bookmark_borderComing Out

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

Time to fess up. For the longest time I didn’t really give the concept of ‘coming out’ all that much thought as I didn’t think I had anything to come out about. I considered myself straight, monogamous (and I’ll throw in white, male, middle-class as well). I was the ‘norm’, my world view was very narrow.

A close friend came out to me during this time and I remember thinking, so what? He’s my mate, as long as he’s happy, what’s all the fuss about? Of course my reaction wasn’t what mattered at all and today, as part of a minority that isn’t understood, I am starting to better understand why coming out is so important.

For me coming out about my poly lifestyle is about my own freedom, about living honestly and not living a lie, maintaining my own integrity. It is not about seeking approval, just as it’s not about raising awareness. The latter is a by-product, for sure, but that’s not the end goal.

For me it wasn’t a big surprise that coming out garnered no negative reactions with my friends and family. I’m not a big fan of drama and tend to be careful about who I let into my life, so my nearest and dearest are level headed, open minded, supportive and understanding, which is pretty much as I expected.

But that’s not to say telling them was a walk in the park, it was a lot more nerve-wracking than I had imagined.

My biggest concern was my parents, not that I thought they wouldn’t understand, but that they would think it wasn’t right for me and that I wouldn’t be happy. Coming off the back of a long marriage, despite the divorce being amicable, I knew they’d wonder if I was diving into something new without proper consideration (to be fair, I’ve a tendency to make quick decisions and they haven’t always worked out).

That said, they were as supportive and understanding as I hoped they’d be. They’d already met Kirsty, could see she makes me happy, and were aware that we were both open to see other people (I think I used the term open relationship the first time I told them) but it was a couple of months into realising my relationship with Clare was becoming more than just ‘dates’ that I realised I needed to make sure my parents realised the difference between an open relationship and polyamory.

I’m still not sure they fully understand it but they are happy that I’m happy, and were very welcoming when they first met Clare last year. My sister was the same and although she is a little bemused by it, and has stated a few times she definitely couldn’t do it herself, like my parents she just wants me to be happy.

Like I said I’m very lucky; my friends and family have listened when I asked them and life has continued pretty much as normal. Only the occasional ‘should I invite both your partners?’ type enquiry reminds me that whilst I’m comfortable within our poly setup, it’s still a bit of a minefield for others.

Outside of my friends and family the reaction has been mixed. It’s not something I’ve announced at work, but a few people are aware that I have two partners. There have been a few odd comments but those most stem from misunderstanding the way our setup works*. I’ve found myself talking about poly in general terms a couple of times, but it’s not been something that many have asked about.

What’s important to me is that I don’t ever shy away from being honest about my situation. The most frequent conversational gambit that brings this to the fore is the Monday morning “How was your weekend?” question. The more I’m asked, the more comfortable I feel replying honestly.

“It was great, I spent Friday night with Clare, had some lunch and did some shopping with her on Saturday, then met up with Kirsty for dinner and a movie on Saturday night. Then me, Mark, Clare and Kirsty got together for Sunday lunch… anyway, how was your weekend?”

* This is understandable as there is no ‘right’ way to do be poly. Some people have clear primary/secondary style relationships, rules around who can do what and so on. Our poly doesn’t have that structure, and is based on trust, communication and love.

bookmark_borderOur Poly Setup

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

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.


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.

bookmark_borderWhat being Poly has taught me

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


Looking back over the past few years, I forget just how much I’ve learned about myself in that time. Leaving a long-term relationship determined to be better, finding a partner who wanted the same and who was patient and understanding, knowing we were both on a similar journey has been a revelation.

So a lot of what I’ve learned since we decided to embrace polyamory is an extension, or at the very least a focusing, of things I’ve already been aware of, and working on.

For example:

  • Balance is more important to me than I ever realised
  • I have capacity to love more than one person
  • Communicating expectations is important
  • The more you make hard decisions, the easier it gets (although it’s never “easy” but that’s ok too)
  • It’s ok to be happy

And that’s just what has popped into my head whilst writing this post, there is much more.

Finding the Balance

For me, the most important thing I’ve learned is that I need to remember to include myself when looking at plans. The upside of being poly is that I have two amazing people in my life and, naturally, I want to spend as much time as possible with both and it would be easy to spend every night with one partner or another. But that means there isn’t enough time for me.

There is also the realisation that sometimes the balance between partners might not be quite right but that it should (and I think it has) level itself out.

Capacity to love

When we started down the ‘poly road’, we didn’t set out looking for love. It wasn’t something we’d ruled out either, we discussed the possibilities and I knew I felt comfortable with the premise of being in love with more than one partner but when the reality came chugging along the tracks (choo choo!) it was a little, wonderfully, surprising.

I guess part of me figured the first relationship or so would be more casual, or clearly defined against a specific dynamic that Kirsty and I don’t perhaps have (and the discovery of a new dynamic is one of the possibilities of polyamory). Of course that didn’t take into account finding, and falling for, Clare.

Setting Expectations

This is the simplest but hardest thing that I still struggle with at times.

It can boil down to the smallest thing, a misconstrued text message, or a presumption left unspoken. It’s tripped me up in the past and whilst I’m much more aware, it’s still something I need to keep an eye on.

It works both ways of course, and remains one of the things which, quietly and subtly can be quite damaging. Although that is partly tied in to the next topic.

Making hard decisions

The simplest way I can state this would be to slightly reverse that statement. It’s easy to make emotionless decisions based on fact and practicality.

But as we all know, people are not without emotion and practicality doesn’t allow for desire.

So, deciding who to spend time with, who to take to the cinema to see a new movie, who to try that new restaurant with… all these decisions have an extra layer of difficulty. We all know that our decisions are made with best intentions and thoughtfulness, but that doesn’t make it any less easy to choose between two people that, I think I’ve mentioned, I love.

It’s ok to be happy

Reading through this post, it might be easy to presume that polyamory is a lot of hard work with not a lot of upside. So let me clarify something.

Being able to realise you are happy, loved and in love, is an amazing thing. That’s not the sole remit of the polyamorous I know, but sometimes, among all the other things that we need to balance out across all of our relationships, it’s good to take a step back and realise that, yes, I am happy.

Yes, I love Kirsty. Yes, I love Clare.

And it’s this that should be focused on. Yes, it takes more work than monogamy, but not that much more and given that I’ve learned so much about myself (and I’m still learning) I wouldn’t change a thing.

bookmark_borderPolyamory: Decisions and balance

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

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


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”.

bookmark_borderI’m dreaming of…

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

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!!

bookmark_borderRemember yourself

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

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”.