• Mon, Oct 14 - 11:00 am ET

Polyamorous Mom: I Couldn’t Go To My Boyfriend’s Mother’s Funeral

funeralI’m a full-time working mother of three children, married to a wonderful man while dating others. This column chronicles our challenges, boundaries, and successes in a polyamorous marriage.

Recently, a rather unexpected tragedy struck close to home; it jarred the life of a man I’m incredibly close to and love unconditionally.  If this man had been my husband Allan, I would have done everything in my power to be with him and help share the burden of grief. If it had been Allan, I’d be writing a column this week on the support from my extra-marital partnership. But because it was my boyfriend Jim, the last few weeks have been a bevy of emotional turmoil.

A few weeks ago, while Jim and I were on our way to work, he got a call that his mother had been rushed into a serious and life-threatening surgery about 10 hours away from us.  A flurry of phone activity ensued while we sat in bumper to bumper traffic; Jim called his mom, his sister, and his wife.  I got on my own smartphone and started looking up flights for him, over 600 dollars round trip.  After the phones were hung up and the cars still failed to move, we sat with my hand on his shoulder listening to ourselves breathe.

“Is Diana (his wife) going with you?”  I finally broke the tense silence.

“No no… I can drive out alone.”

“Well….I can go with you if you like. I’m worried about you making the long trip alone,” I offered, and this is where things got sticky.

When we got to the office, I spoke to Diana. I really felt so strongly in my gut that he should not drive out by himself under duress.

“Should I insist on going with him?”  she asked.

I paused. I was butting into their marriage here, because really, should your girlfriend be telling your wife to insist on being there?  Should your girlfriend even be discussing this with your wife?  Isn’t it your wife’s place to decide? To talk to her husband?  All this was going through my head while we spoke.  If it were Allan I’d go….if it were Allan, I could INSIST on going.

“I don’t know.” I told her, regretting this phone call, “I’ll let you know how he is on the ride back to your house”.

While we drove back to his house, Jim was giving me the details of the surgery and its intensity. His knuckles clasped white on the steering wheel while I nodded and gently ran my hand over the hair at the back of his head.  We are both deeply emotional, he in a sensitive way and I in a way that my gut reactions are to take care of whom ever needs it, especially if I love them.  Diana texted me and said she was respecting his wishes to go alone, and that was that.

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  • Woah

    Every single entry in this series just gets worse and worse, yet for some reason I read it. Ugh, it’s the equivalent of garbage reality tv in the blogosphere.

    This person seems emotionally stunted and deeply childish. Over-emotional, reactionary, drama queen lacking maturity and the ability to really think out all her decisions. Very impulse driven.

    • http://anniedeezy.tumblr.com/ Annie

      I thought that maybe I was being biased because I couldn’t go to my actual significant other’s funeral, but yes. It doesn’t have to do with being polyamorous, it’s almost exploitative.

    • Justme

      I also got the feeling that she was more concerned with how his mother’s death affected her (and her polyamorous relationship) as opposed to his sincere need to go this trip alone, for whatever reason.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      I was trying not to have it come off that way, but the thing is this column is about me and my polyamorous relationship, not my boyfriend. If I wrote a column about how he handled her death, etc. it would be enitrely different. But also, I cant get inside his head so I dont know exactly what went through his mind that day, but that I cared deeply about how he was doing.

    • Justme

      Perhaps that was the intent, but it read as though you were making this whole experience about YOU and not really exploring the concept of life events in regards to polyamorous relationships.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      point taken. On rereading, I also feel like perhaps I could have captured it differently. but you can only do so much in 1000 words, and it was a raw event to write about. I feel like i was trying to capture life events in poly, by talking about how I couldnt be there because he isnt out to his family, and that i wasnt really sure what my ‘role’ was. for him? im not sure how he feels about it with the poly thing, as far as discussing her death i am trying to just be supportive and make sure hes doing ok. I didnt want to make him have ‘poly’ talks so just i could write an article.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Well, this is about her, or at least the column is. I think it would have been disingenuous to put it otherwise. She seemed to be genuinely concerned about her boyfriend’s mental well-being and also worried about overstepping her boundaries. I think she would have been wrong to insist on going, or getting angry of he pushed the issue, but she didn’t. In this article she was simply telling us how she felt. I would venture to say that most people sound self-centered when talking about themselves.

    • Justme

      Perhaps it’s my life experiences (and yes, I know her boyfriend signed off on this article) but I let other people have their own grief and sorrow. My husband’s father died tragically and it obviously has had repercussions on my life. But regardless, when the anniversary of the death comes around IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. I think she could have written it in a manner that still explored the confines of polyamorous relationship without sounding so whiny.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I didn’t read it as whiny at all though. I read it as her struggling with her own emotions about what was going on, which is normal in my book, unless you’re made of stone. I don’t think she thinks its all about her. She told us what was going on in her head, nothing more and nothing less.

    • Justme

      Looks like you’re in the minority.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      I’d also like to add, that my boyfriend read and approved of this column before I submitted it.

