Juggling time is a huge deal in a open relationship if the type of open relationship you have means investing in every relationship you develop. And it’s not only in your intimate relationships, it’s time spent with their parents, their brothers, sisters and depending on how close they are, cousins, uncles, aunts and the rest. It’s the emotional labour of negotiating holidays, cultural and family traditions and personality dynamics.
I sincerely believe we’ve achieved what we’ve achieved because our relationship was already open and has been since its inception. Our relationship was open and sexual. It is still open but non-sexual. Timing in our case, was everything.
For myself I discard the word ‘disorder’ as a part of C-PTSD, finding it more useful to disaggregate the various traumas to more easily see where they intensify or diffuse my adult actions, reactions and preferences. And how these help or hinder me from tackling what life throws in my path. Being polyamorous or practising consensual non-monogamy whilst also dealing with the consequences of complex trauma, has a few subtleties all of its own.
After many such processing sessions and respective conclusions, I’ve come to a grand, meta conclusion. Whilst I might long for multiple connections, I function better alone. I learned some years ago that a solo style of polyamory would be the smart choice for me; that’s a bit of a conundrum when you’re already in a household of six which includes two small kids.
I’m coming to realise that whilst I may not need a map per se, I do need a story. And the story, like all good stories, must have a beginning, a middle and an end. You and I, we’ve long since passed the beginning, and we’ve had a good bit of the middle. This here, is the midpoint of the story. The mirror moment. Because my stories need substance; they need love affairs, plot twists, growth experiences and character arcs. We’ve grown together, and now I believe it is time to grow independently.
I have no one more important than my chosen family. Right now I exist for them and as a reflection of them. I fear that the death of my family, would be the death of me, even if logically I know it to be untrue. In the past I have cleaved towards friends whom I considered as important as my family, only to have them demote me–when push came to shove–in favour of blood ties, even blood ties they despised.
If only she knew how much I love you. How much it hurts that you, that we, are not acknowledged. How you are regarded as some disposable piece of detritus. How fickle and worthless she believes my love for you is.
She had no piece of paper, no recognised validity save what she and my partner felt for one another. She was a guest in my home–the home of a woman she hardly knew–but it was also her boyfriend’s home and she knew him a lot better. My lack of trust was understandable, acceptable even, but that didn’t make it easier for her to handle.
Open comes from old english/anglo-saxon openian meaning to open, open up, disclose, or reveal, but it also meant “exposed, evident, well-known, public,” often in a bad sense, “notorious, shameless.”
They were once my family, I was not born to them but I chose them. How foolish I have been to think that I am healed, that I am whole. There is always more to work on. More wounds to re-open. So as I saw them, I remembered how much I love him, and how much I still miss him.
Successful threesomes might have many components, but I would boldly state that the best way to ensure satisfaction is through good communication. Yet sitting down to discuss boundaries and consent with long term partner(s) with whom you hopefully have an enviable level of honest communication, is the easier part. It is not so easy to communicate with that spontaneous person you meet at the club, who agrees to participate in fun and games with you and your partner(s) for a one-off encounter.
I think about it. I think about it all until I am exhausted. And when my mind has no reasons, nothing left, all I have is my love, my loss and my grief. My heart breaks and out of the shattered pieces comes still more love for him.
All this history has left a legacy in the personality of a Swede. They are more likely to believe in consensus decision making. They are more likely to be highly suspicious of so called democratic coalitions which create an imbalance of power where minority voices might be suppressed. Or where majority vote might enforce violent action. They are less likely to adhere to notions of hierarchy.
That evening I got home, Maya was laid up with a belly bug. One of those hideous ones which repeat endlessly and which necessitate the washing of sheets, scrubbing of sick, showering of small infants who detest water. I stayed up all night looking after her and at 6am Freddie awoke wanting to play. Morten and I were exhausted. But when I looked at them still I felt, it was all worth it. And smelling of sick, I still burned for them.
Longevity, geographical mobility and the decline in traditional religious beliefs are reasons commonly given for the perceived upswing in open non-monogamy. Yet these reasons don’t explain anything but why the prevailing dishonest non-monogamous solutions might increase.