My coming out blog post: I am polyamorous

This has been something of an open secret for some time but it’s time I came out properly. I am polyamorous, and I believe I have been all my adult life: it just took me until 3 years ago to realize it.

If you’ll bear with me I’ll try to be as brief as I can but this is a subject that takes a fair bit of explaining, so this is still going to be long. Sorry!

Being polyamorous basically means I don’t experience relationships as exclusive. That I sometimes have more than one relationship at the same time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. And my partner(s) also have relationships with other people with my knowledge and consent.

Sometimes people say this looks like I’m afraid of commitment, but it’s really just a different kind of commitment. The “rules” for this kind of relationship aren’t laid out in every movie, novel and soap opera out there. It requires an enormous amount of discussion and re-evaluating things we’re trained to believe in order to make it work.

Yes, Emily & I are married; and no, we didn’t make that commitment in our marriage vows, but we made a lot of other commitments that we felt were missing from the traditional vows.

This isn’t a new thing or a phase I’m going through. My relationship with Emily has been like this from the start and, when I think back to the past, all my previous (and recent) relationships and non-relationships have been a journey towards this. And, even though I’ve always played by the rules, because I wasn’t being true to myself I have occasionally behaved toward other people in ways that I regret. And to those people I am very sorry.

It’s important for me to say I don’t think polyamory is the One True Way. I might be hardwired this way but I don’t expect everyone else to be. A common response is “I couldn’t do that!” and I want you to know that you don’t have to do that! Monogamy is much more common and just as valid as polyamory!

My type of relationship with Emily is what’s sometimes called “partnered polyamory” or a “primary relationship”. In some ways this relationship is a bit more like a traditional relationship and it means different things to me than other relationships: at this moment I don’t ever see myself living with anyone else in a marriage-like relationship. That does not mean everyone else who is polyamorous is the same. There are so many different kinds of poly relationships and I’d ask you please not to think of other poly people you may know in relation to my story: ask them theirs!

Why am I coming out now? It’s time: I’m tired of avoiding it in conversation. I’m tired of not tweeting things I see that may let on that I’m poly. And I think my friends and everyone have a right to know. It’s not something I’m ashamed of: in fact I’m very proud to be poly.

If you didn’t already know, and you’re a close friend of mine, it’s not that I didn’t want to tell you. It’s that it never came up in conversation. It’s a hard thing to just slip in there! And while almost everyone has been really supportive, not everyone has been. There have been some hard times and I expect some fallout from this blog post too.

About 18 months ago I started a little discussion & social group in Leeds with help from a couple of friends. It’s called O.P.E.N and it meets once a month in a pub. I’m really really proud of how successful it’s been and how many people have found community in something that is so rarely talked about.

If you have any questions for me, or concerns about me, I want to hear them. Obviously I could have talked for much much longer about this but I wanted to keep this short (and failed even then).

The infinity-heart is often used as a poly pride symbol (Image: Oliver Wolters cc-by-sa)

The infinity-heart is often used as a poly pride symbol
(Image: Oliver Wolters cc-by-sa)

There are lots of places to read/hear more about polyamory. I did a 5-minute Bettakultcha presentation on it a year ago to test the “coming out” water, and there are some good links from the Polytical website and some good introductory articles on More Than Two, including this lengthy but informative FAQ.

Thanks for listening, everyone. I feel better already.

5 Comments

  1. Katie
    Sep 9, 2013

    Congratulations on the announcement! You rock! (Even though we’ve never really met, I know your awesome wife and you are awesome by association.) Glad that you’re doing gatherings and outreach.

    • Rich
      Sep 9, 2013

      Thanks so much! My heart is still beating but I am so pleased I did it. And I’m sure we’ll meet soon!

  2. Tim
    Sep 10, 2013

    You’re still Rich to me, with revealed poly or no. Kudos for the courage

    • Rich
      Sep 10, 2013

      Thanks for the support! Everyone’s been great so far!

  3. Karen parrish
    Feb 5, 2014

    Thankyou for being honest and sharing your feelings. I hope to attend the polyamory meet up 6/2/2014

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