    • keelhaulrose

      My husband isn’t going to be able to go to his own father’s funeral. He’s probably going to die before the new year, and lives 1750 miles away. We can afford one trip, and we’re doing it while he’s still alive. We won’t be able to save up for another trip to the funeral.
      It happens, and it’s not just polyamorous couples who have to deal with shitty situations.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      im sorry to hear that :( i hope you have a wonderful trip with him

    • Andrea

      I’m surprised how many agree with you and that no one has slammed this yet.

      For what it’s worth, I find her articles interesting, although invariable I feel like a need a nap afterwards (it sounds like so much work!).

      But on this one, I agree with you. It sounded petty.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Amanda Low

      Hey, then don’t read it! She may be emotional, but living a closeted lifestyle is going to have that effect on a person, in my experience. Plus, the nature of the blogosphere — especially this site — requires stories centered on drama and challenges.

    • CMJ

      Oh man. I really dislike the “don’t read it” retorts. People are allowed to disagree with content on this site and comment on it….

    • Magrat

      Except when the complaint is “every single one of so-and-so’s articles.” If you read a piece and you disagree with it, that’s one thing, but if you know you don’t like a particular column, why punish yourself by reading it every time? That just gives it clicks.

    • Andrea

      I stopped reading the Eckler stories for that reason. Seemed to have worked (and I was obviously not the only one) since I haven’t seen one in weeks.

    • Wilskey

      Train wreck effect. Also, you want to see if the previous entry’s comments had any bearing on the following entry’s tone. It’s so sick and bitchy, but ’tis the way of the internet.

    • CMJ

      I rage read a lot of things I really, really dislike. It’s like I can’t stop.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      i;ll take rage reading :p

    • Cee

      Admitting is the first step

    • CMJ

      I finally stopped reading some anti-feminist/MRA blogs. I never commented but read and silently stewed. It was making me crazy so I stopped.

    • Cee

      OMG, why would you DO that? I only read one day and I couldn’t take it. I got such a rage stroke
      I hate read XOJane still *shame*

    • CMJ

      I don’t even know…. I found myself reading and raging and I would just keep going back. I do that with Thought Catalog too and XO Jane too….I roll my eyes at everything I read on XO Jane.

    • Cee

      Me too!

      I recall seeing you on Thought Catalog with that poor little rich girl story. That story was uuugh!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      Noooo! Why would you do that to yourself? Okay, I’ve done it, too.

    • Katia

      Well said! I’d add that I’m curious if other commenters react like me. Im curiois aboit our western cultural evolution and how other moms feel about these issues and articles so ill read artciles even if the author gets on my nerves. It would be pretty boring if there were only nice comments on everything. Lets debate , and agree to disagree

    • Polyamorous Mom

      I agree Katia. And i have no problem with readers not disliking or understanding my life, or finding my tone annoying or childish, to each his own. I only dislike it when people are blatantly disrespectful, cause then why are they even commenting? I wrote back to someone on another piece who wrote “dont ever comment on my comments again, im going to block you” well dude, then why did you comment on my article.
      Im all for you guy disagreeing and having lively conversation. heck you dont even have to like me, but if you can read and we can all act like grown ups, party on. :)

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      It’s fine to disagree (and I wouldn’t personally tell anyone not to) but I’ve noticed that a lot of the comments on these pieces are becoming nastier and more disrespectful. Obviously not your comments, the ones I’ve read from you seem insightful and not rude at all, but some people’s are just awful.

    • Justme

      And you’re always sunshine and roses?

    • Katia

      “Yet for some reason I read it”
      Me too
      Hate-reading?

    • Chrissy

      I don’t know, but I don’t think I agree with you. When someone passes away who I don’t know, I can’t help but think of how it affects me even if it’s a loved one of someone I care for. But I never say that to them because it’s going to complicate their grief and that’s not fair. I actually think it’s natural to base things that happen to our loved ones in a frame of reference about how it affects US instead of them. If SHE had brought it up to him, I’d feel differently, I think. She didn’t put that on him though. She discussed it with his wife, sure, but they’re all supposedly open in this unconventional relationship dynamic, so I don’t find that really odd, especially since she didn’t try to force his wife to make a different decision.

      Plus, if we were looking at this from the perspective of “my husband’s mom died and I couldn’t go and this is how I felt about it” in a traditional couple relationship, I think no one would think anything of it other than “That’s awful. I’m sorry and he has my condolences. It’s great that you’re being there for him now. Best wishes.”

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      Agreed. She didn’t put her own feelings above his need to grieve however he needed to. She didn’t make him deal with her feelings on top of his own. Later, she discussed it with him when he brought the topic up.

      That she had her own conflicting emotions over the situation seems perfectly natural to me, and to acknowledge and express them after the fact when all parties are okay with it being aired seems reasonable.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Thanks Chrissy, you put this really well :)

  • Justme

    I’m all for “live and let live” but I can’t help but feel a bit exhausted when I read how difficult it can be to manage and respond to SO many people’s emotions and feelings. I have a hard enough time taking care of a husband, a two-year-old and two dogs…much less a boyfriend and his wife added into the mix.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Yeah, me too, I would be all needing naps constantly

    • Andrea

      I need naps now and I only have to deal with one husband and two kids.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Me too, we need all the naps

    • Véronique Houde

      awww man now i’m starting to think that maybe I should have taken a nap at the same time as my daughter. she just woke up now. too late!

