AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the month “December, 2013”

Passion vs Dedication

First off, I just want to say happy holidays to my readers. I hope you’re enjoying this season of socializing and overeating. I’ve just returned from London, Ontario. As a Jewish person, I have a weird relationship with Christmas, but overall, I enjoy it. I was invited for Christmas dinner with my new partner’s family- I met his mother, his mother’s boyfriend, the boyfriend’s son, the mother’s sister, and aunt. I was a little bit nervous beforehand, but it all went very well. We ended up having Christmas dinner on Boxing Day and the food was delicious. On Christmas Day, I met my partner’s mother and I liked her almost instantly. She’s very laidback and she clearly cares a lot about her son. She and her boyfriend apparently looked me up on facebook before we met and this was somewhat nerve wracking, mainly because I link my blog to facebook when I update it. My new partner practiced polyamory with the woman he was in the longest relationship with, so his mother is familiar with the concept and she didn’t seem too bothered by the fact that I write about it and of course, practice it. At Christmas dinner, I didn’t talk about it and I think that was for the best. 

The reason why I call this post passion vs dedication is twofold. A certain dating website that’s very popular with the poly community asks its members what is more important in a relationship, passion or dedication. Of course, this is a gross simplification on the part of the site; you can’t reduce a relationship to these 2 variables. I did however answer, dedication, because over the long term, passion can fade. You might remember what a relationship was like when it began and how strong the spark was, but if you want the relationship to go the distance, I think dedicating yourself to that relationship and to your partner(s) is the most important thing, especially through the bad times.

For me, the passion that comes at the beginning of a relationship can be overwhelming and I’m feeling that right now. I gave my new partner a book as a Christmas gift and I also included a card with a poem I had written for him. The card almost brought him to tears. I’m not used to seeing such sensitivity in a man; It’s both refreshing and terrifying. On the upside, my new partner and I clearly have very strong feelings for each other. We see eye to eye on so many things. Overall I’m enjoying the NRE, but I’m also looking forward to that part calming down. I want us to see each other for who we truly are and relish in the things we have in common. It’s hard not to judge someone when you start a relationship with them. I feel like I’m still in that mode of figuring out who my new partner is and seeing if we can fit. I recognize that I can overanalyze these things, especially as someone who writes about relationships. I need to just enjoy myself….  

 

In a Poly State of Mind

I have 2 main things on my mind this week I want to share. First off, poly is as much a state of mind as something people do. When I left my monogamous relationship last year, I resolved not to hide anything anymore. It was very very difficult for me not to discuss feelings I had for other people when I was with him and it made the feelings that much stronger. So, I became poly and I spoke my mind more often, but not all the time, as many people think I do. There are still things I’m afraid to say because I don’t want to hurt people- in a way, that becomes harder when you’re dating more than 1 person. When I was growing up, I lived with a very stubborn mother and an equally stubborn sister. I necessarily became the more flexible one. As the years went by and I lived in 3 countries, I became even more flexible because living abroad often demands that. I find it funny when people call me intense because I don’t think of myself that way. I like making people happy so I will often do what people expect of me. Over time, I have realized this is not sustainable at all, especially when you have romantic entaglements with multiple people. As I have grown older, I have learned how to ask for what I want. I do find that most of the people I’ve been involved with since becoming poly are much more attentive to my needs. Poly also makes it necessary to be open. Perhaps what you will say will hurt others, but it’s important to make sure that your own needs are being met. 

Another reason why I chose the title I did for this week is to discuss long distance relationships. I’m not in a New York state of mind, but in a London, Ontario and a Texas state of mind. I recently started seeing someone who lives in London. As my friends know, I tend to collect people with a certain name and he happens to have it. He has now visited me 3 times and I feel very lucky he is able to do so. I’m going to London next week and I will meet his family. We will also get to spend several days together, which is longer than we have up until now. I’m really excited and nervous about it. It’s always interesting to see how people live in their home environment. It can spoil some of the mystery, but it can allow for people to become closer more quickly. I’m also in touch with someone who lives in Texas. He has mentioned me on his blog (http://itsnotaboutthesex.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/poly-connections/), which I find funny because no one ever writes about me. He has told me that he’s going to visit me for his birthday. Again, I’m both excited and nervous, since we have never met. We shall see how all of this turns out…

You Only Need to Change Your Life

The above line (mostly) comes from a song by Sarah Slean, one of my favourite artists. I think it’s very true in the context of relationships. I met someone new a few weeks ago at a birthday party (https://askmiriamquestions.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/here-i-am-stuck-in-the-middle-with-you/) and he’s spent a couple of nights at my place. We’re both quite happy to share a bed with someone and we’re really enjoying each other’s company, in all aspects. We are exchanging stories about our lives, talking about past relationships, and discussing the benefits and drawbacks of non-monogamy. I like to think of a relationship as a kind of story. Each person involved puts in their 2 cents and you start constructing a narrative you’ll tell people later. As someone who does a lot of writing, words and stories are important to me. It is partly self-interest, but I also think of relationships as having their own mass and weight. It’s like a creature of Frankenstein you can modify at any time.

