Sometimes, it feels like you have months or years of buildup - of resentment, of feelings, of ‘wait, has this become an expectation’? - that you aren’t sure how to talk about. Some people are straightforward (unbelievably, wonderfully so) and can just say “oh, gosh, I just realized this bad feeling I’m carrying around is this worry that something I thought was a one off is actually an expectation for you that I can’t meet as an expectation.” I’m not. Maybe you’re not. I can get there, but I’ve got to get there a little sideways in three or five sentences, not that one, and my partner might have to ask a clarifying question, and I don’t like that.
It’s not great. I wish I was good at this. I’m good at teaching this. I’m good at telling my friends, “OK, Looking at those three sentences, it sounds like you mean this one sentence. Is that right? Write it down if you need to. Read it if you need to. But tell them.” But I’m bad at asking my friends to do that for me. I need to get better at asking them for help with these issues. It’s not an inborn skill for everyone. And honestly, being the friend who can parse that easily instead of the friend who just goes “YEAH! That sucks! I feel that!” is also not something everyone does automatically and I’ve taken a lot of classes that taught me skills that allow me to do this for my friends and I’m happy to. But I’ve had that friend before, and I can’t have that friend be my partner, even though right now, that friend mostly… is my partner. It means the problems have to be with my life, not with my partner himself, or I can’t be in the heat of emotions about him.
(Or I can, because, guys, I like astrology thanks to a couple of my friends, and I’m a Leo sun and Aries rising and Mars, and it’s Leo season with Mars transiting Aries so I’m just very open with my angry, ugly emotions more than usual, and sitting in my own energy right now. You might notice posts written now rather than in advance are silly or personal and admitting flaws more than usual. Welcome to my brain. Also, obligatory "that's a super old photo, COVID is real" note.)
So, that said, I think everyone needs to ask their friends for more help as they move through their polyamorous journeys. We all need help outside our polycules. Our partners are wonderful; our metamours may or may not be close to us and reliable supports; but close friends who are willing to speak our emotional languages and hear three sentences and go “oh you mean ‘one sentence’” or ten sentences and “Do you mean these five sentences or these five?” and if none of our friends understand, a REALLY good therapist (I’ve got one, but I also have really good friends I need to draw on more. Resources are there to be called on). Only leaning on our polycules gets unhealthy and circular over time, regardless of how big they are. Or at least, such was my experience when I tried to do it, and my friends’ experience when they did. I can only give you anecdata and what “all the books” (I can never have read all the books, but I’ve read pretty much all the books, and I have a little pile of the newest couple to finish) say about it. I do. I need to reach out to my friends better. I need to look for help parsing down my worries to singular thoughts. We all do.
(And, gentle readers, while you’re not all my friends, if you subscribe at a high enough level on the Patreon, I will pretend you are and put in that emotional labor for you, along with other benefits. Think about it.)