Minneapolis punks jimmy and bryan answer Razorcake readers’ concerns in Dear ACABby, an advice column for the rest of us. Today, they deal with what to do when booglin’ goes wrong. If you’ve got a problem you’d like Dear ACABby to have a go at, you can email them at [email protected] and they’ll get back to you here at razorcake.org.
what is the best way to individually internally cope with polyamory feels while riding trains? it’s challenging when my gal pal is clearly tryna bang someone else when we are all hanging in a group. i don’t want to have veto power or otherwise keep her from making connections in towns we are only going to be in for a couple days. mostly i’m looking for tools for self soothing on my own or something like that at the height of anxiety and projection hour during these times.
Travelling ain’t easy, especially when your train breaks up in Spokane and your road dog looks for someone in town to boogle* down with. Or when you’re passing through Whitefish, crashing at a squat with paper-thin walls, just forced to deal with the person you’ve been sharing a grainer porch with for 55 hours playing a flirty game of hot dice six feet away. Riding the rails comes with its own unique set of challenges: everything from staying hydrated to coping with emotions around polyamory. And while riding the rails can be a way to run away from a feeling, the harsh reality is that when your train sides out for ten hours under the hot sun amidst Illinois agriculture fields, it all comes to the front.
Feeling jealousy in any polyamorous configuration is normal AF and something most of the poly-inclined learn early and brutally. What you do about it is something else. One of the better medicines for avoiding conflict (not jealousy, which, unfortunately, will stand the test of time and reason) is preemptively setting general ground rules, like, for example, checking in more regularly while traveling than you might otherwise, even just about how you’re feeling or a more serious talk like “boundaries.” When it comes to a feeling like jealousy setting in, taking stock and recognizing it comes first. It sounds like you don’t want to set boundaries around who your partner is seeing, in this context at least, so caring for yourself will look more like controlling your reaction and communicating effectively than reevaluating your dynamic.
While it’s okay to process feelings of jealousy with your partner, make sure not to put the onus on them and take responsibility for the way you’re feeling. Try calling or writing a friend to process feelings you’re unwilling to hold boundaries around. If you’d like to keep it more to yourself, keeping a journal is a great way to process privately. One thing about traveling with a lover is that we sort of, like, lose ourselves. We are seeing and experiencing most things with one other person. For things that do affect one more than the other, be sure to reach out beyond the coupledom and vent about those feelings as much as you need. Other than that, some grounding techniques can be useful, both while riding the steel horse and anywhere else. In this case, perhaps try some breathing techniques (we like 7 seconds in, hold for 5, 7 second out), or progressive muscle relaxation. Other than that, some comforting music in the headphones often does the trick, perhaps the new Dawn Riding or Cher Strauberry.
We wish you the best out there on the rails. Trainhopping can really feel like heaven or hell (sometimes both) and self-care is always necessary. Take care to give yourself the space and time to process, and the self-compassion to use it. Remember to look down and back, and always check ahead for problems.
Ride hard live free be safe,
jimmy + bryan
*Boogle is a term of endearment, used as both a verb and a noun, a portmanteau of boo (as in lover) and oogle (a once pejorative but since reclaimed term for travelling kids).
jimmy & bryan are two Minneapolis punks trying to stay cool while rooting for another hot summer. You can send them your advice inquiries at [email protected] and they’ll get back to you as soon as possible.