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

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.

1

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

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