Dinner date

Well, when I say dinner date I don’t exactly mean a romantic candle-lit meal between the three of us at a fancy restaurant. Aidan couldn’t be bothered cooking, so we went to Dave’s Noodles. As we ate, Ash and Aidan became involved in a deep conversation (as deep a conversation you can have about video games, anyway). I quietly listened on, thinking how great it was that the two of them got along so well. Now, if only the people who doubted our relationship could see this. They would realise how wonderful our dynamics are! So I got out my phone camera and started recording, but as soon as the boys noticed they started being idiots. All I have to show for the night is this:

In case you didn’t catch Aidan’s quote at the end, he said while pretending to continue the conversation, “so, I met this girl Emma. Total bitch”. To which Ash agreed. I don’t know, maybe this video gives you a more realistic insight into our dynamics than what I originally wanted the video to be. The boys constantly tease and gang up on me, all in good fun of course, but they take any chance they get because they know they can’t get away with it when there’s only one of them. So the little joke you see above was one in a long strip throughout the night, and indeed throughout our relationship. I think I’m getting used to it. Is that a good thing?

Thanks for watching!

-Emma

 

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PolyFamilies.com – a great resource

PolyFamilies is a long dead site; from what I can tell it hasn’t been updated in nearly a decade. But it still deserves to be raved about, because it’s packed with helpful resources and awesome articles. It’s basically what I’m trying to do with this blog, only I’m slightly less charismatic. As well as having lots of great content for new and seasoned poly people alike, it includes some lighthearted pages like quizzes, silly articles and a cute web comic (though since it’s no longer updated there are only a few strips).

When I was new to the poly scene, I naturally went online looking for resources. I was really only able to find a couple of sites which had a good amount of information. PolyFamilies was one of them, and it helped me immensely. I really recommend anyone interested in polyamory go ahead and explore, because there is a lot to do there.

I’ll be adding this site to the resources page, and I’ll continue to add more in the weeks to come.

Bye for now!

-Emma

Love analogy

7Yesterday in my common poly myths article, I wrote a short segment about how love is not finite. I wanted to expand on that in today’s article with an analogy I heard of once (and I apologise to whomever’s analogy this is, but I can’t remember where it was said so I can’t reference it!).

Love is not like a glass of water, where if you empty some into a second glass, there will be less in the first.

I can completely relate to this analogy, as would any mother who has more than one child. You don’t have a set amount of love to give out, which must be divided among partners. When I began dating Aidan, the love I had for Ash in our existing relationship didn’t diminish, but on the contrary it expanded. Ash and I found a new importance in communication, setting aside time just for each other and negotiating boundaries in ways that wouldn’t be possible in monogamy. Our relationship and love for each other grew.

But as I also mentioned in my previous article, while love is infinite, time, energy and resources are not. Polyamory requires a heck of a lot of scheduling and planning to make sure we all get to spend enough time with each other. It also doesn’t help that Aidan, being a baker, is mostly nocturnal. But we all care for each other, so we put in the extra effort. So while it’s true I don’t get to spend as much time with either of the boys as I would if I were only dating one of them, it does make the time we do have together all the more special.

Thanks for reading!

-Emma

Common polyamory myths

Okay, so I know this has been done many times before. But for the sake of making sure my blog has all the important resources in one place (and because thinking of unique new ideas for posts every single day is sometimes a challenge), I’ve done my own version of a ‘poly-myths busted’ article. I’ve focused on the 5 myths that I feel are most important to set the record straight on. As with all my articles, I will drawing on my own experiences and including my personal opinions, so you don’t have to agree with my answers ;)

1. It’s a phase/you just haven’t found The One yet

As you’ve already read in my article about “The One, there seems to be this notion floating around in Western society that there is one person out there made just for you, who can fulfill your every need. People seem to think that if you are dating more than one person, it can only mean you are unfulfilled by any single relationship and need to fill a void with lots of partners. That is, until you find That One Special person and you realise you don’t need anyone else, thus growing out of your little ‘poly’ phase. Being polyamorus, I learned that because everyone is different, there are many different ways a person can fulfill you. Both of my partners are The One for me; that is to say, I could live a happy monogamous life with either one and still be fulfilled. I just choose to be with both because having two Ones at the same time is a wonderful experience.

