The last class I took at DOSC ’11 was Poly Sluttery, a discussion group about being both poly and a slut. As a person who identifies as both, I knew I needed to attend this presentation.
Towards the beginning, the presenter, Strap-on Jo, asked us all to go around the room, identifying what label we used, and to talk about any issues we were having in our poly lives. And, when it was my turn, I almost broke down crying.
It is hard for me to talk about my emotions, and being in a class that centered around emotions was challenging. I allowed myself to share, identifying as Unpartnered Poly, rather than Solo Poly. This distinction was important to me, and I suspect it is at the crux of my difficulties currently.
I am one step beyond reluctant to identify as Solo Poly. Those who are Solo Poly view themselves as their primary partner. Their needs and wants are paramount; all other partners and relationships are secondary. I am just not like that.
I identify as Unpartnered Poly because I always put others first. To me, identifying as Solo is a complete 180 degree shift from myself. I take care of people, look after people, attend to their emotional needs and desires. Yes, my feelings count too, but it is like pulling teeth for me express my deep down thoughts and emotions.
I let people in, but still keep a part of myself at arm’s length. I am constantly afraid of the people in my life realizing how much I care for them and then rejecting me because I love too much, as if that could ever be a real issue. But, to my warped little brain, it is. By loving so many so deeply, I am always afraid they will push me away.
I rarely ask for what I need and want out of my relationships (read: friendships; I have no “partners”) because I am no one’s primary. I have a shit-ton (yes, that is a technical term) of friends, and an extensive family network of people that I would literally die for. But, ask me to express what I want from any of them and I am at a loss. Beyond just allowing me to be a part of their lives, it is hard for me to ask for anything more, because to demand more is to open myself up to for denial, disappointment, and rejection.
To be Solo Poly to me is to be in and of oneself, with everyone else as flavoring. To be Unpartnered is to love many and patiently wait for the one(s) who will be my mates.
Strap-on Jo tried to convey that it is okay for me to ask people where I stand in their lives, to demand more than just an appearance. As the constant friend, I know I have that with all of them. But, being unpartnered, I cannot share my deep and abiding love with any of them.
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