Posts Tagged ‘relationships are hard’

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Dani: Know Yourself & Respect Your Instincts

December 15, 2012  |  essays  |  No Comments

Dani, daninelson.com, okayokayigive.tumblr.com

1. What insight about open relationships do you wish you had when you started?

I’d want my teenage self to know that it’s really okay – and not weird – to feel happy when your lover and your friend fall in love with each other. That yes, you really can be dating one person, friends-with-benefits with a handful of others, and falling for that blonde chick…because they’re all okay with it too.

More importantly, though, because I came through that okay, all things considered – I’d tell my 20-something self (and anyone else who asked) that you need to know yourself – and respect your gut instincts – above and beyond anything else. There are different types of poly out there, and so many of them are just not right for you…and can make you as uncomfortable – if not moreso – than a monogamous relationship with a borderline abusive asshole. Be upfront and open and honest about what you really need.

Because that honesty? That leads to great things like rules about gorillas.

Finally, I’d tell my 30-something self that it really is possible to identify as poly and not be actively dating outside your main relationship. It doesn’t make you any less poly, or weird, or broken. It’s just that dating is not a priority, and that’s okay.

2. What has been the hardest thing about opening your relationship, and how have you overcome that?

The relationship I’m in now started as open – it was never a question, or a point of negotiation, for either of us. In fact, I think all of the open relationships I’ve been in were like that – open, in one way or another, from the get-go, all cards on the table. I have been in a semi-closed multiple-partner relationship, however, and the hardest thing about that by far is that the rules that we agreed on were not necessarily the right thing for all of us. (See the note to my 20-something self above).

3. What has been the best thing about your open relationship?

The relationship I’m in now – with Meredith, who was interviewed earlier in this series – has been by far the strongest and best relationship I’ve ever been part of. Not because we’re still together or still in love or anything like that, but because we came into it with very specific requirements. We both knew what we wanted, and were strong enough to say “it has to be this way for me”. Fortunately, our needs were well-matched – and that includes a level of communication that I wish everyone could have.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

Relationships are hard; that level of hardness goes up as you add people to the mix. Talk to each other. Be open and be honest with yourself and with each other. (With yourself most of all.)

And, to share a lesson that an ex taught me – even if you think you’re just sleeping together, or it’s just casual, there is a relationship there. It might not be a long-term relationship, or a deep relationship, but if you’re interacting with someone else, there is absolutely a relationship there. Relationships take time and energy and nurturing. (And communication.)

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Protected: Love Letter #20

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Protected: My Business With God

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“I Want To Be Fearless”

February 18, 2011  |  journal entries  |  3 Comments

Ever since I got Ellis’s newest album Right On Time I’ve had it playing over and over. I like to listen to it at the gym (along with the Bryan Adams anthology) because I can crank it in the headphones and hear every word, every note. Somehow she has captured every emotional state that I’ve been going through lately on that album, and I’m continually surprised by her eloquent writing.

When I ordered Right On Time I got a note back from Ellis thanking me. I kind of assume she does this with everybody, though I can’t guarantee she’ll send you a note too, maybe she just happened to have some extra time on her hands right then. So I emailed her back and we corresponded a little, which is what led to her mini-interview on Butch Lab, which I’m so happy to have there. I’m keeping a watchful eye on her summer tour schedule—I hope she’ll be somewhere in the Northeast that I can easily attend.

I just ordered her Scrapbook 2-disc set which includes a DVD and an mp3 CD with her entire backlist (64 songs for $40!). I used to have a couple of her early albums, but I’m not sure what happened to them, they disappeared in one of my moves. I’m excited to hear the other albums, can’t wait to get to know all of those other songs of hers.

Here’s one from Right On Time that I’ve been obsessing over lately, listening to a lot and trying to keep in mind while things sometimes feel tumultuous.

(She adds another verse in this live version … “Let’s pretend we’re smaller than / the ants under the grass” but these lyrics are for the album version.)

Close to You
Ellis

let’s pretend we’re taller than
the highest part of everest
giants with a lions roar
but lighter than a bird
and we build upon our shoulders
buildings high into the sky
and we look out of our windows
wishing we could fly

I want to be close to you
to know how close we are
I want to be fearless
in the face of love
and not be afraid of falling apart

each day there’s a sunrise
beauty I can barely see
if I saw it all my heart would fill so full
I couldn’t breathe

I want to be close to you
to know how close we are
but I cover up my heart
afraid I am weakening
I have ways to escape when things get hard

here we are
this is
the way it is
the sun, the rain
how things are always
changing

let’s pretend we are at the end of our lives here
all our troubles that seemed so big
have all disappeared
when we are deep in the shadows
bringing light into the dark
I will reach for you till the end of me
when I can’t tell us apart

’cause I want to be close to you
to know how close we are
I want to be fearless
in the face of love
and not be afraid of falling
I’m falling apart

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