Article: The Subtle Differences (Polyamorous Ponderings)

Theia and I very recently celebrated our 2-week anniversary, a concept that is entirely surreal to me.

I’ve been with Mr Peaches for almost 12 years now. Long enough that we well since passed month-based milestones, let alone weeks. To suddenly be met with small gestures of celebratory affection, and to return them in kind, for such comparatively minute periods of time is unbelievably sweet, and reminds me of experiences I never imagined myself revisiting.

Day-by-day I find myself encountering these subtle variations in the relationship dynamics between myself and Mr Peaches and myself and Theia, and I feel it’s an aspect of polyamory worth musing on further.

The Relationship We’re In

As some may be aware, there are many different variations on polyamory, and the umbrella term can include so many different relationship dynamics that it’s hard to truly encapsulate it just by saying ‘I’m poly’.

Image Credit: Sarah Mirk.

In the loosest sense, polyamory can be described as ethical non-monogamy, but that includes everything from open relationships, swinging, casual sex, cuckolding, and so on and so forth. What’s more some people in the relationship may have different boundaries, limits, and preferences which make things even more diverse.

There is a wonderful map of polyamory available via Obsidianfields, if you’re interested in some of the many dynamics that can form, but, for now, allow me to tell you about my dynamic.

Mr Peaches, Theia, and I are in a committed triad, in which we are only romantically engaged with each other. Sometimes that means all three of us, and sometimes that means time as twos, but in general it’s a case of the Three Musketeers.

I’m interested in having sexual encounters with others but, so far, we haven’t opened our relationship up to anything else. This may change over time but we’re enjoying learning about each other for now.

Discussing The Differences

This, alone, is a variation that we’ve enjoyed exploring. Discovering our boundaries and what we’re comfortable with from a more open relationship than is typically considered has given us new insights about ourselves and each other. Such discussions (while sometimes causing pain) have been nothing but positive in the end.

And, although Mr Peaches and I have always been open and honest, this is different.

After a long time together, even if you’re a sex nerd, such as myself, you find that certain sexual preferences and habits are simply presupposed, but with a new partner in the mix we’ve all been forced to look at ourselves frankly and go back to the basics of what turns us on—both in solo and group activities. And, naturally, we’re also learning how to turn two in to three and find the pleasure dynamic that works for us.

Physical Variations

All of this is the exciting, sexual fun that you’d expect from polyamory. But there have been many more moments that are equally worth celebrating and which also deserve credit.

Many of these are still physical. Height, for example, suddenly comes in to play as you come to appreciate the simple joy of moving in for a kiss or hug. Theia is shorter than me and Mr Peaches is taller, so I essentially zig-zag when in the middle of a group kiss.

But even when kissing one-on-one to then kiss another partner so soon really does add a new sense of meaning and unique affection to every single gesture. The appreciation seems almost amplified as the variation makes you notice each embrace with further clarity and prompts you to cherish those individual features that you love about each other. This is something I really appreciate.

Romantic Renaissance

Putting the physical aside for a moment, entering in to polyamory can also illuminate you to the differences in romance and acts of affection between each other. The lovey-dovey bliss of the beginning of a relationship hits full force and, suddenly, all three of us have found ourselves acting like newly dating love birds.

The way we go about showing our affection is also differs noticeably. No one person trumps the other in terms of how they display their love, but suddenly being presented with a different approach to courtship and tokens of appreciation is, in itself, revitalising for all romantic elements of our relationship.

Having a new partner also means trying new things, dating in new ways, and, sometimes, taking the experiences you’ve learnt to embrace with one partner and finding ways to extend it in to the relationship dynamic as a whole.

Mr Peaches has never been, by his own admittance, a ‘conventional romantic’ but the ways in which he has expressed his affection recently are noticeably inspired by the way he acts with Theia, the way I act with Theia, and, I turn, the way I act with him.

Three people means three different manifestations of romantic desire, and this means more ways for us to bounce ideas and actions off each other. It’s amazing just how much adding someone else in to a relationship can influence every element of it; adding yet another layer to the old phrase ‘Two heads are better than one’.

Different Frustrations

Nothing is perfect, though, and alongside different positive variations we’ve all also encountered different frustrations and irritations. The chore distribution is still not entirely right. Differing tolerances to clutter are becoming apparent, and the muddling of spaces is sometime adorable and sometimes akin to having someone lick your food before you get a chance to take a bite.

But new relationships are nothing if not forgiving, as you learn how to integrate in to each other’s lives, and with this willingness to adjust to each other’s quirks comes an extension of this in other aspects of life.

In general, our levels of accommodation, communication, and understanding to the natural variations in different individuals has been gradually improving for the better and, alongside it, so has our mental wellbeing and ability to support each other.

The Takeaway

Polyamory is far from perfect but it is an exploration in to one of the fundamental aspects of humanity—variation—and how you choose to address and accept these variations really can make all the difference.

Trust me when I say it brightens my day every single day.

A big thank you to SwingTowns, The Leading Open, Poly, Kink and Swingers Social Dating Network, who sponsored this article. Amazing companies like this help me write about the things i’m interested in. Show your support by visiting their site.