Accidentally an advocate

I won’t lie, I did consider shutting down this blog after I’d announced that Aidan and I broke up. But within hours of posting that blog entry, I got an email from someone on ABC local radio who wanted me to do an interview on polyamory. This wouldn’t be the first time someone has contacted me and asked me to talk about polyamory on a semi-official platform. And that’s when I realised that my experiences and opinions are still relevant to the poly community. Through creating this blog and making my story public, I’ve accidentally become an advocate of polyamory, and now I feel somewhat obligated to continue. Not that I don’t want to of course- there are so few people who are out there educating people about polyamory, and it’s something I want to see more of. Why not me?

I still have dozens of blog entry ideas. Polyamory is such a broad topic, and there is always more to learn. Even though I’ve let myself get a little slack with the frequency of updates, I’ve decided that there’s too much still to be said to not continue blogging!

As for the radio interview? I ultimately had to decline as I had a cold, and would have sounded terrible on air. But if things continue the way they have been, it probably won’t be the last time I have another chance to talk about polyamory.

-Emma

How our family came to be (part 2/2) – with an unexpected ending

No, it’s not a joke this time. Our time together as a triad has come to an end, but I am by no means monogamous now! I drafted today’s post quite a while ago, but when I started it, I had no idea the story would end with Aidan and I parting ways. But life is funny. It never turns out how you expect, you know? Here’s part two – the final chapter – of our story.

Aidan and I were very vague acquaintances online – he’d seen some of my artwork, and we’d crossed paths in various gaming communities. I’m not sure if it was a subconscious decision – or just coincidence – that around the time Ash and I decided we were polyamorous, Aidan and I started talking on Skype. A lot.

At the time, we lived on opposite ends of the state, so we began to video chat every day. We started to fall for each other very quickly. What came next was so perfect it seemed to come straight out of a romantic comedy. Aidan and I finally confessed our love for one another – and that very night, Ash came home and told me he had a job offer in Hobart. Where AIDAN LIVED!

It was almost too good to be true, but thankfully there was no big catch. Aidan and I started going on dates, and around the same time, Ash and Aidan started talking to each other. Having so many interests in common, they immediately became close friends. I was so happy I couldn’t even describe it. The two people I loved got along like a house on fire, and wanted to spend time together, both alone and with me. That’s when I realised this could really work. Having that respect for each other made communication and dealing with jealousy super smooth. A good foundation for a new poly family.

Not long after that, Aidan asked me out and we became an official polyamorous triad. I expected some awkwardness at first, but there was hardly any. We all settled into our new roles pretty comfortably. The honeymoon stage left us all glowing with happiness.

Like it does with every relationship, the NRE slowly wore off. But that was when we started seeing the relationship realistically, and we were all still happy with it. And that’s how it stayed for a long time.

On paper, the relationship was perfect. But there was an issue that kept coming up, and got more serious as time went on. And that was, that Aidan and I were just too similar. We are both passionate about our views and made them heard. We are both stubborn, and let little things get to us. The result was a lot of petty fights.

The relationship started out strong, and those fights didn’t bother us at first. But after three years together, I noticed some of those fights were stemming from deeper issues. And because we both have inflated egos, neither of us wanted to admit that we were wrong. When our emotional minds got in the way of our rationality, it became hard to communicate and we got into petty habits like getting jealous, stretching the truth and expecting each to read the other’s mind. These were all things I was aware I’d done in the past, and thought I’d overcome. But I guess being polyamorous doesn’t make you perfect, and it doesn’t stop your emotions from getting in the way.

Aidan was prepared to work on things and see if they got better, but I didn’t feel the same. I felt like if we continued, it might be better in the short term, but things would just revert back to being crap. And so I was the one who initiated the break up. That’s something I’ve never done before, and hoped never to do. It made things harder for Aidan, which played on my conscience a lot.

It’s now been about a month since we officially split. Things have started looking up for both of us. I feel like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders, and I feel better about my decision now that the dust has settled. Things have been a little tense between us, but I think we can continue to be good friends in the long term.

Ash and I are still together and there haven’t been any issues between us throught the whole ordeal. In fact, Ash has been a godsend in that he’s been able to mediate and help us to keep the fights from getting too bad. That’s just one more benefit to polyamory- Aidan’s had a close friend and I’ve had a loving partner to help us through the split.

So, that’s the lowdown. It’s not that polyamory doesn’t work; I wouldn’t even say it’s not for me. It’s just a chapter in my life that ended in an unexpected way. But it’s made me grow as a person – cliché, but true. I’ve learned a lot about myself I couldn’t have ever learned in monogamy. And I think I can speak for Aidan when I say he has, too.

Polyamory is still part of who I am – having only one partner doesn’t make me any less poly than being single makes you less hetero or homosexual. And for that reason I plan to continue posting on TTND, but perhaps a little less often. See you around!

-Emma

How our family came to be (part 1/2)

It’s been a little over a year and I still haven’t written an entry about how Ash, Aidan and I came to be a polyamorous triad. Time to fix that!

