But Where Do I Go From Here?: On Loss, Grief, and Letting Go

A few weeks ago, a fellow member of my online Poly community posted about the immense struggle they were having moving on from a relationship.  Although they had been the one requesting the separation, and although it had been six months since the last time they interacted with their former partner, this person felt they were a complete failure for still thinking about the other person.  They said they still cried often, thought of them frequently, and were having a hard time not being triggered into an emotional spiral.  They said they hated themselves for all of it and that they truly felt weak for still being in love.

It was an incredibly difficult post for me to read for a variety of reasons.  Having recently gone through an extremely similar situation, I felt I could completely relate to this person’s state of mind and overwhelming emotional turmoil.  The interesting part, however, is that when I was going through my own breakup, I discovered a rather mixed bag of reactions.  While my Poly community and the vast majority of my monogamous friends were there to love and support me, I did encounter a few individuals who questioned the severity of my grief.  One of them even asked how I could be so upset over what they called a “Poly breakup”.

A Poly breakup?

I had no idea what they were talking about, so I did a bit of asking around and discovered that it wasn’t all that uncommon for a person from a strictly monogamous background to have a rather skewed view of breakups in the Poly community.  A few of my monogamous friends even went as far as to say they thought the ending of a relationship wouldn’t hurt me as much as them because, as a Poly, I should be “used to it by now.”  After all, having multiple partners leaves the door open for more separation, which means more exposure to heartbreak.  And this should, in theory, leave me immune to the emotions that go with ending a relationship.  As though being Poly has the ability to turn you into some sort of artificial human, devoid of any negative feelings with regards to loss.  And, as any Poly will tell you, that’s simply not true.

Whenever I experience a breakup there is always some element of grief associated with it.  Although I may be seeing more than one person at a time, I tend to view each relationship autonomously.  That person, in my eyes, is a one of a kind entity, and our relationship together is its own force.  So, when that relationship dissolves, I cannot magically will the negative emotions away. And, while it may be true that I can lean on my other partners for support, it certainly does not make the pain any easier.  And, as with many monogamous relationships, that pain may continue for a considerably long period of time and continue to affect parts of my life long after the relationship is over.





In this way, I can honestly say that monogamy and polyamory are the same.  No matter the reason or relationship dynamic, the sudden loss of someone you care about can be devastating and the daily triggers that remind you of them can be overwhelming.

So, here’s my advice: It is OK to be triggered.  It is OK to feel that pain. It is OK to admit you are still hurting. It is OK to be human.

When you allow yourself to be OK with the pain of the loss, the triggers can actually take on a more positive meaning. For me, the worst moments come when I look at something he made me, or if I happen to smell his scent on someone else, or even if I look at the clock and realize it is what would have been our usual texting time. For a long time these things paralyzed me. But then I realized that, even though our relationship held toxic elements, it didn’t mean the feelings of love and happiness I experienced because of him weren’t real. And the same is true for you. Just because a relationship isn’t healthy at the time, doesn’t mean your love did not exist, and it doesn’t mean you are wrong for still being in love.

So please, allow yourself to be triggered.   But also allow yourself the opportunity to understand why those things are triggering. It’s because you loved them. It’s because they meant something to you. It’s because even though there were a multitude of negative things going on, there were also plenty of positive ones that made you smile. You are in mourning right now for the death of a relationship you truly wanted to work. And that’s OK. Once you can get to this point, then the triggers will become reminders of your ability to love someone so deeply, rather than the burdens of unimaginable grief. And, please, be proud of yourself for recognizing that your relationship was not healthy and for having the strength to stop the bleeding for both of you. Sometimes one person needs to speak up for both in the hopes that healing on both sides can begin and that you can both come back stronger despite the sadness.

Love Always,

Polly xoxoxox


So Anyway, How’s Your Sex Life?: The Importance And Significance Of Talking About Sex

Gather a group of Polys together and ask them what they feel is the number one misconception about being polyamorous. Go ahead, I’ll wait. . .

Better yet, I’ll just save you the trouble.  It’s sex.  Whether it’s the thought of gigantic orgy piles, or simply not understanding the differences between polyamory and swinging, there seems to be this pervasive belief inside the monogamous world that the only reason one would actively chose to have multiple partners is due to an intense fascination or obsession with sex.

Now, here’s the interesting part.  They’re right!  But not for the reasons you might think.  But, before I go on, let me just clear up one thing.  While sex CAN be a reason for wanting to open up a previously monogamous relationship, it is certainly not the ONLY reason people choose to do so, especially in the Poly community.  But, here’s the thing, Polys (at least in my experience) are, indeed, obsessed with sex.  They’re just not obsessed with having it.

