Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cooperate, coexist, or compete?

intr.v. co·op·er·at·ed, co·op·er·at·ing, co·op·er·ates
1. To work or act together toward a common end or purpose.
2. To acquiesce willingly; be compliant: asked the child to cooperate and go to bed.
3. To form an association for common, usually economic, benefit: When buyers cooperate, they can make large wholesale purchases at a discount.

I'm experiencing something a little different in my poly landscape these days. It's a growing sense of cooperation with my new metamour (with S holding the fulcrum spot). We just had a delightful outing today that was emotive, fun, and built more closeness into the connection. It affirmed that I like her on her own merit, and not merely because we share a common interest in S.

Often in the past, my relations with metamours have been more along the lines of coexisting. We could be social, but probably wouldn't be hanging out if it weren't for the person we shared in common. Amicable was good, and most often the case. If there was mutual respect, so much the better! This is what I see often in the relationships in our community, and seems to be a desired level of comfort to make poly connections workable for all involved.

Every once in a while, it's an even-less-connected thing, where all parties are aware of each other, but could care less about meeting or getting to know anyone else. For some, this model works very well, as they consider it significantly less complicating to their lives to keep all the working emotional parts from touching. This is a model where each person is as completely independent as possible, while still remaining ethical.

Then we have the worst case scenario that sends shivers of dread into the hearts of community/family oriented poly folk: Competitive drive. When one or more of your connections become competitive with each other, and you are stuck in the middle, it can be extremely uncomfortable. There you are trying to answer questions like: Who do you love more? Who do you have the most sex with? What activities did you do with them, and why not me? They get more time with you than I do! These sorts of thoughts, and the actions that accompany them, usually tear things apart in rather brisk order.

So, back to my happy place! Here I am, having lunch with N, S's new interest, and I'm happy for her, for him, for them, and for myself. I can see her doing things that are hard and scary, and I'm pulling for her, because I've been there, and revisit every so often just to keep it fresh. ;) She's treating herself, and my partner, well, and that is something that I can sink myself into and support her in doing. It's cooperative, collaborative, open, vulnerable, and it's what we all seem to want to be giving to each other. I'm blessed.


Anonymous said...

Ah, wow, that is so cool. I'm happy for all of you. Maybe envious as well. Kitten and I do not have that really. It seems as time goes by we are just happy to coexist. It works better for us. It is part her personality and part how things got started...things I can forgive and have done so...but are hard to forget when she is not remorseful for the pain and attempts at things she has made.

Good for S in his choice of partners as well.

billybox said...

I meant to come here and just leave a random comment to thank you for your posts as it helps me to process the many levels of stuff I deal with as a poly parent. But this one was especially good.

I think I get mild levels of competitiveness from my most significant other, and I never really thought of it as something to work on, it was just the way it is. So doubly thank you.