I still Haven’t Updated My Relationship Status on Facebook

The labels “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” carry so much weight in terms of societal expectations, that I find them difficult to use in conversations describing my romantic life. In many cases, we enter a relationship, receiving those labels, and are met with a list of demands that we must follow in order to be deemed worthy of that title.

  • You must not talk to these specific people
  • You must give yourself fully to me
  • You are responsible for my happiness
  • If I am unhappy, you are responsible for fixing that
  • You must have sex with me an appropriate amount of times a week, or else that means you don’t love me/find me attractive
  • If you give me an opinion that I don’t like, regardless of how it’s delivered, rather than looking at myself, I expect you to take back what you said and/or make me feel better about it

As the relationship progresses, the list of demands inevitably grows until it becomes a job to maintain the connection. You are no longer with them because you are happy, but instead, you feel like you need to make them happy because in turn this will make you happy. It becomes a nasty, toxic cycle of self sacrificing to pull them out of their own mental health ditch. Your “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” should be your best friend, but, would we really treat our friends like this? Or ask them to jump through hoops to create happiness for us?

MC, whom I’ve known for years, has an “intimate friendship” with my nesting partner, and with myself. One of the things I like about the dynamic is that my NP and I are not engaging romantically/sexually with MC solely as a unit. We all hang out together and watch Netflix, we go out on dates as a triad, but we are all seeing each other individually as well. When we originally discussed boundaries of the relationship, MC said she would be uncomfortable with the “girlfriend” label and would prefer, that if there were a label, it would be “intimate friendship” (Or “Nomadic Lover” as my NP lovingly phrased it).

From the outside looking in, without any prior knowledge, she may be mistakenly mislabeled as mine and/or my partner’s girlfriend. We spend time together, we are romantic, we are intimate, we don’t have a problem with PDA and we all go on dates. The “boyfriend/girlfriend” label has a certain feeling of possessiveness depending on who you talk to, so I can fully understand why she made that boundary clear in the beginning. At the same time, even without that specific label, that doesn’t mean that MC is any less important to myself or to my NP, just as I’m sure we don’t mean any less to her. We all love and care about each other just as much as if the girlfriend/boyfriend labels were in place.

That discussion and the progression of our relationship dynamic really made me think: what is the difference between my relationship with MC, MC’s relationship with my NP and my NP’s relationship with me?

Is there really a difference between “friends with benefits” and a relationship?

From my perspective, and in my personal situations, I don’t see a huge difference between the two. My NP and I spent a while as FWB because I refused to enter a relationship out of fear; a fear that I realize now was about the perceived expectations that came along with the “girlfriend” label. When we made our relationship an “official” commitment, nothing changed. We still have wildly in depth conversations, we cuddle and watch movies, I still kick his ass when we play video games together (though, he might tell you different) and we still get to live our own lives doing whatever the hell we want (within reason, of course). To this day, neither of us have set our facebook relationship status to “in a relationship” because frankly, it doesn’t matter. Much like labels, that declaration isn’t for us, it’s for other people.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Relationship Hierarchy – Answering the Question: “Which partner is your favourite?”

Featured photo: Lena Headly playing Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Meeting my nesting partner and deciding to dive into my first polyamorous relationship happened at the same time. Given the amount of terms, definitions and information, I had only begun to scratch the surface before we dubbed each other our “Primary Partners”. It only made sense: we spent our time primarily together. It felt as though it became even more apparent when we became nesting partners, and shared the majority of our day-to-day responsibilities as well as financial decisions. It wasn’t until I heard questions like “Well which one is your favourite?”, and I had researched a bit more, that I realized that our relationship doesn’t exactly fall into what others would consider a “Polyamorous Hierarchy”.

What is “Hierarchical Polyamory”?

