It’s strange to admit this, but making plans to hang with a hot friend of mine, I realized that when it comes to partner selection that I put just about as much thought into what sort of metamour situation I could possibly be creating as to my level of interest in the person. It probably comes from being spectacularly webbed up in 2011 and the strain some of those metamour relationships put on me as a hinge, but it’s a huge boon to me if a new interest already knows and has a mutual respect with my other partners. Of course, this isn’t always practical – our little community is as incestuous enough as it is, and people flow in and out of these circles, but generally speaking, it’s worlds easier for me if my partners already know and like each other. I feel this way on the flipside of things as well – it’s definitely a plus if I already know and trust a new partner of Skyspook’s.
While we both date independently, anyone who is in my life, and particularly in a serious capacity, will surely encounter Skyspook. For one, we live together. He’s my best friend. I talk about him constantly. I briefly dated a guy last summer who had a don’t ask, don’t tell arrangement with a secondary, and the girl refused to meet his wife (and of course never met me). I saw the strain it put on them logistically as well as how uncomfortable it was for both him and his wife that his girlfriend didn’t want to meet her. To me, it underscores a basic level of discomfort with the fact that other significant others exist. Pretending you’re really monogamous when you aren’t? Well, it combines the worst parts of poly and worst parts of mono and robs you of the upsides to sharing (tight support network, witnessed compersion, etc). Besides, I’m in favor of whenever possible ripping off the damn Band-Aid already. Moderate discomfort for a bit while you meet the metamour and unpack and process for a few days? Vastly superior to low-grade discomfort for YEARS, potentially forever. It’s a hard line for me. I wouldn’t date someone that wouldn’t meet Skyspook. To arrange it so that lovers never saw him and vice versa would take extra effort on my part, and even with my best efforts, there would be the potential for them to run into each other. I live in a large city, sure, but the poly/kink community is a bit of a small world within it.
Whenever I know Skyspook has a girl over, I make quite a racket coming in. He finds this quite amusing, but a bit of warning noise seems sporting to me since the old sock on the doorknob business seems a bit freshman year. Plus, you’re hanging, cuddling, talking, and… things happen. It’s not like there’s a binary on/off sex/no sex switch. The cliché has some truth to it – one thing can lead to another. And in my distant poly past with Seth in 2009-2010, there were some walk-ins. In those days, Seth and I were sharing a car between us and didn’t have smart phones, so it could be particularly tricky to coordinate comings and goings. And if you think it’s awkward your first semester at college when you bust in on your roommate and some scantily clad stranger, you can only imagine what it’s like to walk in on a spouse and a partner, particularly if the partner is someone new to poly and not completely convinced of its sanity and merit as a relationship structure – the kind of folks Seth and I so often were dating back in the olden days as we lived in a fairly conservative rural area. Everything that ensues is awkward – the quick apology, the retreat, your spouse checking to see if you’re okay, and the relegation to exile from your home for sexual reasons, i.e., sexile. Then you’re hastily making sexile plans where you head out to a coffee house or call up friends to see if they want a visit. The awkward processing later on, the fall out when the secondary decides that’s the tipping point and everything’s just too weird now.
It is not the best. So I make noise upon entering the house.
People like who they like, love who they love. Not everybody that’s going to be into Skyspook is going to be into me, and that’s okay. Package deals are icky. The super wonderful unicorn? Yeah, that’d be great. That’s a kind of poly utopia. But it’s not the only kind.
My other perfect utopia picture of polyamory: Being so comfortable with my metamour that if I woke up and Skyspook and she were having sex on our living room floor that I could step over their naked bodies and come back with Pop-Tarts, asking if anybody wanted one, nonchalantly. Of course, they could have as much privacy as they wanted – I’m not the Big Brother secret sex police! –but what would be amazing is if it was so natural and not uncomfortable that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal for any us if I walked in on them. I could easily do a vee like that and would probably find myself reflecting often on it with amazement.
So who’s game? I’ll bring the Pop-Tarts.