Cheers Sexy People!
Three years ago today, my beloved husband dropped me off for a date with another man… Then he picked me up at the end of the date…
…Yeah, that’s right. Does that sound weird to you? It almost did to us too, but we decided to give this polyamory stuff a try… like for real. We decided to open our lives and our hearts to other people, and see what happened. Our minds had been opened to the idea, and we had an “aha” moment and decided to go for it.
Fast forward three years to the day later, that man I met at the funny little bar that nite is now my boyfriend, lover, dear friend, and roommate! Is it ALWAYS easy and full of fairytale love and romance and candles and great sex for all involved? No, but a fair amount of the time it is. And really… is every monogamous relationship a beautiful fairytale all the time? Heck no! They all take at least some work, some improved communication skills, some soul searching so that you know yourself well enough to share the real you with another human being. But to us, it’s all worth it. Also, to make it work, it takes two people (or three or four or eight) who REALLY want to be together and do the occasional work, talking through struggles and issues, and giving big hugs and kisses, all while supporting each other. Mutual desire to be there. Mutual respect. Hey, this is starting to sound like a family… but a chosen one in this case.
But yes, having relationships that don’t follow society’s standards – in this case of non-monogamy – can sometimes prove challenging. I have a husband who I share finances with, a marriage certificate with, a mortgage, pets, etc “til death do us part.” Society and all of our friends and family recognize that relationship easily. We all have a script for that. Some people would call this relationship “primary” due to the nature of the structure of it. But what about my boyfriend? We happen to currently also live together, share trips, life experiences, household duties, etc together. Some would call this relationship “secondary.” I am legally bound to my husband and we had a wedding. But with my boyfriend, there is no societal structure to honor our relationship. Even though we “came out” to most of our close family and friends, when there’s an event coming up, who do they send the invitation to? And would the awkwardness move people to maybe not invite us at all? It’s just… too… weird… Will she be bringing that boyfriend of hers that we hardly know? Will he “fit in”? Maybe it’s just easier for others to ignore that relationship altogether. Out of sight, out of mind. But then I feel he is part of my family, my poly family. Also, they don’t have greeting cards for this…
When I was searching for a greeting card to honor our anniversary today, I had some funny moments in the greeting card aisle where our society’s recognition for monogamy kept pointing itself out to me…
“To my one and only…” (but I don’t think of love as something scarce where I only have enough for one)
“To the love of my life…” (but I enjoy multiple loves in my life)
“I feel complete with you…” (I feel complete by myself, and more is more in some cases! Love grows!)
“To my husband on our anniversary…” (what about my NOT husband on our anniversary?)
“I’m yours alone…” (But I like to share, and don’t believe in “owning” another or being “owned” for that matter)
I finally opted for a card that said “To another magical year together” and “If I had to choose all over again, I’d choose you.” (yes, I’m one of those people who likes to give two cards sometimes. Actually I bought three but figured I’d give my husband the third at our upcoming anniversary. That’s one perk of polyamory! HAHA).
Speaking of greeting cards, a close friend of mine (who happens to be following this blog, “hiiiiiii, you lovely lady!”) purposely sent a greeting card to our house with all three of our last names on it followed by the word “Family”. And the card literally said on the front “This card has no purpose.” Ah, but it did. It illustrated her acceptance of our funny family. It signified her willingness to connect, to include, to let us know she ACKNOWLEDGES all three of us who live in this house, including my beau. I thought it was a beautiful gesture. Thank you, my dear friend.
So if one is polyamorous, how do we honor the various loves of our life? (and when will greeting cards reflect this? Haha I won’t hold my breath). Do we feel the need to categorize them into “secondary” and “primary”? Can you really categorize the love that you feel for someone? Can’t we love several people but still define some of those loving feelings as overlapping and similar, but others might FEEL different to each unique individual? I can also love and connect with someone in certain ways, and love and connect with someone else in very different ways, but still love them with all my heart. Love is only one word after all to describe some pretty complex emotions.
I do my best to treat both my husband and my beau as good as I possibly can, being there for them emotionally and physically. I don’t want my beau to feel like a second class citizen. It’s a bummer that society refuses to or doesn’t know how to recognize him, but I want him to be treated properly and respectfully by yours truly first and foremost. Maybe everyone else will eventually come around. I’ll wait… and keep writing this blog (maybe someday not anonymously). Ironically, since I am already married, I realized the other day that for all intents and purposes, I am HIS secondary if we are going to use those terms. How will he honor his relationship with me as he finds more loves of his own? Will they accept me and my place in his life? Or will they try to drive me out partly based on what society has taught them about how relationships are SUPPOSED to look?
…These are challenging times, my friends, in the sense that we are partly making this up as we go along – a somewhat grass roots effort since a very small percentage of the population is navigating these waters. I look for helpful information anywhere I can. The following article does an EXCELLENT job of speaking to how we honor “non-primaries” in our lives and how to treat them well. It also raises some great issues. Give it a read and bookmark it. It rocks.
