Polyamory: a choice or hard-wired?

I hear a lot of poly people insist that they are ‘born this way’ and couldn’t ever be comfortable in a relationship with only one other person. But on the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of couples out there who are happy just being monogamous, yet would also be prepared to let another join their family if it worked out that way.

I’ve given a lot of thought to this dichotomy over the years, and I still don’t know whether my own instance of polyamory is one or the other. On the one hand, I know that I can be happy in a monogomus relationship as I had been with Ash in the years before I met Aidan. But at the same time, I feel more at peace knowing I have the both of them to love me in their own way.

Since polyamory is still fairly new (and sometimes, completely unknown) to the wider public, there hasn’t been much research on the topic, let alone specific questions like this one. I think it would be really interesting to see a study on this; to see if polyamory can be chosen as a lifestyle preference, or if it’s more like a sexuality that you are born with. For me, I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle, but with some more self exploration I might start to lean to one side or the other. What about you? Post a comment and let us know if you are polyamorous by choice or hard-wired this way!

-Emma

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Emotional support and polyamory

So far most of my blog posts have been lighthearted stories or resources, with some sarcasm thrown in to disguise my lack of writing skills. But today I’m going to write about something a little different, and a lot more personal to me. Like many women, I have pretty low self esteem when it comes to body image. Combine that with an unhealthy relationship with food and you get an eating disorder.

Being in a polyamorus relationship makes my issues both easier and harder to deal with at times. On one hand, I have two men constantly telling me how beautiful and wonderful I am. But on the other hand, I sometimes have thoughts like “with the way I look, I don’t deserve having two amazing partners.”

The great thing about being polyamorous is that you have twice (or three or four times) as much support. Between the two guys and Aidan’s backward-ass work hours, I have 24 hour access to someone who I can cuddle or talk to about personal stuff. But the best part is that each of the guys have their own way of supporting me. Ash will make cute faces, say silly things to make me laugh, and play games with me to take my mind of things. Aidan will have deep conversations with me and help me get to the core of what’s bothering me. He’ll stay level-headed when my emotional side gets the best of me and offer me practical solutions. Thanks to my two lovely boys, I get the best of both worlds.

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‘Till next time!

-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

Talking to acquaintances about polyamory

Ahhh, did I say I was going to update every single day? That was a bad typo on my part. What I actually meant to write was, “I’m unbelievably lazy and I’ll update whenever I feel like it, probably no more than a few times a month”. It’s funny how a few incorrect letters can change the whole meaning of a sentence, isn’t it?

So, to business. This topic has been on my mind for a while, since as I’ve started university recently and I find myself interacting with the human race a lot more than I used to. The last time I talked to strangers about my relationship(s) was in high school, and that was easy because I would just talk about my one partner and nobody would bat an eyelid.

Now I want you to think back to before you knew anything about polyamory. You’re chatting with someone you’ve just met, and the topic of relationships comes up. “Do you have a partner at the moment?” you ask casually. “Oh, I actually have two.”

Say what?

This seems to be an increasingly common scenario in my current life. And for me, the concept is so normal and mundane I often forget that most people haven’t even heard of polyamory. The next two or three hours of the conversation are usually spent explaining how I can be having sex with two guys without either of them wanting to rip the other’s jugular out.8

It can be exhausting explaining it over and over. You might be wondering why I even bother to tell people at all when I could just answer with “I’m in a relationship” and not be lying. For the first year or so of being polyamorous, that’s exactly what I did. But I hated pretending to be someone I wasn’t. And more importantly, I learned a lesson. That is, the longer you know someone, the harder it becomes to tell them that you’re actually a freak. I have a few friends who, to this day, don’t know I have two partners. Whenever I talk about Aidan or Ash I just say “my partner”, leaving them with a weird hybrid impression of both of them as the same person. Which leads to another problem: “Wait, you said your partner is a librarian? I thought you said he was a baker?”

So as time went on, I started telling people at the earliest possible convenience. Even though I am putting myself out there as a poly person and will thereafter be judged as such, it saves a lot of stress later on, especially if that acquaintance becomes a friend. And it also filters out those superficial people who only want to be your friend if they think you’ll be a good-looking accessory at their dinner parties.

Stay tuned!

-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

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.

Dear internet,

Welcome to my slice of WordPress, a blog about the family life of a polyamorus triad. That means that I (Emma) am dating two men at the same time (Aidan and Ashley). The guys are not involved with each other, though they are best friends and treat each other like brothers.

Now depending on how much you know about the concept of polyamory, that will either sound all well and good, or completely freaky. No matter which end of the spectrum you’re on, I hope you will find this blog an interesting read, and maybe learn a few things! I plan to write articles about my/our views on anything relationship or polyamory related, how our lives work together, and the various shenanigans we get up to.

This happens to be my first ever blog, so I’ve spent the better part of this week avoiding study researching blogs thoroughly. Reading what I’ve written so far, I guess my writing style feels a little stiff, but I expect I’ll ease into a more natural style as I start to post more and get some feedback (which I’d really, really love!).

So I’ll leave it as a short introduction for now. I still have to figure out what all the little buttons do on my WordPress dashboard.

Ciao!
-Emma