My two little, happy, poly families
I'm new here, but my poly life has been in process for a long, long time.
I have a co-parent (W) who has always been poly, but we were de facto monogamous for well over a decade, having babies, getting to know them, sorting out what we wanted our lives to look like. Poly was always on the table from W's perspective, even one-sided poly if I couldn't get my head around W having others. I never went there.
Eventually, I went there. But only when I was philosophically committed to embracing equal freedoms for both of us. W was supportive through my first wobbly (and brief) poly relationships. Everything was open and honest. We never needed or wanted secrecy.
Another supportive friend was M, whom I had known years before W. M was single and familiar to me, and we communicated well. I wasn't looking for casual sex with new partners, but now augmenting our long-term, long-distance emotionally intimate relationship with rare in-person visits seemed natural and comfortable. We assumed it wouldn't grow into anything else. M wasn't interested in trying to become part of a big, happy, poly family, and we two were realistic about the unknown limits of our compatibility.
Rare visits became occasional, then frequent. Communication happened. Feelings and needs were checked on. W and I continued to focus on the health of our family and the growth of the people in it. W encouraged me to accept M's importance to me. I began to think of M as truly being family, to me, at least. We talked a lot: W and I, M and I, and the kids (and W) and I.
At some point we noticed we were settling into this. We realized that there was nothing that prevented this dual-family structure being sustainable. Any changes it brought would be only as predictable and as manageable as in any other set of relationships. We began to talk about the distant future always including all of us. No matter what that might look like, we (both couples) intend to grow old together.
While scoping out our next major move and developing criteria for what our new town should provide us, W and I decided to move our family closer to where M lived. Not to force a combination of my families, but to facilitate my moving between them.
This is where we are now. M and I get to spend more time together than ever. From each home, my other loved ones are close enough that I can be with them on short notice. Having chosen our new home town very carefully on other criteria, W and the kids and I are in clover. We all feel cared for and listened to. We want what we have, and we're open to change.