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Well, I find a lot of things other people do to sound exhausting. like going to the gym every night, or skiing every weekend. I happened to like having multiple people around that Im keeping up with and caring for…though his wife is much more his domain than mine.

    • Justme

      You seem very defensive. Managing and keeping track of other people’s emotions is exhausting – it reminds me of the middle schoolers that I teach. They are constantly stressing over, questioning, and trying to gauge what other people are thinking and feeling.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Didnt mean to be defensive, just trying to explain. As in “to each his own” if none of us mind juggling…
      I think a lot of grown ups constantly stress over and try to gauge other people. :)

    • Justme

      I’m sure they do. And it’s exhausting and emotionally draining.

  • Cee

    Hmmm I felt bad for Diana here and found your husband to be quite awesome and supportive…I don’t know what else to add. Somewhat confused.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      What are you confused about?

    • Cee

      Well it all sounds a bit selfish. Obviously you are writing about your perspective so the writing is a bit selfish, but you provide no hindsight into certain actions. Particularly saying “I don’t know” to Diana being there for him. Sure, her asking you seems like a weakness in her relationship with her husband…possibly. But you telling her you didn’t know sounded more of a selfish “I want to be the hero” of this situation.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Ah, thanks for clarifying. that was an odd moment. I wanted to say “yes” because I was worried about him going alone, but I also didnt want to offend her by saying yes and make her feeling like i was judging her if she couldnt/didnt want to go, so i just said “i dont know”. not because I wanted to go instead, but because I didnt know what to say.

    • Cee

      I forgot to say. I’m glad you explained a bit more. It was helpful :)

    • Polyamorous Mom

      well thanks :)

    • Jane

      I feel increasing sympathy for Diana and Alan each week. Poly. Mom would probably say I just don’t understand, but the more I read, this is simply an affair between her and Jim , one that is openly acknowledged by the other spouses. If she would’ve gone with Jim, how would that have been for the rest of his extended family? Pretty sure the last thing a family needs at such a raw time is a stranger tagging along where a spouse is expected, if anyone were to be there. This is the first week I’ve seen the comments, initial ones anyway, trending towards a negative reaction. It’s been very accepting so far. I am finding this shift in reaction interesting.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Diana has her own boyfriend and her own issues/discussion etc. around poly with Jim, I just dont go into them because it is not my relationship. I would never have gone instead of her, but if I had been able to attend the service we both would have been there.
      I can not say its easy to see the negative shift of comments on a column that was difficult to write. but it is what it is

    • Justme

      I don’t think the negative reactions are towards the lifestyle but instead the manner in which these events (and surrounding emotions) have been portrayed.

    • Andrea

      Maybe because it is the 1st one to deal with some of the stark realities of poly relationships? I think the most part all the other ones have been at least interesting and they had a positive spin. This one left me feeling strange.I think it’s because we find that it’s not all fun and games? That it does get hard no matter how well you slice it?

      by the way, I think she mentioned that Diana is also a poly. I believe she has a boyfriend as well.

    • Magrat

      Do we know whether Jim’s wife sees other people? Allan dates. Just because this is the secondary relationship that gets the focus doesn’t mean the primary partners are passive victims.

    • Andrea

      Diane has a boyfriend too.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      as Andrea says, yes Diana has a boyfriend. they both have their own thing going, i dont think any two of the relationships are quite the same

  • Polyamorous Mom

    Hm…Well I just re-read my own column and feel like I should comment further. Diana contacted me that day, I didnt force myself upon her. My desire to go with him might have been irrational, and I was not judging her for not going, this column was just about how I felt and what it meant to me in terms of our being poly. I had really wanted to go to the service, and I couldnt. Luckily, Jim did have wonderful friends and family there but all the same it would have been nice for both of us if I could have been there as well.

    • angus

      I think you are really brave to put this part of your life on a blog. Judging from the heated debate, I think it would be difficult for most people to read other peoples opinions on their relationship(s).
      I had a strong negative reaction to a few of your blogs. It made me realize I was doing a LOT of judging. Thanks for allowing a glimpse into your world.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Why thank you :)

  • Véronique Houde

    Also intrigued… Let me ask you this – had Jim’s mom lived in town with you – would you have gone to the funeral? Would Jim’s wife had gone to the funeral? Perhaps it would not have been perceived as that strange from the family – you are a “family friend” who is there to offer condolences to Jim. I don’t think this has to do really with the disadvantage of being polyamorous because, had it been in town, I’m certain that both you and your husband would have been at the funeral. I think that this has more to do with the fact that Jim pushed you away emotionally and you didn’t know how to feel about it. What do you think about that? Is it possible that, in this scenario, you just didn’t know where you “fit in” emotionally?

