Poly dates

People have all sorts of questions about polyamory.  People hear that I’m polyamorous, and I explain what that means, and they want to know things.  People ask me things like ‘how are you so awesome?’ and ‘what can I do to be just like you?’ a lot* and I can only tell them that this is all quite difficult sometimes to maintain the awesome.

But totally worth it.  I mean, yeah we deal with jealousy, time-management issues, and sheer exhaustion sometimes, but then again I would not want to live any other way.  When it is all working out, I’m happy, my partners are happy, and their partners are happy.  It’s just a happiness clusterfuck.

I met Ginny more than 3-and-a-half years ago (married for more than a year) in a wonderful beer place in Decatur (outside of Atlanta) Georgia.  I’ve been with Gina more than 2 years now as well.  They are both central people in my life, and I enjoy being able to see them almost every day.  But even though they are around most of the time, we still need to set times aside to do things together.  We still need to have dates.

Last night, Ginny and I had dinner at a local great beer place–Eulogy–mostly because it’s closer to us than The Brick Store (the place where we met) and also has a great beer selection.  I love Belgian beers, the Dijon mussels there are amazing, and it gives us some time to talk while not distracted by the internet, bubble wrap**, or other things that we do at home on an average evening.

Also last night Wes and Gina went to Monk’s, which is probably the premier place in Philly for Belgian beer and mussels (although Gina apparently drank wine–heresy!).  so it seems we were all on a similar page last night.  Al the while, Jessie had a date over to watch Doctor Who (because what else would anyone watch?), rounding out the house.  All in all, a not so-rare night around here, where everyone has a date and it’s all natural.  Take that mononormativity!

Pizza Pretzel!
Pizza Pretzel!

And tonight, I have a date with Gina.   So far, Gina has requested I make her some pizza pretzels for dinner (because while driving a date home a few nights ago, I stopped at the late night pretzel factory to pick up some pretzels.  Because that’s a thing that exists here).  I made myself one the other days and took a picture, which compelled her to threaten me with painful death*** if I didn’t make her one.

It will also likely include me mixing some ridiculous drinks at our in-house bar (PolyBar Galactica!) and maybe even watching Babylon 5 (oh, that’s what else people should watch…).  In fact, for a while we would do things like that every Friday night, and it’s always a good time.

Oh, right, Ginny has a date tonight as well.  And for all I know, 6 people may show up and be in the hot tub.  It’s Friday after all.

Then tomorrow (you thought I was done, didn’t you?) there is the slut walk here in Philly.  I will probably catch some of that, perhaps with my newest partner (who will remained unnamed to save her from the indignity of being associated with me), and then we will all be going to a party tomorrow with some poly friends.  Three nights in a row with three different dates.  My life is awesome.

So, people might ask how poly people manage to keep all of this in order.  They may also wonder where we get the energy for it.  Well, the energy part comes in with how awesome I am****, but the time-management has a lot to do with tools such as Google calendar, with its ability to share your calendar and have other people’s events show up on yours.  This way, you know if your partner has plans some night (assuming they update their calendar) and can make time for the people you care about.

i just wanted to share some of our recent daily life, to show you that while this can be hard, it can be highly rewarding.  This works, if you want it to.  And while there are hard days (recently, there have been a few hard days and nights for me), I will keep moving forward.

I will keep enjoying life, because there will be a time when I can’t.*****



*almost never.  OK, never.

** Seriously, Ginny loves the stuff.  The other night she was wearing some on her head and was popping it while watching some stupid show.  She does that a lot.

*** No painful death was actually voiced.  But it was heavily implied.  I’m not taking any chances.

**** OK, how awesome we all are.

***** Now this is a 5-star post! Sweet….

Big relationship steps and Google

We have a sort of road map for relationships in our culture.  There are stages in a relationship which are delineated by certain events which make clear to the world that the people involved have taken a step.  In monogamous culture, these steps convey a level of seriousness in the relationship; levels of commitment and usually exclusivity.  If they are just seeing each other, then it may not be out-of-bounds to ask tone of them out yourself.  If she’s got a ring, then back off boys (and girls) because she’s spoken for!

Of course, depending on how old fashioned (read, prudish) people are, this might amount to “going steady” or “casual dating” or “fuck buddy,” but the labels and correlated events convey something about  the nature of that relationship which indicates levels of seriousness.  It is not my intention here to analyze these stages, as they really have nothing to do with my freaky life, being all non-monogamous and stuff.  Those normals can have their boring stages, because I don’t want them anyway.

Now, within the poly world, the same rules don’t apply but there certainly are some common themes which could be talked about.  Strictly speaking, there are not any real universally accepted “rules”, but there are certainly some sets of common tendencies and some common markers which tell you the relative seriousness of a relationship.  Perhaps the starkest distinction between the monotonous…I meant monogamous, my apologies…and the polyamorous worlds is that there is a significant decline in likelihood of a level of seriousness between people implying that this person has become off-limits.  Temporarily perhaps, especially if they are so into their new partner that they just have no inclination to see you right now, but not in principle and not generally. And since the general lack of exclusivity implies that one might have to manage one’s time better, this can mean logistical puzzles to solve, and this is where technology comes to the rescue.

One of the markers that has become common in the last few years for poly people is the sharing of Google calendars.  When you get to the point where you want to manage your time better so that you can make sure that you have time to see your new loved one, as well as make sure to fit yourself into their busy schedule (after all, since they are so awesome everyone else wants some time with them too!), then you are declaring that this is more than just some temporary fling, probably.

So, the other day when I was opening my Google calendar settings so that I could add my new lady friend, Gina (she has subsequently given me permission to use her name, which I interpret as permission to gush about her publicly in great detail 😉 ), I also discovered that I had been continually giving permission to 3 ex-girlfriends from the last few years.  Apparently, my usually organized mind does not think to un-invite people who were once important parts of my daily life from this relationship stage, probably having something to do with finding this sharing option only when you are looking for it, thus I simply forgot that I was still sharing with them.  Suffice it to say, the oversight was taken care of.

My guess is that they has simply deleted my calendar information a while back, and not that they had been stalking me.  I assume that because for the most part I have not heard from any of these 3 women in some time.  Hell, even in polyamory breakups can often still lead to people losing contact and moving on.  Sometimes even when one of them lives in your parent’s house and sleeps in your old bedroom (long story).

But in any case, I now have a newly organized calendar with two of my significant others’ information adding color to both my calendar and my days.  I have me a Ginny and a Gina! (I swear that was not intentional, it just sort of happened that way).  Of course, now my calendar tells me that I won’t be able to see Gina until Friday.

Stupid calendar.