Is polyamory worth it?

It’s been a long standing joke in my family (both blood and chosen) that my life is anything but simple. I’m kind of the black sheep, tending to gravitate towards experiences, interests, and people that are complex. I’m the one who taught my very vanilla sister about the separate subjects of furries (which was great, because she was able to be a safe person to talk to when she found out one of her co-workers was a furry), polyamory, and kink (and how no, the latter is not always about sex and for me it very seldomly is about sex at all, and no, my kink does not involve being a lamppost. True conversations.) I’m the one who broadened my dad’s world when I handed him an invitation to my poly wedding (two coming outs in one awkward card, as he didn’t know I was poly or pansexual!) I have this blog where I write publicly about being kinky, being poly, taking my clothes off in front of strangers, body image, sex, random cum stains in the shape of Pacman that amuse me and how that related to a happy compersion poly moment, and openly admit to being a cuckquean.

Sometimes…okay a lot of times, and especially over the past few months, being the black sheep and not able to just do or feel uncomplicated things hurts. When you don’t fall under the umbrella of social expectation, you kind of have to navigate your own way around instead of relying on what society in general tells you. While this touches on all parts of my life, from my job(s), to my kink drive, to the way I dress, and so much more, it’s never so apparent to me as when I consider love.

Recently, I may or may not’ve wound up driving and crying with my sister because while she’s vanilla as hell, she loves me and listens unconditionally. And the last two months or so have been…hard. Through a combination of life and work stressors, issues with metamours, and feeling unable to find support and connection with the certain people I either usually do or was hoping to, I’ve been a bit upset and floundering. Ever since May, it feels like I’ve leveled up in life, but with that comes an entirely new world that I’m unfamiliar with. There’s some advanced/complicated poly stuff going on, in addition to navigating a cross country move for work, in addition to my submissive and Domme sides resurfacing again in major ways and it’s all been really, really hard to deal with sometimes.

And during this drive with my sister that may or may not’ve happened, she asked me a very pointed question:

“Are you sure polyamory is worth all this pain?”

I could tell she wasn’t just asking about my current situation. She knows what I went through in my triad marriage and when it ended, in addition to my other poly relationships. To her, a woman who’s been married to the same man for 20 years, what I was going through seemed so foreign and complex. A simple choice could fix it. I paused, tears streaming down my face, nose running, heart aching, and gave the question its due even while my core was screaming its answer.

But before I get to my answer, though, let me reference a post Ferrett recently wrote that made me tear up. He talked about driving three hours to hold his girlfriend’s hand before she went into surgery. And how when the medical staff asked who she had waiting for her, she replied honestly that it was her husband…AND her boyfriend. Which flummoxed the staff to the point where, instead of continually repeating herself, she just wound up summarizing with “‘Look, I lead an alternative lifestyle, all right?'”

This hit him hard, as evidenced by the entirety of the post. It, in turn, had a pretty big impact on me. Because he goes on to talk about all the times we don’t talk about these alternative choices, especially, if you’re poly or kinky or both, who we love.

These paragraphs, specifically, were what brought me to tears:

Yet my girlfriend did not give a fuck. She was exhausted, and tired, and when she was stripped raw the last thing she wanted to give up was to acknowledge the love that was sitting out there in that lobby for her and fuck, I’m crying now.

But it’s a moment. It’s a moment where her don’t-give-a-fuck punched a hole through to another world where I saw what it might be like not to have really good reasons not to just be buried under a tide of assumptions, and in that moment our love felt realer than it ever had before, this thing where yeah, we don’t live together and we’re never going to get married and we’ll never have once-a-week dates and all the traditional pathways designated as “serious about each other” somehow didn’t fucking matter.

We don’t call each other, but I’ll drive out to hold her hand when she needs me.

We only get to see each other once every couple of months, but she’ll fucking face down a bunch of surgeons in the place of her to tell them, Give that man respect for what he is.

Between that post and the post he wrote called “Yes, of course” about his wife’s reaction to him driving three hours out to be with his girlfriend when she went into surgery, I just…felt a recognition. I know what my answer is. I’ve always known. And recently, despite or maybe even because of the pain I’ve been going through, I feel I finally found where I want to be with relationships.

Yes, it’s fucking worth it.

It’s taken me nearly 15 years to get to a place of polyamory that’s basically relationship anarchy/fluid (not to imply that it’s more evolved, it’s just that it’s where I evolved to) and yes, it’s fucking worth it. I want and actively chose this support network of complex ties and feelings and yes, love, in its many shapes and forms. I don’t always have to know how to define a particular relationship, but I sure as hell know when I love someone and all the tears are worth being able to say it and hear it back.

The feeling of making a new connection and exploring it and finding and developing another piece of myself with another person is totally worth the half a box of tissues I went through that night.

When I get on a plane, there are about five or six people that know when I take off and when I land and those people also are told that I love them. I’m not “in a relationship” with all of them, and I don’t even know how the hell to define all of them, but I know they are important to me and I to them and if I’m staring down mortality, I want that to be known. I want love to be the thing I focus on, not fear. And it’s actually been part of what helps me get over some residual anxiety when it comes to flying. That’s totally worth frustrating interactions with a metamour.

The poly and kinky support network I’ve built over the years that spans nearly ten different states and a fuckton of people, the books and articles I’ve read, the conversations I’ve had sorting through my own shit or helping someone else sort through theirs is totally worth the pain of break ups, of sifting through complex emotions, or being stood up.

I mean, it’s not the structure itself that causes the hurt. When I got divorced from my poly triad, I was asked why I would continue to be polyamorous after all that pain and I replied that polyamory wasn’t to blame for my relationship ending any more or less than monogamy is the reason for monogamous divorces. It’s not the relationship style, it’s the people involved. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s universal. No relationship style that I know of is immune to…humanity and its wondrous variety.

And on the flip side are moments like my husband texting me today that he thinks the person at the deli where he ate lunch is totally my type. Or the compersion of seeing someone I care about twitterpated with NRE over a connection with someone new. Or when my husband came home today and I told him that I had spent some of my day negotiating to do a needle scene at GKENE and he made up a little song to the tune of “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5. However for him, since he doesn’t like needle play, it went more like this (complete with chair dance choreography and him spinning me in my desk chair):

You and I must make a pact, when he’s putting needles in your back
When that’s happening, I won’t be there…

That freedom to explore who I am, who I love, and what I want at my own pace, at my own comfort level, with the people I choose to, and the beautifully complex tapestry of people and experiences that ensue, including impromptu chair dances, are totally fucking worth it.

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