I appreciate my lover's lover for being there for him

StaceyNHerrera

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I witnessed firsthand; used with permission.

The best and the worst thing about being non-monogamous is knowing that I don’t have to meet all my partners’ needs. It’s wonderfully liberating to recognize that no one expects me to be all the things. And it’s equally as terrifying.

I am not immune to societal conditioning. The remnants of traditional relationship structures still linger on the fringes of my thoughts — daily. My apprehensive inner-self whispers tales of not-enoughness in my ear all the time. And I often worry that someday, seemingly out of the blue, heartbreak will rap loudly at my door to tell me that my lovers don’t want me anymore.

These thoughts are echoes of the monogamous life of my past. And they may never go away, but I’m cool with that.

Right now, I am exceptionally grateful for my lover’s lover.

Not long ago, he hit a rough patch. Life stretched him to capacity, and his tribe served as a soft landing place.

But I could not be there for him, at least not the way I wanted to. Sickness had me bedbound. As a result, there was no overflow for me to offer. I had enough for one — me. And while I make no apologies for practicing self-care, I still longed to caretake my lover.

I wanted nothing more than to wrap myself around him — to be a respite from the gnashing and gnawing of life and business. I longed to pour a little bit of myself into him. To give him a sliver of goodness to put in his pocket and carry out into the world.

Where I couldn’t — she could.

I was thrilled to hear that they’d spent time together. My heart beamed when he told me it was just what he needed — knowing that he was feeling better made me feel better.

It pleases me to know that my lover is well-loved. Knowing that he is supported and cared for makes me happy. Would I have liked to have been available? Absolutely. But what’s important is, there was someone he could turn to — and it did not have to be me.

The green-eyed monster

There’s a part of me that felt envious at the time. Not that I want to have him all to myself, but because envy is normal. It is not about wishing my partner didn’t love other people. That’s jealousy. It’s more about longing to share as many experiences as possible.

Non-monogamy does not make me immune or more susceptible to these types of feelings. Instead, it offers me an opportunity to become intimate with my triggers, self-reflect, and offer comfort to myself — from myself. Being triggered is also an invitation to honor and express my feelings. In doing so, my partner has an opportunity to practice acknowledging someone else’s feelings without invalidating them.

The messiness and discomfort that come with sharing life with others is the stuff that makes us all better people. We learn, grow, and evolve due to our individual and shared experiences.

Community matters

Living is truly a community effort. It is vital to surround yourself with people who are willing to actively participate in your life and who will allow you to participate in theirs.

You don’t have to be polyamorous to embrace communal support. Friends, family, and strangers are all a part of the community that helps to sustain the quality of your life.

Now more than ever, we all need to hold each other up and allow ourselves to be held. Because relationships matter and life is better shared.

Originally published at https://medium.com

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Intimacy & Relationship coach, writer, and creator of The Sensuality Project. I specialize in Relationship-ing (it's a verb).

Los Angeles County, CA
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