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Poly History

Poly Mom posted a poly history, and I thought maybe I should do the
same since I get asked about it a lot. Those that know me IRL have
probably heard all this before, so feel free to skim or skip entirely.

I’ve always been polyamorous in the sense that being in love with one
person didn’t keep me from falling for someone else. For the longest
time I tried not to act on these feelings, and wound up guilty and
hating myself for “emotionally cheating.” After my first relationship
ended, I resented the “paths not taken” when I was with my first
lover… and that made it a LOT more difficult to resist enticement in
later relationships, because I no longer naively believed that each
one was “forever.”

I felt my choices were cheating or resentment, and I oscillated
between one and the other depending on my level of temptation and
self-control. It wasn’t until college, hanging out at the BDSM club
Dominion that I met other poly people and realized there was an actual
ethical honest framework where one could have open relationships
without the lying and self-loathing. Of course, the one person I
started dating from the club was monogamous, so I had to wait to put
these ideas into practice.

Eventually the desire to date other people broke up that relationship,
and I was free to try this whole “ethical polyamory” thing. At first
I was *really bad* at it – I’d gotten used to hiding things from
lovers, and my desire for non-confrontation made it difficult to bring
up potentially painful subjects like other partners. I was afraid
being open about my non-monogamy would cause me to lose potential love
interests, so I wasn’t as up-front as I should have been. In short I
made a real mess of things.

Only through agonizing, excruciating mistakes did I eventually learn
it’s far better, long-term, to be as honest as possible in the
beginning, rather than wait until secrets are eventually discovered
(as they ALWAYS are). It’s not easy – I’m still conflict-avoidant,
but I has gotten easier for me to bring up painful subjects, knowing
that my needs will be heard and that there’s a chance, through
compromise, that I can get a form of what I want.

My fear of losing potential partners hasn’t been that much of an
issue, either. Sure, there are a few people who run screaming when
they hear how many people I’m dating, but far more often I’m the one
that has to turn away gorgeous, wonderful women because I’m just too
poly-saturated. I still make mistakes – bigguns! – but I try to learn
from them, and make new mistakes next time rather than just repeat the
old ones endlessly.

I’m blessed right now with five incredibly fantastic, patient
girlfriends who get along with each other (most of the time) and
support me and my relationship fumbling. I realized too late that
really I can’t competently handle more than three attachments at a
time, but I’m not willing to give anyone up, so I need to find a way
to make my current situation work. I’ve also realized there is NO
SUCH THING as a low-maintenance relationship – every one I’ve tried
has turned into full-fledged dating, or drifted away.

I’m in therapy right now, and my counselor is big on boundaries and
communication. So, with luck this will help me with the problems I
have now, and help me prevent more in the future. I’ll keep you


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 16th, 2010 07:22 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link, and your own quick recap. I'm a poly mom, too -- I have a 16 year old and a not-quite-adopted 17 year old. I've been poly since The Gothling was 2, so it's something she grew up with. Still, a few weeks ago the kid asked if I was OK with Hubby going out with his girlfriend, and seemed a bit skeptical that I am OK with it, even though she's used to me having two spice.

I may write polymom eventually; I read back a ways on her blog and had to stop when I got triggered. We never told hub's family that we're poly, though he has a girlfriend. And most folks think we're roommates with PseudoSpouse locally. My family knows; my mom isn't thrilled but accepts that it works for me. Hub's father and one sister are estranged, and his mom died recently; PS's parents have passed. His only sister likely knows that he and I are more than friends, but she doesn't ask because she doesn't really want to know. I've proposed to PS several times and have stopped because that kind of commitment terrifies him. But he doesn't want to date anyone else, he just wants me (which is kind of scary) and happy to have us living with him.

I understand the decision that three relationships are enough; I had three for a while and with two primary relationships, that was still kind of tough. The third relationship ended after about three years because we were having incompatible mental and physical issues and couldn't deal with all of it any more. Now, I think dealing with my disability is very like dealing with a third relationship in the time and energy it takes,and it would be hard for me to consider taking on another relationship.

