Sunday, June 28, 2009


'Tis the time of year when the weather improves, kids are out of school, and the urge to wander is upon us! Thus it is that we embark upon our first big, full-week long vacation as a poly unit.

The Griswalds, we are not! Our poly puppies are staying with a poly friend of ours (THANK YOU!!!), the car (we are trying to take one) is being packed, the kids are antsy for their week at the beach to start. As the adults scramble to figure out all the little odds and ends that should be included, and discover if we do, in fact, have space to get us all in one vehicle with luggage and food, the underlying question is: How's this going to go?

We're all in a two bedroom condo for the week, so that should give us a little bit of elbow room for everyone to stretch out. The beach is just outside, beckoning with surf. There's a pool, a rec room. Plenty to keep busy with, right?

There will likely be a bit of jockeying around things like the use of the master bedroom, and both of my partners have dates arranged with me while we're on site. We all have little projects that we want to work on, books to read, dvd's to watch, and it'll be over the 4th of July, which I hear can be quite the vision along the boardwalk in Long Beach!

Still, a week away together... Well, there's only one way to find out: Let it BEGIN!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Plurals and "kids"

I've noticed something lately. Not sure exactly when it happened, or how, but I now speak in plurals more often than not. We, us, our, and so on is how I think. Even when PG and I were a conventional married mono couple, those were terms that drifted into my mindset, and now it's even more pervasive.

The main place I've noticed this trend is with the kids. You'll notice I speak plural there. Even though I have only one daughter, somehow, I have "kids". While I am not her parent, and she is not my child, S's daughter has become my "kid", and that's a little scary at times. PG and I opted to have one child largely because we didn't want to be responsible for another additional person. Now, it seems that, at least on an emotional level, I feel that I am, in some significant way.

Of all the factors that go into a combined household, the kids are among the most intensive and concerning. The rest of us are adults, and have the capacity to make our own choices and deal with our own emotions. The kids aren't quite as capable emotionally yet, and have to abide by our choices in many things. As there isn't much in the way of support or road maps for parenting in poly, we're sort of making this all up as we go, even more so than parenting in a "normal" household.

S's daughter seems to be the most outside the flow of the household. At 11 years old, she's working on her own sense of independence, which looks a lot like aping her peers, and wanting to fit in. Add a large splash of attention-seeking behavior (she comes by it honestly!), only a passing acquaintance with truthfulness at times, adolescence, academic challenges, some pretty extreme emotions, dealing with differences in her parent's homes, and it all can feel a bit overwhelming at times, even for the adults! Now, it seems that she is mine...

People who come in to see me for work ask how my kids are doing. I share the goings-on and things that we are working with, and don't think in "kid" singular any longer. How that will be in the long-term will be something to discover. I wish I had more time to prepare for adolescence, more time to grow into be a parent before supporting someone through that morass of change and self-discovery. As it is, I just hope "we" all survive intact. ;)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Fulcrum's Balancing Act

Polyfulcrum (PF) earns her name from being the center-point in the Vee between Polygestalt (PG) and I. As the "fulcrum", she has to diplomatically balance attention from her two partners.

That's a unique responsibility: when conversation or physical attention like hand-holding is coming from one of us, she'll deliberately reach over and hold the other's hand, or, touch us in some way, like, with her feet, if we're on the couch together.

When she's spent some time during the evening with one of us, she'll usually pop into the other room and spend a few quality minutes with the other before returning to bed, just to let us know she's there.

If we're in public, she usually puts her arms through both of ours. And at a restaurant, if she sat near me last time, she'll sit next to PG.

That's what makes her great at this and probably why we all get along so well. PF is conscious of the amount of attention that she pays to each of us and is very cognizant of the fact that constant, little, shared amounts of attention go a long way to introduce harmony and level-off whatever jealousy that might arise.