Before I further get into my situation and personal experiences, I want to explore what exactly defines polyamorous hierarchy; what makes a “Primary” a primary. Is it based on the amount of time spent together? Or is it something more? In hierarchical polyamorous relationships, from what I have gathered, there is pecking order of importance for partners involved. A “Primary” relationship is classified as the most important one, putting it above any other relationship type whether it be sexual, intimate or platonic. Secondary relationships would be deemed the less important sexual and romantic ones. Wearing the ‘primary’ crown gives the individual more power than any of their metamours, including but not limited to, the ability to veto and/or give restrictions on any secondary relationships.

I feel like this relationship structure is very mono-centric in the sense that it delegates that level of importance to one partner over the other(s). While it may work well for some, I feel as though it has the potential to open a doorway for a toxic power struggle, depending on the individuals involved. It removes a certain level of autonomy and freedom from their partner, and puts a limit on the amount of love that can be given/received.

This can often be somewhat unfair to those considered the “secondary” relationship. Perhaps details of the relationship can’t be posted on social media, or there is specific times that they are unable to plan dates because the primary expects their needs to be met first and foremost.

Are you saying there are other relationship structures?

The more I analyzed our relationship, the more I realized that we follow more of a “non-hierarchical”/”relationship anarchy” model. While I often times will give my opinion on situations surrounding my nesting partner’s other relationships, and I will remove myself if I feel as though my daughter or I could be affected directly, he is free to handle his relationships how he sees fit and maintain connections that make him happy. The definition of these specific labels allow for more autonomy and freedom which in turn, makes our time together not forced. He spends time with me not because he needs to but because he wants to.

But what if your needs aren’t being fully met?

If I feel like my needs aren’t being met, that is not his responsibility. I’m a grown ass adult, capable of caring for myself and I have other avenues I can take to handle that. If he felt responsible for meeting my needs all the time, it would be suffocating. Our relationship would feel forced or as though our job was to satisfy each other. We often times joke that our relationship is nothing more than “best friend roommates that have sex/are intimate”, which when you think about it, it isn’t really a joke. The reality of our situation is that we expect nothing more than respect, honesty, and understanding from each other in terms of our relationship. Obviously, like roommates, we expect equal share on the housework, bills and adult responsibilities. What we do with our alone time is up to us and if we collectively choose to spend it together, then that’s what we do.

When you think about it, there’s somewhat of a social hierarchy that everyone sort of has that deems a level of importance each person has in your life; a natural pecking order. For me personally, I come first. If I don’t ensure my own needs are met, I can’t be the type of partner/friend/mother I want to be for those I care about. Followed very closely to myself on that list is my daughter, then my partners, my best friends, friends and then my acquaintances. I wouldn’t put any of my partners first in how much I care about them because I love them for different reasons; the time I spend with any of them is enjoyable and fulfilling in their own way.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

The Picture That Jealousy Paints Doesn’t Usually Match the Reality of the Situation

“You’ve always enjoyed the chase,” I say to my partner while we’re getting ready for work this morning. “but then again, so have I.”

“You’re right,” he confirms, “That’s part of what I worried about when we started dating. That the chase would be over. We would no longer be keeping our relationship secret and you would lose interest”

“I get that, I panicked about that too. What I think works with us is that we’re able to get the best of both worlds. We have relationships outside of each other where the chase is still relevant, but the comfort of a long term partnership.”

“But I still feel like the chase is happening with you,” he counters.

“Yes I agree,” I follow up, “and I’m wondering if that’s because subconsciously we’re trying to… assert our dominance in the relationship? Like there’s enough comfort in our relationship being solid, but not too much comfort where we just kick our feet up and say ‘whelp, this is it’.”

“Exactly, and in past relationships, once we hit the point of comfort, it was ‘here are your rules, you can’t talk to these people, you can’t do these things, you have to spend a certain amount of time with me’. With you, there’s no hidden agenda. You don’t stop me from living my life.” he explains.

