When did I first know I was polyamarous? There’s a loaded question.
Let’s start at the begining shall we?
Like many little girls born in the 80s, I grew up on a steady diet of Disney fairytales and Barbie dolls. And yet, when it came to my own make believe stories, I crafted out epic tales of a magical alter ego who had not just one, but three (yes, three!) ‘husbands’. I remember telling my mom the original story and being told, “No, no, no, you can only have one husband at a time!”. I went back and a few rewrites later, the story was adapted to fit the societal norms a little closer. Other make believe/fantasties seemed to be ripe with this common theme- more than one significant other.
I wonder now to what extent I was influenced by knowing the stories of my parent’s own pasts. My mother would tell me stories of her ex boyfriends, and I recall thinking that she still had a lot of love for them. And my father, well- prior to meeting my mother he had been living with his ex wife and his girlfriend all in the same house. I’m still not totally clear on how that dynamic worked. I do know that coming out to my dad was a whole lot easier than coming out to my mom. That’s a story for another post though.
I struggled with dating in high school. A lot. Mainly because I couldn’t make up my mind about who I wanted to date. At age 15 I had this complicated chart where I tracked the different boys I had a crush on, and who I was feeling more attracted to that day. Never dated a single one of the boys on that chart. On the other hand, my favorite game to play at parties was truth or dare. Somehow it would always end up being a game of getting everyone to kiss everyone else. I’m pretty sure I was, on more than one occasion, a tad aggressive about getting everyone to play. It was fun, kissing all my friends (wasn’t until 17 that I kissed a girl though) and I seemed to enjoy watching my friends make out with eachother too.
Despite the innocent kissing orgies, I remained ‘single’, with the average ‘relationship’ no longer than 2 weeks, right through till graduating from University.
The best piece of advice came to me out of the blue and from the most suprising source- my ex boyfriend, actually he was my first boyfriend, from when I was a tender 14 years old- we dated a whole two months, making it still, my fourth-longest ‘relationship’. Lets call him Chef, for the sake of this blog. We stayed good friends (and still chat frequently) and one day, after listening to me mope about relationships, he turned to me and said, “It’s not about finding your soul mate, M. It’s about getting to know someone a whole lot better, and in a totally unique way.”
This was the Eureka moment. The oh my god I dont have to be a Disney princess I can just be me and relax about it moment.
It was still several years before I learnt what polyamory was and what that would mean for me in relationships. In fact, its only now that I think I’m really beginning to totally grok what the full implications of that realization are. I knew in the moment, however, that this was the truest piece of advice I had ever had given to me about relationships, and my approach to them began to change and shift from there on.