A warm hello!
A warm 'hello' to the other forum members here! First off, thank you for creating this forum - I hope that this community will be a comfort to me, and I hope that as I gain experience I may be a benefit to the community.
It's hard for me to figure out where to begin, so I suppose I'll start at the very beginning.
From a very young age, before I even knew of (or, thanks to my extremely conservative upbringing was allowed to know of) sexual orientation(s) I knew I was a "different" girl. I wasn't just a tomboy - although that was the start of it - even before I knew what "bisexuality" or "homosexuality" were I was making stories about different kinds of relationships with my toys. I would play as if one of my favorite toys was "a girl, but not a girl-girl and she doesn't like boys" or "a boy, but not a boy-boy and he doesn't like girls." It took me a very long time to not only learn that there was a word for how I was acting or what I felt, but to also accept and embrace that fact about myself.
So I didn't really accept that I am bisexual until I was about eighteen years old.
As for my introduction to polyamory, that happened a bit later when I was in my early twenties. I had two friends (and I am still very close to them, thank goodness!) who explained polyamory to me because they were (and still may be) "polywogs" - they explained that while they love each other and are married, they didn't think it was right to exclude the idea of ever loving another person that deeply while still maintaining a committed relationship with/to each other. Without getting too detailed and writing a novel, they invited me into their marriage and we tried things out only to realize that the wife of the relationship wasn't really bisexual. (That encounter deserves a different post all to itself!) For all of us it was our first poly and bi encounter, and I think it was a major milestone for all of us, too.
While that poly-relationship lasted an incredibly short time all three of us are still very good friends, and I feel like an aunt to their children. I still love them both deeply, if not sexually.
That small taste of polyamory stuck with me, and helped me form an idea of love without jealousy but instead with compersion in its place. After my sexual relationship with those two, I started dating a man who was friends to both of them and who they recommended highly. (In fact, the wife of that relationship had been trying to hook me up with this man from pretty much the day I met her!)
That man and I began dating and I found myself deeply in love with him from the start. I had kind of given up hope on finding what society chooses to call "THE one" - mostly because of my polyamorous feelings and realizing there is no such thing as "the" one but "many ones" - but after even a few months of dating I knew he could be it. He is a very forward and honest individual, explained within the first two weeks that because he'd been cheated on before he would never stand for cheating which I understood, having been cheated on before as well. I figured that was the end of my poly-life but was actually OK with it. So imagine my surprise when, six months in, he tells me the only way I'll fully understand him so to read Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. I imagine some of you reading this with more experience than I may just be smiling coyly and nodding your heads - you may see where this is going. I ate that book up, saw all the themes of polyamory in its pages (with much delight, too!), and this chap and I got to talking about polyamory. He explained that while he won't stand for cheating he also doesn't believe love is exclusive, he believed that cheating is when you don't communicate about it but polyamory is when you do communicate your feelings to all parties involved.
It has been over five years, and now this gentleman and I are quite happily married.
Someone who doesn't understand poly may think we're unhappily married, or have been in an unhappy relationship, because we have tried poly relationships with a number of different individuals on either side for a few years now; we know the truth, that these relationships - even the failed ones - have only brought us together and made us stronger for teaching us how to talk, understand, and communicate each other. It's never been easy, but it is getting easier now that we have more experience.
Now we are here-and-now - my partner and I are married but still poly, deeply committed to each other as husband, wife, and life partners, but also knowing that we are polyamorous and totally communicative of that fact. He has a girlfriend, a woman whom we both love (but only him sexually, I feel romantic but asexual toward her) and both adore, who he gets to visit on occasion. I have (very recently) embarked on a sexual relationship with a girlfriend of mine, and on paper this relationship is a little odd to many folks because she just so happens to be my brother-in-law's girlfriend. Brother-in-law not only knows, but has been condoning and encouraging a sexual relationship since I met her a little over a year ago, and even when he began dating her. I had communicated my sexual attraction toward her to bro-in-law and hubby when I first met her, so they both been an amazing support-system over the past year and especially now.
My hope is that my introduction-story can be an encouragement to other young poly's out there, to show that just because you haven't found the right people in your life yet doesn't mean you should give up! I've been meaning to join this forum for years now, but didn't make the time for it until I "knew" through experience that I really am polyamorous.