AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the tag “metamour”

The Freedom to Feel

Before getting to the heart of this blog, I want to say one thing. On this blog, I will be writing about Ben and Eve as well as my own feelings about them. I want to acknowledge the privilege I feel to write about a relationship that I’m not completely involved in. Of course, Ben is my fiance and Eve and I are friends, but they are the ones who are romantically involved here. On this blog, I mainly want to write about my own relationships as well as give advice and in this situation, it’s a bit different. I will do my best to represent the situation as accurately as I can.

Last night, Ben, Eve, and I had a call that ended up lasting for 1.5 hours. I continue to be in Taiwan and they are in Vietnam. We talked about many different things including the strong possibility that Eve will visit us in China within 2 months. I think all of us are looking forward to the visit, but we also feel nervous about it. Ben and I have a relationship and Eve and Ben are developing their relationship, but the dynamics between 3 are hard to predict. One of my concerns is that I will feel left out in my own house. Groups of 3 have often made me anxious because one person can often feel left out and I don’t want that person to be me. In Zhengzhou, our city in China, there aren’t many places for us to go and just hang out with other people. We are generally at the university teaching and doing other things, eating out in our neighbourhood, or at home. If I want to give Ben and Eve some alone time, that may be difficult to do. That being said, Eve will probably come for 5 days, which isn’t an inordinate length of time and I do think we’ll all get along. Eve said she’s happy to have me as a friend. She has already opened up to me a lot, which has really impressed me; it shows me that she speaks our language. She’s unsure of her feelings toward women at this point and I would never push anything with her, but if it were to develop, I don’t think either of us would be opposed to that.

This situation is new for all of us involved. After talking to the 2 of them last night, I think I was feeling some jealousy and envy as I watched them cuddle on the hotel bed. This situation is even more foreign to Eve who hasn’t been in that many relationships, let alone a non-monogamous relationship. Since Ben and I got together, neither one of us has had an additional serious relationship, so this is new for him too, though he acknowledged to me this morning that he has the easiest time emotionally in all of this; after all, he has 2 women who feel strongly about him. Ben and I also said this morning that we don’t want their relationship to impact ours. We would like to acknowledge that both relationships are unique and that we can all contribute to their success.

Feelings can run high in this sort of situation and as I said to Ben, there are many forces at play here that we are all unaware of. In many societies and depending on the family, we often do not talk about how we feel. I was raised by social workers and was often asked how I felt about things, so I’m an exception and I do feel lucky for that. I think that all 3 of us are fairly emotionally aware, but we all have baggage that affects how we feel at present. If one goal of polyamory is open communication, we can acknowledge how our past impacts our feelings right now. With our emotions invested in multiple people and depending on how much we choose to disclose, we may tell our partner(s) how we feel about other partners or express how metamours make us feel. I think that the expression of all these emotions makes us healthier people and better partners.

Thank you as always for reading! Ask me a relationship question anytime at miriam@askmiriam.ca I will be back in China on Monday and look forward to seeing Ben for the first time since January 20…

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Reaching Out and Tuning Out

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m currently in Taiwan and Ben is in Vietnam. Recently, he met someone I will call Eve and they’ve hit it off. I was very pleasantly surprised when I got a message from her on OkCupid and when she added me as a friend on Facebook. When my partner(s) get involved with others, I like to build relationships with them. It’s very rare that others have reached out to me first, so you can imagine this was a bit of shock, especially because Eve has never been involved in a polyamorous relationship before. I think she really understands how it works, though. We’ve started exchanging pleasant messages and I’ve even been informed by Ben that she writes poetry and is interested in exploring an attraction to women. It’s also very rare that I meet a fellow poet, so for me, this is all great. She and Ben are going on a little trip this weekend and will see how things develop. If things go well, she’s interested in visiting us in China, depending on whether she can get a visa or not. Diplomatic relations between Vietnam and China have not been the best recently, so it could be difficult for her. Now, this isn’t to say my feelings about Eve have been entirely positive. Ben told me he hasn’t been attracted to someone as strongly as he is to Eve since he met me, which could be constructed as a threat to our relationship.

