This column will be a documentation of our journey--as a couple--into the realm of polyamory. Since we are in the process of navigating this path right now, this column will detail issues, problems, and roadblocks that we encounter--as we hit them.

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

It's been a year

It’s been a year. A year since I first discovered the word "polyamory" and began to learn what that might mean for me. A year since I began the hardest conversations with RM that I have ever had, including when I told him I had been having an affair.

This year has brought so many changes for me, for our relationship, for our place in our social network. We have rebirthed our relationship in many ways, made our core connection to each other stronger and more intense. We have worked very hard at fixing some problems with our marriage and deepened our communication with each other. We have renewed and strengthened friendships; we have made new friends; we are exploring ways to meet even more new people. We have begun a couple of relationships that are still in the early stages, but that could hold much promise for us.

A year ago I was depressed. I was finishing a graduate program and was facing the concept that I would soon be beginning a new career. But I couldn’t seem to muster up any enthusiasm for the process. I was filling my time, but not my heart, with the trappings of my family life. But I was empty inside, going through the motions. I would catch myself feeling intense feelings of longing, for what I wasn’t sure—or if I thought about it what I thought I wanted was “wrong”, or at least unattainable within the confines of being “faithful” in my marriage.

And then I was welcomed into the lives and families of some of our poly friends. They (especially K, D, and N) greeted my requests for information and my first stumbling explorations of what this meant with open hearts and open arms. They helped me find resources, they helped me find the courage to do more research—which is how RM and I ended up here. And here we are (to make a long story short!)

Here is a picture of where we are now: My relationship with N is still on hold. He has been trying to work on his marriage, trying to find some middle ground with his wife. That situation may be hitting a crisis moment, but what that means for he and I is still unknown. Even if his marriage ends, there will be fallout and repercussions and an adjustment period. What I do know is that N and I have grown closer over the last several months, and even if we never get to explore the kind of bdsm relationship we had originally talked about, I have a wonderful friendship with a sweet, flirty and caring man. That fact alone is very valuable to me.

There has also been a deepening of a relationship with another friend of ours. P is someone we have known for a long time—about 15 years, give or take. He is recently divorced, and bisexual. For the last 3 months, RM and I have been helping him through a period of transition in his life, moving back to Chicago, reconnecting with his son, reintegrating himself back into our local social group, etc. He and I have always felt some mutual attraction to each other, and given RM’s and my new openness about these things, I felt comfortable bringing the topic up in conversation when he stayed with us at the end of July.

This initial conversation has resulted in the three of us discussing the possibility of being together in a relationship. So far, all we are doing is talking (and a little snuggling). This is partly because P’s divorce is fairly recent, and he is dealing with the emotional aftermath of another relationship that ended badly. So we have been going slowly, concentrating on building a deeper friendship. It’s important to all three of us that our friendship be honored and preserved as much as possible. We are trying to figure out how to explore what could be without blowing up what we have.

I cannot say that I have been totally patient and understanding during this process, in fact I have had several moments of total freak-out when the reality of the fact that P isn’t really ready for a full-on sexual relationship runs into my fantasy-feeling of how good this could be. I have been scaring myself and RM (and P, who is seeing a side of me and of my marriage that he had no real inkling of) with how emotionally volatile this situation has prompted me to be. It hasn’t helped that I have felt like we have no other possibilities for relationships on the horizon. And that the clock is ticking, etc. I recognize that leaping into something for the sake of “doing” is not the wisest course. I am, however, wrestling with my own impatience.

One thing that has been happening is I have been acknowledging long-standing attractions to friends. It feels to me like this is one more sign that I have been poly all along. I have realized, over the last six or so months, that I have had interests in some friends for a long time—interests that I didn’t feel OK pursuing or even acknowledging. RM and I continue to have discussions about what these attractions mean, what potential they hold and how that all works. It’s interesting and bears some more thought.

So here we are, a year on. RM and I are still often frustrated, with our lack of time and opportunities to seek out relationships. I have recently begun sessions with a poly-friendly therapist; she recommended that RM and I look into swing clubs as a place to try networking, which set me back some. We aren’t at all interested in swinging. We have been giving a lot of thought to what kind of poly relationships we are really interested in and how that might play out. But we aren’t outright dismissing anything right now. We are still hopeful, with periods of intermittent despair, that we can find some way to explore what we want—a poly family, a poly network, a chain of friends and lovers and family that give and receive love of all kinds.

It’s been a year all right. And for all the long nights of talking and the emotional days and tears, I wouldn’t trade any of it: My friend N smiling at me while I lick chocolate frosting off his finger in the middle of a party; P’s hands in my hair when he kisses me; the look on RM’s face when he sees me now, as I am, feeling whole again. We aren’t done yet. But we are still working on it. There’s more to come. I can’t wait.

Pegasus & Renaissance Man; October 28, 2006

Pegasus & Renaissance Man are contributing writers as well as members of this online Community. They can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.


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