Still learning

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.


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:

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Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

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One of things that interests me in the whole poly scene is that people seem to wear it as a badge. Naturally, I’m only seeing those people who talk about it, so I’m guessing that there are probably just as many poly people who don’t write blogs, magazine articles, tweets, on the subject. But those that do are, perhaps naturally, proud and positive about it, almost proselytizing in some cases (not accusing you of that, BTW).

In some ways, it’s like homosexuality was in the 80s. You were either OUT (capital letters, bold text, flamboyant clothes, big personality) or you kept it very quiet. Maybe it’s because society (in part) is only now becoming more accepting of the concept of poly but not yet entirely without judgement.

Anyhow, just my impression.

Couldn’t agree more. I’ve hinted about this aspect of it in the past, it does feel like I’m ‘part of’ a ‘scene’ or something bigger (a movement? perhaps not).

That’s a new thing for me as well, so it’s all a lot to factor in at times.

I think Graybo’s comment that poly is more visible to those of us who have friendships in those circles is certainly true. I was actually thinking ‘maybe poly is a more acceptable sort of unconventional relationship’ in that there are other unconventional relationships who really don’t advertise what they do outside of their own circles. Then I realised it is still very much being talked about within fairly safe circles, and that I was going round in, erm, circles…

G says:

Ahhh circles, I do like those.

I agree though, it’s very easy to forget how small your ‘world view’ is at times. My ‘circle’ is full of smart, thoughtful and considerate people, so it’s easy to be ‘out’ with them.

One of my girlfriends, on the other hand, has some very strait-laced friends so it’s much harder to be out about her poly status (it has a knock on effect on others who know her, and us, as well of course).

The other circle I go round in is the one where I realise that my idea of what’s acceptable is quite different to a lot of people’s. But because my twitterverse is populated with the likeminded, I am less exposed to prejudice and lack of understanding than I might otherwise be. And in real life, I behave differently in different groups, which is sometimes frustrating but at the moment, just what I have to do.

Kirsty, I applaud and admire you for not hiding who you are. It means that one day, nobody will have to.

What Karen said! 😀

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