One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is how women are programmed to act in relationships. We are often taught to find a man (forget what your sexual orientation may be…) and hold on to him as tightly as possible. We should be jealous and protective when another woman comes along because she might steal him away from us. If we have children with said man, we have to depend on him and keep him from being attracted to other women. Of course, these are all outdated ideas, but they are still present in our society today. I don’t think Eve would steal Ben away from me for a few reasons: Ben and I are as committed to each other as anyone can be. I don’t think Ben would allow someone to steal him away from me. It would also be against Eve’s interest to do so if she wants to build at least a friendship with me. It does seem like she’s coming into polyamory in the spirit of friendship, so I have no doubt she would betray me in some way. There is also the question of whether she would live close to us. She is interested in doing a Master’s and that could be in Canada, so we shall see where this all goes. In the meantime, I’m putting myself into a mindframe of tuning out from the normal programming I mentioned above. As the old saying goes, if you love someone, set them free. I sometimes have the feeling that Ben and I only met recently and that our relationship is still fragile. I remind myself how much can happen in a little over a year…

Thanks as always for reading! I await your relationship questions, which are always posted anonymously. My email address is miriam@askmiriam.ca

The Importance of Laughter and other Notes on the Benefits of Poly

I have just returned from Montreal to Ben’s hometown in Eastern Ontario. My grandparents live in Montreal and we wanted to visit them for various reasons. My grandmother is planning to move to Victoria as soon as she can sell her condo. She’s giving away a lot of her things, so Ben and I went to stay with her and pack up dishes for myself, my mother, and my sister. I have never had the fortune to be in Montreal in July, which is when the Just for Laughs festival is on. I have seen Just for Laughs on TV many times and I’ve always wanted to go. Several weeks ago, I got a message on OkCupid from someone in Montreal and he seemed interesting. I told him we’d be coming into town and asked if he might want to go to Just for Laughs with Ben and I. Now, many of you know that I’ve had a penchant for getting involved with people with a certain name and the person in Montreal happened to have that name. A friend of mine said to me that the people I meet with that name have gotten better all the time, so I should meet him. That fellow got tickets for Ben, myself, and him to the festival. The show was very funny. Unfortunately, Ben and I both got colds just before Montreal and Ben’s was worse, so he didn’t come, but the fellow and I had a good time. I think the fellow is looking for direction in his life and I think I was able to help in that regard. I also definitely needed to laugh after spending time with my very sad grandmother, who lost her husband just over 2 months ago. Ben was able to spend some quality time with my grandmother, which I really appreciated. Just before Ben and I left Montreal, my grandmother and I had a very funny conversation that Ben walked in on. My grandmother is aware of the fact that I like women. She reminded me that I had told her about that 2 years ago. I told her that I still like women. Apparently 2 years ago I had said to her that sex with women is awkward. Ben walked in on this and we all laughed. My grandmother isn’t totally aware of my polyamory- I did talk to her about it last year and she didn’t seem to understand, so I thought it best not to talk about it this time. However, I have always been very close to her and I wish I could talk to her more about it.

Ben and I have spent a lot of time together over the last week, so I think it was good for us to be apart for a bit, thus I was happy to be at Just for Laughs and for him to be at home with my grandmother. I arrived in his hometown last Sunday and we’ve barely spent any time apart since then. We all need some amount of alone time and polyamory can allow for that. I will only realize that later because I’m an extrovert and I like being around people. Ben is a bit more of an introvert, so him having alone time when I’m out with someone else is sometimes a very good thing. If you’re a more extroverted poly person, you can plan to do things when your partner is out on a date and the distraction will be good. After all, we tick in different ways.

Another benefit of polyamory is the potential for more community. Last month I started seeing Tony and I’m happy to see that he texted Ben recently to say, if you ever need to talk, this line of communication is open. This is the kind of relationship I have always wanted. I have always tried my best to become friends with metamours (your partner’s partner/s), but I haven’t always seen that happen with my partners. If we can all support each other, jealousy will surely lessen and more friendships will develop. You also have the added benefit of being able to talk about your mutual partner and sort out any issues.

If you have any questions about relationships, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca All posted questions are anonymous. Thanks as always for reading!

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