During the many years that PG and I have known S, he's gone through several major changes in socialization pattern. There have been years where we saw him once or twice, times where weekly (or at least several times a month) get-togethers were the norm, periods where he was so focused on work that socialization was considered largely extraneous, and a broad swathe of time where his ex spouse controlled his socialization, both in time and with whom, to such an extreme degree that it felt abusive from the outside.
That period was just prior to our relationship beginning, and one of the characteristics during the early days of the connection was the consuming hunger for contact with others, the NEED to socialize, to speak, be heard, interact with the energy of others, that S had. Add that on top of NRE, and it was pretty heady stuff!
Cut to a couple years later: Here we are, sometimes a social nexus, trying to plug in with our community in many ways. We host, we go to events, we talk and mentor others, form friendships, have dates and try to make time to play as well as work, parent and all of the other things that call for attention.
S went to a zen meditation last night. I purposely hung back, not because I was unwelcome in any way, but because he hasn't gone places on his own lately. My tendency is to be super supportive of my partners. With PG, that means I've had to learn that he enjoys a lot more personal space and time than is my personal preference. With S, that means I've spent a lot of time doing stuff as a couple, up to and including dating.
It might be a little silly, but in the back of my mind is the question: Is tagging along with him all the time that much different than what his ex was doing by keeping him home and cut off from the outside? I'm front and center for interactions he has, right there, hazing the scenery with my presence as he meets and talks with others for the first time. It's all voluntary, of course, so that is a big step up. It's not like I'm saying that he can only go out, or be social when I'm along. It's just sort of the pattern we've fallen into. We interact similarly, and enjoy bouncing off each other conversationally, and that feels good. I guess the underlying concern is: Am I impeding him from finding other partners with my presence?
The answer to that, I don't have. So for now, I'll be social in my own way, with or without my partners, as desired. Maybe I'll spend a little more time off on my own. Creating space for socialization on a solo level. I do know that I want both my partners to have all the social contact they want, with or without me, because they are amazing men in their own right, and deserve to have that seen.