Though Lora is in the middle of finals, we did find some time last night to talk about the (mostly) non-emotional parts of the bedroom situation. The way I feel right now…I feel better about some things, and deeply upset by others.
The upsetting part is that Lora absolutely does not want to switch rooms. She has a lot of really good reasons-reasons that I totally understand and respect-for feeling strongly against moving. And beyond whatever her reasons are, part of what this situation comes down to is that it wouldn’t be right for me to force Lora to move because I’m unhappy – not when it would make her feel like her feelings are being treated as less important than mine. And if I tried to force her to move, I would be treating her feelings as less important to mine, and that wouldn’t be caring or healthy for any of us.
Before I go on, I would just like to take a moment to say that I am utterly furious with myself for not taking care of this back in June. When Lora and Jon moved in, we COULD have thought this through more carefully and headed this situation off before it happened. We all felt iffy to some degree about the way we set up the rooms, and it would have been far better to take that iffy feeling and fix it then, instead of waiting to see if it would go away.
Hindsight, you are an utter bitch, and I really hate you right now. Even if this is making a great learning experience for the future, right now, it feels completely horrible and hopeless, and I hate it. I hate that Lora and I are having conflicting needs about this. I hate that we could have avoided the whole fucking situation in the first place, if only we’ve have done a bit more work at the outset. I hate that it may well end up that there is no way to make the bedroom situation feel OK in our current apartment, so then we’d have to move – because there aren’t many things that I hate more than moving.
I am not good with moving. I make wherever I live into my home, my sanctuary, my safe place. I have relationships with my homes. They mean a lot more to me than walls that hold my stuff, and leaving a home is always hard. Going into a new home, and getting to know it…there are fun and exciting parts of it. But it’s always a lot hard work, as well as time that gets invested. Time to learn what creaks and groans are normal. Time to see how much noise from the outside will leak in at night. Time to get used to a new pathway to walk to the bathroom, in the middle of the night, when half awake. Time for the cats to find a rotating roster of places to hang out & claim their own. Time to figure out paint colors, buy the paint and do the painting. Time to see if all the furniture does fit, and if it doesn’t, what needs to be tossed and what new things will work well. And also all the money do to those furniture and painting things.
It feels like so much effort to have to go through over something that I wish I could just get over and feel fine about.
This is one of those instances where poly is really hard – especially the kind that involves a grouping larger than a duo living together full-time. It could be easy to fall into the trap of being angry at the people instead of the situation. I’m not angry at Lora; though I will say that the part of me that is just hurting over this and wants the hurting to stop likes the idea of having an easy target to point my fingers at and blame; you know, someone who isn’t me. Or Jonathan. But the reality is that when we made the decisions about how we were going to structure the bedrooms, we all agreed to make Lora’s private room the communal bedroom. I had misgivings about that at the time, but I decided, of my own free will, to give it a try. I think that one thing that would have been really helpful would have been to have a talk about what it would mean if we did need to change the rooms up later – if I’d known then that Lora would have an extremely hard time changing the rooms, it’s entirely possible that we’d have decided that it was worth it to redo the spare bedroom immediately. And that’s assuming that Lora would have known how much it would have bothered her then – there’s a lot of variables in this situation that it would have been impossible to predict in June. And if I couldn’t predict how unhappy I’d be about it now, it’s would be unfair to expect Lora to have known how she’d feel about changing the rooms around, if we would have thought to have that conversation.
We did the best that we could. We thought we’d all be comfortable with what we chose. I initially felt a lot more comfortable with it. Now that that’s changed, it sucks that the best solution for me would be that we make the other bedroom Lora’s space so that the communal bedroom would be more communal, and that Lora is just as unhappy with the idea of making that change as I am about not making that change.
Do I wish she was OK with it and willing to move? Yes. It would make things so much easier.
Do I wish that I was OK with things the way there were? Yes. It would make things so much easier.
Though I’m going to continue to sit here and stew in anger and frustration at the situation we’re in (because so far, I haven’t been able to think myself past that), I can at least list off the positives from the conversation that I had with Lora about the bedrooms. Maybe if I keep looking at them, they’ll start matter enough to me that I’ll feel better.
