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

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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

Polyamory and break-ups

If your parents divorced when you were a kid, then you might have been through this before.

Two people you love, two members of your family, started drifting apart. It might have been because of a mistake someone made, or it might just have been something out of anyone’s control. It tore you apart to see those two people hurting. You wanted them to stay together, with you, as one big happy family. You wanted to watch the love grow the more it was shared.

The relationship ended. But maybe it was for the best.

Even though Rose is no longer in a relationship with Aidan, she is still part of our family. She became like a sister to me, and that can’t be undone.

-Emma

We wish you a poly Christmas

Ah, it’s that time of year again. Everywhere you go, you see overpriced gifts, decorations made from highly toxic materials, and psychotic shoppers taking unnecessarily extreme lengths to find the right kind of wrapping paper. I fucking hate Christmas.

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Well, maybe not all of it. What I really hate is the commercialism of it all. The closest thing we have to a Christmas tree is a cactus Ash and I received as a gift and has since been left to rot, I don’t recall where. There are things I love about Christmas though. I’m not ashamed to say that the main thing is the food. And even though it’s cliche, bringing the whole family together for a special occasion is really nice too.

This year is more hectic than ever, because there are four people and four families to keep track of. Oh, and three of those people have divorced parents, so that means separate gatherings for mums and dads. Between the four of us, there are seven gatherings. Over a period of three days.

But the one I’m looking forward to the most is our own little poly Christmas. On Christmas night, the four of us are free to spend the evening together. We’ve planned a roast dinner, games and movies, which is about as perfect as it can get for us. It will be nice to be in each other’s company between the chaos of visiting all the relatives.

Happy holidays!

-Emma

The quad next door

So…. We are now technically a quad!!

But I’m not going to change the title of this blog for two reasons. The first one is that I can’t be bothered making a new banner. The second is what I’ll be explaining in this post.

Over the past month, Aidan has become particularly close to a lovely woman called Rose. They share a lot of interests and just generally get on well together. It started off as all new relationships do: they went on dates, counted down the days till they saw each other, and (at least in Aidan’s case) pranced around the house like a love-sick puppy. But of course, there was a big difference in this relationship. Aidan is also dating me- we are polyamorous. Rose knew about this before the relationship had developed, so it wasn’t a surprise or anything. But it was still very interesting for her becoming involved with us. Not only had she gained a boyfriend, but an over-excitable girlfriend-in-law who couldn’t go two seconds being in the same room as them without exclaiming how adorable they were together. But being the easy-going person that she is, Rose went along with it and embraced the strange dynamics.

However, a few nights ago, Aidan and Rose had a very serious talk about their relationship. Rose was beginning to realise that, while she wasn’t jealous or uncomfortable with Aidan having another partner, it wasn’t really what she wanted in the long term. And so it was decided that they would continue their relationship, but perhaps on a more casual level, knowing that it would eventually come to an end.

I was a little surprised, and a bit upset when I heard the news. But, I am extremely glad that Rose realised this now and not months or years down the track. I think all of us are gaining something valuable out of this relationship, even if it doesn’t last forever. Rose had tried something new, and now knows what it is she needs to be comfortable in a long-term relationship. For me, having a metamour for the first time was a wonderful experience. While the feeling was almost completely positive, there was still a little fear and jealousy involved which I learned to deal with in a constructive way. And Aidan had the opportunity to explore his feelings without fear or guilt which was new for him, being monogomus for most of his life.

So that’s the rundown. I plan to write another article soon which focuses more on the thoughts and emotions I have been dealing with regarding Aidan having a second partner. But that’s all for now :)

Stay tuned!

-Emma

Being polyamorous in Hobart, Australia

Ash, Aidan and I live in a small but slowly developing town called Hobart. It’s at the bottom of the world, quite literally. If you look at a map of Australia, you’ll notice Tasmania, the little triangle-shaped island south of the mainland. Almost at the very bottom of this island is Hobart. It’s a beautiful place and there are lots of great things about living here.

But one of the best things is that Tasmania is full of hippies progressive people. While not legalised yet, gay marriage is widely supported. It’s culturally diverse and everywhere you go there’s art, community projects and good food and wine. Being the place that it is, Hobart is a pretty damn convenient place to find yourself as a polyamorous person.

Don3‘t get me wrong, we do get some weird looks when we walk down the street hand-in-hand-in-hand. Polyamory is only just starting to come into the public eye, and a lot of people still don’t even know what it is. But for the most part, the residents here are pretty relaxed and easy going, and I like to think that’s not just because they’re all high on weed.

‘Coming out’ to our friends and family was actually pretty easy. Aside from a couple of people who were worried I was taking advantage of Ash, the news was quite well received. But I’m leaving the details of that story for another post :)

Thanks for reading!

-Emma

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

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

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

Obligatory introduction post

Ash, Emma and Aidan

It’s been less than a day since this blog went live and we’ve already got some followers! That can mean one of two things: either there are a lot more bored people hanging around WordPress than I originally thought, or my vague first post was a lot more interesting than I originally thought. Either way, huzzah!

I thought it was about time to introduce the stars of the show, so you’ll know who you’re reading about. Our triad consists of one female (me, Emma), and two males (Ashley and Aidan). I am dating Ash and Aidan simultaneously, while the boys have a sort of sibling relationship with each other. Between the three of us we have a lot of different interests, but the main thing we all love is games (video games, board games, card games… you get the idea). I suppose you could call us geeks, which is okay with us!

Despite being the female of the group, I’m sure the boys would agree with me when I say I am the one who wears the pants. Of course, that doesn’t mean I get my way all the time. Just most of the time. I’m a 21 year old university student majoring in painting, and as such I love everything creative.

Aidan is a lot like me in the way we think, our views of the world, and our personalities. We are also both extremely stubborn. That means we are always either passionately agreeing with one another or passionately arguing with one another. Aidan is a baker and loves to cook, meaning Ash and I have our own personal chef (and boy is he a good one!). Unfortunately working in a bakery means he has weird shifts like 7pm through to 3am, but we usually still find a good chunk of time each week where we’re all free to hang out.

Ashley is the quiet one of the group. He avoids confrontation and often plays the mediator between Aidan and myself. He’s a bookworm and works as a librarian. However there’s another side of him that people only tend to see when they become closer to him, and that’s how excitable he gets when it comes to his hobbies. In that respect, he’s really a kid at heart!

A lot of people ask us what our relationship is like, and really the answer is we are your typical disfunctional family. We do things that normal couples do, only as a three. We go to the movies, bicker over who’s turn it is to take out the garbage, come together in the evenings to share a meal, and of course look after and support one another.

I plan on writing more about how our relationship works in another post, as well as how we all met and became a family. I’m hoping to write a post a day, though I’m rarely that consistent with anything. It will also depend on my study load; generally, the more uni work I have, the more time I spend procrastinating.

Bye for now!

-Emma