It really sucks when you get the sense that someone is not prioritizing you in the way you are prioritizing them. It seems to be one of the most frequent problems in all types of relationships not just poly ones. Early on in a relationship, prioritization mismatches seem to loom much larger than later in relationships. I surmise this has a lot to do with lacking a history of connection with the corresponding sense of confidence that the waxing and waning of prioritization isn’t a lack of interest but a natural flow of our complex busy lives. My best relationships (friends or loves) have shared the characteristics of being able to connect deeply, on broader aspects of ourselves, over a sustained period of time. It is easy to miss remember that the mutuality of these connections evolved over time with a typically uneven frequency of connection.
Why is “immediate” family structure so important? Well, the lines that define the family unit also typically define the borders of deep financial entanglement, procreation, primary sources of emotional support and child-rearing, etc. Or as sociologist James Henslin (Essentials of Sociology) states, the core functions of the family include “economic production, socialization of children, care of the sick and aged, recreation, sexual control and reproduction.” The nuclear family has been presumed ideal family structure in Western society during the modern era. However, signs of a growing need and willingness to experiment with different family structures are replete in contemporary society (from platonic life partners to a variety of polyamorous families). (more…)
It has been painful. And, it seemed that I couldn’t manage a full year without one of these issues cropping up. I was disillusioned and heartbroken. I wondered why I was doing it so wrong. Some of these folks were new to poly. Only dating experienced poly people (the no newb rule) is only partially effective – as it didn’t help me in two of the four cases above. They were more experienced in poly than I was. I couldn’t suss out a pattern to help me select more judiciously.
I decided on two things about a year ago and I’ve essentially stuck to them. The first, and probably most important thing, is that I decided that a broken heart isn’t the thing I’m most afraid of. I must “love with abandon.” A broken heart is not desirable but well worth the risk. So, I need to place my bets on compatibility, chemistry and mutual investment. Poly is only one element in that complex equation. (more…)