Personally, I think that one of the biggest difficulties in poly is the fact that our partners have relationships that are sometimes completely separate from our own relationship. Take for example, Ben and Eve. I’m not romantically involved with Eve. That doesn’t mean that we’re not close, because we are, but it can mean sometimes that I have little control over what happens between the 2 of them. Eve will feel that way about Ben and I as well. Sometimes, meddling in a relationship can cause problems. Last week, Eve sent me a message and told me that she really missed Ben. Normally, Ben and I host a radio show every Thursday, but it’s been cancelled for about the last month due to various problems at the station. I told Eve that the 3 of us or the 2 of them could talk in the evening. However, after getting home, Ben was working on editing a journal article I’m writing about my Master’s research. Eve and I did have a nice talk, but I almost wish I hadn’t organized anything. I also felt kind of selfish that Ben was working on something for me when he could have been talking to Eve. These are all complicated issues with no right or wrong answer. However, I did tell Eve that I wouldn’t organize a call involving her and Ben. After all, it is their relationship.
Another difficulty with being the third party is that sometimes we are asked for our advice on a difficult issue. Both Ben and Eve have asked me if I think the relationship should continue after Ben and I return to Canada. This is an extremely difficult question to answer. As I have talked about before, maintaining a long distance relationship is a lot of work. Maintaining that relationship was hard enough for Ben and I when we lived within driving distance of each other; Ben and Eve will be on different continents, several time zones apart. They would have to communicate regularly, which could be difficult with that time difference. Eve may feel left out because Ben and I are sharing a life together and she can’t be a part of that. In groups of 3, someone can inevitably feel left out and it’s a terrible feeling. I really wouldn’t want Eve to feel that way. Finally, because Eve doesn’t identify as poly, she would most likely not take on another romantic relationship and she might not have as much support as she likes. Even if Ben and Eve were in a monogamous relationship, they would still be apart and it would be difficult.
In a month from tomorrow, Ben and I leave China. We are both excited to leave this crazy country. We will visit Eve for 9 days in Vietnam and then return to Canada. Honestly, when I left Canada, I almost wanted to leave poly behind. Poly has brought me some chaos and I wanted to have a more stable life. That being said, I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to be with more than 1 person. Ben and I have really built our relationship by coming over here and now I really want to share more love with others. I look foward to whatever comes into my life…
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