Traditionally, at weddings, one of the bride’s parents might be heard to quip, “I am not losing a daughter, I am gaining a son.”* In polyamory, the corollary might be, “I am not losing a partner, I am gaining a metamour.” In fact, depending on one’s current situation, they might be gaining metamours (plural).
For those unfamiliar with this term, your metamour is your partner’s partner. At the moment, I have three metamours – two with whom I have close connections and one whom I haven’t met yet. The two most prominent metamours in my orbit are Justina and Wendy. It has been interesting to see how these relationships have developed with time and how they have been helpful for me as I navigate the polyverse. [NB: If you are just joining us, Justina is Viktor’s girlfriend and Wendy is Cooper’s primary and nesting partner.]
When Viktor first started dating Justina, we discovered that we were all planning on attending the Sex Expo just a few weeks after their first date, so we decided to attend together. It was a weird (a Sex Expo is not the likeliest of places for a first meeting for anything), yet relatively comfortable, experience for the three of us as we walked around the exposition hall, had lunch nearby and then returned to our apartment to hang out. I enjoyed meeting Justina, but admittedly didn’t get to know her well.
But, at that moment in time, it wasn’t that crucial to have more than just a cursory introduction. As Cooper has suggested, if nothing else, meeting one’s metamour permits you to have a factual understanding of your partner’s partner, rather than allowing your brain to imagine that they are something they are not, i.e. more beautiful, more intelligent, more whatever than you.
However, when, a week later, Viktor revealed that he was in love with Justina, I felt it was important to meet with her face to face, to get to know her better. It was nice as we shared backgrounds and stories and established a friendly baseline of interaction. We don’t have a lot in common (aside from Viktor), so neither of us would consider that we are friends, but it is good to be able to have an open dialogue with one another.
Since that time, Justina has been to our home on numerous occasions from movie marathons to sex dates with Viktor and the three of us have gone to BDSM events and dance parties together. It is still a work in progress as we figure out our footing and how best to manage our interactions. For the most part, it is still difficult for me to share Viktor’s attention with Justina and I would rather limit the number of events at which we engage together. I do support their relationship and what they have, but I don’t need to be actively involved since it generally just ends up confusing me.
With all of the angst that was going on in January and February, I did feel that it was imperative to take a deeper dive with Justina in terms of our own communication and discussions, so we did a video chat during the first week of social distancing. While it wasn’t perfect, I do think that it was beneficial for both of us to clear the air, explain our differing perspectives on poly life and generally just share our points of view, what we were feeling, etc. to further bolster our connection and communication.
My relationship with Wendy has been less contentious (at least from my side of the equation) given that I am the “other partner” and thus feel no competition with her. After four dates with Cooper, over the course of a month, it was decided that it was a good time for me to meet Wendy. We had expected that the four of us would coincidentally be at a House of Love event the following week and chose to meet under more conducive circumstances rather than trying to meet amidst the chaos of costumes and crowds.
At this point, Cooper had already briefly met Viktor one morning following an overnight date in our apartment, so the four of us met up for tea and delicious cake. It was a very pleasant first meeting and we all seemed to get along very well, with conversation flowing easily and comfortably. After our sugary meal, we took a walk together and spent a little more time talking. As we said goodnight, I handed Wendy my business card and welcomed her to get in touch with me directly if she wished.
The next morning, Wendy texted me and, since then, we’ve been in contact with one another, slowly building trust and a friendship. We are both new to the poly lifestyle and have been able to offer each other support in this regard and have had some really lovely text chats. I greatly appreciate her willingness to welcome me into her life and be so open in sharing her thoughts and feelings, especially when things felt so rough for me.
While our communication was initially sporadic, things have definitely picked up during social distancing. We currently text each other at least once a day, sometimes more frequently, providing brief updates, sending dog photos, humorous quotes and otherwise offering connection and care. I know that Cooper has a lot on his plate, so anyway that I can best support Wendy in being there for Cooper feels really good. Plus, I really do appreciate and value the relationship that I now have with Wendy directly, which has been such a pleasant surprise and positive “side effect” of being polyamorous. Who knew?
As for Alex’s wife, it is still early days and, while I have offered to meet her, it hasn’t been time yet. However, Alex was appreciative of the offer and knows that I am willing to connect with her when she wants to/is ready. Until then, she remains a lovely mystery.
*Please excuse the lack of gender fluidity/correctness in this traditional saying.