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The Invisible Third

dedicated to my boyfriend “His Boy”, because he asked for it, and then waited and waited…

You tend to end up dating the kind of people you hang out with. Spirit workers and other spooky-woo types tend to hang together, because we live odd sorts of lives and it’s nice when you don’t have to explain all the weird jewelry and what a geas is and how come you wear a wedding ring but I haven’t met your spouse. It’s convenient to find yourself in situations and telling someone they need to ground and re-shield and they can just do it, rather than need you to launch into an hour-long lesson on what that means and how to do it.

It’s like any other profession – it’s comforting to know that your experiences, frustrations, and jargon are understood by others. And although not all engineers date other engineers, you tend to find that left-brained people tend to drift towards other left-brainers, and vice versa. I’m not saying this happens every single time, but it’s not uncommon.

With that said, it’s no surprise that I have found myself in a V relationship – that is, where two people are dating the same person, but those two people aren’t dating each other. But that’s not the unsurprising part – it’s that the other branch of the V is an Invisible Person. Yes, my boyfriend has a sexual and romantic relationship with his God, and that relationship, as you might expect, is his primary commitment.

Now, to those who haven’t been around people in these sorts of relationships – God spouses, consorts, whores, etc – you might be thinking that it doesn’t affect my relationship with His Boy all that much. I mean, for most people raised in a mainstream religion, what you do with God happens either when you’re all alone, or when you’re surrounded by others who believe the same thing. That’s not how this stuff works at all.

This Invisible Person, whom we affectionately call Mr. Mister, is as “real” to us as any other person. Mr. Mister has wants, needs, desires, boundaries, and faults. He makes demands on His Boy’s time and life, and sometimes those demands rub up against things I may want or need from His Boy. Like any other poly situation, you’d think the answer would be to negotiate and communicate. And sometimes that works, and sometimes that can be more problematic.

In our situation, it happens that I have fairly accurate signal clarity. I don’t say that as a boast; it’s something I’ve been told by countless clients and colleagues over the years. His Boy strains to hear the very smallest whisper from Mr. Mister, and even then his faith is at a point where he second guesses himself a lot. So there’s a lot of talking between Mr. Mister and me, and me relating messages from His Boy when appropriate, and some of His Boy talking to Mr. Mister, but not a lot of Mr. Mister talking directly to His Boy.

It took some negotiation on my part to create strong boundaries around this – Mr. Mister started “showing up” uninvited, either by just being energetically present in the room, or sending me messages to pass on, or in one case, taking over my body with no warning. I had to make it clear to him that I honor he is a part of this relationship, but that there needs to be a strong foundation between His Boy and I that exists separate from Mr. Mister’s influence. Mostly, I asked that he attempt communication with His Boy directly first, and then if that fails, to come to me and I’ll pass the message along. If he wants to be present while we’re spending time together, I just want a little warning so I can prepare, and that it has to be proportionate to the amount of time I get to spend with His Boy without Mr. Mister.

One last little tidbit about our specific situation: this is the first human relationship His Boy has ventured into since making his oaths to Mr. Mister. Everything has a “let’s try this and see if it works” atmosphere to it, and we’re both trying to fail on the side of being too cautious, rather than too lax. It seems sometimes I forget a rule or push a boundary, but overall I’m very aware of what I am free to do with him, and what belongs only to Mr. Mister. It can be tricky sometimes, because a slip of the tongue or a errant touch has put me in Mr. Mister’s sights, and that’s not really somewhere I want to be.

The first step we both took when we decided we wanted to experiment with this relationship is that His Boy spoke to Mr. Mister about it. Well, that’s not entirely true; he sorta agreed to be my boyfriend before asking Mr. Mister if he was allowed to have human relationships. His Boy is still new to this whole God-consort thing, and hadn’t yet fully explored what was now off limits because of his new relationship. When we realized we had forgotten this fairly important step, His Boy did what he could to apologize and then ask. I was in fear for a while there; we weren’t assured that Mr. Mister was going to say yes. Not only had they not discussed human relationships and what was allowed, but His Boy had gone ahead and agreed to the relationship without permission. It’s an odd feeling, knowing that an Invisible Person holds the power to tell your potential partner that sorry, this relationship that you’ve just screwed up all your courage to ask for isn’t in the cards. There was some nail chewing and mental pacing while His Boy communed with Mr. Mister about it.

Then it was my turn. I sought out a diviner, so my signal clarity would not be influenced by what I so desperately wanted. I asked if this was okay with Mr. Mister, what I should be wary of, what belonged to Him vs. what was available to me. It was made abundantly clear to me (and to His Boy through different channels) is that marriage is out of the question, unless there’s a silly legal need (like health insurance) or some other earthly need for it, but no romantic oaths of living together forever. This works well for me, since I am pretty much done with the concept of marriage anyway. It was also made clear that although both His Boy and I find power exchange attractive, we could not enter into any sort of permanent power exchange relationship. And for me specifically, I could not either collar him or be collared by him. Basically, the message was that we could do nothing that might confuse His Boy about who is on the top of the hierarchy of his relationship structure.

