Polyamory, bisexuality and maybe even some atheism

Chuckle June 30, 2008

Filed under: Bisexuality,Polyamory,Sexuality — Araliya @ 4:40 pm
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The things you say at poly gatherings. M had brought her boyfriend O and his primary N along to a poly evening that we attended together. A arrived a little after us and M and I were talking to someone else when he walked in. O was standing by the door and recognized A from pictures, so extended a warm greeting. A however did not know O and so, when “I’m O” didn’t spark anything, O added “You know. Araliya’s M’s O?”, which cleared things up immediately.

Other overheards:

“Oh that’s X. He dated my boyfriend a few years ago but then decided he was straight for a while and broke it off and started dating my ex-girlfriend but that’s over because he’s come out again, but as gay this time. Be nice to him.”

“My lover’s so disorganized I have to check his schedule with his wife when I want see him.”

“Hi! I believe I’m your girlfriend’s girlfriend’s boyfriend’s girlfriend.”


Ah Sleep, I knew you well June 29, 2008

Filed under: Figuring it out,Polyamory — Araliya @ 5:22 pm
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You know what? Running three relationships is tiring. It’s a lot of fun, certainly, and wonderful on levels I’m still discovering, but I’m finding that, in addition to coordinating free time, one has to also consider when exactly that time happens to be. For instance, spending Friday night with partner no. 1, Saturday with no. 2, and then Sunday with no. 3, followed by a catch-up with no. 1 on Monday might sound like a fun (and it is) but it is also exhausting. And no, not just because of what you’re thinking.

It’s the sleeping. Or the lack thereof.

Now, it’s hardly news that everyone sleeps differently, but it’s something most of us know in theory. However, if you’re as light a sleeper as I am, you will soon find that a whole new set of sleeping patterns can be very distracting. Just as I’m about to drift off, A will snuggle or M will sigh or H will shift and I wake right up with ‘whatthehuhwhothewhatwasthat?’ running through my head like a news crawly-thing gone haywire. Generally, a jump like that will wake the other person up as well and you’re both back at square one with regard to sleep. So you settle back down because, hey, you have work and life and stuff to get to in the morning, and juuuust as you’re about to drift off, yup, it happens again. Rinse and repeat until totally sleep deprived.

And yes I’ve included H in there because apparently there’s some sort of recency thing where your brain’s so preoccupied with the new patterns that it blanks on the old pattern. I’m sure it will eventually catch up but I’m guessing not bombarding myself with different sleep patterns every night might be of some help. Because obviously, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll be more jumpy. If you’re more jumpy, you’ll be more disturbed. If you’re more disturbed, you won’t sleep, and the merry little cycle will continue.

So take it from someone figuring this stuff out one day at a time, scheduling isn’t as easy as Google Calendar makes it look.


Delhi Queer Pride 2008 June 20, 2008

Filed under: Coming out,Sexuality — Araliya @ 3:16 pm
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From Mortar and Pestle:

This June, for the first time, Queer Pride celebrations will erupt on the streets of Delhi, alongside simultaneous marches in Kolkata and Bangalore!

Queer Pride is a celebration. It is about loving who we are, whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, hijra or straight, and affirming everyone’s right to be respected for their own sexual choices.

This year, queer people, friends, and allies take this message to the streets!

Regal Cinema, CP
Sunday, June 29th

We’ll gather at Regal Cinema on the CP Outer Circle, then parade our pride along the Inner Circle, through Central Park, down Janpath and right to Jantar Mantar, where we will have celebrating, singing, speeches and a candlelight vigil.


This is huge. As far as I know, nothing like it has happened in South Asia before and the silence around queer issues there is profound. There’s a staggering amount of cultural conditioning and baggage that needs to be cast aside to even think of doing something like this. I no longer live in Delhi so won’t be able to participate, but I’ll be following events with great interest and hoping for the best for all who attend.


Of love and labels June 18, 2008

Filed under: Bisexuality,Coming out,Polyamory — Araliya @ 2:13 pm
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M told me she loved me the other night. We were cuddled up in bed together in the dark and she just said it. And I didn’t know what to do. I had this voice in my head saying “But, but you’re married! You love H! You can’t love two people!” And then another voice said “Why the hell not? She’s M, he’s H; they’re two different people who both happen to be wonderful and if they can both love you, why can’t you love them both?”  So I thought about it a bit and then told her I loved her too. *applause* *tears*

But what does that mean, anyway? We spent ages before that night discussing the implications of terms like ‘girlfriend’ and ‘partner’ and how the overtones of ownership in them make them somewhat unappealing. What I want to say, when I refer to her, is that this is someone who means a lot to me, whose well-being I care about, and who I am emotionally and sexually invested in, but who is free to get involved with whomever else she chooses, as am I, so please don’t come running to me if you happen to see her on a date with someone else. Yeah, it’s a bit of a mouthful.