**

This conversation played over and over again in the forefront of my mind when my partner tells me that his best friend from high school was planning to come and visit. They had a friendship that was more than platonic but they never dated. Whenever he spoke of her, my mind drew the conclusion that she was the one that got away. The ultimate chase that could lead to a far superior happily ever after for him.

The jealousy with her was always there, but never enough for me to let that anxiety get too overwhelming. She lives across the country and the last time they had seen each other was when they went to Japan two years ago, a year before we started dating. They would speak on a somewhat regular basis via Facebook and he would never hide that fact.

I would express the jealousy and envy I had in regards to his relationship with her, here and there, but assured him that I respected the friendship and supported it, which wasn’t a lie. I would ask questions about her and listen intently to stories about high school, their trip to Japan as well as the dynamic they had, and found solace in the fact that she lived further away.

In an effort to show my support for their friendship, a few months ago I had inquired to him about whether or not she would be interested in coming to visit, allowing them to catch up as well as giving me the peace of mind of getting to know her. As I had mentioned in my article about where my jealousy comes from, I felt that if I had that opportunity to meet her, and she was able to acknowledge the relationship I had with my partner, the lingering jealousy would dissipate and allow me to put more energy into supporting this friendship that made him happy. I would be able to experience compersion instead of inadequacy.

The experience with his recent intimate friendship, the woman that didn’t acknowledge my presence in his life, still festered when he told me recently that his long time friend was interested in coming to visit in the next month or so. On top of all that, I was sick for the first time this year, and hormones were running rampant from PMS. The feelings of inferiority lingered and snowballed, thinking about the past they had, the ‘firsts’ they shared and my inability to compare to this woman who I had only heard stories about. I formulated a picture of her in my head of someone who had no interest in meeting me, and my partner taking off for the whole weekend to make up for lost time with the high school crush he spoke so fondly of.

**

It was a perfect storm of nagging anxiety and hormones that caused me to break down. I very rarely allow feelings of jealousy to cause me to lose my cool, but this day was an exception. When he would bring up that he had conversations with her, I never heard any discussions involving me, and I had it in my head that he didn’t discuss me out of fear of pushing her away. That his life outside of his friendship with her would hinder their dynamic and I was only an obstacle. That there was a chase, and I was the hurdle that could bring the whole thing down. I pictured her as someone who would come to visit and lay claim to my partner; that their history would trump anything I had with him. I would be a 3rd wheel to the stories they shared and I would be ‘the new partner’ who didn’t know him anywhere close to the level she did.

I lost it. I was passive aggressive and angry. I pushed him away because that was my defense mechanism out of fear of getting hurt. I had been rejected so many times by family and past relationships that I couldn’t handle the idea of being rejected by my partner, or his best friend. His defenses rose because of his experience with past relationships that had rules in place claiming that he wasn’t able to speak to her, as well as other important women in his life. It was a difficult few days of poor communication (thanks Mercury) and us having our guard up from our own past trauma.

We came to a potential solution where he would speak to her about his boundaries as well as mine. I was still slightly on edge, expecting him to put it off out of the fears I assumed he had. He assured me that, if she did respond poorly to boundaries being laid out, that it would be on her, although he knew that it wouldn’t come to that.

I know I can be stubborn sometimes but, I’ll admit, he was right. He was right about the whole thing. He laid out the boundaries and she explained her fears and anxieties which, low and behold, they were the same as mine. She didn’t want to be a 3rd wheel to our stories about his more recent life. She didn’t want to insert herself into our relationship, just as I didn’t want to do the same to their friendship, which caused us to never reach out to each other. In fact, she was worried that if she maintained the extent of intimacy with my partner that she had in the past, or attempted to become too involved in our relationship, I wouldn’t allow him to maintain that dynamic with her.

My partner was right about another thing too: her and I get along great. This shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did thanks to the fantasy of her I had created in my brain. I felt as though she was far more his type than I was and that, with their history, I would never be able to match her. However, much like any relationship, we offer different things that simultaneously meet my partner’s needs. At the same time, we share a lot of similarities that allowed us to form a friendship of our own in a matter of days. Similarities that, as my partner has pointed out, all the important women in his life share.