Allow me to explain.  As I’ve said before, I’ve never been shy about talking openly about sexuality in a public space.  The interesting thing, however, is that before I really started embracing my polyamory, I had an incredibly difficult time discussing my own sexuality with my partners.  For me (as with most of my friends), sex was something either taught in a classroom or explained via awkward conversation with parents.  But even in these situations, it was more the mechanics of sex that were discussed, not the idea of sexuality.  In a way, I suppose I can understand why this happens.  At its core, sex is about reproduction and sexuality is more about what turns you on.  And while I am grateful that I never had to find out what curled the toes of my parents and teachers, I am slightly upset that the concept of sexuality was almost never discussed as an actual component to sex itself.  Instead, I was lectured to about the penis, the vagina, sperm, ovaries, babies, and, if I were lucky, condoms and birth control.  And for the most part, I considered this to be very progressive and comprehensive sex education.  However, the major flaw with highly regulated, anatomy based education is that it leads to highly regulated, anatomy based sex.  Meaning that most of us don’t even begin to discover our sexuality until much later in life, if at all.

When I joined my first Poly group and began dating I was quite astounded by the openness with which my partners shared details of their sexuality with me.  Not in a public setting, mind you, but in one-on-one private conversations.  But, more confusing than that, was their utter enthusiasm for learning about my sexuality.  At first, I was convinced that every Poly I met was a pervert, hell bent on getting me into the sack.  After all, why would they want to know what turned me on unless they were actually planning on doing those things with me?  And then, it suddenly dawned on me.  That wasn’t perverted

That.  Was.  Awesome.

Because sexuality was never introduced to me as a component of sex itself I, like many others, viewed sex as a sort of guessing game.  With each new partner I felt the urge to just lay there and hope beyond hope that they would eventually stumble upon my favorite spots, or that they would magically stay away from things I found less than pleasurable. I would then proceed to clumsily explore their bodies while inwardly cursing the fact that they had given me no clue as to what they liked or where to begin.  But this, I reasoned, was just the way sex worked.  Eventually we would figure each other out.  Or we wouldn’t.  Whatever. *Shrug*

Now, while there is something to be said about the thrill of exploration, having a baseline of what your partner finds pleasurable is an amazing steps towards true intimacy (and not just the sexual kind).  And that, my dear readers, is one of the reasons so many outside the Poly community believe Polys are obsessed with sex.  Because we are.  But we are obsessed with the communication behind it, the nuance, the knowledge.  We want our potential partners to know we are listening to them, that we want them to have the best experience possible when and IF the relationship turns physical.  We want them to be aware of our own insecurities and, in turn, want to create a safe space where they are free to share their own with us. So, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a conversation with a potential partner that goes something like this:




These conversations can be as short or as long as you want them to be, and it’s always OK to let the other person know if you are starting to feel uncomfortable, or that they are crossing a boundary.  When I really like someone and think I may want to become physical with them, I find that the more detailed and honest I can be, the better the end result.  But, don’t be fooled, just because sex is being discussed, doesn’t mean sex has to occur right that second.  In fact, almost all of my conversations about sexuality end like this:






So, here’s my advice:  Talk about sex.  Talk about your desires, your fantasies, your likes and dislikes.  Tell your potential partner(s) about the parts of you you love.  Mention the parts of you you don’t love as much.  Have these conversations wherever and whenever you feel comfortable, be that fully clothed at a coffee shop, or completely naked watching Netflix. The goal here (at least from my perspective) is to make sexuality something as easy to discuss with a perspective partner as food preference.  After all, how many of us are too shy to tell someone we like that we like shellfish, but hate all other kinds of seafood? Or that we are allergic to mushrooms?  It should be the same with our bodies.  I know it’s so much easier said than done, and it was unbelievably difficult for me in the beginning.  But, thanks to some very kind and wonderfully patient partners, I am much better at it than I used to be.  And without hesitation or reservation, I can proudly say to all of you that, yes, I am Poly and, yes, I am obsessed with sex!

Love Always,

Polly xoxoxox        

Hello Jealousy My Old Friend…I’ve Come to Talk With You Again: On Polyamory and Jealousy

Jealousy is a normal human emotion that is universally experienced, and which can be expressed in a multitude of healthy and unhealthy ways.

