Saturday, June 2, 2007

Polyamory Ain't for Sissies

This week has been a challenge for me - it’s a good example of why, committed to polyamory though I definitely am, I am also sometimes heard to say that polyamory ain’t for sissies.

A fews days ago my primary partner, T, had a job interview. During the interview he disclosed that he is polyamorous and explained what that meant. He already has a good job, is OK if he doesn’t get the new job, so he elected to test the potential employer’s waters to see whether our open relationship might create on-the-job problems. There was enough of a negative reaction to cause him to speculate that if he doesn’t get the job, it will likely be because he is polyamorous, since the interview was otherwise highly positive. This potential job discrimination has upset me more than him. It certainly pisses me off more, but I’m the poly activist in the family.

Another concern on my plate includes anticipating potential and as yet unknown adjustments to my and T's relationship because T is interested in beginning an intimate relationship with A, someone we both like very much who is very much interested in him, and maybe me to a lesser extent. Yes, even we experienced polyfolk can get a little hinky about how a partner’s new relationship may affect our own, no matter how much good will we feel otherwise.

Yet another challenge is that this week I had to have a very painful talk with a friend, B, who recently dredged up and shared with T’s fairly new significant other, C, an ancient and ugly drama in which B and I became embroiled about eight years ago when we were newly dating each other, I was newly dating a man, D, in whom B was also interested, and all three of us were very new to polyamory. The details, which B did not relate to C with adequate context, made C very nervous about sharing a partner with me.

I learned of this at a recent local poly support group meeting at which B was not present. C disclosed all this to me in front of the group (though was careful not to identify B as the source of the info). In attendance was also A, T's new potential love interest referenced above. Argh. Being basically compelled by circumstance to explain in detail and defend my part in an eight year old drama in front of that group and specifically to two of T's love interests was highly embarrassing and has certainly put great strain on my friendship with B. The good news is that B and I have spoken, B has apologized profusely and sincerely, has even offered to set things straight with the whole support group, so we have resolved this with our friendship still intact. C says she has no further concerns now that she knows the whole story, so her relationship with T and friendship with me is unharmed. A seems unconcerned as far as I can tell.

All is well that ends well, but it doesn’t mean it was any less trying. But, in for a penny, in for a pound. Polyamory is still what I choose for myself as what works better for me overall. It’s just that every once in a great while such a time comes along when all my relationship skills, communication skills and emotion-balancing skills are put to the test – like this week. It is times like these that cause me to say that polyamory ain’t for sissies.


Steven said...

Very interesting Blog. I find that traveling in many countries in Asia makes me think very differently. All the best, Stevie

Anonymous said...

Being poly is never easy, but easier than lying and cheating that supposedly monogamous people resort to. If you love somebody, that will cause pain, it's inevitable when their interests do not coincide with yours. Hopefully the balance is in your favor (more joy than pain) but life truly is painful. My wife had a lover who was just totally uncomfortable around me, so we rarely met purposefully. That endured until her realtionship with him ended... and I remained.

I love being poly but it ain't easy!

Good luck and thanks for the blog!

Tom Paine said...

Poly also isn't for the dyslexic. Lost track of your participants, their genders, etc. I realize in a perfect world, gender is irrelvent, but it can make a big difference if B is a heterosexual man or a bisexual woman.

Also, what is the rage to "come out" about polyamory? I don't tell my kids or my friends, and it's none of their business.

Anita Wagner said...

Thanks to all for your comments.

Tom, I do need to figure out how to explain complex relationship situations more clearly - in that instance all were opposite sex partners.

As for coming out as poly, well, the biggest reason to do it is the same reason gays are urged to do so - it has been statistically proven that people who know someone who is gay are significantly less likely to judge them negatively. OTOH, I agree that coming out is a very personal decision that should be left up to the individual to make according to their personal risks and comfort level. - Anita

Richard said...

I'm with Tom on the letters thing - I find it hard to sort out who is who and what is what. Really breaks the flow of communication.

The coming out is cool. Kudos to you for your openness!

ronjazz said...

Poly is something I have always recognized as logical and supportive of my own open views. Having said that, I tried to get involved in a couple of online discussion groups on the subject to learn and see what might develop. I found, unfortunately, that world stayed very closed and protective. I understand that, but it was disappointing. If you would come find my own blog (which is pretty wideranging), you will discover an aware, intelligent man who wants to know and share more.

This is about all I know how to do. I await some response from all you polys out here....