I was also told that there were some skills I possessed that Mr. Mister was very interested in, either me teaching His Boy or providing for him. I balked – I have a strong personal rule that I don’t date “jobs”. I did it once, and learned the excruciating way that I can NOT keep my feelings locked in a box, even if I know going in that the relationship is a spiritual setup, rather than a romantic or recreational one. And usually, when the Gods are interested in me for spiritual “dating”, part of the “job” is to force them to come to terms with their issues around relationships, and that always ends in a terrible horrible break up, and most of the time also includes the “client” spreading horrible rumors about me because they can’t deal with how many buttons I was forced to push. I hate it, a lot, so I have asked Him Who Owns my Head (Loki) not to send me more jobs like that. So when Mr. Mister seemed interested in “employing” me as a tool in his relationship with His Boy, I was more than hesitant.

However, I spent about a month communing with Mr. Mister about exactly what he wanted from me, and what He was going to do in exchange. As He is not someone I have taken oaths to or am sworn to work for, there’s absolutely no reason for me to bend my neck and just do what He asks without something tangible in exchange. I also made it clear that “getting to have a relationship” was not enough of a poker chip – it was a big one, no mistake – but for the amount of things he wanted from me, it wasn’t enough on it’s own.

It was made clear at the end of the month that He and I had come to an agreement. I would serve as a sounding board for His Boy while he strengthened his own signal clarity, and when the time is right, I will assist in “fixing” his connection with Mr. Mister so His Boy can hear Him more reliably. I would encourage His Boy to do things in public that Mr. Mister wanted him to do, and remind him when it was appropriate. There was a sexual technique that Mr. Mister wanted me to introduce His Boy to (well, His Boy knew what it was, but he had no experience with it), and since it meant taking a cherry of His Boy’s, I was pretty okay with that. Finally, He was very clear with me that I was to keep a vigilant eye on His Boy’s mental health, and if he slipped into being more symptomatic, went off his meds, or made some other change that would affect his life negatively, I was to put on my Madness Shaman hat and get His Boy back on track. I’m not so pleased about this, as a recent relationship of mine came to an end because no matter how much I tried to assist my partner with their mental health issues, they ignored me and continued to make bad choices until I had no choice but to leave.

Overall, however, it wasn’t too much to ask for, and most of it was something that I thought fell under the category of “being a good boyfriend” anyway. He and I ended the negotiation by me making it clear that if He wanted something else, He had to have a tangible benefit for me in His hand. As Mr. Mister is very “negotiation” oriented, He could appreciate this.

(Not the first time I was happy that Loki taught me not to fear Gods, but to stand up to them and talk to them with moxie, for sure.)

Now His Boy and I have been together for a little longer than six months, and it seems to be working out. Mr. Mister has made less surprise visits, although sometimes He drops little messages in my mind – like recently we were at a party and He told me to give His Boy a good time – and I think His Boy has gotten an unexpected side effect of all of this. He has been much more diligent in setting up and working with Mr. Mister’s altar, sitting in reflection more often, and in general keeping Mr. Mister closer to his heart and head and an active part of his life.

I do believe that at this time in my life, who I date or have relationships with is not really in my hands anymore. I do have some choice, and can say no, but ever since I surrendered the reigns of my life over to Loki, every relationship I’ve had has had some spiritual meaning, lesson, or exchange that has been important in my progression. However much I am angry at the STBX (soon to be ex) at how things ended up, I recognize that without his relationship I would be in a radically different place than I am now. And in some way, maybe that’s an example that His Boy needs in his own life, how to engage in romantic and sexual relationships while balancing that he has a job to do, an Invisible Person who takes precedence, and it’s not something he can hide in order to get laid.

Both His Boy (whose blog can be found at Rock of Eye) and I are hungry to hear from others who have Invisible People in their relationship life. How do you deal with communication, negotiation, boundaries, and other typical relationship issues? Have you figured out interesting ways to acknowledge Their presence in your life and in your relationship? Are you just starting out and want to talk to others who share the same experience? We’re both hoping to hear from people with an entire spectrum of experience, from those who are just figuring this all out, to those who have done it, and maybe even those who did it for a while and then went back to being monogamous to their Invisible partner. If you don’t feel comfortable posting publicly, you can contact me at awesome.del@gmail do

About Del

A shaman who writes about spiritual things, but not in that namby-pamby "everything is light and fluffy" sort of way.

