I figured that by starting to explore Polyamory and BDSM that I would be learning a lot about myself. I guess I am a little surprised at how much soul searching it would inspire. I mean, I figured I would learn a few new kinks or find love or attraction in new places, but it has really caused a full personal introspective examination, which was unexpected. It has been somewhat of a challenge on an emotional level, but I am finding myself learning new skills to deal with these challenges and emotions, and also finding things that I both like and dislike about myself.
I am aware how analytic I can be about relationships and life. This must make my loved ones go a little crazy, as I am constantly organizing and sorting people and experiences into categories. Sometimes my head feels like one of these diagrams, everything being labeled and charted as I try to make some sense of the chaos of life. In many ways, in my life and work, I am very much a Type A Personality. And in many ways, I see that as a good thing, and attribute it to a great deal of my success in my career, which is an important part of my life. But I find that these same personality traits (ambitious, competitive, impatient, time and status-conscious, and controlling) which make me good at my job can be a hindrance to my social and personal life. I haven't been too burdened by these things until becoming involved with friends and a lover who is different and more in the Type B camp. The personality clash has been a bit difficult on me, and I am probably using those Type A traits to examine it and try to figure out a solution to the anxiety it causes me. I would like to address those qualities that make me high strung when I don't want to be and learn to be a bit more spontaneous and relaxed when I can be.
I have found my Type A qualities to be the most anxiety producing in trying to figure out what to call my non-primary relationships and my interest in kinky partners. First of all, notice that it is anxiety producing for me to need to do those things. Yes, this troubles me! But I understand it, when I think about it. It's not that I need to have a name for the status, but I think that coming up with a name for the status helps me figure out how I feel. For instance, calling someone a Friend With Benefits has a distinct quality of casual friendship plus sex. When I started to try to put that name to a partner, it made me address how deep I was willing for my feelings to go. Instead of FWB, was I dating or in a Poly relationship, being open to more than a warm friendship with an occasional romp of sexy time? I wavered between those two statuses for a couple of weeks, spending way too much time thinking about it, probably. But I think I was really trying to figure out how I really felt about this relationship, as both descriptions felt sort of right, but sort of off, and both were scary a little bit. I settled on Polyamorous as a description, which has calmed me down and made my mind stop racing. Which is a little ironic, because "Polyamorous" to me is a pretty broad umbrella concept that basically means that there is some sort of romantic relationship going on, but I don't know what it is exactly (and it could include FWB anyway). I guess I needed to allow myself to have a status of "undefined" to make me feel less anxious, which I realize is ridiculous. But that's me, and that's how I am, and I can strive to try to learn to allow myself to be undefined too.