For Lora, other than the fact that she 100% doesn’t want to move bedrooms, the sky’s the limit (or rather, what our budget can handle is the limit). We are going to repaint both bedrooms. We’re going to take a good look at the furniture that we have, and see if we really need it all and/or if some of it should be replaced by pieces that will make a better use of our space. We’re going to change the art (the art that is painful to me is going to get completely packed up for now, and stored at the top of a closet. Maybe in a few years, I’ll be able to look at it and see the good memories more and the bitterness at how things ended less). We’re going to move our personal things around so that the rooms do feel more shared. And we’re going to all spend time socializing in the communal bedroom together. The point isn’t necessarily to make the rooms both feel like all of our time is split 50/50 exactly between them (and that all of our stuff is split exactly 50/50 between them). Rather, it’s to redo the non-communal bedroom in a way so that it no longer feels poisoned with those old memories for me, and is also a place where Lora also feels comfortable (and like it’s not all mine), so that our time/stuff/emotional are split more evenly between rooms. Exact equality isn’t necessary (or even possible in the real world) – but all of us feeling some level of comfort in both bedrooms is, I think, a good goal.
Speaking of the way things feel, the last thing, which is one of the most important things (and is one of the things that Lora needs to think about further, and really worries me) is that currently, the way things work is that when we all sleep together, we sleep in the communal room. When Jon & I sleep together, we sleep in the other bedroom. When Lora and Jon sleep together, they sleep in the communal room. That is a really big part of why the communal room feels like their room to me. When I shared this with Lora, she totally understood, but had some reservations about sleeping in the other bedroom. The only reservation that she specifically voiced was that she’s laid on that bed before, and the mattress is really uncomfortable for her. If that’s the only issue, then it’s an easy fix. The mattress that we have on the biggest bed is very comfortable to all of us, and comes in all sizes. So we could easily buy the full-sized version of that mattress. That would be worth the money spent.
If there are reasons beyond that…then I don’t know what I’d do. If Lora’s private room is going to be the communal bedroom, and she’d also feel uncomfortable spending some amount of time in the other bedroom, then I think there’s only be two other options. One would be to move to a new apartment, one that either would have a small room that could be a separate private space for her, or to make her private room be the non-communal bedroom, if the spaces we could find would only allow for that (I could add a third option, which would be to get rid of the full-sized bed in the non-communal bedroom, and buy a king, so that both bedrooms would be communal bedrooms. We could do that, but finding apartments in our price range that have two bedrooms large enough to fit king-sized beds may be beyond our abilities – though I guess we shouldn’t count it out).
The other option would be for us to all stop sleeping together, and have Jon sleep with only one of us at a time, so that it wouldn’t be necessary for there to be a communal room for all of us to feel comfortable in. Lora and I would each have our own bedrooms, and Jon would be equally as welcome in both of them (That assumes that our redecorating of the bedroom that used to be only mine was successful enough that the room no longer held such bad feelings for me. I won’t know how well that works until we’ve done it and I’ve given it some time).
I don’t know how I feel about getting rid of having a communal room, beyond feeling that it would hurt Jonathan the most. It means a lot to him that we all sleep together some of the time, and I can understand that. If I were in his shoes, I would hope that sometimes I could sleep with both of my loves, instead of always feeling that I had to choose one or the other.
For myself, I’m used to sleeping with people that I’m not romantically attached to (whenever my friends sleep over, we always share my bed), so sleeping with him and Lora doesn’t feel any differently than that. If we no longer had communal sleep nights, then Lora and I would each sleep with Jonathan less often, and that would be hard and upsetting. Would it be harder and more upsetting than continuing to try to make the communal bedroom work? The only way to know for sure is to try it, if nothing else has worked.
And knowing that nothing else will work is going to take time. We’ve all acknowledged that this isn’t a situation where we can do A, B, and C and everything will be fine. There are a lot of emotional triggers buried in this mess, and it’s impossible to know how they’re playing off of each other, and what will lay them to rest. We’re going to have to experiment a bit and move furniture/things around, until we find a configuration that feels good for all of us. If we find a configuration that feels good to all of us.
I wish I could end this on a more hopeful note, but all I feel right now is sadness and frustration that I can’t find a way to feel better about it myself, and that we’re having a conflict that we probably could have avoided if we’d thought things through a little better at the beginning. Hopefully, once we start making progress on this, I’ll be able to start saying “live and learn” instead of “I hate this, I hate this, I hate this”.