Poly Drama – Ripples in Poly Families


polyamory dramaComplicated: past participle, past tense of com·pli·cate (Verb)

1. Make (something) more difficult or confusing by causing it to be more complex.
2. Introduce complications in (an existing condition): “smoking may complicate pregnancy”.
3. Or, anything related to or having to do with polyamory.
Ok, I added the third definition, but most people involved in this lifestyle would tend to agree with me I think. Yes, polyamory is complicated. No, it does not have to be. However; when you engage in a lifestyle that involves multiple people, multiple relationships, and all the associated emotions and inter-personal connections . . . it can become damnably complicated. The worst part is, it does not have to be . . . *sigh*
Ok. In earlier entries I have explained that Ally and I are part of an extremely close quad, and also have a boyfriend/girlfriends, or lovers, partners, who-the-hell-knows-what to call them.
Yeah, change of subject! What do you call these people? Girlfriend sounds kinda sweet at first, but that word does not truly capture our relationship.  I am not a boy. I am a man. Am I a man-friend to these women? Are they my woman-friends? No. That is ridiculous. Partners? Ugh. Who knows.
Tangent, sorry. I sometimes get distracted by shiny objects and blinking lights. Back to task. We have multiple relationships and these relationships have varying levels of intensity and involvement. (We still swing too, which is how we started all this craziness. We are poly, but not poly exclusive by any means.) In our extended poly network almost all of our partners know each other at least in passing, if not having full-blown friendships themselves. Now, in the multiple layers of our involvement with these people we have faced our fair share of jealousy. It is a natural human emotion. The person experiencing the green-eyed monster (thanks Violet Michelle Smith) is not wrong or broken or anything silly like that. It happens. We simply have to learn to express it and deal with it like adults. In addition to the aforementioned emotion, there have been issues that arise due to time management and perceived unequal sharing of time. Unfortunately the schedules of some of our partners make it much more convenient to hang out, go to lunch, fuck, whatever. I would prefer that this is simply understood without judgement or hurt feelings, but that is not the case sometimes.
Whether the issue arises from jealousy, time management concerns, or misunderstanding of intent, sometimes small problems can become huge ripples in a poly family. (Finally getting to the point!) What one partner says very casually can be misunderstood by another partner and before long there is a full-blown controversy/conspiracy about what the heck was said or meant. It ripples from one partner to the next. Feelings get hurt. This is where things get complicated for no good reason at all. Now half the partners are involved, everyone is talking about it, and no one even knows where it started or what the hell even started it. It is an issue blown way out of proportion.
So people, take a breath. Take a moment to think about things. Remember that open and honest communication is paramount. If at all possible gather some or all of the poly partners that are now involved in the mess and sit down at a table, or at least gather in the same place where you can speak freely. We are all friends here. We all love each other. Let's just discuss this, understand what happened, learn from it, and most importantly move forward. We must understand that these issues will arise from time to time. It is a part of the often complicated poly lifestyle. Let's remember this and think the best of each other when it comes to intent. And when we encounter issues, discuss them in a non-confrontational, loving way.
In a “normal” monogamous relationship communication with your spouse is extremely important. In a polyamorous relationship this skill is required and is an ongoing process. It is very easy for things to get complicated. If you are not involved in a polyamorous lifestyle already, and are not comfortable with your communication skills with your spouse, then this is something you must work on and perfect before you take that step. Some might say that jealousy is the largest hurdle, but I disagree. Jealousy happens, and can be understood, discussed, and processed through open and honest communication. I keep coming back to that. Perhaps it should be my motto.

Jack is a thirty-something year old business professional from middle America. Jack spends his time balancing work, his beautiful wife Ally, three kids, his two girlfriends, Ally's girlfriend, and Ally's boyfriend. Life is grand.

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