Category: <span>Poly Means Many</span>

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.

Kirsty and I had talked for a while about what a poly relationship may look like for us; we knew we didn’t have a definite idea in mind but we talked through a lot of ‘what ifs’ to see if there was anything we did or didn’t want, or anything that just didn’t fit with our idea of what a poly relationship constitutes. It’s hard to foresee the future of course, but we had a general idea of what we hoped we would get from embracing polyamory.

We’d tried seeing other people, briefly, before. Kirsty had seen someone else for a few weeks, and I had been on a couple of dates. The timing wasn’t quite right though so we paused things at that point and discussed things a little more before we decided to try again.

At that point, I was lucky enough that the woman I’d dated a couple of times and gotten on well with, Clare, was open to going on another date, and in that funny way that life can sometimes work, at a similar time Kirsty met Mark. Clare and I went on a few more dates, the attraction grew, and it became evident that we were falling for each other. Mark and Kirsty were headed the same way.

The timing of all four of us coming together was down to lady luck, but the fundamental philosophy (for want of a better word) that we all share is what has made what we have today possible.

Considering Love

One thing that is important to us all is that we decided not to have the notion of Primary and Secondary partners. Yes, Kirsty and I have a longer history but for us it was important to acknowledge the fact that we believe that it is possible to love more than one person and so the idea of one partner having more influence or sway over the set of relationships than another seemed wrong.

Balance

I’ve mentioned balance before and it’s something we all try and find. It means being honest when you want to see more of someone than you have, or when you need some ‘me’ time. It’s been 8 months now and, for the most part, we’ve got things figured out.

One key part of our dynamic that is more circumstantial than planned, is that we all live alone, so a lot of the time we need to consider who is going to stay where on a given night. It also means it’s easier to have a quite evening to yourself.

Changes will happen

We still have things to learn and experiences to go through. We’ve yet to go away on holidays with each other, nor have we really been in any situations that demand a choice be made of one partner over another (you know, those +1 things that you just know would be easier if you didn’t have to ask for a +3), and for now none of us are looking to date anyone else.

Regardless, we will talk and figure these things out as we move forward. Changes will happen, some may mean hard decisions have to be made but we are all aware of this and will continue to be honest with each other, talk to each other and do our best to make the most of something that is making us all very happy.

Poly Poly Means Many

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.

There is a word I use a lot when describing how I try and approach life in general and when it comes to polyamory and my relationships it’s definitely something I focus on.

Polyamory as Balanced Stones

Balance

With multiple relationships at play, when it comes to making decisions things need to try and be fair and reasonable to everyone concerned. That’s not to say that every decision is always what everyone wants, but hopefully we are all having our needs met as best can be expected. In short, you can’t make everyone happy all the time (but I’ll be damned if I don’t try!).

Time is the most obvious factor but when you start to include events it can start to get a little more interesting. [1] Take the following scenario, you’ve been invited to an Engagement Party with a “plus one”. How do you decide who to take? Well, availability is obviously part of the decision-making process but if both your partners are available how do you choose? (and yes, I’m aware of the monogamy versus polyamory paradox here).

These decisions are emotional. They come loaded with shades of FOMO and possible jealousy, or may trigger thoughts of ‘second best’ (depending on your dynamic). Do you keep track of such things with a view to evening things out? Perhaps not as that then brings in hints of ‘scores’.

Decisions and Polyamory

With all that in mind, within the various dynamics of polyamory, how do you make decisions?

Communication is key I think and, if possible for it can be very hard to remove emotion from such things, a level of pragmatism and logic can help. There also have to be some tacit understandings that come with being part of a polyamorous relationship, namely that at times decisions need to be made but they are never, ever, made with malice.

There may also need to be agreement that decisions (and plans) can change. Nothing is absolute no matter how hard we try.

When it comes to making decisions, it’s not something I struggle with day-to-day. I’m fairly decision focused and will make them quickly and, at times, wrongly, but in my mind a decision has been made. However, I’m aware that my partners can be decision averse so I try and tread lightly, making sure I explain my thoughts and reassuring them that I’m only making a decision because one needs made. On the whole though, we try and make decisions on things which will impact everyone as one unit and, so far, we seem to be muddling through, with our interpretation of how polyamory works, pretty well.


  1. [1] For interesting, read “challenging, emotionally draining but part and parcel of being in a poly relationship”.

Poly Poly Means Many

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at polymeansmany.com.

A Poly Christmas (ho ho ho!)

The festive season is upon us once more! Yuletide approaches, mince pies are being warmed, trees decorated and everywhere across the land talk turns to Christmas Day and the bounties that await on the dinner table. Families rejoice and gleefully wear lurid jumpers, novelty socks and all quietly enjoy the Queen’s speech.

Or so the TV adverts would have you believe. Ohhh yes, and we all drink Coke.

Putting my cynicism aside, it is true that for many, whether you celebrate it or not, the holidays are a time for family, loved ones and friends. It’s an excuse to indulge, or over-indulge, and enjoy the people in your life. For others, Christmas is wrought with reminders, decisions that don’t want to be made, and the sooner it’s all over the better.

But what about these poly people, how does Christmas work for them?

I have no idea as, dear reader, this is our first poly Christmas! However, we have been giving it some thought…

Christmas Nights out are already filling the (shared) calendars, and the not so trivial matter of ‘who will be where and when’ is being discussed. The holidays seem to bring an additional amplification to the normal concerns around being able to see your loved ones as we also have to factor in the expectations of family and close friends.

