Mo’ Poly, Mo’ Problems

My first several years of poly were a series of false starts and broken hearts.  I’d get involved and emotionally connected and then WHAM!!! the rug gets pulled out one way or another.  It is a hard, bad thing.   I’ve had a partner go mono with new a partner, a partner who was actually cheating and subsequent dissembling of the web of deceit (blowback sucks balls), and a partner who decided she was mono and wanted me to forsake all others for her (and, if I really loved her, of course I would do this… or so went the logic).  Also, a partner who insisted I push all other relationships to the periphery – essentially making those others casual and very tentative – which I refused to do. 

It has been painful.  And, it seemed that I couldn’t manage a full year without one of these issues cropping up.  I was disillusioned and heartbroken.  I wondered why I was doing it so wrong.  Some of these folks were new to poly.  Only dating experienced poly people (the no newb rule) is only partially effective – as it didn’t help me in two of the four cases above.  They were more experienced in poly than I was.  I couldn’t suss out a pattern to help me select more judiciously.

I decided on two things about a year ago and I’ve essentially stuck to them.  The first, and probably most important thing, is that I decided that a broken heart isn’t the thing I’m most afraid of.  I must “love with abandon.”   A broken heart is not desirable but well worth the risk.  So, I need to place my bets on compatibility, chemistry and mutual investment.  Poly is only one element in that complex equation.  (more…)

Love, Acceptance and Letting Go

I accept you for who you are, but I just can’t be in a relationship with you…  Are these contradictory sentiments?  If you really accept me, why can’t you love me and be with me?

I‘ve wrestled mightily with this apparent contradiction.  You see, a few years ago, I realized that a polyamorous relationship style was most compatible with my long-term happiness.  Not just that I can love more than one – I had already known that without internal controversy.  But, that loving more than one sustained me in a way that monogamy did not and could not.  I was then faced with the reality that not everyone wanted to love me as I wanted them to.  In those much darker early days, I frequently felt unaccepted and rejected.  I took more detours down shame alley than I care to remember.

Ultimately, I gathered my own footing, put shame in its rightful place, and accepted myself fully.  I began to insist that others accept me fully as well.  I was confronted with the difficult choice of either walking away from a wonderful woman or ditching polyamory.  As difficult as it was, I chose to walk away.  Rinse, wash and repeat.  Despite communicating clearly about polyamory to potential romantic partners, after these relationships became serious, I was still confronted with this same dilemma.  In short, these wonderful women suggested that if I loved them, I would forsake my polyamory for them.  My instinctive response was that if they really loved and accepted me, they would accept all of me including my polyamory.

That sounds reasonable, right? (more…)

A Foolish Consistency?

We’ve all made a set of decisions or hold a set of assumptions about what works for you; how you’ve constructed a life.  In this, we’ve all made different choices.  For some, their primary dedication is to their career or a cause.  Others dedicate themselves to the family that surrounds them.  Some choose to not have children.  There are many, many large and small decisions that we make that we expect to be more or less persistent.  These so-called life choices frame a lot of  our life’s experience.  Who we primarily interact with, whom we love, and the character of the challenges we more or less intentionally face.  There are times when it’s really hard to sort out whether sticking to one of these life choices is a mark of foolish consistency or a wise application of what one knows works.

Sometimes life serves up challenges to our choices.  They can shake you to your foundation.  And, even though we view these principles as the rock upon which our lives are built, we may find that our foundations are easily cracked. I honestly don’t know if reinforcing and re-cementing the cracks is the wise action or letting things break apart.  With my old construction of my life, I found that the patch works were too extensive.  I had no choice but to tear down the ramparts and start again seated firmly on fresh soil.

And… and then I fell in love.  Yes, again.  But, sometimes head does in fact flip over heels.  Unfortunately, that relationship fell apart under the weight of polyamory. A rare and special love had to end because she’s monogamish and I’m a flaming polymore. We tried mightily to build a bridge across that divide. A crazy love bridge to support and cradle our hearts high above the rapids below. We never made it across.  But, somewhere in the middle, the bridge clearly collapsing, I wondered “if poly can cause me this much pain, is it really the right thing? Am I sticking to something that sounds good in the vague hope that something just right will come along while ignoring the bounty in front of me?” (more…)