Skyspook and I have been charting my polyamorous web chart for the second book (Update: it’s out!). A map of my current relationship system, with all of my partners’ partners and so on. Taken as a whole, it looks hopelessly complicated.
But it never feels that way. These days it’s a pretty stable system. Each node, each cluster, kind of takes care of itself. New partners enter, some exit, but it happens fairly slowly compared to the past, when the pace of change was more frenetic. People trying things, failing. Hopefully learning. These days everyone involved has been polyamorous or at least poly-friendly for a long while to the point where there aren’t drama-splosions to speak of.
But yet this web would be a lot to convey to someone else verbally. To explain. It looks a bit like a genealogy chart or one of those inscrutable (to me) football diagrams.
And the reality of these relationships, this level of interconnectedness, is certainly nothing I can easily evidence most of the time.
Polyamory can look an awful lot like monogamy when I’m hanging out with a single partner and they, me.
It doesn’t always look like triads walking through the streets, hand in hand. Or a person wedged in the middle of two dates at the movies, an arm over each of them.
Sometimes polyamory is a lot more invisible than that. Holding hands with one person at lunch, another at dinner. It looks like the same dance as monogamy, only with the partners changing between songs. Only evident to those well acquainted with the usual actors.
Islands of Desire
In a lot of ways, the relative invisibility reminds me of how, especially when I was monogamous, I never really looked bisexual to others (although it was always there, moving inside me). To others I evidenced gayness or straightness.
And because I’m a femme, I passed especially easily as straight. No matter how many women I pleasured in darkness, heterosexuality seemed to be what everyone rounded me up to. My mother hoping I would “settle down” and get over chasing girls. And my female partners in their anxieties and fear that I would develop a sudden craving for dick and abandon them like a hairstyle that’s no longer trendy (a reasonable fear; I was discarded that way myself, by women who had loved me but missed men).
I felt quite disingenuous. Fragmented. It was easier, somehow, to believe others’ dismissal of one side of my sexuality or the other as a “phase.”
Until I found myself in a triad, literally connecting those two aspects of myself, kissing my girlfriend’s mouth while my husband held me from behind. My body acting as the bridge between these two previously disconnected facets of myself. Connecting what used to be islands of desire.
It was impossibly strange. Impossibly wonderful.
My new book is out!