It’s been almost two months since The Great Migration as I like to call it – when D and I finally moved down here to be with L. A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t, but as I think on it, I recognize it is a unique situation that probably not a lot of people have been in. Or even a thing most people would do! Which seems very strange to me based on… well, my experience doing it. Let me explain.
I have gathered from many people’s reactions that moving across country to be with someone is weird. I am not sure if this is because we are not married or because there are 3 of us and we are not all attached in the same ways (I.e. romantic). Several people (though admittedly none that know us well) have seemed surprised that D and I moved down here – maybe more so D. But it is strange because as big of a change as it has been, I never second guessed it as a decision really. At the same time, I knew I wasn’t necessarily expected to move and just deal with it. It was very much a conscious decision on all our parts. That’s been what has made it easy for me to be with L – they have never pressured me to be any certain way with them. Even after we had been together for 3 years and I had moved to PA with them, they still gave me the choice to move to IN. They said that it was their dream school and that they needed to pursue it but understood if I didn’t want to come all the way out there. But to me, it seemed like common sense – why wouldn’t I want to be where they are? But not everyone would acknowledge that as a choice in a committed relationship. Usually it is an all-or-nothing type deal. I liked and respected that L was willing to go out on their own to follow their dream (I have always admired this about them) and I felt appreciated by being given the choice to follow my own path.
Once we were in IN and I started seeing D, it initially felt a lot more complicated. I remember worrying as he came closer to finishing his MS and as he talked about his PhD and applied to a school in Michigan. I would never ask him to give up what, at the time, I saw as his dream for a PhD. At the same time, L was still finishing their PhD in IN and even though they would never stop me, it didn’t feel right to leave them. But it wouldn’t feel right to let D go alone either. The idea of making that kind of decision really upset me.
Fortunately, none of that happened! D stayed in IN and moved in with us. It still sometimes worries me, the idea of separation because someone’s ambition or dreams lead them somewhere everyone can’t follow or agree on. But I know life is unpredictable and I have accepted that these things cannot fully be controlled. At the same time, I also have faith in all of us and our abilities to make good decisions for all involved. I think we all benefit from and enjoy our little family too much to ever want to be apart from it for too long, as evidenced by our time apart recently.
When L made the decision to take the job in FL, they consulted us a lot. L and I had always joked that I would get to pick the next place and D had always said he would move anywhere but the south. But D and I knew how much L wanted this job and we knew it would be good for them and by proxy us.
But living apart as a couple of 8 years (L and I) seems unheard of! Honestly, we have had a lot of practice and are quite good at LDR. And then of course D and I both had insecurities about living alone together – would we fight? Would we still like each other? Did we really need L as a buffer for our live-in relationship to work?
Yes, we fought. Yes, we still love each other. And no, we don’t need a buffer it turns out. But we did feel L’s absence in our own ways. It was reassuring on all ends to have that time, as impossible as it seems and as strange as I still find it. I never thought I would have the opportunity as a poly person to live alone with my second partner. It was a special bonding experience that I feel very privileged to have had. It also made me appreciate what I have shared with L over the years in new ways.
I guess I just appreciate that I have two people in my life that allow me and each other and themselves to grow, explore, try new things. I think when we can overcome those fears and insecurities about what we can’t control and trust in our bonds and ourselves, we reap a lot of great rewards.
I am planning a follow up post with more thoughts soon.