Polyamory: My First Steps

So, a while ago I came out as being both bisexual and polyamorous. Today I figured A) I’d actually get back to blogging about stuff and B) I’d write a bit about how my life has been since then.

So, the first thing I want to say is that the way I handled the “coming out” process was stupid and hurtful to people I know and care about. On the one hand I felt like this was my truth to share and no one can tell me how or when to share it. On the other hand, sharing something like that online while in a relationship with someone that is becoming serious, before having spoken to them about it, was clearly stupid and thoughtless.

So, first lesson learned: if you’re like me and needed to commit the words to digital ink in order to compose your thoughts and figure out how you actually feel, DON’T post it where people you know can see it and tie it to you and would be upset that you didn’t let them know first. Save it as a draft or write it on screamintothevoid.com or something.

The way I handled that was stupid but, realistically, it didn’t make the discussion with my then partner (we’ll call her S) any harder or easier. She couldn’t get past the idea of not wanting to “share” me and despite her best efforts to find a way to be ok with it we had to eventually admit that there wasn’t a future for us if I wasn’t going to be monogamous and committed to her and so we broke up. That sucked, a lot.

While I do not in any way blame S for feeling how she did that concept of “ownership” or “sharing” really grates on me, I have to admit. I’ll talk about my thoughts on that in a different blog post though.

So, after learning from that mistake, I updated all my social media/dating platforms to explicitly state that I was bisexual and polyamorous and that anyone who wasn’t ok with that would be better served seeking a relationship with someone else. I spoke with a few people on Tagged and OkCupid but eventually happened upon the profile of the wonderful @HelenaHalikias on OkCupid. I didn’t hold out any hope of a favourable response as her profile didn’t seem to be overly in favour of poly/non-monogamy but I messaged her anyway, explaining that that was what I was looking for and I was pleasantly surprised when she responded very favourably and was quite interested in the idea of being polyamorous.

While this online relationship was blossoming, a woman I had met last Christmas on Tagged (let’s call her R) but never actually met up with, read my Invisible (Short Story) and messaged me to say that the erotic subtext at the end of the story had quite aroused her and our subsequent discussion led to a very intense intimate encounter.

Helena and I spent a good bit of time chatting over a period of days and weeks and we become quite close and we seemed to be on really the same page in terms of what our ideas of a good poly relationship were: communication, honesty alongside emotional and sexual freedom. We agreed that with each other as primary, committed partners, there was no reason either one of us couldn’t have fantastic relationships with other people.

Meanwhile, myself and R had met up a few times for more intimate encounters and even a date or two. I had however, after our first encounter, spelled out to her quite clearly that I was bisexual and polyamorous and went through what I meant by polyamorous as she wasn’t familiar with the term. She seemed to have no issue with my description and we were happy to keep meeting up. It was slowly becoming serious, though R was getting a lot more serious than I was and I didn’t realise this until after things came to a head. We’ll get to that in a second.

I’m normally nervous meeting people for the first time, even if I’ve spoken to them online for a while but strangely myself and Helena had none of that nervousness and we got on fantastically. The wrinkle came when Helena had gone back home after we had spent a wonderful weekend together and I mentioned to R that I had had a friend over. A female friend. Yes, we had been intimate. Wait…what? I thought I told you I was polyamorous. I honestly don’t know what happened but R very quickly seemed to do a 180 regarding her opinion on polyamory to the point where some very offensive things were said to me. We had a few interactions online and eventually came to the conclusion that polyamory was really not something R thought could ever be ok and so we went our separate ways.

After Helena and I met up in person a few times and had a lot of wonderful times together we became ‘official’ as a poly couple and we both continued seeking positive relationships with other people online. Conveniently we both had a focus on interacting with same sex people as neither of us had any real experience with being with same sex people in anything other than friendships and so we’ve both been gently nudging each other towards those kinds of scenarios and being just super positive and supportive. We have still at this point yet to consummate any of these scenarios but I think we’ve both got some really great people we’ve grown closer to and it’s likely only a matter of time before those desires become lived experiences and we can both explore ourselves and grow as people.

