In so many discussions Prof and I have together, and so many conversations we have had with Swingset sexies about the poly/swinging continuum, I don’t feel like we have ever come up with any concrete, objective or even remotely useful guidance or constructs. It’s messy, nonsensical, full of emotion and constantly evolving. Why I feel I have to put specific names to specific relationships, I’m not quite sure. I suppose it is just like everything else in my life. I like things orderly, in their places and appropriately labeled. That would be wonderful. Thank you very much.
I guess I subscribe to the same paradigm for my relationships. Most of them are pretty clear. Although dear to us and very close to our hearts, even the closest play friends are just that: friends. They have their own partners and, much to our pleasure, are well cared for and loved by those partners. We would happily do favors, house sit, drop off the fortuitously timed batch of chicken soup, but otherwise their emotional well-being is ensured by their primary partners.
The case was different when Prof and I were dating a single woman, a unicorn, if it pleases the swinger crowd. Despite the fact that we indeed knew that as a very strong woman she was entirely able to take care of herself and her personal emotional well-being, we still reached out to her in ways that were different from our behaviors with our couple friends. And she reciprocated in like fashion. I always assumed that the difference was due to the fact she was single, not partnered. Now I know the difference was that we cared for her in a different way: we loved her, well, love her.
Since we began our relationship with her at the beginning of our experience with non-monogamy, we had no perspective, no experiences to which we might compare. And, of course, there was no Swingset around then to light the way on the polyswingamorous path. Maybe if there was we would have known that sometimes it is messy, nonsensical and full of emotion and definitely beyond labels, we might have explored a little deeper, risked a little more.
This realization arrives now in her long absence. Prof and I explore it from every angle, chat about it, invoke her over drinks and generally continue to pine for her. Through this experience, I’ve learned compersion extends to comfort in mutual loss. As much as I feel her absence in my individual day-to-day experience, we together miss her and reflect on the amazing experience of having had her in our lives. That experience of mutual mourning of a past relationship has been a fascinating turn on this crazy rollercoaster that is non-monogamy.
So there it is. No neat ending. Nothing tied up with a bow. Nothing orderly, in its place or appropriately labeled. Just a wistful smile for a former partner’s current happiness in someone else’s arms.