'm glad to have a great metamor that handles his life responsibly and treats my wife with the love and respect she deserves. Sometimes, I feel like there is something between us that bends the friendship from feeling completely comfortable -- a princess and the pea kind of feeling. I'm not sure how much of that feeling is just simply having to live with a partner that I'm not romantically attached to and sharing life responsibilities with. And how much is some mild sense of lingering rivalry over our shared womanly resource.

Things are just different.


Anonymous said...

I think that having 14 years of history between us is something that makes the V work.

I remember that I'd always come and find you and PF when I had problems in my mono relationships. You were both always open-minded and charitable, supportive.

It'd be difficult to compare my relationship to you with any other relationship that I've ever had with a friend. We live together and share everything, including your wife. I can't say that I've ever done that before, and I don't have exposure to people who really do have that experience, so I've no basis of comparison. I don't know really how our friendship should feel. However, I'll tell you how I feel.

We have a lot in common: computers, pass-times, interests, even our sense of humor is very similar. I think we share a sense of honor and chivalry.

We also have some things that aren't in common. These aren't negative things - they just reflect our personalities.

When we talk and josh around and hang out, we share what we have in common. We talk about gaming, work, relationships, mutual acquaintances, and a little bit on hopes and ambitions. I think that's pretty friendly :).

Sometimes though, I don't know what else to say. Sometimes I'm wrapped in my own head - I'm fairly ambitious, self-employed, and rather preoccupied with my own problems. Other times, I don't know where you are, but you're not listening to me or anybody else at the table; I suspect you're also inside of your head, rationalizing the preoccupation of the moment. Again, not bad, it just is.

Yet still, other times, I find it hard to find common ground. Our time is divided into many different directions, and I suppose there is the same problem that anybody has who lives around anybody else: what more is there to say? What more can and should be shared?

When you come home, I try to stay out of your way. You seem to like your time in your retreat and I want to give you plenty of time with the kid and family as I've more access to that than you. As a gesture of friendship and in recognizing my "place" as a secondary, I do try to take care of things around the house where I can , giving more time to you. We all watch the kids for our projects - when I'm working, or, when you and PF need some outside time. We all handle the chores. We all balance our external relationships. I try to contribute and offer more to you than just friendship... I try to offer you time.

That, to me, seems like the biggest thing you want out of life. More time. And, as your friend, it's what I can give.

And I agree with you: all of that is weird. It is different. And I have no idea how each of us should feel. That's the nature of this polyamory gig: it's a big unknown that has changed all of us.

I guess I can say this: I never really feel in competition over PF with you. Myself, I'm always worried that I take too much of her time. I can also say that I don't know what you want or what you're expecting - how is it supposed to feel: living like this? Eh, I dunno - that's why we're writing all of this down, I suspect!

And I can say you've always been there for me, even in my worst decisions, and I'm thankful beyond words. Your courage in all of this has allowed me to become something else in my life, something entirely different from what was originally planned, and that's entirely your fault (grin). You always have been, and shall be, my friend.... Jim (wink).


polyfulcrum said...

These two posts leave me feeling nostalgic and frubble/compersion oriented...

Yes, things are different than they used to be. I still look at the shared past history as a strength in most things. While there are things that we are just getting the hang of, being so together in our domestic life, the confidence that we are all looking out for each other is there.

Nice nod to Star Trek there at the end, s1m0n. I got all teary-eyed.

Anonymous said...

You all are beautiful. xo

Léo said...

Having been to two discussions now I can say I often leave feeling a little overwhelmed by what I am welcoming into my life by accepting this part of myself. Coming out to the world? Fluid bonding? ummm, where's the door? ;-)

But coming to know your "pod," your triad, I am inspired. You are real and yes, I agree: very beautiful. All intimate relationships mono, poly, "just" friends, they all have something to learn from you.

Thank you.

METAwhetstone said...

Thank you, everyone! Appreciated the comments very much. :)