Last night, I came home from another date around 11pm and was getting into bed. She slipped out of her bed with PG and spent a few minutes with me to ask me how the date went and catch a few minutes of cuddle-time, and after about ten minutes, she returned back to bed with PG. Her touching-base with me like that just demonstrates how great she is at maintaining our connection and letting me know she was thinking about me while I was out.

Fulcrum's within a Vee have a unique role to play. Luckily for us, PF plays it pretty well; she's a great role model for anyone who has to handle the rough balancing act between two lovers.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Home again

This is one of those weeks in poly-world that leads me to wonder if I'm getting stuck in my ways. Both of my partners have been out and about dating, and I'm struggling a bit with feeling outside the flow. Mind you, it's not like I've been sitting at home alone, it's just that I have no external stuff going on currently. Heck, it's been quite a while since I've had a solo date with anyone outside the household, at least for anything more intensive than coffee.

Part of me is very happy and contented with life the way it is, and then there's the other piece that feels like I've lost contact with my sense of adventure. This is sort of ridiculous, since I don't really enjoy dating all that much. I prefer getting to the relationship part of things, enjoying the emotional (and physical!) fun of being "with" someone.

So, why the bubble of angst? It may have to do with feeling like it's on me to deal with the majority of the usual domestic routines, since I don't have anything more pressing to attend to. Not that anyone is saddling me with anything out of the ordinary, it just feels that way.

Such ridiculous self-pitying crap is indulgent, and ignores the way both my partners are making efforts to stay engaged and involved when they are home. It doesn't acknowledge my own role in keeping my social circle small, and not actively seeking out new connections, largely due to time constraints.

Slapping myself around when I can feel the martyr start to creep in is one of the things I'm not half bad at! This leads to great attitude adjustments, and remembering to use my big girl words if there is something I want from PG or S.

It seems like 95% of the time when something like this crops up, I can look around and see myself not saying something, either to appear brave or self-sufficient, or not needy. How does this get me closer to what I want? It doesn't.

Here's the four step process that gets me out of this particular hole: 1) Ask- for what I want. 2) Acknowledge- that it's okay to feel uncomfortable at times, and that isn't a personal failure, or an error on the part of my partners. 3) Accept-the results of my own choices, especially when it's inconvenient. 4) Action- take any corrective action and move forward.

By staying conscious through the minor things, like this, it gives a great base to draw from when something bigger crops up. Even when I am at home. Again.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Like "common sense" (the most amazing oxymoron in the English language), perspective is one of those things that sounds simple in theory, but remains elusive in practice.

Perspective is often tough to come by when it's you. How many times have you looked at someone else, a friend, family member, or lover, who is going through some challenges in their relationship(s), and been able to outline what the main difficulties are, and some probable solutions, usually in under five minutes? On the flip side, there's our own stuff, which seems so much more complex and insoluble!

Why is there so much more clarity readily available when examining the lives of others, rather than our own? It seems that life presents us with issues that require some effort on our part to improve our skills set. Things that are easy for each of us get taken care of without fuss, before they reach the "issue" phase, so it never even hits our radar.

When I see someone within our social circle struggling with something that wouldn't be a problem for me, it's a bit frustrating. Why can't they just do xyz, and move forward? Oh yes, because xyz isn't part of their personal "vocabulary" yet!

It can be challenging to retain enough personal perspective to ride that line between being a resource, sharing experience in a useful way, and being a bit of a backseat driver in another's relationships. I enjoy mentoring, right up to the point where multiple repetitions of the same error enter the equation. About the third time a friend goes down the same rocky road and wants to share that fun ride, it loses it's charm. ;)

So, here's where the outside perspective thing comes in handy: As the person that isn't vested in the outcome, retain the ability to see the larger picture, stay somewhat detached (even when it would be so much easier to sit there with signage directing the flow of traffic), and give input as requested without having any expectation that advice might be implemented. Each of us must integrate ideas within our internal landscape before those changes in action happen.

Every so often, the inverse occurs. People go through the motions without understanding WHY a course of action is preferred. This generally leads to repetition of the original issue, since comprehension of a challenge is typically required to prevent recurrence. Without gaining the inner perspective, similar events will lead to similar responses in the future.

