One of the most uniquely poly behaviors we have is seeking solace and comfort from our heartache from our partners. The girlfriend said to me the other day, “I’m really sorry it didn’t work out with The Kitten.” Then she thought for a moment and said, “You know what? I never thought in my life before that I would ever console my boyfriend about another woman.”
She continued, “Is it possible I have a poly heart and just didn’t know it? Because none of this has bothered me. Not knowing you were on dates. Not sharing you on a holiday I traditionally enjoy. Not hearing you have sex. Not trying to comfort you after a breakup. None of this is upsetting or weird for me. Our judgy former-friends could not do this. I am so happy for you when you meet a nice girl. I’m upset for you and want to hold you when it doesn’t work.”
Some of this brings me back to the debate about whether polyamory is a lifestyle or an orientation. It comes very naturally to some people, and other people can’t even comprehend it. The Spitfire, for instance, can’t comprehend it.
She was looking for “a committed LTR with a man who loves to share me.” When offered the choice of a date at my house, with The Girlfriend at home, or a hotel room, she said that neither of those were appealing choices and that it was possible that a poly situation isn’t something she wanted. Then today, she confirmed it. “Poly just isn’t for me,” she told me.
While I completely accept her decision and I would never try to argue it with her, I don’t understand it. “You want a serious ltr with a man who shares you,” I said, “but you don’t want that man who is committed to you to… be committed to someone else, too? I don’t understand.”
“You have it right,” she said. “I only want the sharing (both ways) to be with sexual partners, not other committed relationships… Your situation did appeal to me at first, but upon reflection, it was a more academic, idealistic appeal. Not one I could truly live with in practice.”
For me, knowing the “no” is way easier than dealing with a “maybe,” which is why I also stick to my, “If you’re a maybe, you’re a no,” decree. My “no noobs” guideline was reinforced, too. And it might be that it isn’t that I won’t date a newbie. But I have been reminded now that I won’t even attempt to start something with a partner who is not committed to a poly situation. Painful feelings make those protective shields come up, don’t they?
And, as always, The Girlfriend was quick with words of comfort. “I’m really sorry it didn’t work out with The Spitfire. You know what? I’ll send her a text,” she offered, “telling her what a terrible mistake she is making. She’s missing out on a really fantastic boyfriend.”