There.  That’s all I have to say on the subject.  Or rather, that’s all I wish I had to say.  As it turns out, there is actually a great deal to say on the subject of jealousy, especially when it comes to Polyamory.  So, because there is just too much to talk about to fit entirely in a single blog post, “Hello Jealousy” will become a running series with new entries made every few weeks.  But, for now, I just want to talk about the basics.

As I stated a moment ago, jealousy is a normal and very natural human emotion.  Yet, for some reason, it is the number one question asked of most Polys.  If we had a nickel for every time a person asked us, “But don’t you get jealous?”, I am convinced Polys would be the richest people on the planet.  But more frustrating than the question (for me at least) is the reaction I get when I invariably respond, “Yes, of course I do.  Sometimes a lot.  It really depends on the relationship.”

Most of the time, the person asking the original question just sort of stares back at me, and I’ve come to the conclusion that people just don’t know what to say upon hearing such an honest answer. I believe that, in their minds, Polys have somehow escaped the bonds of monogamy by transcending such a basic and primitive emotion. And, maybe some Polys have, but I’m not one of them.  And, quite frankly, I’ve never met one that has.

What people fail to realize is that polyamory and monogamy are exactly the same when it comes to the potential for jealousy.  From having to share time with metamours, to watching your longtime partner experience NRE with someone new, jealousy is just a normal part of polyamory.  But, there is one advantage to being Poly in this arena, and that’s the openness with which jealousy is discussed.

From my past experience dealing in monogamy (and I truly am solely speaking for myself), jealousy was always put out there as a hugely negative thing.  If my partner expressed jealousy, I felt compelled to view it as controlling behavior and a lack of trust.



If I, on the other hand, experienced jealousy, I immediately felt guilty and buried the feeling until it, eventually, passed.


I have since learned that both of these responses were…less than optimal, and that I was actually doing incredible harm to both myself and my relationships by not looking deeper into what I felt and why.  And, essentially, that’s what this series is about, how to really look at jealousy.

So, here’s my first bit of advice on the subject: Rather than ignore jealousy, learn to embrace it.  Once that happens, you can really start to examine the deeper feelings underneath it.  More often than not, I have found that my own jealousy can be narrowed down to a single phrase, “I don’t feel special”, and saying that to a partner is always a great deal easier than using the blanket statement “I’m just jealous”. By being honest with yourself about the root cause of your emotions, you can begin truly opening up to your partners about the vulnerabilities and insecurities you’ve been keeping silent.  This will help lay a foundation of trust upon which you can start to build a strong relationship.  Remember, jealousy is not always a negative thing.  It is a strong emotional reaction, it exists, and it’s much more normal than you think.

See you in the next installment!

Love Always,

Polly xoxoxox

Let’s Play the Dating Game!: Practicing the Art of Rejecting and being Rejected

I love going on dates.  Wait, allow me to be more specific.  I LOVE going on dates!  But it’s not the getting ready, or the actual outing itself that gets me excited.  Rather, it is the possibility of getting to know a brand new person that fills me with almost childlike delight.  I look forward to the stories we will tell one another, and to the laughs we will share.  I think about all the things they know, and about how many of those things will be brand new to me.  I wonder about all the things they can teach me and that I, in turn, can teach them.

But then, I’m an extrovert.

For some people, dating can be one of the most awkward things in the world.  But, worse than going on a date, is actually asking for one.  Rejection is a fear shared by nearly every person on the planet, and you would be hard pressed to find someone with enough self-confidence as to never feel the sting of being turned down.  But what about the other side of the coin?  What about the fear of actually doing the rejecting?  For someone like me, this is the worst feeling imaginable.

As I’ve mentioned before, when you first start attending a new Poly meetup, you’re bound to get lots of attention.  Although I had been a practicing Poly for about five years, I only started attending a Poly group about eight months ago.  Because of this, I had no idea what it was like to be asked on dates.  No, seriously, I had no idea.  In the past it had always been me asking out another person, and even then it was extremely rare.  So imagine my surprise when, in my first two months of attending the meetups, I was asked out nearly every week by a different person.

