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Poly Means Many: in response to The Guardian

May 4, 2015

Poly Means Many: there are many aspects of Polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found on Poly Means Many. This month we chose to respond to a piece in The Guardian.

This week, the Guardian published an article by Emer O’Toole on the subject of polyamory. It was an interesting read and in it, Emer gave the stories of several of her friends who were polyamorous. I really liked the structure of the article, and the stories, showing that poly really does mean many – many stories and many ways of structuring relationships and lives.

In the spirit of the article, here is my story.

The natural

I started going out with my first real boyfriend when I was 17. And about 7 months later, he broke up with me for reasons that I did not at that point understand. I later found out that one of the main reasons he has broken up with me was because he had met and kissed another girl. He was feeling guilty about this but also didn’t want to hurt me and so didn’t tell me. When I found out about the other girl, I was heartbroken. I felt hurt that you wouldn’t trust me to tell me what had happened, and that he didn’t feel able to tell me and trust that I would respond appropriately.  I guess this was my first clue that I wouldn’t be doing relationships in a conventional way.

My next relationship of any length was with a wonderful man I am privileged to now call one of my best friends. He was in a vulnerable place emotionally at the time, and therefore despite the obvious feelings we had for one another, we never officially called ourselves a relationship. I knew that at any time, either of us could meet someone else, or find ourselves in different circumstances, and that they could take priority over what we had together.

The new circumstances arrived, and I moved to Sheffield. In my first year here, I started a relationship with a married couple. It was the first relationship I had had with a woman, and it was so much fun to play with the two of them.

I still didn’t have a name for these flexible relationships I was having. There was still very definitely an assumption that at some point I would find the one and then all of this experimentation would be just that. A period of exploration at the beginning of my life as an overture and prelude to the main event – marriage and 2.4 children.

And then I met Tom. Well, more accurately I met up with Tom again. Tom had been one of the first people I met when I came to Sheffield, and we had started a relationship within the first week of knowing one another by virtue of being two thirds of a threesome. Also he let me drive his Mini. Which is a swift way to a girls heart if ever there was one!

By the time Tom and I got back together, he had figured out that he was polyamorous, had a word for it, and knew that for him, any relationship of significance needed to be a polyamorous one. As soon as he explains the principles to me, I knew that I had found my home. All of my past relationships suddenly seemed to make a lot more sense.

For this reason, polyamory has always seemed, at least for me, to be an orientation. A relationship orientation, if you will.

That conversation, between Tom and I, in which he explained polyamory, will be 10 years ago this July. I am so grateful to the work of everyone who has gone before us, to those who have battled for individuality, and who have shared information that has helped me to know myself and love my loves so much better.

So, how about you? What is your polyamorous story?

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