Having a Higher “Credit Limit” Can Be Fantastic, Even If You Don’t Ever Max Out Your Card

closeup of a stack of credit cards
Image by Thomas Kohler / CC BY

She’s swung into town for a few days for a conference. I’m not sure exactly when I met her, only that it was a long time ago. When she showed up as a long-time friend’s plus one to my birthday party.

And there was something about her that I liked instantly. She was pretty, sure, but it was something more than that. Maybe it was the way her facial expressions sometimes remind me of my very first crush’s, a best friend from childhood.

I don’t know why. I just knew that I liked her. Still do. She’s special in a way that’s hard for me to articulate.

Anyway, she lives out of state, so I see her maybe once a year, sometimes every other year. She’s polyamorous, too. Married. Has kids. Works. Has hobbies.

Life is full.

She tells me that her partner tends to date more actively than she does. But that it’s still very exciting being polyamorous. Just being able to live in the moment. Being able to go to a party and if you meet someone you want to make out with, being able to just go ahead and do it. And not have it be some kind of big deal.

Neither of us really date up to our capacity-capacity. She has a lot going on in general.

“And besides,” I say. “It’s a good feeling to have a higher credit limit but not have your card maxed out.”

She laughs as I whip out my phone and make a note to write about it later. “Glad to help out with the blog,” she says.

But as we talk through things, it’s clear that we agree on this point: Simply the potential to pursue exciting new romantic opportunities if they arise is one of the greatest feelings of polyamory, even if you are only dating one person.

Even at times when I’ve been functionally monogamous, there’s been a sense of excitement and also for me a feeling of calm. Of knowing that if I do hit it off with someone new, it won’t be interpreted (by me or my partner) as an indication that there’s anything wrong with my current relationship. It won’t be seen as a sign that I’m a bad person, disloyal, or somehow otherwise flawed.

And if that interest is reciprocated, then I’ll have the opportunity to be able to pursue it.

Until I’m having dinner with this long-time crush, it never occurs to me how close this is psychologically to carrying a credit card that I keep mostly for emergencies. The point is to have it available in case something extraordinary happens. While a new lover is much more positive than an unexpected bill, it’s nonetheless similarly reassuring to know that I have room — just in case.

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My new book is out!

Dealing with Difficult Metamours, the first book devoted solely to metamour relationships, full of strategies to help you get along better with your partners’ other partner(s).

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