I'm a married, 27 year old bisexual female living in Wasilla, Alaska, and I'd say I'm somewhat new to the concept of conscious, conscientious polyamory, though I'm no stranger to it in practice.
From my earliest relationships, I was saddened by the pressure to be a serial monogamist, and I made a nominal effort to conform to this largely because it was what was expected, and I had no idea that there could be anything else. I was constantly and consistently guilty of emotional affairs, though I never felt guilty about them, and I tried to be honest about my feelings to the people I was with. My candidness usually bought me a lot of forgiveness, but it wasn't an easy path by any means.
I usually found myself entangled in multiple ongoing relationships that from the outside must have seemed horribly complex, but from the inside seemed perfectly normal. I just assumed that I had loose morals, chalked it up to being young, and figured I'd be over it by the time I met someone I really wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It never really bothered me, since it seemed like I had the time, energy, and most importantly the love necessary to sustain these various relationships, and I didn't feel like I was lying to any of the people in them.
Over the next few years, I found myself as the unicorn in two different, loving marriages.
The first happened when I had just moved back to England, through an organization I met a woman who invited me to hang out some time. We really hit it off, and her husband was taciturn, but had a wicked sense of humor, and I was hooked and completely stoked that I made such a great pair of friends.
I was highly amused when I showed up at their house a few weeks later and they admitted to plotting to get me into their bed. I had wondered if this was the case, and when I indicated that I would be up for that, they laid out their ground rules (which mostly limited the quality of the alone time I had with the husband) and I agreed that it sounded like an interesting and fun arrangement. I was growing very close to the wife in any case, and what had begun as something jokingly physical, grew into something happy and honest and very fulfilling.
I viewed the next year and a half as a magically blissful time in my existence, but when the pair found out they were pregnant, I was shut out of their lives, with the explanation that they needed to focus on one another while they came to terms with this new and exciting change.
Needless to say, my head understood, but my heart did not, and I didn't want to admit to myself that I was hurt. In hindsight, it's clear that I went into mourning for what I had lost so abruptly. I didn't even see them again until the baby was born, and though we were still willing to offer our friendship and love, that closeness that made things special was gone.
I moved to California for a guy I fell for, and we made a damn good go of it, but I was reacting badly to some medication that made me an emotional train wreck and the relationship was not strong enough to survive this. I was propositioned by an adorable female coworker of mine, who made it clear from the get go that she liked me and she wanted me to meet her husband. I was too amused at her forwardness to turn her invitation down.
Thus began the most emotionally complete, stable, loving relationship that I'd ever been in. I had never expected the first triad, and the fact that I found love and happiness in the unusual arrangement felt like a happy accident. Finding this second one and knowing what could come of it truly felt like a miracle to me. From nearly the first moment I came to the house, I was welcomed with open arms by the young wife, the much older husband, and even his two mostly-grown boys. There weren't the restrictions that were placed on me in the first triad, and I reveled in the emotional connections that I built, together and separately.
I have never known so much love in a house before, and it was a wonderful place to put the pieces of myself back together. It became clear over the next six months that this beautiful relationship was the only thing keeping me in California, and despite their urging that I move into their spare room when my lease was up, I decided to move back to England. I don't know what I was afraid of, but the economy was terrible even before the country's economy tanked and when I was laid off of yet another job I could not in good conscience become a dependent of this wonderful family.
If I mourned the loss of the first relationship, I was truly adrift at the loss of this second one--and by my own hand--and to be honest I miss them to this day.
And then I met my husband.
(To be continued)