Carrie and I just celebrated our first Christmas and birthday together, my natal date being December 25th, 1978. New England is beautiful, and I was more than charmed to be with my love and her family. For the first time, I get along with a significant other and her relatives. Anyway, it’s the holidays and I’m in love and everything is wonderful.
It’s also very normal. For certain values.
I’m sometimes struck, when discussing some aspect of existing relationships with Carrie or with other non-monogamous friends, by just how functional it all is. It shouldn’t be as remarkable to me as it is, as I’ve been exposed to functional non-monogamy in the past, but most of my direct experience of non-monogamous individuals has been their trying to convince me or my monogamous S.O. that monogamy is “unnatural” and that we should “explore other options”, etc., etc. Good poly folks will just talk about their relationship styles, but the bad ones recruit like Ponzi.
Thus, my heuristic response to non-monogamy is based more on the vocal, visible bad apples than on the quietly stable friends I’ve had who just did their thing without involving the world. I know better than to be surprised, but still sometimes am.
And so, driving home in the warm post-holiday glow this morning, I was struck by how remarkably unremarkable it was, in a lot of ways. I went to my lady-love’s parents’ house for Christmas, was warmly greeted, had a great time, enjoyed some great food, and then traveled back home. It was wonderful, and fairly conventional.
Other times, I’ve been bemused to hear stories of Carrie’s other lovers that involve the simple mundanity of life. I know better, I really do, but I sometimes need to be reminded that “polyamorous” can be a trait of someone without being the defining trait of that person. It doesn’t help that, by and large, I know these people only as “Carrie’s other boyfriends” or “intimate friends” or what-have-you; at most I’ve met any of these people once, in a context that didn’t allow a chance to get to know each other. I’m sure as people become more real to me, this sort of thing will cease to surprise.
At the moment, I’m just happy and warm in the knowledge that I’m loved. When I accepted monogamous relationships, all that I ever wanted out of them was a sense that I was Important for someone, not that I was the only one for them. I assumed that being Important would naturally follow from being the only one, and I discovered that that’s not the case. By contrast, I never lack a sense of Importance in this relationship, which tells me what I’m looking for is a quality of being in the right relationship rather than of being in the right kind of relationship.
I mean, don’t get me wrong; previously mentioned difficulties still plague me, but I’m happy. I’m not one to worry about jinxing things, but others are, so I’ll refrain from telling you what I think the future holds. This is good, though, and I think it will be good for quite some time. I have anxieties, but no fears.
Merry Boxing Day, everyone, and have a happy New Year. I’ll see you in aught-nine.