We have been able to communicate boundaries with each other as well as boundaries in terms of my relationship with my partner. The anxiety I felt towards her has dissolved completely and, while a healthy amount of jealousy is still present, I know that I’m able to discuss these feelings with her and she will acknowledge and understand them. The tension that was present in her relationship with my partner seemed to have also dissolved, allowing them to pick up where they left off before him and I started dating.

As I’ve discussed before, jealousy happens. How we handle those feelings is the deciding factor in whether its healthy or toxic. Sometimes, we handle jealousy in a very unhealthy way and it can be hard to control when other factors are involved. I’ve spent the last few days beating myself up over it but the more I write, the more I realize that this ‘perfect storm’ needed to happen to fix a friendship while also creating a new one.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Flirting with women is easier when your partner is a good wingman

Photo credit: Destinymoon

You would think that, as a woman, I would be well versed in the ways of smooth talking and flirting with other females. Well I’m here to tell you how incredibly untrue that assumption is.

I’ve mastered the art of flirting with men. I’m able to confidently walk up, drop a few smooth lines, and score myself a number with little to no concern. Even if I get rejected, I’m able to brush it of without being hard on myself. Women on the other hand cause me to trip over my words, avoid eye contact and sometimes, end my attempt with the ever-so-suave finger guns. Even if I’m able to muster up the courage to approach her and drop a sincere compliment without butchering the delivery, 90% of the time they thank me as if they don’t think what I said was of a flirtatious nature.

“How do you do it?” I ask my partner, throwing my hands in defeat. He giggles because he thinks it’s cute how awkward I get. He then answers my question with another question:

“Well what kind of things do you like that I do?”

I’ve seen him flirt with girls first hand. I’ve watched him use his charm, with what seems like no effort, that makes some women (including myself) just absolutely melt. The thing with him is that he’s not persistent, he’s not pushy nor does he drop some cheesy pick up line. He has confidence that I would kill for.

“Okay that’s fair,” I answer “but how do you know when they’re actually into you? Like when do you know when to… turn up the flirting?”.

He laughs again. “I’ve never really thought about it but, I guess one of the things I usually do is move a bit closer and if they pull away, I stop completely, but if they don’t move away or they move closer, that’s when I know.”

It was so obvious. There’s nothing that I hate more than trying to give clear social cues and having the other party not pick them up. If someone who I am clearly not interested in tries to move closer, I will make a point of moving away from them. Unfortunately not a lot of men will pick up on that which leaves me stuck, frantically looking for an excuse to get out of there. Body language is one of the most clear ways to observe whether or not someone is interested or feeling safe.

Having a partner that is not only supportive of my sexuality, but who doesn’t use it as a way to score himself a threesome is a huge plus. He genuinely wants to see me happy and will go out of his way to give me a pep talk, or help me verbally dissect a situation or conversation that I’m reading completely wrong. Over the last year or so, my confidence towards flirting with women has improved dramatically and maybe one day, with his help, I’ll be as confident with women as I am with men.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Where exactly does my jealousy come from?

It wasn’t until fairly recently that I was able to pinpoint the exact reason for my jealousy when it came to my partner being with other women. I always sort of narrowed it down to my overwhelming inferiority complex that I’ve battled with since teenagehood.

She’s prettier than me, she’s cooler, she has a less hectic schedule, she’s better in bed, etc. I think that the women in his life are able to offer far more than I can causing my insecurities to surface.

I never really questioned that assumption until I was trying to communicate about my jealousy towards one specific person that my partner had an intimate friendship with. What made her so different than other women he’s formed these sorts of relationships with? Why did she make me feel so insecure and unhappy with myself when I felt nothing but compersion for the other women in his life? He began asking me questions to help me dissect those feelings when the answer eventually came out: she hardly acknowledged my existence.

