Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dating by Proxy

PG casually dates a lot more than either PF or I do; how he manages to find the time and personal organization puzzles me. Regardless, he always has a good story or two about lives outside of our little pod, and recently, one story in particular has my ear glued to the wall.

Her name is C and I was first introduced to her at our house party back in October. At the time she was new to poly and had that fresh naivity about poly that I remember when I was first introduced to it. It was cool to see that and be on the other side this time. She was curious, talkative, bright; young, beautiful... dressed in a lacy lingerie she purchased specifically for the party. In talking, I learned her and her husband had been exploring poly for six months. Throughout the night, I didn't see her play, and I didn't see her leave; I wouldn't see her again for another two months. She was charming.

During this time, she's been successful at poly - I understand there's a line to date this girl so I don't even try. So when PG gets an opportunity to see her, I'm intensely curious (the ears perk up) and I try to ask more, dig deeper, and figure out what's going on in her life... I always want to know more, maybe things he didn't even ask. I guess this is dating by proxy (or, at worse, stalking by proxy) because PG's doing all of the legwork and I'm just vamping off the experience. It's part curiousity, part attraction, part tactics (subconsciously I think I'm waiting for the "right" moment to ask her out), and part cowardace, even something that could probably be felt if PG was dating C in a mono relationship but that kind of curiosity carries a whole different perspective when you're poly.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Google calendar: I hate you.


Time management is a concept that is near and dear to most people you meet. There never seems to be quite enough time to address all of the things you want to get done! For poly types, this becomes mission critical. Not only are you trying to work out priorities for yourself, but also determine what time goes where for which relationship/person!

The google calendar feature is one that many poly people like, since you can share multiple calendars in one place, reducing redundancy. Of course, this only works if everyone participates. In this household, I am the weak link of calendar function. It's practically willful at this point, and I'm not sure how to break out of my bad habit and become a fully functional member of this calendar-using family!

It's as though there is a feeling that once I put it all down on "paper", I'm committed to a course of action, open for public scrutiny, that there might be someone out there looking to see if they are getting their "fair share" of whatever time I have available. Of course, I am telling myself a story. No one really cares deeply who and what I am doing at a given time, other than to make sure that there aren't conflicts in the landscape.

It's paperwork. I am a disorganized poly person. Filling out a calendar is paperwork, which I abhor. How to get past that?

It's selfish of me to not participate in google calendar. It reduces my effectiveness in communicating with my partners, and their ability to predict a workable course of action in a given time period. In the immortal words of Nike's promotional team: Just Do It!

So google calendar, here I come! I still hate you, but I'm hoping I can find the zen in calendar use much faster than the 7 years it took me to get into weight training. ;)

Friday, January 23, 2009



When one is polyamorous and has more than one person of importance in one's life, the issue of what to call everyone comes up. PG has a distinct dislike for hierarchical titles (primary, secondary, tertiary), so I've been trying to come up with alternates that fit well.

The fairly universal mulit-purpose term that is used is "partner". I've been using it myself for quite some time, but it honestly doesn't do it for me. Partner is either too much, too little, or just not right for the people I care for, never mind trying to describe S or PG's other connections!

How does one find words that fit, when the standard definitions don't? "Spouse" works for PG and I on some levels, but our current relationship is far expanded from what most people think of when the term spouse is used.

How about S? Do I call him my "Spice" (plural of spouse)? Nah, he doesn't want to experience anything related to matrimony as he's known it previously, and frankly, I don't care to have that association tacked to our relationship either!

And here we are back at partner again... Too formal and businesslike for my taste, and not evocative of the rich organic flavor that permeates my relationships.

Many poly folk I have talked to have dispensed entirely with trying to describe who anyone is to them, and just introduce the person. I invest in and enjoy my relationships deeply, so claiming that connection still feels important to me. But how?

"Girlfriend" and "boyfriend" are ridiculously juvenile. S and I tried out "paramour" for a while, but due to the utter lack of vocabulary in the populace at large, explaining what that meant to us got a bit old. It's a bit flashy as well.

For those of you reading, if you've developed a term(s) that work well for you in describing your relationships, please do let me know! I'm eager to move beyond "partner", and into the words that lie outside the box.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009



In a mixological flash of inspiration, I decided to create my first mixed drink without a recipe! In honor of inauguration day, I call this creation...


