As of last night, I'm ecstatic. As of this evening, I'm too overwhelmed by joy to really express it very well.

First, a little background: My partner (28,m) and I (22,f) were both raised in extremely conservative religious environments, and we've gotten much more liberal and secular in our attitudes as we got older, but for me especially, a lot of the ways of thinking I was raised with got so rooted into my worldview that I've tended to be oblivious to some pretty fundamental truths about myself. The currently critical and relevant truth on the table is that I'm polyfidelitous as a natural part of my orientation, but I managed to be virtually oblivious to this for a long time, not really putting two and two together in my head about things that seriously should have made this obvious to me. Ever since my high school dating environment, I've never really had fewer than three romantic partners at one time, and I've always kept my partners aware of each other's existence and their importance to me. At seventeen, I was successfully participating in nonsexual good-poly long term relationships. It's never been a casual thing for me; I've always gotten very close to the people I've dated, and been deeply devoted to them, and each time a relationship ended with a boyfriend, it was on mutually-friendly terms, usually relating to our lives just taking us farther away from each other. Things went swimmingly this way for years, and then I found my current partner, my fiance, during a time when all of my prior boyfriends had moved on in life to college or other things, and my closest relationship was the woman who is currently my secondary, but had not yet become romantic with me.

My guy and I were amazing with each other from the start, and we knew that whatever we had, it was right and good and made us both incandescently happy. I had my best pal-not-yet-secondary, as well, and nobody else was attracting me, so I was totally content. Over the next couple years, we got engaged, and the relationship only grew stronger. My best pal and I started really recognizing our feelings for each other, which was startling for me, because I'd never had any attraction to another woman before, and it took some real emotional introspection to figure out where she and I stand with each other.

Then trouble in paradise: this winter, I met a guy who had amazing chemistry with me right off the bat, and being around him felt -right- in the way that being around my partner felt -right- from the beginning. My first few attempts to discuss with my partner didn't get much of anywhere, mostly because I still hadn't actualized to myself that yes, polyamory is integral to my identity, orientation, and sense of Self. Once I figured that out, I explained it to my partner in a pretty long e-mail, so that he could mull it over. My partner's way of expressing love is very one-person-focused, and I personally just flat-out don't experience jealousy at all. He had to put a lot of effort into explaining it to me, because I didn't really understand that it's more a reactive emotion, less a conscious choice that a person makes about their attitude. For me, sharing people I love just seems like the most effortless thing in the world, and I had a hard time understanding how my partner didn't feel the exact same way.
The e-mail sat unanswered for awhile, and I started wondering if I was ever going to get any feedback from him about the issue, or if he was going to try to ignore the subject, hoping it would go away.

Finally, last night he leveled with me, and we pulled an all-nighter together, him asking me really in-depth and earnest questions about what I want, how I feel, and how I love. Perceived-infidelity was something which, at one time, he would have considered a deal-breaker... but he valued me and our relationship too much to treat giving up on it as any remotely entertainable option: we're each other's truest mate, and we've both felt secure in that certainty for years, so even something this serious can't and shouldn't be able to destabilize that certainty. He thanked me for having the courage to talk to him about it, because the last thing he wants is for our relationship to become one-sided silent suffering while one of us defers to the other on everything. It's one of the hardest things he's ever had to do, but this hyper-monogamous man with serious jealousy chose to transcend that jealousy so that he could take my needs and identity seriously and compassionately.

We talked about my secondary and the new guy I'd recently started falling for. We talked about safety, health, and communication. We talked about logistics and even about moving later in the year so that we can be closer geographically to my secondary. On his own power and cleverness, he thought up ways that my spending time with my paramours could be a boon to our relationship, like how it would allow him more time for solitude and recovery from social fatigue (he's very introverted and needs a couple nights a week to himself normally) without me having to feel lonely or shut out from affection.

Every question he asked was important and respectfully given, and the answers compassionately and patiently received. Every suggestion and idea he offered came from a place of love and understanding, and he treated the situation not as "just in case this happens," but as "this will happen for certain, so let's talk about it, so we're on the same page." Every step of the way, he supported my voice and my free agency, and he phrased things so that I could empathize with what he felt, as well. He earnestly gave me his blessing to pursue more contact and depth in my currently long-distance relationships with my paramours, and he even sympathized with me about the longing and discomfort of having them at long-distance like this, expressing a wish that they would be accessible to me sooner than later.

