I am in love.
I am in love with a group of people.
My Boyfrog is not single in personhood, but rather, multiple. They are a group. I've known my group since before they knew they were a group. I have been with them through the entirety of what is known in my DID/MPD support group circle as the 'Ape Shit Phase', the phase during which the group discovers it's a group and everyone strains against the system and tries to resolve themselves as their needs/wants as individuals*. Each system navigates and deals with this phase in a unique way. I'm writing from the only perspective that I have- from that of a singleton, on the outside looking in.
To be a partner of a group means many different, complicated, sometimes things.
Sometimes every decision, every topic, may or may not have several people with completely different viewpoints- who may or may not voice them directly to the person the body is speaking to. Sometimes the viewpoints may or may not be worded in the most blunt, calculated, or even hurtful way. Sometimes the individual may intend it this way, and sometimes zie may not. Sometimes these viewpoints are not openly expressed to the person the body is talking to. Sometimes individuals still vocally express their opinions inside; sometimes this bleeds to the outside conversation. Sometimes the person a partner is talking to snaps at hir out of the blue, or seems irritated. Sometimes this means there has been a switch; sometimes an individual is yelling about something on the inside. Sometimes a partner can ask if the yelling individual can stop or lessen the yelling for the duration of the conversation. Sometimes they comply with that request, and other times they don't- and I have a feeling sometimes they hear my request out and yell more.
In some groups, sometimes a partner can tell who zie is talking to at any given moment, and sometimes not. Sometimes a courtesy is paid and a partner is informed who zie is talking to, and sometimes a partner is left to wonder. And oftentimes someone will deliberately try to impersonate someone a partner is used to talking to- sometimes this is used as a test, sometimes as an observational moment. Sometimes a partner's ability to tell who zie is talking to is used to measure love. Sometimes a partner is set up to fail this particular test, and sometimes a partner fails on their own. And sometimes a partner passes. Sometimes a partner has no idea they've even been tested, but a partner always finds out that they've passed or failed, one way or another. Sometimes someone in the group will take the test too far. Sometimes someone in the group will satisfy hirself by simply hurting a partner and making them cry. If this happens, sometimes a partner breaks.
Sometimes a partner brings hir own baggage to a relationship, and sometimes that gets shelved in order to deal with other baggage. Sometimes a partner's baggage gets shelved for long enough that when the other baggage is navigated, a partner's baggage explodes. Sometimes a group gets self-absorbed in their baggage. Sometimes a partner always prioritizes hir group's baggage; oftentimes this is a mistake. Sometimes a partner will burn out or run out of spoons. Sometimes navigating burn out is a balancing act between a partner and hir group.
Sometimes a partner needs something specific from hir group; sometimes the group will accommodate that, and sometimes not. Sometimes a partner is simply left to deal with their demons alone. If this sometimes happens enough, it becomes oftentimes. Sometimes the abandonment by a group wounds deeply; sometimes it is a welcome respite. Sometimes both partner and hir group must retreat and regroup.
Sometimes both a partner and individuals of a group have triggers. Sometimes a partner's trigger response triggers individuals of a group; sometimes vice verse. Sometimes triggers must be traversed carefully. Sometimes either a partner or a group is triggered and the other can't tell.
Sometimes a partner will try to 'fix' their group's problems. Oftentimes this is a terrible idea. Oftentimes simply listening does much more good than either a partner or hir group knows. Sometimes a group is reasonable; sometimes it is not. Sometimes a partner is unreasonable; sometimes not. Sometimes neither a partner nor hir group realizes that they or the other is being unreasonable. Sometimes unreasonable must be defined as you go.
Sometimes an individual in a group will set a boundary that only applies to hirself. Sometimes that individual will talk to a partner without letting the partner know who is out. Sometimes a partner will cross that boundary without knowing that boundary is in place. Oftentimes a partner will be punished for violating that boundary. Sometimes this situation is stacked against a partner.
Sometimes a partner is romantic with several individuals within the group. Sometimes a partner is romantic with only one individual within the group. Sometimes this changes. Sometimes the individuals in the group have different romantic needs; oftentimes a partner must be fluid to these needs. Oftentimes a partner will have a different relationship with each individual zie interacts with. Sometimes individuals within a group may hate a partner. Sometimes this is resolvable within the group; sometimes it is not. Sometimes trying to look through that individual's perspective is helpful; sometimes it's not.
Sometimes a partner laughs with hir group; sometimes a partner cries with hir group. Sometimes a partner comforts hir group; sometimes a group comforts hir partner. Sometimes a partner spends the morning playing got-your-nose with the cat. Sometimes a partner spends the night frustrated over triggers. Sometimes a partner must repeat hirself so that everyone in the group hears hir. Sometimes individuals in the group repeat themselves to make themselves heard. Sometimes partners fuck up. Sometimes individuals in the group fuck up. Sometimes trust is broken; sometimes trust can be rebuilt. Oftentimes a partner must word everything carefully as to not break that trust; sometimes there is no wording careful enough.
Sometimes a partner hangs on to the roller coaster as best zie can. Sometimes a partner gets run over by the cart. Sometimes there is peace and harmony. Sometimes there's chaos and disorder. Sometimes there's both at the same time.
Always we take it one day at a time.
*I realize that I write this as a singleton, thus I can only report on my observations in conjunction with those who I know and talk to who are multiple or partners of multiples.