January 18, 2012

If You Build It, They Will Come

One of the most common questions asked by newcomers to the poly world is some variation of, "How do I find other polys?" The most common answer to this question is, "Attend local poly social events. Can't find a local social event? Create one!"

That's what I decided to do. In my corner of the world, the poly scene exists but it is overlooked and underdeveloped. For the last six months, I have been working to change that. I have created a poly group with the goal of making the community more visible and to help what is already here to grow. For the last two months, I have worked with fellow polys to help organize a meet and greet that has been very successful (the most attended poly event in the area, actually) with requests for more. If all goes well, it will become a monthly event.

I am also trying to organize a monthly poly discussion group. I'm hoping to create an interactive and diverse dialogue where polys can come and ask questions as well as share advice and other experiences. Hopefully, it will be very helpful to have real life examples of the many different ways others define and structure their poly and deal with personal or relationship issues. The community could be it's own resource. There seems to be a wide appeal and serious interest in this idea from my fellow polys. A few sex-positive venues have already offered their space for our events, too!

It's crazy. I've never so much as planned a party at my house before, now I'm creating and organizing community events.

How surreal.

January 11, 2012

This Communication Has Been Compromised

My discussion with Kare (regarding how some of my needs are currently not being met in the relationship) went very well!

Kare had no idea the affect this situation was having on me (as I suspected) and he was noticeably distressed to learn that I was feeling frustrated, resentful and distant. It turns out we have very different standards for what qualifies as time together. He considers us being in the same space - even if we're not interacting - as spending time together to an extent, which is obviously very different from how I define it because that setting doesn't even exist on my Together Time radar (hereforto known as Quality Time to emphasize the distinction). Now that he understands this difference in our needs, he has already begun to adjust some of his behaviors to accommodate me.

He wasn't very agreeable to the solution that I suggested since my idea significantly reduces the amount of time we spend in the same space, so we came up with a compromise that will (hopefully) work for both of us going forward:

  • I don't mind if he spends time on the computer at my place as long as he takes a break every few hours (4 is the limit) to spend some quality time with me. Also, I'm not interested in policing his computer time (I'm not his mother) so if I feel like he's consistently not holding to this agreement, I will revert to the solution that I originally suggested and we'll have to discuss our relationship from there.
  • We will have a weekly date night and a monthly (at the very least) social night. (He liked this idea.)

I am very thankful that I have a compassionate boyfriend that is willing to compromise so that each of us gets what we need from our relationship. As I playfully tell him all the time:  He's the best boyfriend ever!... except when he's the worst :p

January 3, 2012

All The Way Turned Up

For the last several months, Kare has been obsessed with an online game (that I foolishly introduced him to lol) - and that's putting it mildly. He spends 95% of his free time playing this game instead of taking care of other responsibilities such as preparing documents for work or spending time with me. Generally, I do not interrupt him while he's playing the game even though it is something he can do for 12 hours straight on his days off. To avoid feeling neglected by him, I've asked that he take 30 - 60mins to spend uninterrupted quality time with me at some point during the day.

While Kare has provided me with my quality time (as long as I request the time, because he never volunteers it), I have told him that I still feel ignored. However, the importance of this matter and the affect it is having on me does not seem to be registering with Kare because he hasn't changed any habits associated with playing this game.

The definition of insanity is doing the SAME thing and expecting a DIFFERENT result so I think it's time for a different approach. For the last few days, I have taken the time to identify which of my specific needs are not being met and what I can do to meet them. Since Kare has demonstrated that he is unwilling to change his behavior to help me meet these needs, it's up to me to change my behaviors and communicate a more structured boundary regarding "us" time that I need for a continued healthy and fulfilling relationship with him. This will include not tolerating computer use at my house or during "us" time, not accepting an offer for his company after 7pm on weekdays (because he'll be ready for bed at that time, not to hang out), a date night, and a social night.

These conditions may mean a significant reduction in the amount of time we currently spend together (he usually sleeps over every night) but it's the best compromise I can offer based on the circumstances. I've also determined that I don't mind minimum to no interaction when we are not together nor do I mind how much time we spend "not-together" as long as we have a weekly date night and a monthly social night.

To facilitate a more neutral and compassionate environment of giving and receiving, here is my issue framed using non-violent communication that I plan on presenting to Kare (so some of the language may reflect that):

When we go out (either alone or with friends), I've noticed that you are affectionate, attentive and actively engage in conversation with myself and others. When we are at home, I've noticed that the affection, attention and conversation are minimum to non-existent unless I specifically request your time [per the agreement I stated previously]. All activities: waking up, going to sleep, and everything in-between are done with little contact between us.

I feel distant when we spend all day in the same house and take only 30 - 60 mins to interact with each other. I feel frustrated that I am usually the one that initiates our interaction on these days. I am beginning to feel very resentful that the majority of your focus goes to non-work related computer time. Since a large portion of our time together is spent at home, I am experiencing these negative emotions for a significant portion of any given day.

My need for companionship, intimacy and bonding with my partner are not being met when we spend so much time in the same space and so little time engaged in each others company.

What I would like to happen is:
  • Spend time actively engaged with each other and/or sharing in activities when we are together.
  • When we spend time at my place, I'd like for computers to be off-limits.
  • I'd like at least one date per week that lasts a minimum of three hours, with at least one hour of that time dedicated for just you and me. If it's on a weekday, I'd prefer if "us" time begins no later than 7pm.
  • I'd like at least one social night per month where we are together and spend time with our friends.
  • If you need/want to use your computer for work or play, I would like for that to be handled during "not-us" time and at your own home.
These are not demands, but rather a statement of what I would like to see happen. If any of the above is not possible, I am happy to negotiate something that would work better for both of us.

I'm hoping that by turning up the communication (not the volume), he'll be better able to hear me.