Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘polyamory’

The last 12 months have been intense. I went through a breakup, that nearly broke me, then was in two relationships that ended within a month of each other.

After that, I swore off ‘dating’ anyone during 2013.

Then I went back to Uni, and have been busily preparing myself for a major life and career change (a.k.a. getting a new degree).

Since going on semester break, I’ve found myself with a little bit of free time and absolutely no desire to date.

But I miss having a companion. I just do not want to go through all the heartbreak again. And I don’t feel the rewards of being ‘poly’ are really worth the trouble right now.

However, should I meet someone and hit it off, I don’t see myself saying no because of any ‘rule’ against dating.

Husband and I were talking last night about loneliness. He’s an introvert, I’m…less of an introvert. We have each other, but we both get lonely. I can’t speak for him, but I have definitely been feeling lonely lately. I’ve been working, I’ve been relatively social, but I really miss having ‘someone’. I have ‘someone,’ obviously, I have Husband. But we’ve agreed that we are not perfect for each other in every way. We are not perfect lovers. We are not perfect ‘companions’ (which is a gender neutral word I like to use for the role a ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ fills).  We are, however, perfect partners. We are great parents. We are an excellent Pictionary team.

So what I miss is having a lover and a companion with whom I am compatible. But I do not intend at this point to go seeking out someone to slot into that box (no pun intended). The heartbreak of losing someone who was those things, but also a lying, cheating, betrayer of my trust has left me scarred and scared. Even one year later, I’m just too exhausted to imagine making the effort.

As for Husband, he went through the emotional wringer over the last 12 months too. He was hit hard by the whole drama, then got dumped by his major, longtime companion. They’d been together nearly as long as he and I had been and then she just… yeah. Right after that, he got dumped by his two other lovers/companions as well. (EDIT: I’ve left out a part of this story, another major relationship ended in a mutual agreement to stop seeing each other. It was really emotionally draining and awful. I wouldn’t characterise it as being ‘dumped’ so it didn’t fit into this paragraph.) So it’s not just my own experiences that have left me with Post Traumatic Relationship Stress. Because we were both going through so much emotional shit at the same time (plus there was my school work making me stress out), we couldn’t even really be there for each other either and that has taken its toll.

For now, we are over dating.

Furthermore, I just don’t get crushes anymore. Not in the same way I used to. I used to get crushes that were consuming. And a major part of them was a burning desire to have sex with that person. Now, I get ‘friend crushes’ where I get all excited about hanging out with a new person. I’ve had several major friend crushes on classmates, coworkers and others in my life, but none of them have been sexual in the least. If I find myself picturing someone sexually, my brain clicks in and says, “What’s the point? What makes you think it will be anything special? You’ve had sex. Sex is sex. This person will offer nothing you haven’t had before.” Which is strange. My desire for sexual novelty is completely null. It’s not even like I’ve lost my libido. I still desire sex, but just not with anyone I know (besides Husband and Lovely Boy…more about him later).

I’ve got polyamory burnout.

However, on the horizon, I have an upcoming visit to my homeland. When I arrive there, I’ve got a former lover whom I have been wanting to see since last year. Last year, when I went back home I had planned a tryst, but did not engage in shenanigans out of respect for the aforementioned Lying Asshole, who had expressed discomfort with the idea. (Later events made me regret the decision somewhat, regardless of the fact that it meant I could maintain the moral high ground.) I’m looking forward to seeing Lovely Boy because he’s someone  I have fun with and with whom I’ve been compatible sexually. But he’s a far cry from a regular companion. He lives half a world away, and even if I were to move back next year, he’s still a 10 hour drive from where I’d be living.

And so, for now, I remain lonesome.

Read Full Post »

mallard1

“So, do you want to hear my safer sex speech?”

“…ok.”

