Cyrano de Metamour: When Kind Gestures Are a Group Effort

a partially completed illustration for an edition of Cyrano de Bergerac. A man with long hair and a big nose is displayed on the lower right. The upper left corner has a partially outlined shape of a person whose head is fully drawn (dark face, long hair, a dark cap with a feather)
Image by SketchThisOut / CC BY

“How obvious it is now–the gift you gave him. All those letters, they were you… All those beautiful powerful words, they were you!.. The voice from the shadows, that was you…”

-Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac

*

“So I showed up to my girlfriend’s workplace with a gift basket of stuff she’s crazy about,” she says.

“Awww, that’s sweet. Just out of the blue?” I say.

“Just out of the blue. She knew I was dropping by. But not with the present.”

“I would lose it,” I say. “If someone did something like that for me. I’d be a crying mess.”

“Oh she did,” she says. “It was really cute.” She sighs. “Except…”

“Except?”

“She texted me this morning about it. Wanted to know how much of it was my idea and how much of it my wife picked out,” she says.

“Did she help you pick stuff out?”

“Of course,” she says. “It was kind of a joint effort. It was fun. But now I’m in kind of an awkward spot. And I’m not sure what to say.”

I nod. “See, it wouldn’t even occur to me to ask that question. Unless I was nervous about my relationship with my metamour, and I was kind of fishing for signs that they were cool with me. Then I’d want it to be something they helped pick out. But your girlfriend’s awfully new to poly, right?”

“Brand spanking new,” she says. “She identifies mono. None of this was supposed to happen. She feels like a homewrecker. And while she’s friendly with my wife, she feels really awkward about it.”

Not having social scripts for metamour stuff,” I say.

“Exactly,” she says. “It’s like she’s trying to divvy the gift basket up. See how much of it matters, how much of it I bought. And how much of it doesn’t.”

“When in reality it all matters, just in different ways,” I say.

She nods.

I don’t envy her. Loving a person while being their first example of poly is an extremely difficult task.

Cyrano de Metamour

And I can’t help but think back on a recent experience I had that panned out so much differently.

When my husband Skyspook came up with the idea of going to a baseball game with my boyfriend, everyone had seemed very onboard. Excited.

“Skyspook said he’d like to take us to an Indians game, all three of us, you, me, and him,” I told my boyfriend CC.

“I’d love to,” CC said.

We’d had such a great time there at the game itself. It was cold, but our team spanked the other one. There was even a 3-run homer. And CC had seemed like he was in a good mood at the end of the night.

But after speaking with my friend, I begin to wonder: Does CC feel shortchanged by Skyspook’s involvement in the gesture? Does he feel like it meant less?

So I check in about it.

“Oh no way,” he says, “It means a lot.”

“Why is that?” I ask him.

“It shows me that you want me to get to know Skyspook, which means that you want me around. It’s the best kind of sign.”

*

My new book is out!

Dealing with Difficult Metamours, the first book devoted solely to metamour relationships, full of strategies to help you get along better with your partners’ other partner(s).

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