The advise given continuously for making a power dynamic work is to communicate, communicate, communicate.
You have a problem? The first question will always be, “Did you talk to your Master?”
It sounds easy, right?
Well, it’s just not. Not for me. Not anymore.
One thing i thought we had going for us was good communication, facilitated largely by transparency on both of our parts. What I have observed is that the transparency may have worked a little differently for both of us but the main difference was only that she could decide to discuss something later and I could not.
Since I thrive on structure and understanding, I was generally told something to the effect of, “There are things bothering me and I’m thinking about them. They have nothing to do with you but I’m not ready to talk about it just now. We will talk on Friday.”
That I can deal with really well. I don’t ask anything else because I understand that people have to have privacy sometimes. That is human, after all. When I heard things like that, I felt protective over her time to chill out, undisturbed. I made sure she had extra space, extra alone time.
In the absence of any meaningful communication, I do tend to think the issue or problem or whatever is me or something to do with the relationship. In any event, yeah, I think it’s my job to make home a happy, peaceful, pleasant place to be. I can’t make a person happy but I can add to it, I can help solve problems, I can provide what is needed if I know what that thing is.
Lately, as in the few months, deep communication is treated like a particularly dreadful chore. And it is exhausting for me to try and do mental gymnastics to figure out when or if to talk about anything. You see a person who seems exhausted most of the time, you don’t exactly want to open up. Her exhaustion makes me feel like i’m failing somehow and i’m finding it harder to really talk.
We used to spend Saturday nights talking but that gave way for other priorities. Somewhere along the line of my life, I figured it was one of the jobs of a slave to understand that they aren’t the priority. If your Master says five words to you and routinely spends hours on the phone with others, you just accept it and hope that they had a nice chat. No big deal.
I know when it comes to my health and overall well being, I am her first priority.
That’s not the same thing as being her first priority in other ways. I come somewhere behind work, down-time, other relationships, spiritual obligations, and MAsT work.
Sometimes, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to just talk or spend time together. We actually spent more time talking when we weren’t living together. That suited things fine, until some things changed, because we had never talked in depth about them (poly). I couldn’t anticipate her goals, needs, and motivations anymore.
Now, we are at this weird place, where we have a conversation and I think we have reached an understanding and find out later that we didn’t have it. I expect, and perhaps this is my major error, to be judged based off of my intent rather than the outcome. It feels really bad to me to be dealing with anger and disappointment, when I think I clearly tried to do what I thought was wanted.
We did talk about starting another place to write. I followed the three things that she said mattered to her but I jumped the gun when I set the blog up. The biggest thing I can’t understand, for the life of me, is why she wouldn’t have said something to me about not wanting me to do that when I asked questions making she had full access, etc.
Where did the transparency go?
I found out when I read the blog entry. While I might have discussed some pretty private things here, I don’t think there was ever anything she read that was a total surprise to her. I think, occasionally, she was surprised at how much I was feeling about something but not totally blindsided.
It’s good that she wrote. I’m always happy when she writes, no matter what it is. There has only been one exception to that, and it wasn’t her last entry.
So, anyhow, we tried to talk about the new blog. I have said over the last few months that I was having a hard time censoring out stuff about poly. There seems to be an unspoken time table in her head for resolving things, I just don’t know what that time table is anymore. That is a huge hurdle to me. It is one thing that I’m having a very hard time accepting. It was not that way before, for the most part, and even if I needed to wait months for something, I knew there was an end-date in sight and could deal with that.
So, to me, it seems like months of time has gone by and I wonder how much time should go by for a person to be stuffing their emotions?
Did I hit the “five alarm bell”? No.
I thought it would be obvious that I’d need the ability to sort through complex emotions somehow, that anyone who knows me at all would know this, especially as I pointed out that it was a problem for me many times. I don’t expect anyone to be a mind reader, but to consider that even though I’m saying something lightly and calmly, that doesn’t denote that it isn’t a real problem for me.
So, clearly, I failed at communicating how much of a problem this was. There are times I think, “If you know me at all, you would know this…”
What I feel is misjudged and misunderstood. At the same time, I feel really badly that I did something that made her feel resentful. I do. It just doesn’t come out splendidly while I’m feeling misjudged. If my intentions are understood, and they were in line with what I understood was wanted, then I have a nearly impossible time getting it to stick that the outcome matters more.
My mind just doesn’t work that way. I’m trying, God knows I am, to distance myself from thinking intent matters more than outcome.
Everyone has to judge somehow. I use intent over outcome. She uses outcome over intent. It’s incongruous. Especially since now, there are times I don’t understand her intent and barring that, have a damn hard time making the outcome that is wanted. It seems that I am unable to separate those things out.
I think that is part of why when she asks me what I think a poly relationship “should look like” my mind is totally blank. I understand things in terms of how they feel. I know how I want things to feel, not what I would want a structure to look like. I was never the architect of my own life, in some meaningful ways.
I lived taking care of others over myself, and my ideas of what looked right was based on their ideas. I knew what things felt like and had more ideas about that than what I wanted my life and relationships to look like. Hell, even when I have designed rooms, each one was different from the next. There isn’t one style that I had to have, it largely depended on the furnishings and art seeming to fit the feeling of that house.
When something didn’t work, it was based on that the furniture didn’t fit the feel of the space, rather than something literal and obvious like the bed being too large.
It’s better to ask me what I need over what I want. It’s better to ask me what I need things to feel like. I can give better answers to those questions. Ultimately, my answer to what I need will always hinge on harmony, and ways to increase feelings of peace and harmony, as well as the sense of being on the same page. I have never found peace or harmony to exist when people had different ideas on what they expected for an outcome.
I suppose this is the part of me that is an INFJ rather than the INTJ that she is. 🙂
I think I am sooo INFJ that it is just about scary. I do indeed place a value on my intuition and refuse to compromise my ideals. I really take it to heart when things feel “off” and when there is conflict. I can’t always intellectualize my way out of life, because a part of my true nature will always be based on my feeling-intuitive nature as well. I want those things to be respected and understood, because I respect those things in myself. Note what a small percentage of the population shares this personality type, and you’ll understand why communication seems to be a real bitch for us. Seriously.