    When your spouse grieves, it’s easy to know what your role is in the equation. When it’s your “secondary” – you might be constantly wondering if you’re overstepping the boundaries between him and the wife. That by being too much there for him might be bad for his primary relationship. That it might also be bad for your primary relationship. That you might want to be there more than what might be appropriate. At least, this is the way that I’m reading into your emotions. Am I wrong to think this?

    I would encourage you to focus less on the fact that polyamory made a social situation more complicated – because that’s an unchanging fact, one that I know that you haven’t quite accepted but will probably have to, considering the context in which you live. I think that what would probably help you would be to reflect on the emotional role you hold in Jim’s life vs. his wife. ARE they having issues? IS this affecting your own relationship and boundaries with Jim? What does it mean that Jim would have wanted you there for him – vs. not wanting his wife there during this time in his life? That he preferred having no one there over his wife?

    • Justme

      BINGO! As always, you were able to express the cluster of thoughts swirling around in my brain. YES. It wasn’t about the physical aspect of not being there, it was about how she ultimately felt a little shut out emotionally…thus the teenage-angsty feeling of the writing.

    • Véronique Houde

      awww thanks :) I have my moments… Should be having more of them since I’m going back to work in a month and a half!!!

    • Justme

      And I’ve been back at work for the past month and a half, which is why I’ve been MIA on here lately.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      You have been missed!

    • Justme

      Aww…you’re just trying to sweet talk me. ;)

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      NOPE, for real and honestly

    • Justme

      Well, thank you. I’ve kind of missed the community as well. But I’ve been off saving the world….or making/enacting 8th grade math and algebra lesson plans while simultaneously running Student Council. Oh. And taking care of the husband and child as well. By the time I get into bed at night, I don’t have energy for anything beyond Candy Crush and Plants vs. Zombies.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      All nobel causes, except I gave up on PvZ2 because I can’t get three stars on every level and it’s annoying me :(

    • Justme

      That’s why I play the old school version. :)

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      How are you honey? I have not seen you around :(

    • Justme

      You are so, so sweet to ask. Life has been crazy chaotic since school started. Not bad…just busy. Getting out of coaching and being full-time in the classroom (with 190 students in six class periods) has been a big (good) transition. So I don’t have time to waste during the day anymore and when I come home, it’s dinner, playtime, bathtime and bedtime.

      And congrats on the new job, Mrs. Boss Lady. I contacted Koa awhile back about doing some teacher-perspective articles…and then school started and has sucked the writing life force from me.

    • http://www.whatwouldshethink.com/ Rachelle

      I definitely got the “Vee, the counselor” vibe in that comment. ;) Cracking some knuckles feels good sometimes.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I don’t think having emotional doubts about a relationship automatically makes you sound angsty and like a teen. Maybe we just read this piece differently, but I didn’t find it immature so much as hyper-emotional, and I personally don’t find someone discussing their emotions immature.

    • Justme

      Do you see my screen name and automatically decide you’re going to disagree?

      I find her reaction to the situation a bit immature. The death of a loved one’s mother shouldn’t automatically be turned around into “how does this affect me” because it’s not about you.

      And since when does me saying that the writing came across as “teenage angsty” mean that I think discussing emotions equals immaturity?

    • Poly Myself

      You didn’t say immaturity but when you use terms like teenage to refer to an adult, the thought can come across. The authors articles are about the issues that can occur in the poly lifestyle. The death of a parent is obviously not a poly issue but it can create issues in a poly relationship that are unique. I must admit that this situation made me stop and think because we have not faced this yet. I for one appreciate the sincerity of the author.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      thanks :)

    • Justme

      But the general nature of this article DIDN’T really address issues in a poly relationship, it just sounded like whining.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      this was put very well, thank you. If it had been in town, i dont know if i would have asked Jim if I could attend, because I had gotten the impression that he didnt want me to. I found out later, he would have let me had it been near by. So, if it had been in state nad he had told Allan and I it was ok for us to come as his good friends, we absolutely would have.
      I dont think i meant to focus on the social, it WAS a “where do I fit in emotionally?” i just struggled to write about it.

    • Véronique Houde

      That’s ok. I feel that this has thrown you a curve ball! I would be just as confused as you had I been in your situation – and I think it’s wise to look at what’s going on with Jim’s relationship and how that might affect both of you. You seem to hint at issues between them, and I think it’s inevitable for you to consider your own role in their relationship – and in conjunction your relationship with Jim. What do you really expect emotionally out of that relationship? What do you expect of his wife? So on and so forth…

    • Polyamorous Mom

      thanks, you are very thoughtful and well spoken (written)! it was a curve ball for everyone. Ah….I havent delved much into me and diana or jim/diana in the column because im not sure how or where I want to address any of that. I may write about Diana and I soon, but i also dont want to take a bunch of internet heat. lol

    • Véronique Houde

      LOL but that’s because it’s so controversial! But really, I’m sure that it would be helpful so that other people understand polyamory in general… and perhaps therapeutic for you too! I would encourage you to do so ;)

    • Polyamorous Mom

      thanks ;) perhaps that will be next weeks!

    • Cee

      Yes! I agree!

