Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Care & Feeding; my wife-in-law

In his Atlanta Poly Weekend keynote, Maymay railed on the institution of metamours and the idea that two people are obliged to be friends based on their mutual interest in some other, third, person.  From the level of hate all the systems, love all the people any attempt to define how a relationship *should* work can well be met with suspicion.

#WhyImALibertarian: because I don’t know enough to tell someone else how to live their life.

#WhyImALibertarian: because chosen community is more powerful than forced affiliation.

But this is a systemic analysis.  Systems and people are not one and the same.

#WhyIDontVotePartyLine: shared use of resources is more efficient use of resources.

#WhyIDontVotePartyLine: because personal responsibility is meaningless until we’ve achieved equality of means.

Which is to say, while I can agree that systemically there isn’t a right and wrong way to build relationships, personally I consider my metamour relationships to be about 75% as important as my direct intimate relationships.

So, if my sexual/romantic partner has 100% impact on the continuation of my relationship with them, the other people they are involved with have about a 75% impact.  Why? Because here are some things that my metamours impact either above board when we all talk about it, or under the table when we pretend this doesn’t exist:

  • The quantity, duration, and scheduling of the time I spend with my partner
  • The availability of financial and emotional resources within the intimate network
  • The protection of sexual health in the intimate network through their own safer sex practices and communication with our pivot person.
  • The attitudes and behaviors my partner will develop over time.
  • The list can go on…

The list can go on and on and on, but the most important thing is that my metamours add to my feelings of safety, stability, and goodwill in my relationship.  You might expect this sentence to include “or they detract from that.” It doesn’t.  The reason it doesn’t is precisely that my metamours have a huge impact on my relationship, not in either of us vetoing the other, but in the fact that potential metamours are critical in my relationship selection.  To put it simply: if I don’t like your partner, I can’t date you.  Because humans are not systems sometimes this isn’t how it works, but that is my goal state.

This is my goal state not because I expect to dislike your girlfriend, quite the opposite, it is my goal state because when C’s girlfriend designated me her “wife-in-law” I felt loved and included.  Because I find so much joy in watching my network reinforce itself.  Because I find support in knowing that my partner has other arms to catch him/her/them when they fall, that I don’t have to be perfect or always available because we can combine resources when shit hits the fan.

Here is the really important part: strong metamour relationships aren’t just a thing I want to have to keep my sexual relationship healthy, they are something I crave in and of themselves.  It is a type of intimacy that I find incredibly rewarding, valuable, and unique; it is far more exciting for me than getting to fuck lots of people without my partner minding; it is a good chunk of the thing that keeps me coming back to poly even when it’s hard.

So take this not as a threat but as a shout out to all the beautiful, amazing, strong human beings who have shared intimate networks with me, and a prayer that those yet to come inspire me just as much.

And yeah, I am secretly a freaking hippie who should be homesteading in Detroit as one beautiful lady pointed out to me this weekend…

 

Written by kinkinexile

May 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Posted in care&feeding, community

4 Responses

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  1. I agree with pretty much everything in this post.

    maymay

    May 14, 2012 at 9:46 am

  2. “Here is the really important part: strong metamour relationships aren’t just a thing I want to have to keep my sexual relationship healthy, they are something I crave in and of themselves. It is a type of intimacy that I find incredibly rewarding, valuable, and unique; it is far more exciting for me than getting to fuck lots of people without my partner minding; it is a good chunk of the thing that keeps me coming back to poly even when it’s hard.”

    THIS! Oh, this, this, this, so much this.

    Reading this post made me feel so good for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I am often made to feel that I am some kind of crazy person for feeling the above, and it is so awesome to hear that sentiment coming from someone else I respect — and especially someone else in my intimate network. 🙂

    I also like your distinction between systemic institutional relationship expectations and what works for you. I’d love to talk through this more later (and the idea of people’s existing partners playing a big role in whether they are someone you’re going to pursue a relationship with, because I totally resonate with that and do it myself and also, at the same time, suspect it’s a problematic policy in a number of ways that relate to dyadism and the “secondary relationships as hobby” mentality of traditional poly community) — perhaps when we actually get that Skype date to work out 😉 — but for now just, yeah, thanks for writing this. 🙂

    thirdxlucky

    May 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm

  3. Interesting speech you linked to… it strayed far from the poly/metamor theme, but I think there were some valid points made once I slogged through all of it (while procrastinating homework for master’s degree #2). I wish the author had spent more time talking about the metamor issue — one I have given much thought to, as I’ve been in some less than desirable metamoric “relationships” — and less time (sort of) ranting about BDSM and giving the audience an intro class on privilege.

    On a less related note, tell us more about that Detroit thing….

    MistressLynx

    May 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm

  4. […] far more honest and respectful.  But even with a relatively high hit rate on honesty and respect, I was always impacted by my partner’s other partners.  That was ok for a while.  It was ok while I wanted to be a secondary for example. And it was […]


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