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It Doesn't Look the Same Twice

If you took snapshots of my polyamorous life from the moment 17 years ago when I was on a date and was asked if I'd heard of polyamory? Well, ok, but how about open relationships? To today, at 18 month intervals, my relationship structure would not look the same twice. (Or if it did externally, the forces that drove it internally, in terms of philosophy and the kinds of discussions & metacommunication happening inside the relationship absolutely wouldn't.) I think, while many people's external changes are less tumultuous (thanks, my entire 20s, as an ADHD person with many Gemini placements, for the repeated reinventions and lessons in resilience), internally, lots of nonmonogamous folks make similarly large shifts as they realize over the years of being in relationships which boundaries are their own and which are norms they just picked up, and reinforce and discard them accordingly.

I'm here to tell you that even if the hard part right now feels impossible, if you keep finding yourself and engaging in honest dialogues with the people in your life, you will get to places that are where you want and need to be at particular seasons of time. Here's a little timeline of snapshots I made the other day:

15 years ago, I didn’t use the word polyamory. I’d heard it, but I was in open relationships and that was clear enough language for me.

12 years ago, polyamory was starting to feel like the right word - and I panicked and broke up with one of my partners when both of them wanted to move in with me, “so I wouldn’t have to pick.” (You could say I did.)

11 years ago, hierarchical polyamory is a good description of what I was doing - my ex-husband and I were compatible primaries w secondary partners -& my most memorable non-divorce breakup, which was that year - included someone calling me his “best secondary of all time” (weird praise while dumping me, but ok).

9 years ago, having a baby changed the shape of my life. I’m still polyamorous but if there’s a hierarchy my kids are primary.

First this looked like living in a V with my coparents. A co-primary polyamorous V raising kids slowly moving away from hierarchy as time passed was a series of shifts.

By 5 years ago we weren’t romantically involved anymore- but were still cohabiting and coparenting and working hard to do the right things for the kids - while being polyamorous. I was with one of the partners I have now already and one of my coparents was also dating a bit.

3 years ago I needed to have four brain surgeries to fix major worsening of a neurological condition and my coparents managed the kids’ support and my partner and parents supported me. (Since you're here for the polyamory, my partner's in a nested triad as well and at the time my metas had another partner.)

1 year ago I had a relationship anarchist hot girl summer and dated everyone for a minute; it was mostly stressful and hard on my schedule.

Now I have two long term relationships with beautiful people and I occasionally go on a date. I know my metas and like them; I went apple picking with some last week. It doesn’t look much like any point on my timeline before, but I’m pretty sure it’s all for the best.

I couldn't have predicted my life would look how it does - if you'd asked me 15 years ago I'd have said I'm sure I'll have to work but I'd love to be able to afford to be a stay at home mom & housewife and I'd be good at that (and assumed I'd be mostly monogamous upon getting married). If you'd asked 9 years ago, I was going to be living in that V forever, I had absolutely no doubts about any part of that (and I still think we coparent way better than we romanced or roommated, so we sustained the good part). 3 years ago I was not very hopeful about anything and thought people would find dating someone chronically ill was too hard and I might not get back to feeling like I had community like before the pandemic started. Today I'm hopeful and not really willing to make predictions more than a few years out because change and love are the only constants.


Join me and Leanne of PolyPhiliaBlog for a workshop called The Polyamorous Home on nesting with one partner or more than one member of your polycule, on October 15.

Want to level up your communication skills and work on vulnerability with your partner(s) in a beautiful setting for a weekend in November? I'm facilitating the Growth Cycles Retreat for dyads and triads November 10-12, 2023 at a secluded retreat in Windham County, CT. Learn more here or email me at with questions.

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