What’s In a Name?

There are a lot of decisions to be made once you commit to the polyamorous lifestyle. Not least of which was how to share this information with people. It wasn’t ever a decision of whether to share this information with people. That isn’t in my personality. I’m loud and I’m not shy, so if you ask a question, you’ll get the answer even if you don’t actually want it. But the specific lifestyle that I am leading also does not lend itself to keeping it secret. I have a partner, that I’m not having sex with, but live with and share finances with and will have children with. I also have boyfriends. So not telling people would lead to me at family Christmas with kids, partner, boyfriend, and a lot of explaining. Easiest to get it out of the way now.
But easy is a very relative term. Most of my friends ask questions, but accept it. They may not understand and may not want it for them, but they don’t question it for me. I’ve always been the black sheep of most friend groups, so nothing comes as much of a surprise. My family is a different story. They prefer the term “best friend” to partner, no matter how often I try to explain the difference. And they _definitely_ prefer me to not talk about it at larger family gatherings.
But who cares? Why does it matter if they recognize that I have a partner instead of a best friend. Why should I try to pull my family members out of their one track mindset of what a relationship is supposed to look like? In the grand scheme of how I’m going to live my life, it doesn’t matter if my mother calls her my partner, I’m still going to. But when looking at how I interact with my family, it matters to me a lot. 
I am very close with my family and don’t like having topics that must be avoided (other than politics). Especially when it involves my day-to-day life. I want to to go home and talk about what’s going on in my life without them getting uncomfortable or throwing each other looks while I’m talking. I don’t care if they don’t agree with it for themselves, but I want them to see how well it is working for me. It’s not pleasant to say something and have my mom immediately turn to my brother and make sure he knows that he doesn’t have to do everything that I do
So that’s why I continue to bring it up. With everyone. Family or not. Because the more people are aware that there are other options out there, the more they are willing to ask questions and maybe try new things. And if it becomes more normalized, I won’t have to worry about the weird looks my family gives me. Or maybe I will. But someone else’s parents might be a little more open to the idea. And that makes it worth it. 

Proof of Concept

I spend a lot of time thinking about various “what if” outcomes. Sometimes this ends in me having arguments over situations that have yet to or will never happen. More often, this ends in me making assumptions about what future me would do, given specific circumstances. Mostly, these circumstances never come about and I don’t know if I have a good grasp on my personality. But sometimes, I get the chance to prove that I’m not full of shit when I boldly proclaim how I would react.

You talk to a lot of exes. How would you feel if your boyfriend was talking to his exes. 
You’re still on various dating sites and messaging people. What if your boyfriend was doing that?

Go for it. Talk to whoever you want. Flirt if you want. Send dick pics.

It’s not about who you sleep with, it’s about who you come home to.

I think that I may have mentioned this idea before. And I’m not saying that I want my boyfriend to go out and sleep with whoever he wants to. But the idea applies. As long as you’re coming home to me, and not taking time away from us, talk to whoever you want. About whatever you want. Everyone needs an outlet.

You talk a pretty big game, but how do you know that’s how you would actually feel?

First of all, imaginary asshole antagonist, doesn’t everyone talk a pretty big game? Isn’t that what life is? It isn’t as if we’ve experienced even a small part of everything there is to experience.

Second of all, I don’t. I don’t know that’s how I would actually feel. I just have to take what I know about myself and apply it to the unknown.

So when life hands up one of my imaginary scenarios and I am proved right, I feel vindicated. To myself and my imaginary asshole. There isn’t anyone else to flaunt it to, but that doesn’t take away the sweet taste of victory.

I recently received a message on Instagram from a chick, calling my boyfriend by the wrong name, and claiming that he had been cheating on me for two years. Which is, coincidentally longer than I’ve known him. She had some legitimate evidence that she probably knew him. And when asked, he said that he knew her because she had added him and started up conversation a couple of years ago. But she lives across the country. They just talk on Facebook every few months.

Maybe her version is true. Maybe his is. More likely it’s probably a version of both. And that’s okay. Were they both calling it a relationship? I don’t care. If so, it was a long-distance relationship with someone they had never met, carried out online through messages and maybe pictures. And he was in bed with me.

I went through all of this in my head in a few minutes and realized that whatever was going on, it was okay. Just like I had always said it would be. But this was real life now. And I was right.

I am polyamorous. I have a partner that is not my boyfriend. I sometimes text exes. And sometimes I message people on dating sites about the parameters of a watch that could stop time. And that’s okay. Because I’m still coming home to my boyfriend.

Asking Too Much

Having a normal relationship has to be exhausting. Not that having a non-normal one isn’t, but good god. I don’t worry about making sure that I’m meeting all my partner’s needs. I’m not. Of course I’m not. People are complicated, with complicated needs and desires and expectations.

I want someone to have long conversations about the state of the world and also weird hypotheticals that pop into my head. Like what happens to the souls of babies that are sacrificed to the devil? I also like to discuss the latest celebrity news. Calvin and Taylor are having a very messy breakup and Tom Hiddleston can do way better. Someone who reads the same type of books that I do so they can give me recommendations. Same for podcasts and movies and TV shows. And I want someone who ants to go to museums and zoos with me. But not too often. I want to have days where we just stay in the house and never put clothes on and order food in because we’re too busy having sex. Speaking of sex. On top of all those things, I need someone who has good sex. And kinky sex. But only the kind of kink I’m into. I will try most things once, but if your kink is a foot fetish, I’m not the person for you.

