Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Friend. Or, being easy.

Now, now, don't jump to conclusions with the double entendre. I mean, yes, it was intentional. But mostly a joke. Anyway, on to the ranting.

I was lucky enough to spend a good amount of time with Friend this past break. He and I keep in touch regularly online, and indeed, he was instrumental in helping me work through the tough shit in Spain, but I'm never sure that friendships will carry over as well in real life. (Edit: I knew Friend in real life first. We just ALSO chat regularly online when I'm not where he is.) Real life is trickier. There are more complications.

But that didn't happen. There were no complications. And I guess I should expect that by now.

Because when I talk about being easy, yes, there is an element of the raunchy implication, because, let's face it, we both ARE easy. But it's also just very easy between the two of us. I don't ever have to try to be someone I'm not. He knows that I'm weird, and quirky, and random and sometimes really stupid, but I'm not the least bit scared that he's going to stop liking me.

I realized over the past month spent together how much I really do like him. And admitted to myself that it's entirely possible that I have very real feelings for him. It was one of those things that became apparent as I realized how much I looked forward to seeing him and the strange little mannerisms I've come to expect. Little things like how he never misses a chance to respond telling me he loves me, even when I'm being sarcastic and snarky - "Oh, shut your face. You know I love you." His response, every time, with a smile that reaches to his tone, "I love you too." Nothing epic about it, just very matter-of-fact. I know it isn't something reserved for just me, but it makes me happy to be valued like that. Other little things, like how he is so incredibly goofy... In ways I don't even want to describe, because they are some of my fondest memories of this break and I want to be selfish and keep them to myself. And like how when we're together, our banter is non-stop and strange and wonderful and sounds slightly reminiscent of a quick-witted, overly intelligent sitcom or drama that would get cancelled because only a small portion of the population got the jokes. Doesn't make them any less funny.

And then there are the big things. Like how well he understands me. Physically, yes, but emotionally and mentally, too. Although he is undoubtedly much smarter than I am, I never feel stupid around him. Indeed, spending time with him makes me feel smarter by association, I suppose. Like how he takes my insecurities in stride, without trivializing them. They are, also, matter-of-fact with him. While I was stuck in my head, over-analyzing and making myself nervous, he calmly took my face in his hands and looked me in the eyes. Even-toned, he simply said "Hey, it's just me." Usually, that would evoke a rant about how "Well, of course it's you, that's why I'm so nervous!" and so on and so forth, but it didn't. I took a deep breath, and calmed down.

He talks to me about things. And listens when I talk back. And we can bounce our crazy relationship ideas off one another, and get overly excited about them. In another breath, we can talk about the other relationships both of us have. There is no bitterness, no jealousy. Every time I think I SHOULD be getting jealous, I'm reminded that I've never once felt like I was getting the short end of the stick with him. The attention he pays me doesn't suffer because he's seeing someone else, also. I have never felt cheated out of his attention. Sometimes we don't respond to each other's messages right away, and we both know that's OK. We joke that we're full-disclosure friends, which is true. And he is one of my few, mostly because he isn't connected to the same circles I am, so I can speak without fear of repercussions. Anyway, we know we're in a state of mutually assured destruction if one of us betrayed the others' trust.

It's not that things are totally flawless. We're both human. Mistakes are made. But then we talk about it. Openly. Clear up misunderstandings. Without blowouts. Usually with some laughter, and I can't remember a time it involved tears. Not that I'd be uncomfortable crying around him. But everything is so logical and open that it's never been needed.

Usually, when I realize how much I care about the person, and especially if things at least begin as a FWB situation, this is the point I start feeling like things need to change in the relationship. Like I need to solidify the relationship with a title, or an exclusivity clause, or at least a proclamation of my feelings. Technically, this is precisely the moment I find myself in in regards to Friend.

Except that I don't want anything to change. Maybe it's because he already knows how I feel. Because I've told him in the full-disclosure nature of our friendship. Maybe it's because I don't feel cheated by the fact that I'm not the only one getting his attention. Which is encouraging that I really DO believe that one person's relationship doesn't have to have any bearing at all on any other relationships that person is involved in. This is the most vividly I've ever put this into practice. Of course, it also confirms my belief that for non-monogamy to work, not only is communication and honesty key, but so are the RIGHT partners. I can't imagine this relationship working this way with anyone else I've been with. I don't know anyone else who I can half-seriously joke about how we're better suited to marry each other than anyone else we know, and 15 seconds later, talk about our OTHER significant others.

The only thing I worry about is if things WILL change. When I move back to the same general area he's in, and we see each other for more than a few isolated and separated months of the year. Some of it is a fear that he'll get sick of me, but then sometimes I think that's crazy. Sometimes I worry that the reason we work so well together, and that our crazy non-monogamy schemes (which makes it sound much less consensual than it actually is) only work because we aren't around each other enough to have another option. I don't know if he and I could make a "traditional" relationship work. I don't know if we'd want to.

Of course, most of these are pithy concerns. And I know things will work themselves out, just as they always do, especially with him. Again, seems to be a consequence of that whole honesty and full-disclosure thing. Makes it much harder to surprise and hurt the other person. Maybe I should try it in more aspects of my life.

And now I should probably apologize for the hideous self-involvement in this post. It had very little to do with anything that doesn't pertain, specifically and individually, to my life. But classes have started, which means I should be getting back into the more intellectually stimulating material shortly. Thank you to those of you who actually read this whole thing. I promise there will be an HNT this week, also.


Roland Hulme said...

Most of my philosophies stem from a very philosophical chap: Ian Fleming.

In one of the James Bond books, he made a very accurate ascertain regarding relationships:

"In love, there is one partner who kisses and another who offers the cheek."

As in, all romantic entanglements tend to be uneven.

I think this is what makes your relationship with Friend so fascinating and promising. You seem to be on even footing with each other.

In most other relationships, from FwB to marriages (I should know) there is usually an unevenness. One partner slouches and the other partner 'gives' a little more to prop them up.

I think that's why non-monogamy is just a dangerous concept to flirt with. I'm not saying jealousy is inevitable - but it's definitely always lurking on the sidelines.

As far as a non-monogamous relationship goes, I think you and Friend are probably on the best footing any potential poly-partners could be. You share a friendship and a respect and are totally honest with each other.

If more marriages were like that, not just FwBs, there probably wouldn't be such a high divorce rate!

(Ha! And those religious types - who get divorced more than anybody - claim that homosexual relationships 'damage the sanctity of marriage.' Idiots.)

Merlin said...

I'm not as cynical as NV about your situation. Polyamorous relationships can work, and you've described a good foundation for one.

Trust is the bedrock on which such a relationship must be based. Trust destroys jealousy, which is the greatest threat. You mention that you enjoy a strong level of trust.

You raise a good point about whether things would change if you lived closer to each other. Would you be unhappy if he does not spend as much time with you as you would like? Or the reverse--would he if you're not around? But if you each have other lovers to fill the gaps, perhaps not.

Amalthea said...

I read the most amazing term earlier tonight... oh wait it was in YOUR post!!! Full disclosure friends.

All I could thing when I read it was: that's it. That's all I am looking for + sex. Those people are priceless.

This post makes me feel so happy for you. How funny is it that the word verification on this one literally reads: the spat?

There was no spat!

Oh and on your HNT post it read something like layher, hehehee. However, I messed up that comment. Oops. I think the word distracted me.

Essin' Em said...

I'm just catching up (sorry, have been a bad bad friend). Friend is who I think it is, yes? As in, we saw him in a play, and he apparently reads my blog? Catch me up please :)