  • blh

    His mother died and you’re making it all about you. It was his right to go alone if he wanted and if he didn’t want to, his wife should’ve, not you. It would’ve been completely innapropriate for you to.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      thats why i didnt.

  • Polyamorous Mom

    I find it kind of curious i am being called selfish and petty. If someone you loved lost a loved one, would you NOT want to be there? would you not want to do anything you could to ease things for them at all, even if you didnt know what that was? curious.

    • Wilskey

      I would want to be there if asked. Or expected. What you’re failing to see is that your presence would have more than likely caused a scene and deflected attention from the deceased. Selfish. Inappropriate.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      I am not failing to see that, had i been there without people knowing im his girlfriend, it would have created nothing but “oh Jim’s friends attended”. I feel your comment is suggesting that i accept that my lifestyle is wrong, when i most certainly do not think it is.

    • Wilskey

      You just seem to present a lot of what goes into managing your lifestyle as problems that wouldn’t be problems if everyone just saw things your way.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      why wouldnt i want everyone to see things my way? :p

      and if you mean, poly being acceptable…why in the world wouldnt i hope/long for people to see that? Any people in fringe classes of society want the same thing.

    • Wilskey

      And besides, an emotionally healthy person would not have enough material to fill a bi-weekly blog about all the super-serious decisions and attention needed in order to keep up with their daily life. You’re causing yourself undue stress. I’m sure it is possible to love multiple people simultaneously, but it seems like you spend an awful lot of time being hurt and baffled by the consequences. Not the definition of functional polyamory.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      I have to disagree with you. we are fairly new to this (less than a year) and the begining of any kind of change is fraught with changes and decisions. If i were to write about my life weekly not about being poly i could write a column on our money troubles, another on my mother and sisters feud and the birth of her new baby, another one on my father in laws battle with cancer. Everyone has shit they handle on a daily/weekly basis, I just choose to write about it.

    • Justme

      Of course I would want to be there. BUT in the meantime, I wouldn’t be contemplating how their grief process was affecting me or my relationship with them. That’s how the writing came across.

  • Guest

    Des anyone else feel like one of these days we’ll be reading “Polyamorous Mom: My Husband Got Tired of My Crap and Left Me”? I feel so bad for him and her kids, I mean her articles are all about her boyfriend. I hope her husband finds someone who appreciates him and never looks back.

    You shouldn’t have thought to go to the funeral, you’re not his wife.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      i am not his wife, but i AM his partner. and my husband has a girlfriend, and my children have two parents who love them. What you fail to understand is that we are all in this together, i am not putting anything on anyone.

    • Véronique Houde

      It IS true that the focus of the blog posts so far have been more about your boyfriend than your husband… But you know what? I congratulate you on writing about your vulnerabilities – it can’t have been easy for you to expose yourself that way. I think that, the minute that people will read about the difficulties of being in a polyamorous relationship, they will use it as “proof” that it can’t work.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      thank you! They have focused more on my boyfriend because thats where more of the stuff to write about is…I dont think people want to hear about how Allan and I went clothes shopping or took the kids to the doctors. I did write the one about him dating, and about how we got into this, but aside from that a lot if it DOES end up being about Jim and I. Allan and I communicate really well, and I just dont find a lot of writing fodder there. We have great sex, but id probably just get called a slut for that. lol.

    • Andrea

      Oh please. Why would anyone call you a slut for having awesome sex with your husband?

    • Polyamorous Mom

      i was just being glib

    • Wilskey

      Exactly. Being married is pretty freaking boring. And a lot of the times, that’s good. Falling in love and dating and discovering someone new sexually is super exciting. After 6 years of marriage, I miss it. Especially when regular old married people crap keeps me from being excited about my husband. I would much rather be going out and learning about someone new who was intrigued by me than arguing in the dark with my husband about why after having kids we have new sexual rules all of the sudden.

      But for all its boring and less than dazzling glory, I am grateful that there is a routine and stability in our life together. Dating was fun, but it came with an unpredictability and challenges that I am so happy to not have to deal with anymore. Good luck to you, but one of the perks to being married for me is getting to re-channel the energy I used to spend managing new problems in relationships into my personal interests and hobbies.

    • Jane

      I agree with this! It’s just my (small-minded, closeminded, whatever negatives anyone would want to call it) opinion… but reading ths column makes me appreciate the stability and the bond I have with my husband. I hate to say I ever took it for granted, but… I guess I did! It’s him, me, our kids, and our extended families, and I’m so glad I don’t feel that I have unmet needs that must be fulfilled by another romantic partner, and that he doesn’t either. I don’t want to take time away from him or the kids or my other existing friendships or deal with drama at work, let alone the emotional complexities that this week covered.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      word

    • Polyamorous Mom

      ::Shrug::: i feel stabiltiy and a bond with my spouse as well. never said i didnt.

    • Jane

      And yet it isn’t enough to satisfy you. I don’t think I’m alone in just not understanding why it isn’t enough. I read every column to try to understand you better. I’ll keep reading. The lifestyle you are writing about isn’t for me, but that’s irrelevant – I do respect your right to live it. One question I have is, are you really happy? Because this column plus the one about feeling so out of place with all the “swingers”, as well as the angst expressed in the one about coming out at work… I’m just not sensing happiness. It’s something closer to you frantically, desperately trying to achieve balance and a sense of true satisfaction from having multiple partners meet your needs.

