So I was having an interesting conversation with Poppy (my girlfriend) the other day. I’ve talked before about the tendency I have to want to fix people’s problems when they don’t need me to, and how it’s something I’m enjoying getting rid of. That ‘wanting to fix things’ (it’s not just me, right?) can also come out in romantic relationships as wanting to fulfil all roles to someone. ‘He wishes he had someone to go to life drawing classes with’ or ‘that DJ is gorgeous, I love her style’ or ‘God, I love blondes’ can transform into ‘I’m your girlfriend, I should be doing that with you/being that for you’. And of course if you try and be everything to one person, you go crazy. No-one can be all the contradictory interesting, fun and attractive things.
Which is one of the awesome things about poly. If you don’t share a partner’s interest in swing dancing, or BDSM, or prefer to socialise one on one when she likes big parties… with any luck, they can find someone else who wants what they do. And this is hardly an alien concept to people in monogamous relationships, either; most people have different friends with whom they do different things and who fulfil different roles in their life (the one who is always around for a pint after work, the one you call at 3am in the middle of a break up, the one whose professional advice you always want). That doesn’t take away from any of your other friendships, and it needn’t with relationships either.
Anyway. Poppy was talking about a particular relationship dynamic that she’d like more of, which is something that won’t ever come from me. And the fact that we both knew that freed me up to talk properly and sympathetically with her about it – I wasn’t distracted by thinking ‘Does she want me to be that for her? I don’t think I can. What if she’s been wanting that all along? If I can’t be that for her, does that mean our relationship won’t go anywhere? Do we have to break up now?’. I fulfil a different role for her, which makes us both happy. Clearing away that layer of personal worry was very freeing, and meant we got to have an interesting and supportive conversation, rather than one clouded by personal worries and unspoken expectations.
A small moment, and one I liked.