A very wonderful friend recently shared with me her story of love with many different people at the same time. I found it fascinating and asked if she would be willing to share with my readers.
Love really is a wonderful thing. Enjoy.....
And, Not Or
I have a different lovestyle than most: I am polyamorous. This means that I love many: “poly“ coming from the Greek, meaning many, and ‘amorous’ coming from the Latin ‘amor’, meaning love. I know, Greek and Latin, right? But it actually makes sense to me: my poly mantra is “And, not or.” I can love this person AND that person; it doesn’t have to be this person OR that person. I don’t have to choose—provided that the people I love are open to being in a relationship with someone who loves more than one.
How did this begin? After my divorce some years ago, I found myself pondering relationships and their formations. I had nearly always dated monogamously (except for that one wonderful time where I realized I was in love with two men—which felt so natural and joyous—but then I felt internally pressured by society to choose one to “get serious” with). A few years later, I married someone, monogamously. After my marriage ended, I tried dating again. I grew dissatisfied with trying to find one person who had all the qualities I was looking for—I have so many different facets to me that it was really hard finding a single person to resonate with all or most of those facets.
Then I had a conversation with my sister about polyamory…about the possibility of having multiple, simultaneous romantic relationships. I had heard of it years ago—one of the LiveJournals (yes, LiveJournal!) I regularly read mentioned that the author had a husband and a boyfriend. But I thought that was just a fluke—I didn’t know of anyone else who had such a relationship, and I forgot about it. Until that conversation with my sister. People do this? This is a thing? Yes, Virginia, it IS a thing! It really appealed to me—being able to date this man, that man, and possibly that man, too! And hey, this woman (I’m also bisexual)! Not to just casually date them, but to potentially be in love with them, with all of them, too. I was regularly hanging out with a lot of jazz musicians in my 1920’s crowd, and I had crushes on a few of them. I imagined having relationships with them all at the same time, and everyone being cool with that. I’m not sure if I am wired this way or if I chose it because it feels right, but I was down with it, no matter how I came to it.
I never did date my jazz musicians, but I did reconnect with an old high school acquaintance via Facebook, at about the same time. He was 3000 miles away, and married. Not a snowball’s chance in hell of us being together. We began chatting, every day, and found companionship in each other. He said how he had always had feelings for others while he was married, though he had never cheated, but that it never changed his feelings for his wife. The emotions all existed simultaneously. I said to him, have you ever heard of polyamory? He hadn’t, so I told him about it. People do this? This is a thing? Yes, it’s a thing. About 6 months later, he was divorced from his wife. And he came to visit me, 3000 miles and 25 years later. And somewhere in hell, there is a snowball, because we did get together. I moved to the state he lived in (which was my home state), to live with him—we joke that doing this was my mid-life crisis, as I was 41 at the time. And we are still together, five years later. He has other partners (he also lives with one of them, as well as with me), and so do I—we both have online dating accounts. And I wouldn’t change this lovestyle for anything.
I love our life! I knew I would never marry again, or never be in a monogamous relationship again (you can be married and be polyamorous). Our life fits me perfectly, and fits him perfectly, too. My other partner is amazing, as well. We don’t live together, but we sometimes spend the night and we are in love. He is very different from my live-in partner, although there are similarities, too (both of them are nerds, both of them are very giving, sweet, highly intelligent, funny and generous). He has another partner as well, and we get along wonderfully, too. And someday, I’d love to be with a woman, as well. Another area where I don’t have to choose one or the other.
We have a small polycule (us, and our respective partners—all of our connections), We have all met, and while we don’t all communicate directly every day, we know about and care about each other. One of his partners (my metamours) I talk to every single day, who is like a dear sister to me. He brought her into my life, for which I am so grateful. Other metamours I talk to every so often, but there is still a sense of caring and camaraderie between us. I love having one big, happy family, so I love how we are warm with each other. We are a strange and wonderful little family. People have come and people have gone (relationships do break up, and other ones form), but we accept the changes as they happen (eventually). And we are there for one another—recently, my other sweetie had to go to the ER. I went with him, stayed with him for the five hours he was there. His other partner was in another state and she was glad I was there with him (he ended up being fine). At the same time, my live-in partner went to be emotional support for one of his other sweeties, who’d had a horrible fight with her husband. We were supposed to be together that night, but instead, we went and supported our other loves, unquestioningly, because they needed us. We also supported each other doing this, unquestioningly. And our metamours checked in to see how everyone was doing, as well. So much love!
We are a family of choice, a tribe of our own making. This is what love looks like, to me.