Month: August 2013

My nonmonogamy

Written in response to the monthly theme on Poly Means Many: Types of Nonmonogamy

I’m not big on definitions and labels, and as I’m still new to the concept of non-monogamy itself (he said, neatly avoiding having to label my own relationship type for the moment) all of the terminology around this lifestyle is something that I’m still getting my head around.

However, whilst my preference is to try and avoid applying labels I understand that they help communicate the construct, status, or hierarchy of a relationship to other people. Mind you that presumes that anyone that I’m discussing my relationships with knows what each specific label means and, for the most part, that isn’t the case. So I find myself trying to come up with a workable, easily understood, description.

I’m trying to take a wider (higher level?) view which allows me not to have to define specifics nor worry about which box I fit in, or which label applies.

The facts of my current relationships are thus; I have two girlfriends, both of with I have amorous feelings towards. They have their own (non-romantic) relationship with each other, and one of them has another boyfriend.

The boundaries of each individual relationship are understood but as yet are not completely rigid. We all understand that these things may change over time, that life is not static and the emotions may change over time. I am steering away from such terms as primary and secondary, as I’m not sure they apply (other than in terms of time spent with one partner or another) and may cause more harm than good.

Of course, at present we still have the benefit of all of this being ‘new’ to us all. That fact drives a lot of the discussions, revelations and agreements, so it’s safe to say that our relationships are still evolving.

Fundamentally, I believe I am capable of loving more than one person at a time, and that my feelings for one partner don’t diminish my feelings for another (oddly it seems to enhance them instead, still trying to figure that out).

When my initial partner and I originally discussed trying an open relationship, we realised we were definitely aware of the idea of polyamory, of loving two (or more) people and if that’s where the new relationships ended up then we would figure things out when the time came. If the relationships didn’t pan out that way then we’d simply be in a different situation emotionally, but still have to talk, understand and agree boundaries with respect to that form of non-monogamy.

In short: I am an ethical non-monogamist and at present I have two loving relationships.

Simple enough.

A day at the Fringe

Last Saturday we headed to Edinburgh for some Fringe frolics, with only a vague plan but no real expectations of what we might see, so as we walked towards the Gilded Balloon we accepted a few flyers and made some quick decisions!

First up was a musical comedian from Boston, Katie Goodman. She got things off to a great start with some lovely little songs and raps. Funny, crude and provocative, she certainly doesn’t mince her words; She thinks that some men are probably Gay, there are some things she doesn’t remember, she didn’t fuck it up and is a big advocate of Unfuck It Up.

Next up, and the highlight of the day for me, the Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra. Cover versions, sing alongs, laughter, glow sticks, inflatable palm trees, DIY spotlights and mirrorballs not to mention some brilliant performances and delicious harmonies! It was an hour of joyous music and fun, I only wish it had lasted longer! (they do a nice line in tea towels as well). I am a ukelele convert!

Finally, we head down to the Pleasance and after some sustenance decide to pick whatever was next. And so it came to be that we found ourselves in the audience for Pete Firman, a magician with a nice line in cocky comedy, and some clever magic. He delivered some laughs, a some good tricks and it nicely ended the, somewhat random, day on a good note.

We struck it lucky for sure, three random shows that were all great, but of the three it would have to be the WIUO was definitely the pick of the bunch.

Assumptions

Written in response to the monthly theme on Poly Means Many: Assumptions

I am not ‘one of the lads’, I can play the role when needed but recently I’ve been less inclined to do so. It’s taken me a while to figure out why but I think it’s because I’m getting fed up with the assumptions made about me and my life choices.

I have two girlfriends. I talk of going on dates. Most of my peers (professionally at least) are married with children. I’m the same age as them but living the, perceived, life of a 20-something, out most weekends, partying and indulging in what they presume to be “debauchery” (they probably think I’m a swinger).

As I’ve started to understand the assumption is that, because I believe in polyamory, I’m now ‘the man’ living the life they think they want. If I’m being honest, a few years ago it’s likely I would’ve had a similar view; A rather average looking guy that has two gorgeous ladies as girlfriends? Wow, there must be something special about him!

But I am not special. At most I am considerate and kind to those I care about but beyond that I try and be decent, honest and fair. I don’t boast or brag about my lifestyle, but equally I’ve become less concerned with hiding it. That, of course, prompts questions which is inevitable I guess as the polyamorous lifestyle isn’t one that many people are familiar with.

So I answer the questions as best I can, but then the ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ begins, the presumptions about what my life must be like, and I shudder. I realise that it’s not really about me explaining my lifestyle as much as it is that I seem to be challenging their world view.

And if that is the case, so be it. I’m happy, and whilst I don’t expect everyone to agree with my life choices, I am starting to understand that I want to challenge their assumptions as best I can. Not just for me, but for the people in my life I care about.

Lots of new things

There are many different types of relationship, many different ways those relationships function, and many different forms the dynamic takes between two or more people.

At present, for these things are prone to change, I’m lucky enough to be in a relationship with a woman who shares my views on these things. We’ve both been in monogamous relationships in the past (which wasn’t a bad thing), but looking to the future we are currently in an open relationship, free to see other people, and believe that it is possible to have:

more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved… [polyamory]

I’m lucky enough to know some people already in such a relationship and as I discover more and more about being polyamorous, the happier and more content I seem to be. It’s not always easy, being completely honest and owning your emotions (all of them, even those icky ones that no-one likes) is harder than it sounds.

One way to make it easier is to put aside the theory and engage in this lifestyle choice, which is where I am just now. It doesn’t actually make it easier, of course, but at least my understanding of what it means to be in more than one romantic relationship now has a basis in reality.

It’s all still very new, and it’s surprising at times just how many things, simple things you hadn’t even considered, need to be thought about and discussed but, so far so good.

I’m now lucky enough to be in two relationships.