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.