I’m not polyamorous by nature.
I know it’s the new norm, but whether I’m old-fashioned, insecure, too needy of one man’s attention, or simply too tender to share, it’s been an edge for me while dating in a geographic zone where everyone is sleeping with everyone. How do I handle the discomfort of what feels like something as sacred as intimacy is being diluted by sharing myself with someone who’s sharing himself with multiple lovers?
Only one answer: A new definition of trust. A deepening into my relationship with myself, in which I know that the relationship I share with anyone is completely unique, and if it feeds us both in the ways we want to grow, we’ll keep choosing it.
I had met a man I really liked. A man who felt like my equal. He was smart and beautiful and full of energy. He roared and he purred and he cared about me. We moved like silk and we moved like water together. And people turned to watch us because they felt our fire. And they wanted some.
I wrote him poems and I wrote him a song about the rain. I made him a collage book for Christmas that opened like an accordion, with pictures of everything I knew he loved, and inside it, I wrote a poem using tiny words I’d cut out of magazines and pasted together. It was a poem about life and love. It was juicy and wise. It took me 10 hours to make. I put my heart into it.
But I guess I was too much for him, or I wanted to be closer than he was ready for.
Because even though, by his own choice, he stopped seeing the other woman he was dating, when I invited him to go camping with me, he slinked away in what he thought was a quiet way; his eyes got distant and his texts stopped coming. The little rose emoji he sent me every night was gone, and I wondered who was receiving the rose now.
His pulling away was not a subtle thing, rather it sounded like a door slamming, leaving a vacuum in its wake, a lifeline gone limp, a fire left to burn down to its embers all alone on a starry night, no one to share it with. And so I learned to put my faith in myself, as you may be learning too, my sister, or are you still struggling, waiting for someone to show up for you the way you show up for them?
If you say the word trust to yourself five times fast,
do you start to believe it?
If you suck on it
like a butterscotch candy
your grandpa gave you,
does it get sweeter to swallow?
If you squeeze it in your hands
as tight as you can
then open them quickly
as if setting something free,
does it make it easier to understand
that trust is not about holding on
but about letting go?
And when you sit up alone at 3 am,
gnawing on your heart-bone with fear
that the one you love
is loving someone else,
make yourself remember:
trust is not about whether another person loves you,
but rather about knowing your own self-worth,
all the way down to your bones,
and that it is not about whether another person is true to you,
but rather that you are true to the vows you’ve taken
for your own happiness and theirs.
And when the geese fly south for the winter, in pairs,
honking in harmony mid-flight,
do you get that if two souls truly lift each other up,
they will keep choosing to be together
because they make each other sing?
Meredith Heller is an ageless elfin-child with a Celtic heart. A gypsy-poet philosopher with a penchant for humor and a pocketful of wisdom. A melodic priestess who weaves easily between light and dark, major and minor. A woman who thrives in nature, runs with the wolves, and delights in the wild beauty of life. A poet and singer/songwriter who is on the trails every day, teaches poetry writing to teen girls, and is mused by nature, synchronicity, and kindred souls. You could contact Meredith via her blog.