Inherent in polyamory is a certain awkwardness as secondary relationships develop. I find, especially, if I am together with my husband and boyfriend at the same time, a concern about the affection I show; I am keenly aware that my words and actions have the potential to cause one or the other to feel as though they are a ‘third wheel’, leading to hurt, jealousy, and a host of other problems.
I’m extraordinarily fortunate that my husband and boyfriend are both such emotionally mature men. Even as they grapple with their own feelings of awkwardness as they get to know one another, they are making a point to communicate directly with one another, and to clarify impressions, feelings, and intent.
Indeed, polyamory requires all partners to be very deliberate with communication. Nothing can be assumed to be obvious. There are also any number of situations that require communication with all participants, even when that situation does not directly involve them. For example, I recently broke up with my third partner. Before I talked with him, I informed my husband and boyfriend of my decision and the reasons for it. I did this for several reasons:
- it helps clarify my perspective, desires, and goals,
- it conveys my thought process, which can inform future decision-making,
- most importantly, it prevents blindsides.
When I spoke to my now former bull, I also wanted to make sure he understood my decision had nothing to do with him on a personal level; that my specific desires are evolving and changing. I don’t regret becoming involved with him; it just wasn’t fulfilling in the way I’d hoped, and that’s perfectly okay. No experience in our lives has to be pointless or a waste of time unless we choose not to learn anything from it. Consequently, my former bull asked if we could stay in touch with no agenda or expectation, and I’m quite glad to remain friends with him. I’m grateful that he did not take my decision personally, and that he chose to respond as he did.
I find myself very happy, and wanting to focus on bringing joy to my husband and boyfriend, supporting their interests and goals, and discovering how I can help them live life more fully. While I still experience fleeting moments where my lifestyle feels uncomfortable, surreal, and even confusing, I’ve come to appreciate them as vestiges of ‘social programming’. I enjoy the privilege of loving two wonderful, intelligent, creative men. How remarkable is that? In the end, I know that I’m doing what’s right for me.