Like many, Angel stumbled into polyamory quite by accident. She and her husband have been happily married for four years, and recently opened their marriage and their hearts to the possibility of poly relationships. She shares the ups and downs of being new to the lifestyle and navigating the emotional and practical issues that come along with it.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

The best laid plans

It's been nearly a year since Jack and I decided that we wanted to explore relationships outside of our marriage. In the beginning our intentions were quite different. It was sort of like swinging, except not as a couple. We laid out a big list of rules to protect ourselves from feeling any jealousy and decided that the focus would be on sexual freedom. Jack said quite clearly that he could not handle me falling in love with anyone else. Period.

The best laid plans as they say…

I met K shortly thereafter and my relationship with him began as friends with benefits. It quite rapidly and unexpectedly evolved into something more. The NRE kicked in and we ended up on this twisted emotional rollercoaster that carried us through the most turbulent and honestly horrible phase of my marriage. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it was rarely dull.

My friends started treating my life like a soap oparah (affectionately of course). They would tune in from near and far each week to hear what had been astir. My blog became a chronicle of the ups and downs, the good, the bad, and the just unbearably awful.

Recently I have been flipping thought the archives of my website. Sparking the memories and reminding myself of how far we have come. It's so wonderful to reflect that way and I am grateful that I have it as a sort of measuring stick. Especially when I am feeling particularly frustrated and I think that none of this poly stuff is worth while. I can go look back at something sort of tangible, something real, and remember what it is I am working towards.

Jack and I have become so much stronger as a couple. Instead of drawing away from each other in the hardest and most difficult situations we forced ourselves to work together. Sometimes we went so far as to cuddle while we fought because the physical closeness reminded us that as angry and hurt as we were, we love each other above all else.

You see, when we were getting married the best advice I think anyone ever gave us was "When you fight, hold hands". We always joke that it's to keep the other person at close enough proximity so they can't throw things at you. It does give you a sense of connection however during times when you might feel very removed from your partner. It's more difficult than it might sound because sometimes you really want to hate that person and the last thing you want to do is give them even the smallest gesture of affection. Try it sometime though, you might be surprised.

Another thing that I have observed over the past year is what a different person I have become. I have gained self confidence that I never had before. I have realized that people will be drawn to the authentic me, and that I don't have to hide behind plastic masks. I have found strength and determination in places where there wasn't any before. I can stand up for myself now, and ask for what I want. I may not always get it but I have the courage to at least ask, and to not apologize for fulfilling my own needs first. I can hold myself, and others, accountable for actions and feelings. I have come to see that we create our own reality, and that no one controls our lives unless we give them that power.

I think that Jack has grown to understand and embrace poly. He dealt with a lot of feelings of insecurity and neglect, many of which he didn't know existed. He had to face things about himself that he didn't like, and he has done a truly commendable job of adapting. I couldn't always see it at the time, but he came around remarkably quickly and now he is so very supportive and encouraging when it comes to my other relationships. He gives me advice from the male perspective and he keeps me from compromising myself, or my needs, in order to keep other people happy. He also reminds me of what is important and helps me stay centered. He truly is my rock, and my soft place to fall.

K and I didn't last, neither did a handful of other less serious relationships. That does not mean that I am not successful at poly, nor that there is anything wrong with poly itself. It simply means that I have not found someone who is the right fit or similar enough that we can come to a mutually agreeable understanding of things. I am still learning how to 'do' this whole poly thing, but I am certainly enjoying the journey so far. We all have to start somewhere really.

I can't say with any certainty where this next year will take me. I am optimistic that it will be filled with love and learning and plenty of joy. I am also realistically sure that there will be pain and tears and more difficult life lessons. I think I am ready for it and there isn't much else to do but go forward with the resolve to do my best.

Here's to the past 365 most interesting days of my life. Cheers!

Nobody's Angel is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Nobody's Angel; November 15, 2006


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