Years ago, I followed the blog of a poly-lady called M (for the sake of privacy I don't put her full name). I met her in person at a fetish party far from her home and mine...or rather ours because I was with my boyfriend. Her blog was softer toned than her physical presence and I enjoyed it more. Meeting her however was different. I liked her but I was too stunned by her direct sexual solicitation of him...and of me.
I was already poly..but nobody really knew that besides those involved in our poly group...two couples...me and my sex friend (or boyfriend)...my husband and his girlfriend across two countries. Yet somehow it wasn't me in that picture, and at that party where I met M, I felt like a novice...like she knew more because she showed more of herself.
Poly was not what I had...it's what she had...two or more partners within proximity. No jealousy...but full of emotions...and heartbreak...I don't know why because she wouldn't explain...too painful. Not painful enough I thought since she had no qualms about starting something new.
For me...what I had was "undefined". Though I'd met an unconventional couple setup twice in a row both at that party and at another separate occasion...mine didn't match theirs....so it couldn't be Poly?!
A recent argument brought to the fore...the past. It wasn't poly because all four of us did not have a relationship with each other! Ahhh... meaning polygamous sex is what makes it poly?! So it may seem to the self-proclaimed free lover. Not to me. No...sex was not between us 4...that would have been a swing...a mélange...an échange. Sex was between me and two men and between my husband and his girlfriend... separately...up to a point, that point of no return where amour fails from one side or multiple sides. One actor usually cannot be blamed for the failure of the entire movie. I had a boyfriend and a husband...and my husband had a girlfriend who soon became exclusive only to him. My boyfriend was free to pursue others and he did, once or twice, after which he became exclusive only to me.
No other sexual bonds for me existed at that time but there were emotional ones. I helped my husband financially in order to help her grow, get a job, live the city life with him. She was the exact opposite of me in many ways but I liked her and he cared about her and hence so did I. We all met on several occasions despite the difference of country...mostly in groups of two or three...once altogether for a brief holiday.
We bought each other birthday and Christmas presents and communicated frequently.
This was not poly? I asked my antagonist on the subject. He remained silent for a bit...then continued on another tangent.
"Yes...but not free love..." Was his reply. Because we did not all have sex with each other.
I envisioned something different...a family...and I had discovered that I could love two men with equal intensity albeit not in the exact same way. I cared about all parties involved and felt no jealousy within the group. Anyone from without... however, was a threat...four was a good number...stable...equal.
But the real threat would come from within...the rules had been set as: we, the married couple would be primary, and first... loyalty would be to each other and only second to the rest. A faux Pas!
He had charmed and had sex with two other women and had never told her. He had told me...as per our agreement. For his girlfriend, she defined the rule as only me and her...and no other.
Which poly rules prevail alors?
She came to me... expecting to be on par with me as number one. I was to tell her what he wouldn't admit to. And I didn't. I cared about her...but I loved him. The hierarchy took its toll.
Poly-something... undefined...conflicted by self-defeating rules.
She'd forced him to declare he loved her else she'd leave. The lines got drawn in the sands of our sentiments, one by one.
The rule had been to not fall in love with a number two...to care about them but not love them. Friends with benefits then?
Sure...but friends with benefits don't live together usually... don't share finances, bedding, dinners, depressions and future dreams...and later children. We'd applied a set of rules matching another definition of relationship than what we had.
I tried to balance on that thin beam of love and lust until I couldn't. I loved my boyfriend and fell out of love with my husband...the more my husband denied his love for her, the further he drifted from me. The touch grew colder...the lust dried up...his long before mine.
We were not poly anymore...but two separate couples whose interests could not be served by the matrix of our group.
Because the rules had been all wrong from the start. In the ideal poly sense...not really the version of lady M, neither of the argumentative free lover, nor the myriad of different profiles I'd met including a trans-poly group... there should not have been hierarchy of loyalty, nor emotion...the definition should have come from 4 sides not 2. But such things happen when one embarks on a journey without a desired destination.
And we can say but then if everything is planned...then it cannot be a discovery! True...not everything should be planned...but neither nothing! Discoveries and inventions were made with goals in mind...be it only in their imagination.
The questions this poly-something experience of around three years brought to the fore, remain somewhat unanswered.
The ending was far from my ideal and the wounds still smart.
Is there truly a number one when there is love that can and does transcend a sexual romance?
Is poly truly poly when jealousy and exclusivity are pinned to a certain number?
Does poly in M's book exist as a philosophy or is it merely a nuance of the libertine desire to avoid monogamous commitment?
One thing stays unaltered though: You buy the ticket...you take the ride...