Categories
Polyamory

The Good Stuff We Should Talk About More

Perks are not talked about often in the polyam community. We spend more of our time talking about the pitfalls or struggles that pop up. We talk about red flags, stress the importance of open and honest communication, and poke a little fun at the stereotypes that are foisted upon us. I think we need to spend more time talking about the highlights, without letting them get overshadowed by the hard parts. I can be guilty of it too. Have you read my last two posts? (You can find them here and here, if you haven’t.) This is my attempt to highlight some of the good stuff.

All about the perks!

This month started out on a sad note for us. Bats found a new place and moved out of our little overcrowded house. And it instantly felt emptier. But then life threw all sorts of events and plans at us and we were just too busy to think about it. We all took a breath and took advantage of the time apart. Before we knew it, a whole week had passed and it was time to get back together for the weekend. A new routine was forged without us realizing it.

That first weekend was spent supporting the girls at their last concert of the year, and celebrating Munchkin’s birthday. It was full of laughter and love and so many balloons! Which brings us to one of the perks the polyam community doesn’t talk about enough.

More people to celebrate with

Because of Covid, and our already busy schedule, we decided to forgo a friends birthday party for Munchkin. I made a cake (thank you Pillsbury!) and the girls decorated it. The night before, Lovey, Bats, and I wrapped the mountain of gifts (I swear they tripled while they were hiding in the closet) and blew up all the balloons we could find. Red came over later that day, bringing her own gift for Munchkin. Boyfriend had his hands full with his kiddos that weren’t feeling the best, so he wasn’t able to come. But he did send plenty of birthday wishes.

Between the balloons and his favorite people, Munchkin was over the moon that day. And my momma heart was overflowing for him.

Support is everything.

Another perk that doesn’t get enough air time, in my opinion, is the support. And I’m not just talking about the supportive partner that cheers you on from the sidelines while you try your hand at flirting after so many years. You know, like Hiccup giving Toothless an enthusiastic thumbs up from the bushes when they meet Light Fury. (You can watch the adorable scene from How To Train Your Dragon 3 here if you’re not familiar with it.) I’m talking about the support you get from your village when you reach a goal, cross something off your bucket list, score a new job, or struggle with just staying afloat.

This past year has given a lot of us a lot of struggle. But our family has also been blessed with the space and time to accomplish some amazing things. This blog, for one. And the support I have gotten from Lovey, from Bats, from Boyfriend, and from Red has been what has helped. Could I have done this new scary thing without them? Possibly. But it has been infinitely easier and less scary with their support.

Conquering mountains

I was also able to finally finish a first draft because of my little polycule’s support. I have been a writer what feels like all of my life. Growing up, I had 2 passions: singing and writing. And since no music producers ever showed up to sign me the record deal of a lifetime, my focus turned to writing, either with friends or on my own. I never finished the stories I started by myself. Until this year. Because I finally had the support I needed, and the time and space to do it. I had cheerleaders in my corner urging me to finish this story. They were there to listen to ideas or complaints. And they were there to push me to sit in that chair and actually do it.

This past weekend we all crossed an item off our bucket list as well, even if we didn’t know it was on the list in the first place. Lovey signed us up for a fundraiser run for our local zoo. Our zoo that happens to be situated on the side of a mountain. 2 miles up the mountain, and then another 2 back down. A good mile of that was in the rain. It was hard. And I wanted to quit so many times. But I didn’t because I had my support with me. Crumbs even joined us. And I could not be prouder of her for tackling this huge thing with us. Supporting her and cheering her on kept me going as well. Nothing like a hike up a dang mountain to bring people closer together.

The best of all the perks!

Lastly, at least for this post, is petamours. Why do we not talk about these more? I think they are the best perk of polyamory.

What is a petamour? It’s your partner’s pet. Or, in my case, it’s my metamour’s pet. Barkley is Bats’ dog. And he is the sweetest fluffiest little pooch I have met in a very long time. He would come over to visit every once in a while, much to the annoyance of our resident kitties. Everybody loves him. And we are all bummed that he can’t be with us right now. But he is a big part of our plans to find that perfect house for all of us.

Petamours are great. Who doesn’t want more animals to love?  They let you experience the joy of having a pet if you aren’t able to have one where you live. You have the opportunity to meet new critters you maybe wouldn’t otherwise have. Dating someone who is into Bearded Dragons? Congratulations, you’re a lizard person now. Always wanted a bird, but your landlord doesn’t allow pets of any kind? You’re next partner or metamour may have one that you can love. Going out of town and don’t want to board your poor anxious doggo? Polycules are there for you!

