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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Shutting down blog

God, just when you think you know someone, you find out they’ve been lying to you the whole time. Turns out Aidan was just using me to get to Ashley.

I always new Ash was bisexual, but I never would have guessed Aidan was actually gay. I honestly didn’t suspect a thing. Out of the blue last night, the boys broke the news to me. They sat me down and said ‘we need to talk.’ At first I thought they were being silly. But as I listened on I knew it was all true. The signs were there, I just didn’t pick them up. All those times they blew me off to ‘play games together’…. All those dinners out where I was unknowingly the third wheel.

It’s funny, at first I was excited. I thought, ‘wow, we can have a delta triad where we all love each other!’. But it wasn’t long before it hit me. They didn’t want me to be apart of their new relationship.

Oh, come on. I didn’t really trick you did I? Don’t you know what the date is today? Also, in reality the boys are both straight as an arrow… thought I should clear that up!

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-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

Dinner date

Well, when I say dinner date I don’t exactly mean a romantic candle-lit meal between the three of us at a fancy restaurant. Aidan couldn’t be bothered cooking, so we went to Dave’s Noodles. As we ate, Ash and Aidan became involved in a deep conversation (as deep a conversation you can have about video games, anyway). I quietly listened on, thinking how great it was that the two of them got along so well. Now, if only the people who doubted our relationship could see this. They would realise how wonderful our dynamics are! So I got out my phone camera and started recording, but as soon as the boys noticed they started being idiots. All I have to show for the night is this:

In case you didn’t catch Aidan’s quote at the end, he said while pretending to continue the conversation, “so, I met this girl Emma. Total bitch”. To which Ash agreed. I don’t know, maybe this video gives you a more realistic insight into our dynamics than what I originally wanted the video to be. The boys constantly tease and gang up on me, all in good fun of course, but they take any chance they get because they know they can’t get away with it when there’s only one of them. So the little joke you see above was one in a long strip throughout the night, and indeed throughout our relationship. I think I’m getting used to it. Is that a good thing?

Thanks for watching!

-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

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

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

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