Forty-five days ago, I had to make the heartbreaking decision to let my sweet kitty Carlyle rest after a very sudden and and debilitating illness took him past the point of no return. We never did figure out exactly what was wrong with him, but it was bad enough that I knew it was time to let him go.
My partner was with me that night, and one of my metamours who works in the veterinary field met up with us at the 24 hour emergency clinic near my house. We sat in the parking lot for six hours, since pandemic rules didn’t allow us to come inside the clinic to wait.
When I made the final decision to have him put to sleep, they told me I could bring one person in with me. It was after 5:00am. My partner was right there beside me.
And I asked my metamour to come in with me.
They stayed with me until Carlyle took his last breath. They cried with me. And then they went home in time to shower and head in for a full day of work tending to other people’s animals.
This was a turning point for me. I think there was a moment when I had the full realization that a non-romantic partner could be as important to me as a romantic partner – which, when I type it out right now seems like, “well, duh…” but in that moment it felt like an epiphany.
A few weeks earlier, I’d made the decision to put my house on the market and sell. I wasn’t sure where I would end up but I knew that if the market crashed, that three-story house with no yard wasn’t where I wanted to spend the next ten years waiting for it to recover.
We briefly entertained the idea of renting a large house for four of us in the polycule to share, but the place we’d found was ….well, it was a dump. And anything else in our price range was too small for four adults who each wanted their own bedroom (plus an office for me), six cats, two rabbits, and two snakes.
The idea of just moving in with one of my metamours had been more theoretical than viable up until then. On paper, it made sense: they were maxed out financially in a one bedroom apartment, and I was experiencing sticker shock seeing how much more expensive renting was than owning – but as a self-employed person with an unstable income flow, I knew it would be close to impossible for me to qualify for another home loan.
So the theoretical idea became a bit more viable. Still, the big question remained: How would we make it work – sharing the same partner and with four cats, two rabbits, and two snakes in a small apartment?
But after Carlyle passed away, it became three cats and for some reason that seemed a lot more manageable than four.
Something else happened that was very much tied in with the loss of Carlyle.
I found myself home alone with Mulholland, my older cat, who I’d had since before my late husband and I reconnected and moved in together in 2005. We adopted Carlyle shortly after moving in together – so in a way, it felt like an entire chapter of my life – The Tony Chapter – had come to its full conclusion. I was back to where I had been before – living alone with my cat, only this time – we were doing it in the middle of a pandemic with no yard and nowhere to go to be around people.
It felt like it was time to reconsider the idea I’d had for a long time that I never wanted to live with anybody else ever again. That was a decision I’d made in the wake of my husband’s unexpected death. That was a decision fueled by the trauma of living with a hoarder whose obsessions had taken up every square inch of our home.
It’s similar to the declaration that many of us have made that we are “SO DONE WITH MEN!” after another attempted relationship has caused us pain. It’s one of the reasons I really try to keep an open mind and remember that my needs are fluid, even if it takes six years for them to flow in another direction.
So here I am – writing to you from my office in a three bedroom + bonus room house that my metamour and I are now renting together – with three cats, two rabbits, and two snakes. We have a two-car garage, a yard, a washer and a dryer, all hardwood floors, a community pool, and walk-in closets. There’s definitely some adjusting happening as we come from two very different lifestyles and have the same boyfriend – but we’ve now been here nearly two full weeks, and the things I thought would be hardest to handle have been pretty easy.
I still have lots of alone time, since my metamour is an essential worker who still goes to their place of work most days. The house is well laid out and whether it’s because we are intentionally being quiet or because the walls are thick enough to mask it – we haven’t heard too much of each other during date nights with our partner.
And, it only took us ten days to clear out all the boxes from the garage to get both cars back in. That may well be a record.
Stuff has and will continue to come up. I know it will. But I also know that there is a lot we can learn from each other that will far outweigh any of the challenges that will arise as we both start this new chapter of our lives. The idea of the whole polycule eventually moving in together is still out there. In many ways, it feels like my metamour and I are the advance team exploring the potential for this to happen a year or two down the line.
It’s at this time that I revisit a guideline I had set for myself when I was posting several times a day in the early days of my writing. This blog began as a way for me to process getting back into dating after my husband passed away – and let me tell you, there was a lot of heartache and processing to be done back then.
I’d never expected to gain a following from it, but I quickly realized that with that level of visibility came an important responsibility on my part to respect the privacy of others even as I shared the ways in which their actions affected me. It was also self-serving, as I didn’t want people to not want to date me because they were worried their every mistake would end up in front of 3,000 pairs of eyes the next morning.
So, I created a “code” through which I determined what was and was not acceptable for me to share. The big part of it was that I wouldn’t openly write about current events in progress without consent of all those involved. If I did feel like I had vent some anger or frustration about something current, out my choices were to hide it in a metaphor or use an alternate account with zero friends that, to this day, only a small handful of acquaintances know about.
Even when I wrote steamy erotica on Fetlife based on real-life experiences, they were based on experiences that had happened months or years prior – long enough to mask who it might have been with or when it happened.
My metamour and I have briefly discussed the possibility of documenting our experiences living with each other – since this is something that I think many people in the non-monogamous communities wonder about. It’s something I think we will do at some point. At the very least, we’re going to document what it’s like combining three cats, two rabbits and two snakes into the same household. Currently, they’re all sequestered into their own rooms.
All this to say that I will not be venting or airing out our dirty laundry here without consent, nor will I use this blog to process active disagreements. If and when I do share examples of challenges we have experienced, it will be done so after they’ve been resolved and/or with the explicit consent of the people involved.
I mean, I know that’s how I roll – but it felt important to restate it again for those who weren’t around in the early days and know that about me already.
With all that in mind, I am open to fielding questions from anybody who is curious about what it’s like to cohabitate with a metamour. Feel free to submit your questions here or via email. I’ll likely answer all of them in the next episode of my podcast.
Until then, I have more stuff to unpack 🙂