From that point on it all made sense. I wasn’t completely off base when I assumed it was because I felt inferior, but the deeper reason behind that was the lack of respect that I felt I was getting. Any plans that I had attempted to make to even just meet her never lead to anything, nor was I acknowledged by her when in public with my partner.

We were always conditioned to see jealousy and envy in black and white:

“My partner is giving affection and time to someone else, therefore that I am jealous”.

However, it goes a bit deeper than that.

“I feel jealous because someone my partner is interested in might be better than me.”

And sometimes, depending on the situation, that can be broken down even further. In my case:

“I’m jealous because the person my partner is interested in thinks they’re better than me.”

There have been partners/women of interest that I have genuinely found either better looking or more enthralling than me, and I have felt nothing but happiness and excitement for him. It was more a feeling of wanting to high five him than it was questioning my own worth. The difference with these women is that they respect me, my boundaries, and the relationship my partner has with me.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

The Selfishness of Polyamory

After posting my most recent entry about polyamory, I received a few comments calling the lifestyle, and myself, selfish. These comments claimed that it would be unfair to my partners to divide my love among more than one person, and saying that I would be denying my partner 100% of myself. I can understand not wanting to partake in this relationship dynamic; just as monogamy is not for me, I don’t expect polyamory to be for you.

First of all, the idea that I would have to divide my love across multiple partners is incredibly inaccurate. I wouldn’t love one sibling more than another. I wouldn’t have to love one child less if I decided to have another. My love would expand. I would love them for different reasons and in different ways. So why is it such a difficult thing to imagine loving more than one partner?

From my point of view, what’s more selfish of me:

Expecting my partner to meet each and every one of my emotional and sexual needs?

Or

Having multiple partners to reach out to when I feel as though my needs are not being met?

Is it really all that selfish to not expect your partner to sleep with you every time you’re in the mood to do so? What about if, instead of having an emotional meltdown to your significant other, who is also experiencing a difficult time, you reach out to another partner for help. When we stop expecting one partner to sacrifice themselves to satisfy our own physical, emotional, and mental needs, it takes an enormous amount of pressure off of the relationship.

What’s selfish to me is that, we have been taught that we should expect our partners to give all of themselves to us, without any consideration of their feelings. If they don’t, this means that they don’t love or care about us. Whether we want our partner emotionally or physically, if they say they aren’t in a good place to do so, we’ve been taught to automatically assume that we are the issue. We take it upon ourselves and assume our problems aren’t worth listening to or our bodies aren’t what they want. We never stop to consider – or even ask – what’s going through their heads. I’ve been on the other side of things and have been shamed for not “wanting” them, when really, my mental health was struggling.

What one would call selfish, I would call “the understanding that I can’t meet my partners every need and he can’t meet mine”. Polyamory doesn’t make us love or care about each other any less. In fact, from my experience, I’ve found that the feelings my partner and I have for each other grow and expand every single day. It’s a difficult feeling to explain, but one I would never sacrifice.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Isn’t Polyamory Just Cheating?

I’ve received a lot of interesting questions and comments after coming out as being polyamorous. A good chunk of them are from friends who are monogamous, but have shown an interest in pursuing a polyamorous lifestyle. Unfortunately however, on some occasions they come from a place of misinformed disgust and judgment.

Monogamy tends to be the societal norm in terms of relationship dynamics. The predefined boundaries that are most common, is the understanding that you will not kiss, sleep with or indicate that you have any romantic feelings for anyone besides your partner. There’s a wide range of opinions on what is deemed as cheating but the general consensus is: no touchy.

Polyamory can be whatever the participants of the relationship create it to be. One commonality is an understanding that a person cannot meet their partner’s needs fully, therefore they are at liberty to form more than one relationship whether it be emotional, sexual or romantic.

When I try to explain this, the question I get on occasion that really makes me cringe is:

“Well isn’t that just cheating?”