    • Andrea

      Polymom said on several occasions she finds it deeply satisfying though.

      To me it sounds like a lot of work.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I know this isn’t your intention, but I find the people who question why someone feels the desire to be poly similar to people who ask me how I know I’m bisexual and whether I think I was “just being selfish or slutty” when I’ve dated women in the past. They seem to feel emboldened to say it because I am now married to a man, and therefore cisgendered enough to feel comfortable around. I might be wrong, but I was under the impression that many poly people see it as a sexual orientation and therefore you wouldn’t understand because you aren’t poly.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      I do kinda see it that way frances, thank you. i see it as i AM poly not that i CHOOSE to be poly

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I would be interested to read a piece on how you feel about poly as an orientation. I think that might clear up a lot of the misconceptions. There are plenty of trolling comments, but I think for the most part Mommyish readership is openminded and might not quite understand where you’re coming from yet.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      great idea frances, thanks!

    • Wilskey

      I think you are horribly misguided in drawing a correlation between polyamory and sexuality. While there has been evidence showing that your aptitude for monogamy may be genetically determined, monogamy itself fulfills a social desire NOT a biological desire as your sexuality does. If you care to skew the social norm and poo-poo monogamy, that’s fantastic. You’re living more “naturally” than someone exerting control over biological urges is. But, there are plenty of social benefits to being monogamous, such as partaking in modern mourning rituals.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      WHOA, hold your judgy horses. First of all, I said I was bisexual, not non-monogamous. I have always, personally, been monogamous in my relationships, I am just attracted to both men and women. What I was saying is that I have heard other poly people talk about their feelings on the subject in a way that reminds me of how I feel about my sexuality. There is, after performing a quick Google search, some science to back that up, but I’m not a scientists so I can’t say for sure.

      http://sexandthestate.com/is-polyamorous-a-sexual-orientation/

    • Polyamorous Mom

      but now you are drawing a correlation saying that polyamory is only sexually and not socially or otherwise beneficial, which it can be and is.

    • Jane

      You assume a lot. What have I admitted? That I am married and we choose not to be poly. What I will clarify here: I choose to call myself “straight” because I am in a committed relationship (marriage) with a man, but I have had attraction to both men and women. My husband and I are extremely honest with each other and not threatened by attraction to others. That is why I do not think the argument that it’s a sexual orientation isn’t quite right. Attraction is innate. You can’t make yourself desire a man if you have feelings towards women. But the choice to be with one person exclusively or with multiple partners is exactly that – a choice. We’ve actually discussed the poly life and are friends with people in open relationships, and we are comfortable with our boundaries. There have been times throughout the years where I’ve felt a connection, beyond physical, with another person, and had I not been married, sure, I would’ve wanted to pursue something with them. However, I make the choice to respond to that attraction, that connection, and reflect on my marriage and platonic relationships to determine how I can integrate whatever unmet need prompted it appropriately within the context of my life. So… I’m a “closeted” poly? No, I think it’s something an individual can determine, and if you want to say it’s a sexual orientation, OK, but that’s not my definition because I see sexual orientation NOT as a choice, whereas I can’t think of anything else to call the decision to open up your marriage to include multiple partners. At some point, you CHOOSE to open up your relationship, or you CHOOSE to be with multiple partners and never have a single committed relationship. I suppose someone could say a person CHOOSES to engage in same sex relations, but the difference is that the attraction can’t be turned off, whether they choose to live a gay or straight lifestyle. Attraction is innate, but actually opening up your relationship, as you write about, is a choice, a dialouge, an experience that goes beyond what a person FEELS into action, what they choose to do. Sorry for the gratuitous use of caps. It helped me frame response, but it’s probably annoying to read.

    • Polyamorous Mom
    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      I find that “why it isn’t enough” is something you can’t really thoroughly explain, as it really comes down to how one reacts to certain types of relationships. While I do not have multiple partners myself, I often experience people wanting me to explain why it doesn’t bother me when my partner does. I can try my best to explain that I know that just because he loves others doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me. I can try to explain that while I love him and enjoy the emotional and physical intimacy I have with him, that I like to have a certain amount of independence that I feel doesn’t mesh well with more conventional relationships. But in the end, exclusivity in a relationship just isn’t essential to my happiness in said relationship. The previous explanations don’t work if the latter isn’t true. Whether this is learned or just the way I’m wired is debatable.

      Truthfully, it’s really difficult to understand a preference you don’t share with someone. You can accept a person’s preferences and acknowledge them as valid ones, but that’s not the same as truly understanding it. It’s no different than how there are people out there who enjoy eating lima beans. I have no reason to doubt that these people like lima beans, and there is nothing wrong with them liking them. However, no one will ever be able to explain lima beans to me in a way that will make me say “Oh! You’re right! Lima beans ARE delicious!”