* Fill mixing shaker with crushed ice.
* 3 Shots Chocolate Liquor (African American Heritage)
* 1 Shot Hazelnut Liquor (Hussein Middle Name)
* 3 Shots Vanilla Soy Milk (Caucasian Heritage)
* Shake well and garnish on top with Mexican chocolate chopped to a fine grain (It's going to be a rough road ahead)

It was actually well received by both S1m0n and PolyFulcrum as my most successful creation -- with or without a recipe! Let's hope that bodes well for us all in the coming years.

Whistling in the dark


There have been a few posts here where I've talked about being an exhibitionist. Continuing to think about the underlying motivators for that particular kink, there are things that have bubbled to the surface that aren't perhaps obvious, so I wanted to share.

When I was a kid, my family was overseas for a while. In a country where I was an extreme minority, there was a lot of attention, constantly. I absolutely hated it. There was no where I could go, nothing I could do that wasn't scrutinized. When I was ten, someone sexually assaulted me for the sheer novelty of fucking someone of my ethnicity. I knew instinctively that it wasn't something that my parents would be able to handle, so I kept it to myself for many years. As an adult, I've worked through the ramifications of those events within myself and with my partners.

There are many women I've met that have experienced some version of the above story. Some of us spiral down into powerlessness and damage, some of us turn the experience around as motivation to become stronger than those who would seek to harm or diminish us. I'd like to think that I'm one of the latter.

It feels good to turn expectations on end and go in an entirely different direction. When I take my clothes off and experience pleasure where others can see me, I am whistling in the dark, defiant, showing that I don't fear appearing naked, am not ashamed of my sexuality, that my body is something I cherish even though it has been turned against me in the past. I court the attention that was previously a burden, but on my own terms, from a position of power and of my own choosing.

When you next see me at an event enjoying myself in the fullness of empowerment that comes with reclaiming pieces of self, take a moment to hug me so that I know you have seen me and appreciate the energy that I am bringing to the space. If you want to join me exploring that dynamic, please do! No one can take my potential away from me, and I celebrate S and PG for being with me on the path to self-discovery.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Poly chicken


Yes, I'm a big poly chicken! In the beginning stages of a relationship in particular, when S or PG is out with someone new, I am pretty wired at times. Not knowing how things will go, what the other person is like, if the existing structure of relationships will shift around with the new addition, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

So, what's a loving, non-controlling, yet a bit anxious poly partner to do? Well, I choose the path of most support and least resistance and try to set myself up with a date with another love! Ha! Take that nervous energy! Or, worst case scenario, I clean. Yeah, if you get back from a date and I'm ironing, this is a _bad_ sign...

I also ask for things like checking-in if the date looks to be going in a direction that wasn't anticipated in advance (like if instead of snuggling, it looks like condoms will be used, or out overnight instead of in for the evening), knowing a bit about the other person and their situation, what the plans are for the date, snuggling before and/or afterwards, and trying to get some intimacy time in to reconnect within a day or so.

I'm guessing that some would see those as control strategies, and I suppose they are. Self-control strategies. I wish I could say that I am totally relaxed and blase about new people, but that wouldn't be truthful. What I can say is that with a little time, consistency and repetition, that anxiety level goes way down, and I can do a much better job shoving my partners out the door to romp elsewhere. Cluck-cluck eventually leads to fuck-fuck. ;)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We are more than the sum of our part(ner)s.


There's an odd communal consciousness that can develop when living with others. I noticed this with PG fairly early on in our marriage. He'd get a bit freaked out by how deeply into his head I would dip at times. "Where's the....?" "Second shelf behind the peanut butter. No, on the _left_!" "What am I looking for anyways?" "You're looking for the syrup, aren't you?" "Ok, that's just creepy!" Now, I'm starting to notice little bits and pieces of that happening with PG, S and I as well.

It's sort of like the idea that people start to look like their pets, only in an interpersonal way. How does one maintain a sense of individuality when it can be so much easier to just drift into the flow of the group mind? I even find myself using "we" even more frequently than I used to, no royal aspirations intended!

PG has a more well-developed sense of self than I, and so does S. I'm not sure why I have a mushy sense of self, at least within the context of my larger family dynamic. It reminds me of when I was back in jazz band. I very consciously chose to have one of the inner parts, despite having talent enough to take solos and so on. I much preferred being part of the collective to standing out, in spite of being worthy of notice as an individual.

While I am certain that I have more self-confidence and sense of my own worth than I did at 17, is this tendency to blend into my family a vestige of a time when life was not so rosy, and being able to conceal who I was was a useful tool? When unseen, it was easier to have freedom of movement.

