Count the Rings?

Should your dating partners be within a certain age range?

We’ve all heard the “rule” that suggests partners be at least half your age plus seven years, and no more than your age minus seven, then doubled. (I was told there would be no math.) But this is like the rules about wearing certain color clothes after Labor Day, or acceptable dress styles for older women; somewhat dubious of provenance and based on more on managing societal perceptions than value for a particular person.

The actual optimal age range for a partner can depend on the nature of the relationship one wants; it’s probably easier to interact over a long term with someone relatively close in life stage. But not every relationship is about that.

People of very different ages may have common interests and attitudes, but in other ways — values, cultural references, outside obligations, libido — may be quite different. That’s true of any two people, of course, but a significant age difference can add to the disconnections.

But this is another of those places where the answer may be different for monogamous and polyamorous people. If you’re trying to have all your needs met by one relationship, the differences introduced by age can get in the way. But if you are able to enjoy just those parts of a relationship that you have in common, and find others to meet the remaining needs, an age difference in any one relationship becomes rather less important.

My partners span 10 years to either side of me, but age isn’t terribly relevant — well, chronological age, anyway.  For basic compatibility, synchronicity of maturity and spirit matter far more than what the calendar says.

“It’s Locker Room Talk.”

I don’t understand. Do locker rooms have some Magic Cloak of Disrespect that makes them places where it’s all right to say unacceptable things? Do the people in the locker rooms not interact with the rest of the world? There are no islands for intolerance or incivility – or, at least, there shouldn’t be. The fact that you’re near other people’s sweaty gym socks is no excuse for stuffing your humanity — or anyone else’s — in a locker.

And here’s a clue: if you’re having to defend it in public, or in a political debate, it’s obviously not “just locker room talk” anymore. And it never really was.

Do You Care, if You’re Not There?

An upcoming visit with a long-distance partner left me wondering: How much do you care what your partners do when they are not with you? I mean, assuming there is basic agreement on safety practices, do you want to know details of their other encounters?

A couple of my partners are very interested in that — or, more to the point, don’t like surprises. They don’t need the blow-by-blow description, but do want to know when encounters occur, and with whom. Others want to know what other relationships are out there, but aren’t interested in details about when specific dates occur, much less details of what went on.

I am solidly in the latter camp. I hope very much that my partners have full and satisfying lives. But when they are not with me, I don’t need to know who they saw or where they went. Obviously, if they are excited about something and went to tell, I will be happy to join in their joy. But I have no need to know (nor a right to insist.)

Agreements differ; your mileage may vary. Does it, and why?

An Apple a Day…

I honor and respect those who dedicate their lives to helping other people overcome their medical challenges. Healers — of whatever sort — rock.

So please don’t take it personally when I say that with several partners’ recent issues and a couple of my own, I could stand to not see a medical professional for a little while.

(Polyamory: All those things that happen in life, multiplied.)

Can You Hear Me Now?

Everyone knows that communication is essential to good polyamorous relationships. That becomes just a little harder when different partners prefer different platforms – and you have to remember which is which. There’s the partners who text, and the partner who only wants to use Facebook Messenger, and the partner who is on Signal, and the partner who wants to text an alternate number to use Google Voice… and the comet on Hangouts, and the one who sometimes likes Marco Polo or FaceTime but not Skype… and Skype but not FaceTime… and… and…

#polyproblemstheydidnthavein1980

Don’t Throw Good Love After Bad

Q: My relationship just isn’t meeting my needs. But I’ve put so much time/energy/emotion into this, I hate the idea of giving up on that investment. Wouldn’t it be a waste to walk away?

Well, first, take heart that what you have already put into the relationship probably wasn’t a waste. You learned things, you likely had some good times. After all, there was something there that made you want to invest; at some point, it was worthwhile. The more apt question is whether the next piece of resource you put into this relationship will, in fact, be wasted because there’s nothing more to be gained there.

You can’t get the time back, and you can’t get the resources back no matter what you think of the relationship. What you can do is to not put anything more into it if it won’t improve anything — and especially if doing so takes away from your ability to put resources into a more rewarding relationship.

It’s like the joke about the guy who was walking back and forth, looking at the ground. A cop asks what he’s doing. “I lost my keys on 20th Street,” he says. “Why are you looking on 18th?” asks the cop. “Oh, the light’s better here.”

You don’t need to put your energy into where you are; you need to be where the love is. That’s how you keep from wasting your time. Invest in what can grow.

Parts is Parts

That next-door neighbor or person you work with.

Do you know if they still have the tonsils they were born with? Do you care?

Do you know if they still have all the teeth they were born with? Do you care?

Knee? Hip?

…then why do you care if they still have the genitals they were born with?