Pair of White Cards

There are times when, for whatever reason, you end up at places you didn’t know existed. Part of this is undoubtedly the limited number of cultural narratives and how they butt up sharply against the richness and variety of actual life experience.

And part of this? Life, at least the one I’ve lived, is twisty-turny with a vengeance and great at keeping secrets until the last possible second.

I am surprised to say that we are in an open relationship again. I would say that we are polyamorous again, but that feels disingenuous. We started out in a poly web with both of us having other partners, and we never really stopped being poly in spirit, attitude, or approach. We were just functionally monogamous for 4 years after my web burned and we built our foundation together. Even with the exclusivity, I can still look back and see a multitude of flirtations and connections that would have totally been unacceptable in a more traditional relationship. I also suppose that “kinky” as an overarching identity helped us maintain distance from Vanilla rom-com standards of conduct.

Many people who know us well have viewed this re-conversion as inevitable. It just makes too much sense for how we think about things.

What’s extraordinary to me, even more so than being open again, is the nature of our agreement.

We both have carte blanche (literally French for “white card,” complete freedom to act as one wishes). Nothing is off limits. There are no rules. And I’m not a bit scared. We trust each other’s judgement, our values align quite well, and we both tend to act rather conservatively and are very explicit in our communication when managing multiple relationships.

No judgement is perfect. His is, however, certainly as good as mine, and he feels the same way about me.

Now, some actions would be very inconsiderate and might carry consequences that could inconvenience and/or harm one or both of us (as a dramatic example, unprotected sex with 3 strangers in one week – which is something that neither of us would ever do), but – and this is important – they don’t constitute cheating or betrayal.

And I love this because no one is policing anyone. It’s exactly what I’ve wanted from poly from the beginning. Not desperately searching for a unicorn third to somehow magically “complete” our relationship, not sleeping with everyone I could or collecting relationships in order to prove to myself that I had some worth (I see this fairly often in some poly people I know, and it’s sad).

Just being open to fun and deep connection when it happens. Letting things unfold naturally. Not putting rules on things that don’t take well to them – y’know, things like feelings, hormones, etc.

I’m not worried that Skyspook will replace me. It’s unlikely. If nothing else, we are tremendously good roommates, and our chemistry is undeniable. However, if it made sense to do so, if he would be better off without me in his life, I’d want him to replace me.

Practically, I suspect very little will change, especially in the short term. Maybe some making out with friends. But the change in attitude is palpable to me and a huge deal.

More than anything else, I feel relieved.

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