How do surfers ride those amazing waves? The long answer involves discussions of technique and physical strength and of course balance. The short answer is ...they stay on the surf board.
Sometimes practicing poly involves staying on the surf board despite all kinds of reasons not to. Riding the wave of this emotional crisis and learning to compromise or stand up for yourself or whatever it takes to have the love survive. Sometimes being sure that its over and coming to an acceptance of that is easier than having it all fall back into place and move on trying not to look for the other shoe to fall or the crisis to revive.
Sometimes it takes sleepless nights filled with quiet tears. Sometimes its sitting in your boss' office with your supervisor passing you tissues while you sob like a baby because your bi-weekly clinical supervision session began with her asking "So everything okay at home?" Regardless of how many lovers adorn your life, when one of them falls apart the pain is a universally understood thing. That much we share as humans regardless of our relationship philosophy.
This has been a wild year. The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association hosted PolyCon in May. It was a terrific success with very supportive media reports and a goodly number in attendance for a first time event. There were excellent workshops, a diversity of perspectives and much successful networking of poly community members from across Canada and the western US. I've had follow up interviews regarding it and the CPAA's next focus with radio and print media ever since. The feel of the media is more supportive and more informed than the media contacts during the court case and within a month of the decision announcement there wasn't much media interest. This time keeping poly in the public's attention hasn't been an issue. Awareness is happening!!!!
We had an expected amount of trauma pulling it off both financially and logistically but pull it off we did. I think it took me a month to recover from the stress and sheer exhaustion of organizing it. I would have never been able to do it on my own and I'm very grateful for some great helpers. We did end up substantially in the hole on the expenses of it so please feel free to donate or purchase collectors' swag and carry on the awareness. http://polyadvocacy.ca/collectibles-from-polycon
The interesting thing about being a poly organizer bunny is that it puts stress on those around you and pulls you away so you aren't able to participate in normal life as much. You might not notice that your loves are either supportive and okay with it or drifting off to be appreciated elsewhere. From my perspective either is understood and appreciated as a reasonable response. It is hard to be in love with someone who is very public and very devoted to being in the forefront of a movement for change. Most often all their time, money and energy is not being spent on you. We try to keep a balance but there are times when we just can't do that. If you love us, most likely the fire that burns and drives us to be organizer bunnies is one of the things that attracted you to us in the first place. I can put that part of me aside for a bit but not for long. It is who I am. The drive to change the world or some small part of it is so deep in my psyche that to roll over and go back to sleep while someone else might do it is just not going to sit well with me.
I have preferences. We all do. I have things that I just don't ever want to do - like the Capilano Swinging Bridge - and then there are things that I am not particularly comfortable with but could be persuaded. Moving to Vancouver would be in that category. I like Victoria. My family and job are here but given a good reason and some transition time - I might move there. I don't know the city well and probably gripe about that too much.
In the midst of the PolyCon planning, I discovered that I had not one but three new grandchildren, my youngest child moved out to live with his new family, one of my partners dove head long into NRE with what presented as a Cowgirl and I travelled 14 hours by bus to attend the birth of a grandson and be reconnected with that son's father. (A cowgirl is a monogamous woman who "ropes" a poly guy from a poly tribe and gets him to be monogamous with her.) The partner got a job in Vancouver and was all set to move there with Cowgirl. He discussed it with my other live in partner who was thinking about transferring to a Vancouver office and following. Nobody discussed this with me. A least not in a serious way that caught my attention. Could be that it was mentioned and I had my brain in PolyCon or grandkids or money worries. Who knows? I admit to being a bit thick when I'm focused on getting things achieved.
Anyway, it was a done deal when I figured it out. My partner told me that he knew I didn't like Vancouver so didn't ask me to move with him. I was devastated. Big shock thinking that my little triad was happy and that they loved being together as much as I did only to find that they were eager to be elsewhere. For them it was the excitement of moving to Vancouver and being part of sporting organization than that they were leaving ME. They both figured that we'd be a two city household for a bit and then transition. I took it very personally mostly because the communication around it sucked like an enormous vacuum cleaner. I felt that I had been lied to and manipulated at worst and that they had assumed a lot without consultation at best.
Ended up that the job fell through, the Cowgirl got cold feet and the move never happened. We'd given notice on our apartment and I just couldn't get with the program on finding another place. I didn't know who the hell I was housing for one thing and even when it was established that the one partner wasn't going to move and that his heart was broken - I had no trust in that not happening again at any given moment.
Trust is what keeps you on that poly surf board. Mine was pretty wobbley.
We had some discussions as a trio and individually. Finally we were able to find that solid triad - ness again.
Its a good thing we did because our landlord made life very uncomfortable and the move was a small chunk of hell. We now are in a smaller place which will help our financial picture improve so that we can transition to a two city household. Vancouver may be in my retirement plans. The door is open to what the future provides.
The lessons? Don't take your relationships for granted. Constant feedback and touching base on agreements, issues, plans and dreams. Go forward as a team but be supportive of individual goals and needs that might unbalance things for a bit.
No matter how rough the water. Hold onto the trust and ensure you are trustworthy - and stay on the poly surf board. Ride the waves.
Hang Ten, bbbaby.