Changing the underlying views is where practical shifts happen, where we are able to have an improved outlook on our own stuff, able to see/feel events, people, and interactions within a more useful context. This is where people are able to, for example, look at a potential dating partner and say, "Wow, I am really attracted to this person. However, they have these personality traits that will lead to a lot of conflict in a relationship with me. Pass!"

Insight is easier to find with others, but more valuable to discern in our own lives. By stepping back and examining the internal processes that put us in a particular place, we can either attempt to find a new destination, or replicate a successful pathway.

A Treatise in Defense of Libertines

"All universal moral principles are idle fancies.
- Marquis de Sade

Friends, lovers; gentlemen, harlots, tramps and male-whores; those who're LBTJ and you who're not; to the graduating class of 2009, today, I will speak in defense of the Libertine.

It is true that the Polyamorous are Libertines - individuals who're devoid of social constraint and who refute the social morays observed by common society. Unrestrained, however, shouldn't be construed as abjectly immoral or perverse, albeit I'd concede it's also true that some of our proclivities may bring us closer to the cliff of hedonism than others, our sexual interests aren't the things which define us; we are Polyamorous, not "swingers" or "dominants" or sadomasochists - labels that are purely absolute on the face of things. Surely, freedom guides our hand and, as it might, our hands may caress the darkest and most delicious of temptations, yet the Polyamorous are practical in allowing their choices to be governed by priorities, risk tolerance, and perspective. Within the scope of freedom and choice, the Polyamorous learn to push their boundaries and in doing so learn something about themselves.

The Polyamourous with whom I'm acquainted speak often of self-introspection and in tackling complex, rancorous issues like jealousy look at studying their emotional response, and look at such things as opportunities and as a means towards engaging in corrective action. They encourage open communication with their spouses and lovers, and actively pursue constructive ways of showing and experiencing love and sexuality without hiding it or suppressing it. Polyamorists are critical, mindful, and aware of a moment. They are fearless, and what I'd seek to explain in saying that is they aren't dissuaded by the guilt of moral opinion and seek to overcome the inherent social programming that so rigidly defines our culture. That's damn hard work. At the root, Polyamorists are students of their own fragile human condition.

Throughout my experience here at university, I was constantly impressed by what my fellow students learned from their own experiences, what they learned from each other, and how they transformed their rote education into meaningful change. From insight grew comprehension; from failure arose correction; from connection created community. And in doing so you have become the change: you have become models for others to emulate and aspire to. You have become the embodiment of leaders, trailblazers, heroes.

So I write in defense of the Polyamorist who is too often perceived as a confused (sometimes disillusioned) and unrestrained opportunist in public opinion. The masses may cast polyamory as a lifestyle of the weird, the non-committal, the freak; people with no other options left on the table in so they turn to polyamory in desperation for love; we peddlers of sluttery, carriers of disease, we who read... dear God, they read! How anti-social. Nonetheless, I write in defense of Libertines everywhere be them of differing orientation and titles: it is in bravely accepting who you are that has brought our world to a better place. You have helped to liberate others and to make them fearless.

To you - I applaud you, graduating class of 2009 - the Libertine, the Hero, the Fearless!

{Audience - "Huzzah!"}

So, it is your place, dear students, now, as you leave university this year with all of the titles and honors that you've earned, to go and live your life, to become the change you wish to see in the world, and to blazon a brighter path for Libertines of tomorrow. Thank you, may Dionysus bless, and may you dare to find happiness in the darkness that others fear to tread.


And you may now flip your tassel...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Poly Poundage

There are a great many things that have been somewhat...personal in nature that we've shared via this blog. This is probably one of those topics, although I am sure that many would consider it tame in comparison to public sex, or emotional boundaries.

