That the quagmire of polyamory, which I have hinted at here and there, but not yet addressed full-on, needs to be explored here. Now.
I met someone a week ago who is an party/conference/event acquaintance, who "confessed" that they have found my Blog and read it. It was exciting to me because neither of us could quite figure out where or how they had found this, they aren't a person that I had notified, and probably followed a link somewhere...anyway it seemed exciting that this bulgy little monster is just out there wreaking havoc on its own, without my nurturing. I had a little image in my mind of a cluster of dots connected by lines super-imposed on the city, with more lines and dots popping up on the borders, forming a little web. I'm sure either some telephone company ad back from when I watched TV, or tribe.net back from when I did tribe put that image in my head.
So we were talking about the blog, blah blah, and they mentioned that my quest seemed fairly unique in this particular ven diagram slice of subcultures, and I was bitching a bit about how uncool it seemed to actively be seeking out a committed partnership amongst my "demographic", and then they said
"Well, yeah, you know, everyone seems to be poly and so I imagine that's pretty hard."
Woah, woah, woah. Hold on, buckaroo. Who said I wasn't poly?
I was grateful for the feedback, because if on somewhat casual perusal it is not clear that I have a vested interest in polyamory, then my message is as good as lost. So to clear things up:
I WANT A POLYAMOROUS, "OPEN", AND/OR OTHERWISE SEXUALLY UNCONVENTIONAL MARRIAGE!!!
Now to convolute them again (and the reason I've been avoiding writing this post): what does that mean, exactly *to me*?
Well shit. Like most things I'm interested in, that's complicated.
I'll start with some stats:
I've been practicing polyamory for about 8 years now. That's been about 3.5 major primary partnerships, 4 major dates/almost partners, and a plethora of 'secondary' and 'tertiary' relationships (see aside). Plus the casual sex. Let's not forget the casual sex.
Aside: By the way, while my heart is organized in both expansive communist terms as well as a hierarchical caste (always *and* over *or*), I kind of hate the language of numbered relationship status. This organizational system is not of my choosing, its just how it seems to be, but I'm always working on opening and expanding all the rooms in my bloody mansion. ( Like the Winchester House, may it never be finished!) 'Primary' I can deal with, it's simple, and the point, if not the protocol, gets across. Beyond that it just sounds to me like deflating people's worth and value in your life, making them 'less than' which I don't dig, semantically.
I am designed in such a way that I seem to have the most and fulfillment with dating, casual sex, and play partners when I am in a solid, loving, strong partnership. It is the place from which my magic is strongest. I am very grateful to have gotten to the point where I feel that I can focus when appropriate and expand when able and generally act according to my integrity with a little wiggle room for learning and practice. I don't make the mistakes I made 6 years ago, and I hope you don't either. I manage to spit out what I need to even if its still a little scary. I enjoy doing things in the right order if given the option. I have been both overwhelmed with socio-sexual activity and very alone, so I have some perspective and a great reverence for the idea of things happening when the time is right.
I don't feel the pressure or the FOMO (fear of missing out) that I once did, at least, not often. I will not apologize for my emotional structure, just keep looking for someone(s) who fits it well. I am not perfect, but I try damn hard.
My new rule: No Shenanigans. If something feels, looks, smells even a little bit fishy, chances are these days I won't do it. It isn't appealing anymore, not even in that sexy-risky, well I'll take my chances sort of way. Negotiation is hot. Honesty is hot. Consent is hot. Clarity-hot. Knowing no one will freak out or cry or get pissed or feel full of regret later is hot. Talking to all involved to be sure, if possible, is hot. I can get plenty of risky/dangerous/scary hotness once all of those other things have been taken care of, there are endless places and things and ideas to play with to make things crazy enough to be sexy without breaking someones heart, getting someone sick or fucking someone over. These things will all still happen plenty without my help. Life isn't safe, and sex and love are most certainly not, but I'm not interested in these kinds of dangers, I'd rather balm this kind of pain. Lying, forgetting, omitting, not asking, doing it anyway, not being able to help oneself....not hot.
Except in roleplay.
Basically at this point I want a poly partner who can respect and follow thee spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law. Someone who can vibe out the appropriateness of a situation *on top of* being a kick-ass communicator who is not afraid to ask or share or inquire about the possibly scary stuff, actually, who maybe very afraid but will fucking do it anyway. Someone who has had practice shaping their actions to their ideals and their promises. Someone who doesn't lie and doesn't omit, unless it has been negotiated that that is appropriate. Someone who will give me enough time, attention and space to fall in love, to feel that I am important, respected, a priority, and to get jealous if it happens and also to get over it.
Someone who understands that hard feelings are hard to have and that neither of us enjoys feeling crazy, and in fact we aren't. Someone who is committed enough to be willing to have periods of temporary monogamy if things are particularly rough. Someone who loves fun and play and is also fine refraining if appropriate. Someone to gang up on others with. Someone who can tell me how they really feel and work with me to help them get what they need. Someone who understands and works with the ideas of accountability and consequences- both fun and easy and harder and rougher.
Someone truly committed to respect, honesty, effort, pleasure and trust, and who knows and understands that mistakes happen but the real test is in doing the work to make up for the mistake or misunderstanding and re-establish intimacy and trust.
Someone who knows that there often isn't as much a single truth to these feelings and experiences as there is an individual truth, and that people all have different triggers and different things that don't bother them a whit. Someone who feels that that personal landscape of needs is more important than some super-imposed structure from the outside.
Someone who will encourage and nurture my sexual witch and adventurer, and who will bloom and expand and rejoice themselves in ways that fulfill them and help our relationship flourish. Someone who likes making crazy good sexy stories happen with me.
Someone who gets that being well informed with prompt timing is really important to me. They won't tell me that is doesn't make sense or isn't ideal, they'll just get that that's what matters to me.
Someone who looks forward to figuring out, together, what dreams and practices will work best for us.
Yes, I need a lot of attention. Yes I am passionate. No, I don't do well with indifference or apathy. Yes I sometimes get jealous and yes, if treated well, I can get over it. Yes, there are some lovers that I am never jealous of or have low emotional expectations of, but no, my wife is not likely amongst them. Yes, I am committed to addressing and working past and dealing with jealousy when it arises. Yes, I appreciate other's jealousy more than their denial of it, though very mellow people are awesome and inspiring. Yes I deal better with vulnerability than acting out in others. Yes, change can be difficult. Yes I give a lot. No, I am not willing to settle, be consistently treated unfairly, or stay somewhere if it's unclear I am important, desired and respected. Yes, I understand we are all humies, and how frail and ridiculous and sad and scary that can be sometimes. Yes, I also see the glory in it (but am always interested in being shown more!) Yes, this sounds like a lot of work, though for the might person it may be fairly organic, smooth, easy; hopefully we are at similar places of values, ability, understanding and needs.
And yes, yes yes! the point is fun and joy and pleasure and fulfillment!
P.S. Thanks 'V' for being my "beta tester"!