When Husband and I first met Boyfriend, he told us he was working on a project that was bigger and more consuming than expected, but it would be done in the fall. Unfortunately, the project only continued to become more massive and stressful, with repeated deadline extensions. The project did not technically finish for another thousand days- 1,042 to be exact.
During all this, Boyfriend’s time and availability was limited. He was in chronic ‘work mode’ and even when he did allow himself to make time for a visit or a chat, the constant feeling of “I should be working” hung heavily over him. The project consumed everyone it touched, and as he pointed out afterwards, it should have failed. There were so many obstacles, so many points where it should have just collapsed on itself.
The same holds true for our quad. The poly quad is a configuration that often doesn’t work in the best of scenarios- and here we were, plugging along while also doing long distance and with this beastly project on our backs. This is not to say that we have survived wholly intact. Most of our interactions with Boyfriend individually and especially as a group began to revolve around his stress levels and work load. We stopped voicing concerns and issues because it would take time to process them. Husband and Boyfriend’s friendship fell by the wayside and Husband became more frustrated the longer it went on and with how it impacted everyone in different ways. Husband’s anger began to impact his relationship with me over the past year.
Now we are on the other side and have begun to work through it. Adjusting and working through the emotions and frustrations that built up will take time, but I feel very optimistic. We are all still here, despite the odds.
Now that I can turn and look at my thousand day wait, it is interesting to see the progress and movement I made even when at the time it felt like I was at a standstill for an eternity. Polyamory is valuable to me because I believe in the enrichment, ongoing communication, and growth that it brings. Since I had to experience this in such constricted blips of time, it became about how to endure and how to feel love and to feel loved even when someone is absent.
Year 1: Falling in love and weaning myself off. The first six months were the all consuming process of chatting, visiting, getting to know each other and falling in love. Then he began to withdraw to focus on the project. The agony of seeing messages dwindle and the increasing gaps of time between chats was like coming off of an addiction. Logically I knew this was what needed to happen, but my body experienced it like a break up and I desperately longed for interaction and reassurance. It was not a normal transition from the giddy falling in love phase to the bonding phase. My body didn’t know what the fuck was up. I also had a lot to learn about his communication style and how he compartmentalized his emotions while working so hard.
Year 2: Poly drops and logic/brain vs emotion/body. This dilemma between the brain and the body continued. I would have visits, then long periods of time of minimal communication. The visits were all inclusive, confirming that the connection was as strong and soul warming as ever, and then I would go home and it would fall off a cliff. I would crash emotionally and physically. I would grapple with my logic that understood why things were this way and with my attachment system that could only howl like a toddler at the absence.
Year 3: The coast. After many hundreds of grappling bouts between brain and body, one day my body “got it.” I could see and feel during visits that he clearly loves me, and I could retain that knowledge at all levels after visits and in between visits. I became accepting of the way things were, enjoyed my deepened and supportive friendship with Metamour, and looked forward to the future.
The irony is that now that the future is finally here, I’ve reconciled so well that I don’t feel all that different. I’m not feeling deprived or starving for his attention like I was during Year 2. I want things to be more balanced, I want to receive support as well as give support, but I’m content to just be and not actively go looking for it to be a certain way or for it to “make up” for all the time we missed. I’m content to sit back while he recovers and begins to become more active on our chat threads. Metamour was here this weekend, and I’m excited to visit Boyfriend next weekend. Life is good.