Hmm, I may steal this for my own post now that I've written it out.
Sep. 17th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
*grin* Happy to link you to other poly folks, and to inspire your own post. B) My family is only my mom and sister, and I'm as out to them as can be, though my sister does stop me from going on about it to my mother. B) derby was almost another relationship there for a while, but it was interfering with my primary relationships, so it got scaled back. B) Thanks for commenting!
Sep. 16th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
"poly-saturated" - FTW
Sep. 17th, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
hee! I can't take credit for the term, but I do love it so! It describes my situation PERFECTLY!
Sep. 16th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
Reading about your relationships, and knowing others who are ethical poly has helped me gain an appreciation of polyamoury. I used to resent it, mostly because I tried it once and...well, in gaming terms I pulled a critical failure. One important point I was taught by a friend of mine was that, just because it's multiple relationships doesn't mean it's any easier. In fact, it's harder. I was basically told to picture the effort that's put into one relationship, and multiply it.

Thanks for this further insight!
Sep. 17th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
It's definitely harder. It's worth it, for me, but there is times when it's just stress stress stress. I told one potential paramour that I can't date anyone else because I just can't stand the idea of having ONE MORE PERSON I love unhappy with me all the time. I've rolled some critical failures on my own... I'm trying to take things easier, now, and just Take 10 when possible. LOL
Sep. 17th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this! I've only recently really started to explore the ideas and practices of polyamory, despite dating a married, polyamorous man for some time now. I understand what you mean about being non-confrontational and wanting to hide things. I have a feeling that will be me at first, but knowing this from the start, maybe I will have an easier time with it!

Good luck to you :)
Sep. 17th, 2010 03:41 am (UTC)
Yeah -- honesty is definitely the best policy, although it's certainly not the easiest! There have been so many times where I could have gotten what I wanted by just being honest in the beginning, but by hiding things and lying, I forever ruined my chances for happiness in those situations. It's a lot better for me to wait and get most of what I want long-term, then sneaky take what I want now, and lose it all later. B/
Sep. 20th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
I've always been in non-monogamous relationships and I'm so glad of that since I don't know how people live with the lying and shit. It's so much easier to be open and free and happy. Sure you are poly-saturated, since there are not enough people who are nice like you willing to share and be shared. That's a critical point....lots of guys I've talked to have said they like me but would never want a woman like me since they would not want to share, but they'd want to see other women!
Sep. 24th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
Yeah. It's always easier to be the one shared than sharing. I've been a lot more insecure lately, which has led to a lot more jealousy... I'm usually pretty good about compersion, but that's when I feel secure in my relationships. My relationships aren't that secure right now, so it's hard to be as free to share, tho I'm working on it.
Sep. 24th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
man, with all the stuff going on in your life you need a therapist. anyone would be crazy to not have a third party to help you keep things in order. i think everyone needs therapy.

thanks for this. while i'm insanely jealous as you read and can't do poly because of this i enjoy reading other people's relationships and points of view.
Sep. 24th, 2010 04:16 am (UTC)
I am back in therapy, and it is good to have someone neutral to talk to. I'm usually not that jealous, but lately it's been harder since my relationships haven't been as secure. Happy to share the bizarre workings of my odd-even-for-poly relationship life. B)
Sep. 24th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
oh i know. i was saying it in a supportive, good move, i agree way.
Sep. 24th, 2010 04:58 am (UTC)
*grin* I appreciate the support. I'm hoping therapy will help.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 03:34 am (UTC)
How about "Kilamanjaro" with poly tendencies, based upon Monog Rel with may-Dec power control ishs?
also coupled with Social Anxiety Disorder, when immersed in situations with fear-of-Authority aspects, further inhibiting overcoming said Social-anxiety disorder, leading to further problems...in other words "choking" causes horrible social situations, which leads to further "choking" leading to those problems further enveloping, and cementing.

Is there a pill or a lobotomy procedure that would fix this? would talk therapy help?

Want to fix me, because I want someone else to accept me, that I can't seem to connect with, but is my age, and has my interests. Cannot accept continued failure anymore. Want to improve. What to do?

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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