You come home. Tired, happy, worn out, processing so many different things. The house feels cold and empty, a stark contrast to the warm and relaxed space you left a while ago. You have a bath, speak a little to people, catching up with being away for three days. You enjoy spending time with your son, look forward to the next few days with him. Put him to bed.
And then a sense of loneliness and a ‘missing you already’ ache starts to set in.
Welcome to the sharp end of poly.
I am not sure how it is for those who have their set-ups so that they live with one (or more) partners and see others in more of a dating context, but I would imagine the missing part never goes away, even if there is company and joy in seeing other people.
Missing someone is probably one of the hardest parts for me when it comes to any kind of relationship, but can be particularly intense in terms of my poly ones.
For people like myself who live by themselves rather than with a partner full-time, it can feel incredibly lonely and sad to transition from ‘together times’ to ‘alone times’. The initial transition is often the hardest part for me and then I feel much more settled.
I have come up with a few ideas that seem to work pretty well for me to get over this part and thought I would share them, as it seems like a nice positive thing to do.
1. This will pass!
I think for me the first thing is recognising what I am feeling cannot be helped and it will pass. Contrasts can make things feel a lot more painful; going from warm and cosy and wrapped in someone’s arms to feeling tired and a little frazzled and wanting hugs can feel kind of tough.
I remind myself of a few things. I LOVE sharing a bed with someone I love. But
I also enjoy sleeping alone. I enjoy reading and derping about and doing my own thing without anyone else about. I enjoy the quiet and the stillness I often reach by myself in my bedroom at night (and no not just from copious wanking. Jeez you would think you lot are pervs or something ;p).
I remind myself that if I focus on that aspect as an example, rather than focusing on wanting a hug that I cannot currently have, then it feels a lot less difficult. This is just one example but I think it works for lots of areas.
I do think it is also important to allow ourselves to really feel what we are feeling as well. Having a little cry or a vent to a friend can be really cathartic. But once that is done I really feel that it is then time to get practical and put into practice useful things to help ourselves.
2. Reassurance and affirmation
Taking the time to have a chat to say goodnight, to talk about the nice time that was had, and discuss when the next time is going to be best does a few things. It helps with reassurance. The old feeling bad generally about missing someone can quite easily turn into insecurity gremlins I believe, when we are feeling vulnerable and transitioning. Chatting away and hearing / seeing each other, even via phone or IM can be really comforting.
Reminiscing about enjoyable aspects of time spent can flood you with happy feelings, and give a sense of excitement about the next lovely things that will happen. Knowing you are loved, affirming with the other person they are also loved, wanted and missed, and you are so looking forward to seeing them again? Well I think this can go a long long way to making transitions easier.
3. Alone but not alone
Following on from keeping in contact and having nice times via Skype for example I think it can also be useful to remind ourselves that we may be physically ‘alone’ but we are not really alone alone. That person we miss? Misses us right back, and together we can give each other positive thoughts by focusing on the lovely times we just had, and will have again soon, and realising that we are still connected, that the love and energy is always there between us. That even if we cannot currently hold each other phyiscally, we have the connection there, still. I feel this is so important to keep in mind.
4. A little piece of you…
I have a top I take from Derpwolves house each time I leave, or he leaves me his t-shirt. That stays in my bed until I wash it / return it. We have a scarf now that we take in turns to wear. Other little trinkets that mean something to us which we can carry about, or have in our beds. I’ve got clothes from Mog, or things like a card she made me. Little things like this can mean more than you think, I certainly find comfort in them. I look at pictures of me and other people, or ask for one’s to be sent to me / get sent them. This reminds me of what a fucking wonderful time was had and gives me a smile. I also get to perv on lovers. That is a win win ;p
5. Oh yea this relationship is not my entire life!!
So you know, when we feel alone and lonely it is so easy to begin to focus on the relationship so intensely we forget about or put into the background, all the other wonderful things we have going on. I try and get in touch with friends, think about things I enjoy doing that have dick all to do with relationship stuffs. Right now I have two books I got for Xmas calling to me, and a whole heap of writing I want to get done in the next few days. I would not really have time for a lot of this stuff if I were with lovers 24/7, or at least I would have to modify my time with them so it was not as intense and focused as it is now. And I love the intense focus, the beautiful sex, the fun and frolics..all that stuff.
I also remind myself I am an introvert and actually having time to curl up in bed by myself and read is no bad thing at all. It also has the added bonus of when you are mad into a great book / film / hobby / whatever, you are not wasting your time on focusing on the negatives about not being able to reach out in that instant and touch who you are missing. It also can help to break the negative insecurity loop that people fall into when they spend all their time focusing on what they do not currently have in that moment. Win!
Self-care and self-responsibility are SO important.
6. Suck it up buttercup!!
And finally. Well a good thing to do is also to take a deep breath and suck it the fuck up. Why? Because this is what you have chosen. Because if you choose to have relationships where you cannot physically live in each other’s inside pocket, then these times are gonna come. Remind yourself of why you chose this, of the very great benefits it is giving you.
This only works if you really ARE choosing what is best for you and are prepared to learn how to cope with these difficult times of course! You don’t have to have these kinds of relationships, but if you choose to have them then at the end of the day, take the rough with the smooth. It is so easy to take the rough feeling, especially the initial burst of it, and catastrophise, to only focus on the painful parts, and to try and then find faults in how we are treated or how the relationships are.
This in my view is a big mistake and not one from a space of self-awareness and the patience and dedication to self-care, to sitting with ourselves and our own uncomfortable feelings. Sure it might well be easier in some ways to get arsey, spiky and give in to insecurity in an attempt to make the shitty side of things go away. But actually with practice it gets a lot easier to sit with the painful bit and understand it will pass. This means, unfortunately, sucking it the hell up in the short term.
Missing someone, and feeling the more difficult aspects of poly can be really fucking tough. It can be so hard to feel alone and to transition from amazing times, to other times.
But I believe these rougher parts are totally worth it. And I think that examining how we can make the more difficult parts easier to deal with can be an extremely useful thing to do.
Oh and Happy New Year everyone. 2014 is looking mighty fine so far. 😀