*Part 6 of a 10 Part Series of articles showing the diversity and authenticity within the Polyamorous Community.
Everyone has sad moments. Life is filled with good days and bad days. Polyamorous people, along with all people in the polyamorous and surrounding communities, are no different. We get lied to or cheated on sometimes. We experience heartbreak. Sometimes our families cast us aside or people judge us or try to change us. People often are afraid of what they do not understand. With this fear can come a sense of needing to do something to stop the unknown. But this can damage relationships and hurt people.
Here we are – hearts on our sleeves, being vulnerable to the world in hopes that people out there see us for who we truly are: human. Though the tears we cry may be over things you do not understand, it makes them no less real. Our pains, our sorrows, our heartache. Our feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s. There are also many moments of happiness, but you cannot live life without ever feeling sad. Saddest is a part of life. Sometimes our saddest comes from our mistakes, and sometimes it comes from the cruelty of others. Other times it comes up out of almost nowhere. Saddest is inevitable, but we pick ourselves back up and we move forward. Strength comes from challenges overcome, not sorrows never faced.
We asked our respondents to describe the saddest moment they’ve had with polyamory. Here is what they had to say:
Uncertainty & Isolation
- I am living it now actually. I am dating a man who is in a don’t ask don’t tell relationship with his girlfriend who he lives with. In the beginning this was ok with me. I had no plans of falling in love with him. You don’t always control how your relationships go. It’s disheartening to me that someone I fell in love with has a woman he loves and I will never get to meet her. There’s jealousy there. Kind of the woman behind the curtain, the unknown. Is she prettier than me, more loving than me? Does she make him laugh more than I do? I’ll never know and I wish at times I did not agree to a DADTrelationship and I am sad I have no metamour in her ;(
- When I thought I had to end a relationship with my first partner, because my husband could not deal with the dynamics.
- Being alone while my wife is away and my girlfriend is off with her other boyfriend.
- When things got tough in thelong-term relationship that I was in when I first learned of polyamory I started to question the lifestyle, and she moved on to a monogamous relationship which made me question it even more. I’m from a small town and we had been very loud about being open. A lot of people used our “breakup” (the term transition would be more appropriate) as justification to why polyamory doesn’t work. The same wave of openness I was watching unfold in this small town all of the sudden started closing back up. Eventually, I realized that none of that is my responsibility. They will come to whatever conclusions about love that are meant for them… or they won’t. Either way it’s out of my control. Recently, I started to travel more and find more poly people to associate with as friends.
- Upon breaking up with my girlfriend of almost two years, she cut me off entirely.
- It’s very hard to go through a bad breakup and grieve one relationship while trying to maintain another relationship. My last (really my first serious) breakup really messed me up sexually and emotionally. I know it affected my other partner, and I appreciate how gracefully he handled it.
- Losing the one person you thought was your entire world and thought you were going to get married to and live happily ever afterwith.
- When my primary had a past fling come back & inform us of her pregnancy, after he had got me thinking about having children.
- The first night my wife was with someone else, I cleaned the house – baseboards to ceilings – and I felt so alone.
- Watching my husband go through depression over a break up. It broke my heart and I couldn’t fix it.
- Finding out my life will never be again what I thought and hoped it to be.
Lies & Manipulation
- A woman approached my primary partner and I about dating us. We were keen at the time, but the relationship soured. She was not interested in dating me, only my partner, and made numerous attempts to sabotage our relationship, including going out to dinner with him one night and telling him all the reasons why he should leave me. I was devastated as I cared for and trusted her. Since then, I have a very firm boundary about not ‘sharing’ partners so to speak, all my relationships are separate to each other, rather than engaging in more fluid relationships styles, such as relationship anarchy.
- My saddest moment was finding out that one of my non-monogamous partners was cheating on me despite the fact the whole basis of polyamory is being open and honest….and then?…..he tried to gaslight his way out of it. This was extremely disappointing and heartbreaking.
- When our family, hers and mine decided to intervenein our poly relationship. That in time caused a breakup between all 3 of us.
- The saddest moment has just been people who waste our time. They’ll talk to one of us for a few days and then ghost us.
- Having people outside the lifestyle try and break people apart because they don’t understand it. We’re happy with what we have, we don’t need people to try and make it better for us by having people break up.
- When I lost a monogamous partner because they decided they couldn’t handle polyamory. Worst part was that they went behind my back, got a new girlfriend, and just stopped talking to me.
- When I lost a couple I truly cared about. Due to jealousy from the wife.