Two weeks ago, I didn't dare hope for anything remotely close to what occurred last night, and my partner has absolutely blown me out of the water with his devotion, his consideration, and the selfless depth of his love for me. Today we snuggled and spent quality time together, after I'd been away with relatives over the weekend, and our reunion was as sweet and intense as the first times we came together after a time when our own relationship had been long-distance. I don't know what I could ever have done to have deserved this wonderful man as my primary and my future husband, but he is infinitely precious to me, and I'm so damn grateful to have him, and so damn in love with him. This is the happiest I've ever been, and he says the same goes for him.

Also, as of the last hour, my lady paramour and I are now officially long-distance girlfriends. Feck yeah!

I split my time between both coasts.

I go running in the morning: lacing up my shoes and doing some dynamic stretching before hitting the trail. My job takes me to different coasts, and there's a wonderful and a different kind of serenity on each.

My West Coast haunt has a running trail going for miles with helpful stretching apparatus, and there's nothing more wonderful than switching off one's mind and being one with the world at large. There's an interesting intersection of humanity and nature. A little old Eastern European lady wandering on the path with a small pull cart, leaving small piles of food for very appreciative feral cats. People running or walking with dogs, taking full advantage, thankfully, of prepared stations with small poop bags. Young women, pony tails bobbing, being so quintessentially Californian as they bounce down the trail. Old men, shuffling and sweating in hipster approvable athletic wear vintage enough to be ironically excellent. One man, tall and athletically chiselled, wearing shirts from past marathons as he streaks by at a ludicrously fast speed, barely ticking over, his limbs like relaxed but relentless pistons. It's warm enough this time of year that you can run when it's still damp and dewy from the morning, hearing the cars go by on overpasses, watching cyclists with messenger bags thumbing their noses at over four dollar a gallon gas on their way to work.

Here on the East Coast it's colder (though it's warmed up recently), which means wrapping up a bit more, but it's less managed. Running's by the side of the road, lonelier stretches of roadway where the interaction with nature is far less... managed. People swerve around you in cars, some of them honking. The road is uneven, sloping down to the sides, but that just makes the muscles of your ankles and feet compensate more. Foxes, carpenter wasps, squirrels, chipmunks, all dart around and past you as you let your brain go and chew up mile after mile in a kind of zenlike trance. 

I'm not sure which I actually prefer, and I'm kind of thankful I don't have to make such a choice. I can just be happy that my morning routine takes me away from my customer support desk calls and the ins and outs of daily life. Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes to podcasts of church services, sometimes a book on... podcast? What is the term for an audiobook on an iPod? But I defer. I started all this because originally I hit that post mid 20s shift in metabolism, but I've kept with it because of how wonderful it can be.

The comedown after the run is the best part. Whether I'm looking over a dewy track in the Bay Area, or watching the pollen collect on ponds, it gives me a moment to re-center, and to appreciate the vast wonders out there we often box ourselves away from.

I used to enjoy centering prayers, but a mentor recently introduced me to the concept of a welcoming prayer - the idea that when something comes to you, even something "negative" like anger, or doubt, jealousy or coveting, you welcome it completely and take a moment to give full reign to your feelings and the reality of the situation without prejudice, before carrying on. It's times like this that I can just open my eyes and take in everything that's normally separated from me by a window or a car windshield.

I realize that the core point behind life is to be of service to others, but I'm also glad of being able to really internalize Psalm 118:24

 

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

I saw a guru today
quite real and alive
sat in a full Lotus position
on the far bank of Barton Springs
the raw Southside
not with us on the bourgeois North.

With his hands wrapped in circles
(balanced on his two knees
turned outwards)
he had black hair
tresses obscuring his shoulder blades
and pellucid Nepalese skin.

He was a dark fellow
and very thin
no muffins inside or out
but it was his evident nationality
that confirmed somehow
his brute authenticity.

There must be Scottish gurus
silent and orange and all-knowing
kilted in tartan cloth
but I have not seen any
out under the cloudy afternoon
of our workaday Texan Ganges.

He didn't move a muscle
this beautifully styled man from Nepal
(or Philadelphia or whatever foreign country
he chose to come here from)
and I admired everything about him
except for the unbearable showing off.

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