I have just returned from a week long visit at Boyfriend’s house with my two kids in tow. Husband stayed home and worked on the job and the house. During this visit I noticed subtle pangs that set off some introspection. Like many things poly-related, more reflection is needed to be able to name it and understand it. I imagine it is one of those things that would warrant its own poly term (maybe one already exists), because the feeling doesn’t exist elsewhere. Namely this, I have been with Boyfriend for nearly five years now… but I will always be a guest in his house.
This is a double sided coin. There are positives about a long distance quad- our arrivals are special events and our time together is a celebration (a poliday!), our senses are heightened, our moods brightened. We bask in the time together, sex and romance keeps the flavor of NRE due to the cycle of reunion and separation. Poly partners get the piqued interest without the mundane, the taken for grantedness, or the everyday grind.
Since both boyfriend and his wife and their kid had work and school the week I was there, it was particularly noticeable how the visit pulled them out of their routine or how they had to persist in the routine with three visitors adding weight and complexity to it all. So it became a little more heightened, my status as a guest and visitor, coming in from the outside.
With the reunion and togetherness, comes more stress. All four of us are sensitive to the effects of sleep deprivation, changes in diet and routine, extra alcohol or other indulgence, the toll on our introverted natures. Everyone has to recover after visits. There’s a pang to the idea that Boyfriend has to ‘recover’ from visiting with me, and vice versa.
The culture of a visit is being on a vacation or in a situation where someone is always the host, someone is always a guest. Primaries respectfully step back to let spouses soak in time with poly partners. Are we showing our real faces? Our real feelings? Or do we pick and choose what we share during special visits and online, preserving the overly real realness only for primaries at home? Are we a support network through all of life or are we an escape from life? Are we compartmentalized? Or are we equally real and valid in host and guest mode- just a mildly filtered, politer, better mood version of ourselves?
Ultimately, what type of relationship grows from that construct? Is it forever embedded in something that never fully manifests in real life, never fully..lands? And is that ok?
On second thought, if it lands in real life that’s just way too many piles of laundry.
There’s a base layer of being, the way we are in our homes with just our families. In visit mode, certain feelings and reactions are not shared, venting is suppressed, a certain ease and relaxation when at home with the people we live with everyday is not experienced. This is not necessarily a BAD thing, there are pros and cons. For me, it’s the adjustment to the poly quirkiness of something that usually would come to pass in a monogamy relationship after five years. In this instance it won’t.. and it’s sort of a bittersweet pang, momentarily missing something that won’t ever be, but also appreciating how it preserves something that usually dissipates.
The conclusion is probably this is just a truth about the nature of this arrangement- the base layer of our being belongs to the primary and the biological offspring. I suppose that is where the pang comes in- always having one side of the coin and not the other. But both sides of the coins are such good things. Home base with routine and security and settling all the way down and letting it all out, and visits with stimulation and celebration and shaved legs and elevated selves.