It’s been a while. My life stays pretty busy between being a corporate employee, a businesswoman, and poly. While I’ve not been diligent about my writing, I do have lots of momentum in my poly world. A few things have been lingering in my mind, and a text conversation with two of my partners made me realize I needed to write or I might burst.
A little over two weeks ago, I attended my first official cuddle party. For those of you who may not know, there are chapters of cuddle groups throughout the US, and they are groups of people who get together to cuddle and experience simple affection in a safe environment. The parties typically start off with an orientation that is quite extensive. The orientation discusses consent more thoroughly than anything I’ve experienced in the kink community. The exercises we went through were quite eye-opening. The exercises made me realize both how scary people find asking for what they want, and conversely how much we dread hearing No. The exercises emphasized a belief that I have been touting for a while: NO is powerful and empowering. It can be said simply without malice or negativity, and it can be received gracefully.
An example of an exercise was that we stood in two rows, across from each other. In one row, person A beckoned person B directly across in the second row. Person B walked toward Person A, in small steps. Person A would use hand signals to halt, beckon, or send Person B backward as they wished. I watched as I beckoned my person. I could see his focus, waiting for me to make him stop or come forward or go back. It was powerful, seeing how a small flick of the hand could control someone and establish a safe space for me.
The cuddle part was quite peaceful. I cuddled with my partner G for a while, and then I cuddled with someone who turned out to share photography. We cuddled, and shared our experiences. At the end of the cuddle party, I was a fan of the group. I wish in general schools, colleges, support groups, and churches would go through the consent exercises we did.
For a long while, it seemed my poly life was moving at the proverbial tortoise pace. Poor health, struggling metamour dichotomies, and just LIFE in general. And suddenly, like love and romance tend to do, things exploded unexpectedly.
My partner D, with the metamour T whom I’ve been having a great experience with…well, we are now in fluid-bonded status. That change status began with quite a serious bump in our relationship. We managed to work through it without letting the bump destroy us all, and we came out of it much better as a trio. We talked a lot about my partners and our intimacy levels, and T expressed a desire to date me both solo and as a couple. They didn’t ask me to forego my other partners, which I’m quite happy with. Everyone in my life is valuable to me and I am not ready to be in a closed triad. They respected my needs to be able to explore poly my way at this point in my life, and I respect their concerns for their health and the health of our relationship.
Two new relationships have emerged. Both are surprising in their timing and occurrence. One, whom I’ll refer to as TDP, is someone I’ve known for 10 years and always had an attraction for. Sadly, his marriage ended last year, but happily and unexpectedly it’s opened the door for us to explore that attraction. He’s had a rough go in his attempts at dating post-divorce, and I think he appreciates that I am poly, and have no desire to tie him down and make demands. I’ve emphasized given the stress of his current situation, that our time together should be a place of safety and peace and relaxation. So far, it’s working out splendidly.
The other new relationship is another person I’ve known for four years in the kink community. Again, that interest was always there, but due to our relationships, it was never the right time to explore anything. While he prefers monogamy, as he noted with some ire, he keeps ending up with poly women. I don’t know how serious this will end up being, and for now, it’s been pretty easygoing and light all the way around.
I still have my female partner, though things have slowed down quite a bit. I checked in, and while she is expending a considerable amount of energy to a particular partner, we are still in a relationship.
My last partner…that has slowed down, a result of my own doing. I still struggle with his primary and her passive-aggressive behavior, and as a result, I find myself being passive-aggressive in my own reaction. Passive-aggressiveness is not my style, and I really need to sit down and talk about what I’m thinking and feeling.
Generally speaking, I am really happy with where I’m at in my dynamics. I really never thought I’d be in this place in my poly journey, and it’s a good feeling. The only downside is there is never enough time. Speaking of time…
I know I’ve made everything seem just hunky dory and blissful, but today I encountered a problem that is talked about quite a bit in poly: scheduling time with your partners. Normally I’m on point with my time management. I have to be, with being a corporate employee and a businesswoman. Add five different relationships, and sooner or later there will be a scheduling snafu.
And so it happened today. Between all of what I’ve described, plus the addition of a friend moving into my house temporarily while he’s in a life transition, I forgot I had a date this week with D. That, on top of some feelings he was having about the progression of my relationship with TDP, he was feeling a bit off kilter today and needed to express it. I was horrified that I did not put it on my calendar and I forgot my date with him, and hated that I made him feel less important to me.
My immediate fix was to do what most poly people end up doing: I shared both of my calendars with D and T this evening. I also had to make sure he knew how important he is to me. We talked about our different households and logistical boundaries, and recognized we are still feeling our way through this process. I can’t say it’s all been fixed to his satisfaction as we’ve not been able to complete the discussion, but I think it is headed that direction.
If you’re going to be poly, set up a calendar system. It will save you so much grief!
As is with every social group in the world, there are those who want to project what they think the dynamic should or shouldn’t be for that group. In non-mainstream relationships, I view us as all on the same team. We are all struggling for acceptance, inclusivity, and the right to live in a fashion that pleases us without causing harm or injustice to others. I support others’ right to live the way they wish, as long as no harm is caused and consent is granted by all involved.
Poly is different for all of us. Sex is different for all of us. In the kink community, we say “Your kink is not my kink.” That means that we support each other’s right to engage in our kink and promote inclusivity, even if the activity is not one we personally wish to engage in.
I think our poly community needs a bit of that reminder. Your poly is not my poly, and your sex is not my sex. In the end, those of us in the alternative love lifestyles need to remember that we cannot gain acceptance globally if we cannot accept each other within our small circles.