No Susan, it’s not cheating. Though when you think about it, monogamous cheating and polyamorous cheating are somewhat the same in the sense of betrayal and broken trust. For instance, if my partner has a sexual or emotional relationship with someone and didn’t tell me, that would be cheating (to me). If my partner slept with someone else and doesn’t use a condom, that would be cheating. Cheating generally revolves around breaking predefined boundaries whether you’re monogamous or polyamorous.

Boundaries are the keyword here. Let me ask you a question, would you count cuddling as a form of cheating? What about a friendly kiss on the cheek? Your significant other having a best friend of the opposite sex? I know that everyone’s answers will be different. Unless you fully communicate your thought process, chances are you’ll assume you’re on the same page. This is where miscommunication happens.

Granted, I have also heard Tinder horror stories of men and women using the ‘poly’ label to justify being unfaithful to their partners. This gives people an extremely poor outlook on what polyamory is all about. A few instances involved the tinder match asking to speak to the significant other to discuss boundaries one on one, and having the individual who was claiming to be poly, disgusted by such a proposal. That is cheating. Why was it cheating? Right, yes, broken boundaries, broken trust, betrayal and deception on multiple counts.

In summary, no, polyamory itself is not cheating, however, it isn’t a foreign concept to the relationship dynamic. What it comes down to is, the definition of what cheating actually is has been misconstrued. It was never the act of sleeping with or forming a relationship with someone other than your partner, rather, it is breaking the boundary of exclusivity in a monogamous relationship.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Jealousy: Not Just for Monogamy

“I’m not jealous” I would claim when I was in my monogamous relationship. I would brag about it as if jealousy was an emotion I was actually capable of not experiencing. “Jealousy is a relationship killer”  I would continue to spout ignorantly.

I’m gonna stop past Sami right there and clarify a few things.

  • No, jealousy is not the relationship killer. How you handle your jealousy is.
  • Yes, I can very much get jealous, even though I’m polyamorous

 

Jealousy is a collection of emotions all mixed together. Anxiousness, anger, sadness; a whirlwind of negative feelings that leave your stomach in knots. What makes us feel this way? Insecurities about ourselves. Not feeling good enough. Fear of losing our partners to someone better.

When my partner is out with someone, I don’t want to know about it until he’s home. That is a boundary that involved a large amount of trial and error. I talk more in detail about this here under the communication section. If the boundary is not followed for any specific reason (it happens, people make mistakes, trial and error, yadda yadda), I panic. I get jealous. Then I get sad which inevitably leads me to get snappy. It’s a sick cycle of emotions stemming from me questioning my worth. I have two ways I could deal with these feelings: I could blame my partner and demand they don’t see this person again OR I could identify what about their interaction causes this feeling in myself. Because that’s all jealousy is. Is this girl prettier than me? Does she have a less hectic schedule? Is she better in bed? Are her boobs bigger than mine? Does she have all these qualities that I lack? Will my partner be more intrigued by her?

If I reacted poorly and started a fight with my partner over it, I would be projecting my feelings of inadequacy, making him feel bad about my own insecurities. Where is the logic in that? Why should he get the brunt of me feeling that way? That is how jealousy can be a relationship killer; how you react when these mixed emotions take over your mental state.

My boundary when we first began our relationship was that I would like honesty. After the first time he had been intimate with someone other than myself, a new boundary had to be put in place. He gave me updates here and there, even past when I fell asleep, until the messages stopped. Because he was out late, he slept in significantly later than me so I didn’t get any follow up. This gave me plenty of time to ask these questions in my head, fill in my own gaps as to what happened and then overall break down when I saw him.

He thought he was doing right. He did exactly what I asked, but, I had never been in that situation before. That boundary developed into me not wanting to know until we were able to sit down and have a conversation. Since recently it’s developed to not wanting to even know who he’s with until then.

