Continuing to describe my journey towards polyamory. Part 1 is here.
Even though I felt like polyamory could be a good fit with me (and resonated with a number of my feelings on how I wanted to handle relationships), I stayed monogamous for another few years. After my current monogamous partner and I broke up, I had a serendipitous meeting with another amazing monogamous person and decided I wanted to give a relationship with him a try. Though it lasted a good two years, in the end, we weren’t compatible enough to make a long-term relationship work. A bit before that relationship started, I met Rachel (who may someday get her own series of blog posts), who was the true springboard for me jumping into polyamory.
Rachel and I formed an intense, deep friendship – it would fit all the hallmarks of a queerplatonic relationship. As I continued to date monogamously, I was troubled by the opinions/feelings of those I dated towards Rachel – they felt like my relationship with Rachel should always be of secondary (if that) concern to me – after all, we *just* had a friendship, it’s not like that was as serious as a romantic relationship, right? Before Rachel, my romantic relationships would usually have some level of fighting/sniping because my paramours didn’t accept that dating them meant that I dropped all my friends to always be with them. After Rachel (with the two serious relationships I had while the relationship between Rachel and I was at our most serious), those fights escalated, as my paramours didn’t understand the idea that I regularly wanted to spend 2-3 nights a week with Rachel.
Beyond the problem that I kept having between paramours & friends, I also went through a period of time where I didn’t meet anybody that I could envision spending more than a few years with. Within the first two to six months of dating someone, I can usually get an idea of how compatible I am with someone, and how long the relationship is going to last – especially in the person I’m dating has some needs/intents that I don’t share.
For instance, children. I’m happily child-free by choice, and plan to be so for the rest of my life. So if I’m dating someone who definitely wants kids, I know that’s only going to last a few months to a few years – which isn’t to say that most of the men that I dated who wanted kids didn’t try their damnedest to convince me that I was mistaken (or confused) and that I really did/would want kids (and they were shocked – shocked! – when I broke up with them, citing (among other things), their constant pressure to convince me to change my mind about children as a deal-breaker). Also, cats. I love cats, and except for my freshman year in college (when I was required to live on campus), I’ve always had at least one cat. The guy with mild cat allergies who announced around the six-month mark in our relationship that it was time that I figured out what to do with my cat, since he wanted to move in with me, but would only do so if it didn’t involve the cat was shocked (shocked!) when I broke up with him instead of ditching my cat (never mind the part where he did announce/inform me that we’d be moving in together, because he knew that this was the relationship for him, without actually asking me MY opinion about living with him).
Because of my feelings for Rachel (who was also familiar with polyamory and wondered if she would be happier being polyamorous), I decided to do some in-depth reading on polyamory and picked up a copy of The Ethical Slut and a copy of Opening Up. Opening Up, with its more in-depth chapters detailing different ways to “do” poly played a large role in shaping the kind of polyamorous person I wanted to be.
Though I think that philosophically, I’ve always been poly-friendly, if not outwardly polyamorous, I would say that the beginning of me being polyamorous in practice began when I choose to be non-romantically partnered with Rachel. We mutually supported one another in looking for romantic partners who would respect our bond and be comfortable with the idea that building a life with one of us would also be building a life with the other and any partners that she might have. Though my relationship with Rachel ultimately transitioned into a less-intense friendship that doesn’t include a lifetime commitment (something that I will surely write about in the future), I’m glad that I started this journey with her. I hope that we both learned a lot from each other about balancing time commitments – from the times that we did spend together, it does seem true.
So how did I get from that beginning to where I am now? I know that I’ll eventually write about a number of the people that I dated before meeting Jon. For now, I’ll say that I did date a number of people before Jon, but that I met Jon while Rachel and I were still together. Jon and I were together for about two months when my relationship with Rachel begun its transition away from us planning a lifetime together – the reasons for that transition had nothing to do with Jon, and entirely to do with a number of major problems that slowly surfaced between Rachel and me, as well as me and some of Rachel’s other partners.
And that is how I started my journey towards being poly.