      And I think I’m going to stop here before I take this lima bean metaphor too far and start talking about recipe experimentation and whether it’s different when there are other legumes involved.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Dear Ben, I think I love you. :p

    • CMJ

      Um, why would anyone call your a slut for having great sex with your husband?

    • Polyamorous Mom

      see below, being glib. apparently not well.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      IDK as someone prettttty familiar with our audience here, I have yet to see any of our readers call anyone a “slut”…

    • Polyamorous Mom

      i got called a slut and whore quite a bit on the earlier pieces… but right here i was just trying to be funny.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      HMMM, I doubt they were from OUR readers, maybe people trying to stir stuff up

    • CMJ

      Most likely with a lot of “Guest” up votes.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      yes, i think your right. i withdraw the comment!

    • Polyamorous Mom

      ah, good point. internet trolls!

    • Cee

      Slut :o

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Umm, yeah, sorry, that’s what MOST of us write about and are interested in. There is nothing wrong with just being a boring mom and doing boring moms things. I’m all for boring moms.

    • Andrea

      We could use more sex stories though. Just sayin’ ;)

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Man, sex does soooo bad. Those stories never get comments

    • Andrea

      You are kidding! Maybe, but I bet a lot of us take notes! Ha ha ha ha.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      lol! I’ll have to try to come up for a good sex pitch….but I dont think Eve is into it so maybe not ;)

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      That’s fine with me, EVERYONE PITCH ME SEX STORIES

    • CMJ

      SEX STORIES FOR EVERYONE.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I HOPE I NOW GET SEX STORIES ABOUT DOG SWEATERS

    • Polyamorous Mom

      i’ll have a talk with my dog when i get home and see if she has any inpuit…. ;)

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I am going to work on that ASAP.

    • Andrea

      YAY SEX!

    • Simone

      I could tell you about how my partner and I agreed to have sex every night for three months to save our relationship and how although it hasn’t worked out entirely, it’s still been a huge improvement if you like.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Every night? good for you. I’m pretty beat from the last three days

    • Simone

      Yeah, pretty tiring. I can tell you, I am shagged.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      in more ways than one :p

    • Véronique Houde

      lol maybe you don’t do sex blogging right eve! ;)

    • Polyamorous Mom

      my swingers column was my lowest comments so far i think

    • Amber Starr

      That sucks… I love a good story or article about sex and human sexuality. There are so many interesting things to explore…. It surprises me that those stories don’t do well here.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Try it again. I will comment the shit out of them!
      Edit….wait…that sounds bad somehow.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Sex stories NEVER do well. We don’t know why.

    • Andrea

      Are you basing that on number of comments or clicks? I think we are being weird if we are not clicking on the sex stories.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      You would have to ask Eve for the specifics, but for the most part I think she is basing that on unique page views. It would make sense to me if we got lots-o-pageviews but few comments due to the subject matter, but we don’t seem to even get pageviews. Very strange in my opinion, because who doesn’t like sex?

    • Andrea

      We defy rational expectations as I guess. Maybe that’s what makes this readership fun!

    • Cee

      I used to, but in straight circles I always get the stink eye so I keep it on the down low and cringe every time I give a hint of sexual behavior

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      We are very pro-non-straight people here though. If any lesbian moms wanna pitch me about that I would be happy to read it!

    • Simone

      I remember a sex story when Mommyish was all like, ‘Toys in the bedroom! Try it out!’ and everyone was all like, Nuh-huh; Not a single comment. Man, I watched that article for days waiting to see if anyone would bite. Wtf, right?

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Right??? BTW, how awesome are sex toys?

    • Simone

      Phwoar! Preaching to the converted here.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      but there is usually some kernel of drama, or conflict, or SOMETHING. isnt there? I enjoy your articles Eve, but htey have some draw to them. They arent just “I went to the store and bought a sweater for the dog” (i dont know if you have a dog, or if it likes sweaters). My draw is being poly. :)

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      My dog is not poly :( (Sorry, I read your comment fast and my eyes are kinda blurry so I thought you said that and it amused me)… Yeah, It’s your jam, get on with your bad self but you need to be a leeeetle bit careful about slagging on the BORING moms. I love my boring moms, they are my people. Plus, IDK, I think people care about dog sweaters.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      I didnt mean to slag on them at all (good word usage!) (and i LOL’d about your dog). I just dont find the rest of my life something that i personally want to write about, people might love to read it for all i know. Today I went home on lunch cause my daughter had an earache, and tonight I’m going to sit around and knit. trust me, i have nothing bad to say about ‘boring’ :)

    • Tinyfaeri

      I care about dog AND cat sweaters, thankyouverymuch.

    • Andrea

      Well maybe not proof that it can’t work, but “proof” that it’s not all fun and games. The other articles she wrote were about having fun, about finding incredible fulfillment, and generally how great it is. I was always skeptical, but whatever, it seemed to be working for everyone involved.
      This is the 1st time we find out that it is not, in fact, all roses and unicorns and there are a lot of difficulties with that lifestyle. That it does involve complications and feelings of displacement. The conversation with Diane was pretty telling I though.
      It is one thing for your husband to date and have fun with another person and you be ok with that. It’s quite another when something tragic happens.