This week, the new person and I woke up and discussed how relationships, even short ones, can really change your life and yourself. They can make you more aware of certain things about yourself; they can show you things you like and dislike; they can make you consider things you might never have thought about otherwise. This latter point is very much ringing true for me right now. I really like this new person. He wants kids and to live in the countryside and I’m pretty sure I don’t want either, but there’s a small part of me that would reconsider my thoughts on the subject. Of course, we don’t know each other very well and I have a tendency to get ahead of myself, but I like embracing possibility. Plus, I’m feeling the NRE, new relationship energy. Everything is new and shiny and exciting. Nothing has gone wrong yet and we feel like it never will. Enjoy the moment…

Do you have any questions? Send an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca. As always, all questions are anonymous. As mentioned in my last post, I’m happy to come to your house or place or work, bring healthy and delicious food and talk to you about your problems. Send me an email for details.

Further Thoughts

I wanted to mention a couple of things on the last blog, so I’ve decided to do 2 posts this week. First off, somebody said something to me recently that I often take for granted. I think that when you’re poly, you have to believe that people are fundamentally good. I was speaking with someone who said that their more conservative friends don’t really trust people. Most of the people in poly world are pretty left leaning. Does this mean we trust people more? Perhaps. When I was in the US last weekend, I recounted a story from my youth in North York, the northern suburb in Toronto. I was walking up one of the major streets in the evening. I think it was sometime in November, around 5pm, so it was already dark. I kept looking over my shoulder to see if the bus was coming. It wasn’t, so I kept walking. My brain didn’t register the fact that a man was walking closely behind me. I guess he saw that I kept looking over my shoulder so he came up to me and said, I’m sorry if I frightened you, I will walk in front. I was very impressed by that. Several years later, I fell off my bike downtown. 3 people approached me and offered to help. That’s one of the reasons why I love Toronto. And yes, I trust people. I think people are fundamentally good. When you endeavour to have multiple relationships, you put your trust in several people. 

For almost a year, I have been blogging about polyamory and I have been practicing it since August 2012. I’m also currently writing a book on it. Are you looking for advice? Do you want to speak with someone in person about how to become poly? Look no further. I’m offering my services as a professional listener. Whether you are a couple looking to open up or a single person wanting to date multiple people, you can be sure that there will be no judgment here. I will even come to your house or place of work, cook or bring food for you, and listen. Rates are negotiable. Contact me at miriam@askmiriam.ca for details. You won’t regret it!

Taking a Breather

I’ve just recently returned from Rochester, NY. I visited my cousins for Thanksgivukah. This is one of those rare years when US Thanksgiving and Hanukah match up. We enjoyed latkas and the usual Thanksgiving food. One of the main reasons I love travelling is its ability to put me in a different state of mind. I have new thoughts and ideas I wouldn’t have otherwise. For example, while on this trip, I got an idea for a book. I want to interview people on how they met their partners/spouses and their first date. I often ask people how they meet and I think it’s really interesting. I think I also have some great stories to contribute as well, which have often involved travelling, funnily enough. Istanbul, Denver, etc etc. These days, people meet increasingly through websites like OkCupid. Do people who meet through websites have a different experience on their first date from people who meet in person? I would love to ask that. I’m also continuing to write my book about polyamory and I’m fairly pleased with my progress.

I returned to Toronto on Sunday and went straight to my dad’s for Hanukah dinner. I brought along someone I’ve been dating. Without our leadership, the conversation turned to monogamy. My date and I commented on how we enjoyed that conversation. During that conversation, I did comment to my dad’s friend that my date and I are not monogamous, though I don’t think he understood that we never would be. This is always an issue when you’re at an event with non-poly people. Do you bring up the fact that you’re poly? Everyone knows that I’m out. For me, I don’t mind talking about it. Everyone has to determine when it’s right for them to come out. Thankfully, my family is pretty liberal and they don’t have much issue with me not being monogamous, although I feel like my sister frowns upon it (she was at the dinner as well). Understandably, she doesn’t want to know about my sex life. 

Of course, travelling also allows me to think about my poly life. Some people have observed that I’m hunting down a primary as if it were prey. I realize that I just need to let it happen. I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself and on the people I meet. For people around my age, we are expected to settle down and find ‘the one,’ but it’s also good to enjoy the process of meeting new people. I’m also an impatient person sometimes and I’m persistent. Since the holidays are coming up, it’s time to take a breather…

 

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