Poly Pains


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.

Cur­rent Mood: 🙁depressed
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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