AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the month “November, 2013”

Here I am, Stuck in the Middle with You

This is always an interesting situation when you’re poly. You’re at a party with a partner and you’re interested in someone there. So what do you do? I was at a birthday party for a poly friend recently. She invited someone I was pretty sure I was going to like and indeed, I was right. He was interested in me as well. I had invited someone I’m dating to the party and I didn’t want to be rude and ignore him. Later on at the party, my date and I went to the bathroom. We had been sitting on the same couch as the new person I was interested in, whom I will refer to as NP. When I got out of the bathroom, the birthday girl was cuddling with NP. I was pulled into the cuddle pile and NP reached over to touch me, very affectionately. The birthday girl got up and let us cuddle. My date was thankfully ensconced in conversation with others. NP continued being very affectionate and kissed me. He also invited me to a potential road trip in the spring. I was very happily surprised by all of this. Unfortunately, he lives a few hours away but he has assured me he will come to Toronto periodically. 

At the end of the party, I asked my date if he was okay with me cuddling with and kissing NP and he was fine with it. I’m glad that things worked out; I didn’t want to exclude anyone. I have been in the position of being excluded many times in my life and it can be awful, especially in the context of a new relationship, since I have only known the date I brought to the party for just over a month. Poly can be a very delicate balance between having fun and considering the feelings of your partners. Make sure you’re on the same page and things should be okay. 

Yesterday I had dates with 2 new people. One I have mentioned before, in the last blog. He’s very new to poly. I really like his sense of spontaneity and adventure. We were wandering around the Eaton Centre and made out in a change room in Sears, and in many other places as well. I felt like a teenager. I also met someone new from OkCupid. We have very similar interests like environmentalism, cycling, travelling, local politics, etc. I was disappointed to find out that he has only recently gotten out of a serious relationship and he’s not looking for a primary partner, which I am. I feel a bit stuck because we would like to see each other again, but at this particular moment, I don’t want something casual. I also don’t really want to wait for him to be ready for something serious. The search for a primary continues… One thing I find frustrating about OkCupid is that most of the poly people on there opened an existing relationship. There are very few people like me who ended a relationship to become poly. Why is this the case? If you have thoughts, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca

To my American readers, happy Thanksgivukah! I’ll be in Rochester, NY visiting cousins and a friend from tomorrow until Sunday.

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STIgma and Fear

The issue of STIs seems to come up again and again recently, so I wanted to say more about it. It’s frustrating that there’s so little research being done on things like herpes and HPV, which are surprisingly common. These are the times when I wish I was a scientist so I could conduct studies. I once heard someone say that if you’re non-monogamous, you may have to accept the fact that you will get herpes and it’s really not the end of the world. It’s all in how you manage it. These kinds of viruses prey on a weak immune system, so if you’re stressed out and/or sick, it’s more likely you will get it. Of course, there are times when you’re under a lot of stress. When that happens, take care of yourself. Whether that means having more alone time or having more time with the people you care about is up to you. I’m normally a pretty extroverted person and when I’m feeling crappy, I want to be alone, but I know that having a network of people around me for support is so important. However, there are days when I just want to sit at home and watch movies. The message I’d like to convey is, don’t be so afraid of STIs. Take the measures you can to protect yourself, but accept that life is never without risks. There is no reason to shut people out because they may or may not have something. I do hope that more money is invested in sex research, so we can find out more.

