July 11, 2015

The Hardest Part of Happy Poly

Posted in Elisa tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:18 am by Kathleen

I’m finding that the difference between my husband dating a woman I don’t know (which can be nervy for me, I admit, just because of all the unknown), and my husband dating my best friend is… there is so much love to go around. Elisa is enjoying getting to know and care for Michael (and him for her, of course), but she’s also very focused on being respectful of my feelings and boundaries and on making sure that I’m comfortable and still okay with their relationship (I am, hon!) There’s already explicit trust between all of us, and it makes the complications of our poly arrangement that much more worthwhile and the little ups and down that much easier.

Actually, the hardest part of this relationship has to do with how comfortable we are all with each other. Or, more accurately, what that comfort leads to. For example, Elisa was hanging out with Michael the other day when his mom called and said she was in town. Want to do lunch? We’re still pretty poly-closeted, mostly for the comfort and ease of the people around us, so when they went to lunch, it was strictly as (apparent) friends. And my poor mother-in-law was… let us just say confused. Why is Michael spending so much time with my beset friend lately? She’s got her suspicions, I think, and she’s fighting as hard as she can to convince herself that her son would never cheat on his wife. And he wouldn’t. But she’s also not exactly wrong.

Likewise, I just got a text from my next-door neighbor who was trying to find a subtle way to let me know that he’s seen my best friend’s car around the house a lot when I’m not home. It’s natural in our society for people to see a married man and a woman hanging out a lot and assume the worst of those people. I just wish that saying “Yup! They’re dating and it’s great!” wouldn’t make things even more awkward with people around the edges of our life. (Bonus fun: our neighbors across the street are famous all up and down the block for top-of-the-voice fighting about the boyfriend’s cheating ways.)


March 9, 2015

Is This a Date?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 2:13 pm by Kathleen

One of the fun things about poly is that it opens up the definition of the word relationship. Not that it isn’t broad already! I have a relationship with my mom, one with my brother, ones with colleagues and acquaintances, and they’re all very different beings and mean different things! But what about my… personal life? What about Relationships with a capital ‘R’? That’s pretty cut and dried, right? What about a one night stand? Is that a relationship? What if you’ve got a fuck buddy that you don’t interact with in any other way except when you’re horny? Does that qualify? What about a group of friends who all “mess around” with each other? Are those friendships or relationships? Are they both? Does it matter?

A friend of mine, who is also poly, recently told me about a friend of hers. They’re dating, but my friend is the only one who knows that. Once a week they go out for dinner and a movie, great conversation, and joyful companionship. He’d tell you that they’re friends who just enjoy hanging out alone together. She enjoys what she considers dates, is perfectly happy with the relationship exactly how it is, and would cheerfully murder anyone who clued her (friend? boyfriend? date buddy?) in and maybe ruined it.

Can you really be dating someone and only one person knows about it? It’s a question I’ve been pondering lately, along with questions of consent, ethics, and how relationships and attachments get defined, by whom, and whether they truly have to match. If I am getting what I want and need out of interactions with another person, does it matter if they define our relationship the same way that I do?

The difference, for me, is in the effects it has. If I was in my friends position and that guy was single, then I’d date away without a worry in the world. But if he was in a relationship already, then my feelings about our dates might matter to his other partner, and that is a secret that I just wouldn’t feel right keeping, even if it cost me my relationship or forced me to redefine it. Which is why, when I recently found myself in a similar situation, I decided that I had to come clean. It remains to be seen whether things will have to change, but I’m glad I didn’t continue to behave in a way that feels sneaky to me.

Life is complicated, but fortunately it’s beautiful, too. I hope your complications are glorious, and worth every twist and turn!


September 4, 2010

What is Romantic Love?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 10:40 pm by Kathleen

Today I was reading something and realized that the definition of polyamory depends quite a bit on your definition of romantic love. Some people, for example, see romantic love as not just a feeling or emotion, but also a commitment to one person. Obviously, this definition of love puts a damper on the concept of polyamory as love between more than two people.

To me, romantic love does actually involve commitment, but not necessary an exclusionary commitment. Loving someone romantically doesn’t, in my opinion, have to exclude other romantic love feelings any more than loving both of your parents excludes the possibility of loving step-parents.

Romantic love for me is a feeling first and foremost, not just of affection, which generally comes with friendship before the romance forms, but also of a certain commitment to prioritize that person’s feelings. I guess it sounds unromantic when put that way, but affection and love are easier to come by than we like to assume. Passion may be another story, but while passion has a place in romantic love, it doesn’t make love, nor is it even necessary.

So how do you define romantic love?

May 25, 2009

OMG A Date that went WELL! (And Lots of Firsts!)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:15 pm by Kathleen

This weekend I discovered through first hand, personal experience that:

a) I am definitely bi-sexual

b) I am definitely a switch

c) Sex with other women is indeed both desirable AND fun in an entirely different way than sex with Michael is

d) By extension of item c, I have also confirmed that I am definitely poly.

I had a lovely play date with Rae and Robert, and fun was had all around. The first half was mostly kinky play and not very sexual (I mean, there was kissing and caressing, but it was not “having sex”, it was just play). Afterward we all piled up for a group snuggle, and… well, someone got frisky… I’m not even sure WHO got frisky at first, but we quickly devolved into a writhing mass of limbs. It was very sexual and not very play-y, and more fun was had.

I didn’t actually have sex with Rob, especially since neither of us had talked about the possibility, but I did have sex with Rae and Rob and Rae also had sex while I petted, played, kissed, and eventually flogged. Oh, flogging Rae while she was having sex with Rob… HOT. Rae, thank him again for the flogging lesson for me, would ya? 🙂

I am really comforted that it seemed like all three of us had a really good time. Rae was also really excited, since it was her first poly experience and her first bi experience as well. We went for food afterward, and she was expressing how nice and how surprising it was to her that she just had “casual sex with a casual acquaintance” and that nothing was strange or uncomfortable. There was, as she put it, no loss of possibility. We could still be friends, fuck buddies, or play partners, or lovers, and nothing was off limits or totally crazy just because we had sex. And best of all, there were three very happy people in the car, and no one was angry about any of it. Whee!

Fun note: The first and only time Michael had sex with Becky, it was on our couch, and I was upstairs in bed. This weekend, while we were playing and having sex, it was in their bed, and Michael was asleep on the couch. Symmetry makes me smile.



February 29, 2008

Blurring Lines

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 3:00 pm by Kathleen

I was talking with someone that I care deeply for, and who’s partner does not want us to have a relationship beyond friendship, and I had the urge to tell him that I love him.  We talked, and neither of us could really define the line between friendships and relationships.  Friends love each other.  It is, in fact, a big part of friendship.  The only difference that we could see is sex.  No sex for friends (in our case.  There are friends who do that, too.)

Seeking help, I turned to a friend on chat:

kathleen says:
Hey Steph, all sexual crap aside, what is the difference between friendship and romance?
Stephanie says:
Kathleen says:
you are sooooo helpful

Funnies aside,  it doesn’t seem to be a concept confined to poly, however as a polyamorous person, I am in a unique position to experience friendships as deeply as I want without the fear of hurting or alienating my husband.  I find this freeing and beautiful, and I am really glad that I have the opportunity to love and to express my love for this guy.  I will probably continue to tell him so from time to time – I told him today – and I expect nothing from him but his friendship until and unless his partner allows more.  For now, it is enough to love and to be loved, and to be a good friend to him in all ways.