PQ 23.3 — Do my expectations allow space for metamours who might have different expectations?
“When it comes to polyamory, sometimes I think I’m the world’s biggest Monday morning quarterback,” she says.
I laugh involuntarily. “I’m not really into football,” I warn her.
“Well, you live in Cleveland, so that’s understandable. I don’t think there’s a person alive who’d fault you for not being a Browns fan. Not a sane person anyway.”
I laugh again. “That would be an interesting way to do a psych eval.”
She giggles. Psychometrics is her field. What she studied formally. Personality tests mostly. And specifically how to design instruments that measure what they’re supposed to measure. We originally met through our work together in psychological consulting, and over the months that I got to know her professionally, we became close enough that she felt safe to come out to me as non-monogamous. And when she did, I laughed and did the same.
These days I’m much more out than she is and work extensively in the polyamorous and kink communities. And she’s still kicking it mostly in Corporate America (my old client base). But to her closest social circles, she’s the resident educator on all things polyamorous. You know. The neighborhood poly sherpa.
“I’m not into football, but I think a Monday morning quarterback is kind of like a backseat driver. A person who gives all the criticism after the fact about how things could have gone but of course wasn’t out there playing.”
She nods. “Like that old saying, those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”
“I feel so attacked!” I reply, throwing my hands up in the air.
After we stop laughing, her face grows serious. “I’m great at talking about polyamory in theory. You know, talking about ideal scenarios. The advice that’s so easy to give but general and so hard to follow.”
“Lemme guess,” I say. “Communicate, communicate, communicate. Oh, and don’t compare.”
“Now I feel attacked,” she says. But she’s smiling. “Seriously, though, that’s part of why I’m glad you said fuck it and starting writing so damn much. Poly Land was kind of a shit show at times, but you actually talked about situations where people weren’t doing what they were supposed to do. And showed how a person could navigate them.”
“Thanks,” I say. “That’s what I was going for.”
“It’s really where I run into trouble. When other people don’t behave maturely. Like, I can manage my own stuff just fine. I can take care of me, make sure I’m doing what I need to do. But it’s other people, and usually my metamours, that trip me up. Know what I mean?”
I nod. “I do. I’ve had some great metamours over the years. But you know I also had the metamour from Hell.”
“I think that’s what’s always impressed me about you. How you dealt with that. Usually I’ll see people either take on all the blame, throw up their hands and decide they’re bad at polyamory… which is what I tend to do.”
“Or?” I say.
“Or people just say, well, ‘they’re the metamour from Hell, no getting around it,’ and they leave and keep doing the same things and running into the same old problems with new people.” she says. “But you didn’t do that. I mean, sure, you’ll admit it was a nightmare situation. But I watched you do something else. You tried to figure out what you could learn from it. Of course you still have problems from time to time. But they’re different problems than you used to. And at least from where I’m sitting, it’s looked like progress.”
She adds that she’s excited for my third book, Dealing with Difficult Metamours, to come out.
I blush in response. “Soon,” I say. “It’s written. Editor and I are in the final stages. We’re working on it.”
“Who knows,” she says. “Maybe it’ll be enough inspiration to get this player back out onto the field.”
I laugh. “We’ll see,” I say. “You never know.”