2. You just can’t commit to one person/it’s a fancy word for cheating6

On the contrary, polyamory requires two, three or more times the commitment than monogamy, depending on how many partners you have. I had been in a completely committed relationship with Ash for 4 years before Aidan came along, so it wasn’t like we were unhappy with each other and needed to see other people to keep ourselves satisfied. As for cheating, many people seem to think it’s a simple matter of sleeping with someone else while you’re already in a relationship. Cheating is about breaking specific rules or boundaries that you and your partner have set in place to make sure both of you are comfortable. Me having another partner does not make Ash feel uncomfortable, nor is it a secret I hide from him. Thus, it is not cheating.

3. Your partner is only letting you because they’re afraid you’ll leave otherwise

This is possibly the myth that gripes me the most, because everyone assumes it of me. As I mentioned above, Ash and I were already in an established relationship before I started dating Aidan. So a lot of people in our families just assumed that I was no longer satisfied with Ash, and Ash reluctantly let me sleep around for fear that him restricting me would mean me leaving him. I can see why it’s easy to think that, but it is just simply not true. Not only are Ash and I just as happy (if not more happy) with each other since Aidan joined our family, but Ash gained a best friend out of the new relationship. And of course, he wants me to be happy and he can see that Aidan makes me happy. So in short, Ash is ‘letting’ me date Aidan because it is the best thing for all three of us.

4. Love is finite

What people are really trying to say when they mention this is that time and energy are finite. Yes, it’s true that the more partners you have, the less time and effort you can put into each individual relationship. But that absolutely does not mean you love them any less. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t been in a polyamorus relationship yourself, but in my own experience I’ve found that the amount of love I have grows with each person I am intimate with.

5. Polyamory will fix your existing relationship problems

In a last ditch effort to save a failing relationship, many couples will decide to ‘see other people’ so that they can seek the fulfillment they are not getting in their existing one. And this is not an uncommon scenario, either. Because adding more people to an already shaky relationship is a recipe for disaster, many people have bad associations with relationships involving more than two. And that gets applied to polyamory all the time. Polyamory works for us because Ash and I were already committed and happy when I became involved with Aidan. Aidan was not a ‘band-aid’ to patch up problems in me and Ash’s relationship.

So as proven by us and hundreds of thousands of other non-monogamists worldwide, polyamory is absolutely a happy, healthy way of life, assuming you got into it for the right reasons.

‘Till next time!

-Emma

Pro-polyamory artwork – uni assessment

As some of my blog readers will know, I am university student studying fine arts, majoring in painting. At the end of the last semester, we were required to submit an artwork that explored a social/worldly issue that was important to us. Honestly, there are a lot of things in the world that I am more concerned about than poly-rights. But at the time we were assigned this project, I had just ‘come out of the closet’ to my parents, so the subject was kind of on my mind. My parents reacted much worse than I had been hoping, so I had a lot of built up angst and did what any art student would do. I made paintings about it.

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The artwork is titled “The Slippery Slope”, alluding to the argument that conservatives use against gays and polys – that further straying from traditional marriage is a slippery slope towards bestiality, pedophilia and the like.

Here is an excerpt from the the artist’s statement that I submitted along with the paintings:

I’ve combined paintings with found objects to create a collage-like installation that you could expect to find in a family home. I’ve used conventions clichés of traditional relationships and applied them to the not-so-traditional polyamorus model. On closer inspection, there are some elements that seem out of place, where the cliché has been replaced with something unexpected and perhaps even offensive.

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So while presenting a satirical artwork to a class of 25 barely counts as activism, I did make this artwork with the intent of getting the idea of polyamory into the mainstream. After all, fear and prejudice stems from the unknown.

Thanks for looking!

-Emma

Thoughts on “The One”

I often tell my partners, “you’re one of the ones for me”.