A lot of people say the same thing when I mention that my partner and I are poly:

“I could never do that, I’m too jealous.”

Yes, Susan. I’m jealous too. There will always be someone that makes me question my worth, my body, my hair, etc. But this is my problem, not my partner’s. The only part he plays in this is to respect the boundaries I lay out to minimize the effect these emotions have on me.

Even though it’s been almost a year, jealousy is still an obstacle we face from time to time. Setting boundaries is something that has made a significant difference to the frequency of these occurrences. Although these feelings can be extremely unpleasant, I don’t think I could ever go back to being monogamous. I appreciate the freedom of my autonomy as much as I’m sure my partner appreciates his.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

4 reasons why I love Polyamory

When I was young, society, media and even my parents taught me that I would only ever be complete if I found a partner and fell in love. I would have someone to take care me, live with me happily ever after. I was taught that if I found that one person, I would never need anyone else. If I loved that person enough, I would never have any emotional/physical attraction to anyone but them. That if I did wish to persue a physical connection or feel an emotional attachment besides my partner, I was a terrible person. I should have each and every one of my needs met by my one partner. Seeking to have those needs met, whether I meant to or not, was me being unfaithful. It implies that I don’t love my partner.

Because these beliefs were ingrained in my brain, I constantly questioned what was wrong with me. Why is it that with almost every partner, I couldn’t remain happy being faithful to them? Was I destined to never be complete? Do I just get bored easily? Was I the problem?

I must be.

It wasn’t until after my longest relationship (7 years) that I swore off having a partner all together. At least a partner with any sort of label.

One of the people I was seeing after my marriage ended was slightly more serious than other romantic interests I was involved with. I was scared because I felt for him more than I wanted to. I was very clear that I didn’t want to be serious. I set up a wall of boundaries and explained over and over that I couldn’t go through that type of heartbreak again. He was extremely understanding. Never pushed the subject or begged for a label. Looking back, I think I constantly brought that up to him because I was subconsciously trying to convince myself of these things.

I had a lot of fears surrounding having a relationship after my marriage. The biggest fear was for my daughter. She never saw anyone be remotely romantic towards me besides her father. I wanted to keep it that way, so, this is a boundary that I made very clear to anyone I had romantic interest in. I didn’t want her to be attached to someone who might not be around for her. I also never wanted her to feel as though I would choose a romantic partner over her. If she was not treated with respect, if she was treated as a nuisance to be around, I had absolutely no interest in perusing any relationship. She comes first. (Fast forward to now, her and my partner are making a pillow fort in the living room while I’m writing this so it’s safe to say that fear has subsided).

My second fear was for myself:

How is it that I could love someone so hard, for so long, and then have the relationship crumble so magnificently in only 7 years. The things we admired most about each other turned into small annoyances. The small annoyances turned into explosive arguments. I couldn’t go through that again. I didn’t want to be the one to ruin the connection my current partner and I had. I was terrified of codependance.

That’s when I discovered Polyamory. The idea that you can have emotional and physical relationships with more than one person. That you can love more than one individual without feeling any less love for your partner. We don’t have to choose to love one parent more than the other. We don’t have to choose to love one child, sibling or pet more than the other. Then why should we have to do that with romantic prospects?

So now that you have some background, these are the 4 reasons why (In no particular order) I love Polyamory:

1. My needs are constantly met and so are my partners

I have major anxiety and depression. Some of it comes from childhood environment. Some if it came from relationships. There is definitely genetics involved somewhere in there too.

When I’m anxious and overwhelmed, I do one if two things: I snap and bark orders, or I’m silent and take on everything myself until I break down. Often times this can exacerbate my depression causing me to spiral. Both mental illnesses are difficult to deal with. My partner handles my breakdowns with such ease sometimes that, when I look back at an episode, I’m shocked. I know I can be a lot to handle. Being polyamorous, he doesn’t have to take them all on by himself every time. It’s draining, I know it is. However, we both have outlets other than each other, which takes a large amount of pressure off the relationship. Sometimes I’m not emotionally equipped to handle his down moments and he’s unable to handle mine. We don’t chastise each other when we reach out to other important people in our lives when these things happen.

