Friday, June 12, 2009

Grappling with Polyamory

H. and S. had been lovers for 5 years when H. hit a wall somewhere between his feelings for her and his feelings for me. H. and I had been lovers for 11 years, married for 8, were deeply in love and committed to each other through and through. Even though we had entered into the world of polyamory we were still functioning from a monogamous mindset and value system. Both of us still believed in and cherished, the myth of The One And Only. We had found the perfect match in each other, call it soul mates or what you will, we were a happy and attached pair bond.

H and I offered each other a simple and comfortable life (besides all the crazy kids and their drama.) We brought out the best in each other and had lots of fun together. S. was our best friend. She was part of our family and she spent lots of time with us. The three of us were always cuddly and cozy together but we never considered that she and H. would become lovers. But then one night when the moon cast some amorous spell on us, sex happened, it still felt right the next day, and that was that.

As time went on, H. had no clue how to integrate the love he felt for S. with the love he felt for me. Still operating from the idea that I was the one and only love of his life didn't leave any real room for S. to be a love of his life too. Well, he loved her no doubt That was a given. And I loved her and she loved both of us but we didn't deem it the same kind of love that H. and I shared. Of course love is just love and it's always experienced and expressed uniquely between lovers but there was a sort off odd hierarchical mindset that H. and I were holding on to that was a big part of what kept us feeling safe--by perceiving our love as somehow superior. We held on to our primary status with a ferocious grip that was meant to protect H. and I, first and foremost. It wasn't that we didn't care about, or want to protect S. also--we loved her dearly and thought we were concerned with protecting her heart also. But we weren't really. Not so much. It wasn't conscious or callous, but H. and I were convinced of the sacredness of our couple hood which we definitely gave priority status. Add to this mix the fact that I was jealous of my place in H.'s heart and life and he would do anything, even lie to himself (and me) to keep me (and himself) happy, comfortable, and secure in the fact that I was and would remain, #1 in his heart. We were practicing polyamory with a monogamous agenda.

Not that there isn't legitimate concern for a primary relationship. But the how and why of this concern is paramount and that deserves another post all it's own. I will say that I've learned that when it comes to hearts and love, there really is no primary and secondary status. This concept is hard to explain and it's racy, tender, complicated, and again, deserves a post of it's own.

Thing is, even though I was jealous and very possessive of H.'s love, I was willing to face my fears and deal. I was clueless on many counts (I still am) but that comes with being inexperienced with the territory. I believed in polyamory and sexual freedom with all my heart and I was incredibly tenacious with myself on this path of spiritual, sexual, self growth work--continually pushing myself to my ever expanding edge. I'm still doing this.

Regardless of my fears and the part of me didn't want to fully believe--I knew that H. loved S. and I started pushing him to admit it. First to himself, then to me, and then to her. During this time it came up that S. wanted H. to claim her as his girlfriend and he did. This freaked me out. Up to this point he had referred to her as his fuck buddy and a best friend with benefits. She was someone he certainly loved but was not in love with. Right. But I kept hammering away for the truth. Eventually he claimed her as his girlfriend, lover, and someone he was in love with.

I was encouraging H. and S. to spend time alone together to establish their own relationship and things were just at the precipice of opening and deepening for them. Then C. came into my life and I fell for him hard and fast. In the midst of my falling in love with C., H. was still grappling with how to manage his own love for S. and his jealousy, triggered by my falling in love with C., pushed him over the edge. With fear gripping him by the throat with all of his beliefs and social constructs surrounding love, relationships, marriage, sex, and commitment shaking him to his core, H. determined to return to the "simpler" life of a monogamous marriage as his salvation. He shut himself off to S, ending the sexual aspect of their relationship. He retreated into himself, reading, meditating and contemplating the merits of monogamy, trying to convince me that he was firmly on his chosen path, and that my place was right there by his side. I did remain firmly planted by his side but made it abundantly clear that I was in no way interested in returning to monogamy, that if he chose that for himself, fine, but that I wouldn't be his convert. Soon over his temper tantrum, H. regretted losing S. as a lover but she was pissed and kept herself shut off to him for quite some time.

In the meantime I continued loving C. and eventually H. (and I) came to experience that he could love S. and I could love C. and that this had very little to do with our own relationship. On the other hand, opening to polyamory and loving more than one did change H.'s and my relationship. Truthfully, it will never be the same. We've given up lots of our old and worn out ideas and beliefs. We've conquered many fears and suffered many ego deaths. We've evolved into a new way of being with ourselves and with each other, something that works better for us now. We are as committed to each other and our relationship as much as we ever were, probably more. We love each other deeply and share truth, sex, and an ever deepening friendship. We support each other's individuality and freedom. We trust each other and plan to continue on this adventure in love and life together.

We are still somewhat fucked up of course but that's a given of the human condition.


foxyfrogmomma said...


cindy said...

basically just grappling in general

I AM ANOTHER said...

Hey foxy! I dunno if S is lost in the land of monogamy or not. It's all a choice and usually an adventure into the unknown. After we experience the territory we get to choose to stay there or not. If and while it's working for her, I hope she embraces it fully. If it stops working then I hope she leaves that land and starts a new adventure. I mean, for all of us huh?
Love sweetie. I hope you are well.

I AM ANOTHER said...

Hey Cindy. Yea. Tell me about it!