Possibilities are not guaranteed

Sometimes I see a pattern – people who want to know if it’s possible to be happy in a mixed mono + poly relationship, and …well, it is…but it’s not a guarantee. There’s not a “Follow these eight simple steps, and you will be a happy monocorn for EVAH!” There’s a lot that has to do with issues of compatibility. A lot of times it’s not so much the polyamorous aspects of the relationship that cause the problems…the problems already existed. The polyamorous aspects of the relationship expose them.

Whether it’s possible to be happy or not sometimes depends on how you respond to those exposed problems. And sometimes even if you did everything perfectly, it still won’t work.

All relationships are a gamble. Poly. Mono. Something in between. Something on another spectrum entirely. There’s no guarantee that it will work indefinitely. You can only succeed if you try, but even then…it’s not guaranteed.

We think “successful relationship” means “never ending.” If a relationship ends, it’s automatically a “failure.”

I don’t think that’s the case. I have learned something profoundly interesting about myself, my needs, and my wants from every relationship I’ve ever been in that didn’t last. Did that make them failures?

Not if the goal is to keep growing.

I’m so happy with my current poly partner that I don’t doubt there are people who hate me for it. My relationship is amazing. I often feel like it’s unfair how happy I get to be all the time.

But I don’t for a SECOND hang my hat up on the way it is right now and expect it never to change. That change might continue to include the two of us in a romantic entanglement together. I sure hope it does. I anticipate it will for a long while.  It might not.

I don’t try to predict the future. I live in the now.

Today, I am happy.

Ask me again tomorrow.

Countdown to year three

I’m 11 mornings short of three years.

Like with most of my traumas, I’m able to talk about it now with time-seasoned detachment. It’s a story that happened to someone else – a different version of me.

But sometimes the emotions sneak up on me. Like, when I’m approximately 12 mornings short of three years and I’m laying in a different bed beside a different man in the same room of a house transformed, feeling happier than I’ve ever felt….

…12 mornings short of the three year anniversary of the worst day of my life. A day I woke up believing it impossible to ever feel any form of happiness again.

“He would have wanted this for you,” imaginary people in my head tell me.

And silently, I respond back, “I want this for me.”

Eleven mornings short of three years ago, he stopped living. Sometime between then and now, I stopped living for him.

A love letter to my friends

The other day, I read the words “I deserve to be surrounded by people who appreciate me…” and saw a writing in which someone wrote a letter to her partner’s partners. Two different writings that I’ve since lost track of.

So, with the full disclosure of where this particular writing is coming from, understand that it’s from reading a sentence that began with “I deserve” and reading another post addressing the author’s metamours.

My metamours kick ass.

I don’t know that I could do this type of relationship if they didn’t. For context: I’m not poly, but my partner (and his partners) are.

We’re each very different people. That makes sense, though, doesn’t it? I mean, why would someone get a three-scoop sundae with all three scoops being the same flavor?

But it’s all ice cream in the end, so despite our differences, there are some core similarities in our value systems, our integrity, our honesty, and our kindness and support of one another.

I’ve had people from outside the scene ask me, “Is it like that show “sister wives?”

I gotta answer, “I don’t know, I’ve never watched it.”

(note: upon reading this, H and I agreed not to ever call each other “sister wives.”)

Here’s what I do know. I respect and care deeply for these two friends of mine. These are people who are on my list of people I step up for. There’s a lot of that here on the Fetscape, isn’t there? Lots of “packs” and “houses” and “siblings” and all the profiles state that the people in their headers are the people you’re protective over.

My metamours are quite capable of protecting themselves. In fact, I think they’d probably feel more protective over me if shit ever hit the fan. Of all of us, I’m the least handy with a blade.

But, where I am strong, I share my strength with them. My time, my home, my energy, my heart, and my words will protect them whenever they are needed or requested.

Here’s what I’d write, in my letter to my metamours. I’d probably title it “A letter to my friends,” because that’s what they are, first and foremost.


Dear E & H,

We all love the same man. He’s a lucky man. He’s a good man. I think he deserves our love, don’t you?

When I think about that word ‘deserve’ – it takes me through a series of memories on the journey that brought me to where I am today. My life is not your life. My hardships look different than your hardships and a side by side comparison would have my shit lookin’ easy, for sure. I’m grateful for all the good I had and even more grateful to have survived the bad.

When I think about the word “deserve,” and I look into his eyes – I can honestly say that I feel like I deserve this happiness. Yep. Feelin’ entitled over here. I’m a good person swimming in a positive karmic balance sheet.

When I think about the word “deserve,” and I think about each of you – I feel exactly the same way. I’ve done this thing before, the poly thing with metamours. It wasn’t like this with them. They made me feel threatened. You make me feel safe.

But did you know that when I first started down this road, you both scared the crap out of me? Because I didn’t know. All I had was my past experiences to go on, and those had soured the taste of this lifestyle for me. I had choruses in my head of “these people are not the same people. Their motivations are not the same motivations” on repeat until they pushed those fears away.

