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!

14

-Emma

Bar(r)ed Subjects talks about polyamory!

Man… Posting once a month shouldn’t be that hard. But apparently it is, because I’ve left it till the last second again.

Okay so last month, someone contacted me through my blog. I can now safely assume I have at least one reader. So this guy, Luke, runs a group in Hobart called Bar(r)ed Subjects, where a bunch of people get together over a monthly dinner and talk about stuff that opens their mind. Luke asked me to come along to the group and give a bit of a speech about what it’s like to be polyamorous.

Well… to be honest my first reaction was to decline. I may seem confident from the safety of behind my computer screen, but in real life I am not the type to do public speaking. I am, however, the type to know what I stand for, and to know what’s important to me. This was an opportunity to share an amazing part of my life, and to express why it’s important for others to have the option to explore this lifestyle.

The night went amazingly well. It helped that everyone there was prepared to hear things that challenged them, and came into it with an open mind. In fact, that’s kind of the whole point of the group. But it was still nice, and really refreshing, to be able to talk about something so openly that I usually have to hide, or occasionally get silently judged for.

Ash managed to find some time to come with me, so it was great to have someone there who could add things from a different perspective. Although I got a bit scared and lost my train of thought a couple of times, I managed to get my point across fairly smoothly and the rest of the night was spent enjoying the meal and answering the questions of the other group members.

I never set out to be an activist. But I dunno, it could be where I’m going. Polyamorists are a small minority, so we need whatever voice we can get to educate people and get them thinking about different ways of living and loving. Could I be that voice?

As always, thanks for reading. If I stop updating, don’t panic. It just means I’ve let my laziness get the best of me.

-Emma

Warts and all

Despite being slow on the updates lately, a lot has been happening in our little family. Over the past month, Aidan and I have done a lot of learning and a lot of growing.

I decided I wanted a short-term casual relationship on the side, and I ended up meeting someone I liked pretty quickly. I grabbed it with both hands and ran with it. That’s kind of a personality quirk of mine; I’m spontaneous and often find myself knee-deep in something before I’ve really thought it through. Sometimes it’s a good thing, and sometimes it’s not so good.

In this case, I was moving too fast for Aidan to really be comfortable with it. So after much negotiating, compromising, talking and (I won’t lie) a bit of fighting, we decided it had to end. I think everything’s back to normal now, but it’s sure been a hell of a ride. I learned a lot about Aidan and his core values, in ways I’d never have known if we hadn’t had this experience. That’s what I love about polyamory: it opens up issues that one wouldn’t experience in monogamy, so it means you learn things about your partner you’d have never known otherwise. So even though this whole experience has been…. somewhat negative, Aidan and I have come out on top, knowing more about each other than before. And that, I think, is the only real way a relationship can grow.

I also learned a few things about myself, and how I feel about polyamory. Since getting into it, I’ve kind of romanticised it, making it seem like all sunshine and roses. And for some reason, I found it really important that everyone around me see it as sunshine and roses too. I wanted people to see what polyamory is at its best; what it can be. But only showing the good side is just setting up for disappointment. And I think I am finally starting to accept polyamory for what it is, warts and all. I want to start showing people the negative sides too, because without them, you don’t grow and develop your relationship in that special way that only polyamory can bring.

Polyamory definitely has its downs, and sometimes the low points can be worse than in other kinds of relationships. But if you are strong enough to get through those low times, you will be rewarded with high points you could never dream of in monogamy.

-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