Now I lead a fairly public life. Others know quite a bit about me, about us. Oddly, when we started this blog up, it was fairly balanced in participation. Now I am the main contributor. Part of me is wondering how I ended up here, largely on my own, exposing my inner self to others? Part of me is sure that this is exactly where I need to be right now, sharing about my family, but also working through things that are all about me, learning that I am indeed more than the sum of my partners.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Part of the solution


There are so many little minor things that can add up to significant conflict within relationships. How many times have you talked to someone that was steaming angry about something their significant other did, and as you listened to them vent about it, found yourself wondering what the BFD was? Yet the person on each end of the argument was truly pissed off about whatever piddling issue touched off the problem.

The question then becomes why? What is the underlying cause that touches off these big problems over essentially nothing? What are some ways to recognize what an argument is _really_ about, preferably before going off at a partner for no good reason?

There have been times where taking a moment to consider a situation has lead me to such insights as: feeling under appreciated, being scared that a partner was enjoying another relationship more, anger at over-extending myself , AKA: martyrdom, not feeling listened to, wanting reassurance, feeling overwhelmed or inadequate to a task, and a wide variety of other equally unflattering motivations.

If I am able to step back from a brewing conflict to notice if there is something deeper or less obvious motivating me, chances are good that the imminent argument can turn into a more constructive discussion that gets my needs met better than sniping about minutiae would. Someday, I hope to be well-evolved enough to see many more of those opportunities in advance of snarkiness! I'm sure PG and S would second that emotion. ;)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Poly consciousness


Yes, it's all over the place! Poly consciousness is out there and gaining more and more steam, even in the past year. There is a link on the side of our blog to an article in which was mentioned a personal development guru, one Steve Pavlina. You see, Steve came out as poly-interested in his New Year's blog article. Having a pretty substantial presence on the web, there has been a bit of an uproar from his following. Anything from "it's the next logical evolution as one explores and becomes more enlightened", to a whole thread about "Steve's midlife crisis".

Now, I don't know a whole lot about Steve myself, but I did enjoy the writing he did regarding his ascent into polyamory. Also, it was great to see that he's tackling a lot of the homework in advance of actually forming a relationship, which is a stage most poly people seem to skip. I think I might actually try to follow along and see how that journey goes!

There are so many things that you can't learn from the pages of a book, or a blog for that matter, but can recognize in the words of others after the fact. Everyone has assumptions about how a given course of action is going to work out for them, and then it takes it own organic (and largely unforeseen) path to suit your personal growth.

Take us for example: The very first person that I really connected with when we were looking at swinging turned into a six year intensely emotional relationship. Originally, PG didn't have a lot of time to devote to looking into things on a personal level, so it took at while for him to connect with someone strongly, but he also found recreational sex to not be enough. Now he's the most actively social member of our household! S was muddling along in serial monogamy when I smacked him upside the head with another possibility and he just jumped! We all ended up taking paths to this current destination that we wouldn't have expected at the outset. I'm about 10-15 years ahead of the timetable that I sort of flirted with in my head. It's amazing how things come into focus in ways far more comprehensive than our original vision.

So here's to you Steve, and to your wife Erin, as you embark on this new phase of your relationship with each other, and with yourselves. Thank you for being bold enough to be vulnerable to the eyes of others as you explore this new place. Welcome to the community!

Friday, January 9, 2009



When people learn about polyamory, one of the first responses is often about being "too jealous for that sort of thing". When you speak further with them about what they mean by being jealous, the underlying feeling is frequently more like possession. This points out a really ugly thing that most of us don't want to admit: We're pretty well programmed to think of our mate(s) as something we own.

Once the concept sinks in, you have the choice to be OK with your programming, or try to set up some new code (Notice the computer speak here. It was inevitable after hanging out with these two!). If you opt to treat your partner(s), even within your internal monologue, as a being with free will that is capable of going somewhere different at any point in time, then you can really begin the work!

See, the whole point of "owning" your partner has to do with the fear of being left. If you own something, you control it. The tough fact is that, while you can lay claim to the relationship you share with someone, the person you share it with is totally autonomous. Yep, that's right. They can exercise the option to walk at any time.

How does this allow anyone to be open and trusting? When can you reach a point of feeling safe within a relationship? This is the point where you take a combination of intellect: Do their actions back up what they say? Do they take care of themselves? Do they handle various obligations well? add in intuition: Is there that nagging sense that something isn't as it appears? Do you feel joyous when you think of them? Do they seem considerate of you and your feelings? then you add in that last element, faith. Sometimes you just have to jump in, hope, and be open. Trust that you are making the best decisions you can based on what you know, and that you can change your mind later, if you know better on down the road.

