Polyamory is an interesting beast, to say the least, and recent events have solidified for me that there is no sympathy to be found among monogamous couples when a relationship fails.
I have a successful primary relationship, and my husband and I have been polyamorous for eight years. I fell in love with a man who had a declared polyamorous relationship, though it turns out that they were polyamorous in theory (neither of them had actually had an external relationship).
For an entire year, I invested myself emotionally in a secondary relationship, though not quite defined as such since we were long distance and had almost no physical contact with one another. Personal things happened, and it was decided that the secondary relationship needed to be dissolved for the sake of their primary relationship. I fully support this move, and I wish them much luck and happiness.
I have some semblance of closure, knowing that there is nothing else I can do but step aside, which I have done, but my problem lies in the fact that is still hurts. I love him even now, but there is no comfort to be found among my non-poly friends--and that's pretty much all of them. There seems to be this underlying feeling that "it's good the secondary failed," and I am left feeling as though any moment now a scarlet letter will be afixed to my bodice.
I weep for a time-touched love and a handful of memories. It wasn't enough, and I didn't have enough time or courage to tell him what he truly means to me. I admit that I still don't quite understand everything, but I have learned several valuable lessons already:
- I don't think I can ever be a part of a relationship in which someone outside of it has "veto power."
- The rules of the dance must be agreed upon by ALL parties and not dictated. Even as a secondary how I feel is important, and even if my say is less-weighted than the primary partners, I think I need to have the courage to at least make sure my thoughts are heard.
- Once the rules are agreed upon, there are no excuses for breaking them, though I don't know how comfortable I am with the notion of a "deal-breaker."
- I'm not allowed to fall in love until much farther along in a relationship (Yeah, I know, a whole year and I feel like it was too soon? It's a LONG story, but one I am grateful to have lived).
I have officially put myself into emotional boot-camp, and I refuse to ignore the needs and effect that I have on those around me. I am not walking through this world alone, and it is high time I paid more attention. It's a rough lesson, but I hope it's not too late to grow and be deserving of a happy and successful relationship in the future. Before that time, however far off it may be, I will do what I can to make sure that I am a better version of me.