Since S and I started dating, all of us have put on some weight. Myself leading the pack. You see, I'm an emotional eater. NRE, which I hear affects others inversely, easily converts to an increase in the dimensions of my ass. I'm happy, I want to share wonderful food experiences, and I nurture others (and myself!) with food. I feel comfortable and relaxed in a way that doesn't lend itself to pushing hard at the gym, even though I've kept up an exercise habit for the past 9 years or so.

S, PG and I haven't been doing well reinforcing better eating habits with each other. The kids are always hungry, and even if we don't have a ton of junk around, the "treat" is highly prized as a motivational tool. Shoot, even Donna, our little black dog, is a bit portly!

S recently decided that he is ready to plug in and work on his eating habits. This has enabled me to pull my head out of my capacious ass and remember the lessons that helped me shed well over a hundred pounds around the time I had my daughter. PG is also unimpressed with the fit of his clothes, and desirous of working on this issue. So here we go! It's time to divest ourselves of the Poly Poundage that has crept (rapidly) on the past two years and work together to support our highest health.

That's the good news: What we got into together, we are willing to work together on to shift! Between the three of us, we can reinforce goals with that much more strength. For those of you that know us in real life as well, please do ask how it's going! Let's go on hikes this summer, dance, go for a swim, learn to cook some healthy basics together, have lots of strenuous athletic sex, and get more active as a triad, and as a community!

Monday, June 15, 2009


During the many years that PG and I have known S, he's gone through several major changes in socialization pattern. There have been years where we saw him once or twice, times where weekly (or at least several times a month) get-togethers were the norm, periods where he was so focused on work that socialization was considered largely extraneous, and a broad swathe of time where his ex spouse controlled his socialization, both in time and with whom, to such an extreme degree that it felt abusive from the outside.

That period was just prior to our relationship beginning, and one of the characteristics during the early days of the connection was the consuming hunger for contact with others, the NEED to socialize, to speak, be heard, interact with the energy of others, that S had. Add that on top of NRE, and it was pretty heady stuff!

Cut to a couple years later: Here we are, sometimes a social nexus, trying to plug in with our community in many ways. We host, we go to events, we talk and mentor others, form friendships, have dates and try to make time to play as well as work, parent and all of the other things that call for attention.

S went to a zen meditation last night. I purposely hung back, not because I was unwelcome in any way, but because he hasn't gone places on his own lately. My tendency is to be super supportive of my partners. With PG, that means I've had to learn that he enjoys a lot more personal space and time than is my personal preference. With S, that means I've spent a lot of time doing stuff as a couple, up to and including dating.
It might be a little silly, but in the back of my mind is the question: Is tagging along with him all the time that much different than what his ex was doing by keeping him home and cut off from the outside? I'm front and center for interactions he has, right there, hazing the scenery with my presence as he meets and talks with others for the first time. It's all voluntary, of course, so that is a big step up. It's not like I'm saying that he can only go out, or be social when I'm along. It's just sort of the pattern we've fallen into. We interact similarly, and enjoy bouncing off each other conversationally, and that feels good. I guess the underlying concern is: Am I impeding him from finding other partners with my presence?

The answer to that, I don't have. So for now, I'll be social in my own way, with or without my partners, as desired. Maybe I'll spend a little more time off on my own. Creating space for socialization on a solo level. I do know that I want both my partners to have all the social contact they want, with or without me, because they are amazing men in their own right, and deserve to have that seen.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Feelings, nothing more than feelings...

There's a lot of talk in the poly community about ways to communicate, methods to discuss things, the "how to" of sharing with others. Many of the ways that are used are feeling based. NVC, using "I" statements, and various other techniques common in psychotherapy.

Here's my question: Do we get so bogged down in how we "feel" that actually coming up with useful practical solutions gets lost in the shuffle? Feelings are never wrong, so there is no need to defend them in conversation. A person can talk from dawn to dusk about how they feel about something, and never move onto actual problem-solution discussion. Moreover, they can avoid being wrong, or right, or taking a position on something entirely by sticking strictly with how they feel.

