It’s been a hard couple of days. Roxy, who I adore beyond measure, has been going through more crap than anyone deserves, much less someone as generous and loving as she is. In her pain and need, she came to me looking for more love and more support to help her get through it. She came to me because she believes she can count on me to be here for her.
I wish I could paint a picture of saintly heroism and say that I rode in on a charger and saved the day. I didn’t. I let her down, I didn’t respond to her needs and in the end, she felt that she was the one at fault for needing me. Earlier today, neither of us was feeling very optimistic about our chances for a future together. She wrote her pain and grief out in a post, I blurted a few things in twitter and felt like I was caving in on myself.
It was quite a mess and one we’ve fallen into twice in the past few days. Today, however, it feels like we had a break though. We were able to talk through what we were feeling. We gave each other the time to fumble through until we could express what was going on. We listened and fed back and listened some more. Much credit goes to her for coming up with brilliant analogies to illustrate difficult to explain concepts and situations.
Roxy has an amazing talent for seeing people, really seeing them behind the masks and words and attempts at bravado. Her ‘readings’ of me are breathtakingly accurate. I learn more from her in a typical conversation than I’ve learned in years of self-examination. She’s generous and empathetic to an amazing degree. I’ve come to depend on her insights and the patient loving way she’s able to explain myself to me.
We are recognizing, once again, how similar we are. We have very similar mothers which have led us to have very similar high expectations of ourselves. We talked today a lot about patterns of behavior that grew out of our childhoods and the different ways we react to stress as a result. We were able to lucidly discuss the genesis of our relationship and the ways in which our needs have changed since then.
We made a radical and brave decision. We decided to stay together, despite the fact that we will need to renegotiate and redesign our relationship to fit where we are now. That’s right, instead of deciding enough is enough (or, perhaps, not enough), we’re gonna try to rebuild it. Maybe not from the ground up, but close to it. See, the initial design specs worked in the beginning, they worked really well for both of us. However, as time has gone on, as we’ve gotten farther into this relationship, some of the initial design contracts have gotten out of sync with reality. Combine that with the ways in which both of our lives have changed since then — domestic abuse, break ups, separations, births — well, it’s clear the original blue-prints don’t completely apply anymore.
Seems logical to go back to the original design and tweak it, or even erase and start over with parts of the system, right? But how often do we actually do that? I know for myself that I’ve ended up with broken relationships much more often than redesigned ones. There is no magic to relationships, whether they’re poly or mono or some other flavor. It takes work, determination and the willingness to get your hands dirty. It takes the willingness to confess, to apologize, to admit, to push, to be pushed, to ask, to give and to receive. It takes work, honest to goodness, pain-in-your-gut work, and not the easy hands-in-gloves kind. The kind of work that sometimes means teasing out the very roots of why you are who you are and what motivates you, the unseen, usually unrecognized pathways and patterns we act on over and over again. Recognizing and articulating those patterns can be a helpful first step in altering the way you react to certain situations, but coming to that recognition requires quite a bit of humility and open mindedness.
With that in mind, I’d like to applaud Roxy for showing bravery in entering into this re-design phase with me. Roxy, my sweet love, thank you for your patience and willingness to delve into uncomfortable places with me in order to keep this love alive. Thank you for believing that I can change and for trusting that I want to, that I want to find a good place for us in this life.
I adore you, to the ends of the earth and beyond
I love you, to the end of life and beyond
and, yes, you can make use of any useful parts after I’m gone…
(is it too creepy that our make-up conversation often turns to necrophilia?)
(never mind, I don’t care, it works for us and that’s the point, that we will find what works for us)
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