Today is National Coming Out Day (apparently). Most of the people reading this already know that I'm poly, so that's not news - unless it is, in which case, hey, guess what! But in the spirit of NCOD, I thought I'd write a little bit about what that means to me and save you the trouble of feeling weird about asking for more information. I find most people are curious about polyamory, but they don't want to pry; except for the occasional gross person whose first question is whether I have sex with all of my partners at once*.
First, I am a polyamorous person involved in several polyamorous relationships. I consider polyamory to be a part of my identity just like being a Jewish, cisgendered woman, who is heterosexual**. In the past I have had monogamous relationships, and Ten and I even had several years where we were effectively monogamous even after deciding that poly was right for each and both of us. There's a bit of a debate about whether polyamorous qualifies as an orientation, but no amount of old men harrumphing on the subject is going to change my mind. I consider myself a polyamorous person because I don't stop desiring multiple relationships because I have one or none on-going. Just like I don't stop being attracted to men when there aren't any available ones around; nor do I become asexual from sleeping alone too frequently***.
Here's what my relationship organization looks like:
There's me in the middle. I am my most important relationship. I spend all of my time with me, I make life decisions with myself, and I'm pretty much a super big deal to myself. That's why the yellow bubble is the biggest and in the middle.
*The next biggest bubble is Ten. He and I live together and share a lot of things, including nearly 7 years of our lives. He is very important to me, and I wouldn't trade him for a neon-pink Winnebago. We make life decisions together, and our relationship is sexual, romantic, and platonic. We also have a dog together (who doesn't have a bubble on this chart).
*Captain Jack: We don't live together, and it's unlikely we ever will. At this stage in our relationship we don't make life decisions together. I don't know what it would take for that to happen, and I'm really not that worried about it, because there's no reason to rush to that point. Our relationship is romantic, sexual, and platonic.
*Pond: Pond is my platonic wife. My hetero-lifemate. We don't live together, probably never will, and we don't make life decisions together. She does play a significant role in my life (at least as significant as Jack, tho not as big a role as Ten), and our relationship is platonic and hopefully as enduring as Jay and Silent Bob. She is also the only woman I've ever considered to be a partner.
*Nine: I go back quite a long ways with Nine. He was my first poly partner, and I still see him on occasion (tho not as frequently as I would like). Our relationship is platonic and sexual.
*Eleven: lives far far away. I don't get to spend much time with him at all because of the distance, and I don't really know how we would fit into each others' lives if we did get to see each other. But, he has a special place in my chart.
Some of my relationship bubbles touch, but none of them really overlap because I relate to each person on a one-to-one level. And, in addition to my dog not being on this chart, my metamours aren't either. I have many, I like them all, and here's why: my partners have awesome taste (I mean, c'mon, look at me), and only date awesome people, therefore all of my partners other partners are awesome unless shown to be otherwise. I've been at this for a while now, and my Metamour Awesomeness Theory has yet to be proven wrong.
I can't cover every detail of my poly life in one post. Not effectively anyway. So, here's a little more of an overview of some key points to how this whole thing works:
*I am at least emotionally independent from all of my partners. I don't practice couple-centric polyamory because I don't like it.
*I don't have rules. As far as I'm concerned, the only real "rule" is that everyone follow Wheaton's Law: Don't Be A Dick.
*My expectation in my relationships is that each person be allowed to ask and each person be allowed to respond to a request with a yes, no, or let me think about it. This is the perpetual consent dance. Constant communication and honoring of boundaries is a gigantic part of this.
*I dream of one day being rich and having a rich person house so that my core partners and their partners can all live with me all commune style. I don't think that will ever be a reality, but it's fun to dream.
*Love is infinite. Time, not so much. Not even when you're a Timelord.
*Hierarchy (titles like "primary", "secondary", etc) bugs the shit out of me. I don't mind if people I'm not involved with run things that way, but I'm not a "secondary" type partner. I'm an all-in kind of girl, and after a certain point, my emotional investment in any given partner is going to be about equal to my other partners.
*Jealousy is a thing, (tho pretty minor for me), but just because you feel something doesn't mean it gets to rule you.
*My partners are people to me first, and I don't consider them items on a psycho-sexual buffet (altho I've been told the idea sounds appealing). I choose my partners based on who they are, not whether they fill a niche.
I also want to talk to other poly folks and give them a platform for sharing how they make things work. There's a lot of variety in the world or polyamory, not just the stuff you see on the teevee where a thin, white, conventionally attractive, married couple decides to start seeing another thin, white, conventionally attractive woman - altho this does happen, and I'm not the judgmental "YER DOIN IT RONG!" type (so if you're a thin, white, conventionally attractive triad, please don't write me to complain).
*Not that it's any of your fucking business, but no, I don't.
***Yeah, I heard that sigh of relief. Perverts.
Personal Definitions of Terms (anything else you can google):
platonic - I can hang out and be social with this person
romantic - I can be cuddly and squishy with this person
sexual - don't make me spell it out, my mom is reading this