Three guys with a RING
I've been thinking poly for all of a month now, which I know is not long. Here's how I came into it and my thoughts so far.
If any of this matters: mid-20s, out gay male "professional" living in one of Canada's larger cities.
My main man and I have always had a SEXUALLY "open" relationship with few SEXUAL limits, aside from safety and honest communication about what we do in bed (and out of it) with others. We had never discussed emotional openness.
G and I have been talking marriage for the past 6 months or so. G is my monogamous (except occasional flings/pure sex relationships, usually with the same sex) guy of 3 years. We've lived together for last 2 years. He is a few years younger than me. We had never discussed poly.
Just over 2 months ago, G and I went "ring shopping" and we picked one out for him, I ordered it - takes a few weeks to come in, custom order. Heads in the clouds, going to get married :-)
And then about 2 months ago, G started falling in love. I suppose it doesn't matter HOW we met this third person (N, male, youngest of the 3 of us), aside from that it was honest and open.
What was not quite honest and open was, G's attitude toward including me in these growing feelings. I know hindsight is 20/20, and yet at the time, I DID feel that G & N had a connection I was not comfortable with. G & I WERE very awkward around each other for a month or so because of this.
And it hurt me more because I could see it, see that I wasn't included, and see that G couldn't yet even include me merely by explaining or telling me about it in any way. Perhaps I should have asked more questions. Lesson learned.
Just over 1 month ago, G popped the actual L-word, during a night where I was out of town (he was alone with N, I knew about them spending the night, it was consensual). He got the L-word back from N that night.
And more or less a month ago, G told me he was in love with N.
On hearing this, I felt a massive loss of trust and betrayal, though NOT surprise. I felt I should have been included, is "warned" a suitable word?, told, certainly, throughout how G was feeling, not only at the end result. Not like a tape recorder or a play-by-play - but G should have told me what emotions were developing, building, how strong they were, and asked me how that felt for me, if I was comfortable with it, as I am his main man.
I've realized that, for me, this whole thing amounted to cheating. Love was never in the cards, never had been discussed, as part of our "openness". And G went ahead, pushed on, even said the word, WITHOUT involving me - his life partner, primary, etc.
I know he could not have but FELT the way he did - it is love - and he should have shared that with me. We've set rules to fix this in future relationships, and I appreciate that G ever was able to tell me (instead of hiding it, a true "affair"), just as G appreciates that I didn't kick him out the front door (or even out of bed that night!) as many people might have done.
To say the least, the ring stayed firmly in my pocket (well, hidden in the car) once it arrived.
Well, since then I've had a good few weeks of thinking and talking and loving and debating. I've read posts here, read a book or two, skimmed the web. Opened my mind a lot. I've surrounded myself with trustworthy friends and family and been completely open about it with those who care to know.
Amazingly (or not?), so many of our friends have similar experiences, and all are understanding. I think, perhaps, being an out gay male helps with this; most of those who would harshly judge the move to polyamory have ALREADY left me (or I've left them behind) due to my sexuality.
I had an amazing week away in NYC with my sister, long planned in advance as a sibling trip. It became the perfect dose of time away, time to think, time to forget, time to get ready to come home.
The trip also gave G and N the perfect dose of time alone as a couple. Unfortunately, N's living situation (we're young guys, he's the youngest, yes he's still living with a parent at the moment, yes he has lived in his own place before, yes he's an adult, he just had to move back home), his living situation doesn't allow G and N much of any REAL ALONE time together in a private space.
During that NYC week, I had one "epiphany." I still trusted Gared. He was communicating openly and completely with me again, and promised to continue doing so. He understood what he had done specifically that had hurt me. And I understood, certainly believed, could see, his true love for N.
No part of me wants to deny him that love.
Part of me does wonder whether I personally will ever feel (that kind of) love with another 3rd etc. person; part of me does wonder if I am more monogamous, and G more poly; part of me wonders if that matters; I think not, so long as I remain open and true to myself going forwards.
I do know that I want to remain with G the way it is now and in future however it grows, not "the way it was." So, shortly after I got back from NYC, I proposed.
Delayed? Perhaps, but all the better and more full and complete and loving because of it.
(He said yes!)
Where we are now: G spends nights with N, one or two a week, and daytime whenever he wants (I work days, G works some evenings). It fits. We sometimes spend time together - that bit is platonic, not sexual, though G has expressed (to me often, to N from time to time) that he would like sexual situations involving the 3 of us.
We're figuring out what the 3rd really wants. N, clearly, is the one who needs to figure that out.
I know we must go at the pace of the slowest partner.
At this point, N is not even sure if he wants at the poly situation, AT ALL - if he can handle it. Still thinks of himself as very monogamous.
He has become comfortable spending small doses of time around me (with and without G present) again. (We had a brief period before the love began where G and N and I were all platonic friends, hence the "again".) N has known from square 1 about G and my relationship, so I think it's fair for him to commit (or leave the picture) sooner than later.
What we've done: Set, in writing, key rules that will apply to our marriage and partnership - quite a short list, a lot of it poly-focused - and agree to negotiate when either G or I needs changes. Includes sharing these rules with 3rds, etc., whenever it starts to reach the "love" (not just one-off casual sex) stage. And to share them with N, soon.
What we need next: N's input, reaction to the rules, feelings. Is this what he wants? G intends to give N a clear timeline for an "update", a big conversation (he'll use words N will understand, that will not intimidate him) shortly.
Right now, the uncertainty about what N wants is placing a strain on G and I. I know N will not be 100% OK all the time, we all have swings up and down. What we need to know is that THIS is what N wants, here, now.
I hope it is what N wants. That would make both G and I very happy. We'd love to see this relationship evolve.
If it's not what N wants, that's fine. That would be hard for G (and me, though less so). Yet, it would be much better than staying in a false relationship with N.
One last thing: I know this first time around, it's been harder. We've been preparing rules and deciding things as we go. That can't be easy for N, either, though he has had input throughout and always been able to express himself, too (I imagine that, even though G and I try to be very inclusive, it must seem hard to N to fully express himself at times - G and I being the "established" couple, conventionally). So, when there is a next time, whether with G, with me, with both of us - we're (much more :-) ready.
And I love it.
THANK YOU everyone for your contributions and openness here. They have helped me immensely. I hope I can help, too.