      Here’s an interesting situation: what would happen if Jim (the boyfriend) was in a serious (God forbid) accident? Who should be at his bedside? How would it be handled with the rest of the family for instance? Who would make the decisions? I would guess it would be very awkward at best.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      well the one about my coworkers and dad werent too rosey, i actually got pegged on those for NOT writing fun stuff, which i then followed up with the swingers article before this one.
      if god forbid something happen to Jim….I think Diana and I would both be by him, but she would make any decision because after all she is his spouse.

    • Andrea

      Yeah but it was easy to take your side because people were being judgey (specially your co-workers) because at the end of the day it’s not their business who you screw.

      But this time, the “conflict” was between the people that are in the relationship(s). And it shows that it’s not simple and it’s not always OK.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      thing is though, there wasnt any conflict. there was inside my head of “should i tell Diana this or that?” but she and I did not suffer any hard feelings. We have spoken and seen each other since, and the next day I messaged her and asked if she needed any help with the dog and house while she was away, or a ride to the airport an she was appreciative.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I feel like she might discuss the BF more than the husband because she and her husband’s relationship is much more sussed-out than the new one. They are still finding their place in each other’s life, whereas her and her husband are there already.

  • Polyamorous Mom

    Ok the lower post got long. RE: being called a slut. you know I actually dont mind. While i made an offf handed comment below, it actually doesnt bother me. Whore i dislike, last time i checked i wasnt charing anyone….but slut? sluttiness is all in how you take the concept. if you are going to make it a ‘bad’ thing (like slut shaming) ot just a ‘thing’ as in “there is a certain way a group of people/persons like to act, find behavoirs accetpable, outside the norm etc’. The Ethical Slut does a great job of summing this up….maybe i’ll read the chapter again and work it into an article :)

    • Simone

      Your articles are really interesting, but whenever you post replies to comments, your grammar, spelling and punctuation leave a bit to be desired.

      Proofing your articles must be a nightmare :)

      For some reason, it matters to me that you are an educated and intelligent woman. I wonder why that is…. as though a polyamorous woman with little education working a lower-class job would somehow be a less positive model of an alternative lifestyle? Like it’s okay for a privileged, educated, high-status woman to embrace social deviancy, but not for a disadvantaged woman? Hmm. What snobs society makes of us all.

      Judging from your uncorrected posts, however, I’m not sure what to make of you.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      i have a high paying office job working with numbers, i suck at grammar and spelling. lol. but yes, I have a college education and would be considered “middle class”. As do all of us involved, Jim even more so than myself.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Also you may find humorous, Allan says I have an unnatural love of the comma and Jim returns my articles to me heavily marked in red. I suppose my editors are lucky they are pre-edited ;)

  • Alex

    This really has nothing to do with being polyamorous or not. Someone with whom you have a close relationship had a family tragedy and doesn’t want you there to attend the service. Whether your boyfriend or your husband, he has chosen not to involve you in this part in his grieving process. He may reach out to you for emotional support later, he may reach out to his wife, or neither of you.

    I get feeling disappointed and a bit unsure about where your emotional boundaries can fit into to his life without overstepping his (and your) primary relationships’ bond, but that cannot take precedence over his desires to handle his family’s affairs however he sees appropriate, however alone it may leave you.

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      I don’t think it’s completely unrelated to polyamory in that being in poly relationships does add an extra layer or two of determining where boundaries are and where everyone fits emotionally. It’s certainly not a problem *exclusive* to polyamory, but honestly there aren’t many issues that really are. A number of people have even pointed out on previous columns that a lot of the challenges faced in polyamorous relationships are the same challenges faced in any other style of relationship.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      Ah Ben, ive been waiting for you to show up ;)

  • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

    I don’t know. It sounds to me like he really did want to be alone and his wife knows him well enough to know that. If he needed someone there with him, he could have voiced that. I feel like he just told you you could have gone to make you feel better because he could sense it was what you needed to hear.

    • Polyamorous Mom

      that I could have gone to the service? No, he meant that. he did want to go for the initial trip alone, which we did both respect but I just got anxious and worried about him. He is not very expressive in times of stress, so I wasnt sure I what he really needed at the time of the trip (and yes Diana new him well enough to just not push it). But when we talked later, he brought up having wanted me at the service if I could have been there. He is not the kind of guy to say things to appease people :)

  • halez

    I’ll be the first to admit that I dont agree with polyamory. But this was the first time I felt like that author, deep down, knows its wrong too. She acknowledges the primary role of spouses, that her place in her boyfriend’s life is secondary to Diana’s, and that she has a role as a wife that she doesn’t have a girlfriend. And so I am left even more confused. Nothing about this lifestyle makes sense.

  • River Song

    I think it’s admirable that you wanted to be there for someone you love and care about when there in a crisis. I don’t see any reason for others to be acting as they are about this! Someone you love and care about suffered a sudden and terrible loss, that is traumatic, and what’s more is that while you wanted to be there for them in there time of need you couldn’t be due to social norms. That made it harder for you. And I’m so sorry for that! My condolences to you all.