“Great! Here’s my speech. The last time I was tested was [_____], and I was tested for [_____] and [____]. I tested negative/positive/was treated for [_____]. I have [____] and I can’t guarantee I won’t give it to you, so if that is a problem, then I’m sorry but that means we can’t [_____]. I’ve had [____] sexual partners and right now I have [____] partners (our relationship agreement is that we are poly/mono/open/swingers/etc. which means [___]). I am currently on/not on hormonal birth control, but I still insist on using barrier methods for [______] sex. I am open to using barrier methods for [____] but not for [_____]. I really like [______] but I’m not into [_____]. What about you?”

I got this awesome idea from this YouTube video called Reid’s Saver Sex Elevator Speech. It’s by Reid Mihalko and honestly it was a huge turn on.

I thought I might try it if I ever date again.

What’s surprising is that there are people, mostly guys (that I know of), mostly younger than me, who don’t seem to be all that concerned about safer sex. It’s like they don’t think it matters, or think it’s too hard to have that conversation so they just pin the responsibility on their partner and let her call the shots. Well, as the Actual Advice Mallard up at the top reminds us, relying on your partner to set the safer sex standards for a sexual encounter means you’re leaving major decisions about your health – and if you are poly, the health of a whole community of people – to someone else. It’s up to YOU to take responsibility for your safer sex decisions. The only person whose safer sex decisions you can trust are your OWN. The only actions you know about for sure are YOUR OWN.

“But it’s too hard. It’s embarrassing. It’s not how I do things.”

You know what’s a more awkward conversation to have? Telling someone you tested positive for an STI. That is a shitty conversation to have. And if you are non-monogamous, you have to have that conversation with a lot of people. And some of them will never trust you again.

But it’s not all doom and gloom!

If you front-load this conversation, and have it as early as possible, you can have ALL THE SEX! Think how awesome that would be!

And the best part, if it scares someone off, well, then maybe you’re not on the same page and you deserve better.

Read Full Post »

Is someone still polyamorous if she is not actively seeking out new partners?

Is someone still polyamorous if she isn’t in a relationship?

Is someone still considered bisexual if they’ve never been in a same sex/opposite sex relationship?

Is someone considered bisexual if they’re in a monogamous same sex/oppposite sex relationship?

These questions have been coming up a lot lately. Right now, I’m what I call poly single. As I am only in one relationship, and not interested in pursuing any other romantic relationships, I am, for all practical purposes, monogamous. I still consider myself polyamorous, but just not really playing the game right now.

I got my heart broken pretty badly last year. Someone I trusted hurt me worse than anyone ever has, then my two fledgeling follow-up relationships didn’t make it past the six month mark. I have turned my attention to some things I’ve been neglecting for a long time, and I started a seriously intense graduate course at university, so I don’t really have time for the level of distraction and emotional investment romantic relationships usually require.

Does this still make me poly? I took part in another radio show on Q Radio’s Friday Night Lip Service, on identifying as queer while in an outwardly ‘straight’ relationship, and the host of the show spoke about her respect for people who could be invisible, but choose to be visible. In a way, she said, it’s even more brave because you have the option of being ‘normal’ and ‘passing’ but you choose to out yourself when it’s not an imperative.

But I still struggle with the question of authenticity. Can I really speak as a queer voice when I don’t suffer the same kind of discrimination? When I don’t have to come out? When my stakes aren’t as high?

I still don’t have any answers.

Read Full Post »

I mentioned in my last post that I’d been questioning whether or not being polyamorous was worth it. I came back with the answer ‘Yes’ but didn’t really explain why.

I did a bit of brainstorming about why I do this, to serve as a reminder for myself and hopefully anyone who reads this. I’ve written before about Deborah Anapol’s article, Why People Choose Polyamory and found some inspiration there again.

So, why?

 Because I love being in love.

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being in love and having it returned is one of the best feelings and I have found that being polyamorous means I get to experience that even more. I don’t have to stop being in love with one person in order to be in love with someone else. I never have to face that agonising experience of ‘BUT I LOVE THEM BOTH, HOW CAN I CHOOSE?’