My sister, aside from chastising me for my handling of the “coming out” process (given that S is a great friend of hers) was worried that being poly and bisexual was exposing me to a lot of potential emotional hurt. I took a bit of offence to this as while I know I can be stupid and while I know I can be thoughtless, emotional strength is something I feel I have mastered. She half-jokingly threw my experience with being married at 19 and divorced at 22 in my face as an example of my emotional immaturity but the other half of that joke where she was genuinely concerned for my emotional wellbeing, while appreciated, still felt like a bit of a slap in the face. I’m not good at keeping in contact with my friends and family and I’m not always very talkative about my emotions and feelings (that’s what a blog is for, in my head) so I know she was coming from a caring place and she didn’t have much frame of reference for my negative response but that experience she threw in my face is one of the major reasons why I feel I’m so strong emotionally. That experience taught me so much about myself and with each subsequent relationship that I have had I have become more and more of the forthright person who knows who and what he wants. This last year has been a further deepening of that process as I’ve acknowledged that being bisexual and poly is the best way for me to go about my personal and romantic life.

If I wasn’t that strong person I believe myself to be R’s confessed love for me could have stifled my resolve and I could have ended up in a relationship that wasn’t a good fit. If I wasn’t that strong person I believe myself to be, I wouldn’t have come out as polyamorous to S and I could have ended up in a relationship that wasn’t a good fit. If I wasn’t that strong person I believe myself to be I wouldn’t have the courage to stand up and advocate for my rights and the rights of others and my life would be full of unfulfilled relationships and unmet needs. I wouldn’t have the fantastic and supportive relationship that I have now. I wouldn’t be happy. Everyone deserves to be happy.

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Abortion on Demand

Life is precious.

This is an important phrase. Anti-abortion campaigners use this phrase to try and force us to see a foetus not only as an example of “life” but also as something “precious”. I’m not going to rebut these implications, many others have done so and probably in much better fashion than I could. I find, however, that this phrase is one of the most compelling arguments in favour of abortion. Life is indeed precious. Precious things require a lot of dedication, a lot of resources, a lot of time and often a lot of love to protect them and nurture them. Love, time, dedication and resources are not simply things that can be plucked from the air on a whim, however. These things come from other people, and at a higher level of abstraction, they come from society. Life is precious, yes, but life is also a burden, one most often borne by other people.

So why, then, do we insist upon forcing more and more burdens upon not only other people, whose lives we should have very little say over, but society as a whole? This oh so wonderful country we live in likes to utter the phrase “Abortion on Demand” with such bile and vitriol that one would be forgiven for assuming this act they were speaking of was akin to raping a child while forcing it to watch it’s parents bleed and die. I’m not being reactionary or sensationalistic, one need only listen to the many debates that have been had over the years in the Irish media to hear the implied horror and disgust infused into the phrase.

It’s interesting to deconstruct the thinking behind these utterances. The common criticism of widespread provision of abortion as a family planning option is that if there were Abortion on Demand, Irish women would be having abortions every other week and it would promote promiscuous and unhealthy behaviour. The reality, however, is that Irish education standards where sex and sexuality is concerned are shockingly lacking and it all boils down to the pervasive attitude in Irish society that sex is dirty and wrong and anything to do with sex that is not a beautiful bouncing baby (or a half dozen) is immoral. The reality is that an estimated 10 Irish women (and their partners, in some circumstances) every day travel to England for the express purpose of having an abortion. I was on a plane to Manchester with some of these women in 2011. They were quiet, they looked anxious and they seemed deeply saddened by their situation. The reality is some of those potential babies were deeply wanted.

The reality is pregnancy and delivery and nursing and diaper changing and teething and potty training and childcare and medical bills and all the hundreds of other complications that bringing a child into the world thrusts upon a parent, these are not things that everyone can survive and more importantly these are not things that everyone wants to go through. The reality is many women end up unwillingly sacrificing their dreams, their careers, their education, their financial stability and their happiness in order to go through a pregnancy they do not want or cannot handle. Because other people give them no other choice. Because any other choice would make them cast out and ostracized. Because they can’t afford to travel outside the country. Because society tells them what they want is not the important. Because society tells women “once you get pregnant, there is no way out.”

The reality is Abortion on Demand does not end lives, it saves lives. It saves the lives of women from situations they do not want or cannot cope with. The reality is if Abortion on Demand is what the women of Ireland deserve after so many decades of religious and patriarchal domination at the hands of men who think they can tell women what to do with their own bodies. The reality is, Abortion on Demand is the future of Ireland.

Peace,
dj357