Okay, how many of you suckers really, really think I’m going to do a post about that?
What I am going to do is explain a bit about why there isn’t, nor will there ever be, a Misanthrope article analyzing OLQ’s breakup1.
The first is merely the tacky factor. I have a strong distaste, shared by my exes, for public displays of negative emotion. Friends, even the most amicable of divorces is painful, and really sucks. Feeding the suckiness isn’t something I wanna do. And at this late date, the suckiness is gone. That’s a good thing!
“Okay,” you say, “but what about the fact that you guys had this huge site about building a poly family and making it work. It didn’t work and we don’t know why! You owe an explanation.”
I actually did get an email to the tune of this back in July 2005 when I thought I was retiring from the poly community, but found I was really taking a sabbatical.
I never did write a response, but I actually did get up from my computer and swore for about five minutes without repeating myself before I was calm enough to decide I’d just let it go without saying anything.
As a response two years later: No, we don’t owe an explanation. Sorry.
But to be more forthcoming, you’ve heard the old saying, “There are three sides to any breakup: His side, her side and the truth.” Just as there are something like sixteen relationships within a quad, there are an equivalent number of sides in its breakup. Within months of that breakup, I wasn’t capable of a rational analysis and had the sense not to try — certainly not in a public forum.
Two years on, I feel like I have a more rational handle, and am even more disinclined to do a public postmortem than ever. The information that people need to solve problems in their own relationships is out there, and my own analysis would not add sufficiently to the body of knowledge to overcome any pain showing my own limited, and possibly inaccurate, point of view would cause my exes.
But you know what? You won’t go far wrong by following the advice on the PolyFamilies site. That showed a lot of what we did right, and problems we were right to work on. I don’t read any of those articles and cringe, nor do I feel ashamed of anything that’s up there. If I’ve changed an opinion, it’ll probably show up here with some level of analysis, but you ain’t gettin’ any juicy dirt.
I will say that OLQ, even in its breakup, did do something right. We decided “Screw the personal. How do we at least do our best for the kids?” We’re doing okay. Not perfect, because no-one’s perfect, but I’m proud of the fact that we do focus on the important stuff.
So, in the face of that, if you’re in the throes of a breakup, I’d like to give this advice which has worked for us:
- It’s a damn breakup, not a war. You don’t need troops to defend you. Look, in a breakup, you might be seeing things in black and white. You might very well feel like you are totally right and you want people to agree with how right you are. Enjoy your rightness quietly and don’t wave it like a damn flag, ‘kay? Trumpeting your rightness or jumping up and down to defend yourself in public because you were so badly wronged makes you like like a damn’ idiot. (Note that OLQ handled the breakup privately for a reason!)
- Never put anything in writing you don’t want to show up in court. This was not so applicable in my case. The legal issues were resolved without recourse to a court mediation. But if you’re facing one, remember that online forums ain’t private. Not even friends locks on LJs. Don’t be an idiot.
- The children are children, not messengers, nor allies. Keep the kids out of it. Don’t badmouth the other parents to the kids. Remember, the kids love your exes, even if you might have stopped. Being a good parent in the face of emotional upheaval is hard, I’m not going to say otherwise. But suck it up, buttercup, ’cause you have a duty.
- Of course you’re going to want to vent. Carefully choose to whom you will do so. Every time you say something privately to another person, it increases by an exponential factor the chance of what you were mouthing off about to get back to an ex and start drama. If you have a deep need to vent, a really deep need to just blow, get a professional counselor. If you want something nasty to get back to your ex, I’m sorry, I have scant sympathy. That’s bloody tacky. When it’s over, you shut up, suck it up and move on as best you can. Show a little damn’ class.
Anyway, this is about as much of an answer as I feel good about giving in terms of OLQ’s breakup and what have you. We’re still parents to the kids. We don’t have fights. We communicate about as well as can be expected in a very complex divorce. There are friendships among the exes, even if we’re not the Bestest Buddies Evah.
In my book, I call that good.
1And if I’ve not already discussed it with you privately, I’m going to decline to do so privately, too.