Because I love sex.

Free Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I say it’s not just about the sex, but it definitely plays a big role. I do like sex a lot. It’s something I enjoy without guilt, and I am not afraid to seek it out or ask for it. I’m a sex-positive person and for me, sex is healthy and fun, however there is a lot of emotion that comes along with sexual intimacy. Polyamory offers an ethical framework where neither the physical act nor the emotions are taboo.

Because I want to grow as a person and push past my comfort zone.

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Polyamory is challenging to both social norms and personal boundaries. In Deborah Anapol’s article on this, she says:

“The blessing and the curse of polyamory is that love which includes more than one tends to illuminate those dark shadows many would prefer to ignore.”

I personally hate glossing over problems. I prefer ‘front loading things,’ as my boyfriend is fond of saying, and keeping everything out in the open. This can be very confronting for other people, though many find it rather refreshing. As a dear friend of mine said to me once, “What I love about you, is I never have to guess what you’re thinking.” For better or worse, this is how I deal with things. If there is an elephant in the room, I say, “Hey! An elephant!” Then stride right up to it and start feeding it peanuts. For me, the communication and exploration aspects that are essential in making polyamory work are one of the things I enjoy. Though it is exhausting at times, I learn more about myself and constantly grow as a person.

Because I want my child to grow up in a happy home.

Mother and Child

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This one is being challenged at the moment, but I feel that forming more close bonds with other adults means my son will have a bigger family and more access to adult role models than if my husband and I were monogamous. We live far from our blood relatives, but we both believe in having a larger family. The article I wrote about in my last post covers this topic well, so I won’t rehash all of that.

I find that this lifestyle is rewarding and challenging. Sometimes I think it might be easier to be monogamous, but for me, it would be limiting, monotonous and I would have to deny much of my natural sexuality to make it work. When faced with the choice between the two, I would choose this lifestyle every time.

Read Full Post »

Deborah Anapol’s article in Psychology Today, “Group Marriage and the Future of the Family,” was published back in March, but it only crossed my path today. It is a very positive article (I’d expect nothing less from Anapol, author of Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits) and paints a very rosy picture of the benefits of polyamory on children:

“One of the most common concerns about polyamory is that it’s harmful to children, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Multiple-adult families and committed intimate networks have the potential of providing dependent children with additional nurturing adults who can meet their material, intellectual, and emotional needs. While parents may end up focusing less attention on their children, children may gain new aunts, uncles, and adopted parents.”

I find this article timely, as my poly-family has recently had its limits tested and right now looks dangerously close to breaking. I won’t go into details because it’s still a fresh wound and nothing is certain. But it does raise the question for me, what if these adults, with whom a child forms a close bond, decide they no longer want to or are unable to be a part of that family? It could potentially be as stressful as a divorce, especially if there is animosity amongst the adults. What about when the departing adult wishes to maintain a relationship with a child they helped raise, but the biological parents want nothing to do with that person, the pain of loss being still too strong? In cases where the relationship is clearly defined, i.e. the leaving partner is the biological parent or a spouse of one of the parents, there are legal rights and clear custody arrangements, but what about the ‘other’ people? The pseudo-aunties and sort-of-uncles? Is the idealistic dream of ‘one big happy family’ just that? An unattainable ideal?

I worry sometimes that we who practice polyamory and advocate for its acceptance perhaps paint too rosy a picture of polyamory. Sometimes, it’s very, very difficult. Lately, I’ve been facing a lot of challenges in my relationships and they have all come fast and hard, one after another. A friend of mine once asked me, baffled by my emotional pain about a recent breakup, “Isn’t the point of getting married so that you don’t have to go through this again?” and I’ve asked myself the question several times over the last month or so whther it is worth all this pain to keep pursuing polyamorous relationships. For me, the answer is just as easy to answer as if I were single and pursuing monogamous relationships: yes. My relationships are worth it.

