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Sunday, May 31, 2009

To Be or Not To Be: That is the Poly Question.

As if I didn’t have enough to think about what with my own tomboy femme genderqueer identity, my sexuality, M’s transitioning and all that entails, and of course all the various mundanities of life… naturally I had to go and add polyamory to the mix.

At first I (stupidly) thought that it was simple: my primary partner is and always would be M, and that as we so chose we would bring other partners into our bed and possibly into our relationship if we felt that connection with them.

Of course it’s not that simple. Nothing is EVER that simple. Our attempt at a polyamorous relationship with J was a complete and utter disaster. J’s own shortcomings aside, the dynamic was one that we could just never fully get comfortable with. M especially was exceedingly unhappy during that time. He felt threatened by J, and not a little jealous because, well… J was born male-bodied. He had things and could do things that M could not – or, not as “naturally,” if such a term applies. But aside from all that, from discussions we’d had, M felt like he was constantly fighting to retain my attention while in the meantime I’m sailing through the NRE I experienced with J before things went sour. What had started out with the potential to be a true triad relationship had progressed into more of a V-type relationship as M became more and more disenchanted with J.

And like I said, things went sour with him. Not only BECAUSE of him, but because that type of relationship just was not working. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that me having a second partner-type relationship, or even bringing another partner into M’s and my existing relationship isn’t really the poly dynamic that works for us. At least, not right now. Not while so many other things are constantly changing and constantly fluid – particularly in regards to M’s transition. In our relationship things may be fairly stable, but in our LIVES there is NOTHING stable at the moment, and it’s just too much stress to try to add one more factor, one more stressor, one more thing to tilt the scales even more crazily.

Out of all this heavy contemplation, though, does come the positive: it has been well-accepted that playing with others, including sexual play, is totally fine as long as all parties involved are informed, consenting and willing to share even if it means just letting the other partner watch. THIS particular practice has been weighed, measured and not found wanting at ALL. It’s what works for us. For now. But as in anything in life, it’s always subject to change. Everything is.

But then of course I wonder: does our willingness to play with others without having an intimate (non-platonic) relationship with them make us poly? Is is it something else altogether?

Oy… never a dull moment!

2 comments:

Kyle said...

Well, there really isn't one set formula for poly and I think it takes some conscious work and exploration to find the right mix for each partnership. I don't know the technicalities of poly, so can't answer the question of whether having play partners counts, but if it works for you two, then it's good :-)

Scarlet Lotus said...

It all depends on how you want to label yourself and I definitely think having play partners can make you poly if that is what you want to call it. I think there are some people who would say that is poly and some who would say it's not but, again, it just depends on definition. There are so many terms (just as with everything else relating to sexuality) and it could be called non-monogamy, partnered non-monogamy, poly, polyamory, or anything else you want to call it. What's important is finding a word that you identify with enough to use for yourself.

I also don't think that being poly is only affixed to how your current situation is, just like being in a relationship with someone of one gender doesn't make a pansexual straight or gay, so even if you are not with multiple partners at one given moment that doesn't mean you're not poly.