Polyamory, bisexuality and maybe even some atheism

Discussions February 28, 2008

Filed under: Bisexuality,Figuring it out,Polyamory — Araliya @ 1:37 pm
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So H and I talked. A lot. About sex, about sex with other people, about what we wanted, what we believed, what we thought, how what we believed and thought had changed, about jealousy, about love. It was intense, but it was wonderful to actually talk about it. It was particularly wonderful to discover that H was actually a lot more enthusiastic about my bisexuality than I had thought. I mean, he’s always been supportive and since I started actively investigating my sexuality, he’s actually said, more than once, that he’s proud of me for tackling it instead of burying it and letting it fester, but I’ve been afraid, nonetheless, that his view of what it meant for our relationship was pretty definite. Which is why when we had a tentative and less than positive discussion a few months ago I decided not to press the issue.

Turns out it was more timing than opinion. We were under a lot of work stress when I first brought up the question of my sexuality and there was simply too much else that needed to be dealt with immediately at the time. I also believe that H needed more time to process it. It was all very well for me to announce that I was actively interested in women – this wasn’t a revelation for me, after all, and I had time enough to think about whether this was something I really wanted to do – but springing it on H out of the blue was, in retrospect, a bit unfair. I wanted too much too soon. To his credit, H was supportive from the beginning, even encouraging me to go to a girl bar at some point or meet up with the local queer-interest group. Given that we’d signed up for a monogamous relationship though, I couldn’t really blame him for not being immediately gung-ho about my actual involvement with another person.

So yeah, we talked. And the upshot of that talk was that my having a relationship with a woman wasn’t out of the question (and neither, when you got down to it was a relationship with another man – in theory at least) and never really had been. Of course I fretted that I’d forced him to say that by making him feel either guilty for restricting me or afraid that I’d leave him if he didn’t accept it. I still have my doubts, though he assures me that it’s neither of those things and that polyamory is a reasonable enough proposition.

Polyamory is a reasonable enough proposition.

Sorry, had to type that again.

Now, happy as I am about that, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to be running out to hook up with the nearest available homosexually-inclined female I spot. It means some serious thinking and rule-making, lots more talking, and eventually figuring out what works for us.

To that end, I attended a discussion group for bisexuals the other day. It was a tiny gathering this time, which worked quite well for us because most of us were new to the group. I’ve known about it for a while but I’ve always bowed out of actually attending a group or even because I felt I had nothing to say for myself. This time, however, I could see the point.

Some of the members are polyamorous themselves and the discussion touched on how they manage their relationships. The key, as ever, is communication and honesty. The person who spoke the most about it is married (to, as luck would have it, a bisexual, polyamorous partner). Both partners came out as bi shortly after their marriage and have in the decade or so they’ve been together worked out an admirably durable system. They have their marriage as their primary relationship, and other committed relationships with partners of either sex. They started out with quite a few rules that centered on staying safe and keeping their spouse safe, both physically and emotionally. That is still central to their lifestyle, but it’s become a lot less codified now that they’ve worked through their initial fears and issues. Only one of them was there, but I’m looking forward to meeting the other.

The other people there were closer to where I am – just beginning to work out the practical implications of their bisexuality – and it was wonderful to connect with them. It was also a huge relief to enter a room where everyone knew already that I was bisexual (and where the straight people had to point out that they were there just to support their friends and partners) and where I knew I could talk about it without causing anyone any discomfort, ask for advice or perspectives, give advice (me?!) and even make a silly joke or two about the situation.

H couldn’t go with me this time, which I think was for the best since it allowed me to focus on just processing the situation without worrying about how he was feeling throughout (bad habit). I think that I’ve found my feet within the group to some extent and that I’m ready for him (yes after just one session) to join in. More importantly, after hearing about the session, he felt he might perhaps be up to going to the next one, without my pushing him to.

We have a long way to go yet, and I have no idea where we’ll end up, but at least in some small way, we’ve made a start.


4 Responses to “Discussions”

  1. marleenken Says:

    “Polyamory is a reasonable enough proposition” is still a phrase that gives me pause. My husband and I have been together for the last five years but I only realized that I was bisexual some three years ago, so we’ve been going through this whole thing together. I’ll never forget the feeling of that conversation we had when he said much the same thing to me. I thought I was about to lose everything I had built my life around, but I had chosen a more solid cornerstone than I knew. It was a feeling of exquisite liberation but at the same time complete lack of direction.
    Good luck to you both. I look forward to seeing you around.

  2. Jenny Block Says:

    I loved reading your blog this morning. I was in the very same place almost five years ago. Now I am in a very happy open marriage and have had a girlfriend for a year and a half now. We are all so happy. I wish you all of the best in your pursuit. Do know that as impossible as it may seem at times, following your heart and your intuition will pay off and you’ll find a happiness you didn’t know was possible.


  3. Araliya Says:

    Marleenken: I know what you mean about the liberation mixed with apprehension about what to do next. Not having a road map can be daunting. I hope you’ll stop by again and share more of your perspective.

    Jenny: Thank you for the encouragement. The more I talk to people for whom polyamory works – and generally I’ve found them to be willing to give you a warts-and-all perspective – the better equipped I feel to handle it. Ooh and thanks for the link to your site.

  4. asman Says:

    I am in a similar place, in a way… a partner and I have theoretically talked about polyamory, but I am not sure I’m ready to venture from theory to practice. I’m bi and he simply has an enormous sex drive… I have too many insecurities about him being in another relationship at this point, although he is supportive of me doing so… so i’m not sure where things will go.

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