Those are my needs from a partner. Just off the top of my head. I forgot to add that I need someone who pushes me to reach my goals and doesn’t tell me that I tried and it was good enough. I also forgot a million more things that are equally important to me.

Am I being too picky? Asking for too much? You fucking bet I am.

And I’m going to continue to ask for, and expect, all that and more. Because you know what? It’s my life. I think that I’m allowed to be selfish when making decisions that will affect me for the rest of it. It’s that idea of compromise again. I understand that you can’t go through life without compromising, but when it’s wrapped up in your happiness, success, future… when is compromise too much?

Maybe it boils down to your goals. If creating and raising children is your ultimate goal, maybe you will give up career ambitions and your dream of traveling around the world. Maybe it isn’t important that your partner is the best sex you’ve ever had. Or that they don’t do that thing that you used to think was important to your sex life. Maybe you can’t have a deep conversation with them, but they are a good person and they also want three kids and a white picket fence.

I don’t think that this is a bad goal. But it isn’t everyone’s goal. And more importantly, it isn’t mine.

What if you could ask for too much? Sure, you still have to compromise on some things, because life. Maybe the kitchen is a little to kitschy for your taste. And even though you are a paper towel family kind of person, you have to become a napkin family. But you can still have all your needs met. It just requires more people in your life. Not like having a lot of friends, but like having more than one partner.

What’s the difference? Friends can’t take up too much space in your life because you need that time to devote to your partner and family. Friends don’t come first, partners do. And that isn’t bad. I have friends, and they come second to my partners. I just have two partners that get a lot of personal time.

You can lean a lot on partners and expect a lot back from them. You can put your hopes and dreams on partners. You can support and be supported by them. But you also don’t have to have one person that has to carry all the weight of your happiness and expectations. Maybe one person likes going out with you to try the Thai place that just opened up down the street. The other one doesn’t like Thai food, but they do think that sacrificed babies go to hell and mature there.

Taking all the pressure off of one person allows you to find and enjoy other characteristics that probably would have been buried under the weight of your expectations.

Sex Makes Things Complicated

Sex immediately complicates a relationship. Not by a little, by a lot. This isn’t me advocating for a sexless life. Far, far from it. But I am saying that when your sex life starts to fail, so does the relationship. What if you share a house, finances, children, etc… and your partner decides that they’ve lost all sexual attraction towards you? But you’re still attracted to them? And they’re still attracted to others? What happens then?

Maybe, maybe, you’re comfortable enough to open up the marriage. But that isn’t traditional. So scratch that. You either suck it up and go on in a sexless marriage —for the children— or you divorce and find someone else you want to sleep with. Fuck the children. And neither of those options really appeals to me.

I know myself well enough to know that I’m fickle. I’m currently happy in a sexually monogamous relationship, but years down the road? I’m going to get bored. And that doesn’t mean that I want to break up. But when that happens to most people, you do break up, and move out, and figure out finances, and split parental rights, etc… It’s awful. Just because you want to go out and get your jollies for a few hours and then come back home.

One of my professors once told me that he and his partner’s stance was “it’s not who you have sex with, it’s who you make your home with.” Or something similar. And that was pretty integral to me figuring out where I stood on relationships.

The idea started me down the road to where I am now. There are people out there in happy relationships that can sleep with other people. And it works. Who knew? Maybe I could date someone and know that they would cheat on me and just not think about it. Or be okay with it. I wasn’t familiar with the ideas of polyamory or open relationships at that point. Or at least I hadn’t put much thought into them. That came later. But now I knew that not every relationship was full of people deluding themselves about the fidelity of their partners. There was hope.

Thoughts on Relationships

I want to go into a little about me and what my life is to give some reference to all of my future posts. Yes, I do have an “About Me” page, but there’s only so much I can go into there. So this is where the rest of it is going to live.

An Intro

Hi, I’m Hannah. I’m 24 and I don’t believe in monogamous relationships.

At least not for me. I know that there are some people who it works out for. But I have a lot of step-parents and step-grandparents. And I have been propositioned by enough people in serious relationships to believe that traditional relationships don’t work as well as everyone says.

And who is everyone to say anyway? How many people actually stop and question the traditional dynamic? I know that most people I’ve encountered don’t, because they are always surprised at how much thought has gone into my relationship.

But that’s what I grew up knowing. Marriages don’t work, and when they do, both people seem to spend a fair bit of time miserable. I’ve been told countless times that these bouts of misery are called compromise. You just clench your teeth through the pain until everything is hunky-dory again. Maybe you came through the other side with a few of your life goals flushed down the toilet, but at least you’re still together. This “compromise” is to be looked up to. And I call bullshit.

If that is what the marriage game is all about, I don’t want anything to do with it. So I went off to college and I met people and I “saw” them. I was never in a relationship. We were never dating. Dating was bad. And for people with feelings that wanted to get hurt. Because it was always going to end. Everything has an expiration date. Or it doesn’t, and you’re going to get cheated on.

No one else was in my boat. Sure all the guys were fine with it. A string-free relationship. But that’s not the same as agreeing. They all knew that they would settle with (and maybe for) someone eventually and that would be that. Surely there were people out there, outside of my small scope of Indiana experience, that didn’t think that traditional marriage was the way to go?

And I found them. Well, I’m in the process of finding them. I had no idea there were so many different ways to go about relationship. Not just different lifestyles, but everyone does each lifestyle differently. I would say that I am poly, but I don’t plan to have an open marriage. And I might end up being sexually monogamous. I’m still learning about different ways to go about life. Through reading, and talking, and trial and error. But I’m sure whatever it is, is out there.