At first, I loved the attention.  But as the offers started piling up I quickly realized I was saying yes to everyone (even those I had absolutely no interest in whatsoever on a romantic level).  This caused my schedule to balloon out of control, and I found that, not only did I no longer have time for my established partners, but that I was running myself ragged trying to accommodate everyone.  This went on for months and, although I knew what the problem was, I just couldn’t say no.  That is, until this happened:






This was an entirely new concept for me.  Growing up, I was pretty insecure.  Like most teenagers and young adults, I constantly worried about what other people thought of me, and I never really felt like I lived up to societal expectations of beauty.  This made dating difficult, as I was always petrified to ask out someone I liked (even if I was 100% confident they liked me back).  I just couldn’t stand the idea of being told “no”, especially if no reason was given for it.  The very idea of it paralyzed me, and it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I finally realized that someone turning down my offer did not mean they were rejecting me as a person.

Despite this, I believe this feeling is the very reason I have trouble rejecting the offers of others.  I can remember just how nervous I was when asking someone out, and can empathize with the many emotions I’m sure they are experiencing.  So how cruel would it be for me to disappoint them?  How awful of a person would I be if I said no without even giving them a shot?  After all, everyone deserves a chance, and everyone deserves to be rewarded for taking such a bold leap of confidence, right?


I know that now.

So, here’s my advice: There is nothing wrong with rejection.  Truly and honestly there isn’t.  We all have our reasons for not wanting to date and those reasons can range greatly from person to person.  But those reasons are your own, and you do not have an obligation to share them with anyone (even with the person you are saying no to).  Yes, rejection hurts, but it is an incredibly important part of defining yourself.  By rejecting an advance, for any reason, you are making the statement that you are the most important person in your life.  You are allowing yourself the ability to make decisions based on your own comfort level and that, especially in the Poly community, is an invaluable skill.  And, by the same token, being able to take rejection gracefully is just as important.  Although the other person does not owe you an explanation for turning you down, they will definitely appreciate your willingness to accept their decision without incident, and it may even help lay the foundation for a great friendship as you have now made them aware that you respect and trust their “no”.  But, no matter what, always remember that not everyone is going to like you, nor are you going to like everybody.

And that’s okay.

Love Always,

Polly xoxoxox

Sexual Monoga-what?: Perceived sexual repression in the Poly community

I have always considered myself to be an incredibly open person when it comes to sexuality.  I’ve never been shy talking about my own fetishes, fantasies, and boundaries, and am pretty much the go-to person for my friends when it comes to talking about sex in general.  In short, sex as a topic of conversation has never bothered me, which is why I was taken aback when several people in my Poly group told me I was sexually repressed.

While all Poly groups are different, one of the more interesting things I’ve noticed is the connection between polyamory and sexual expression.  After attending your first few meetups, it won’t be long before you realize just how many members of your group have loosened their grip on the idea of sexual monogamy and, if sexual monogamy has been all you’ve known, you might find this a bit…out of the ordinary.  Although not every Poly relationship is sexual in nature, you will probably find that many of the people you meet will be more open about who and what they like in the bedroom (or kitchen, or car, or the family restroom at the movie theater…).  This can be true for even the introverts of the group, so don’t be surprised to hear a normally quiet person suddenly jump into a conversation about rope play (after all, “introvert” isn’t always a synonym for shy). For a person as open as me, this is extremely refreshing, and I love that I have finally found a place where sex isn’t considered a four letter word.  But, despite my openness to discuss sex, my willingness to participate in it with more than one person at a time is another story.

I have always considered myself to be sexually monogamous.  Not because of any type of jealousy, moral upbringing, or religious attachment to the idea, but simply because that’s where I feel the most comfortable personally.  There are many reasons for this, but the primary one is that sex is a VERY complex thing for me, and the idea of sharing my body with more than one person at a time makes me feel unbalanced.  Because of this, I am always very upfront with potential partners that sex is not something that will be immediately on the table and, for the most part, I have received positive responses.

But there are the rare occasions where this is not the case, and there are some in the Poly community that believe sexual monogamy and polyamory simply cannot coexist.  I guess I can understand their reasoning.  Even though we might not always have sex with those we are in love with, when you are in love there is often the desire to express it physically.  I know I am certainly not immune to that desire, and it’s why I do not expect my partners to be sexually monogamous with me (it would be rather difficult to tell Zim he could no longer be intimate with his wife, after all).

So why is there push back in the Poly community?  Why do some believe that sexual monogamy equals sexual repression? A lot of that probably stems from the way society looks at sex in general.  Many of us were brought up with the belief that abstinence until sexual monogamy was the only acceptable form of sexual expression.  I have known several people who were made to feel guilty or uncomfortable in their own skin simply because they dared to masturbate!  So, for some, hearing that a person is sexually monogamous may actually trigger real feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, and self-loathing.  They may feel like you are judging them for having multiple sexual partners or, worse, that you are feeling shame within yourself. Telling you you are sexually repressed may be their way of letting you know it’s OK to proud of who you are, that you can let go of all the negative things society has placed on you about sexual expression and be free to be yourself….

