Saturday, January 4, 2014

What's normal? Loving more than one

Some of you may wonder what made me decide to share this piece of my past hot on the heels of the holidays, and there are two reasons. The first is a promise I made to Witchlet.  I promised her that one day, I would sit down and begin to blog about my life and my past so that some day, she could sit down and read it and come to know the woman behind the mother.

The second reason, is that it was during the holidays that fateful year that I endured this pain, and survived it. It was during the holidays that someone I should have hated, became very important in my life in a very complicated way and during the holidays, my mind always turns to him, her and us...

Some years ago, Draco and I went through a really horrible time in our relationship.  It was so bad, in fact, that it very nearly split us up, more than once, over the course of several years.

We're okay now, and have been for a long time, but it was a bad time for us then.

All the major issues that can break down a relationship were present.  Money issues, trust issues, a feeling of being disrespected, unhappiness, depression and stress in general were all factors in it from both sides.

 photo 292988_141119832699463_280876326_n.jpgWe had drifted apart in so many ways after 15 years together.  We'd raised Witchlet, who was 16 at the time, and woke up one day to realize that we had grown so far apart as we each focused on jobs, raising children, paying bills and all of the things that come with an adult life, that we'd lost sight of each other.

It was a horrible time, one in which we both turned to other people, in our own ways, instead of each other.

For a while, it seemed that the fighting and hurt would never end.  It got so bad that on Christmas Day that year, I actually spiked the Christmas tree in the middle of the living room floor and broke nearly all our ornaments that we'd collected over the years.  I was devastated and angry, but honestly, I was mostly just plain scared and confused.

Draco and I got together when I was 20 and he was 22.  I already had one failed marriage (Witchlet's biological father) and was terrified of having another.  All I had ever known, really, was being a wife and a mom and the thought of loosing Draco, in spite of our issues, was terrifying to me.

 photo 575384_109267895884657_730512041_n.jpgThere were a lot of fights, tears and sleepless nights, that finally gave way to talking, more tears and more sleepless nights.

There were nights we slept as far as away from each other as we could possibly get, both of us afraid to reach out to the other, even in the darkness of the bed we had shared for so many years.

It can be devastating to realize that someone you love more than nearly anything, is a stranger to you.  To suddenly learn things that can make them seem like they were never who you thought they were.  To sit and watch as your life, your hopes and your dreams crumble at your feet.

I won't lie.  For a while, I thought that it was all over but the packing.  I think he did, too, and the other person in our lives at the time certainly thought it was.

What began to happen in the aftermath of this situation was shocking to all of us, but probably the most to me.  Somehow, I began to bond with the other person involved and we became involved as well.  Even all these years later, I sit and shake my head at how it all happened the way it did and I honestly have no real explanation for it.  I don't think any of us really do, even now.

She still floats in and out of our lives.  This time last year, it had just ended once again between the 3 of us as she struggled with addiction and yet another failing relationship, then, as she is prone to do, she dropped off the radar again.

In spite of the pain she initially brought into my life, she also brought gifts.  I learned so much about myself over the course of the few years after it all happened.  I discovered I was stronger, and weaker, than I'd thought.  I discovered that Draco and I really could overcome anything.  I discovered just how important him, and our relationship is to me.

I also discovered that there is room in my heart to love more than one person at a time, which was something I never expected.  I was raised to believe that monogamy was the only right answer and that relationships
were between 2 people, and two people only.  I discovered that although that concept may be completely accurate for some, it's not for everyone.

I discovered a lot about my mate as well.  That he also has room in his heart to love more than one person and that his love for another does not diminish his love for me, among other things.

Through her, Draco and I discovered each other once again and we both realized that without help or interference, what we had, would have died anyway.  The situation we endured taught us to reach for each other, especially when the nights seem the darkest and longest.

We discovered that together, we could reach for anything as long as we had good communication, and we have achieved more in the years since then than we ever did before.

Gone are the nights of sitting up all night fighting over petty things that don't matter because we know how hard it can truly be.  We have watched our relationship reduced to ashes and stood looking at each other over the rubble that was left and we've worked hard to rebuild it since then.

Am I saying that everyone who experiences what I did should forgive?  No, I'm not.  I believe that those types of decisions should be based solely on the people involved and the relationship in question.

In the years since it all happened, I have had more than one person question my sanity in even attempting to forgive what happened, much less to rebuild our relationship with Witchlet as old as she was, and although Draco and I believe we owe no explanations for our choices in our relationship, we have occasionally offered them to people that mattered to us in an effort to have them understand.  It's been our personal experience though that although some have accepted it for what it is, very few seem to truly understand.

I was called out recently about our relationship status on our personal Facebook profiles, which is listed as "It's Complicated", and to us, it very much is.  Most people who know that I am bisexual and that Draco and I have a semi-open relationship, that at one time included what amounted to as a girlfriend that we shared for a time, don't understand and putting our relationship into terms that others understand, is complicated.

Even to us, the dynamics of our relationship seems complicated.  We have different views on what constitutes a "healthy relationship" than most of the world and we find ourselves rarely discussing it with anyone for that very reason.  How do you explain to people in "traditional relationships" that we can sit together now and talk of her and freely admit to each other that we still love and miss her, even though we have accepted that she will probably never be a permanent part of our lives?

In truth, I suppose very little of our relationship or life choices seems "normal" to "normal people".  Pagans generally seem to have a broader idea of relationships than most and usually require less hand-holding about ideas like polygamy or the concept of loving more than one person at the same time or open relationships.

It's been our belief in the years since those awful nights of fighting, that love is whatever you think it is, and can encompass as few, or as many, people as is comfortable for those involved.  As long as everyone is on the same page and no one is getting hurt, then it's up to the people involved to define what a "relationship" or even a domestic partnership, entails.

For us?  I won't lie.  We miss her every day and I'm not sure either of us will ever feel our relationship is complete without her, but we've adjusted to her absence.  We considered, some years ago, the possibility of someone else and neither of us were truly interested.  Perhaps one day, we will meet someone else that we come to feel that way about again, but we're not "looking".  For now, we prefer to share our lives with each other and share our feelings and memories about what we believe could have been if things had worked out differently.

I don't know where she is today, or how she is, but it is our hope that wherever she is, she happy and living her life in a way that makes her happy, but there is also that little part of us, the part that misses her, that hopes, especially as the Christmas lights twinkle and the wind blows cold, that she thinks of us...and smiles...


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