Recently I tweeted employing the term PolyFidele, indicating a state of polyfidelity seasoned with a little French panache because I'm a Quebecer now and that's the kind of shit qu'on fait. Whether or not one is perfectly bilingual, after a few years here, some things are simply best said in French.
I stopped cold and thought (in English) “Holy shitballs. What did I just say?” Polyfidelity: a term least understood by the monogamous, many of whom have difficulty grasping open relationships at all and prefer to explain it to themselves as “license to fuck anything that moves.” Yes, there are non-monos who operate this way. Non-monogamy encompasses a range of people and relationship boundaries and standards ad infinitum.
Joe and I don't take things are far as multiple spouses (some do) but still well past the “Nice shoes, wanna fuck?” stage. I like connection. I NEED connection. I cannot open to anyone without shit getting personal. I begin every relationship with the hope of attachment, despite terror of making myself vulnerable to anyone.
In short, I have sought polyfidelity: trusted, committed relationships within a framework of open, honest non-monogamy, with lovers who value me emotionally, intellectually, personally, sexually.
Yes, COMMITTED. I said it. Confusing for monos is that poly people speak of commitment. All they know is that we see other people — how the fuck can we call ourselves committed to anyone? It's like this: we consciously and with the sanction of our Primary partners open to others and all the temptations they bring. THEN WE GO BACK HOME TO OUR PARTNERS. Again and again. If that doesn't indicate an ability to commit, I don't know what the fuck else would. I could date someone for years, adore the hell out of him and still go home every night to my husband. Because I love HIM and am committed to him and our life together. Love begets love and should I bring myself to love another, that love will carry over into my homelife due to the simple fact that happiness is contagious.
I am terrified to report I've found my PolyFideles.
“Terrified” because now I have to do that “trust” thing. It's part of the deal: if someone is going to stick around and make the time and effort to get to know me, spend time with me and get beyond my barbed-wired, glass-encrusted walls, I'm going to have to let the fucker in to do it. Quid pro quo. This scares the living shit out of me. Every time. My feelings for a man can be evaluated best by how callously I try to run his ass off. I fire large-caliber emotional warning shots, (metaphorically) wearing large black and yellow “Caution” signs stapled to my forehead: “Warning: this bitch doesn't want to trust or depend on anyone, least of all you.” The only guys who EVER last with me are the ones who can take this abuse and endure long enough to demonstrate they're after more than a ticket to PussyTown. The difficulty of being me is I won't accept less than being adored, but I have such difficulty letting people IN that I rarely find anyone who can do so. When I stumble over the poor bastards at all.
I disabled my dating profiles weeks ago; nor have I been on IM or answering messages. I told Italian A when he called for a 2nd date that I am seeing Greek A regularly now and will focus on that. Greek A and I have had The Talk, which goes something like: he's not seeing anyone else, I'm not seeing anyone else, and should either of us decide to do so we will inform the other; we talk every day and end our conversations and dates with “talk to you tomorrow.” He's been told the full truth of what I do for a living and took it well: acceptance, some curiosity, but little interest in seeing me in that context. He understands I only EVER “work” with Joe. Greek A is just A now AKA: the boyfriend (gulp).
In short: full disclosure, mutual agreement to continued full disclosure, and acknowledgment that things are pretty good and we should keep doing what we're doing. Preferably 2 or 3 times a week until the day comes we feel differently.
I remain guarded. One disclosure to A remains: that strange/amazing/scary/fabulous/freaky Long Distance thing I mentioned in my last post, which also seems to fall under my shaky umbrella of PolyFidelity.
Despite myself, I regard this connection as a viable relationship I have a level of commitment to. Still I have no idea what to think of it, what could happen or where it could go. Still it goes on, becoming increasingly important to me, despite the fact that all we (oh hell, fine let's name him. I give you first blogged mention of “Beast.” Because big motherfucker) have managed is a daily variation of texting, pictures, and phone calls.
My trust in this fluctuates — sometimes deliberately — but he endures, combating my fears, and making himself disturbingly necessary, insofar as “those I need to hear from a shitload.” Our connection encompasses all but a physical dimension and even that has been spoken of. We've spoken of meeting somehow. Someday. I will not say just how much distance we face. My faith in this is tenuous enough. I take it day by day, holding what I can from our conversations about his intentions and feelings about it and about me.
But to return the question of disclosure: Beast has been told of Joe and A and their places in my life. I know who is in his life. Joe has been told of Beast. And should things proceed and appear likely to approach the “real life” stage, A will be told of Beast. Like I said: tenuous and uncertain. Tinctured with trust issues on both sides. Neither of us really know how to think of this.
But I feel a level of commitment to it. Pretty sure he does too. Things have gone on too long. Neither of us would or could just stop talking now, as we would with casual chat friends one sometimes drifts away from. Things are further than that.
For now I'm happy and relieved to be done with the Vetting Process I despise so much. I HATE strangers, hate opening to them, and hate letting them near me. Poly people are often so much more antisocial than anyone would believe. The outside world and the people in it are scary. I don't like most of them.
Things rock here at home with The Man (who has his own good thing going with girlfriend, L). A is a sweetie and treats me like gold. And if you'll excuse me, the Beast is texting. Squee.
“My trust in this fluctuates — sometimes deliberately”
The trust thing fluctuating is understandable. It’s one of your openly stated weaknesses. But, to do it deliberately… is manipulative, underhanded, unfair and DISHONEST. I’m also wondering why aren’t you committed to self-introspection and fixing your weakness? That would be an awesome topic to hear you blog about too.
Hey D, thanks for the reply. Qualifying the statement to indicate that I do it deliberately was most definitely meant in a self-deprecating manner and I do indeed acknowledge that it’s something I need to work on all the time.
However, by “deliberately” I mean it’s like waving a red flag under my own nose in an attempt to remain emotionally grounded. More of me wants to trust than does not and if it’s manipulative, as you allege, it’s aimed at myself.
Thanks for suggesting I blog on the topic of trust on a wider scale — fabulous idea:)
If you’ll learn from one person’s stupidity, if you’re used to open relationships, polyfi is about as restrictive as monogamy, and you’re not going to like the long-term.
The fact that I’m in a state of polyfidelity is entirely my own choice. No one has broached the subject nor asked me for it. I simply prefer to concentrate on the relationships I currently have and feel in no way restricted.