I recently had a very interesting first date with someone I met at the Playground conference. He’s very new to polyamory. I told him that I get a bit of a kick out of being the first person someone dates when they become poly. I both like and hate being the teacher. I like learning new things and I’m certainly not the most experienced poly person, but I also like showing people what polyamory is about. We met at a cafe in Kensington Market and then walked around. We talked about a lot of different things, including how both of us can be intense. I don’t really do small talk, so that was nice for me. We ended up going to a bagel place and I overheard 2 people, a man and a woman, talking about open relationships. My date said, why don’t we take the table that’s near them and move it over so we can talk to them about it, which is exactly what we did. The woman told us that she met someone when she went to Germany in the summer and they have a long distance relationship. They agreed that they can have sex with other people, but not date other people. She met someone here and explained that to him. They had sex and it seemed to go well, but the guy was wanting more and she felt bad. I told her she shouldn’t feel guilty because she explained her situation. However, I also said that she may find she wants to date someone here, which she acknowledged to be true. Long distance relationships can be tricky… 

I have to say that I was impressed with my date for being bold enough to move our table so we could talk to the 2 people. That’s never really happened to me before. Since we had that date, we’ve been in regular contact and I’m quite happy about that. The only issue is that his partner is scared that he would leave her for someone else. I don’t necessarily want to be involved in that situation, but I also like the guy. Rejection is something everyone has to deal with at some point in their lives and it’s never fun. I told my date that I have no intention of stealing him away and I’m not sure what else to say. We’ll see where the relationship goes…

If you have a question, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca  Thanks as always for reading!

The Proof is in the Poly

I had a funny thought last week while I was making a soda bread that would eventually fail. I really enjoy cooking and baking and I wanted to make a quick bread that doesn’t require kneading. I screwed up the recipe and the morning after, I tried again unsuccessfully to make it into pancake batter. As I was adding milk into it, I thought about adding lovers. Some people think that adding lovers will automatically make things better. In some ways it can because you have more love in your life. It does also mean more work. Relationships take time, commitment, and effort. If you’re not prepared to put in the work, polyamory is not the lifestyle for you.

This weekend I was at the Playground Conference. I had some revelations during the conference I want to share. One of the sessions I went to was on dirty talk, which is something I struggle with. I enjoy hearing it and I want to reciprocate, but I find it difficult. When I’m in the moment, sometimes I just want to forget about everything and not speak. I remembered after the session that many years ago, I was in bed with someone and I spoke to that person in Spanish. He didn’t know that I spoke Spanish and he froze. I realized that perhaps that’s part of the reason why I can’t do dirty talk. Maybe I’m afraid that something like that will happen again…

All in all, the Playground conference was very enjoyable. It will happen again next year; go if you can. Lots of different topics were covered including kink, sex positivity, and non-monogamy. There was also a talent show and karaoke. I performed some poetry in the talent show and ended up winning burlesque dance classes. I also met some interesting people and ended up having a date. Good times were had by all…     

The Compersion Equation

This blog post is brought to you by a friend of mine who texted me on Friday to say, write about compersion. Evidently, it is not a subject I have covered yet. What exactly is compersion? It’s the feeling when your partner is doing new things with new people and you feel happy for them. Many people view it as the end goal of polyamory. I think it’s just 1 step along the way that some people may or may not experience, which is fine. Poly is all about the celebration of difference. 

Someone I used to be involved with said we were very compersion compatible. We were able to be happy for each other when we met new people and had new experiences. Those new experiences brought us closer, be they good or bad. I think the reason that happened is because we shared everything. In poly, there’s no sense in hiding anything, though some people have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Those of you who know me know that I have trouble hiding anything. I’m honest to a fault. I think that works really well for compersion. When you’re happy and you share it with your partners, they generally like it. I recently met someone new and my partner is happy that I look so happy. The key for me is communication. Everyone has to figure out what works best for them. I’ve been in situations where someone met someone new and didn’t tell me that much, which made me feel left out. Happiness is better when shared. 

If you’re in an existing relationship that has been opened up, I believe that the new experiences should liven up the relationship. I like the feeling of strengthening an existing relationship. It makes me feel useful and needed. Some people who open a relationship do so because they are bored. When you know someone for a long time and/or you live together, everything becomes familiar. When you have new experiences, it is possible that someone will feel jealous. Depending on how the situation is handled, that can lead to a good or a bad place. The more communication you have, the better.     

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