I admire each of you for all the ways you are different from me, and feel connected to each of you in all the ways we are alike.

I can look into his eyes and tell him how happy he makes me, but I don’t know that I’ve ever acknowledged (at least to you directly) that you are the reasons I’m happy now. It’s because of you that he’s even in my life. And not just because you’re comfortable with his poly or because you literally introduced us – but also because, as friends and metamours go – y’all are top notch. You’re good people. A testament to his taste, to be sure – but a reason why he feels safe to me. It’s because you feel safe to me.

I’m sure I haven’t always felt 100% safe to either of you. I mean, I know for sure there have been moments when my increasing presence in his life might have been unsettling for either or both of you. I suppose that’s to be expected. I’d feel exactly the same way if the roles had been reversed.

You feel safe to me now. I feel safe in saying something to you now that I wouldn’t have thought possible.

I love you.

And thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I’m about as happy as I’ve ever been. I think we all deserve to feel that.

Your friend,

phi


(posted with permission from the metamours themselves)

Thanks for your concern

“I know you’re being careful, I just…I’m concerned.  I’m just afraid you’re going to get hurt.”

Listen, friend/mom/aesthetician/coworker, I really appreciate that you care about me and don’t want to see me hurt.  I don’t want to see me hurt either.  Seriously, nobody wants to see me hurt (nonconsensually).  Ask around.  I don’t have many enemies.

But poly guys do not have the market cornered on inducing heartbreak.

I run the same risk of being hurt by a traditional, monogamous relationship as I do being involved with someone who openly admits to loving more than one person.

“But remember last time? That guy did you so wrong.  He really hurt you.”

Yes.  You’re right.  And the one before that, too.  And the one before that.  And ..well, there have been many guys since i started dating at 14 years old until now who have hurt or disappointed me.

Only two of them have identified as poly.  All the others practiced some form of monogamy (or at least claimed to).

I don’t walk around in my daily life volunteering the information that the man I’m involved with is involved with other people, but I also don’t attempt to hide it.  I won’t lie.  I did finally tell my mom (and my brother) about this situation because they kept asking questions. They’ve known me long enough. They knew there was a reason I was so happy.

And the last time my mom started up with the “I’m just worried you’re going to get hurt,” stuff I responded with, “I know, mom.  I could get hurt by any guy, even a more traditional one. But, listen – it really means a lot to me that I don’t have to lie to you about this.

So, for the friends, hairdressers, wax-ladies, and coworkers who want to make sure that I know that they care – I gotcha.  I know. Your  concern has been registered and filed away with the Department of External Apprehension.

Should things turn sideways and I do, in fact, get hurt; you can cash in that “I told you so.”  Until then, how’s about you just be happy for my happy?

‘Cause I am.  Happy.

 

“I just want everyone to be happy.”

I had a former partner experience both of his relationships crashing and burning while he attempted desperately to maintain that all he wanted was for “everyone to be happy.”

The problem was that in that particular set of relationships, there was no way for his two partners to be “happy” the way he wanted.  And there was no way for him to provide each of us with what we wanted without taking it from someone else.

Logistically, it was impossible.  We couldn’t both spend every weekend with him.  Not only that, but the weekends when he’d try to split the difference and spend them with both of us together, it was a constant parade of flying feces as the shit kept continuously hitting the fan.

We really didn’t like each other, and his constant wish for us all to “just get along so we can all be happy” was an exercise in futility.

Now, it’s my blog and I have the microphone here so I could go into all the reasons why she was a really awful person who purposely caused friction in the relationship so that she could “win,” and you’d have no reason to believe otherwise since she’s not gonna come up in my comments and defend herself.

But it really doesn’t matter for the sake of this point. Suffice it to say, she and I could not and would not get along – and whenever he said “I just want everybody to be happy,” what he meant was “I just want to be happy regardless of your individual needs and have you accept my happiness for your own.”

If he took steps to make me happy (like, for example taking me to a movie I wanted to see), she would cry that he was showing me preferential treatment.  And, if he took steps to make her happy – well, again – she’s not here to defend herself, but usually what made her happy was having him “prove” to her that he loved her more than he loved me by breaking promises or plans or limiting the time he spent talking to me, which is not a healthy way to poly.

I never said this was a healthy attempt at poly. In fact, I’d say the exact opposite of that was true.  That relationship is the reason why I spent a little over a year refusing to even entertain the thought of getting involved with someone who claimed to be poly.

But now I’ve discovered what it’s like to be in a relationship with an emotionally mature polyamorous man.  It helps that his other partners are also emotionally mature.  I wouldn’t say we’re all happy all the time; but the way he handles each of our moments of unhappiness is individual, without taking away or affecting the relationships he has with the other two.

So, when I read a post or hear someone lamenting on how all they want is for everyone to be happy, I have to wonder if what they’re really saying is “All I want is to get my way without your pouty faces.”

We’ve all heard that relationships are compromise.  When you’re involved in multiple relationships, the number of compromises multiply. Sometimes, someone’s going to have to be unhappy. The true test of polyamory is how you handle it when it’s gotta be you.