I first made aware of the idea of non-monogamy by some friends, it was on the periphery of my life and I didn’t pay it much heed. I was aware of the general principle but for the most part I fell into the usual traps when thinking about ‘open relationships’ (basically, all the sex, right?).
Fast forward several years and I find myself slap bang in the middle of a wonderful set of relationships (where my girlfriends are girlfriends, and my girlfriend’s boyfriend and I get on well). So I’m an expert now, right?
Of course I’m not!
The (unwritten) tag line to my life is that I’m always learning and with every passing day I’m happy to say that not only am I happy, which is always a good thing, but that I’m learning more about how being part of poly relationships works, not to mention learning more about myself too.
That also seems to be theme as I continue to reach out within the poly community, read other blog posts, and learn more about how other dynamics work. So, when the PolyWeekly podcast peeps asked “What do you wish you’d known when you first started exploring polyamory?” I knew I had an answer.
@polyweekly what all the words meant! A lot of new things were expected but a whole new language was a surprise…
— They call me G (@Gordon) September 5, 2013
When my girlfriend first broached the topic of being in an “open relationship” with me it seemed pretty straightforward. We agreed we could see other people.
Pretty soon after that, of course, came the thoughts (the “what ifs” that can be dangerous) about the future. What if one of us met someone and fell in love? What if one of us met someone and the other person didn’t like them? What if one of us just wanted to be free to have one-night stands? What do you call the person A in respect to person B? What if the new person wants to introduce a hierarchy? What if, what if, what if…
So we talked and talked, and read and read. We bought books, we asked friends, we read blog posts and we talked some more.
Naturally, as the poly community starts to grow and be more vocal, language starts to play a part in helping communicate some of the ideas, but when you are new to the entire arena of open relationships and their various types, the words and phrases can seem alien; polyamory, compersion, deltas, NRE and so on.
Increasingly, as I become more comfortable with my relationship orientation, these words come to the fore as I talk to friends and family. It’s a whole new language, and a whole new view of the world.
Some useful links: