Boo often refers to reading my blog as “watching me work things out.” That seems highly accurate to me. Most of my personal writing, generally, be it here or in emails, is designed largely around working things out in my head.
The problem with that is that good things don’t have to be worked out, and gushing for the sake of gushing is a thing I try to avoid. So this blog gets posts like the one from last week about the parts of being a non-polyamorous person in a polyamorous relationship that are hard for me, and doesn’t get as much of the parts that are easy and amazing (which is the overwhelming majority of the parts).
To that end, I am posting here a comment I left this evening on a post I read on another poly blog that upset me. It touched a nerve that had been raw last week around the time of the aforementioned post, and made me doubt for a split second that the resolution(s) and decision(s) we’d come to were the right ones. But then I remembered that some random internet person who is polyamorous and older than me who was talking to another random internet person in a vaguely similar situation to that in which I’ve chosen to root myself does not know my life, my relationship, or my emotions better than I do. Fact.
After I recognized that, though, I was still upset at the way she responded to the vaguely-similar-situation person, and I thought that that person could use a hug and a few more encouraging words than the blogger and the other commenters had left. So I decided to write a comment myself.
This is the post, a letter written to a poly blogger by a person whose long-term partner has expressed curiosity around polyamory and the poly blogger’s response.
And this is what I said in response to the response(s):
I would like to offer a different opinion to the asker than has really been presented here. I am a person who does not identify as poly who is in a loving committed relationship with a poly person who has other partners, and personally I think that it is possible to find happiness, joy, satisfaction, and contentment inside of a relationship type that on its surface doesn’t hold intrinsic appeal to you. I began dating my partner in the summer of 2013, when he already had a girlfriend. He approached me looking for something casual, and had I known then that we would fall into a deeper love than either of us had ever previously known, I probably would have said something similar to what the letter writer thinks she would have told TP if he’d come out to her as poly when they were initially showing romantic interest in one another. But I didn’t, and I found myself in love with someone whose entire view of love and relationships differ dramatically from my own.
And at times, that can be terrifying. It is often challenging. But the challenging aspects, the moments of fear and doubt, they cannot compare to the overwhelming joy, positivity, security, warmth, support, and sense of rootedness being with my partner brings to my life. Being in his arms feels like home, and I want to share and build my life with him, and he feels the same way about me. So we commit ourselves to being ourselves, as different as we may be, and dedicate ourselves to relationship practices that honor and respect our different needs. I think the answer to whether you can learn to find happiness, or at the very least peace, in something that initially seems painful lies in figuring out what your needs in a relationship are, and then working with TP to figure out if those needs can be met with him having other partners. I’ve learned that feeling that I am a priority in my partner’s life matters more to me than being his only love, and that not feeling that our growth is limited by his other relationships is more important to me than that I get to spend every night with him. I’ve learned that I can respect his relationships with his other partners even if I don’t fully understand his desire to have other relationships. Every day I see the truth of the statement that loving others does not detract from his love for me. I couldn’t have known those things in the beginning; in entering the world of polyamory, I have learned and continue to learn what I need and what I am capable of.
I don’t think the letter writer is wrong for wanting to try to make things work with the person she loves. I think there is a subtle framing shift between “finding ways to cope” and “finding ways to make the relationship they both want to be in work,” and while neither of them is an easy path, the rewards can easily outweigh the costs. No two people are perfectly aligned in their visions of the ideal future, but where there is enough overlap, there can be a happy way through.