Yes, you might be left. Yes, you might be in a position where you decide to do the leaving. Yes, you are the one person in the whole world that you can possess. The quest is to try to make yourself someone worthy of the love you seek and share with yourself and others.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


There's been a significant amount of debate on one of the sites I frequent lately about marital vows and how they relate to poly people that are married. I'm sure that for people that come to poly prior to making a marital vow, they are likely to sculpt their vows to fit their version of polyamory. For those of us that were mono first, did the more typical get married and then evolve into poly, there are vows we've taken that are no longer honored. What does that _mean_?

In polyamory, there is a distinction we generally make between cheating and poly. Poly is consensual. All parties involved know what is going on and have made agreements about it. Cheating is sneaking around behind someones unsuspecting back, often lying overtly as well as by omission. Being honest is morally superior, right? Yet we are overtly breaking vows taken at another time in life. Does the concept of vow-taking hold any validity in the world of poly?

My conjecture at this point in my life is that there are very few vows that are going to hold lifetime validity. My commitment to being a parent is one of those. To honor those I love and nurture myself would be others. Most of the vows we take are handed to us by default.

When I was 19 and getting married, I meant the vows I took. As we've grown, our understanding of life and love has shifted, and perspectives grow, leading to re-negotiating the guidelines that underlie our relationship(s).

If we shift a vow together, does that "contract" as originally spoken or written still hold sway? My opinion is a resounding no! As with any contract or agreement, if all parties involved choose to change the terms, it invalidates the original contract. Problems ensue if there is a hold out for change. What then? I guess that will be a post for a different day! Happy negotiations!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The perfect card


Here I was hoping one of the guys would tackle this, but I can't stand it anymore! It must be shared with the world at large! How does one find the perfect card for poly connections or occasions? PG was struggling with that this year when searching for a holiday card to give to S. What sort of missive do you pick up for your wife's live-in lover, who is also a friend of yours? The lovey-dovey stuff is out, since they're all manly in a non-bi sort of way with each other. The stuff you'd give a co-worker is too impersonal. Relative titled items are not quite accurate either. Friends isn't quite deep enough. So PG hit on a totally different take on this dilemma.

As we were opening gifts together, it was time for S to open the card from PG. As he cracked the envelope, I could see PG shifting in ill-concealed glee. S had an incredulous look on his face, and then started laughing. You see, PG's card went something like this: For a Great Housekeeper. We couldn't do it without you. Your attention to detail and contributions are valued.

Of course, there was a more personal sentiment also included, but the main gist was both comical and a bit on the truthful side. You see, S is probably the most naturally neat and tidy of the lot of us. It's absolutely typical for someone to turn their back for a short time and return to find their cup, and on occasion, what was left of their dinner, vanished. Taken by the cleaning maven and pre-washed on it's way to the dishwasher. We've had to stake out zones that one can leave a currently in use item in to assure it will still be there when we return.

There are times where the impulse to clean hits him at 4am on a Saturday. This is something totally incomprehensible to me. The concept of getting up to iron _anything_ on a weekend is completely lost on me. When the bed is being made around my still snoozing form, that's probably when he figures out that might be taking things too far. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating about making the bed with me still in it, but the rest of it is pretty spot on.

It was a concern for me early on in the discussion about moving in that I might, in fact, be too slovenly for S to live with. I think the three of us cover the spectrum pretty well. PG is fastidious about very specific things, but isn't overly domestically motivated in general. I try to stay on top of things, but not to the point of using toothbrushes on grout, or doing things that involve being on my hands and knees (at least, not if we're talking cleaning products!). Honestly, I think we've had a moderating influence on our "housekeeper", and he's brought my game up a notch, at least some days.

So here's to appreciating the dilemmas involved in finding poly-related cards! Honestly, what do you pick up for your metamour to let her know you're sorry she hit a bear? How do you thank someone for a really great flogging? What says: I love that you love my lover in the Hallmark aisle? We're going to look into starting a company to help out with these needs. Feel free to send us ideas for things you'd like to find on a card to give your loved ones, or your loved ones loved ones, or their loved ones kids, or the spouse of your... well, you get the idea. Let's shake things up and help you create the perfect cards for the special someone's in your life.