Poly Origin Story   Leave a comment

Interestingly enough, I’ve had polyamory on the brain as a concept recently rather than as something I do, and I’ve been trying to track back to the how/when/why of my poly- origins.  Some of this has to do with the fact that I’m currently setting up meetings with people from OK Cupid (OKC) and am trying to figure out explanations, some has to do with the fact that my husband is in his own “describe what I do” phase with some people he knows, and still more has to do with the questions I’ve been getting from people.  There’s a lot of “WHY do you do this?” and “HOW does that even work?”, but there are just as many questions, asked and unasked, that try to dive into the depths of origin and discovery.

So, I thought I might put my own poly origin story out there, and encourage other people to share theirs…especially if they’ve not done so before.

I can’t really remember a time when I believed that I would find one person who was right for me for all eternity, but I do remember that once I was old enough to date I found myself unable to concentrate on being involved with just one person at a time.  Oh, I could do it for awhile in the beginning while the New Relationship Energy (NRE) was running high, but once it died down a bit my mind would inevitably wander toward dating someone else, but as an additional relationship rather than a replacement.  I didn’t really understand why it wasn’t okay to date multiple people at the same time, and why my friends were all pairing off into, well, pairs and then getting upset when their boyfriends or girlfriends became interested in other people and broke things off or, worst of all, CHEATED on them!

*cue gasps of horror*

Now, I’ll admit when I was younger I didn’t have the feelings about lying that I do now (and even now it is touch-and-go, depending on the situation), but I could not understand the drama around fidelity.  First of all, we were in high school.  Secondly, since when did having feelings for someone automatically render you incapable of having them for anyone else?   I was able to love both of my parents and all of my grandparents and my brothers and my best friend at the same time – why couldn’t that translate into other types of relationships?  Why was I off-limits to someone just because I was dating their friend, or their brother, or cousin?  Why didn’t I get a say in all of this?

I tried a couple of methods to get what I wanted/needed during this time.  Part of the time, I tried honesty – I would tell people who asked me out, or who I asked out, that I was interested but didn’t want to be exclusive, and that I didn’t expect them to be exclusive either.  This worked about as well as you’d expect – my partners thought it sounded wonderful and were fine with it until my “Oooh, Shiny!” syndrome kicked in and I actually acted on what I’d said…and then things would fall apart.  Sometimes I tried not mentioning that I was dating other people, but that would backfire because a friend of a friend would always mention it.  The remainder of the time, I kept my multiple partners separated by distance – my most successful relationships before I went to college involved a partner at each of four different schools plus one who was out of school (that last one, btw, was T).  Of all of the methods, the third one was the only one that really worked, and as long as I managed my calendar, no one was the wiser.

(There was, of course, the time that two people showed up to pick me up at the same time and found out about each other…but that’s a story for another post.)

In addition to the above, I also had a number of friends with whom there was some sort of a physical component, and I never understood why that was a problem, either.  Needless to say, all of this led to me having quite a reputation in high school, and I could not wait to get to college…except that I met the man who would become my first husband during that summer and ended up going off to college involved with yet another person who expected monogamy of me, and this time I’d decided there was something wrong with me and swore to myself that I’d try.

So, I tried.  I tried all the way through him repeatedly accusing me of cheating when I wasn’t, through him trying to trip me up about various things, through a so-called friend of mine telling him that the baby I was carrying might not be his, the birth of that child who very much WAS his, and through a year of marriage afterwards.  During this entire time I managed to remain monogamous in behavior, if not in thought.  And then, just as I decided I couldn’t bear to continue to be married to this man, T came back into my life.  And so, off the monogamy wagon fell I, back into a comfortable relationship where I didn’t have to be anyone but myself.  And I swore, from that moment forward, to never fall into the monogamy trap again because it isn’t who I am, and I chafe under that expectation.

This decision, of course, has had consequences: my first marriage ended in divorce, and subsequent relationships never really moved past the friends-with-benefits stage, despite how those partners might have felt about me.  It wasn’t until I met my current husband that I realized that there was more than one person out there (ha!) who could love me and have no problem with who I am.

(In fact, I think he might relish it, although you’d have to ask him.)

So, that’s the origin story in a nutshell.  My walk and talk finally match, and I have never been happier.  That is why I am polyamorous.  And that is why I’ll never again attempt anything else.  At this point, I’d rather be alone than be false.

**************************************************************************

So…why are you polyamorous, if you are?  How did you realize it/start to act on it?  If you’re not poly-, what’s the origin story for your own relationship style?  What makes it work for you?  I’d be thrilled for you to share your stories, if you’re inclined to do so.

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Posted March 27, 2015 by veggiewolf in Polyamory

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