Ash and I have been together since 2008. We were pretty young when we started going out, so we had that idealistic view of a future together – the white picket fence, the dog, the 2.5 kids, you get the idea. Back then, I would have said you were crazy if you told me I’d have another boyfriend 5 years later.

But, being young and having practically no other romantic/sexual encounters other than Ash made me think about what it would be like to date other people. Not that I was bored with Ash- far from it in fact. I was just curious about how different people had different things to offer in a relationship. I remember one day, Ash and I took a long walk on the beach and I opened up to him about this curiosity. To my surprise, Ash was very understanding about everything and didn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that I wanted to break up, as I’d thought he might do. In fact, he told me that he was open to the idea of me experimenting with other people, and didn’t see himself getting jealous.

So, I went ahead and experimented. There were a couple of short-term flings, mostly sexual in nature, but they were a little messy. I didn’t really know what I wanted from them, and neither of the two guys I was with knew how to deal with jealousy. Mistakes were made. We moved on.

All through this I was very aware of Ash’s feelings. I continuously asked him if he was okay with it, and was surprised every time he said yes. I’d lived in a society that told me no man could ever watch his girl get with someone else and not be overcome by jealousy. And here Ash was, genuinely okay with what I was doing. It blew my mind, to be honest.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I really started to discover what non-monogamy meant to me. The first lightbulb moment was when I first heard the word ‘polyamory’. I was listening to Triple J on the radio. The Hack program that night was talking about ‘strange love’, and polyamory was one of the topics. I listened intently as I learned what polyamory was, and heard some of the stories people were sharing. Everything just… clicked. I’d never understood something on such a very deep level. I downloaded the podcast and listened to it about four or five times over the next few days. I started to do some heavy research, scouring the web for anything polyamory related. A whole other world started to open up before me.

I had another lightbulb moment when I found this article on jealousy (I plan to make a more in depth blog entry about this article at a later date). When I read this, everything – again – just made so much sense to me and I felt like I was really starting to understand how polyamory could work in a practical sense. I shared my findings with Ash, and he enthusiastically agreed to give it a try.

Now, I didn’t go out looking for another partner, even though we’d both decided we were polyamorous. We were happy with our relationship as it was, and we both had work and study to keep us busy. We just sort of mutually agreed that it could work if some else were to join our family.

Enter Aidan.

Stay tuned for part 2!

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-Emma

‘Same-sex marriage’ vs ‘marriage equality’ and polyamory

Okay, confusing title, I know. But I’ll do my best to untangle it.

Mariage equality is a burning topic of debate right now, and one of the little things I’ve noticed in these discussions is the use of the term ‘same-sex marriage’ or ‘gay marriage’ vs ‘mariage equality’. Many people insist that mariage equality is the more politically correct term.

Well, you might see where I’m going with this blog entry.

The thing is, ‘mariage equality’ implies… well, equality. In general. Not specifically for same-sex couples. But, that’s kind of what people mean when they say marriage equality. They mean to say they support/condone same-sex marriage without regard for other types of relationships and their legal status. So why do people want the term ‘marriage equality’ to be used?

From what I’ve gathered, it seems that the main two reason are ‘same-sex marriage’ excludes trans and non-binary people, and the other being that it alienates gay people, making their marriage seem different from ‘normal’ marriage. Sure. Those seem like good reasons to use a different term. But then there’s the kicker. The alternative term, ‘marriage equality’ implies that once gays can marry, marriage rights will be equal across the board. And you can bet your ass I don’t agree with that sentiment.

So it seems that no matter which label you use, you are going to be incorrect- either alienating gay people, excluding trans people, or excluding poly people. For a while I was divided on this issue in my own mind. And then I read an article that made me see things another way.

Murray Lipp’s (2 year old) article explores the uses of both terms, and in it I found an interesting excerpt:

Marriage equality,” […] refers to the equal allocation of rights and benefits to all married couples, regardless of whether those couples are opposite-sex or same-sex. It does not describe a type of marriage.1

That’s when I found a happy medium in my own mind. We don’t need to change the term
‘marriage equality’ to be inclusive of polyamourous relationships. We just need to change its context. Marriage equality is a term that can be used for both same-sex couples and polyamorous families… and it doesn’t have to mean both at the same time. The US recently achieved marriage equality for same-sex couples, but that doesn’t have to imply they achieved marriage equality all-round.

At the end of the day, as long as any consenting adult can be in the relationship they chose without fear, the jargon doesn’t matter so much. It’s just always good to think about this stuff.
‘Till next time!

-Emma

One year of TTND!

I actually made an entry every month for a whole year!! (only just… some of my entries were posted in the last few hours of the month). Thanks to all my followers who have given me the motivation and inspiration to keep up with this. I have big plans for this blog over the coming year, so stay tuned!

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-Emma

Bar(r)ed Subjects talks about polyamory!

Man… Posting once a month shouldn’t be that hard. But apparently it is, because I’ve left it till the last second again.