Or they can just be jerks who are just trying to get in your pants (those people exist in the Poly community too and will be addressed in a later post).

So, here’s my advice, only do what makes you feel comfortable, when you feel safe.  Polyamory, at its core, is about love and love comes in many different forms.  For me, sex just isn’t something I need in a relationship to feel whole.  For others, it’s the exact opposite.




But the beauty of it is that neither of these two options is wrong.  As long as everyone in your relationship is on the same page and understands your needs regarding physical intimacy, then the only wrong way to have sex is forcing yourself to do something you are not comfortable with.  Yes, sexual monogamy and polyamory DO go together, quite well, in fact.  And while my opinion on sexual monogamy may change over time, it will be because I decided what was best for myself.  And, for now, what’s best for me is to just stay the course.

Love Always,

Polly xoxoxox

META-MOURPHIN POWER RANGERS! The ups and downs of being/having a metamour. Part II

If you read part one of this entry, you’re probably wondering if there is anything positive about metamours.  Between the anxiety, jealousy, and time sharing, it’s a wonder people get involved with Polyamory in the first place.  But, here’s the good news:



And here’s why:

A metamour can be an invaluable resource to your relationship.  After all, who knows your new partner better than their wife, husband, or long term boyfriend/girlfriend?  I love having metamours for this reason.  If my new relationship is hitting a rough patch, or if I’m a bit confused about a quirk my new partner is displaying, I simply ask my metamour their take on the situation (where appropriate, of course).  For example, there was a period of time where I thought Zim was constantly annoyed or angry with me.  I asked him about it, and he insisted nothing was wrong.  Still, I couldn’t get the negative feelings out of my head and decided to consult Vivian (she has been married to him for five years after all and knows him way better than I do).  She was able to clear a lot of things up for me, and I came away from the conversation with a better understanding of what makes Zim tick.  Hopefully Zim will be able to do the same with Greg one day…although I always think of it as looking something like this:


Sometimes I can be a lot to deal with…

Anyway, metamours can also be great cheerleaders for your relationship.  Because they also love your partner, they want to see them happy.  But, that also means they want you to be happy as well.  The best metamours will always make sure you are being treated nicely by your shared partner (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Vivian scold Zim for forgetting to stock my favorite drink in their fridge), and this makes them like some sort of kick-ass relationship bodyguard.


With all that being said, it’s no surprise that a metamour has the potential to be an incredibly close friend to you.  Although I stated in Part I that you should not expect your metamour to hang out or spend time with you, the truth is that many will at least take the time to get to know you (especially if they happened to be married to your partner).  Even though this may not lead to becoming best friends, don’t be surprised to discover that you have at least a few things in common with each other. In these situations, I always recommend letting the relationship with your metamour(s) take its own course.  Vivian, Zim, and I tend to see each other a great deal as a group, but recently Vivian and I have been discussing the possibility of hanging out together separately from Zim. Although I’m not entirely sure where it will lead, I’m extremely open to the possibility of having a stronger bond with her, and am really glad she feels the same.  Making true friends only gets harder as you age, so I recommend seizing the opportunity any chance you get.

Finally, having a metamour means the potential to have more than just your partner care about you.  While not all metamours will be involved in your life the same way, the best ones will make sure you know you’re loved.  Whether that comes in the form of home cooked meals, invitations to family game nights, random “howdy” texts, a shoulder to cry on, or just someone to watch your animals while you’re on vacation, metamours can be just like (if not better than) family.  They can be an extension of what is good in your relationship with your partner, while providing an extra layer of love, support, healing, and understanding.

So, here’s my advice, embrace being/having a metamour.  Even if things don’t turn out perfectly, the more open you are, the better things are likely to be.  But, be sure not to force it.  Unlike when you were a child, friendships can’t be formed by simply showing someone your Lego collection (although that would certainly work on me).  Relationships, of all kinds, take work and an effort must be made on both sides.  Sometimes I feel like I won the metamour lottery with Vivian, and I try every day to ensure she feels the same.  If she’s reading this right now, I hope she knows how awesome she is, and how thankful and honored I am that she continues to share Zim with me.


Love Always,

Polly xoxoxox

META-MOURPHIN POWER RANGERS! The ups and downs of being/having a metamour. Part I

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!

Love Always,

Polly xoxoxox