This past weekend, S and went to Bend to celebrate his birthday. When traveling, we generally prefer to do things a little further off the beaten path. In this case, we ended up staying in a new B&B outside the city. Lovely space, with a very distinctive and unique look to it!
The woman of the hosting family was out in Portland for the weekend, and so we were left chatting with the gentleman who had built a good portion of the house himself, a craftsman in his early 60's with a varied background that included spending 23 years off the grid in the wilds of Maine. As conversation went on, it became apparent that there was a similarity of interest, and we outed ourselves as poly, which was received with interest.
The sad part of the conversation was the degree to which he felt trapped in his choices, his life. How various versions of relationships hadn't worked out as anticipated, and how very little power he felt he possessed to change his fate.
This isn't a new theme. Talking with people, it seems fairly often that they seem enamored with the idea of poly, but automatically shift into the, "Oh, but I could never..." stance. When S and I first began to date, he was in that mode. When he decided that living a life of quiet desperation was worse than the potential repercussions to making a dramatic change in his choices, everything changed for him.
Still, it was sobering to meet someone another 20 years further down the road, and see the possibilities missed, the opportunities passed by in the pursuit of "normalcy". While I am not evangelical about poly, or converting others to chose relationships that are polyamorous, I do take solace that the landscape is changing, and that the upcoming generation is less likely to be sitting in the place our host was occupying at 60.
Information is getting out there more frequently and consistently. When mainstream television dramas are portraying polyamorous relationships, like a recent episode of "Private Practice", on a semi-regular basis, when we see articles in print, when psychologists are discussing the need for awareness of the repercussions polyamory can have on relationship counseling, it is less likely that people will be in the position our host was in, only seeing the lost opportunities after the fact.
The status quo is changing rapidly, and continuing to share and model positive, functional poly relationships is more important than ever, as people try out their wings, based on loosely considered ideas and media portrayals. Here is hoping that, in 20 years, I am not listening to another person share their story of time, of life, wasted because they lacked awareness of other options, or models to grow from!