AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the tag “anniversary”

Responsibility and Envy

This week, I want to write about 2 things, which are more related than one might expect. First off, responsibility. What I mean in this case is responsibility for one’s own emotions and for the emotions of others. I recently read this article: http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/polypeople.shtml. It makes the very good point that there are some poly people who act as if they have no responsibility for how they make others feel. We can make partners and metamours jealous, for example. Jealousy isn’t a completely bad thing, but if we can change our actions to make others feel better, why not do that? We cannot completely abdicate responsibility for how we affect others if only because our happiness can depend on making others happy. I definitely think that we should treat others the way we want to be treated as well. Often, Ben, Eve, and I all talk on skype together. I am conscious of the fact that Eve sometimes feels jealous when she sees Ben and I being affectionate. She wondered how she would feel when she comes to visit us if she sees us kissing, cuddling, or perhaps having sex. We decided to do an experiment; Ben and I kissed while Eve watched. Afterward, she said she didn’t feel uncomfortable, so we were all happy about that.

Her visit is now 1 week away and we are all anxious. I told her that I felt that this visit hinges less on how she and Ben feel about each other and more about how she and I feel about each other. She needs to be able to deal with the fact that Ben is with both of us and that won’t change. I think it is in all of our interest that she is made to feel comfortable and secure with Ben. I know that I may feel jealous while she is around because Ben will be giving someone else lots of attention, but in the grand scheme of things, I want Ben to be happy and I know that that includes having Eve in his life. Likewise, Ben wants to see me happy with someone else, though I don’t expect that to happen until we return to Canada at the end of June.

This past week, Ben and I celebrated 1 year of being engaged. Generally, we spend Monday evenings doing things together as a couple and I decided to do something romantic for that anniversary. I bought candles, a flower, and sweets. I spread the flower petals over a sheet on top of a blanket on the floor, lit the candles, and put the sweets on plates. Ben was very happily surprised, which pleased me. Unfortunately, some of the candle wax got on the blanket, which is what we sleep under, but we had a nice time. That evening, Eve wanted to talk to someone and Ben was occupied. She has also been in contact with someone else and he was also occupied. At that time, Eve felt a whole set of emotions about Ben and I celebrating our anniversary, including envy. When it comes to poly, everyone talks about jealousy, but few people speak of envy. It is under the jealousy umbrella in the broader sense, but it can simply be defined as wanting what someone else has. I sometimes feel envious about what Ben and Eve have. Of course, I’m happy that Ben found someone else that he connects with so strongly, but I also want the same thing for myself. I don’t expect to find that until at least moving to Vancouver in mid-July. I am partly a competitive person by nature and I often feel that I should be achieving more than those around me, so perhaps the envy plays into that. For the moment, we have to see if the relationship will continue between Ben and Eve.

As always, I appreciate your reading. If you have any sort of relationship question, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

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The 100th Blog and Our Need for Commemoration

This is now the 100th blog for AskMiriam, which made me think about our need to commemorate important events. I am one of the biggest culprits in that regard. My mother teases me about celebrating “monthaversaries.” If I have been with someone for 5 months, for example, I’ll insist we cook a nice dinner or do something fun. Thankfully, Ben indulges me in this regard. Last Sunday, when we had been together for 11 months, we had a nice lunch out.

Why do humans have a need, especially in the context of relationships, to commemorate how long we’ve been together or the first time we’ve kissed? Personally, I think that commemorating things is important. We want to remember when something special happened. In some cases, we have a duty to remember something horrible such as a war. Perhaps our brains can make more sense of something when we feel the need to remember it again and again. Many of my readers know that a certain person from New York City helped me become poly. A few years ago, he and I were in Istanbul and stayed up all night on July 11. Every year since then, I often want to stay up all night on July 11; there is obviously a connection. 2 years after he and I met, I did stay up quite late after I had gone to a concert. I didn’t want to go to sleep afterward and ended up cycling around. There was a pop up clothing store open late and I talked to some people. One woman told me I have a good listening face, meaning I always look like I’m listening; that’s always nice to hear. I also talked to her brother who had an interest in the idea of friends with benefits. He came back to my place and we fooled around a bit, though he got upset when I didn’t want to have sex. I tried explaining that that was a compliment to him because it meant I wanted to see him again, but I never did see him again. Regardless, this shows how my need to commemorate a certain evening 2 years before led me to an interesting evening…

Of course, our need to remember also makes us think about the future. We can ask: where have we come from and where are we going? I cannot predict the future, so I cannot tell you, dear reader, what I might write about next week or next month. I hope to write about what it’s like to date in China when you have a pre-existing relationship. I hope to write about a fun threesome I had. I also hope to get more of your questions on relatonships (write to miriam@askmiriam.ca). At the moment, I am finding it hard to meet people here in Zhengzhou. I can easily meet students at the university I teach at and I can talk to other teachers, but our locale is isolated from the rest of the city. The fact that I only know a few things in Mandarin also presents a challenge. I am quite happy with my teaching and Ben and I are enjoying each other’s company. Let’s see how the other things go…

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