Thoughts on Polyamory
"Mock, three blogs in the space of a month? Who are you?"
I know! But I've got this very rare bit of downtime between writing a full novel so I'm stocking up the blog space. I hope you find my little musings entertaining. I will try not to ramble.
One of the most common things I get emailed to me or mentioned in a comment is something like this (note: I am paraphrasing), "Mock, I don't really read poly because I don't like it much, but I have enjoyed this. I just worry that someone will be left out."
This comes up so often it's made me ponder it and the difference between poly wiring and monogamy wiring. Okay, so I'm going to journey back to a bit of my "poly evolution". Because why not? LOL But also, I wish I had someone to talk to when I was learning these things about myself and so I offer up my life experiences in case they might help someone else.
My First Love
The first time I ever fell in love, I was thirteen. I don't fall in love often, but when I do it's overwhelming and remarkable. And because I have never been much of a child, even at thirteen I wondered to myself if it was really love. Even the songs about love spoke about how love as a teenager was "puppy love". I concluded that I must not know what love really is and looking back, I think that's crazy. Of course we know what love is. There is nothing like love and if we even think we are feeling it, then we are. (That's my new deduction)
But for my first love, let's call him Sim, there is still little to this day I can compare to how I felt for him. We dated for two years and they are still two of the most favorite years of my life. Near the end, we were having some issues. One of our issues was jealousy. Me because he was a huge flirt and all the girls in our group liked him. Him because I was a huge flirt and all the boys in our group liked me, LOL. At this point we were 15 (me) and 16 (him).
There was also this feeling in the air for me. I am an intuitive, which is a blessing and a curse. I know things sometimes years before they happen. I pick up on the things that are not said. But our world doesn't really believe in such things and so (especially at this time) I told myself I was crazy. The bad feeling in the air had to be paranoia.
I'd had an inkling that he was into someone else. I wasn't sure who. I don't always get details in this little "visions" it's more like a vague whisper, which can be frustrating at times. There were no outward signals. Even looking back and knowing who it was, there was nothing out of the ordinary that I could see with my eyes to tell me and who it ended up being was a shock.
I went on a trip with a girlfriend of mine. We were figuring out where we wanted to go to university and we'd won the opportunity to go on a week-long trip to one university in particular (the one I would later earn my degree with, UBC), all expenses paid, to check it out.
My gut told me that when I got back, things between me and my first love would be changed forever, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go on that trip. My parents had little money. We wouldn't be able to afford something like this otherwise. So I went.
When I returned a week later, we broke up. I don't remember how that part happened (this is 27 years ago now). Just that things were weird. To this day, it's still one of the most gut-wrenching moments in my history. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I felt empty. I turned into a zombie. All I wanted was for us to get back together. The pain was surreal.
My mom, also an intuitive, had a gut feeling of her own. AND, she was a mother bear. Nothing was said to her, or said near her, it was just a feeling she had and she went with it and cornered my then best friend. The ethics on that ... my mother cornering a 15 year old girl and making her confess ... I'll let you decide, but that was what she did. I promise there was no violence involved. Anyway, she confessed that she had been dating Sim the whole time I was away (and more).
My heartbreak reached new levels I still don't have the words to describe.
In my ever-exhausting need to find answers to understanding human nature, I had to know why. I knew it would help me ease the pain somehow. My most pressing concern was, "Didn't he love me?" because if the love from him hadn't been real that would have been worse for me. And it was odd, but it didn't bother me as much as Then Me thought it should that he slept with my best friend. It was more the feeling of "left out" that plagued me.
He agreed to meet up with me one night. We sat in the driveway by the tire of his new car and he held me and it felt so good after weeks of the pain of living my new reality that we were slowly untangling. I now understand why it was a such a physical process for me---when you love someone, your particles entangle (this is a scientifically registered phenomena) and when you part, you have to untangle your meshed particles. It fucking hurts.
But what I knew in that moment with absolute certainty was that he DID love me.
And that was something to think about.
In fact, he never stopped loving me. I know he loves me to this day, just as I love him. I no longer want to be with him. He's married with two gorgeous children, but the rare times we interact, there is no dying that chemistry still exists between us. It's so electric that even with our new loves through the years, they somehow could feel it between us even after decades. It's so wild.
And side note, he didn't even date my best friend after that. He ended up dating another one of my "good" friends, which I was pissed about because she knew I was still in too much pain for that. I may not have picked some of the best friends when I was younger, Ha! But she and I did not stay friends and years later (when we were adults and were over our teenage hormones and behaviours) she told me that I still felt like "competition" even though I was 100% out of the picture.
But my point?
1. The common belief is that, "If he/she cheats on you then he/she doesn't love you." While this might be true in some cases, it's not always true. It wasn't for me.
2. I may not have known the terminology, but poly existed in me even then. I was socialized to believe that we were only to have one mate, but it felt off to me and this first gut-wrenching experience with it only made me analyze the whole thing from a new perspective. It was the beginning of the bloom of one of the pieces of my sexuality.
Gaining New Perspective
Keep in mind, these are my conclusions for myself. This is what resonated for me. Others may feel differently and that's okay---we're not all wired to feel the same way----but this is one human experience and it's real.
After Sim and my resulting analysis, I formed a new policy. I was open to other partners. I hadn't a clue how to work that, I was only 15. It took me a few more relationships and being "cheated on" several more times to form my new policy which was: "If you find another that you would like to engage with,I want the opportunity to engage with others too." I think I was about 23 or 24 when I was finally able to articulate this for myself.
Side note, if you don't want someone "cheating" on you, there is nothing more potent than this. It's very powerful. I didn't form this policy to protect myself against cheating, rather, I realized cheating is part of our culture because of how we've pigeon-holed those of us who would otherwise pursue a poly-style relationship into only having one person. We are made to think that falling in love multiple times with multiple people is wrong and so we cannot share this with our lovers. There isn't a narrative for it and that person is simply put into a "bad box". But love is powerful and it's not something that we can fight or overcome, we can only submit to it. I want to underline that I'm talking about Love not lust---that's a whole other topic!
Despite very good intentions, if you fall in love with another person, you