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Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: 30 Days of Polyamory

Over the next month or so I’ll be focusing on subjects relating to non-monogamy.  I’ll answer many questions for you— from defining lexicon (what’s Poly vs. Open Relationship vs. Mono/Poly, etc) to walking you through the how-to’s (how to approach someone for a threesome, how to ask your partner for an open relationship, etc.) and everywhere in between.This series of articles will serve as a primer for our Threesomes, Foursomes & Moresomes: Exploring Open Relationships Workshop in Chicago on July 18th at Taboo Tabou.


The first post in this series is from guest author, SlowToEvolve (STE).  STE is new to polyamory, recently opening up a long term relationship.  Read below his raw, honest and beautifully written account of his early stages of adopting a polyamorous lifestyle.

Day Zero
I don’t want to do this. I am jealous. I am possessive. I demonize my faults in my own head. I am my own worst enemy. I have baggage – mostly my own, some accentuated by others, and an early negative experience with poly made me abandon it for ten years.
However, I realize that I am not perfect and I cannot give everything, the 100% that someone needs day in and day out. So we talk about poly, research poly, read everything we can find on poly. And we decide: we are mature, self-aware, conscientious and consenting adults who are capable of taking this leap. This will be good for us, give us new experiences, grow our love and our relationship.
Day Thirty
We have each had several dates. We’ve had sleep over’s and sex, play dates and vanilla dates. We are each developing bonds and relationships. And we are communicating openly. We’re poly and it is both painful and rewarding.
What did I not know to ask?
I did not read, hear, or understand that I would feel loss or how to deal with it. That there would be things I had no idea I placed value on that would no longer be “mine”. That some of her first time experiences would be had with someone besides me. The sense of loss has been hard, overwhelming once or twice, profoundly painful. Yet at the same time, I have found that loss may bring gain. There are infinite kinky things you can do, and I can’t be the first for her with all of them. There are many I would never even consider doing or even know existed – and now I might. They might be something someone else does, that excites us both and that we incorporate into our play and lives.
I have come to accept loss, and to accept that I may not see it coming, and that it will happen again. I resolve to own the loss, to turn it into gain or an acceptance of her growth and happiness. It will hurt, but I am happy for her, happy for us, happy for them.
I did not know I would feel bad. I know myself well, but did not realize I would feel bad for being jealous, for being possessive, for feeling loss. Most times I feel bad for being me and not once have I felt bad from being poly. I do not feel bad for what we are doing, for the paths we are forging, for the interactions we are having. I do not feel bad for anything she or I have done within our poly relationships. I feel bad…because I feel bad.
Feeling bad generates negative feelings on its own, it can be poisonous, it can become venom in a casual comment. It can destroy honest communication. Feeling bad about your feelings can cause your partner to feel bad about their feelings and actions – I did not see that one coming, that my emotions could so profoundly change her outlook on what she was doing and make her feel bad for doing them. It is an awful thing to realize you are intentionally poisoning a good thing.
I have come to accept that I have feelings and that not all of them are good. I love her, I want what is best for her, I want to care for her and her emotional health and well-being. I have seen incredible happiness within her from poly, in just 30 days. I am proud of her, for owning her feelings, for being good game and giving, for making sacrifices for me, for feeling bad and being unashamed to tell me so and to tell me why.
I had no idea I could feel the hypocrite. I have avoided having other relationships for 10 years because I knew I was a hypocrite – I have no problem having many partners, many lovers, many relationships…I have jealousy and possessiveness issues and have problems with that existing for her. I thought I owned that, I thought I was over that, I thought I was mature enough to make sure that was not the case.
I was wrong – in the first 30 days, I was so off base that I have felt the hypocrite continuously. I own that now. I am letting go of it. I am actually happy for her and happy for myself and happy for them and happy for us. In the beginning, it hurt she wanted something, someone, and could talk about it openly. Today, not so much. Today for the first time, no negatives in the first experiences or sense of loss, in the joy of the date, in the positives of the interactions.
I didn’t know I would have to own this. She pointed out to me recently that we are M/s (Master/slave in a BDSM relationship), always have been, we always will be, and that as the Master I can own allowing her to do this. I bought her the first box of condoms she has owned last night. I understood the consequences, she was going to have sex and it would not be with me. It was again a sense of loss, a pain in the gut, a desire to vomit while standing in the checkout line. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, bar none. Buying that pack of condoms changed things…I was allowing this, I owned this, I made this possible for her and I was giving her the safe opportunity to move on in our poly journey.
Owning our poly journey, as I own her, has made accepting my feelings as part of this journey something I can do.
I did not know honest communication could be so damned hard. When you are honest about your feelings it can be easy to let the negatives outweigh the positives, or to forget the positives exist. You want to protect each other, you love each other and want to hide your negative feelings, to engender the aura that is all great and good, but we both wear our hearts on our faces. We cannot lie to each other and a casual comment by one can make the face of the other fall – suddenly joy becomes pain, a good conversation goes bad, negative feeds on the negative. I feel bad, that makes her feel bad, which makes me feel bad for making her feel bad….
We finally realized that this weekend – feelings will get hurt, things will not always generate smiles, but in the end, we love each other, we own our feelings, we share them openly and refuse to judge each other any more. Feelings are valid, whether they be positive or negative, they should be shared, discussed, owned, and if need be, discarded or dealt with so they do not poison the conversation or the relationships. 
I Am Not Alone
Thanks to all I have talked with in the past 30 days…for sharing I am not alone, for sharing that you deal with the same feelings, for sharing you have had the same issues. For some it goes away, for some it lessens, for some it never really ends. Some of you have the feelings harder than I, some less, and there are those very rare few individuals who experience none of it at all. You have all helped me, helped us, on this crazy thing.
With all that being said….Holy fucking shit is poly worth the pain and the work! It is worth the fighting, the confusion. That giddy feeling in a new relationship, or a new play date, or a new fuck buddy…mine and hers, theirs and ours. The talks you have, the feelings you share, the interactions you discuss…with each and every one of them, she with I, I with her, her with him, they alone.
I discovered you can care for more than one person, can expand your social skills, can increase your play base, and that others can accept you, care for you, and make you and her and each other better, happier, more fulfilled people.
The Result
I have never been happier, for her, for me, for my new relationships, for her new relationships. I have never been more confused or more ready to overcome that confusion. I have never been happier to see her happiness.
I love you baby girl, for sharing this ride with me, for being there for me, for giving me the opportunity to find I can care for others and to love doing it. This has been painful, confusing, difficult…and has given us an opportunity for growth. I am happy for you and happy for the reality of continuing this with you in the next 30 days and beyond. I haven’t found compersion,  but I have found acceptance, I have increased my love for you, I have rediscovered us.
To everyone in our family who is sharing this crazy poly ride with us, you’ve made our lives better and richer.


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