Same thing applies to sexual needs. There are times where one of us want those needs met and the other isn’t emotionally or physically capable of providing for the other. It’s not either of our responsibility to meet those needs. Resenting someone for not being in the mood isn’t healthy or ethical. That’s where polyamory is also beneficial.

2. Communication is key

I’ve never been great at communicating. I think societal expectations when it comes to being a mom, as well as my experience with relationships and the way my mother viewed parenting, had me convinced that my needs and feelings were never important to voice. Polyamory forces you to communicate and set boundaries. Making compromises and explaining your feelings avoids hurt, heartbreak and disagreements. It’s a lot of trial and error when you aren’t used to it.

For example, if my partner is with someone else, I need to know what happened. I need honesty. I don’t care what he does or who he’s with but if I don’t know, my anxiety fills the missing gaps in my mind for me. This was the original boundary for me. When he was out with someone after this boundary was established, he would update me as things were happening (even after I fell asleep) and then passed out, leaving half of the story missing. Because he was out partying, I didn’t hear from him for the first four hours I was awake. By the time he had woken up, I had created so many scenarios in my head that I was impossible to talk to. A new boundary was established that I didn’t want to know anything until he could provide full context, the next day even. Trial and error.

The boundary communicated by my partner is that if I was with anyone besides him, he would like to remain unaware of not only the details, but the actual circumstance itself. Not because he didn’t care, but because he was aware of his own self confidence issues and insecurities. He was forming preventive measures for himself to not feel as though he wasn’t enough. Logically, he knows how I feel about him and he fully supports this lifestyle and how we run our relationship. His coping mechanisms for jealousy may differ from mine but in the grand scheme of things, they lead to the same result.

Communicating these boundaries have paved the way for communicating in other parts of our relationship. When I can feel a depression episode creeping it’s way in, I make sure to tell him. This allows him to be prepared for when it does happen. When he’s overwhelmed with work or social interactions and needs time to be by himself and decompress his brain, he let’s me know. Because of this we don’t have to guess what the other needs and we don’t take things personally.

3. We don’t feel smothered

I view codependance as a relationship killer. I think this is mostly from my own experience. If it works for you, that’s great. For my partner and I, we thrive on independence. So much so that we have our own rooms. We generally sleep in the same bed but sometimes we need our own space. The fact that we don’t box each other in makes spending time together less like something we have to do. It’s something we want to do.

There’s something about coming home after a night of being with someone else that makes me want to be around him more. Not that I didn’t have a good time with this other person. I’m not comparing. What’s that saying? “If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.” While we don’t belong to each other per say, when I don’t feel boxed in, I don’t feel forced to feel these things. They just flow naturally.

4. Having a crush on someone isn’t a form of betrayal

In my personal opinion, I don’t think it’s human nature to be monogamous. Crushes are just a thing that happens whether it’s a personality trait or physical appearance. While I sometimes do things appearance wise that my partner finds attractive (Only if it makes me happy too), there will be lots of other women that will have a certain quality that I dont. AND THAT’S OKAY. Jealousy happens still, yes. I’m not denying that. It’s a mix of normal human emotions. How you handle it is what makes jealousy toxic. Coming to terms with that fact that I can’t be everything someone wants me to be has made a world of difference to both the pressure I put on myself and the flow of our relationship.

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This is a topic I could write about for hours even though it’s something I’ve only discovered and started practicing within the last year. Our relationship, just like any traditional monogamous relationship, isn’t perfect. However, I’m happier than I have ever been. I feel as though I can say the same for my partner. Polyamory isn’t for everyone just like monogamy isn’t for me, but, I don’t think I’ll ever go back.

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Thanks for reading!