It’s hard to post here, sometimes, when things aren’t going well. I feel like I don’t want to air dirty laundry in public, especially when it’s not all my laundry. So usually, when I go through these lack-of-update phases, it’s because there’s something I really ought to be talking about but don’t want to.
However, life being the pendulum that it is, things get better, and it’s easier to talk about the downswing after the upswing’s begun.
The hypothesis that Carrie and I are in an open relationship has actually been tested, and can be upgraded to theory now. It’s been a difficult test, but not entirely for related reasons; Carrie was fairly miserable a couple of times, but that had more to do with life circumstances, I think, than her not wanting me to see other people. It’s been a rough year, and she was having a lot of trouble finding work, and feeling like she was contributing to the household. It took a while for all of this to out, though, so I was worried that she was just depressed that I was seeing someone else, which in turn sort of soured the “oh, okay, so this can actually work” sensation that I had so needed.
We’ve had these discussions since, and things have turned upward for Carrie on the work front, so we’re in a better spot now all around. She still seems uninterested in seeing anyone else, but at least we’re both clear that that’s not because what she really wants is monogamy. Certainly, her shuddery reaction when I asked the question left that much clear.
Hasn’t affected my actually seeing someone else, though. That’s gone very well. L is fantastic, although out of town right now. She’s interning on the other coast. She’s just been lovely and low-pressure and exactly what I needed to find–except that she found me, of course. I’m still not so good at the “initiating contact with someone for purposes of dating” step, which is something that I need to work on.
I don’t know if other folks who are in non-monogamous situations feel the same need to occasionally attract new people that I do. There’s a stigma associated with a need for “validation” these days, but I do think that need is… er… valid. We use the responses that other people have toward us to calibrate our sense of self, and our sense of position, and absent that feedback we lack a necessary calibrating method. Someone who literally doesn’t care at all how other people react to them is as unbalanced as someone who puts too much emphasis on it.
I’ve wandered off point, though, which is to say that I feel like the sort of prelude to nonmonogamy is done, now that I’ve proven (to myself) that it can work (for myself). Now begins the work of actually crafting a lifestyle that feels right to me.