After a lengthy breakup of a 15 year relationship, I found myself newly single and ready/nervous to mingle.
I knew what I wanted from a relationship, but more importantly, I knew what I did not want.
More than anything, I needed independence.
Polyamory was something I was interested in, but not a deal breaker.
I met and very quickly fell in love with a polyamorous man. It was cute. I wrote a blog about it.
30 going on 21
Having been in a long term relationship since I was 18, I was ready to reclaim my 20s.
My greatest joy was seeing my once barren calendar overflowing with nights out, festivals, brunches, live music, travelling, and DATES!
Having never dated before, I hadn't experienced the rich tapestry of enrichment, frustration, and devastation that it had to offer. I needed those experiences, and I rattled through my dating BINGO card like I had a point to prove.
What to Expect when you're Prospecting
Entering into a poly relationship, my assumption was that the whole point was for me to have a second relationship.
So I went through an initial 3 month dating spree, took a much needed breather for a spell, then set about finding a second relationship again.
Ultimately I found it tiring trying to maintain two relationships. When I love someone, I love HARD. I don't have the emotional capacity to double up, or quite frankly, the time.
I like to see my partner 2-3 times a week. I also like to spend time with my friends, sing with my band, lose myself in live music, travel for work. And in between, I crave pockets of solitude, for soul enriching, solo activities. But if I'm being entirely honest, more often than not, changing into my PJs, over indulging in pizza and Netflix, and being accountable to no-one... other than Flapjack my adorable, rambunctious housemate.
I've got people to see, things to do, and 8 years of Ru Paul to catch up on.
Tit for Tat
It's easy to get wrapped up in needing to have a second relationship because your partner does.
The resolute need for "fairness" can hinder you from taking a step back and evaluating what your actual wants & needs are. It was a relief to unburden myself from this expectation.
I've spoken before about relationship equality vs equity. Relationship equality dictates that everybody must have the same. If you've got a second relationship, then I must also have this to make it fair.
Relationship equity focuses on everybody getting what they need, rather than matching like for like.
What Will the Neighbours Say, pt II
The biggest obstacle for me accepting that I don't have a desire for a second relationship wasn't getting stuck on an unwavering need for a "tit for tat" arrangement. The biggest obstacle was the pride of facing other people's judgement.
These are all actual comments that have been made about my relationship. Some in jest, some for other motives...
"Sorry, but you're a shit poly" - joke
"I thought the whole point was to have two relationships" - concern
"Enjoy your selfish as fuck life" - hurt? frustration? malice? all of the above?
I fully expected negativity around the decision. Those closest to me have been with me step by step, understanding that it's a journey where expectations and needs have and will change over time, and know me well enough to trust my need to think things through from a multitude of angles/what if's.
The reaction from others has been painful. Feelings have been hurt, and relationships have been damaged. For a lot of people, polyamory wasn't something they'd heard of before, and it has been a real gut punch to their own set of values.
I can understand and empathise with the difficulty, if not all of the actions that manifested from it.
Time may heal wounds, and change/soften perceptions. Or it might not.
As painful as it is, other people's judgement and difficulty coming to terms with my relationship doesn't dictate how I live my life. So I have to make my peace with it, act with kindness (I'll be honest, I have slipped a couple of times with this in the heat of the moment), set boundaries on how I'll accept to be treated, and compartmentalise a fair chunk of hurt to live the enriching and peaceful life that I've created for myself.
A nourishing journey of regular evaluation and adjustment.
There is joy in impermanence. So I fully aim to embrace it, and see where life takes me.