Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time on Your Own, or Shared Experience?

The title is a bit disingenuous, as it seems pretty apparent that these aren't the only options on the table. S and I were talking earlier this week, and it popped up that we're on somewhat different spaces on the continuum of "spending time on my own/with others is what makes me an interesting person/partner" as it relates to "spending time together in shared experience builds intimacy/closeness". He tends more into the "time on my own" camp, while I lean towards the "shared experience" model.

While we both find value in each other's stance on a personal level, it is a difference that is important in how we approach relationships, particularly in a poly setting. One of the things I realized, largely because S is off on a "first weekend away" trip with A, is that I tend to shut off connection with partners when they are spending exclusive time with others. In the context of a date night, this isn't a big deal, but when it's expanded out to several days, it feels uncomfortable and weird. He called in to talk last night, and it felt uncomfortable to me to be talking.

At least right now, I don't seem to be capable of expanding my compersion bubble to include longer dates/overnights/trips. Frankly, I beat myself up about this pretty often. It kind of wrecks what D calls my "look good". It's a different response emotionally than I want to be having intellectually, and I REALLY dislike that dissonance!

I don't have concerns with their relationship, or their taking time. This is clearly past tapes playing. Historically for me, trips have been a pivot point in relationships. Power plays have been made, breakups ensued, massive changes that seem to come out of left field, and I'm such a stability junkie that there is intense antipathy for going through that again, so I've gotten to a point that I really dislike trips and overnights. Not just for my partners, but often for me.

This is a good opportunity to go through something scary for me, and have it be okay at the end of the weekend. To have everyone be congruent in doing what they say they're going to do. Wash, rinse, repeat until old tapes stop playing.

Enough about me! Back to our topic! For S, spending time on his own is important, having diverse experiences that are different from his partner(s) helps him feel like he's bringing something to the table in terms of being an interesting person. Agreed. For me, spending time together doing new or familiar things builds intimacy and closeness. Agreed. I think he's good at the shared experience thing, and I think I'm less good with time on my own.

Partly, my lack of skill in solo time is because I seldom have time to myself. The roles I have in life right now are quite encompassing, and as a pretty intensive extrovert, I'd rather spend time with the people I care about when I have it available to spend than do something on my own. If I'm not working, hanging with my kiddo, S, D, the dogs, working on a community event, writing, cleaning, cooking, or reading, I'm sleeping. Hobbies? Honestly, I don't have any. That seems out of balance.

Part of the issue is that I don't really have things I'm interested in doing that are more compelling than what's right in front of me. That probably makes me a bit on the dull side though, and certainly doesn't contribute to growing new skills, or being an interesting partner who is bringing something intriguing to the table. So what to do? What does a busy poly mom do for fun on the side? Frankly, I'm open to suggestions.

Well, I'm off to brunch with my meta-metamour (A's other partner), and then we shall see! Perhaps an erotic photography session? Mud wrestling at the nude beach? Lots of self-care that I don't usually take time for? The day is my oyster.


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KDaddy said...

I found that I needed a lot more "me" time than "we" time so that I could sort stuff out. I found that dealing with a wife and two other "wives" was a lot more trying than I believed - and I knew it wasn't going to be easy! It's so hard to deal with the different personalities, keeping track of their needs and feelings and to the point where I'd feel overwhelmed and seeking the council of others just wasn't going to happen.

So I needed that time to make sure my head was screwed on right. My poly partners didn't like that I'd do this and didn't always want to understand why I wouldn't be underneath them 24/7 and, of course, would start assuming things that weren't true... which just added to my need to have "me" time so I could get that part fixed.