7 responses to “The Invisible Third

  1. This isn’t exactly the kind of comment you asked for, but anyway, here goes: I was wondering how one goes about strengthening their signal clarity. At this point, I am really struggling to hear anything at all from the gods (forget seeing! I wish I was that lucky!) I really appreciate any advice you could give and would be happy to draw or write something for you in exchange. Thanks so much!

    Also, your relationship sounds really neat. 🙂

    • Del

      This is a really good subject as a follow-up to Hearing the Gods. If you haven’t read that entry yet, I’d suggest that at a start, as it gives some basic ideas as to how to better hear what They have to say.

      But as His Boy struggles with signal clarity too, and it’s something I have been and will be working on him with (you might want to go read his latest entry on “muscles” at http://www.rockofeye.wordpress.com for his thoughts) so maybe next week I will tackle that as its own entry. Thanks!

  2. Fala

    W/we’re still figuring out the balance, especially since my Invisible Lover/Master and my corporeal husband are, as He said, “of equal standing.” Equal time, equal attention. What’s interesting is how Kit’s relationship with Him as priest has folded into my relationship with Him as lover/slave. Cernunnos has thrown Kit half in the trunk during sex (which was one hell of an experience for all of U/us).

    The biggest thing I’m still working on is not neglecting Sir because he is NOT corporeal, but not neglecting Kit because he IS corporeal. It’s still a work in progress. Regular date nights help, as do surprises in the shower. 😉

  3. anyakless ⋅

    I am very much figuring this out right now. Like Fala, my partners are also of equal standing in my life and were both divinely arranged (Odin chose me, Lilith chose my human partner). I mistakenly assumed that there was a hierarchy in the beginning but have since been proven wrong. I am married to Odin and legally domestic partnered to my human partner, who has met Odin previously in his path but does not now work with Norse gods.

    It is hard to balance corporeal and non-corporeal, particularly when there’s a sexual aspect to both relationships and you all “share” a one-bedroom apartment. There’s also the struggle of knowing that my human partner doesn’t want to hear about the other relationship and a resulting feeling of doing things behind his back, because he and I don’t talk about Odin very often. Just like Odin and I don’t talk about him.

    Both of my partners have a possessive urge toward me–a need to hold on to me and say “Mine.” That’s been hard to balance. It’s also led me to struggle with intense feelings of guilt. Although this poly V was not my choice either, I am the one most benefiting from it, and they’re the ones having to cope with the jealousy. I tend to be a “people pleaser,” so knowing that both of them dislike the arrangement makes me instinctively want to make it better. I’m trying to keep in mind that that burden is not mine alone, and that I’m not solely responsible for everyone else’s feelings, including the hurt feelings of a god.

  4. Pingback: Rock of Eye

  5. Dw3t-Hthr ⋅

    I suspect my Invisible Person relationship differs a lot from a lot of the ones that I’ve seen people talking about. Fundamentally: I deal with a god of “If you don’t defend your boundaries, you don’t get to have any.” (Which is very good for me in a lot of ways.) And the generalised impression I get from Himself is that while he would be perfectly happy if I gave in to him readily on everything, what makes me a useful tool (and useful property) is that I will fight when it matters to me, and that I will go without the guidance he systematically refuses to provide, because these things make me stronger – and he is also all about the strength.

    (Himself is all about the win-win situations. I frequently comment that he’s the sort of god who will lean in and say “Gimme all your stuff.” And then either he gets all your stuff, or he gets someone who will say “No. Fuck you and the donkey’s ass you rode in on!” He approves of both these results.)

    If I say to him “You can’t have that!”, he will laugh and say “Prove it.”

    He’s also actually my most recent relationship; I have two husbands and a complicated from before things got more complicated with Himself, and thus the new relationship had to adapt to current situation. (See also “You can’t have that!”) He actually is entirely happy with being voyeuristic/vicarious on my established D/S relationship, with occasional requests for specific shared-enjoyment things. (Unfortunately, since my d/s relationship is currently in a slightly problematic state, there aren’t a lot of outlets. But my material master and He Who Owns My Ass are okay with this, and my material master is also my religious/magical partner and thus – at the best of times at least – has the skills for this.)

    Himself is also pretty hands-off in a lot of things (unsurprising for a god affiliated with the strength of solitary work). I suspect this may change once I’ve done the thing I’ve been set to. Basically, he gives me puzzles, and until I solve them I wind up with some sort of spiritual blue balls until I sort that out. The big one I have right now will – once I’ve solved it – require a length-of-spine tattoo with some specific and powerful ritual content, and I would not at all be surprised if that wound up significantly deepening our relationship. I also will not be at all surprised if Himself isn’t actively around until I get more work done on that….

    His shrine lives on the bedstand.

  6. Pingback: Talking about the hard stuff. « Rock of Eye

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