2016 was a year of death. So much death in every sense of the word–ideological death, physical death and the death in many ways, of hope itself–on a global scale. At a personal level I saw my hopes die last year, but they did so fatalistically inch by inch. I saw my chosen polyamorous family dream dying. And by the new year, it was dead. As with any family dynamic, there were issues. Spending time in close proximity of one another for an extended period of time will exacerbate differences and open wounds. Those differences may become intolerable.
Between my metamour and I, the dynamic has turned toxic. I want to hold her hand and say gently that we don’t have to be in one another’s life more than strictly necessary. That we can live our lives peacefully in parallel. That although I thought I could support Sophia and Morten by committing to her and living with her as family, I realise now that it would be better for all three of us and definitely for me, if I support them by my absence. But even if I accept this reality, my heart is heavy, because I have to accept a configuration I never wanted. The beauty of polyamory was partly in the fact that we might have been able to move around in the same space, in joy, honesty and open communication, not just that we move like ghosts past one another behind a facade of civility. Enduring instead of embracing one another.
That I know and have explained my boundaries has in the end proved futile, because when someone finds it impossible to understand the way someone else works and why their way of being works for them, being mindful of their boundaries is not easy. So she treads on my boundaries without knowing. Without speaking for her, I believe that I tread equally heavily on hers. I believe her to be complex, she believes me to be complex. I own the fact that her behaviours provoke me, simply because I am myself–with my own experiences, some of them traumatic. It must be my responsibility to keep myself safe. And for now that means at a distance.
Trauma triggers make all my relationships more complex than they would otherwise be, often in my romantic relationships that also means a more rewarding and emotionally rich interaction, but the fact is that when you love someone you also have willingness to hear them, work with them, and they with you. You also make the time to do so. We–she and I–do not, for as polyamorists often say ‘love might be limitless, but time is not’. As 2016 has proved above all, life is too short to dedicate time to relationships which do not make you happy.
As 2017 breaks, it also commemorates the tenth anniversary of my polyamorous life. And what an amazing ten years it has been, but the cycle has finished as it began, as cycles are wont to do. With the same lesson I once took on relationships which don’t work for me. Now is the time, at the beginning of this new cycle, that Morten and I get to do it differently. Instead of working towards a community being aligned in values, we must now work on constructing a sadder, wiser dynamic which accomodates us all as far as possible. Maybe it’s more like a family than I’ve ever realised. Families, with all their dynamics, good and bad. Knowing that some members of your chosen family, you do not choose because your partner chooses them for you. So I must compromise more than I ever thought I would be able to and I’m finding I can. I must let go of my ideal utopian vision and work with what we’ve got. I guess I’m lucky that I still have that chance. I guess I’m lucky because polyamory gives me that chance.