PQ 9.9 — Am I being asked to give up relationships with friends or family?
It’s funny. Back when I became monogamous with Seth, I didn’t give a single thought to my autonomy. When we got together, I basically stepped out of my own life and into his. When he didn’t like one of my friends, I didn’t hesitate to break off contact. I stopped bringing them around. And gradually, the less I saw them, the more we drifted apart. Until basically we weren’t really friends anymore.
Meanwhile, Seth stayed connected to friends he had known for ages — since elementary or middle school. And to family members, especially his cousins who were Air Force kids who had moved into the area when he was in high school.
In Seth’s defense, he never asked me to give my friends up. All he did was tell me that they annoyed him. But my life had become so entwined with his that I couldn’t see any other way. I wanted to spend every waking minute with Seth, and anyone who wasn’t easily compatible with that? I just didn’t bother.
It had always irritated me when I was the sole single person in my friends group: People would partner up and essentially disappear. Run off to hold up to canoodle, cavort, do relationship-y things.
And then I woke up one morning and realized that I had done essentially the same thing. And that I no longer had any friends of my own. They were all Seth’s friends. And sure, a lot of them liked me, too. But my entire social life was a subset of his.
When I agreed to open our marriage, I never expected polyamory to change this. But it did. Especially once we both started to date on our own (rather than our first triad, in which we dated a woman together), my identity was no longer simply defined by him. Our relationship. I became independent. Self-assured.
I made my own friends.
And later when my metamour Michelle became upset that I was making friends with others in her social group, my first instinct was not to cut off contact with those people. Or apologize. But instead to question the appropriateness of anyone telling me who or who I could not be friends with.
This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions & answers, please see this indexed list.