I honestly don’t remember when I first discovered the concept of polyamory, or the word. I discovered an old journal entry that proves I knew the word when I was fourteen or fifteen, but I have no idea where I found it.
My first thoughts were when I was realizing that I was bisexual. By the time I was 13, I remember wondering if maybe, when I got married, I could have a girlfriend on the side. Best of both worlds!
Then, around the age of 14, I started reading the Laurell K Hamilton “Anita Blake” books, and I loved the way the werewolf packs functioned. I liked the idea of a pack of people who were freely physical with and closely connected to each other. Many of them paired up romantically with just one person, but there were still very close bonds among everyone. I liked that idea. That idea of something… not quite as platonic as family, but just as important.
And then my thoughts on open relationships faded to the background, until Ember.
I have said before, and I still believe, that I would be okay being in a monogamous relationship. However, there are still aspects of the spirit of polyamory that I would expect even if I decide to be with only one person. I crush on people often, sometimes very briefly, sometimes for much longer, and I enjoy it. When I was single, I’d usually have at least one painful, drawn out crush, but ever since I’ve been in a relationship, I’ve learned to just enjoy them and be okay with unrequited attraction (being poly doesn’t mean I can or want to act on every single crush I have).
If I were monogamous, I’d need my crushes to be okay. I’d need to not have to hide it when I think someone I work with is cute. I’d want to flirt a little bit on occasion. To go out dancing with other people. To openly pine after fictional characters in TV shows and movies. As a teenager, I used to hope for a bisexual boyfriend, because then I could happily share all my crushes and favorite eye candy!
Some people have a strong drive to consummate their attraction to others, and really have a hard time being with just one person for a long time. Me? It doesn’t really take much for me to feel like I’ve explored someone new to an exciting and satisfactory level, but I bet even what I crave is more than what a lot of people are comfortable with.
I’ve decided to stop dating, by the way, and I don’t know if this will be forever. I’m not expecting it to be, but you never know what will happen. I think that it’s only fair to new partners to be at a stable place with your existing relationships, and while my relationships with Ember and Catalyst are for the most part strong and healthy, they’re not exactly stable right now. There’s a lot of growing and adjusting pains right now. And then there’s my career, which is practically a relationship in a way, and then maybe, someday, children. I intend to flirt and make friends, and maybe there will be the occasional casual dalliance, but no open ended dating, not for a while.
Not intentionally, not without really being sure that my life can handle it.