I’ve been curious about polyamory for some time. I do have some poly friends who seem happy, and I love the idea of it. I asked them if there were places online where I could read more. They referred me to your site as well as to some forums.
I’ve been finding the forums really depressing though. People mostly write about problems. Where are all the happy poly people? Is poly really nonstop drama and heartache? It hasn’t looked that way watching my friends, but you never know.
Thank you for your articles by the way. The way you write is really interesting.
Support Groups Really Do Trend Negative
I know what you mean about the forums. I think what’s helpful to keep in mind is that many online communities function as support groups. Essentially, a big part of the reason they exist is so that polyamorous people will have other people they can turn to to help them troubleshoot any problems they encounter.
Unfortunately, this really does result in a high proportion of unhappy threads to happy ones. There are a lot of polyamorous people who are very happy long term — I personally know quite a few. And while I deal with the occasional low myself (a breakup here or there), it’s nothing that’s any worse than when I was monogamous — and in some ways, it’s much easier to cope because I have a really solid support system of lovers, metamours, and friends. (This is consistent with research that’s found polyamorous people tend to maintain more friendships and keep a wider social network.)
So where are the happy posts?
Here’s the thing: People who are happy tend to post less in those forums. (At least about their lives. You may find that they’re the ones answering questions and giving advice to others.)
So if you visit those forums with the purpose of trying to get an idea of how successful polyamorous relationships are overall and/or how happy polyamorous people are, you’re likely to get a very warped portrait.
I’m guilty of it myself here on this blog. While I do write happy posts, by and large, most days I’m focused on giving advice or helping people over hurdles. And this usually entails correcting the negative rather than accentuating the positive.
But today, there will be no big lesson. Instead, here, have a little slice of polyamorous life. Something I may not have written about normally, thinking no one wanted to read about it.
And since your letter isn’t the first one I’ve gotten like this, I’ve also created a new category for these kinds of posts (Slice of Poly Life). I plan to use it moving forward (and have gone back and tagged posts that fall under this umbrella).
Celebrating My Birthday with Justin and Ro
Recently I went out with Justin and Ro for my birthday. The Cavs were playing, so downtown was flooded with people going to the game. But not us.
No, we were the nerds with box seats for Macbeth. I’d read the play but never seen it staged. And I saw this same company put on The Tempest a few years back and loved it. (Have always loved Caliban.)
There’s an old superstition that Macbeth is a cursed play and that you’re never supposed to say the name when you’re sitting in a theater, so when we’d gotten the tickets, I’d taken to calling it “Scrooge McDuck” as an irrational precaution. And not just when I was sitting physically in a theater (fairly rare for me these days) but all the time.
Ducktales — woo ooh.
Anyway, we met up at a bar beforehand to get dinner before Scrooge McDuck. The restaurant was packed with people wearing maroon and gold basketball jerseys. Of course. While Justin, Ro, and I looked like we’d all just gotten off work. Because we had.
I was amused to note that all three of us ordered something healthy. I think Justin and Ro both got grilled chicken sandwiches (but maybe different kinds). I ordered a piece of salmon glazed with sesame sauce. All three of us ordered vegetables as our side.
We spent a while talking about obscure minutiae of current political affairs. A discussion of the most recent palace intrigue, sure. But it didn’t stop there. Naturally, the conversation segued into a lively discussion of how imports and exports are coded and the fact that the speed of the implementation process of the last few waves of tariffs was at odds with how detailed that work actually can be. Just as a systematic reality since it’s complex and finicky work. Normally, with something like that, the I’s are dotted and T’s crossed first. But not this time.
Yes, we talked about import and export brokerage while we ate healthy food. It was ridonkulously geeky. Huey Lewis would be practically bowled over by our hip to be squareness.
“What a time to be alive!” I exclaimed.
Ro enthusiastically agreed. Justin smiled.
At the theater, Ro bought me a glass of pinot noir. It was pricey but delicious.
When we got to our box, I sat between them. The lights went out, and the play started. It was a wonderful performance. Days later, I’m still thinking about it. Lady Macbeth in particular was incredible. As were the witches, trolling everyone as per usual.
And every minute I watched the show, I was thrilled to be celebrating my birthday with two of my favorite people, doing something I love.