Let me tell you, the last ten years have been quiet a ride. We have had incredible highs and heart breaking lows. We have experienced wonderful additions and life altering losses. We have traveled coast to coast across this beautiful country numerous times and seen some amazing things. We also spend an average of 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for 10 years working our asses off. We still aren’t where we want to be in life but then who is and if we were that would only mean picking a new goal to work towards. Anyway, where I am going with this is that life is a journey. I know we have all heard this said many times but the corollary that is often unsaid is this, “Life is a journey but it looks a lot different to the watchers than it does to the travelers.”
I say this kind of tongue-in-cheek but there is a lot of weight behind it as well. We have been on our current path now for almost ten years. The path that blends our non-traditional relationship dynamics (polyamory, power exchange and BDSM/kink) with our business adventures (including the careers we each lost as well as Poly’s Pleasures and the writing each of us engages in) and our extensive traveling (often on a part time basis but now full time in an RV). To many this looks like a grand adventure, a wonderful vacation from the “real world”. To some extent it is exactly that but on most levels it requires a level of commitment that few would be willing to make. I don’t say this to toot our own horn but just to state a hard truth. It doesn’t make us better or worse than anyone else, just different.
It has however led us to many opportunities that some others may not have had. Because of the lifestyle choices we have made we live lives that are strange and exotic to many. This makes people want to ask questions so they can understand or make comments that show they really don’t understand what it is all about. It is not about an ego trip, it is not about getting to sleep with multiple women because I am misogynistic or narcissistic, it is not because the ladies are door mats or have no sense of personal worth, it is not about the sex. It is about the attempting to build something that is bigger or more meaningful than any of us could do on our own. It is about the relationships between each of us. To me at least, I don’t view love as a finite resource or something which should be hoarded.
One of the things that I hear a lot is people saying something to the effect of “I wish we were like your family”. From the conversations that have followed I get the sense that they mean being able to have a family that includes more than the traditional model where everyone is happy and loving all the time. If this is the thoughts of any I am about to disappoint you terribly. No one is happy and loving all of the time. We certainly aren’t, we are just like everyone else. Each of us spends their fair share of the time in the doghouse. We argue and say things we wish we could take back and behave in ways that don’t always make us very loveable just like everyone else.
So I would never suggest to anyone that we are a good example of a poly dynamic. We are an example of many things but none of them are that we are doing it right. We are a great example of stubbornness and tenacity though. We have persevered through a lot of things that would have broken up the less determined. The ladies tease me about binding people to me with “hoops of steel” . I don’t believe this to be a bad thing. These dynamics require a certain amount of masochistic tolerance and a willingness to work through whatever is going on and a trust in each other that no matter how angry you might be at one another in the moment that the love you have will win out in the end.
We are often asked “Where can I find that special someone to make our lives complete?” I am sorry, I don’t have a good answer for that. In our case it again came down to determination originally. We spent three years looking for our first poly partner and got luck that she was willing to brave the immense learning curve with us in the beginning. Then we got very fortunate in the magic happening a second time when most of us weren’t even looking to add someone new. So the short, not helpful answer that that questions is this, You will find that special someone or someone’s the same places you would if you were single. Not very helpful I know, I never claimed to be lol.
What I can help with though is sharing some of the battle scars we have gained for your consideration. Again, I do not claim any of this to be right or even an opinion shared by my ladies but are my interpretation of things only. In my opinion the most important things to the success of your non-traditional relationship is honesty. You absolutely must be honest with one another. We I first got into the poly lifestyle it was under some dramatic misunderstanding that ended up costing me someone very dear to me. We had countless discussions about why we were considering open our relationship. I wanted to share someone with her and I thought she wanted the same thing. We had talked about it enough times that I felt confident in that belief. It turned out she felt pressured to do this in order to save our marriage. This is a terrible idea if you don’t know it already. Adding someone will almost never save anything, it is a significant stressor that will exploit any weakness in your relationship. Not the people, the situation. Even though we had discussed it hundreds of times we hadn’t been completely honest in our intents and after a lot of both good and bad times ultimately cost me my marriage. So lesson #1 – ALWAYS be honest about things even when it is painful in the moment because if you aren’t it will be painful for a lifetime.
Another ting I have learned is that while we are all searching for the elusive unicorn (just so we are all on the same page a unicorn in this context is a single, bi-sexual person who will love you both equally) they are an unreal expectation. Even if you find someone who intends to be exactly that, life generally isn’t that simple. If that is what you go into the poly experience expecting you are probably dooming yourself to heartache and failure. How could it be anything else? The unicorn would be shouldering a huge expectation of being everything to both of you (or more depending on your circumstance) equally. Trust me when I say that no amount of trying, wishing, hoping or cajoling will ever make that happen. Having these expectations will however stress your new partner to the breaking point along with each of you and the whole thing will be an unpleasant experience. So, lesson #2 – Let the new relationships grow as life intends them to not as you intend them. You can’t force it no matter how hard you try.
The last point I will make today so I don’t bore you to sleep involves a wiliness to put your ego aside and work through the tough times. I spent most of my adult life as a police officer. This makes me a problem solver. When there is something wrong I am going to rush into the fray and fix it immediately. That’s what I do. As it turns out your partner/s may not appreciate this. They may feel that their way is the right way and no matter how deluded they may be we have to be willing to at least look at their position and adapt as needed. I often know my way is the right way, it wouldn’t be my way otherwise would it? But a willingness to step back, compromise and adapt will serve you much better than being right. So last lesson for today, Lesson #3 – Be willing to listen!!! Then adapt and compromise to solve the problem but don’t give up just because that would be easier.
Sorry, I get a little long winded about these topics but I get asked these things often enough that I thought it would be helpful to throw these experiences out there for everyone to consider. Like I said earlier, these are just me opinions and no one else’s. Take them for what they are worth and please share your opinions. I always like to hear what you have done. What worked and what blew your face off unexpectedly so I can try and avoid it, lol. Have a great weekend and if you have any questions for any of us please don’t hesitate to ask.