- Recent partner lied about having a mono partner for the first year …
Judgement & Guilt
- I once met an amazing guy, who was a sexy mountain climbing rugged outdoors adventurer, and could cook like nobody’s business. Being around him and hearing his stories and going on adventures was really cool, but he was really not okay with polyamory. At the time I was living with one of my friends with benefits, and it made him so uncomfortable that the relationship became emotionally manipulative. Eventually we had to just cut ties completely and it was probably one of the most painful experiences I’ve been through.
- For the first several years of our triad, one mother-in-law would not talk to me or the other partner. She got over it, but it was hard until then. Maybe the hardest thing was not carryinga grudge when she did come around!
- When I realized my bf had another gf almost exactly like me … I was crushed because I thought I was unique.
- It has been a series of sad moments for me in the time I have been poly, success has been hard to come by. I think every failing relationship brings its own challenges and sadness. One of the worst feelings is falling in love with someone and allowing myself to be vulnerable, only for them to judge you based upon how someone else hurt them in the past.
- The saddest moment so far is when my husband was talking to a girl he really liked and when she found out that he was my submissive, she stopped talking to him. He was really broken up about it and Ifelt horrible because I couldn’t do anything about it.
- The saddest moments for me was just when people I thought would support me didn’t. Like my mom. And the fact that my Dad will never get to meet my amazing partners because he passed away before I came out.
- The saddest part of my polyamory is a two way tie between the moment when I had to step away from a serious relationship with the father of my children- not end just redefine boundaries that had been crossed – and when I realized his family would never accept me as anything more than a homewrecking “the other woman” type of person.
- For the most part things have been pretty great and Happy but it was difficult watching my ex-boyfriend struggle with finding partners while for me they were just lining up. I hated seeing his sadness over it. Also, watching my girlfriend’s relationship end. It had been so special to them.
- My partner and meta almost went through a divorce and I felt incredibly helpless during that time. I blamed myself for a lot of their issues that had nothing to do with me.
Hard Decisions & Everyday Complications
- Just barely 8 months in to polyamory, all I can think of as sad was the inability to support one boyfriend by being at his family’s Thanksgiving because he had to work. While this could happen in any relationship, I think it highlights that poly couples can face the same challengesas a conventional relationship.
- I feel it now, I’m beginning to realize I’ve given too much of myself to someone who isn’t really giving the same back. I have a younger bf, I am just waiting for it to end or for him to find someone else better. He wants kids and marriage, I can’t offer those, inevitably it’s going to end.
- With me being the 3rd I don’t know that I have enough alone time with each partner. Between the 3 shifts of work, kids, sports and clubs etc. I’m worried I need more and know it may not happen.
- Breakups are hard. Being that open with someone you love and then having to end that relationship is awful. You will survive.
- Breaking it off with a partner I knew I couldn’t have cause he was taken. Then recoveringmy heart back.
- My husband and I were foster parents. We had had some tough cases in the few years leading up to us becoming poly and were taking a break. When our relationship became serious we knew we had to decide between fostering and the quad as we were sure the state would not be okay with this family structure.
- My saddest polyamorous moment was realizing that my two partners are highly unlikely to form a close friendship. Being part of two separate households as an adult is as difficult as it was when I was the child of divorced parents.
- The only thing that has made me sad so far is that there are not enough hours in the day or words in the world for me to give my partner and my meta all the love and appreciation they truly deserve.
- I would have thought when it was introduced to me but it wasn’t. My saddest moment was when my husband’s gf broke up with him. He lost someone he loved and I lost a best friend.
- Only sad thing is I have not found anyone who thinks the same way I do.
- The breakup of my marriage.
- Recognizing that I needed to step aside from a beloved person. I was no longer in the right relationship with that person FOR ME, and needed to change things to become healthy. Still very much love this person. Still sad over what was and is no longer. And that relationship is changing once again.
- The saddest moment I’ve had being poly is when my wife’s ex decided he wasn’t okay with sharing her anymore and asked her to choose between us. She chose me, but she was so heartbroken. I hated it for her.
- My saddest moment was realizing a woman that I loved deeply simply didn’t feel the same way about me, and never would. It wasn’t her fault; she could not control how she felt. But I’m still not over it.
- The other married couple we had a 4 with weren’t strong enough. The cracks in their marriage got blown out rather than bridged by the experience. It had some lasting ripples for us for a while.
- When one of my greatest loves realized he just couldn’t do it. He’s really and truly monogamous. I do miss him, greatly.
- Picking who to live with.
Stay tuned for PART 7 of the “Our Story” Series!
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) – Refers to a dynamic in which you don’t ask anything about your partner’s other relationships, and they don’t tell you anything about them. Usually goes both ways (as in, no one is allowed to divulge information from any relationship with their partner). Often used by people opening up their relationship who think it will combat jealousy, but regularly leads to more complicated and emotional issues.
