Sunday, February 22, 2009

Unconditional love

Tara and I woke up yesterday and had a long, serious talk over breakfast, and decided to make a change in our relationship. I wouldn't exactly say we "broke up" because that implies a more formal structure than we work within - that, and we still love each other. But I think we're both finally coming to the realization that we've grown apart in the last 18-20 months and our relationship isn't giving either of us what we want out of life at this point.

These things are always a lot more complicated than can be explained in a single blog post, but the crux of the matter is that for Tara, dealing with my polyamorous nature and activities makes her miserable. For my part, I didn't like having to hide or defend things related to it, like my feelings for Penny and my growing role with Polyamorous NYC.

Despite this, I could deal with all that if Tara could have met me halfway and we had a "don't ask, don't tell" kind of policy, as some poly/mono couples do. But concealment (as opposed to outright deception, which is never an option) isn't the ideal for either of us in a relationship, and she simply couldn't deal with knowing that I'm polyamorous and what that could entail now and in the future. And while I wasn't nearly so unhappy with her, I couldn't continue to profess to love someone while knowing that being in a relationship with me was making her miserable.

I have been telling her for several months now that if she truly couldn't accept me as I am and I was really hurting her so much, she needed to let me go. Neither of us wanted to end the relationship, but we just couldn't find a way to overcome the fact that our natures are so incompatible. I think up until yesterday, Tara held out hope that we could somehow recapture what we had in May-June 2007, when we were closer to being a real poly family that ever before or since. But it's not worth all this pain and drama to just wait and see if things change, especially since I'm not sure anybody wants it as much as she does, and our family dynamics in terms of discussing options and goals are so complicated.

Regardless of what she thinks of me, I still love Tara, and I always will. But for me, part of loving someone unconditionally is knowing that if being who you are drives that person crazy, you might have to let them go for their own good. For me, love is all about making the other person happy, not about me. Possibly that's why I end up getting hurt by love a lot, but many people suffer worse for their beliefs. I can't honestly say to myself I love someone if I don't think I'm good for them, or I put my own interests above theirs. I think we've tried very hard to overcome these obstacles, but in the end, we both have to be true to ourselves and our convictions, and hers do not include acceptance of polyamory as a sustainable and legitimate lifestyle choice.

So where does that leave us now? We had a reasonably normal Saturday night dinner with Bee and Bug, although there were some uncomfortable silences at the dinner table. Our card games livened things up a bit, with Bee and Tara trading fortunes after last week's Valentine's Day massacre, then we watched two episodes of Heroes, which seems to be regaining some lost momentum. Tara and I are going to give each other some space and see how we handle being apart. Also, I think we both need some time to grieve over what we've lost, although I still have hope that the goddess will someday bring us back together to stay.