More Than Two commentary – Chapter Four: Tending Your Self (part 1)

Part of my series of comments and thoughts about More Than Two by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert.

Hey everybody, guess what…it’s all about me!

And you, and you, and you, and you, and meeeeeeeeeee!

As to what, exactly, is all about me (and you), taking care of ourselves, tending ourselves, making ourselves into better people: it is all about us, each one individually, doing that for ourselves.

This is one of the things that I love about polyamory, and that I most appreciate about polyamory (when it’s running smoothly) – it’s supposed to be about Owning Your Shit. Since I started living polyamorously, I think that I’ve become a more responsible, careful, shit-owning person (which isn’t as gross as it sounds; I promise). I was already on that road, because it’s where I wanted to be. But being poly has definitely accelerated the interpersonal parts of that journey. Like what to do when I’m angry about something someone else does, or about how a situation turned out. I want to plumb through that entire experience and learn all I can from it, so that if a similar situation happens later, I have a better skills and can look for more opportunities to make it go even better.

For instance, I wrote about how angry I got when our (me and Jon’s) plans for sex before bed got scuttled by Jon loosing track of time after a fight between himself and Lora a few weeks ago. Everything I wrote about that situation is still true, in that one of the things that I felt the most upset about was that concrete plans that Jon and I had made to have sex got shafted because Jon lost track of the time he was spending with Lora, and I didn’t speak up soon enough for him to get back on track.

In addition to all the feelings I’d already sorted through, I realized that part of what frustrated me was even more specific than “Jon and I didn’t have sex”. I was really looking forward to not just intimacy with Jon, not just doing something kinky with Jon, not just having sex with Jon, but having at least one orgasm. All context and interpersonal relationships aside, sometimes having an orgasm feels really good to me, just because of the wonderful physical release that it offers. And I had worked my ass off that day. Having some orgasms would have gone a long way in helping the day feel like it wasn’t just a long miserable slog.

However…Jon and I were sleeping together that night. And it didn’t occur to me, in the moment, to say “hey, you can go to sleep if you want to, but I’m going to stay awake and read some porn and cum.”. Just so we’re clear, Jon knows I masturbate. I know he masturbates. He has occasionally masturbated when we’re in bed together, especially when he’s come home from work hours after I went to bed. But I’ve never masturbated next to him in bed, unless we’re doing that specifically as part of having sex together.

Why? I dunno. No specific reason. We typically have sex enough when we’re sleeping in the same bed that it hasn’t come up (heh). And in that frustrated, pissed-off, emotionally vulnerable moment when I realized that we weren’t going to have sex that night like we planned, I didn’t realize consciously that I could have felt better, maybe, if I’d had thought to tell Jon that I still wanted to to cum and then done that. I say could – not would – because I’m not 100% sure that I truly would have felt better doing that. But it would have been a worthwhile thing to think through in that moment, and see if it would have helped.

So what does this have to do with this chapter? It has to do with the long, rocky, thought-laden process that is Knowing Thyself and Handling Thy Shit. After Jon and I talked about the things I previously wrote about that night, all the little strategies we shifted and stuff we decided to do differently, I kept thinking about that night. Why? Because I still felt like I was pissed-off in a way that was out-of-proportion to the situation. Now that isn’t said because I’m trying to minimize my feelings or “just get over” how crappy that night felt. It’s said because I had this niggling feeling that there was something still un-learned about the situation. Until I learn everything I can about a situation, there could be undiscovered aspects of it that would make a future similar situation end better. I want to mine my experiences for every last nugget of “doing this better next time”.

It took over two weeks of puzzling and poking and prodding to get to that bit of understanding. I think it was worth it because it’s yet another thing to try the next time a situation like that comes up. Having that as an option means that instead of spending a night stewing and angry, I might be able to have myself a couple of orgasms, get nice and tuckered out, and get a good night’s sleep instead.

But the larger meaning is that by knowing that about myself, I’m taking more responsibility to take care of myself, even when (especially when) plans that were made with someone else go awry. It means one less set of angry, frustrated back-and-forths with Jon. It means one more option to help salvage a frustrating end to a long, work-filled day. The more tools I have to work with, the better of a job I can do at taking care of myself. The better a job I do at taking care of myself, the more I can be there for those that I love.

And that creates a never-ending cycle of goodness and awesome.

More thoughts on this chapter will continue in Part 2.

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lizeden

polyamorist, cat-lover, hopeless optimist when I'm not being a firm realist.

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