Okay so last month, someone contacted me through my blog. I can now safely assume I have at least one reader. So this guy, Luke, runs a group in Hobart called Bar(r)ed Subjects, where a bunch of people get together over a monthly dinner and talk about stuff that opens their mind. Luke asked me to come along to the group and give a bit of a speech about what it’s like to be polyamorous.

Well… to be honest my first reaction was to decline. I may seem confident from the safety of behind my computer screen, but in real life I am not the type to do public speaking. I am, however, the type to know what I stand for, and to know what’s important to me. This was an opportunity to share an amazing part of my life, and to express why it’s important for others to have the option to explore this lifestyle.

The night went amazingly well. It helped that everyone there was prepared to hear things that challenged them, and came into it with an open mind. In fact, that’s kind of the whole point of the group. But it was still nice, and really refreshing, to be able to talk about something so openly that I usually have to hide, or occasionally get silently judged for.

Ash managed to find some time to come with me, so it was great to have someone there who could add things from a different perspective. Although I got a bit scared and lost my train of thought a couple of times, I managed to get my point across fairly smoothly and the rest of the night was spent enjoying the meal and answering the questions of the other group members.

I never set out to be an activist. But I dunno, it could be where I’m going. Polyamorists are a small minority, so we need whatever voice we can get to educate people and get them thinking about different ways of living and loving. Could I be that voice?

As always, thanks for reading. If I stop updating, don’t panic. It just means I’ve let my laziness get the best of me.

-Emma

Warts and all

Despite being slow on the updates lately, a lot has been happening in our little family. Over the past month, Aidan and I have done a lot of learning and a lot of growing.

I decided I wanted a short-term casual relationship on the side, and I ended up meeting someone I liked pretty quickly. I grabbed it with both hands and ran with it. That’s kind of a personality quirk of mine; I’m spontaneous and often find myself knee-deep in something before I’ve really thought it through. Sometimes it’s a good thing, and sometimes it’s not so good.

In this case, I was moving too fast for Aidan to really be comfortable with it. So after much negotiating, compromising, talking and (I won’t lie) a bit of fighting, we decided it had to end. I think everything’s back to normal now, but it’s sure been a hell of a ride. I learned a lot about Aidan and his core values, in ways I’d never have known if we hadn’t had this experience. That’s what I love about polyamory: it opens up issues that one wouldn’t experience in monogamy, so it means you learn things about your partner you’d have never known otherwise. So even though this whole experience has been…. somewhat negative, Aidan and I have come out on top, knowing more about each other than before. And that, I think, is the only real way a relationship can grow.

I also learned a few things about myself, and how I feel about polyamory. Since getting into it, I’ve kind of romanticised it, making it seem like all sunshine and roses. And for some reason, I found it really important that everyone around me see it as sunshine and roses too. I wanted people to see what polyamory is at its best; what it can be. But only showing the good side is just setting up for disappointment. And I think I am finally starting to accept polyamory for what it is, warts and all. I want to start showing people the negative sides too, because without them, you don’t grow and develop your relationship in that special way that only polyamory can bring.

Polyamory definitely has its downs, and sometimes the low points can be worse than in other kinds of relationships. But if you are strong enough to get through those low times, you will be rewarded with high points you could never dream of in monogamy.

-Emma

How to have a poly wedding

Ash and I were already engaged when I met Aidan. As young teens we always talked about having a white wedding and starting a family. When Ash popped out a ring, I was happier than I’d ever been (so happy that I started crying and forgot to say yes for about five minutes).

But things changed when Aidan and I hit the two year mark, and we realised that this was going to be a long-term thing. At first we agreed that Ash and I would have a wedding as planned, and later down the track Aidan and I would have a private exchanging of vows followed by a holiday. As time went on though, I started to feel guilty that I would be having a public celebration with Ash, whilst Aidan and I were planning something that felt like it needed to be kept secret from our friends and family.

I wanted something that would feel more ‘equal’, and Aidan and Ash agreed that we should think of another plan. There were a few scenarios that came up, but each seemed to have some kind of problem. We thought about having two separate weddings, a few years apart, but we felt like the second wedding would be less special, and our friends and family would resent having to do it all again. We thought about having a big combined wedding, where the three of us would celebrate our coming together as a family. But the boys really wanted their own special day with me.

For a while, I felt like I didn’t want to have any kind of wedding at all. The whole thing is just an expensive waste of time anyway. But deep down, my childhood dream of wearing a beautiful white dress and walking down the aisle could not be suppressed. And a few weeks back, as I was having a conversation with Ash, we figured out the perfect scenario.

We will be having one wedding over two days – a weekend – with one day being dedicated to each partnership. This way, each of us have our special day. Friends and family members can chose to come to one of the days or both, so that Aidan’s family won’t have to sit through Ash’s wedding and vice-versa. Because it’s on the same weekend, guests won’t have to make extra travel arrangements, can wear the same clothes, and only need to buy one gift for the whole event. 16

Since coming up with this idea, the three of us have been pretty excited. It seems like we’ve found the perfect solution. I know that organising a wedding is not easy, and having one with three people instead of two will make it all the more complicated. But at the same time, having the chance to make everyone happy is worth the extra effort!

-Emma