Carrie and I were recently discussing a trip she’s taking out here this weekend, and making the sort of ribald jokes that we often do. One involved getting together with one of my friends for a threesome, and I took a weird turn; I suddenly felt compelled to extract a promise from her that she wouldn’t, this weekend, sleep with one of my friends. I expressed that I was fine with the idea in the future, theoretically, just not yet, at this moment, while I’m still getting used to things. I didn’t actually think that she would, but for some reason the momentary certainty was important to me.
I’ve been pondering exactly why that was so important to me, and today in the shower it finally hit me; it wasn’t about her being with someone else, or with one of my close friends, but about her starting yet another new relationship while I’m still not seeing anyone else, and won’t be for the foreseeable future.
Granted, the prospect is unlikely; emotions aside, Carrie just really doesn’t have time in her life for any more people. But the idea that she might–and the knowledge that she could easily–find yet another person is difficult for me.
Carrie has expressed, in passing, that she finds it a bit of a turn-off if someone makes too much more money than she does; the power differential is unappealing. This feeling, for me, is something similar. I don’t much care about money, but I do care about relationships, and Carrie has a wealth of them. I have… well, I have my own wealth of relationships, of course, but in this context I’m speaking of intimate relationships, and of those I have one–with, again, no prospects for more.
That’s not to say that I don’t feel, on some level, “wealthy” in the one (intimate) relationship that I’ve got. But I do sometimes feel trapped, and optionless, ironically in a way that I didn’t in any monogamous relationship. In monogamy, your options are restricted, but there’s a feeling that “we’re in this together”, an us-against-the-world thing that just isn’t present in this relationship.
Ultimately, I know that I don’t have a problem with monogamous relationships, and I don’t think that I have a problem with non-monogamous ones. But what I have now is a situation where I am the functionally monogamous partner of someone in an order of magnitude more relationships than I am, and that chafes. Additionally, being in one relationship severely restricts my appeal for starting new ones; I’ve yet to meet anyone that I wanted to date, who wanted to date me, and who was copacetic with idea of my seeing someone else–aside from, you know, Carrie.
I’ve had some discussions with poly/open friends on the subject, but they didn’t have much help to give me. Few of them have been in my situation, which is why I started this blog in the first place. One asked if a “veto power” on new relationships might help, but I don’t think that would work for a lot of reasons, not least of which being that it feels like an artificial restriction. Beyond that, though, a veto would actually reduce my options; Carrie is already seeing as many people as she could reasonably see, so in practice it would probably only apply to me. An “asymmetric veto” was suggested, but frankly I would be uncomfortable with the idea of that to the point where it would be impossible for me to exercise even if we did agree to it. I’m not sure a veto power is strictly necessary, anyway; I doubt that either one of us would get involved with someone that the other would feel compelled to veto.
Ultimately, though, I know I’m loved, and for the nonce that’s all that I need. This blog is about expressing the difficult bits, and thus necessarily covers the rare occasions when I’m not blissful. Those aren’t often, and are becoming less common as time goes by. In particular, now that I’m moving–by the way, I’m moving–we’ll be able to see each other more often, and my anxieties should lessen. It’s a grand adventure, with its ups and downs, but thus far ups outnumber the downs.