“So this couple I know is poly now. I never would have thought they’d open up,” she says.
“Why is that?” I ask.
“Well, they’re really tame. Neither of them has slept with very many people. I think she’s his first, and he’s her second,” she replies.
“And it surprises you that they opened up?” I ask.
“I guess I just think of polyamorous people as being really sexual. And opening up would make more sense if you were a naturally promiscuous person, y’know? Otherwise, why bother?”
I laugh. “I thought the same thing before I was poly. When I realized Megan and Pete had an open marriage. I thought it was more a thing for wild people who had never settled down.”
“But it isn’t?”
“It really isn’t,” I say. “When I gave polyamory a try, I was really the only person in my web who had very many lovers in the past. Everyone else had 1 or 2 tops. They were Unsettled Down.”
The Unsettled Down follow a traditional social script for relationships, I explain. You meet someone, commit, marry, settle down, and… happily ever after ensues. Except surprise, it doesn’t.
There are a lot of boring stretches that are edited out of the movies, much like bathroom breaks and long waits. And you’re left with an unsettled feeling, that despite what you’d been told about the key to happiness, to Movie Magic Romance, something is missing.
Seth in particular bemoaned his state explicitly prior to our opening up. “I never got to taste other flavors. How do I know if what we have is any good? I have nothing to compare it to.”
“It’s not just for promiscuous folks,” I say. “Part of what can drive people to opening up an existing relationship is a lack of experience outside of that one committed relationship.”
“Huh,” she says.
“If anything I found the prospect of polyamory less attractive than my friends with less sexual experience did because I didn’t find experiences just for experience’s sake particularly compelling.”
“And yet here you are,” she says.
“And yet here I am,” I smile. “Gave it a try, found that I liked it. Especially the social connection and autonomy.”
“Show up for the dating, stay for the self-improvement,” she jokes.
I smirk. “Something like that.”