PQ 12.5 — Do I trust my partner to make good decisions about whom she starts relationships with? Why or why not? What might the consequences be if she makes a poor decision, and how might I deal with those consequences?
Ooooo boy, this question.
The answer these days regarding my anchor partner Skyspook, aka, the person that everyone else would point to and say “that guy, that guy right there, he’s the one we would call ‘primary'” in some bizarre hypothetical scenario where we were on a game show and they had to guess:
Skyspook’s judgement is at least as good as mine — and arguably better. He’s disciplined, thinks out the logical consequences of his actions. And he doesn’t just do this with The Big Things but also with the everyday smaller choices. I routinely stumble across him researching minutiae.
When he goes to make a new recipe, he’s just like me. He opens twelve different recipes, studies them all in order to get a sense of the underlying principles that unite them all. And then he drafts one that coalesces all of those principles into a single effort. He then goes to make the recipe and notes what did and didn’t work. And then based on those results, he tweaks his recipe in order to get closer to the desired result.
It’s very conscientious. Whatever he’s doing, he makes a concerted effort.
And that care and concern have also translated into partner selection. He’s rejected potential partners on his own because of safety and/or compatibility concerns.
However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Skyspook is not the nesting partner that I entered polyamory with.
When I made my initial formal foray into polyamory in 2009 (when I first heard the word after I discovered that friends of mine were polyamorous), I was in a closed marriage with my partner Seth.
And Seth didn’t always make the best decisions. He hadn’t had much dating experience and was generally more spontaneous in his decision-making, both inside and outside of relationships.
I think that can be a difficult reality of opening up a relationship that’s closed: I had never had to worry about how well my partner selected romantic partners, and now it was a crucial part of our relationship.
How did it play out? Let’s just say that it was stressful. (For the longer story, you’re welcome to read my book about the first few years I was polyamorous.)
Because of this, Seth and I had a much more involved relationship agreement that spelled out what sorts of risks were acceptable and which ones weren’t, as well as the consequences. But even with this information spelled out, I still had to trust him.
Seth and I went on to break up, for reasons unrelated to polyamory or relationship agreements (a laundry list of incompatibilities: financial, sexual, our values systems, etc).
But it’s been interesting as the years have wound on, to hear from mutual friends and acquaintances who volunteer things that Seth was up to that I never even knew about.
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 and answers, please see this indexed list.