Polyamory has so many perks. And we should share them a lot more than we do. What are your favorite perks?

Categories
Polyamory

The Dark Parts of Polyamory No One Talks About

Social Media can make polyamory seem almost magical. Because it’s easy to put on the happy mask and only show the good parts, the fun parts. This is true no matter who you are. But I have a secret to share: it’s not all sunshine & rainbows.

In our effort to make the largely monogamous world understand and accept us, we can tout polyamory as a this beautiful alternative that is free of the struggles monogamous folx face. Which can be true. But in doing so, we deny, hide, or just gloss over the hard and messy parts of polyamory.

More Than Words

One of the big tenets is communication. Polyam folx are forever talking about talking. Whenever someone asks the community about a situation in their relationship, the first answer is always: Did you talk to them about it? Communication is the key to living this life. But that’s true regardless of what relationship your in. It’s true for familial relationships (parents/kids, siblings, etc.). It’s true for platonic or professional relationships (friend circles, bosses, coworkers).  And it’s true for romantic relationships, regardless of the form they take. Communication is important. And can make or break any type of relationship.

The part that we fail to talk about in the context of polyamory is the amount of work this takes. Communication goes beyond talking about your feelings, or sharing plans. It is learning to say those things without being asked. It requires you to do the hard work of analyzing your own reactions and feelings before sharing those with others. It is remembering to share plans with multiple people; and learning to take responsibility, and then apologizing, when one person inadvertently gets left out of the loop.

Open Your Ears

Let’s not forget the other side of communicating. You have to listen. A lot of us have grown up not really knowing how to listen properly. We listen to react, to argue, to reply. How many times have you had a conversation with someone and while they were talking, you were already forming your response to them? We have to re-learn how to listen in way that allows to actually hear the other person. To hear what they are saying between the words, in their tone and inflections and body language.

It is more than just the words. It is the thought and work you’ve put in to them, before you say them. And it is the act of listening, not to respond but to hear what is being said and not said.

Green With…

Another big piece we gloss over: jealousy. That green-eyed monster does pop up in polyamory. We are not immune. We are human. Polyam folx are quick to turn the topic of jealousy into compersion. Which is an amazing feeling that is not exclusive to polyamory. You’ve felt it when your significant other got that promotion, or your best friend got married/had a baby, or your kid graduated from school. That is compersion.

Jealousy is the other side. In my polyam life, it usually pops up when a need is not being met. And those needs tend to have to do with my love languages. So if someone is getting more time (which is my main love language), I can feel that jealousy pop up. And I do not always recognize it for what it is. So there are definitely times where I can be… bitchy and withdrawn. Which of course, doesn’t fix or help anything. Did I mention we are human? This is the hard part, the part the community tries not to talk about. Because in order to deal with it, you have to get to know yourself. You have to learn your reactions and triggers. You have to learn to recognize when jealousy is speaking to you, feeding you lies.

It doesn’t always lead you to compersion either. Sometimes that jealousy leads to hard conversations instead. And that’s okay. Jealousy can be used for good, if you do the work to figure out the root of it.

Polyamory Isn’t Perfect

No, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There are growing pains along the way. Problems you thought you had figured out in the beginning have a way of popping up again later on down the road. Sometimes they look a little different, sometimes they look the same. So you have to learn, adapt, and keep going. Polyamory can be an amazing way to form relationships and family. But it is not perfect or easy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. 

Categories
Family Polyamory

Big Family, Little House. It’s Time for an Upgrade!

Have you ever seen that meme floating around? I’m talking about the one that points out the absurdity of buying a house (or renting one) with less than three incomes. It makes a good case for polyamory in just a few short words without meaning to. I imagine, for people without kids and those three incomes, it is probably easier to find a house. Certainly more affordable. And, depending on your dynamics, a small house of 2-3 bedrooms is easy enough to come across.

The trouble appears when you are a polycule of 3 adults, 3 kids, and multiple pets. All of whom like their space.

Our current home dynamics

Currently, there are 6 humans living under our roof. Bats, Lovey, and I, plus the kids. All cramped into a small 3 bedroom house. Granted, the plan was not for Bats to move in at all until we bought a home large enough for all of us. But sometimes things happen and our timelines get adjusted. And having Bats with us these last several months has been so amazing. Not to mention a nice little test run to see how we all get along 24/7. (Hint: fabulously! Read my metamour gush for a look at our special relationship.)

So now we are trying to bump up our house buying timeline. We have all realized that we need more space.

