We didn’t start out poly. We were monogamous, at first. Then monogamish.
We’d been together for five years before I had intercourse with someone else. My primary was present, and gave his consent. I also brought home potential partners that we played with together. Then they became partners that we played with separately.
But he still didn’t like the label “poly.” We could be open, he said, but he didn’t like poly.
When I invited one of our partners to stay with us for a while so that she could go back to school, I said, well, it’s kind of hard to escape now. You’re poly.
I had partners, here and there. But very few who I saw more than once, let alone carried on an actual relationship with. My main focus was on finding submissive partners, since he wasn’t at all submissive, and I wanted to explore my Dominant side. I still liked bottoming with him.
When he found another partner of his own, though, things changed. She didn’t want to meet me. She was too scared, apparently.
The relationship grew more and more distant. Everything I tried to reconnect with him failed, so eventually I stopped trying. I still loved him, though. I didn’t want to leave, but I knew he was no longer invested in the relationship.
Eventually, I began to feel that he wasn’t cut out for poly. I got the feeling he was more attached to his new partner than to me.
I suppose that’s always a possibility in a poly relationship. I mean, it’s a possibility in any relationship. People who aren’t happy seek out others who can make them feel better. It’s not a sustainable strategy, but that’s something I’ve learned myself through painful experience. It’s easy to feel angry and resentful that I apparently didn’t make him feel happy. However, it’s a fallacy from its core to think that any of us can make anyone else happy. Relationships are not effective treatment for depression.
But aside from that, I wonder, for all the other poly relationships out there, when a primary relationship breaks up, what happens to the other ones?
I still enjoy being with my submissive very much and have every intention of keeping him as long as possible. But it can be hard to enjoy affection with anyone when your heart is breaking.
That seems to be the way my heart works. When I feel good with one person, I feel good with everyone. A rising tide lifts all boats. When I feel bad with one person, well, it’s harder to feel good with everyone else.
It doesn’t seem to work that way with my now former primary. His heart is more of a zero-sum game, where one person can easily displace another.
So it would seem poly isn’t for him after all.
I don’t regret opening the relationship. I do regret that we didn’t communicate about it better. I regret that I didn’t ask for what I wanted more and complain less. But nothing I did could have changed him or his feelings. If the open relationship bothered him, he didn’t communicate it very well. And whatever it was he wanted with me, he sure didn’t communicate that. I asked him many times, and only became more and more frustrated.
My heart is hurt, but I’m sure it will recover. And when it does, I’ll be sure that everyone wants poly before we start.