Ah, so I've been tripping down memory lane, thinking about the journey so far into Practical Polyamory (it's not that long a lane for me, but there's some dense bush so it takes some time)
The theoretical journey started with my own awareness of being "that way inclined", to me actively seeking out the friendships of local polyfolks (local to my city and country) and reading various forums online. I have not yet read the recommended literature (Ethical Slut etc) but wouldn't turn down the opportunity, though I'm not seeking those books out right now. Have a long 'to read' list and I'm a slow reader overall. I read words fairly quickly but I tend to think
a lot when I read, and I also re-read, and get distracted... I have partly-nibbled books lying here and there round the house like misplaced sandwiches.
As a side note, I have a big reading challenge at the moment (The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You
) which I'm borrowing off C. It's going to take me a while to finish, whereas he got through it in a couple of days (!).
Anyway, one pebble from the past I found was a message Sage sent to C a few days after C and I got together, mid-June 2009.
The story of our hook-up is kind of funny, really.
Sage and I had talked about poly things since, well, our first proper conversation with each other. (Incidentally, this was the conversation that made us both fall for each other; it happened on a Friday afternoon, and I couldn't concentrate all weekend until I saw him again on Monday and now we're hitched! YEAH)
We were both open to poly in theory but we knew we could never predict what it would be like in practice. Beyond theoretical discussions, we hadn't planned anything in particular. If either of us was interested in anyone else, we'd bring it up. There weren't particular rules like "you need to tell me this" or "I don't want you to tell me this". Safer sex was obvious and really should go without saying (?) though I suppose it's safer to confirm this
We agreed it would be fundamentally important to communicate well, esp any fears or discomforts, and take it as it comes.
And it came... so to speak (ahem). I had known of C for many many years, since childhood actually, but hadn't been 'properly introduced' until perhaps five years ago. It was great to get to know him. I'd read his blog and always thought he seemed smart and intriguing, but probably someone who wouldn't be interested in talking with me. 'Twas a pleasant surprise when we finally met for real, at a BBQ party at my place where a mutual friend brought him along, and the conversation just riffed. (I recently came across the term "sapiosexual" and really identify with this label!)
Before long, I was seriously crushing. I told Sage, and he thought it was hilarious. Sage and C had known each other at school, but weren't very close friends so there was no real delicacy required there fortunately! My fine motor skills in social situations leave something to be desired, though I do have the best of intentions. ("She meant well" is a potential epitaph.)
C at that time had his own stuff going on emotionally. I'm hoping I can lure him into blogging here too so will leave that for now!
I was doing my best to get into his pants but he wasn't making it easy. We had coffee a few times, but most often I'd see him when other people were around and they're not occasions conducive to totally scoring already.
One evening, we'd been having group drinks at his office before heading off to another friend's place. On the way to the car I finally delivered the line that I'd hastily written, edited and rehearsed in the last 30 seconds. It was either one of these two, or maybe something completely different (memory is a sly octopus):
"There's something I want to tell you but I don't know if I should."
"There's something I need to tell you but I wish I didn't have to."
Something typically subtle and obscure. Point being, it was an opening hook that could be bitten if he was up for it, or rejected if he was disinclined to go there.
At this point we were interrupted by some practical details involving the whole group, which felt like a guy slamming a round of beer on the table and toppling my pretty card castle just as I was assembling the final card...
Luckily the fish was well caught and would not be shaken off. A minute later we were on our own again, and C said "You were saying?"
YES. Yes yes yes. "I kinda sorta have a crush on you," I confessed.
"Er, I kinda sorta do too." Pause. "What should we do about it?"
"I think we should make out," I helpfully suggested. So we did, and those sugar sweet kisses turn out to be quite addictive cupcakes.
Eventually that night I made it home, buzzed, and slipped into bed. Sage gets the goss, theoretical high fives (don't have the co-ordination even when sober) etc.
Next day or two, chatting with C, and he likewise was glowing... but admits that in his blind rage of happiness he unthinkingly told some mutual friends and they said "oh yeah... Sage and M, aren't they engaged?" Thus raising a big red 'whoops' flag.
Before this, Sage & I had more-or-less kept this to ourselves. We'd had a few casual forays, taken a sip or two at the swinging scene, but it was our private business and we hadn't asked ourselves if we wanted to "come out" to anyone. Not that there was anything to come out about. Hmm, a few agenda items to discuss
A couple of days later, we're at a mid-winter Christmas party at another mutual friend's place (C's ex actually). This is the first time the three of us have caught up since I pounced on C. I arrive with Sage, and there a lot of people and I feel a tad self-conscious. Not sure who knows, what people are thinking, and I don't want Sage to feel odd. There are "Hello my name is... " tags. C is Bad Santa, Sage writes "Shiney and new" on his. (I kept that sticker for ages) It scared me a little, made me wonder if he felt the opposite of that. (At that point I hadn't read about NRE, but I was certainly recognising the dynamics. I like it when people bring up ORE too, though!)
The party goes on and I pretty much hang with Sage. I didn't think I was ignoring C but I was trying to avoid any PDA or excessive attention that could make Sage feel less welcome. At one point I get a text from C: "I'm confused. What's going on?" I ask Sage if it's okay if I go for a walk with C to chat, and he says - cool, go for it. I head off with C round the block, I explain that we don't know how private we wanna be, also want no one to feel abandoned at a party, Sage knows fewer people here than C or me, it's early days, baby steps, but all's good etc. In between the talking we make out too, of course... I mean, you have to appreciate any windows of opportunity
After the party, Sage and I were talking about how odd it was... how he felt like he should say something to clear the air, but what was that to say? He doesn't feel like he owns me, it isn't some kind of wife-swapping thing. On the other hand, we agreed it was important for there to be a clear communication from Sage to C that things were okay.
Therefore, this communique - 22 June 2009 from Sage to C (and cc to me):
"Hey C. It was good to see you yesterday. I was hoping to have a chance to talk to you about this face to face last night, but since I didn't, here goes.
As I'm sure M has told you, she and I have had a chat about she and you. I have no problem with this and I hope this will give the three of us a chance to hang out together too.
Just thought I'd set your mind at ease, in case you were at all concerned about where I stand
I love that little artifact of how it all began.