…Happy Anniversary, my love (one of them). Thanks for walking into my life and rocking my world. I hate to be bored. 🙂
Wishing you love, peace and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)
If you would like to have an authentic, clarifying conversation with me so we can discuss ways to help you create loving, happy, secure, and exciting open relationships, feel free to learn more about my coaching services here. Then the button at the bottom of that page will offer you the opportunity to book a FREE Breakthrough Session with me – taking you directly into my calendar. I look forward to speaking with you!
Completely out of curiosity, why even be married at this point?
May I first answer your question with a question?
What about this blog post indicated to you that I didn’t want to be married? And more specifically married to my husband whom I love dearly and have been happily married to for 7 years?
I fear you are missing a key point to this blog, and also partly helping illustrate one of the points I am making in this post: that society and our conventional teachers taught us that the PROPER ultimate relationship should look ONE CERTAIN way: the monogamous (probably heterosexual) married couple. But again, who taught us that? Where does that idea come from? If we can take a step back and make our own decisions based on our own belief systems without the noise of society and what we were taught, I think there are different ways relationships and yes, marriage can be viewed and can be done successfully.
My husband and I wrote our own vows. We did not get married in a church or other such structure. We did this all intentionally, and we are not violating any one of the vows that we made to each other. Actually, we are honoring them. Therefore, we are conducting our marriage exactly as we intended. We decided that WE as the couple creating own marriage, that we could define what marriage meant to us, and then live that life by our own script. We all know that there are legal advantages to marriage and there are certain areas in life where we have to “play by the rules”, such as governing laws made by our lawmakers. That’s a fact. But is also a fact that I love being married to my husband, and we have not broken any of the vows that we made to each other. We are simply open to other loves and other relationships as long as they are ethical, open, honest, and we’re all looking out for everyone’s best interest. If other people frown down on that, so be it as I cannot control other people’s thoughts. But I can control my actions and my thoughts, and how I conduct my marriage is up to myself and my husband. Who knows if “poly marriages” will ever get legalized. But there are some people lobbying for it. Love can grow, my friend. Love can expand. You can’t always put a “box” around it, and especially not if the box doesn’t suit you.
I wasn’t making a judgment or a statement; I was asking that question out of genuine curiosity–not because I think any particular lifestyle is right or wrong. Nor was I saying you didn’t want to be married–clearly you do, or I assume you wouldn’t be. From the point of view of an outsider, though, the idea of marriage seems totally unnecessary if your ideas of love go beyond a piece of paper and beyond one person.
Fair enough. 🙂 Well marriage is partly about creating intentional families. I wanted to create a family as did my husband so we chose marriage as one option, one official way to do that. There are also of course certain legal advantages and privileges with being married such as I’m on my husband’s health insurance as his is better than what my company offers. Heck if we could put my beau on that policy, I would but no such luck. I also enjoy simply being married. Does that more fully answer your question?
Yes, that does indeed satisfy my curiosity. Thank you! 🙂
BTW, not sure if you saw it, ryan59479, but I gave your question some more thought and directly answered it along with some other questions on my latest blog post here:
I did not see that, but thank you for directing my attention!
I would say that you definitely answered my question. To be honest, there are still a lot of things that I don’t understand about polyamory, but that’s just me. Quite frankly, I don’t think that I’ll ever understand because that’s just not how I’m wired.
But! I do very much appreciate that you and your husband have found a lifestyle that works for the both of you :-). And once again, I thank you very much for sharing!
You are most welcome. Non-monogamy is certainly not for everyone. It takes extra work to swim upstream so to speak. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with monogamy. It’s just great offering information here for the curious, the beginners, or the “how do I handle this?” active polyamorists. Thank you for your interest and your open mind no matter what relationship style you choose.
Come to think of it, this post seems very related to your question as well, as it involves a wedding of sorts. Have a great day!
Just thought I’d chime in here. Being a “secondary” myself we’ve talked a lot about this topic.
In most jurisdictions there are important legal protections afforded to spouses. Things like power of attorney that you really want someone close to you to have should you become incapacitated in some way. That goes far beyond the issue of insurance benefits and from a financial advantage to giving someone responsibility for your life and health.
In some places you don’t have to get married — common law cohabitation is enough to confer these kinds of legal protections and benefits on a couple.
Sometimes people just want to demonstrate their commitment to each other with a bunch of friends and family as witness.
So the question of “why” get married is a good one but the answer is quite varied. There are even some good reasons to formalize the secondary relationship.
The secondary won’t normally be regarded as a partner from a legal point of view. In this particular case, what would happen if the secondary partner is contributing financially to the home and something happens to Kitty and her husband? It is possible, without taking extra legal steps, that the secondary could lose his investment in the house because he has no legal standing so rights of survivorship are not automatic. There are ways to protect that investment but it isn’t necessarily as simple, and certainly not as fun, as a marriage ceremony.
