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

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

Roses are red

So I thought it was about time I wrote a little about how things are going with the newest member of our family.

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Honestly, I’ve never had a friend like her. We just share so many interests – the kinds of interests that are so specific or obscure that we rarely find anyone else to talk about them with. It makes communication really easy. If something important comes up, it’s never awkward striking up a conversation out of the blue. And if there’s a problem we need to discuss, we can sort it out then smoothly segway into a happier topic.

So I’ve never had even the smallest issue with her on a personal level. But as is to be expected, polyamory makes emotions a little more complex. Although I’ve always been comfortable with the idea of sharing a partner with someone else, this is the first time I’ve had a proper metamour. And I’ve been dealing with a lot of new emotions and thoughts which I wasn’t expecting. But it’s helped me grow as a person. It’s helped me pinpoint why I feel uncomfortable about certain things, and it’s forced me to tackle my fear and uncertainty head on.

One thing I learned from all this was that most of my jealousy/discomfort came from a fear of the unknown. I wasn’t afraid of something bad happening; I was scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen, be it good, bad or neutral. When you break down your emotions like this, it becomes so much easier to deal with. Unfortunately, I can’t see into the future, so I can’t just find out what’s going to happen and settle my fears that way. I have to take a different approach. I’ve been encouraging schedules and structure between the three of us so that we can set goals and make short-term plans. I’ve also made an effort to communicate with both Aidan and Rose, so that we can discuss hypotheticals and how we can overcome possible problems.

So I’ve been able to ease my mind a bit with these strategies. But there still is (and probably will always be) a certain degree of fear, uncertainty and jealousy that I will experience. That’s the main thing I’ve learned; being polyamorous doesn’t mean you don’t get jealous or scared. It means that you find ways to deal with your emotions via communication and compromise, so that they don’t become an issue in your relationship.

Signing off!

Emma