I Would Do Anything for Love, but I Won’t Do That

a drawing of a broken heart pounded with a mallet on a dark forest green background. The left half of the heart is colored red. There is blood dripping from the heart.
Image by Jack Qiao / CC BY

My second book, a quickstart guide for people looking to open up their relationships (especially geeky couples), is almost done. The beta readers have given their feedback, and I’m fixing the final draft as we speak so that Skyspook can finish the layout. Eeeeee! So exciting! Coming soon — don’t worry, you won’t miss it. I’ll shout it from the rooftops once it’s available. Just a few weeks now. (Update: It’s out!)

But even given that, there’s no time really to celebrate. Because I’ve been hard at work on my third book. And that book is about a favorite subject of mine: Metamour relationships. Particularly how to handle things when your partner’s other partner does things that drive you crazy. Drawn from research and my experiences working with poly people.

And one thing that’s become painfully clear to me as I outline the ups and down of meta relations: My biggest dealbreaker of all is dealing with a controlling metamour. It’s where I tap out.

Controlling Metamours Are My Kryptonite

I know a lot of folks who have a firm rule that they won’t be someone’s first poly relationship. Part of that is because it’s hard to be someone’s poly sherpa, to be their educational introduction to polyamory, while dating them.

But there’s another reason, too. If your poly newbie partner is opening up an existing relationship, you’re likely to be dealing with a very controlling metamour.

Opening up a new relationship is stressful, especially without a personal track record to help with trusting that non-monogamy is a viable way to do long-term relationships without endangering them.

And unfortunately many people’s stress response involves attempting to control others.

There are likely as many reasons for being polyamorous as there are polyamorous people, but for me, autonomy and choice have always been key. And people being allowed to have freaking fun. Everyone. Because for me at least, unfairness kills fun. Kills it dead. In the face.

The Worst Parts of Polyamory Combined with the Worst Parts of Monogamy

My own transition to poly was rough (colorful though, it inspired a pretty okay book). But I can tell you now: It was worth it.

Because while certain forms of security were no longer available to me, I gained other ones. I became confident and self-assured in an unprecedented way. I found the best of both worlds: Freedom and fun — while still having company. A bounty of interesting people to share my life with.

So I was flabbergasted when I happened to date someone whose partner controlled and berated both him and his metamours as a matter of course. It seemed to me like this approach combined the worst parts of polyamory (the complexity) with the worst parts of monogamy (the relationship policing).

This to me made absolutely no sense. Why would I deal with the extra load of dealing with more emotional labor, working through jealousy and insecurity, and the frantic calculus of cross-referencing calendars (the biggest boogie man of poly life) if there weren’t some kind of upside?

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But to each their own, I suppose.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to reframe and deal with controlling metamour behaviors. Even if it’s something I’m reluctant to revisit again myself, being able to pay those challenging experiences forward by writing a guide that I desperately wished had existed when I was dealing with a controlling metamour?

It feels good. Really good.

The book on metamours should be out in early spring 2018. And I’m so excited.

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My book is out!

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory

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