I met my Talespinner online, as is often the case; when you live much of your life on the online, you frequently encounter people there. We started talking on Quora, then moved to Discord when she invited me to join a pen and paper role-playing game she runs, and eventually it came to pass we decided to meet in the real, the world of atoms and molecules.
I invited her to Barcelona with me to the extended polyamorous network get-together. And so it was that our first extended meeting also overlapped with her first meeting with my other loves and their other loves.
I am privileged to have an extended polycule made up of extraordinary people, people I am profoundly grateful to have in my life. That really came home for me when my Talespinner told me she had been a little nervous to meet my other lovers, but she found them to be incredibly warm and welcoming, and from the very beginning she found herself accepted by them. “I never had the feeling I was auditioning,” she told me, “or trying to prove myself. It’s as if I was important to you, and that was good enough for everyone else. They took it on your word.”
Me, Eunice, and my Talespinner cuddling in the orgy pit in the villa in Barcelona; photo by my wife.
It’s taken me a long time to get here, but at last I feel like I understand exactly the qualities I want in my lovers, and I can now spot those I don’t in a way I never could before. I am privileged to be surrounded by extraordinary people who love me exactly for who I am, and words cannot express what a joy that is.
I have, in the past, let people close to me who loved me, or thought they loved me—but.
But only. But only if I toned it down. But only if I changed the way I presented myself. But only if I changed my habits. But only if. Don’t do that, do this. Don’t spend your time that way. Don’t say that. You’re wonderful but you’d be even more wonderful if you’d do as I say.
And y’know, for a long time, I put up with that. I believed it was necessary. “Good relationships require compromise,” people often say, and I thought that’s what compromise looks like.
And I regretted it Every. Single. Time.
The poet e e cummings has a wonderful quote:
To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
It is perhaps a bit ironic that all of my current partners identify as solo poly, yet they are far warmer and more open than the partners I’ve had who’ve said they wanted closer, more “family-style” polyamory. There’s a deep truth there I’m still working to tease out. I wonder, in my more cynical moments, if kitchen-table polyamory isn’t sometimes the goal of those who want their extended network close because that way they’re easier to control; that is, if there are at least some people driven toward that kind of relationship more from fear than from desire for connection.
Something to think about.
I am absolutely grateful that I have, finally, built a social circle, a network of friends and lovers who truly love me for being me. Every single one of them, without one single exception. There is no joy in the world greater than that of being seen, really seen, by another human being who loves what they see.