That kind of love.

Posts tagged ‘Before polyamory’

Gay Marriage

One of the things I find illuminating about the way my gay friends live their lives is that they manage monogamy much more loosely than hetero-normative friends tend to. I don’t know if this is the often the case, so this is anecdotal, yet I get a lot from watching my LGBT friends deal with serious relationships.

Almost none of my LGBT friends could be described as monogamous. And yet, I just officiated at a wedding. If my group of friends hangs out, there will be fairly liberal flirting, some kissing amongst friends, and a even some mild sexual activity, mostly with clothes on, but there’s genital contact. Genital contact is my personal definition of sex. It seems like a good general way to talk about sex when making rules with partners. It’s certainly a sort of line in most people’s minds.

So the couple in question are probably the least monogamous amongst the group. They both don’t have external relationships, but they have sex with other people. They often have group sex. They are both young, attractive, and both of them are to some degree, bisexual, although they are both at very different spots on the spectrum of bisexuality. Anyone who spends any time with them quickly understands just how important they are in one another’s lives. They are both important pillars to each other. They build the social group they hang out with on the stability their relationships generate in their lives, and they are both very much aware of the fact. Hardly any of us in their social orbit would know one another without them. They spend a lot of time organizing events, throwing parties, and introducing folks to each other. The strength of their relationship affords a sense of community to all of us who know them. I can’t think of a better reason to cement a relationship with ceremony than those. I agreed to marry them, where I wouldn’t agree to marry most people, because I see the wonderful things their relationship brings to all who know them.

To some degree, it seems like how they have approached their relationship is a wise one. They’ve spent many years together before making the commitment. They heard very little social pressure, because they only listened to those that weren’t obviously homophobic. In the case of their families, that narrowed things down to a point where they could think about what they were doing without pressure. They knew, as most couples who get married do, that they loved each other. What their approach afforded them was disregard of negative voices, consideration of the social impact their marriage might have, and the ability to do it when it was emotionally and circumstantially best for them, and best for their other relationships too. That’s damn near unique. I envy them. My marriage did not occur under nearly the same circumstances. So many people get pressured into marriage.

I hadn’t really thought through the reasons that marrying them felt so right, and I’m glad I did. Let me know if this raises any questions in your mind. I’d love to hear from you, and what you think too.

New Category: Open Friends

Linza Feldman

Artwork by Linza Feldmen. Click to see more. SFW.

One of the immediately apparent results from the mutual decision to open our marriage was that we got to have friends.

Your friends become important when you accept the concept that your primary partner doesn’t have to fulfill every need you have. There are relationships that will fulfill some of the aspects of your personality better than your primary partner does. And that is so amazing.

This is an event of real beauty in my life. Before poly, I personally put little value on my friendships because the primary relationship was of the highest priority. Now the friendships that I cherish are of the same priority, or at least they aren’t inferior, to the primary relationship. They have so much more value because everyone is acknowledging that those friendships fulfill necessary roles, not only in my life, but in my partner’s life as well.

When we were monogamous, the only friendships that survived were the ones that were the strongest, and even those that survived were weak examples of their former importance. When I made these friendships, I had not assumed that I would accept their total replacement with a primary relationship, and yet when I accepted a closed relationship, I didn’t even think twice about letting those friendships starve.

I could not have guessed how vital the non-sexual relationships could be. My life is enormously enriched by the change in status. I need my friends to be happy.

Most of the time old friendships aren’t the best ones to attempt to open up. There’s tremendous difficulty in decided who to come out to about polyamory, or bisexuality, or both. But the temptation is enormous to contact people with whom you previously had a strong connection. Because it’s not like you’ve changed, rather it’s a lot more like you’ve become more of yourself. They accepted you for who you were then, so it makes some kinda sense that the two of you might have connection now.

I’d say I’m about fifty percent acceptance rate with former friends who knew me before I opened my marriage. But after ten years of monogamy, its like I went totally radio silent for a decade, and then now, I’m coming back from Siberia with all this new energy, and a new vision, and some people can’t accept even that alone. What are the chances that my old friends will have ever even heard the word polyamory?  Well, for a lot of people, the basis of polyamory doesn’t come from a book, or a blog, or even a notion, but rather what they are evolved to want, and where their feelings have lead them.

So I make a lot of friends from people who were potential lovers. We engage from the get-go knowing the other persons tastes and identities, by and large, and work from there. So the new category: Open Friends are about those folks who know that you are poly, and embrace that whether they share the same semantics or not. I’ll be talking about subjects in that category often in the future.