Ciel du Matin's Summary
British-born poly guy living in Upstate New York. If I had to apply labels (which, for the record, I dislike) I would put myself more toward the polyfidelity relationship pattern.
With the benefit of hindsight I have been poly since my teens, where I couldn't understand why it wasn't "right" to have multiple friends with whom I could be affectionate (it wasn't about sex then), or that there were prescribed things with "friends" did and didn't do, and "lovers" did and a didn't do.
I struggled with societal pressures, trying to conform to what I thought people expected of me. Sometimes this got me down to the point where I made some unfortunate decisions, regretting them horribly later, not knowing that there was another way to be honest and open without being monogamous.
I discovered the term "polyamory" in the early 90s and that was when I felt a door opened on my road to self-discovery. I was involved with a monogamous partner at the time, and it was quite a shock - but we both felt very committed to the relationship and wanted to work to see if we could make it work for us. I am very happy to say that we are still together - I am most definitely poly and she is most definitely mono, and we have made it work. During this time I had to find out a lot about what I did and didn't need in my life - I tried FwB-style relationships, but realised that they weren't for me.
I am out to some of my friends, but not at work, and to none of my family.
All of my poly experiences to-date have been with females in a "V" configuration. I have been in situations where the two ladies couldn't really stand each other, and ones where they liked each other and got along well. I know which one I prefer! Each relationship has been an interesting learning experience for all involved and I feel that my partner and I have grown as a couple and realised what works and what doesn't. most of my relationships have been longer-term (i.e. longer than several months), which is my preference.
Since June of 2008 we have been in our latest "configuration" with lovefromgirl, as she is known here. So far this is easily the best so far in terms of how well our goals fit and the general dynamic of the relationships. The level of commitment that is shown astounds me in a very good way. Various people were quite vocal about how it wouldn't last, and I am very pleased to say that they were dead wrong.
I am a big believer in the value of experience - I really wish that I had had resources like this as I was growing up (and I mean that in several ways) - people who were actually doing it and making it work. It's hard to read in a book how the day-to-day stuff goes on, the red flags, etc. so I love hearing how others are doing it.
Parts of my "journey to poly" have been extremely rough, and I feel that if I can help one person feel not so alone, or to avoid some of the common pitfalls that can significantly set things back, then I have made a positive difference and I continue learning and hope that this will never stop.
I love the diversity of the poly communities out there and have met people that I wouldn't have otherwise had any contact with, and learned a lot from them.
My latest poly-related project has been to work with others in starting a discussion/meet-up forum for the state of New York, trying to "fill the gaps" between the currently-active groups already there. I have been mostly very pleased at the reception that we have got from the membership and feel that we have added something positive to the poly community. It has most certainly been a learning experience about the broadness of character types in the poly community.
And lastly I'm glad to have found this forum, which I believe is one of the best poly-related forums on the Internet.
Thanks for reading!
"Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf." - Native American Proverb