Someone is learning that being poly doesn't mean a relationship and some extra nookie on the side - it's work that grows exponentially with every new facet added to the stone.
I am learning that each time there is a new interest, there's some adjusting to do. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not like there are new interests every day; so far, there are two besides me who have found a place into Someone's heart, and one of them is so new they've only met in person once. They don't know what their relationship is, yet, besides nascent.
You know how new love/attraction is, right? All that anxiety, all that drive to be together all the time, the drive to attract and hold the other - songs, flowers, poetry, prose, the showing off of one's best self.
The trouble with that is the attention and effort going into the new love/interest is time and effort NOT going into what's already there, and that can hurt.
I am woman enough to admit that, yeah, I want that kind of attention, too. I want songs carefully chosen for how they speak of the interest/attraction someone feels for me. I want e-mails or Facebook posts of flower photos gleaned from the Internet just because they're my favorite kind, or because they remind someone of me. I want the sweet words of longing, the poetic phrases the tell me how he sees me (which is always so much nicer than how I see myself).
It's not that I am not loved, or even loved the less because there's another woman catching Someone's eyes...it's that I am a known quantity. I am home, I am comfortable, I am the warm presence that never leaves him, wherever he may be. When he is hurt, it's I who gets the call or holds him close. When he's lost, it is I who he calls to guide him where he needs to be - usually home. If pressed to choose, there would not be a moment's though - he would choose me above all others. The others know this...not because they need to be "put in their place", but because it is the truth...just as we all know that if Lady R was made to choose between her J and our Someone, she would not think twice - it would be her J, hands down.
While I'm being honest, I wouldn't mind if I didn't have to be the one to deal with the meltdowns, the fugues, when his other loves don't call, write, message, or otherwise communicate with him when they say they will...or when they don't respond when he reaches out for them. Their silence always leads to the worst conclusions in his mind, and he is anguished, which turns to anger, guilt, and self-hatred, and those things are abundant enough in this house without others' carelessness adding to them.
So Someone had this new interest. I shall call her Lily, as that's her flower of choice and how he refers to her online.
I don't know her well enough to say if I like her or not, but I am leaning towards interest in finding out more about her, intrigue at her life and personality - she must be special to have caught his eye - and curiosity about her ethics, her ethos, who she is when no one's looking.
They can only communicate via Facebook right now as she is in an untenable domestic situation and can't openly have a love/lover, a complication that I don't like one bit because it violates our first rule of open, honest communications at all times. I understand her need for discretion, given her situation, but I am troubled by this lack of honesty that is mandated by her situation.
Through Facebook, they send each other songs all day long, songs of love and longing. They post photographs and artwork meant to express their yearning to be together. They send messages that keep the fires burning.
I was hurt by this. Was. I've had time to think about my response, and it's not that I grudge her the sweetness...it's that I grudge the loss of effort on my behalf. More than me, though, Lady R is hurting over this, and for much the same reason - all the effort he puts into Lily is effort we don't get. I hurt for Lady R...I have already been through this when she and Someone met...but she's not experienced what it's like for her lover to be interested elsewhere like this, yet.
Last night we were discussing Lady R and her pain (if I were to tally the hours spent discussing relationships, I think most of them would be dedicated to Lady R and her J, or Lady R and Someone, and lately, to Lily and her place in this puzzle, something both of us know we need to remedy - we have to work on US, too), and I told him my thoughts on all this mushy Facebook stuff: He thought he was making an effort for Lady R, but I pointed out that he's posting messages of love for all three of us at once (say, one photo addressing all of us in the post), but not individually. Individually, for every song he sends Lady R, he sends six to Lily. . For every picture of a certain color rose (Lady R's flower) he finds and posts online, he finds and posts a handful more lilies for Lily. Since we share so much music and art here in person, I am trying not to have ruffled feathers over the scarcity of such things on my behalf, but as I'm fighting social conditioning, I occasionally have a little sniff, snuffle, whimper myself.
I can't grudge them what little they get of Someone - after all, he is HERE, with ME, and happily so - but I DO think it's important to work equally at maintaining the established and the new.
It's a work in progress, this picture we're painting - sometimes, it feels like we're choosing colors in the dark, brushing them on blindly and hoping for the best.