V came over to drop off her laptop (she'd forgotten she'd not brought it back in here before she went home last night) and we went off to Fry's Electronics to return the shredder she'd gotten as an un-appreciated gift. She grilled me on my intentions towards Darkside, and how, exactly, that was supposed to work out, what with the matter of my patience, what the man's got that I want, and what exactly is keeping me from waiting forever and all.
My undermind's got a game plan, actually, and it's not sharing all of it with me. Part of it is my year. I'm finding that a year without forming new romantic bonds and not stretching existing romantic-type bonds any further than they are already, and even having some things time out, is doing wonders for my mental clarity. A very large part of it is that I'm poly, and while I'm not making any new romantic connections, I'm always collecting friends, and it's an automatic thing: every time I meet a new friend, I assess their potential compatibility with me, even if I'm not actively looking.
I know when there is the potential for things to develop more, and when I know someone enough and don't need to know them any deeper than I already do. When I know someone well enough already, and I try to get closer to them anyway, I do so at peril to both of us; I am at risk of violating -- no, I am violating -- my minister's oath to do the right thing. Most of the people I know, I either know them well enough and know that I shouldn't know them further, or I know them well enough, and while there's no danger in knowing them better, I have no drive to know more -- I will accept further knowledge if it comes of its own accord, but I won't seek it out either. There are precious few people who consistently make me feel secure enough to keep sharing of myself and learnng of them, in a non-professional context. When I first get to know someone, I'll be in a rush to get to know them, and share with them, and learn about them -- and then, sometimes without warning, I'll stop. I'll know them enough. That's how I work. With some friends, it slows down, but never entirely stops. Those friends are the ones who I know there is potential for something more.
If it's stopped, I know that anything more than friendship will never happen, not unless something jump-starts the "getting to know you" process again. If it's tapered off, that makes things that much less likely. There are so very few people out there, of all those I know, where I have that same level of affection, trust, desire for company, committment, and curiousity. (It's also a longer list than I'd think, those people who have companionable levels of same in my system.)
As long as I haven't given up on Darkside, I'll wait. While I'm waiting, I'm still not dead. If someone would make a good mate, they'll make a good friend. I'll never again make the mistake of attempting to make a mate of someone who wasn't a good friend. Not all good friends will make good mates, but a bad friend will never make a good mate. I can't expect anyone to immediately outrank the history that Darkside and I have, but I do know that if anyone's ever going to challenge Darkside's place as senior bondmate, they're going to have to build up an equal or greater history of trust and compatibility. I'm poly. I can allow others to build up affection and trust without having my bond with Darkside threatened.
In Lackey's Last Herald-Mage series, there was commentary near the end about not turning away smaller, humbler blazes after warming one's self at a large and glorious fire of some sort, as a neatly footnoted analogy to not turning away friendship and lesser loves after surviving the absence of a Great Love. The difficulty with people lecturing me on that topic is that I'm not turning away lesser loves. What I'm doing is not making the mistake of lying to myself and attempting to convince myself that a lesser love is a Great Love.