Planning is required but until hard decisions and discussions have been had, we are in limbo. Sometimes I wonder if we should just organise a conference call and get my partners, their partners, families, and friends all into one discussion… impossible of course, I know. Regardless, I’ve no doubt that, as supportive as our families have been, someone will feel they are losing out.

There are only so many hours in the day though.

Next up, nights out. Does a “+1” really mean just 1, or can I bring both of my partners? If not, who should accompany me? To add some spice to this quandary, I work with one of my partners so, for a company night out, she could be there with one of her other partners, and I could be there with mine? All four of us out together? (and my two partners also see each other…). How many tongues would that get wagging? (and do I give a shit?!).

We are still ‘new’ though, so visiting families is still happening. Reactions will need to be gauged and I’ve no doubt there are unknown questions still to be answered and, as the alcohol starts to flow, tongues loosen and curiosities are piqued, I’m sure they will be asked.

I’ve decided not to worry though. I will answer any questions honestly, safe in the knowledge that both my partners trust me and know that I love them and know that I wouldn’t do anything to put them in an awkward position.

Mind you, I am already very thankful we’ve already thought past Christmas and we will all be spending Hogmanay together! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Poly Poly Means Many

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at polymeansmany.com

Let me start with a simple premise: Relationships are a compromise, and those compromises are made to find balance to make sure everyone is as happy as they can be. Compromises are made on all sides and over time they even out.

Of course, in poly relationships there is more than one person to consider when it comes to compromise and that can mean there is a risk that you, with the best intentions, start over-compromising in favour of your partners. Whilst this may be driven by the simple motivation of how much you care about them and want them to be happy, it can mean you are in danger of forgetting about your own needs.

Calling out when you think your own needs aren’t being met isn’t easy though. Fears that there could be the perception that you are being selfish or, at worst, thoughtless for the needs of others are likely to be in your mind, but with the right comms (and loving partners who trust that you are being honest) there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to tackle these moments.

For me the biggest struggle I have in this area is that, whilst I know there are times when I need to be alone, I really don’t like the fact that it means that one or other of my partners may be alone of an evening. Hey, I didn’t say any of this was rational!

Wanting to spend time with the ones you love is natural, after all why wouldn’t you want to spend time with people who make you happy just by being around them, but there are times when I need to be able to step away for a moment to catch breath and let my brain process my thoughts and emotions.

I don’t think that’s unique to me though, I think this is important for anyone in a relationship, but especially so for those in polyamorous circumstances. The additional layer of complexity that having multiple loving partners brings does require that you are all taking time to think things over, and taking care of yourselves.

Of course it’s not easy to call out that you need some ‘me’ time when you are already time challenged to see the ones you love as often as you’d like but, as my Mother says, “Sometimes needs must”.

Poly Poly Means Many

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them.  Links to all posts can be found at polymeansmany.com

What is happening with them? Are they having fun?

Why am I home alone? What’s the point of having more than one partner if I’m still alone?

Are they having a better time than we do? Is he more fun? Is she more entertaining?

A lot of the thoughts and emotions I have around polyamory are still being filed under ‘new stuff’. I do spend a fair amount of my free time wondering: What are this?

However, this area seems to have caught me out a little bit. It’s definitely new for me, as I’m typically quite happy with my own company, to feel a little lonely at times. I guess I just hadn’t really considered how different it was to be alone when none of your partners are free.

It’s an odd thing, and not something I experienced in any of my monogamous relationships. Back then, if I wasn’t with my partner, then I knew where they were and roughly what they were doing. The sense of being alone wasn’t really the same as I knew it wasn’t because my partner was choosing NOT to be with me. It’s a subtle point I think, but an important distinction.

In polyamorous relationships choices have to be made. I can’t be in two places at once and neither can my partners so there is an element of having to choose who not to be with on a given night. Of course the aim is to find a balance and make sure everyone is happy with the amount of time they spend with each of their partners but it’s easy to see how, sometimes, someone might feel like they are second best (I realise this is very much down to your own dynamics and what agreements you may have between partners, I can only speak for myself and that I’m very keen to make sure both of my partners know they have the same voice and value in our relationships).

Regardless, there are nights when I know both my partners are choosing not to be with me. It’s not done negatively, it’s a fact of life, but it still happens and even though I understand why, logically, there is still something there that feeds the irrational brain.

Once you get past that, and I’m never convinced those thoughts fully dissipate, I’ve found I start to wonder what they are doing and, ultimately, whilst I am sat home alone, what am I missing?

The fear of missing out is not unique to poly/open relationships but if anything, for those in our set of relationships, it does seem to be heightened as the fear is built upon knowledge of the choice your partners have made.

The wondering, the comparisons start. Curiosity follows, and you wonder how much you think you want to know versus how much you actually should know about what they may, or may not, be doing.

I’m lucky that, for me, it doesn’t seem to strike me too hard or too often. I know for my partners it’s had an effect on them in the past, and may well again in the future. Thankfully we are all fundamentally happy and committed to making things work, we’ve all been honest and that should keep these fears at bay.

The thing is whilst you may be missing out on one night, or one event, if you are in more than one relationship, the inverse can also be true. Having two partners means I’m experiencing things differently than I would with one partner, enjoying a different point of view of a shared experience or the opportunity to attend events with someone who shares a passion.

The hope is that the time spent together at those times helps keep any irrational thoughts or fears at bay should they arrive during those nights when you are alone.

Poly Poly Means Many