“You know, it’s funny,” she says. “I’ve known you for what seems like forever.”
“Gee, thanks,” I say, smirking.
“In a good way,” she says.
I laugh. “Okay, okay.”
“Anyway, you’ve been poly now for what? 10 years?” she says.
“Something like that,” I say.
“And when you started out with all of that poly stuff, I honestly didn’t get it. The whole thing seemed so… alien.”
I laugh. “It’s not for everyone.”
“You’ve been saying that for 10 years, too!” she says.
I smile. “Well, it isn’t.”
“Yeah,” she says. “It’s funny though. I’m monogamous. Have been this entire time. But over the years, talking things through, I’m finding that you and I agree more and more. Even on stuff we used to disagree on.”
“Like how we finally agree that it’s okay for your boyfriend to like other women’s statuses?” I say.
This is an actual example. She used to get bent out of shape every time her boyfriend would like anything that was posted by another woman. Not just selfies or something that could be conceivably construed as flirtatious. No, a terrible fight had ensued when he liked a news article one of her female friends had posted. About something really dry, too.
“It’s just… not right,” she’d said at the time. When I asked her why, she’d told me that it was disrespectful. That her boyfriend was, in essence, making a fool out of her, showing other women they were as worthy of his attention as she was. She’d looked to me seeking validation that she was right to be angry with him. And a tense conversation had ensued between us when it became clear to her that I didn’t want to give it to her.
“I can’t believe I used to get so worked up about that,” she says now, taking another drink of coffee.
“It does seems like an awful lot to worry about,” I say. “Extra credit worry.”
“It’s not like I’m trying to change either. I just am,” she says.
“Looking back over those 10 years, I started out monogamous, and I’m still monogamous. But it seems like monogamy has changed. Do you know what I mean?” she says.
“I think so,” I say.
“I mean, not for everyone, there was that micro-cheating thing that was going around,” she says.
“Oh, don’t get me started on that,” I say.
“Toxic monogamy anyone?” she says.
I laugh. I love that she gets the nuance of that piece, even being monogamous. That I’m not saying that monogamy is toxic, only that there’s a certain kind of monogamous thinking that when taken to social isolation levels can have a detrimental impact on social health. Panicking about stuff like micro-cheating.
She smiles. “People are so connected. I know what people say about technology. That it isn’t the best way to interact. That it gives a false sense of connection,” she says. “But it’s made it easier than ever to reach out to another person.”
“So you’ve had to adjust?” I say.
“Me and everyone else, really, micro-cheating outrage aside. It’s become nearly impossible to keep other girls from talking to my man anymore. If they want to talk to him, they’ll find a way,” she says.
“So you’ve had to accept that they will? Talk to him, I mean.”
She nods. “And plan around it. Make sure that he and I are good. That he’s happy.”
“How’s it going?”
“Honestly? It was rough at first. Took me longer than it should have, maybe. But now that I’m getting used to it, it’s not so bad,” she says. “It’s easier than constantly obsessing over his likes.”
“I bet,” I say. “That extra credit worry’s a killer. It’ll get you every time.”
She laughs. “Just don’t think that this means I’m turning poly,” she says.
I smile. “I wouldn’t dare.”
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