Things get way more loaded, however, when you bring the idea of ‘love’ into it because ‘love’, as defined for us by our monogamy-based cultures, is exclusive. To love someone is to want them above all others, to want them to the point that we somehow forget that there is or was or will be anyone else on the planet. So if you are involved with more than one person, it’s a given that you’re not in love with both and probably with either since you’ve ‘wandered’ in the first place. How many movies and books present us with the impossibility of loving two people at once? Our Hero or Heroine is torn between two loves and must eventually choose one, even if that means regretting the decision forevermore, for that is what it means to… er … what? (Come to think of it, if you remove the whole either-or clause from the deal, you’d kill the whole ‘what might have been’ storyline dead.)

For me, there is perfection in every individual I meet. Everyone has something to offer, something about them that makes them uniquely them, something, ultimately, worth loving. I don’t see how that makes, or should be construed to make, how I feel about them any less valid or vital than someone who sees that something in only one person. Of course I don’t go falling in love with everyone I meet – people need to resonate with me in a particular way for that to happen – but I can often see what it is in them that another person may appreciate (and, as it turns out, relationships between people I introduce seem to outlast my own relationships with one or both parties). And while we’re on disclaimers, there are people to whom I react extremely negatively as well – life is not one big love-in and some people are more rotten than others in my book, for reasons that may have as much to do with me as with them.

In spite of all that though, I struggle with the expression of it. I am still not ‘out’ to most of my friends and one of the main things stopping me is that I don’t want them to think any less of my relationship with H. At the moment, they see us as a happily married couple who are utterly silly about each other. If I introduce another person into the equation, how will that view change? Will they think it was all a sham? Will they think I’m a horrible person for ‘doing this to H’ whatever ‘this’ is? Will they think less of H for not asserting his ‘rights’ over me? How do I convince them that he really is ok with it? I suppose I could leave that up to him with his own friends and family, but what about mine? And how do I do it without sounding defensive or like I’m apologizing for doing something that I know is ‘wrong’ by some imaginary standard?

I suppose ultimately it’s up to us to not just talk about it but to live it. Part of the reason we decided to go ahead with polyamory was that we met and spoke to people who have been making it work for a long time now and who are living proof of all that they talk about (including the bad bits). They showed us that it needn’t break up a marriage and can, in fact, make the marriage stronger because it’s less about being stuck together and more about exploring what it is that makes us want to be together in the first place. Loving M throws why I love H into greater relief, and loving H allows me to explore this new love in a manner that I can’t describe except to say that it is entirely new to me and yet entirely natural.

When I re-read that last bit, I can’t help but raise an eyebrow at the seeming fervor of the new convert. From where I sit, I don’t honestly think that I’m simply getting carried away by novelty, but I guess that’s something that will only be determined over time. For now, I’m just going to call it like I feel it and hope for the best.


Trundling along June 3, 2008

Filed under: Bisexuality,Polyamory,Sexuality — Araliya @ 11:43 am
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This week will mark my first month of active non-monogamy and it’s all been going rather well. The only even slightly negative aspect of all of this is finding enough hours in the week to accommodate everyone’s schedules. Naturally enough, it doesn’t remain completely balanced week to week, but I think it’s evened out pretty well at the end of the month.

I am still dating M, the woman I mentioned in my earlier post, and at some point we’re trying to get our partners (and, where applicable, their partners) together so everyone can say hello to each other. That promises to be something of an organizational minefield, so we may have to go ahead without some of the partners in attendance or just meet in smaller groups. It should be interesting, at any rate.

And I may have someone new to add to the mix, which is what makes me worry about having bitten off more than I can chew. A and I have been getting increasingly close over the past month as well and we’ve gotten to a point where it seems the only thing to do is make things a bit more serious. I have to admit he makes me just a bit giddy and I realize that I’m far more emotionally invested here than I had realized. Initially, I was pretty clear or not wanting to date men at all, but the funny thing is that I still am, and I don’t really feel like I’m contradicting myself. Like H, A doesn’t fit neatly into a gender classification and that makes me think anew of the idea that ultimately a person’s biological sex is no barrier or limitation to attraction. That said, I rarely if ever go for men who act ‘like men’, whatever that means.

Protocols and schedules are the main thing now. And trying to give each relationship as much time as it needs. M is new to poly as well, but her other partner has been poly for quite a long time and is very good about prompting dialog and keeping communication channels open. It’s also really helpful to be able to discuss the difference between monogamous relationships and non-monogamy with someone who’s also only just figuring it out. The difference is easy enough to grasp in theory, but it takes a while for it to sink in when you’ve spent the better part of your life operating under one set of assumptions. There are moments when you catch yourself reacting the way you’ve been conditioned to do in a monogamous setup and it takes a moment to realize what you’re doing, shake it off, and then re-engage. We’re doing pretty well at it so far though, thanks in large part to the support we’re getting from our respective partners and the community as well. I know it’s not likely to stay are rosy as this indefinitely and everyone will have ups and downs, but it helps to know that there are other people around who know this and are willing to offer a hand or a shoulder, as needed. At the moment, I just feel incredibly lucky and happy.