Our Poly Life

Our life as a Polyamorous Quad, with 10 kids.

The Cold, Hard Truth about Fresh Starts

on June 9, 2006

If we truly are committed to our partners, we’ll spend more time with them than any other human relationship in our life.  Big and I just passed a milestone in that regard; we have now been together longer than we’ve been apart.  In other words, our eighteen plus year union is now older than I was when we began. 

The secret to our long and happy marriage isn’t an absence of conflict, it’s the presence of commitment and a desire to work through whatever life threw our way.  Too many times I’ve heard people say, “I just can’t stand it any longer.  It’s too hard.”  Well, guess what?  Life IS hard, get used to it.  Aside from abuse, abandonment, or flagrant, repeated, and unrepentant adultery, “irreconcilable differences” is just the easy way out.  Big and I are both products of broken homes, and we swore to each other very early in our relationship, that which was strong enough to  bring us together, should surely be strong enough to keep us together.  It was a decision to stand strong and fight outwardly (not inwardly) at those demons which would seek to destroy our oneness. 

It is implausible to think that along the way to lifelong companionship that we won’t make some mistakes, hurt some feelings, and cause some pretty deep scars with one another.  I know there have been times when my neglect or selfishness caused Big a lot of pain.  And he is fully aware of the mistakes that grieved me as well.  My question is, where along the line does pain lead to permanent changes in the dynamics of a relationship? 

There must be some point when you look at your spouse of what seems like a million years just slightly more jaded than you did that day you said, “I do.”  As strong and as deep as my love for Big, there are some wounded places inside my soul that were caused by him.  Perhaps those scars have healed in time, but their mark still remains.  I often ask myself if along the way to forever, if all of me managed the journey.   Did somewhere along the path of forgiving and forgetting my subconscious decide a wound simply hurt too much and merely shut down out of self preservation? 

So, enter Temptress and Fix – fresh and new and smelling like roses.  Sure, they’ve had their share of personal conflicts as well, but not with me.  Here is an opportunity to start anew; to begin again a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and a whole lot more educated on how to handle difficult situations.  It’s not really fair, but it is reality all the same. 

Big and I are movie buffs.  Almost any situation that comes my way, he or I can find a classic movie scene or quote that more clearly demonstrates my position in any such matter.  My case in point:  the

movie
City Slickers starring Billy Crystal.  An overwhelmed mid-lifer is taken somewhat against his will by friends to a working ranch for “vacation.”  Along the way, they find meaning and purpose in their ordinary lives.  If you haven’t seen it, you should, it’s chocked full of humorous thirty-something truths.  At one point, they speak of life offering a “do-over.”  You know, like when you’re a kid and someone knocks the ball over the fence.  You just call a “do-over” and keep playing. 

In a lot of ways, our later-in-life poly conversion has given us each a do-over.  We’ve been able to focus heartily on others with all the gusto of someone who has learned many life lessons the hard way.  I can look at Fix with the same stars today that I gazed upon Big years ago – long before hurts and tough times made me cynical.  And this time around I get to do things right; at least more often than I did originally.  It hardly seems right that my primary relationship could suffer for its years of commitment, or should be penalized for its comfortable status.  But here I stand, on the threshold of a new dimension of our life and I see this chance to make old wrongs right again, if even with someone else. 

There are moments when I sense Big wanting, nay, needing me to once again idolize him the way I did when we were first together.  But I can’t – it’s just not in there any more.  I love him deeply, with all the emotion bound up in almost twenty years of joys and sorrows; pregnancies, births, and emergency room visits; comfort, trials,  and passionate exchanges.  All the things I loved about him in the beginning still exist today.  He is a visionary.  He is sensitive, yet still assertive.  He is willing to work hard and do what it takes to provide for and protect our family.  He talks to me in a way that makes me feel like I’m intellectual and articulate.  And when he’s truly humored, he has this infectious laugh that would put a smile on the face of anyone who hears him. 

I’m afraid with all the “bad press” due him lately in our blogs, some even of his own admission, he comes across as some workaholic tight ass.  He’s not at all.  He can be tender and loving and kind.  He’s magnetic and charismatic.  He’s the man who stole my heart nearly two decades ago, and still resides in a very large part of it.  So why do I need more?  I’ve asked myself that question many times in the past few years. 

Through my catalyst of change I’ve come to discover an important concept I never considered before.  Rarely will you find love if you go searching for it.  Love is a gift, and usually, quite unexpected.  One day you just look up and find something awaiting you to discover it.  And once you untie the ribbon and open its contents, you’re never again the same person you had been before. 

Oliver Wendell Holmes is quoted as saying, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”  I feel this is also true of the heart.  For a very long time, only Big could fulfill me.  The very air that I breathed must have him in it for me to survive.  But now things have changed.  I’ve been shown a world where I can have not only Big, but two other loves that make my heart and soul whole.  Fix and Temptress each in their own way have awakened in me places I’d purposely put away, places I hid, or places I denied even having.  Only when the four of us are together am I truly complete.  And the joy and peace that comes from that sort of satisfaction is incomparable. 

The only sure thing in life is change.  It can come fast or slow, in trickles or heaped upon us, but it will come.  How well we survive those changes has everything to do with what our attitude is like and how we handle ourselves in the midst of uncertain times.  The trick in any relationship, but most importantly with our loves, is to endure with patience, love, and a compassion that seeks to understand before demanding we ourselves are understood. 

In the scope of “the rest of our lives” twenty years seems like infancy, so I’m expecting with time this NRE (new relationship energy) will diminish, relationships will balance amongst the four of us, and we’ll all have this equal footing with each other.  Until that time, the fact that less water has passed under the bridge with my new loves than with my primary must be heeded.  I am more free with them, I have less “here we go again” attitude with them, and yes, I have much fewer scars.  That will undoubtedly affect how I relate.  Until that time, we all need to remember what makes us real is a lifetime of loving and being loved in a manner that gives us substance and purpose. 

~Goddess, 6-9-06

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