sambear and I were already polyamorous when we met. We were, in fact, involved with other people—an LDR for him, a local, long-time secondary here for me. His other relationship ended (for wholly unrelated reasons) shortly after we met, and mine ended within a few months. By then, we were pretty deeply in love, and we chose to be monogamous in practice for at least a year to give our relationship time to grow strong. That was 1998. We did not, in fact, make a commitment to definitely reopening the relationship. sambear’s introduction to poly was not consensual, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to be actively polyamorous again. I agreed to let him decide whether or not he’d ever be interested in opening our relationship.
Nearing the end of 2002, we’re still growing as a couple and as a family. There are a lot more issues to deal with when blending a family (especially with kids as old as ours—I think it would be far easier with toddlers/infants) than with simply becoming a couple. Losing Katie’s father, having R&G’s mother suddenly move across the continent, various health issues, me quitting work to stay home, sambear changing jobs, and us moving to a new home added to the stuff to deal with. Even when changes are positive, they’re changes and things can take time to settle down again.
But we’re getting to the point where we’re negotiating our own set of “rules” for lack of a better term, as to how we will interact with other SOs. We’re doing that fairly slowly, having both come up with our own separate documents, and we are now working to come to a consensus and create one document that reflects our combined voices.
Yes, we realize that the whole written document thing may seem pretty ridiculous to some people. But hey, this is our family here, and it’s a major priority for us. We’ve both lived poly hell before, thankyouverymuch, and we’ve had and observed plenty of “growth experiences” that we’d like to avoid. We’ve learned how very important communication is, how different people can use the very same words to mean vastly different things, and how memories can easily fade so that people’s recollections and understanding of their agreements become very different. So, yeah, the document may be overwhelming to new potential SOs, but the expectation here is that anyone who is truly compatible with us will understand that its existence reflects our desire to practice very responsible non-monogamy in truth.
That document isn’t finished yet. We aren’t actively involved with anyone else yet, and won’t be until it is done AND we find a way to make sure we’ve got enough kid-free couple time to keep our relationship with each other healthy and whole before we start parceling out time with other SOs. We aren’t exactly out looking for dates, and we don’t *need* more people in our lives right now. We are open to loving more people. We just want to be careful so that nobody—us, or kids, otherloves or their kids or otherloves—gets hurt. And yes, we fully intend to take any and all relationships pretty damned slowly, so everybody gets a chance to know everybody else. We aren’t kids. There’s plenty of time to form friendships. And if a friendship or two becomes something more, that will be a blessing.
The fact that we really aren’t interested in just screwing around is already going to make it harder for us to find partners. My long-term dream is a poly family (yes, I have a terrible crush on OLQ without having met them, and have for several years). I’ve dreamed about that since high school. Most people we’ve met in the poly community are not interested in that at all. And even with people who are—well, we have admittedly high standards. We’re really protective of each other and, especially, our kids. That isn’t going to change.
So here we are, operating this way, and trying to be completely open and honest and aboveboard in all our interactions (not just with potential SOs, it’s just our standard way of interacting with everyone). And still, even with other people trying to be just as honest, there’s been a misunderstanding that was very hurtful to someone that neither of us would have ever wanted to hurt. At all.
I’m pretty depressed and unhappy about that and worried about the other person and sie’s primary. I don’t want to lose a friendship with someone who has become quite important to me in a very short period of time (very unusual for me), and I hoped to get to know that person’s primary partner better as well. Things look a little brighter now than a few hours ago, at least. But I’m still worried.