Sunday with the Missy
This past Sunday I got to spend nearly the whole day with my daughter. She and the Boychild made me breakfast in bed and then–
Oh wait. I didn’t actually wake up in my bed. Ad and I got home around 9:30 am after having stayed over at W’s the night before, after some 4-way play with a female friend. The same female friend from my last update, actually. That’s how settled I’d got with the whole thing – I set up another play date, this time with her, W, Ad and me. And it went well. There’s more to that whole story, but…I’m just not in a place where I feel like going into it all right now. It’s all good, in the end, as W and I have been having some deep discussions, and I have been (or at least feel like I have been) growing and stretching and learning.
But sometimes, in the middle of all that growing and stretching and learning, it kind of sucks.
It sucks to realize how bad I suck at times. How damaging my reactions and emotions and feelings can be to others around me, and how, no matter how much I feel like I am controlling them (at least better than in my past) it’s never good enough. It seems like I always end up hurting others.
Guh. I didn’t mean to go into all that. I think I am just feeling low right now. The end result is a lot more positive than all that, honest. And I will discuss at some future time…just maybe not now.
Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about was talking with the Missy about all this. Because I did. Not with complete details, but…enough to generate some good discussion.
Here’s the thing. I have talked about multiple relationships in general, and my own in particular, with my kids a lot. I’ve talked to them about the choices I’ve made, and why I made them, and they have seen how our relationship works. They know W and we’ve all spent time together, he stays over at the house and they know that Ad and I stay over at his place too. They see that it works, that it is a healthy, viable relationship choice.
I’m very proud of that.
What they have perhaps not seen is what happens when we have difficulties, and how that is handled – and that having an issue does not mean it all goes to hell; but rather that it can make relationship stronger.
This is more difficult in many respects than showing how wonderful and easy it all is. It means being open and exposing one’s vulnerabilities, weaknesses and failings. I would not do so with younger children, at least not to the extent that I did with the Miss, but at 20 years of age, and as a young person navigating her own adult relationship choices, I made the decision to do so.
There’s also the small detail of the fact that she has based much of her opinion about relationships, and if they will last, on the fact that her father and I split up.
This is painful for me to write about. I know that my decisions about my relationship structure, and my marriage to her father, is directly responsible for her belief that “nothing lasts forever.” Not that “sometimes things don’t last,” but that they won’t. Period. It hurts my heart to see her so negative about the possibility of falling in love “forever.”
On the one hand, of course, she is mostly right. Most love relationships/marriage don’t last a lifetime. And the fact that she is a pragmatist about love and relationships is probably a good thing. I have no fear that she will stick in a love-less or unhappy relationship just because you’re “supposed to” stick it out. On the other hand, that she believes love can’t last is just as potentially damaging, in my opinion. And it makes my heart hurt that it is me that has caused her to believe this.
Would I have rather stayed in my marriage, making both her father and I unhappy, just so that she could see that love can last? Well, no, because that too would have been a lie. But…I want her to see that even in good relationships people struggle at times and have difficulties – and they work them out, they work through them.
I also don’t want her to think that choosing multiple relationships means I’ve somehow taken the easy way out, because then when the going gets tough with one of them, you can just dump that one – after all you still have the other, right? I want her to see how we all work together to resolve the issues, as a team, each one of us assisting where and when we can, to make the whole stronger.
And lastly, I want her to know that it is possible to make choices to change. I’m not perfect by a long shot, but the things that I know hurt me or my others – if I have the capability – I will change. It ain’t easy, but it can, and is, happening.
So, throughout the day, while she and I made some beaded jewelry, we talked about what’s been going on in my relationship. I told her that W and were going through some things, and that a lot of what we were going through was because I have insecurity issues around him “dating” others. (She doesn’t know about BDSM and so “play dates” are just dates.)
“But isn’t that what this whole multiple relationship/poly/open relationship stuff is about, Mom?”
Yeah. It is. But just because I (or anyone) believes in it, wants this relationship structure, doesn’t mean that fears and insecurities just magically disappear. It’s how we deal with those insecurities and fears, and whether we conquer them, or let them conquer us, that counts.
“So why do it then? If it’s hard, if it hurts, why do it?”
I could only answer for myself: because, for me, it is the right thing to do. I need to conquer this, because these fears are rooted in my own insecurities, not in the relationship itself, and certainly not in my Guys. I will not let these insecurities rule me.
Also: I love my Guys. And loving someone does not mean controlling them. I want them to be happy and fulfilled. I want to give them everything that I can to facilitate that. I want them to be free to choose for themselves how to find that happiness.
“Does Ad – or W – get upset when you bring home problems with the other?”
It is hard on either of them to see me hurting, whether it is something I have brought on myself, or if it is because of relationship struggles. And in some multiple relationships, partners ask not to be made a witness to the struggles of their partner’s other relationships. But the way it works for us is that each of them helps when I have an issue with the other. We all shore each other up, both by facilitating communication (Ad was saying the other day that at times it feels like interpreting) and by simply being supportive and holding safe space for each of us to vent if needed, to cry if needed; to simply be. Interestingly enough, both have communicated a sense of satisfaction in being able to provide this assistance to the other. “It makes me feel good,” Ad said.
I don’t always feel like the best mother. I forget important stuff, I let them eat sweet cereal (for breakfast AND dinner), I allow them free rein to talk about any subject they want, I don’t have much stick-to-it-ive-ness when it comes to punishments. But Sunday – coincidentally Mother’s Day – I felt like I was doing something right.
All in all, it was a fine way to spend Mother’s Day.