Let's try an example: "I feel unhappy when this boundary isn't honored." OK, so what? What does that _mean_? It's a cop out. There is no course of action asked for, no solution sought, it's just saying what is felt, sharing that signifies nothing. If it isn't taken to the next level: "This will be my response the next time this happens." or "If this boundary isn't one that you can agree to, I need to know about that.", for example, it's just words that convey feeling, requiring nothing from self or others.

It's fine to say what you feel. It's a great first step, without which communication on an emotional level isn't possible. Knowing oneself emotionally is of value, conveying that to others can be of use. Moving forward from that point has even greater value.

When sharing with my partners, I find it more useful to have a model that goes something along the lines of:

1)Have and identify a feeling.

2)Share the feeling.

3)Look at how that feeling impacts life in practical application.

4)Work together to find a mutually agreeable solution/understanding, or discover that you and your partner follow a different path when it comes to a particular topic.

Continuing to wallow in, "But I FEEL blah blah blah!" can, in my experience, put the onus of action onto one's partners unfairly. They are your feelings, deal with them, and figure out what you want to do about them.

If you decide to engage your partner(s) in sharing your feelings, engage them on the practical application and solution seeking process as well. Just dumping your feelings out there as a form of catharsis can be selfish, assuming your partners aren't emotional rocks lacking empathy. That's what journals are for. This is what inner monologue is about. Pay a counselor for that.

Once the point comes where you open up your mouth and start involving those who care for you, it's time to be prepared to move beyond having feelings and towards doing something about them. If you don't know what that is just yet, that's fine. It's one of the reasons I have partners. They help me with things like this. I am not an island. I am part of a greater continent, and we all try to support the local economy!

Household Routines

Our daily routines usually start with me at five in the morning. I hate sleeping in and have a workaholic complex so I'm usually up fairly early and before everyone else. I leave the house to pick up some coffee from down the street. Coffee is a part of my startup cycle - I'm a product of the Pacific Northwest - and it gets me started for the day. I return back home and talk to my daughter a bit before she leaves for school.

Usually around this time, PF and PG will descend for breakfast and eventually PG will leave for work and their daughter will head out to the school bus. PF and I work out of the house. PF is a massage therapist and her clients will come in and out during the day; I work as a tech guy and teach online. The kids will eventually be home around three and PF and I share kidwatch responsibilities while we're working through the rest of the afternoon. Admittedly, PF does more with homework task mastering than I do. Dinner gets started by one of us, PG will come home, there'll be food, talk, cleanup, time with kids, then their bedtime. Eventually, we'll go to bed - PF will randomly alternate sleeping with me or with PG just depending largely on schedules and obsessions (sometimes, I'll be working late or PG will be busy doing gaming stuff).

Having a mix of three adults in the house is great. On garbage day, I can clean up the kitchen while PG is circulating through the house, gathering the trash, and getting the cans to the street. PF and I will alternate days for food prep. When one or two of us wants to go to the gym, there's usually one of us that will stay behind to watch the kids. Sometimes, like last night, I'll watch the kids so the married couple can catch a date night, and when I'm teaching onground in the evening, they're able to watch mine. When one of us wants to go on an outside date, we're able to arrange and adjust our schedules to accommodate - yay Google Calendar. Somebody is always available for the kids. PG and I are pretty tech savvy so having two men in the house to install, configure, break, reinstall, and spend hours of grumpy time pissed off in front of a consumer electronic. The yard is my responsibility and the garden outside is something PG attends to, and PF handles a lot of the internal domestic stuff. Grocery day isn't all that bad - PG and I will alternate going with PF to go shopping and bring the food home. And the dogs? Well, they're everybody's responsibility.

It also presents a balance of opportunity. Where it's essential for me to concentrate on my work, I've got the ability to focus on that problem without necessarily disappointing or isolating PF since she has an "internal" option; when PG has a date or some RPG interest, then PF is able to spend time with me. When PF is gone, PG and I can manage the kids or do our own respective things; every now and again, we'll play RPG's or go to cons together - it's nice always having a friend around. And when I was dating a bit last year, I was able to run-about and drag the prey home knowing PF wasn't being neglected (grin).

Aside from the logistics, there's a natural economic benefit to having three adults in the house. We're able to balance risk in this economy since two of us at any given time wouldn't be out of a job. We achieve a favorable economy of scale on domestic purchases and utilities. There's practically no childcare expenses between us any more unless we're all out doing things together. One of these days, PF swears she's going to get rid of her car... I think there's lots of little opportunities down the road to live a little greener and produce a smaller carbon footprint.

Across the street, we have this neighbor who's mom lives with them or something, so this older woman is always out on the porch. She seems to smoke a lot. She sits, smokes, and stares... idling away her remaining time in the Universe, hastening her demise by inhaling carcinogens. She sees me wake up in the morning and head out to my coffee. She's there when I return. She's there with PG leaves for the day and she's there as PF's clients trod in and out of the house. When I come and go during the day, sometimes she's there, sometimes not, but her dog will circle around and bark at me, or at our dogs when the kids take them for walks. The "man" of the house (PG) will come home in the evening and the kids lights get shut off at nightly bedtime. And when I go to bed, she's still out there when I close my blinds: sitting on her porch, legs crossed, in a flannel night gown, just watching, and sucking on a cigarette. Her time is ticking. I wonder what she sees, and I wonder what she's thinking.


Thursday, June 11, 2009


One of the things I like about doing this blog is that it is pretty unvarnished. There is no delusion that we have all the answers, that our (pardon the crudity) shit doesn't stink, that we aren't figuring things out, making mistakes, picking ourselves up and continuing forward, hoping to do better the next time something presents itself.

If you are looking for a definitive treatise on polyamory, you will not find it here. There are no quick and easy answers, no simple fixes, no step-by-step programs to follow that will lead to Poly Nirvana, where the unicorns roam free, and communication is always without effort. There are disagreements, there are inconsistencies, there are times when we are weary and disinterested in growing any more, thank you very much!

And yet, there is more joy, more laughter, more learning, growing, intimacy and pleasure than pain, jealousy, or fatigue. In the grand scheme of things, it's a pretty steady upward spiral. I like myself and my partners more this year than I did last. I love myself and my partners now in ways that I couldn't foreseen two years in the past.

Do I have it all figured out? Hell no! Do I think that sharing the struggles and joys I experience with others may be of benefit to them in their journey? I certainly hope so. I know that many realizations are made when I write them down to share, benefiting the author as much, or more, than the reader.

So I continue to write about our lives being polyamorous, to share, to put it all out there, transparent, not glossy or glamorous, but hopefully useful, if not to you, to me. Unvarnished, because that is the way life is, that is the way love is. The patina that is acquired through years of use is more valuable than the untouchable beauty of a artificially polished surface that scratches off when bumped. It is more durable and complex, with deeper character and more interest.

Monday, June 8, 2009

We Are the Same, You and I

We are the same, you and I.
Our differences are small and admittedly unimportant.

If you and I were seated at the bistro, we could share wine and bread and talk about the weather, politics and society; perhaps even the biggest mysteries of small things. And you would see: we're the same, you and I.

If we went to a soccer match, I could show you to the best seats and we could cheer on our teams! We would shout, pump our fists into the air, yell boisterously into the air for every kick, pass, drive, and goal. Even if we were shouting for different teams, you would see: we're the same, you and I.

We've both got families. We wish the best for our children and try to create opportunity for them. I show affection for the woman I love, and I remind her - every day - that she's important, relevant, and essential. I want nothing more than to make those around me happy. We are tireless in our ambitions. We personally endeavor to be smart, educated, and informed; neither of us feel entitled to what we earn. We both are equally ambitious and fortunate. We are strong. We're the same, you and I.

