You Have to Fall in Love with Metamours

3 white plastic chairs against a peach wall, slightly in shadow
Image by Alan Gradilla / CC BY

Welp. It had to happen. I’m in full-blown meta love with Sika.

I met her 4 or 5 years ago through a mutual friend. And immediately we clicked, in one of those chance circumstances where your interests and neuroses line up perfectly.

This girl, I thought. She’s like a younger, better version of me.

Sika is so sweet that you can practically see cartoon animals landing on her gracefully. She’s a Disney movie in human form. And she’s really hot.

But so very, very straight. It is what it is.

When I first met Sika, I was so struck by our similarities that I’ll admit I compared and couldn’t help but feel like I came up short.

She was the shiny new Christmas toy, and I was last year’s model, in danger of being relegated to the attic. A dust collector.

Irrationally, entirely without cause, I felt with every bit of my body, “Well, this girl is my replacement.” In my circle of friends. And maybe even eventually with my lover (Skypook and I were closed at that point but still very poly-aware, mono-flexible).

I’d run into these patterns with other women before, especially back when I considered myself monogamous. An insidious jealousy that would turn a friend into a rival. Before you know it, all of your female friends are insulting the same beautiful girl obliquely, trying to poison the well, consumed by threats to their own security.

I didn’t for a second trust myself not to misbehave,  to act out in indirect ways towards Sika.

Jealousy and insecurity thrive in secrecy (Martin loves the shadows).

So I decided to tell her.

“It’s nothing you did,” I told her. “But I’m extremely jealous of you. You seem like a better version of me. And it makes me feel a little crazy.”

“Oh, that’s not how I see it at all!” Sika replied. “You’re like the cool, wise older sister I never had. You’re amazing. Stop.”

Two hours later, after a flurry of conversation and processing, we formally declared each other sisters. And regardless of where we’ve been or what’s going on in either of our lives, we have continued to foster a mutual love and respect that has certainly made my life so much better.

She texts me pictures of beautiful shoes she sees out in the wild.

I randomly let her know how much she means to me. “If you were playing for the Cubs tonight, I would root for you. Cuz I love you more than our racist-named baseball team. You are just that awesome.”

Every time we reunite, a frenetic cacophony of words coalesces into one concordant whole. It is just like that first time every time. Truly authentic connection. Cutting right through the bullshit in the nicest way possible. Like absolutely no time has passed.

*

So of course, fate would have it that the woman whose very existence made me insanely jealous would eventually come to date my husband. It slowly unfolds at an ent’s pace due to logistics and everyone involved being sated (though not saturated) poly veterans.

But it’s been incredible for me. Sika is a very good person. She’s very good for him.  And I’ve arguably gotten as much out of the experience as Skyspook – in terms of challenging my insecurities and gaining one of the world’s best metamours in the bargain.

As a metamour, Sika has been absolutely delightful.

Notably, one time Skyspook was very late coming home from a date (not with Sika), and the location service in his phone told me he was physically in Lake Erie. I sat there staring at my phone, reminding myself about towers and bouncing signals. But it was still a bit nerve wracking.

“Awww,” Skyspook said, when I told him later. “Why didn’t you just text or call me if you were worried?”

“That was your time, not mine. I didn’t want to be a butt-in-ski,” I replied.

Skyspook told this story to Sika on their first date. “I want to make sure I don’t worry Page again.”

When Sika learned about this, she took it upon herself to set alarms so that they didn’t lose track. When they were going to be late coming home, she made sure I knew.  And she supported Skyspook in his desire to better manage time on dates.

And geez Louise, they texted me on their date together. So much for not being a butt-in-ski, huh?

I never would have asked for any of it — I would have felt intrusive and controlling and like I was ruining their date to insist upon any of it. But Sika wanted to do it. She’s been absolutely lovely and concerned about my feelings. Again, in a way that would feel inappropriate to ASK a metamour to be.

And in the times where we’ve hung out together as friends with Skyspook there, I’ve never felt like a third wheel or like I’m in the way. She seems as delighted to see and talk to me as always.

It’s still very new, and there’s no way of telling how things may or may not shift as their feelings for one another deepen (or don’t, tough to tell how these things will go).

But it’s been a great demonstration of how our gut reaction level insecurities lie to us. I initially felt threatened by a person who is great to me, great to my husband. I sometimes wonder how things would be different if I hadn’t fessed up to her that night years ago, and we never became friends, let alone metamours.

Polyamory is About the Metamours

In a lot of the poly how-to, we’re very partner centered. Even questions like “how do I manage jealousy?” tend to have our partner at the center of it, as something that is gained or lost and the metamour simply a happenstance agent of that scary change.

But thing is? It’s not our partners that really make the daily existence of polyamory that different from monogamy. Sure, you’re busier, and you may have layers of feelings that you’ve never deal with, but honestly where poly and mono really seem to diverge? It’s the metamours. The fact that you have these people in your life who love the same people you love. That you have these friendships (and lots of them, if you’re well connected) that there simply is no script for.

Metamour relations are a form of improv — sometimes hilarious, sometimes awkward, sometimes painful, sometimes glorious. But never dull.

Ask Yourself “How Do I Be the Best Metamour that I Can Be?”

Poly becomes so much easier if you can enjoy having metamours and try to be a good one.

What has been more helpful to me than anything else as a poly person is not asking how I can be a good partner to people I love. It’s been asking myself “how do I be the best metamour that I can be?”

And not just in my direct relationship with my metamours but in the way that I share resources. The way that I share time. The way that I trust. The way that I respect what others have that I’m not really a part of.

When I fell in love with having metamours is when I made peace with poly and really started to thrive. Although being a good partner is important, I already had a well-developed sense of how to be a good partner to someone from my monogamous days.

And besides, I feel like the best partners in polyamory, the amazing ones, are the ones who also make good metamours.

You’re Not Going to Be Best Friends With Everyone

Now, you’re not going to be best friends with everyone. You may not even really like some of your metamours.

But if you can look at metamours as opportunities, something extra you’re gaining (as a support to you, your partner, or both), instead of viewing shared time with your lover as something you’re potentially losing? That’s the key.

You’re not losing a lover. You’re gaining a metamour.

It’s like Jeff Leavell wrote in his piece for The Washington Post:

The more people you add to your love life, the more drama and chaos. Three-way sex is awesome; three-way fighting is awful. There are a lot of moving parts in the polyamorous lifestyle. And sometimes that can feel overwhelming and unmanageable. But for me, there is also this amazing network of support and love. An extended family of lovers who show up to support me. I’ve learned to let the people I love have their successes and their meltdowns. I’ve let them have their lives in spite of my fears. I love them for who they are, not for who I want them to be.

*

Regardless of what happens with Sika and Skypook from here on out, she’s taught me a very powerful lesson — so often we’re scared of the thing that we will one day come to love.

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