When I first got a message response to one of my online profiles, I looked at the guy as too “artsy” to have anything in common with me. My answer to the initial contact must have said as much because that was what prompted him to reveal that he too was polyamorous and in a relationship.
As we cultivated our friendship, I talked to the both of them. She and I had a common interest in comics (though mine is amateurish in comparison) and were able to get along in person without a single awkward silence. I made overtures to create a friendship and she reciprocated. I found out that she’d pretty much always been poly and had been the one to introduce the concept to him. At first, he’d rejected the idea but the longer they were together, the more he saw that his worries were unfounded. I found out that he’d had flirtations but I was the first official relationship outside of his primary partner.
The more time that I spent with him, the more effort I made with her. No one wants to be the person on the outside looking in and that is especially true when you are poly. So while he and I were building a relationship, she and I were building a friendship; all the time, she was his primary partner and I had one of my own. We were trying to find a way to fit everyone together.
I wish that I could say that all this simultaneous construction was productive and positive but I can’t. The conversations that I had with my new boyfriend never centered on his other relationship; I didn’t want to pry. It was obvious that they operated differently than I did with my partner but making comparisons didn’t seem right. One day though, my curiosity got the better of me.
It is hard to see someone that you care about suffer. I found that once I opened the door, it couldn’t be shut again. Unfortunately, I had a front row seat to the unraveling and painful part of my boyfriend’s other relationship. It wasn’t a problem with me; it was a problem with his primary partner.
There were incidents of miscommunication or the complete lack thereof. Confusion ensued and the expectations of what I was to do or say to make things better were unclear. He often had to choose between his partner that he lived with and the time that was scheduled to be spent with me; he had to choose between her and me.
Finally, it dawned on me that my new boyfriend had probably had complaints and issues with his partner before I came into the picture. My presence wasn’t the cause but it was the microscope. The threat of losing him constantly hung over my head. It took that for me to see that I didn’t want anyone to lose. I tried to be supportive and positive. I encouraged first her and then him to be understanding and patient. Then suddenly, it didn’t matter.
They were over. The Tug-Of-War was over. I’d won.