I have been out of the loop – away in Ireland with the the whole family. Jack, E, her daughter, my son Max, Harry and me. We traded our apartment here in New York City to a family from Dublin and spent 9 days exploring the Dublin and the surroundings. And our relationship to each other.
Living together is often a fantasy for poly people – but not a lot of people are actually able to do it. Or, upon further reflection, want to do it. It involves melding 3 or more individual’s personalities, philosophies, ideas about what “home” means, personal possessions and (possibly) ideas about child rearing. And these are just the tip of the iceberg! We jumped in to this experiment because of romance – we all loved each other – and practicality – we all wanted to move to a nice area of NYC and this seemed the most expedient way to do that.
We just signed a lease for the third – and last – year of the experiment. My concern about Max getting into a decent middle school was the tipping point. If he doesn’t get into somewhere where in New York where he won’t get stabbed in the hallway, he and I are moving upstate and he will be going to private school. But really, I think I have had enough. It’s just too hard too much of the time.
E is all about feelings – her own feelings. If she is upset about something she sulks and grumps and locks herself in her room. She doesn’t want to talk about it, she doesn’t want to fix it and she doesn’t want to transcend it. The energy that this gives off is so negative and stressful – I sometimes find it hard to breathe. And because her moods are so unpredictable, I never know when I’ll find her in this state. It makes me not want to come home – and not wanting to come home to my own house is a terrible feeling.
But of course it’s not my own house – I share it. And honestly, I’m done with that. Too old, too set, too opinionated to share with people and compromise. Jack and I have been rubbing alongside each other for 20 years. We know how the other operates and we operate similarly. We have the same friends, we both are homebodies, and it’s just easy to work things out and get things done. E is the opposite and truly does not understand why we spend so much time planning, cleaning, cooking and running a home. She would pay someone to do everything if she could! But my house is my castle – I love caring for it.
These personality differences often mean that Jack and E are on a constant roller coaster ride in their relationship. Good! Bad! Laughing! Sulking! Yelling! Canoodling! I stay as far away as I can – who needs the shrapnel. I do think E sometimes feels that life would be better if I wasn’t around and she could have Jack all to herself. I often wonder if she doesn’t have some regrets about the entire arrangement, or maybe deep in her heart she thought that we would eventually divorce. Especially since I have Harry. But my relationship with him is wonderful and special and has nothing to do with anything or anyone else – I love Jack the way I love Jack and Harry the way I love Harry.
So the vacation highlighted all of these things. Even though it was sometimes painful, it did give me some clarity about this ending next year. I know it’s the right thing to do for me. I don’t regret one decision I made about this though – so many people dream of taking action and so few people do. I’m really glad we jumped together and have had this experience of living and growing together and have tried out what it’s like to live in a triad.
Trying, however does not always mean succeeding. And even succeeding does not always mean succeeding forever. We have succeeded by some measures – we are living together as a family. And not succeeded by some – this arrangement does not always benefit all members and sometimes it feels lonely, even though there’s 3. But either way – nothing stays the same for ever. Change is inevitable.
I can’t see the future – but I can tell you I am looking forward to it!