AskMiriam

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Archive for the tag “non-monogamy”

Learning Compersion

This post will be about 2 things: learning and compersion. Ben commented to me the other day that once you learn about poly, it’s difficult to go back to monogamy. You cannot unlearn the fact that you are aware that polyamory and non-monogamy exist. You might try it out and find out it’s not for you, but if you get into it and like it, I think it’s quite difficult to go back. I’m always reminded of someone I interviewed for a little research project who said to me, I feel like I passed a signpost that said, you will be poly from here on out. For myself, I feel the same way. There are many different ways to be poly and those may change, but for those of us who like all genders, we will always have the desire to be with more than one gender. For people who are straight and poly, the desire to have different relationships will be there as well. As many of my readers know, I got into poly because of a certain American person. Once I met him and I was aware that I could have feelings for more than 1 person, there was no turning back.

Ben, Eve, and I continue to have regular contact. She will definitely be coming here at the end of April. As Eve and I get to know each other better, we like each other more and more. She even said that she would be friends with me with or without Ben and I feel the same way. We think very similarly and our interests are also similar. Both of us have had few meaningful relationships in the past with women because we are very different from most women, so it’s always nice to meet a woman who is like us. Eve has never been attracted to a woman before and of course, it’s hard to know at this point if we’ll be attracted to each other because we haven’t met yet. I also don’t want to get my hopes up because Eve might end up living very far away from us. She’s applying to do her Master’s in Europe and we’ll be on the west coast of North America. There is a chance that she could do her Master’s in Canada, but the particular program she wants to apply to is in Guelph, which isn’t all that close to where we’ll be. I’m planning to apply for my PhD in Washington, Michigan, and California and that would start next year.

By getting to know Eve better, I find that compersion is so much easier. I’m happy for Eve and Ben because I want them both to be happy. As a reminder, compersion is often described as the opposite of jealousy; when you are happy for your partner to be involved, in whatever way, with others. I don’t think that experiencing compersion is necessarily a requirement of poly, but I think it definitely helps get over whatever jealousy existed. I think it also helps us let go of the possessive side of love. Don’t get me wrong – there are times where I want Ben all to myself. For the time that we’ve been involved, we haven’t really had other serious relationships, so this does take some getting used to. In the end though, Ben and I want to create a team of love. This could mean several of us living together and supporting each other in whatever ways are needed. It’s not for everyone, but I think that having that kind of bond would be amazing. A true poly family.

Thank you as always for reading! If you have a question, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

 

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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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