A few months before meeting PolyPrime, I was coincidentally invited to join a polyamorous circle. Protocol was: the group would vet me and, if approved, I could date anyone (or multiple anyones) within it. I've since described this as "dating by committee," and at the time, I was NOOOOOT interested.
I got involved with PolyPrime in spite of his entanglements; I wanted him enough that the sacrifice of sharing him was worth it. Plus, the three of us lived in different cities, so it was easy to pretend that PP's primary partner didn't exist.
Well into our relationship, PP asked me to fly out and meet his primary. I was incensed. My terse refusal encompassed all my objections to poly:
"I'm dating YOU, not her."
PP and I split a few months later.
In 2008, I stood on the threshold of single motherhood. I'd picked my donor, and was trying to get up the nerve to schedule my insemination. At the same time, I was continuing to date and half-hope some poor schlub would Take Me Away From All This.
On my favorite singles site, I came across the profile of a man in an open marriage. He was frank and articulate about his situation, and so thoroughly impressed me, I wrote to praise him. To my horrified amazement, we soon scheduled a date.
Of course he was a complete dream, dammit.
Date #2 started at his home, so I could meet his wife. I literally stepped through their door and into her hug. I could barely believe how welcoming she was to this stranger who might bed her husband. Was she insane?
That man became my gateway to happy nonmonogamy. With two notable [and regrettable] exceptions, I've dated nonmonogamously ever since.
It. Is. AWESOME.
Consider the following:
- As I've read up (The Ethical Slut, Sex at Dawn, A Natural History Of Love) I've realized that monogamy is the exception rather than the rule. Humans are wired to seek novelty, and we suppress those urges at our peril.
- When I separated dating and procreating, I picked better dates. Turns out guys who might make good dads often aren't well-suited to partner with me.
- Getting one's emotional and physical needs met by several people is a better use of resources. We'd never expect someone to have a single friend, so why do we try to limit them to a single partner? Asking someone to be your everything is unrealistic.
Nearly fifteen years after breaking my poly cherry, I now have my first primary partner, and he has his first secondary. She and I haven't met yet, because she has the same reservations I did when I was in her shoes: she's dating HIM, not me.
I suspect there's a lesson in this. I'll let you know when I figure out what it is.