Whatever the shape of a relationship, there is always potential for pain, heartbreak, jealousy, anger, loss and more. When it goes wrong, it hurts. Furthermore, you can be doing everything right and still wind up hurting someone else or getting hurt. When you open yourself up to intimacy, you make yourself vulnerable. That’s what makes it intimate. The more people you open up to, the more chances there are for things to go horribly wrong. Is it fair to put children in the middle of that? I don’t know. It’s a good question, and I’m starting to see the benefit in people being closeted to their kids. It breaks my heart to think of taking away a member of my son’s stable network of adults, but at the same time, I don’t know if I can open up myself or my husband to being hurt by this person again.

I still believe that polyamory opens up the potential to a larger network of adults to give children a larger family of which the typical nuclear family deprives them. I agree with everything in Anapol’s article, and I’ve seen examples personally of people forming a large poly household of interconnected and inter-committed adults. Maybe that is the key, that a greater commitment is required to make things work, whether between two people or more. I don’t have all the answers, but I do hope I find them, and I hope Deborah Anapol is right when she says,

“…polyamory may be at least as good as the other options for raising healthy children.”

It’s the least I can hope for.

Read Full Post »

Well, I survived.

I survived my paramour’s – that is, my BOYFRIEND’s – month long absence and it was ok!

He actually ended up meeting my parents, which was a bit strange. My mom knows the whole story, but my dad was just happy to meet one of my friends (as he was led to believe). Dear old Pater did the dad-ly, dudely thing and gave my ‘friend’ a tour of the town and took him out for a pint. Things he would still have done for a mono-boyfriend, but was happy to do for ‘just a friend.’ Because of that, I feel no need to break my dad’s innocent ignorance. He’s happy enough to treat my man like a member of the family as is. No need to fill in the details.

Upon his return, my sweetie declared that he was ready to use the official title ‘boyfriend’ since he had met my folks. A move which I found incredibly sweet. It was all NRE all over again, and only a few weeks later, we broke the seal on the “L” word. No, not “long-term” but “love” as in “I love you” and even, “I wuvs you” when we’re feeling particularly disgusting.

There was another interesting development which I meant to write about but didn’t (oh, how life tends to get in the way of blogging…). And that is that my Godparents’ sons and their wife have come out as a poly-triad (open ended, I assume, since she also has a girlfriend). It’s nice to have a bit of my extended family, of sorts, that can validate my lifestyle choice, but it was still very telling to see my family’s reaction. There was no outright shock, but there was a bit of ‘I don’t need to see that’ reaction. We all kind of knew, but there was a sense that they should keep that stuff to themselves. I sent a message voicing my support to them, explaining that I was in the same boat, or at least the same fleet. I was surprised that my brother, in particular, was very judgmental. I think he still sees his friend (one of the brothers) as being exploited by the situation. I don’t know, but I know that they’ve been together for years and they are raising beautiful children together in a house full of love. And that’s all ok by me (even if they are a bit on the hippie side of things).

As far as my son goes, he’s doing very well. His speech is coming along, slowly but surely. He’s seen a speech therapist who thinks he’s probably just delayed, not showing signs of ASD or anything. I’ve been given some strategies which I’m trying to implement, and like I said, he’s making progress. He’s able to sort of say “lemon” “watermelon” and “apple” as well as “house” and as of today, he recognises the letter “D” and says “deeh” when he sees it. So proud.

Husband has started seeing a new lady, with whom I really get along. She’s also great with my son and he has taken to her easily. She crashes over at our house quite a bit since she lives far away, which doesn’t bother me at all. I like her. In fact, I think I’ve got some kind of meta-NRE. I just think she’s fabulous and really good for Husband. He feels happy and relaxed with her and I like to see that. Between the stress of talking about home and Baby when he hangs out with me, and the stress of talking about work when he hangs out with Girlfriend, he deserves to have someone he can just talk about video games and other stuff with. After all, that’s what Boyfriend is for me.

