Maya is the hingepoint in a MFM V-triad that currently maintains a long-distance-relationship element. Her partners are Zuke, to whom she's legally married and in a relationship with for a total of 13 years and Kai, whom she's known for 18 years and in a relationship with for about 1.5 years. Maya and Zuke have 3 children and Kai has 2 from a previous marriage. With the ups, downs, distance and juggling -- this is Maya's Mayhem.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Distance Makes the Heart...

You know the old saying. "Distance makes the heart grow fonder." We can probably all think of examples in our lives that validate this quote. Distance, however, in a poly relationship isn't so simple or straightforward.

For the last 4 or 5 months, Zuke has been working an extreme number of hours. These escalated in May, tapered off in June and other events such as reorganization of our workplace, removal of solid management types and what amounted to cannibalizing the best parts of our department, occurred. For us long-lived types, having worked here since mid-90s, its been rather traumatic and stressful. Unfortunately, it has brought Zuke down, emotionally.

During all this is when Kai returned to us. Each visit has gone extremely well, but we've been aware that Zuke's spirit is flagging, emotions are down, energy is gone and these are highlighted by the visits. For each one, Zuke's doing a little bit worse. Even though the obvious culprit is the work environment, both Kai and I began to fear it was the relationship that Zuke was becoming depressed about. Here, we'd finally begun the in-person time and Zuke was in an emotional tail-spin.

Distance made the heart grow fearful, jump to conclusions and no amount of reasoning seemed to erase that quiet fear that maybe, just maybe, one of your partners was depressed about the entire relationship scene you're all in.

Distance is doing us no favors for this particular situation. If Kai were here full-time, it would take some of the day-to-day stress from Zuke and at the same time, show Kai that it's rooted in a non-relationship situation rather than something born of a mix of jealousy, anxiety, regret and fear. Even I have wondered if Zuke's lack of emotional well-being can be attributed (here the monsters start talking!) to my "selfishness" in having a 2nd love. I've known Zuke for 13 years and only ever seen him down once before. Though logically it is rooted in work issues, fears make it easy to correspond Kai's arrival with Zuke's downheartedness.

Noting this as a very poly, very LDR issue, Zuke offered it up as this month's topic. He has had to reassure both of us that, indeed, all is well on the homefront. He's been peppered at odd times with questions that I've referred to as the 'status check' that all systems are 'go'. Through me, Kai has voiced the same concerns several times and yet Zuke is steadfast in denying that it's relationship based. The "monster" that wants to undermine what often seems too good to be true works hard at prying into all these moments, tweaking these little fears that I find aren't fully resolved. Sometimes I feel absolutely 'high' about how my life is going, but then the old south, deeply Christian, absolutely conservative upbringing starts weighing in and saying, "you're living in sin, you're not being a good wife, of course your husband is depressed, it's all because of you and your selfishness".

Really now, that's just not the voice you want to wake up to in the morning.

One thing this has taught me is that I do have to have faith. But in the loves that I have, not in what conventional wisdom, cultural expectations or society's constructions have envisioned as the appropriate relationship. All of us have had to learn to not feed fears that are generated by distance, newness and the ups and downs of a daily life. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, true, but it seems as though there's great potential for distance to be the dealbreaker given its fertile ground for fears. If you can survive all that, it makes the heart grow stronger for having weathered the storm and the journey becomes even sweeter.

Maya is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Maya; July 22, 2006


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