Relationship Anarchy (RA) – A style of forming relationships that allows for complete transparency. You move forward with your connections only to the extent of what everyone involved wants. Each relationship can be completely different and structured any way the people involved so choose.
Boundaries – Rules or limits you place on yourself to make sure your are meeting your needs, and not doing things that you don’t want to do. Boundaries are very beneficial and help to foster healthy relationships. Not to be confused with rules, which are placed on other people; or agreements. Boundaries are there to make sure you stay happy, healthy, safe, and successful. It’s all about focusing on your needs and wants and making sure you uphold what matters to you. If you need help forming boundaries, or simply want more information about boundaries, you can read our article Boundaries or visit the site Break The Cycle.
Quad – A relationship dynamic in which 4 people are all dating each other (or sometimes used to refer to 2 couples dating each other, even if not all the people involved are dating each other).
Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission, Sadism & Masochism (BDSM) – Covers a huge range of tastes and activities, with endless variations. Often times associated with kink, though not all kinks have to do with BDSM. These practices can be erotic, include role-playing, and often include using safewords. Can be conducted in-person, online, over the phone, or in any other number of ways. Some people see these practices as a hobby, some see them as a lifestyle, and others use them as identifying factors of who they are as people.
Our Story #2
If you’d like to be an anonymous participant for our next series of community representing articles (titled “Our Story #2”), please complete the following questionnaire:
Your responses will help showcase our community’s diversity, promote a positive polyamorous representation, and help give advice/guidance/support and information to those newly coming into polyamory, as well as those currently living polyamorously. Our main focus for the “Our Story #2” series will be how to create and maintain healthy relationships within the constructs of polyamory, whereas our focus for the 1st “Our Story” was a more general overview of polyamory.
The new series “Our Story #2” will be published after the last piece of our 10 part “Our Story” series is complete. Stay tuned for all 10 parts of the “Our Story” series, as well as the upcoming “Our Story #2” series.
**THIS QUESTIONNAIRE IS COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS! DO NOT PROVIDE ANYONE’S NAMES OR ANY OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION!
Our Story – was a series that covered general topics in order to both introduce the world to polyamory, as well as normalize it and showcase its diversity. (The article series will be available on our website starting January 1st…each part of the 10 part series will be published 2 weeks apart.)
Our Story #2 – is a series that is focused on how to create and maintain healthy relationships within the constructs of polyamory.
ALL submissions are anonymous, and will be combined to create a comprehensive guide to help polyamorous people maneuver the ups and downs of relationships. Everyone is different, and therefore everyone deals with their emotions in different ways. Emotions affect the way in which we communicate, act, and love. Sharing your own suggestions, for things that have benefited or helped you in some way, will greatly impact our Polyamorous community as a whole in a positive way. The best advice FOR the Polyamorous community, comes FROM the Polyamorous community!
If you’d like to participate in this questionnaire, please click HERE.
“The Art of a Polycule” Project
We are starting a new project to artistically represent the relationship dynamic diversity within our community. This project will be art based, and will showcase the way in which a variety of community members construct their relationship dynamics. In order to be an anonymous contributor to this project, you must send in an image representation (something self-drawn; by hand, or other media means) that details your polycule structure.
Rules for art submissions are displayed below:
- You may include as many people as you feel best represents your polycule (including partners, metamours, metamour’s partners, platonic relationships, etc.); but NO friends, family, children, pets, or the like.
- The polycule must start with YOU, this is a representation of YOUR structural relationship dynamics.
- This is anonymous! As such, no names shall be given for any of the people in your polycule.
- Your drawing must be designed in the following way (Each person drawn must be a shape, and each connection between them must be presented as lines.):
-You will be a black dot.
-Your partners will be red hearts.
-Your metamours will be blue triangles.
-Additional partners (of your metamours, or of their partners, depending on how far you feel your polycule extends) can be drawn as green squares.
-The lines between romantic partners will be solid pink.
-The lines between platonic partners will be dotted yellow.
-Do NOT draw lines between you and your metamours, unless you consider them to be a romantic or platonic partner.
ALL SUBMISSIONS will be re-constructed and formatted into a new design that will be extended to all pieces so that the arrangement and visual product is smooth and congruent. So don’t worry if your artistic abilities aren’t the best, it’s the information about the polycule formation that matters most, not how well you can draw it. Your original product will not be on display, only our finished product with the polycule dynamics we have collected from the community. This isn’t a contest, we are looking for contributions from everyone (no matter your level of artistic ability).
**Send submissions to our CEO:
**Thank you to all who have chosen to contribute to our polyamorous projects!