Poly Means Many: absence

This month, we’re talking about loss. I’m sure my fellow polybloggers will be tackling it from a wide range of angles, so I wanted to use it to look at absence and distance.

Most specifically on my mind is absence due to geographical distance. Fafhrd lives in another city, and our lives are full of commitments elsewhere, so our time together is carefully planned. Usually I see The Rake daily, but this week is in fact the longest we’ve spent apart since we moved in together – and for the happiest possible of reasons. He’s visiting his girlfriend Lyra, now outside the UK, for a carefully planned and hugely anticipated trip.

A couple of people asked if I miss him – and yes, I do, but not quite in the way that they’re asking. Given that we live together, with all the joys and frustrations that entails, in a funny sort of way it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to miss each other. To pine a little, to look forward to his return with anticipation, to wonder what stories he’ll have to share, to plan what I’ll be wearing to greet him. A prolonged absence from Fafhrd earlier this year led me to ask twitter if there’s a word (in English or any other language) for that sweetness of missing someone; the enjoyment of your own sense of love and temporary loss, and anticipation for their return. No one offered me a word that quite covered it, but lots of people offered poetry. Which was perfect.

Both of these partings or absences have been strangely enjoyable, in a bittersweet sort of way, because of a sense of security and certainty. I knew that the separation was only temporary, so could enjoy it and look forward to a joyful reunion. This can, I think, be especially hard with long distance relationships – if you want to be together but don’t have an end date in sight (just an endless succession of “maybe next year”s), that’s much harder to cope with either than a set date when one of you will move, or an understanding that you’ll likely never be in the same place.

I realise as I write this, it’s not dissimilar from my take on jealousy – partings and absences are much harder (if not impossible) to deal with if you don’t have that sense of certainty, of confidence in a return and reunion, and security in your importance to and priority to that person. Without that,the fear of imbalance can creep in – “I miss her… but maybe she’s too busy having fun to think about me? Maybe she’s forgotten all about me?”

Fundamentally I seem to have got to something that’s not specific to polyamory or open relationships at all, but relationships in general: do all that you can to make sure those you love and care about know how you feel about them. Whether that’s calling your mum to thank her for looking out for you, remembering to wish your friend good luck for that interview, daring to tell someone you love them for the first time, or laying out your hopes and plans with your long-distance love, make sure they know where they are with you. No one can be together 24 hours a day (and probably shouldn’t be!) but you can always make sure that those who are important to you have the clearest understanding of your love and care. And that they can carry it with them, wherever you are.

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month seven bloggers – ALBJ, Delightfully Queer, An Open Book, More Than Nuclear, Post Modern Sleaze, Rarely Wears Lipstick, and The Boy With The Inked Skin – will write about their views on one of them.

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7 responses to “Poly Means Many: absence

  1. Pingback: » Coping with loss Poly Means Many

  2. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with how related experiences of jealousy and “missing someone” are, and its link to feeling unsafe. Thanks very much for this post 🙂

  3. You’re so right… missing someone is the same, no matter what style of relationship you’re in. When I was seeing a lovely lady who lived in Newcastle, the anticipation was an amazing part of that connection. It was quite beautiful 🙂

  4. Beautifully put, Polly. Pain associated with separation can be caused by poor communication, insecurity or (the worst) not knowing… Knowing that the people I love are existing somewhere else and being happy, is reassuring and releasing; being unsure of their whereabouts and safety could fill up my thoughts and hamper my ability to concentrate on anything else.

  5. Pingback: Absence: a coda « An Open Book

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