This post by Poly in VT got me thinking about magic, specifically relationship magic, and what it is about polyamory that is magical and works for me.
I think that most people (including monogamists) would agree that discovering a new friend is often an exciting, invigorating, and often magical experience. I’ve definitely had NRE with friends that was completely non-sexual and non-romantic. I’ve referred to that time in the beginning as “falling in friend-love” but now I’m going to straight out call it “falling in love” without qualifiers, because it doesn’t need them.
The important thing is that meeting someone new and amazing can do wonders for a person’s life. And sometimes can cause havoc and/or the dissolution of other relationships. First I want to talk about the wonderful things that can happen, then the “negative” (and we’ll get to why I put that in quotes downstream), and how similar to polyamory this experience is.
I remember the first wine lover that I met – her name is Carla. She’s still a very good friend on mine.
Carla and I met at an event that was completely unrelated to wine. We looked at each other from across the room and clicked. I think we both felt a bit awkward and uncomfortable. She came over to me, and cracked some kind of joke. I forget the joke, but I remember it was something that I both found funny and also felt like…something about the way she said it, it seemed like we were kindred souls.
And we were! We had the same sense of humor, the same feelings about a lot of issues, and Carla loved wine, which I’d recently started to get into. Carla was really enthusiastic about talking about wine and trying wines and although she knew worlds more than I did, she swore she was relatively new to wine too, and delighted to have a wine buddy to go to tastings and wine stores.
Carla and I were delighted to be friends. Having her in my life was a real bright spot – and still is. I remember how validating it felt to have her as a friend who was also interested in wine. When I went to wine tastings before her, I’d felt awkward and shy. When I tried to talk to my current partner about wine, I felt uncertain and cowed when he said that wine was a snobby drink. While I think that part of my uncertainly was being young and not having a lot of self-confidence, part of it was that I didn’t know anybody who was really into wine. The part of me that was into wine felt kind of stunted and hard to nurture.
Having Carla in my life gave me confidence about wine. She also became my friend at a time when I didn’t have a lot of friends, and I gained a lot more self-confidence, just by having a person tell me that I was awesome and worthwhile and had fun ideas. We each had a lot more fun in our lives, and time previously spent going to wine things alone (or other things; we did do things other than just wine-centered activities!) were now spent going together.
Clearly, having Carla around made my life a lot more fun and awesome than it had been before.
It also caused some friction between my boyfriend and myself. That would be the more “negative” part of having someone new in my life.
My boyfriend at the time was really committed to a specific dynamic, one where I always went over to his place, nearly every night, and we sat around watching TV (though I often read while he was watching TV). Sometimes we ordered in. Sometimes we cooked – rather, sometimes *I* cooked, because I was tired of eating in. Occasionally, he helped out, but mostly, we did what he wanted, when he wanted, and how he wanted.
A lot of the reason behind that was that I didn’t have a lot going on for me. There were things that I felt passionate about (like wine), but I felt shy about doing them alone. And I love reading. I’ve spent (and still spend) a lot of time with people I care about, casually hanging out with both of us reading, or me reading and them gaming/TV or movie watching/crafting. So the dynamic of staying home most nights reading didn’t feel bad to me.
Most nights. One thing that I and this particular person fought about a lot was that I did want to go out at least once (maybe sometimes twice – gasp!) a week. Which he completely refused to do.
Once I met Carla, she and I did go out once – sometimes twice – a week.
This was kind of intolerable to my current beau. He liked things the way they were, didn’t like that I just “up and changed them” and wanted me to stop going out so much. Maybe once or twice a month was OK, but I was going out way too much.
Needless to say, we broke up a few months after that.
But this is a “negative” thing that can happen when we meet new people. The current people in our lives might feel territorial or strongly that the current dynamic should be the only dynamic that will ever exist.
I don’t view this as a truly negative thing because I believe that change is good and healthy and necessary. Also inevitable, so why fight the inevitable? I think it’s much healthier to embrace change and channel your energies into the change that is the most beneficial and desirable. Be conscious of changes, and even if they’re not desirable, go into them open-eyed and opened minded.
Especially if these changes were generated by someone close to us – someone we love – changing. People don’t owe loved ones stasis. People change and grow as they learn and experience things. The best we can hope for, the kindest thing we can hope for, both for ourselves and our loved ones, is that we grow in the same direction, or maybe grow together.
Even if we do grow apart, if that growth is bringing someone closer to their authentic self, then I think we owe it to them to let them go with as much grace as we can muster.
Growth from meeting a new person is pure magic. Finding someone who feels “just right” in ways that I didn’t even realize were inside me is a transcendent experience. Maybe we’re all perpetually-changing puzzles. We have curvy edges and indents and extrusions that sometimes click well with someone else’s curvy edges and indents and extrusions. But our outlines change over time, and sometimes people don’t fit anymore. Sometimes they do still fit, but in a different way.
Sometimes, they almost fit, and maybe they would fit, if we tried to fit together in a slightly different way, but maybe we’ve become hung up on them fitting one particular way. Or maybe for this particular person, they have to fit a certain way, or they simply can’t fit in our lives. It is a mystery of living.
To me, polyamory is an extension of this friend-magic, this growth experience. It also can have romance and sexually thrown in (but also sometimes not). It’s a way to bring back our magic. To see possibilities that we haven’t seen before. To evoke that in another person. And all that magic, all that delight, we can bring it back to the other people in our lives – not just lovers, but our friends, our family, our coworkers. We can show them something a little different. We can wake up their magic with ours.
That’s one of the things I love the most about polyamory, and loving people. Waking up the magic. Making new magic. Finding a little bit more of me, and helping someone else find a little bit more of themself.