April 12th, 2004

tricircle

Actually, it's a lot like that.

Over in mono_poly, someone posted about something, and I was moved to respond.

Having a partner who's got another partner can be a lot like having a mother-in-law (especially if you're a woman). You both love the man, but are you going to end up united by that love, or rivals for his respect and attention? Are there pissing contests over who's in charge, who's got more authority, who does he love more, or are both of you secure in that he loves you both (equally?), or is the hierarchy clearly defined and everyone's at least OK with it, is there a hierarchy and does the one who hasn't got the authority keep lashing out at the other?

It's not something that's determined so much by the position of having a mother-in-law or not that determines how things are going to go between the two of you -- obviously, if his mom's dead, or if he doesn't get married, he'll never have the dynamics between wife and mother to worry about, he'll just have the one. But if he does get married and his mother's alive and in any sort of contact with him, his mother and his wife are necessarily going to have some sort of relationship with each other, just by virtue of both existing in the same namespace.

If one of the women is a controlling bitch who says she must love and obey her first and only, and he's got another deep relationship, shit is going to go down. If both of them are that way, even more so. If both of them are easygoing and okay with the other, it's all going to be good, unless he does something completely funky and both of them get pissed at him.

I actually like this model more than the siblings/parent model, because it's more expected that siblings should get along and/or love each other, no matter if they actually do or not. It's natural to have family bonds with people you scrap with from time to time. Whereas, if you've both paired up with the same man, and aren't involved with each other, there can be tensions. The mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is more equal than the wife/mistress relationship, and there's less of a clear outline on who has the power by right. Things often fall in favor of the wife, but then if there should be a divorce... and then some people do favor their blood family over their married family, and go with the blood family decisions and overshadow their wife's say in things...

Expecting two girlfriends to get along is like expecting your mother and your wife to get along. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. You can help the process along, but it's only going to work if they both want to and both can get along with the other...

I wanted to get along with BJ's mother. Well, sort of. Truth be told, I hated her and would have wanted her to die except that this would have left me as clan mother, and I couldn't stand most of the clan. But I didn't want to fight with her. I just wanted to crush her utterly and never see her ever. It wasn't that I was opposed to my fiance having a mother, it was just that the one that he had was an unreasonable psychotic bitch, and she and I couldn't stand each other even though we pretended to be polite. That somewhat compared to when my ex the redhead was boinking his friend V. I didn't want to fight with her, I just thought she was a psychotic bitch and bad for him, and would not accept anything other than him not sleeping with her.

And then there was good ol' Shawn's mother. She is a sweetheart, a wonderful woman, and damn near a saint. She and I loved each other on first sight, and got along excellently, much to Shawn's dismay. I would take her as a mother-in-law any day, if only that didn't mean that I'd have to marry Shawn. My ex the redhead sort of had a girlfriend like that -- the girl after he moved out of here was nice, interesting, and I got along with her well -- he was surprised to hear that I was just fine with the idea of him getting it on with her, and very happy about it, even! He'd thought that actually I wasn't really poly, I was just using it as an excuse to sleep around, so my actually approving of him getting it on with another girl was very much a shock to him.

It's not that the relationship structure is inherently flawed, so much as it is the pre-existing personality flaws, strengths, and quirks of the participants, and how they choose to arrange the rules.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
running, bomb tech

Revalation from a dream: I don't care about these people anymore.

Star Wars is dead, long live Star Wars.

I dreamed I was angsting over whether I was going to see the new Star Wars movie or not. It was being built up to a big thing in the dream. Finally, when Sandstrom showed up, I burst out, "I don't care about these people anymore!", which is the most deadly phrase that the fans of anything can say.

Dream-Sandstrom grinned and said that he was going to watch the last movie -- he was going to use it and then get out of there. It wasn't the good stuff but he didn't care -- and this is the last one.


Lucas is our King.
He cannot write a single thing.
He only cares about the bling.
Lucas is our King.

I guess I care what happens to Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I know he turns out OK. So does R2. So does Darth Vader. (I care about Darth Vader, but not about whinypants.) So I already know what eventually happens to these people. I don't care what happens in Episode 3. Star Wars is dead.
running, bomb tech

More dreams...

Went back to sleep, and dreamed again, of trying to call on the cell phone... I was calling, but not connecting, and when I finally did connect, it was Darkside's father. He said that they were in the process of moving to California, and in fact he was in California at the moment, and the caller ID didn't pick up his number, and they'd be completely moved within the week, and the number I'd called would stop working....

I dreamed of going shopping, of ash falling from the sky, of a little budgie store in Washington Plaza back home, of the Metro bus system setting up down Airport Road, of going on a marathon shopping trip and stopping in at a place where Darkside worked...

It was a humiliation-and-Murphy dream... I went into the bathroom, and the bathroom stall evidently opened on its own. Also, the bathroom stalls were in full view of a line forming, and Darkside was in that line. The stall door opened, and he saw me (didn't see any bits, just saw me in there) and there were several double-takes before he confirmed that yes, it was me, and he came over. We talked through the door, and he told me about the moving and how horribly busy he was, and I petted him, and he teased me without mercy, but somewhere in there I didn't get his new number... I woke up before I was able to call back and ask for his new number.
running, bomb tech

Poly Communication: blessing or bane?

One of the other potential problems with a poly relationship vs. a mono relationship is "My partner's problems are my problems."

If you've got someone who, upon hearing about an issue that their partner has got, embraces that issue and makes it their own, that is high potential for drama, especially when you've got a near-unlimited supply of issues with a multiplicity of partners.

(For example, if I were to be prone to this, I would embrace my partner's co-worker issues and go around muttering that bigotry in the workplace ought not to be allowed, and I needed to go down there and have a few words and maybe start talking lawsuits because of faith-based discrimination in the workplace, as well as embracing my other partner's school issues and grumble about rude kids and crappy equipment...)

When you've got more than one partner and all of you share problems, then the drama level goes way, way up fast, whereas if you've only got one partner and you share their issues only, you've only got two people's worth of angst rattling around in the relationship without any brakes on.

However, if you're one of those people who can listen to someone vent for five minutes about a problem, and then soothingly mutter, "That sucks, dear," but remain emotionally uninvolved other than being concerned for your partner's welfare, then you're well-disposed to being in a multiple-party relationship, being not disposed to take on the angst of everyone who vents to you.

It's not just about the communication, I found, but how you handle the communication when you've got it.
trust, best friends forever, snot-nosed brats

Ahh, Browning.

(from "One Word More")
God be thanked, the meanest of his creatures
Boasts two soul-sides, one to face the world with,
One to show a woman when he loves her!


XVIII

This I say of me, but think of you, Love!
This to you--yourself my moon of poets!
Ah, but that's the world's side, there's the wonder,
Thus they see you, praise you, think they know you!
There, in turn I stand with them and praise you--
Out of my own self, I dare to phrase it.
But the best is when I glide from out them,
Cross a step or two of dubious twilight,
Come out on the other side, the novel
Silent silver lights and darks undreamed of,
Where I hush and bless myself with silence.