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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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

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

Thoughts on compersion

As you might have seen in my recent article with definitions of common polyamorous terms, compersion is the beautiful feeling one experiences when someone they care about is happy. It is often described as the opposite emotion to jealousy. There are two examples which are often used to describe the feeling to those who have not experienced it in a polyamorous sense. Those two examples are: being happy for your partner when they get a promotion at work, and the feeling you get when your child gets a good grade, or gets picked for a position in a sports 1team/band/play etc.

While they give the general idea of compersion, they are not perfect examples. In both of these situations, one might find themselves feeling happy, not for their loved one, but for themselves. “My kid got a good grade, I can brag about this to my friends!” or “this promotion will mean extra money for us/me!” Most people, myself included, will have been guilty of receiving someone else’s good news and been happy for themselves. It doesn’t make us awful people, it just makes us people. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make.

Here is another analogy I came up with. You might switch on the news one day and hear about a mother whose child was cured of a life-threatening illness. That mother’s experience doesn’t have any positive consequences on you or anyone you know, yet you still feel relief and happiness.

Maybe this example is a little serious for the lighthearted, fluffy emotion that is compersion. But I feel like I needed to make a more concrete example that separates feelings of being happy for yourself from feelings of being happy for other people.

All that said, I think it’s just one of those things you need to experience for yourself to understand the true gravity of it. In short, it’s a wonderful feeling!