This weekend, Husband’s Girlfriend, Boyfriend and I are going to be running in a 10K fun run. Inspired by HG’s participation in a fun run (during the training for which, I was her gym buddy), I thought it would be great to challenge myself. Between those two and their active lifestyle, I’ve picked up some great healthy habits. I’ve been running, working out and generally just being an active person for several months and I’ve noticed huge changes in my body. I’m fit. Like, really, noticeably fit. And I’m the weight I was when I was in college. Lighter, actually. I wasn’t doing it to lose weight, I was doing it to be healthier and fitter, and I can feel that I really am. It’s great. I’m thirty and I’m in better shape than I was when I was 20. Hot damn.

And I have my poly family to thank.

Who would have thought polyamory could be so good for your health?

Read Full Post »

My last post ended with the thought that when I begin my career as a teacher, I do not plan to be out amongst my co-workers. However, if it should come to pass that I am outed, or if I let slip my relationship style to a friend and it gets back around to my supervisors, I don’t intend to lie about it. This got me thinking. What would I say to my employer if they proposed that my relationship style made me unsuitable for a job teaching at their school? The following would be my response:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am polyamorous. You have discovered this fact, and I do not intend to deny it. The truth is, I am romantically involved with more than one person with the full knowledge, consent and acceptance of the people involved. These are the most important people in my life, and while I have tried to be discreet, my intent was never to deceive you or hide them from you. I understand if this situation is puzzling to you, and perhaps you find it confronting or even shocking. I hope you will consider what I have to say in my defence.

I make every effort keep my personal life separate from my work life. My activism and activity online is always under a pseudonym and while I am an activist for my lifestyle and other issues, I do not intend to allow that to enter the classroom. I am here to do a job, and espousing my lifestyle, religion and other beliefs do not enter into that.

The truth is, my love life is not much different from a single person’s. If I were a single person, nobody would be surprised to find me dating someone or if I had a series of relationships. Similarly, if I were divorced, nobody would think it odd that I had a boyfriend but still had contact with my husband and custody of my child. The difference is my relationships are concurrent. My husband and I are still married, still love each other deeply and profoundly but we also feel drawn to pursue other relationships individually as we did before we met. Loving someone new does not preclude us from continuing to love each other and remaining together for the rest of our lives.

I should emphasise that my relationships are not about sex. Furthermore, I am not a sex addict or a sexual predator and what goes on between consenting adults is none of the school’s business. If I were gay, and the school had a problem with it, I could file a discrimination suit. I don’t go around recruiting students or talking about my personal life to them nor is it my place to do so. My choices and activities have nothing to do with the school. What I do outside of school or behind closed doors should not reflect on the school, and I do my best to prevent overlap, as I stated before.

Furthermore, I try to live within strong moral and ethical guidelines, and that includes my personal life. I believe very strongly in honesty and fairness. I live by the Golden Rule, but more often the Platinum Rule, to treat others as they wish to be treated, which often takes more effort. I respect the autonomy of the individual, and the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, so long as that does not infringe on the rights of others. I hold myself responsible for the consequences of my actions and I try to be a positive force for good in the world. These are values I think anyone can agree with, whether or not they agree with my views on relationships.

Additionally, because of the nature my relationships, I have learned valuable life skills that I hope I can model and impart to students. My relationship demands that I have all the same skills that are required for making monogamy work, but without the expectations and assumptions that come with following a relationship model proscribed by society. If students are taught “Just find that right person and everything will be perfect,” as they are told by the media, they will grow up without the skills needed to form a lasting connection. Teens should learn that a relationship requires effort and must be built over time; if they expect things to be perfect when they meet ‘the one’ they are going to be disappointed. All the skills I have learned in my relationships, as a monogamous person, as a single person and as a married, polyamorous person translate across the board to all relationships and I believe my students will be able to benefit from my experience.

I hope you will consider these points and continue to see me as an asset to you the team, rather than a liability.

Sincerely,

Me.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »