This forum excites me
I want to blog but not sure where to start, despite Maria von Trapp's simple advice. Guess there's nothing like jumping in the deep end, eh?
I have been blessed with an abundance of amazing people and relationships in my life. Community, communing, communication etc are where I find joy. That said, I also appreciate solitude and spirituality.
My only 'primary' relationship is my relationship with God. That is how I would put it to myself, but in a non-theistic way this could be rephrased as a fundamental commitment to (try to!) be a good person, and follow my deepest instincts on what this means. "True to myself" insofar as this refers to being honest with myself. I am agnostic as to whether there is an objective "true me"
I find that definitions often don't sit too well with me (and I know I'm not alone in this). I mean, take "relationships" even. Relationships are everywhere. One version of utopia for me is "a world without strangers". Terms like "partner" and "significant others" are, to me, getting at relationships where there is mutually expressed desire + a feeling of commitment (?) Many day-to-day definitions confuse me when I stop to think about them. However, for the sake of brevity I will use community accepted shorthand words, whilst retaining the freedom to get Humpty on y'all if it doesn't mean what you think it means.
So, preliminaries done with... here's where I am poly-wise at the moment.
I don't identify myself as poly to other people; I usually say that I'm non-monogamous. However I am poly, when you put it like you do in this community
I grew in awareness of my own natural tendency towards being polyamorous over many years. The final "ping!" was an incident about 7 years ago now that made me realise this was something to discuss upfront with future partners. It happened in a prior relationship with someone who told me (while we were together) that she had a crush on someone else. My reaction was "aw, you should hook up with them! You two would made a cute couple". And her response to this was: "what? Don't you want to be with me? Clearly not cos you're not jealous of the thought of me getting with someone else". Pretty much equating jealousy with caring & commitment. Her perspective was that I didn't really want to be with her, and she was seriously hurt at my response. My perspective was - huh? Why are you hurt? You're hurt because I wasn't jealous? Me confused!
In retrospect I see we were coming from different paradigms in terms of sharing and jealousy
Since that experience, I have stated upfront with partners that I don't need or desire monogamy, and thus far I haven't faced the situation where the other person has said they wanted monogamy from the relationship. Not sure what I'd do if they said they wanted us to be exclusive (assuming I wanted to make things work with them). At the moment, this is a non-issue for me because I am now in a civil union with someone (S) who I want to spend the rest of my life with... so unless things change on that front, any future partner needs to be cool with this (obviously).
I've been with S for 5 1/2 years and we've been 'civil union'ed for coming on 2 years now. I am also with another guy (C) and we've been together for about 2 1/2 years. S & C are friends (actually went to school together, I found out after the fact!) but aren't lovers, so in the lingo we're a V and I'm the pivot (but I don't talk in those terms). At present they aren't with anyone else long term. At the start, we fooled around a bit as a sexual threesome but it's established itself more as a platonic dynamic between the three of us.
Some challenges for the three of us at present:
- S is currently depressed and has been for some time. He's been seriously depressed in the past (before we met) but his recent 'patch' started roughly around the time I hooked up with C. This has been quite hard for me in terms of guilt. I wonder if this situation with C "caused" his depression. Although S & I have been open to other relationships from the time we got together, this was the first real poly experience for both of us and we've been learning the practical stuff as we go. As you do.
There are other possible triggers for S becoming depressed this time round, but the timing is so close that it's really hard to know for sure. We have talked about this many times (especially early on) and from his perspective he can't tell for certain, but what he doesn't know is he is happy for things to continue and for us to continue communicating. I have found this quite a difficult thought at moments, less frequently as time has gone on... It has been challenging knowing that some friends think that we've been reckless, and in some way agreeing with them. We are open to taking this risk, if it is a risk. (I'd also consider not being open to be a risk though). I know some of his close friends believe that he's subconsciously feeling cuckolded (despite him thinking to himself that he doesn't feel this way) therefore is obviously depressed, and continues to be depressed because we haven't stopped things with C. He think it's their problem if they think that, but I feel bad sometimes for contributing to strained friendships.
Another complicating factor is that over the last couple of years S has lost interest in the kind of sex we used to have (partly cos of some meds he tried which had the side effect of anorgasmia). We used to share similar intense sex drives and have sometimes rough s/m style sex but his interest in this has waned to the point where we more-or-less have an asexual relationship. It's not unhappy, I get that he just isn't in the mood like he used to be. I really miss being as sexual like we used to (and he does too) but we'd rather not have sex unless we're both really into it so in that respect we still have a healthy sex life! I'm learning to slow down and be guided more by S's personal pace & tastes, and maybe in the past I've dominated a bit because he was more open to trying out what I liked. S is an extremely sensual person with an epic attention span. I'm a real flitting butterfly and can therefore be inclined towards less subtle sensations (ahem). C and I love playing with twisted pain/pleasure d/s dynamics etc and S has been much less inclined towards that since C and I got together. We don't really know why, though we've talked many times about it. really miss that aspect of sex with S and I hope one day it'll feel good again to play that way.
- S moved to Australia for work (I currently live in NZ) on an 18-month contract in the middle of this year. Six months into it now and it hasn't really been too much fun, esp given ongoing dodgy mental health as above. So I've decided to move there for next year... This will be an adventure for me personally as it's meant quitting my stable 'dream job', which has financed my extracurricular creative pursuits til now. I am looking forward to the move in general, but am not enjoying the thought of long-distance with C. However C and I communicate online far better than S and I do (C doesn't live with me so we often chat online as opposed to S who I've lived with for 4 years or so, until he moved to 'across the ditch')
I think that's enough for the first installment. Hugs if you made it to the end
And happy to answer any questions.