We were once both lonely, and we eventually found release. We were once both uncomfortable, but we found a path to fulfillment. We were once both lost, but eventually we were found, and befriended, by people who saw us for who we are. Our closest friends came to believe in both of us, and in that way, we're the same, you and I.

We go to movies, we watch TV, we attend the same conferences and art shows, we listen to the same radio station; we speak a common language, we share a common culture, we both are patriots and wish freedom for all everywhere. We're the same, you and I.

Yet, despite all of this, our commonality, our experiences and our shared humanity, what separates us is merely a word: Polyamorous. Monogamous. What separates is an anthology of ideas that grossly misrepresent and distort us; that catalog and confine us; that assumes too much and describes too little about us. As we are the same, you allow the idea of the label to threaten you.

And then, suddenly, we're not the same, you and I.

As a polyamorous person, I want the same thing a monogamist would want from a relationship. Security, love, affection, loyalty, excitement, commitment, romance, time. The difference only arises in our vocabulary and understandings:

1. Instead of "affairs", I believe in honesty and truthfulness in my relationships.

2. Instead of "lying", I believe in communication and clarity, and transparency.

3. Instead of "ownership", I prefer to trust my partners.

4. Instead of serial behaviors perpetuated by social expectations, I enjoy learning from my mistakes.

5. Instead of denial, I like to explore my sexuality.

6. Instead of "hate" or "mistrust" or "jealousy", I believe that these negative emotions actually harm interpersonal relationships, and seek to best control them, instead of allowing them to fester and hurt me, or somebody I care about.

7. Instead of "spying" or "worrying", I ask.

8. Instead of seething in jealous contempt, I encourage my lover to indulge - i.e., instead of being insecure, I'm secure in the unique value I bring to my lover's life.

9. Instead of "stagnating", I like to "grow", and I like my partners to grow - even if it's without me... because I love them, and that's unselfish.

10. Instead of "wishing", I do.

As I sit across from you this evening and you marvel at my lifestyle and you bite your tongue and harbor a writhing contempt for my label, I want you to remember: we are the same, you and I. Because I know - deep down - surely, you want the same things, but you've always been too afraid to ask for them.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Jealousy as hunger

Jealousy: It's an emotion that gets a lot of press time in the polyamorous community. It's the emotion that people fear enough to dissuade them from becoming poly, or even understanding why someone might do well with this relationship style. "Well, it sounds good and all, but what happens when you get jealous?" That is really up to each individual.

One of the ways I am looking at jealousy these days is to equate it with hunger. There are times when you are really hungry, but you're not likely to be anything more than uncomfortable with that. In fact, you can spend quite some time being hungry with minimal negative affects on the body. Like hunger, jealousy can be motivational. It can push you to get up and do something to satisfy a need that you are receiving a signal about.

There are times when you just want to eat. You crave a snack. Do you reach for the salad, or the cheetos? When jealousy is felt, you are still the person in control. Figure out what you want to "feed" that with. Do you choose to satisfy it by self-nurturing? Asking for something from a partner? Enjoying some compersion? Or is it just easier to link the jealousy with anger, and blow up at your partner for "making" you feel this way?

It is a common perception in larger society that jealousy is an emotion that can "make" someone do really bad things. How many of us have heard about someone who came home to find their spouse/lover in bed with someone else and killed them because they were jealous? What a ridiculous cop out! They felt jealous and used it as an excuse to act out in a completely wrong fashion.

If I am getting ready to go to the grocery store, I will often have a small snack, even if it isn't a meal time, to give the impulse shopper hunger a fighting chance. Less desirable food choices don't make it into the cart nearly as often as when I go to the store hungry. When you know that something is likely to happen that will trigger a jealous response, it is possible to prepare for it. Put coping mechanisms in place. Have an emotional "snack" at the ready to bolster the emotional responses you want to support.

Ignoring jealousy can be as destructive as denying you're hungry. You can pretend that everything is fine, as the underlying need screaming at you is ignored, right up to the point where it cannot be set aside any longer. It's one thing to skip a meal, it's another to starve yourself for months at a time. It is up to each one of us to discern what steps must be taken to care for ourselves and avoid emotional anorexia, claiming that "everything is fine" when it clearly is not.

