#peoplelikeme, brought to me by @blackandbendy

So a few weeks ago I started following a new poly blog that was on some #grownfolkspolyshit. Like, telling its readers to have discussions with their partners about what they would do in the event of an unplanned pregnancy somewhere within their polycule, and in depth posts about poly parenting. My first reaction was basically WHOA WHOA WHOA I AM NOT READY FOR ANY OF THIS –> How far am I willing to go with this? –> Is this what we’re building towards? Because I don’t think I’m that person.  –> Eventually shit’s gonna get too big for trial and error. –> FREAKOUT ABOUT THE FUTURE AND ITS GENERAL UNPREDICTABILITY

But then I realized that even outside of poly things, those aren’t things I am prepared to deal with or actually ever want in my life, so this is less a #polyproblem and more a #grownfolksshitproblem. And I was rambling about this to my friend BD:

Me: i think too many of the poly resources out there are from like a Grown Folks perspective
people who like, turned their marriages poly and shit
i need to connect with more 20-something polys
but idk howwww
there are meetup groups but they seem to be full of old people
for example i know like 15 places to look for advice about moving your spouse’s other significant other into your house and the challenges of that
but i’m like, wait i just want advice on maybe wanting to talk about moving in with my boyfriend when we’re poly
BD: Mmm idk what I would do if babies were a thing that could accidentally happen with us
I know people in NYC. Other qtpoc
Maybe there are fb groups ?
Me: there is one in DC. but it’s been on hiatus since 2012. #nothelpful
BD: Do you want to virtually connect withppl? I can find groups…
I told her sure even though that’s not really what I wanted, but I thought it couldn’t hurt. And two days later, she sent me a link to the Facebook group Beautiful Struggle: The Open Hearts Project. Self-description:
Beautiful Struggle, Open Hearts creates space for queer, trans, people of color to share and learn about polyamory and non-monogamy from our own perspectives. We bring our experiences with family, community, education, media, religion, spirituality and culture to the conversation and open up the scope of polyamory and non-monogamy to include relationships beyond romantic partners. In connection to this, Beautiful Struggle creatively and interactively explores intimacy, communication, jealousy, insecurities, self-care, self, love and our understanding of community.
It sat on my Facebook sidebar showing no notifications for a couple of weeks and I didn’t know how to start talking with these poly strangers (the most active of whom seem to be unfortunately on the west coast), but two people posed questions to the group on Monday and ever since then everything has been awesome. I used to have a poly penpal last fall, but we fell out of touch, and I forgot how good it feels to talk about this shit with people who are/have been there. Like, I have a supportive community of folks who will listen without judgment and offer advice without pointing to poly as the problem. I appreciate them so much. My friends are the shit. But there is something different about feeling in community with the people you’re talking to, and I’m rediscovering that wonderful difference with this group. Every time I post a comment and people like it, I feel this awesome sense of validation and recognition, like I do all this really hard work of navigating things and figuring things out and really digging to the bottom of my feelings and reactions and that work is worth something to people who aren’t me and ][Booskie]. Examples:
Q: So, for context, I am not someone who asks my partners for permission to do things with other partners/dates/fuckbuddies/friends/whatever if it doesn’t effect them directly (like needing to cancel plans). It’s not part of my philosophy and I’m not about it. That being said, I do like to offer opportunities for my partner to express any feelings both before and after a significant event/development. My Q: How do y’all talk to a partner about something you want/are going to do without the implication that you are asking permission? I used to ask “is this okay?” but I recognize that doesn’t translate the way I want it to, which is more asking is it okay with them emotionally than is it okay for me to do it, if that makes sense. I’ve started trying out “how do you feel about this?” which has been better but still kind of feels like asking permission.
My A: “How would you feel about X” or “How would you feel if I did X” is what I’ve asked my partner to say in the place of “Is it okay if (I do) X,” for that same reason — if he asks if it’s okay, I’m always going to say yes, because he doesn’t need my permission to do things.
I’m not sure he’s as clear on why that distinction isn’t just semantics but he goes with it.

Q: Do you feel any sense of responsibility or accountability towards your partners’ partners? And is there any kind of responsibility or accountability towards you that you want from them? Does it make a difference if you have your own relationship with them (outside of the partner you have in common)?I’d love to hear anything folks have to share on this topic. Thanks, beloveds!

My A: This is a thing I used to struggle with a LOT because my partner had another partner who was not very happy about how our relationship blossomed. I found myself trying to hold back my own wants and needs for time and affection, and agreeing to do things like not be physically affectionate with him when the three of us were all together, and none of that felt good or healthy for my relationship with him. I eventually got to a place where I realized I was being shitty to myself in an effort to not be shitty to her, and that’s not okay. The two of us wound up going out to dinner once to sort of clear the air, and after that I stopped really feeling like I had to go out of my way to accommodate her feelings, as long as I wasn’t doing anything clearly shitty.


Q: when did you realize you were poly? or…?
My A:  I’m in a poly relationship but I wouldn’t say I’m poly as an identity. It’s a relationship structure I can enjoy and make work, but it’s not an independent need for me. So I guess the best I can say is I discovered I can do poly when my current boyfriend approached me last summer while he was already in a relationship. As time goes on, I keep realizing new depths of my own non-monogamous capabilities. Poly is more of a skill set for me than an orientation.

THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE IS THE COOLEST SHIT. And it’s exactly what I was looking for, even if the people I’m talking to are internet strangers that are far away. These are the conversations I want to be having. And it helps that the group is QTPOC-focused — a lot of the poly blogs I follow and books I’ve read are very very white. I think this is going to be a good online space for me to hang out in, even when I am additional partnerless.

About alaiyo0685

I'm a kind of quirky, pretty stubborn, way too opinionated, twenty-something, intellectual, introspective, queer, Black, female, in a polyamorous relationship, and this is where I try to figure out my life.

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