“I know I’ve said this many times before, but you need to try not thinking so much.”
My therapist is right. She’s about as right as the horde of people who’ve gifted me that wisdom in years past (I think “horde” is probably accurate, going by the Heroes of Might and Magic 3 scale). I do need to stop thinking so much. Not about everything (because if I did, this project wouldn’t exist), but about issues that I get fixated upon. My sticking points will stand fast if I keep circling them, which is why it’s so crucial to topple them with my therapist’s help.
Today’s issue was my inability to flirt or express sexual interest with somebody else in front of my partner (and often when she’s not there too). It’s a restriction constructed of thought patterns that’ve held fast over many years and- like much of my internal programming surrounding sexual programming- don’t serve me remotely within my current relationship configuration. The rules that I’ve internalised are to not flirt, touch or interact sexually with anyone else while I’m in a relationship. They’re excellent for monogamy, but are particularly inhibitive for a polyamorous structure.
Why? Why are these rules in place? Well that would make me feel uncomfortable, so it must make my partner feel uncomfortable. Why? Because if I loved this person, I’d never want to see them hurt. Why? Because if they were hurt I would feel awful and potentially responsible. Why? Because it scares me that have that capacity to wound someone else. Why? Because if I’m capable of hurting others they won’t want to be around me and they’ll leave. Then I’ll be alone and I won’t even want to be around me.
I feel like the word “problematic” is everywhere these days, but if the word fits… This emotional response is all kinds of shitty for many reasons. Let’s start from the bottom and work through it.
- Being alone: Sometimes being alone is a fact of life, but I’ve never truly been alone in my life. There are a multitude of safeguards surrounding me that ensure this is the case. I have friends and family. There are people who care. Even if I were to be alone in a relationship sense, I still wouldn’t be “alone”. If I ever went absolute radio silent, people would notice. They’d check in and ensure I was getting by okay.
- Ability to hurt: Of course I have the ability to hurt, we all do. If anyone reading this doesn’t believe I have the capacity to run my mouth off and say stupid things, my archives have all the evidence you need. I’m going to hurt my partner regardless of any wishes I might have. It’s inevitable and thinking otherwise is fucking ridiculous. What this notion forgets is that I also have the capacity to heal. I’m not without compassion and empathy. If there was an issue I’d listen and communicate with my partner, especially if this was a pre-established dynamic.
- Getting hurt: Hurt happens. Engaging with somebody else means pulling open your chest Superman style and exposing your slick, red, beating heart. It will happen and inoculating yourself against all potential wounds also means shutting yourself off from goodness you would never expect. Love is even better at healing than it is at hurting and once again, communication makes this all possible.
- Putting my emotional issues on someone else: Is there an easier way to erase all of my partner’s autonomy? I have a litany of hangups, but that in no way means my partner has the same ones. She’s an emotionally complex, capable, intelligent human who reasons her way through interactions in a wholly different fashion. The things that bother me aren’t issues for her. She has a much higher threshold for emotional and physical intimacy than I do and pulling her down to my level is reductive as shit. She wants me to connect to other people and is so much further along the road to compersion (well there goes my assumption I’d never go to Urban Dictionary for sincere reasons) than I am. I’m in a relationship with an incredible human being and maybe I need to treat her as such.
Of course, this is only a fraction of the session. There’s no way I can type the contents of an hour’s worth of processing in 30 minutes. I have many more thoughts that I’ll get to eventually. For now though, I’m gonna take her advice and stop thinking so much.