I've not always felt particularly positively about polyamory. In fact, I've been reasonably suspicious of it at times, been horrifically burned by it multiple times, yet I've always pushed myself to understand why I was struggling so much. I always thought that as I was continually having issues, that it must be a fuckup of mine, perhaps an issue with commitment, perhaps jealousy because of codependency, maybe something else. I've questioned if I was, at heart, monogamous, or if I craved novelty and was being an asshole, or if I was a cheater.
And yet, Sunday afternoon, with the apartment empty, I just sat for a while and thought hard about where I'm at. My primary is happily hooking up with incredibly cute guys from Grindr. My sweetie has three other lovers, and yet always seems to make time for me so I never feel like I'm being ignored or on the back burner. And my girlfriend, also dating multiple cuties, similarly has time for me for snuggling, building beds, and chatting about our work. I feel calm and loved when I'm alone, rather than anxious and worried. I'm finding myself enjoying having time to read, rather than obsessively checking social media.
I couldn't figure out what it was, exactly, that was feeling so right this time when it always felt a bit in my gut like it was so very hard. And I realized... I trust them. I trust all three lovers completely. I trust their communication skills, to let me know when they need some time or when they're having feels. I trust their time management, to not play poly Pokemon, trying to "catch 'em all" with the local community. And I trust that they care about me, each in their own way, with their hearts as open as they can be. I feel safe being vulnerable with them.
It's amazing, sure, but it's also scary. I'm a person who's used to keeping my guard up at all times. I'm accustomed to being afraid that my love wasn't good enough. I'm not afraid of that, not with them. I believe that we'll be together as long as we enjoy it, and no longer, and that feels really good. I'm having my needs met so easily that it seems unreal. I'm finally coming to terms with the fact the other shoe isn't going to drop- that I know these people, I know their highs and their lows, and I don't need them to change drastically to please me.
"Love" is a scary word. I'm used to people withdrawing when I say it, no matter how much I explain that it's my feeling and I don't need it to be reciprocated to feel happy. I love the feeling of being in love, the fluttery heart, the silly smiles when you see them, the satisfaction of curling into a cuddle. As long as I'm being respected, I don't mind holding that space on my own, because it rejuvenates me. I appreciate how well my lovers listen and hold space, how they confess things to me in exchange. There's a shared intimacy and trust.
God I sound like an annoying Pollyanna. It's not perfect, of course. Do I get the occasional wobble? Absolutely, of course I do. Hell I spent two months sitting on my feelings for one of my lovers, terrified that confessing said feelings would cause them to jump ship. My partner sometimes gets scared that I'll leave him behind. I worry that I'm dominating too much of one person's time, or making too little time for another. It's a balancing act.
I don't know if I'm entirely ready to sign up for the polyamory newsletter (I'm still pretty suspicious of "the community"), but I'm not as wary of it as I once was. I feel like I'm finally just able to love multiple people and have that be a source of comfort and joy, rather than misery and endless processing. Maybe it's because I no longer feel like I have to push myself into feeling ok with things that hurt my heart. Maybe it's because my lovers are older and have more of their shit together. Maybe it's because I'm older and have more of my own shit together. Maybe it's just a function of having the right people, at the right time. Or maybe wearing this heart on my sleeve, and allowing myself to be vulnerable, has also opened me up to being loved.
But I feel like I'm actually in a place, at last, to have without holding.