Thank you for contributing. 😉 Yes, I agree that there are many varied and personal reasons to get married. And many legal ramifications (both positive and negative in some cases) to do so. My husband and I have a living trust / will that we have set up to hold our assets and protect each other and our next of kin. And while we understand that there are trixy ways that you can use the law to help protect a secondary, it certainly is much more difficult and requires some legal maneuvering. Also, I have heard stories of loved ones not being able to see their partner in the hospital because they are not legally “family.” The list goes on…
Also, when I met my husband, I simply felt that I found someone that I wanted to make a lifelong commitment too, and could see myself growing old with. And yes, our wedding was a whoot of a good time. 🙂 These are all complex issues that are worth discussing to help make good decisions. Love can be blind and fun, but we also have to make sure we all have our head screwed on straight when making potentially big life-altering decisions.
As Kitty mentioned, you can get a POA – even as a secondary. Our “secondary” has a POA, HCPOA, and Living Will – as do we (we also have a Living Trust) – that benefit all three partners. Unfortunately, “secondarys'” aren’t afforded the same legal benefits as “primaries” – but if you don’t have legal paperwork in order, and are in a committed relationship, I’d recommend looking into it!! Just wanted to share!
Thank you very much for your comments, “Not-The-Mom”. For clarification, for anyone that doesn’t know, POA stands for Power of Attorney. Yes, what you described legally is what I understand is an excellent way to protect secondaries, virtually creating the benefits that come automatically for a legal spouse. But of course, it takes money, time (doesn’t everything? LOL) and the motivation and know how to get it done. We are not at that point in our poly relationships to do this, but it’s good to know what options are out there.
Congrats on your chosen family as well. After reading some of your blog, it sounds like having a 12-year old boy in your chosen family is just what you need. You are in my thoughts and I wish you the best. I am infertile as well, so I understand exactly how you feel on that topic. I have found an excellent blog site, http://www.silentsorority.com if you want to check it out. It’s been a very cathartic thing for me to read. You may enjoy it. Also, I am happy to meet you as I wondered how many infertile polyamorous people are out there! I have now found ONE! 🙂
Great post, Kitty. I’m kind of an entrepreneurial spirit. If you keep this up another year or two, I say we could totally kill it with a niche company for GBLT/poly/swing/open/non-traditional greeting cards. DUDE! We’d KILL IT on Valentine’s Day! You in?
email me! I’m totally down…
Hmmmm that is a VERY interesting idea. Let’s talk offline. I like the way you think, K3CL. 🙂 And thank you for the compliment.
Wonderfully written. And believe it or not, I actually envy the arrangement you have and how all parties are in agreement and cooperating well together… mostly because I seem to have gotten myself into a situation over the past few months where I’m pretty positive that I love two men, very equally, and can’t seem to imagine a future without either of them. For months it was all agonizing and tears, struggling to figure out which one I should choose, and then lately it’s just begun entering my head that I actually wish I didn’t have to choose either of them, but could keep them both, as they do both satisfy very different needs in my life. i.e. Guy #1 has been my partner for over a decade, and supports me financially and will always be the love of my life, etc. Guy #2 however, I also love very intensely, and he does seem to fulfill a lot of things for me that Guy #1’s personality and temperament just cannot.
The thing is, polyamorous relationships obviously require all parties to be in agreement and I just really doubt either guy would want to ‘share’ me, so unfortunately I may wind up being forced to choose and then have to live with the heartbreak for the rest of my life…
I’m starting to really believe that I’m by nature, a polyamorous individual, because this isn’t even the first time I’ve gotten into this situation of feeling like I could love (and want to love) two men at the same time.
Most people assume it is about sex but, nothing could be farther from the truth in my case…
Anyway, you can feel free to thumb through my blog if you’d like to read about my ‘conundrum’…
Thank you for the compliment. Well, our situation I am pretty sure is relatively unusual and it took alot of work to get here. But it has been open and honest right from the beginning which helps quite a bit I think. I haven’t had a chance to check out your blog yet however I intend to. But have you considered at least broaching the topic with one or both of your beloved men to see if they might be open to polyamory and having multiple consensual relationships? Maybe they will surprise you at their willingness to give the idea some consideration.
Same as you, once I learned about and understood the concepts of polyamory, I believe I have always actually been this way. Luckily when I learned about it all, my husband and I were already on the same page and grew in that direction together, which again is quite helpful but is probably relatively unusual. But I have heard of many cases where one person is desiring opening up a relationship and approached the other and the other party will at least entertain the idea and try it on for size. There are more places to learn about polyamory now than ever before, like this blog. 🙂
Best of luck to you and keep in touch! 🙂 Thanks for reaching out and contributing your comments. They help others, and that’s what it’s all about.
“Hey, this is starting to sound like a family… but a chosen one in this case” – LOVE this!!
We also have a chosen family – and it’s a term my husband and I use with our girlfriend to explain “who we are” to her 12-year-old son.