A little while back (late December 2012) a supposedly academic survey on poly relationships was making the rounds. Since I identify as such I opted to take it more so curious to the nature of the questions than any answers I anticipated giving. As is usually the case that when I thought I knew everything I was hit by a proverbial bus. Now normally being built like a brick shit house and not that bright after being run over I just stand up, dust myself off and shake my head a few times and go back about my life no worse for the wear. This time though a few things stuck with me not the least of which was the repetitive nature asking about physical abuse due to jealousy in the relationship but bear with me I’ll come back to that later.
As I went through I listed everyone I considered myself to be Poly with. I politely answered the questions about who knows who and who knows about who. I listed the Chesty Blonde first and as my primary relationship. There was no surprise there but after that I kind of went off the tracks because I then listed Victoria. Why? Because I was going in order of how long I’ve had a relationship with a person and well she is the 2nd longest consistent relationship I have so she became number two based on tenure alone. Never mind that by classic terms she doesn’t qualify but more on that later. Then I debated adding the Limey but determined she was not really but kind of sort of could be construed as a Poly relationship that involved me. So that one got tabled. Then I considered my relationship with the My Favorite Sexy Little Brunette (FSLB). Yes we’re both in different places now but we’re still friends and share what’s going on in each other’s lives. At this point I failed to stay in chronological order because she introduced me to the Green Eyed She Devil (GESD) and more or less laid the ground work for our relationship. It was in a way match making. I knew FSLB was looking for a primary relationship and she knew and respected the fact that I had a long established one. As she moved toward that goal and ultimately moved to another city where we wouldn’t be regular companions she encouraged me to spend more time with my GESD in her place. And in its own way the survey questions hit on all these elements but not in terms or ways I’d have thought of.
Clear as mud so far right? Trust me it gets better because I had to add Alice to the mix. Who now clocked in at number 5 only because I started in chronological order and then got distracted by the flow of my relationships. Then I began to question would she list me? We’re good friends, we’d both play at the drop of the hat. LR is her primary but well I got to the point of “stop over thinking it asshole” of course you should list her because she is in a dead heat in your life with Victoria most of the time as far as time spent communicating and ahead of her more often than I realized. Which then caused me to reconsider the Limey who was now listed at number 6 so that left no room for the Pixie who is more play partner than a poly relationship and should I list play partners that I am close to but don’t have a sexual relationship with but do have some romantic style of component? If they had to answer my questions when building the survey it would have look like the United States Tax Code.
If that ‘s not bad enough the questions turned to I hope you like math problems…
Does Number one know about number 2 ? Does number 3 know about 1 & 2. If the sadist left the munch with number 9 at 7:30 pm to meet number 1 and number 5 at a rope con and was traveling due east at 114 miles per hour across 25 state lines what time would number 3 decide to spank number 8 before fucking number 4 with a giant strap on. Just for the record the answer is purple! I hate when they don’t tell you the answer.
On a more serious note here’s a few things I hadn’t thought of before
I love the Blonde but never really considered in any depth the difference between her and MFSLB. I think upon looking back MFSLB knew that she filled an important gap in my life, one that frankly until taking the survey I didn’t realize I had. And the fact she cared and was open enough to encourage my relationship with the GESD speaks volumes. In essence she literally handpicked her own replacement in my life. It’s both fucked up and beautiful in its own way. My relationship with Victoria is both the most and least complicated at the same time. The Blonde and V have known each other forever, there seems to be no issues or jealousy between them, we’ve traveled together countless times, she visits once a year or so. My kids call her as often as their own grandparents and I see her other cities fairly often. The nature of my relationship with V is first a literary one followed by kink based elements. Where it is complicated is while I know a lot of her family another partner of hers has serious issues with me. Actually they’ve refused to meet me for years. Their loss I’m a lot of damn fun in person. Maybe it’s a case of if I don’t meet him he doesn’t really exist but more likely he doesn’t want to meet me because I’ve been critical of his actions and he’s smart enough to know I’ll tell him exactly what I think. This went on for an hour as I reflected on my different relationships. My jacked up convoluted relationships aside there is one thing that kept eating at me. Really it was one repetitive question that did really bother me.
Rarely am I an idealist. Even more rarely am I one to assume the best about people’s nature. Look up cynical jaded asshole and odds are my latest picture will be next to the description. Maybe I’m doing the Poly thing all wrong? You know I could be? I’ve never read the manual. And yes by some definitions people would describe a few of my relationships as unacceptable and not really poly but they aren’t casual play swing relationships either.
Some (ok most) do have a BD or DS element to them. These actions are done with consent (and often encouragement and occasionally small assemblies of cheer leaders and spectators on a good night) but the questions troubled me have I hit X because of jealousy? Well no. Sure I have participated in impact play with many of my partners so yes I’ve hit them but it’s consensual and she fucking loves it! As a matter of fact she created the scene. All kidding aside abuse is an issue in relationships of all kinds, even BDSM ones. Jealousy is a fact of life poly or not. And I’m not dim witted enough to believe that it doesn’t happen but I really was troubled by the repetitive nature of that specific question and wanted to scream. YOU MEAN HAVE I HIT X OUTSIDE OF A BDSM DYNAMIC RIGHT?
I had a problem separating my BDSM dynamic from their questions about physical abuse and jealousy. Do I hit X because she wants to see Y? No! Have I confronted X about wanting to have a relationship with L, M, N, or P and had it lead to a physical confrontation? No but if she sees another vowel I’ll flip the fuck out. (ok not funny but you get the point)
I’m not saying at times I don’t get jealous, or envious. I do and expect those in relationships with me do as well from time to time but ultimately I want them to be happy people in relationships they enjoy. That matters more. After all it’s not about just fucking random strangers…not that there’s anything wrong with that.
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