I grew up in a Christian, monogamous, white, middle-class family. As such, I went through life believing that the end goal was the find The One, buy a house with a white-picket fence and have 2.5 children. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting that (in fact it’s still what I want, only with two husbands instead of one). But the idea of finding The One, someone who is perfect for you in every way and can fulfill your every need, is a concept that I’ve questioned since entering into the world of polyamory.

In fact, I’ve questioned it since before then, just not consciously. In my teens, I went to see Australian/English comedian and singer Tim Minchin at a live show. He often explores issues which are serious in nature, but presents them in a comical way (for example, his answer to the conflict between Jews and Muslims is for them to bond over the mutual abstaining of pork).

And while it’s not one of his best or funniest songs, “If I Didn’t Have You” really drives home the idea of The One being pretty ridiculous.

At the time I went to see Minchin, I had being going out with Ash maybe 2 or 3 years, and I was starting to believe he really was The One. So this idea of there being many other possible partners for me who could make me equally happy kind of stewed in my subconscious for a while.

Fast-forward to when I became involved with Aidan. I always knew it was possible to love two people at the same time, but actually experiencing it was something else entirely. That was when I realised, I loved Aidan just as much as Ashley. And, had I met him first, he probably would have made me equally happy in our first few years of monogamy. So in retrospect, Mr. Minchin’s words make a lot of sense to me.

In conclusion, I guess you could say that people can find The One. It’s just that there might be Two Ones or even Three, Four or More Ones for you out there.

The inner workings of a poly family

Today I’m going to write a little about us, and how our relationship works. And the first thing I’ll say, is that it works. That seems to be the hardest part for people to get their heads around when they learn about the concept of polyamory. But as we’ve learned, when you look outside the boundaries of what’s acceptable, you find new ways of living and loving.

I won’t go too deep into our history, because I’m saving that for another post. But I will say that none of us went out seeking this lifestyle. Our relationships shifted and evolved as we got closer to one another, and over time, we became a family.

It all makes perfect sense to us, but I will try my best to break it down and explain it for everyone else. I will be using some terms from the poly glossary I posted yesterday, so you can go look them up if you want to know the exact context I’m using them in.

First and foremost, we are polyamorus. We all accept that people have the ability to love more than one person. I love both Aidan and Ashley, and it doesn’t get any more complex than that for us. We are what’s known as a V triad, since Aidan and Ash aren’t involved with each other romantically/sexually. They are, however, best friends and treat each other like brothers. I think their dynamic is what allows this relationship to work the way it does. Without that mutual friendship and respect, they mightn’t be able communicate as well as they do, overcome jealousy or even try to get along at all. Honestly, I don’t think I could be dating two people who weren’t at least casual friends.

My relationship with each of the boys brings out different sides of me. Because they are different people, they each fulfill things for me that the other can’t in a relationship. That includes elements that are sexual, emotional and general personality-wise. Both the guys realise that they can’t be everything I could possibly ever want/need (they’re only human after all), so they encourage each other to make me happy in ways they know only the other can.

And then of course there’s the dynamic between the three of us when we’re all together. Being in a group naturally makes us a bit louder and a bit more silly. So we often do fun activities, like going out on dates, seeing movies, or staying home and playing games together. The boys often gang up on me and tease me, which I think is because they know they can’t get away with it when there’s only one of them! But of course it’s all in good fun, and I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say that I’m always at my happiest when we’re all together.

I could write so much more, but this post is getting a bit long now. So I’ll probably write more posts later to add to it and explore more aspects of our relationship dynamics.

Thanks for reading!

-Emma

Poly glossary

As promised, here is a (hopefully) comprehensive guide to some common polyamory terms. These are all my own personal definitions, so bear in mind that others may use these words in different contexts :) If I missed anything, please add it in the comments!

Note: not in alphabetical order because that’s too logical for me.

Polyamory/poly- see this post.

Monogamy- a more socially accepted relationship model involving two people who are exclusive to each other. Works for some people, doesn’t work for others.

Non-monogamy- an umbrella term which, as the name implies, encompasses everything that is not monogamy. Things that come under this category include polyamory, swinging and cheating.