Jealousy, like hunger, can lead you to places that are unhealthy and damaging, or your choices can support the highest health for both yourself and your partners by dealing with jealousy constructively, instead of destructively. It can be an indicator of an unmet need or insecurity, but it does no damage unless it is allowed free-rein to push you in the direction of powerlessness and the accompanying loss of self-control.

Choose your own path with jealousy. It can't harm you, even if it hurts at times. You may even grow to welcome jealousy as an indicator of something that needs your attention. Jealousy can empower you to notice something that would be easier to ignore or avoid. Self-knowledge is always preferable to self-deceit. Don't be afraid to be "hungry".

Thursday, June 4, 2009


There are nay-sayers out there that think of polyamory as happy, fucking, people holding hands. Idyllic wastrels that float through life making everything up as we go along. I guess some of that may be true. As we don't tend to conform to the mores of conventional thinking, there is a certain amount of "making things up as we go along" that happens, partly because there isn't a lot in the way of guidance out there for this particular path in life, and so we must chart our own course.

One of the ideas that pops up pretty regularly on any polyamory discussion board that includes outside elements (like monogamous/mainstream people) is that because we aren't exclusive with our partners sexually, we aren't responsible to them. What those two concepts have to do with each other, I will never understand!

There are times when I wish I was a bit less responsible, yet, that quality is one of the characteristics of my personality that I feel the most pride in. If you're someone who is part of my inner circle, I'll be there when the chips are down, I'll pull my oar, I will carry my weight, and then some, to make things go. The idea that poly is synonymous with flighty, flaky, untrustworthy or irresponsible is purely unacceptable to me, and I may even over-compensate to make sure that isn't true within my own life.

I'm curious as to what types of things other poly people have agreed on to be responsible to each other in? Please comment if you'd like to share some of the agreements you and your partners have negotiated with each other. Tell me about the ways that you are choosing to be responsible in your relationships.

In our household, we are responsible with each other for financial matters on agreed costs, child-rearing, the nuts and bolts of running a home, to share things that may impact others that we live with, and to bring concerns up before they become problems. I wouldn't trade that in for all the free love in the world. Responsibility has it's privileges.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The End is Nigh!!!

Ok, so maybe it's just that my parents are coming to visit. For those of you who do not know, my father is an evangelical christian minister. He's actually much more friendly-looking and acting than the pic I pulled up. ;) My parents are mostly nice people. We spent most of my childhood "in the mission field", which is a polite way of saying we begged money from churches to live on, then went to a second world country with a higher literacy rate than our own to "bring the word of God to the heathens". Let's just say that we don't agree on a lot, philosophically speaking.

I've always been one of those "square peg, round hole" type of kids, at least on the inside. Pretty early on, I figured out that the way I looked at things wasn't going to work with the way my parents saw life, so I learned to be a really good liar to shield my parents from the crushing disappointment looming on the horizon, when they would learn the truth. They were raising a non-believer.

As soon as I was an adult, I stopped the church thing. They were hugely traumatized when I married PG, an agnostic. My poor child is being raised in the darkness of free-choice, on the express train to hell. How could it get any worse?

Fast forward to the present time: I came out to them last spring as poly and bi. That's been a fun set of conversations, to say the least! Honestly, I'm rather surprised that they're coming to visit us. They're staying in the house, with all of us. Together. It's a bad reality TV show: Three polyamorous agnostics, their unsuspecting children, a conservative minister, and a guilt-trip spreading mother live together for one week. Who will emerge unscathed?

To give them credit, they are coming out. They are staying. They are being open enough to at least observe. That's more than I expected.

So, if you don't hear from me much in the next week, think happy thoughts for me. If I end up camping out on my computer venting into the blog, take it all with a big grain of salt and wait for this to pass us by and sanity to resume its hold on things. Thank you. That is all.