The reasons we need a new house

Reason One

We have 2 teenagers. And they are currently sharing a room. Their personalities are just opposite enough that this causes more discord than harmony. Especially on weekends and school breaks. Our Covid Quarantine has not helped.

Reason Two

Munchkin is sharing his room with Bats’ office. They work from home 5 days a week. And most of that time is speaking on the phone. Toddlers are not great at keeping quiet during work hours. Or any hours really. They are small beings whose only desire is to make as much noise as possible at all times.

Reason Three

This may be a little TMI, but it’s my current reality. And a huge consideration for us. Queen sized beds were not meant for 3 grown adults to share. And bedroom sets, with their two dressers and two nightstands, aren’t designed that way either. Sure, there is the occasional night when someone has insomnia and stays on the couch to let the others sleep. Or when someone has the opportunity to spend the night at another partner’s house. But those are exceptions, and do not happen on any regular schedule.

Reason Four

The pets! We now have four cats. Sure they seem small and easy. Cats sleep all day right? But anyone who lives with these little fluff balls knows the truth. They take up a lot more space than you’d think. Plus, Bats’ poor doggo, Barkley, isn’t with us. He was sent to live with Bats’ brother for the time being. No fenced in yard at our current home and the already cramped space made it a better choice for him. And don’t worry! He is quite happy and loved where he is. But we miss him. And wish he could with us too.

The steps to getting that house

Step one: Get our credit in gear. They should really teach these things in school. Credit scores can make or break your house buying. So of course, they are easy to tank and hard to build back up.

Step two: Get pre-approved for that mortgage. And make that wish list. Need a kitchen island? Hate open floor plans? Write it all down! Nothing is too much or too silly. It’s a Wish List. But make sure as you’re writing these things down that you know what is absolutely not negotiable. For us, that is the number of bedrooms.

Step three: Start looking. Now Bats and I already are, and have been for quite a bit. That’s what Zillow is for, right? To look at homes and dream. Or laugh. So far though, we haven’t found a whole lot of options. Part of it is budget. We know what we can afford and refuse to go over. Part of it is that wish list. We know what our musts are and what we can compromise on. And part of it is our local market. It’s a seller’s paradise here right now. Homes are being sold in days for over the asking price, time and time again. With most being listed over our budget or right at the high end of it, we are priced out from the start.

But we have hope. We have steps one and two to get through first. And we are not looking for a perfect house. Just a home that gives us all a little more space to stretch. It’s out there, waiting for us. I believe we’ll find it sooner, rather than later.

Categories
Polyamory

Polya and Polyam Are The New Poly Terms

Every once in a while, topics will circle back around in Polyamorous groups. Usually when there’s an influx of new people, either to the area or to ethical non-monogamy (ENM). Recently, one of these topics was about the terms we use. For those of us identifying as polyamorous, should we use poly, polya, or polyam when we want to shorten it? On this blog, I try to stick with polyamorous, just to avoid any confusion. But I’m not perfect and some shortened versions slip through.

It can be surprising to see the debate that crops up over a few letters. But debate they do. And sometimes it gets heated.

Poly vs. Polya or Polyam

So what is the debate exactly? Well, it seems to have started with a post on tumblr from someone in the community suggesting that the use of “poly” was muddying the waters for those identifying as of Polynesian descent. Someone else, after hearing about this, wrote their own thoughts on it and shared a suggestion they had come across: out of respect for the Polynesian community, polyamorous folx should try to update our language to say polya or polyam instead.

Simple enough, right? Lines were quickly drawn though. On one side were those of us who think we should listen when BIPOC speak up and tell us how to be better allies. On other side are multiple reasons for not adjusting the language used. They range from cries of white saviorism to shouts of how “Polynesian” itself was no longer accurate.

Where I stand

If you weren’t sure, I fall into camp #1. BIPOC voices should be heard on all things that affect them and their cultures. And the world should respect what they have to say. Doesn’t matter if it’s one person or a whole community. If they ask us to stop using certain language because it hurts them in any way, then we all need to adjust.

I truly strive to see the good in humanity all around. I enjoy my rose-colored glasses, thank you. So it’s a little disheartening when I see polyamorous circles debate something like this. We are a marginalized community. We face many unflattering stereotypes. Many of us often have to hide that part of our lives from family and coworkers. We should be willing to embrace the words of other marginalized groups, and be better at changing our language when we learn it hurts others.

But we are all human and have vastly different life experiences that lead us to form the beliefs we do. In any community, there will be many different viewpoints. That is what makes it beautiful.

Sound off!

What do you think of changing language to reflect the wishes of marginalized communities? Will you be adjusting yours to reflect what BIPOC voices are saying?