If you’re new to the world of Polyamory, you have probably heard the term “metamour” thrown around more than a few times. Or, maybe you haven’t. For clarity’s sake, let’s start off by defining the term. Simply put, a metamour is the partner(s) of your partner, with whom you are not involved with either romantically or sexually. For example:
Now, while it is possible to go through your entire poly life without having a single metamour, it is highly unlikely. Even if your current partner isn’t in another relationship when you first begin dating, there is always the chance they will take on a new love at some point, so it’s good to know what you might be getting into early on. In this two part post, we are going to take a look at the good and…not so good parts of being/having a metamour.
First, the not so good bits (because that’s what we all worry about).
Perhaps one of the toughest parts of being/having a metamour is the not knowing. Because you are not forming a romantic connection with this person, you may not have as many opportunities to bond with them on a meaningful level. This can make social interactions uncomfortable (especially for introverts), and there is always the distinct possibility that you have nothing in common with each other. I have known several people just entering the Poly community who thought the idea of being/having a metamour was the best thing in the world. They had this vision of an amazing friendship, filled with deep understanding of one another, blossoming out of a shared love, only to come to the reality that the word metamour is not exactly a synonym for “best friend”. In fact, I know very few metamours that are truly close. They may be friendly and polite with one another, but real friendship, much like love, is not as easy as it seems. Just because you have a partner in common, do not think that means your metamour is obligated (or even willing) to hang out with you.
Then there is having to share time. This can be especially upsetting during the NRE (New Relationship Energy) stage of a relationship. During this time, feelings of love, happiness, and sexual attraction between you and your partner can be overwhelming. It is important to remember that your metamour may also be in that stage with your shared partner at the same time, and may want to see them just as badly. It is also quite possible that your metamour has children with your partner, is married to them, or may be going through a rough time. All of these situations mean that you cannot expect your partner to give you their full and undivided attention.
Finally, in a healthy Poly world all parties involved in a given relationship will, at the very least, know about each other. This can actually be quite terrifying for people just entering the Poly community. While being Poly comes with the expectation that your partner may have multiple love interests besides yourself, people coming from a strictly monogamous background may find this type of open communication very unsettling. Combine that with the possibility of actually meeting your partner’s partners, and you might feel like metamours were just placed here to make you one giant ball of anxiety. After all, it’s one thing to know of their existence, but an entirely different thing to actually interact with them. For some, that can be rather hard to digest. What was once a mere concept has now become very, very real, and now you may be looking across a table at a person with wants, emotions, strengths, and vulnerabilities similar to your own. What’s worse is the knowledge that this new person (or people as the case may be) actually loves the person you love. They may cuddle with them, kiss them, share secrets and desires with them, or even, dare I say it, have sex with them. And you know about it. You actually know. Even for seasoned Polys this idea can be difficult, so be aware that metamours can bring out feelings of intense jealousy from time to time.
I know that seems like a lot of negativity, and I’m sure you’re now questioning why you ever considered polyamory in the first place. But, rest assured there is an equal amount of good that metamours bring to the table. You’ll just have to wait until the next post to read about it.
Until then, thanks for reading! We’ll see each other again in Part II!