“I’m really sorry I can’t be there,” I said to Skyspook, hugging him goodbye at the door. He looked so good in his tuxedo that I didn’t really want to let him go.
“Me, too,” he said. “I’ll text you though. Have a great time.”
“You, too,” I said, as he stepped out the door. A groomsman in our friends’ wedding, he had to head for the church a bit before I was due to leave for my own obligation: My first in-person event as an author.
I’d teared up when I first found out that our friends got engaged. Two of the nicest people I know, both unbelievably deserving of love, were getting married. And I’d teared up again when our friend had asked Skyspook while we were out to dinner if he’d be in their wedding.
“Of course,” Skyspook had said. “I’d be honored to.”
And then the wedding invitation came. I saw the date. Screamed. Wanted to bang my head against the wall. We’d already committed to teach a class on managing boundaries in polyamory that day.
Skyspook and I talked it over and decided to be adults about it and split up. He’d go to the wedding, and I’d go teach the class.
Sure, I’d miss two of my close friends getting married (ugh), but I needed to keep that other commitment.
“Page, I completely understand,” the bride said at the wedding rehearsal dinner the night before (the couple had insisted that I go, that I was absolutely invited in spite of my conflict the next day). “You work so hard on your books.”
I reminded myself of that again as I drove to the event, feeling another wave of guilt. If the bride understood and could let me off the hook for the conflict, then surely I could stop self-flagellating for three seconds.
The event went great. I got to meet several readers and sign some books. I wasn’t sure how I would handle things logistically on my own, but it turns out I didn’t have to. My girlfriend Ro was there with her husband as well as several of our friends, and they were a wonderful help with setting up and tearing down for my class.
It Wasn’t Easy Getting Here, But I Have a Life Full of Love and Understanding
Afterwards, Ro and her husband took me to a jazz club to celebrate. And as we sat there, surrounded by what looked to be the country club crowd (just barely in business casual ourselves), discussing interpersonal dynamics, books, and how freaking fantastic the food was, I ruminated on what a quietly unconventional life I’m leading. Where I can have so many deeply personal social connections — with people who are all so understanding.
That I have (monogamous) friends who understand and do not hold it against me when I have to miss their wedding.
That I am in a marriage where we can go our own separate ways when it makes sense to, without enmity, rancor, or resentment on either side.
That my girlfriend and metamour are ready, willing, and able to help me when I’m in need and readily volunteer to celebrate my personal accomplishments with me.
My entry into polyamory was quite rough indeed (but at least it made for an okay-ish book?), and I definitely faced challenges along the way that I never anticipated.
But I can honestly say that I can take just about any day in my life now and know — beyond a doubt — that it was worth it.
Sure, I didn’t need to date more than one person at a time in order to raise my standards for how I was treated by others. I never set out in polyamory looking to do just that. But it was definitely an awesome side effect. Questioning monogamy as the only option led to questioning many other things. And I’m so glad I did.
My new book is out!
A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching: Advice for Couples Seeking Another Partner