PQ 23.2 — Do I have to know my metamours? Do I expect to have close relationships with them?
I’m coordinating with my metamour to plan some dates. Normally, this is fairly easy since we have not one shared partner, but two. She’s not only dating one of my partners but I’m also dating a different one of hers. We have a lot of overlap at the moment.
But as we’re running through what’s normally a perfunctory discussion, we hit a snag. “Oh shit,” she says.
And while I’m known to curse like a pirate on spring break, this sort of language isn’t exactly normal for her. So I sit up and take notice. “What?” I say. “What’s going on?”
“That won’t work. That’s a date night with You Know Who.”
I cringe. “Cleo?” I say. Our nickname for her, the person in question. Not exactly mature, but it’s based on an in-joke with my metamour. It’s short for Cleopatra. Since this individual is the Queen of the Nile — well, she’s the Queen of Denial, actually. But those are close enough homophones for us.
Cleopatra has been dating one of our shared partners for about a year now, so not as long as my meta has, but longer than I have. In some respects, Cleo is the “middle child” in that particular sector of our polyamorous web. She’s been around long enough to be emotionally invested but not long enough to feel secure or convinced of polyamory’s viability as a relationship system. This is her first consensually non-monogamous relationship, and she’s taken a tactic of 100% pure avoidance.
“I guess I’m okay with you having a wife,” Cleo told our shared partner. “I just never want to see her. Never want you to talk about her. When you’re with me, she doesn’t exist.”
Or at least, that’s what the shared partner told us. (Of course, neither of us were there.)
“I wonder,” I say suddenly to my metamour. “Does Cleo even know I exist?”
“You know,” she replies. “I don’t know. And it’s not like I can ask her.” She says that she would hope our shared partner told her, but that she doesn’t exactly understand the extent of the boundaries surrounding their particular Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (if it’s reciprocal, does it apply to just her or to me as well?, etc). And inquiring about it is painful for her. So she’s mostly just left it where it is.
I can see the pain on her face every time this happens. How much she feels like her other metamour thinks she’s in the way. A stressor to be ignored rather than a person to be embraced.
And I realize then that this is something I’d never choose for myself. I don’t know how she tolerates it.
I don’t need to be best friends with metamours, no. But I do like knowing them. Meeting them at least once if it’s convenient.
I don’t want them to feel locked away like a dirty secret — nor do I want them to feel that way about me.
For more information on different levels of metamour contact, please see the following articles:
- Parallel Polyamory, Kitchen Table Polyamory, and Knowing the Details or Not
- Lap-Sitting Polyamory & The Love Borg: “We Are Metamours. Resistance Is Futile”
- Parallel Polyamory: Circumstantial & Intentional Types