Open relationship- a polyamorus relationship where the people involved seek, or are open to the idea of, more people becoming part of the group.

Closed relationship/polyfidelity- a polyamorus relationship where the people involved are in exclusive relationships and are not seeking, or open to the idea of, any more people joining their relationship.

Group marriage- a polyamorus relationship where the people involved make life commitments to one another (like ‘normal’ marriage, but with more than two people).

Primary/secondary- two different types of relationships within polyamory. A primary group/couple may be more committed, and share responsibilities and benefits such as child raising, pooling finances and living together. A secondary relationship is usually more casual.

Triad- a polyamorus group of three people.

Quad- a polyamorus group of four people.

Network- a polyamorus group involving more than four people.

Triangle/delta- a triad relationship model where all three members are involved with each other. As such, the connections between the members of the group form a triangle/delta shape.

Vee/V- A triad relationship model where one person is involved with two others. Think of the letter V as a triangle with one less connection.

N- A quad relationship model. Think of a V model but with an extra connection.

Hinge- a person who is dating two or more others, and thus becomes a ‘hinge’ between those people. A  V relationship has one hinge in the middle, an N has two and so on. A network may have many hinges connecting the group together.

Metamour/spouse-in-law- two or more people who share the same partner, but are not involved with one another. The two people at either end of a V relationship are an example of this.

Compersion- an emotion that is the opposite to jealousy. It is the feeling of positive empathy when you see someone else happy. In the context of polyamory, compersion is the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you see your partner enjoying other relationships.

New Relationship Energy (NRE)- The excitement and happiness you feel when a new relationship begins. In polyamory, this energy often reignites the excitement in old/existing relationships.

Spice- the plural term for spouse. Eg. “My spice and I are going out tonight”.

Polygamy/polygny/polyandry- these terms have little to do with the polyamory movement and are more commonly used when referring to people who are non-monogamous for religious or cultural reasons.

My next post (or at least a post in the near future) will focus on my two partners and I, and use these definitions to explain our relationship and dynamics.

Stay tuned!

-Emma

What is polyamory?

1For those visiting my blog to learn more about polyamory, I thought I’d start at square one and give an explanation as to what it actually is. Sure, you could just read the Wikipedia page (and honestly, it gives a pretty good rundown). But I’m hoping that coming from the mouth (keyboard?) of someone in an established poly relationship, you’ll find a bit more substance in my description.

So let’s start with my personal definition, which actually doesn’t sound that different to the Wikipedia introduction.

Polyamory is the practice or ability to be romantically involved with more than one person at a time, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

You may notice the main difference between my definition and the Wikipedia definition is that I substituted the word “intimately” with “romantically”. There is a reason I did that, and not just so it would look less like I copy-pasted it. To me, intimacy is something you can experience with a person you are not in love with, like for example, with a sex buddy. When I say romantically, what I really mean is love, like anyone would feel for their partner.

The reason this change is so important is because polyamory is based on love. Not that there’s anything wrong swinging (sexual encounters outside your relationship with your partner’s consent). It’s just that I wouldn’t call it polyamory. I see it as a ‘cousin’ to polyamory in the big non-monogamy family tree.

Going with this metaphor, cheating would be the bratty little nephew who breaks other kids’ toys and spits on grandma. Which brings me to the second part of my definition, “with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved”. Take note of the word and here. It wouldn’t be polyamory without both of these elements. Polyamorists pride themselves on having good communication in their relationships. That begins with absolute transparency about who/when/where you’re dating/sleeping with/making life plans with.

So to recap, love and knowledge/consent are the two key aspects of most, if not all poly relationships. Because polyamorous relationships (and indeed human beings) are so varied, the boundaries, rules, expectancies, levels of compromise etc. etc. will be different in every group. For this reason I don’t expand my definition past those two elements, so as to encompass all the different styles of poly love out there.

There might be other terms like ‘vee’ or ‘compersion’ that you’ve seen floating around but have no idea what they are. Never fear! My next post will be a glossary of all the polyamory related terms (that I can think of).

‘Till next time!
-Emma