That kind of love.

Posts tagged ‘Polyamory friends’

Interview about polyamory with Footlights

This is a room in the Hearst Castle

I wish our interview had taken place in this castle in California. But it did not.

Footlights and I have had a long running friendship that ran onto reefs of bisexuality and we had much struggle sorting through issues. I asked him if he would let me ask him a few questions to highlight some of the issues we ran into over the course of years. His longsuffering of such requests is the sole reason we still maintain our friendship. Both of us are married men, both of us are rather artistic, what I refer to on this blog as queer.

ALTERPOLYMATIC: So, what set of circumstances would cause you to come out to your wife?

FOOTLIGHTS:  I don’t think there are any circumstances that I would come out.

A: That’s kind of what I thought you were going to say. So let me ask you this: If people refer to what homosexual men do in bed as gay, then the things that people do in society that are perceived as homosexual could be referred to as queer. With those definitions in mind, what would you say that the overlap in a venn diagram of gay and queer would be?

F: I’d say they overlap a lot.

A: Really? Okay, that seems to imply a lot.

F: I can see what you’re saying.

A: Have you ever addressed the subject with your wife?

F: Well, in the last presidential election, there was a referendum in California about gay marriage or something like that. We talked about it, because she asked me what I thought about it. I said what if I met you first? Then what would my life be like? I don’t exactly remember where I was at that point with you.

A: You talked to her about me?!

F: Well, yeah, I said I wondered what it would have been like if we had met first.

A: Had you talked to her about bisexuality/homosexuality before hand?

F: No, not really. I knew where she stood on the subject. It was a really painful conversation for both of us. It was difficult. She was really angry about you.

A: What did she say? I mean what does she think about the queer elements of your personality?

F: Look, you have to understand, she likes that I’m artistic. We have a common bond in the theatre, that’s where we met, and developed our relationship. She really likes it that I am not a meathead.

A: How would she answer the question about the queer/gay venn diagram?

F: She would say the same thing that I said about it.

A: It doesn’t make…  It doesn’t make any sense that she wouldn’t accept that this is part of your personality. It seems like a contradiction, mutually exclusive ideas to me.

F: Yeah, you keep saying that.

A little bit of conversation only tangentially elapses as we order food, and then receive it.

A: So, let me ask you this, do you think gay sex is ethically wrong?

F: Yes. [Thinks for a second] Absolutely.

A: Then you were born wrong?

bisexual venn diagram

This is not always the case with bisexual men, but it is the case quite a bit.

F: It’s a choice for me. This is something that you and I clearly disagree on.

A: Well, let me go back to the queer/gay Venn diagram. Do you honestly believe that your taste was a choice for you? Clearly you have an inclination to like queer things.

F: I think taste is a choice that results from circumstances that happen in your life. So yes, I think my taste in things is a choice.

A: [I go on to explain why I can’t understand why he would think that taste is a choice. I provide several smashing examples, and then realize I’m not trying to persuade, rather just to know what his perspective is.]

A: Okay, okay, let me get back to real questions. Identifying as bisexual has had a profound positive impact on my life, and my perception of self-worth has improved—

F: So you identify as bisexual now?

A: Yes, I do.

F: Okay, go on.

A: Well, What I want to know is, do you think you would feel some sense of positive emotion if you defined your sexual identity.

F: I honestly don’t know. My life would be completely different than what it is now.

A: Do you mean because you’d have to leave your wife for a man?

F: No, I mean that she would divorce me if I chose to identify with that. I mean whatever desires and temptations I may have, I am not that when I’m home with her. I am just married to her. That would have to change if I actively identified with anything else right now.

A: I understand.

We went on to talk about how accepting his church is about deviant desires, and other matters about the church and LGBT issues. His perspective was very interesting.

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.