Photo by wooleywonderworks/CC BY
I am open to whatever configuration makes the most sense logistically and given the personalities of all involved.
It seems like folly to decide what structure I’m going to build without first having the component parts in hand.
Besides, every time I have tried to come up with some kind of tentative plan, everything turns out completely differently than I had anticipated.
When Seth and I opened up in 2009, we were hierarchical and a package deal. We formed a triad with a friend. After that fell apart (the chemistry just wasn’t there between her and me), we looked for someone else to form a triad with. If you ever want a diabolical challenge, go hunting for a unicorn in rural Maine. You’ll see Waldo’s ass in a crowd six dozen times before you even find the rainbow hoofprints.
When the unicorn hunt inevitably failed, Seth became fairly despondent. Seeing how sad he was, I offered that he could see people on his own, and he began to date our girlfriend from the former triad because their chemistry was always solid. This was a very rough adjustment for me at first, but I worked it out, made some new friends, and a few months later, I, too, had things blossom for me with someone (well, a few someones actually), and I started dating on my own as well. There were some shenanigans with a group of swingers. I had my heart broken by a series of single unpartnered men and swore them off.
We moved to Cleveland a couple years later when I started seeing a couple that lived there, who I had met through lovers who were originally from Ohio but had relocated to Maine. I had a long-distance relationship with them for about a year – they came to see me once in Maine and I traveled to Ohio twice before moving there. It didn’t ultimately work out, but I’m glad I took the risk and didn’t stick to my original plan of “we are a package deal and must protect the relationship” polyamory because moving to Cleveland has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
And then there’s Skyspook of course – he was good friends with the couple I was dating, actually used to rent a room from them in the house where I later lived. I had no expectations there. Skyspook was chiefly my friend. He consistently reached out and quickly became the one person who was safe to talk to, who never judged my feelings or lashed out at me, which was an incredible boon considering the kind of stress I was facing as a busy hinge. I was as shocked as anyone when I fell in love with Skyspook and broke my own rule against men who didn’t have primaries (Skyspook identified poly and was seeing a few others but nothing entangled).
When the great web burning of 2011 happened, and I went through 4 breakups in a period of about 3 months, I was devastated and shellshocked. I told Skyspook that I wasn’t going to be seeking out additional partners for the time being and wanted instead to work on myself. Much to my amazement, Skyspook also said he wasn’t looking to pursue anyone else and that it’d just be the two of us for a while. We both agreed that all it would take is one discussion for us to reopen. I went to therapy, went back to school, and established a career. We always had a broad sense of what was considered “acceptable” in our poly-aware though monogamous in practice arrangement (monoflexible, monogamish, etc). Skyspook cuddled with friends, I’d flirt, stuff that gets a lot of monogamous folks in trouble out in the wild.
Four years later, we started to notice that we were having weird discussions the night after parties, having odd check-ins, one of us asking the other in turn “was that cheating?” and then we realized how silly it all was and consciously decided to reopen. It was time. We were at that tipping point where policing our monogamy was more work than being open in an easygoing way would be. Plus, I had finally healed from my breakups to the point where I wasn’t dreading the possibility I’d have to break up with someone else.
Anyway, I’m really cool with anything – from the very casual friend with benefits up to a spouse-type person for me, Skyspook, or both, although if I were in a vee with a serious girlfriend’s of Skyspook, and she lived here with us, she’d have to be a good roommate. I’m also cool with nothing whatsoever happening – like if it were just Skyspook and me, that would be great. He’s awesome. I’d rather just see him than force something that doesn’t make any sense.
That’s really the upside of having so many changes occur over time to my former poly landscape — I’m not scared of any of it anymore. I know that I’ll deal with it when it comes.
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